Stand Strong: fight evil with good

2015-11-18_10-23-38

God help us! Exercising wisdom is even more important when such evil events as these [Paris bombings and shootings, ISIS barbaric slaughtering, and senseless murders like that of Amanda Blackburn] stir us into considerations of retaliation.   Naturally our inner being cries out “Why?!!” and “they’ve gotta pay for this!” Justice is a Godly trait found in mankind… but God also teaches us to trust His ways over our own so that matters are not amplified by our impromptu, even well-intentioned foolishness.

It takes great restraint at such times as this! It truly is more than we can bear! That’s right; don’t you think history shows that these things drive people to search out the Almighty? Doesn’t it cause people, tribes and nations to fall before Him, broken beyond any human help, souls crying out to the God who has been longing to save them from the power of sin over their lives? Such horrific events are redeemed by the redemption of previously lost souls.

God help us all to respond in the Spirit as Jesus demonstrated with His life and teachings in the Holy Scriptures. Self-sacrificing, obeying God’s instruction and loving even those who persecured him, Jesus showed compassion for the people, and stood up against the pious and evil with the truth and love.

Likewise, we can face evil with preparedness and the steadfastness in God, faith, hope and love. Jesus said we can do this to. Being a true Christian means we strive to be like Him. It is easy to forget how very much Jesus was a “man of sorrows, aquainted with grief”…scorned, rejected…persecuted. Are we willing to do that? Really?

If so, we must remember it is not accomplished in our power, oh no, it is God’s and His alone. His truth assures us. His love encourages us. His Holy Spirit empowers us. How else would it be possible to go on?

Only through Jesus and the work accomplished on the cross, can we even see that God forgives every sin that is delivered to the washing of His blood. God is a delivering God! His forgiveness is far beyond our human, justice-demanding understanding. Truth is: ALL of us have sinned against holy God and deserve to die. Praise God, His mercy provided the payment for my sins at Calvary! Have you received that precious gift?

I pray for all those suffering, including those deceived by the lies of ISIS, who both willingly and unwillingly serve the evil which damages so many lives, including their own.

Unfortunately, there have been and will be further innocent lives lost in the battle between good and evil. Jesus’ sacrifice showed that such things are not outside God’s plan to overcome. He uses even these tragedies for God’s greater glory.

Not one of his lambs is lost. Some are moved from this world to their heavenly home sooner as God deems best. We who choose not to reject His lordship can be sure that we remain in His care throughout all eternity. Our beloved will be missed here on earth, but we can only imagine the utter fulfillment they are experiencing in their heavenly home. Comfort is felt when we look forward with even more anticipation to be rejoicing with them in the future.

My prayer is that every life lost has a soul ready to meet the Almighty, face-to-face, and give an answer for how they lived when He delivers the true judgement and makes all things right again.

There WILL be true justice, comfort, and endless goodness for those who live as our Maker intends. There will be holy retribution delivered to the deceitful, wicked and evildoers. It just isn’t likely to be realized in the world we live in filled with evil.

Shouldn’t we pray all the harde? Should we not pray with more fervency…more turning to God for His direction, mercies and power to persevere in seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our Lord…inasmuch as it depends on us, live at peace with all men…be a good reflection of Christ to the world? After all, this is not just a physical/emotional/political battle but a hightening spiritual war. Just as from man’s beginning in the garden, Satan’s evil is working to get man to act selfishly, in his own power, without regard to God and fellow man.

God’s Word tells us that spiritual battles are only won spiritually… best fought by every child of God being ready and equipped: suited up in full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), standing in unity through prayer and enpowered by the Holy Spirit. God promised that His Church will not be overcome even if all hell comes against it. So, God help us, let’s STAND STRONG and give glory to God who is our all in all.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

Let the Church of God be a strong tower for those struggling in walking by faith and a bright beacon to shatter the darkness.

 



What Do We Know?

  
Consider knowledge. Is one who knows something better off than one who trusts that “ignorance is bliss”? Maybe the ignorant are blissful in not knowing what dangers and terrible consequences awaiting them due to their lack of knowledge. But does that make them “better off” living in the bliss of the moment without care? YOLO! Who knows? Can we know? How can we “know” anything?

With each passing year, I am learning that the key to learning is to understand there is so very much that I do not know so it is good to keep my eyes and ears open for all those teachable moments. In fact, I am fairly certain in saying that I don’t even know how much knowledge there is that I don’t even know, but I am certain I know less than I think that I know. 

The person who says “I know ALL about _______” (insert topic here)  just gave proof that they place more value on what they think they know than pursuing more of what there is yet to learn. The wise teacher is the one who first considers himself a perpetual student.

I am learning: It is not simply what I know, do, nor possess that really matters . Rather, my life is enriched because of knowing Whose I am, WHO I belong to; what God has done, is doing and will do; and that He loves me and others so very much He desires to be with us. God gives me life with passion and purpose. Where He leads me I will follow. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. He is sovereign, almighty, tender, righteous, holy, loving, merciful, forgiving, wrathful, gracious, generous, and so very much more! GOD does things that are for our own good and serve His purposes. ALL the glory is HIS! 

When it comes to knowledge, I think we have to consider the source…the base of our knowledge.

Since I know that God is the source of all things ever created on heaven and earth, I naturally use God’s Word written in the Holy Bible as my final authority as to whether something is truth or lie, good or evil, right or wrong (sin, error), something in which to engage or avoid, etc. Since God used His Word to reveal Himself to us it is one of my greatest treasures. Since there is only one truth and because we humans can even misinterpret our own motivations and limited perceptions, I look to the One who is Himself Truth- God is the ultimate authority. He has told us to test everything against the truth of scripture. 

If anything is proposed to run contrary to God’s word or a person fears being put to such a test, then I simply don’t accept it as being true or right. It’s really that simple. If God’s Word judges a matter, what man does in accepting that matter speaks to whether he places himself under the authority of Almighty God or not.

We are given the opportunity to be blessed because of God’s many good gifts to us: our very lives, His creation and nature, His Word, our Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit which seals and empowers us with His strength, growth in His truth, grace and mercy. All of this abd blessings continue as we get to pray and relate with others throughout our daily living. 

We are also very blessed to know that although this world is full of diversity and different cultures and beliefs, we were ALL equal in the way in which God sees and deals with us: same predicament as it relates to sin and death or righteousness and life:

• ALL ARE GOD’S CREATION. We are ALL created by the One true God. Therefore our showing reverence and obedience is not an unexpected demand from God. Wouldn’t we be foolish and rebellious not to listen to the One who made us and knows what is best for us?

•ALL ARE BORN GUILTY. Since sin entered the world, we are ALL under the curse of sin. ALL of us who are able to act on our own have done or thought something wrong or been disobedient at some time. At least once. God has proclaimed that even one sin is enough to separate us from Him. We fall short of God’s perfection and are therefore under the penalty of death. But God’s grace is greater than all of our sin. Read on.

• ALL NEED SAVED. Therefore we ALL are in need of the Savior…the LORD Jesus Christ, who sent by the Father, offered Himself as THE perfect sacrifice, once and for ALL. He died on the cross & conquered death to atone for all the sins of anyone who will place their trust in what He has done on their behalf. Not only does Jesus take away our sins curse, but He also bestows upon us His perfect righteousness! So why is it that people reject that gracious gift of eternity?

• BELIEVE OR REJECT. Each one of us has to see our sins for ourself. We need to confess them, and realize that they are not just mistakes but a glaring offense to the Holy God. The guilt of even one tiniest of sins is still an indictment on us …making us God’s enemy. God gave us the Law (ten commandments) to demonstrate that even the most upright person cannot possibly ever be good enough to please God. God commanded specific sacrifices and procedures of worship to periodically atone for sins. That is, until God sent Jesus.

God’s wrath can only be overcome by His love…John 3:16.

That is the same for ALL of us.

Being a redeemed child of God and Christ-follower is a relationship and not a religion or tradition. Religions of works attempt to earn their way to heaven. GOD’s word states that is impossible –“there is none righteous, not even one.” And that “it is not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by God’s grace, so that no one can boast”. In works based religion man relies on himself and looks for reward. As a born-again Christian I know that all praise rightly goes to the One who saved us and takes us as sinners, redeems us through His own goodness and keeps us as His beloved children. How awesome is that?!

RELYING ON SELF IS REJECTING JESUS. Every person who relies on what they themselves do is not coming to God through the only Way given by God. For Jesus said it of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 God simplified our way to Him by being only One Way so we don’t need to be confused by all the false prophets and schemes of the devil. Again…looking at the Holy Bible as my proof text…by simply checking a false teaching 

EVEN PROPHETS KNOW. The blessed holy prophet Isaiah was selected by God as an instrument for telling God’s words to fellow men. Yet, even he was prostrating himself and knew that all mens’ righteousness is as filthy rags, that his own lips were unclean, etc. Why is it that we today who were not so directly summoned into God’s presence think we are without sin and somehow pleasing to Him?

WORTHY IS THE LAMB! It’s because the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb… Jesus…His blood washed away our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Worthy is the Lamb…to receive honor, and power, and praise, and adoration, and glory…and so much more…forever! *Go ahead and look into the book of Revelation to see that one day every nation, tribe & tongue; every king, power or ruler; every single soul will ALL bow down before Him and proclaim that Jesus Christ is LORD!

HE LIVES. He died so that I might live. So I died (to myself and sin) and now live for His glory .   

🎼 Just like the Gaither song, I too proclaim: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, life is worth the living… just because He lives!” 🎶

I know this, because I know Him and am getting to know Him more everyday for all eternity. This learning about God is not only for myself, but for sharing with others. My knowledge has an outlet for usage…my 5 E’s = exalting, equipping, edifying, examining and evangelizing. 

Knowledge, like Gold, is not valued because it is held in some vault as a possession. It effects no changeq or lasting purpose in such a state. Rather it its preciousness and its real value is only realized as it is shared with others.

“Thus says the LORD: “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD” -Jeremiah 9:23-24

True, there are many things that I don’t know and still more I may never know. However, this is one thing that I do know and drives me forward…the most important thing that I can know is that all of us need to tell of, hear and heed the ways of our Creator. His ways are far above our understanding, yet He has made a simple way for us to be able to come to Him as Abba Father and actually know Him more.

So, what do you know? How do you know that you know? Are you so excited by what you know (and Who God is) that you can’t help but share the Good News?

Hoosiers: Where’s the LOVE?

IN: Why the heartbreak?
IN: Why the heartbreak?

WHERE’S THE LOVE?

I weep for ALL the people. In reference to the new RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), our Hoosier Indiana home is under vicious attack! I especially am concerned for our children who are witnessing such nonsense. There are so called adults throwing temper tantrums to gain attention for themselves at the cost of civility, proper respect and the peaceful accord of a loving community at large. There are so many people causing discord and strife while demanding others be more loving. It’s ugliness! It’s divisive, unloving and flat-out wrong!

God’s law (acknowledged to supersede all man-made others)

it’s simple…LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS YOURSELF.

14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 (NASB)

It doesn’t say agree with one another or be exactly like one another, but it does say LOVE one another.

Sadly, “Love” is not what I am seeing now, all over the media, with signs of hate and personal attacks on the civic & business leaders who sacrifice their time to serve us. This is not inclusive and loving but divisive and goes against religious freedoms for all. Name-calling, motivation-assigning and group profiling is uncivilized and shameful.

•Please don’t shame yourself or your particular cause or organization. This is not about “us” vs. “them”. This applies to us ALL!

•Please stop spraying the mace of malice in an emotionally charged crowd—people are hurting people with swords of words that cut deeply.

•Please, look at your own heart…the only person’s you can really know…and ask yourself: am I being loving?

•If I were mistaken or misunderstood, how would I want someone to treat me?

What is the right way to behave? Not just for yourself, but in regard to others? Am I open to hearing the others concerns and point of view.
Then do that. Do the next, right thing.

KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW RATHER THAN PRESUME TO KNOW

I cannot know any other persons motives. So I would be foolish to state that “so-and-so is doing this because …”. Yet there are organizational leaders who are doing just that. Some people are loudly declaring that the lawmakers of this state have passed a law that promotes discrimination against people. Yet I don’t read that in the law itself. So who am I to trust: what people say that it says, or what it actually says?

I can’t righteously say that RFRA is an anti-gay law anymore than I can proclaim it is an anti-toddler law. I can only go by what I see. I see a law, which as it’s name says, promotes religious freedom for all people… applied equally to all people is NOT discriminatory.

As I read it; this law protects us from government forcing us to violate our religious convictions (as long as they do not violate established authoritative laws or morals which limit their expression or exercise). I want that freedom for me and I want that for others. Who doesn’t? And why not?

COMMON SENSE

I would not want my Jewish friend to be forced to sell non-kosher food so that the preference (not a “right”) of every ham sandwich eater is not violated.
Does one man’s preferences supersede another person’s strong moral or religious convictions? We are speaking of living in harmony here, right?  Then, it seems logical that out of respect and love, one could either choose something else in accord or take their business elsewhere. Why would I want to force anyone to serve me? That’s like coercing someone into telling them you that they really like you and what you are doing when they don’t. Using threats and extorting behaviors; that’s manipulative oppression. How is that respectful or loving?

# What gain is there in making a loud scene within his deli, calling him a discriminatory bigot, or threatening to sue him in order to force him into acting otherwise?
# Is an attack on his personally held convictions while asking him to respect yours not self-defeating?
# Should his menu be repealed because it doesn’t include ham? Or in the same vain, should all restaurants be forced to serve the same items? Goodbye making decision between Italian vs. Chinese atmosphere and cuisine; a burger joint vs. formal top-chef. That might be viewed as discriminatory.

# Is it reasonable to hold a rally publicly declaring that this deli man has some kind of ill-intent toward all ham-eating people?

# Is it right that one proclaim what another person’s intents are when they are declaring something totally different? Who am I going to believe: the person that had the thoughts and intentions or the other who “thinks” they know?

# Is it loving or even wise to inflame emotions against large classes of people, businesses or states who have never even had any experience with you; let alone for you to presume that they will treat you poorly?

# Is it right to boycott an entire state filled with places that would happily sell you your ham sandwich had you just asked them?

JUDGEMENT: Judge for yourself.
At this time I have been grieved to read many remarks from people that classify ALL Christians as unloving or un-Christ-like. These same people do not generally demonstrate a Christ-centered faith but use His name or scripture (often out of context) for self-gain.

Ironically these who decry that other people are unloving have themselves used base language and personal attacks while working to incite strong emotional responses making it look on the surface as though some grievous injustice is occurring.
Emotionally charged reactions based on perception generally insure that a bad problem will get worse. Alternatively, stripping away the emotional perceptions to analyze the truth and carefully considering the other point of view is a much better way to approach a problem to get to a solution. Either we are a part of the problem or we are working to solve the problem.

PRAYERS FOR PEOPLE

I have been praying for our Governor Mike Pence who himself is being persecuted for taking a stand on what he and our state legislators believe is right and in the best interest of the people of Indiana. I pray for public servants, civic leaders, general citizens who are scurrying about as a result of emotionally charged threats against the businesses and livelihood of our communities. I am praying for a particular Jewish friend Annette Siegel Gross who is a well-known PFLAG leader who is passionately voicing valid concerns, but is doing so with personal attacks on our elected leaders in an unflattering if not disrespectful manner. Additionally, I know that God is grieved when those proclaiming to live according to God’s principles treat others with disdain and malice instead of loving consideration. Golden rule here, people. I pray for those who are fighting to gain better standing but are doing so in the wrong way. I hate seeing people rejoice in the fact that this turmoil is causing injury. I have actually read peoples’ statements that they are happy about this turmoil happening at the perfect time to do the most damage via the court of public opinion. Just as people are about to come into our city for the Final Four basketball tournament which will draw further attention to the situation. I pray for ALL of us who call this home. I pray that TRUTH and LOVE win over perception and self-serving agendas.

I am thankful to live in a time and place where freedom of speech and assembly is valued. I also am saddened by some of the disrespect shown in language, signage and threats. As the world is judging how Indiana is based on the images and perceptions that are portrayed through the media, I pray that the power of LOVE brings forth peace and charity that can once again unite us as neighbors willing to live and serve alongside one another to make this place one we can be proud to call home.

NO JUDGEMENT! NO DISCRIMINATION!
God is our judge, not man. Yet, God did not create us as robots. We have a conscience and innate sense of right and wrong. He intends for us to use that. We stand up against what is wrong and take a stand for what is right! True, loving brothers, friends, and concerned citizens will point out error so that correction may prevent or mitigate dire consequences. God’s Word does tell us to use wisdom, discernment, and exercise judgement in both how we act and why.

The person who declares that there is no god, has just made a “judgement”. Even a five year old uses “discrimination” when he decides that he likes ice cream better than cake. Is either the atheist or the five year old deserving of my disrespect because of their personal beliefs or choices? I think not. I still view both of them as a fellow human being; a soul deserving of my regard.

I am judgemental at times. I judge that child abuse is evil. I judge that it is deadly to stand in the middle of I-70 in the middle of rush hour traffic. I judge that choosing to act wrongly will bring about consequences that can be avoided if I act righteously.
I am also discriminatory at times: I chose this pink blouse over the blue one. I prefer the salmon to the steak for dinner. I place my precious china on display while keeping the paper plates in the cupboard. I think that my right to consume alcoholic beverages and my right to drive an automobile with my drivers license are both outweighed by the communities need for me to not drive while impaired.

Yes, I make judgements and I discriminate, so how does that make me evil? The fact that I place my faith in God and His word as a guide in basing those judgements and preferences makes those decisions less about me and more about God. Since I make mistakes and God never does, I believe I do well to live according to His statutes. Still, I may make mistakes in judgement or discrimination? I for one would like someone to point out the error of my ways before they start building a gallows upon which to hang me in ignorance.

Many angry constituents opposed to the RFRA are claiming that there is “NO JUDGEMENT IN LOVE” or “Jesus never Discriminates”. However that is not true according to the totality of God’s Word. In fact it would be extremely unloving and inconsiderate not to judge right from wrong, good from better when it comes to considering our relationships with God or one another. There would be absolutely no justice without judgement, nor any love without forgiveness.

WHO CAN TELL OTHERS WHO THEY CAN LOVE

Now, as far as me telling you who you can and cannot love…that is not my place. I believe every person has the God-given choice to love who they will. Neither should man foolishly try to legislate emotions.

I have many friends and acquaintances that have different sexual orientations or attractions than I do. As their friend they know what I believe and feel and vice versa. On some thing’s we agree, others we do not. But our love for one another is not jeopardized by how I treat them because I treat them the same way I would like to be treated. They don’t go out of their way to make me uncomfortable or disrespected and vice versa. As friends we communicate in genuine love and concern for the other. As friends we sometimes hurt each other and can call each other out on grievances in a kind way. As a neighbor, I CARE about how others treat each other. As a loving friend I do all I can to see to eat that all people are treated with humanity and justice.

ALL of us are human and make mistakes. Rarely (thank God) are the mistakes fatal. Always there is something that can be learned as a result. So many needless mistakes are based on a misunderstanding, acting or speaking out in error.
The wisdom of asking questions to get a better understanding of what doesn’t appear to make sense is something I like to employ in gaining a better understanding of things, people and situations. Therefore, will you kindly help me grow in understanding by telling me what you think about this post?
I just want LOVE for everyone. I want people to STOP hurting each other and dividing our community rather than uniting in purpose of making this a better place for all of us to live.  Thanks for being a friend.