Leaders, whether of churches or government, make decisions that affect us for good or bad. We need to make a point to pray for them daily because we want them to make decisions that are wise and good, fighting evil and promoting goodness and growth/healing of our land. Plus these leaders are extra responsible for their actions when they face God. Please pray for our leaders. May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The truth is hypocrites are everywhere. They are in vhurch and out of church. They are in bars and temples. The real issue is who is working on it? Going to church is putting in an effort to stop screwing up. Yes, sometimes just making it there is all the effort put out, but a lot of people in church are really trying to be better. And when you judge those inside the church for being a hypocrite, aren’t you yourself judging too? And that makes you a hypocrite also because no one is perfect. Not one person, except God. And church is one way to grow closer to God and improve our chances of getting better. So really, not going makes you resolved to remain a hypocrite whereas going to church is a decision to do something about it. So there it is.
Love is a whole, a unity, a common purpose for the benefit of everyone and for God. That sounds utopian or cheesy but it is true. How do I know? Because God is love and He is whole, united, purposeful and beneficial. Love is also good. So it is good to be whole, united, purposeful and beneficial for everyone and God. And this is always true, so it is true for countries, marriages, relationships, communities, churches. So what divides? Well, anything, even things that look good, that diminishes the importance of destroys the unity, whole, purpose, benefit for everyone and God. Pretty basic and simple, I think. Who would want to divide? Someone who pridefully wants their benefit to outshine everyone’s benefit is one. Distractions of entertainment or tech or social media or gossip or other distractions that draw you from the purpose and unity. The enemy of love or God is another. People who glorify their ideas above truth, whether because of mental problems or their own philosophies’ importance to them. The thing is truth is truth. And because love is good and whole and united and purposeful and beneficial to everyone for God, these thing provide what love provides, which is peace and joy and hope and self control and gentleness and faithfulness. It is beautiful when it works well. Thing that can divide marriages are lies, prideful self gratifications separate from your spouse, disrespect by treating yourself as more important than the feelings of your spouse, or arguments about money or raising children, etc. Things that can divide church are lies, marital division, denominations, gossip, traditions, dogma, false accusations, disagreements and personality clashes, or distractions, etc. Things that can divide countries are lies, separate government parties, misrepresentation, damaging media (more lies), false accusations, injustice, glorification of hate and evil, church division, marital division, etc. So there is a lot of work the enemy is putting in to dividing our marriages/families, church and country. But as damaging and successful as it seems that is, the cure is actually much much much stronger. Love is the answer. Being good and loving to each other is the start. Being united and whole and purposeful and beneficial to each other for God is the outcome. Overcome evil with the much stronger force of good. God, the most powerful and smart and loving force in the entire universe is on the side of good, love, unity, purpose. Choose to be good and kind and respectful in every relationship of your life, starting with your spouse then children then church then country. It is a choice. It is worth every effort you put into it. We cannot change anyone but we can change ourselves. We can love! Everything starts there.
Tonight, I saw a broadcast about a particular church in Idaho, I believe, who saw their church sleeping and dying off and prayed sincerely about it. They converted their church building into a multi culture, multi language church to house people who needed to gather together to pray. It moved my heart and my spirit warmed and stirred to write this. God established followers of Him and His risen Son Jesus Christ to spread His message of love and hope, peace and joy, truth and light to the world. Somewhere in there we have become a nation of sleeping churches, laxidasical and content churches that are more concerned with critiquing the music, watching the clock on the sermons or the comfort level of the building. I believe that is why God warns against the bridesmaids sleeping and not being ready and I wonder if we all realize just how soon Jesus is returning? Would He be happy with lazy whiners asleep on the job? Would you be? And where are those standing for Israel, our Ally and brothers and sisters and fathers in faith? Those for Israel are protected by a promise from God. Those against her are cursed by Him. Is that where we want to be? Where is the outrage at these de isions being made against our will and deep seated desire to stand with our friends? We need to wake up. I mean me. I mean you. Not a nod of agreement and a somber “Amen” but a fasting and praying collectively and doing some serious work in the communities we live, mission work we are all called to do. It is time to awaken. It is imperative. I do not want anyone in hell on my watch.
The small, quaint Michigan town I grew up in was so small that everyone knew everyone, maybe once removed, but love and respect for each other thrived. People helped people, people knew people, people were there when you needed them and open to your help when they needed it. Of course exceptions exist, not everyone having the same commitment to morality as happens everywhere, but for the most part this was true. The town for the most part respected God and America and our people and military. It was a great place to live. I miss that. But even in that beautiful town, outside influences have damaged many of the town’s people’s commitment to church attendance. I noticed that many of the faithful still go to the best church I have known, but many choose not to. I would encourage everyone to be a part of a church. I understand many are turned off by imperfections of people. If you think people are perfect anywhere, I have some land to sell you. But hard times are coming and church family is a vital source of encouragement and focus on God. Imperitive under any circumstances, we need to band together in unity, even if it is a few couples in their homes. Just a thought.
When my mind is fluctuating from calm to crazy, as is its custom of late, a much sweeter remembrance, my way of refocusing is to go back to my original home in Buchanan, Michigan. My life was not perfect but it had perfect moments I can focus on and gleen from. I had moments of singing or playing the piano on stage in church as a solo or with my choir friends, led by Judy Earnst, who always got the best out of us and I appreciate to this day for doing so. I remember riding bikes with my best friend Shawn Quick (now Shafer) and meeting her for a slushie at the 7-11 on warm days or by McCoy creek or the park across the street from her house on Moccasin Rd. I remember spending the night at her house and going down to the donut shop in the morning and splitting a long john. I remember running the fields with Sheba, our black lab, or working them to pull the rocks or weeds out as need arose. I remember mowing 14 acres of grass on the riding mower. I remember breathing in the night air while laying on my thinking rock and watching the stars. I remember homemade ice cream Daddy made and how amazing it tasted. I remember softball and my succint pleasure in hitting that ball as hard as I could and surprising everyone with how fast I could run. I remember my grandparents, both sets, and how very thankful I am that I got to know them and be related to such wise, amazing people. I remember walking through the woods in the back yard on the trails and enjoying sitting quietly enough to see deer come close by and rabbits hop about and foxes eye me up. I remember the smell of freshly cut hay and how heavy a hay bale is. I remember how beautiful downtown Buchanan was to me and loved riding by the Jordan River, that muddy murky river always on the move, always interesting to see. I remember swimming at Phil and Dale Weldy’s pool with the church or my friends and swinging on their amazing tree swing, how high that would go! I remember my amazing Aunt Rosie and long to see her and love how encouraging she has always been. There are so many beautiful treasures of memories all snugged in my mind. These are my roots I fall back on, my core, my happy place. Here is where I have needed to be of late, so many ugly things happening in the world around us, so many difficult things happening personally. So I go back. I long to take off and visit my family back home. I want to see them so badly, it has been too long, but I must content myself with fond memories of those simpler times and appreciate such a beautiful collection of happy thoughts to sort from. These moments are gifts. And even if life was rough, as mine often was, there are always those options to choose to focus on and draw from to help you remember you really grew up as God’s child. He never leaves you without some blessings. He never leaves you completely alone. He won’t now.
The original sin of the original sinner, Satan, was pride. So every sin since has been rooted in pride. It is the most natural root of all sin because we are built in with this sense of goodness in self and a desire to care for and protect ourself. It is easily blown out of proportion and switched to a desire to get more than our fair share perhaps and that can manifest itself lots of ways. Recently I saw a new set of ugly in an attitude of pride which manifested itself within the church as a supposed self righteous indignation. I saw accusations hurled in an attempt to get back at for some perceived wrong, to look right to the world to cover their own sins, a flaw which was taken to the church authorities in an attempt to divide a church just to get back at someone for something they actually did. And at first seeing this I was angry because it throws spit up at my Lord by saying He authorized dividing His church, which He never would and by judging another as guilty and self as perfect when My Lord said we are all having sin and do not judge. Those which use His name and attach it to their own will and pride to justify their own sinful desires and faults are to me the ugliest sort of criminals. But upon further thinking, I began to realize that people who do this are pathetic, lost souls that need the One they are claiming to know better than the truth of the Bible. You cannot distort the truth of the Bible and create your own truth with some verses thrown in for out of context support and expect to live a fulfilled life. Truth of the Bible needs to be read and heard in its entirety. The better you know the Book, the better you know the Hero of it. Picking and choosing what you like to suit your own selfish prideful desires and whims and thoughts follows a dangerous line of reasoning which is based on lies. And that is very sad because you miss the point then entirely. The point, ladies and gentlemen, is that truth is truth. It is not based on your interpretation of the truth or your idea of what the truth might mean in this situation. It stands for itself. Truth need never be defended. Truth does not require your biased interpretation. Not one bit. And truth always wins. It is a quiet defender of itself and is never shaken, never wrong, never weak, never meandering, never wavering. Truth stands alone. And it stands for whoever seeks it devotedly with a humble heart. So those weak ones attacked by lies or biases or prideful ones actually are a million times stronger with a much better fate than their attacker because the humble are lifted high. What lifts them? Truth. When truth is on your side, you do not need anything else. Truth protects and uplifts and where you humbly allow it to work, truth will be your greatest hero and ally. How is that possible? Because God is truth. There is no truth apart from God. So when truth is on your side, so is the greatest Superpower in the history of anything at all. And I would much rather fall on my face in humility and allow God and His truth to work than to stand pridefully up against Him to feel better about yourself for a minute or justify incorrectly your own perfection, as if. The choice is between bowing low to God of your own volition or being forced to later, I choose to bow.