A Little Perspective

A Little Perspective

With all of the Executive Orders limiting and quarantining people–all over the world–and especially in the United States, people are grumbling.

CEOs are grumbling about losing money in businesses–the sports arena, airlines, children and parents are grumbling, every market that contributes to the economy is grumbling because of the attempt by many leaders to save lives–from a destructive virus that does not discriminate and then we have an occupant in the WH who chose not to recognize and deal with the situation earlier than he did. But this isn’t about him, it’s about us–the everyday, working Americans who have apparently taken the privileges (to get into cars and drive where we want to go, when we want to go, and do what we want, when we want to do it), we have as a right.

There are hungry children all over the world. There are adults struggling with lack of job skills, addictions and apathy. There are homeless people living in parks, dumpster diving to eat, sleeping in public toilets so they have someplace to wash their face. There are people who have job skills and can’t find jobs. There are companies who won’t hire specific groups of people and have wage caps that won’t allow a person to save for a rainy day.

Well that rainy day has come and it’s been raining for four weeks now with no sign of a let up, yet. Why? Because of that pesky virus that’s killing people and since we weren’t prepared to contain it or stop it, here we are–on lockdown–except for going out for essential needs–food and medicine. And here is where things get really crazy. The grumbling by folks who yet have lives to live–angry because they can’t travel to their homes up north, or have their landscapers cut their lawns (they can do it themselves, but that’s too much to expect of the privileged, right?) or they can’t go to the salon or the barber or get their nails done or do some spring painting or plant gardens. Really? Did anyone see the statement about lives lost?

Over 200,000 thousand people have contracted the virus in America and 20 thousand have lost their lives. In order to minimize any further loss of life, governors–primarily–have issued executive orders asking people to stay at home, away from large gatherings so they limit contact with others who might be carrying the virus. And what do silly people do? Complain and grumble.

I wonder what they would do if someone had started a war and over half of the nation’s buildings were destroyed, banks, hospitals, stores, farmland–everything. The homes in the Hamptons, and Martha’s Vineyard and further north in Michigan–all desolated and the beaches demolished with contaminated water. What good would privilege do anyone then? There is no food to be found, no water to drink and the air is polluted with contaminates from exploding bombs. What would we do then? There is no shelter other than a partially standing wall here and there, and masses are huddled wondering which way to turn or fearful if they’ll be attacked for the shreds they now call clothes. The rats are thriving, but there is little animal life left and people are hungry. What will they do?

We are not in that situation but there are people in other countries who are and they’re too busy trying to survive to complain. So why can’t we do the same? We need to take another look at ourselves and see this situation from a different perspective. We may be doing without our favorite restaurant or getting gussied up or entertaining friends and families, but what we have, that the dead don’t have is–another chance to live our lives, if we practice social distancing and abide by the executive orders of those who are simply trying to keep us safe. If we don’t have life, having a job won’t matter, flowers and vegetable gardens won’t matter, homes in other places won’t matter, none of it will matter if we are dead.

So, do everyone that’s left a favor–practice social distancing and give us all a chance to live until the next pandemic (for it will come), but let’s learn from this one how to survive and thrive, while we can. Think about it, with a little more perspective other than not being able to live our “privileged lives” having everything we want.

What’s Growing In Your Garden?

“I am against you,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.” (Nahum 3:5 NIV)

Who is the Lord against? The inhabitants of Ninevah who were living in opposition to God’s Will. Jonah was sent to Ninevah to warn them they were about to face the wrath of God and the people repented, but later turned back to the ways of evil and the city was destroyed.

That was then, this is now. Is there a place or people to whom the Lord is saying, “I am against you?”

Before I answer this question, let me explore how history is repeating itself. Many have warned the nations against their wicked ways, but most have refused to listen. Throughout man’s history, whenever flesh dictated reason, people lived outside the will of God. Many were the prophets who spoke what God gave them and though some heard them, many did not and because the prophets spoke against evil and wickedness, many of them were killed. They were killed by those in authority who did not wish to stop wickedness–primarily that of worshipping idol gods which included sexual immorality and sacrificing of children.

Small wonder these practices continued since those in charge were evil incarnate. Moving to the 21st century, do we not have those in authority who are more concerned about appeasing man’s fleshly appetites for evil than God’s Will? Absolutely! Not much has changed when fleshly dictates override the spirit–the constant war between flesh and spirit–good and evil–and those who promote evil–living in opposition to God, will have much to answer for in the end.

Now, back to the question as to whether or not God is saying He is against some.  Yes, He is and we who know The Word–have a right relationship with Him–know this and are warning the nations, but once again, not many are listening. And once again, we shall see the wrath of God–His removal of His hand of protection–from all who are against Him–and He knows those who are His Children. All we need to do is go back and review history–not just the Bible, but remember the bible is a summary of the history of man.

Either we are for God–living according to His Word or we are against Him–living in opposition to His Word. God knows where we stand and so do we–if we’re honest with ourselves. Of course, those who are influenced by the god of this world–are blinded to the Truth of God’s Word and they have managed to spread evil like wind-blown seed into high places, planting more evil everywhere the seed lands.

It is time for the gardeners–to pluck up the weeds of evil–and plant the seeds of goodness, righteousness, and love for God and His people. Wherever we see the seeds of evil sprouting, we pluck them up and replace them with God’s Truth for His love is shed abroad in our hearts and because we love Him, we obey Him.

Now, who do you think God will be against? The gardeners of righteousness or those who deliberately plant seeds of evil? We do have a choice and it’s time to make the right one if we plan to reign with Jesus. Today, not tomorrow, is the time for change in what we plant.

Planter or Waterer?

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (I Corinthians 3:6 NASB).

Within this text we understand that Paul’s response to the church at Corinth was a reminder to them about humility. He went on to say that neither the planter or the waterer had anything to brag about because it is God who causes the growth of the church. What does this mean for the 21st Century Church? The exact same thing. None of us should get caught up with thinking we are more than we are simply because of what we say or write to people.

Whenever we do what it is we do, we usually do not know if we are planting the seed of The Gospel or watering the seed that someone else planted. Since this is true, we cannot take credit for anyone acknowledging their coming  into the knowledge of Christ, because it is not what we do, but what God does–creates a change of heart–within the person receiving the Good News.

This is a passage of scripture (the entire chapter) that many should read, over and over again–especially when they start thinking  their church is the only one people should attend. While I believe we certainly don’t need more churches, I would be hard pressed to say that any one church is the only one teaching the truth of God’s Word. There are many people who attend large churches because it is a status statement. There are some who attend small churches because they love the personal attention. Whatever a reason people attend, someone had to say something to create in them a desire to come. Chances are–it was not those in leadership who shared The Word, but someone else and God spoke to the person’s heart and guided them there.

Let’s face it–we are nothing without God. We can do nothing great without God. What we can do is our assignment–with His guidance–never knowing which role we are playing–as planter and waterer and leave the final results up to Him.

We have a job to do, so let’s get it done. Whether you are planter or waterer, you have a role to play in spreading the Good News. Let’s fill up on The Word so we can move out and see the glory of the Lord upon all who are willing to receive.

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to better understand our role and create a desire in us to do all things with humility, giving You the glory for all we do.