An Encounter with Jesus

When you see the name Jesus (jee-zhus) Christ or you hear someone say that name what is the first thing that pops into your mind. If you’ve never heard the name or anything about Jesus I hope that this blog brings you a bit of understanding and sparks your curiosity regarding Him. Jesus Christ is basically God in the flesh. His whole reason for being here on this earth was so that other people would have a chance to get closer to God without the weight of their imperfection standing in between them and Him.

While Jesus was on earth he had many encounters with people from different walks of life. The most memorable encounters were the miraculous ones where individuals were healed and set free from debilitating or very shameful situations. His life was devoted to providing a remedy for those who were overlooked but also for those who we would never think have issues. I guess not even status or importance can keep someone from experiencing trouble.

The encounters I most identify with are those involving the underdog or the rejected person. There was the lepers who were ostracized from society due to their contagious condition, the woman with the issue of blood who hemorrhaged for over 12 years, and my most favorite is the woman at the well (Ref. John 4).

Jesus and the Woman at the Well

John 4: 4-26 Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

So why this encounter? This is where He reveals that He is the Messiah, the one promised through time to bring salvation and redemption to the world. He revealed this to a person who would have been excluded from that promise stretching the arms of Jesus to include the rejected groups. The revelation of who he is was brought to light when He asked her for a drink of water. This dialogue along with Him being able to tell her about her life without actually being in her life is what helped her to identify Jesus for who He was. The very living water that He was referring to. (Note: We encounter Jesus Christ through His spirit which is inside everyone that receives Him as their personal Savior. There is no person walking around in this day and age that is the Messiah or Jesus Christ in the flesh. However, we as Christians live our lives to duplicate the love and reverence for God that He displayed while here on earth.)

Rippling Water

What is living water? Living water is in reference to the refreshing of the soul that occurs when we engage in things that bring us closer to God which have nothing to do with ritual, but everything to do with relationship. She was talking to Him about a place and He was pointing her to a positioning in her heart. (Note: Not in reference to the Christian church which is a place where we go to learn more about God and fellowship with other believers but in specific regions.)

Heart in clouds

How do we obtain this living water? The initial step is accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. All you have to do to accept Him as your Savior is say, “Lord I believe that your son Jesus died to save me from my sins and I receive your son as my personal Savior”. Next is to start communicating with God in prayer experiencing Him right where you are. God gave us this honor because He desired a relationship with us that was not riddled with excuses as to why we were unqualified to be with Him by closing the gaps between Him and us. The only thing left to do is to just come to Him and continue to develop our relationship with Him.



Blocks spelling the word grace

I did something a little adventurous today. Well at least for me it was adventurous. In this adventure I found something to ring out so true to me. That truth is that no matter how someone may judge you or what they may think about your action the only one that can determine the nature of those actions is God. We can try our best to size up if a person is good or evil the thing that determines that is intention of which we cannot nor will we truly ever be able to measure.

That brings me to this very common yet often misinterpreted term and that’s sin. Sin is very common but the knowledge of sin and the very knowledge of evil can sometime cause us to actually engage in what is sinful and evil. If we argue over the factors of sin we become guilty of quarreling and stirring strife. This actually broadens the scoop of sin. However, discussions of sin are healthy to have because they help us to mature in understanding God’s plan and why He is actually not for some things.

Yet and still even though there is sin and we have all committed sin in some way or fashion, there is grace. God gifted us with grace because He knew that even though we would try to meet the standard of maturity in Christ that we would always fall short because of our innate ability to miss the mark and sin. The grace of God gives us a liberty that following the letter of the law does not. And by following the letter of the law I mean always trying to get it right without missing it we miss the whole point of being a child of God and that’s being in a relationship with Him.

Ephesians 2:4-8 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

My hope is to help you understand that you don’t have to have everything in your life right and you can even be prone to clumsiness in your life but God still loves you. He knew you would be unable to meet the high standard of the commandments that’s why he lowered the standard to just two commandments.

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, 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. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Why do we need it broken down this simple? Because we often complicate things and breaking them down to their simplest form help us to understand what matters and what does not matter at all. So tonight I just wanted to let someone know that you don’t have to achieve perfection to be accepted by God and you don’t have to be near spotless before coming to Him. Matter of fact, you can accept Christ as your personal Savior now and start to walk in this grace that He freely gives. To do that just say these words aloud. ” Lord I believe that your Son Jesus died to save me from my sin and that He is your Son. I receive your Son as my personal Savior.”

Now that your connected to God nourish that connection by joining a church that will help you to grow in your understanding of who God is and learn how to live a life in Christ. If you don’t have a church home and you need a place to attend just text the word Pastor Rush to 31996 and click the blue link and you can view service tomorrow at 8am or 10am on Facebook Youtube, or the church’s site live.

Do you attend church?

I know it may be a crazy question to propose during this time but most don’t even think of the significance of being connected to church until crisis hits. So I couldn’t think of a more opportune time the bring it up. Seeing as though we are smack dab in the middle of a crisis. Do you attend church?

Old Danish Church in Sheffield

Why church? Because it’s the one place where we can receive enlightenment and hope for the situations that we face. The promises that God makes to His children are the very hinges on which we hold to during times of uncertainty. These aren’t vain promises made to give us a false sense of hope but true promises that help us to know that we are not alone and that someone understands.

I can hear the argument, now but I can’t see God, so how can I be sure that He is real? Or, I don’t get it, how is a promise something to hold on to, we need actions and plans, not promises. God’s promises are bits and pieces of His wisdom discovered by others who have endured crises and trusted in Him. His promises give us an inner peace on which we can’t truly explain to others but we tell them in hopes that they will want to experience it as well.

Coming into the peace of God stems from one thing and one thing only. It is belief. When one is in a state of belief it causes them to come to a place of rest within themselves. Taking the worries and the frustrations of life off of their shoulders and putting them into the hands of God allowing Him to show them His sovereignty.

Phillipians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Word Peace written in the sand

This is one of my favorite “go to” scriptures when I am worried about things I can do nothing about or just frustrated with the way things may be going in my life. These words are a promise, that if I take off or exchange what I’m worried about I can receive the gift of the peace of God which surpasses human understanding. And guess what, it actually works every time. Guess where I learned this? CHURCH.

Being connected with a church is so vital because it changes your view of the darkness and even bleakness of life to hope and light. So you may ask yourself, how do I receive this peace or even hope for the times of trouble in my life? Well starting is easy all you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Savior. The next step is to get connected with a church home that will help you to grow in the principles of Christ and that compassionately guides you through your Christian journey.

If you don’t have a church home or your looking for a place to experience the joy and peace of the Lord, just text the word Pastor Rush to 31996 and click the blue link. We have services on Facebook, YouTube, or you can view it from the Inspiring Body of Christ Church’s website and it’s all in the one link. Services are on Sundays at 8am and 10am.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in ever way. The Lord be with you all.

Do you have wisdom?

Seek Wisdom imageWisdom in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary is defined as good sense or most will say nowadays common sense. How do you obtain wisdom and where does it come from? Wisdom is not mere knowledge it is applied knowledge. It comes from God not the intelligence of men who can think things so wonderful but from God who created the thinker’s brain. It’s easy to draw the conclusion that we accomplished things on our own but the truth be told we had a guiding hand. The hand of God touches the hearts and minds of individuals to create solutions to problems that are utterly impossible to solve.

Sometimes it’s almost like they are answering the prayers of a person that needs a very particular problem solved. I sincerely believe that God operates this way helping us to meet the solutions to problems that we face. When people think of wisdom they think of it separate from God but true and authentic wisdom is derived from God who is unseen but seen through those who believe in Him.

So I’ll ask again. Do you think you’re wise?

Often I face problems that leave me scratching my head because I just can’t solve that problem, however I submit that problem in pray to God and He sends someone with an answer to that problem my way. You can consider it miraculous but truth be fully told it’s Him fulfilling a promise He made to those who believe in Him. This very promised spoken by James (James 1:5), our Lord and Savior’s own brother, if you lack wisdom ask God who gives it freely, without finding fault, and it (wisdom) will be given to you.

There are two types of wisdom earthly wisdom and godly wisdom. Both lead to understanding but one has a far greater understanding because it connects everything and gives the senseless things of life meaning. To obtain the wisdom that God gives as the scripture says just ask but make sure you’re connected to God first to receive that answer. How do you get connected with God? It’s very simple. John 3:16 states that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. To get connected you BELIEVE in your heart and CONFESS with your mouth that Jesus is the son of God and that he died to save you from your sins and then you are given the gift of eternal life.

Make sure that you get connected and stay connected with a local church home somewhere that the wisdom of God is being taught and lives are being transformed by those teachings.

Covid and the Working Class Citizen

These have been the most awkward and challenging months of 2020. While in the middle of a pandemic there are still people risking their lives daily working in various industries that are considered essential to make sure that we have our necessities. Even though  lot of people are quarantining these individuals have never spent a day in quarantine. Have you ever sat and thought of the impact that this experience has on those that have been working since day one?

Everyone’s life has changed and been effected in some way or fashion because of this virus and many are having a hard time mentally getting through because they work but don’t have the normal outlets they were used to. A lot of the after work “go to”s have either been closed because they aren’t essential or have significantly reduced capacity not to mention the risk now that we take in actually going to these places.

So how on earth are they coping with these changes? They have to work because of their obligations to their families and the fear of actually losing what they have obtained over the years. So not only do they have the normal stress of working but the added stress of the precautions they have to take to not catch the virus for fear of missing income necessary for their livelihood.

My heart goes out to them because some have either a very small savings or no savings at all and the money they are making is exhausted on their essentials with almost nothing to spare. These are those that work in grocery stores, manufacturing companies, shipping and receiving companies, and a host of other industries. Life is far from normal for anyone but its stressful on all in so many different ways.

My hope is that you may think of the sacrifice that he/she makes to deliver the service that they deliver to you. We’re all dealing with this pandemic differently and with so many different experiences it’s easy to over look someone elses’ experience. It’s easy to be selfish for fear of exhausting your resources-time, energy, focus-on the things that will leave you completely empty however by changing your perspective of how you see them it’ll help you to see them how God sees them, valuable.



Thoughts about Racism

Circle of hands from different people

Today I watched a video entitled “A Kids Play About Racism” (link below) it was a very eye opening skit about racism through the eyes of a biracial teenage boy and his responses to what’s going on around him. He talked about the interactions he had with those around him and how those encounters made him feel.

Over the last couple of years there has been a gradual rise in police brutality and misconduct we see it in the media all the time. We have Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Filando Castille, Breanna Taylor, along with the recent George Floyd, to name a few, however the list goes on. Videos are shared showing people of color being mistreated and handled ridiculously because of their race. While looking on the outside you can see the difference in the responses between a person of color and a person considered to be “white”. Most people believe that when they record these events that it will stop these things from happening but the recordings seem to mean nothing only a motion picture of sheer disdain for human life full of apathy toward the individual.

This creates a response of outrage from the public that sees it and increases fear and a host of other emotions inside those who believe that they could possibly be next. Similar to the responses of the teenage boy in “A Kids Play About Racism”. Not only is there the threat of a potential experience but the sentiments and thoughts of those who witness these things or view the videos and have various reactions to them.

With the variety of perspectives out there sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by their responses because I’m in disbelief sometimes in the way that some people think about other people who are different than them. It’s disheartening to see their callous nature and inability to sympathize with others almost like a blinder has been placed over their eyes and minds where they only see their own feelings and not another person’s experience.

This is not the change your mind about how you feel but to share my thoughts and views on racism. I feel that there will be more to come just like this as we deal with both a pandemic and racism.

A Kids Play About Racism:  Streaming today and tomorrow

Toxic People?

dr jekyll mr hyde

Over the last couple of months I have read various posts, seen memes, and even videos regarding toxic people and how to get ride of them. While I am no expert regarding the toxicity of an individual I do believe that everyone at some point in their life is toxic to someone else. I believe that it deals more with the personality clashes in individuals than their actual toxicity. Just like oil and vinegar don’t mix until they’re put on salad neither do some people until they collaborate to do the thing that suits them best.

Diversity brings opportunity but it also brings exposure to those obvious differences be it in culture, customs, or values and the more differences there are in a room the more disunity can form. Toxicity to me means if you are around this object or person that they contaminate you to the point of your own death. While I do believe that there are people that are bad company I also believe in giving people opportunities to make a second impression because the circumstances of the 1st impression might be all wrong.

To me all traits of a “toxic” person are circumstantial. What if you meet them in a bad moment in their lives? a sickness? a bad break up? in a moment of mental weakness? Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that this type of person does not exist but that sometimes we may label a person as toxic who is simply going through a rough patch in life.

This is by no means to change your mind about individuals you may find toxic to your environment or your life but just to plead with you to be compassionate because we are all struggling with something or have struggled with something that was hard to make it through. So with and through compassion for the underdog I write in the hopes that someone will bump into you

Writing to Vent

JournalingAfter doing research in writing, I found a lot of evidence supporting the fact that writing is a stress reliever especially when it comes to emotional distress and traumas. In the field of psychology this type of writing is called expressive writing. One of the reasons that writing about these experiences help the individual is because he/she can actually visualize the situation and express himself/herself on paper. Though sometimes it is hard to go over the events that cause emotional pain writing about those situations are a good way of releasing the hurt experienced.

Expressive writing also helps people with their writing skills because it is freestyle writing that is focused and centered on personal events, similar to a diary. In 2012 John F. Evans wrote a segment of articles in the Psychology today regarding this matter entitled Write Yourself Well, in the article named Expressive Writing, he writes that expressive writing comes from within us and it is catered to the feelings in the moments that we experience rather than the actual events.By focusing on the emotions in the event we improve both our psychological and physical health.

I find expressive writing the best out let for people that want to express themselves without the fear of the opinions of others or their input regarding what they are experiencing. Don’t get me wrong I believe there are times we should definitely express ourselves to family and friends but for those deep things we don’t wish to speak to anyone else, expressive writing is a great way to show your feelings without being embarrassed or shamed for feeling the way that you do.

To start I suggest you get a journal possibly with  a lock on it or keep it in a place where you know no one else will see it. Another possible way is to destroy it after writing it because the idea is simply to put your feelings on a page once you’ve written and read it burn or shred it.

Sacred Soldier: My Daily Prayer

The Sun has risen,
The day is about to begin,
But before I place my feet on the ground,
I must first honor my Lord.

Thank you for breath in my body
Legs that move, eyes that see, ears that hear,
And a mouth to constantly give you praise and honor,
You are an awesome and might God.

Father go before me today,
Give me the wisdom to do what is required of me.
Do not allow my own selfish way to get in your way
In Jesus Name Amen.

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Sacred Soldier: My Daily Prayer by Amber Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Morning Due

Nighttime falls and I feel afraid.

The darkness that was gone has returned.

Dreading what’s to come,

I hold to the truth that it will pass.

The night is dark and often unbearable.

A time of no light and sometimes pain.

Like an insomniac at night I know it will be long,

But I hold to the hope that it soon will be gone.

This darkness is for a while,

But in the morning I once again can smile.

Saying that I made it and the night was won,

Because it didn’t consume me and day has begun.

I take it all in the sun and sky,

Pretending that one day I’ll grow wings and fly,

And show others how to make it through that thing called night.

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Morning Due by Amber Johnson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.