Sep 10 2013

Let's Pray for Our Leaders

Like it or not, politics are a part of the fabric of our society, they can unfortunately lead to some unfriendly banter between family members and the best of friends.  And while it’s certainly OK to disagree on policies, parties and politicians, the one thing that we are all commanded to do as Christians is to “pray for our leaders” regardless of party or persuasion.

In 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 

Paul doesn’t say pray, “if you love your kings or leaders”, or “if the kings or leaders are from the same political party”, he says, “pray for ALL who are in high positions.”  Paul goes on to say that is the way we “lead a peaceful and quiet life, Godly and dignified in every way.” 

Tonight President Obama will address the country about the situation in Syria, tomorrow our leaders will vote on what action to take. Our nation is at a crossroads, and I imagine that our prayers are coveted by the men and women that are making decisions that will affect all of us.  Let us then follow Paul’s advice to Timothy, and “PRAY for ALL who are in high positions.” 

Learn more about praying for our leaders from The Billy Graham Association here: http://secure.billygraham.org/pray-for-leaders/pray-for-leaders.aspx?QR=168&BA=2738&SOURCE=BY120PFLG&gclid=CMfT8oDHwbkCFS9eQgod4yIAjw

Sep 09 2013

Beauty is NOT Skin Deep

We are all bombarded with images of what the world would have us believe is 'beautiful' - it is a trap that we can all too often find ourselves caught in. If you struggle with what you look like, you're caught. If you are constantly concerned about how others see you, you're caught. If you have issues with what others look like, you're caught. My intention in writing this is not to make you feel guilty, but to help set you free, to help see how beauty is defined in God's eyes.

It's funny how much emphasis we put on the things in life that are temporal, things that fade away so quickly. The pressure and anxiety you feel to 'live up' to these standards is exhausting, like a hamster wheel, it leads nowhere. Trying to 'live up' to these standards never leaves you feeling satisfied. 

So give yourself a break, and take just a moment to reflect on how God defines 'beauty.' What matters the most is what's on the "inside." In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, "People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." A life focused on "who you are," rather than "what you look like" is  what 'matters most' to the 'one that matters most.'

Sep 06 2013

Syria: A Lesson in Empathy

The situation in Syria is a lesson for all of us in empathy, a lesson on putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. I think we often times dismiss other people and what they are facing because we regret to stop; and just for a minute put ourselves in their shoes. In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee wrote, “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Truer words have never been said. In fact, what makes Jesus so amazing is He did just that, fully God and fully man, tempted in every way that we are, and still without sin, He came and experienced both life and death as a human being. What an amazing picture of empathy, which is described as, the ability to comprehend another person's actions and emotions, the awareness of another's problems.

Walking in someone else's shoes helps you gain perspective, it helps you empathize with life from their point of view. As Christians, considering what Christ did for us, we should be most willing to empathize with others. Yet oftentimes, I think we have a tendency to put on self-rightousness and pass judgement, simply ignoring others when we should be running to their rescue. The Bible several times addresses our attitude regarding this, in Ephesians 4:2 it says, "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love."

Tomorrow there is a worldwide call to pray for Syria, and before we excuse it as a situation half a world away, let's just for a minute, "put ourselves in their shoes." Since the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against their own people, that left 1,300 people dead, there has been mass chaos, as you might imagine; people have been fleeing the country, fearing for their lives. Imagine what it must be like, imagine yourself in the shoes of those who fear for their lives, those who have left what little they had just to survive, those who have lost loved ones, or have been separated from their families; they are starving, hopeless and scared. 

If I were in their shoes, I certainly hope someone would lift a prayer for me.

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