Discerning Peace

After talking with my dad on the phone yesterday, he reminded me that the Devil is out to cause us to get distracted and upset. He reminded me that we need to stick to the truth of the Cross and redemption through Jesus Christ. He reminded me that if something upsets me, I need to discern if that anger is righteous anger or an anger from the flesh.

The Bible tells us to discern good from evil and that we’ll get better at discerning the more we discern. Paul also told Timothy to avoid getting entangled in civilian affairs.

There are somethings going on this world  that are wrong (many things even) but some of these are things I don’t need to be involved in.

And in discerning the good and perfect will of God, I will find that there is peace in this tumultuous world in Jesus.

Two Truths

I have been reflecting on two parts of the New Testament recently.

Firstly, there is the Great Commission:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV) (Emphasis added)

This clearly shows Christians that we must be outward focused. Going, befriending, discipling, teaching people to follow God and how to follow God. Teaching people about the commandments of God.

The second verse I have been pondering if found in Hebrews:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Hebrews 9:4 (ESV)

We live in a world where Christians are being martyred for their faith. They are being martyred at an alarming rate. Recently, we have seen the brutal, highly publicized accounts of Christians being shot and beheaded.

I am saddened that we live in a world where we have Christians becoming martyrs along side Christians who want to ban, hate, and discriminate against people who aren’t following God’s commandments.

I don’t see how we can take a verse like Hebrews 9:4 and use it to tell someone they can’t come to our stores. We are called to make disciples, to teach people how to follow God.

If someone who lives a lifestyle that is contrary to yours, pray for them. Tell them your praying for them. Ask them questions, tell them the truth in love. At least give them the chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. Don’t hate and judge and condemn someone. At least take the time to pray for them. Ask God how you can be used in your life, at your store, with your service to minister to people who need to hear the truth of God.

The Long Journey

There is a long distance between the sinful flesh and the holy, righteous God of the universe. It’s not just long, it’s an impossible distance. No one can cover it. We can only trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, the only Man, God the Son, who has come from the Father to lead us back to him.

Our long journey is simply being made more like Christ.

I hope to write a few entries on here that talk about my pursuit of Christ in this age of the world. It is a dark, broken world and the truth and light of Christ is more needed now than ever.

Christians should be quick to welcome in “sinners” and pray for them, lead them to Christ, to follow God’s will. To simply remove ourselves from the world or refuse to be amongst “sinners” is not at all what Christ has called us to.

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An Open Letter

Some of you may have heard the sad and shocking news that came out in West Michigan last week. An accomplished Christian radio DJ was arrested on 1st and 2nd degree CSC. I was horrified and appalled to read the details of the case. I was challenged and angry.

I had to spend time praying and seeking God’s heart.

After a few days, I realized what God wanted me to bring out of this terrible tragedy.

The heart of Father God is with those boys and girls enslaved in sex trafficking. This is a disgusting “practice” that should not exist in our world. I would imagine that many Christians felt betrayed by this story. However, the simple truth is that in all walks of life, there are men and women who are indulging in their sick desire for sexual gratification. These people fuel the demand for child prostitution. And this story highlights that even in West Michigan, this despicable trade of innocent children is thriving.

In light of this story, I would like to write an open letter and in the words of Beautiful Eulogy:

Dear whoever has ears to hear,

Please do not let this story become about the selfish actions of a Christian radio DJ. Please do not get stuck in a hate and reject cycle for this man. Please, please, please, fight to set the children free that are enslaved in prostitution and pornography. These are children that could be the same age as your kids. These are children who did not choose to be violated, they did not choose to end up in hotels with older men, with older women. These are not children who chose to have their innocence decimated, their will crushed, and their bodies mutilated.

Please, dear church, let this story intrude in your lives. Please let this story break your heart. Please research ways to fight human trafficking in your area. Please become informed. Please become aware.

Be ready to act, to be the hands and feet of Christ. Please know that you are challenged now to use this information to set free the captives. This issue needs to be given light, this issue needs to be addressed.

We need to send this message: this is not ok, this is not acceptable. If you are involved in this terrible tragedy against life and against God, seek help, seek healing, stop abusing children.

We easily find ourselves in cozy Christian bubbles. Maybe this story has intruded into life and caused you to see a wrong and injustice that you can’t ignore. You aren’t made to ignore this injustice. You aren’t made to ignore this abuse.

Stand with the afflicted, protect the downtrodden. And remember the words of Jesus, “It would be better for a millstone to be tied to your neck and then tossed into the sea than to cause one of the least of these to stumble.” And that Jesus came to bring life and life abundantly. He came to set free the captives, to open the eyes of the blind, to heal the sick, to proclaim liberty to captives.

We are the church. We are the body of Christ.

-Ben

PS. Here is an article describing human trafficking in Michigan

PPS. Here is a series run by Moody Radio on human trafficking

 

 

redemption

10360525805_d5001651de_oWe’ve spent the past 2 1/2 weeks working to patch up our walls, ceilings, and refinish the floors in our living and dining rooms. There have been many hours of work prepping, sanding, painting, and finishing. However, now that it is done, the end product is almost breathtaking.

All of the hard work has paid off in a gorgeous end result. The floors looked terrible, the walls had cracks and chips and the ceilings were uneven and had large cracks. To look at it all now is just marvelous.

Above all, the floors are amazing. Many hours of sanding, 4 coats of finish and they are not the same floors!

All of this work has made me think of the beauty of Christ’s redemptive work in our lives. How much toil and energy he spend on earth. How much he had to give up his life with the Father in heaven (more than just 3 weeks of having a house in shambles). He worked so hard that it killed him, all to make us beautiful.

We were most vile and disgusting but through his work, he has redeemed us. He has restored us. Christ is the reason that we shine. He is the light of life and in him all men see.