Advertisement

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

How to Pray for Enemies

posted by Ruth Graham

God tells us to pray for our enemies. Even to love them. That is impossible on our own.

Seeing the photos and news reports from Paris makes my blood boil and I want to bomb our enemies into oblivion. I want revenge. But that is not God’s way. (Not that there isn’t a time for war.)

But how can we pray for these who seek our destruction? These are people who seek to destroy our civilization, our culture, our faith. First, I think we have to ask God to help us pray for them.

When I pray for them I ask God to expose their plans and they be brought to justice. But lately, seeing the heartless evil they commit, I have begun to pray that someone or some event would show them the love of God. They serve a god who is not personal, never says he loves them, wants them to die for him. How sad.

Advertisement

The Christian God I serve loves me totally and unconditionally. He is desperate for a personal relationship with me. He watches over me. He died a hideously cruel death for me so that I might spend eternity in His presence. How marvelous!

What a contrast.

Perhaps they saw the courage and peace of those Christians lined up on the beach to be beheaded. Perhaps they heard them whisper a prayer. Perhaps it planted a seed in their hearts. Maybe they question if their faith is as real. I don’t know…but I can pray. God is a God of miracles. We can pray for those dear Christians in Islamic countries to be bold in their witness. We can pray for their safety, courage and peace.

Yes, ask God to help you pray for your enemies.

 

Advertisement

Choosing Our Battles

posted by Ruth Graham

I may get in trouble here…

I have watched the news concerning the couple in Washington State that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple getting “married”. I watched the news reports on the elected Clerk of Court, Kim Davis,  who refused to sign a same sex marriage license. I have seen coaches pray publically with their team after a  game. Frequently I pass a Planned Parenthood clinic on my way to the airport. And frequently there is a man standing praying – sort of a  protest or demonstration. I’ve seen him in hot and cold weather, rain and snow. This man is committed to what he believes. (I once stopped to speak with him – thank him.)

While I agree with the desire to protest the things that I disagree with, I wonder if we are in the wrong battles and may loose the war. In our protests are we loosing the ability to show grace and love? Isn’t that what Jesus called us to do?

Advertisement

A young man recently said to me, “I don’t believe in Jesus.” He was wanting to get a rise out of me; baiting me. I took a breath and said, “That’s OK – Jesus believes in you.” I would loved to have argued with him…but it wasn’t the battle I needed to have. I need to be in relationship and dialogue with him more than win an argument. I could have won the battle and lost the war.

A couple of years ago, my church was sadly split in two. It was heart wrenching for me. It was the very church that had sent my  grandparents to China as medical missionaries. I felt very strongly about it and made passionate pleas about standing true. Some of the arguments landed on whether to have a large screen in the sanctuary (really?), the use of a guitar in worship (really?), same sex marriage and the ordination of a homosexual pastor. I regret the way in which I presented my position. It was perceived as judgmental – not gracious. I fear I hurt some dear members of that church and made the situation worse. I regret how I did it, not that I did it.

Advertisement

Some of the issues are smoke screens. They take our focus off the real issue which is, do we believe in the authority of scripture? That’s the bottom line. That’s the side where I come down. But how do I come down? Is it with harsh statements and criticism and judgment? That’s not Jesus’ way.

Is it truly important to refuse to bake a cake for a couple that wants to celebrate their relationship? Is that a battle we need to fight? When you make that the issue, you loose the opportunity to have dialogue with those with whom you disagree.  Ms. Davis was elected to do a job. But the conversation was soon hijacked by a political agenda. Is that really our objective?

Are we doing some of this protest in defiance? Is defiance the role we are to play?

Advertisement

I believe we are to take a stand for what we believe. There are battles we must wage. Fights we must enter. But let’s be careful which things deserve our protest and which really do not matter in comparison to what Jesus has called us to do: “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.” We cannot begin to do that if we cut off dialogue with the very ones we are to reach. The Apostle Paul admonished us, “Let your speech always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you know how to answer everyone.”

Choose your battles wisely.

 

Advertisement

Personal Prayer

posted by Ruth Graham

Speak that I may hear

The truth very clear.

The truth that is very dear

To my heart, dear Lord.

And if it isn’t

Make it so.

That I may know I walk with You.

Advertisement

What is meekness?

posted by Ruth Graham

The definition of meek in Webster’s College Dictionary is: “1. humbly patient or docile, 2. overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame; 3. gentle, kind. Far be it from me to disagree with Webster! But… the Bible said Moses was the meekest man in the world. (“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3) Other versions of the Bible use the word, “humble”, “quietly humble”,”patient”.  Other definitions use “devout”, “pious”, “gentle”.

The context of this statement is during an event in Moses’ life when he had been misunderstood and  harshly criticized by his family for marrying and Ethiopian woman. They began to question whether he was the only one who could hear God speak or be God’s leader. Were they just as good as Moses? “Meek” is from a root word meaning, “affliction” (Dake). Certainly at the time Moses was afflicted by the unfair condemnation of Aaron and Miriam – his own family. He seemed to be patient and gentle waiting on God to justify him.

Advertisement

We also know that Moses could be rash and quick to act – like when he killed the Egyptian. I don’t picture him “docile” – ever. He was submissive to God but far from “spiritless” and “tame”. Looking at Moses’ life – he was a leader of leaders, one of the greatest, if not the greatest – he couldn’t have been too tame or docile to lead that many people out of Egypt to the Promised Land for 40 years!  He wasn’t tame or spiritless when he confronted Pharaoh over and over again. We know he struck the rock, probably in impatience and anger.

But God had prepared him to lead His people. God molded him to be the kind of leader God wanted him to be. God honed Moses’ patience. He was not perfect but he depended on God in everything and God communicated with him in amazing ways. He was the one on Mt. Sinai when God wrote the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets. He was the one whom God passed by and let him see God’s back. Yes. A powerful leader.

Advertisement

I’ve heard it said that “meekness is power under control”. I like that definition and I think it fits Moses. He allowed God to tame his spirit through the trials and tribulations of leading the people through the wilderness. Settling arguments – not  getting sidetracked or quitting. Surely in all those years he must have wanted to quit! He listened to God’s voice and obeyed what he heard.

God makes promises for the meek. “The meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” (Ps. 37:11) Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” “The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” (Ps. 25:9)

How did Moses go from a rash murder to the meekest man on earth? He spent time with God. He waited on God. He heard God’s voice and obeyed. We can do the same.

 

 

Previous Posts

Shreck in the Bible?
I happened to run across a verse  in the book of Numbers in the bible That I hadn't seen before. Oh, I 'd seen it and read it but it hadn't grabbed my attention as it did the other morning. There is an interesting background story to ...

posted 4:28:04pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Mystery
I love a good mystery. When I travel I always take one along to read - it's a form of escape for me. Some of my favorite mystery writers are Ted Bell, David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, John Grisham, James Paterson. As a matter of fact, last night I ...

posted 12:43:04am Jan. 24, 2016 | read full post »

Our Future
I think I shared with you last year that I decided to read through the Chronological Bible in 2015. I did. I heartily recommend it. The year's reading ends in Revelation. With all the tragic news of 2015, all the uncertainty, all the ...

posted 3:46:32pm Jan. 06, 2016 | read full post »

New Year Plans
We are entering a new year. We may have plans, goals, and resolutions but have we stopped to invite God into the process? It is good to plan the year. Ask Him meet us in it – to dwell with us there. That’s not only a good thing but a wise ...

posted 5:51:19pm Dec. 29, 2015 | read full post »

When God is Silent
It had been a long 400 years of silence. Malachi had been the last “official” word from God. Now the silence was deafening. Life went on but where was God? Did He care? Did He leave them? Did He forget them? Had He washed His hands of them? ...

posted 12:42:43am Dec. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.