Jesus, the Unwelcomed Lover (Luke 13:31-35)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of Luke

Have you ever had your love rejected? It hurts when someone rejects your love, whether you are 13, 23, or 73 years old. Oh, the pain of rejected love!

In today’s passage, I want you to see how Jesus’ love is often unwelcomed and rejected. But before we read our text, let me review the context and setting. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified (v. 22). The opposition against Him was growing stronger and more vocal. The common people loved Him and heard Him gladly, but the religious crowd hated Him because He exposed their hypocrisy and wickedness. Let’s pick up with Luke 13:31-35:

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to Him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill You.”

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

In these words, you can almost feel the depth of love and compassion Jesus had for His people. That’s the same kind of love He has for you today. Let’s learn three important things about Jesus’ love:

1. Jesus is a fearless lover

The Pharisees warned Jesus that Herod was out to kill Him, so He had better leave town by sundown. He was no friend of the Pharisees, so this warning was probably a scare tactic intended to spook Jesus.

Herod Antipas was a powerful governor who had the authority to execute anyone he desired. A few months earlier, he had beheaded John the Baptist at the request of his cunning stepdaughter, who was also his niece. Herod had nightmares that Jesus was actually John come back from the dead.

Jesus’ reply is priceless. He makes a joke of Herod. He says, “You tell that fox…” (v. 32). That’s an example of Hebrew humor. He was offering a caricature of Herod as a sneaky, cunning, predatory animal—actually pretty funny if you knew anything about Herod! He was more animal-like in his passions than human.

This response reveals Jesus’ courage. He is a fearless lover. He indicated He was going to keep on doing what He had been doing and Herod would not slow Him down. He had a job to do and He had a goal to accomplish. In verse 32, Jesus said, “I WILL reach my goal.” His goal was to redeem sinful mankind—and He knew He would have to die as the sacrificial Lamb to provide forgiveness. Nothing would cause Him to detour from the destination of the cross. Jesus was not afraid of Herod because He knew He already had a date with death and it wouldn’t be at the hands of Herod. Jesus did not die some martyr’s death over which He had no control. They did not execute Him; He willingly laid down His life. He makes that clear by what He said in John 10:17-18: “The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.” Revelation 13:8 says Jesus is the Lamb of God who was “slain from the creation of the world.” The cross was not an afterthought of God. It was not “Plan B” because Adam and Eve sinned. It was not a contingency plan—it was always God’s plan.

In a few days, Jesus was going to carry a literal cross from Pilate’s fort to a hill outside Jerusalem. But Jesus was already carrying that cross in His mind and heart. At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus knew He would die and rise again. He said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again” (John 2:19). That’s why He was a fearless lover.

Human nature always wants to “detour from the difficult” instead of staying the course. Human nature says, “Get out of that bad marriage” or “Don’t submit to that difficult boss.” But there is a cross for all of us who would follow Jesus and we must be fearless in carrying it.

Jesus laughed and said, “You tell that fox…” On the surface, it seems as if Herod was the old fox who was being laughed at, but on a different level, I think Jesus was also laughing at the fox of death, the death Herod had the power to inflict. Jesus laughed at death.

Here’s the personal application for each of us: when we belong to God, we don’t have to fear any fox! When we are carrying the cross of Jesus, we have already died to self. You can’t scare a dead man. When we’re carrying the cross, it’s a liberating experience because we don’t have to be afraid of anybody or anything.

When the ship captain delivered the first missionaries to the wild jungle, he said, “I don’t know why you are going to those savages because they will kill you.” The missionary replied, “They can’t kill us because we have already died.”

The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18). That’s why Jesus wasn’t afraid. He possessed a perfect love for us. Jesus laughed in the face of the fear of death. You and I don’t have to be afraid either. When we are carrying the cross of Christ, we can laugh at any threat. I love the comment about the “Proverbs 31 woman.” The Bible says a godly woman is able to “laugh at the days to come” (Prov. 31:25). When you are carrying the cross, you can face any threat of the future and laugh at it. That’s what Jesus did – He made a joke about Herod and his deathly threat.

What are you afraid of today? Death? Financial ruin? Terrorist attack? Disease? When you truly belong to God there is nothing in this life that can rob you of your joy and your promise of eternal life. Some people go through this life whining and complaining and moaning and groaning that life isn’t fair. Hey, this life isn’t fair, but this life isn’t all there is! So get over it and get under the cross! Start living a life under the cross where you can laugh at the things that ought to scare you. Jesus is a fearless lover and what a lesson for all of us!

2. Jesus is a protective lover

This passage could be called Animal Planet because Jesus makes references to two different animals. He compared Herod and death to a fox, and He compared Himself to a mother hen. Look at verse 34 again. Jesus says, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Can you hear the depth of passion and heartache in that cry? There are many pictures in the Bible that describe God’s nature and character: He is a rock, the door, a shepherd, the light… and there are many others. God’s character is so multi-faceted that none of these images fully communicate the richness of His nature. Each one gives us a small insight into how He wants to relate to us.

Have you ever thought of God as a mother hen? Jesus was standing over Jerusalem with His arms of love outstretched, but the Jews were unwilling to accept His love. Jerusalem will never have peace until they acknowledge the Prince of Peace. Now, I must admit, I have never raised chickens, and maybe some of you have, so you may know more about chickens than I do. But we can learn something about God by understanding a mother hen.

A hen constantly calls her chicks. Maybe you have been around a chicken yard and heard them clucking, and thought they were clucking just to hear themselves cluck. But each hen has a distinctive cluck and clucks constantly, so her chicks can find her. Her chicks recognize her call. Jesus is constantly calling us to Himself as well. He says, “Come to Me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). If we are wise, we will recognize and respond to the call of Jesus.

A hen calls them to feed. In every chicken yard there is a clearly established “pecking order.” The most dominant chickens get the first chance at food. As you can imagine, little chicks are pretty far down the pecking order. That’s why we are told to “stay right in the center” of God’s love. Like those little chicks Jesus spoke of, we should stay under the protective wings of God. We should be like a little child running to a parent with our arms outstretched and open—and get into the zone of His blessing and grace. Some of you are Christians and God loves you, but you have left the shelter of His love. Today, you can come back to Him and get back into the center of His love.

3. Jesus is a rejected lover

Verse 34 contains five of the saddest words in the Universe. Jesus said, “but you were not willing.” Jesus loves us so much He died for our sins. There is a heaven and a hell, and if a person lives their entire life rejecting His love, they will spend eternity in hell. I suspect He will say to each person who goes to hell, “I wanted to protect you and shelter you like a hen protects her chicks… but you were not willing.”

I can understand how Jesus’ heart was broken because His Jewish brothers and sisters rejected Him. The Bible says, “He came to that which was His own, but his own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). When I was in the eighth grade, there was a girl who rejected my love—and the result was only a minor broken heart. But the consequences of rejecting Jesus’ love are much more severe. Any person who rejects God’s love will experience spiritual desolation. When I think of the word “desolate,” I imagine a dry, barren desert where there is no shade and no water. I’ve known people, and perhaps you are one of them, who are experiencing spiritual desolation. There are no springs of living water bubbling up in their personalities. There is no fruit, no joy, no peace—only barrenness and desolation. Are you there?

The most amazing thing Jesus said in this passage is that we have the power to choose. Those last four words in verse 34 are some of the most powerful words in the universe. Jesus says to us, “I will love you and shelter you like a mother hen protects her chicks if you are willing.” You have the power to choose. When you choose to change the direction of your life, that’s called repentance. Have you ever repented and accepted Jesus’ love?

Today, Jesus invites you to run under His wings of safety and warmth. Some of you are Christians who left the circle of His love. He never stopped loving you, but you have vacated that zone of blessing. Will you move back to a position of obedience, so He can bless you? Others of you need to accept His love for the first time. Will you do that? If you choose not to receive His offer of love, for you He is still Jesus, the unwelcomed lover.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/jesus-the-unwelcomed-lover-2/

The Door to Heaven is Narrow (Luke 13:22-30)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of Luke

This is a message that will tell you how you can go to heaven when you die.

There are two doors after death: destruction or delight, and we choose which door we will pass through while we are alive; either the narrow door to heaven or the wide door to hell. Many of you are already believers and know you are going to heaven, so you may wonder why I’m speaking on this topic. The Bible makes it clear that many people think they are going to heaven, but they are mistaken. So it’s good to occasionally clear our minds of all of our preconceived notions and consider how a person can go to heaven. Heaven can only be entered through a narrow door. Have you found heaven’s narrow door? Let’s read about it in Luke 13:22-30.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But He will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

If we want to enter heaven, there are four important truths we need to understand:

1. There is Only One Door to Heaven and it is Narrow

These words of Jesus are not politically correct in our age of religious pluralism. If Jesus came to America preaching this message today, He would be labeled a radical and would probably be arrested. In fact, that’s exactly why the Jews arrested Him and executed Him 2,000 years ago.

To say there is only one way to heaven is an unpopular stance today. Most people think there are many ways to get to heaven. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are “sincere.” Well, those Palestinian suicide bombers are sincere in their beliefs, and they are wrong. You can be sincere – and be sincerely wrong.

A man told me he thought getting to heaven was like flying in an airplane. I could fly American Airlines, he could fly Delta, and somebody else could fly Northwest airlines, but we’d all get to the same destination. “Doesn’t that sound logical?” he asked.

I told him it sounded logical, but when you get on an airliner, you could never be 100% certain it would arrive at the intended destination; it could be diverted by weather, hijacked, have mechanical problems, or even crash. I told him I am booked to fly on Jesus Airlines and it’s the only one in the universe with a 100% on time arrival record! For Jesus (or any of us) to insist there is just one way to heaven seems too narrow-minded in this age of enlightenment. But look at His words again in verse 24: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Jesus didn’t speak of different doors or different airliners. He didn’t say “enter through one of the narrow doors.” He spoke of the narrow door.

Other Scriptures confirm there is only one way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Now, let me misquote this verse the way most folks believe. They think Jesus said, “I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and one kind of life. No one comes to the Father unless they are religious, good, kind, and sincere in whatever it is they believe.” But Jesus didn’t say He was one of the ways or even the best way; He said He is the only way.

For five decades, Billy Graham had been filling stadiums around the world preaching Jesus is the only way to heaven. He always had a banner with John 14:6 placed in a prominent place. Many people thought his position was too narrow-minded. Several years ago, after he conducted a crusade in Australia, a woman wrote a letter of complaint to the newspaper. Her words are typical of many who do not appreciate our insistence that Jesus is the only way to heaven. She wrote, “After hearing Billy Graham on the air and viewing him on television, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving–whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin, although his preaching insists I do. Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children about goodness and not about sin. If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.”

Sadly, Jesus confirmed that millions of people share her attitude. He pointed out that only a small percentage of the entire population are going to be saved and He was dogmatic about it!

What’s wrong with being dogmatic about some things? If you go in for surgery, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to say to you the night before the surgery, “I don’t want to be dogmatic about the way to do this surgery. I think I’ll try a different approach this time. I may try going in from the other side for a change. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” You’d say, “But I’m not a cat and I don’t want to be skinned! Do the surgery the way you were taught to do it!” How far do you think the surgeon would get if he did it the wrong way?

We can’t bend God’s rules either. The people in this passage were at the door; they were even knocking on the door. But almost getting into the door won’t get us into heaven. When it comes to our eternal salvation there is only one door. What is it?

2. Heaven’s Door is Knowing God by Knowing Jesus

A few years ago, I conducted a survey. One of the questions on the survey was: “In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?” As you can imagine, I got a variety of interesting answers. Everybody has an opinion. The most common incorrect answer to the question of how to get into heaven was: “Do good or be good.” Wrong. Access to eternal life in heaven can only be gained when we have a personal relationship with God.

In verse 25, Jesus describes people who will be pounding on heaven’s door after it is shut. They will be hollering, “Let me in! Open the door! I went to church; I even went to Sunday School! I gave my money to the church. I even worked for You! Hey, let me in!” Notice the reply of the Master of the house. He says, “I don’t know you.” It’s all about knowing God. Do you know Jesus Christ? Does He know you? He said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” Do you recognize God’s voice when you hear it? Do you know Jesus and does He know you?

All of us in this room know about President Obama. Maybe you’ve met him or shaken his hand, but do you really know him? Have you visited with him enough that you are known by him? The same can be said about Jesus. Everyone here knows about Jesus, but some of you might have had casual contact with Him. Others of us have met Him and we know Him intimately because we talk with Him regularly (by the way, it’s easier to gain access to Jesus than it is to President Obama, so feel free to get to know Him).

Eternal life is knowing Jesus. Let me call your attention to the verse that best defines what eternal life is: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is knowing God. That’s the door to heaven and it is the only way to get into heaven.

I love to read fables because they are like the parables of Jesus. Many of them teach practical lessons that can be applied to spiritual truth. There’s an old Russian fable about a cat and a fox. The fox bragged to the cat about how clever he was. He claimed he had hundreds of ways of escaping from the hunters who chased him. He could hide in a hole, or backtrack in a creek, or lie flat in tall grass. He was proud of his big bag of tricks. The cat replied she only had one way of escape, but that seemed to work.

At that moment, they heard the sounds of the hounds coming toward them. The cat scampered up the tree and hid herself among the leaves. She said to the fox, “This is my plan. What are you going to do?” The fox first thought of one plan, then of another. While he was debating the best plan the hounds came closer. At last, in his confusion, the fox was caught by the hounds and soon killed by the hunters. The cat witnessed the whole scene and provides the moral of the story: “Better to have one safe way than a hundred by which you cannot be sure.”

God is Spirit and no man can see Him without dying. That’s why Jesus came to this planet. God took on human flesh and became one of us, so we can relate to Him. Jesus said, “I am the door; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The narrow door into heaven is Jesus Himself. There is no other way to get to heaven than by trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

Maybe you have heard of the name, “Ivan the Terrible.” He was crowned the first Czar or Caesar of Russia in 1547. He was cruel and ruthless. He gouged out the eyes of the architects who built the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral, so they would never be able to build anything more beautiful. He had seven wives and abused them all. He even killed his own son in a fit of anger. There were many reasons why people called him “terrible.”

When he died in 1584 the leaders of the church followed his strange instructions. They shaved his head and dressed him in a Monk’s robe. Ivan the Terrible knew he was such a wicked man that he was hoping God would mistake him for a monk and let him into heaven. But you can’t get into heaven by disguising yourself as someone and hoping God will mistake you for him or her. There is only one door and that door is Jesus.

3. There are Only Two Doors Leading to Eternity – Choose Your Door

Each of us faces these doors. Behind one is eternal life and delight. Behind the other is death and destruction. There is no mystery involved in these doors. The doors are clearly marked and Jesus tells us what is behind each door. Beginning in verse 28, Jesus describes the fate of those who don’t enter through the narrow door. He says there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That means there will be hopeless sorrow and unending pain. It makes me shiver in revulsion just thinking about it. Jesus said these people will “see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets.” One of the worst parts of hell is the ability to realize others are in heaven and you aren’t. What a terrible place hell will be. In his epic, Inferno, Dante described hell as having different levels and circles of torment. He created minute details you never find in Scripture, but he got it right in one respect. He inscribed over the gate to hell these words: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Then Jesus contrasts that awful scene with the delightful glories of heaven. People from all four points of the compass, from all over the planet will gather for a feast! The Kingdom of God is like a feast, not a funeral. So, how do you get to enjoy the party and miss the pain? Choose the right door. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lets us know there are actually two doors that lead to two totally different destinies. He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Consider the two doors. The one leading to destruction and hell is wide, and easy to find. Jesus said most of the world is on the pathway that leads to that door. But the door that leads to the delight of eternal life is narrow and only a few find it. God loves us so much He has made a way for us to know Him and to spend eternity with Him. But He also loves us so much that He has honored us by giving us the capacity to choose.

4. Heaven’s Door is Open Now, But Someday it Will be Shut

I can tell you on this very day, God’s door of grace is still wide open. But in verse 25, Jesus says one day the Master of the house will get up and close the door: “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.” The door could close for you today. You could die today and that would close the door. Or, Jesus could return today and that would close the door of grace as well. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know things are heating up to a new level in Israel. All of that is a clear indication we are in the season of the return of Christ. So, if you haven’t trusted Jesus yet, do it today. Christian, if there is someone you know and love who hasn’t walked through God’s narrow door yet, don’t let another day pass by without lovingly urging them to trust Jesus alone for their salvation.

You can choose to enter heaven’s door today. Jesus said it’s a narrow door. Think about that for a minute. It’s so narrow only one person can walk through it at one time. In other words, you can’t walk through heaven’s door holding someone else’s hand. I thank God my parents raised me in church and sent me to Christian school, but when it came time for me to give my life to Jesus, I walked through that door all by myself. Some of you think because your grandfather was a preacher or your mother was a godly saint that you can walk through the door with them, but you can’t. The narrow door to heaven says, “One person at a time.”

Do you know what else it means because it’s a narrow door? It’s so narrow you can’t bring a bunch of excess baggage with you. In fact, you’ve got to unload all your “stuff” before you walk through it. I read once about a hiker who got trapped in a cave. He found a small opening to escape, but he couldn’t squeeze through with his backpack. So, he removed his backpack, and then his canteen, and then his jacket before he could slip through the opening. When you walk through the narrow door of heaven, you’ve got to leave your backpack of sinful habits and sinful attitudes behind. As the old song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, Only to your cross I cling.”

Have you discovered heaven’s narrow door? Jesus is inviting you to come to Him today. Is there a need in your life? Does there seem to be an unquenchable thirst in your soul you haven’t been able to satisfy by anything this world offers? On the last page of the Bible, God extends an invitation to all of us. He says, “Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink. Drink freely of the Water of Life!” (Revelation 22:17).

The Bible speaks about another kind of door: it’s the door to your heart. And the way you walk through heaven’s door is by asking Jesus to come into the door of your heart. The most famous painting of the 19th century is by English artist Holman Hunt and is called “The Light of the World.” It’s a dark picture because it is night, symbolizing that the night has come and the day of salvation is almost over. Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns and standing at a door with a lantern in His hand. He is knocking on the door and His message is hard to miss. Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Art critics looked at the painting and pointed out that Holman Hunt made a mistake–there was no latch on the door. His reply silenced the critics. He said the door of our heart only has a doorknob on the inside. We are the only ones who can open our hearts to Jesus.

Right now, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He’s knocking. Do you hear His voice? Will you open your heart to Him? When you do that, you will have found Heaven’s narrow door.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/the-door-to-heaven-is-narrow-luke-1322-30/

VIDEO Behind The Mask -The Left’s Normalization Of Collective Guilt Is Ripping America Apart

All decent Americans stand against racism. But if we’re to live as brothers, we must stop indicting all those who share a skin tone for the sins of others.

The Left’s Normalization Of Collective Guilt Is Ripping America Apart

By Joshua Lawson JUNE 4, 2020

I was nowhere near the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street when George Floyd tragically lost his life. I wasn’t in Minnesota. I was more than 500 miles away. With the exception of the officers at that heartbreaking scene, there are more than 329 million additional Americans who had no part in that terrible evening.

So why are so many people acting as if it were their knee, not Derek Chauvin’s, that pressed down on George Floyd? The answer lies in the concerted effort of radical leftists and their unwitting accomplices to normalize the collectivization of guilt.

The Great Guilting

It’s nothing entirely new. In 1980, Howard Zinn and his Marxist, ahistorical, and repugnant textbook “A Peoples History of the United States” began mainstreaming the idea that Caucasians bore collective guilt for all of America’s past sins. By securing the blessings of the academic intelligentsia, he had support in the most valuable places.

Thankfully, Zinn didn’t have modern-day social media at his disposal. One shudders to think how wide Zinn’s reach could have been with a few million followers on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. But if you’ve looked around the social media landscape recently, you’ve witnessed the unleashing of a radical movement beyond his wildest dreams.

Leftist influencers have convinced millions of Americans that the only way they will be allowed in polite society, the only way they will be perceived as decent is if they accept culpability for Floyd’s death and the “systemically racist society” they apparently helped create.

The radical left demands Caucasians apologize for their “privilege.” They must read, internalize, and publicly praise books on approved reading lists in order to come to grips with their “unconscious” and deep-seated racism. They must shop at black-owned businesses on sites like WeBuyBlack.comtheblackwallet.com, and shoppeblack.us as further proof of their solidarity. But is there much doubt that if the color was changed from “black” to “white,” that the Southern Poverty Law Center wouldn’t label these sites sources of hate?

On June 2, Instagram was flooded with people posting pictures of black boxes in support of Black Lives Matter activists. Quickly, however, an ever-growing list of “suggestions” muddled the “rules” of who should post and in what manner was pleasing to the Blackout Tuesday folks. Actress and feminist activist Emma Watson was attacked on Twitter for both posting the boxes and for taking so long. You can’t win.

Branded for the Sins of Others

It is always good to remind people not to be racist—though it is doubtful just how much reminding is needed between the legacy media, television, and movies all constantly promoting that message.

What’s sad is that so many good, utterly non-racist Americans feel if they don’t go through the “approved” steps they’ll be roped together with actual white supremacists.

Not to be left out, business from coffee chains to game developers also feel they must denounce what we have always known to be evil, namely, the unwarranted taking of another human life.

It would be ridiculous and unjust to blame a 20-year-old Russian for the heinous atrocities committed by Joseph Stalin more than 70 years ago. It would still be unjust to blame a 90-year-old woman who lived in the Soviet Union while Stalin was alive for the millions who died under his tyrannical rule.

According to crime statistics compiled by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice, 2,925 black Americans were murdered in 2018. The details show that 88 percent of the perpetrators of these homicides were black themselves. Yet no logical, honest person would blame all black Americans for these deaths. To do so would throw blood onto innocent hands. The radical left, however, has been attempting this sort of collectivization of guilt with renewed vigor ever since the New York Times published its first “1619 Project” essays in August 2019.

A Natural Extension of the 1619 Project

The 1619 Project isn’t about making you feel contempt and anger for those who brought the first black slaves from Africa to Virginia four centuries ago. It’s about making all Caucasians and all Westerners feel as if they piloted the slave ships themselves. Its main thesis—and heinous lie—is that America is an irredeemably vile nation, conceived in sin.

In a disturbing example of the confluence of the 1619 Project and modern corporate guilt-tripping, Ben & Jerry’s issued a statement that reads like an updated version of the radical Port Huron manifesto—only it’s angrier and more incendiary. What does an ice cream company have to do with any of this? You’re not allowed to ask. Sit down and take your medicine.

“The murder of George Floyd,” the dairy brothers proclaim, “was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning.”

Then, to prove their outrage bona fides, they go for the gold and tag 1619 for the finisher: “What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent.”

The statement closes by calling on “white America” to “collectively acknowledge its privilege” and “take responsibility for its past.”

Of the host of problems with the screed published by Ben & Jerry’s is that even if it were legitimate for Americans to “take responsibility” for all of the nation’s past sins, not only is it functionally impossible to do so, but radical leftists aren’t interested. That’s not the point. The point is to keep the anger machine firing on all cylinders. That’s the only way they get the permanent revolution they’re after.

Unlike the sin that man commits to his fellow man, for the authors of the 1619 Project, there is no hope for forgiveness, no chance for reconciliation, no way to atone.

If, as the 1619 advocates claim, the seeds are toxic and the tree is poisonous, then the only thing left to do is burn it all down. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the author of the lead 1619 essay, recently told CBS News, “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.” While all Americans are indeed created equal, Pulitzer Prizes are clearly not.

Rebuilding Brotherhood—One Brother at a Time

Americans want to stand with those peacefully protesting injustice. But the radical Left offers either the choice of self-condemnation for evils Americans had no hand in, or to be silent and stay that way. If the second option is chosen, that very silence is viewed as an indictment of “complicity” often seen by the Left as akin to violence itself. Ultimately, that’s no choice at all.

It now appears that Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin will be charged with second-degree murder. Justice will be served, and Chauvin will be tried by a judge and jury of his peers. If the court finds him guilty, the penalty—40 years in prison—will be harsh but fair.

It is horrible, it is sad, and it is tragic, but George Floyd will not be the last man to die at the hands of law enforcement. The next time a life is lost to an abuse of police power, it must be denounced once again, and the perpetrators subjected to our civilized courts of trial, deliberation, and justice. But we need to start finally viewing each other as individuals responsible for our actions, and our actions alone.

Every day, we each commit personal acts of vice, virtue, and all shades in between. As individual men and women, we bear the guilt and reap the penalties for our own sins and crimes. As individual men and women, we earn praise for righteous behavior.

This nation isn’t just built on freedom and equality. Central to the American experience is the chance for a new life, and with it, redemption. If we surrender that, we’ll be left with far too much anger and hatred. And we won’t like what follows.

 

Joshua Lawson is managing editor of The Federalist. He is a graduate of Queen’s University as well as the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College where he received a master’s degree in American politics and political philosophy. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaMLawson.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/04/how-lefts-normalization-collective-guilt-ripping-america-apart/


Behind the Black Mask: The Real Truth About Antifa | Gabriel Nadales


 

Friendship Founded in Forgiveness

By    •   January 30, 2019 

Erik Fitzgerald (left) and Matthew Swatzell (right) formed an unlikely friendship after a profound tragedy. Photograph: TODAY.com

On Oct. 2, 2006, Matthew Swatzell headed home after working a 24-hour shift as a firefighter/EMT in Dacula, Ga. He was only a few miles from home when he nodded off for just a couple of seconds, crossed over the center line of the road and crashed into another car. Inside the car was a young woman, June Fitzgerald, who was seven months pregnant with a baby boy, and her 19-month-old daughter, Faith. 

June’s husband, Erik Fitzgerald, a youth pastor at the time, remembers the day vividly: “I was at home, and I was getting ready to go to seminary because I had classes that day. The senior pastor from my church came by the house and was banging on the front door, so I ran to the front, and he said, ‘June was in an accident; we need to go.’”

At the time, Erik didn’t know much of what happened, but as soon as he got to the emergency room and was ushered to the pre-counseling room, he knew it wasn’t good.

“When I walked in, the doctor was sitting down with my wife’s parents and going over what had happened. That’s when he let us know that June didn’t make it and they weren’t able to save my son.”

Erik had little time to process as he had to get to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, where his daughter had been taken by ambulance. When he got to the other hospital and found out that Faith had survived, he was thankful, but he began to break down as the weight of all that happened started to sink in. 

Two days after the accident was a day when Erik would normally lead his student ministry. The regular meeting was canceled, but Erik agreed to let the middle schoolers and high schoolers come over to his house. 

“We were all sharing memories of June and just trying to process a little bit as a unit because June was very involved in the student ministry,” Erik said. One of the girls, whose father was a fireman at the same fire department as Matthew, said, “We need to remember Matthew in our prayers, too, because he’s hurting and he’s struggling.” 

In that moment, Erik was reminded that there was somebody else involved in the accident and that he wasn’t the only one hurting. He realized that this was an opportunity for him to put into practice the forgiveness he preached. Although he was heartbroken by the loss of his wife and son and preparing for life as a widower and single father, Erik decided not to press any charges against Matthew, but instead, chose to forgive him. 

Due to legal proceedings, the men were not allowed to communicate until the case was closed. It wasn’t until the day before the two-year anniversary of the accident, in a grocery store parking lot, that they connected, and a life-changing conversation took place. 

“I was at the grocery store actually buying Erik a card, and I was going to run it by his house and drop it in his mailbox,” Matthew said. “I was about to leave, and I look up, and I see Erik walking into the grocery store.”

From inside the store, Erik noticed Matthew. “He was just kind of standing outside of his truck, and tears were coming down his face. So I just walked up and gave him a hug.

“I didn’t want him to let the accident define him,” Erik said. “I wanted him to know that God’s got a bigger plan than this. I didn’t want him to let this hold him back or be baggage that he carried the rest of his life. 

“So I told him, ‘Man, I forgive you. I’m not hanging on to anger. I’m not; there’s no resentment here. It was an accident. I don’t want you to feel any burden on my behalf.’”

After about two hours talking in the parking lot, Erik told Matthew, “You might think I’m crazy, but I feel like I’m supposed to walk with you through life.” 

Matthew responded, “That’s exactly the way I feel. I’d like to stay connected with you.”

From that moment on—for more than 10 years now—the two men have remained friends. They get together several times a year and they try to talk at least once a month. The forgiveness that Erik extended to Matthew formed the foundation of a friendship that has changed both their lives.

“It gave me a different perspective and a different purpose,” Matthew said. “For those two years I wore around guilt, but when I finally had a chance to talk to Erik and let him know that I was sorry, and to then have him embrace me and tell me that he forgave me, it completely flipped my life around. It flipped my purpose, it flipped my spirituality, it flipped everything. Just seeing Erik and how he’s handled this and how he’s become a friend to me, it’s what I want to be able to give back to other people. Let them know that there’s nothing that they can do wrong that can’t be forgiven.”

As this act of forgiveness changed Matthew’s life, it deeply impacted Erik’s as well. “For me,” he said, “it was an opportunity for the event to not be the end. Yes, I lost June and my son, but it wasn’t a period. It was a comma, and that allowed God to begin and continue to do good through it.”

Though it wasn’t the easiest thing to do, Erik chose to obey God’s Word, which says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

“Forgiven people forgive people,” Erik says. “That’s just true. There are no caveats. There are no ifs, ands or buts. As a Christian, I’ve received forgiveness; I need to also forgive. … You’ve got to begin to live it out. It is a process. There are days where you’ve got to wake up and just remind yourself, I’m forgiven and I forgive. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. You don’t have to feel like it. It’s a process of faithfully living out what God has firmly told us to do in His Word, but there’s a moment where you’ve got to make a decision, and you’ve got to surrender and say ‘I’m going to do it God’s way.’”

Both men agree that their friendship is a demonstration of God’s faithfulness to His children. “All along the way continuing to see good, continuing to see growth, continuing to see this friendship develop and God continuing to do a good work, it reminds you of how He can make beautiful things from your ashes and He can restore. He can bring new life,” Erik said. “It doesn’t have to be a period. It can be a comma, and if we allow it to be, God takes over and does what only He can do.” 

The Scripture quotation is taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

Friendship Founded in Forgiveness

VIDEO Forgiveness In Action brother embraces killer ex-cop at sentencing

colossians 2 13 14 cross forgive

by Ebony Bowden and Jackie Salo October 2, 2019

 

In an incredible act of compassion, the brother of the black man murdered by white Dallas cop Amber Guyger hugged her and offered her forgiveness Wednesday as she was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Victim Botham Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, was reading a victim-impact statement in the Texas courtroom when he broke off and asked the judge if he could hug Guyger.

“I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?” Jean asked Judge Tammy Kemp.

The jurist said yes, and Brandt got off the stand and walked toward Guyger at the defense table. She leaped up from her seat and ran to hug him.

They clutched each other in an embrace that lasted for more than a minute — with Guyger loudly sobbing into Jean’s shoulder.

At one point Kemp also embraced Guyger and gave her a Bible.

The 31-year-old former cop had just been sentenced to a decade in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean, 26, after she entered his apartment, mistaking it for her own one floor below.

Enlarge ImageBrandt Jean (left) hugs Amber Guyger at her sentencing
Brandt Jean (left) hugs Amber Guyger at her sentencing Pool

She was allegedly distracted while sexting her cop boyfriend when she made the fatal mistake as she returned home after work.

Botham was eating a bowl of ice cream in his apartment, which was unlocked, when Guyger shot him, thinking he was an intruder at her place.

Her lawyers said the killing was just a tragic error. Prosecutors said she should have called for back-up before shooting anyone — and suggested she had a racist past.

Either way, her victim’s brother said in court that he didn’t think she should do any time.

“I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would do,” he said.

Guyger had faced a sentence of five to 99 years on the murder rap. Before her guilty verdict was rendered by a jury Tuesday, she elected for the panel also to decide her sentence.

Prosecutors asked for no less than a 28-year sentence in honor of Botham, who would have turned 28 last month.

In pushing for a stiff sentence, the prosecution brought up text messages that had sent before the slaying Sept. 6, 2018.

Enlarge Image
Brandt JeanPool

In some of the texts, the then-cop joked about Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination while working security at a parade in his honor last year.

Her friend texted her, “When does this end lol.’’

Guyger responded, “When MLK is dead. . . oh wait . . .”

The messages were deleted but later retrieved by authorities.

After her guilty verdict was announced in court Tuesday, shouts of “Black lives matter!’’ erupted in the street outside.

During her time on the stand, Guyger said she wished Botham “had the gun and killed me.’’

The jury convicted her after deliberating for just five hours.

After the verdict, Guyger remained standing until the jurors filed out of court. Then she collapsed back in her seat and stayed there for about 15 minutes before guards led her away.

She is not eligible for parole.

https://nypost.com/2019/10/02/botham-jeans-brother-embraces-killer-ex-cop-amber-guyger-at-sentencing/


Amber Guyger Hugged By Victim’s Brother In Emotional Court Moment | TODAY


sinner saint past future

 

A Man Crying

Hello my beloved readers! I’m grateful to God finally I could spend my time to write my own post again. This post inspired by a conversation between my husband and his friend some time ago. I hope and pray this post could be a blessing to all of us. Thank you very much to the all loyal readers who always visit and read my blog posts.

“As the only man and the eldest brother in family, I shouldn’t show my grief and shouldn’t cry. A mam must be strong!! This word came out from a best friend of my husband who some time ago just lost his beloved mother. Then my husband said, “But actually you are very sad and want to cry, right?”  My husband’s friend replied, “I cannot lie to myself. Yes, actually I am very sad and want to cry to express my sorrow. But you know, since childhood my parents have taught that men should be strong and should not be whiny.”

My dear friends, I kept quiet during the conversation. Those conversations made me thinking and ponder. There was something I didn’t agree of my husband’s friend’s statement. I didn’t agree that a man shouldn’t show his sorrow and shouldn’t cry. I just feel that a man as if made from iron and wire like a robot that didn’t have feeling at all. In fact, the same as women, men could face a similar situation. Death, pain, loss, and various other things that can make a man feel sad. And all of them need a way to express their feeling.

Talk about crying, I remembered one of David saying when he got deep distress. Let’s see what David said at the time. “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) At the time, the Israelites were using a bottle as a container for water or milk. Other than that, there was a unique culture that comes from Egyptians where they contain their tears into the bottle and then put it on the grave of their family or brethren as an expression of their grief. Well, I will not talk about the culture but I want to talk about David’s word.

We all know very well who David was. Though David was a man who was brave facing the lion, a man who was very brave against Goliath and successfully defeated him, and finally become a king, it turns out, he didn’t ashamed to cry. Why David crying? At that time David was under great pressure because besides being on the run to be chased by King Saul who was jealous with him, he faced another danger of entering the enemy territory of the Philistines in Gath and he was arrested. In the stressful situation, David didn’t look that crying is something shameful to do. He cried just because his mind was depressed but not because he weak. David cried not because he was afraid. Let’s take a look to the following verse,

When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid….” (Psalm 56: 9-11)

These verses are proof that even though David cried it doesn’t mean he became weak and afraid and his faith remained strong. Although he was crying, David remained steadfastly surrendering his life to God, and still fully believed that God remained with him.

So, whether a man shouldn’t cry? Is crying a symbol of Men’s weakness? My dear readers, allow me to take all of you to reflect on these three things.

First, in my whole life I have never found a rule of life or laws that forbids a man to cry or crying for a man is a disgrace! There’s no single verse in the Bible stated that a man shouldn’t cry. Even Jesus was crying (Luke 19:41) My husband said that, “Crying is how your heart speaks the pain you feel when your lips can’t” So I say firmly, there’s nothing wrong if a man cries and a man doesn’t need be ashamed and feel weak when he cries. The important thing is, when a man cries, his faith doesn’t weaken. David was crying because he was totally under pressure but didn’t mean his faith weakening. At that time David still believed God was by his side. The wrong one is, when a man crying then it makes his faith weaken, weaken his mental, and made he didn’t dare to face all the problems of life.

The second, Actually God doesn’t require us to pretend to be strong even though inside of us are broken. He knows suffering is painful, and for that He is ready to be with us through those painful time. God doesn’t forbid us to have sad feeling. God doesn’t scold us when we crying. My husband’s friend just lost his beloved father. God Himself also definitely understands very well what it feels like to lose. God knows it feels hurt because He also experienced hurt when He let His only begotten Son died to redeem our sins in the cruel ways.

The third, crying because our suffering and sadness isn’t a waste thing. Why? Because actually God know every single teardrop that flows from our eyes. God really understands the tears language which expresses unbearable suffering and bitterness of life. Not only understand, God also collect and record every single of our tears as David said. “… Put my tears into Your bottleAre they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8) This verse shows us one important thing that God actually never leaves us alone. Even when we feel like “abandoned by God”, indeed, God doesn’t leave us. God is on collecting and taking note every tears of our crying and as if He said, “My child, I will never leave you alone…Please be patient… Just a little more time will be fulfilled and I will declare my glory”

My beloved readers, through this post allow me once again to express my opinion that there’s nothing wrong at all if a man crying. Crying isn’t a taboo thing for a man. Crying isn’t a symbol of weakness of a man. Beside mind, character, intelligence, and feeling, God also give man tears. As long as a man has feeling, same as a woman, when the lips isn’t able to speaks, crying is a good way to express our sorrow. Crying is the way our heart speaks. But… We must remember that behind our weeping there’s still strength in us. Behind every single teardrop there’s still a firm faith, there’s still strong trust that God will never leave us alone. We have to always remember God’s promises,

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh(Luke 6:21)

At the end of this post, I long to encourage all of men that there’s nothing wrong at all if one day you have to crying and there are compelling reasons why you cry. Not just for women, crying is something normal and humane. Don’t ever feel ashamed to express your feeling through crying. Crying doesn’t mean weak. Cry if it can make you relieved and the burden on you is lighter. But let me remind you one thing, don’t be a whiny man. Like David, keep strong, still have firm faith, and keep trusting God that He will wipe every of our tears as He promises, He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Amen.

 

Karina Lam – Living by Faith

Image source: themanmodern.com

 

https://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/a-man-crying/

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?

Love of people, purpose, and mission won’t sustain you through ministry’s low points.

How Can Shepherds Survive Biting Sheep?
GLENN PACKIAM

 

Phantom strikes. That’s what some people call them, and appropriately so. They are the words from anonymous congregants, the furtive glances and side-eyes fueled by unchecked assumptions. There was a stretch of months a few years ago where these phantom strikes seemed to rain down. People were reacting to changes at our church—some related to worship practices, a few related to leadership. Phone calls and emails poured in. We met with as many people as we could, listened and explained, talked and prayed. But the phantom strikes kept coming. Those were the most difficult because we didn’t know who was saying what. Or why.

Pastoral ministry can hurt. We don’t always get it right. But instead of asking us our reasoning, many people make assumptions about our motives and attack what they presume to be our underlying theology. Pastors are expected to be astute theologians, insightful therapists, and intuitively brilliant leaders. But few of us match the idealized vision of any of those three vocations, much less all three. Our pain from the people we’re trying to help is compounded by our awareness of our own inadequacies.

This raises several questions: Why do we keep going? Why do we give of ourselves day in, day out, week after week? Why keep answering the call every day?

We all know the “right” answer: because of love. But what or who is the object of our love? Once again, the answer seems obvious: the person you are serving, the one to whom you are given. If your life is to be given for your children, then it is the love for your children that leads you to that place. If your life is to be given in service of the poor, then it is the love for the poor that leads to that givenness. And if you’re a pastor, love of the sheep keeps you serving as a shepherd.

That is the obvious answer. But I think it’s wrong.

At least, it’s incomplete and insufficient. It’s not enough to carry us through the dark nights and the lonely hours. It won’t push us through the pain and the hurt we’ve experienced from the ones we were trying to help.

If you don’t believe me, ask the apostle Peter.

After the Resurrection, Peter returned to fishing. Think about it: He ran to the tomb. He saw that it was empty. He was, most likely, with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. He may have been there when Thomas placed his hands on Jesus’s scars. And still he went back to his old livelihood.

Maybe Peter felt he had lost it all that night when he denied knowing Jesus. Maybe Peter was too confused about what the Resurrection really meant. Maybe, whatever it meant, Peter was too covered in shame for it to matter. He might as well try to live a quiet life, a smaller story.

But John 21 describes how Jesus found Peter and reenacted the scene of their first encounter, the first time Jesus called Peter to follow him.

“Throw your nets on the other side of the boat,” the voice called out from the shore. Peter knew he had heard that voice before. But it was John who recognized whose voice it was.

“It is the Lord,” John said to Peter.

It might have been John who recognized Jesus first, but it was Peter who responded—and responded radically. Peter threw on his robes and swam to shore, leaving the other disciples to drag a big haul of fish behind the boat to shore.

After their breakfast on the beach, Jesus asked Peter a heart-piercingly simple question: “Do you love me more than these?”

Who were “these”? The other disciples? Did Jesus mean, “Is your love for me greater than their love for me?” Or did he mean, “Is your love for me greater than your love for the disciples?” We can’t be sure. Yet Peter’s answer acknowledged that whichever way the question was intended, Jesus already knew the answer.

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” Peter replied.

“Feed my lambs,” Jesus responded.

This exchange continued two more times, with minor variances. There has been much exploration of the nuances and shifts in word choices between the Savior and his disciple. But the main point is that Jesus was reinstating Peter. He was reaffirming Peter’s purpose, calling, and destiny. The three repetitions of the question correspond to Peter’s threefold denial.

The most significant bit, however, is hidden in plain sight.

In this restorative conversation, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”

Not “Do you love my teachings?”

Not “Do you love yourself?”

Not “Do you love purpose and mission?”

And not “Do you love the sheep?”

In the other gospel accounts of Peter’s first call, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men.” You might say that first call was about a purpose. In essence, Jesus said, “Peter, I’ll lift you from a life that is going nowhere. I’ll sweep you up in the greatest story of all. I’ll give you a role in the kingdom of God arriving on earth as it is in heaven. I’ll make you a participant and not just a recipient.” That is, after all, what it means to be given.

But it isn’t the love of being given that leads to our givenness. It isn’t the love of a purpose that can sustain us. It was not enough to keep Peter faithful. The love of a calling will never keep you from falling.

If Peter’s first call was about a purpose, his second call—this renewal of destiny and identity—was about a person. “Peter, do you love me?”

What is your primary motivation in ministry? Is it love of Jesus above all else? Lesser loves may lead you to enter into vocational ministry, but they cannot sustain you through phantom strikes from the people you’re trying to serve and other ministry troubles and disappointments. The love of meaning or mission or purpose or the church will not keep you surrendering and serving. Only a deep and abiding love for Jesus can do that.

Glenn Packiam is associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the author of Blessed Broken Given(Multnomah, 2019), from which the article was adapted.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2019/september-web-exclusives/how-can-shepherds-survive-biting-sheep.html

Why powerful angels leave this one thing to you

July 5, 2019 by Dr. Jack Graham

There’s one scene in the book of Acts that’s always fascinated me because it showcases both the power and the limitations of angels.

One night as the apostles sat on a cold prison floor, an angel swung open the door to the jail and “brought them out” (Acts 5:19). The angel told them, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life” (v. 20).

Angels are so powerful they can burst through man-made barriers with no effort whatsoever. It’s like the walls of that prison were made of butter, not brick. In other biblical accounts, they rolled back a heavy stone (Matthew 28:2); removed thick chains (Acts 12:7); and even closed the mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22).

Angels are mighty spirit beings who command attention. They’re not cuddly cherubs, but glorious creations called to worship and war in the power of Almighty God. But it’s important to note that despite all their astonishing attributes, not everything is theirs to do.

There’s at least one critical thing angels cannot and will not do, which is witness to the saving grace of Jesus in their own lives.

Angels testify to the glory and creation of God, but God has called you and me to bear witness to the grace of God. The angel commanded the apostles to go do what he couldn’t do – speak “all the words of this Life.”

We’ve been given something angels have never experienced – the forgiveness of our sins. At the cross, the angels stood amazed by the love God demonstrated for sinful people through Jesus’ death. Angels can only admire what God has done in saving us and giving eternal life to all who believe.

God could have written His message of Good News in the sky or delivered it through a majestic angel. But He chose people like you and me. We must never expect an angel to do what God has told us to do. We are the ones called to proclaim His amazing grace to the ends of the earth.

https://resources.jackgraham.org/resource-library/articles/why-powerful-angels-leave-this-one-thing-to-you

The Necessity of Consequences

By Ann White August 14, 2018

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction;

whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)

Being tenderhearted, it’s difficult for me to sit still and watch people struggle or suffer, even when it’s a result of their own poor choices. Yet, at times, doing nothing is exactly what we are called to do when ministering to people who repeatedly make unhealthy life choices.

Love– care– and forgiveness should always be unconditional – but consequences shouldn’t.

Our society sometimes places more emphasis on political correctness and protecting one’s emotions, than it does on natural and necessary consequences. Sometimes, celebrity crimes are overlooked, underreported, or even dismissed because of their fame and finances, and our children’s teachers are often restricted from appropriately disciplining our kids.

The danger in these type of practices is that it conveys a contradictory message and removes a person’s need to improve their behavior or strive for excellence. There should always be a proper response and consequence for unlawful, inappropriate, and poor behaviors. Just as there should also be a proper positive response for achievement and good behavior. Without consequences, we dampen the aspirations, ambitions, and drive of those we interact with.

God allows us to reap what we sow – both good and bad. He allows and often appoints, consequences in response to our sin. That way, we will hopefully think twice before repeating our same bad behaviors. King David suffered as a result of his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 12:13-14), Moses never stepped foot in the Promised Land because of his sin against God (Deuteronomy 32:48-52), and Jonah will forever be known as the angry and disobedient prophet in response to his defiance toward God and his unwillingness to have compassion for the Ninevites (Jonah 4:1-3). Jesus corrected Martha when she was consumed with her tasks and critical of Mary, and He pronounced seven woes upon the Pharisees for their consistent hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13-30). God rebukes and corrects as an act of love and out of a desire to see us learn from our mistakes. Therefore, we must anticipate the impact of our poor choices, learn from our consequences, and let others struggle when necessary, to avoid interfering with a potential life-change.

Parents must establish suitable consequences when children misbehave. Employers must execute a proper response when employees violate their policies, and in general, we all need to establish appropriate consequences for those who sin against us or violate our boundaries.

Where there are no consequences – there is no respect for rules or boundaries – leading to chaos.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however,

it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Hebrews 12:11

What consequences have you endured as a result of past mistakes? Did the consequences inspire you to make better choices going forward?

Original here

Watch Your Heart, not Your Words

May 17, 2019

 

Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen

https://builtwithgrace.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/watch-your-heart-not-your-words/

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