Friday, March 22, 2013

The Power of Words, Stupid Ones

The Power of Words
You are trapped by the words of your mouth. You are ensnared with the words of your mouth. (Proverbs 6:2)

The world is driven by words. The Kingdom of God is speech driven. Words set things in motion. God spoke and there was light. Words are spoken and we know that we are loved. The actions will accompany the words, but speaking drives the universe.
We have available now all forms of social media. Words are being written and published for the world to see. Feelings, rants, tirades, accusations, love mush, and all kinds of comments are being made. The writers seem to think it is only for a few, but experience tells us that anyone can get to those comments and make them universally known, posting them on numerous sites.
The rape of a girl in Steubenville, Ohio should give an exclamation point to what I am about to say. These boys posted video of themselves in the process of abusing the girl. They bragged about it on social media, and even said they had violated her. What were they thinking? This is wrong on so many levels that it is staggering to consider. First of all, how could you be so cruel to act like that, secondly, what weird, twisted mind thinks you will get away with it? Thirdly, what kind of school culture idolizes sports figures to the place that they think they are above the law? Fourthly, where in the world were the parents who were allowing an underage drinking party that had denigrated to an orgy? Fifthly, what was wrong with the other teens who were watching this and did not stop it? Sixthly, why did coaches and school officials not do anything once they found out about the incident? I probably could go on, but the complicity is rampant on many levels.
Social media can become Orwellian as the government is able to track and follow and convict based on what you say. Teens are oblivious to the consequences of stupid posts. Posting pictures, sexting, making bizarre statements, complaining and accusing others will come back to bite you! Look at the political campaigns. They dig up stuff from the candidates past and publish it and use it as ammunition against them. Doing stupid stuff today will be published because someone has a camera phone handy. 
While I believe social media has a place and is good most of the time, it can become a horrible media that will eventually harm you if you are not careful. For instance, two girls were arrested for threatening the victim in Steubenville. There have been cases of people loosing their jobs after posting comments against the employer. A waitress just lost her job for complaining about a tip given.
Here are some thoughts for safety: Do not post pictures that are provocative or suggestive, do not make really personal comments about yourself, your wife, husband, or children, do not tell too much about yourself, your feelings etc. Be careful. Do not attack other people. Be wise. You are snared by the words of your mouth! More so than ever now!
Bless, not curse.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

At The Cross

At The Cross
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. (Galatians 2:20) 

When was the last time you heard or sang the “Old Rugged Cross?” When was the last time you heard a message on the cross of Christ? It has been a while more than likely, maybe last Easter, if then.
We have been working on transformation without the cross. We seem to want to feel good about ourselves and work harder to be holy and acceptable (at least to ourselves). Today’s definition of holy and acceptable is more along the lines of what makes me happy. The transformation that most people want is a better me, an improved me, a made over me. God’s definition of transformation is dying and letting Christ live through us. “No longer I live, but Christ in me.” 
So, if I am to die in order for Christ to live in me, then there must be something that takes my life. There has to be an instrument and a circumstance that takes my life, kills me, or in more polite terms, expire.
That instrument is the cross. It is meant to be the tool of my demise. But we come to the “nevertheless I live part.” The death desired is internal. Something in me really offends God. It has to die. There is no way to live for God without this significant internal death. We speak a lot about the new birth, but we fail often to speak of why we need a new birth. We invite people to the new birth, but we infrequently speak of the death required which brings about the need for a new birth. It seems from the New Testament that the cross of Christ was preached prefacing the new birth.
But, oh how do we die? There must come a day of total exhaustion. That all the self induced, mind over matter, human determination, comes to an end. Exhausted. Tired. When life becomes a burden and you do not want to go on, then we are willing to die. It is at that point that the cross becomes inviting. It is said that in lifesaving school, they teach to let the person drowning exhaust themselves first or they may drown the rescuer as well. Once they are tired, the lifeguard can bring them to safety. So it is with mankind, sometimes we must exhaust ourselves before we will finally embrace the cross.
Looking to the cross, we find one who suffered and died for us. We begin to realize that all our fruitless self efforts were nailed to that cross. We realize that our addictions were nailed to that cross and the freedom we so desperately need was purchased there by the blood of Jesus.
The internal death begins to take place as we run out of our own breath. We come just as we are, hopeless and tired. We are ready to die and die we do. But in that death, as we expire to self, instead of oblivion and annihilation, at the moment of ceasing to struggle and we abandon ourselves to God, life comes roaring in and the breath of God touches us and life is worth living again. Life, not for ourselves, but life for the one who rescued us, who died for us. The cross then becomes a thing of beauty and an object of deep respect for the one who hung there.