Happy New Year! By God’s wonderful grace those of us alive to see it have come into 2021! In Christ, there is cause for great optimism as we are yet closer to His return and otherwise, enabled in His strength to live for Him and serve His Kingdom purposes! Continuing to be filled with gratitude to the Lord for all of His blessings in 2020--not the least of which was His providing for my full-time salary while we also celebrated the Ministry’s 35th year, I am pleased to announce that as of January 1st I now, serve the Ministry as a part-time employee until such time as our finances in the Lord’s will can support my return to full-time status. I also labor as a volunteer.
I praise God who has marvelously made both my employment with the Ministry and volunteer labor possible through retirement. I also thank our Board of Director members Messrs. Alvin Johnson and Richard Anderson for discerning the Lord’s hand in all of this; unanimously deciding this was the right course of action as opposed to further crowdfunding considering how people are presently hurting financially. As a result, I will continue my day to day oversight of the Ministry as before. However, there are changes. I will be cutting back on some of the activities I have personally engaged in such as making social media posts. This blog will see more short posts like this one. I will announce other activity cutbacks when appropriate.
The Ministry is cutting back on some activities requiring my personal engagement to make timely room for new ones. This includes my entering the world of online instruction with the roll out of our Strong Man Virtual Institute this February.1 The institute will periodically offer short-term studies I will teach “live” via our chosen online meeting vehicle to the end of building up Christian participants. I will also occasionally pop up recorded or even “live” by way of our YouTube channels or other outlets to preach the Gospel and any other word from the Lord to save souls and call the disobedient to repentance. We have a thing or two more planned I will disclose in the Lord’s timing.
Again, I praise God who continues to make a place of service for me in the Body of Christ as He has done in 2021 even when men do not! I also thank Him for His blessed provision! To my God always be all the glory!
1 For more information subscribe to the Strong Man Of God E-Newsletter.
For Mary, the mother of her now, deceased Son, the hour was very distant and disconnected from the joyful events surrounding His birth as “Savior...Christ the Lord” attended to by angels (Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-20, NKJV) and infancy when Gentile religious men from the East amidst the stars of light He created followed “His (unique) star” to visit the family and worship Him (Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19; Matthew 1:18-2:2, NKJV). This is the condensed time period we Christians celebrate as Christmas! Mary’s soul was pierced just as Simeon had prophesied to her on the occasion of her baby Boy’s presentation and circumcision at the Temple in Jerusalem in accord with the Law (Luke 2:21-35).
The rest of that terrible day through the Sabbath Mary and all of those who knew Jesus of Nazareth mourned for Him in great bewilderment at the tragedy that had befallen Him; He who was and should have been according to the prophecies of Scripture and Him, their light of hope (Numbers 24:10-19; Isaiah 9:1-7; John 12:42-50)! But He was gone, the glory of His light apparently overcome by the darkness. Why had God forsaken His own Son? The darkness of ignorance and despair was equally deep. Determined to give their Teacher’s body a more thorough preparation, the women disciples who had been watching everything came to the tomb on the third day after His burial.
The four Gospels vary in their details about what happened next with the women.3 According to Luke, to their astonishment “they found the stone rolled away from the tomb” and after going in, “did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Stunned and confused about what they were seeing, suddenly two angels in male form appeared to and asked them the question of this mortal age: ‘“Why do you seek the living among the dead?’” They followed their question with an equally amazing declaration: ‘“He is not here, but is risen!’” The angels then charged the women to remember the words of Christ foretelling His resurrection and they did (Luke 9:18-22, 24:1-8, NKJV).
All of the Gospels agree the women went to go tell the Lord’s eleven disciples what they had seen and been told by angels and the risen Lord Himself; their devotion richly rewarded with the distinction of being the first to see Him alive from the dead. Coming to the men as they still “mourned and wept,” their first reaction was not to believe. Peter and John however, on second impulse leapt to their feet and ran to the empty tomb to see for themselves (Matthew 28:7-10; Mark 16:7-11; Luke 24:9-12; John 20:1-18, NKJV). Meantime, the Lord appeared to two dejected male disciples not of the eleven traveling from Jerusalem who were kept from initially recognizing Him (Luke 24:13-16).4
After inquiring about their conversation concerning His suffering, crucifixion, lost hope He was Israel’s Redeemer and news from the women, the risen Lord rebuked their slowness to believe all of what it was written the prophets spoke. Then, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them” everything about Himself and what had just happened as He later did the eleven who He also restored (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:17-47; John 21:1-19, NKJV).5 Witnesses of all that was fulfilled, the Lord commissioned the eleven to go tell it after being empowered by the Holy Spirit then, ascended to Heaven (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-20; Luke 24:48-53; John 20:19-23; Acts 1:4-11).
Having added Matthias to their number to replace Judas (Acts 1:12-26), the twelve apostles and those gathered with them waited for the Holy Spirit to arrive. He came ten days after the Lord’s ascension on the Jewish Day of Pentecost and mightily filled everyone in the room where they were assembled causing them to praise God in human languages they had not previously learned; Peter stepping up to give biblical explanation of what was taking place and to preach the Gospel (Acts 2:1-39). On that day the Church of Jesus Christ was born with the apostles overseeing her (Acts 2:40-47). As for Peter and the other apostles, I write about the miraculous transformation the Holy Spirit wrought in them and wills for us in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.6
With the Lord’s instruction and help they still fled, hid or escaped harm from persecution to live to boldly testify and preach another day and never denied Him or abandoned the faith--James being the first one martyred in His cause (Matthew 10:23; Acts 4:1-31, 5:12-42, 8:1-3, 12:1-19). It is Peter that teaches us to submit to unjust suffering trusting ourselves to God following the example of Christ he witnessed (1 Peter 2:18-25, 3:13-17); a teaching corruptly used by professed Christian American slave owners to compel the submission of my forefathers to their wretched institution of slavery and its evil abuses.7 In step with the apostle Paul, Peter also informs us the Lord’s light of hope never stopped shining at His death, but illuminated Hades (Acts 2:27; Ephesians 4:7-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22).
Therefore, let us in the darkness of these latter days be encouraged as we look to Christ our example and ever shining light of hope (Hebrews 6:9-20; 1 Peter 1:3-5)! As He taught, we are not only blessed to suffer for His cause in the Gospel and God’s Kingdom (Matthew 5:10-12), but filled with His light we are also “the light of the world” exposing the darkness as faithful witnesses (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8-14, NKJV). Suffering as He, we are glorified with Him having also overcome the darkness (Romans 8:14-25, 31-39)! Departing this life, we live and our light continues to shine in Heaven (Revelation 7:9-17)! And just as Christ fulfilled the prophecies of His first coming, so with His star portending it, His return with us (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; Jude 14-15).8
(This was my final post for 2020. Lord willing, my next post will appear Sunday evening, January 3, 2021. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year filled with all the light of hope our risen, living Savior, Jesus Christ the Son of God imparts to the faithful among our readers waiting for Him!)
3 Detail variances do not discredit the whole resurrection account, but actually add authenticity to it since to this very hour witnesses of the same event will provide de-
tails that differ. One angel of the Lord or two does not change the fact the women found the tomb of Jesus empty as all four Gospels report!
4 In the same supernatural way these disciples were kept from recognizing the Lord, the twelve and all were kept from fully understanding what He was specifically
telling them about the suffering and death He would endure followed by His resurrection (Luke 9:43-45, 18:31-34). Hence, not understanding Christ was in part di-
vinely imposed to keep them from getting in the way as even beforehand, Peter shows he would have done (Matthew 16:21-23).
5 No doubt among the prophets, the Lord did not omit Isaiah 53! Also, please take note of the Lord’s straightforward, objective interpretation and application of God’s
Word as it is written. If He, the living Word as our example in everything handles the Bible this way, then, ought we not to do the same (John 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:15)?
6 A print copy or digital download of the book published by the Publishing Division of Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. with fresh editing in 2019 for greater
clarity and updated web addresses in the footnotes is available at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digi-
tal only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store. Too, leaders can teach, disciple and equip through The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group
Study and The Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study also in the Strong Man Store.
7 Folk of the same mind contrary to what Christ taught, commanded Peter on the day of His arrest and Peter’s teaching tied to this footnote also codified the right of
citizens to keep weapons and use them to violently defend themselves against perceived hostiles in the nation’s Constitution (Matthew 5:38-48, 15:1-9, 26:51-52).
The faithful in the Holy Spirit obey God’s Word before that of men even if it involves rights granted (Joshua 24:15; Matthew 6:24; Acts 4:19, 5:29)! Thus, obeying and
imitating Christ in major part, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led mostly professed Christian black Americans in the Holy Spirit to practice non-violent resistance with their
persecutors during his portion of the black Civil Rights Movement and won the day by the grace of God and to His glory! As Christ declared to Peter, they will die by
manmade weapons that take them up to violently resist the darkness. Surely, God will not honor any professed Christian that defies this teaching either. Too, God’s
judgment will bring an end to the practice of corrupting and setting aside His Word to further one’s own ends that has now, mushroomed out of control within profess-
ing Christianity (1 Peter 4:12-19)!
8 As I write in The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, Christ’s suffering brought about salvation for the world and great reward to Him; our suffering is a tangible wit-
ness of the power of God’s salvation and Kingdom to the world and brings eternal blessing and reward to us too (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 4:20)!
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