The Natives Are Restless

 Natives

This world is not our home. If you are a Christian, you belong to Christ and will live eternity in Heaven. While we are here, though, Jesus tells us to be like Him so others will believe. It is a difficult at times to live among the natives knowing that they are against us. Natives have their own mind-set. They believe in primitive ways, they don’t care about others as much as they do their selves. We struggle with it ourselves. Paul tells us “for I know good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). God knows we struggle living here, in fact, Jesus struggled while He was here. There are natives who will hate you for no reason, get you fired from a job, start rumors and persecute you in front of others, and make your life miserable. That’s their plan, purpose and goal in life. Natives don’t like foreigners on their territory. They are not welcoming. Once we understand they hate us and don’t want us here, we can gain a better understanding of how to deal with them. Jesus tells us we will be persecuted, but He also encourages us several times to remain steadfast. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). “In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know” (1 Thessalonians 3:4). “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” (Revelation 2:10). Being a follower of Christ is not for wimps and the faint of heart. It takes courage, guts, perseverance and strong will to keep fighting day after day. Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Don’t give in to the natives. Stay strong in numbers and with the Lord.

 

Having Control

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Much of our Nation’s turmoil stems from individuals and groups of people wanting control. We want to prove our point of view while claiming your point of view is wrong. It doesn’t work well. We have more racial, economic, political, and cultural divisions than ever before. This isn’t a new problem. I believe the times we live in along with the current national leadership promote the tug-of-war we are experiencing.

Every parent can relate to “control” issues observing their children. They want things their own way and don’t care what anyone else has to say about it. Unfortunately, it continues into teenage years to the point of drastic measures. Many teens are facing suicide as a means of having “control” of something in their lives. I know of a recently divorced woman, whom lived in a controlled environment for decades, went to the other extreme where NO body could tell her anything. She didn’t even want to hear what the GPS told her to do!

We will always have someone to whom we are accountable to: a spouse, a parent, a boss, and most importantly God. Having control equals stress, the weight of the decisions, other people, deadlines, and schedules. Giving up your control can be freeing and a sense of relief. Because God created the universe and all that is in it, He has the authority for control over it all. He wants us to give up our control and trust Him with the results. He gives us His peace, not like the world, but a peace that lets us give up control (John 14:27). I love watching children’s mannerisms, their sweet faces and bright eyes. They don’t have to worry about bills, schedule, or controlling a safe environment. They allow the parent to know what is best and control their environment for them. There are exceptions of sub-standard living conditions. But for the most part, children rely on the parents to know what is best for them and to provide for all their needs. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

As we age and mature, let’s give our control, worries, stress and anxiety to the only One who can handle it and guide us through the path of life. We tend to get older and somewhat more educated or smarter and we “think” we know what’s best. Jesus had this problem with the Pharisees. They were the religious leaders of the day, the only ones educated; the ones who told the people what to believe and how to pray. Jesus told them they had it wrong. This greatly angered them. Who is this one man to tell us what we have learned and have been learning for years? The Pharisees were needless to say, unwilling to change their world view to understand or even listen to Jesus. If they were Biblical scholars, why did they not give heed to the notion that He was the Messiah? They realized it after He was crucified and raised from the dead.

Jesus wants us to become like children in the way we live freely, without the burden of daily worries. He wants us to rely on Him for provision, for knowing what we need and when we need it. God wants us to trust Him, because He knows what’s best for us.

 

Get Rid of the Dust-Bunny

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Most homes now are being equipped with hardwood floors. They are easy to clean and keep free of mold and mildew, and on the flip side, it is easy to see when it is dirty and dusty. Furniture seems to be the best place for dust-bunnies to hide. Spring comes once a year so we can move our furniture around and clean up what’s been hiding all year.

As long as I don’t see the dust-bunnies, I’m ok. I don’t go looking for them when cleaning. I will attach only when sighted. Most of our past negative feelings are like dust-bunnies. They hide under our personality, our smile, our busyness, our family, our career. We forget the dust-bunny (negative feelings) are even there because we have become so good at keeping them covered up. Dust-bunnies and feelings will get bigger as we keep ignoring and covering them up. Every once in a while, we lose the phone case, our favorite sock, the dog’s toy and we have to look under the bed or couch. When we look, we discover the grossness that been collecting for months or even years. We have a choice at this moment, do we grab the dog toy and go on with our merry life, or do we get the vacuum cleaner out and get rid of all the bunnies lurking between the boxes. It would be so much easier to get the toy and run leaving behind and ignoring the dust-bunnies. It would take too much effort to get the vacuum cleaner out of the closet, hook it up, get back down on your knees and stretch the hose out to collect all the bunnies.

Our negative emotions are kept hidden for years because we don’t want to deal with them. They cost too much energy, time, pain, and change! Can we just keep them covered up? Who’s going to know the difference? To be honest, everyone is affected when you keep the negative emotions hidden and covered up. Having an issue like child abuse hidden for years affects your relationship with your spouse, your children, your co-workers and mostly yourself. The dust-bunnies hidden behind child abuse are ugly. They are full of shame, guilt, bitterness, hatred, anger, and sometimes irrational behaviors. In order to have a “cleaner” healthier life, we have to get rid of all the dust-bunnies no matter how painful or inconvenient it may be. Once you go ahead and clean out, you feel better and are emotionally and mentally healthy for everyone, especially yourself!

 

Political Correct

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When did “being” politically correct control our minds, viewpoints, media, communication, relationships and entire lives? Probably since our latest leadership began to control everything. Just before he arrived, we hear words to soften our feelings. No more black and white, no more rich and poor, no more gay and straight; we are all the same and need to treated as such. Everyone has the right to marry anyone they love. I’m all for love, but the kind of love established by the Creator of all things. God made man for a woman. The Bible talks about unnatural relationships. This is where the gray-area dominates our culture. “Gray area” tells us we are all alike, all made by God, all God’s children, everyone has feelings and are good at heart. Jesus tells the crowd, “what comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7: 21-22). God tells us right from wrong and good from bad is clear. If we ever wonder what to think or do, we only need to look in the Bible.

So why is there so much gray? Satan is the great deceiver. He began with Eve in the Garden. He actually pointed out one particular tree in the Garden that was forbidden. Had Eve ever wondered about it? Had she talked to Adam and discussed the reasons why God told them not to eat from it? There is no record of such thought. She spent all her time admiring her new home and being with her new husband, not to mention walking and learning from God the meaning of life. Satan pointed out the one rule God established and told Eve to question it. That’s what the world does to us. Satan is the Ruler of the World “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). He constantly tells people to question the rules, to avoid authority, to do what you want to do. Could it be that we are so deceived by the ruler of the world that we construct prisons, rehabs, detention centers and hospitals to treat those directly affected or inflicted? We have wars over land, power, freedom, money, diversity, and control. The world is in turmoil because of its ruler. We fight against it every day. This world along with its ruler will be destroyed. Hang on to the One who can rescue you.

 

 

Let’s Play Ball!

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The game of baseball is a lot like the Christian Life. We stand at the plate with bat in hand ready to hit the ball coming our way. Many people don’t see the ball flying so quickly by and they strike out. A few, with great determination, focus on the ball coming their way and get a hit. Those few realize they need something in life to move them from their present position. Getting to first base is realizing their need for a Savior, that they are sinfully helpless. First base coach tells them about God and how He sent Jesus to die for our sins so we could have a personal relationship with Him. Player is advanced to second base, where they make a decision to accept Christ as Savior and turn from their sinful ways. Even though they are a generally nice person, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In olden days, there had to be animal sacrifices in order to obtain righteousness. Instead of continuing that tradition, Jesus died as the final and ultimate sacrifice once and for all. He’s the One we must accept to cover our sins. Third base is living a life full of joy without regrets, speaking the truth in love, telling others about Jesus, and supporting His ministry here and all over the world. Jesus left us with a great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. Home base is the end of the age, when we Christians will leave this temporary, sinful, evil world and spend eternity with Christ in Heaven.

Just like playing baseball takes practice, being a Christian does also. We are giving the gift of the Holy Spirit at salvation, and in order to grow and learn and be at third base, we must study God’s Word, pray and fellowship with other believers. God gives us small assignments (batting practice) and once we prove we are able, He will give us bigger responsibilities (fielding). Take the small steps seriously, do your best and you will grow quickly into the player (Christian) that God planned for you to be from the beginning! Which base are you on? Join the team and start playing (praying and reading Bible) today!