Times Are Changing And We Must Too

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. ~ Galatians 5:13 NIV
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.
~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV

As I awoke and began thinking and praying this morning, this thought came to mind, God is a timely God. Our world is going through turmoil, especially the turmoil of the racial injustices that have operated in the dark and are coming into the exposure of the light of day leaving us, Black and White, determined to act and feeling anxious. Anxious in the way a women feels just before the birth of her child.

So many have observed the civil unrest over past several weeks and judged the unrest as the sole act of the latter part of peaceful protests, eager to condemn, choosing not to focus on the reason for the peaceful protests. To deny the right of a peaceful life to anyone is to deny peace for everyone. To deny justice for some comes home to roost on all. I believe the Lord is removing the veil that blinds us, which is difficult for many to see the injustices that prevail and destroy. When eyes are opened, change is underway.

As this process unveils, we must remember to rely on the Lord’s peace. The same peace he gave Moses as he lead his people out of Egypt. And, the same peace he gave Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

In this peace, we must re-evaluate who we are in the Lord. Charles Stanley shares Finding Peace, a 10 day devotional on YouVersion. Bible.com. Day Five reads:

How Your Thought Life Affects Your Peace

If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us aren’t who or what we think we are. Our thinking is marred at best, off-track, and in most cases, needs to be changed.

How do I know this to be true? Aside from my experience pastoring so many through the years, God’s Word calls us to a “renewal” of our minds. That means trading in our old perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and self-centered attitudes for a new set of perceptions, opinions, ideas, beliefs, and attitudes that God develops in us. These godly responses are nurtured by regular reading of Scripture and meditating on what’s been read in the Bible. Christ’s followers are urged to avoid being “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

Out of a renewal of our thinking comes a change in our speech patterns and our behaviors. As our speech and behavior become renewed, our relationships with others become renewed. And as our relationships become renewed, our immediate world is renewed as well. It all begins in the mind with what we choose to think and what we choose to dwell upon.

You have the ability to determine what you’ll think. At any time, you can refocus your mind to a new topic, task, or problem to solve instead of negative thinking that will steal your peace and/or cause you to venture into rebellion or sin. You have the ability to say, “I choose to trust God,” in any situation you face or thought you have.

Furthermore, any child of God who takes a willful stand against thought patterns that clearly are harmful is going to be provided a way of escape from that circumstance. God will help you focus your mind on something other than your problem or bad thought pattern if you will make the initial step in His direction. 

When you guard your mind, you guard your peace. When you offer prayers to God with faith and thanksgiving—no matter what trials you face—He assures you inner peace (Phil. 4:6-7). And when you focus your thinking on what’s true, noble, virtuous, lovely, pure, and praiseworthy, you rely upon God with increasing faith and trust. 

You can never fully exhaust your ability to think about the goodness and greatness of God. Choose to respond to life the way Jesus responded. Guard your prayer life. Guard your thought life. Seek the Father and all that’s godly. His Word promises that when you fill your mind with what is virtuous and praiseworthy, “the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).

Romans 12:2 says,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Philippians 4:9 NKJV reads,

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

God is love. Love is not allocated to some and not others it is unconditional and uncompromising. Unconditional love yields justice and unity.

Resources: biblegateway.com; YouVersion.Bible.com; Google.com

Christian Values Extend Beyond Christianity, Revised

Christ shared the Good News throughout the regions of Israel. He shared it with all the people in those regions. His purpose on earth was to share God’s Word and lead them to salvation. He accomplished this through speech and action.

Christ knew conversion was a personal choice. He used a variety of ways to engage non-believers, preaching was one way in which He shared the Good News. The other and perhaps the most obvious was through His actions and deeds. He displayed the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5. 

As Christians, we need to remember that our actions often speak louder than words. Our actions should reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In complying with these traits, we share the goodness of God.  People emulate others traits that they are drawn to and want to express in their actions. We see these virtues play out in all religions and, I will go as far as saying, are nurtured by parents, relatives, and role models, some of which may be strangers.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We see, hear, and read about people who have a heart to do good.   Most of these stories are never discussed or shared. The person or people inherited the need to help others, be kind and provide change. Christians often feel that we are the only good people, but the truth is there is good and bad in all nationalities and religions.  My point is that demonizing people is not Christ-like, being insular and only attending to the needs of our faith is not Christ-like, wishing harm on other is not Christ-like. Being Christ-like is using His virtues to help others and make our society and the world a better place.

I include this story from the New York Times because Sharon Cohen founded an organization in 1997 to teach young Black and Brown girls who live in Harlem,  we York to learn to ice skate, and amazing things grew out of it. Sharon may or may not be a Christian but exudes Christ’s virtues every day of her life. She stepped up where she saw a need and has made a difference in lives of these girls. I believe their entire families benefited and thus changed the trajectory of the family units.

If we, Christians, step up to the challenges of helping others we too can effect change. Recently several tragic events have occurred in the US from hurricanes, floods, fires and most recently government shutdown. These events nurtured a glimpse of humanity at its best. They caused people to act out of their comfort zone and help others, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or income. The Good Samaritans were people like you and me. Humanitarian needs are a close as our backyards and extend throughout the world.

Story – https://nyti.ms/2REzNtX?smid=nytcore-ios-share
Images – Google Images; collage LAB Photos
Scripture – Bible.com

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my Post. Search this site and you will find other posts expounding on this topic.

God Bless.