Where Did We Go Wrong?

I’ve been thinking of the post I posted on Monday. The question keeps rolling over in my brain… Where did we go wrong? How did we get to this place of remaining silent while this world is fading? How did we get to this point in life that “being tolerant” overrides our personal convictions and faith filled standards?

I’ll tell you when we began sliding on this slippery slope:  when the church became silent in the public arena and began turning on itself, accusing each other of judgmentalism and condemnation. It began when we started looking more in the mirror and at our fellow man rather than staying focused on what’s most important: God. It happened when we became more worried about what the world thinks of us than what God thinks.

It is unfortunate and disheartening. We have forsaken our first love for a lie and have become enamored with our own vanity and popularity. We have abdicated our prayer closets of holiness, and we have embraced our gateways of tolerance. We have forsaken our knees of prayer and become consumed by our mouths of gossip and destruction. We have relinquished our rights for higher standards and grasped the liberal demand for concession on every issue. We have surrendered our fight for a better future for our children and allowed our lives to be diminished and minimized to an anemic, powerless and silent walk of faith.

It’s not the world that has been led astray. The lost will always be lost without the Savior. Those in darkness will always be dark without The Light. It’s the church who has veered from the way. It is our responsibility to seek first His kingdom and reach this world for Him. We must look to God and get back to our prayer closets. We must stop looking to our phones and our friends for direction and comfort in this world and return to the One who called us out in the first place.

We must fall down on our knees in prayer and remember from whence He has called us. As Christians, we are called to a higher purpose, and that purpose is prayer and having power with God! If we don’t seek Him, how can we truly reach them?

2 Corinthians 4:1-6, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

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Love Doesn’t Mean Tolerance

Okay, so I have a little bit a spiel to spell today. I’m not going to be lengthy nor testy, but if you’ll indulge me, there’s just something I’d like to share…

Just because I am a Christian does not mean I should shut up and just love with no regard for sin. Just because I’m a Christian does not mean I no longer have a voice to speak against wrong. Honestly, I am so tired of hearing people, both Christians and nonChristians, claim that my love is proven when I simply “shut up and love” which in their book means to tolerate with no resistance, because “after all, God is a God of love. Jesus was a peaceful man…He loved everybody.”

Yes! Jesus did love everybody, and yes, He was gentle and kind. He is a merciful and forgiving God. However, He also ran the money changers out of the temple with a whip! He did tell the adulterous woman to “Go and sin no more.” He told the woman at the well all about her past and offered her a better way. He told the rich young ruler to “Go, sell all you have and follow me.” He told Zaccheus to come down from where he was, because He had a different plan.

Just because Jesus loves and is merciful doesn’t mean He leaves you to be who you are and where you are when you meet Him. If that were the case, why would you need Him as your Savior? A Savior is someone who rescues you from the state in which you find yourself. A Savior is someone who changes you from what you’ve been. I am so thankful He is a loving and merciful God, and I’m so appreciative that He has rescued me from a place of hopelessness and despair, but He didn’t save me so I could continue in my sin. He doesn’t give His message of hope to us so we can keep it to ourselves and never share it with someone else.

I don’t want to belabor the point here, but I am passionate about this fact:  Just because He is a merciful God doesn’t mean He’s a silent Savior. Simply because He is a loving Father doesn’t mean He turns a blind eye to sin and allows you to continue in your own ways. The Word tells us He came to save the world and change the world.  The problem is that in today’s society, speaking out against wrong is now tagged with words like condemnation, judging or even hatred. When did we get to this point? When did we get to the place where we cannot even call sin sin anymore?

As Christians, we may not blend in with this world. We may not be popular with those in power, and we may not appease those in the press, but I have to ask, “What will that matter 150 years from now? What will that matter when we stand before our Lord and Savior?” We must decide. Whom are we called to serve, worship and follow, God or man?? The longer we remain silent, the more are dying an eternal death.

John 3:16-21, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

Different Perspectives

“Two people can be looking at the exact same direction and yet see two completely different things. It’s all in each individual perspective.”  – P. Ortega-Santiago

A friend of mine quoted this the other day, and it started me thinking. This statement is so very true! You can have two people looking in the exact same direction, looking at the exact same thing, and they each may see something completely opposite. This is proven in every art gallery across the nation. It will be proven in every phychologist’s office every day, and it has been proven in every home, in every marriage, and in every family for centuries of time.

People are different, and they see things in different ways. They come from different backgrounds, different experiences, different surroundings, and each of them have been impacted in very different ways. If we fail to recognize this truth, especially those of us who are in leadership, we will find ourselves in a world of hurt and confusion!

We cannot expect another person to understand, accept or realize our point of view, simply, because we have stated a fact. We should not demand another to see it only our way, simply, because we wish it so; they may never “get it” like we believe they should. People are people, and they will always be people.

Now, some would use this philosophy to push a certain agenda, religion or method of thought and reason. Some would use this line of logic to insist you see things their way and meet their expectations. Others will insist this information is meant to allow for tolerance or even to empower intolerance to a certain group, sect or organization.

Yet, can I tell you? Once you begin to expect everyone you meet to agree with your given perspective, even when it comes to a claiming of tolerance, you begin to isolate yourself from the very “open-minded and impartial” group of beings with which you claim to associate. There will be people who disagree with you in this life, but that’s ok. There will be people who never see it your way; that’s ok, too!

You’ve got to decide for yourself what is right and true. What is absolute truth for you? What do you use to measure this truth? Whom do you follow? Are you the smartest person in the room? I hope not. If you are the smartest person you know, you can never learn more. You can never be challenges to grow and to change.

You must follow someone who is smarter than you, bigger than you, someone who is beyond your tiny world. This is why I choose to follow God, the Creator of the universe. He is so much wiser, so much bigger, so beyond my world and even my universe!

He spoke and there was light. He spoke again and the heavens came into being. He picked up dust and formed you and me. He sent His Son to save a dying world. He healed the sick, delivered the insane, raised the dead and still does. Why wouldn’t I want to follow Someone this great?

Yet, beyond all this majesty, He loved me before I was even born. He saved me, and He has given me a hope and a future! He knows the deepest, darkest parts of me; yet, He still loves me. He guides me, directs me and always leads me to a better place. He knows what is best for me and why I need certain things and not others. He gives me peace in the storm, strength through the pain and faith during times of doubt. He even left us a “manual” by which to know more about Him and His ways. Why would I not want to follow Someone like this?

His truth has been proven for centuries upon centuries. His love has been proven within my life, and everyday more people are turning to Him, even dying for His cause. He sent His Son, and it changed the course of time. He speaks and the mountains quake. He is all powerful, all knowing and all loving. Why would I want to ever follow someone or something else?

Why would you??

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

You’re Weird! … I’m Weird, Too!

We all have our quirks and our peculiarities. My husband is so comfortable in his; I have to be honest, sometimes, I’m downright jealous. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be jealous of my own husband! I just wish I could be okay with my oddities all the time.

I love fall and winter weather, but I am incredibly cold-natured. I hate raw tomatoes; however, I love to eat anything made with tomatoes, as in spaghetti, pizza sauce and chili, and  I love to make stuff from tomatoes such as salsa and vegetable soup. I love to sleep with socks on, and I can sleep just about anywhere, but if you wake me up about an hour after I go to sleep, I may not even remember our conversation by morning. I also have a love-hate relationship with the snooze button. I love to meet new people, and carry on long conversations with one or two people; yet, I am an extreme introvert, and I have to revive myself by having long moments of solitude.

Yes, I am a quirky individual, and after 40+ years of living with myself, I am still trying to be okay with these traits. I know, we all have quirks and differences to our personalities, and so many people seem completely okay with theirs, and I am, genuinely, so happy for them. Some even seem a little too comfortable…to the point of rudeness to those around them, and I suppose, this one fact alone causes me to hone in too strongly on my own idiosyncrasies for fear of possibly becoming like them.

I am so concerned with not being rude or offensive to another person, even unintentionally. All my life, I have been conditioned to be kind and accommodating, and I have always had a pretty adaptable personality; so, the moments when someone is offended or bothered by something I have done or said, I am profusely apologetic, sometimes, even to a fault.

Yet, as I grow older, I am learning that this over concern for other people’s opinions can, often, actually be derived from a source of pride and vanity. You see, no matter how “nice and sweet” a personality trait may seem, on the flip side of it is an uglier, less delightful sounding trait. It can be used for either extreme, and we must realize what the root is in order to come back to center, Christ’s center.

Just as the opinionated, outspoken person can be seen as both truthful and rude, overbearing and bluntly honest, depending on the positive and negative extremes, the tolerable, quiet spoken person can be seen as both graciously kind and fearful, flexible and weak. All of these (negative) extremes come from a root of vanity and pride, ambition and envy, and we must recognize, acknowledge and surrender these qualities to God before we move to the extremes of either side.

When we refuse to let the flesh reign in our lives, and, instead, allow Christ to rule and reign, we will find that we will no longer worry over what people think, and we will worry most about what HE thinks. We will no longer err on the sides of brashness and  fearfulness, but rather, we will walk in complete boldness of who we are in Christ, even with all our quirks, failures and peculiarities.

When we surrender our all to Him, we will begin to actually see ourselves as He sees us, not as the world sees. We will begin to believe as He believes and act as He acts. When we are totally surrendered to Him, we will become a mirror of His life, because it will be His Spirit living in us and through us. ❤