I see a lot of discussion on my news feed about Juneteenth. I also see and know that many of us don’t know a lot about history. Let me be the first to raise my hand and confess that I didn’t care much about history when I was in grade school, however, as an adult and now as a mother I now have more understanding when I read “there is nothing new under the sun.”
‘The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. ‘ Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/ECC.1.1-11
(Note: I am not in any way saying that I don’t care for the remembrance of the history and the celebrations of this day, Juneteenth, and in what it meant and means for people who were enslaved and even today continue to be mistreated and even killed simply because of the color of their skin. We should remember history and learn from it. Today, I asked my children (currently finished 6th and 7th grade) if they knew what it was – they didn’t. So I read to them the history from this website. But more than the celebration of a specific day, let us each examine our hearts and our motives every day. Every single day let us live as we were called by God, as anything else is incomplete, but I’m getting ahead of myself here with this note. )
I am realizing that I care greatly about people. When I see suffering I want to help. I want to react. But I have learned that my actions don’t necessarily equal rightness. How I want to respond and what I want to do may not be the best thing for me to do. If I really care about making a true difference then I must take time to examine what is the RIGHT THING verses what will make me feel better for the moment because I did something. Many times the ‘right response’ doesn’t come easily or quickly or in a way that comes naturally to me.
How can I know what to do? How should I respond? What is really helpful? History. History can help provide wisdom in understanding what happened and to glean how things tend to go. This is useful to do some investigating because if I do then I can feel more prepared. More ready. But even with knowing history and doing the work and the research and the listening and having the conversations and the sharing… we realize that it isn’t enough. Why? Because let’s face it, we still have problems and things aren’t how we thought they should be (by now). So we look to other ways or simply give up but what I think we really need to do is to go back to the source. What is the source? The source is God. Anyone who is a Christian should claim and go back to this same source. The answer is not within our own selves; we must go back and look to God who has provided the Way.
(Note: I know that God and the Bible, even in recent years and around the world, has been misused to justify cruel acts committed against other humans in the name of the Lord or in the name of religion. Also, at the same time, in order to protect certain peoples or organizations from embarrassment choices have been made to hide certain actions. These are all wrong because there IS a standard and there IS a Truth. What is Truth? Truth might not be the popular, easy opinion and the way of the world. It may mean you find yourself feeling alone. But we must go back to the Lord from the entirety of His Word to check our actions/thoughts/behaviors and our motives because ‘ Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. ‘ Proverbs 21:2-3 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/PRO.21.2-3)
What does God have to say about these matters? Does He have an opinion? Is there a stance regarding people that God holds true? I think God definitely has something to say, really a LOT to say and has already said about these matters that we face today. It starts off with how we came to be here. The Bible as recorded in Genesis 1:27 states it plain for all to hear, see and know:
‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ‘ Genesis 1:27 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/GEN.1.27
That single verse makes some bold claims. 1. God made us. 2. We (all people) are made in His image. So, when dealing with any issue, if we first can’t agree that it goes back to God and what He has said as our creator, if we cannot agree on that foundational truth then whatever else we are doing as a response might be like ‘chasing after the wind.’
‘I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.’ Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/ECC.1.12-18
Lord, help us to come back to you. We need you so much God. Give us wisdom and discernment and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:6-14) Those of us who have accepted your free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, Your Son, (Romans 6:23) can rest in knowing that Your Holy Spirit is with us and in us to empower us to live like how you lived amidst struggles and persecution and even death on a cross – not for anything that YOU had done but for what WE have done in choosing our way over Your Way over and over again. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) We need your help God, as you know. It seems that we keep focusing on the wrong things and even now we want to go our own way whether it is to respond from one extreme to another instead of just trusting in you that you have already given us the Way. You called us as Christians to give up our life, as you gave up yours, for others. (Matthew 16:24-27) This is impossible to do Lord without you changing our hearts. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) Lord make that change in our hearts God. We cannot do this without your Holy Spirit at work in our life convicting us of our own sins, helping us each to repent, and empowering us to go your way. You gave us the answer, help us not to reject it God.
‘For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/2CO.5.14-21
‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ‘ John 13:34-35 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/JHN.13.34-35
Even in Jesus’ day, people were upset with how He came to rule because they expected force. They expected conquest. They expected something that they did not get. Salvation came through a humble servant (John 13:12-20) who through everything He did and was faced with here on Earth, did not go off on His own as he could have done as God, the Son, but instead He constantly submitted to the will of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11) He was strengthened by God the Father. (Luke 22:39-43) And now he sits at the right hand of God the Father in the place of honor and glory for His role as our Savior (Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20). This is completely not what they thought would happen but it was what some knew and recognized since they had studied history (Isaiah 8:11- 10:4) and God opened their eyes to see what was happening right before them. (Luke 7:18-35) Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy that I can now see. Thank you Lord for saving me. Continue to lead me and guide me to trust and obey you in every way Lord especially when it is difficult. Amen.
Music and imagery can sometimes help make a point. So today, I posted this video of me in Vegas 3 years ago:
But I followed it up with this post and video here:
This video “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson highlights many issues we have as people. Seeing this pain and being in it can definitely feel overwhelming and IS overwhelming. So what do we do?
Well I can tell you what I do. I go to the Lord. I search out the Scriptures. I do my own research. I ask questions. I listen. I pray. This pain and injustice is not going to be solved in one day or in one movement. We are all affected by sin. (Romans 3:21-26) Even if you don’t believe that anyone can look around at this world and see that something ain’t quite right. We are selfish people that tend to put our desires and our views and our ways before everyone else! This is what we naturally do until we are faced with another way. It is not easy.
‘Easy’ is to do and to say (without first taking time to seek out the will of God) what everyone else seems to be doing and saying and blindly following the agendas of other people. People who are also influenced by and affected by sin. But you and I can take some time to check things out for ourselves. For our children. We can ‘make the change’ to start digging a little deeper and doing our own work. It is not easy but it is necessary for any REAL change to happen.
This is what I am doing. And I hope that this is what my children are learning, as they are in my home with me, that they will continue to do the work and examine the stuff around them. I pray that they would ask ‘How does this compare with who I am as one created in the image of God’ and ‘What does God have to say’ about these matters as they go forward in life.
That is my hope that they would take time to ask these questions and allow a few trusted people access into their life that can question them about their choices. I hope they see their mother living this out every single day (and also their father doing the same in his own way; however, he is trying to do so without God).
I do not know everything but I know the One who does. I make mistakes and I can get things wrong and I have. But, I try not to stay there. I want to listen, learn and grow while being FIRMLY ROOTED in Christ who cared greatly and gave His life for all. Can I do the same? That is the question. More than the words that I write, my actions will show my true answer as I continue to seek guidance from God in these difficult times, limiting myself from responding or acting sometimes because I indeed have self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7) I want to promote and lift up God’s glory verse my own agenda. It is not easy but I am trying. It has gotten easier in many areas as the years pass by but some areas are just hard. I am trying.
So, practically what do I do as I go to God? Well that means I read my Bible on my own and systematically all the way through. I don’t want to get an incomplete view of God from only focusing on what other people think I need to hear. I do my own research. I regularly communicate with other Christians in Bible Study. I regularly attend church in order to be a functioning part of the body. (1 Corinthians 12) This means interacting with people, which can be hard because people can be difficult to deal with sometimes. We all know how we can be. Yet I know that God did not create this world for just one person to live in but rather for many people and like flowers and animals that God made, we were made with variety. But unlike anything else in God’s creation, we as people were made in His Image according to Genesis 1:27. So I have to first know and be familiar with Truth in order to discern it in the world. And in order to properly love my neighbor. My neighbor may not look, think, act or believe as I do yet I still am called to respect that they too were created in the Image of God and treat them accordingly regardless of how they treat me.
Anyone can be led astray and I don’t want to be led astray or to lead anyone else astray so please check my references and let’s have a conversation. Ultimately, I don’t want to follow or promote anything else but the Lord, as He is, in all His glory. I don’t have all the answers but God does. My view and perspective is limited even though it may be broader than many but still the Lord knows and sees all. So, please Lord help us and help me.
Lord, I know you have a plan and are working through all of this. Continue to draw us closer to you. Help us to hear Truth and to see your light in this darkness and confusion and distraction. Change our hearts God to care about what you care about. We need you more than we know. Thank you for providing the Way through your Son, Jesus. We do not have to stay lost but we can be home with you not just when our life here is over but RIGHT NOW because you are working through your people and you are in these times even when it doesn’t feel like it. Help us to accurately reflect you God as your people. Forgive me when I go off on my own way. Correct me Lord. This is all about you and it has always been. I’m glad to be a part of it. I know you are doing something amazing.
#pray #readyourBible #liveoutTruth #Godisbiggerthanxyz
I hope this has been an encouragement to you today to ‘make that change’ by submitting to the will of God in every way, every single day. Maybe you are already there; that is great. As for me, I’m still a work in progress until He calls me home but I am trying to keep connected to Him. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I wrote, when you have the time.