Help With Adoption

Have you ever seen those infomercials about helping children out in disadvantaged portions of the world?  You know the ones with Sally Struthers or some other famous person championing the need and telling how you can help?  They usually champion organizations like the Christian Children’s Fund asking you to change the life of a child.

Have you ever thought about supporting one of those efforts?  I know, they have their supporters and their detractors.  Like any other effort you are either for them, against them, or indifferent to them.  For whatever reasons you may have.

I’m sure most of those types of organizations do some absolutely wonderful work and help disadvantaged families all over the world.

But do you know what really changes the life of a child?  A family.  Give a child a family by making them apart of one does more than just provide them with food and clothing (although it does do that).  Giving a child a family gives them love and a foundation that will not only last a lifetime, but will carry on from generation to generation.

If you give a child a family, it gives them brothers and sisters.  A mom and dad.  Grandparents and aunts and uncles.  It gives their own children, when they grow up and have children, a heritage with grandparents of their own.  Giving a child a family restores and rebuilds generational stability that extends far beyond a meal or some clothes.

And the best way to give a child a family is through adoption.  I understand that adoption is not something that every family can undertake, but you can help those that want to undertake this life-giving responsibility.

Undertaking an adoption can be an expensive proposition.  Undertaking an adoption from a foreign country can be an overwhelming venture.  And if you are Missionaries, relying on a limited support income, it can be rather daunting.

I have some friends in this very position.  If God were to lay it on your heart to contribute to this more than worthwhile venture, I’m sure that not only would you be blessing them, but you would be touching lives for generations to come.

You can learn more about Justin & Nicole Kennedy’s adoption efforts here:

Families

It takes so little to change a life and thus change the world.  One family at a time.  Thank you for your consideration.

What Is Truth?

In John 18:38 Pilate asked the question of Jesus “What is truth?”  Dr. Del Tackett has referred to this as one of the most important questions of all time in The Truth ProjectRavi Zacharias has called it the most tragic question of all time in that it was asked of the purveyor of Truth Himself.

But it is an interesting question.  Truth.  What is it?  Really?  And more importantly, what is our perception of truth?  And how does it shape our lives and affect the outcome of our existence for all of eternity?

Here is an important consideration: Is there a God?  It is an important question whether you realize it or not.

Some, like Dr. Stephen Hawking and Dr. Richard Dawkins, state that it is a fact that there is no God.  They have many that join with them in their belief that there is no God.

I, on the other hand, and many others with me state emphatically that there is a God.

You have your own beliefs as to whether or not there is a God.  Neither side can prove beyond any reasonable certainty that there is, or is not a God.  I can certainly point to evidence that there is.  But others will build their own case that there is not.

So what is truth?  In this case the truth may be found to be subjective depending upon your own personal beliefs.  And yet it is the most important question of all time.  This is why I believe it is very important to guard certain principles in our lives.  Because believe it or not, TRUTH can be lost.  For example: lets say for argument’s sake that there really is a God.  Just for a minute let’s all agree that this is an immutable fact.  Now lets divide all the people who believe the truth from those that do not believe the truth.  All of the people who actually believe there is a God are on one side of the room, and all the people who do not believe there is a God are on the other side.  Now suppose we were to have a war between the two groups.  And let’s say that the people who do not believe there is a God win the war.  They completely annihilate those that believe there is a God.

Question: Does that then make the fact that God exists not true?  No, of course not.  We’ve already established that the existence of God is true for our scenario here.  And the truth does not change.  But would the truth be lost?  I believe it would.  Those who do not believe there is a God would continue to propagate that belief and there would be no reason for any opposing point of view to arise.  The truth would be lost.

Here is a more realistic example.  How old is the Earth?  You ask this question and about 98% of people today will tell you it is 4.5 billion years old.  But if you really examine the answer you will read words like “scientists estimate …”, or “scientists believe ..”, or even “scientists think …”.

It IS NOT a proven fact that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old (or that evolution is the mechanism by which we all came to be here on Earth).  It may be a theory or a belief (by some), but not a factual piece of truth.  And yet people treat it as if it were so.  If you say it often enough and loud enough, others around you eventually begin to repeat it.  But that doesn’t make it truth.

Why?  Because when the question of Evolution seriously first came up, around the time of my grandparents generation, it was not successfully challenged.  And then when my parents generation came along, they began to make compromises and to try to fit an evolutionary world view into their own Theistic world view.  And as a result, in most (if not all) public institutes of education, Evolution is now taught as accepted fact and Creationism or Intelligent Design is not even allowed to be mentioned because they are considered myth or fairy tale.

As a result it has become a very difficult up hill battle to challenge or countermand the Evolutionary world view.  Most people have abandoned trying to fight it within public institutions and have left those for private schools and home schooling.  But what if Creationism were the truth?  It is not completely lost, but if we continue to indoctrinate new generations in the classroom, it could be.

And there is another truth we are about to lose today.  That Freedom and Capitalism provide more for any given population than Socialism and Communism.  The number of young people who supported Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections has been placed as high as 56%.  This is very alarming when you consider that these individuals are essentially voting not to be free.  The movement away from Truth, Justice, and the American Way is alarming.  If we do not stand for the principles the United States of America was founded upon, actually built upon, we could lose the greatest nation the world has ever seen.  And we could lose the truth for generations to come.

This is the reason I have not, and will not, support the NFL until they acknowledge that kneeling on foreign soil while our country’s National Anthem is playing is traitorous and disrespectful.  And then to stand during the National Anthem of a foreign nation (having just knelt for their own) simply adds insult to injury.  And that kneeling during the National Anthem on any occasion is disrespectful and is essentially saying “I stand against the institution that provides me the freedoms to protest”.  You cannot tear down the house you live in and then expect to not sleep out in the rain and the cold.  Kneeling for the National Anthem is not a protest, it is a vote not to be free.

And I take it even one step further.  For all my life I have been taught (and believed) that sports taught young people how to be good members of society as well as proper values and character.  I would suggest that the evidence today depicts otherwise.  A significant number of athletes are not demonstrating good character and values.  Therefore I do not even support college football.  Because I don’t believe these traits just magically show up when they become attached to the NFL and I do not want them to believe they have a supported path to that end.

We could be on the verge of losing our country;  Freedom, Capitalism, Democracy.  And if we do not take a very hard stand today, if we are complacent in the matter, as previous generations were with evolution, the truth could change out from underneath us and it would be very, very hard to get back.

Are You In the Midst of Despair?

Here we sit on the eve of a New Year.  2017 is about to pass into the annuals of time and 2018 is about to arrive with all of its mystery, and fear, and excitement.  I don’t know what the New Year may hold for you, I don’t even know what the New Year holds for me.  But this is what I do know: GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.  Praise Him!

I also know that it’s possible the New Year may hold despair for you and those you love.  But if this is the case then I invite you to consider the fact that: GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!

I also invite you to consider the fact that perhaps your despair is not as deep or as life gripping as you might perceive.  Consider this: have you ever walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death?  I mean the actual Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Have you ever found yourself there?  Before you answer that, lets consider where and what the Valley of the Shadow of Death actually is and where we might encounter it in our lives.

King David wrote in the 23 Psalms:

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

The valley here (in verse 4) in not a happy place.  The depiction embodies a place of high mountain walls (that cast deep shadows) that are impossible to climb.  The valley is a place from which there is no escape.  It is a place where you feel trapped and vulnerable.  If you are a soldier, it is a place where your enemies are perched on the high ledges surrounding you waiting to rain down death and destruction upon you.  If you are a sheep, it is a place where the wolves roam the high ledges surrounding you waiting for the moment to pounce.  This makes it a place of fear and trepidation.  A place of never knowing when death and destruction are going to strike next.

There are shadows.  And not just any shadows, we are talking shadows that create a darkness like night.  If you were to look at Psalms 23:4 in the NIV, you would read “even though I walk through the darkest valley“.  Because the word shadows means an intense darkness.  The Englishman’s Concordance calls it “an intense darkness as night itself“.  So it is a valley like night, without any light.  It is a very dark place.  And even though the text does not say this, I would suspect that it is a cold place.  The lack of sunlight, being sheltered by the mountains, being at the bottom of those prepices, it must be cold there.

And finally, there is death.  You are in a valley that smells of death, it reeks of death, it reminds you of it everywhere you look.

The Valley of the Shadow of Death talked about in Psalms 23:4 is a place of fear and a place of NO HOPE.  It should probably have a sign at the entrance to it that reads” “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE”.

I’ve seen these signs on people’s doors before.  They think they are being funny (and it kind of is, if you think about it).  But they wouldn’t consider it very funny if they really did have to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

It is a place of hopelessness and despair.  Complete hopelessness and despair,  Have you ever been there?  Completely and utterly without hope?  Few of us really have.  Sure, you may have your hard times, your trials and tribulations in life … but completely hopeless?  Probably not.  Most of us, the vast majority of us, always have at least some glimmer of hope in our situations.

This is a place of NO HOPE.  At all.  Whatsoever.  And yet the Psalmist writes: “I will fear no evil“.  The Psalmist IS NOT afraid.  Why?  Because King David had experienced the protection and the awesome power of the Rod and the Staff of the Lord.  And once you have experienced the power of God, not even a hopeless situation can sway you.  Once you understand the awesome power of God, you understand that it really doesn’t matter if he protects you or not.  What you understand is that God has the power to save, and if he chooses not to – HE IS STILL GOD.  That is the what the Psalmist understood and it freed him from the grip of fear.

The good news here is that few of us ever really do walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  I personally believe that it is a place reserved for Prophets to walk through.  I believe God does this on purpose in order to keep the Prophets humble (a very hard task when it comes to Prophets) and to ensure they remain empathetic with the people (a very hard thing for Prophets to do).

So you can probably rest assured today that even in the midst of your pain and suffering, you at least have not yet come to the place of NO HOPE where all is lost.

And if God can take the Prophet through the place of NO HOPE and utter despair, the actual Valley of the Shadow of Death, and the Prophet can walk through without any fear of evil and be comforted at the same time, how much easier is it for God to take you through your own hard times?

Do You Know The Name Above All Names?

On January 6th, 2017 Hillsong Worship brought us the song What A Beautiful Name it Is.

In my estimation, this song is the full embodiment of Philippians 2:8-11 which says:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  (KJV)

Sadly, there is not enough understanding in our world today of these simple words.  That the name of JESUS is where beauty lies.  That the name of JESUS holds all power.  That the name of JESUS is the point where the wonderment of Heaven bends down to meet the Earth.

If you are Atheistic in your world view you cannot possibly know the beauty and wonder of the name of JESUS.  Your rejection of a Deity, a Creator, a Heavenly Father, A Savior and a King keeps you from the experience of knowing the Peace and Comfort of the name of JESUS.

You might be bewildered by this statement, but the knowing, the real knowing I speak of is Spiritual knowledge not worldly knowledge.  It is not of this earth, but is of Heaven itself.  And it is the point that a loving and a just God reaches down to his very creation, mankind, and says “I Love you so much I sent My Son to die for your sins in order to redeem you back to me”.

Spiritual death is real.  Very real.  We, all humans, are triune beings created of body, soul, and spirit.  Our bodies are the physical manifestation you see before you in this world.  Our souls (our mind, will, and emotions) are the glue that binds us to our spiritual beings, and our Spirits are that which connects us with the Creator Himself.  That part of us that will answer to him one day.  And that is the part that is dead in sin, and puts our entire being; body, soul, and spirit, in separation from our Creator.

Some people have asked why God needed to go through such an elaborate scheme in order to have a family of his own.  For me, the answer is quite simple: You cannot know life without death, you cannot know joy without pain, and you cannot know salvation without first being lost.  God has established his family because he showed us what the price is for that family.  I could tell you all day long about the Joy found in the name of JESUS, but unless you experience it for yourself, they are meaningless words.

So the Atheist has shut out the one true hope for all of mankind simply through disbelief.  The one simple thing that God requires of all of us: BELIVE ON THE NAME OF JESUS.

If you are Agnostic in your world view, your apathy keeps you from experiencing the Joy and the Wonderment of the name of JESUS.  Our Creator demands  that the name of JESUS be embraced.  That the name of JESUS be held above ALL names.  That the name of JESUS be exalted and lifted up.

The Agnostic lifts up no name but their own, unless it benefits them in some way, shape, or form.  The Agnostic robs themselves of the peace and the comfort of experiencing JESUS through the self-centeredness of their own “it doesn’t matter” world view.

However, if you are Theistic in your world view, your only challenge is finding the one true God.  Being able to connect with the Creator you already know to be real.

There is one religious view that promises an eternal connection with that Creator.  And that is Christianity.  No other name has divided history.  No other name has endured such a test of time.  No other name has claimed to be before the world began and promises to be there forever after it ends.  No other name is both more revered and more hated amongst the earth.  And no other name has had people  try to  rewrite the history of it over and over again, only to continuously fail.

I believe the reason for this is because God has given Him the name above all names.  It is the name of Power.  It is the name of Wonderment.  It is the name of Beauty.  It is the name of JESUS.

As we approach this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, my prayer for each and everyone in the world today is that they would come to know the name of JESUS.  Not to have just heard the name.  Not to just know of the name.  But to experience the name of JESUS.

And you cannot experience the name of JESUS, truly experience it, in your Spiritual being, without BELIVING on the name of JESUS.  When you KNOW him, as He knows you (and I guarantee you He has known you from before the foundation of the world), then the name of JESUS will take on a whole new Beauty, a whole new Power, a whole new Wonderment, that will rise up in your spirit, spill over into your soul, and fill you with the Hope, Peace, and Comfort that only he can give.

And when that happens, you too, will join me and many others with me, along with a Heavenly host in proclaiming What A Beautiful Name It Is, The Name of JESUS.

 

My Reminder…

Richard C. Halverson, though I never knew him, is a hero of mine. His work and words have impacted my life. As I remember him in this month of Thanksgiving, I thank God for him. I recently posted one of his devotionals from his bi-weekly devotional letter “Perspective”. I’d like to post another today. I only wish I could find the proper entity to get permission for using his work. My efforts at this have rendered nothing so far. Should you be aware of who I might contact, please inform me. I’d be indebted.

So good to remember that…

Jesus Christ transcends all religions! Judaism, Islam, Buddhism Hinduism…

He is greater than all these – including Christianity.

Religions are inventions of men. They may begin with a great leader in mind – Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha…

But human tradition soon reduces the original to a mere set of ethical standards and a dead letter of the law which no one can follow.

The original sin was not murder, adultery or any other action we call sin. The original sin was, and still is, the human choice to be one’s own god – to control one’s own life – to be in charge – to be religious!

Rising out of this choice evolves religion: man’s attempt to please god.

Jesus transcends religion because He is the incarnation of all that is true, good, loving, gentle, tender, thoughtful, caring, courteous and selfless.

Jesus does not want you to become a Christian. He wants you to become a new creation! There is a great difference between the two.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, He is a new creation: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are new.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

From “Perspective” by Richard C. Halverson – August 12, 1996

 

The Way

Psalm 84:5-12 New American Standard Bible

5 How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion! …They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
…The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

So…
Psalm 86:11
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

My GPS has changed my life! I’ve put all my maps aside for the most part. “She” always knows where I am and how to get me where I want to go…most of the time. I call her Jennifer.

It has taken much of the stress of travelling away. Having my own personal navigator aboard, assuring me of my next turn and happily re-calculating when I get off course, is a lifesaver.  It has removed the concern of ever being lost. Amazing…how does she do that?  My techie friends tell me it’s not that complicated.  Though I don’t get it, I do trust my way to her.  Though I don’t understand, I believe her commands and go where she directs, confident I’ll ultimately get home.

The application to these verses is obvious. The psalmist tells us that having God’s Way in our heart will always get us “Home”, to HIM and Zion, His dwelling place. It is there that every “good thing” we need for life is found. Everything required for my sufficiency, adequacy and security is there in great supply. He is very happy to deluge us there with His best.

No wonder, the psalmist would ask he Lord to teach him the way to walk and to revere HIM enough to stay on that road to His presence…the ultimate Destination.

Actually, there are only two ways in Life, God’s way or another one. There are many voices calling to divert us from His prescribed path. His word, The Bible, has been God’s GPS for me in this life for some time and is always spot on. My problem is, I too often take “side trips” and get lost in the complexities and troubles waywardness brings.

Psalm 139:23
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Knowing his vulnerability and predisposition to waywardness, the psalmist asks his Heavenly Father to search his heart for the entrenched habits and thinking that would upstage God’s way, and requests personal guidance in His eternal, life-giving, sustaining path.  Just think, having your own personal, resident Spiritual navigator with you, always directing and ultimately, to Himself.  It’s true! He wants to plug into your life and take you where you should go.  It brings the confidence He intends us to have in the difficult days we live.

The psalmist’s prayer has become mine every new day.  Wayward as I have been and still can be, I’ve put aside all other “maps” and trust His unfailing direction for everything. For me, that is making all the difference.

My prayer for you is to find His way and stay there. You will never regret it. Make your way “Home” to Him and know the best and most He’s gives.  For me, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m

Heading Home,

Mitch

He Must Increase…

John 3:30 (NASB) He must increase, but I must decrease.

Reading this verse in its context, John the Baptist, nearing the end of his ministry, tells his disciples that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom, but he, John, is just His friend. He is one who partnered with God in “preparing the way” for the Coming One, Jesus. Then he says, “He must increase, but I must decrease”.  John 3:25-30 

Great as John was in the Kingdom of God, he understood that Jesus was and always would be first.   His work was to join God in preparing the way for Him.  As Jesus’ ministry emerged, John’s “joy was made full”.  His work had been accomplished.  Joy always comes to those of us who not only know our God-given purpose, but see it being achieved.

If this was true for John, how much more for me. I am the friend of Jesus, though flawed and insignificant, yet redeemed.  I’m privileged to partner with Him in His forever endeavors.  His purposes and way should be made clearer over time through me and in my small sphere of influence.

Much more, He must increase and I decrease…Every moment, more of Him and less of me…Him always greater than (>), and me less than (<).  For me, it is best said, ALL of Him and NONE of me.  I’m simply a modest container through which He is free to pour His Saving Life…the container ultimately disregarded due to the far greater significance …value of Who / What is pouring from it.

Rightly related to God and functioning in His Life via the Holy Spirit, I become increasingly invisible and He ever more radiant. As I cooperate and let Him do His all-encompassing work, He is Glorified. I will know the fullness of joy that comes as He does His work and gets His Glory in me.  This is His intended purpose / destiny for all humanity.  As this spiritual crescendo is seen, our Heavenly Father is pleased; He takes great pleasure in us.

The Westminster Catechism states, “The chief end and duty of mankind, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

Is there anything else to strive for? Is there any greater endeavor? Can there be a more significant achievement and work as we live or die? All of scripture speaks a resounding “No”.  And if He is pleased in my every moment, then that is true success indeed…the Godward life.

How I need more of Him and less of me. How I need Him to get at the things inside that I cannot get to…to remove the distractions, infatuations and hindrances to which I am predisposed…all that compromises His Life and Light.  This is living as He intended, Life indeed, pure and simple…the ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction.  May it be true today and increasingly so in me.  And, this is my prayer for you.

Aspiring,

Mitch

He Is Near

“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
For Your name is near….” Psalm 75:1

Such great encouragement and hope to know this!

The psalmist, speaking to God, says:

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. Psalm 73:28

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. Psalm 65:4

He is as “near as the mention of His name”.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 119:18

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6

He invites us to call on the only Name that can truly save, satisfy, help, deliver, provide, give wisdom and comfort.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

…He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Jesus Christ), since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Don’t miss this kind, Sovereign invitation. Again, seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. He is near, NOW, for you, in every concern, fear, disappointment or loss. He is true and will not disappoint.

Be blessed!

Mitch

Are You Standing for the NFL?

American Flag proudly flying above the U.S.S. Constellation in Baltimore, Maryland’s Inner Harbor.

I’d like to have a word with Americans today.  And when I say Americans, I not only mean citizens of this great Country, I mean citizens who are loyal to the Country and its Government.  Because you are the only true citizens.  Because that is what it means to owe allegiance.  It means to be loyal to the Government.  If you are not loyal to the Government, you are not a true citizen of the county.  You may be an anarchist or a revolutionist, but certainly not a citizen.  Because a citizen is loyal to their Government.

Here in the United States of America, we have many methods of demonstrating our loyalty to our Country, our Government, and our Ideals.  However there are three undeniable expressions of loyalty that every American has agreed upon for decades, that expresses our loyalty and our Allegiance to our country and our government.  And those three expressions are (1) To serve in the United States Military (the Armed Forces of the United States of America – the United States Navy, the United States Army, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard).  If you serve in the defense of our country, and you serve honorably and loyally, you are proven to be a loyal citizen of this great country.  As a matter-of-fact, we have had a program in our past where we have extended citizenship to foreign nationals who have served honorably in our Military.  My wife has Filipino family members who are U.S. citizen today because they served in the United States Military.  (2) To salute and revere our flag.  Acknowledging our flag has been considered for decades to be a sign of patriotism towards our country.  And to salute our flag has always been considered to render a military salute for military members in United States Military uniform and to place ones right hand over the heart for citizens not in United States Military uniform.  And by standing, if one is capable of doing so, while rendering said salute, while facing the flag.  And (3) by reverencing our National Anthem in like kind.  These three methods of showing patriotism for our country has never been debated seriously in our history.

The acts of some of our professional sports players, most notably those in the National Football League (NFL), to not follow these practices (Jaguars, Ravens kneel at UK game) is, by definition, a disrespect to the American flag, the American National Anthem, and our country.  It can be perceived as nothing less.

The citizens of the United States of America have many divides over the course of our history.  However, other than the United States Civil War (where the South actually succeeded, set up their own government, and had their own flag), we have never not respected our country through our differences.

I have had lots of differences with my country during my lifetime.  Abortion for example.  I believe abortion cheapens life and kills innocent, defenseless, human babies.  And yet I’ve never knelt before the United States flag.  The assault on my Christian values.  Which I believe has led to many of the problems we experience today.  And yet I’ve never disrespected our National anthem.  And the protests against our great Military, during the Viet Nam War, and the wars that have followed.  And yet I have never not honored my country.  I love my country, as is evidenced by my actions and what I do.

I married a Philippine citizen (who is now a Naturalized American Citizen).  And we have traveled to the Philippines many times over the years to visit family and friends.  On some of those trips we have attended festivals where the Philippine National anthem was played.  I have stood respectfully, but I have never placed my hand over my heart or recited the pledge to their flag.  To do so would be to disrespect my country.

When American Football players stand on foreign soil (the United Kingdom) and kneel when the United States National Anthem is played, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to renouncing their citizenship.  And when they stand and place their hands over their hearts for the United Kingdom’s National anthem, it is not only disrespectful to our country, it is tantamount to pledging their allegiance to a foreign country and government.

The same is true for our members of Congress or any other citizen who does not honor our flag, our anthem, or our Government.

We must find ways to work together to overcome our challenges, but disrespecting our country is not one of them.  That is quitting the team.  We must support the team and work with it to make it a better team in the end.  And thankfully, here in this country we have the freedom to do just that.

Consider this, what if one of those NFL teams had some differences amongst the players on their team?  And what if some of those players chose to protest those difference by wearing the jerseys of a rival team?  How far do you think that would go?  What if they were to bring out the flag or team colors of a rival team and place them over their own team colors?  How long would it be before their teammates, coaches, staff, and owners sat down and had a word with them?

We may have differences, and we may have problems, but we are still Americans and we should still honor our country.  And quite frankly, if you cannot, then I invite you to leave and let those who do honor our country to hold up the flag.  Let me know how far you get in any other country on Earth disrespecting their flag, anthem, or government.  I’d suggest you try North Korea first.

Do You Stand with the NFL Today?  I hope not.  I hope you boycott the NFL until they learn to stand at attention with the rest of us, for the United States Flag.  If you want to kneel, try the altar at your local Church.

First Things First

Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The scriptures tell us to seek His Kingdom first. So, what is this “kingdom” we should seek? I believe kingdoms are about kings and their domain. That being so, seeking His Kingdom is seeking Him as King and we being His domain…giving Him His rightful place of rule and reign in us, over us and around us. And, the word “seek” is most accurately rendered “seek and keep on seeking continuously”.

Verse 33 is in the “imperative mood”, meaning it is a command, an imperative…not an elective or just an option.

The word “first” necessarily implies several things about seeking His Kingdom:

Priority – It is first in importance
Purpose – Implies the first and most important reason why we exist
Profession – Implies my first and primary task, work, objective
Passion – Implies my first and primary motive in all we do

So what is the outcome of this endeavor?

Matthew 6:25-32
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The outcome is amazing! If we make HIM our greatest priority, purpose, passion, possession and profession, THEN HE will make us His priority and add everything else we need to be sustained and flourish.

Jesus was once asked what the foremost commandment was.  His reply, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength”.  I feel this is a great complimentary  verse to the focal passage of this brief note.  I think this says it all very simply.  What we love and cherish the most in this life will always determine our priorities, guide us in our purpose, work, choices and be the  foundation for our value systems.

May it be that we seek Him and His rule and reign over us…seek to love Him with everything in us, and out of that, every other concern, need and desire will be abundantly met out of His unlimited, loving supply.

Give Him Praise!

Mitch

 

The discussions that matter.

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