There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
The problem of too much freedom – how to compromise.
Let’s take just two issues and see what happens with compromising when there’s too much freedom. When I say “too much freedom”, I mean when we pretty much start from scratch, which is what’s going on in this Seattle autonomous zone. And probably in most situations like it. Well, except for the reality that we never really start from scratch.
Is the Great Commission for Everybody, Somebody, Anybody or Nobody? When I was working, I used to have a sign in my office that told the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. Given all the protests and other things happening surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police, I couldn’t help but think about it. For a number of reasons.
But one thing that brought it to mind is this headline from msn: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: Racism Won’t Stop Until We ‘Accept Jesus Christ’. If you’ve read much oh my stuff, especially over on whichgodsaves.com you know how a feel about mixing government and religion. It’s a bad mix. Really bad. It compromises Christianity, and that’s never a good thing.
Blessed are the peacemakers. But who / what are peacemakers? Some of you will think of a Colt handgun. Or a strategic bomber. Or maybe even an MX Missile. If you’re Christian, or think you’re Christian, hopefully those aren’t the first things that come to mind. Why not? Because Blessed are the peacemakers is something Jesus said. It’s one of the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount.
What a tangled web we weave when we’re double-hearted. It happens a lot. We want one thing. We know we should want another thing. It’s like those old commercials where there’s an angel on someone’s shoulder. And a devil on the other shoulder. Both tell us what to do. We’d like to get the angel to tell us that what the devil said is OK.
And in the commercial – that can happen. Like with chocolate milk. Unfortunately, in real life – as in a good versus evil scenario – that’s just not going to happen. Why not? Because those aren’t the real life choices.
Is Covid-19 a modern-day exile scenario?
We look at the virus as a bad thing, maybe from God. However, those who have read the Bible know that sometimes God allows bad things in order to bring about better things. Or to wake up His people.
So, what if this is God’s way of showing us that we need to wake up? We’re supposed to be living in this world as if we’re in exile – right here, wherever we are. In exile from our Heavenly home. But we’re too busy turning this into a false “heaven on earth” kind of thing.
And we’re falling in love with it. And by doing that, we’re at risk of losing our real Heavenly home that God created for us.
Is God perfect? Or, phrased another way, does God make mistakes? What do you think? You might be surprised what Americans believe. Disappointed might be more like it though. The results of a Lifeway research project appear to make the answer fairly reasonable. That is, until we look at the chart with the details.
This is a country where 70+ percent of people claim to be Christian. So how is it that significantly less than 70% believe that God is perfect and can’t make a mistake?
We move on to the second of the seven letters in Revelation. This time the letter to the persecuted church in Smyrna. Jesus has good things to say about the church in Smyrna. It’s a bit harder to determine whether there’s any bad news in here – at least the kind of bad news that the church in Ephesus received. There were certainly warnings. But whether things would actually turn out “badly” was dependent on how well the people in that church listened to and carried out what Jesus said.
And so it begins. The first of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation. The one to the church in Ephesus. Jesus had some good things to say to them. And some bad things. But then another positive statement. The Ephesian church certainly wasn’t in the worst condition of the seven. But then, it wasn’t the best either. So there’s plenty to look at.
The title – The letter to the loveless church in Ephesus – is taken from the section titles in two different translations. I chose to do that because I think it gives a a direction to start with while examining this letter. Not that it’s the only direction. But it’s one that people who did the New King James Version thought was important enough to include, as opposed to the NIV usage of just the location in their section title.
If we think about the Parable of the Sower, the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment – all together, something should occur to us. To the extent that we practice the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment, the people represented by the seeds in the path, the rocky places and the thorns have a better chance to not staying in those places.
Of course, what happens to anyone’s faith is between them and God. However, it’s hard to believe that Christians who lovingly care for others won’t increase the likelihood of those at risk of falling away might return to God. That seems to be a basic part of what Jesus tells us to do in both of the “G C’s” – Greatest Commandment and Great Commission.
We all need love. God’s kind of love. And we should all be showing God’s kind of love to others as well.