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..." 

Friday
Dec202013

SLEEP, BEAUTIFUL SLEEP

Merry Christmas. Here’s my present for you—

Do worries of the day corrupt your sleep at night?

That was a serious problem for me through college, law school, and especially when I was director for Sign of the Cross Housing in Cincinnati. The more stressful the day had been and the more challenging the day ahead promised to be—i.e. with an exam, a critical meeting, a financial crisis or an expected confrontation—the more likely I was to wake in the middle of the night.

And when I woke, I often could not go back to sleep. I’d keep playing some obnoxious tape in my head, over and over, imagining terrible scenarios.

If I did sleep for the remaining hours, sleep was fitful, and I felt as if I’d been awake most of the night. So, the following morning—when I needed to feel like I could wrestle the world—I was groggy instead.

Back in the 1990s, when I was only in my 60’s, I discovered a remedy for insomnia. Here’s how it happened:

I began memorizing Scripture—all or part of ten Psalms, plus three New Testament passages. (It was good that I memorized then, because I find that now in my 70’s, I can no longer memorize. For example, I’ve tried to memorize Psalm 2 at various times during the past decade, without success.)

Then came the astonishing discovery. When I suffered from insomnia, I would lie in bed and recite a Psalm or Scripture passage in my head. It was like flipping a switch. The obnoxious tape turned off; the Psalm took over. Usually before I completed the Psalm, I’d be asleep. And when I woke, I’d remember the place where I went to sleep. So I could complete the Psalm in the morning. This blessing still works.

Focusing on Jesus in prayer or reading the Bible will have the same effect, but it’s easy just to lie there, start saying a Psalm and drop off . . .

So, I thank the LORD for showing me this spiritual engineering method. I wish I’d discovered it half a century ago.

May it work for you.

And may you have a blessed Christmas.

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Jesus didn’t come to change us from bad to good as much as He came to change us from dead to alive.           – Dan Rice

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

Copyright © 2013 by Jack Towe

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