"Einstein felt, at most, man had attained 1% of the possible knowledge of the universe. Do you think it's possible God is able to do unexplainable things with the 99% we don't understand?" -from
Rooms by James L Rubart

Monday, February 13, 2017

jumping on the bandwagon

here we are in 2017, after a democratic presidential election, in a 'civilized' land (note the quotations - i use those emphatically!), and there is such miscommunication and hatred and ire going around, especially fueled by the ignorance of social media... people are jumping on bandwagons left and right, joining protests and marches here and there...

and i'm amazed at how quickly people are turning on each other.
people who have been long-friends and people who are family are 'unfriending' each other...
people are physically (and virtually) attacking the businesses, homes, and cars of people 'on the other side of the issue...'
the internet (especially social media) allows us to sit behind our computer screens and post ugly, pointed words that we most likely wouldn't say in person (sometimes it's a good thing to take courage from the safety of your keyboard, but so often it's not)

people are posting, hashtagging, snapchatting, tweeting, blogging, redditting, youtubing, instagramming, and probably even pinning about whatever 'movement' has really struck their chord.

maybe it's a good feeling to be part of a group.
maybe the rhetoric sounds right-on.
maybe the photos are really convincing.
maybe that paragraph you were scrolling past said your thoughts perfectly.
maybe the spokespeople are saying the revolutionary words you've been dying to hear.
for Jesus-followers, maybe some ideas even sound Christian-like.

it's easy. it's sensational. it's a way to feel involved.
march! click! re-post! protest! make a catchy sign and get on that corner! hashtag!

but a disturbing/dangerous aspect of all this bandwagonning: people aren't getting the real stories behind the movements; instead they're just ignorantly jumping on bandwagons, getting all upset and incensed on behalf of something they don't even understand. people are marching in the streets to support groups and agendas, and protesting others, that they haven't actually researched.

you may like to think that your movement was started spontaneously by the people for the people, but look into it: find the leader; find the organizer.
and how many vocal Christians have really looked into the Bible and spent time in prayer to discover God's viewpoint?

here are some questions to ponder:
~have you researched the organizer/leader/spokesperson? what do they believe? are they someone you'd like to stand with?
~have you researched the mission statement (or whatever may be similar) of the group you like? where does it seem to be getting its ideas? is it part of a bigger organization with which you'd like to align yourself?
~if you're protesting, have you actually researched the subject of your protest? have you read the actual document to know if you disagree? do you know the law that's being amended or being upheld?
~if you are a Christian, are these posts/blogs/etc actually Christ-like? is the animosity and irritation and disgust bringing you or those around you closer to Jesus?

as people virally turn against each other, i am reminded of Jesus' words:

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. 
Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 
All men will hate you because of Me, 
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." 
- Jesus, quoted in Mark 13:12-13 
(for more context, i have quoted surrounding verses below)

even though the world already saw this first-hand in roman times, and then in nazi germany times, and now in patches all over the world where the church is persecuted daily*, i guess i've just been living in some kind of fantasy land that i might not see its day in usa times. (even though we've had little tastes of it, like at columbine..)

i know the verses are applicable all the time, in a sense, since true acceptance of Christ always changes the person and causes a reaction (often negative) from everyone around. but there is a time when the verses become literal and belief in Jesus becomes deadly, either due to personal hatred or due to the law of the land.

this is not a post to say that we should all be friends. that's not going to happen. in fact, as time moves on, and the fire gets hotter, we will actually just see the true Christians emerge, and the fake ones fall away, and the true colors of the public will be shown. where do you stand?

as you see your friends and family post about whatever group they're joining, beware, because generally speaking, being on Jesus' side and telling the truth won't land you in the popular group.

and also generally speaking, the farther you move into that popular group, often led by celebrities and politicians, the closer you will come to being the perpetrator in those words spoken by Jesus.

how close are you to betraying your Christian brother to death?


*please visit www.persecution.com to learn more about those around the world being persecuted for their faith in Jesus!

Mark 13:5-27 NIV

"Jesus said to them, 'Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in My name, claiming, "I am He," and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

'You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kinds as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

'Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

'When you see "the abomination that causes desolation" standing where it does not belong - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now - and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ!" or, "Look, there He is!" do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect - if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

'But in those days, following that distress,
'"the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken."

'At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.'"

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

election night

i don't even want to watch the election results tonight. it fills me with dread, and maybe a little fear for the future of this country i currently call home.

but i also think: maybe, if it does get really bad here in the US, and people lose more and more of their money and privileges, it will force the American people to realize that electing a leader is not just a joke.

the ugly consequences of disregarding truth/virtue/morality and living just for ourselves may just force people to start thinking about REAL things, like 'is there a God?' and 'do i care about Him?' and 'what is the purpose of my life?'

maybe some will even start wondering if their everyday decisions and their everyday attitudes toward God have caused our country to be in the state it's in. instead of always pointing the finger and saying, 'they are messed up!', maybe they will look around at the spiritual illness in this land and realize we need a cure...

and where does that cure come from?

in the midst of dedicating the temple to God, Solomon heard these words from God:
"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

this is a theme throughout the whole Bible: if people, who love to exalt themselves, and love to point the finger at everyone else's wrongdoings, and love to seek comfort above righteousness, would HUMBLE themselves and PRAY and SEEK God's face and TURN from their wicked ways, God will bring healing!

the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament was a roller-coaster of failing and repenting and sinning and repenting and rebelling and repenting. God remained the same. He was faithful. He was just. He was merciful.

so what is all this business of repentance?

what does the word even mean? it is literally a turning. it is something drastic and life-changing, not just a moment of sadness or shame.

it is like someone on a nature trail, who has been following a particular path, and then realizes as they look at the map that they are going the wrong way. the path they are on is actually going in the opposite direction of their intended destination! that is the moment for a decision: do i keep walking forward or do i turn around completely and go the other way? do i say, 'well, i've been going this way too long to change now,' or do i humble myself, admit the fact that i messed up, and turn around so that i can reach the right location?

repentance causes us to do some introspection and discover where we've fallen short. it comes with regret and remorse and humility and maybe some ugly crying.

but repentance doesn't just end there. it doesn't leave us groveling in the dirt at the end of the wrong path. NO! after we turn around, we WALK towards the correct destination! when we turn from our sins and turn to Jesus, it comes with rewards:

~God will hear us (2 Chronicles 7:14, 34:27)
~God will forgive our sins (2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 John 1:9, Acts 3:19, Isaiah 55:7, Acts 26:18, and more)
~God will cleanse us from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, Acts 3:19)
we will LIVE! (Ezekiel 18:21-23)
~God will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14, Leviticus 26:4)
~and more! joy! peace! contentment! the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us!

so as i reluctantly watch the election results, i pray for my country. i pray for repentance. and i also pray for God's mercy: that it won't have to get TOO bad before we admit our sins and turn from our wickedness.

thankfully, i know that i serve a merciful God who has been patient enough to bear with us this far...

"For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" Ezekiel 18:32

Thursday, April 24, 2014

the bullet

imagine you're going about your normal business day. you're walking along the street as usual, when a man rushes up to you, grabs your arm, says, 'they're trying to kill you!' and pulls you into the alleyway! what is going on?! 
he says a few things to you, but in the rush and the confusion and the fear, you barely hear anything at all, and none of it makes sense.
then there is a sound at the end of the alley. before you can register much at all, the man pushes you to the ground and says, 'i'm going to take your bullet!' as he throws himself across you, a gunshot shatters the air.
and that's it. no more sound. nothing except your pounding heart.
you don't move for fear of alerting the 'bad guys' you didn't even know existed 5 minutes ago. but the man of top of you doesn't move either. he has gone completely limp, and with horror, you realize he really was shot, and he really is dead.
after waiting till you're sure the coast is clear, what do you do next?

what if the following is how i wrote the next part of the story?

hearing nothing more, you roll out from under the mysterious man. looking both ways and seeing nothing, you take a deep breath, gather your things, and straighten your clothes. you shrug, muttering, 'i wonder what that was all about?!' with no answer at the ready, you go about your day as usual.

'wait, what??!' you may be thinking. 'that's not how the story would go! i wouldn't do that! what happened? who are the bad guys? was someone really after me?what was that guy talking about? no one would just shrug and go about their day after that!!'

but i say that is exactly what most people, maybe you included, do every day.
what most people don't spend time thinking about is that there was a man who threw Himself over you and took a bullet meant for you. His name is Jesus.
and there really is a 'bad guy' who hates God's guts and wants you dead. his name is Satan.

the thing about the real-life story is that though Someone threw Himself over you and took your bullet, you have a choice. you don't have to be under His body, letting Him take the fall for you. you can refuse the help, ignoring His offer of salvation, and chance it out on the streets. but the killer will find you, and he will kill you.

what is your choice going to be? 

if you're not familiar with the story, maybe you should spend some time learning about the 'bad guy,' and about the guy who offers to take your bullet.

"Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man; 
though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us..." 
Romans 5:7-8

"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." 
John 3:16