Well, we are in our second week of political overload. I am watching the speeches with interest. And I think my blood pressure is rising! But then I turn to the scripture and am reassured stat God is in control. We are bombarded with verbiage – and much of it eloquent – about a variety of issues. Many issues. Most important, some very important and others critical. It is my job as a citizen to decide which are which. The temptation is to focus on those that are important to ME?
However, I need to think, not necessarily nationally or globally but biblically. How does scripture inform our politics? How does it inform me? I have to ask questions like: how does God think about debt? Would He have us mortgage our children’s future? How does God view the unborn? How does God view Israel and Jerusalem? How does He view the poor? How does He think about work? How does He view national defense and border security?
God’s Word has much to say about our current issues and dilemmas. Rather than listen to the many pundits and talking heads, let’s read God’s word and measure things by His standard. We’ll be a lot safer.
When we honor Him, He will honor us.
For those of you who follow me on twitter you know I heard a grand sermon yesterday. One of my pastor’s outstanding quotes was, “God uses our deepest needs to give us His richest blessings.” I have certainly found that to be true. There was a song several years ago that asked, “What if my blessings come through raindrops?”
I don’t like the deep needy valleys, the raindrops, in my life. I don’t enjoy the struggles. I don’t look forward to disappointment. Betrayal. Confusion. Death. Loss. Times of loneliness. None of us do but they are inevitable as we journey through life. No one goes through life without being touched by such issues. And it is a challenge not to get stuck in those places.
My pastor was using II Kings 4:1-7 as his text. It tells of the woman who went to Elisha for help in her desperate situation. Her husband was dead and her creditors were threatening to take her two sons as slaves to satisfy the debts. She must have been frantic. I can only imagine. When she tells Elisha what was happening in her life, he asks her what she has at home. She says, “nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” One translation says, “a drop” of a oil. She had very little – insignificant. Elisha gives her an odd instruction: to gather up all the empty vessels in her neighborhood. “Not a few”, he tells her.
She must have wondered what he was up to. What did he want with the jars? What was he going to put in them? Did it seem foolish to her? Futile? No doubt. But she was out of ideas. On her own she must have tried everything and come up empty. I am so like that! I try to find solutions on my own and come up empty. Why don’t I go to God first?
Not only did she have a little bit of oil but she had a little bit of faith (Matthew 17:20). She obeyed. Elisha was helping her shift her focus off of the the problem and onto trust. I have found that to be a key in reducing fear and worry in my life. I have to get my eyes off of the problem and onto the character of God. In the end she had more oil than vessels to contain it. Her deepest need gave way to God’s richest blessing for her. Raindrops can bring rainbows.
I wrote a book several years ago about this very thing: Fear Not Tomorrow, God is Already There. I went through the Gospels and looked over Jesus’ shoulder as He dealt with real people in real time. In each instance, He gets the person to change their focus. From fear to trust. I loved writing that book! I wrote it as much for myself as anyone. Problems look very different when we look at them with the prism of faith in God’s unchanging character.
What is your deepest need today? Will you allow God to bless you in it?
I am all fired up! Congressman Akin makes me mad. The very idea that when a woman is raped and her body shuts down so that she doesn’t conceive is ludicrous. The Congressman said he had consulted doctors…I’d like to know which ones. There is no scientific evidence for such a stupid claim.
He clearly does not know what he is talking about…what else is he confused about? I wouldn’t want him to represent me! And he does not reflect the Republican Party’s stand on pro-life as the Democrats are now trying to say. Mr. Akin should step aside…his comments are muddying the water. He does not represent pro-lifers.
I am as pro-life as they come. I have earned the right to be so. My daughter had two babies out of wedlock – the first just after she turned 17 whom she released for adoption and the second one at 18 whom she parented. She could have chosen an abortion. She did not. She lost something of her reputation, her figure, her friends, her school…but she took a stand for life. Three years ago she she gave birth to a baby with serious birth defects due to a medication she was on for a thyroid problem before she know she was pregnant. She could have aborted him. She chose life. Her son has on-going issues and is often rushed to the hospital for emergency intervention. She has handled life-changing, difficult situations in a courageous way – I am proud of her.
But I will not condemn those who have had abortions. There is healing and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Rape is a terrible thing. And unfortunately, all rape is legitimate. I know there are some who claim rape when they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions and perhaps that is what the Congressman was thinking. But his explanation was totally off the wall. A woman’s body does not shut down. The great Broadway actress, Ethel Waters, was the result of a rape. Her mother’s body did not “shut down”. The world is richer for having had Ethel Waters in it. No life is a mistake…There are no illegitimate children – only illegitimate acts. God has a plan for each one. He made each one and loves each one. He died for each one.
Thanks for letting me sound off!
The title of this blog space is “A Safe Place with Ruth Graham”. I chose that title intentionally. I want people to feel safe with me. I am just a pilgrim on this unpredicatable path called life. And I know there are fellow pilgrims who struggle as I do. Devotion doesn’t come easily to me. Often I have more questions than answers or feel as if I sit in the dark waiting for someone to light a candle. Often I feel marginalized because of my mistakes. Misunderstood. It’s easy to get stuck there.
I was reading Hebrews 5 this morning and read something that just jumped out at me. The writer is talking about human priests acting on another’s behalf. “For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness…” (NAS) In other words, their weaknesses qualify them for service. They can identify with the weak ones, the ignorant ones. I recommend a book by Dan Allender, Leading with a Limp. He addresses this whole idea with clarity.
In the King James Version the word for “misguided” is “out of the way”. Ignorant is in both versions but if you look at the dictionary “ignorant” means “lacking in knowledge or training; uninformed; unaware”. It doesn’t seem to mean willful ignorance but more the idea that they just haven’t been taught. So we have a group of people out of the way and unaware. Who can minister to them?
Those of us who have felt sidlined, out of the loop and are unaware can minister gently with those of “our kind”. We are not disqualified. Far from it. We know that it has to be a minstry of kindness becasue we know how desperately the lost and unaware need kindness. We’ve been there.
Who will you minister kindly to today?