The last few days of 2019 found me suffering with the effects of a bad cold that had me sleeping instead of watching the ball drop as we passed into the now infamous 2020. Little did I know that instead of a year of 2020 vision we would have a year of great confusion, deep divisions, a health crisis, economic uncertainty, social turmoil, and a mad dash for toilet paper!
Despite such a tumultuous year, I have experienced deep enjoyment of the Lord and all His bounty. I have found joy in the smallest of things, a well-made sandwich, a juicy strawberry, a walk along the shore or around the block on a pleasant evening, or a great conversation with my husband. When all the fast-paced parts of life are sidelined the important things come into focus.
I have paid close attention to the ensuing cultural battles polarizing our nation. I watch the dueling swords wielded with unrestrained tongues. I see the fearmongering and shock tactics, the victim mentalities, and carelessness and strife in social media posts.
The Devil likes to redefine and repurpose words so that we reject them and lose their intended purpose in the process. He has attempted to hijack the word “nationalism.” The word has become politically and racially charged because it is being used incorrectly.
We first saw this with Hitler when he tried to make the world German. But what Hitler was doing was not nationalism, but imperialism. To quote Author, Speaker, and Reformer, Vishal Mangalwadi, “German Fascist imperialism was able to hijack words such as nationalism in the 20th Century, because the Nineteenth Century German theology undermined God’s Word. That separated words such as ‘nation’ from their base in the Bible.”
Truth and love have a symbiotic relationship. You cannot have one without the other less we confuse truth with facts. You can have true facts without love – in the church this looks like religion. Truth is a Person. Jesus lived is a fact of history. Jesus lives is a truth of eternity. His life is the great message of love. Jesus is the expression to the world that God is love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus . . .
Truth, by its very nature, is exclusive of all that is false. Jesus being the way, the truth, and the life, means that all other like claims are false. Jesus doesn’t give life, He is life. He gives Himself. Jesus doesn’t show us the way, He is the way. Jesus is not just a truth teller, He is Truth. Jesus excludes that which is not Jesus from being the truth. Buddha, Vishnu, Mohammed, Zeus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are all excluded.
Love, by its very nature, is inclusive – For God so loved the world. . . Continue reading
Own your issues, but don’t adopt them. Often we usurp our path to mastery over our issues because we adopt them as extensions of ourselves. When we own our issues we take responsibility for them in order to overcome their place in our lives. When we adopt our issues we grant them a place to take up residence.
One powerful tool we utilize to adopt our issues is to name them. We may give them the name of a disorder or agree with the counsellor or doctor who named our disorder. Now we have expert opinion that the issue is a part of our identity. It is difficult not to align with the experts. It is much easier to adopt the issue and learn how to manage it rather than how to master it. Sometimes we name them a personality quirk. Or perhaps we grant it genetic status, “it runs in the family.” Or we may link it to gender or age. Each time we give it a reason to be in our life, we adopt it as our own pet issue.
Now that our issue has a name, we can protect it. It’s the endangered species that everyone wants to poach. Our job is to protect it, and by protecting it, we increase its power over our lives. We research it to justify its presence in our lives. We search the family tree, we consult the experts, and we find every article that validates it. We poll public opinion. We form a support group.
Spiritually all this behavior strengthens Continue reading
I’m becoming of the persuasion that freedom is more a responsibility than a right. It’s not a condition of human nature, but a product of it’s voluntary restraint. Thus, freedom is not endemic to fallen humanity, but a condition rightly available to humanity. It is an environment we work to obtain and maintain. Man can neither bestow it nor impose it. We cannot achieve it by wresting it away from another. Removing the tyrant often results in a different, and perhaps, greater enslavement. Lack of oppression does not equate with the presence of freedom any more than a lack of war infers a presence of peace.
Laws do not create freedom, they protect freedom. Government, in a free nation, is instituted among men to ensure the preservation of freedom for the good of the whole. However, if the freedom being protected decays, the laws cease to function as its preservation. George Washington famously opined that America’s government was for a “wholly religious and moral people and inadequate to the governance of any other.”
Freedom, then, is endemic, not to a state of nature, but to a state of being that is Continue reading