Friday, August 10, 2012

No room for lions

John 13:34-35
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

Keep that verse firmly in mind.  Love one another.  As we, beloved children of God, are loved.  Loved enough to die for.  Loved enough to bear our sins for.  THAT much.

But are we not warned, 

1 Peter 5:8
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

But is he really?  I think, rather, that he is sitting back watching us devour each other.  He doesn't need to be roaring, he can whisper.  He can lie.  He can let us do his bidding through our misplaced rightness.  Not righteousness.  Rightness.

Can you imagine if the body of Christ, His beloved Church, could stop for one day and love one another.  Just one day.  But we can't do it, can we?

Or is that we won't?

I'm more ________________ than you.  My _______________is deeper than yours.  You are a _______________and must be protested against, hated, fear mongered or shunned.  

I asked the question, simply, why we can't love one another as commanded.  I was told in no uncertain terms I was judging people unfairly..  I misunderstood.  I was wrong.

There are wiser scholars out there, I'm sure who can debate this more theologically than I.  And I don't wish to debate.  

I wish to challenge you, brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we are, indeed, all part of the same body, why are we spending all of our time tearing it apart?

Why aren't we making the devil work for his hate?  Instead we do his work for him.  We sow seeds of hate, we sow seeds of fear.  We create disention and mistrust.  We use the Bible to bludgeon people, to drive them away from God all the while screaming, "JESUS WHERE ARE YOU?"

In a world of hate, Jesus is the homeless person being urinated upon outside a shopping mall.  In a world of fear mongering, Jesus is the person who doesn't look like the 'rest' and is shunned.  In a world of pain and violence, Jesus is the confused, the lost, the needy, the 'different' and the 'wrong'.  


Matthew 25:39-41

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ 41 Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!

The least of these.  That gay couple you shouted at.  That homeless man. That crack Mama who was a crack baby herself first.  That drunk.  That wife beater and the wife who can't leave.  Those sk8ers and dropouts.  THEM.  US. EACH OTHER.

How can we proclaim the Good News with parentheses of hate?  How can we invite people to drink from the well that quenches all thirsts with a screening gate by the courtyard?  (Sorry - you can't come in.  Nope you either.  You look sorta okay, but what is your answer to the trick question?) How can we, redeemed by holy blood, presume to take God's place in judgement over one another?

When I asked the question, what about the greatest commandment that we love one another, I really was asking, "Is this the best we can do for our Saviour who died for all our sins?"  The answer to me was, "GET OUT!"  So I did.  I shook the dust from my sandals and I left.

The devil has enough of his own helpers without us, don't you think?  If we are doing the hating, the dissenting and the hurting he has more time to do harm to others.  Why are we doing this?

So you are gay.  So you are fat. So you are Baptist. So you are a pacifist. So you are a soldier. So you are a criminal. So you are ___________.  Did Jesus tell us to withhold love, compassion and good news from anyone?  HE DID NOT!  Not once have I found in the Bible where any personage of the Trinity says, "Ah nope no salvation for them, or them or them."  

Instead, we are taught that God seeks reconciliation with all to Him in heaven.  Heaven rejoices over lost sheep more than obedient flock followers.  Why aren't we seeking His lost sheep to bring them home?  Instead we chase them into the wilderness.  How the devil must smile.  How God must sorrow.

I challenge you, brothers and sisters, to love.  Yes just like Jesus did.  Love past the dirt, the addictions, the choices.  Love past your prejudices and pain.  Love past denominational and regional differences.  Love past the politics.  How can we stand before God on judgement day and say we saved His love for only those we thought were worth it?  He thought we were worth it.  No one else would have thought that of me.  Especially NOT me!

Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Note:  I did not want to write about this, but God woke me up early and spoke very closely tom my heart.  I believe the issues that separate us as Believers are mechanisms to keep God's children apart, and powerless.  If we can get past them we can really show the world God's love in a living and dynamic way.  But we have to stop using each other for cannon fodder, and we have to stop pulling the Body of Christ apart from the inside.  There are enough devils who want a turn, why are we fighting each other instead of them?  Can't we use what God has blessed us with to build His Kingdom?  I think we can.  But it can't be a Kingdom WE imagine, it must be HIS.  I look forward to your thoughts, however I will invoke my right as blog owner to moderate comments and discussion as required. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Friends Online

Someone asked about 'real friends' and then launched into a coffee shop opinion piece about how only real friends are face-to-face friends.  I disagree.  Even in the Bible, and before, there were intensely strong friendships that existed with infrequent visits, occasional letters and living in love and prayer.

There is a trap we can fall into thinking that 'fellowship' and 'friendship' need be a face-to-face construct when it can happen in any way God deems best.  One of my best friends, the one person who says, "Oh I get that!" instead of muttering "What?" lives in Australia.  We may never hug or see each other's faces until God calls us home.  Do we have a real friendship?  Indeed we do!

Another friend, your host of this link up, Duane, is someone I've emailed and built a small friendship with.  We read each other's posts and emails, and we totally know where the other is coming from, we get it.  One day perhaps we'll meet.  It does happen.

I met my husband online, over 10 years ago, and we have not only an amazing friendship and marriage but a beautiful life.  Those months of talking and sharing long distance were relationship builders that help us now facing other challenges in our lives.  He is as real as a man can get, as a Dad can get, and yet we met in such an impermanent way.  God is so good!

Do you connect with friends from long ago?  Do you pray for people you just met?  God can use your time in the social online realms as much as He can in your daily errand running, job doing, living life days.  Where else can we log on and find a prayer partner no matter the day or night?

God wants us to love one another.  He wants us t encourage one another.  He doesn't say where or how, frequency or distance. He says just do it.  Just love as He loved.  Encourage has He encouraged.

When I open my Facebook in the morning I see the eight faces in my friends pile.  I look at each and I pray for them.  Right then, just a holding them up to God prayer.  Something so small, and yet if we did it all think of all the people who would be covered in prayer every day?  Say a prayer for the next person who texts you, who emails you.  We'd do it at a stop light or in the grocery line, wouldn't we?  I try to. Even when I don't feel like it, I know it is a great honour for us, as Children of God, to pray for one another.

Friends are real, no matter what their form.  God brought them into our lives and even for a short time, we need to remember for Him it is all about sharing the Good News, loving and encouraging.  God does not care if it is via email, text, on a social networking site or in Church, at the park or parking lot.  Why do we?

Remember to visit the others who are sharing at Scribing The Journey and link up your thoughts as well!