Tuesday, August 23, 2016

HUNGER PANGS

I Was Just Thinking About – HUNGER PANGS.

A group focused on World Hunger reminds us: In many parts of the world, people’s lives are impacted by hardship, illiteracy, inadequate health care, hunger and poverty every day. World Vision, Australia shares their perspective of World Hunger and associated needs in their report: In 3016, the United Nations estimates that 795 million people (approximately 1/10 of the world’s population) still don’t have enough nutritious food to eat each day. Fifty-two countries are facing unprecedented food crises. Poverty remains as the leasing cause of hunger, although many people are impacted by armed conflict and extreme weather conditions.

No one should denigrate or ignore world hunger or the accompanying poverty of millions of people. In like manner, there should be a concern for the increasing crises of spiritual hunger, illiteracy and poverty. The prophet Amos shared the Word of the Lord with the people of his day:  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land - not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it (Amos 8:11-12). While some might seek to deny these words, the reality of them is evidenced in the larger denominations of the USA and the deteriorating condition of many smaller churches that are struggling for survival.

Is there a remedy for the immediate spiritual need in the culture and our country? Jesus Christ stated it clearly when He said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied" (Matthew 5:6). At a crucial moment in human history, there was a renewed hunger for hearing the Word of the Lord. The people had become desirous of knowing whether or not God had answers for their needs, problems or guidelines for their lives. The scene is Jerusalem. The people had asked the priest, Ezra, to bring the Law of God to their attention and read it to them (Nehemiah 8:1-8). The passage indicates that the people stood and listened from dawn until noon. For too long of a period of time, they had ignored and suppressed the Word of the Lord as a meaningful part of their lives. 

Question: Does our nation need to pay attention to its spiritual hunger need and pangs? The nation knows it has needs. It also knows that God and His Word have been ignored. We need to reverse course and seek the Lord while He may be found. Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

COMMUNICATION

I Was Just Thinking About – COMMUNICATION.

Sorrow attaches itself to more than when a loved one or friend has died. A person who is isolated or ignored has a sorrowful burden of loneliness. A person living in an area where squalor and crime is a daily reality and fear have a measure of sorrow because of being trapped where they are through no choice of their own. Racial tensions, rioting, attack of civil authority is one means of expression of inner-frustration on the one hand and the result of cultural orientation that allows for misconduct and crime as the alternative self-determination to neither be seduced by the local environmental culture nor complicit with it. We must always remember – we do not sorrow/grieve like those without hope (I Thessalonians 4:13).

From the outside looking in, the Biblical Christian has a choice. Too often an incorrect choice is made that allows one to become indifferent, or critical rather than exerting oneself to being and making a difference. In this regard, no matter how demonstrative and riotous segments of the nation becomes, there needs to be a way to communicate the mandate of Jesus Christ to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Will it be easy and readily accepted by the cultural ghetto mindset? Probably, not! Does that excuse the Biblical Christian from making such an effort? Absolutely, no!

In today’s devotional, Strength For The Journey, Joseph Stowell wrote: “Jesus’ life and ministry dramatically demonstrated that the word prejudice is not in His vocabulary. In fact, He hates prejudice in any form. He detests racism, classism, and religious snobbery. Why? Because it defies who He is and what He came to do. No one escaped the embrace of His love and concern. And He calls us to love as He did—without limits. But prejudice blocks our ability to love as he did and denies us the privilege of being like Him in our world. When the Pharisee hoped to embarrass Jesus by asking Him to name the greatest commandment, Jesus answered that we should love God with the totality of our being. And although it was more than the scheming lawyer had asked for, Jesus added the second most important command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Not “second” meaning less important, but sequentially. In other words, the authenticity of our love for God is measured by our attitudes and acts of love for others.”

What do we as Biblical Christians communicate by our lives and actions? Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!


Copied From – Our Daily Bread (Archives)

"I was a teen. My parents had split recently. My father drank a lot and would come home after the bars closed and make me get up just so he had someone to push around. I had an older brother that took his frustrations out on me also. Mom was in a far away state, unreachable. My room was in the basement. When the lights went out, it was so dark you could not see your hand in front of your face. It was not only dark in my room, but in my heart. I felt hopeless and considered suicide. I had been to church in the past with my family when i was small and again in Jr. High with friends, but did not know Christ at all. All i understood was that God was everything. One night as i lay in bed, drifting off, i was aware that i was walking down a path in the dark. I could not see a thing but somehow i knew exactly where to put my feet. I walked only a short distance and then a blinding light shone and i heard two words only. “I’m here”. I woke up crying because i knew, without a doubt, i was not alone and never would be. God came to me when i wasn’t even looking, and told me He was there and always has been and always will be. My heart was filled and remains that way today, 35 years later. I have not one doubt that my Father in heaven has seen me through every second of every day of my life."

Monday, August 15, 2016

JITTERINESS

I Was Just Thinking About – JITTERINESS.

A jittery person is one who is extremely tense and nervous; one who is jumpy. An illustration of jitteriness is part of the news from last evening: “Reports that shots were fired in Kennedy Airport's Terminal 8 came in around 9:30 p.m., leading to precautionary evacuations. Witnesses reported hearing two shots in the terminal but no police officers reported any suspicious activity…A short time later, police closed Terminal 1 after they said they received additional reports of shots fired in that terminal. The Van Wyck Expressway approaching the airport also was shut down.” Based upon someone thinking they heard gunshots occasioned flight cancellations, a major traffic artery closed, and two airport terminals evacuated.

The dysfunctional value system of our culture is impacting everyday life at an alarming rate. This may be due in part to the disregard that is taking place with spiritual values. If jitteriness was incorporated into the spiritual realm so that people took a serious God seriously, perhaps it would cause a shift of priorities for lifestyles both within and without the Christian Church. Consider the words contained in Hebrews 10:23-31, “Let us hold resolutely to the hope we confess…let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds…let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and raging fire that will consume all adversaries…The Lord will judge His people. is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Do we take the serious God seriously?

The idea of “falling into the hands of the living God” should cause a spiritual jitteriness. We should also note the sobering words of Psalm 7:11 (NIV), “God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day.” In the NLT, “God is an honest judge, He is angry with the wicked every day.” In our acceptance of God’s love, mercy and grace, we should never ignore His justice, wrath, indignation or anger. For those who have embraced the truths of Ephesians 1:7-8 that, “In Him (Jesus Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, that He lavished on us”, there is no need or cause for one to be jittery. However, for all others, they need to take seriously what it means to fall into the hands of the living God.

Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

INSENSITIVITY

I Was Just Thinking About – INSENSITIVITY.

We live in a world of complexity and transition. We are almost at a Darwinian Plateau where there seems to be a sense that it is all about “the survival of the fittest.” If true, how sad for those who are not within a network of the well-connected. I can only wonder how the cultural trends may have infiltrated the Christian Church where too often the “little people” are ignored or allowed to fall through the cracks. Part of a sermon I will be preaching this Lord’s Day will include referencing I Thessalonians 5:14 (NLT), “Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” The phrase that should be underscored is: “Take tender care of those who are weak.”

In her recent article about “How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen” –-  Peggy Noonan included this brief paragraph: “I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.”

When I wrote the book, Realizing Significance, a basic text that is referenced throughout the chapters is Mark 4:35-37, “After they had dismissed the crowd, they took Jesus with them, since He was already in the boat. And there were other (little) boats with Him/them. Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was being swamped.” The reference point is: “There were other (little) boats with Him/them in danger of also being swamped.” When the violent storm broke out, the disciples’ expressed concern was for there larger vessel and whether or not they could/would survive.

Questions: How sensitive are you/we to the other little boats and little people? When the storms of life occur, about whom do we think first in terms of care and survival? Have we become calloused and insensitive to "the other little boats" - little people? 
Prayerfully – Consider these things with me!

To read the Peggy Noonan Column, go to: