TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

We can’t stop living because some of us are dying.

100% of human beings die. The hairs on our heads, as well as the length of our days are numbered.

You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. Job 14:5 (NLT) 

We can do nothing to change the quantity of our days, only the quality of them. We do what we can to preserve life, exercise prudence, and not live recklessly or arrogantly, but still we watch some die who “shouldn’t”, and others who “should” die, yet don’t. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to kill the exact number of us it is destined to kill – not one more, not one less. Tens of thousands of us die each and every day from a variety of causes – people of every age, size, shape, and color – but we have never “shut down” the world because of this.

We haven’t stopped driving though some of us die in traffic wrecks. We haven’t stopped eating though some of us die from choking on food. We haven’t stopped swimming though some of us drown. We haven’t stopped having sex though some of us die from it by heart attack, aids, std’s, and unwanted pregnancies (tens of millions of babies are aborted each year after people have had sex). We haven’t stopped going outside though there are hungry wild animals out there who kill some of us. And what about the millions of us who develop and/or die from cancer each year? We live on, knowing that some of us will get it and some of us won’t, some of it can be treated, some of it can’t.

We know for certain that cigarette smoking leads to lung disease which kills tens of thousands of us every year; We know for certain that pornography is connected to and associated with tens of thousands of crimes, abuses, addictions, and disorders; We know for certain that alcohol destroys and kills tens of thousands of us each year; We know for certain that soda, cheesecake, and donuts contribute to obesity and diabetes which kills tens of thousands of us each year – yet we haven’t banned cigarettes, pornography, alcohol, or sweets. So, what is this sudden concern right now for the safety and well-being of human life and “shutting down” the world in which we live? (According to the Associated Press, 80,000 Americans died from the flu during the 2017 – 2018 season; as of this writing there are roughly 40,000 worldwide and 4,000 U.S. deaths due to coronavirus COVID-19).

We can’t stop living because some of us our dying.

People live; People die. We call this life. Death has always been here with us. No one dies too soon, no one dies too late – we all die right on time – our time.

This is not a time to live in panic and fear, but to stand together, under GOD, in faith. We must carry on and continue to live in common unity – to work, play, attend school, shop, celebrate, mourn, and worship GOD – and everything else human life entails. We should take advantage of this unique opportunity to re-examine our lives, reset our values, and reform our systems of government, healthcare, business, education, entertainment, religion, etc…

But we shouldn’t return to “business as usual” either. We have just learned that we can live without a lot of things – things that just a few weeks ago we would have never dreamed we could forego. Things that were a part of our every day, every week rhythms and routines. Yet in such a short period of time we have adjusted, adapted, and changed. We have also learned that the Church is not a building, that being able to go to work and school is a blessing, and that we miss each other – even those frustrating, annoying, irritating people we used to interact with every day.

We need to live better and smarter. We need to live more simple, humble, selfless lives. Yes, we should be vigilant to wash our hands, fold them in prayer, and use them to help and serve those around us. While we’re at it, how about incorporating a little common sense into the way we live, since it has been replaced by too much non-sense. A great deal of life is a matter of being disciplined and responsible on a daily basis – doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reason, each and every time (we find what is right by reading the right book, The BIBLE).

We can’t stop living because some of us our dying.

Physical life ends in physical death – this is a certain, given fact. But we are both physical and spiritual beings. Spiritual life is eternal – it is spent in perfect relationship with GOD and His people, or in absolute isolation alone forever. Yes, death is certain, but so is life.

He who has the Son [by accepting Him as Lord and Savior] has the life [that is eternal]; he who does not have the Son of God [by personal faith] does not have the life. 1 John 5:12 (AMP)

I am certain, as I hope we all are, of this“All my days GOD has been faithful; All my days GOD has been so, so good; With every breath that I am able, I will speak of the goodness of GOD.” (Goodness of GOD, Bethel Music and Jenn Johnson, with a few grammatical liberties taken)

 

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

True FREEDOM is found only through SACRIFICE – when I lay my selfishness, my insecurities, and my defensiveness aside and put GOD and others before me. A “me first” manner of life yields a dissipated caged death.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not allow anyone to put the yoke of slavery on you again. Galatians 5:1

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

This earth is becoming more chaotic, cruel, and confused as people attempt to make wrong right, evil good, and lies truth – which only underscores our need for more Jesus Christ, as He is the only cure for our chronic condition of self-promoting, self-protecting, and self-pacifying sin.

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:3-4 (ESV)

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, (Romans 3:3-4a NASB) 

The unbelief of an atheist doesn’t nullify GOD in any measure or implication; it only minimizes the atheist’s mind, hardens the atheist’s heart, limits the atheist’s life, and reduces the atheist’s usefulness – and ultimately proves the atheist to be a fool.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1a NASB)

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

The evil of humankind toward and against itself is more than enough evidence to eagerly embrace the existence of a compassionate GOD and the imminent necessity for the salvation from ourselves by His irrefutable grace offered through His incarnate Son, Jesus.

 

ALL TANGLED UP: THE CASUALITES OF CAPITALISM

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

The craving for physical gratification of whatever the body feels, the greedy desires for everything the eyes see, and the arrogant pride in our achievements and possessions…these are the causalities of Capitalism. The main problem with Capitalism is that it is overly interested in “capital” – money, wealth, principal, investment, assets, resources, funds – and thus, it turns every institution into a state where the “profession” becomes more important than the product/service being offered, and where the “livelihoods” and “lifestyles” of the professionals start to matter more than the lives of those who receive the products/services.

I also saw this here on earth: Where there should have been justice, there was evil.
Where there should have been fairness, there was wickedness.                                    
Ecclesiastes 3:16 (ICB)

Our systems and institutions are not working anymore – they have all become corrupt. More energy and effort are spent promoting and protecting individual positions than in making a positive impact upon society. Of course, there are exceptions – there are people doing outstanding things, and for all the right reasons – but far too many operate out of the mindset of “What’s in this for me?” Fewer and fewer people will “spend” themselves and give their all into anything, unless their “return on investment” is financially lucrative.

In the Church – the “profession” of ministry has taken priority over the people who need to be ministered to.

In Healthcare – the “profession” of doctoring and sustaining every facet of it, has become more important than providing proper care to patients who are sick, injured, and diseased.

In Education – the “profession” of instructing and maintaining the institutions, instructors, and sports teams overshadows the students who need instruction.

In Government – the “profession” of politics and the power, prestige, and pomp it offers has taken precedence over the duty to serve the citizens of the nation.

In Business – the “profession” of management and money markets, and over-paying executives and stockholders, appears to matter much more than producing quality goods and services, and providing good wages and benefits to employees.

These “professions” used to be driven by passion, by a calling to serve, by a desire to influence, by a hope to make a positive difference – not by the paycheck. But, this seems to have flip-flopped as time goes on. Now the questions are: “What kind of lifestyle will this profession allow me to live?” “What can I get out of this profession?” It has become more and more about power, prestige, and privilege, instead of serving, sacrificing, and sharing expertise. We are “stuck” within ourselves and our appetites to entertain, indulge, pacify, and create ourselves. Everything is all about “ME” the prince/princess, with no regard for “we the people.”

This is NOT a cry for socialism – there will always be rich and poor, for some people are very adept at making money, while others are very adept in losing money. We shouldn’t reward irresponsibility. We shouldn’t take care of the lazy, deceitful, manipulative, and excuse makers. We shouldn’t allow anyone to “play the system” and if the “system” can be played it is a faulty system and needs to be overhauled. We shouldn’t pay “public” servants after their terms are up and they stop “serving” – no special lifetime salaries, no special pensions, no special benefits, no special anything – they are on their own just like the rest of us.

But how rich and how poor is a better question? When will common good override clear greed? When will our eagerness to be entertained be overcome by a hunger to invest in humanity? When will loving our neighbor mean more than living a frivolous lifestyle? When will compassion become more important than capital?

We have put the proverbial “cart before the horse.” We have become more interested in consuming than contributing – in being well-cared for than caring for the well-being of our fellow human beings. We should first be asking: “How can I impact lives for good?”Before asking: “How can I make a good living?”

Capitalism has caused our hearts have become cold, calloused, and uncaring. Capitalism isn’t the problem, people are. Serving and caring for people must always be our first and foremost priority – far before capital. For this to occur, our hearts need to be cured and there is only one remedy for this kind of heart disease – the LORD Jesus Christ.

And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.  Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NLT)

 

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

JESUS FIRST, JESUS FOREMOST, JESUS FOREVER

For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy:  Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven. Colossians 1:18-20 

“He is the Mediator of reconciliation, who procures peace as well as pardon for sinners, and will bring all holy creatures into one blessed society at last: Christ is the hope of glory…the hope in this world, the hope in our hearts.” – Matthew Henry

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

BE JESUS FREE!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36  

Are you free – free from comparing yourself to others, competing against others, and coveting what they have? Are you free – free from guilting and shaming yourself over woulda’s, coulda’s, and shoulda’s? Are you free – free from disappointments, failures, and unmet expectations? Are you free – free from prejudice, fear, and hate toward those who are different from you and disagree with you? Are you free – free to be you and becoming the best you that you can be? Are you free?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

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No one can sidestep JESUS forever, one day everybody has to deal with Him, and we each get to decide when and how. It can be quick and easy or long and hard – you choose.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

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HOW LOW WILL A SPECIES GO?

We humans have gone mad – “angry” mad and “crazy” mad. We may possess the highest intellect of all species, but we behave at the lowest, weakest, and most immature levels in fulfilling the basic purpose of our existence:

Let the conclusion of all of these thoughts be heard: Fear God and obey his commandments, for this is what it means to be human.    Ecclesiastes 12:13

We are human, but we seem determined to dehumanize one another. We exercise our intellect and innovation to use and abuse one another in horrific ways. We tend to evaluate everyone we encounter and decide who is above us, who is below us, and who is with us; who is for us and who is against us; who are friends and who are foes.

We all do this. But why? What drives us to devalue and dehumanize one another?

What does one group (or one person) gain in tearing down another group (or another person)? Where do these deplorable acts and despicable intentions come from?

All the things the world can offer to you—the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things, and the pompous sense of superiority—do not come from the Father. These are the rotten fruits of this world.  1 John 2:16

When other creatures do cruelty to each other it is mostly a matter of survival, but not so with us – we humans do cruelty out of spite, and as a way of gaining some measure of significance.

Where does such hate originate?

Why do our differences produce such fear? Why do our differences provoke such animosity? Why do our differences promote such violence?

Our differences should not divide us, but further develop us. When we encounter other humans – people who are similar, but not the same as us – they provide us with opportunities to grow – to consider fresh approaches, to create new solutions, to combine shared visions.

At the crux of this issue, is whether our differences generate a reaction of fear or a response of love within us.

Fear divides, Love unites; Fear creates tensions, Love calms tensions; Fear looks for an advantage, Love looks for common ground; Fear points fingers, Love shakes hands; Fear incites fights, Love invites forgiveness.

As human beings, we are created with a capacity to have “free will.” Yet our wills are not free – as clearly evidenced by the ways in which we demean and devour, maim and manipulate our fellow members; in how we compare ourselves to others, compete against others, and covet what others have.

We have no true degree of “free will” until our wills have been freed – freed by GOD and His true light, His unconditional love, and His eternal life – available by His generous grace, through faith in the death and resurrection of His glorious Son, Jesus Christ.

The problems we are dealing with today are not political matters, but personal ones. Governments cannot dictate decency. The culprits are hardened hearts and haughty minds. And until we are touched by the only supreme and superior One – cleansed in Jesus’ redeeming blood and transformed in the renewing power of the Holy Spirit – our wills are held captive in fear fear that has us chained and locked in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of lifefear which counteracts our capacity to love those of our species who are like us, but not the same as us.

There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.  1 John 4:18

May our species advance to higher, not lower, levels of existence. May we humans of all countries, colors, creeds, and convictions, learn how to accept and appreciate our differences, and live together in the perfect love of Jesus – a love that cancels, corrects, and casts out all fear.