Pain, heartache, and disease


What in the world could cause me to begin with a title like that? Because there is something that many of us do in our lives which has a direct connection or effect on our lives. It is usually something which we have held onto for much longer than we should have and it can cause all of these in our lives. That something is anger and hate. Granted that is 2 things but many times they go together.

The problems start when we hold onto them for longer than we should. Either one of these emotions can cause pain and disease when we keep them in our lives because many times we treat them as pets. We bring them out and “feed” them our feelings and we try to keep them alive so we won’t forget the reason for them in the first place.

But anger and hatred are like hot coals from a fire. The longer that you hold them the more damage they cause to you…not to the object of your anger or hatred. After a few years or even many years, sometimes the heat of those emotions tends to cool a bit. But, just like a fire, if you stoke them and add a little more fuel to the “fire” in order to bring the heat back regardless of the type of fuel it is.

That is how our country has been fueling all of the anger and hatred and resentment over the past 130 years or so. We have never let the fire go out and we haven’t really tried to get to a point of forgiveness. Each time that there is some reconciliation or healing which begins, there is always an incident which happens to peel the scab off or which puts more fuel on the dying embers once more.

Slavery and the racism which came from it and all of the heartaches and horrible crimes which were committed during that time and since then because it is a part of America’s past, not just the South but because slavery was a part of England and the Bahamas and the Carribean. Yet it seems that we as a country and as a people, regardless of the color of our skin, can’t seem to learn from that past and come to a place of forgiveness and then move on.

So, to answer my first question of why am I writing this now…it is because it needs to be said. If someone in our generation who remembers the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy doesn’t begin to address the issue and seek to move on with forgiveness and healing, hopefully, it may never happen. If dialogue is not sought out in a peaceful way and then used as a step toward healing and forgiveness how can we ever find our way to that place?

If the first step isn’t taken to move toward reconciliation and healing in a country where there has been a division like this for so long, it will never be taken. We will be constantly refueling the fire with more anger and hatred and stoking it until it kindles again. Healing and forgiveness can never come from that and until we at least try to take that step there is no possibility of healing between “white’s” and people of color regardless of the darkness of their skin.

Jesus loves each of us regardless of our color or our culture and we should at least try to accept His strength and His Spirit so that we can make a difference one day in this country. Too many have died because of mistrust and anger over the years and if we can get to know each other as people, not colors, then maybe we can take a step in that direction.

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Sufficient grace


2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…”

We are plainly taught how mistaken we are when we set eminent saints upon a platform by themselves, as though they were some kind of superhuman beings or even angels.

Paul enjoyed more revelations than we do or at least more than we should let others know about,  but then he also had a thorn in the flesh. He was a good man, but he was only a man. And, as men sometimes do, he was subject to the lure of the sin of pride itself. Pride in your children is not a bad thing, nor is being proud of your heritage, but the things which Paul had seen in the Spirit and in his walk with the Lord, he might have elevated himself higher than he should if he were to think much about the revelations that were given to him.

In his prayers, Paul asked the Lord to remove this thorn from his flesh. He did this at least three times as recorded here, yet the Lord said, No. My grace is sufficient for you. So, you see sometimes our infirmities may be brought on by Satan but allowed to stay by God. Why? Because when your joints hurt and it is hard to get up and walk or maybe you can’t balance yourself very well, then you need to depend upon God and His grace toward you so that He will get the glory in your weakness by giving you the strength to endure this trial.

In verse 9, Paul says that he would rather boast in his weakness and infirmities that the power of Christ may be manifest in him.

Leaning on God or on Jesus daily is what God was always speaking of when He told the Jewish people time and time again that He was their portion or that He would sustain them. Even in the wilderness, they got tired of the manna yet they ate it because they needed something to eat. He provided water for all of the people and their animals in the desert, even where there was no river or spring to draw from. God has always provided, yet people tend to rely on themselves more than they do on Him. Even when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God provided the substitute for him in the form of a goat.

We are meant to walk with Him every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to be reading your Bible all of the time or even be in prayer all of the time. But, to walk in the spirit of worship regardless of where you may find yourself or in what situation, this is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples to take up your cross and follow Me. Your cross is your spiritual worship of Him everywhere you are, not just in church or Bible study.

Even when we do walk with Him daily, don’t fall prey to the sin of pride like the Pharisee did while praying. He was proud in his prayer: The Pharisee was standing alone by himself and he was praying these things: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men: extortioners, oppressors, adulterers, and not like this Tax Collector.”  We must be careful not to allow pride to raise us to a place above others because we don’t deserve it, especially concerning our faith in Jesus.

Paul’s thorn was a blessing as well as a messenger of Satan because it drove him to his knees in prayer. Anytime that we are on our knees in prayer before God we can stand before anyone or anything! God honors our prayers and He hears them, whether He answers them right away or not is His prerogative because He is God!

Do we look to Him for our strength today and every day or do we just say so because it makes us look more like a Christian in the eyes of others? Remember, there are many people who claim to be a Christian but there are fewer people who actually worship God and live their lives in accordance with His Word. Even when they do this, they don’t brag about it, they just walk through their day and their lives the way that they always have since Christ entered their life. Sometimes you can spot them and other times you may not be able to pick them out. Striving to be more like Jesus is a life of living one foot in front of the other. Every second of each day is expectant of His return for us because it could be at any time.

Is it possible to live with the grace of God giving us our daily bread and following Him like He will be appearing just any day? Yes, it is! Because whether we are ready for it or not, He will appear and call us home one day. Then the world will mourn and rejoice in the same day! Rejoice because all of those “intolerant Christians are gone” and those who are mourning will be the ones who attended services and knew about His return one day but like the virgins who needed more oil…they weren’t ready when He did show up.