Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love Your Neighbor and Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-44

New King James Version (NKJV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

     In this time of unrest in the world with terrorism, persecution, war and in the United States, the presidential election, we tend to hate our "enemies" instead of loving them and praying for them.  Jesus says to bless those who hate you and curse you, and pray for those who are spiteful to you and those who persecute you.  I take that stand now.  I'd like to walk the path of Jesus as He walked and He still does.  Ephesians 6:10-13 says, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  We are not to fight among ourselves.  It's the devil we are up against.  Jesus gave His life for all of us, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Republicans and Democrats.  He also gave His life for murderers, rapists, thieves, homosexuals and those who have abortions.  He gave his life for Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Jim Jones as well as Sadam Hussein and Osama Bin-Laden.

     "Wait!", you say, "These are enemies of God!"  But Jesus said love them, bless them and pray for them.  Whatever your beliefs are, these that I mentioned may have you reeling in anger.  And to say to love those who have terrorized and killed many may have you reeling as well, but we must love them.  Do you agree with them?  Do you condone their behavior?  It doesn't matter.  God created us, whether or not we follow Him or not and He wants us all to believe in His Son, Jesus.  How can those people, who are our enemies believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?  By believers everywhere loving their enemies to the point of praying for them and blessing them.  Yes, they need to pay for their actions, but also they need a Savior to change their hearts and minds, and that's why Jesus came.  1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”  I know it's a hard thing to do and they need to take their responsible part and resist evil, but Jesus loves all of us, including those who we don't agree with or those who are clearly evil.

     Agreeing or disagreeing with others actions doesn't matter, Matthew 7:12 says to treat others like you want to be treated.  Jesus went among the murderers and thieves and adulterers.  He wanted them to have eternal life in spite of what they did to others and to Him.  In politics in the United States today, we have those who love Romney and those who love Obama.  We also have those who hate Romney and hate Obama.  We should all show respect and love for both no matter our political view.  Jesus didn't come to save us politically, He saved us from our sins.  He also instructed us to go out and spread the gospel to the world?  Are we doing that?  In a loving manner?  If not, think again and repent and pray.  This may not be popular to some, but as this blog's title says, it's Truth In Life.  Wherever you stand, Jesus came to die for you.  Don't hate.  Love.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Storms In Life

     I have been doing a devotion from Open Doors called Standing Strong Through the Storm, which deals with the Persecuted Church, also we are in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a potentially massive storm.  Throughout my life I have seen a few other hurricanes like Andrew and Katrina and how destructive they were.  Reading through the devotion and seeing how people have been given the strength to withstand the storm of persecution and going through personal "storms" in my life, which one of them is that both my kids are in the path of destruction from Hurricane Sandy, I ask you, how do you stand strong through your storms?  There are many I know who are now struggling through the storm of illness.  There are some that are going through the storm of taking care of those who are sick.  Children rebel.  Marriages crumble, and people mourn the death of family members and friends.  There are many storms we face each day in our lives.  None of us are immune.

     Lives are changed each day by trials and tragedy that leave those feeling empty, alone and afraid and feeling there is no hope, but there is hope.  Knowing there is hope doesn't make these situations any easier, but in a sense, if you know there is hope, it will give you peace.  Jesus was in the midst of the storm when He and Peter walked on water.  Peter took his eyes off Jesus and Jesus saved him from certain death.  What is your storm?  And how do you deal with your storm?  Do you have the faith of the mustard seed?  Do you trust that Jesus uses these storms to strengthen you against Satan?  Do you trust Him to bring you through the storms?  We wonder why things happen to us and how it will all be OK in the end.  "How?", we ask.  Jeremiah 29:11 tell us that God has a plan for us.  It also says in the Bible that our ways are not His and His plan is right for all of us.

     It's easy to say "do not worry" or "don't be afraid", it's easier said than done.  No one ever said or been through a "storm" that was easy, but, Jesus is there to carry you through the storm.  You cannot stand up against the storm on your own strength.  In the weather storms we get each year, there are those who help others who are caught in them.  In the "storms" of life, Jesus rescues you.  Remember that when you are in the midst of a storm, you are not alone.  Those of you who are being persecuted for your faith, in the paths of tornadoes, blizzards or hurricanes, you who are mourning a death or struggling with illness, wayward children or broken relationships, know that God is there.  He will never leave you or forsake you, no matter what you have done or who you are.  Just trust Him and have faith.

     My prayers go out everyday for those who are struggling in any storm.  Be safe and prepared if you are in the path of Hurricane Sandy or whether the trials in your lives are weighing down on you.  Be blessed

Monday, October 15, 2012


     For the last few weeks my mom and I have been in the middle of moving, and in that process, I have not felt all that well.  I have a condition called Chiari Malformation and it can be very debilitating.  A year ago I collapsed at church while having a seizure because of my illness.  It was the first time in years that this condition flared up and I wasn't sure at first what it was, but soon realized the culprit in all this.  I had surgery to stop the progression of Chiari back in 1998 and had difficulties for awhile, then I got "better".  I thought my days of being ill from that were over, but I was wrong.  I came back to California from Illinois, where I had lived for 14 years, to be with my mom, because she needed me to be there.  She didn't think so at first, but she soon realized differently.  I did whatever she wanted me to do and tried my best to help her out.  God wanted me to go live with her not only to help her with things around the house and yard and when we was sick, but also to show her the love of God.  I got so wrapped up in helping her with things I shouldn't have been doing and not focusing on what God wanted.

     There was a spiritual battle going on, and a battle with me sharing with her the "truth", so I gave up.  I started to believe that I wasn't there with her for the reason I thought.  My patience was almost non-existent and God wasn't working fast enough, so I thought.  Then came last year, 2011.  I went back to see my son graduate college and when I got back, my mom got very ill and had to have surgery.  I had to be the one to take care of business as usual, while she was recovering.  She got better and we both made a trip back to see my son get married.  About a week later I got a cold or flu or something, then I got migraines.  I was sick for awhile and then it happened.  I collapsed.  No one knew what was happening and it took months to see a neurologist and get tests done.  The neurologist wasn't sure at first what was happening and in the meantime I was telling every doctor about my condition.  Finally after all the tests were taken, we found I had a seizure.  I had to slow down.  I still continued to help my mom with things I shouldn't have been doing.  And I refused to look at the truth.  This wasn't going to go away.

     So now it's about a year later and I had another seizure and I wanted it to be fixed.  I already knew it couldn't be, but denied it.  I was proud in the fact that I could take on work on my own strength and continue in my denial that I needed to not do too much.  I was proud in the fact, while moving this year, that "I" could do this.  I recited "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me", but denied the fact that I wasn't the only one who could help my mom and I move.  We did have help with friends and a moving company, but my excuse for pushing myself was that I didn't want to disappoint my mom.  She had no clue as to how bad this illness could be until last week, because, again I was too proud.  Yes we can do all things...through Christ, and He does give us strength, but we as humans do have limitations and I hadn't accepted that.  "I" wanted to be there to help my mom.  "I" wanted God to heal "me".  "I" wanted answered prayers quickly in my time.  

     Proverbs 16:18
"Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall."
     And that's what happened.  I fell.  And literally.  God has shown me that I need to humble myself and to trust Him in everything.  He's shown me that things are done in His timing, not mine.  We have to realize our strengths and weaknesses and realize that God can use those for His purpose, in His time.  I practically fought with my doctor when he said there was nothing he could do but just monitor me and my medication.  "I" wanted an answer.  I did get an answer though.  Through over the course of this year, especially in the moving process, my mom is coming back to God.  God has shown Himself to her and she notices.  That is awesome!  If I would have done what I was suppose to do, it may have been a little different, easier.  Like Jonah in the Bible, I strayed and lost focus.  I wanted it all "my" way, not God's way.  

     When God calls you to do His service, do not take it upon yourself to do it.  Let Him work in His way and His timing.  Be patient and wait and be faithful.  I not only gave up on ever showing my mom the love of God, but I gave up on God showing Himself to her.  He showed Himself to me also through all of this.  When we get to a place where we think we have all the answers, we need to think again.  God is definitely in control and when we control a situation, we end up like me, falling, or like Jonah, being swallowed by a whale.

     It's good to be back, but I still don't know how many times a week I will blog, but I will leave it up to God.  God bless and just trust Him!