Thoughts and Musings for Hope Connection March 2017

26
Mar

Faithful in Fear

Christ is faithful even when we think ourselves faithless. Fear and failure, friend, are faithful teachers of exemplary courage. ;-{)

This morning as I remember you in prayer, I think of the face of a friend recently when I asked how I could pray for them. Shock responded. Their face was incredulous that I would pray for them. “What me? I am living in horrible mistaken moments and imperfect obedience (my definition for sin). You would pray for me? God would listen to me and my mess?” It was written all over the face.

Too often we pray for our mistakes instead of praying for our success. Pray for success. Pray for standing on the mountain top instead of wallowing in the shadow of a weeping willow.

Elijah was a man of like passions to us. I love the stories of Elijah. One of the greatest miracle workers of all history found himself at the footstool of fear and failure.

1 Kings 19: 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

The story goes on and he finds his footing again in faith and courage and goes on to serve for many more years in power and success.

Let’s Pray: Father, sometimes we find ourselves standing on the rickety footstool of failure and fear. But we don’t live there. That is not our home. Our strength and courage lie in faith and faithfulness. You are faithful. You are full of strength and courage. Let us embrace that and move to higher ground.

04
Mar

MOSAICS Immigrant – Migrant – Transitory

Lent is a season of introspection, confession, and repentance. It is a good time to review our intentions and motivations as individuals and as a nation.

Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
As we begin the introspection let’s be honest. Much of what we hear in the media and from pulpits is focused on the law not on Christ.   That is a falling away from grace.  Let’s be sensitive.  Persecution of the children brought illegally into the states and persecution of families is something not on God’s agenda.  He is greatly opposed to such action.
Exodus 6:4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
God took strangers, illegal immigrants and made them into the nation of Israel. Seems like He has a soft spot.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  
God places strangers, travelers, in our society as messengers.  We need to distinguish between those He sends and arranges and those that just happen and those sent of an enemy.
So given these three premises, let’s take a look at our world.
Migrants:  Migrants are people who come and go into and out of a culture or area.  We have a migratory population in the church.  People come and go.  They “come to Jesus” and then return to their normal chaos and personal control. We have a migratory population in our nation.  People come and go.  They are here for a season to do a job or visit, but have no intention of staying for a lifetime.  In the church and in our nation, we need a place for these people to exist, thrive, and have free return to their world.  They can contribute fellowship and friendship for a season.
Immigrants:  Immigrants are those that come to merge into a culture or area. We have an immigrant population in the church.  People come and stay.  They come and commit to the Lordship of Christ and grow into disciples in support, attendance, prayer, worship, fellowship, study and life.  Sometimes they come in with questions and concerns and don’t know that they are going to stay and then they change, they commit.  We have an immigrant population in our nation.  People come and stay. Sometimes they come through an initial illegal means.  They have questions and concerns and then they change, they commit.  They become us.
Transitory:  Transitory people can be dangerous.  They come dangerous.  They come to take, to abuse, and to vilify others.  These are not migrants. There are transitory people in the church.  They are predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  They do damage.  They gossip and slander and undermine unity.  They need to be rooted out.  There are transitory people in our nation.  They live in the dark shadows of crime and abuse.  They capture women and force them into human traffic situations.  They abuse. They steal, kill, and destroy.  They need to be rooted out.
When my father was without parents, another family took him in.  He was a migrant,an orphan. At birth and later when his mother was killed. He was a migrant.  A man named George Ollie took him into his home for a season and raised him.  George was an immigrant.  At ten years old, George hid on a boat from Syria to Mexico.  His father was working on the boat.  George was left in Mexico for a year and then his father brought him into the states.  They became citizens.  My father was raised by a Middle Eastern stowaway smuggled in from Mexico.  A migrant become immigrant.  Sometimes strangers become angels.  George was my father’s angel and mine.
Our summation:
Be sensitive in the church and in the neighborhood to who is with us and why.
Stay clear of being too engaged in the pure legal definitions.  You might miss your greatest blessing.
Remember you were a migrant when you came into the church and became an immigrant.