Leaving the lights on

Addiction is powerful.

Even a ‘non-chemical’ addiction such as pornography has the ability to rewire our brains to the extent that we don’t feel.

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(And of course, any learned person knows that there are plenty of neurochemicals in a pornography addiction.)

Addiction is ultimately about numbness – either causing it or seeking it.

In David’s great psalm of repentance, after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Psalm 51, he continually calls for God to return and awaken emotion within him. He prays, “Let me hear joy and gladness. … Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Part of repentance is returning to a delight in the Lord; it is also mourning the places we have grieved Him.

When I look at the person of Jesus, I see the polar opposite of numbness. I see someone who was entirely alive to His emotions, the full spectrum. I see a man who wept at the passing of his dear friend. In the Christian world, I often hear the verse thrown around as a bit of trivia: Do you know the shortest verse in the Bible?

Jesus wept.

Do we ever take time to think about the implications of these two words?

God wept.

God … cries.

If we are to be like Jesus, then we are to be alive to our emotions.

Seeking to escape the hard times and numb the pain is not what God wants in us. The enemy may lure us in with the promise of a pain-free life, but what ends up happening is reality becomes dimmed.

To be like God is to embrace the reality around us with the emotions He has wired into us, not to escape it.

I never would promote emotionalism for the sake of emotionalism, but emotions absolutely have their place – especially in the response to truth.

I picture Jesus on the mountain, crying out to the Father for guidance. I see Him in the temple courts, fiery with rage at injustice. And there He is in the garden, nervous and terrified of the suffering He is about to go through.

And as He hangs on the cross, shattered and dying, He is offered a drink to ease the pain. I have read multiple sources stating that this cocktail may have been designed to reduce the agony of those suffering torture so they could slip into death with some amount of comfort.

But He turned it down.

Jesus refused to partake in anything that would reduce His experience, the good and the bad, in life and in death.

Saint Irenaeus said that “the glory of God is man fully alive.”

Jesus was fully alive.

From the moment he emerged from Mary’s womb til’ the blood dripped from His toes onto the dirt beneath the cross, I see a man who embraced every ounce of His life and continues to from His place on high.

To embrace addiction is to escape life.

Whether it is alcohol, drugs or pornography – You are just dimming your own light that Jesus said is to shine (Matthew 5:16)

So let us cling to Jesus. Let us cling to the One who gives to each of us life, and life to the fullest.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

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I am_____________.

This is not a not my usual article. I’m not attempting to provide commentary on a current social or theological issue, nor expose an untruth or false teaching, nor shed light on a biblical principle.

This is a simple list of what I support.

Why? … I’ll get to that shortly.

I am Pro-God.

I am Pro – Christian Faith

I am Pro – Biblical truth

I am Pro – Traditional and Biblical Marriage

I am Pro – Life (in every way )

I am Pro – America

I am Pro – Liberty

I am Pro – Separation of church and State

I am Pro – Small Government

I am Pro – Constitution

I am Pro – Gun

I am Pro – Freedom

I am Pro – Family

I am Pro – Faith

I am Pro – Prayer

I am Pro – Truth

This is a short list of things that matter to me and things that I believe in. What one can reason from this list, is that if I am “pro” something, then I am ” anti” whatever opposes it.

The reason for this short list is for the morally ambiguous who may wonder where my allegiance lies. You see, I don’t typically broadcast my views on every issue nor do I publicly promote the propaganda of any political nature. I believe politics is dangerous and divisive, but unfortunately in some ways, necessary and fulfill a purpose.

IF you know me – you know where I stand … But if you didn’t, read this list and KNOW that I am not afraid to STAND ALONE. I would much rather stand alone and go down swinging, knowing I stood for truth and righteousness than blend  with the crowd of the unrighteous and worldly, and be a coward.

We live in a God-less era, where God has been removed fromevery possible place he can be, it’s no wonder why the events that are unfolding  around us are unfolding  –  why are we shocked?

But do not be deceived – We do not live in a God-less world. Choosing to ignore him, his teachings and laws do NOT remove him from existence. Understand that this is HIS world and we are merely living in it.He has allowed us to make a mess of it and one day he will back to clean it up – WRITE IT DOWN.

…And when that day comes, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess – and who then will want our meaningless platitudes to be shared?

Check yourself.

This list was for you, the reader, and your question-mark-man (1)information. Do with it, and me, what you will. IF you feel that you and I can no longer associate via social media – then  do what you must, but do so knowing it was your choice and not mine. I believe what I believe to be true and if what I believe to be true is, in fact, true, then with every breath in my body I will try to help you see the truth also…So if leaving is to be done, it won’t be done by me. Your soul is too valuable a thing for me to walk away from.

I am Keith Stonehart, and I am dead  – because Christ now lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

” I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Finding the Common Ground

It is plainly evident that our country is not headed towards, but already engaged in Culture War. Many will use the words “Liberal vs. Conservative” or “Tolerant vs. Intolerant” and even “Loving vs. Hateful”…. But none of these are correct… Not really.

Can we just call it what it is?

Good vs. Evil? No …

Right vs. Wrong? No…

It’s Human vs.Human… Here is why.

With  the onslaught of so-called “Human Rights Issues” at the center of this war, one view or belief opposed to another  are the grounds for battle and words are the weapons of choice (for the time being anyway). One group believes one doctrine or philosophy, while the other believes differently and by and large the conflict, no matter how large an convoluted it has become really boils down to one single point of focus –

Conform to my way or you are  “_____________________”

Agree with me or you are “__________________”

If you believe “_________________” then it means “____________________”

You fill in these blanks with whatever misdefined words you’d like, they all fit – Bigot , Intolerant , Hateful or my personal all time fave is when you take the beginning of any word to indicate behavior of a person and then just add “phobic ” to the end of it to imply that in some way I am terrified of this person or the implications of what accepting this behavior would mean.

(I began to type “childish” next, but I don’t want to insult innocent children.)

Ridiculous. This term is more fitting. It is absolutely ridiculous that we reduce human beings down to a label by using a word  targeted to  affect them and essentially  provoke the reaction. A ridiculous part of that formula is that fact that in almost every case these words are used incorrectly when doing so!

Example – “Bigot”

big·ot
ˈbiɡət/
noun  –   a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions
So, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty? 
 
Example – “Intolerant”
in·tol·er·ant
ˌinˈtäl(ə)rənt/
adjective  –   not tolerant of views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.
So again, if logic is applied  – wouldn’t a person labeling another this for having a different view or belief than his own also be guilty?
One more..
Example – “_________phobic”
phobic – See phobia
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.
Again, apply logic…. Would one who vehemently names some as phobic not also be guilty of being phobic to the view of the other?
Surely, you see my point.
For every misuse of these misdefined words(and so many others not listed) , we perpetuate war that will ONLY PUSH US FARTHER from the “so-called ” goal that is touted by both sides in this-
UNITY will NEVER be reached.
PEACE will NEVER be attained.
HUMANITY will be LOST and NOT GAINED.
 
You see, we are failing to see the common-ground we all share, and prefer to use it for a battle-ground – We are all human.
Each of us are human and whether you are like me , a believer in God as creator and lover of the creation or a devout Atheist that believes the opposite  – the one thing neither of us can escape is the common ground we both possess – We are BOTH human and both valuable.
The point of this article is not to try to convert you to my beliefs. While that is what I will always do for someone who is searching  , I can also recognize that  many are NOT searching and no matter how much my heart may ache for you, I can not and should not force MY faith on YOU. Doing so negates free will and the very premise on which I act and believe.
However, believing something differently than me doesn’t require me to hate you.
 
No, truthfully  – If I really care like my beliefs teach that I should , hating you would be counter productive.
However  – not approving of your actions is completely acceptable and by fair contrast – also acceptable for you to not approve of mine! The mind-blowing part of it all, is that neither of us has to hate each other for it!
Whoa – what a concept!
The freedom that this country grants us in part is the freedom to believe what we choose. For me  – my standard is the Bible because I believe it is God’s word and therefore, I want to follow it through and through.
You may not.
So rather than label you, provoke you, or malign you  – I will recognize that you are human and prone to error – just as I am and maybe someday, some way – we can meet in the common ground of humanity and have an intelligent conversation about our differences and behave like … Well, HUMANs.
I’ll be praying for us all.2015-06-05-bigot6
Photo credit – Adam4d.com

 

 

 

Love – What it is ,and what it isn’t .

Hate

“Love is love”.

I would be willing to bet you (if I were a betting man) that if I have heard that phrase once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.

” Love is love and you can’t help who you love”. However saying something over and over, no matter the volume, no matter the repetition, no matter what century it is  – DOES NOT MAKE IT TRUE…  And NO, time doesn’t change it either. For every time I have heard “It’s the 21 century, get with the times”  , I can only think to myself that if something is pure, if something is eternal and everlasting as true love is supposed to be by definition – then it is unchangeable by culture no matter what century it is . Right and wrong, as well as truth and fiction, are principles that are built upon unchanging standards. It has never been right to murder someone (Genesis 4) nor has a lie ever become truth (Romans 1:25) and love is no different.

I believe without fail that the bible is the ultimate standard because it is the infallible word of God and because God can not lie due to his nature, every single word of it is true. The further culture moves from this standard, the more things like truth, right and wrong and love become subject to human standards. As humans, a creation of God, God gave us the ability to reason and to choose as we were created in his image (Genesis 1:26). Given the ability to choose and not making us as unthinking robots,that means we also have the capacity to not choose him – but our own way.

Proverbs 14:12 deals with this in saying “ There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Just as children need the guidance of their parents to grow up well and to  make good decisions – we too are like children that need guidance  and that guidance is given by a perfect source and is absolute, so that it can be trusted . It is everlasting and most importantly – UNCHANGING.  A changing standard is unsure, unsafe and ultimately flawed because it can not be trusted. IF one day something is acceptable and the next day it’s not – How can someone stay true or on the right path.  I mean  2+2 still = 4 correct? OF course!Because it is based on an unchanging truth that can be tested and still be trusted when proven true.

So how is it that love is any different?

ITs not. 

First we must define love by its source. 

1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

1 John 4:16 “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

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

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

So love, is from God because God IS love, and the fact that we are able to love, is because God first loved us and so we are commanded to love one another because love is from God and when we love  , then we abide with him and know him.

So then , If in fact I am not the standard of love and where it comes from and God is , can I love just any way I choose to and it still be love? Let me put it like this – can I drive as fast as I choose to and still claim to be driving safetly? Well, despite my opinion of how well I drive, my opinion doesn’t override the law in place that regulates my speed . In fact , driving the way I choose  with no regard to boundaries set by an authority or standard  will  have consequences.  You see – we don’t get to rewrite the speed laws or change the meaning of speeding  – nor do we get to rewrite the meaning of love.

Now that we know the source of love and the author of it (notice the title author inherently carries with it the concept of authority)  , lets look at its definition.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.

What this first section takes note that no matter what I do,no matter how well I may do it without love it is worthless and in a word  – noise…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

This is the section that Hallmark makes their living on. But ,notice a few things here  –

It is patient and kind. I can say for sure ,that many of the people I have engaged with over the legality of same-sex marriage who scream vehemently that “Love is love” and neither been patient nor kind to me…Lets continue –

It doesn’t envy or boast.Also untrue concerning my experiences this year.

It is not arrogant or rude. This has been a big one. In almost every occasion , I have been talked to like a lesser human being who is considered to be “less than intelligent” according to the opposing views standard of intelligence. I have been insulted and derided and in some cases threatened . Again – I’m failing to see the love here that you are screaming into my face about.

It doesn’t insist on its own way and it is not irritable nor resentful. See the earlier comments.

It does not rejoice at wrong doing ,but rejoices with the truth.

Ok – this is the big one.

If love by definition doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing but the truth – then you can not call what you are doing love. Repeat  – If love by definition doesnt rejoice in wrongdoing but the truth – then you can not call what you are doing love. The same standard that defines love also defines right and wrong ,  truth and lies and ultimately sin what it is and what it isnt … Just like love. To rejoice in something that is opposed to God whether it be ANY type of sexual immorality , murdering , or lying or stealing ,cheating etc – is NOT rejoicing in what God has called good or true  – but evil or sinful.

But  – notice the last section –

Love bears ,believes,hopes and endures all things. This section is what solidifies love as sacrificial ! It bears the struggles of others when they need help , It believes the best about others when doubts arise , it hopes because without hope we have nothing to live for and it ENDURES with those who I may be at odds with because if I love the way I say I do – then I want the same salvation for you that God has extended ALL people

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Love is eternal and as other things pass away  , it wont .. So grow up and be mature. Face what you know is right and make the right decision. Stop being selfish and be selfless.. 

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest is love because is gives and doesn’t take.  ITs the greatest because it is not selfish , but selfless. It is the greatest because it is from God  , and it is GOD.

You can’t redefine what is not yours to redefine . Nor can you change what is eternal . It is what it is , no matter how loud you scream at me , no matter how much you repeat it and now matter how much you hate me for my stance about it – I will still love you.

Yes, I will.

I will still love you , because God still loves you – and thats the difference.

Love doesnt always suit me ,nor should anyone expect it to. When we adopt a human standard as greater than God’s , what is to keep me from hating you rather than love you? Whats to keep me from stretching out my fist to hurt you rather than offer my hand to help you?

When we replace God’s standard for ours , we accept a flawed and moving target rather than trusted and solid one. If the truth depends on me – we are doomed to fail .

And yes – I know all to  well that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians who have been equally or even moreso hateful on the other side of this issue. They wrong for the same reasons I have listed from the definition of love as the ones who have hated me.

Simply calling themselves Christians and doing things “in the name of” doesnt  make any of what they say true nor them a representative of the God they claim they serve.

After all words are words and they mean what they mean and none of us can change that – Out actions however , are another story all together.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins -1 Peter 4:8

Why I don’t preach

I get asked a lot of questions. I do my best to give answers … Appropriate, correct, to the best of my knowledge etc… The truth is, I don’t have ALL of the answers. Yet, the questions will continue to  come, and I will continue  do my best to answer.

I suppose if I could answer one question to the best of my ability and to the best of my knowledge, then I could answer any question the same way , albeit – sometimes that answer would be “I don’t know “.

You see, my job demands me to question everything, to look for the truth in every situation and to examine it to the ultimate standard of truth and then compare and share it as it is proper to.

This often gets me into trouble with people.

It gets me into trouble because many of the societal and cultural push for the acceptance of immorality have inherently a built-in  biblical truth that is completely opposed to it. When the answer is given to the best of my ability and from the standard of truth  I have used to arrive at this conclusion, it is most often not received with the warmest of welcomes. Following quickly behind my answer are responses that are usually sharp and often used as a weapon would be to insult me, deride and berate me and to ultimately hurt me.

Now a new line of questioning begins as a means to divert me away from the original topic and turn the focus on me and my motives. These questions are filled not only with spite and maliciousness, but they are also loaded  with suppositions and assumptions. The problem with  the suppositions and assumptions is that others incorrectly place motives about why I do what I do  , rather than work from an informed opinion or even better – to allow me to answer their question without jumping to conclusions.

“Why do you preach? – to steal people’s money? To spread your hatred for people who aren’t like you? Because you think you’re better than everyone else?

“No” is all I can usually get out before I’m cut off , but in fact there are many reasons, some more important that others, but all are deciding factors  that played out when I considered choosing this  life.

The first thought that comes to mind is “why would I choose a life that will bring me such hatred and uncomfortable moments  such as these if not for an incredibly good reason?  I mean, after all – where is the tolerance FOR me,  that everyone is demanding FROM me?

That being said, It might be easier to tell you why I don’t do what I do.

1. I don’t preach for money.

2.I don’t preach to be self-righteous.

3. I don’t preach because I want to prove others wrong.

4. I don’t preach because I hate anyone.

5. I don’t preach to make you feel bad about yourself.

6. I don’t preach to make you feel good about yourself.

7.I don’t preach pretending that I am a Psychologist.

8. I don’t preach for popularity.

9.I don’t preach for praise.

10. I don’t preach pretending to have all the answers.

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I preach because God is real. And just as he is real, so is his love, his grace, and his mercy – and ALL of these things have been extended to ALL people. This is completely visible in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, taking the death that we deserve, so we don’t have to…

It’s just that simple.

Because man chose to sin (Genesis 3) , he separated himself with God because God is Holy and cannot have fellowship with sin.It is completely contrary to everything he is. So  from the before the beginning of time, the part of God that is Jesus said, ” I’ll go, I’ll die, and I’ll make a connection possible again.

Why?

Love… True love. REAL love – not the selfish gratification of our desires we often attribute to love – but sacrificial love  as described in 1 Corinthians 13.

While his love knows no limits – his acceptance, however -DOES. This is probably the primary reason that I preach. I preach to share the love mercy and grace of God through his son, but not so we can continue on in sin – but so we can turn from it in repentance.

2 Corinthians 5:9-11 says “ So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.”

Knowing that the judgment day will come and that it is as real as today is, then knowing the Gospel of Christ and keeping it to myself is not an option. I MUST persuade others as Paul so eloquently states and to not do so will condemn me for being hateful.

Hateful? Yes… IF the Gospel of Christ is in fact  “The power of salvation to all who believe” (Romans 1:16) and to die without it means to be eternally lost – THEN HOW COULD IT NOT BE HATEFUL? 

How much do you have to hate someone, NOT to share the gospel with them?ITs not just the GOOD news – It is the BEST news , and like Jeremiah in Chapter 20 verse 9, he said If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,”there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” 

And I will not…

SO – that’s my answer. That is why I preach. And I fully realize that many men do, in fact, preach for the wrong reasons  – maybe even some of the ones I listed above – but I know many more that do it for the same reason as I do.

So , extend to us a little of that tolerance demanded from us , and maybe not be so quick to judge us as you are shouting “judge not”, no matter how poorly you are misusing  that passage. We are human too, we have families and we have feelings, and BOTH get hurt when we are not extended the same courtesies you expect from us.

We are not your enemy . We actually love you more than you know, but would love an opportunity to share with you the love that someone died to give you.

Lessons from My Son : “Thank You Daddy ” …The Love of a Father

WP_000463This will be the last entry in this series, although it wont be the last about my son or either of my kids. I started this series a couple of months ago for a couple of reasons . One reason is that my son truly has been and continues to be a teacher in my life … I preached many sermons inspired by him and blogged even more … He and his older sister have been the greatest gauge or thermometer as to how my wife and I are doing as parents. (I don’t blog much about my daughter because she is 14 and has asked me not to – my son however is just learning to read , so I have more leverage with him..) At any rate , the main reason simple – I love him. I love he and my daughter both with an indescribable love  ..A love too big for words or too vast for description. I believe that the love I have for my kids could never be captured by definition , or I did until recently .. Once again , life had thrown itself at my son and we were forced to deal with it head on , and by HIS example – I was the student  , and he the teacher.

A couple of weeks ago , my son fell out of the bed. This particular night I had fallen asleep on the couch and my son was in bed with my wife , so in true form I slept through the entire event . My wife , the quintessential care taker she is , handled the whole event and I was never awoken. Upon waking up the next morning  ,we realized that Kole was going to probably need stitches.He had hit the side of his face above his ear on the bed frame and it was laid open about a half an inch. It was too big to let heal on its own but we  , like always had some obstacles. It was Sunday morning – I had to preach and urgent care didn’t open until 1 P. M. Preaching doesn’t come with insurance (although, 3 weeks later I do now have it) but the emergency room was out of the question. It wasn’t an emergency ,but it was going to need attention. SO  – I went on to Worship , and Kelly and Kole stayed home.

After returning from worship , a quick bite to eat  and then on to get stitches for Kole. Needless to say , Kole was very concerned about where we were going and what they (the doctors) were going to do to him. I assured him that whatever it was , it would be right and it would be for the best and that NO MATTER WHAT – I would be there with him… No matter what.

Once inside the Urgent Care Center , the waiting game started to take its toll on Kole and his fear of what was to come and clung to me like bark clings to trees – Concern had become fear and fear had become dread   to an all seeking comfort and protection from whatever scenarios were playing out in his head. As much as I wanted to tell him that I could guarantee him no pain , I knew that would be a lie and couldn’t. I knew that to keep his trust ,  honesty was the only thing I could give him and then be there to comfort him and console him. Too many parents lie to their children in hopes of creating security by telling them”this wont hurt a bit” and then destroying the trust between them , because it DID in fact – hurt!  Truly loving your kids begins with honesty ,not deceit…

After what seemed like an eternity , it was finally time.

As he laid up on the table ,he shook all over… I squeezed his hand and told him to look at me , to stay focused on me and that soon it would be over. As the doctor cleaned the wound and applied anesthetic to numb the pain that was coming , his little body jerked with every poke and probe  and cries of pain filled the tiny room .”Just look at me Kole , just look at me , Focus on Me” I told him repeatedly  , trying to sooth and comfort him in his distress . Tears streamed from both of our eyes as the doctor stitched up his wound because he could still feel the prick of the needle each time it entered his skin and I , I could feel every stick of the needle right with along with him because I was there with him – not just physically , but in that pain and fear we were bonded together . Bonded because he was enduring it , and bonded because I wanted so badly to take it from him .. If it would have been possible to take his pain , I would have in a second…

That’s when it hit me.

In the book of Matthew  , we read in chapter 27 verse 46 that Jesus cried out “My God, My God – why have you forsaken me?” . It has been taught by me and others that God , for the first time ever in eternity  -turned his back on his son because he could couldn’t look at the sin of the world That had been “laid upon him”.. That he abandoned him and left him there to die on the cross to fulfill the sacrifice necessary for you and I to enter heaven though him ,by our confession of faith ,repentance and baptism into him then also dying to ourselves to rise agin in his resurrection… I still believe that , now more than ever – but I’m not convinced anymore that God left him. Another preacher and good friend pointed out to me that the concept of “laid our sins on Him” and “He became sin for us” was that Jesus was our sin offering and that the guilt of sin was laid on Him, since sins (transgressions) cannot be “laid” on anyone. He also pointed out that if Jesus was defiled with our sins, He would be a blemished sacrifice and unworthy of being offered. It made a lot of sense but especially the point that Jesus is the offering and is an unblemished lamb. So there was nothing for God to look away from. ALSO, I took the “God had to look away” without digging in. God looks upon the world every day and yet it is filled with sin. He had close relationships with the patriarchs who were imperfect men. In fact, the Holy Spirit filled people who committed sin (as in the High Priest who spoke by inspiration about killing Jesus).

The second thing was that if God abandoned Jesus in His point of greatest need while fulfilling the plan of God, what hope do I have ? You see , while Christ suffering and death was absolutely necessary for our salvation and his will to be accomplished and couldn’t be done any other way , I don’t believe that God left him there ,alone. I believe that while  Christ was enduring the unendurable ,his father was there , telling his son “Just look at me son , just look at me , Focus on Me” and that he felt every cut and probe that entered his sons skin , just like I did with mine. I could not stop my sons pain and he had to endure the suffering  – but I never abandoned him while he was going through the pain. Taking Matthew 27 and Psalm 22 together, I see such a relationship between the Father and His Beloved Son: He allowed Him to suffer but did not turn His face from Him.

The very  thought of God turning his back on His Son as He carried the sins of the world  is creates a chilling and moving scene in our minds eye ,Psalm 22  teaches clearly  that it did not happen. God was with His Son in as he bore the sins of the world and died on the cross , but because of his love  –  a fathers love  , he allowed him to go through it all because it was what was NECESSARY … and I don’t doubt for a second if our Father in heaven could have taken the pain away from HIS son , then he would have.. Just like I would have for MINE.

When it was all over, and the doctors left the room , I just held him.

After a few moments  ,my son whispered 3 words I didn’t expect from him that day – “Thank you Daddy”…

I wasn’t sure at first why he thanked me ,but I supposed it was for being there when he needed me. I suppose  , though scripture doesn’t  say this , that Jesus and his father may have had a similar moment once his ordeal was said and done ?  Thanking him when he needed HIM the most? I don’t know that for a fact and it is just an opinion , but I do know that true comfort from all suffering will be in the arms of our heavenly father one day  , and I cant wait to be there to tell him “Thank you “as well..

Until them I can thank him daily for many things and many blessing ,but none quite so much as my son Kole  who has helped me see the God that I serve in the Lessons he has taught  me though him..

And None at all like his son  ,Jesus who suffered and died so that I can also know  – A fathers love.

What about YOU?

Confusion and uncertainty, not to mention anger and bitterness, filled media reports in the days after the death of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It seemed that no one wanted to bury the slain terrorist. Every request for a burial plot was flatly rejected. Then a mental health counselor from Virginia decided to take matters into her own hands.

Martha Mullen said she was at a Starbucks when she heard a radio news report about the difficulty finding a burial spot for Tsarnaev.

“My first thought was Jesus said love your enemies,” she said.

Then she made an incredibly difficult and unpopular decision…

“I thought someone ought to do something about this – and I AM SOMEONE ,” Mullen said. …

Martha Mullen said she was motivated by her  faith ,her love and trust in Jesus Christ and his words recorded by Mathew in his Gospel account .

So what did she do? The WASHINGTON POST reports that Mullen took initiative to find a place that would accept Mr. Tsarnaev for burial. She was put in touch with Islāmic Funeral Services of Virginia, which runs the cemetery in Doswell, VA, and brokered an arrangement to have him buried there.

Some local residents and officials were angered by Mullen’s intervention on Tsarnaev’s behalf. While Mullen says the backlash has been unpleasant, she still has no regrets.

“I can’t pretend it’s not difficult to be reviled and maligned,” she told The Associated Press. “But any time you can reach across the divide and work with people who are not like you, that’s what God calls us to do.”

Shocking? Unnerving ? … It shouldn’t be if you are one who claims to be “Of Christ”  –  Here is the Application…

How amazing that the whole world should be aware of this problem, but no one take decisive steps to resolve it. That is, no one except Martha Mullen, who was prompted to act in response to the words of Jesus.

When the rest of the world is paralyzed in HATRED and UNFORGIVENESS , that’s when the followers of Jesus are called upon to demonstrate a love and a forgiveness that is uniquely Christian. So, the next time you think to yourself, someone ought to do something,” remember, so far as Jesus is concerned, YOU ARE SOMEONE .

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

I know many will disagree with me ,but if you  claim to have the love of Christ –  how can you disagree with him?  1 Peter 3:18 says “For Christ also suffered once for sins, for ALL – the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”

Who exactly does ALL leave out ? ….Tamerlan Tsarnaev ???

Tsarnaev ,as far as I can tell died without Christ – but his lack of response can never diminish the power and reality that  Christ also died for him and IF he had come to Christ on CHRIST’s terms , he too could have been forgiven…but for him  , it’s too late.

What about YOU?love-fire

Do YOU love God enough , to also love your enemies and those who persecute YOU? I wanted so badly to “YES” quickly ,but it has taken me the better part of a month to finally say it since I first had the thought to write this… Though in good conscience as I write this , faced with the same situation as Martha Mullen  – could I do the same? Could I be the “someone” the Lord COMMANDS me ?

…I hope and pray…