Monday, November 16, 2015

I Think I'm Confused...

I know that in the aftermath of Friday's attacks in Paris, all of us - everyone - is scared and when we are scared we say and do things we might not ordinarily do.  This I know and understand. 
And when you think about the rest of the story (Paris was not the only terrorist activity last week), it is extremely frightening!
But when I see things like this...

posted by someone I know who claims to be a follower of Christ, I am concerned.  I don't recall anywhere in the Bible where Jesus tells us this is the solution to anything.  I've been reading from the prophets in my morning devotionals and I find it kind of alarming that so much of what the Israelites got wrong all those years ago, we seem to still get wrong.  It's as if we have missed the message of Christ altogether.
Christ tried to make it really simple for us, given that we have failed so very many times.  He said, "Do two things...just two.  And if you do these two things, everything else will fall into place.  Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all of your mind.  AND love your neighbor as you love yourself.  And your neighbor is anyone."
You know, Ekeziel tried to warn the people of God of some of the same things we're facing today, but mostly it came down to you have faith and trust in God, the father of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Jesus, to take care of us?  Can you say, unequivocally, that your faith in God is strong enough to deal with what needs to be taken care of, OR do you think you are stronger and wiser than God and YOU have the answers, or your political party has the answers to 'fix' all these issues.
This war is not a new war.  It's the war that has been waged since the Garden of Eden.  It is evil versus good (God).  Time and again you can read about it in the Bible and time and again you can learn about those who trusted and those who didn't and the repercussions of each. 
The geographic nature of our country has made it possible to remain isolated from some of this evil until relatively recently.  Our world has become smaller.  Not in geographic size, but technology has made it smaller in our ability to talk, to reach across oceans and land masses to join together, for good and for bad. 
We can become like those that we presume to be better than and threaten and shoot and bomb and terrorize and, believe me, I'm not opposed to eradicating these people from the face of the earth, but we must understand that, unless we allow Christ, our Lord and Savior, to lead the way as Commander in Chief, we are destined to the same fate as all who have gone before us.  We cannot use the name of the Lord and then go about our business without him.
I heard our president say this morning, as he addressed the press during the G20 Summit, that there is a strategy, one that our partners around the world have agreed to, for the most part, and have allowed the United States to carry mostly as our own load.  As of last night, France has agreed to shoulder more of that load and, hopefully, in the coming days and weeks, other countries will extend their help further as well. 
But make no mistake, we can drop all of the bombs and shoot as many of these terrorists as we want, we can spend hours and hours on social media complaining about our leadership and posting all kinds of hate-filled messages, but until we make Christ the leader of this campaign against evil - and I mean each one of us in our homes, in our prayers, in our churches, and in our communities - we cannot win this battle.  Instead of trying to divide ourselves into them (anyone we don't like or understand) and us (all who think like I do), we need to be embracing each other and joining together in the name of God.  Instead of running down our President and his efforts, we should be lifting him up in prayer so that God moves him in the direction that God would have him go.  Instead of dividing into your political party and mine, we should be finding ways to join together in prayer and praise of the one true God who has all the answers.
I don't have the answer for these issues...but I don't have to have the answers.  My part is really quite simple... Put my faith in God... and, if enough of us do just that, then He will handle the rest.  Will you be part of the Light?  Or will you be part of the dark? 
After all, if you've read the whole book, The Bible, you know how it ends.  If you haven't, I'll not spoil it for you. 
 Even When I Cannot See 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Don't Know the Secret to Success


But the key to failure is to try to please everyone.   

The story is told of a painter who desired to produce one work which would please the entire world.  She drew a picture which required her utmost skill and took it to the public marketplace.  She posted directions at the bottom of the piece for spectators to mark with a brush each portion of the picture that didn't meet their approval.  The spectators came and, in general, applauded the work.  But each, eager to make a personal critique, marked a small portion of the picture.  By evening, the painter was mortified to fine the entire picture had became a blot.

The next day the painter returned with a copy of the first picture.  This time she asked the spectators to mark the portions of the work they admired.  The spectators again complied.  When the artist returned several hours later, she found every stroke that had been panned the day before had received praise by this day's critics.

The artist concluded, "I now believe the best way to please one-half of the world is not to mind what the other says."

People will always have an opinion about what we say or do.  That is why we live our lives according to the words of the Bible--God's opinion.  Then we will not fret over the opinions of others.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other."
Matthew 6:24