Be Of Good Courage

It is natural to experience disappointment when our hopes are crushed. Even when we have understood all along from past experience that it was likely we would be let down. The next thing we realize is that our hearts are heavy and our joy is diminished. This is why the word of God instructs us in Proverbs 4:23 to guard our hearts with all diligence.

“Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.”

One of the key ways to guard our hearts is to be careful when placing hope. I Corinthians 15:19 says,

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

If our hope does not extend beyond the physical life that we now live then it is guaranteed that we will be miserable in life because some prayers and hopes will be fulfilled on the other side. Herein is the patience of the saints of God. It reminds me of the two Disciples of Christ that were walking down the road away from Jerusalem where their hopes had been crushed by the governing bodies of their day which had just wrongfully crucified Jesus. The two disciples had hoped that the man who was killed would be the one to redeem Israel. When the man was crucified, so were their hopes for the redemption of Israel. While still traveling away from Jerusalem the two disciples were reproved by the resurrected redeemer Jesus Christ for not trusting in what the scriptures had promised regardless of how things appeared. This account is recorded in Luke 24.

In this life we will witness great evil and injustice but we can’t allow it to steal our hopes that in the very end of this age God will set all things right. We must shield our hearts with this hope that our joy might remain full and we don’t become sad and down cast like the two disciples leaving Jerusalem.  It is the plan of Satan to overthrow your hope with evil to the end that your hearts become hardened and you lose faith in God’s sovereignty. When we doubt God’s sovereignty we are apt to take things into our own hands and Satan knows that produces death. We guard our hearts to keep seeds of doubt, unbelief, fear, hate and other evils from being sown into it. Let the words in John 16:33 as spoken by Jesus before His crucifixion always strengthen you.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

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The Human Race

We are one. The reality of this truth always hits home when there is an attack on society outside of what we consider a war zone. War is tragic, but assault on the civilian population is truly an act of terrorism. As I contemplate the events in Boston, I know somewhere else in the world there was probably another attack on society just as heinous, a day or two before and perhaps since. The question is…do we mourn for the losses of others as we do our own. Until we learn to share the pain of the rest of our human family, we will not began to eliminate what is at the root of the suffering. What is the problem? A house divided cannot stand. Human kind is just too divided. Private interest and insensitivity to the lives of others are taking their toll. This division is why we live in such a violent world. The lack of love for one another is giving way to hate and destruction. The prevalence of selfishness and hate in our society is a direct result of the inability to grasp the fact that we are all human. Our different languages and skin tones and cultures have become more significant than the fact that we are one. What affects one of us, though it may not be immediately perceivable, affects all of us. Just like the human body, if one part is injured it will eventually affect the health of the whole body if not cared for. Like an infection that leads to a fever, and then convulsions throughout the body, and once the poison has spread, then death. If we could all see ourselves as part of one body, we would care more about each body member. After all, what person in their right mind neglects their own body? I know…that is also part of the problem.

Humans are guilty of violating the two laws of sustainable living. What I have been writing about so far in this post is the infraction of the first law. The first law of sustainable living is to love our neighbors as our own selves. Not merely our neighbors next door, but our neighbors over in the next county, state, or country. Not merely our neighbors that look like us and talk like us, but our neighbors of different ethnicities and cultures. American foreign policy lacks this principle of love, but even closer to home, what does our individual foreign policy look like. How often do we pray for the human right violations that occur in the different zip codes and time zones around the world? Prayer brings me to the second law of sustainable living. The second law of sustainable living is that we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. If we do not love God in this way, we will never fulfill the first law. God is the Creator, if we do not love the Creator we will not have respect for what He has created. If you love the Father then you will love His children. Keeping the two laws of sustainable living, given to us by the Creator, is the only way to win the race. God is Love, and it is only through being reconciled to Him, through faith in Jesus, that we have the power to truly love our neighbor. May God help us to love our neighbors across the finish line until we win the human race.

Matthew 22:36-40

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.