Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Saturday
May282011

REDEMPTIVE PARENTING  

 By Karis Cady

 

[Karis was the guest columnist in the Easter newsletter for Shoreline Community Church.  This is what she wrote -- ]

I’ve learned many things since becoming a parent.  I’ve learned that there are few things more enjoyable in life than cranking up the stereo and dancing silly with your child.  I’ve learned that a minimum of four stuffed animals is required for a child to go to sleep.  And I’ve learned that my mother was the most selfless person on the planet, and I never had a clue until my kids came along.

Have you ever wondered why God invented parenting?  Why this sort of relationship?  I’m sure there were numerous ways He could have populated the planet.  Why are we given this overwhelming love for such an incredibly helpless and needy baby?

I think it was the best object lesson He could come up with to illustrate how He feels about us.

And he reinforces this by repeatedly referring to Himself as Father (and a few times as Mother) in Scripture:

Romans 8:14-16.  For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again.  Rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Daddy”.  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Deuteronomy 1:30-31.  The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness.  There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.

Isaiah 66:13.  As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.

While none of us begin to measure up to God as a parent (and neither do our parents), it is interesting to think of the commonalities.  For example, I have a hard time understanding and accepting God’s unconditional and undeserved love . . . and yet that is how I love my children.  If I can do it, in my own limited way, why don’t I trust that God loves me no matter what?

Here are some common parenting situations.  Think about them in terms of God’s relationship with us.

*  When your baby smiles, you smile.  When they laugh with joy, it’s hard not to laugh with them.

*  When they’re sick and in pain and all they want to do is cuddle, you hold them close as long as they need.

*  When they are whining and complaining, you say, “You need to stop using your whiny voice.”

*  If your child refuses to eat what’s on the plate, sometimes the child goes hungry.  Their choices have consequences, and often that is the best discipline and teaching tool.

*  One of the worst things your child can do is hit or bite or say something hurtful to someone else.  It makes you feel as a parent that nothing you’re saying is getting through.

*  Conversely, how proud you are when they repeat and use the good things you’ve taught them.

*  You still love your children when they make mistakes. 

*  You still love them when they don’t let you have a good night’s sleep for years.

*  If your children are in danger, you would do whatever you could to save them.  You would willingly give up your life to do so. 

That last scenario is especially relevant in this Easter season.  Perhaps another way to think of Jesus on the cross is as a mother desperate to save her dying child.  He gave up his life so we can have eternal life.

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Jack’s Comment:  Two of the joys of getting old are good health and being able to brag on your children.  Karis’ comments on parenting give me great joy.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2011 by Jack Towe

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