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This next phrase will be troubling for some so brace yourself.
Today is what I believe will be a Rosa Parks moment in our country. Rosa Parks was a great catalyst for change because of her civil disobedience on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. I don’t know if she set out to be a catalyst, but her actions of not giving up her seat for a person of a different skin color paved the way for other courageous stands against racism and discrimination. She refused to do what she believed to be unjust and was ready to face the consequences. She stood up for something that every follower of Jesus Christ should get behind, the equality of all people without discrimination. The racial divide in that day was hot and boiling over, and her courageous act was monumental in bringing about social change.
While racism still causes division in this country, this post is not about that.
Today could be a Rosa Parks moment erupting in the state of Kentucky. Kim Davis has stood on her religious convictions and has consistently refused to issue marriage licenses to gay applicants. I am not saying she is Rosa Parks or that Kim Davis’ stand is greater or lesser than Rosa’s (and I won’t argue the point). I am saying this is a watershed moment in our country like Rosa Parks day in 1955. Because of Kim Davis’ religious beliefs and convictions, she has been ordered to jail for contempt of court. Of which, she has said before that she was willing to do this as a consequence for her civil disobedience. This marks a time in this nation’s history that Christian’s should take notice.
If you really want to follow Christ and honor God, we will have to be willing to go to great lengths to bring about great change.
The culture has been turning against those who called themselves followers of Jesus and strive after God’s law as their Highest Judge for several years, and now it has reached its own boiling point. So what should we do? Be salt and light!
Joshua 24:14-16 gives us insight into this first decision we must make as followers of Jesus.
To be read all the way through:
For Christians and some other faith groups this quote makes sense because we see the world through a specific lens. A lens that understands that God creates people with a moral standard and he has placed a soul in every human. In this, every life is to be respected and valued. Even though the soul can be damaged in a way that morality is almost non-recognizable, God the Father sent Jesus Christ to lost people to redeem those who would receive his gift of salvation. With the act of turning away from your old sinful self, and turned to God through Jesus, the soul can begin to be informed by the Holy Spirit upon conversion to redeem all of life’s brokenness.
There is an influential group in governmental leadership that may say this is true, but their actions prove otherwise. These individuals see things through the lens of a secular humanist and make “moral” laws from that view. In this view (that is more complicated than this post would seem), there is an absolute refusal to believe in a God as Creator, His absolute truth, and that He is concerned with human affairs. Choice wins out over God-given design. Choice becomes the highest good. Choice trumps life.
With this decline in Divine consciousness, morality plummets while boasting that meeting people’s needs are the highest good. This sham idea falls flatly because the only people’s needs that are being met are the strongest or who have the loudest voice. The ones deemed less desirable (selective races, the unborn, etc.) silently go unnoticed and are conveniently pushed to the margins.
In this specific non biblical world view, objects are commonly blamed for crimes (not individuals) and so the theory goes, “If you remove the object, you will reduce crime.” This denies personal responsibility and falsely makes us think we are incapable of making choices without governmental control resulting in “whatever the government says is for our own good” should be blindly gobbled up like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day. The President becomes god. Governmental law becomes the bible. The Supreme Court become our Patriarchs. This country becomes the chosen people. Consequently, this great country becomes more and more lost without a moral compass to bring us back to our Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Our salvation is not the next presidential cycle. Our hope is not our government. Our peace is not our prosperity. Our strength is not in military might. Our love is not predicated on governmental law. Our salvation is secure in Jesus Christ. Hope gives us empowerment through Jesus Christ. Peace is found in Jesus Christ. Our weakness before God gives us strength in Jesus Christ. Our hope rests in Jesus Christ. Our love is predicated on Jesus Christ.
Here is our call to action….
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Prayer circles are much more effective than ballot boxes! I welcome you to pray with me!
Joy is a supernatural gift from God. Joy cannot be produced like sliced cheese in a Wisconsin factory. Joy is not created by an emotional experience, a well crafted sermon, or the amount of possessions you may gather. Joy comes from God as a gift to every follower of Jesus. It is not some euphoric out of the body experience that wreaks of the steaming pile that is new age spirituality. Joy is abundant; its roots beyond humankind, and it is to be enjoyed and experienced by every Christian.
Do you have joy? Lasting joy? Or are you like a lot of other people who have it for a time and then it seems to fade away like last years tax return? There are many things making war on your joy. We will call them “joy robbers.”
Joy Robbers within a Gospel Centered Community (and some truth nuggets to get it back)
- Thankless spirit– A thankless spirit is so consumed with getting more that they cannot be content with what they already have. The result. Loss of joy.
Truth: 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-12, NIV:84 ed.
- Argumentative spirit- An argumentative spirit cannot see others prosper! They divide people more than a political election cycle. They cast a long draining shadow on everyone they are around!
Truth: Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. Philippians 2:14-16, NIV:84 ed.
- Lack of time spent with God- It’s like complaining about running out of fuel as they drive by a gas station. This is absolutely controlled in most cases. Time spent with God is life-giving; less time, less joy, less peace, and less energy to run the good race.
Truth: I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6, NIV:84 ed.
- “I am don’t need others!” attitude- “Humble Yourself!” James 4:10 One of the most deceptive things that Satan has done is to convince people within Christendom that they can walk out their faith on the own. We follow Jesus while helping others follow Jesus.
Truth: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4, NIV:84 ed.
- Dreaming outside of the will of God- Who is in charge, follower of Jesus? Live like it!
Truth: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13, NIV:84 ed.
- Stop Following the Wrong Leader- Again, who is charge? Who are you actually following?
Truth: Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:17-21, NIV:84 ed.
- Corrupt Thought Life- Evil comes from within (see Mark 7:18-23), and yet, what you dwell on and meditate on is a great indicator of the course of your life!
Truth: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9, NIV:84 ed.
If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, you can be. Confess that you have fallen short of God’s perfect standard. Upon your solemn belief that Jesus is God and that he was raised from the dead, confess that you are powerless to fix yourself and you need him to be Lord and Savior of your life. According to Romans 10:9-13, you are saved. Go find a Gospel centered, bible believing, and repentance teaching church and join them in their following of Christ!
If you have made a decision, commitment or re-commitment to Jesus, feel free to share your story! If you are in need of prayer for something, I would consider it a privilege to pray with/for you!
The fruitfulness of a believer is transforming into a Christ like Mind.
A Christ like mind is led by love, peace, and joy.
- Every sin committed against God is an offense to the cross of Jesus Christ. The sins we willfully commit or the ones we commit because of outright laziness. James 4:17
- Christ mindedness says if Jesus calls it a sin; it is a sin, no questions, not how do I feel, nor does it look for a loophole. Titus 2:11-13
- Christ mindedness leads his body to please God. 2 Cor. 5:15
- A Christ minded person sees sexual intimacy as a gift from God and not to be offered to our sinful desires, cravings, and self-deception. Proverbs 5:18-19
- The mind of Christ sees life as valuable, all life, the unborn. Genesis 1:26-28
- Good fruit is choosing to commit to what God says morality should be instead of whatever the government, your boyfriend, or your work decides. Genesis 1:26-28
- A Christ like mind is offended when people of a different race or ethnicity is degraded or taken advantage of because of their skin color.
The fruitfulness of a believer is transforming into a Christ like Attitude.
- A Christ like attitude cares more for showing grace & truth than gaining the approval of people around me. John 1:14
- This kind of attitude says, “God I don’t know what you are up to, but I know you are good and that is enough for me!!!” James 1:2-5
- A Christ like attitude says I am here to serve and not to be served, so they get involved. Mark 10:45
- This type of attitude says if I am able to work for it, I should depend on the government for it. 2 Thes. 3:10, “If a man will not work, he will not eat…” (paraphrase)
The fruitfulness of a believer is transforming into a Christ like Character.
Our character is God’s display case for a watching world.
- A person who humbles themselves so they can be lifted up in God’s strength. 2 Cor. 5:14; James 4:10
- A man who devotes himself to hard work to benefit his family and he commits to shepherd his flock well. Proverbs 11:1; 1 Peter 5:2-3
- A person who will not take short cuts at work to benefit themselves or their boss. Proverbs 11:1
- A mother who spends the day praying for her husband and kids. Philippians 4:6-7
- A teenager who decides that staying pure sexually means staying out of situations. 1 Cor. 6:18
- I will not only avoid evil, but I will try my best to avoid the presence of evil. 1 Thes. 5:22
- If I am a follower of Jesus I need to be committed to a community of believers, Hebrews 10:24-25
A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. John Calvin, Protestant Reformer
What we say when others speak ill of the absolute truth of God’s Word says a lot about us.
- In his classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan writes a beautiful hymn about the difficulties of the Christian journey: “This Hill, though high, I covet to ascend, The Difficulty will not me offend. For I perceive the Way to life lies here: Come pluck up Heart, let’s neither faint nor fear; Better, though difficult, the Right Way to go, Than Wrong, though easy, where the End is Wo.”
This week our country has been rocked again by a terrible mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church, SC, where nine people died.
A young man named Dylann Roof has been brought into custody as the lead suspect in this atrocity.
After the horrendous events in Charleston, many people will demand for Dylann Roof to receive the full extent of the law, and I have no doubt that will happen. The justice system is in place to hold people accountable when they victimize others, and I am thankful it exists. The justice system can hold the accused, tried and convicted accountable but justice isn’t the answer to the deeper needs of Dylann or mankind itself. Prison can keep people from being free to go outside of the walls, but our sin nature has a much greater potential than that.
One of the things it does is keep people content with thinking they are better than others because of their skin color, socioeconomic status and thus, causing bigotry, division and increased hatred. Where does this hatred come from? If you observe kids playing at a daycare, you will see they are color blind. So where does this hatred come from? It is a complicated, generational issue.
The truth of the matter is we were all (white, black, hispanic, Muslim, etc.) made in the Image of God with dignity, value and worth. All of mankind is redeemable and God is ready to receive anyone who would choose Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
My hope for this senseless violence and loss of life is not simply that justice be served, but Dylann and all others would seek after Jesus Christ to make their life complete. Dylann, if proven guilty, should be held accountable, but I hope that he and all others would find the remedy for their restless souls, Jesus Christ.
Only Jesus has the power to redeem a soul, redeem a people, redeem a country, and to put the pieces of a broken life back together (even if imprisoned).
My heart is heavy for those grieving right now. I welcome you to pray with me for the Lord’s hand to heal the brokenness in SC and our country right now. Come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly.
All of mankind longs to know and be known by its Creator. This young man is disturbed, confused, and obviously filled with hatred.