TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

FAITH OR FEAR

Death is certain, but it isn’t final. Fear of dying and death causes normally rational people do lots of irrational things – like hoard toilet paper and live alone in caves (homes) for who knows how long. But, there’s GOOD NEWS and also a better option – faith. Death is terrifying when viewed from people who live in a place of fear, but death isn’t very scary when viewed through lenses of faith. Because death is a defeated enemy – it has been swallowed up in the victory of GOD’s love, so it has no power, no sting, and nothing to fear any more – unless you live in a position outside of faith.

We are all dying mortals who need a living Savior – Dr. Jim Denison

54 And when the rotting body has been clothed in what can’t decay, and the dying body has been clothed in what can’t die, then this statement in scripture will happen: Death has been swallowed up by a victory. 55Where is your victory, Death? Where is your sting, Death? (56 Death’s sting is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.) 57 Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!  1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (CEB)

People who fear dying and death either have never heard such GOOD NEWS, refuse to believe it, or don’t really trust it, for it seems that even people of faith have fallen into the camp of the fearful at this time. Yet fear and faith cannot occupy the same place – as they are in total opposition to one another.

Because…18 Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is punishment that makes a person fear. So love is not made perfect in the person who has fear.  1 John 4:18 (ICB)

Death is no longer the punishment for sin, but the promotion of salvation – when we go from mortal to immortal, from partial to complete…if you live by faith, not by sight.

Jesus said…I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]  John 16:33 (AMPC)

Fear sees a problem. Faith sees an opportunity.

Fear cowers. Faith takes courage.

Fear complains, criticizes, and blames. Faith takes action.

Fear sees a giant too big to fight. Faith sees a target too big to miss.

Fear turns to government, medicine, and science. Faith turns to GOD.

We are living in a period of time where many are living in a state of fear – afraid of this enemy virus. Others are living in a state of faith – turning to and trusting in GOD to protect us, provide for us, and grant us His divine favor. This is always the case when dealing with an enemy – some fall back, while others step forward.

Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home.’” And Gideon tested them; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained.  Judges 7:3(ESV)

 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear…34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”…45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”  1 Samuel 17:23-24, 34-37, 45-47a (NIV)

We must allow people to decide for themselves what to do and determine their own level of risk in dealing with this virus. Let the fearful, weak, and vulnerable go home and stay home as it is the right thing for them to do, and let their decision be understood and supported. Let the faithful, courageous, and confident go out to battle and engage in life as they choose, care for those staying at home, build immunities against this virus, and defeat its threat upon our lives and livelihoods.

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

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

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

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.

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

Christianity is far more than forgiveness for past failures (sins) and the confident hope of a pleasant future in heaven, it is the power of Christ and the presence of Christ with us and in us right now, in the present moment, to mesh into every part and parcel of life.

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

Yes, there literally is “hell to pay” – the question is, “Who is picking up your tab?”

And so Jesus is able, now and forever, to save from the punishment of sin all who come to God through Him because He lives forever to pray for them.  Hebrews 7:25 (NLV)

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

SATISFACTION

“All you people who are thirsty, come! Here is water for you to drink. Don’t worry if you have no money. Come, eat and drink until you are full! You don’t need money. The milk and wine are free. Why waste your money on something that is not real food? Why should you work for something that does not really satisfy you? Listen closely to me and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the food that satisfies your soul.           Isaiah 55:1-2

 

The Rolling Stones sang “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” – I beg to differ with them, as they were just looking in the wrong places to find it. Trying to find satisfaction in this life from people and things incapable of providing it just leaves us wanting – wanting the next, the new, the novel – none of which ever satisfies.

Satisfaction isn’t hard to find, it has already come once, and will come back again. Best of all it’s absolutely free.

John 6: 

26a, 27 Jesus answered them…“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

 32a, 33 Then Jesus said…”For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

 35, 40 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst… This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

Full, over-flowing satisfaction has come to us, the question is this: Will you choose to be satisfied in Him who has everything you need?

TODAY’S BREADCRUMB

This world is full of exceptional people. There are great numbers around us who have heard the GOOD NEWS of the Savior JESUS and have even read the Holy Scriptures for themselves, yet they remain unconvinced of its promises, uncertain of its purpose, and unchanged by its power. Yes, these are exceptional individuals – women and men with exceptionally closed minds and exceptionally calloused hearts – who refuse to believe there is any need outside of which human ingenuity and intellect has the wherewithal to meet.