Good Samaritan

Meanwhile in Haiti: A Christian Perspective on Donald, Hillary, Elections, and Life

The media got swallowed today.  By a video tape some ten years old.
Hurricane Matthew began to settle, yes.
But the rising and falling of storm surges is not really the reason we tune into coverage of a hurricane, is it?
Isn’t it the people who will be impacted that we really care about?  Are they not the real reason we tune in?
Because if that’s the case, then isn’t NOW when the coverage should REALLY begin?
But Donald and Hillary’s war swallows the airwaves.
Meanwhile in Haiti, the death toll rises to over 900.
Meanwhile in Haiti, the number of children without parents, which was 400,000 give or take, has now increased.

haiti-hurricane-3

And meanwhile globally, the number of orphans is somewhere between 143 and 210 million.
But really, who is counting?
Apparently not CNN or FOX News.
And in the United states alone?  415,000 children filtered through the foster system last year.
But again, who is counting?
Because what’s a life when we’ve got crass, crude comments from a man no one would ever have considered nominating for High Moral Character Man of the Year anyway?
What’s a life when we’ve got Benghazi?
What’s a life when politics reign and evangelicals and non-evangelicals get swept away by the hurricane that is an election?
An election trumps a life?  Really?
I can’t speak for non-evangelicals, but I do know that evangelicals were never once called to get tangled up in civilian issues.  In fact, 2Timothy 2: 3,4 speaks directly to this:
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
One could argue the affairs of this life are things like careers or boyfriends and girlfriends.
Or one could accept that maybe, just maybe, the believer has a purpose more fine-tuned and more specific than anything that begins and ends here on earth.
Maybe the purpose Jesus mentioned when He was with us on earth?
And He said to him,  ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  (Matthew 22:37-39)
Maybe the purpose Jesus mentioned when he left us?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
Maybe the purpose the Spirit of God inspired when James wrote:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.( James 1:27)
Jesus.
He’s problematic for us if we take Him seriously.
Because he
DOES
NOT
FIT
With the shouting and the screaming and the name calling and the condemning and the judging.
He doesn’t.
His response to sin?
Christians?  Our SAVIOR’S RESPONSE to sin?
HE
GAVE
HIS
LIFE
He forgave.
He redeemed.
He restored.
He did not name call.
He said, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. (John 8:7)
It’s inconvenient because His responses would apply to both Hillary and Donald.
Both.
And that’s not convenient when we want to amp up a political party to the height of holiness.
As if one is more holy than the other.
Really?
A manmade thing?
Let’s reason.
Let’s think.
No.
None, no not one is righteous. (Rom. 1:10)
Not one.
Not me.
Not you.
Not Donald.
Not Hillary.
Do we REALLY think we are so holy that we can verbally throw stones?
And you know how people say things like, “It’s a distraction tactic!  Stick to the issues.”?
They are SO very right.
It IS a distraction tactic, but not by the media, bless them.
By the enemy.
Did we already forget that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood?  Our battle is not with a democrat or a republican, a male or a female, a homosexual or a heterosexual.
Our battle is against principalities and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
And may I just ask this question?
Who among us has spent as much or more time making disciples this week as we have spent listening to political commentary?

Really?

Because that, my friends, is the distraction.

It’s a distraction from the marching orders our Savior gave us.

Love.

Feed.

Restore.

Heal.

Make disciples.

Then teach them.

Then make more disciples.
There are some 500,000 homeless here in the United States alone.
Are we, the believers, caring for the poor?  Actually DOING the caring?
Focus.
Focus on the priorities of Jesus Christ.
YES, he values life.
Life of the unborn.
Life of the born.
Life of the lesbian.
Life of the drug addict.
Life of the orphan.
Life of the lost soul.
All of it.
Every, single bit of human life because every single human life carries an eternal soul.
Do politics matter?
I understand that’s a bigger question than I can answer when philosophers and theologians have battled and wrestled and discussed this for centuries.
But ultimately, Jesus made this comment about politics, Give to Caesar what is Caeasar’s. (Mark 12:17)
And the Holy Spirit inspired these words:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. Romans 13:1-2
So, believer?
We should pay our taxes.
We should obey the law.
And beyond that . . . well, now we have to stick to the Bible.
And the Bible tells us that God said:
It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. (Daniel 2:21)
Now that is a political game-changer, is it not?
Because it turns out it isn’t elections that put kings in place.

It is our God.

And it isn’t about a leftist agenda or a right-wing agenda; it is about the agenda and purpose of our sovereign God.  And if somehow the democrats or republicans can demote our God’s supreme authority over elections, then our God is absolutely not worth our time.  If we elevate the right or the left to a position of authority over God’s purposes, then we have deified a donkey and an elephant.  We who claim to worship the one true God have literally created an idol out of an abstract political machine.  This is not Bible-believing. 

We get so worked up over civilian affairs and somehow assume there are new answers.  We discard the Bible and wrestle the issues like a steer in a rodeo when we could be putting feet to the instructions of our Savior.

In the end?

OUR GOD WINS.

Not Hillary. Not Donald.

YAWEH God.

And then the Holy Spirit added, For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  (Romans 13:6)
Somehow, this repositions the establishment, the media, and the republican and democratic candidates to servants not of one another, but servants of the MOST HIGH GOD.
Why?
Job knew why.  I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2)
No election gets to thwart God’s ultimate plans.  So, what IS the purpose of God?
Jesus said this,  I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. ( John 5:30.)
Then he died.
He rose.
He redeemed all mankind.
The purpose of God?
That all mankind would be in a relationship with Him.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.( 2 Peter 3:9)  God desires all mankind to be in a relationship with Him.

Do we vote?  Of course we do.  But we do not allow an election to derail God’s purpose in our lives.  Politics may be complicated, but our marching orders are simple.  Our gameplan is already outlined in scripture.  We just need to obey.

More than anything I’m pained by this:
That evangelicals are more known for endorsing or condemning mere human beings than for finding homes for the 415,000 children in foster care in the United States.
That evangelicals are more known for political name-calling than we are for uniting and sending aid to Haiti where cholera, malnourishment, and homelessness will take human lives like a thief in the night while we’ve fallen asleep at the watch.
I am a follower of Christ and I neither endorse Donald Trump nor condemn him.
I neither endorse Hillary Clinton nor condemn her.
Were I to meet either of them, do you know how I would view them?
How God would desire me to view them?
As human beings made in His divine image.
They are not my enemy.
They are not the enemy of the United States.

And they are certainly NOT the enemy of evangelicals.  They are the very people evangelicals should develop relationships with!

They are mere fallen human beings.
JUST
LIKE
ME
Just like me.
Were I to meet them my goal would be the goal Jesus gave me, Make disciples.
Only Jesus can transform.
Do I accept the words of Donald Trump caught on tape over a decade ago?

Goodness gracious, a resounding and resolute NO.  Absolutely not.

And were I to meet him, I’d say this, “Mr. Trump, your comments were absolutely wrong.  You did NOT value female life.  You saw it as an object with which you could pleasure yourself instead of a reflection of the image of God.  You were so wrong and you will give an account for that.  But not to me. In the words of Jesus Christ, ‘Go and sin no more.’  Want to have coffee and discuss this Jesus that said He wouldn’t condemn you, but He’d give you a drink that would so satisfy your thirst that you wouldn’t go looking to women for your soul needs again?”
And the same could be said to Hillary of Benghazi.
Believers, let us join together in a single voice that insists on this one thing:

We will BE ABOUT OUR FATHER’S AGENDA, and under no circumstances will we be known for spewing venomous talk, angry rhetoric, hateful facebook posts, mean-spirited mudslinging, or shaking a proverbial self-righteous fist of condemnation at either candidate.

We will love all humanity.  That is what Jesus Christ did to the point of death.
He loved.
Does the election matter?  Of course it does.  We do in fact stand to lose civil and religious freedoms.  We do in fact get to vote our values, our beliefs, our priorities.  I understand about Supreme Court Justices, and I understand about losing religious freedom in the name of political correctness.
I also understand that my God is sovereign.  and if He’s sovereign than not even the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice I don’t agree with can change HIS PURPOSES.
So, does the election matter? It matters tremendously.
But there is a far more important value that all believers should fight for.
Eternity.
In the end, I don’t get to take the president with me to eternity, but I do get to take souls.
Go.  Make Disciples.  Instead of making enemies, make a cake and deliver it to your neighbor.
No more distractions.  Instead of being side-swiped by the latest scandal, deliver the scandalous grace of Jesus.
No more name calling.  Instead let’s call out to the name of above all names.
No more condemnation.  Instead let’s connect sinners to living water.
There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)
Let us be about our Father’s purposes.
Let us do that.
Because wouldn’t it be amazing if the media had to report this:
“Surprisingly, our ratings dropped when we shifted from covering ways to help victims of the devastating Hurricane Matthew to what we thought was a big ticket political scandal.  Surprisingly evangelicals quit watching because they were busy helping the hurting.”
So, meanwhile, in Haiti—there are ways we can help.
Consider giving to this organization where the money can be specifically designated to Hurricane relief and every penny will go directly to just that:
http://www.newlife4kids.org/
  • Maintaining our Children’s Home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti of 130 children. We continue to be a “Rescue Center” for abandoned, handicapped, orphaned and children with severe malnutrition and disease, nursing them back to health.
    2) We have a staff of forty including nanny’s, a doctor, two nurses, physical therapists, cooks, etc…
    3) Our children’s home budget is over 160,000 per year as we also have much medical costs and unexpected emergencies.
    4) We provide all medical care and schooling for the children. The young adults go through training programs and trade school that they might reach they’re full potential, spiritually and naturally, and become Christ centered and productive citizens.
Or consider giving to this organization:  www.mohhaiti.org where you can also designate your funds.  They’re replacing tarp shelters with block homes.  They’re educating Haitians.  They’re giving  Haitians prosthetic limbs FREE OF CHARGE.  They’re providing medical care.  They’re providing food.  And there’s no CEO making hundreds of thousands.
Perhaps the best thing a believer can do in a time like this is turn off the TV and the news and turn to our original mandates.
Love.
Let us be found loving.

It’s what our Father does, and it is who He is.

Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.  He that does not love does not know God, for God is love.  Beloved, Let us love one another.  (I John 4:7,8)

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Refugees: It’s Time To Cross The Street

Crimes have been committed against France.

Against the United States.

Towers crumbling like houses of cards, people, like ants, crushed beneath the debris.  Lives leveled below iron and steel, plaster and mortar like gum wrappers in the hand of a raging enemy.

Gun shots blasting while heavy metal blares. Guitar strings screech to silence as people scatter. Fear grabs our souls and grips us like an iron vice.  And families are left behind to stitch their bleeding hearts closed anyway they can.

God knows we won’t forget; can’t forget; refuse to forget.

And somewhere over the ocean in a remote village or a thriving town women watch their men beheaded, their children gunned down before their eyes.  They see their daughters taken.  Savage violence plucks the life they carved into this planet from them like weeds from a garden and the memories rape their souls over and over again.  They will never be able to unsee the images of their family collapsing to earth in front of them.

God knows they won’t forget; can’t forget; refuse to forget.

How could they?  How could we?

And so the evil and the violence and the hate and the anger and the rage–all of it parades across the globe with its death sentence, and we are left to decide how we’ll respond.

The Israele historian,  Yehuda Bauer, once said,  “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

I can only speak for myself when I say I will not join the enemy in his death march by standing silently by.

Silence too is a crime.

Bystanding is a crime.

And for the person who calls themselves a follower of Christ, a person of the cross, for this person?  For this person silence and standing by is a sin.

Jesus had some instructions for us.  When the expert in religious law came to Christ and asked what he would need to do to have everlasting life, Jesus reminded the expert of what the law instructed.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

So, the expert . . . and isn’t it fascinating that this man is considered an expert in religious things because sometimes the most religious are the most lost . . . asks just exactly who is his neighbor.

In other words he said,  “I’m only going to love the ones I HAVE TO love.  I’ll go as far as I have to in order to get what I want, but not one single step further.”

And Jesus tells him the famous story of the Good Samaritan.  I’ve heard it since I was a girl.  How the pious priest and the self-righteous, entitled Levite separate themselves from this desperate man in need.  How they ignore him.  How they move quickly by.

It reminds me a little . . .

of a situation we are in now.

50 million individuals displaced in our world today.

13 million of them are considered of grave concern to the UN.

Refugees are our neighbor.

I will say this again.

For the Christian–the follower of Jesus Christ–REFUGEES ARE OUR NEIGHBOR.

And we are standing beside them on the road.  Now, today, we must choose if we will pass them by or love them as ourselves.

The Jew and the Samaritan had good reason to despise one another.  Their history was not good.  The Samaritan had been placed in the land of Israel to inhabit the vacated (by war) homes of the Jewish people.  When the Jews returned to their homeland (after having been refugees themselves), they discovered these Samaritan people in their homes.  It was war and anger and raging and bitterness from day one.

We understand that, don’t we?  We understand what it is to despise a people group because some of their population with a different color skin or a different religion have done horrific things to our nation.

But it was the Samaritan who stopped to help.

It was the Samaritan who understood that we recognize other human beings not by their religion, nationality, or ethnicity, but by the fact that they have a soul.

These refugees?  They have the very same breath of God within them that you and I have.  The breath God breathed into mankind from the beginning of time.

Could some of them be criminals?  Yes.

Some of us are too.

Since when did Christians get to pick and choose who they loved?

After asking the expert who was the real neighbor in the story, Jesus looked at that man of the law–the one who knew it all and was entitled to do as he pleased and he said,

Go and do the same.

(Luke 10:37)

That’s it.

That’s the end of the arguing and the asking and the debating and the questioning and the considering and the thinking and the discussing.

The end.

Go.

Do.

The.

Same.

By this you will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

(John 13:35)

By love.

That Samaritan?  Scripture says he bandaged his wounds.

Love covers a multitude of sins
and wounds.

Are we covering?  You and I?

Or are we too busy insisting the wounds are self-inflicted by a brutish nation?

Are we too busy counting our nation’s money and questioning if we can afford to help?

Our government may not be able to afford to help, but I wonder if, as Christians, we can’t afford NOT to help.  And how quickly we forget that the very God we follow is the God who multiplies loaves and fishes and goes by the name Jehovah Jireh.

Again, are we covering?

Or are we too busy battening down the hatches and pulling up the drawbridge in fear?

Do we have reason to fear?  Are you even kidding me?  I have two sons.  I WANT them to be safe.  Of course we have reason to fear.  Could they infiltrate our nation?  Yes, they could.  Frankly, they have.

But Jesus never once gave us an exception clause to the love command.

He promised the opposite.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If we value our safety more than we value a lost soul understanding the love of Jesus Christ, then we are guilty of idolatry.  And if I’m being honest, when I say I’m worried about terrorist entering my country, what I’m really saying is that I consider my own personal security to be a higher priority than obeying God.

If we want a life without trouble, we’d best not choose to follow God.

Because look where following God got a few of the biblical greats.

Surely Paul was afraid when he shared the gospel of Jesus Christ and was beaten for it. Yet it was Paul who also said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  (Phil. 1:21)

And Esther feared going before the King to rescue her people.  Yet it was Esther who said, “If I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

I wonder if Daniel feared the den of lions?

Or if David feared Goliath?

And then there was our Savior–the one we claim to follow.  As drops of blood dripped like sweat from his face taught with angst, I wonder if he also feared.  But then,

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  And really, death, where IS your sting?

I Tim. 1:7 I Cor. 15:55

For the believer–the true disciple–death means presence with our Savior.

Shouldn’t that be enough?

Enough to go ahead and take a step across the street.

Enough to go ahead and extend a hand?

Enough to open our home?

Enough to open our wallet?

Isn’t it the love of Christ that compels us?

Cause there’s this crazy little thought that keeps circling in my head.

Is it possible that for  a disciple of Jesus 85,000 refugees could mean an opportunity to obey?  Could it mean a chance to care for widows.  To parent orphans?  To give food and water to the least of these?  To share the gospel of Jesus with more nations? Is it possible that in a great divine plot twist, the very people we fear may be the ones we are called to make disciples of? What if God is miraculously turning the evil of some into a task for His followers–a task of making disciples? 

Isn’t that exactly like God?  To take the failure of mankind and turn it into the salvation of mankind? To right the wrong? To heal the hurting? To mend the broken?

I’m not a politician.  I won’t pretend that there are easy answers.  There aren’t.  I don’t want to be president or a member of congress in these times.  What the government decides to do about this situation has become superfluous to me.

Because I am a follower of Jesus, and the opening or closing of borders doesn’t change my mandate.  I am without excuse before the God who rescued me–a refugee of soul, separated from my eternal home by sin, and restored only by His grace.

Again I’ll say, I’m a refugee of soul restored only by His grace.

“For the LORD your God . . . justly treats the orphan and widow and (who) loves the resident foreigners, giving them food and clothingSo YOU must LOVE the resident foreigners because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”  Deut. 1-:17a,18,19)

And if I’m being candid, I think this:

I think if those of us who claim Christ as our Savior started to obey Him, we wouldn’t need a single bit of government intervention.

I think the smaller the body of Christ is in deed, the bigger government is forced to be.  And if we’re looking to shrink our government, brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to grow our obedience to the basic and very clear instructions of God’s Word.

No more hate.

No more rage.

No more venomous facebook posts.

Our God is LOVE.

And if we are living out anything else in His name, we are MISREPRESENTING a Holy and Righteous God and we will be held to account.

God. Is. Love.

The senseless acts of brutally lost people do not change who God is or what we are commanded to do as His followers.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.  He that does not love, DOES NOT KNOW God, for God is love.  Let us LOVE one another.

(I John 4:7,8)

I cannot claim to understand fully if we are best off to assist these families overseas in native countries or if we are to bring them here and assist them here.  I’ve read statistics.  I’ve looked at history.  I understand immigration–I’ve walked in those shoes.  I’ve prayed.  And I’ve been to cities of refuge here in the United States of America multiple times.  I don’t know if there is a best answer.

But I do know this.  I will be a part of helping.  I will be a part of mending and binding wounds.  I will not be a participant to hate.

If that puts me in danger, then so be it.

Because if scripture is true, and I believe it is, then to die really is gain.

You cannot hold the child of a refugee in your arms and look into their eyes like penni-sized pools of melted chocolate and remain unmoved.  You cannot look into those eyes and listen to them tell you the story of their brother gunned down as their momma watched.  You hear that story and your heart crumbles.  Your hate crumbles.

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They are human beings.

They need us.

If the government tells them no, I’ll trust their wisdom and decision, but I’ll give.

And if the government lets more in, I’ll trust that decision too. And I’ll help. Did you know entire churches are adopting families?  And there are said to be around 320,000 churches in the United States alone.

What if we did something crazy?

What if we, the church just got serious about obeying Jesus?  What if each church adopted just 4 families?  Took them in (either financially if they remain overseas) or locally if they are allowed to come to our country.  That would serve 1.3 million of the 13 million critical needs.  And if we wanted to wipe the need out entirely, we could adopt 40 families per congregation.  But then, that would be a little radical, wouldn’t it?

David Platt in his book Radical stuck it to me one time.  He said what if we quit asking how much we can spare and instead asked, “What’s it gonna take?”

But then, “maybe it isn’t radical at all.

Maybe it’s just right.” (Jared Herum)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…

(James 1:27)

And maybe the government isn’t the answer.  Maybe congress isn’t the answer.  Maybe a wall isn’t the answer.  Maybe, just maybe, the church is the answer.

Let’s just cross the street, shall we?

I understand this is complex.  And I’m not writing to government.  I’m not writing to people who don’t follow Christ.  I’m writing to those of us who say we are disciples.  If we are disciples, we have a clear choice.

We can turn our back on our neighbor, or we can

Go And Do The Same.

Because in the end?  They’re  not refugees; they’re out neighbor.

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Here are two links to pages that give a thorough list of fully vetted charitable organizations making a difference.  Why not give a little something here and now?

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-09-03/5-groups-doing-important-work-help-refugees-you-may-not-have-heard

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1523#.Vl2ZTr-LU_g