To Dance with the Lord

All of life is a dance and my partner is Jesus. I must learn to be sensitive to His guidance, to be aware of His moving. If I remember during our time together each morning to lean in close, to inhale deeply the fragrance of His love and Mercy, then His fragrance will linger on me. It will refresh the souls of those around me as they catch the scent. Like a familiar cologne they may not fully recognize for what it is, it should be reminiscent of a home they have not yet known.

Through out the day my mind goes back to our moments shared in the morning and my heart is refreshed as I whisper to myself a reminder that he is closer than the air I breathe, that His throne room is in my heart. Like one of those automated air fresheners, he restores my soul again. Something that I often need, and often before i even realize I need it, as the cares of this world begin to over shadow my ability to see with His eyes and to recognize the opportunities to reach out and be water to the thirsty souls of another.

My dim human eyes often miss the hurting soul next to me, but my Saviour sees. He opens my eyes to all the opportunity to be His hands and feet. If I am not paying close attention throughout my day to my partner I may miss a step. I need Him every hour, no every minute… There are so many hurting hearts! I don’t want to miss even one chance to do His work, to love the lost.

Church, we need to wake up from our slumber!! Some of us are guilty of allowing our legalism, our religiosity, our rule following to blind us to the truth of the gospel. That we were all lost and blind and that is by the grace of God alone that we were saved and not the work of our own hands. We allow ourselves to become judgemental and press our rules onto others. No one is ever going to care about how much we know, until we are willing to show them how much we care first. Bringing them into accordance with God’s will is NOT our job. Our job is to pray for them, love them, and when God leads teach them the Word of God.

Others are so caught up in their own relationship with God, with their own reading and studying that they are no real earthly good the to world around them. We must remove our stained glass eyewear and see the hurting the world around us. Leave our comfort zone and go to the people who are hurting. We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing!

This thanksgiving season, let us reach out to those who are in need and just love on them.

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Christian Politics

There are few topics that stir hot emotions like the topic of politics. This is probably why it is a topic where we need to find our common ground and be sure that our conversations are respectful, the world is watching. As Christians, I think that many of us agree on the basic ideas, where we differ is in how to accomplish our goals.

For example, all of us would agree that Christ would want us to do our part to make sure that the poor, the fatherless, the widowed etc. do not go with out a roof and food. Where some of us part ways is how this gets accomplished. I am personally of the opinion that charity is not the place of our government. There should be fewer government programs and more private ones. Many of the ones the currently exist are run by religious organizations, but I do not in any way think that charity should be limited to religion.

Here is my reasoning for this line of thinking – the government needs to have funds to handle the things that the government is specifically supposed to be in charge of. Things like roads, military, police, and education. These should be the primary focus of government. right now, so much money is being spent on public welfare that the primary concerns of government are being neglected.

The second reason for this line of thinking is that if we become overly indebted to our government for our basic necessities how will we dissent we our government is too big? We will become a society afraid to bite the hand that feeds. Look around, this is happening. There is no free lunch. Everything has it’s price and the price is too high, because the price will be our freedom.

Third, as Christians we know that we are blessed by God for our generosity. Is it possible that individuals miss out on the blessing of God because we are allowing the government to do our job? I do believe that God blesses our generosity and that we can be generous even out of a little, but if the average citizen kept more of their income they would be better able to be charitable, I think they would be too.

The problem is that while I believe that we were a nation that was founded on Christian principles, we are not a Christian nation. We are democratic-republic. This means that all of the people have a say, Christians and atheists alike ( and all the others too) have the right to equal protection under the law. Charity shouldn’t be legislated, but morality can’t be either. I can’t say enough that we can not hold people who do not claim to be Christians to our standard. This is where the issues can be easy convoluted. Biblical standards are true. They are correct. I believe this with every fiber of my being, but I also believe in the right to believe as you choose.

Not all truth claims are created equally, but this does not mean that people don’t have the right to believe false truth claims.There are many who feel that we need to legislate morality. This includes laws like DOMA, as one example, I understand where that line of thinking is coming from, because I agree that the disintegration of the American family has a lot to do with the collapse of our culture. It is our job as Christians to be the light and the salt. It is our job to pray for those around us, to pray for our government – at every level, and to pray for our pastors, leaders, and churches. It is our job to make a difference within our circle of influence. True change, lasting change, only comes from within. We can’t legislate that. We can pray for it.

Reflecting Him in our Finances

Jesus told us to live and love like Him, but in reality it is hard to know exactly what that means. He loved us unconditionally, while we were yet sinners He died for us. It is in this context that I have struggled to understand how to reflect him. In our lives, because we have fallen so short of His great glory, we can never truly be the perfect reflection, but through the power of His grace we can be what he intended us to be. The first area of concern for me was charity. The question of who should provide for the poor is one that hotly debated nation and maybe world wide. I have strongly come to the conclusion that this is the job of every one of us as individuals, not the job of the government to tax and then use that money to provide programs.

There is not one topic that God has covered more than that of money. Wise use of our money will leave more for us to use for to help our extended family and others. I think we can all agree on a few things that the Word shows us in this area. One clear area in the area of our money is in the area of debt. Proverbs 22:7 tells us that the borrower will become like a slave to a lender. This is a pretty clear indication that purchasing things on credit is not something that God would have us do, or at least that it is not something that we should undertake lightly. My own personal opinion on this is that we should relegate borrowing to include only large ticket items like our house and our car. Most other items should be purchased only as we can pay cash for them. This is an opinion that it held by many top financial advisers.

Keynesian economists would have you believe that this is true on a personal level, but not on a large scale governmental scale. I come from a classic point of view that says other wise. I think that when you apply the idea of spending your way out of debt on a larger scale, what you get is a larger hole to build the people out of. The word build is used here with great specificity, because on no level or scale can a hole be dug out of. Continuing to dig will only make the hole bigger. This seems to me to be simple common sense.

The problem is that we have at some point given in to the idea that our government should be the savior for the heavy laden and down trodden. Some of our current programs started with excellent intentions, but they have spiraled way our of control. Going into debt to feed the hungry seems a lofty idea, but in the end as the debt increases we will find our selves with  too many to feed and too few to feed them.

All of that to say this: Use your money wisely. Spend less than what you have, live within your means. I was told by my pastor once to live on a 10/10/80 plan. This makes so much sense. With this plan, the first ten percent goes to God in the form of tithes and offerings, the second ten percent will go to savings, and then you live on the other 80 percent. When we live below our means and commit our selves to being charitable we will have money to give to help those around us. If we are faithful with the little God will bless us with more, if as many as can will do this those who are in need of help will decline.

When it comes to the poor, the hungry, the widowed we are clearly called as the body of Christ to go to them and care for them. These people are right here in your backyard and this economy I mean that rather literally. It is the job of the church to help the needy; any need for governmental involvement here is due to our failure to be the hands of feet of Christ.

The church should stand for something, but what the world sees when they look at today’s church is everything that we stand against. Jesus called us to love our enemies, pray for those that persecute us and this had nothing to do with whether or not our enemy was a sinner. By definition we all are sinners, but by the grace of God we would be as bad as or worse than those around us. I know full well what I am capable of and with out Him let us suffice to say, that it isn’t pretty. Jesus said feed the hungry, rescue the perishing, give water to those who thirst. He did not say to do this only of the perishing was a certain color, ethnicity, race, creed, or if they are sexually pure. He did not say come to me all who are good enough, he said to come in our filthy rags and he would make us clean. When Jesus was here in the flesh he spent time with thieves, and sluts, and liars. Why is it that the body of the Christ, the church, is too holy to do the same? Jesus loved the sinners and called them to be better. It was the church that Jesus was harsh with, they should have known better.

We need to keep ourselves constantly before Him and make sure that we are indeed holy as he is holy, but as far as the holiness of our brothers that is for us to pray for them and let God be God. Our role is to serve and to keep our own thoughts captive before the Lord. Our role is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, love our fellow man just as they are and trust the Lord our God to do His part. Charity is the place of the church; it is by our love that we are to be known, not by our judgments. What will one’s heart love with greater fervency than the people we have invested our time and finances in?