Racism does not happen by accident. It can be taught and exampled to young and unknowing hearts and minds. This is troubling. Even more troubling are the maladies of ignorance, prejudice and bigotry that must be present and flourishing to feed and sustain racist thinking and actions. As Christians, the mere thought of any of these things having a home in our hearts or minds should send shivers of distress and fear through our very souls. In Part I of our 2-part series on racism, we dissected these four elements with the eyes of knowledge and the mind of understanding. Next we seek to look at ignorance, prejudice, bigotry and racism with godly wisdom and our highest godly intentions.
George Floyd is dead. Needlessly. His life ended as a result of the uncalled-for brutality of a police officer. This killing has resonated throughout the United States, as well as the world. It has put some of society's hardest issues in front of our faces. Peaceful protests decrying racism and injustice have occurred all over the world. Angry riots, looting and yes, more killing has also erupted. The issues are ugly, serious and relevant. What are we struggling with? Is it racism? Is it bigotry? Prejudice? Ignorance? As Christians, we need to be open and honest when it comes to truth. So, what is the truth about society's struggles? What is the truth we as Christians should be standing for?
The spectacular biblical account of David reveals him as a warrior for God, as he protected God’s principles and righteousness. See the first episode of this series for more. It also reveals David as a man of mighty faults. He committed many grievous errors with sad consequences. We explored one of these in our second episode of this series. Most importantly, David was also a man who never stopped trying to do better and inspire the people he led. He truly was God’s warrior, a man after God’s own heart. Know this: true warriors for God never were and should never be limited to just men. Abigail is one of the treasured women of the Bible who was also one of God’s warriors. When faced with potential slaughter, she calmly deescalated serious tensions, saving many lives. Her love for God was unmistakable. The example of Abigail's behavior under pressure commands attention and respect. This beautiful woman is an inspiring example
David was a hero and anointed to become the king of Israel. Long before he assumed the throne, he defeated Goliath in battle, contributed to the sovereignty and protection of Israel and faithfully served under King Saul. All this happened before he was 25 years old. Though he became a fugitive when King Saul turned on him, he never betrayed the king or God. Many years later when he finally became king, he was a mighty and God-focused leader. This almost sounds like a happily ever after story, but it is not. David committed some horrible sins along the way that created havoc and cost lives. His sins are some of the most well-known in all of Scripture! With so many bad choices, how did David maintain a godly perspective? How did he continually fight for God’s purposes? What can we learn from the rollercoaster of David’s life to enhance our attempts to be warriors for God?
What do you envision when you think of a warrior? Someone engaged in conflict or struggle? A soldier, discipline, a fighter, training, bravery? King David was one of history’s great warriors. He possessed all of those warrior attributes, and yet he was also a shepherd, poet, musician and songwriter. He was tender-hearted and humble. He was faithful and loyal to God, yet guilty of serious breaches of the confidence God had placed in him. He ascended up to the heights but also descended down to the depths. He gained Divine approval in many things and also received severe Divine condemnation. He was wholly devoted to God but also indulged in the sins of the flesh. David’s story is the story of every man, illustrating what God can do with our weaknesses and failures.
As Christians we are always reminded of the importance of sacrificing our own will to do the will of God. Our faithfulness is a direct result of the effort we put into our sacrificial lives. The Old Testament overflows with regulations and propriety regarding making sacrifices to God. These include not only animal sacrifices but grain, oil and other things as well. In short, sacrifice is an enormous part of the entire Bible. Why? Were sacrifices to be made to get God’s attention? Is sacrifice in the Old or New Testament there to show God we are sorry for our sins? What about the principle of obeying God’s will? How does that fit in? Can we obey without sacrificing and can we sacrifice without obeying? If we were to put obedience on one side of a scale and sacrifice on the other side, which would carry more weight?
One of the Ten Commandments was to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” As Christians, we are always saying the Ten Commandments are still a necessary part of God’s Law that we should keep. So, why do the vast majority of Christians have their “day of rest” on Sunday when the Sabbath God set up for His people was Saturday? Are we really saying to keep only nine of those Ten Commandments? Are we being too creative with God’s word? What should we learn from the fact that there is no New Testament Scripture that officially moves the Sabbath to Sunday? Is the “rest” of a Christian different than the “rest” referred to in the Jewish Law? Are Christians required to cease from all work on their Sabbath?
Life can be a real challenge when we are pressed by personal anxiety or depression. These things can not only burden our days, they can constrict and suffocate our very moments. As difficult as living is under these circumstances, think about the overwhelming confusion anxiety and depression would bring to a child. They begin to see the world through eyes of fear and uncertainty. They lose interest in things that used to excite them and have no idea why this is happening or what to do about it. They withdraw, they lash out and they feel alone. Anxiety and depression in kids is a real thing. It is far more common than we would like to think. For parents, it is a fearful and confusing issue of life. How do we deal with it and try to understand it? How do we become the best parents possible to help our children to cope?
Everyone at times in their life feels anxiety. Sometimes it is a simple reaction to having to do or say something that we would rather avoid. Other times it is a more powerful reaction that lingers and may even cause us interrupted sleep or a lack of focus. These are feelings of anxiety. They are common and they are solvable. The big issue comes when the anxiety we face becomes a crippling and exhausting current of fear. It sweeps us off our feet and pulls us away from our normal routines with an overwhelming riptide-like intensity. For some of us this anxiety can last for months, years or a lifetime. For a Christian, the piercing questions that may arise from this are, where is my reliance on God? Does my crippled response to this fear prove my faith to be nothing more than words? Am I a hypocrite? Hard questions like these deserve strong and decisive answers and today we will find them! We have a special interview with Kylie Odetta on this program!
For many of us, daily life is a secret struggle. Some of us go through the motions of our daily routines while inwardly carrying overwhelming fear and anxiety. We don’t want to share what we feel as it is not only embarrassing, it is impossible to describe. For others of us, even our daily routines at times are themselves overwhelming. We feel as though we are thoroughly alone and relegated to a place of gloom and darkness. There seems to be no answer. Often it feels like there is no hope. I am describing anxiety and depression. While these challenges are incredibly common, they are also incredibly misunderstood. As Christians, we face these kinds of issues just like everyone else. The question is, what do we expect? Do we expect our faith to be like a magic pill that can make things better? Do we expect ourselves to be diminished in God’s eyes because we can’t “feel” our faith? What does God expect? What is possible for us to expect?