Skip to content

United States of America, Christianity, and the world

For those who scoff at the idea of the United States having a Christian foundation, here is another piece of conveniently forgotten history.  The Constitutional Congress argued and debated and could not agree on a document that would lead the new nation that was in birth.  From the notes of James Madison, on the process of the Constitutional Congress, we find this entry.

Mr. President

The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other,”our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.

via WallBuilders – Issues and Articles – Franklin’s Appeal for Prayer at the Constitutional Convention.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, in his own handwriting,  “The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayer unnecessary.” (The Works of Benjamin Franklin,  John Bigelow, footnote, pg. 378)

The Constitution that the founders wrote, under the guidance of God, has created the greatest republic the world has even known.  Had we not ignored or re-thought so much of it,  we might still be the greatest republic (not democracy) there ever has been.

We used the Bible to teach our children in the early public schools of this country.  Now they cannot even speak of God or Christianity, let alone quote the Bible in school.  How far we have fallen.  In my opinion, that fall has hurt not only the US, but the world.

May God forgive us.

 

Yes, but others haven’t heard!

The whole event started the evening before.  It was dark and the soldiers came to the garden carrying swords and torches.  There were a great many people crowded into the garden to assist with and witness the arrest one unarmed, peaceful man.  It was not much of a show, since the unarmed man went with them willingly.   Although it was illegal to put someone on trial at night, this man was marched from one place to another and yet another to be questioned, during which he was whipped, stripped of his clothes, had a crown of thorns shoved down on his head as he was being mocked.  All this in one night, and around 9 o’clock in the morning they placed a wood beam on his shoulders and made him walk up the hill on which he would die.  They nailed his hands to the wood beam, and hoisted him up onto a tall wooden post.  Once in place, they nailed his feet to the wooden post.  They stood and mock him as they watched him slowly die.  He pushed against his nailed feet to lift his body to get oxygen each time he spoke.  His sentences lasting only one breaths worth. The sky started to get dark and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon he breathed his last.  At that moment their was an earthquake, and in the temple the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the priests and the people was torn from top to bottom.

What just happened?  Yes, a man died.  Yes, his arrest and trial were illegal.  Why the darkness?  Why the earthquake?  Why the torn temple curtain?

Because the love of God for all people and justice, which is the root of the righteousness of God, came together in one moment of time, for all time, and resulted in a cataclysmic event, witnessed by people, and left the world changed in ways that would play out to this day. 

This was not an ordinary day.  This was not an ordinary man who died.  This was the Son of God, Jesus Christ, fulfilling the justice required, and loving those that made the justice necessary.

I remember, in my younger Christian days, thinking that the reason Jesus had to die on a cross, like a sacrifice, and on the very day, at the very moment that the yearly sacrifice for the sins of the Jewish people was being offered in the temple, was because that would be the only way the Jews could accept that Jesus died for their sins.  Since a sacrifice was required, once a year, to atone for the sins of the people, then that is why Jesus had to die.   Well, that is partly right, but there is more to it than that.

You see Jesus died for ALL people, not just the Jews, and I certainly did not need him to die for me, or so I thought.  That’s their tradition, not mine.  No, I could have been satisfied with God waving His all-powerful hand over the world and saying, “I forgive your sins.”

Doesn’t this make more sense?  Especially if God wanted ALL people to be forgiven.  This would have been so much easier.  But it is not how God planned it.  He spoke of his plans over and over in the Old Testament.  The most lengthy description of his plans can be found in Isaiah 53.

Who has believed our message
    and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
    and made intercession for the transgressors.

Yes, Jesus died for the Jews, but he also died for you and for me.  But still, why did he have to die?  Re-read verses 4, 5, 6, 8, and the last sentence again.  He died to pay the price of justice for our sins/transgressions.  No matter how good we are, we have sinned according to God.  And when we sin, we take part in pounding the nails through the hands and feet of Jesus.  Who crucified Jesus?  We did!

Have you told a lie?  Sorry, sin.  Have you taken something from work, not accidentally, but willfully?  That is stealing, even if it is something as small as a pen.  Have you seen the car or truck your co-worker, neighbor, boss, or friend just got and feel the sting of envy?  There goes another nail.  You see how easy it is to be a sinner.  We sin all the time, not big sins, but little tiny ones.  These little tiny sins still add up to consequences that, over time, harm us or others.  And just in case you don’t know it yet, God hates sin!

Now stretch your mind to think of all the people who have lived, and all the small sins they may have accumulated in their lifetime.  Now think of all the big sins added to that.  All of that in the past, in the present, and in the future, Jesus carried to the cross, died and took with him the punishment for all that sin.

John 3:16 (Made more publicly known by Tim Tebow)

“For God so loved the world [that includes us!] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God so love us, that he gave His son for us.  Wow!  Please notice there is one condition to receiving that gift.  It is for all persons, of all time, no matter your ethnicity, race, sex, color of hair, or birth year, it is a gift of grace for you, IF you believe in him [Jesus].

Do you?  Great if you do.  I hope you will if you don’t.  But the biggest question I get, and you may wonder about, is what about all those people who have never heard of Jesus.  What about them?

Well, I took that to prayer many times myself.  Especially after my son asked me, and I had no answer.  I begged God to answer that question for me, so I could tell my son.

God did answer my prayer.  His answer may not satisfy you, but for me, knowing God is a loving and just God, I find comfort in His answer, and I no longer worry about those who have not heard of Jesus.  What I understand from God is that I need to worry and pray for those who have heard of Jesus, and have not believed.  Those are the ones I need to pray for and seek to snatch from the fire.

Are you waiting for me to share God’s answer?  It has been right in front of us all along.  You see neither I, nor you, will ever be able to understand all of God’s plans and ways.  What we do understand is that he has been faithful, truthful, loving, just, and extremely patient throughout time, and will continue to be.  Basically God said that whatever his plans are, regarding those who have not heard of Jesus, does not need to concern us.

There are countless millions of people who have lived and died, never knowing Jesus, and never having the opportunity to choose.  There are innumerable people living today who, despite our best efforts and modern technology, still have not heard of Jesus and been given an opportunity to choose.  God has a plan for them as well.  We have seen some of that plan as we have heard about missionaries sharing Jesus all over the world.  We have seen some more of his plan when we hear and see testimonies of Muslims coming to faith after Jesus visits them in their dreams.  So, God has given us a glimpse, and as for the rest of His plan….we, if we needed to know, we would.

And so I  have found peace in leaving these people in God’s loving hands, and knowing that loving justice will be done.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Is 55:8-11)

Praises to our loving and just God, by whose grace we have eternal life.

 

There are only two sides to a coin!

coins_15211cLet me make this clear, so that everyone can understand it.  There are only two sides to a coin, unless that coin is in the hand of a magician.  It is the same with God, there are only two sides to the coin – choose God, or don’t choose God.  Oh, there is a third side, but it is in the hand of a magician – Satan, himself, and with him come all the magical, mystical, non-gods of the world.

God did create the universe, believe it or choose not to believe it.

God created man and woman in His own image.  He did not create animals, birds, fish, etc., in His own image, just man and woman.

He created us for a relationship with Him, and that has always been His desire.  He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, until one day, they chose the other side of the coin.

‘Really?’ he asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat of any of the fruit in the garden?’

The woman replied, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”‘

‘You will surely not die,’ the serpent replied, ‘For God knows when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’   (Gen 3:1-3)

The rest is history.  Eve chose the third side of the coin, with promises of wonderful things, straight from the mouth of the great deceiver and master magician. Their bodies did not die, but their spirits died as the connection between God and mankind was severed.  God had given them everything, including a close relationship with Him.  He also gave them free will to choose.  In was in that moment of deception, when the non-existent third side of the coin looked better than everything God had given them, that they made the wrong choice.

God’s plan of redemption began with Abraham, a man who by faith alone, without anything other than his belief in the God who called out to him, and spoke to him, and promised him an inheritance of nations, took his family and livestock and left every thing and everyone they knew and began a journey to an unknown destiny.  They followed God.  They followed Him even when God told them that in future generations their ancestors would be slaves in a foreign land for 400 years.

 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. (Gen 15:13-14)

Then God again progressed His plan through Moses, who God placed in a position to bring God’s people, his people, the Israelites, out of their slavery, and lead them on to the land he had promised Abraham that He would give to his descendants, the “Promised Land.”  It is worthy to note here, that God’s promise to Abraham was that they would be brought out with great possessions.  God’s word was true, all these many years later.  When the Israelites were finally freed from slavery, the Egyptian people all gave them their gold and jewelry and begged them to leave.  When God promises, He always delivers.

Note that God spoke to Abraham, who believed, and followed.  Note that God spoke to Moses, who believed and followed.  God spoke to many who came after these great men of the Old Testament, and they listened and followed.

God was moving His people toward the Royal Coin, the ultimate choice for people of all time.

God continued to speak to people, until around 400 BC.  Following the life of Malachi, in 430BC, God was silent.  He did not speak to a single person in the 400 years until the silence was broken, when God spoke to John the Baptist, and told him to “make a ready a people prepared for the Lord” Luke 1:17.   John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and through him, God spoke to the people of repentance and forgiveness.

Then came the Royal Coin, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of the most high God.  Born of a virgin, who lived and taught repentance and forgiveness, who reached out to the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the sinners.  He blasted the religious leaders for failing to take care of the people of God, no matter their standing in life.

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:23-24)

They made sure the world saw that they gave their 10% to the offering, but totally ignored, pushed away, despised the “unworthy” ones.  Jesus ate with the tax collectors, he ministered to those in sin, healed those who were sick.  Think of the lepers he healed, they were banished and not allowed to approach people, but they did approach Jesus, why?  Because they had heard of his healings, and knew he would not turn away from them.  They believed He had the power to make them whole again.  He did, and they were.  The religious leaders could not be bothered with these people.

Jesus made it plain that it was what was on the inside of us, in our hearts, more than what was on the outside of us, like our wealthy clothes, cars (or in their day carts).  Jesus looked into the heart of man, just like the God that he is.  That is where he healed in the greatest way.

People had a choice to believe in him or not (two sides of the coin), but there was still the sneaky one offering a third side.  So the religious leaders of the day, whose hearts had already refused to believe, were tempted with the third side of the coin.  Here their rationalization for having Jesus killed.

Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs.  If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” (John 11:47-50)

They believed the whisper, “You know you could lose everything if Jesus keeps this up.”

Royal Coin side one – believe Jesus is the son of God, their long-awaited Messiah

Royal Coin side two – believe Jesus is just a man, who is doing amazing things

Not so royal side of the coin three – Jesus is a threat to our lifestyle.  He doesn’t follow our ways.  We need to get rid of him.

They believed the greatest liar of all times, Satan, and chose the third coin.

God has completed His plan. He has presented a coin with two sides.

  1.  We can choose to believe that Jesus is the son of God who died that we might live.
  2. We can choose not to believe that, that Jesus never existed, or was just a great teacher
  3. We can choose to believe in spirit beings, false gods, fortune tellers, false prophets, nature, or anything that gives us a sense of something outside ourselves that we can worship.

God has created an eternity with two possible places for our eternal spirits/souls to exist.  The first side of the coin will bring us to the throne of God and then to an eternity of paradise.  The second and third sides of the coin both will bring us to the throne of God, and then we will be propelled away into the darkness, and God closes the gate for all eternity.

Coin side one – heaven

Coin side two – outside of heave (Some label it “hell.”  What I know is when you take all the love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, patience, health, humbleness, beauty, flowers, trees, water, music, angels, and the throne of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and close the door to all this for eternity, that sure would be hell.)

So what side of the coin are you interested in?

coins_7736cnpSide One, Side Two, Side Three

God allows you to choose, but he longs for you to choose Him.

If you are wondering about all those who have never heard of the Royal Coin, what is God’s plan for them?  Stay tuned for the next post.

 

Not founded on Christian principles? Take a look!

Outside of the Bible itself, this was one of the main books used for teaching young children in the schools in the colonies in 1777.  It continued to be used in our schools until early in the 20th Century.  Take a look and consider, who is teaching these virtues to our children today?  What are they being taught instead?  Was removing God from our schools and public places really the best thing for our children and grandchildren, our communities, states, and country?  What have we replace Him with?  Maybe it’s time to bring God back into our schools and communities.  Maybe it is time for us to speak up be willing to stand up for the one true God.

The New England Primer, 1777 edition

A Lesson for Children.

Pray to God. Call no ill names. Love God. Use no ill words. Fear God. Tell no lies. Serve God. Hate Lies. Speak the Truth. Take not God’s Name in vain.  Spend your Time well. Do not Swear. Love your School. Do not Steal. Mind your Book. Cheat not in your play. Strive to learn. Play not with bad boys. Be not a Dunce.

A In ADAM’S Fall

We sinned all.

B Heaven to find;

The Bible Mind.

C Christ crucify’d

For sinners dy’d.

D The Deluge drown’d

The Earth around.

E ELIJAH hid

By Ravens fed.

F The judgment made

FELIX afraid.

G As runs the Glass,

Our Life doth pass.

H My Book and Heart

Must never part.

J JOB feels the Rod,–

Yet blesses GOD.

K Proud Korah’s troop

Was swallowed up

L LOT fled to Zoar,

Saw fiery Shower

On Sodom pour.

M MOSES was he

Who Israel’s Host

Led thro’ the Sea

N NOAH did view

The old world & new.

O Young OBADIAS,

DAVID, JOSIAS,

All were pious.

P PETER deny’d

His Lord and cry’d.

Q Queen ESTHER sues

And saves the Jews.

R Young pious RUTH,

Left all for Truth.

S Young SAM’L dear,

The Lord did fear.

T Young TIMOTHY

Learnt sin to fly.

V VASHTI for Pride

Was set aside.

W Whales in the Sea,

GOD’s Voice obey.

X XERXES did die,

And so must I.

Y While youth do chear

Death may be near.

Z ZACCHEUS he

Did climb the Tree

Our Lord to see.

Who was the first man ? Adam.

Who was the first woman ? Eve.

Who was the first Murderer ? Cain.

Who was the first Martyr ? Abel.

Who was the first Translated ? Enoch.

Who was the oldest Man ? Methuselah.

Who built the Ark ? Noah.

Who was the Patientest Man ? Job.

Who was the Meekest Man ? Moses.

Who led Israel into Canaan ? Joshua.

Who was the strongest Man ? Sampson.

Who killed Goliah ? David.

Who was the wisest Man ? Soloman.

Who was in the Whale’s Belly? Jonah.

Who saves lost Men ? Jesus Christ.

Who is Jesus Christ ? The Son of God.

Who was the Mother of Christ ? Mary.

Who betrayed his Master ? Judas.

Who denied his Master ? Peter.

Who was the first Christian Martyr? Stephen.

Who was chief Apostle of the Gentiles ? Saul.

via The New England Primer, 1777 edition.

Heaven? Are you good enough?

 “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James2:15-17 NIV).

We know people who believe that being good and doing good is the path to God.  Then we know people who believe it is all faith and grace that brings us to God, and not what we do.  In reality, James makes it clear there is a balance we must be seek between faith and deeds, and it starts with faith and pours out as good deeds. The things we do that we consider “good” are to be those inspired by the faith and belief we have in our God, our Lord, and with the help of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, our goodness, and the good deeds that results from that goodness, all spring forth from the heart, mind, and will of the one true God.

Anything we do, that God is not at the heart of, will usually find its source in our pride, our need for recognition and acclaim, our desire to control, and our desire for success.  This is something we must seriously consider before we pat ourselves on the back and think we are such good little Christians.  Where is our goodness coming from, God or our own selfish motives?

Jesus spoke to this very issue near the end of his ministry, and just before his death. Shortly before he was arrested, Jesus sat down with his disciples and told them the parables of the 10 Virgins and the Talents, which he then followed with the story of the Sheep and Goats.  We can read about this in Matthew, Chapter 25.  In these three stories, Jesus summed up the whole of his ministry, “Believe in the one who sent me and be prepared for my coming, use the gifts given you by the Holy Spirit, and use them to grow my kingdom and to serve my people.”  In other words, have faith in God and in His son, Jesus; be filled by the Holy Spirit and allow God to grow us into Christ-likeness, and to use His gifts, so we can serve Him by serving others right here, right now.  It is progression that starts with faith and naturally progresses to serving the Source of Grace, Himself.

Two parables and a story, spoken by Jesus to his disciples in one of his last teaching moments on earth.  It was as if he was adding a final summary of his life and teachings so that they would not miss the main point.  We need to pay attention as well. All three, taken together,  make plain how important this is to God.  Let’s consider our own lives for a moment.  How are you doing in these three parts of our faith journey?

  1. Do you believe in God or believe God? If you believe God, do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?  If not, this is the first and most important step to take.
  2. If you have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord and given over control of your life to Him, God will send the Holy Spirit to live within you. The Holy Spirit imparts many gifts from God when we need them to love and serve Him, while loving and serving others. Have you noticed a difference in your life in this area?  If not, then pray about it and allow God to open your heart to know His Holy Spirit.
  3. Finally, how would you rate yourself on your level of service to others, ministering to the needs of others, giving sacrificially for others in time, deeds, or money?

No matter how you answered the questions above, it is not the answer that it really important.

It is your desire to grow that really matters to God.

There are those we can look to who have moved far ahead of us on the journey to fulfilling the will of God in these areas. These people are great role models and encourage us as we struggle.  The rest of us are either on the path, moving along as Christ leads, temporarily off the path due to difficulties or disruptions, or not on the path at all.

Remember the answer that Jesus gave when the religious leaders of his day challenged him with this question, “What is the greatest commandment?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

How we serve in the good deeds we do is a direct reflection on our love for God and our neighbor.

Where are you at this moment?  Do you wish you were more like those way down the path?  Do you wish you could just be on the path?  Take a moment to lift your heart’s desire up to God.  It will be His joy to bless you and help you toward the destination He has planned for you. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer 29:11 NIV).  Why wait any longer?  Pray your heart cry to God now, and then enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

Following Christ is not easy!

It isn’t easy, but Jesus made all the difference in our lives, and his teachings enable us to live out his love for others, even when people attack us.  Jesus told us that if we followed him, we too would be persecuted.

“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” John 15:20.

By “persecuted,” Jesus meant all levels of attacks that will come against us, from verbal to physical, from the loss of our businesses and income sources, to the loss of every possession we have, including our lives or the lives of our loved ones.  We see this in the United States today.  Then we read about some of the persecution of Christians in other countries and know we are still living mostly normal lives, but the times are definitely changing.  Here is an example of how one Christian couple is handling the media attacks they have been bombarded with.

I read an interesting letter written by Chip Gaines, on behalf of himself and his wife, the “Fixer Upper” couple, who had come under strong criticism because of their Christianity.  The correlation made by an independent digital news feed was that, since they attended church which adheres to the Biblical teachings such as those Bible passages about sexual relations are to be solely between a man and a woman, they, the Gaines, must have great hatred towards homosexuals.  This seems to be the accepted train of thought by people who are consumed with proving that the Bible teaches hate and breeds homophobia.   Since the article came out in November of 2016, this couple has faced a new type of public exposure that has been enough to make most want to fight back.

So, today when I read the letter they had written, I was moved deeply and filled with joy.  Their letter is the perfect example of living out God’s word in the divided world of today.  First compare what Jesus said, and then read the words from Chip Gaines.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).

“If there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow – we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love. Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith. That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.”   (http://qpolitical.com/weeks-attacked-fixer-upper-couple-posts-stunning-response/)

I have been saying the same thing in different words for a long time now.  If a person is a true Christian, then the Holy Spirit of God has come to live in them.  If that is true, and it is, then we should be growing in Christ-like character.  Our mind, will, and emotions must change over time to match up more to God’s/Christ’s.  This means, that if God loves all people, and I believe that is Biblical truth, then I must learn to love all people.  I have prayed that God will allow me to see people through His eyes, and I can tell you judgment has left my soul, and been replaced with a much stronger love for people. In fact, this love sometimes feels like it is bigger than my heart can hold, but I think God just keeps expanding my heart just enough each time.  This is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself, and I am only at the beginning stages of this growth in godliness.  This is what it means to live a life as a Christian.  This is what Chip and Joanna Gaines are doing, and their letter brought me real joy.

Let me simply allow them to conclude this blog post.  Great job Chip.  Thank you for making this choice.

“This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can’t recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgement, fear and even hatred. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand.”

Thank you Chip and Joanna for your strength to continue to shine Christ’s light in our darkening world.

What can we believe anymore?

I read a disturbing news article today and it made me think about how little of what we hear and read can be believed with certainty.  Here are a few clippings from the article I read. Both of the following quotes were from the same article from the Daily Caller, Journalists Exposed By WikiLeaks Will Now Cover Trump White House,  Peter Hasson (viewed 01/02/2017   10:29 AM).

http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/02/journalists-exposed-by-wikileaks-will-now-cover-trump-white-house/
CNBC chief political correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood demonstrated clear partisanship in his many email exchanges with Podesta.

Harwood told Podesta to “watch out” for Dr. Ben Carson during the Republican primary. “Ben Carson could give you real trouble in a general,” Harwood warned, including video clips of Carson’s political positions. [screen shots from Wiki/Leaks were then included in this email.]

Emails released by WikiLeaks showed Thrush sending stories to Clinton staffers for approval before publication. (RELATED: New York Times Hires Reporter Who Sent Stories To Clinton Staffers For Approval)

“Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to [you],” he wrote in an April 30, 2015 email to Podesta, including five paragraphs from a piece titled “Hillary’s big money dilemma.”

“Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this,” Thrush added. “Tell me if I [!@#!] up anything.”

“No problems here,” Podesta replied.

Basically we are surrounded by lies.  In the US today, the word “lie” is a not used.  Instead we are told someone “misspoke,” when in all actuality they lied.

We have read plenty about “fake news” that is found all over Facebook and other social media sites as well.  It is not a good thing to trust what you read on Facebook or even in the news without doing your own research.

Is there anything in print that can be trusted anymore?  Great news!  Yes, there is.

It’s the Bible.  As much as the Bible has been railed upon by those whose world view cannot tolerate its teachings, the Bible has been a steady light through the darkest of periods.  It has been a solid rock for those who stand on its principles.  The Bible is not just a book.  It is the very word of God, and as such, has the power to change lives.  We become better people, more patience, more forgiving, kind, loving, trustworthy, gentle, honorable, and giving.  We have hope, joy, and peace in good times and bad.  It is because we have the rock of God’s word on which to stand, and the light of God’s love as a guide in our lives.

 rock_14721c

In the Bible God has made many promises, and God has held to those promises ever since.

God is alive and active in the lives of those who choose to believe in Him and put their faith in Him.  This is true, has always been true, and will continue to be true forever.

In the next several posts I am going to compare the lives of some people from the Bible with real life stories from history and today.  You will see for yourself that God was, God is, and God will always be the One we can trust and believe in.

God bless you!
%d bloggers like this: