Responding To The Good, Bad and Ugly Of This Month

clint eastwood I find myself returning to the computer every few hours trying to find the words that will lance my heart and empty it of all the frustration, pain and heaviness of the last few weeks. The shootings at Emanuel AME Church, violence from corrupt policemen towards African Americans as well as violence from African Americans towards innocent and respectable policemen,  the firestorm over Kaitlyn Jenner,  five predominantly black churches burned in the south, the supreme court decision on gay marriage and its’ subsequent fallout…. How do I join with those that are justifiably concerned without also being lumped in with those that are hateful and rude?   How do I reconcile faith with a world that is, and always has been, hostile towards that faith? How do I stand for holiness and God’s word without being judgmental and arrogant?  How do I express my disappointment in the reaction fellow believers have had over events during the last few weeks without sounding as if I have it figured out?  How do I stay true to my convictions without forcing those convictions onto people that don’t have them and don’t want them? How do I show acceptance and love for those I care so deeply about without sacrificing my beliefs and without making them feel rejected? How do I pray and stand for the belief that a God fearing country is a country that experiences peace but accept the fact that our country hasn’t been a God fearing country in at least half a century?  How do I deal with that reality in the Godliest way I can without being labelled a quitter?  How do I make the slightest bit of difference in a culture that seems  hell bent on tearing itself apart and everyone in its’ path?

It’s been a dark month for me.  One of those months that makes me want to become a hermit and move to a remote island or mountain.   To be honest, the war seems to already be over and just beginning all at the same time and I stand in the middle, in shock, as to which way to go and what to do only to find that my insightful conclusion is to fall on my knees.

To fall on my knees in humble repentance for my own sin and ugliness that no one else sees.

To fall on my knees in awed gratefulness for God’s forgiveness and grace in my life.

To fall on my knees in thanksgiving for the beauty and love that still exists in the world.

To fall on my knees trembling at the truth that God is still a God of justice and that humans are all to capable of convincing themselves that sin is righteousness.

To fall on my knees in submission to whatever befalls this country while praying that I will be found faithful in the face of persecution.

To fall on my knees in repentance for the Church and it’s failings towards those who have not seen the face of Jesus.

To fall on my knees in fear of the evil in man’s hearts and what we are capable of doing to one another.

To fall on my knees in praise that my soul is not at the mercy of what man may say of me.

To fall on my knees in prayer that  the Church will be  known for loving one another instead of for a list of do’s and don’ts.

To fall on my knees in desperation for the hearts of those in my life that I love because I know that no argument, intellect, force or anger will ever draw their hearts to Jesus but that my only hope is in His ability to pursue, convict and redeem.

To fall on my knees in exhaustion, desperate for His strength and power to continue standing and living for two purposes alone….

To love God and to love people above all.

Titus 3:1-11  Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.  Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.


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