Break the silence….

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Genesis 42:21

21 Then they said to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us.”

 

Do we honestly think we are immune?  It is time to break the silence…Germany paid dearly for their silence…

Luke 10:29-37

 

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.

31 “Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 “Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

33 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.

34 “So he went to [him] and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 “On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave [them] to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

36 “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

The following excerpt is included because it is a battle cry to action.   

 

“God specifically tells us:

“When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help . . . don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him – don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him; open your purse; lend whatever and as much as he needs. . . . Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God’s blessing in everything you do – all your work and ventures. . . .” Deuteronomy 15:9-11The Message (MSG

First they came for the Coptic Christians but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t Coptic.

Then they came for the Homosexual and stoned them to death, but I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t homosexual.

Then they sold the Kurdish women and children in to slavery but I wasn’t a 9 year old Kurd so I didn’t say anything.

Then they came for the Muslim who wasn’t Muslim enough and the Christian that wouldn’t convert but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think it involved me and I didn’t think I could do anything anyway.

Eventually they will come for you, and there will be no one left to speak out for you.

Not to speak is to speak, not to stand is to stand. God will not hold us blameless.”– Glen Beck

 

Not to speak is to speak.

Not to stand is to stand.

Not to vote is to vote.

Not to act is to act.

Each of us can be a Samaritan in some way to our neighbors suffering violence whether it be at the hands of ISIS or angry protestors or the scalpel of an abortionist.  Violence is done to the innocent.  We can no longer look away as children and women are enslaved and trafficked to a customer base that includes the US of A.   It doesn’t go away because we close our eyes.  It remains and grows.

God’s people are the salt and light of the earth.  Salt enhances flavor but also burns the wounds and destroys the soil.  Light brings understanding but also exposes the acts done in darkness.  We are the salt and light.  We have a voice.  We must raise the voice of the Samaritan and bind the wounds, bring relief, spread the message of love to counter the voices of hate.  Note that the religious leaders avoided the confrontation.  Let’s not turn away or go to the other side of the road. Let’s engage in this fight against evil. Let’s raise our voice…

Remember this?

“The Sound Of Silence”

Hello darkness my old friend.

I’ve come to talk with you again.

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence.

————————-

In restless dreams I walked alone

Narrow streets of cobblestone

‘neath the halo of a street lamp

I turned my collar to the cold and damp

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light

That split the night and touched the sound of silence.

—————————-

And in the naked light I saw ten thousand people, maybe more.

People talking without speaking,

People hearing without listening.

People writing songs that voices never shared

No one dared, disturb the sound of silence

—————————–

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know,

Silence like a cancer grows.

Hear my words that I might teach you,

Take my arms that I might reach you.”

But my words like silent raindrops fell and echoed

In the wells of silence.

————————

And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning in the words that it was forming.

And the sign said, “the words of the prophets

Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls

And whispered in the sound of silence.

© 1964 Words and Music by Paul Simon

 

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Who do we judge?…and when?…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

I Corinthians 5:1-21

 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

“…God judges those outside….” How many of us when reading this passage skipped this part and went straight to purging the evil one…?  That is what we hear from among Christian brethren,  a clamor to purge the evil from the land meaning of course the heathen, not anyone in our number.  (yes, that was meant to be sarcastic)  The question is: at what point did the Christian world begin to judge those outside the fellowship?  There is much accusation of Christian believers sharing in this guilt.  Paul holds  a believing fellowship to high standards citing the spread of anti-God actions to others in the fellowship is much like yeast that will cause the whole loaf to rise.  But it stops there.  This holding one another to the standards set forth in the Word does not extend beyond the fellowship for that is the jurisdiction of God.  The Holy Spirit convicts and judges those outside a believing fellowship.  We are not set up as God’s policemen.  We are to protect and build up one another, however.  We do not adopt the standards of the world around us; when this is done the salt has lost its flavor.  We are to encourage one another in love and when those among us cannot rise to the standards set in the Scripture(note: not set by members of the fellowship) then and only then are we to “Purge the evil person from among you.”

rejoice and not weep

Ezekiel 12:1-20

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.

“Therefore, son of man, prepare your belongings for captivity, and go into captivity by day in their sight. You shall go from your place into captivity to another place in their sight. It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house. By day you shall bring out your belongings in their sight, as though going into captivity; and at evening you shall go in their sight, like those who go into captivity. Dig through the wall in their sight, and carry your belongings out through it. In their sight you shall bear them on your shoulders and carry them out at twilight; you shall cover your face, so that you cannot see the ground, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”

So I did as I was commanded. I brought out my belongings by day, as though going into captivity, and at evening I dug through the wall with my hand. I brought them out at twilight, and I bore them on my shoulder in their sight.

And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “This burden concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the house of Israel who are among them.” ’ Say, ‘I am a sign to you. As I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall be carried away into captivity.’  And the prince who is among them shall bear his belongings on his shoulder at twilight and go out. They shall dig through the wall to carry them out through it. He shall cover his face, so that he cannot see the ground with his eyes.  I will also spread My net over him, and he shall be caught in My snare. I will bring him to Babylon, to the land of the Chaldeans; yet he shall not see it, though he shall die there.  I will scatter to every wind all who are around him to help him, and all his troops; and I will draw out the sword after them.

“Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I scatter them among the nations and disperse them throughout the countries.  But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety. And say to the people of the land, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the land of Israel: “They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, so that her land may be emptied of all who are in it, because of the violence of all those who dwell in it. Then the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=12&t=nkjvp>

An object lesson on consequences for sin in the land is described in this passage.  Object lessons are not new, hmm?  The purpose is to attempt to reach those who are no longer following the commands of the Lord.  It is an attempt to extend mercy and reach out through the pain of rejected love.  The Lord tells Ezekiel:

“…It may be that they will consider, though they are a rebellious house.…”

He states:

“… you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, …” 

Not much different today.  How long will the Lord be patient with this nation?  As long as there are those who follow his word and his teaching?  The phrase:

“…has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear;…”

is repeatedly emphasized in scripture.  Jesus used this same phrase often.  True is it not?  We see, often it is in plain sight but we miss it; whatever the ‘it’ is. Another similarity with today is the violence in the land.  The Lord tells Ezekiel to:

“…eat your bread with quaking, and drink your water with trembling and anxiety. …”

and

“…“They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink their water with dread, …”

Be sure there are many today who eat in anxiety and drink in despair for the towns are laid waste, not only in other areas of the world but also right here in our country.  Visit any inner city to see this truth, or many downtown areas of our nation. He says:

“…the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste,…” and

“… because of the violence of all those who dwell in it….”

We have ample evidence of the violence done by those who dwell in these areas and the violence is spreading.

The Lord told Ezekiel:

“…I have made you a sign to the house of Israel.”…”

and the same can be true today of all believers.  We are the sign to those unbelievers apart from God and to believers who no longer follow the commands of the Lord but have turned away even though they have knowledge of the Lord.  Jesus said we are salt and light to an unbelieving world. This passage continues to state:

“…they shall know that I am the LORD…”

We can know him through Christ and rejoice or we can know him outside of Christ and weep.  But it is oft stated that we will know that he is Lord.

Our take away is this:  These may be ancient words but they are still accurate and true for today.  Mankind has not changed.  Neither has God.  His hand of mercy is still extended to all who will ‘see’ and ‘hear’.  Let’s be sure to be an object lesson to those around us.  Let’s be sure to share Christ so that there may be more who can rejoice and not weep.

Speaking truth to another in love…

Speaking truth to another in love…

Monday, June 18, 2012

6:05 AM

This is often an area that produces a dilemma.  We are aware of something in another that is bringing harm to them and because we love them we want to fix it or make it better.  Scripture is useful for instruction and rebuke.  We are instructed however to act in love at all times.

If I see in another that which is producing harm in them, I can, in love, speak to that condition.  With the fruit of the spirit of love and kindness, I can speak.  If it is received, well and good.  If it is not, I do not take offense or feel the need to make it happen.  I do not possess that ability it is God’s doing.  What I perceive, they must also perceive to make change.  If they do not, that is their loss not mine and I am free of obligation for it never was mine.  Change is of the spirit and it is the work of God.  We are light and salt.  We show the truth, shed light on it.  The light from a lamp illuminates and that is it, no more.  Salt gives back, enhances flavor and preserves from decay.  It must be received and used to have effect.  If not, the lack of change is not the fault of the salt.

what is the center of my life?

God is the center of my being.  I fall asleep talking to him, wake up talking to him, wake in the night singing praise songs.  My desire is that this becomes evident without my having to say so.  I want all of the ‘old’ gracie removed and replaced with the ‘new’ gracie, one who bears the image of God.

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 14 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Jesus told me why I am here.  He gave me my purpose.  Salt and light.  I must become that in faith, believing that God is building those characteristics within me, so that I can please Him.  My focus is to please Him, I must continue my study to find what pleases him.

I cannot be too salty, or the food is inedible, I cannot be too bright or the light will drive away, blinding those around.  I need to learn to follow only the Holy Spirit’s prompting, not to overwhelm or be overbearing.  Manipulation is not love.  God is love, salt brings out God-flavors that can be enjoyed, light brings out God-colors that can be enjoyed.