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TV people and news personalities have never ending commentary about racism but it is unknown in my church and in my daily world. Of course my world is small. I probably speak to no more than 100 discrete individuals a year and writers spend most of their hours alone with their computers. So when this happened last summer it was a jolt.
My very good friend Pat from Texas came to visit with 3 of her four children. She had married a black man and raised her children entirely in private schools and colleges. The two girls were in their their 20’s and the 2 boys in their early teens. My goal was to get the boys to apply for a job at the white water rafting companies we have up here in the mountains.
That Sunday night we went to a small restaurant. At a table nearby sat an elderly couple in their 60’s eating dinner silently, but the woman, who was well dressed and carefully made up, kept staring at us with something of a smug smile on her face. I was uncomfortable. So was Pat’s 24-year-old daughter Molly, who made a remark that she was used to “this stuff.”
After working at a male juvenile prison I’ve noticed that boys react to events much differently from girls. They will be angry or disgusted, while girls are more often angry and sad. The boys had this “same ole, same ole” look on their faces. As a white woman I’ve been given racist treatment but I try to ignore it; after all, I can always buy the item somewhere else.
The woman’s staring continued through most of the meal. I was upset because these were my treasured guests. Finally the couple finished their meal but as they got up we noticed something unusual – the wife didn’t seem to react to her husband or to anyone else. She stared into the distance as before, smiling but almost dead-eyed.
I wondered, is she possibly blind? Her husband guided her to the cashier like a grocery cart, and then it became obvious to us all that she either had Alzheimer’s or was partly demented. At no time did she speak to anyone.
Then we all looked very sheepishly at each other! Here we had jumped to the conclusion that we were victims of racism. How quick we were to react when we did not have all the facts.
Maybe this is happening in the wider world too. Maybe it makes headlines and good photo ops to call it racism when it is something else. After all, a crime in a store can be simply a crime, not about the race and who is the criminal? It is far too easy to say people are criminals because of race or lack of income and education, but a large number of Islamic terrorists were well off financially and well educated. It is a foolish business to ascribe motives when we don’t really know what they are. The woman’s blank, sickly sweet smile looked like contempt. In actual fact her mind was far, far away from us and that restaurant.
The media has used our ignorance and our rush to judgment to stir up antagonism in our society. While we cannot know everyone’s motive we can turn off the TV news and discipline those who pander to public emotion. It’s not much but it is a start.
Poor ‘ole God gets blamed for so very many things He had nothing to do with. His plan for Man is that we live in our own way, our government, our decisions, and our culture. Those 70 years give us enough time to make up our minds to follow God’s principles or not. The results become ours. And because He does not interrupt our lives, our nations, our wars, unless we make a federal case out of it, we blame Him.
Not so fast. We can’t live in free will at one point and then insist that God step in. We can’t have it both ways. What God does is to listen to our honest prayers and then provide an impact on life wherever we have made ourselves available to His will. The result is that God is able to make something good come out of evil. He always does.
I would have preferred to have never lived through the 2nd World War. Millions of souls were lost, not to mention the awful loss of property, animals, destruction of families, and refugees. But God was able to make something good out of it all. He had promised the Jews (@ 2,000 B.C.E.) that He would restore their homeland (Isaiah 11:11) at some point in history. That war, and the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis, sufficiently embarrassed the European nations to arrange for the Israelis to return. They’ve had a hard time keeping the peace but they are still holding on to their land.
No one was happy about the Korean War, cutely referred to as a “police action,” but the long range results were that South Korea is the strongest Christian nation in the Pacific Rim and the major missionary nation to the orient. South Korea is wildly prosperous, educated, westernized and hope-filled and when it is forced to revive North Korea, a nation that knows no equal for evil and loss, the nation will have the wherewithal to do it.
President George Bush gets a pile of grief for going into Iraq, but it is a strong and prosperous nation and will get on its feet as soon as ISIS is eliminated. They have money in the bank! We have the same hope for the Kurds in the North who have been treated badly for generations and yet are the best hope for any group stuck in a Muslim enclave of nations.
God’s plan for earth is that all men should be saved. That they are not is not God’s fault. God has set up a system of salvation hat man must follow, but in actual practice it is not all that hard. One single man thousands of years ago got it into his head that God was a personality who actually made the universe and everything in it. God was so impressed He visited him personally (Genesis 14) and the family of Israel, and God’s precious people began there. So if you, or some unsaved friend believe God is the creator, you are half way there.
God usually takes bad situations and bails them out. I was nearly killed as a child, removed from the home and sent to a private school. I received a scholarship to an Ivy League College and my life changed permanently and forever. I suspect nothing like this could have happened otherwise. God can take anything and reform it. And it all happened without me being any the wiser for the events that brought this on.
This isn’t Pollyanna stuff. We are not trying to make silk purses out of sows’ ears. But we must not assume that God is a “deist” off somewhere ignoring man and his systems. Nor is He under any compulsion to inform us ahead of time. He has a whole set of plans for you, me and our universe of which we as yet have not one hint.
A pilot glanced outside his cockpit and froze.
You have friends – I have friends who honestly believe that because they are of the generation of flower children and embrace love, joy and peace that they are headed off to heaven when they die. I puzzled about this because I noticed that no matter how cogent my arguments, how based in solid Biblical theology and the experience of the ages, they didn’t budge an inch.
I agonized about how to approach one such psychology graduate of Berkeley in the 60s, and then it hit me. This man believes, he really believes that after dies he will have free choice. He can choose his own heaven, he can choose to play rock music with his buddies in a comfy place surrounded by always blooming hydrangeas, rose bushes without thorns and cooling streams – a dream straight out of the Sierra Club brochure.
But – there’s always a but. The whole purpose of free will in this life is to prepare for the next. Free will is not needed in heaven because the essential decision was previously made. Of course we expect God will allow us to choose what to enjoy in heaven. I want to hit the books and talk to the authors from the ante-Nicene era. Hey – to each his own. You may want to talk to your ancestors from Europe, or Peru. You may choose to spend time with the animals or learn what happened to the lost colony at Jamestown.
But if you are in hell, choice is gone. On the contrary, God has many versions of hell from fiery flames to total isolation and blackness, without sound, without access to a single human voice. Your choice? No more.
No I’ve not spent any time on the other side but there are dozens of people who have gone and come back both to heaven and hell. Their stories are in books and online.
Make your choices here and live. God says always. “I put before you life and death. Choose life.”
Isn’t that neat. He gives you the question and then the right answer.
Some people are shocked, I say shocked, that anyone would vote for Trump. Here is a list of the people voting for Trump
All the friends and family of the Benghazi victims murdered by terrorists who had openly planned this, who were left unprotected, deliberately by handy troops, and then lied to about a video causing this, when this was the anniversary of 9/11and anticipated.
All the troops who had immediate and easy access to save the Benghazi group.
All the Chaplains in the armed services who were forbidden to pray in Jesus name and many other restrictions from the White House on their faith and their freedom of religion.
All the American who know of all these unconstitutional moves against private citizens required to violate their faith or face censure of even loss of a job.
All the groups, esp. Catholic hospitals required to support abortions and sex change operations or lose their opportunity to keep the hospital open, their staff and the many thousands who rely on these hospitals., esp. in Latino neighborhoods.
All the businesses who had to close because they could not meet one of the 23,000+ regulations of the EPA.
All the faithful democrat coal miners told the Democratic Party planned to end use of coal in this country.
All the workers put out of a job by their manufacturing company going to Taiwan or Mexico.
All the 20-somethings living in mommy and daddy’s basement doing video games for 7 years.
All the investors in General Motors who lost the value of their stock in order to save corporate buddies of a group of Congressmen.
All the women and their families who were seduced by Bill Clinton and then lied about by his wife, and the Media.
All the timbermen in the Northwest who lost their jobs because wood was not being sold to American companies but going to companies on the Pacific Rim.
All the people who can’t sleep over an additional 7 trillion in debt.
All the people who can’t afford a used car because of Cash for Clunkers program.
All the Hispanic workers who were hurt or even murdered by the selling of arms to Mexican Drug Lords.
All the workers who lost their jobs after the Solyndra and other boondoggle companies met their expected early death.
All victims of illegal-caused crime in Sanctuary Cities.
All the victims and residents of the border who know that deportation means that illegals will be put out in the street on the American side and told to go home on their own steam. Yeah right!
All the property owners on the border who must clean up the mess, crime and dead bodies of animals and people by those who use their land as passageway.
All the residents of border towns who must deal with the unground tunnels disgorging drugs and coyotes bringing in anything illegal they can, terrorists, ammo, bombs, sex trafficking etc. without any known supervision or legal control by the federal authorities.
All the young people trying to survive on 2 ½ part time jobs with no benefits to speak of, no future, no way to buy a house, have a baby, buy a car or finish their education.
All those Republicans who were told their Congress would support an end to Obamacare.
All the black Democrats who thought they’d have a job, maybe even a home with a black president.
All those Hispanics who lost their jobs to Dream teenagers who work off the books, who see the illegals crowd their underfunded schools, fill the hospitals with new cases and new diseases, and hike up the crime rate in the city barrios while legal family petitioners go to the back of the line.
All the Space astronauts who had their prized projects turned over to foreigners.
All the people burdened under grinding tax loads and the specter of 18,000 new IRS brown shirts to collect them.
94 million either out of work or grossly under-working while the poohbahs lie about 5% unemployment. That 94 million needs to show up at the Employment Security Offices.
All the veterans.
All the Bernie Sanders people who thought if they played fair they’d have a shot at their candidate getting past the Good Ole Boys of the Democrat Party. Surprise!
All the people who have recently switched their party affiliation from Republican or Democrat to “No Party or Independent.” In many areas a clear 1/3rd.
All the people working on the Keystone Pipeline.
All the people spending 5, 10, 25% more on groceries and utilities because former head of the U.S. Fed, Alan Greenspan, put it simply: “Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.”
For the past 7 or so years she firmly believes that Jesus would return in 2016. He might anyway, but her reasoning is only based on her needs which are financial as they face even greater business loss, the failure of family, friends and business associates to pull their weight, her several physical disabilities and surgeries. unwelcome attacks from people who think they should determine what she is to say, and the failure of her family to make the necessary changes in their lives to guarantee a peaceful future, and finally old sins not yet straightened out.
Jesus is not going to return just because we are not happy. If there is any reason at all to believe the 2nd Coming is this year it would be the immense cruelty and persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the ongoing violence against Israel especially in never ending raids and military incursions, and the deterioration of the American Church which is historically been a bulwark against error and demonic attack, now clearly AWOL on all fronts, compromising itself out of business by sleeping with the enemy. ALL churches have bowed an unwilling knee to political correctness, which we now pray is no more.
If God would not intervene on account of this kind of attack against His People, why would He interfere just now with someone who has personal miseries?
Maybe He will return in Israel’s year 5777 which just started Maybe not But no theology of God is to be based on our own unhappiness and loss. Unhappiness and loss is the human condition, not the barometer by which God does or does not act.
he acts on the basis of our prayers regarding His promises, not just for individuals but for whole nations and societies. As the Middle East and Europe explode in rape and murder, across the world Asians and Muslims everywhere are finding Jesus as Savior. The numbers are so astounding no one will ever again think that Jesus is white and speaks English. These kinds of statistics are a shock even to people like myself who have faith for the strangers among us.
The 2nd Coming is called the Blessed Hope, and indeed life would be hopeless without believing in His return. God’s predictions about the EndTimes is of increasing trouble for the world and blessing for believers in the midst of them. Climate Change Panic is because people have not read what God said – that He and He alone would destroy the world by fire.
Yes, we can plan on a hotter and hotter environment. And our political environment will get hotter and hotter too yet He gave us everything we need for life and godliness. He has not given us a calendar of events; in fact, we have the opposite – a guarantee that even Jesus does not know the final date and time.
Our job is faith in His promises and obedience to His word, not letting the fallen World dictate our deeds and expectations.
Prayer: Dear Lord, give us your peace, not the world’s peace, and keep out of my brain anything that speaks against you or your plans, In Jesus Name, Amen.
It’s my own fault by even reading these old theologians. Dr. R. C. Sproul Sr. says everything that happens, even our sins is the will of God. Horse pucky! We are warned not to lay a charge to God’s elect but it is OK to lay a charge on God Himself? (Romans 8:33) Pleeeze.
I am also told by these men (mostly men) that there is not one good thing in Man. What about the image of God which entered Man when the Lord breathed upon him at the creation (Genesis 2:7) turning clay into something worth saving? And while we are at it, why would God bother saving something without redemptive qualities? Another false notion. As a fellow theologian I can testify we do have a tendency to go too far.
Yes, Man is a mess, Ronald Reagan said the definition of the status quo is “the mess we are in” and for sure we are in a mess. We start out in the mess when we are born. But I have noticed we do not have any choices. I arrived here many years ago; I have no memory of asking to be born, maybe so. I started out in heaven and I am now here. This is the world I was born into with the problems inherent in me and in the world. Someday I will return to eternity. I have a pre-history and a post-history.
Tough. We deal with life as it has been handed to us. And that is our challenge and our potential glory, to find God and His Promises to us in it where we are. I am not French or Chinese, which would be fine. But I am an American and I have obligations to my country and my countrymen. I also have plans from God for how my life is to be conducted as a reflection of that “Imago Dei” and a goal.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Now about Adam and Eve. Were they depraved? No. They made a giant mistake but they were created bearing the glory of God. When they sinned that glory departed; they knew it experientially because they hid and made clothing for themselves since they’d lost their covering. Mankind eventually became totally depraved so God destroyed them all at the Flood, save 8. It is prophesied that Man will again become totally depraved but now, not yet, no.
Neither are we. Yes, babies are sinners. Just watch them fight with a sibling over a toy. Adamic man is there, but in their innocence they remind us that their love and their ability to accept everyone and everything without rancor is the basic goodness in man. Calling man totally depraved is calling God a liar. Yes, it happens a lot.
God gave us a measure of faith Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. I suppose the reformists would say, being consistent, that is evil too.
The Chinese are right – ying and yang, pictured as about half. I can’t gauge that. Maybe it is three quarters versus one quarter. But no matter. There is basic goodness in human kind. And that is what God works in us and with us. It is the ground of possibility in us.
Secular humanism would have us believe that we are born without fault and the wicked, nasty world makes us evil and produces evil societies. More horse pucky! Man is born flawed and he has, from that point, only a way up.
Look up and live! (Numbers 21:8)