Will the REAL Christians Stand Up

Terrorist attacks. Mass shootings.  Persecution.  Refugees. What comes to mind when you hear these words? Do you see images of armed, masked men? Chaotic crowds fleeing their homes in search of safety? How do you feel? Anxious or perhaps dismayed?  Main stream media has been overwhelmingly flooded with illustrations of hopelessness and fear in recent weeks as it broadcasted multiple stories of insurgent attacks around the world.  I was heartbroken and angered at the response of those who called themselves Christians as these devastating events unfolded. Political leaders and their supporters, identifying themselves as Christians, angrily declared that refugees seeking asylum should not be let into this country.  Social media posts flooded my timeline in support of this view.  Am I crazy or has the definition of a Christian changed?

See, I thought the definition of a Christian was someone who believed in and followed the teaching of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the one who said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  You know Jesus, the one who declared, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  The Jesus that asserted, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  The Jesus I follow made the following statement that brings tears to my eyes and humbles my heart every time I read it.  He said, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”  That’s the Jesus I know.  That’s the Jesus I am committed to.

The Jesus I follow as a Christian would have me readily accept those that are being persecuted.  After all, were not the first Christians heavily persecuted and are they not still being persecuted today?  Is it possible that our own doors could be kicked in, our towns raided, and we displaced from our homes?  Could our lives be changed in an instant?  Does the history of our nation not teach us this or have the events of the past been forgotten?  It could be me or even you tomorrow, next month, or next year.

I refuse to let terrorists win by paralyzing me with fear or silencing my voice.  Will the REAL Christians please, stand up!  Christians believe in the power of God.  They are called to be salt and light.  They are called to serve others.  But most of all they are called to love. We are the body of Christ, the hands and feet that bring good news and hope to those in need.  The world is watching us. Are we accurately reflecting the teachings of Christ in our speech and actions? If so will the REAL Christians, please stand up!

Join me in prayer:

Father, in times of chaos and unrest we fix our eyes and hearts upon You.  Be our peace and calm our fears that we might hear Your Spirit speak clearly to us.  May we respond with obedience to the instructions You give us. Endow us with courage to stand up for those who are being unjustly persecuted.  Forgive us for taking the freedoms and daily pleasures we enjoy for granted.  Now open our eyes to see others as humans, as brothers and sisters in need.  Help us to see others as You see them, even as You see us.  Teach us how to love them and show them sincere love. May we be selfless and use our resources to bring them comfort in this season of despair. Use us to bring hope and restore joy where terror has brought fear.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

-Kilra Williams

Scriptures taken from the NKJV Bible.

Matthew 22:37-40

John 13:34-35

Mark 10:43-45

Matthew 25:35-40

Matthew 5:13-16

 

 

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Interview with LaToya Murchison

Rivka and Ivory

Today on the blog we’re delighted to be featuring author and poet LaToya Murchison!

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1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
To me Diverse Books covers a wide range of topics that do not have a limit on them. They can include poetry, love, hate, grief, race and religions just to name a few things. Have diverse books means that there is something that everyone can read.

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2. You are the founding member of D.O.V.E. Please tell us a little bit about this group and how it promotes diversity and unity.
D.O.V.E (Daughters of Virtue) was established to united Daughters of Virtue who strive to encourage and empower other women and members of their community. To promote unconditional love, peace unity and the importance of understanding and respecting women’s individual’s rights to choose a spiritual path. Daughters of Virtue has a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination among members…

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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I realized this morning the month of April is nearing its end. Graduation season is right around the corner! As a children’s pastor I’m overjoyed to witness students make the transition from childhood to adulthood. The children’s ministry team joins families in praying that we’ve adequately prepared them for the next stage of their lives. My thoughts were focused on giving that ONE cool, inspiring, and useful graduation gift to our graduating seniors at church. I’m a serious Pinterest junkie and immediately started searching the site for gift basket ideas and books to be given as gifts. I found some great ideas but I didn’t feel that I’d found THE idea I was searching for. My mind began to wonder back in time and think about the gift my parents gave me that has made the greatest impact on my life. That gift is Jesus.

The greatest gift my parents gave me was introducing me to Jesus. Being that my parents are pastors it may not seem like such a big deal or that it would only be natural for them to do such a thing. But my parents took the time to teach me about God, what having a relationship with Christ meant, and instilled in me a love for God’s Word that remains to this day. They modeled a Christian life for me. Not a perfect life but one full of grace, learning, and faith. It wasn’t an easy task for my parents or me, especially as a teenager. I can’t begin to count the times my brothers and I were given lectures that included the words of Joshua, “…but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” I wasn’t allowed to speak in any manner because words have life. I wasn’t allowed to go just anywhere or hang out with just anybody because the environments I exposed myself to and the relationships I established were important. I was restricted from listening to certain times of music and watching certain TV shows and movies. Influences were closely guarded in our home. Though it was my life I wasn’t allowed to live any type of way. What kind of gift is this you say?  Sounds like a life without life huh?

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Living a life for Christ is a life changing experience. My relationship with Christ has sustained me through many heartaches and disappointments. It’s given me unspeakable pleasure in life’s triumphs and helped me to cope with heartbreaking tragedies. A Christian life is one of freedom from condemnation. I know my true value. Through my relationship with Christ I found my purpose and discovered my identity.

As a believer in Christ I have the promise that He’ll always be with me. 30+ years later He is the gift that continues to give. I know the value of my words which I skillfully use to minister to children and families on a daily basis. I surround myself with people of faith who are full of love and acceptance. I’m able to reach out to people in any environment just as Jesus did seeing their worth and not their circumstances. I carefully select what influences me because I value the trust placed in me as a person of influence. Jesus continues to make an impact on my life and those connected to me through kinship, relationships, and ministry.

The greatest gift I can give others is Jesus. If you’d like to receive this gift I encourage you to pray this prayer from your heart:  Father, thank You for the gift You’ve given me in Your son, Jesus Christ. Because You love me You sent Your only son to earth not to condemn me but to save me. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, was crucified, and rose from the grave in victory to save me from a punishment I rightly deserved. Father, please forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Empower me this day to live a life of purpose for You. Be glorified in my words and actions. Help me boldly share the good news with others that Jesus died for their sins too. This I ask in Jesus’s name, Amen.

Needless to say I’ve already given our students the greatest gift. They know who Jesus is. As they graduate from high school and continue their journey in life I pray they’ll freely give the gift that keeps on giving. I pray that they’ll give others Jesus.

Keep giving! –Kilra Williams

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” NKJV

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” NKJV

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” NKJV

Remaining Humble

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We serve an amazing God that places people in your path for various reasons. As I came in to Panera’s today to work on the final pages of my book an older lady stopped me for a brief conservation. She says, you are in here just as much as I am are you in school at Sandhills? I say no ma’am I am working on a new book. As she began to smile you she asked how long have I been working on the book ans what is it about. I told her I began fully working on the book last month and I am 6 pages from having my 1st draft of my manuscript finished.

As the conservation continued she told me about her past as a teacher and about the one on one Christian Book Club meetings that she hold here each day. the most touching part of this conservation was when she asked me to read a poem that she wrote and if I would be ok with her reading some of mine?

Those five minutes that I spent with her reminded me of these very import points:

  1. You never know who is watching you and that’s why it is important for you to be your best at all times.
  2. Keep smiling even when you are hurting. Don’t be afraid to meet knew people.
  3. Be willing to share your story as it will help you heal and encourage others.
  4. When you humble yourself before God he will open doors that you never imagined.

I am feeling extremely blessed that I came in here today because it reminded me of the importance of sharing what God has placed on the inside of me.

2 Peter 1:17 – For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

~LaToya Murchison

Testimonial Scars

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A testimony is a compilation of words that tells others about your faith. It can explain why you are a Christian, experiences you have had, how you overcame sin, and more. Testimonies are often presented to other people to help them through situations or to demonstrate a point. It is used to reinforce the truth of the matter.  A scar is a mark or indentation resulting from damage or wear

We have all been through something in our lives. Some of it good and some bad. We must remember that all of those trials and tribulation were not to make us wee but they serve to help bring us closer to God so he received the glory as we came out of it. You should never be ashamed of what you have been through because those experiences are what make you who you are today.

You survived for a greater purpose that was predestined by God long before you were born. Sharing your testimony and showing your scar to other brings three points that shows your a survivor:

  1. You have a chance to encourage and inspire other.
  2. It increases the healing process for you
  3. It opens up doors for God to be able to bless you with greater because you were able to glorify him in the mist of your storm.

God places things in you path for many reasons and you never know who watching and looking up to you as an example of Godly is living. You may never know how much telling someone a piece of your story will help them.

Scripture 

Luke 8:39: Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Luke 8:39: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

Psalm 119:46: I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,

Psalm 66:16: Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

~LaToya Murchison

Spiritual Freedom

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When you experience Spiritual Freedom you become filled with the love of God and  he supplies you with everything you need in order to be able to love him and his people freely.  A person who is spiritually free is able to walk in the light, armor, and grace of God. Spiritual Freedom allows you to face any trial head on and turn it into a testimony.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:11

I Am Finally Free

Do not cry for me now that I am finally free

Mind, body, and soul no longer disagree I am finally free

Chains of the past have been broken I am finally free

I will not drown from distress I am finally free

Love and joy have fallen upon me I am finally free

You have given me a new life I am finally free

Peace lives within me now I am finally free

My heart is now open I am finally free

~LaToya Murchison

Psalm 119:32: I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (NIV)