Time to Toughen Up

To not fight is to lose.
“I’ve been bombed!”
I noticed a small glob of bird “droppings” on my sweatshirt as my chair was directly under a bare hanging branch that was directly across from a birdhouse (pictured).
For the past few days, I’ve been watching a mom and pop duo feed their young’uns inside their house. It’s been fascinating to watch as one enters while another leaves to scrounge up some grub.
Yet, before they enter the nest, they take a number of fly-by circles to see if the coast is clear. One day it was not as we saw them repeatedly dive bomb an “intruder” who wanted their babies. It was warfare, baby, pure and simple.
Make love, not war! This slogan from the ‘60’s doesn’t fit the reality in which we live – neither in nature nor in the life of the Jesus follower (2 Cor. 10:4).
If we want to become more like Jesus (1 Pet. 1:17), we must learn the art of war (Eph. 6) to defeat our old programming (the flesh) and our adversary.
We know the final outcome of this war. Satan is gone forever and we become just like Jesus (Phil. 1:6). Until then, it’s war.
It’s time for Western believers in Christ to toughen up. We live between two worlds where there is war. Why should this surprise us?
Victory is ours…if we choose to fight. The world around us needs to see love in action, which means fighting back.
It’s time to grow a stiff backbone in Christ! To do anything else is to lose this fight.

Pick a Side

By not choosing Jesus, you have chosen which side you’re on.
Habakkuk 2:4 states the “righteous will live by faith.” Biblical theologians love to use this verse to show that salvation has always been by faith and not works – no matter what side of the book you read.
This is truth! But they also forget to share the context of this verse.
God was ready to use the Babylonians to destroy many nations, including Israel. Why? The people Habakkuk lived among were violent and getting away with doing wrong. He writes in 1:4, “The Law is paralyzed and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous so that justice is perverted.”
It was during these times of injustice that people were called to pick a side. Some were puffed up and didn’t want to do the right thing while the righteous were encouraged to continue to live by faith.
In the midst of unjust and chaotic times, those who follow the Lord are told to live by faith rather than by their drugs of choice.
When I wrote More Than a Sunday Faith, those who claimed to be Jesus followers took up only 9-10% of those sitting in the pews on a given Sunday. I recently heard, but couldn’t verify, the number has risen to 17%. Either percentage is too low!
Biblical faith is seen, not just said. It acts upon what Jesus told them to do. Thus, if all those who say they love Jesus, obeyed Him, can you imagine the impact we could make in the midst of an unjust world?
Want to fix the injustices in America or the country in which you live? Choose to live by faith no matter what the world around you looks like.
Don’t get caught in the emotions, the logical arguments or the politics. Live by faith, an action step, in Jesus! One person can make a difference. But, you must choose a side.

The Power of One

“You may not do something big, but by doing something, you may make a big difference.”
What do a cloth maker, a small time farmer, three governmental administrators, and a mom who made her son’s lunch have in common?
They each made a decision to live by faith; and thereby, changed the world.
Rahab was a prostitute who believed what she heard about the LORD, saw her life changed, entire family saved, and ended up being in Joseph’s, Jesus’ stepdad, family tree.
Gideon was a fearful farmer who believed what the LORD told him, which led to an entire nation rising up to defeat those who had enslaved them.
Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, Daniel’s buddies, trusted their LORD to take care of them no matter if their boss “fired” them or not. Their stand for truth became another witness of many that led their boss, a king of kings, to faith in the LORD.
And, an unnamed mom made an unnamed son, who wanted to hear Jesus, a lunch that was used by Jesus to feed 5,000 that would be one of Jesus’ many proofs of being God.
What can you do in times like ours – national tension, CoVid19, racial, political, and economic divides – to make a difference? Do what Rahab, Gideon, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and a boy and his mom did – listen and follow the LORD. Seriously.
It’s a lie that neither you nor I can do anything about what is going on around us!
We believe God lives inside us, right? We say we love Jesus, right? Then allow Him to change you, empower you and stand up for truth through you – no matter where that might be.
If the six degrees of separation theory is true, then changing society can begin with you. Listen to Jesus. Do what He says. And though the world may never know your name, it will feel the effects of a life changed by Jesus – yours.
In Christ, you are not impotent. With the Spirit’s power, one person can make a difference!

Change Me Already!

“The key to life is to enjoy Jesus between who you are and who you are becoming.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like change. And what’s worse, I really don’t like how long it takes once I begin the process either.
I had an “episode” this past weekend where I shouted, “I don’t like my life! I sure wish I had another one.”
What I should have said was, “Jesus, change me already!” The struggle to shed the old thinking and replace it with the truths that sets one free is hard, really hard, which makes wanting to change that much more difficult.
Yet the truth I must let sink into my soul is that God calls me holy right now while at the same time He says He is making me holy (Hebrews 10:14). Go figure, right?
The application of this truth, though, is that I need to relax as I struggle forward. I need to enjoy my Savior in the moment.
How about you, are you enjoying your moments with Jesus while He inputs His character into your life?
It’s not easy. No positive change ever is, but by faith let’s choose to enjoy the moment with Jesus believing He will finish the job He started in us.