“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly.
They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.
Their webs will not become clothing, Nor will they cover themselves with their works;
Their works are works of iniquity, And an act of violence is in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, Devastation and destruction are in their highways.
They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks;
They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
Therefore justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us;
We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope along the wall like blind men, We grope like those who have no eyes;
We stumble at midday as in the twilight, Among those who are vigorous we are like dead men.
All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves;
We hope for justice, but there is none, For salvation, but it is far from us.
For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us;
For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities:
Transgressing and denying the Lord, And turning away from our God,
Speaking oppression and revolt,
Conceiving in and uttering from the heart lying words.
Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands far away;
For truth has stumbled in the street,
And uprightness cannot enter.
Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
Now the Lord saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.”
Isaiah 59:1-15 NASB1995
“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord is against evildoers, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalms 34:15-18 NASB1995
I’ve done a lot of that in my life. Crying, I mean. Not as a righteousness person, either. Although I grew up in the church, when I left home for college it only took a few months for the enemy to seduce me away from God. Boys (because they certainly weren’t mature enough to be called men), recreational drugs, alcohol, the thrill of being kissed and touched and told how beautiful I was…. I would go home, back to my parents house, for breaks and pretend nothing had changed with me. Reflecting on that time, I’m sure the only one I was fooling was myself. After just 2 years, I left school and married the man of my dreams. It quickly became more of a nightmare than a dream.
A miserable pregnancy, an unfaithful, abusive husband, and I was still pretending to the world and my parents that life was good. The facade was thin, and I think more people saw through it than believed it, but I wasn’t giving up. Pull yourself up, girl! Stand by your husband, submit to your man, and keep up appearances. I couldn’t allow my parents, let alone God, to know how badly I had fallen, so I stayed, the great pretender. As the abuse became more severe, I became more angry and belligerent, especially towards God. How could He allow this to happen? So I turned further away from Him. He didn’t reach down and fix my life, so I rejected Him. But I still pretended to my family.
After eight miserable years, I divorced him and gave up my daughter to a family member. Anything to keep him from having custody. It was like tearing out my heart, but I knew it was the best thing for her. My life didn’t get better. It seemed that I was destined to stay with abusers. The enemy led me to another one. I was mesmerised; in a trancelike state for months, subject to his ….. what? Desires, whims, abuses? I can’t describe what happened, because it was like a dream, or more like a nightmare, that I couldn’t escape from. Ironically, it was my abusive husband who rescued me from that situation.
Was life with him different than before? Not really, but it was better than the nightmare I had been in. For years, I moved from man to man, looking for my Knight in Shining Armor, my Saviour. I lived in a homeless, hopeless state. For a period of time, with my third husband, life improved greatly. Together, we became active in church, putting God in a prominent place in our lives. I’ll tell you now that it’s critical to put God in a prominent place, but unless He is FIRST, it won’t last. It was good, until the enemy got a toe hold into our lives, and pulled my husband away from God and from me.
After that, I spiraled. It wasn’t pretty. Outwardly I looked like I had it together, but inwardly I was angry at God and refused to let Him have my heart. That’s a dark spot. I allowed abusive men back into my life, and several years passed as I pretended to be a Christian but couldn’t allow God to have control. I was going to do it myself. God got my attention. Husband five was my breaking point; my “bottom”. I took him to a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program so that he could get his act together (because there was nothing wrong with me. Ha!).
God has a sense of humor. The husband left, rejecting the program, God, and me. I stayed in the program. Funny thing, my biggest lesson was that I wasn’t so perfect after all!
Life is full of the good, the bad, and plenty of the ugly for all of us. It isn’t easy for anyone, even our children. That’s just a fact. Rich, poor, any shade of color, every continent, every nation. Life is hard. So why bother with living? Because God gave us life through His Son Jesus! Because of Jesus, I can face all the ugly in my life. Because of Him, I can face today. Every. Single. Day. Living with Jesus, and putting Him first means that I am never alone, and it means that when I can’t take the next step, He will hold me and carry me through it.
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12 NASB1995
“It’s urgent that you get this right: The time has arrived—I mean right now!—when dead men and women will hear the Voice of the Son of God and, hearing, will come alive. Just as the Father has Life in Himself, He has conferred on the Son Life in Himself. And He has given Him the authority, simply because He is the Son of Man, to decide and carry out matters of Judgment. “Don’t act so surprised at all this. The time is coming when everyone dead and buried will hear His Voice. Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment.
John 5:25-29 MSG
I was absolutely struck when I read this today. We are surrounded by zombies! So many people are obsessed with zombies, and the coming zombie apocalypse. You can even get Zombie Apocalypse signs for your vehicle. They don’t even realize that they are the zombies! Instead of being afraid of the coming Zombie Apocalypse, we all need to be concerned with the coming Jesus Apocalypse! Listen to the words of Jesus, as they come alive in the Message:
“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?
John 5:41-44 MSG
This is exactly what we do. We dismiss or avoid Jesus, and embrace the self-important, expansive, all-knowing politicians and so-called leaders of today. Oh, but they are in authority and control. HA! Those people in Washington (I almost said clowns) are not even close to being in control. Our so-called leaders are rife with false prophets, trying to lead the masses away from Jesus. In many instances they are succeeding, sadly. The enemy wants us to think that he and his zombie army are winning, but I promise you, they are not.
God is, has been, and will be in control. Always.
We may have to endure these crazy times for a while longer. Christians, we are charged with sharing the Good News and the Truth of Jesus Christ before He returns. We will survive this “Zombie Apocalypse”! Hallelujah!!
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 NASB
I’m so tired of seeing my nation, my world, being divided by color of skin. We are Americans. Not African or Irish or Chinese or Mexican or Italian or any other country. We can’t let politicians, who are really only interested in themselves, divide us! Seriously, people! If you hold dual citizenship with another country, then by all means identity with it! Any British-Americans? German-American? Guyana-Americans? See what I mean? I honestly don’t understand why someone wants to self identify as part of a country other than the one they were born in, unless they want to move to that country to live. African-American is very widely used and claimed by hundreds of thousands of Americans. Why? Are they or their parents from Africa? Besides which, Africa isn’t even a country. It’s a continent. I know, we Americans have appropriated the name of the continent we are on as the name of our country, but understand that the world also refers to citizens of the United States as Americans. Are people from Ethiopia considered African, or Ethiopian? Kenyan, or African? Ugandan, or African? See the question?
Racism is promoted and perpetuated by the insistence of some people to identify as anything other than as Americans. I really don’t understand. I was actually polled the other night (a first!) and when asked what race I was, I answered “American.” I know it’s not a race, but neither is African-American. I should have answered “human”, because there is only one race. Sure, we have thousands of cultures and as many colors, but there is only one race, human. It would behoove us all to grasp onto that fact.
I love my country and the melting pot that it is. I will continue to pray for my country and that somehow, people will see through all this “racial” divisiveness, and I will do everything in my power to defend my country from our enemies, both within and without. Celebrate the diversity of all of our beautiful skin colors and cultural differences, but, please, don’t fight over them!
Jesus is the answer. The only answer. Come to Him today. Jesus said:
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6 NASB
“If you judge someone else, you have no excuse for it. When you judge another person, you are judging yourself. You do the same things you blame others for doing.” Romans 2:1 NIV
Did you read that? Let’s get it in a different translation.
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.” Romans 2:1 NLT
This one might be my favorite:
“Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.” Romans 2:1-2 MSG
As Christians, we should be setting the standard for the world in compassion and mercy, and instead we – as a group – are called judgmental by the world. It is up to me, and you, to change that perception. There’s a whole lot of judging going on today. Personally, I’m trying really hard not to judge the people who are rioting and destroying other people’s property and livelihoods. If I could, I’d be one of those defending the properties in danger.
However, I know this. GOD is the Judge of this world, not me. LORD, help me and guide me as I go through this day. Show me when I am being judgmental so I can repent of it and focus on loving people instead of judging them. Whether it is a family member, a coworker, or someone on the street, let them see You in me. Amen.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21 ESV
I’m struggling this morning. Watching the protests last night right in my own city, seeing violence and looting happening, breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to see the damage that has been done to people’s property – people who had nothing to do with any of it, having their lives destroyed by others who decide to be both judge and jury and find everyone guilty.
I’ve been in protests. I believe that peaceful, non-violent protests can be effective. There’s no way, really, that I can understand a life lived in abject poverty, but that isn’t what these protests are about. I’m white, so, no, I’ll never understand what it is to be black (or brown or red or yellow). I’m a woman, and I do know discrimination. I’ve been discriminated against for being white, and for being an American. I have lived with prejudice against me. Respect is an attitude that doesn’t seem to be taught much anymore.
We are all guilty. Every single one of us. We are guilty of prejudice, we are guilty of judgment. We all do evil. We are guilty of discrimination. There are times when protesting injustice is necessary, and coming together in solidarity to protest an injustice goes back to the beginnings of these United States. There are no excuses for vandalism. Vandalism doesn’t solve anything, and it hurts those around us, our neighbors and families.
I’m struggling with the upheaval and chaos facing my country. I’m crying for the losses of so many innocent people. Join me in praying for the people who want to see change, that they will understand that violence is not the answer. Martin Luther King, Jr. said this:
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Today, as the nation bows in prayer, I think the following scriptures speak more than anything I could possibly say.
“O LORD, God of Vengeance, God of Vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud. How long shall the wicked, O LORD, How long shall the wicked exult? They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. They crush Your people, O LORD, And afflict Your heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger And murder the orphans. …..Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, one which devises mischief by decree? They band themselves together against the life of the righteous And condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has been my Stronghold, And my GOD the Rock of my Refuge. He has brought back their wickedness upon them And will destroy them in their evil; The LORD our GOD will destroy them.” Psalms 94:1-6, 20-23 NASB
“Vengeance is Mine, and Retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have Compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.” Deuteronomy 32:35-36 NASB
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:14-16, 21 NASB
Finally, even with all the fear and chaos:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” Romans 12:10-13 NASB
We are the Called.
“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.” The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:1-2, 4-5, 8 NASB
Are you worried about your health and safety because of this virus called COVID19? Are you fearful that the world as we know it is ending?
I will say this. Yes, the world as we have known it is over. We can’t go back. I’m not convinced we should want to. My fears aren’t because of a biological “bug”. I’m much more concerned about the actions of people, and especially of those who are “in charge.” Government, whether it’s your local town or those in Washington, doesn’t easily let go once they have taken over something. Is it necessary for the powers that be to pass resolutions to order people to stay at home except for going out for essentials? Apparently so….. but for the criminals, and those people who consider themselves above the law, will it make a difference? Probably not, and those are the very people who are creating issues for the rest of us. Politicians have turned it into a political issue. I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.
“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We are so busy bartering for all of our everyday gods that we have forgotten the GOD Who is in control.
I will continue to protect my family and my home to the best of my ability, but I will not fear or be intimidated by the enemy’s actions.
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6 ESV
“When the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with free will to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free will is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.” – William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England
In his letter to the Roman church, Paul said “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Romans 13:1-2 NASB
Honestly, I struggle with this. As a young adult, two of my favorite quotes were “Resist Authority!” and “Why Be Normal?” My “normal” is still very different from people’s around me, and that’s okay with me. I confess that I still struggle with the whole authority situation, too. How many people do you know who can claim that they were introduced to the Commander of a military base that was involved with nuclear weapons, while wearing a shirt proclaiming “You Can’t Hug A Child With NUCLEAR ARMS” …..? (Yes, that actually happened, and I think I made an impression on him.)
While I think that this situation with the current health issue has gone to an extreme, I don’t wholly disagree with the amount of care being taken. Of course I don’t want people sick. For the already sick, and for those most susceptible to a virus, by all means they should be protecting themselves. I wouldn’t want my 93 year old Mom out in public right now, simply because her immune system probably wouldn’t be (isn’t) very efficient at fighting off infections. I don’t want my brand new baby great niece around people for the same reasons. I agree that taking precautions is a good thing for all of us. I mean, who hasn’t had a cold or other virus at some time?
We have to be watchful with the chaos around us of people who are fearful and apparently think the Zombie Apocalypse is on us. Hoarding supplies, fighting over toilet paper, afraid to touch anyone or anything; I believe these are from the enemy.
The saddest part of all this? The healthy among us, and those of us who are cautious and have already been diligent about hand washing and cleanliness, are caught in the same restrictions as the susceptible. I’m an introvert, so “having” to stay home isn’t a real imposition…… as long as it’s my choice. My rebellious self says “How dare you tell me I can’t go out and eat or shop or meet up with friends?” My Christian self says to listen to the LORD, and He says to do what is right and proper, and to obey the authorities. I don’t have to like it, I just have to do it. (However, know this: if the authorities overstep their own boundaries as laid out in the Constitution of the United States, I will not sit by and passively allow it. Just sayin’.)
And the LORD said to Joshua “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NASB