Monday, May 25, 2015
Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. II Corinthians 9:6 NIV
Sometimes a scriptural principle applies in other areas, and is reinforced by other Scripture(s). Like, whoever prays sparingly will reap sparingly; you have not because you ask not.
Just so, you have not because you vote not.
Today is Memorial Day. We remember the multitudes of patriots who fought and died for our freedoms and rights.
What about our responsibilities? 2016 is an election year. The stakes are high, but many protest, “I don’t agree with any of the candidates, so I won’t vote at all.”
You don’t have all the political power you want, so you just throw away the power you do have. What kind of logic is that?
The kind that makes the opposition feel like Christmas and a lifetime of birthdays and Halloween all rolled up in one. They own the candy store!
We have just as many votes—one apiece—as the opposition does. Their votes count for no more than ours—but they aren’t quitters.
Now hear this! “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” We have far more power at our disposal that they do.
But prayer is only the beginning. We still have to rustle up some godly candidates and vote.
Many of today’s problems rest at the feet of the citizenry who puts ungodly leaders in office and refuses to hold them accountable. And much of that blame lies squarely at the feet of Conservative Christians who refuse to vote.
Do you know that enough Christians threw away their votes in the last two elections to simply allow the current reckless administration to sweep into power and run away with our country? If the Christians who avoided their responsibility had voted, their collective votes could have made the difference.
Yes, some candidates stand on the wrong side of important issues. But choose the best of the not quite good enough, then hold their noses to the grindstone and their feet to the fire. They are our servants!
We are sentries sleeping on duty in wartime. Sure, God is a God of forgiveness, but there are consequences. Just look around at what we’re living with today.
Avi, forgive us, and heal our land, and give us wisdom. In Your holy name, Amen.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 40:15 NIV
There’s nothing as fierce as a little Bantie hen protecting her chicks. Once a new mom even kept pace as my roaring lawn mower circled her pen, a mini-tornado squawking death threats, her tiny chicks huddled behind her.
My Blue Bantam rooster was strong and blustery, and I didn’t have another empty pen. “No sweat,” another chicken person said. “If you leave him in with the hen while she’s setting, he won’t bother the babies.”
OK—but to cut my losses, I only left three eggs under the hen. Sure enough, when they hatched Papa Blue scratched and clucked beside Mom to show the babies their food, then stood guard as Mom tucked them under her wings for a warm nap.
Soon the chicks were well-feathered and about ¼ the size of their mother. I went out at dusk to see if they were sleeping on the roost yet. My flashlight caught sleepy deer-in-the-headlights looks from Mom and one baby beside her. I slid the beam down to see if she had left the others alone. Nothing. Slid the beam up. Papa Blue blinked back at me from the shelf, a chick under each widespread wing.
Next day I tossed in some crickets, a first for the chicks. Mama jumped. “It’s every chicken for herself!”
Papa Blue patiently scratched and clucked, lifting and dropping squirming crickets to show his frightened children that this moving food was safe. Finally one of the timid chicks edged forward and took the bug from his beak. Just then Mom looked up, saw the dangling cricket, body-slammed her daughter and fled with the prize. Papa just scratched up another bug for the chick.
Did the little bird-brain forget her own baby? More likely, she just didn’t consider it a baby anymore. But to Papa Blue, once his kid, always his kid.
And to God, we are forever His priceless children, forever loved, forever protected and provided for, no matter whether our human parents valued us or not.
Avi, I can walk through this life with reckless confidence, sure in the knowledge that You’ve always got my back. Thank You for being a strong Father to me. In Your holy name, Amen.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. II Timothy 4:2 NIV
I belong to the God who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
He is Truth—but the wisdom He gives comes slow. I have many more questions than answers. I have a foundation of knowledge for forming questions, for judging whether answers fit with truths I already know—but when I’m surprised by an unexpected challenge from someone who just wants to argue, I go blank.
Last week I told a teenager her opinion wasn’t backed up by Scripture. She stared at me with blind certainty. “Well, I believe it, and that’s that.”
It’s sophomoric arrogance (Greek sophos "wise" + moros "foolish, dull"; literally "arguer".) to believe that your belief of something makes it true. If you’ve been a teenager and lived through it, then you can make your own judgment call about that.
After she left, a question popped into my head: “Do you study these things out for yourself, or do you get them predigested?”
Someone else’s truth isn’t your truth until you’ve thought it through for yourself. Anybody can tell you anything.
One who overwhelms a weaker speaker with rudeness and volume doesn’t necessarily have the truth—but if you don’t think for yourself, you’ll believe the most persuasive one by default.
Simply having silenced the other person doesn’t mean you’ve right, and it doesn’t mean you’ve converted them to your viewpoint. If that was your aim, you’ve failed. But very often the aim of such people seems not to educate or build up, but simply to silence their “opponent” and chalk up another debate contest win.
Note to the pushy ones: “You can feel like you’ve won your argument—but you cannot convince someone of your truth without listening to their truth, their confusion, their sticking points, and answering their questions to their satisfaction."
As much as I'd like to, I can share nothing with those who make dialogue a competition. You’re God’s problem. He's never at a loss for words.
Avi, when things like this happen, I pray “Give me another chance to say this to them.” What I should be asking, what I ask now, is that You help me to speak in season and out. In Your holy name, Amen.
Monday, May 4, 2015
A thoughtful woman once said to me, “I don’t believe God would send good people to hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus.” Many share her opinion.
First, there are no truly good people, and God doesn’t grade on the curve. All of us are sinners, fallen, broken helpless to save ourselves. Next, no matter how much your (well, maybe not you personally) big bad self struts and brags, He didn’t make hell for you. He just doesn’t have any other place for people who don’t want to be with Him.
God wants all of us safe at home with Him, loving and being loved--but He allows us to make that choice for ourselves.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes unto the Father but by Me.”
Notice the definite articles. THE Way. THE Truth. THE Life.
Is God a fool, that He would send His beloved Son, His only begotten, to die in agony if there were any other way? Would God, who cannot lie, lie about who He is? Can’t God, who created life, die in the body He created for Himself, then raise us to new life abundant?
God, a fool?
No. God is wise. Wise enough to make a way, wise enough to become a perfect bridge to bring His lost children home.
Avi, not even the collective, contradictory wisdom of all humanity from all ages can hold a candle to Your foolishness. How could we ever hope to understand Your perfect wisdom? I’m just glad You’re in charge. In Your holy name, Amen.