As we sang the song in church yesterday, I could not help but reflect on the unfortunate discord we currently see in our great country, especially as we approach our Independence Day celebration this July 4th. The song: “America! America! …God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood, From sea to shining sea!” Brotherhood, what a great word…from the east coast to the west coast [yes, it is an inclusive word].
My reflection on national character brought me to the Larry Provost Article published today on humble roots and decent actions. Why not take time to read it, stop with the politics and slow down for your own reflection this July 4th on how we should treat one another? It just may bring a blessing to you!
Friends, my book “A Different Kind of Tree” is about moving from sinner to a child of God; half of each of the 15 chapters is about my own life. I wish to blog about Christianity and not politics; I believe political engagements are killing us by creating hateful debate and setting up a battle field.
What would Jesus say about the four young children killed in Florida this week and the two police officers shot trying to save the children and stop the madness? Would Jesus wish the President happy birthday today? You know Jesus would show compassion, tears, sensitivity and blessings. We need to do the same; can we stop the hateful rhetoric, stop the ugly cursing, and show some respect for people?
Our nation is dying, not by our actions, but by our hearts! Actions follow the heart; the hate, the killings, the cursing, the riots that we are experiencing are all driven by the heart, and not by some political bent. Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” My friends, be at peace and show love!
Joseph of the Bible’s Genesis stories had an interesting life; his brothers hated him and tried to kill him. He was sold into slavery. But over and over again the story tells us that God was with him; many might question, where is God in this? Joseph kept going, succeeding at every level; but problems still followed him. Falsely accussed of attempted rape by a jilted high-powered woman, he was wrongly thrown into prison. Prison, where he now had more chances to succeed, which he did. Forgotten by an exiting jailmate, he remained in prison where he continued to do the Lord’s work, not sitting around in self-pity. Joseph got out of prison by following the Lord’s Spirit and succeeded even greater, always keeping his eye on God and doing the right thing regardless of the possibile negitive outcomes when dealing with “the world”.
So what’s in this story for us? We would ALL do well to keep our eye upon Jesus Christ, do His will (not our own), and not worry about what the world thinks of us Christians. Put the Lord first and everything else (be it good or bad) will fall into proper alignment. Just because you follow Christ doesn’t mean your life will be easy; Jesus told us the world would hate us for what we believe (John 17), so don’t worry! Be of good cheer! If you are a Christian, you are a child of God…it doesn’t get any better than that! Blessings to you!
My book, A Different Kind of Tree, is about growing from sinner to a child of God. Using the metaphor of a tree, it is about bearing good fruit or bad fruit.
A simple look at our culture now reflects a lot of bad fruit! The violently expressed hate filling social media over simple things of no consequence seems so out of balance. Where is that energy coming from? Why is hate so forcefully being expressed these days? The coarseness of our language, the violence cast upon the innocent, the lack of integrity of our leaders, the lack of balance from our media and schools, and the general disrespect for the rule of law by our citizens…all points to a fallen nation…bad fruit.
We have taken away and turned our backs on the foundation of our nation. What happens to a building which develops a broken foundation? It falls apart! We must return to our founding structure, and re-instate the 10 Commandments…even if you reject the first 5, the second half tells us how to live with one another…REALLY, that has to be to our benefit!
Everyone is a child of/from someone; that is, you had a mother and a father. My father died in 1994; I remember his last words to me as if they were spoken only moments ago. Well, my mother is now dying. Will I be repeating my words concerning my father? “I wish I was a better son.” Will I be saying, mother, I wish I was a better son a year from now? I don’t know…but I think so, I am far from perfect. I have not been a bad son, I love my mother…but I could have been better.
Don’t waste any moments being upset with your parents; be thankful you were given the gift of life. Likewise, be in relationship with your children now so that they too may have the benefit of relationship later in life with you. Don’t waste a single day by being selfish. My book, “A Different Kind of Tree” available at Amazon or at http://www.muskratbooks.com was all about my journey from sinner to be a child of God. Did I mess up earlier in life? Yep! Did I waste valuable time? Yep! Can I learn to do better? Yep, I did learn! Will I do better? You bet! I have siblings, children and grandchildren; it is definitely worth the effort!
We all have “storms” in our lives, problems and pains. The “storms of life” come against us all. Jesus chose the disciples for a grand purpose; He would not allow them to drown in the Sea of Galilee…read Mark 4:35-41. Furthermore, Jesus had a purpose for the group to get into the boat. The purpose was NOT to drown in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, but to get to the other side. So, why do you suppose these seasoned fishermen, familiar with the storms on the Sea of Galilee, were so upset that they thought they were going to drown? They forgot who they were traveling with! The Lord Jesus would not allow them to drown; they had nothing to worry about. So let me ask you, who are you traveling with?
Jesus can and will calm the “storms in your life”, all you need to do is to get into the boat with Him! This Easter, I invite you to finally accept with Jesus did for you and get into the boat with Him! I promise it is the best and only trip you can take for all eternity! Amen.
When we view God’s creation, we see part of God. Our Creator, the Lord God Almighty, will move His creation toward higher order through relationship. This is why He created us. He loves us! He wants to see us grow toward completeness, just as we delight in seeing our own children grow toward completeness, and become fine adults. How many parents have looked out from the audience at the school awards ceremony, to see a child receiving an award, and think “I had something to do with that…I sure am proud!”
A sense of completeness and relationship, we each seek this “reward of living”, much more important than money. So it is with God, and this is why He created you and I. He seeks out relationship with us; God desires to look at us and say “well done my good and faithful child, I am proud of you and I love you so very much”.
Some would say that God has no need of us. I think just the opposite. Why? As an architect, I know about the feelings between a creator and his creation. I know there is a “relationship” with the created object; after all, as discussed earlier, the created object is actually a part of the creator. God delights in creating; we are all created in His image. You don’t create and then destroy a masterpiece. Oh, you may experiment, realize it isn’t working, and then start over, drawing on your newly acquired knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. But you don’t destroy your final masterpiece; you work to save it. God is reaching out to you now; salvation can be yours.
[For more discussion on Creating, please refer to the book, I Am, the Great Creator God by Haven D. Mankin. Information about the book and how to obtain a copy is available at: http://www.MuskratBooks.com]