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KEEPING THE FAITH | Relying on God’s ability and promises

I am intentional in my appeal because there is nothing too hard for God or beyond His consideration.
The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin

“Godfidence” is a word that I added to my lexicon several years ago. In essence, it means an absolute reliance on God’s ability and His promises. It is the willingness to trust the heart of God even when you are not able to see the hand of God.

My personal Godfidence Scriptures are Proverbs 3:26: “He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap;” and Philippians 1:6: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished ...” Furthermore, I know that I can approach Him and access His presence as noted in Hebrews 4:16: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

It has been said, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” I contend there is a thin line between insanity and faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith can believe and invoke results that can defy logic and reason. I am intentional in my appeal because there is nothing too hard for God or beyond His consideration. I John 5:14: “And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.”

Jimmy Larche once shared that “God never gives you a dream that matches your bank account. He’s not checking your account; he’s checking your faith.” I personally embrace his position. I am one of the few persons that still practices the concept of writing checks. Directly above my signature line is a disclaimer — “God Is Greater Than My Checkbook Balance!” — that references Ephesians 3:20: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

Yet we have this hope

The pandemic has been an experience to remind us not to take anything for granted. We discovered that even a simple task such as simply crossing the threshold outside of our home was pause for concern. As the COVID delta variant appears to be escalating in our country, Dr. Sherri Harper Woods, an assistant professor of social work at Youngstown State University, offers a reminder that Christ remains greater than COVID-19.

Even the birds stop to declare who God is. The light-gray bird has red on his body and wings. This reminds me that MY God of hope is filling me with hope and peace. The waves remind me that even the crashing waves of grief must be still at His command. The pier reminds me that the name of the Lord is a strong tower where I can take refuge. Be still my soul and trust in God. Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper and Light in the Darkness, My God. That is who You are! I proclaim to the world that Christ remains greater than COVID!

Stop the Violence

Pablo Picasso once reflected: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” All life is a treasure and should be considered a sacred gift. Sadly, many fail to understand, value and appreciate the intrinsic worth of every being. We should remember the names of the persons who lost their lives in 2021 through acts of violence. The common factors among the majority of the victims are young African American men. The lives of these young men do not merely represent numbers or statistics, but rather individuals whose families are grieving in their absence. We offer prayers and abiding grace to the families of:

  • Charles Eric Allen Jr.;
  • Reshaud Biggs Jr.;
  • Kesean Latrell Bunch;
  • Rayshaun Clay;
  • Antonio Wayne Deluca;
  • Eugene Hill II;
  • Damon Irby Jr.;
  • Cornell Lamar Kennedy;
  • Van Lightning;
  • Abdul R. Muhammad;
  • John A. Pettiford;
  • Terrance J. Sellers;
  • Earl V. Smith;
  • Mikquan C. Stevens;
  • Malik Stewart;
  • Thomas Christopher Williams.

O God, we pray for those whose blood has been spilled in the streets of our community. Comfort their loved ones who mourn, and give them the strength to overcome the painful days in the power of Your love. Let the love that You have made known to us lead us to create safer streets for all to walk upon. Amen.


There is power and purpose in prayer that is an act of communication with God. All healthy relationships require an exchange of communication. Prayer is one way we can connect with God. God calls us to pray to develop and deepen relationships with Him, ourselves and others. There is an ongoing appeal for individuals, families and organizations to continue the 24-hour fasting and prayer efforts until Aug. 31. The weekly Community Prayer Walks, led by area pastors, will be held at 2 p.m. each Sunday during the month of August in locations to be determined, as well as alternative locations in the event of inclement weather. For information regarding the prayer initiatives, call New Bethel Baptist Church at 330-747-2125.

Come, let us reason together

The next phase in the faith community’s ongoing campaign to address the issues of violence in the city will require civic engagement and participation. Elder William “Guy” Burney will facilitate an overview of mediation and conflict resolution for area ministries and organizations. The 6 to 8 p.m. session will be held tomorrow at New Bethel Baptist Church, 1507 Hillman St. It is free, and no advance registration is required. Tools will be provided to congregations willing to provide a safe space to address conflict within the community. For more information, call 330-742-8778.

A prayer of provision

Dear Lord, I come to you with a heart full of thanksgiving, recognizing that every good gift and every perfect present comes from You. I thank You for all that You’ve done and all that You’re going to do. Father, grab hold of my life and teach me to prosper in this season. Bless the work of my hands, heart and mind that I will be able to find and embrace opportunities. King David wrote that he has never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread. I know, God, that you have never failed me. I stand on Your promise and I trust in Your ability to provide for my every need. I pray that You would manifest Your power in my life, right now, to equip, empower and embolden me to keep the faith. Amen!

— The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department, president of the Baptist Pastors Council and the local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of six children and seven grandchildren and their mischievous canine, Sir Winston.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise.

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