True Love in All Things

In view of the current dialogues in our society that are promoting “Love, not Hate” and the variety of calls-to-action that are being sounded, let us remember the characteristics of True Love, as God defines it.

Anything that we do in the name of love and social justice should be in accordance with TRUE love. True Love is not weak, it is strong, but it is strong in a particular way!

Any social movement and any public protest in which we might participate, let us be careful and selective about joining them; their likely methods and how their message may evolve over time is a very important consideration. Will they be acting and expressing themselves in accord with God’s definition of True Love?

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres.”

‭‭( 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬ )

#PastorsTip

Portland Protesters, PLEASE Beware!

Portland, Oregon has (in recent history) had a very active army of protesters. Their purposes and messages are usually distorted by their chaotic antics, and at times are outright incoherent.

Anarchists and mobsters usually join the public foray, instigating the unlawful destruction of property and creating dangerous situations for well meaning and law abiding protesters, business owners and employees, and police and emergency personnel.

PROTESTERS, PLEASE BEWARE!

I do NOT want the following tragedies to transpire, however will you hear the following warning?

Please, beware of the possible outcomes of your actions. You are entering an atmosphere in our community when playing with fire just might end up burning you. I do NOT want these things to happen, so please do not erroneously interpret my warning as a threat, or a wish list, or a veiled call for people to revolt against the revolters.

So far, your demonstrations and associated actions have been mostly tolerated by the general public. However, the toleration of SOME citizens is wearing very thin, and they themselves are on the borderline of becoming criminal in their reactions to you. Your destruction of property, your blocking of roads, and even your in-your-face screaming at non-protesters may be met with deadly force.

The next few roads and freeways that you block as a mob tactic, there may be one or two drivers who might genuinely feel their own lives are endangered enough by the surrounding mod to prompt them to plow right through your arm-in-arm road blocks. You may be hurt, maimed, or even killed!

Even if you are convinced in your own mind that you would “never hurt anyone,” your actions are communicating a very different message. Other citizens do not have the privilege of reading your mind and knowing your heart; all they are able to do is look at the mob that is surrounding them with signs on wooden 2×4’s, facial expressions of anger, voices that are loud and incoherent when raised with 100 other voices at the same time, and seeing reports of buildings and vehicles being destroyed.

If you feel the need to demonstrate and protest, then do so with intelligence and common sense, not with mob-sense. If you feel you need to lay your life on the line in order to take a stand, then give your life daily to the productive service of your community and your country. If you insist on using the mob-tactic to announce your message incoherently, don’t be surprised when your friend who is arm-in-arm with you gets run over by a car.

Protesters, please… BE SAFE, and police yourselves. If anarchists hijack your demonstration, find the police and point them toward those who are creating trouble. If the mob gets out of hand, leave! Better to live another day. If your friend gets crazy, be the calming influence for them. You just might save their life!

#PastorsTip

Would I Have Attended Hillary’s Inauguration?

Initially, before I saw or heard any of the hoopla arise from the “Not Attending Trump’s Inauguration” group, I had thought to myself, “No way would I attend Hillary’s Inauguration if she had won (and if I had been invited)!”

Now, however, I think differently.

As I watch the reactions of those who refuse to attend Trump’s Inauguration, I am forced to reconsider what I would do if Hillary had won the presidency.

There is a time and a place for everything under the sun. A time to unite, and a time to separate. A time to remain silent, and a time to speak out. A time to stand with someone, and a time to stand against them. A time to be above the storm, and a time to walk through the storm.

I would attend Hillary’s Inauguration, and would do so with respect and with a genuine “God Bless You, Madam President, and God Bless America!”

She and others, on that day, would not be able to guess my political leaning. They could only discern one thing about me: that I am an American first and foremost.

The Inauguration of the President of the United States is the most incredible, peaceful, and orderly transfer of power that the world ever sees. It speaks of our unity and our commitment to a set of ideals, ideals that are much higher than any left-leaning, centrist, or right-leaning political constructs.

Does this mean that I think Hillary was a viable candidate for leading America and the free world? Not for a moment! My feelings about her are just as strongly Never-Hillary as any Never-Trump person’s feelings.

But… since when do we allow our feelings to dictate our actions? Only snowflakes do that. We, however, are citizens of America. We are “We the people!”

I now freely admit my bias was wrong: my notion of refusing to attend Hillary’s Inauguration was wrong. I admit, knowing what I know now, I WOULD attend her inauguration, and would do so with grace and with socially acceptable charm.

What about you? Would you attend a Hillary Inauguration? Will you now attend the Trump Inauguration?

#PastorsTip

When the Dictators Finally Die

Fidel Castro, communist revolutionary and self-enriching strongman of the small Caribbean nation of Cuba, has passed away at the age of 90. The cruel spirit in which he treated all of the Cuban people and specifically, persecuted the Christian church, resulted in an estimated 100,000 murders.

A lifetime of incarceration and torture were also standard fare for people who spoke against his regime, resisted his orders, or tried to escape the island nation on makeshift rafts. Millions of people have suffered poverty, hunger, illness, and basic human rights during his dictatorial reign as a thug disguised as a revolutionary for freedom.

He leaves behind an estimated net worth of $900 million dollars which [along with his power-base] will most likely be transferred to his 85 year old brother, Raul Castro.

“… when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.”

( Proverbs ‭11:10‬ )

The Cuban people need our intercessory prayer, especially during this time of transition.

image-5#PastorsTip #Castro

They All Have Soul-Value In God’s Eyes

Public figures, whether they are involved in politics or entertainment, or have become known through their having served society heroically in some unique manner, each of them seem to provoke each of us to form an opinion of who they are and what kind of value their life contributes to the world.

Maybe they seem kind, maybe they seem cruel; transparent or deceptive; generous or self-centered; humble or proud; community minded or power hungry despot; loving Christian or angry atheist; spiritual or humanistic; health-conscious or glutinous slob; multi-cultural or racist; wise or foolish; intelligent or unintelligent; self-controlled or addicted; etc.

Whatever the truth may be about each of the public figures (and God knows every detail of every person, the absolute truth with regard to who a person has been and has become) and regardless of how we see them, let’s always remember this:

God sees each of them as having soul-value, and He REALLY wants to rescue each them from the same destination that we all share if we do not accept the intervention of God through Jesus Christ.

Their soul-value is not increased by their huge public popularity, nor with the positive value of what they bring to the public by way of happiness (entertainer) or a better lifestyle (politician or business executive) or a cancer-free body (surgeon). Neither is their soul-value diminished by their criminality, cruelty, deceptiveness, greediness, or power-hungry escapades.

Their (and our) soul-value in the eyes of God comes from the fact that they are His kids who have gone astray. He wants them back! He wants them to come back not by force but by choice. He will provide everything they need to come back, but He won’t force them to come back to Him.

When we see public figures, let’s remember that they are just human beings too. They have soul-value too. Let’s pray for God’s provision to breakthrough in their lives so they can return to Him without being distracted by other people or things.

“…everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

~ John‬ ‭3:15-21‬

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#PastorsTip #Stars #Candidates #PublicFigures #John316 #SoulValue #Salvation

Take a Stand, Resist Its Passage!

“You shall not pass!” are the famous words spoken by the character Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series. It is a powerful visual representation of taking a stand against overwhelming odds.

Sometimes we too have to take a stand, all alone, in order to shine The Light of Christ and Truth on the approaching dark giant of Political Correctness, and to resist its passage and advancement in our society.

Jesus says:

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to [physical] death. Everyone will hate you because of Me.

But not a hair of your head will perish [God will keep track of everything for you]. Stand firm, and you will win [eternal] life.”

‭‭~ Luke‬ ‭21:14-19‬ [for clarity in reading]

Take that stand, my friend! Heaven is watching, hell is watching, the world is watching… What will you do?

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#PastorsTip #Luke21 #TakeAStand #Resist #PoliticalCorrectness #LightOfChrist #Alone #YouShallNotPass #Gandalf #TLOTR

Voting For The Lesser Of Two Evils?

Sometimes when the time comes to vote we are faced with a situation where ALL the candidates do not conform to our personal beliefs, principles, and ethics.

This may beg the question: If I vote for the “lesser of two evils,” am I nonetheless approving of an evil person?

Jesus said,

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

~ Matthew‬ ‭10:16‬

He knew that we would be living in a broken world where there would be not just imperfect people (like us!), but outright scandalous scoundrels. It is into this world that He sends us to be salt (a preservative to delay the spoiling of the world) and light (an illuminator of the darkness), (see Matthew 5:13-16).

He sends us with the encouragement to exercise shrewd wisdom in our dealings while maintaining a genuine innocence, innocent of evil.

Sometimes our vote may not be FOR a candidate as much as it is AGAINST another. If and when we are faced with a Lesser-of-Two-Evils scenario, it is appropriate to be shrewd in anticipating the possible outcomes, and where our vote would accomplish the most “preservative” effect or in other words, will help DELAY society’s degradation or spoiling.

As with every important decision in life, patient and focused prayer is absolutely critical. Let’s pray for God’s guidance of our voting decision, whether He chooses to speak to our heart clearly or to work through our subconscious.

#PastorsTip #Voting #Decision #LesserOfTwoEvils #PrayerForGuidance

 

Christians and National Freedom

The best non-theocratic human governmental model for a nation is one that recognizes and protects the rights of the populace to exercise the Freedom of Religion.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

‭~ Galatians‬ ‭5:13‬

A nation’s Rights of Freedom does not make everything done (or not done) as afforded by that freedom, equal in moral value in God’s Kingdom. The Christian’s moral code is described in the scriptures and is to be followed within the boundaries of the laws and freedoms of their nation of residence. Where there is a conflict between Biblical instruction and national rights and laws, the Biblical instruction takes precedence.

This Freedom of Religion should not be construed as a “wide highway” declaration that all religions lead to The One True God. Instead, it protects the masses from a few leaders using force (violence or suffering) to subjugate them to live according to a particular system of belief (i.e. Theocratic nations that force a particular brand of Islam; or Atheistic nations that force a particular brand of Communism).

While this right of freedom of religion allows for each individual to choose whom they will believe in as God, we as Christians need to guard against the introduction of any form of the “wide highway” concept to our own personal belief system. Jesus definitely preached the “narrow road” concept:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

~ Matthew‬ ‭7:13-14‬

Jesus also taught that He is exclusive, there is no other way to approach The One True God:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

‭‭~ John‬ ‭14:6‬

In America, we have been blessed by God, having been kept free from Nebuchadnezzar-like dictators who would violently force Christians into a deny-or-die situation (like the 3 Hebrews and the fiery furnace in Daniel 3). But, lest we loose our clear perspective, let me reiterate again: our national rights and freedoms do not nullify nor expand on God’s instructions with regard to what is truly right and wrong.

A certain Right does not mean it is right for us to do it (or not to do it). A certain Freedom does not mean we are free to do it (or not to do it). A Freedom of Speech does not mean that God now approves of everything we might express. A Freedom of Religion does not mean that God now approves of everything we might choose to believe.

The Bill of Rights are for humans who govern humans. God is still Lord of our lives!

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#PastorsTip #Galatians5 #Matthew7 #John14 #Freedom #Rights #Morals #Government #Christians

The Benefit of Long Presidential Campaigns!

Like most people, I grow very tired of the long, LONG (and in this case, VERY LONG) Presidential Campaigns. A short time ago I heard a radio commentator suggest that Presidential Campaigns be limited to two months followed by one nation-wide primary [held on the same day] and then the final general vote to follow very soon after that.

However, there is a benefit to having some extra time involved in the campaigns. This expanded time allows for the best and the worst of the candidates to surface while they are being vetted by the nation. Each candidate makes comments, both scripted and unscripted, that prompt further discussion and investigation of their philosophies, policies, and both personal and professional histories.

Perhaps enduring elongated Presidential Campaigns are like taking cough syrup when we were kids: we didn’t like it, but it turned out to be the best for us in the long run.