I had an ah-hah moment this morning as I was doing my Bible Study and reading the devotionals. In Touch magazine’s topic yesterday was “God’s Perspective on War.”
Charles Stanley wrote, “War is a very controversial subject in both the world and the church…” and then he asked the question, “What does the Lord think about war?”
He continued by trying to answer his own question, using Romans 13:1-4 as a springboard.
Here is Romans 13: 1-2a – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those who exist have been instructed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorites resists what God has appointed…”
He said wars are waged to protect citizens against evil.
But, is every ruler appointed and instructed by God? I would question that. If they are, in fact, instructed by God, are they listening? Are they following God’s instruction?
Do wars over land rights have anything to do with protecting citizens’ lives? The governments send its citizens into battle knowing many will be killed!
God bless our veterans! I guess it was July 4th and its festivities – honoring our war veterans that got me thinking on this subject.
IMMIGRATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from US custody
A drawing by children recently released depicting their time spent in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. Photograph: Handout ./Reuters
Is God instructing Donald Trump to take chidren from their parents, lock them in cages, give them aluminum blankets, make them sleep on a cold floor, and provide inadequate medical care for them? It’s heart-breaking!!!
Yes, I know – this is a controversial, multi-faceted problem. But, it just can’t be right!
Governments were established as a means of promoting good and restraining (stopping, if possible) evil. I am convinced that God’s goal is the destruction of wickedness, NOT THE DESTRUCION OF PEOPLE.
Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?
When governments condone immorality, fuel the rich, and oppress the poor, then God allows war for the sake of the innocent.
In Luke 6:27-31, the Bible teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. BUT, as Charles Stanley pointed out in today’s devotional in In Touch magazine, “Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars.” He continued by reminding us we need to “distinquish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals.”
God allows governments to wage wars for the protection of those being harmed. The job of the government is to protect people.
What would have happened if no government had stepped in to stop Hitler?
Where in our world today do we see people being harmed by the government? Caged? Scorned? Marginalized? We don’t have to look very far!
When I put the word “abuse” in the free photo library search, look what I got:
Is this what the immigration policy has boiled down to? A wall?
Is this how we step forward to protect people in the world who are forced out of their homes and risking their lives to seek asylum in a safer place?
No, we can’t take in thousands of people who need protection from other countries. We need to limit immigration/ asylum seekers and enforce our limits. But, what is the root cause? What are the conditions that are forcing these families out of their native lands?
How can we look for ways to protect our own people and treat others with love?
There is no easy solution to the abuse and marginalization, the hunger and the threats to life in this world. JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER sounds like pie in the sky – Pollyanna thinking.
But LOVE is the answer! Right and Truth must ultimately prevail.
We must stand up/ speak up/work for/pray for/hope for/ and believe in PEACE.
It is not ours individually to take our own revenge. We will never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us. Our job is to forgive, to love, and to work together to make our own government more responsive to the needs of its citizens and the right to a peaceful life for us all.
I do dream of a world with no more war. Don’t you?
Today’s sermon topic was “Headed Toward Jerusalem.” It was based on the story in Luke 9:51-62 in which Jesus, headed toward Jerusalem, sent His disciples ahead to Samaria to prepare a place for Him to stay the night. Knowing Jesus’ destination was Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused to welcome Him into their city.
Offended by the rejection, the disciples, James and John, asked Jesus if He would like to send fire down on the Samaritans and destroy their city. Jesus rebuked the disciples for their hard-heartedness and attitude of retribution. He and His disciples simply moved on to Jerusalem.
Here are my sermon notes that I took as I listened carefully to what Rev. Jean Johnson at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana had to say about this scripture.
Where Are You Headed?
We’re all headed somewhere.
Where is your face headed?
What values guide and direct you
– and what destination is dreaded?
What life is truly worth living?
How do you live with purpose in love?
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for
The place that fits you like a glove.
It’s a metaphor for traveling
To where you’re meant to be.
It’s being who you were meant to be
And facing the direction of Eternity.
We are pulled in different directions.
Our tendency is much like James and John
Who wanted to call fire on those
Who rejected Jesus: We want enemies gone!
But Jesus rebuked the disciples.
He rejected their hardness of heart.
Keep your eyes on your destination.
Don’t let detractors pull us apart.
“Jerusalem” is a metaphor for peace.
What do we do about violent actions?
“Jerusalem” is about the Truth of God.
What do we do about divided factions?
We need to wrestle with these questions
And struggle for clarification.
There are no easy answers.
Today’s world creates chaos and confusion.
What does it mean to head
Toward “Jerusalem” and let go
Of security and face change?
Transformation is a place we must know.
“Jerusalem” is about the love of Christ.
It’s letting go of the things that bind us
To this world of hate and divisions.
It’s turning our faces toward Christian kindness.
Join me, OKAY?
Let’s head toward or own “Jerusalem.”
What are the things that bind you to the place you are, and keep you from heading toward YOUR “Jerusalem”??
Some Sundays, the sermon message is unbearable! But, I go, I listen, and I try to discern what God is trying t tell me. I let the minister speak to my heart and I ask God to help me be discerning.
Today was one of those days when I longed for a pastor who could divert her attention from the lectionary cycle and get with the stuff that is more “cultural.” After all, it’s Father’s Day! I don’t want to hear about the unbearable!
But, based on John 16: 12-15, somehow Rev. Jean Johnson at our Madison Valley Presbyterian church came us with this unlkely message for today:
Jesus did not tell His disciples
All that He had to say.
He said some things were unbearable.
They’d hear them another day.
Preparing for vacation, a family
Was told to come right away.
There had been an accident –
Too unbearable to hear any day!
Their son had not survived.
They were devastated, of course.
How can we respond or help?
We can’t fathom their remorse.
Think of a time when indeed,
Delight and splendor were spilled overboard.
Ever had so much happiness
You could only say, “Thank You, Lord”?
The touch of your spouse’s love
Can be beautifully unbearable
When you know forgiveness
Was given for the unshareable.
Things can be unbearably wonderful,
Or they can be unbearably awful.
Unbearable opens our hearts to love.
The opposite, unfeeling, should be unlawful!
When you bear the unbearable,
God is with you, alive and well.
In tears of joy or cries of agony,
God’s more present than we can tell.
When life is too big, too real,
Too much – too much to bear,
That’s when we know God for sure,
When the Spirit declares, “I Am There.”
Nothing is withheld from God.
We may feel a flutter like a dove…
It’s God, who is lifting us up.
When in the unbearable, we feel His love.
Thank You, God!
You never fail me!
I pray you had an UNBEARABLY joyful
Father’s Day today!
from message based on
“That They May Be One.”
Jesus prayed for Oneness
For each divided sect.
As He is One with God,
He prayed we will show respect.
The ways in which we
Polarize ourselves here
Is tiring. It saddens me.
It brings no one cheer.
All people are more similar
Than different from each other.
We establish boundaries
To separate from our brothers.
We do it to prove that
We are right and we’re accepted.
We name others as losers
And place them outside – rejected.
Jesus prayed that we would just
Love One another – differences and all.
He prayed for our Oneness.
Honor uniqueness; stand tall!
Oneness is not about eliminating
The differences we see.
It’s about loving our uniqueness.
Love your neighbor, even your enemy!
It is about Oneness with God;
It’s a boundary-less love.
It’s only possible with help
From the Divine Source above.
If we call ourselves Christian,
We must stop bickering and be
The loving children our Creator intended.
Love differences; love even me!
Be one with all.
In Christ’s Love we Pray, Amen.
JanBeek’s poetic notes from a sermon by Rev. Jean Johnson at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Ennis, Montana June 2, 2019
What will you do today to demontrate your love for one another?