This is a picture of the theater in Paris, France where ISIS came in and assassinated several dozen people.
I know, it's gruesome to look at. It's not glamorized or edited by Fox News or CNN to be more palatable. It's just the raw human carnage, the remains of those who went to stand before God and give account having no idea that their time was so incredibly short. It reminds me of a phrase that actually does not appear in the bible directly but it says tomorrow is promised to no man. While that wording is not present in scripture, the concept certainly is and the point should be painstakingly clear.
So much of our lives are spent consumed in the moment. Our computers, jobs, phones, cars and a list of other things all scream for our instant attention mercilessly. There is a never ending stream of attention seeking stuff that always wants our time, attention and focus. What we focus on determines everything else in our lives. What we prioritize will in fact prioritize us.
When I was a little boy I had an aunt who died and my family found ourselves at her house going through her things to help settle her estate. One of the things my aunt had kept was a small newspaper clipping that said "at funerals, everyone pretends to be thinking about the dead person but really they are thinking about their own funeral". Having recently been to her funeral, I couldn't help but see the irony in that. I also think it explains much of what people go through when they get news of these terrorist attacks. It brings people face to face with their own mortality because they instinctively know that but for the Grace of God, it could have just as easily been them laying in their own blood on the floor of that theater.
We get so caught up and convinced that life is all about us but the cold reality is that the world was here when we got here and it will still be here after we leave. It can be somewhat of a depressing series of thoughts really if not for this one game changing idea and concept... Jesus died for us to save us from that meaningless and lonely existence selfishly wrapped up in our own selves.
The other thing that news of a tragedy like this brings is perspective. Often it is much needed perspective that reframes our realities and lets us know what really and truly matters. One of my favorite movie lines is from 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. When Indy is faced with his father's death if he doesn't act immediately, the main villain points a gun at him and says "It's time to ask yourself what you believe". Stories of human tragedy tend to do that, they bring us face to face with what we really believe.
A friend of mine made a fantastic observation the other day. He said politics is based on fear and control. He is exactly right. Our once great nation that was at one time led by an overwhelming confidence that God was with us and wanted to not only bless us but use us to bless others has now been overtaken by leadership that traffics in and willfully markets fear. We don't label our enemies for fear that it may offend others. When we do strike against others, it is out of fear that they may do us harm. A Godly leader at the helm of this nation will stop making fear based decision and instead return us to being guided by the timeless principles of holy scripture. Most of those same principles are enshrined within the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. After all, who better to know what makes us truly happy than our creator. Judging by the news headlines this week, we are certainly not doing a very good job of it ourselves.
I continue to pray for the United States of America. Many bible scholars say the reason America is not directly referenced in scripture is because we go too far and our sin ultimately destroys the country before the Lord returns. I have never believed that and even in light of recent events, I still have faith in America. God has indeed shed His Grace on us and if I have learned anything in my 45 years, it is that just a touch of that majestic Grace can change everything. I am praying for a Godly leader to be elected next November and more importantly, for everyone claiming the name of Jesus to rediscover the beauty and simplicity of that personal one on one relationship with Him. After all, He is what really matters.
I am back and my blog is with me.
First, my picture is Isac and I. I am a blessed and proud papa. :)
Over the last few months I took some time away to run for an open seat on my local school board. The political scene is not for the faint of heart as some of you already know and several times through the process I was reminded of how Jesus upset the political structures of His day. His heart wasn't to purposely tee people off but by the nature of bringing God's Kingdom into the earth, man made kingdoms and ideas were going to have to be put down. I have a much better understanding of this now than before I ran. The back half of Matthew 10 was lived out in my own life repeatedly.
The pushback from most people was to be expected, after all, it is politics but what really grieved my heart were those publicly calling themselves Christians who would then turn around and say the dirtiest and nastiest untruths, usually about me but sometimes about others too. I am so glad that I am not God because I just don't know how He has such incredible mercy on all of us. Many of these folks worship Him, pray to Him and ask Him for a move of God in their city yet when God brings an answer to their prayer in a package they don't care for, they struggle to understand and tend to reject the very thing that God is trying to use to bless or answer them.
This is nothing new as several times in scripture we see examples of this. The Israelites did not recognize Moses as their deliverer. No one recognized Esther as the sole hope for God's people. Old Testament Prophets were repeatedly ignored and not properly identified as having the word of the Lord in their mouths and of course Jesus went unrecognized by almost the entire organized religious organizations of His day, so much so that in John 5 He point blank says that to them.
John 5:39 - You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, no, I am not saying that I was "Pickerington's Messiah", but I'm sure a few of my haters will spin this blog into that false accusation...remember, it is politics after all. However, the Holy Spirit places certain mantles and giftings on certain people for certain times and seasons. I did indeed carry the mantle to raise the spiritual bar for our school district because God lit a passion in me for it and then showed me something that no one before me to date has found, a legal pathway to decouple any Ohio School District from the clutches of the demonic deception of Common Core.
Many of the voters in our district are Christians and they have been praying for these very changes to come...and over 2,700 people did indeed vote for me to come in and make those changes... but as anyone who has ever fought to bring something from the Lord into the natural realm here knows, the resistance gets very brutal and the personal attacks get so outlandish that without a cloak of Wisdom combined with a commitment to forgive quickly, you can get completely lost in the drama of it all.
My encouragement to you who read my blog is to pray for the eyes of the Lord. Paul needed to be struck blind for three days and when his blindness was healed, not only did he get the return of his physical sight but he then had the eyes of the Lord as well. I believe these are called "The Eyes of your Heart".
Consider Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people
Notice that last part, the riches where? In people. The eyes of your heart need to be enlightened to see the Jesus in others... and THAT is the great unmaking that we all need much more of in our lives. Here is what in my opinion is the song of the year for 2015 so far. Nichole Nordeman - the Unmaking.
Thanks for reading, it's nice to be back. :)
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