More Laws?

More laws will not fix a heart condition.

Although the times have changed since the bible days, the spirit of the culture in this generation is very similar in the display of depraved behavior.  An unregenerate heart always acts out in lawlessness regardless of a generation or its culture.  Biblical history is a stark reminder that something more powerful than rules and laws are needed to change people from the inside out. (Ref. Jeremiah 17:9, 31:33)

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Power: How important is it?

How important is power to you?  How are you keeping it in perspective? These are questions that candidates should be asked, especially during an election year for the highest office in the land. Not only should the presidential candidates be asked, but we should ask ourselves. Perspectives on positions of power and authority are critical to the influential outcome of a nation, government entity, organization, home and family environment, as well as the personal leadership role in any sphere of influence.

I’m a witness that power can go to an individual’s head, especially if they’ve never held an official or professional position of power. I say, “official” position because we all have personal power—influence—over others in our circle of friends or acquaintances. Continue reading

9/11: Lest we forget…

Photography by: Pool, Getty Images

Lest we forget that day that we mourned together as a nation, we may never learn to celebrate together as a nation.

So every year on September 11th, we are reminded that pain is not prejudice and sorrow does not segregate on basis of national origin, color of skin, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender.  If that day we mourned together as a nation has taught us anything, it should be that we are all human beings, frail at our best; that life is sacred, and we can be here today and gone within an hour.

And lest we forget, we must be reminded that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is my prayer that we as Americans will rise above petty differences, and pessimistic perceptions; put an end to polarizing political views, and outlandish promises to get elected; stop racial ratifications, and repent of immoral and illicit behaviors; seek God’s forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and live in peace and love with one another as brothers and sisters.

Photograph by: Spencer Platt, GETTY IMAGES

I pray for those who suffered such great loss on that day eleven years ago.  I pray that they are healed and restored, and they are able celebrate the life of their loved one and friends each year with happy memories that will give comfort and peace.

May God continue to bless America, and shed His Grace on her.

Rejoice in suffering?

Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: “…we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. —Romans 5:2-5

MPWM faithful reader, do you like pain?  Do you like suffering? I certainly don’t.  I reach for pain relief meds at the slightest sign of a headache.  How and why should we rejoice in our suffering? Suffering is uncomfortable and painful.

Do you think Paul was speaking only of himself, perhaps in third person? I think not. Based on my belief in the inspired authenticity of the Bible, I believe he’s talking to Christian believers today.   Reading Paul’s letters, it’s obvious that he had his share of suffering—painful experiences, troubles, trials and hardships. 

 

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, Paul listed all he endured: 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

(Can you believe the audacity to complain about having to wait in rush-hour traffic?)  Also, in his letter to the church at Philippi, which was written during imprisonment,  Paul expressed his desire to know Christ better by partnering with Him in his suffering. Enduring much suffering for the cause of Christ taught Paul to be content in all circumstances. He encouraged the Philippians to cultivate this same ability. (Philippians 3:10-11; 4:11).

The idea of Christians suffering today is frowned upon.  The message of suffering is no longer on our list of sermon topics or Bible Study teaching series in the local church. On the rare occasions that the subject of suffering comes up it is directed toward foreign countries plagued by enormous hardships, persecution, and suffering.  Yet, in America the reality of suffering, hardships and adversity among Christians is evident by the long prayer lines, many prayer requests. Since suffering is on the rise, perhaps now is the time to teach people how to rejoice and not lose hope during tough times.

The disadvantages and distresses of life are more prevalent in our time than during Apostle Paul and the early Christians lifetime. Why? It’s a different world—larger population, different culture, along with changing socioeconomic factors.  Without a doubt, life can be hard and painful…brutal in fact! The main point of emphasis Paul makes is that of our attitude during suffering. While going through the adversities of life, we must always have hope—an expectation that troubles won’t last always. Having this hope gives us a reason to rejoice…envision better. Secondly, we are able to rejoice when we “know” there is purpose for our pain. Knowing that God is intentional in allowing us to experience the unpleasantness and vicissitudes of life should motivate us. Our motivation is based on our knowledge of God.  Know this: whatever God allows is to empower us to be better, do better, live better, and have a better relationship with Him; living in harmony with His plan for our lives. Ultimately, suffering is a process that produces Christ’s character in us.

How should I rejoice in suffering? By continuing to give God praise, being thankful and worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ in spite of hardships, trials and tribulation.  Why should I rejoice? My hope (expectation) is solidified by my knowledge of what the outcome will be. (God always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).   Although we have disappointments in life, hope and faith in God will not result in disappointment. He pours into us His love, which will sustain us through all life’s ups and down.