IS COMPASSION DEAD?

Advertisements

THE CALL TO PRAYER

What do you do?  Like so many of us watching and listening to hear from our president, we’re left with more questions than answers with feelings of uncertainty. What do you do when you’re left with a feeling that something is painfully wrong with what you’ve observed? How do you handle the reality of ‘alternative news’ and the suspicion of ‘real news’ being offered to explain concerns, contentions, and complaints? After a live press conference, the myriad of questions, and the public discrediting of reporters and news organizations, who do you believe? What should be discarded or ignored?
 
This is where we are today! Something is terribly wrong! It has nothing to do with political ideology or partisan politics.
 
What do we do, those of us who are people of faith who desire the best for our country and its leaders? Assuredly, we want for ourselves and our leaders the best in policies that insure our safety, well-being, and pursuit all things good. This isn’t political! But, our observations clearly reveal that something is not functioning properly to give us feelings of security and stability.
 
I humbly submit to my faith community and beyond that we must be diligent and fervent in our cries unto the Lord. In our moments of prayer and meditation, we must seek the will of God for ourselves individually and for the larger community, including the nation. This is no time for partisan fighting, harsh critiques, hateful innuendo, or crassness. Indeed, this is a time for seeking God’s face.
 
Too many of us have long forsaken prayer as a viable tool of interaction and intervention in and among crucial happenings of the day. But, I believe that God is the same in welcoming our cries before Him for the state of affairs among men of the world. Our prayers relieve us of great tensions and stress created by the world’s clamor. Our prayers embolden us for the journey through challenging days of cynicism and gloom. Prayers refocus our minds to consider divine solutions to the great problems of our personal lives and the republic. And, prayer pours out before God our authentic selves to consider the purposes that He has for us in these key moments in time.
 
The great burden of leadership weighs heavy upon Mr. Trump! He is a human being now being inundated with weightier matters than he could have ever imagined. He is surrounded by people that may not have his or our best interests in mind, but rather seek to forward an agenda that is unhealthy for the nation and the world. He needs our prayers.
 
To all of the faithful, let us not join with those who cry foul at every word or critique every action, or espouse partisan hatred for the purpose of undermining the president. Those of us who preach need to be Nathan in David’s palace or Elijah in Ahab’s court. We must offer words of hope like a Samuel to Saul or Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Where is the Emperor’s Paul or the Sanhedrin’s Gamaliel who may offer reason, common sense and decency? Who will serve in obscurity offering prayers for the perceived enemy and for those who stand in the gap on the front lines? What does the Lord hear from His people in such a time as this?
 
We must be passionate, persistent, and powerful in our challenges to status quo thinking before friend or foe to our president with the challenge to keep decent our resistance and honorable our efforts to offer what is right and good for this land and people. And, I believe that we must begin and be sustained through prayer for both the president and those leading the charge to make known our concerns and hopes.
 
Let us pray: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV

ZEALOUS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE

“… they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”  (Romans 10:2 ESV)

I’ve pondered those words from Romans 10 for a lifetime, especially during revivals.  But, they have great implications beyond a local church revival to a nation under siege within itself.  Too many people are at the center of their world with little to no consideration for others, especially for those that are ‘different.’

We want what we want because we see it the way that we see it and that is it!  The Apostle Paul’s addresses own countrymen  with this simple thought, zeal that is not tempered by knowledge is dangerous.  The word knowledge in the Greek is epígnōsis, (ep-ig’-no-sis) which means a precise and correct knowledge.  It refers to knowledge that is ethical and divine.  There are many things to know.  Information is invaluable.  Knowledge of things ethical or even divine, are easily known to many that are at the center of their worlds.  For many, much of what is known  is not akin to ethics or the Divine at all, and  what is known sometimes makes little to no difference in life or the lives of others.  That word is communicated in Colossians 1:9, “… that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding …”  Not much is done these days ‘with the knowledge of His will …” which may explain why the world is in such turmoil.

Zeal without discipline will allow  ignoring others, their thoughts, or needs.  Zeal without the benefit of enlightenment  with nothing more than personal feelings grows more and more out of control.  History has little meaning, unless it is offered within the boundaries of how one views the world.  People pursue an end by any means because the end is all that matters.  Process, morals or decency don’t really matter if there is a successful outcome to any zealous effort.  Ignorance parades as wisdom and is glorified by any of the same mindset and zeal.  Submission is never an alternative in this fight for right.  Dominance at all costs is the objective.  Dialogue is no longer feasible as a worthy method toward compromise or consensus.  There will be no compromise.  Tolerance is a thing of the past.

Jesus’ condemnation of sin was not so overtly offensive but always offered to gain or help the individual in sin’s grip.  The woman caught in the very act of adultery received from Him more mercy than condemnation.  The Lord’s patience was always evident, even among those who were His worst critics and condemners.

It is easy to be driven by a zeal without a real connection with knowledge or truth.  Some become extreme in their ideas about life and people.  The entire world is being affected by extremes that have grown out of worldviews impacted by deep poverty, imperialism, greed and race issues.  Truth must always guide and discipline our zeal.  We will all be in bondage without truth to guide us and keep in line our zealous efforts to prove how right we are.

The Voice to Heed

Whose words capture your attention to make impressionable marks upon your life?

Lives are touched through comments, advice (sometimes solicited and sometimes unsolicited), posts through social media, music, tv or writings. Words, comments, opinions, ideas or expressions may be taken to heart by people to have great influence. Sometimes our challenge is to decipher what is appropriate or good to apply to our lives.

How does one filter what is internalized into the inner sanctums of the mind or heart? One can easily be impressed by words not carefully and lovingly chosen from others. Words that form ideas can be impressive and if received into the mind and heart, they can become pressure to adjust beliefs or attitudes that lead to negative behaviors. Many of us can testify that we wish that we had not listened to certain people or their ideas because of the negative influence that resulted.

It is important to listen to the right voices. However, to listen to voices that can help to offer good and righteousness to one’s life, there must be one voice that for the individual has become the standard for hearing what is good and noble. No one can listen to everyone because of the plethora of messages that are designed to confuse, conflict, or con. There is one voice for all time that serves as a foundation for all that is good and moral or noble in this life. Without knowledge of that one voice that can be recognized in one’s hearing, the outcome will be everything but wholesomeness and fulfillment.

What voice is there in your ear that catches your attention or focus? For children, it is usually a parent that guides their attitudes and actions. Adolescents and teenagers may choose to reject parental voices and choose to listen to peers who lead them to endorse new and what seems to be exciting or pleasurable. Many adults become impressed with meanings for life that come from what are perceived as great minds or images of success and the good life. In essence, we’re all listening or influenced by someone. The question is, what voice filters the many voices aimed at us to capture our attention.

Consider the voice that captures your attention to filter the noise of life. Some say they hear voices! Truth is, we all hear voices. But, in order to choose a path to a meaningful life that blesses and edifies the world around us, there must be a voice that filters out any words, thoughts or ideas that may be destructive to ourselves or others.

That one voice is the eternal voice of God.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10a ESV)

Be careful to pay attention!

BILL COSBY: Now That We Know

I need to say this for many reasons and they are by no means offered to justify or otherwise forget what Bill Cosby may be guilty of among the many accusations and now charges that have been filed against him.

But I am curious! Are Bill Cosby’s jokes any less funny now that we have been made aware of his faults and failures? Can we no longer laugh at the hilarious stories he has told to entertain thousands across the land? Did we not feel something good from the clean and non-profane gestures, faces, and one-liners that brought smiles and joy to our hearts? Can we in no way now relate to the common stories of family life that we could say, ‘yeah, I’ve done that,’ and then laugh at him and ourselves?

Does the Cosby Show not carry any moral influence or weight as modeling family values? Now that we all know, do we all agree that the long running and popular family show we all watched and loved without filtering has no value to us or the current generation? Surely there is something to learn that will influence some positive outcomes to children and parents when watching Cosby! And why haven’t other shows whose stars have been found guilty of heinous crimes, faults and failures been met with cancellation?

What about his money?  Is it not still green or does it spend well knowing of his improprieties?  Do the benefits gained from donations mean nothing now . . . Or, has anyone returned his ‘tainted’ money now that we know ‘the whole truth?” Should students return their diplomas, or institutions their scholarship funds, endowments or buildings resulting from his donations?

Should foundations, corporation boards, committees, etc. retract every suggestion, proposal, idea, or influence Dr. Cosby may have contributed toward improving their values, performance, policies, product or presentation?  Surely, if this man is as evil as he is now purported to be, there should be no hint of him or his thought and absolutely no gain to any he may have assisted or worked with in some way.

Is he guiltier than the rest of us and therefore doomed to condemnation without any thought of mercy or forgiveness?  The rest of us, who may not be guilty of executing such horrendous crimes against women, but perhaps used charm, deceit, manipulation, or by some other means achieved the same results, are we less guilty? What about the ones of us who thought about these things but lacked the wherewithal or means to actually carry out the thought?

And what about the rest of us?  Now that we all know, have we become so righteous and without fault or sin that we can erase everything there is to know or recall of Bill Cosby?  Do we all look better in the light of this news about Bill Cosby?  Instead of a ‘scarlet letter,’ shall we act now as though he never lived and made any difference while he lived?  Maybe we ought to ask, ‘are you a Cosby unknown?’ What are we all hiding from view of the world to see? Can we so easily shut down an entire human experience without any thought of ourselves? Surely not?!

I don’t know if Mr. Cosby is guilty or innocent! I do know of my own failures (as you know your own) . . . and we all need mercy. Especially now, that time has accumulated a great number of failures over the years. Somebody needs to write on the ground for a few moments to give time for reasonable and rational consideration to take place on the thought, ‘he that is without sin, cast the first stone.’ The eldest of us may lead a caravan away from this court of condemnation!

THE DAY AFTER THE STORM

The day after the storm, the Camellia bush radiates with beauty in the light of the bright sun.  It was only yesterday that contrary winds caused great damage and loss to many families in North Mississippi and elsewhere.

That beautiful blossom speaks volumes as it communicates with nature its endurance and loveliness despite its experience of challenge.  It is still here with nothing lost from its nature.  It still contributes a profound message for all to see (and to smell).  You may also point out bulbs that are on their way to become the same crimson and white beauty.  And they do this in the dead of winter, though this one is having some recording breaking high temperatures.

One thing that caught my eye was the remains of a once useful construction of twigs, leaves, grass and other debris that served as a home to mockingbirds during their reproductive season.  Their young have moved on in pursuit of their lives after a season in this nest of waiting for meals brought to them by their parents.  They nest in other places now to survive the winter’s chill.

And so it is, the cycle of life goes on.  Plant life devastated by tornado force winds struggle to straighten up to live on.  Animal life come forth from their burrows and crawling spaces to seek another day of survival.  And we humans, well, we adjust to the circumstances.  Many are devastated and will seek to find meaning and even deity and destiny in what has happened to them.  Others will weep realizing deep, painful loss almost unbearable, but will take steps to keep walking through the valley of the shadows of death.  Others, whose loss isn’t so great, will reach out to others to help deal with the harsh realities that the winds and the night brought.  Many from near and far will show up to make a difference and to remind those affected of the caring hand of God still works through humanity!

The sun is shining again . . . and there is still beauty in the world, still purpose for our lives, and plans for our existence.  There are still joys to be had beyond the confusion and clamor of destruction that caught our attention and arrested many in what seems to be a hopeless place.

But, the sun is still shining . . . the bulbs are still growing to full blossoms, and the realm of possibility is yet alive.

HYDR . . . Heavens Yes, We Care

As a part of the Ole Miss Family, I’m compelled to write the following words in light of recent news about the Nkemdiche brothers.  Robert Nkemdiche and his brother Denzel Nkemdiche need us.  They deserve a chance to become great men in life as they are great players on the football field.

We’ve heard the news . . . as well continued inquiry, speculation, criticism, condemnation, or projections for their future? Should we be concerned about more than ‘eligibility’ or ‘projected values’ to the NFL?

Let’s face it!   As a part of the Ole Miss family, these two need our compassion and genuine caring concern!  They need our prayers, as do their parents, as they face these personal failures.  They need real friends, not mere fans who only desire to exploit their talents, notoriety or favor.  And they need people who understand the vulnerabilities of youthfulness, the sometimes youthful improprieties, or scathing public sins that bring shame open their families and themselves.

Their challenge now is to learn how  to rise up to face real life challenges and struggles to live wholesome, contributing lives.  As  ‘stars’ on the football team, it is clear they have mastered football.  Now, to be ‘stars’ in life, they will need room to make their mistakes and time to correct them without so much scorn from us or the public.  They need mercy from us and those who have cheered them on, to deal with the harsh realities of life off of the field of play.

I’m pulling for these two young men to make it and I am praying that the same focus and intensity with which they’ve played the game will now be applied to this struggle to rebuild their self-esteem and restore their confidence. But like so many of us who’ve lived longer and have been given opportunities to rehabilitate, regroup, or be restored, these two deserve to be given the same.  Especially those of us who have enjoyed the ride in this new season of Ole Miss Football.

HYWC  . . .Heaven’s Yes, We Care

STAY IN THE BATTLE TO WIN

Have you ‘given in’ to desire, lusts, feelings, temptations, or evil thoughts in an attempt to find peace or a settled mind? Or have you just given up fighting evil thoughts or temptations to sin? Are you thinking that your struggle is over and you may relax to enjoy a calm ride after giving in?  That choice may be far worse than choosing to fight temptations and it may be the height of self-deception to think that life will better and more peaceful.

Are you seeking validation from others?  Does pride drive you to parade suggesting comfort in walking in your new reality?  ‘I’m doing me!’  And why do you still feel a certain way with this newly discovered freedom pursuing full speed with what you simply have to do?  Why the repeated, “don’t judge me” imposed upon others in general conversations at times?

Does it not bother you that others may be hurt, harmed or alienated by your choice to disregard restraint, overlook a higher call for your existence to dig deep for strength to overcome, or just stand still to pray for God’s intervention?  Do people or their feelings not matter as go about to ‘do your own thing?

Scripture teaches that the struggle to pursue the best behavior and best attitudes is part of successful Christian living. That is the tone of the Apostle Paul’s message to the Colossian Church, “. . . set your hearts on things above . . . set your minds on things above . . . Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature;” (Colossians 3:2-5 NIV)  No one can expect life to be better giving up or giving in to unwholesome or evil thoughts or desires when the struggle will generate some form of victory and/or possibility of overcoming. And how can one expect peace when allowing desire and temptation to run their course in life?

Giving in to emotions, desire, inclinations, lusts, cannot and will not make a better person. Giving in to a rebellious spirit to forsake any reasonable standard for human experience and existence, interactions with others, divine purposes and plans, reasonable ambitions and goals, ideas about culture, family and social structure, or a generally positive sense of self-image and self-concept, will not render one at peace or free one to be all that they can possibly be. It is deceptive to think that one can live without restraint or discipline and resist being overtaken by feelings, desires or the enemy of our souls. Just because something feels good doesn’t mean that it is good! The high call to virtue, principle and love is a call to resist evil and any inclinations one may have to fall into its lusts and desires.

In fact, giving in limits the scope of one’s own possibility. An individual usually becomes defined by what he/she gives in to rather than realizing a real hope of fulfillment, or the development of potential or possibilities. The alcoholic will be viewed as an alcoholic once he/she decides to give in and let alcohol rule and run its course. Giving in to drugs leads to an addictive lifestyle that sometimes becomes the only choice offering a helpless, homeless, and hopeless life. Adultery destroys relationships and trust leaving one known as an adulterer. The unfortunate result is that a life given over to its lusts and temptations or desire is not good . . . “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21b) Whether it is giving in, giving up, coming out, going in, turnt up, or whatever phrase or clause used to communicate that I’ve chosen to allow my desire, wants, lusts, feelings, to dictate to me who I am or what I shall be, the results are all the same. The effects of that choice limit potential, possibility, or prospect of hope. The end result is not good.

If one gives in to consider only immature subjects, growing old there will be only immature subject matter to consider or even talk about. If one pursues the night life and all of its offerings, it may limit one’s pursuits for greater achievements or better, more in-depth ambitions or goals. While one is giving their best time, greatest energies, deepest thoughts to lesser or minor things, feelings, or desire, there will be little time for major long-range concepts, purposes, or fulfillment. Giving in to the lesser is never a great choice when there is always the possibility for greater and better . . . attitudinally, physically, mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, or spiritually. Giving in locks one into where they gave in and to what they have given in to in life.

Some people have struggled with feelings, thoughts, behaviors, habits, desires, lusts, and for a lifetime to discover that the struggle is their access to victory, deliverance, breakthrough or change, for a better life. It is a sad deception to think that accepting desires or lusts as one’s reality for a normal walk of life will bring validation, freedom or peace. “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh . . .” –Galatians 5:13 NKJV

Choose better attitudes or higher hopes for life. Don’t just give up or give in to what you think you want. Don’t allow your feelings to overwhelm you into thinking that this is who I am. Why settle, seeking peace when you can fight to find peace and fulfillment? When it is all over with this life, will you be able to say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (II Timothy 4:7 ESV)  Consider how you can overcome “. . . the lust of the flesh” to realize your victory. But it will never happen as long as you just give in.

Of course, the struggle is real!  And it is a day by day reality to stay ahead in the fight. “. . . the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – (Galatians 5:16 NKJV)  But it is a far better hope to choose struggle than to fall for the deception that one will be better or more at peace giving in to personal issues of lust and desire.

Why this hard argument against giving in you say?  Our ultimate reality, as occupants of these bodies in which we live wherein lie all of our desire and lusts, will not survive our move from time into eternity. It would be sad to invest heavily or throw everything into something that is temporary and sure to meet with deterioration, death, and decay. This flesh, physiology, anatomy, mind, brain, thoughts, feelings, lusts . . . all of it will die along with our bodies. We are made of dust and cannot carry this frame or its temporal thoughts and desires into eternity. Don’t put everything into what your body tells you to do? It is temporary as are most of what our mind tells us!

Make the choice to rise above where the mind tells you to go or what it tells you to do. Choose to override what your body feels and what it tells you that you cannot live without. Pursue a life outside of what the flesh demands and seeks for your life. Reach for something more than feelings, pleasure, and self-gratification. Like an older preacher said to his church, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward . . .” (Philippians 3:14 NIV)  And yes, it does get better.

Remember that we’re never left alone in the struggle to overcome what seems to be overwhelming desires in life. Every day is a pursuit things that are noble, good, right or appropriate lifestyles and behaviors, correct attitudes and thoughts. It is a never-ending struggle. But, the promise to each of us is that He “. . . is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy . . .” (Jude 24 KJV) He is able and He will “. . . deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – (Romans 7:24a NKJV)

The best thing to do is to cease spending so much time allowing this body of flesh authority over what we feel or think, in order to learn to look beyond ourselves for hope and help. Focus beyond self and feelings to “. . . lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross . . .” – (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)   A much overlooked truth is that our weakness is made strength when we choose to live in pursuit of something better and more noble than our fleshly thoughts and desires. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (I Corinthians 12:9 NIV) is the testimony of someone that lived with real struggle to discover “. . . that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – (II Corinthians 12:9c) Acknowledging the weakness or desire that is contrary to God’s plans for us becomes the avenue through which we discover strength to overcome.

Friends of the same mind pursuing Christ with a whole heart to resist giving in will also encourage, edify, and enlighten you as the days unfold. The crowd that gives in may grow large in number but will never fully understand the scope or feeling of peace and deliverance to a life of victory. “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.” (Psalm 119:63 NIV)

Strength also comes through the Word of God. Strong feelings of desire must be met with strong words from God that edify, empower, and engage us to hope for a better life. “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You . . . My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:11, 28 NIV)  Remember that God knows who you are, He made you and He is familiar with your struggle: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV)  Jesus endured living in the flesh for you to overcome its strong nature and desire. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV)  Remember also that prayer is key to overcoming in the struggle. Boldly seek God’s face in your battle to overcome because He has grace and mercy that will help in time(s) of need. They are sufficient in every battle.

Christ Jesus didn’t give in, but endured both His humanity and the suffering of the cross! Don’t you dare give in! Endurance is hanging in there until the battle is over! You may not win every fight but you can endure to the close of the battle . . . “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrew 12:2-3 NIV)

Stay in the battle to win!

A Bounty of Bradford Pear Tree Leaves

My friend and former neighbor would be unnerved by the sight of all of these leaves and would work untiringly to remove them as swiftly as possible . They cover the yard, driveway and the manicured lawn unless removed.

But they represent more than a cluttered or unkempt lawn! Those leaves represent a bounty of life and blessing brought every new season. They have offered a refreshing covering of shade, fresh air and protection from the heated rays of the sun. They’ve exchanged much needed oxygen for the carbon dioxide in the air, benefiting living creatures, including humans. The leaves have shrouded the fruit of the trees from birds and other animals needing to forage for their survival and served as staples along with twigs and other resources for nests … homes for birds, squirrels, and others living in and among the trees. Finally, the leaves on the ground become covering to the ground creatures and insects, all of which are a part of the cycle of life’s food chain. These leaves, though for many a source of stress and hard work, are really in essence a much needed part of life’s seasons.

It’s a bounty of leaves, evidence of the Lord’s commitment to provide the needed air, fresh with its sustaining and life giving chemical balance among the ground’s elements.

Their colors graced the landscape with amazing beauty and clarity. Pictured here, are leaves from a Bradford Pear Tree, located right near the house. The leaves started out green after a beautiful display of lovely white blossoms. The fall leaves begin to change colors as the temperature drops. The cooler the air, the deeper and richer the color of the leaves as the days of fall come and go. The array of fall colors seen on this picture are all from the same tree … Red, yellow, burgundy, beautiful coloring on one tree!

And its fruit lies on the ground as well … usually covered by the colorful leaves. Small miniature pears, once hidden by the green leaves, now lie underneath the colors of fall awaiting the birds foraging for food for their survival!

Does your life have the characteristics of the Bradford Pear tree? The tree exhibits beauty, it contributes to the atmosphere, offering comfort and covering to its neighbors, and distributes food that offers life to those who receive it!

Don’t spend the better part of life attending to a self-centered existence, allowing a narcissistic mindset to delve you into a destiny of self-serving pleasures. Never yield to the temptation to grab all the gusto out of life and fail to offer back something worthwhile, meaningful, and life giving to others.

Like the Bradford Pear Tree, all over the land, the season will be over soon leaving it bare, except leaves and fruit on the ground, that helped to make all the difference in the world while they lived!

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.”  (Psalm 1:3-4 ESV)

“WHAT SHALL I CRY?”

The season’s festivities have already begun for another Holy Day celebrating our Lord’s miraculous birth! He is Emmanuel, God with us; here to bring us into fellowship with the Father. Bless the day of His arrival to Bethlehem!

The season’s greetings and celebrations this year, more than ever, will be shrouded by a cloud thoughts and feelings of terror and fear. Our reality almost every day is some form of violent and tragic incidents inflicted upon innocent everyday people somewhere in the world. We’re all afraid that one day it may be our town, our neighborhood, or our family.

What are we to do in the light of all of these harsh realities and deep rooted feelings of fear? What are we to say in the face of the world’s cynicism, hopelessness, and fear?

Isaiah faced a lost nation with the same desperate inquiry: “A voice says, ‘Cry!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’” (Isaiah 40:6 ESV)

The answer is clear and powerful for a generation long removed from Isaiah’s reality: “Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength; O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’ Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.” (Isaiah 40:9-10 ESV)

Listen to His promise to a people lost under pretentious religious formality, insensitive consideration of their own countrymen, and where wickedness abounded. It is a word fresh with life for a new millennial age of skepticism, unbelief, fear, and moral bankruptcy. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV)

It is an old and familiar word to the church! Above all, it is relevant to where we stand in the midst of terrorist violence that is being imposed upon the entire world. We are all vulnerable in this global reality. As Christians, we are also blessed that our God is still on the throne and changes not. He is both aware of these latest happenings among us and He has us on His mind to care for us whether alive or facing death.

Choose Him today, as His promises still live with assurance and power for these days of uncertainty. Our strength is in the Lord!