No Bitter Root…..

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 24:14-15)

It’s been a while since I posted.  I promise you I wasn’t shut down.  🙂  I have been pretty busy.  I’ll try to do better.

I wanted to write about this verse.  It speaks to me quite a bit.  Just before writing this, I was going to post a long comment on another friend’s blog, where someone was getting into a pretty heated political “debate” – more like an attack.  I felt the urge to defend, and slowly, methodically, chose my words to try and “show them they were wrong”.  This person, whom I’ve never met and probably never will.  I was poised to hit send, and the Holy Spirit stopped me.

No – that’s not true.  I hit send.  It needed to be previewed.  The Holy Spirit stopped me, but I wanted to forge on.  I hit send again – and it still wanted a preview.  “OK, God, I’m sorry….”

So then, my attitude was in defense mode against God.  “I was trying to do good here, Lord!  Can’t you see that???”

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy…..

Am I making every effort, if I’m ruffling the feathers of someone I don’t even know?  Or am I getting off on the “battle”, and trying to win an argument?  Who is being glorified here?  How am I making friends here?  How am I sharing the Gospel, or even showing love?

I’m not……

Without holiness no one will see the Lord…..

When I put myself first in these situations, nobody will see God in me.  Nobody who doesn’t know the Lord will have a chance of God revealing himself through me.  Don’t get me wrong – I know it’s not me who is saving the lost.  I know it’s not up to me.  I know that even if I act like an idiot, God will have his glory, and his plan will succeed – it already has!  All the same, that which I’m called to do is not being done.  So I’m letting him down…..  And – I’m potentially letting you down……

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many…

Woah…. See to it that no one misses the grace of God.  What have I done, even today, that may have turned someone off from “Christianity”, and potentially Christ?  What have I NOT done?  What have I said?  Heck – what have I THOUGHT?

You see this all the time.  “God hates fags”.  Probably one of the most offensive, hateful things a professing “Christian” has stated.  But what is in our heart?  What are we thinking?  And not just about this – about the teenager who got pregnant, when maybe you “got lucky” and didn’t even though you lived the same lifestyle.  Or the husband who pursues other women, even though you look at them and lust in your heart after them.  Or – the passionate person debating politics who doesn’t and will never see eye to eye with you, when your desire is more to win a debate than break down barriers and get to the greater good.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting any sin is acceptable.  We are called to be holy, as God is holy.  And we CAN do this.  Yes, we are sinners, but only because we rebel against God.  The “sin” is a symptom of our rebellious hearts.  And when we judge others – there is yet one more symptom…….

Lord – how in my life am I prohibiting others from seeing you?  Please show me, more.  I want to be a fragrant aroma to you, and to others.  Help me to no longer be a bitter root.  Help me to no longer cause others to stumble.  Thank you that in you all things are possible, and through you whosever chooses has eternal life.  And thank you that you love me, even in spite of “me”.  Search my heart, and help me to root out anything that offends you.  For your glory, evermore.

Amen….

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Shut Down!!! What does it mean to you?

So the government shut down. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me thinks they are all acting like children, taking their bat and going home. When they have a responsibility to do what they were elected to do. Part of me thinks we depend on them too much – and we’ll see how that affects so many people, nearly all of us to some degree. I worry when I hear about how it affects “me personally”, instead of how it affects the global community.

But I wonder – what things about the government shutting down, are real necessities in our lives, or really something we should depend on the government for? Not saying they SHOULDN’T be – even if I believe that on many things (I do), I realize that is not the case today, and it would be impossible to just change overnight. However, if you were to just look at it from a “eutopian perspective” for a bit, I’d to ask some questions.  Bear with me….

  • How does the government shutdown affect you directly?  Will this be like the end of the world, an inconvenience, or doesn’t really affect you (to your knowledge)?
  • Are any of the things you can think of, that affect you directly,  something we think the government SHOULD be involved in?  Are there alternatives?  If this were long-term, where would you go for an alternative?  Is this an opportunity to remove dependencies from government, where other facilities would better server needs, or we could take some responsibility ourselves?  (Not a politically charged statement – actually a question, and I’m inviting answers even if the answer is “no, there isn’t”)
  • I read one comment that linked government with community – I see that today, sadly, as somewhat of a reality.  But when did that happen?  How can we take our communities back, so government and community are not one and the same?  Or am I the only one saddened by those two entities seemingly being so tightly knit?
  • Any thoughts on the fact that this happened this year, when it’ll be fresh in our minds for elections next year, but NOT next year, when we are heavy in election season?  I know I’m getting into conspiracy theory, so forgive me.  I’m sure there are other factors involved.  But I find it funny that my suspicion this would never happen during elections is probably true – they’d find a way to chug along…….
  • Can someone list for me, of government employees, who is and who isn’t getting paid during this shutdown?

No doubt something like this will spark much discussion, debate, argument.  No doubt it will hit home more for some than others.  No doubt some will be emotionally impacted.  How can we help in these types of situations?  We have an opportunity to step up, in some areas at least.  Will we?  Can we show the government, at least in some areas, “we don’t need you”?  Or will this be more of a “man, I can’t live without you government!  Please come back!”?

I know the approach I’m taking here is really simple, where things are much more complex.  But I’d ask that we just separate many things, instead of lumping them all together.  What, if anything, can we do while this shutdown is in effect.  And what, if anything, can we consider not being dependent on government for in our lives?  And lastly – what, if anything, can we do to help others who might be greatly affected by this shutdown?  Or do we really think community and government are one and the same?