Saturday, November 29, 2014

Unrest: Jesus, the Source of Peace

We have only just finished a holiday that we spent touting the things for which we are thankfulThat's a good thing. We spend the next day trying to get deals on material goods, which... in and of itself is not a bad thing. Saving money is a good thing (if you were going to spend x amount anyway, and you want to save an additional amount. I have other thoughts if you were shopping for yourself or your home and getting prodded into spending money you don't have or didn't want to spend, other than because of a corporate holiday.)

But the country, with Thanksgiving and it's associated smudge on our nation, remains in a state of tension and unrest. With the turmoil of Black Friday (and the, no less than, three videos of people harming one another over things like a stuff toy, or in one garments. Yes, pannies...), we are still experience unrest in places like Ferguson, St. Louis and places where people are really hurting. People are genuinely wondering if it will ever get better.
Jeremiah 6:13-15: "Everyone, great and small tries to make money dishonestly, even prophets and priests cheat the people. They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. 'All is well,' they say, when all is NOT well. Were they ashamed because they did these disgusting things? No, they were not at all ashamed; they don't even know how to blush. And so they will fall as others have fallen; when I punish them, that will be the end of them. I, the Lord, have spoken."
Um... That sounds like our world today. Doesn't it? No? You don't think so? Let's see:
--Corporate greed and money being the biggest issue: Check.
--Everyone wanted a deal, an angle, or a hook up: Check.
--Even churches and the preachers being concerned about money and politics: Check.
--People minimizing hunger, poverty, and civil exhaustion from inequality: Check.
--People in power minimizing the damage to the population from greed: Check.
--People saying... it's all okay, even when it's not: Check.
--Lack of shame for misdeeds and sin and harming others: Check.

The scary part is what comes next. God is getting tired of it all. And when God says it will fall, and punishment will come... then it WILL. When God says that something will come to an end, it will. But... is that it? Is there nothing we can do? Is this dismal view the end? No.
Colossians 1:15-20: "Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the firstborn Son, superior to all created beings. For through Him, God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through Him and for Him. Christ existed before all things, and in union with Him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; He is the source of the body's life. He is the firstborn Son, who was raised from death, in order that He alone might have the first place in ALL things. For it was by God's own decision that the Son has in Himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the WHOLE universe back to Himself. God made peace through the Son's blood on the cross and so brought back to Himself ALL things, both on Earth and in Heaven.
Jesus IS God. And through Jesus, we are able to be reconciled to Him by His sacrifice for us. Otherwise, there were laws... SO MANY laws to be kept. Detailed, complex laws. Before we knew Jesus, our lives were full of selfish, hedonistic, godless and wicked endeavors. I know, for me, that I had self-seeking ways. To quote "The Talented Mr. Ripley," 
"Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn't it? In your head? You never meet anybody that thinks they're a bad person."
How true is that? We justify EVERY thing we do. We have stubborn, unrepentant hearts (Rom. 1:18; 2:5, 8). And yet, we long for peace. Pageants are filled with hopeful young women that answer: "World Peace" when asked for what they wish. And like our strife-filled world, we clamored for peace and tried to find it, but our efforts failed. Humanity has FAILED.
Yet.. when we come to Jesus, all of that changes. Can change. Will change. We have been rescued. We are out of the dominion of darkness. We are brought into the Kingdom of the Christ. (Col. 1:13). Every sin has been forgiven. Every sin in the past, the present, and the future has been/will be forgiven. Justice must be satisfied and divine justice and recompense was satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus. We have become new creatures in Christ, washed clean by His blood (2 Cor 5:17). With the power of sin broken, we can live lives acceptable to God. We can be IN the world, and not OF the world. Non-Jews can be grafted into God's plan of salvation and receive and enjoy the benefits of adoption into the family of God. We can experience God IN us... God sent the Holy Ghost as a comforter and partner (Acts 2:38) in helping us be both powerful enough to live IN the world and give us the strength to be separate FROM the world. The spirit of God IN us is our personal guide in our daily life, helping each of us experience Christ’s peace (Rom. 8:6). We also can look forward to an eternity spent in heaven, where righteousness, tranquility, and joy abound (Rom. 14:17).
Our unity IN and WITH Jesus came at a great price—the sacrifice of His life. Christ gave His life for us so that we could be reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). Christian lives are to testify that Jesus is the source of our peace. God has done all this for us.
--Does your life communicate this message? This message and testimony to the power of what God can do in you?
--Don't give up on people yet; don't judge others or their pain just yet. 
--Be a minister of reconciliation. Be a peacemaker. Be a person that looks on civil unrest and disparate lives with mercy and compassion.
--Your life was much like any other person before Christ. Don't forget where God brought you from and look on others that NEED God with mercy. 
--Don't look on others in judgement, because some of US were just like that, or worse.

I love y'all. Be good to each other.

#JustBeingMichael ツ

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