Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

The REAL Solution

April 30, 2015

There are a lot of difficult things going on in our world.

Baltimore: Protests, Riots, Accusations of Police Brutality and ‘Thuggery’.

Washington, D.C.: Supreme Court decisions re: Marriage; Corruption in politics at the highest levels.

Middle East and Africa: The ‘Islamic State’ and it’s partners taking a ‘convert or die’ message out to the masses.

 

These things cry out for a solution!

They are complex, difficult issues, however…how can we begin to ‘solve’ them?

It can seem so overwhelming that we simply give up and hope for Jesus to come back and take us away.

He may do that, and it may be soon.

But what if it’s not?

Are we to bury our heads in the sand, or to isolate ourselves hoping to be kept ‘immune’ from the issues or threats?

No!

In fact, I would say that we are not only called to be actively engaged, but we are increasingly being FORCED to do so!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said,Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

In the Old Testament, the book of Esther records the story of a young woman who was thrust into a situation that was overwhelming. She was suddenly chosen to be Queen of Persia, just at a time when a threat to the very existence of her own people–the Jews–was growing. Would she try to keep her head down, hide her ethnicity, and hope for the best, or would she engage in the battle?

Her uncle, Mordecai, reminds her that all of these events–including her in the position she was in–were in God’s hands.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

In other words, ‘Don’t be fooled, Esther–you can’t remain silent and aloof. You WILL be part of this situation, no matter what you do…but God has put you where you are for this very moment, this very situation.’

I believe that God had put us–His children–in this world at this time for this specific situation.

Whereas each one of these situations listed is complex, the answer is really quite simple: A Return to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, allegiance to His Word and being led by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the Church Being The Church–loving, gracious, but uncompromising.

The Church leading Dads and Moms into leading their families again–setting examples of hard work, integrity, and family structure and reaping the relational, educational and economic benefits of doing so.

The Church leading those in authority to stand on Biblical principles, committing themselves to leading with integrity and honesty, using their authority for good, not for evil. Putting the good of the people before their own ambitions.

The Church leading marriages by God’s design–Husbands and Wives committing to each other for life, living out their faith in front of their kids (and society), training the next generation in the way they should go. Not redefining ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ because of society’s desires, but recommitting to living these things out according to God’s plan.

The Church leading its people–God’s children, by faith in Jesus–to overcome any and all obstacles by firm conviction, confidence in God’s power, boldness in the face of threats, and demonstrations of radical love and grace in the midst of persecution.

It is the same Solution that Paul spoke of when he said, For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Romans 1:16-17)

The Gospel…the Good News about Jesus.

He still offers us The REAL Solution.

CHURCH, let’s embrace it fully, share it lovingly, and proclaim it boldly!

It is THE solution!

YOU be the Difference Maker! Speak LIFE!

November 26, 2014

It’s no secret–there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in this world!

My heart is heavy because a lot of people I know, and many I don’t, are in pain today. There’s strife, anger, frustration, and fear boiling up…and boiling over.

I know people who are dealing with issues at work, where they’re being mistreated, misrepresented, and–in at least one case–fired for very questionable reasons. I know others who are having to make very difficult, unpopular decisions knowing that their integrity and character will be impugned.

In Ferguson, Missouri, anger, rage and frustration are boiling over–and it’s spreading. Years of thinking that the authorities are out to get them are causing some people to protest angrily. Others are taking advantage of the situation and furthering the ‘criminal thug’ image.

Across the world, ISIS is spreading hate with the edge of a machete, intimidating and then killing those who disagree with their particular brand of Islamic theology, and using terror and threats to force people to ‘convert or die’.

What can be done? How can we make a difference?

How do we live in a world like this? How are we–people who just want to love and be loved, to be accepted and to offer acceptance regardless of skin color, opinions, politics or religion –to live? How are we to interact with the world situation without making matters worse?

We simply MUST begin to see people the way God sees them–as His creations, whom He loves. We MUST learn to see past the stereotypes, the rumors, and the headlines, and start treating people with respect, dignity, and love. Jesus said as much when He said “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)

We have a choice to make, every day: Are we going to live more as children of God, or people of this world? Are we going to view people as He does–people who are lost in sin and need a Savior? Are we going to start giving grace in our personal lives, choosing to believe the best about them, or are we just going to go with the stereotypes that the media propagates and assume ‘others are bad’ and ‘we are good’?

1st Corinthians 13:4-7 shows us how we should be living–especially if we’re children of God, through faith in Jesus:  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

How do we do that, in a world full of strife, hatred, gossip and negativity? It’s tough! It takes prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It also takes people who are willing to do the following:

Stand for Truth, even if it’s unpopular.

The truth is that prejudice exists-from all races toward all others. Police brutality does exist, and so does common thief thuggery. We don’t really know everything that went on there, but presumably the Grand Jury heard a lot more than we did and chose to go this way.

 

Stand Against Evil, even if it makes you a target.

Pure evil exists, and must be confronted–whether in the Middle East, in Missouri, or in our own workplaces and homes.

ISIS IS evil, period…and this kind of evil-in-the-name-of-god must be stopped wherever it shows up. Police officers, bosses or family members who use their position of ‘authority’ to abuse others or ‘put them in their place’ are being evil.  Looting and burning business is criminal–that’s not ‘demonstration’, it’s sinful criminality, and evil.

All of these behaviors and mindsets do the devil’s work on earth! Don’t get sucked in…instead, confront it and rise above it!

Offer Grace, even if it’s hard.

Remember that you make mistakes, you misunderstand people, and you have overreacted in difficult circumstances. The ‘other person’ may have mistreated you. You may be in the right and they’re in the wrong. Forgive them, show them grace. God will supply the strength to do so.

Remember, God forgave you even though you didn’t deserve it. Through Jesus Christ, He offers us forgiveness and new life! Celebrate that, and share THAT message!

Over the next several days, you’ll probably have a chance to talk about these things. Make up your mind, with God’s strength, that you are not going to perpetuate the hate, but instead will Stand for Truth, Confront Evil, and all the while, Offer Grace.

YOU be the Difference Maker!

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

YOU be a Difference Maker! Speak LIFE!

 

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