Be Inspired

Romans 8:37 (NRSV) “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

“Because the doors of Mother Emanuel are open on this Sunday, it sends a message to every demon in hell and on earth,”[1] said interim pastor of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church[2], Rev. Norvel Goff. Rev. Goff said these words last Sunday; just days after nine people in his church were murdered while they attended a Wednesday night Bible Study. Mother Emanuel is located in Charleston, SC. Gail Lincoln, member of another AME church in Charleston, attended Mother Emanuel on Sunday and said, “Through all of this, God is still our refuge.” This aged church of Charleston had at least nine reasons to close the doors for at least one Sunday. Rev. Goff said, “The only way evil can triumph is for good folks to sit down and do nothing.” So they opened the doors of Mother Emanuel for all to come worship our God. In their words I hear the teachings of Apostle Paul to fellow Christians, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

“If God is for us, who is against us?”[3] This is the question Paul asked the persecuted Christians in Rome. To this day, Paul challenges me and every Christian not to fear the evil acts of this world. Paul reminds me that not even hardship, nakedness, peril or sword will separate me from God. So, don’t let it separate me from God. This being the case, I’m encouraged to go forward with the confidence of being a conqueror in Christ. Though for this very act of faith I may be killed, I can walk forward knowing that the love of God is with me, in Christ Jesus. I do believe the evil acts of the world will not be my last experience. My last experience and my lasting experience will be to feel the love of God, and only God’s love.

The people of Mother Emanuel would not let the murders be their last experience at that church. On Sunday they walked through the doors in faith in Christ. They will even have Bible Study tonight, Wednesday night. Where may you be challenged these days? Is there a door before you that begs for you to walk through?  Is there a place or situation in your life in which you feel like you’ve been run off by the last experience? Imagine the feeling of walking through that door with God’s love.

I’ve walked by my share of doors that begged me to return in Christ. I have my regrets. So may you. Let us be inspired by the good folks of Mother Emanuel.

[1] Richmond Times-Dispatch, Monday, June 22, 2015, A2, “Church in Charleston reopens its doors”

[2] http://www.ame-church.com/our-church/our-history/

[3] Romans 8:31 (NRSV)

About Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Hodges is an ordained minister, pastoring a church in central Virginia.
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