Baby ‘n the Bathwater

baby and bathwaterFrom my vantage point, much of the craziness in our country that’s driving us to the edge of destruction is our tendency to do things our way rather than God’s way.

Many “social programs” are caught up in this debacle. (No, I’m not “against” social programs. I personally know many folks who have poured themselves into helping people through these programs. And I was grateful for food stamps when I was going to school and working five part-time jobs to support my family in the ‘70s.)

But to my knowledge, God never said the government should take care of the people. God instructed the people to take care of the people. In the end, Jesus does not say, “I was hungry, naked and imprisoned, and the government took care of my needs.”

Unfortunately, we’re so tapped out by our government mis-spending our money, we don’t have much left to do what we’re called to do. I can’t help but wonder how our society might be healthier if we actually took care of our own–within our own families and communities. With a more personal approach, we would know if someone actually needed help, or if they were simply refusing to take responsibility for their lives.

(Can we agree we see both of these scenarios being played out in the “system”? We can all think of some who actually need help, and we can also think of some who truly are conning the system.)

If at all possible, I believe everyone needs to give something back in exchange for what they receive. Not because we need to get something back, but because we all need to give something back. Even if all we have to offer is gratitude. Or a helping hand to another person.

When I read some of the comments that are lobbed – or spiked – back and forth about these issues, it seems that many of the skirmishes seem to be triggered when one person exaggerates his point in order to dismiss another’s opposing point. In many cases, it’s not “either/or.” It’s “both/and.”
It’s like choosing up sides on the playground. It’s childish behavior.

And it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

The baby is God’s instruction that we take care of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Let’s be sensible about what needs to happen with the bathwater.

And let’s look for an opportunity today to personally make a difference in the life of someone who needs a bit of “social” encouragement – with whatever we have may have to offer…in Jesus’ name.

The Tears of a Man

tears of a manJesus demonstrated how to be a wholly integrated, multifaceted human being. In the typical ways men are men, Jesus was a man. He worked in his earthly dad’s carpenter shop, possibly building carts and furniture and other things common to day-to-day life at that time. Wouldn’t it be a treat to have something built by Jesus, even if it was just a simple wooden trinket? Just to know the hands of the Carpenter shaped it to be what he wanted it to be would make it a treasure too valuable to imagine. Amazingly, he has given us exactly that—something formed by the hands of the Master. He has given us us. We are a “treasure in an earthen vessel” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

And Jesus fixed stuff. That’s what some men are inclined to do. Granted, some of our solutions complicate the matter, but never mind that. We mean well. Jesus demonstrated his strength by fixing things that needed to be fixed. For instance, he once cleared the temple with a whip he made when things had gone off track from the will of his Father.

Jesus also demonstrated characteristics we typically attribute to women. A couple of days after his friend Lazarus died, Jesus showed up to be with Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary. Their hearts were broken, and they expressed the “if only” we can all relate to. Mary fell at Jesus’ feet… “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32). She obviously had faith to believe that if Jesus had been there when he was supposed to be there, her brother would still be alive. What she did not yet realize was that Jesus was not limited to healing just the living.

Jesus listened carefully and compassionately to his friends’ sorrow. I imagine his eyes were studying their eyes as sadness poured out in their tears. We know he took them seriously because he was moved to do something about what he felt. That’s what real compassion does—it motivates us to do something in response to what we feel.

If we had the power to fix the situation, most of us guys would have skipped what Jesus did next. We like to go straight to the solution, blow right past the emotion. But he didn’t blow past the emotion. He wept. As I said, many of us guys would have deleted that scene from the story. But in order for men to be holy the way we are designed to be holy, we need to become whole men. Jesus set the example for what a real man is like. A real man is not only concerned with fixing the situation, but he also takes time to feel the emotional impact of his friends’ sadness.

~Excerpt from Holy Libido

180 Living…24/7

180THE WORD: “For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong…. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ….For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead…He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross” Colossians 2:5,8,12,14

The apostle Paul, writing while imprisoned, gave us divinely inspired words of assurance that Christ crucified is the completion of the old law…and ultimately the death of our old nature. Throughout His Word, God pleads with us to repent…to turn away….to make a 180 degree turn in our trajectory…not a 360!

It’s a choice. At the moment of temptation, we have a decision to make. We either turn and run away from the sin that allures us, or we succumb to its entrapment. “But it’s so hard to let go!” echoes in our minds. Our fleshly desires yearning for momentary satisfaction.

O Dear one…look up. Envision the image of the CROSS! Do you see him? Do you see our Savior! He didn’t give in and He didn’t give up on you and me. Although the sin of the world caused Him unbearable pain and suffering, He remained resolute to His divine purpose. He knew our redemption depended on it. Let us burn that image in our brains…in our hearts. Our Savior on the cross. Let it be the lighthouse that gets us through the storms we encounter in our journeys. He hung there on that tree – nine inch nails through his wrists and a crown of thorns pressing into his skull. The worlds sin – your sin, my sin – He bore it all because it was HIS purpose.

Did Christ for a moment have a sense of separateness from the holiness of His Father? I believe he did. The Bible says that “darkness fell across the whole land…and the light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle. Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” (Luke 23:44-45) Do you get that? He understands the feeling of being alone. But even though the darkness enveloped Him, He shouted. I love that! Before He took His last breath…He SHOUTED! I can hear it now! A resounding statement of victory! There at the cross HE defeated death. His spirit was entrusted into the hands of our ALMIGHTY FATHER!

Every single day, when God decides to give us another day to breathe, you and I have choices to make. What do you say today? Let us lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross and allow HIM to take the lead. Don’t give in to the temptations of this world. Keep your eyes on the Cross. God has a plan for your life. Allow Him to give you the wisdom and discernment to realize your purpose!

“Papa God, sometimes we lose focus. Forgive us for turning our backs on you. Remove the strongholds of shame and guilt that the enemy uses to keep us away from you. Forgive us of our sins and refuel us with an extra portion of your extraordinary strength. Quicken the Spirit that you gave us on the day of our salvation. Let it shine brightly today so that others may see YOU being lived out in our lives. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear! Help us to see the opportunity of serving you well in all circumstances. In our Savior’s Name, Jesus we pray. Amen!”

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