Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christian Influence

Christian Influence
 “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
 (John 8:32)

The influence on the world from the impact of Jesus has been long reaching and effective. Even though the world has not all accepted Jesus as the Son of God or a savior of mankind, He still has changed all societies where Christians have lived. We, the people who believe in him, have set Biblical standards, used them to free people, and across the board have elevated the value of individuals. The whole concept of tolerance originated with us. The idea of separation of church and state came from us. The movement to abolish slavery came from us, not in the 18th century, but in the fourth century. The respect and elevation of women and children came from us, not a 20th century movement, but from the teachings of Jesus.
While modern movements have secularized and exaggerated themes, the basic underpinnings of thought and philosophies have originated in the teachings of Jesus and the church’s promotion of those liberating scriptures.
The Laicite’ of the French came from the Huguenot in their movement to free the country from religious persecution coming from the Catholic church and the French monarchy. Our forefathers penned such an approach into the constitution. The reformers’ ideas were not to eradicate faith from government, but not to allow religion to be a government function. 
The tenets of the scriptures promote the church being a salt to society, not to legislate society, but affect the society to form a godly, moral, influence in a world with many different people.
In an article in USA Today, the author was referring to a speech by a Muslim professor who was deeply concerned for the loss of the Christian communities and influence in MdIdle Eastern countries. The jihadist persecution of the Christian community, she indicated, would be a horrible loss to the countries and further destabilize them.
I witnessed in Africa a Muslim man who wanted Blaise Mibabta’s church in his neighborhood as a good influence. In fact, he was giving Blaise preferential treatment in price and accommodation.
Jesus has done more for the world than current leaders are willing to admit. Education is one of the largest contributions through the centuries that Christians have provided. If it were not for Christian missionaries, many countries would still be illiterate in the masses. Even today, Christians are the backbone of education in many third world nations. For instance, there is no public education in the Congo. Church schools are the primary educators until the college level. There is no free education. Everyone pays whether well off or poor. The poor remain struggling for an education. I mean, even the ability to read.
While our western societies are seeking to marginalize Christians, we are the backbone of the society. It is our Jesus who has taught the principles that elevate and free mankind. To remove our influence is to take a step toward anarchy and worse abuse. It may not happen in a decade, but given a generation, it will be significant.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was in 1989. That generation remembers. Teenagers in Germany have no idea of the suffering and separation. One generation and the Cold War and suffering is forgotten. Six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust and there are those in this generation who no nothing about it, or even believe it is fiction. President Eisenhower wanted every generation to remember the atrocities so it would never be repeated. Remembrances and memorials are necessary.

We, Christians, have a rich history of liberating those in bondage. Yes, we have our history of abuses, but those who have followed Christ, his teachings, have wonderfully changed the world for the better and have even affected non-Christian societies to their betterment.

Joy to the World

  JOY to the WORLD

        ...I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.
                                                            (Luke 2:10)

News travels fast, good or bad. The shepherds were quick to tell their story around Bethlehem. The wise men were telling their story two years later to Herod. Elizabeth had a hallelujah moment when Mary came into the house as John the Baptist in her womb leaped for joy. Mary prophesied the “Magnificat” as the Holy Spirit came over her. Simeon and Anna bore witness with joy when the baby Jesus was brought into the temple.
Whatever time of day, week, month, or year, Jesus bring joy to those who experience him. Joy is that deep sense of well being. It does not have to be exuberant, though it can. But it is that deep sense that everything is well with my soul and that the final outcome is a victory for good.
We have very few times in the daily affairs of the world where notice is taken to the Savior. Two times a year, Christmas and Easter, the world gives a little notice. If we, who are the worshippers of this Jesus, pay no attention to such rare moments, then the world will become less and less interested in our celebrations or high church times.
This is a really good time to celebrate family, friends, and a season of holiday. Merry Christmas should be our greeting. Happy Holidays works if we realize that Holiday is really a contraction of “holy” and “day.” So, holiday is Holy-Day. So, in the spirit of the season, “Happy Holy-Day.”
We are having a Candlelight, Christmas Eve service Tuesday evening, the 24th at 7:00 PM. It will be a one hour service at best, but it will be a devotional, leading us into the day of Christmas. It will be a good time to reflect some, sing some traditional carols of celebration, and set the tone for a joyous day. 

Invite your family and friends to spend that one hour with you.     P. BillpastedGraphic.pdf