Saturday, July 25, 2015

The struggle.

Ephesians 6:12–13 NASB 
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

I have been thinking a great deal lately about how things are in our society. As I observe the behavior of people, these verses above become more and more relevant to me. I hate to bring up Westboro Baptist Church again, but they are just the best example I can think of of Christians who are trying to fight a spiritual problem by physical means. They, like us, see the evil in our world and for some reason have decided to ignore this verse. Not only have they ignored this verse but many others in God's Word.

I see Westboro Baptist as people who are seeking to do something about that evil that they have observed, and yet, are misguided in how to go about it. In one respect, that is not horrible. Certainly if someone can do something about evil they must do something. In another respect, the manner in which one fights evil must be taken into account. One must dig into the word of God, and see exactly what God would have him to do. If God is truly seeking to make people like His Son Jesus, then He must be allowed to do that. This means one must listen to God, read His word, communicate with Him on a regular basis and be willing to be molded into the likeness of Christ.

This is just my observation but I do feel that many Christians seek to fight spiritual problems with physical weapons. Usually the weapons of choice have been the written word and the use of picketing and protesting. The struggle we face in America today is a spiritual struggle. It is a spiritual struggle against forces of darkness. May we remember that!

Friday, July 3, 2015

God, help us.

As I sit here reflecting on this past week, I shudder. I shudder because as a Christian, I have given my life to reflect the love of Jesus. There are days when this is a huge challenge. There are other days where it is a joy. I also shudder because I fear there are some Christians who will be hostile to the very people they wish to see turn their lives over to Jesus. God's love MUST be shown.

Charleston, SC
First, how would Jesus treat Dylann Roof? He took a gun and sat in a Bible Study and then shot and killed nine people. I, just me, I think Jesus would look at Dylann and offer him forgiveness. He would allow Dylann an opportunity to ask for it and Jesus would then give it to him. What Dylann did is a sin. He killed people. For no reason other than they were the "wrong color," he killed them. Jesus would give him the opportunity to get things right. Does this mean there are no consequences to his action? Certainly not. There are ALWAYS consequences to our actions. We serve a just God, but also one who forgives.

How would Jesus treat the homosexual? He would love him. He would offer forgiveness. Why? First, because He cares about every individual. Second, because sin is sin. According to the Bible, homosexual behavior is a sin. No, I do not want to debate this issue. You will not change my mind, nor will I change yours. I did not write this to start a fire. Both Christians and non Christians must realize that we are not always going to agree on everything.

The "Supreme Court"
No, I am not one of those unfeeling, non-caring Christians who has never had a friend who is homosexual. Nor am I one who has never known or spoken with a homosexual. In fact, the ones I have known and know, know themselves better than a lot of heterosexuals. I am one who seeks to love people, follow God's word and point people to Him.

I am also not one of those who uses God's word against others. The way I see it, if the person does not adhere or care about the Word of God, they are not going to be won over by it. They need to see God's love in action. They want to see the Love we say we have shared with them. THAT is what makes a difference.

Now some would say I am "judging" people by saying this. Others would say I am a hater. Disagreement is not hate. I sometimes disagree with my wife on issues, but that does not mean I hate her. My goodness, to take disagreement and elevate it to hate is a huge leap for me, but evidently not for others. The ability to respectfully disagree with another human being, and not hate them, is what I call, "living on higher ground." God wants us living on "higher ground."

"Preacher, what about the Confederate flag?" Hmmmm. That is best saved for a post of its own. I do need to point out that getting rid of anything that reminds us of the civil war is not going to change the fact that it happened. I think it is best to have reminders of the pain lest we repeat the same mistakes later.

The big question for every Christian, and it should be asked every day, is "How do I reflect the love of Jesus today?" What we do with Jesus makes a difference in our lives, in our community and in our world. If one has truly given their lives to God, then they have said to Him, "Rule over me. Guide me." In doing this, we put ourselves in subjection to Him. THAT is where we need to live. May God help us to be who He wants us to be. May we listen to Him.