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.

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

BRINGING DEAD PEOPLE TO LIFE

People turn to any variety of self-improvement strategies – diets, exercise, yoga, meditation, positive thinking, religion – all trying to make big people smaller, weak people stronger, dull people brighter, bad people better, and good people “gooder”…yet only Christianity deals with the principal human predicament – that of bringing dead people to life.

 Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things—holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming.  1 Timothy 4:8 (VOICE)

And you he has quickened to life also, who were dead in trespass and sin, in which you walked in time past according to the course of this world, and followed the prince that rules in the air – the spirit that now works in the children of unbelief,  Ephesians 2:1-2 (NMB)

When you were dead in your sins, you were not set free from the sinful things of the world. But God forgave your sins and gave you new life through Christ.  Colossians 2:13 (NLV)

 This “realm of death” describes our former state, for we were held in sin’s grasp. But now, we’ve been resurrected out of that “realm of death” never to return, for we are forever alive and forgiven of all our sins!  Colossians 2:13 (TPT)

 

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

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

How will this dying world be delivered from its forever death with such a divided, divisive, and denominated Church?

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21

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)