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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Turn the Other Cheek?

praying“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” ~Matthew 5:38-42

A true story (the name has been changed):

A member of my family (we’ll call him Lewis) repeated something about a friend that he shouldn’t have. Lewis was in junior high at the time and when he entered the classroom the next day, he was confronted by his friend.

The angry friend said, “We’re going to fight.” Lewis apologized but that did not satisfy his friend. Lewis received a hit upside his head. But Lewis did not respond except to again apologize and to say he was wrong. The friend hit him on the other side of the face. Lewis repeated that he had been wrong and that he was not going to fight. Finally, the friend threw up his hands in frustration and walked away.

That is a true-life example of “turning the other cheek.”

Once on a trip, my family entered a restaurant while I looked for something in the car. A woman approached me and gave me a sob story. She asked for ten dollars. I gave her twenty.

“Are you crazy?” I was asked when I told of this incident. “Don’t you know she was scamming you?”

She may have been. However, (and this is where not judging comes into play) I was in a strange town and knew nothing of the woman. She could have been telling the truth. I did not have enough facts to make a proper judgment, and, so, I gave her more than she asked for.

While staying in a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, my husband went to a fast-food place a couple of blocks away to buy our breakfast. As he returned to the hotel, he was approached by a homeless man. Carl gave him his breakfast.

I can give numerous examples of how “foolish” Carl and I have been. Yet, we are fulfilling the meaning of these verses. It is better to be taken advantage of then to let someone go hungry who may actually be hungry.

(However, if we receive facts that some people are using us, and, yes, it has happened, then we can judge correctly and refuse their requests. The Bible also says “if a man does not work, let him not eat.”)

Notice, that these words of Jesus are speaking of one-on-one relationships with those around us.

In the national realm, when we are defending our country, our God, and our Lord and Savior, we are not told to turn the other cheek. Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. Matthew 12:33-35

You brood of vipers?? Jesus was addressing the leaders of the Israelites and was not using Christianese—at least not the way it is spoken today.

Can we recognize when leaders are evil today?

Yes, when they do not bear “good fruit.”

Are our leaders bearing good fruit today? Is abortion good? Is the removal of God’s word from public places good? Is the erosion of our Bill of Rights good? Is the teaching of humanism in our schools good? Is morality being attacked and destroyed daily good?

When people are on a path to destroy our country, we do not “turn the other cheek.” To do so would be to violate other teachings of the Bible.

Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 10:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.” (verses 34-37)

We do not worry about offending others, even if it’s members of our own household. And, then, Paul has this to say:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.~Ephesians 6-10-20

It is time for all Christians to come to the aid of their country.

Turn the other cheek?

Not when it involves my Lord and Savior. Not when it involves stopping evil from winning. Not when we wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil.

Pick up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.

Now is the time, not to turn the other cheek, but to face the danger head on. Proclaim the truth boldly before it is too late!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thrown Out and Trampled—Are You Ready?

Many Christians live in a fantasy world, leaving the Great Commission unfulfilled.

I saw that in action yesterday and it broke my heart.salt

Many have written off America. From what I can gather, many Christians have decided that movies and television shows have moved past our sphere of influence.

This is what happened: A friend called for a boycott of NBC and the sponsors of SNL after a skit ridiculed our Lord and Savior. Many simply declined to get involved. Some people actively discouraged the boycott. A number of people said they didn’t watch the show anyway.

I have never watched Saturday Night Live, and, yet, I joined the boycott. Why? Although I may not watch, others do! Should we sit quietly by and let our Savior’s name be dragged through the mud? Should we allow these depictions of Christianity continue to corrupt the minds of the viewers?

Here’s a question: What if it were a family member being thus portrayed? Would you feel the need to speak up?

We are to be in the world so that we may be the salt of the world. Have we lost our saltiness? Are we about to be thrown out because our salt has lost its saltiness, to be trampled underfoot?

I will not get into all the ways America is being attacked today—I think we all know.

Yet, why do some Christians continue to be silent? Is it because some may believe Jesus is returning and the end is near?

The Bible teaches that no one knows the hour of His return.

And when are we ever told to quit being salt?

A friend last night gave this illustration of the way some Christians behave—

A man enters your home uninvited. In his hand he holds a knife. He proceeds to tie up your children while you simply stand by and watch.

The thinking of some Christians (if they held true to the way they think of America) would be this:

1. I can’t judge the man. Perhaps he has a good reason for wielding a knife and breaking into my home. Maybe he’s hungry. I need to offer him a meal.

2. God will intervene. The man will fall dead from a heart attack at any moment.

3. I’m to love him. Let me go give him a hug.

4. I’ll pray and everything will be okay.

Correct thinking would be more along these lines:

1. The man has a knife. He entered without my permission. God has given me discernment of right and wrong. This man is up to no good.

2. God gave me the strength and courage to defend my children. I will defend them to the death.

3. I’m to love him even though he is my enemy. What he is doing is wrong. I will subdue him because I love my children, but also so he and others will know that his behavior is wrong. Allowing others to sin is not love. Tolerance of evil is not love.

4. I’ll pray for the man, and thank God that he allowed me to protect my family.

Apply that to our country:

1. Men are destroying our constitutional rights. God has given us discernment to know our country is headed in the wrong direction.

2. God gave me the strength and courage to defend my country. I will defend her to my death.

3. I’m to love the enemy that now stands at the gate. I love my children and grandchildren. I do not want to leave my country in shambles. Because I love my enemy, I will stop him so he will know his behavior is not in line with God’s will.

4. I will pray for my country, and thank God I had the courage to stand up and fight.

Specifically, what can we do?

We can contact our congressmen and demand spending be cut, call for tax reform, and a repeal of Obamacare that will bankrupt our country.

We can boycott sponsors and makers of porn-like entertainment on our TVs and in the movies.

We can use our influence to stop the erosion of our religious freedom. We can demand that prayer be returned to school. Teachers can pray publically in defiance of this unjust law.

We can offer services and love to women who are pregnant and see abortion as an only option. We can campaign against abortion every chance we get.

We have a voice and should not be afraid to use it.

We’ve all heard this quote:

First they came for the communist,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialist,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionist,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me. ~Martin Niemöller

We could change it to this:

First they took prayer from schools, and I didn’t speak out, because we are to turn the other cheek.

Then they legalized abortion, and I remained silent and prayed.

Then they removed all mention of Christianity from all public places, but that meant Jesus was coming soon so I again remained silent.

Then they took away more constitutional rights, and I kept silent, thinking God will intervene--forgetting that God chooses to work through his people.

And my children and grandchildren will now reap the whirlwind.

It is not too late. We can speak up now! We can turn back to God now!

And who knows but that you are here with a voice for such a time as this? (as Mordecai said to Esther)

Unless we are ready to see our country destroyed, we cannot keep silent any longer. What do you choose to do today?

As for me and my household, we choose to be the salt!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Don’t Judge Me!

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” ~Matthew 1:1-5

In today’s society, these are the most misused words by both Christians and non-Christians.

Whenever people get upset, out comes this trump card. “Jesus said, don’t judge me!”

What is the danger in this?

1. It shuts down discussion. The person is basically saying “Be quiet. I’m going to continue doing this whether it’s right or wrong.”

2. It’s misusing the words of Jesus. If the entire passage is read, we see that Jesus is talking about hypocritical judging.

3. It promotes the incorrect teaching of Christian tolerance for all things. If we study the Gospels, we see that Jesus is intolerant of sin. And He is our perfect example.

If we are not intolerant of sin, evil triumphs. For too long Christians have allowed their voices to be silenced. We are to be the light of the world.

meme

Do you have both the courage to listen and speak?

“The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregard the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained." ~First Inaugural address 1789 ~ George Washington

Speak up and let your light shine!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review of The Difference Between Night and Day by Melissa Turner Lee and a blog hop!




A Christian story about vampires? Is that possible? Yes, Melissa Turner Lee has accomplished it. The premise of The Difference Between Night and Day was intriguing and the characters interesting. The mysterious Lilly, so sweet and full of surprises, kept me turning virtual pages.

There were a couple of problems I encountered. For several chapters we were in Nathaniel’s point of view and then switched to Lilly’s. To avoid discombobulating readers, Lilly’s POV should have begun earlier.
The other problem I had was the slow pace. There is action but also a lot of eating, talking, and walking (sounds a lot like me!).

Still, the Christ-centered message, the interesting characters, and the mystery surrounding Lilly made for a satisfying read, one that I would recommend.
Four out of Five Stars
(I was given an e-book copy for my honest review.)

In celebration of the Valentine's Day release of The Difference Between Night and Day, AltWit Press is offering the Kindle Edition for only 99 Cents!

And giving away  3 awesome prizes:

GRAND PRIZE:
A 6" Display Kindle WiFi with Special Offers ($69 Value)
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And Two others will win:
A signed paperback copy of The Difference Between Night and Day
and bookmark swag pack
Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win!
And click a link below to continue the hop!

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