Finding Unity In Division Part 2

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We recently honored Veterans Day in the United States, which is also known to be Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in other nations.  As a brief history, the purpose is to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany for the ending of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.  On November 11, 1919 Woodrow Wilson declared:  “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”  A Congressional Act approved on May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday:  “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdYxXbA4Prc   (Battle Hymn of the Republic by Lee Greenwood)

Unfortunately, within that same time frame dedicated to peace, citizens from several States were signing a petition to secede from America because of the re-election of President Barack Obama.  What is even more insulting to this Country and a major blow to the President is that the majority of the States wishing to secede are those original confederate States who fought to keep slavery.  In my previous blog entry, I suggested to get involved in community and change the way you want this world to be, however, after reading about the secession request, I probably should have been more specific.  In 1799, Patrick Henry declared, “Let us trust God, and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.”  In 1768, John Dickinson had a revolutionary war song called, “The Liberty Song,” that contained these lyrics: “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!”  In Mark 3:25 Jesus Christ proclaims that: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Mark Driscoll had an interesting message with this 4 minute clip:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctQOmzsvisQ

The problem is that too many people have been brought up by, live by, and raise their kids by the post-modern thought process of if you do not like something, have something else.  Do whatever makes you happy, always have high self-esteem.  Well, just look at what is happening around you as a result.  Oh, sorry, I forgot, another factor of post-modernism is to only focus on yourself and make sure you succeed in this world no matter what.  I am one of the fortunate few that was raised in the late 80’s and early 90’s and if I did not like what was on my plate, then I would not have anything at all, end of story.  God forbid parents do that in this day and age, Child Services would be knocking on the door within the hour demanding the child gets a happy meal.  Yes, there are a lot of problems in this Country.  The answer is not separation, the answer is not found in government, the answer is not found in politics, the answer is you.  What do you believe in?  Who do you believe in?  We read in John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4uZn5gLIY8&list=PL08C83C49FDC16EAE&index=85&feature=plpp_video   (Remember Me by Mark Shultz)

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.  Watch your words, for they become actions.  Watch your actions, for they become habits.  Watch your habits, for they become character.  Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”  For further clarification, your destiny plays a part in your family, your family plays a part in your community, your community plays a part in your government, and your government has control of the policies and laws of this Country, the policies and laws of this Country have effects on the entire world!

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Finding Unity In The Division

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First, I would like to say that I am not a highly political man.  All I know is that the politicians tend to make things a lot more difficult than they should be.  Whether you are a conservative, moderate, liberal, or just do not even care to get involved, I want to make this blog entry beneficial to everyone.  The 2012 Presidential elections have finally come to an end and the majority of the people have chosen Barack Obama to lead the nation for the next four years.  The U.S. Constitution gives every American citizen over the age of 18 the right to vote.  I have to admit that the weeks that led up to election day, the day itself, and for the next four years, a lot of voters have, are, and will act like immature children.  Why?  Because they did not get what they wanted, who they wanted, and when they wanted it.  People will complain about certain laws and policies and how things are being done.  They should be fortunate that they have the right to complain, however, what is the point?  If you have a complaint of any kind, I feel that you should either take some action to correct the issue and if that is not possible, just forget about it and move on.  If you complain and want to do something but do not know what, then find out.  We are living in an information age, where the World Wide Web is at your fingertips.  Do some research, get involved in the community, and be the change that you want to see in this world.

As for my fellow Christian brothers and sisters; THINK AND PRAY BEFORE YOU SPEAK AND ACT!  Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 22:21, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”  I truly believe that this verse is referring to more than just money.  We have the Church, CORRECTION, we ARE the Church!  I am not suggesting that all Christians should stay out of politics, by no means.  We do not have the role, we have the COMMANDMENT to be living witnesses of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is our duty to live according to what the Scriptures say.  It is our duty to accept EVERYONE just as they are and LOVE them.  It is NOT our duty to save them or convert them, that job belongs to God alone!  It would be fantastic if the American laws and policies were completely Biblically based, nothing more and nothing less.  When we expect that, then we are making the same mistake the Jews made when Jesus was living among them over 2,000 years ago.  Our true home is not in this world, it is in heaven, so do not get too comfortable here.

Complacency Conflict

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Stephen Covey has said that, “Fish discover water last.  They are so immersed in the element that they are unaware of it.  So it is with many people who become so immersed in an abundance of blessings and opportunities that they are unaware of them until they stop, pause, and reflect and allow gratitude to emerge.  Sadly, too often it takes the force of circumstance rather than the force of conscience to stir up our gratitude.”  Whether you acknowledge this or not, every day is a gift from God.  All too often, we just go through the motions and use all of our energy to focus on ourselves.  We place our careers and finances first in our lives, then family and friends, and maybe, if we are not too busy, we just might squeeze an hour or so of God in our lives every Sunday.  My question is how is that working out for you?  Can you honestly say that you are satisfied with everything you do and with everything you have or is it never enough?  The music we listen to and the movies and television shows we watch influence our thoughts.  “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.  Watch your words, for they become actions.  Watch your actions, for they become habits.  Watch your habits, for they become character.  Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”  A question Dr. Seuss once asked still applies to people of all ages today, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”  We are called to be different.  When we choose to fit in to our culture, we declare that Jesus Christ is not enough.

Complacency has become a huge mountain in American society that is easy to conform to and difficult to resist and hinders the path of people living a truly meaningful life.  In Matthew 17:20, Jesus declares, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”  There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The man who moved a mountain was the one who began carrying away small stones.”  What stones need to be carried to move the mountain of complacency?  We find the answer in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  We need to receive the vision of God’s kingdom, become overwhelmed by God’s grace and move in this world and not let the world move us.  It is time to stop acting religious and start living out what we truly believe.  We need to get out of the routine and do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God!

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus gives a parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”  A teaching pastor at the Edge Church had this in his message, “When we accept Christ in our lives, we bring something to the table.  We bring our dirt to God and he takes all of that dirt and replaces it with His treasure.”  God wants us to take all of our filth of sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, hostility, jealousy, envy, drunkenness, selfish ambition and bring it all to the cross of Christ.  It is only then and there where we may become filled up with God’s Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

True Christianity is a life change that brings a person to love unconditionally just as God loves.  All too often, we evangelize with the phrase “turn or burn.”  We tell people that they must repent of their sin or face eternal damnation with fire and brimstone.  Is it any wonder why people do not like Christianity?  We get caught up judging people instead of loving people.   We have been diminishing grace instead of expanding it.  I would like to close this blog with Ephesians 3:14-19 and encourage this to be a prayer for everyone: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.   I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”