Great Enough to Bend the Knee

John 13:1-17 (5)

Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) took advantage of the possibilities post-civil war freedom offered.  He wrote five books, was an educator, orator and advisor to several US presidents.  He urged oppressed, discriminated, and disfranchised former slaves to avoid confrontation.  He argued instead, that the black people put their reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement among their people. 

One day he was stopped by a wealthy white woman. Having never met Washington, she offered him a job making a few dollars chopping wood for her.  Washington smiled and accepted her offer to do the menial chore.  He chopped the wood, carried the logs into the house and stacked them by her fireplace.  At this time a young girl recognized him and told the wealthy lady who she had hired.

In embarrassment, the woman went to the Tuskegee Institute where he was the president.  She was ushered into his office and proceeded to apologize.  “It’s perfectly all right, Madam,” he replied. “Occasionally I enjoy a little manual labor. Besides, it’s always a delight to do something for a friend.”  His gracious and humble spirit won her heart.  As a result she became a catalyst in his fund raising events for the college.

We laud great personalities who bend the knee in humility, but none can rival our Lord who left the throne of glory to robe Himself in flesh so that He could show us how to live a life that would be pleasing to God.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

Posted in Devotionals, News | Leave a comment

Active Love

John 12:1-9 (3)

During Oliver Cromwell’s reign as Lord Protector of England, a young soldier was to be executed.  His fiancé came to plead his case.  Her efforts to spare the life this young man seemed to be futile.  Oliver Cromwell turned a deaf ear to her requests and the execution plans continued as planned.  The execution was to take place at the ringing of the curfew bell.   

The scheduled time finally arrived.  The sexton pulled on the rope to ring the bell.   To his amazement the expected peel of the bell was not heard.  It was discovered that the soldier’s fiancé had climbed into the belfry and clinging onto the clapper had prevented it from striking the bell  when the rope was pulled.  Battered, bruised and bleeding she was brought before Cromwell.  As she confessed how she had expressed her love in this sacrificial manner, Cromwell commuted the sentence freeing the young man to join his devoted fiancé stating,  ‘Go, your lover lives; ‘Curfew will not ring tonight.’ ”

True love goes the extra mile.  True love turns the cheek.  True love speaks well of another in a crowd of people raising their eyebrows in doubt.  True love hangs on a cross and says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

By Dr. Gayle Woods

Posted in Devotionals, News | Leave a comment

Compassion + Will = Practical Love

Mark 1:40-45 (41)

Was it a word of dubious doubt?  Was it a word of hesitant hope?  Was it a word of pliant permission?  “If thou wilt, thou canst . . .”  Can the sun rise in the east each morning?  Can a tornado devastate a sleeping town?  Can a shark bite off a swimmer’s leg? 

Jesus’ ability is not to be questioned.  He is God.  We can know that He is capable of all good.  Yes, He can heal.  His will, on the other hand, is not always clear to us.  What makes the difference is when His compassion is coupled with His will.  “Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him . . . “

That touch is all that is needed.  We must not limit the love of God by false humility.  He is a God who “acts.”  He is not a spectator but an initiator.  Theory and theology must be placed aside while we observe His love being displayed in practical ways.   Brennan Manning expressed it this way:  “We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.”   ?  The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning 

 By Dr. Gayle Woods

Posted in Devotionals, News | Leave a comment