20 January 2021 — Today, as the world looked on, we here in the United States of America were writing history books. The recent past has been filled with opinions, opines, differences, similarities, divisions, bridges, peacemakers, rioters, love, hate, sickness, health, and all that is in-between. Each new day brought its own headline: Covid-19, politics, the politics of the virus, mutations, commutations, charges, pardons, verdicts, blame, and forgiveness. Some have learned and gained from the lessons of the past year while others have lost–both literally and figuratively. In the end, it all came down to today. The world saw a whole new view in America: a woman — Kamala Harris — was sworn in as Vice-President.
The concept of seeing a woman positioned as a leader in the upper echelons is new to America. There have been inroads toward this moment for at least a century and a half. While other countries around the world reached this milestone long ago, America — the comparatively new kid on the block — took her time. Many women have attempted to attain the goal of President or Vice-President, but all have fallen short of the achievement–until today. Kamala Harris set her eyes upon this goal some time ago. Today, as an African American, South Asian American, female American — the daughter of immigrants who chose to make America their home — was sworn in as Vice-President of the United States of America. Vice-President Harris achieved her goal.
There are those who say America is made up of bigoted racists. I believe today proved them wrong. As my old mother used to say, “The proof is in the pudding.” Today, the pudding in America’s melting pot rang true, and no victory could be finer. Once again, America has stood to the task and proved her ideals are still “alive and kicking.” When put to the test, Americans are winners, if they choose to be.
As a child, I was taught to never act in a racist manner toward any other person regardless of that person’s color or country of origin. As a teenager, I wrote my first poem about race relations. When my children were young, I began advocating for the underprivileged including children, people with disabilities, and people of color. As my children grew to adulthood, I tried to instill a respect toward all people and I continued my advocacy in the professional realm.
As we turned the page to a new chapter in America’s history, today the world witnessed the true potential for all who choose to make America their home. May God Bless America and all who live within her borders, and may we show the world the true colors of love and acceptance.
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief, for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you.'”
Holy Bible (New King James Version) — Matthew 17:20
If faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, what can faith do for us in our daily lives? How many times have you said to yourself, “If I could just _____.” Fill in the blank with whatever you may have desired. This is not to say if we ask for a million dollars with an undying faith, we will receive it. We probably won’t, but not because we didn’t have adequate faith.
Perhaps when we do not get the object of our prayers, we ask in the wrong spirit, or we ask for the wrong thing, or maybe we just are not ready for that prayer to be answered. For example, if I ask for something that will lead me astray, I may or may not get it. If I do get it, it will test my resolve to serve God and Jesus. Perhaps God is using my prayer and the object of my desire to refine my faith, making it purer by skimming off the sin associated with that request. The refinement will only occur if I survive the “smelting process,” remaining true to my faith in God throughout or–if I have given in to temptation–returning to that faith at some point in a spirit of repentance.
Sometimes, when we are “too sure of our faith,” we stray because our faith has been placed in ourselves instead of in Jesus Christ and God in heaven above. Sometimes–during this “faith in ourselves”–we fail the refinement process because we have placed our faith in another person or persons rather than in Jesus Christ’s ability to carry us through any storm.
Putting our faith in another follower of Christ–or group of followers– can take the wind from beneath our wings if those brothers and sisters in Christ fail us in a time of true need. It is during such times that we must keep our “eye” on Christ in order to receive His guidance and strength. If I have never truly strayed before, this might be just what is needed for me to realize the depth of my sin and my need for forgiveness. Sometimes, when we are too certain of our faith, we have to fall hard before we can renew that faith by repenting and begging God’s forgiveness.
Then again, there are times when the sin in our lives prior to repentance and the receiving of God’s forgiveness was so great there is no doubt in our mind of our need. Prior to his conversion, Paul (then Saul) of Tarsus had set about destroying the followers of Christ. Truly believing he was doing what God wanted, Paul put everything he had into the effort. Then, he was stricken blind when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. This gave him a few days to think about his past and what he had been doing.
When Ananias came to him and instructed Paul in what he must do, he repented and was baptized immediately (Acts 9:1-22).
Acts 9:1-22 (NKJV)
1 — “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest”
2 — “and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
3 — “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.”
4 — “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'”
5 — “And he said, “Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'”
6 — “So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do‘”
7 — “And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.”
8 — “Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.”
9 — “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”
10 — “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.'”
11 — “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus for behold, he is praying.'”
12 — “‘And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.'”
13 — “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.'”
14 — “‘And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.'”
15 — “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.'”
16 — “‘For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My names sake.'”
17 — “And Ananias wen his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'”
18 — “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”
19 — “So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.”
20 — “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
21 — “Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?'”
22 — “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”
After this time, Paul was even more zealous for Christ’s cause than he had been against it prior to the forgiveness received when he was appointed the replacement apostle for Judas Iscariot. Later, in Chapter One, Verse Fifteen of Paul’s First Letter of instruction to Timothy, he said: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” In this statement, Paul told Timothy he had “seen the light” regarding the ill-founded reasoning of his past and was not ashamed to admit his wrongdoing because his forgiveness proved Jesus purpose for coming to this earth.
The devotional scripture I have chosen today (below) reveals a faith that would move mountains. This woman had suffered female problems for twelve years. She and been to doctor after doctor and had suffered many treatments–some of them apparently quite painful–to no avail. The only thing she had to represent her faith in doctors was destitute poverty.
When this woman heard about Jesus healing the sick, the maimed, and the demon possessed, she knew she would be healed if it were possible to merely touch the garment He wore. She knew she would not need Him to touch her, she would be healed by the power in the garment He wore. Upon learning Jesus was in the area, she pressed through the crowds surrounding Him and . . . finally . . . she managed to touch the hem of His garment. Immediately, she was healed. Immediately the flow of blood stopped!
When Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched Me?” she just knew she was in trouble. She tried to shrink away and hide–then, He looked here in the eye. She knew, He knew it had been her. So, she went forward and fell at His feet. Tearfully she told of her lengthy plight and her faith she would be healed if she could only touch His garment. She needed not disturb Him, she would be healed by the power in His garment.
When Jesus heard her reasoning behind touching His robe, He said “her faith had healed her,” and He told her to “go in peace.” Can you imagine her relief at the understanding of His forgiveness and of the fact that her faith in Him had saved her? What an example for those of us looking for a source of strength in this day and time! We need look no further than the example this woman provides. Whatever our need, whatever our ailment, whatever our weakness, He will heal us if only we believe.
I pray our hearts will always be open to the guidance and strength Jesus provides if only we believe He can and will. I cannot count the times this has been proven in my life, and I am thankful for each. I know I have sinned and come short of God’s glory. I know Jesus forgiveness for that sin and His guidance will pull me through and into heaven at day’s end. It is my prayer that each person reading this devotional can see the same in his or her life. For those who are not quite there yet, I pray somehow the path can be seen and followed before it is too late.
Blessings, and for those in America and those who join us in spirit this week, Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for Christ, for His forgiveness, and for His loving guidance when I get out of my own way. For what are you thankful this holiday week? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Mark 5:25-34 (NKJV)
25 — “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.”
26 — “and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.”
27 — “When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.”
28 — “Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.”
30 — “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My clothes?'”
31 — “But His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?””
32 — “And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.”
33 — “But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.”
34 — “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.'”
I know this song may not have been written to reflect faith in Jesus Christ, but it perfectly describes my faith in Him. He is “everything I would like to be” and He is “the wind beneath my wings.” Only with His love, support, strength, and guidance will I be able to be true to my quest of serving God. Listen to the song and apply the words to a faith in Jesus Christ. Let me know what you think. Do you think they can describe faith in Jesus Christ?