Tag Archive | overcome

When Life’s Not Fair

Through The Looking Glass2

American comedian Groucho Marx once said…

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

We’re all familiar with the saying that “life is not fair”, and most of us have probably experienced that reality…

What is fair about working your whole life, only to find your retirement has vanished?

What is fair about training hard for a sport, only to suffer a career-ending injury?

What is fair about a loved one being killed by the carelessness of someone else on the highway?

But here is probably the greatest injustice of all…

What is fair about being the only sinless person to ever walk the face of the earth, yet having to die to save the guilty?

As Christians, Jesus made two promises we can cling to when times get hard:

Promise #1… “In this world you will have trouble”.

Promise #2… “I have overcome the world.”

Lord, Liar, or Lunatic

I recently read an article that was disturbing beyond belief – as a Christian, a pastor, and an American.

The Conservative Baptist Association of America is suing the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs after two chaplains were openly ridiculed by the leader of San Diego-based VA-DOD Clinical Pastoral Education Center program**. This program is designed specifically for chaplains who want to be able to minister to soldiers and veterans in VA hospitals. Among other things, the lawsuit filed alleges the following:

  • The Instructor (for the program) told the chaplains that it was the policy of the VA in general (and her in particular) that chaplains should not pray in the name of Jesus.
  • In October 2012, the Instructor told the class she believes God could be either man or woman. When Chaplain #1 referred to The Lord’s Prayer, she “angrily pounded her fist on the table and shouted, ‘Do not quote Scripture in this class.’”
  • In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Chaplain #2 mentioned during a group discussion on counseling that he would tell a parent that “there is evil in the world.” The Instructor retorted, “You don’t actually believe that do you?”
  • In January 2013, the Instructor told the chaplains “there is no room in the program for those who believe they are right and everybody else is wrong.”

As Christians, we have a Bible that is our source of strength, wisdom, and instruction. As Americans, we have a Constitution that guarantees the inalienable rights of it’s citizens to believe, worship, and speak, as is stated:

KS77810Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

According to this Amendment (the FIRST Amendment contained in The Bill of Rights), we as Americans are guaranteed the right to free speech – speech that, right or wrong, may offend some. We are guaranteed that government CANNOT prohibit the free exercise of religion. If our “religion” states that Jesus is Lord, it is our right, not only to believe such, but to speak it as well.

But, more than that, we as Christians are held to a higher standard than even the Constitution. We stand on the Living, Inerrant Word of the God of the universe… the Bible. If we are who we claim to be, and believe what we claim to believe, then our mandate and responsibility are crystal clear:

We must believe. Jesus is either exactly who He said He was, or we all just need to sell our churches and go home. He is either the Lord of the Universe, or He was a lunatic. Some religions claim He was a good man, a great teacher, or a prophet. Sorry – not possible. If He was not exactly who He claimed to be, then He was a liar who has led billions of people astray. That would not be someone that anyone in their right mind would consider to be a “good man”.

We must receive. Jesus said:

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me” ~ John 14:6

Jesus didn’t say “I am A way” – He said, “I am THE Way”. The idea that “all paths lead to God” may play well talk shows, reality television, and group therapy sessions, but the problem is that it just is not the truth. There is ONE Way to God – through the door marked by the blood-stained cross of Jesus. The cornerstone of our faith is that belief.

We must tell the world. One of the last recorded things Jesus said on this earth was what we now refer to as the Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. ~ Matthew 28:19

We know from Scripture that not everyone will welcome the Good News of Jesus. As Paul told the Corinthians…

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles… ~ 1 Corinthians 1:22-23

BibleWe live in a society that has sacrificed conviction for convenience, belief for bogus arguments, and freedom for the cold, bland bowl of lies, served up by “The First Church of ME”. However, we are called to be — and MUST remain — a Light in the world. Make no mistake about it – what looks like a fight with radical forces within our government is really a battle being waged on a much greater battlefield. There is a war in the Heavenlies being fought for humanity. And at the end of the day, when all of the arguments have been made, we must do as Paul told the Ephesians…

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (emphasis added).

When all is said and done, Heaven and earth will pass, but the words of Jesus will remain forever. So take heart, believer! After all… among His life-giving words are these:

“I have overcome the world.”

** If you would like to read the article in it’s entirety, go here.

Reality: Stranger Than Fiction

Through the Looking GlassGerman poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said that…

“Few people have the imagination for reality.”

It’s said that the truth is often stranger than fiction. Admittedly, reality is pretty strange for most of us right now.

We experience the problems in our economy…

We see the turmoil in the Middle East…

We feel for the people experiencing devastation and loss through tragedy and natural disasters…

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard viewed it this way:

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

And although it may seem like a little TOO MUCH experience for some, all of this should come as no surprise. After all, Jesus tells us that…

“In the world, you WILL have trouble.”

But then comes the catch:

“TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world!”

While the world gives us trouble, Jesus promises us peace. And THAT is the reality we can all experience… just by asking.

Dancing With the Fishes

Through the Looking Glass      A couple was walking down the beach when they saw a man dancing in the sand up ahead of them. As they approached him, they realized he wasn’t dancing at all. Instead, he was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach, and was throwing them back into the sea. They called out to the man…

“You know, there are thousands of starfish here? You’ll never be able to rescue them all. It’s not going to make a difference!”

Without looking up, the man reached down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf.

“It made a difference to that one,” he replied.

When we see the problems facing our country and the world, it is easy to lose hope. Jesus even said, “In this world you will have trouble…”

But then He said (and I can see Him smile as He replied)…

“Cheer up! I have overcome the world!”

“But the world is so big,” you may be saying. “Where do I start?”

Look down at your feet, and then out from your feet 5 yards in each direction. Do this multiple times a day (constantly is good), and every time you do, realize that the area you see is your mission field at that moment. Pick someone you know, or maybe even a complete stranger, and make a positive difference in their life today.

Question: “How do you change a world that needs Jesus?”

Answer: “One heart at a time.”

On a related note…

As you read this, we have a mission team from Abba’s House on it’s way to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to spend a week ministering to the people that live there. We are believing for great things for the team and the people they minister to. Please pray for safety, favor, and open lines of communication to hearts hungry for the love of Jesus.

If you would like to keep up with the team, you can follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/abbashousemissions

You can also follow them at:
http://www.ronphillips.org or http://www.abbashouse.com