There will be regular rains, the land will give you bumper crops, trees will be loaded with fruit long after the normal time and you will have as much to eat as you want and live out your days in peace.
Wow! Regular rain, year after year of success in gardens and farms, plenty to eat and a peaceful world without fear. Who doesn’t want that? Who among us would say he or she wouldn’t want that? Is it too boring to have peace and safety? Is it too mundane to have bumper crops year in and year out? So, what’s the catch? Isn’t there always a catch?
Yes, there is a catch, but it’s not expensive, nor is it egregious. All you have to do is to love God your Father who provides these things freely to his obedient children. You have to obey his commandments. You have to love your fellow man who is your brother and your sister, who also a child of God.
The first paragraph above comes from the book of Leviticus, chapter 26. The Old Testament is filled with rules and regulations. Jesus boiled all of them down to two. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” “Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” If you obey these laws, all those other ones fall into place. You won’t steal from someone that you love as much as yourself because you don’t like to have things stolen from you. You won’t punch him, kill him, hate him, lie to him, lie about him, take his wife or do other mean things to him because you don’t like those things either.
Our world is falling apart fast. The daily headlines are enough to fill our hearts with terror. We need to take hope and make that hope the anchor of our lives. There are solutions but the ultimate solution always comes back to those two commandments spoken by Jesus.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.” Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” Jesus said it best. You can’t improve on that.
The little airplanes of the heart
with their brave little propellers
What can they do
against the winds of darkness
even as butterflies are beaten back
yet do not die
They lie in wait wherever
they can hide and hang
their fine wings folded
and when the killer-wind dies
they flutter forth again
into the new-blown light
live as leaves
These are difficult days that we are experiencing. Sometimes, it feels as if we are buffeted by the winds of the hurricanes that have recently traversed our world or by the flames that scorch our west coast. We need to take heart in the Scriptures that uphold the righteousness that God has planted in us. We need to surely know that righteous lives soften the paths that others must follow in the future.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
** Although this title seems negative to me because of the reference to Sandinistas, I have chosen to leave it in so that the poem can be properly identified. The poem itself is very sweet.
There is something fundamentally wrong with us. In what country does someone just nonchalantly walk into a church and shoot up men, women and children? We don’t need terrorists. We have our own nutcases and they are armed with assault rifles.
There is only one way out of this plague of shooters and victims. Scripture tells us that if the country which is called by God’s name will repent and turn from its wicked ways, He will repent Himself of the evil and stop it and heal that nation. We need repentance now. We have become a violent society. Why does our country continue churning out violent movie after violent movie and violent computer game after violent computer game? Many of our young people are addicted to violence and others among us are becoming desensitized to it.
Years ago, if someone wanted to see violence or pornography, they had to get up and go somewhere to see it. Nowadays, they just turn on their computers and it’s all available right in their living rooms. Violence and lust will not beget anything but violence and lust. We allow our children to fill up their brains on a continuous stream of this junk without making a peep. Do we then expect them to turn out to be kind and caring individuals?
I am heartbroken. Why does another mother have to bury her young daughter? A newlywed bury her husband? Or a baby lose its mother? How can one family lose eight of its members in one instant? How many more will we tolerate being slaughtered in their pews? Or in their restaurants? Or on their bus? Simply living a quiet life. One minute they’re here and the next they are taken out of this life by some angry or demented soul. Why do we continue to allow it?
We need to turn this around. We can do it as a society if we forego focusing on our differences and instead unify in our repentance. We can change. We can stop future mass shootings. They are not inevitable. However, there is only one way out. We have to find the violence, the anger, the hate inside of ourselves and eliminate it. Cast it out. Refuse to give in to it even when people make it so enticing for us to hate. Do the opposite in our daily lives. Live with conviction in love with God and with our fellow man.
Jesus said: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37 – 40
Contentment does not depend on outward circumstances. Contentment is my choice no matter the circumstances. If I’m not content, am I not finding fault with whatever it is that God has allowed to come my way today?
The promise is not that my circumstances will be easy. The promise is that those circumstances, whether they be easy or difficult, will all somehow lead me to Him. What more could I want?
Philippians 4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Luke 11:20 If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Luke 17:20, 21 … The kingdom of God cometh not with observation … the kingdom of God is within you.
So many are waiting for the Kingdom of God. We look around our world and pine for a world where there is no murder, no theft, no terrorism and no fear. We long for a world where love is paramount and kindness is the rule of law. We don’t need to wait for this kingdom. Jesus gave us the road map to it two thousand years ago. The power to bring God’s kingdom to this earth lies within each one of us. We just need the will power to do it. That will power comes from the Holy Ghost, which our Father will give to us if we desire it and if we will use it correctly. To use it correctly, each one of us has to say NO when it’s easy to find fault with our brothers, NO when temptation stealthily invites us to come in, NO when hate abounds, NO when greed and selfishness knocks on our door.
We often think, “That’s too hard to live like that.” Actually, it’s not. The Spirit of God is there to help, to encourage and to give strength. All we really need is love for God and love for our fellow man. If we love our fellow man, we don’t want to do anything to him/her that we wouldn’t want done to us. The finger of God is there to eliminate satan’s kingdom of hatred, anger, selfishness and lust and to replace it with the exact opposite quality of God’s kingdom.
The Kingdom of God lies within and it’s within our reach to grab onto it. It’s a kingdom that is like the tiny mustard seed. It may seem very small in my little life, but as it grows in my life, it inspires others and they begin the same journey and they in turn inspire others. Keep at it and pretty soon there is a great multitude living the love of God on our beautiful earth. A life of unselfishness will create it here and now. We can do it.
Politics is a divisive subject. Therefore, I don’t like it, either side. Watching the morning news today, I saw pictures of the protests against the latest decisions of the current president. At that moment, I realized that the people who were protesting have been fairly happy campers for the last eight years. However, the USA is a very divided country and it’s almost an even split. The other half of us, yes US (remember, we’re ONE country!), has been disenfranchised for the last eight years. Most of those who were disenfranchised did not scream and shout and call the opposite side “haters.” They grumbled and complained and then showed their disapproval by voting differently.
Each side has to learn to listen to the opposite side. There’s both good and bad on both sides. If we are to be one country, we HAVE to respect each other and work it out. The other alternative is to create two countries where we won’t have to listen to each other any more, but even then, we’ll be forced in some way to do it because of business.
So, to those who are shouting and screaming, take a minute and listen to those “others”. It doesn’t cost you anything. Listening is free. So is voting, which will take place once more at the regular intervals.