Just wanted to put it out there that I have been extremely ill. I have some great stuff in the works and should begin posting regularly again within the week. Thank you for your patience. Being sick, I have a inflammatory bowel disease and have experienced some difficulties lately that are more than usual, but where I am does not change who HE is! To quote one of my favorite songs, if this is what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain.
On this eleventh anniversary of the 9-11 I am contemplating diversity. Remember how most people you encountered were a little bit friendlier to those around them after this atrocity happened? For a few minutes we all became more tolerant of one another. Sad that it took a great tragedy to make it happen and that it only lasted a few days.
God made all of us. We are all family and we should treat each other that way. We should get to know someone who is nothing like us and maybe we can discover that we have more in common with each other than we can even imagine. We can not look at the people around us and see race or creed; we must see them as humans with value.
At a concert I recently attended, the passed out candles. The sight was amazing, the candles started to be passed and then after a minute the first one was lit, as each person received the flame you could see them look around to find someone who didn’t have it, they couldn’t wait to share. I saw the light and became anxious to have my candle lit and like those before me, couldn’t wait to share the fire. As about half of us had our flame, I could hear the music become lower and the words spoken, “there are two types of people in this world, those who have the flame and those who are waiting to receive it”. Awesome! What a beautiful picture of how God’s Holy Spirit lights a fire in us! Remember when you first came into contact with the Spirit? Didn’t you want to share that flame? We are all children of one God and all in need of allow Jesus Christ to become our propitiation, or covering, for our sins. Is your flame lit? If it is, you will want to share that flame that others may know the love and grace of our father.
Or, is your flame smoldering? Was it once lit but now you are not so sure? If so, I have great news! Jesus will not break off that smoldering wick. Mathew 12:20 tells that “A battered reed he will not break off, a smoldering wick he will not put out until he leads justice to victory” Fall on your face before the holy spirit, He will relight that flame so, that you can be a light to those who are within your circle of influence. One soul, one light at a time WE CAN CHANGE THIS WORLD!
I guess I apologize for the rant here. My intent was to start looking at how we change our world through our politics. With election time here, I still feel it is something I need to look at, but today, this was the message that was on my heart. I know many have already heard the phrase “each one, reach one”, but today I am overwhelmed that we have so many who are lost and dying around us. The burden on my heart for them is great our God is gracious and merciful, but the TRUTH is that Hell is a real place and there are people headed there. We need to be praying and asking God to use us in the lives of those around us.
Having a Godly attitude toward others is easy when they are like minded. It becomes increasingly difficult when they are very different. The reality of having a good attitude in difficult situations has shown up recently, I have had some true testing to this.
The first one, was with a friend of my daughter. This girl is very nice, but sometimes I suspect that she is not being forthcoming. I don’t really want my daughter spending a lot of time with someone who chooses to be dishonest, yet at the same time we can provide opportunities for this girl to be reached by the gospel. At the end of the day, I talked to my daughter about honesty and let her choose if she can trust this girl. Thus far there has been no harm done and I am monitoring the situation with a great hope that she can come to know the Lord in a real and personal way.
As if this wasn’t already hard,my son has a friend who seems open to going to going to church with us. We have had him hang out with our family on several occasions; however, recently, I discovered that this young man is doing drugs! That is taking it just too far. God made him, he is as inherently valuable as anyone else, but how do I let my sixteen year old son spend time with someone who is likely to pressure him to do things that are not only a terrible idea, but also illegal? to be completely honest, I failed to treat this guy respectfully. I found out he offered my son drugs and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome here, I am praying that God will help me to see him as the captive that he is and I will be praying for him that God will open the eyes of his heart. Some day, if I have reason to believe that God has answered this prayer I see no reason why he can not again be friends with my son, but for now that simply cannot be. I am praying for wisdom and discernment that God will help me to better know how to deal with these situations when the free will that other people have negatively affects my family. It is hard to know what Jesus would do sometimes.
The most difficult by far came in yesterday. A family member called me and asked what they should do regarding a young man who had attempted to commit a violent crime against her son. The young man who did this is clearly mentally ill, possible mentally slow, but also very dangerous. He attempted to force sexual contact with someone. I find myself painfully confused. Had he not been thwarted by another man entering the restroom where this crime was to be committed, well his intentions were clear, but will he get help in prison? Can he even be helped by anyone but God? They say that rapists and pedophiles can not be cured. My gut tells me that this is not a a time for mercy, God is a God of justice as well as mercy and this is not the first time this kid has done this. I told the family member I needed to pray about it, but have sine come to the conclusion that God is his only hope to not hurt someone else and charges ought to be filed. The greatest difficulty though is that the intended victim may not be equipped to handle all that happens in trial, especially of this nature. Will this process do more harm than good?
The point to all of this is that we must draw near to God, listen for His voice and be prepared to do even the hard things with love and respect for God and for our fellow man. Clearly, God is trying to teach me how to love my enemy. No one ever said this Christianity stuff was going to be easy. Putting a face to my “enemy” has made it impossible, that God it is not I, but Christ who lives. Through Him I can do all things.