Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

I am reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his famous line, “judge a man by his character and not the color of his skin”. The blood in all our veins is red and all skin colors have bled for this country on the battle field. That makes us all brothers and sisters. The liberals and progressives among us like to divide us into groups, and then pit those groups against each other. We Christians are instructed to love our neighbors! There is no other qualifier. There is no statement about loving those who are like you; you are to love your neighbor no matter what. Your neighbor lives next door to you, resides in the next state, and across many borders. The Bible goes further to instruct us to love our enemies, so how can we possibly ignore an innocent neighbor!

In our land, every local school board and city council hold great debates on the qualification of a potential candidate and whether they are qualified to hold a seat at that table. Sadly, our country elected a completely unqualified man with no experience to be our president simply because of the color of his skin. Furthermore, the country elected him twice which is long enough to have the institutions of government start to fail. We now have the IRS, the EPA, the VA, the TSA, the CDC, the Department of Education, Homeland Security, the Senate, and the Secret Service all failing the citizens of this once great country.

As the Bible instructs us, we must pray for the leadership of this country, and I do; a country once the great hope of the world for peace and goodness…a compassionate country willing to help our neighbors across the great seas…a generous country that gives to others more than any other. The hostilities and warring madness of the Middle East and Africa, breaking God’s commandment of “Thou shall not murder”, are a despicable evil impacting the innocent of the world. Who can stop them now? Our military has been decimated by our own lack of common sense, most of the good commanders have been fired by mis-guided leadership, and the country has lost its faith and heart. As the famous quote goes, “for evil to flourish, good people must do nothing”. Who is going to stand up for our neighbors now?

Who is Going to Throw the First Stone?

Have you ever wondered if there were some hidden political motives by some group when it appears that all of a sudden there are massive sets of attack articles on a given topic? I mean, we could go years with not a peep, and then day after day, articles on some genned-up topic. Case in point, the current daily stories about the NFL and spouse abuse or child abuse. The fact that the NFL’s rate of these un-excusable practices is much lower than what we see in our culture makes no difference. It is blood in the water attracting the sharks. It seems to me that people simply love to distract from what they are doing in order to go “hang” someone else. The fact that our country seems to find joy in the destruction of someone’s life is absolutely sinful. A whistleblower stating our US State Department has been doing criminal acts and messing around with underage prostitutes gets attacked inspite of 18 congressional acts to protect whistleblowers. Why are these stories being ignored and the NFL is the current target zero? While I don’t condone the things that are being accused of the NFL players, I say, let those who have not ever sinned throw the first stone (John 8:7). Who hasn’t let a word slip like Paula Dean? Martha Stewart is sent to prison for doing what is lawful for Congress to do. I believe in spanking and discipline, but never ever with anything in your hand, and never more than just one light time. I believe a man should never ever hit a woman, no matter what she does; but is that a reason to destroy a man’s life and force the owners of teams to sell their teams because of the actions of others? Our country is sinking fast into the cut-throat abyss…a deep canyon of chaos where there is no escape.

The more people “pile-on”, the heavier the weight will become that will eventually sink us as a compassionate nation, one of only a few left in the world. Can we not deal with bad actions on a local basis and nationally promote the good actions of people? I know, I have heard the lame excuse that good news doesn’t sell, well that just reflects our true materialistic sickness…we might as well continue our awful and easier tendency to throw a bloody lamb to the wolves and watch the fight!

How about the story of the Texas man who paid Chick-Fil-A a $1,000 for 88 customers behind him? How about the NFL’s 5 year veteran, David Nelson assisting Haiti in its recovery from a 2010 earthquake? We don’t hear of Nelson’s tearful reaction to a boy’s request, released from being trapped in some ruins, to simply be held. Or, Nelson and his brother adopting 9 Haitian kids, previously on the verge of death.

Yes, we should hold the bar as high as reasonable to promote goodness and be good examples to others. We must also practice and promote what Colossians 3 tells us to do; from the NIV, http://biblehub.com/niv/colossians/3.htm; and be more forgiving. As we are and have been forgiven, which is an un-measurable amount by the way, so too we should also forgive. Set your minds on heavenly things and strive for goodness and peace.

One Who Assembles Sense

The name “Ecclesiastes” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Qoheleth,” meaning “one who assembles.” Isn’t that what we all do in life? We assemble. We assemble our collection of toys as we grow up. We assemble our collection of friends and acquaintances. We assemble skills in order to do something, be it good or bad skills. We assemble our “toys” after we are grown up. We assemble our families, and later in life we hope to assemble some well-deserved relaxation and fun in retirement. But is that all there is to life? What is, after all, the real meaning of life?

An often used phrase in Ecclesiastes is “nothing makes sense”; have you echoed this phrase in your own life? How sad would it be to come to the end of your life and be thinking nothing has made sense…is this all there is? Did my life account for anything? Did I make a difference? Was there a reason I was born? Did anybody notice me while I walked this planet? What is next, if anything, after my death?

Written over 2,500 years ago, Ecclesiastes is as modern today as ever. Who hasn’t said the following or something like it, at one time or another in their own lives?

“I have seen everything during this senseless life of mine. I have seen good citizens die for doing the right thing, and I have seen criminals live to a ripe old age.” (Ecc. 7:15 CEV)

In 1983, Harold S. Kushner published his bestseller book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Avon. Later, in 1997, Melvin Tinker followed with his book, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? by Christian Focus. Obviously, this has been a question for all time.

I don’t know why it is such a mystery to most; it should come as no surprise. We live in a fallen world where evil reigns until Christ comes again. We learn very clearly in Matthew 7:25 that the winds of destruction and the flood waters come against all people, the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Our promise from God is only that we Christians will be able to withstand these destructive forces, not that we will escape such calamity in our earthly lives. Many a new Christian mistakenly thinks that once they accept Christ as their LORD and Savior, their lives will be trouble free from then on. One only needs to look at the Apostles to see that all had harsh lives and all but John died a martyr’s death.

What I got out of the Royal Wedding

I was NOT wrapped up in all the trappings of the Royal Wedding. It just seemed like a bunch of gossipping to me. But I awoke on that Friday morning with all the airwaves filled with TV coverage, and lo what did I see? I saw smiles, happiness and excitement. I saw a nation pull together for a singular event. I saw pride, laughter and merriment. People, lots of people, calmly wishing to be close; to be close enough to actually be a participant in the event. They were seeking to be included in something worthwhile and much bigger than themselves. I saw a world interested in something positive and happy…something good, instead of being a world we see in the news as being so hateful and ugly! The world was groaning and now is on fire; we need something beautiful and refreshing to put out those flames!