Tag Archive | news

Love is greater than moral conscience

This post may seem out of character for me.  There are items in the news which I see differently from some of my conservative and Christian counterparts.  Usually I abstain from sharing my feelings on social or public media because, honestly, doing so rarely changes anything.  And that might be the case now, too, but I cannot keep silent this time.

In increasing numbers, Christian behaviour is at the forefront in the media, and to put it mildly, it is not perceived as loving. I am deeply grieved by how the “moral conscience” of some are driving people away from Christ, rather than drawing them near.

Christians—your actions are speaking louder than Jesus’ words.  How can those outside of Christ know his love if we refuse to serve them, stubbornly judge, or by our deeds, reject them?

Jesus called us to LOVE, His message was LOVE, and His ministry was and ever is LOVE.  I’m not going all new-age on you here. It’s just what Jesus said:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Matthew 5:45-47

Christians are called to live above the law, not be excused by it Jesus said the answer to the law is fulfilled in this:

“Love the Lord you God with all your heart, soul, mind, and body, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

The apostle Paul called love, “the more excellent way.”

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He went on to say,

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  1 Cor. 13:1-2

In a similar vein, the apostle James said we can talk about our faith until we’re blue in the face (well, not in those words), but if we don’t display loving actions, our faith will be empty, and our message, void:

“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 3:15-17

Dear Christians, our faith is not expressed through anchoring our behaviours onto our “moral conscience”; rather, it is to be set into motion through loving deeds, untiring grace, relentless mercy, kindness, compassion, and, above all, humility!  Remember:

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This leaves no room for pride, arrogance, or judgement. We need to humbly learn from our Lord who said that true greatness in God’s kingdom, is being a servant to all.

In the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, two pious men walked past a man beat up by robbers.  A third man stopped and helped him in his need, a helper from a rejected culture, and someone that, under normal conditions, would never be regarded as a friend.  How does the story go??

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Through love and mercy, we reflect God’s character, the very light and life of Christ:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

That’s something legalism, rejection, and judgement can never do.

Believers, humbly live above the law, by going out of your way to show EVERYONE the same mercy, grace, and love that you have received.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  I John 4:9-11

Check out these two articles with similar sentiments, only better expressed:

Don’t Be Defined by What You’re Against

Bake for them Two

A Brit of Fresh Air!!

Everyday, countless unknown believers share their faith, at work, home, school, etc, all outside of any limelight or attention,  However, it’s a little rare to hear the Lord’s message of redemption and forgiveness shared on cable TV by a highly respected journalist.  But that’s just what Brit Hume did!  

Watch this 3-minute video of his discussion with Bill O-Reilly on Fox:

Justin  Taylor offers a detailed and insightful discussion on this interview at his website, The Gospel Coalition.   Also, check out an exceptional Q&A interview with Mr. Hume by Sarah Pullman Bailey of Christianity Today.

I was so encouraged by this news worthy piece and my sentiments couldn’t be expressed better than what Paul Werner of the National Review concluded in his article, “Hume’s Gentle Witness“:

“Brit Hume is rightly recognized as one of the finest journalists of his generation. He also turns out to be a man of deep Christian faith who isn’t afraid to say so. That makes him not only rare, but very nearly unique. And admirable. “

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“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:11-16

  

Thank you, Mr. Hume!

Billy Graham’s Birthday!

“You are the light of the world….Let you light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14, 16

Billy Graham is living proof of this verse.  He’s allowed the light of Christ to shine through him to the world, bringing many to a personal relationship with Jesus and glorifying the Father in heaven.  Dr. Graham turns 90 on November 7th, and we have a privileged opportunity to shine some light back to him as a gift.  The short video below by Franklin Graham explains how, or you can click HERE, to write a birthday note of thanks to one the world’s greatest evangelists and most humble of servants

Strangers, Aliens and Exiles

Election year, high blood pressure, elevated emotions, regretable rhetoric!  These all go together, and it takes extreme discipline to maintain a Christ-like perspective of it all!  Try as I may, I get too caught up and, worse, too emotional, as I watch listen online to news, whether it’s “fair and balanced”, or the most listened to talk show on earth, or “just in” from the “situation room.”

I am compelled, for mental and spiritual survival, to immerse my thoughts and renew my mind in God’s Word.  With the utmost gratefulness, I’m never disappointed, and my spirit is refreshed.  I’m reminded that there is MORE!

“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:  for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God,; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts (sin!), which wages war against the soul.”  I Peter 2:9-11

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God!” 2 Corinthians 5:20

“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens (!), but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you are also being built together into a dwelling of God in the spirit!:  Ephesians 2:19-22

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own!  And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”  Hebrews 11:13-16

A.W. Tozer, one who is already in a “better country,” wrote and sternly warned believers of the position and mindset Christians should have in the midst of our present turmoil.  Though he penned this over 45 years ago, his counsel remains true:  

The issues that divide our leaders are so important that few Americans can remain neutral.  Almost everyone has a pronounced opinion, and is sure he is right.  That men equally wise and good take the opposite side does not seem to occur to any of us.  Felling is running high, and most of our thinking is being done with our emotions…..Liberty as used by the American founding fathers meant freedom to do good; many today conceive it to mean freedom to do evil, and they work it for all the traffic it will bear.

“One thing must be kept in mind:  We Christians are Christians first and everything else after that.  Our first allegiance is to the kingdom of God.  Our citizenship is in heaven.  We are grateful for political freedom.  We thank God for democracy as a way of life.  But we never forget that we are sons of God and citizens of another city whose builder and maker is God.

“For this reason, we must not identify the gospel with any political system or make Christianity to be synonymous with any form of government, however noble.  Christ stands alone, above and outside of every ideology devised by man.  He does not join any of our parties or take sides with any of our great men except as they may come over on His side and seek to follow Him in righteousness and true holiness.  Then He is for them, but only as individuals, never as leaders of some political faction.

“The true Christian will be loyal to his country and obedient to those in authority, but he will never fall in to the error of confusing his own national culture with Christianity.  Christianity is bigger than any country, loftier than any civilization, broader than any human ideology.

“Any form of human government, however lofty, deals with the citizen only as long as he lives.  Ant the graveside it bids him adieu.  It may have made his journey a little easier, and if so, all lovers of the human race will thank God for that…

“So let’s keep cool [yeah–he said that!], and let’s think like Christians.  Christ will be standing upright, tall, and immortal, after the tumult and the shouting dies and the captains and the kings lie stretched side by side, the “cause” that made them famous forgotten and their whole significance reduced to a paragraph in a history book.”

from The Next Chapter after the Last, ed. Henry Verploegh, pps,47-50

Since we have received a “kingdom which cannot be shaken,” let us live for Him and to Him, and “offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe: for our God is a consuming fire!” (Hebrews 12:28, 29).  Nothing should shake us!  He appoints leaders, He lifts, and puts down.  We must trust our Lord in the political arena as well as in the personal one.   Our trust is in the Changeless One, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!