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Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

August 10, 2015

An interesting and challenging command, Jesus’ “do not let your heart be troubled.” “In this life you will have troubles…” And in the following blog, I hope that you find that you are not alone in trying to juggle your troubles with God’s peace, but that you find some solace in the hope found in God’s Words.

John 14:27 (KJV):Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Mark 13:8 (ESV):For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

John 16:33(NLT):I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

1 Peter 3:14 (ESV):But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED.

Life is both thorny and sweet and undeniably beautiful.

Life is both thorny and sweet and undeniably beautiful.

I tell you what, my brothers and sisters, it is hard to not be troubled.  The only way I ever manage moments of peace is when I focus on Jesus’ Gift of Life and God’s Mastery of All Creation, the beauty, the perfection…and then my mind starts whispering, “it’s all endangered or in danger”, and Jesus says, “Ah, yes, my child.  Things seem rather bleak right now, but I am not finished.  I am the Victor, the best is yet to come, All will be made right.  Just hold on to me and do not let me out of your sight!”

I honestly cannot stand the results of what has definitely equated to a major pole shift.  Maybe the world didn’t physically shift on it’s axis, but is sure flipped upside down spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.  I could spend all day being frustrated about all of these troubling things, as I am raising four young men, aged 12-18, and as I have mentioned in past blog postings, this crummy world does not make that easy!!

What really concerns me, and has been of concern for a while now, is the racial tension, that has been growing and growing over the past few years, in the land touted as the land of the free and the home of the brave.  It is hard to write about or talk about, even, because someone is liable to get inadvertently offended, even by the most well-meaning author.

I grew up in southeast Texas, only an hour or so from two towns highlighted by racist acts, Vidor and Jasper, Texas  I inherently knew that there was something very wrong with men who flocked together to hate our fellow man. Only evil could spurn such fools into action…

I made my first black friends in elementary school.  I remember the first days of kindergarten, no one wanted anything to do with me, and yet I was like a clueless puppy, just trying to make a friend.  There was a group of black girls giggling and playing hopscotch at recess, and I wanted to partake of their joy with them, so I leaned against the rough brick wall of the old school and I began to watch them.  One of them asked me what I was doing starring at them, and I explained that I was wondering what they were playing and if I cold join them.  I think one of them mentioned kicking my posterior, but another said I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and to be nice.

Childhood innocence, going the way of the dinosaurs...

Childhood innocence, going the way of the dinosaurs…

They, with much reserve, taught me about hopscotch.  We laughed and giggled together, and became friends.  I couldn’t tell what all the fuss was about…these girls were just like me, only their skin was made of rich shades of brown and purples and creams.  I thought they were more blessed than I, to have such pretty skin tones!!  My innocence and desire to have friends seemed to have saved me early own from doing anything other than scoffing at the ignorance behind racism.

I met my best friend that day, though we got even closer in 3rd grade.  She is my best friend to this day.  Her favorite song is Poison’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, and while I failed miserably at the whole college experience, my best friend is continually building on her degrees and teaches third grade to the luckiest kids in the world!!

If I had let others form my opinion, even others I am kin to, I would not have been blessed with my life-long bestie.

I noticed a change in my own kids when we moved from an urban to rural school district…but it is hard for me to gauge whether or not this change is solely location-related, or if something sinister has been going on, because when we moved, the whole world was lighting up with stories of racism, racial injustice and prejudice reborn…All the while, my kids’ language had changed after working for a severely racist farmer, and it all seemed to be a big joke to them.  Their words and sudden displays of ignorance pierced my heart and soul!  They were slinging around the forbidden word, and using the old standard, “Well everybody’s doing it…” or “Hey, that’s how they refer to themselves in their songs!” Ugh…

I’ve hated rap from the very beginning of it’s release, because it degraded women and the language was atrocious and self-demeaning; it glorified and magnified violence and sins of all kinds, such as love of self, money, drugs and booze.  My kids play it loud, until I blow a fuse.  My kids…not what I expected, but that is for a braver blog that may never be born…between my failures and the world’s loud, twisted influence, I leave them covered with prayer in God’s hands.

What we are seeing unfold is unprecidented. This sudden apacolyptic rise in racism is what Mark 13:8 speaks of.  Nation against nation.  Louis Farrakhan has called for 10,000 black men to rise up against the tyranny…white people.  He has called for the blood of the white man.  What enrages me, is not all white people and not all black people care to be part of this uprising and I fear that a lot of innocents are going to be hurt, if this call is met with action.

And to make matters worse, last night was the one year anniversary of the Michael Brown shooting, in St. Louis.  Whether just or not, the riots that ensued afterwards, and the lack of healing allowed to truly take place has escalated, producing an instant replay, with another young soul taken, by the hands of the police…but people, beware, don’t you let your emotions cloud your judgment.  Michael’s classmate, Tyrone Harris, Jr. was no peaceful demonstrator, and sadly, likely, just as with Michael Brown, the police had no other option…kill or be killed.  Tyrone had an agenda, a stolen weapon, and fired first.  Both boys, now being mourned together, were thieves, and both boys were confrontational.  This should be a wake up call to all, that our boys are in trouble. This should not be a race issue, but a generation issue.

Acts 2:40 (ESV): And with many other words he (Peter) bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

Everywhere I go, I read about the hustle.  Everyone wants money and to be famous and to be bad-mamma-jammas…The thug life has been elevated to rock-star status, and instead of cleaning up the streets, they are being over-crowded by a bunch of wanna-be, lost souls, glorifying sex, drugs, and violence.

The enemy knew what he was doing…

2 Tim 3:1-5 (ESV):But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

As Ray Stevens sings, “They’re everywhere, They’re everywhere!!” The Word of God says to avoid such people…it is obvious that such avoidance is the way of peace.  My sister shared the above verses yesterday, and I again wondered if God would be okay with me running away, haha!!!

She and my brother-in-law came down for a visit, last week, with her son.  My brother-in-law is half German, half “African-American” (though if he is anything like my best friend, he denounces African-American, for black).  My sister lovingly refers to him as her German-chocolate…she’s a funny gal. 💛

We talked a little bit about this ongoing climatic racial tension and how awkward it is to breech the subject with any smidgen of common sense.  We can’t figure out how it all went so wrong so fast, except to say, this world’s done flipped upside down…We are mostly level-headed, pretty average joes, to ourselves.  We like snowcones, and cool breezes, and laughter.  We spend our free time with family, and have realized we have enough trouble with that, so why make or look for more.  As my brother-in-law says, “not my problem, not my business.”  We are just trying to make a living in order to support our families and just get along.

Why can’t everyone just get along?

The only solution we saw was once nailed on a cross for all of our sins and we know we just have to stick together, standing on the truth that IS IN GOD and HIS WORD, and hold on tight, as we experience the birthing pains of armaggedon. It is in His perfect love and perfect laws and in His perfect timing, that all will be made right.

The challenge we face is perserverence.  The challenge we face is standing still on truth and not allowing hooks to sink into us, pulling us towards hate, for we are already hooked on love.  The challenge we face is in trying to hook others up with the only Pure Source of Love.

Have you baited your hook?

James 1:25 (ESV):But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

God is not against us, He is for us.  We should be the same with everyone in our lives.  It is our sole responsibility to make our weapon of choice, Love and the knowledge of God’s Word.  Let your faith be your shield.  He does not bring shame to the faithful, nor the hopeful.

Romans Chapter 5 (ESV)

Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right timeChrist died for the ungodly.For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Death in Adam, Life in Christ

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, anddeath through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam,who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded formany. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses broughtjustification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Nowthe law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Vaya con Dios

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