This past weekend, violence broke out in Charlottesville, Va. as a white-nationalist rally was held. White nationalist’s had planned a “unite the right” rally to protest the removal of statues of leading Confederate figures in Charlottesville. This rally was met by locals organizing a peaceful protest in response to the white-nationalist’s. As they met, fighting broke out and a man driving a Dodge car rammed into a crowd of protestors killing one lady and leaving others wounded.
This event has been heavy on my heart as I’m sure it has been on your heart as well. If I had been in a pulpit yesterday, this is what I would have I said;
1) Let there be no mistake about it… God loves us all. Everyone!
All lives matter!
As the children’s song puts it,
“Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
The color of our skin does not matter.
Our socioeconomic status does not matter.
Our family legacy does not matter.
Our nationality does not matter.
God loves us all… Caucasian, Hispanic, African-Americans, Native-Americans, Middle-Eastern… God loves us all.
Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
2)We need to stop pointing fingers and arguing and come together.
America is a big land. There are Southerners and there are people from the Mid-West. There are people from the West and people from New England. We are all Americans.
Do we see things differently? Yes! My political views may differ from the man or woman from California or New England. But, these differences don’t make either one of us a bad person.
Today, we are pointing fingers and yelling at one another. I think the root of this is cable news and talk radio. When you are yelling at someone you can’t listen to that person. We need to listen to one another more. We need to be willing to work together as we can.
Now, someone may say, “You want me to work with a Democrat even though they support abortion?” And yes, the Democratic platform does support abortion. I do not support it but, I’m not going to let my disagreement with someone on that issue prevent me from working with them on another issue. Again, we need to work together. Let’s find some things we can work together on and do those.
3) God is not married to a political party.
Sometimes as Christians we can believe that God loves or that God would be affiliated with a certain party. Not so! Friends, no political party has a monopoly on God. I know Christians who are Republicans and Democrats.
America is not going to be saved by the Republicans or the Democrats. Jesus and Jesus alone will save America!
I am concerned about our nation. I am concerned about the division that I see. I am concerned as I see us blaming one another.
We must come together. I pray we do.
"I put my heart into it."
Have you ever told someone that? Someone may have asked how you completed such a challenging project? And you replied, well, "I just put my heart into it."
On the other hand, there are times when someone may say, "…my heart wasn't in it."
It is a fact that we will not work as effectively as we should if we don't put our hearts into something. In Nehemiah, the Bible says the people "rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart."
Think about those last words… The people worked with all their heart."
Maybe there is a project you're working on but you really don't have your heart in it. If so, it's going to drag. On the other hand, when you put your heart into something, you work quicker and you enjoy it and you do a great work.
So is there a project that you're working on that you need to really put your heart into? Maybe there something you're doing at your church and you gotten frustrated and maybe even considered quitting. Don't do it; put your heart into the work and make a difference.
Ok… I may make someone mad with this post… if so… so be it. Before I go any farther, let me make it clear; I believe in prayer. Ok… so don’t throw any spiritual bombs my way.
Lots of times when you share your problems with someone we get this response from well-meaning Christians… “I will be praying for you.”
I believe in prayer. It’s powerful and that may be what God wants us to say at times. But I promise you, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve had someone say, “I will be praying for you,” I would have a little money on my hands. Again, at times, that’s the right thing to say. But at times, it’s the easy thing to say… If we don’t really want to get involved and help someone, let’s just say, “I will be praying for you” and we move on down the street.
Nehemiah could have easily said that. Let me give you the background. Nehemiah was the cup-bearer to the king. The cup-bearer was a person who tasted the king’s food and drink. If someone was trying to assassinate the king, the cup-bearer died instead of the king. The king trusted his cup-bearer.
Nehemiah asked about the Jews who had gone to Jerusalem. He asked how things were going? But he wasn’t prepared for what heard.
Nehemiah was told, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”
Hearing this, the Bible says Nehemiah, “…. sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.”
Think about that… Nehemiah could have heard the sad news, cried some but then, he could have said, “guys, I am SOOOO sorry about what’s going in Jerusalem. I will be praying for them” and he could have moved on.
Instead, Nehemiah was moved to help. The Bible says he prayed earnestly to God asking God to cause the king to grant him favor. Then, Nehemiah decided to ask the king to let him go to Jerusalem.
How do we respond when we hear about a problem? Do we reply, “I will be praying for you,” or, do we ask, “What can I do to help?”
There are lots of people who need help. People who are down, discouraged, depressed. When we learn about this, how do we respond?
Let’s do what we can to help.
For many people, sin seems like the most fun way to live. Sin entices us to “grab all the gusto you can.”
Sin is the Swedish bikini team on the beach.
Sin is the strip in Las Vegas all lit up inviting people to get rich quick.
Sin is Bourbon street in New Orleans inviting someone to have some fun… have a one night fling.
What sin doesn’t show you is the person who has lost their family due to adultery.
What sin doesn’t show you is the person who is facing death due to drug abuse.
In Psalm 31:10 the Bible says, “Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.” That’s a good description of the impact of sin. “Sin has drained my strength…” Lots of people have lost their strength due to sin. Maybe alcohol abuse did it. Maybe it was drugs. Maybe it was sexual sin.
Maybe sin has drained you. Maybe you are wondering if there is any hope. Even though sin has a terrible impact on our lives, the grace and mercy of Jesus is far greater than sin.
Regardless how you have lived, if you will repent of your sins you can be forgiven. But you must repent. You must be sorry for your sin.
Maybe today you need to confess your sins. “But,” you may reply, “I’ve done some bad things… I don’t know if I can be forgiven.”
I promise you on the authority of God’s word, you can be forgiven. I John 1:9 says, “If you confess your sins, Jesus is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There is an old poem that goes like this;
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
Keep you longer than you want to stay,
And cost you more than you want to pay.”
But Jesus will forgive us if we ask.
Let me ask you something; Do you enjoy the applause of the crowd? Let me explain.
In previous posts, I’ve shared how God has worked in my life in the last year. God has stripped me down and led me to do some reflection. One of the things God has led me to examine is my motives. Why do I serve? why do I preach? Why do I teach?
This is another transparency post…. I love the Lord and I preach and teach because I am called to do it. But, if I’m honest… I enjoy the affirmation of the crowd as well. Maybe we all do. After all, we are all human and all humans like affirmation. It’s just how we are wired. So, there is nothing wrong with enjoying affirmation but it is wrong if that is our only motive.
God has helped me to see that we preach… I should preach… because Jesus has done something in my life and I want to share that with others. Yes, there is affirmation in it and we enjoy it but, that can’t be our motivation. We preach and teach because we believe that the Savior we are talking about can make a difference in anyone’s life.
So, why do you serve? Why do you sing? Why do you teach? Is it because Jesus has done a work in your life and want to share that with others? Or, do you like the affirmation that comes from it?
Today and in the days ahead, set aside some time and do some reflexion. Be honest with yourself. God knows our thoughts any way so, if you are serving at least in part, because you like the affirmation, God knows that. It’s not like we are going to surprise Him. But, we need to come clean with God and that means confessing our sin.
If you are serving because you like the affirmation, confess that and get that right with God. We serve because of what Jesus has done for us. Period… End of discussion. Today, share with someone the difference Jesus is making in your life.
Elvis used to have a song that went;
“Born in the heat of the desert.
My Mother died giving me life.
Deprived of the love of a father,
Blamed for the loss of his wife.
You know Lord I’ve been in a prison.
For something that I’ve never done.
It’s been one hill after another,
I’ve climbed them all one by one.”
Do you have a problem that appears to be a mountain and you are thinking, “I don’t if even God come help me?” Well, God can. There is nothing too great for our Lord. Let me give you some Old Testament history to explain.
In 587 B.C. the Babylonians conquered the southern kingdom of Judah and took the people captive. Israel was captive in Babylonian for years.
In 537 B.C., God moved in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to allow Israel to return home. Let’s stop here because we need to understand the significance of this.
Cyrus was a pagan. As in, he didn’t believe in God.
I repeat; he was a PAGAN.
Cyrus couldn’t care less about Israel.
But God moved in the heart of a pagan king and Cyrus issued a decree to let Israel return home. Again… a pagan king let Israel return home.
This story is a great reminder that nothing is too great for God. So, what problem are you facing? I’m not saying it’s going to go away over night. I’m not saying you are going to walk to your mailbox and find a check for a nice of money. But I am saying that God is able. This story proves that.
What problem are you facing? God can help. I don’t know how it will turn out. But I know God is able. If God could cause a pagan king to issue a law that all the Israelites could go home, God can handle our problems.
So what are you facing? What problem or challenge or you dealing with?
Is it a marital problem? Financial? Work-related? Emotional? God can help you. Again, I’m not saying everything is going to get better over night. I’m not saying you may not face some consequences if you made a mistake. I am saying God will help you. If you are going to face some consequences, God will give us strength.
The chorus of the song by Elvis goes;
“You gave me a mountain this time,
A mountain that i may never climb.
It isn’t, Lord a hill any longer.
You gave me a mountain this time.”
God helps us climb our mountains. He will help you today if you ask Him.
As you know from my posts, the Lord has blessed us with a grandson; Peyton Hollis Potts. As you can imagine, Peyton Hollis is the sweetest child God ever made. I know you feel the same about your children and grandchildren.
Peyton is a four month old baby. We love him big time. Like all babies, Peyton cries. When he gets hungry, he’s ready to eat.. and if the bottle isn’t ready as quick as he wants it, he cries.
When you are holding Peyton, if he doesn’t like the way he is being held, he cries until you get him in the position he likes. Now, someone may say, “That baby is immature.” And I would reply, “You are right; he is. He’s supposed to be… he’s a baby.” Now, if he’s still crying when he’s twenty or thirty or forty, we got a problem. 🙂
But, Peyton IS a baby. He doesn’t know any better. He’s doing what babies do. Let me ask you something; do you complain when you don’t get your way? If you are honest, you will have have to say “at times.”
You see, there are lots of Christians who, although they are thirty or forty or fifty, they are “babes in Christ” because they’ve never grown. They will complain a lot. They complain about the music. They complain if someone takes their seat or their parking space. They likely won’t give. They complain if the sermon went too long. They complain because they’ve never grown up as a Christian.
In I Corinthians 3, Paul was writing to the church at Corinth. He said to them,
“I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ.” The church had lots of people who were babes in Christ.
What about you? Are you a babe in Christ? Are you acting like a baby?
If a person is a fairly new Christian, then yes, they should be babes in Christ. They haven’t had time to grow. But, there are lots of Christians who have been Christians long enough that they should be mature in the faith.
What about you? Have you grown in Christ? Be honest with yourself. How well do you know your Bible? How is your prayer life? Are you serving? Are you tithing? If you haven’t grown, ok… admit it and then begin correcting it. Begin reading your Bible. Develop a stronger prayer life. Begin giving.
Get out of that infant stage you are in and grow to become a more mature Christian.
We love Peyton. But, if Peyton remains a baby, something is wrong. We want him to grow into a mature person. We should grow as Christians as well.