Monday, November 23, 2015

Heavenly Immigration Policy

Our illustration was taken by a Romanian who goes by the online handle of Nick Nice.  He was testing the camera on his Nexus 6 and produced that gorgeous image.  Serendipity for both of us. Finding something pleasant or of value that we weren't looking for.

1 Chronicles 16:10-12  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

That glory, the marvelous works of God, the wonders He creates, the wisdom of His Truth.  Those, too, are serendipity.  There are sufficient verses in the Bible that make it clear we wouldn't have a relationship with God without Him assisting us to recognize spiritual reality.  For some of us that takes longer than it does for others.  And some never reach that point.  Pride, other sins and the flesh get in the way.  And that's an underlying principle that struck me in a recent online discussion of one of today's hot political topics.

There has been a lot of discussion about taking in the Middle Eastern refugees or not.  One of the memes that's pro immigrant shows a native American in full regalia, including full headdress.  And it says, "Let me get this straight.  You're afraid of refugees coming to America, killing you, and stealing your property.".  I reshared that to get people thinking.  And it got both positive and negative remarks.

Some considered it leftist propaganda.  But the historical fact is that Europeans left for the New World to get away from religious persecution.  The native Americans mostly welcomed them in.  For their hospitality, they received diseases that killed some of them because their immune systems never had to deal with those infections, previously.  And there were those who were greedy to the point of killing and stealing.  That was part of our beginning, whether we want to recognize that or not.  And it's where modern day arguments stray from thinking with God.

The more liberal train of thought points to the pilgrims' welcome from the native Americans as part of the proof that taking in refugees, today, is "the Christian thing to do".  And many of them wouldn't really know that for sure.  As Garrison Keillor put it, “Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.”.  In fact, that very example of the pilgrims' arrival is what blows up their argument in several ways.

  1. The native Americans weren't Christian.
  2. Part of the problem was their own trust in men, with no vetting process.
  3. The Europeans had not declared war on the native people, unlike Al Quaida, ISIS, Boko Haran, and others today.
  4. The native Americans had no declaration that there would be enemies intentionally mixed in with the refugees, in order to get them in place to do harm.
But the fact is that being liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat has nothing to do with proper thinking.  Whether people disbelieve God or erroneously think they're following Him, the thinking is wrong.  So, here's a question.  If people don't have a connection with God and don't think with God, how can we assume they can have the mind of Christ and come to the right conclusions? And maybe another question.  Does either side of the discussion really believe that arguing and name calling will really change minds?  Would it change yours?

Consider a few other points.
  • Part of Satan's strategy to make us miserable is separation and discord.  Between us and God, first, and between each other.
  • Satan hates our freedom and salvation in the plan of God.  So, he hates us, whether we've accepted salvation or not.
  • Comparing the world to those points, the jihadists have an obvious source for how they think.  They not only hate non-Muslims, they also hate Muslims who think differently.
  • Comparing America to those first two points, the polarization is an obvious ploy.  It doesn't matter whether it's race, politics, or anything else important.  The extremism is a satanic plot to keep people from God.
So, what's the solution?  Let's look at few verses to put that together.

John 3:16-17  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 5:30-31  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.  If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

1 John 4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 4:20-21  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 

Think about what those verses tell us.
  1. God loved the world, not just a specified portion of it.  Salvation is a gift for all, and our free will is open to choose.  Jesus was the instrument of that salvation.
  2. In that second passage, Jesus says that His thought life is submitted to that of the Father. So, if we're to be Christ like, ours must be submitted, too.
  3. Our love for God isn't natural to our flesh.  It takes God loving us and drawing us to kindle a love in us in return.
  4. We can only say we have a truly Godly love if it's evidenced by loving our brother.  And that's on two levels.  We demonstrate our love for our Christian brothers and sisters through fellowship, discipleship, and caring for their overall well being.  But, on the other level, every other human is our "brother".  We need to draw them to God and into Godly thinking.  We're the tool God chose to use to do that.  We can hate their thinking and actions, but that should prod our love for them even more, to bring them to a full relationship with God.
The only way the world will improve is if "me" becomes "He".  The God that is in me holds sway to the point I become more like Him.  In what I think, say, and do.  He becomes a part of me and I become not just a container for Him.  When the God in me takes over my thinking, I no longer have to fear potential results of living Christ like or of ministering to my brother.  Yes, I need to use Godly wisdom.  But, when I do, I can minister to those in need, no matter the consequences.  We can't share the Gospel if we separate ourselves from those who need to hear it.

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Does your relationship with Christ take you beyond arguing and name calling and into evangelizing and discipling?  Does your salvation bring you to fully trusting God?  Are you, now, someone else's serendipity?

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