Craziness That Is Out There

What does it say about a person when they’ve enjoyed sunshine most of their life, only to be comforted when it rains? These days it is the rain that almost makes me feel safe from the world.  It is a barrier between me and the craziness that is out there. Everything has changed from when I was a child. Not only my views of life, people and eternity but the world around me is almost unrecognizable. What was up is now down, what was in is now out and what is evil is called good and what is good is called evil.

world 2Most people’s views change as they grow up and move into different phases of life and as they go through different experiences. What I believed as a young adult quickly changed as I began to see the world beyond myself.  What I understood was very, very little in comparison to what I understand now.  Yes, I know, hindsight is 20/20 but that is not what I am alluding to. You have heard the statement, “If I knew then what I know now,” well, what is the point of that statement, really? How would that even be possible unless you had a time machine. Back then the world revolved around me and I was the smartest person alive. Isn’t every teenager going out into the big, big world? Today the world is revolving all right but not particularly around me and I am definitely not the smartest person alive. I have been literally put in my place on several occasions, by Jesus!

In the first part of 2 Timothy 3, Paul seems to me, to be describing this day and age.  The last part of the chapter Paul is encouraging Timothy to continue in what he has learned from childhood because it is what will keep him focused on Christ and his faith in Him. The Word is what will give him wisdom, strength and endurance for the coming persecution of his faith. It speaks to me, I am sure as it did Timothy as well, for the coming persecution of Christians on a scale like never before.  We are seeing first hand what it means to follow Christ in certain countries around the world. We are reading minute by minute the atrocities committed by those who are the enemies of God.  Be-headings, torture, sex-trafficking, sexual slaves of young girls, mutilation of their genitalia, burning in cages, hangings, on and on it goes. No end to the horror.

And here in America…where do I begin? Those things are happening here. You don’t believe it because you do not see it or hear of it.  Because the media would not have you knowing truth.  Truth is a barbaric thing to them.  It is politically incorrect to speak of such things here in A-M-E-R-I-C-A. I believe they believe we are shielded from the evil that is building in those parts far, far away from us. They believe we are safe as long as we do not speak of it. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. They focus on the inane. And while they go about filling people’s eyes and ears with the most important ideas like sex, global warming and racism we are slowly losing the ability to discern the truth. Absolute truth. Absolute truth is disappearing. And when it is gone we will have lost one of the most important things our country was founded on, Freedom.

Freedom.  What a concept!  The word itself would stir up the most passionate of men and women.  It was fought for, died for and sacrificed for throughout history. Flags have flown for it. The children of Israel fled to the wilderness for it. And the greatest experiment in history, the pilgrims of the Netherlands crossed an ocean for it. The colonies of America fought the monarch of England for it. Countries have banded together to fight wars for it. Men have died for other men so they may be called “free.” But who fights for it now? What does it even mean to us today? Today freedom is about taking it away from one man and giving it to another man and calling it “rights.”

While the world seems to be losing sight of that noble word I have come to know the word very personally.  I did not fight on a battle field nor did I have to travel far for it. I experienced F-R-E-E-D-O-M when I met the savior, Jesus Christ. Freedom from the power of sin.  At first it was a peace and realization that I did not have to carry the weight of my sins any longer. Then as I began to walk with Him I discovered another kind of freedom.  Freedom from the bondage of my sins. Let me explain.

As I learned what it meant ‘to be a sinner’ I understood that I was born into sin. That from the beginning of time, when Adam and Eve fell from fellowship with God because they disobeyed Him in the perfect place on earth. They plunged every human born after into the same sinful state, a state of death. We are basically born dead.  Our spirit is dead to God. He himself placed a spirit in us but He gave us the choice to allow Him to bring it to life. It had to be our choice because He would not force us into a relationship with Himself. That is not His nature. He desires a relationship with us but we have to want it.

Once I realized that I was sinful and dead to God, I was undone. I wanted to live. I wanted God to live in me. I wanted Him to take away my sin. To wash me clean and give me a new beginning.  To set me free.  When I asked for His forgiveness of my sin and for Him to come into my life and lead me, He did!  First He showed me who He was.  By reading the bible and studying His Word I was able to learn about the one who gave me a new life. I spent time reading, praying and worshiping the one who had to power to give life.  The more time I spent with Him, the closer we became. And the closer we became the more I was able to overcome the sin in my life.

Then He did something that caused me great pain.  At first I did not understand the pain. But then I realized that He wanted me to go deeper into our relationship by going deeper into His Word.  He wanted me to trust Him completely; To walk with Him without questioning His leading. I was a babe in Christ, as they say and I did not know how to do that fully because of the consequences of the sin in my life. Those consequences bound me up and kept me from going forward with God. They were stumbling blocks to trusting Him. The were hindrances to growing the fruit of the spirit in my life.  They kept me believing lies about myself and about God.  Because of the consequences there were powerful voices of doubt which became extremely frustrating and exhausting.

So through the tribulations and desperate cries to be free from the bondage, God led me to the truth in His word, and to godly counselors and Pastors.  Those years of wrestling with my flesh and the Holy Spirit led me to the most amazing and joyous times in my faith. He opened doors for me that I would never have imagined to be opened.  He used me in others lives to show them Christ and to find freedom in their lives.  He brought me to a place of freedom the likes I had never known to that point.  All the while preparing me for the most devastating time in my life to come.

Lighthouse in Storm --- Image by © John Lund/Corbis

Lighthouse in Storm — Image by © John Lund/Corbis

When the bottom fell out God took me by the hand and led me the whole time. It was as if I was in a bubble of peace.  The storm was raging and I was losing everything that I thought made me normal. The world as I knew it had done a 180, along with my views and new-found faith and knowledge of God.  When you are confronted with truth in a way that rips the rug out from under you, you either fall or stand solid.  It all just depends on what is holding you up.  I stood at first because God was holding me up.  I wish I could say that I remained standing through it all. But I did not.  The storm grew so powerful that I allowed myself to be taken along with the wind, tossed to and fro.  God basically yanked me back to reality in a very public and painful way. With the help of godly friends and a strong support system through my church I was able to once again stand and even to move forward.

Not without scars to show for it. Hurt and pain I never knew existed. As I said in the beginning our views change over time. If you asked me if I would want to go back and have a do-over I am not so sure I would want that.  While I hate the bad things that have happened in my life due to the actions of others or of my own accord, I love how God has taken those bad things and made something beautiful out of them.  How He has given me a new outlook on life, people and eternity.  My thoughts turn to more meaningful questions such as have I lived a good life? Have I given more than I have taken? Have I made a difference in world?

I don’t even feel qualified to answer those questions.  For what I think I am is often influenced by what I hope I am and therefore to be objective I would have to separate every thought, action and reaction I have ever had.  Then I would have to relate that information to the type of relationships I have now in my life. It is all very scientific. But in the end useless. Because as I said before it comes down to the fact that the world does not revolve around me. So what questions should I be asking?

Maybe something that is more in line with what Jesus would want from me. Have I allowed Christ to live through me? Have I given to others in the name of Christ more than I have taken in the name of Christ? Has Jesus made a difference in the world through me?  In being honest I would have to say No, not always. No, definitely not and finally, only time will tell.  The world is changing so much so fast that it seems time is speeding up.  It makes me think more of heaven and my time left here.  It gives me a sense of urgency.  As if time is running out, not just for me but for everyone.

What does it say about a person when they’ve enjoyed sunshine most of their life, only to be comforted when it rains? I think it says that you can not completely enjoy the sunshine without the rain and it is the rain that brings new life. It is God who sends the rain and He gives me safety in His Word and truth. The actual barrier between me and the craziness that is out there is God’s love, mercy and grace.  Everything has changed from when I was a child or so it seems. It is God who has actually changed me.water sun

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 His ever constant faithfulness to me no matter where I am in my walk or in the world continues to encourage my faith.  For He has certainly changed my views of life, people and eternity through His unchanging love.

My views:

  • Life is precious
  • People need Jesus
  • Eternity is closer than ever

Grace to you,

Shell

Stand For Something

Our country is going into a tail spin.  Every single day I turn on the radio and hear what Washington is doing or not doing.  I read the headlines and shake my head.  Then I pray, Lord come soon!  Do I really want that?  There are still so many that do not know Jesus.  So many that have not heard the Good News.  Still more who have heard the Gospel message but keep putting off their decision to make things right with God.  There are some who have rejected Him and care nothing about God or what matters to Him.  Our world is turning upside down before my eyes.  What was good is now bad and what was bad is now good.  It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

I have heard the saying that if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything.  I do believe that to be true.  The bible tells us (paraphrased) that we are to build up one another in the faith so that we grow stronger in the knowledge of Christ so we will no longer be as a child , “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— Ephesians 4:12-15

Without Christ we are as the world is. Lost to God and blind to truth.  How can we be shocked at the things the lost say and do?  It is in their very nature to be deceitful, hateful and twisted in their thinking.  In the flesh we, Christians, have the same bent but we are called to stand firm on the truth of God’s Word.  To not waver to the left nor to the right.  But sadly even most Christians do not understand what it means to stand on truth.  They compromise on the little things, gray areas they are called.  When they do this they are allowing the enemy a foothold into their lives. An open door so to speak.  Over time their hearts become harden to any truth.  They no longer have spiritual discernment in that area.  What a dangerous place to be.

ten-commandments

For in God’s Word there is no gray.  Black and white!  Just reading the 10 commandments you can not waiver.  You do or you don’t!!!

I have, when I was younger, being dead in my trespasses and sin, turned my eyes to the world and followed their way of thinking.  It was years before I came to know God and realize my perspective was in opposition to God and His Word.

The older I get and the closer to God I become, I see even more how I was blinded to truth.  To not speak up against sin is basically to agree with it.  To not warn others of the wrath of God and impending judgement is to stand with their blood on your hands.  17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezekiel 3:17-18

When I began to read the bible and apply it, my eyes were open to the truth of it. Applying His Word to the lies of this world brings you to the choice of who will you serve this day and all the days to follow. You can not be in the Word for any length of time and not be convicted of its truth.  You either accept it or reject it.  And rejecting is as turning your back on God, rebellion.  And rebellion is as witchcraft.  And witchcraft is an abomination unto the Lord according to Deuteronomy 18:9-12

Some of the issues I am talking about are so divisive that it is often difficult to have a discussion with those that disagree without it becoming very explosive.  Marriage, Sexual Orientation, Religious Freedom and Life.  It has of course come down to politics and money.  Who has the most money to buy the power needed to shove ones beliefs down the throat of another.  In order for one side to have their rights the other sides’ rights will have to be forfeited.  This is what is happening before our eyes today.  It is the work of the enemy. For we know he rules this world with an agenda.  One that keeps as many from coming to Christ as he can and causes many Christians to stumble and fall.  According to the end of the book, the Bible, we  know where he ends up just as we also know who will reign forever and ever.

So it is our duty, as Christians to stand up and speak truth. Be salt and light in a society that is becoming dark and tasteless.  There will be a day when we will no longer have the freedom to do this without fear of death.  We in America do not know what this means.  But soon, very soon we will.  I am a born-again child of God, a Christian. I have a Christian world view, meaning I view everything through the lens of God’s Word and His principles.  While some of my view is skewed a bit from my upbringing and experiences I strive to err on the side of Jesus.  I pray that each day for the courage to make the choices that show others who I serve.  That my Lord will find me faithful!

To this end, it is important for us to stay informed. To make sure we do the research.  To stay involved in the civil process.  To tell others what we know and most importantly live ‘Christ’ before others so that they may be won.  We can not quit because it is uncomfortable for us or because the world goes to hell in a hand basket around us.  No, we must stand more firm and keep reaching for the prize of the high calling.

Remember God wins. Just read the end of the book.  It is all there, I promise!

Grace to you all,

Shell

What does it mean to be a ‘tolerant’ Christian?

PS:  I have added this post as a page to my blog “Stand For Something” and will post links (drop down menu “Do Your Research”)  to reliable news sources for those interested in keeping up with current events.  Pray as to the direction the Lord would have you go in standing for His principles in society.  If we, as a church, do not stand up and be His voice then eventually we will lose our voice.  And thus begins the death of the church.  If you have a reliable link that you think I should add, please feel free to send to me.  Thank you in advance for your courage!