boyradd

Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

Yesterday is Taking Over

This weekend I was able to enjoy some time with my family, including my mom and dad. It was her birthday weekend.

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A little back story here, my mom, a couple weeks ago, was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. She had been fine up until about a month ago and then she went into the hospital because she was filling with fluid.  The doctors in the ER said that she was in the early stages of cirrhosis and not to worry about it but that they would send the fluid off to be tested.

The a few weeks ago she went back into the hospital because more fluid had collected and she got a call to go into the hospital.

The doctor came in and told her it was cancerous.

They did more testing.

After the testing they told her the cancer had spread throughout her body and was in her bones, her liver, her pancreas, her stomach, and other places. It was too much to operate and they gave her 3-6 months to live. We called in hospice, cancelled further testing, and went home.

That was a tough day. Very long as well. We would cry when we were awake and sleep when we could.

But this weekend was about celebrating, not regretting.

Mimi, myself, and the four kids packed into the car and headed north to her house. Along the way, we stopped at Cold Stone Creamery to get an impromptu ice cream cake (which was yummy, by the way!)

Mum decided that she wanted to make dinner for all of, thinking it might be the last time she could do it. She made ham, corn, mashed potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, steamed shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and multiple desserts that she made herself like butterscotch pie and pumpkin pie.

During it all she was in pain, but she hid it fairly well. She wanted to do this labor of love for those she loves and love her.

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After dinner we sat down to talk about the stories from the past and give her gifts. Mum was in tears because she knows this will probably be her final birthday. My kids got her a framed picture of themselves taken a month ago. Mimi and the boys wrote mum letters thanking her for all the love they have brought into their lives. And then we got her a Precious Moments piece for her mantle.

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Then mum brought out the tears.

She wanted to give up some of her jewelry to my kids. She has been promising them that they would receive these and she wanted to make sure they had them in case something happened and she wasn’t able to see them anymore. (typing that just brought a lump in my throat)

We ended the day by taking some pictures with mum.

We left early because she was in a lot of pain and very tired. She took some of her morphine and headed to bed for the night and we started down the road toward home.

I got misty a couple of times and had to excuse myself after she gave out her jewelry because I was in tears.

I love my mom. She is, and always has been, such a blessing to me. She lives a Proverbs 31 life. She loves anyone and everyone.

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She has been blessed.

And knowing some of her back story about being abused by her first husband, growing up in poverty just after the Great Depression, and having a tough time by watching her own mom die in her arms with the same Hospice nurse who is taking care of my mom makes it even more clear just how blessed she truly is.

And what do blessed people do?

They spend their lives blessing others.

And she has been a blessing to countless people in this life.

So we don’t know how long mum has to live. God only knows that. We will just take it one milestone at a time:

  • Easter on 4/16
  • Her 52nd Anniversary on 4/23
  • And any other milestones afterward

If she passes before then, she will truly be home and even more blessed than she is now.

So here’s to you, mum. Happy 83rd birthday. I love you. I am a lot like you.

And for that, I am thankful.

What do YOU Believe: Part 4, my view

I want to get back to my series on the SBC choice to support a mosque being built in a New Jersey town. The first post in this series explained the story. The second post gave the reasoning behind the support. The third post gave reasoning or those who don’t support. In this final post I want to give you my view.

Before I go forward, I want you to know that I have friends on both sides of the argument. The fact that someone disagrees with me will not change how I see them. To me, this is not a salvation issue. I understand the argument that people make that says it is, but it simply is not. And to say that religious liberty is at stake is very true, but that is also not Scriptural.

That said, I do NOT believe that supporting the building of the mosque is the appropriate thing to do.

I believe that Russell Moore and the SBC made a mistake in supporting it.

First, religious liberty is never promised in the Bible. Christians are not to focus on religious liberty, we are to focus on Christ alone. Political messages are only to be shared that will lead people to Christ. We should not be entering a political arena other than to spread the good news of the Gospel.

Whenever we heard about Christians in the first century, we heard about the persecution. Early persecution happened between Jews and Christians. Jews were scared of Christianity. They saw this religion spreading quickly and felt it needed to be ended as quickly. Beginning in AD 64, Rome joined in the persecution when Nero blamed the Christians for a large fire that engulfed the city of Rome.

When we hear the word “freedom” in the Bible, we hear about how we are set free through the truth (John 8:32), that we are to use our freedom to love one another through serving each other (Galatians 5:13), and that we are not to use our freedom to cover up evil but to live as a servant of God (1 Peter 2:16).

It is that last verse that gets me.

If we combine that with the 10 Commandments, then we realize that it is evil to have another god before God. If that is evil, then it stands to reason that it would be evil to support another god.

I am not talking about baking cookies for a gay wedding or joining with other religious organizations to stop a strip club from coming to town. I am talking about an outright watering down of the Gospel through claiming that all religions should be seen as equal.

We serve a jealous God.

He desires us.

I am talking about doing similar to what Israel did in Judges 2, which is support other religions.

This happened in Israel for a multitude of reasons. First, they kept trying to live in the past, before they had the blessings of the Lord.

Next, they kept forgetting God’s Word. How many times do we get angry before we study the Word when we hear something? Rather than acting out, it is important to understand God’s Word first.

Next, Israel kept following new trends. Israel was watching the religious ceremonies of their enemies and they found them exciting. They started incorporating them into their worship. How about us today? I believe that the SBC has fallen prey to a world’s definition of tolerance. Tolerance in the Bible is very different than tolerance in the world. We can’t just accept everybody’s beliefs as our own. We do need to accept that others will believe differently, and we cannot force them to believe our way of life, but we cannot allow their views to infiltrate our beliefs. We are to remain holy, or set apart.

Fourth, the Israelites got too busy. They allowed their success and personal lives take precedence over their worship.

Finally, they refused to drive evil out of their land. As Christians in America, we have no “land” per se. But we do have our churches and denominations. If we allow evil to live inside those holy walls then we will find that we will lose our status of being holy.

So, it is very easy to mask politics as Christianity.

They are not one and the same.

If we don’t take a lesson from the first century Christians and the early Jews, then we will lose our ability to truly be a church of the risen Christ.

Bad Things Don’t Always Happen in Threes

Job 1:6 – One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.

You’ve heard the phrase.

“Bad things come in threes.”

Well I am here to tell you that is crap.

The history of that phrase holds origins in Christianity, but a perverted and twisted sense of it. When I researched the origin of the phrase it was that if someone upset the Trinity, then the Father, Son and Spirit would take their revenge on you, thus bringing you bad tidings three separate times.

There is also a war analogy that was used by British soldiers during the Crimean War. In order to save matches, the soldiers would light as many cigarettes with a single match. Part of their training manual said to not light 3 cigarettes with a single match because it would give a sniper time to locate the position of the light and the third man would be killed. After time, it was found out that the creator of the matches they used spread that information to the command of the British troops so that he could sell them more matches.

But I am going to tell you that bad things DEFINITELY can come in more than threes.

This has been a very tough 4 months. Really a tough year. It started with me getting back surgery in May of last year. I needed a second back surgery in December. Then we had troubles with pets. Our diabetic, 15-year-old cat was given too much insulin by accident. Then our dog decided to eat a bag of coffee beans. Then Mimi’s car needed almost $4,000 in repairs. Then my mom went into the hospital. Then the sump pump stopped working and started filling the crawl space with water. And then yesterday, my mom went back into the hospital again, this time she is told she has cancer.

Job 1:21 – And said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

I write this as I sit at the hospital, eating cafeteria food, and thinking about my mom’s life.

By my count, we are now up to 8 pretty big things that have come our way. Seven of those items were in the past 3 months alone! (maybe bad things come in a period of three months?)

So I have come to realize that superstitions are crap.

So instead of superstitions, where should we look?

No matter what after all of this turmoil, it has an effect on people. I have noticed a pretty big effect on myself. I can no longer look at people and give the church morning answer:

Person: How are you brother?

Me: Blessed like the rest brother!

Person: Amen!

I can’t be fake happy anymore.

I find solace in the Bible.

Specifically the book of Job. But not for the reason you might think.

I know everyone says that they read the book of Job and it fills them with comfort. But it shouldn’t.

Job 1:20 – At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.

Job shows how tragedies in our lives change us permanently.

Here is the timeline:

  • Job had it all. Tens of thousands of animals, a large family, a lot of servants. He lost them all at once.
  • This caused Job to fall to his knees in worship to God.
  • After that, Job got sores all over his body.
  • Job praised God.
  • Job is visited by potentially well-meaning friends.
  • He said that even though he is blameless, he hates his life. (Job 9:21-22)
  • Even though he hated his life, he understood that God was still on the throne and in control (Job 12:13-14)
  • Job feels broken by what his friends said about him.
  • God has a discussion with Job. In the end of this conversation, Job understands that there are things in this world that are greater than Job and he would never understand them.
  • Job’s family came to his aid and he ended up with more than he lost before.

But one thing is interesting in chapter 6: Job asks God to kill him.

Job was broken.

He reached such a low point that he asked for death.

Now, just so you know I have known that feeling before. When I got divorced I went through a time where I believed that life would be better if I weren’t in it.

But then I had my “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment and came to grips as to what life would look like without Fred in it.

So today, I sit here numb. I’ve cried some. I’ve felt anger. I’ve even laughed a little.

But, in the end, numb.

The book of Job doesn’t tell us about the emotional impact that his trial had on his life. The last verse says, “And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” I take that to mean that he lived his life and enjoyed it. But still there is nothing there about how this trial affected him.

Job 28:28 – And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord – the is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

I am definitely not as focused on God as Job was. But I know how much these minor (in relation to Job’s afflictions) inconveniences have affected me.

It takes everything I can do just to not be cynical.

Pain is part of this life. If you don’t believe me, read the Psalms.  I believe there is a reason Proverbs comes after Psalms. The Psalms show God’s glory in the pain of this world. The Proverbs give us wisdom, most likely acquired through years of pain.

I know that when this season is over, the wisdom that will be gained, if I can stay true to God’s Word, will be used to help others going through adversity.

In the meantime, I feel numb.

In the meantime, don’t expect me to give you too many nice answers.

In the meantime, even if I make you so angry that you want to punch me, just flash me a smile.

This is a season that everyone goes through. It isn’t easy, but it is part of this broken world.

But even though this world is broken, God is still sovereign. He is on the throne. And one day soon, and even sooner for my mom, there will be no pain, no disease, no tears of sadness, no cancer, no bitterness, and no one but God.

And for that, I will wait.

Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

What do YOU believe? Part 3 – Against

The past couple of weeks I have been writing about the Russell Moore’s decision to allow the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC to support, through amicus brief, the building of a mosque in a New Jersey town.

A lot has happened since then.

There have been calls among the SBC for Moore’s resignation. The calls have fallen among racial lines with the majority Caucasian churches calling for his resignation and the majority African-American churches calling for there to be grace shown to him.  This is leading to even bigger divides inside the SBC, and will have some long-term repercussions.

Last week I looked at Russell Moore’s side, trying to understand his viewpoint. Many of my Facebook friends showed their approval when I posted the question asking about whether they supported his choice or not.

But just like any controversial question, when you have people who support it, you have people who don’t.

While some told me that everyone should have the right to practice their religion and that we should not discriminate against others, other people said that a leader in a church should not advocate for another religion and some brought up remembering 9/11 as a reason for us to not allow the mosque.

This week I want to show the side that is against Russell Moore and explain what I’ve seen people say about as well as what the Bible says. Next week, when I finish this series, I will share my viewpoint.

Across my Facebook friends, there were a variety of Scripture to support their views:

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  • Exodus 20:5
  • 1 Corinthians 10
  • Exodus 23:30-32

These are all very valid points. Just like last week, I would like to remind everyone that it was a Christian king, Negus, who allowed the continuation of Islam when others would have seen them destroyed.

So what is the purpose behind Christians not supporting the building of a mosque?

Well, the arguments seem to be twofold, and much of it because of what has been happening with Islamic extremists. The other reason is the Scriptural one.

According to Islamic belief, the Qu’ran was “revealed” to Muhammad as he spoke with The Divine. Some parts of the Qu’ran are given to specific instances while others speak to spiritual principles. In looking at the main verse in the Qu’ran that people use to show they are to kill infidels, Sura 9:5, we find that Muhammad tells the believers (in Islam) to “slay” the infidels “wherever you find them.” The only way someone could avoid this was to convert to Islam and pay a tax. This is generally called the “Sword Verse.” It is the one most people use when they say Islam is a violent religion. But that specific verse was given for a specific time.  It was given to the believers who had fled away from persecution. The idolaters are those who waged war against Muhammad and his crew. If we look at that verse in complete context, Muhammad tells his believers to protect those who had made treaties with them and to attack those infidels who broke their treaties. This verse was never about killing all non-Muslims. If that were the case, then every year after the holy months in Islam, we would have seen an increase in fighting.

Now this is not say that I am going against what I am writing about here.

I am specifically writing about the reasons Christians are to not support the building of a mosque.

But when we do so, we MUST take everything in context.  If we do not, then we are being led by Satan, not God.

So before I go any further, you need to know that if we are using the argument of “them versus us” then we are wrong. We CANNOT allow our emotions of 3,000 people killed to get in the way of what the Word of God says.

The Bible is specific:

Proverbs 30:5-6 – Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Galatians 1:6-9 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

So, in this post we are ONLY going to look at it from a Scriptural standpoint. It is very easy to go eisegesic versus exegetic. If we look at the emotion first and the Scripture last (eisegesis), then we run the risk of translating the Scripture to our emotion. If we begin with Scripture (exegesis), then we allow God’s Word to change how we think and believe.

Then what does God’s Word say about this?

To begin, we start with John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

If we start with that alone, then we need to know that in the Christian worldview, Jesus is the only way to heaven. There are no other choices. While Christians can live side by side with people of other faiths, we cannot condone of those faiths for any reason because doing so would water down the message that Christ alone is the Way.

The next verses we need to look at deals with the 10 commandments, Exodus 20:1-3, “And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.”

So, as of now, we have that Jesus is the only way to the Father and that we shall have no other gods before Him. The argument is getting pretty clear.

If we look at those 2 sets of verses alone, then we can presume that anything that runs counter to knowing Jesus as the only Way and that puts another god above is against Christianity as a whole.

As a matter of fact, John 6:44 states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

So you need to be drawn by the Father in heaven in order to come to Jesus.

And, as last week, we need to discuss Christian love. Why was Jesus sent?

John 3:16-18 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

It is love that brought Jesus into the world. It is love that gives us the saving blood of Christ. It is love that gives us a way to communicate, and be in fellowship, with God.

Love does not cause confusion. If there is confusion, then that love is not of God but of the world.

If we were to support another religion that runs counter to the deity of Christ, then we are supporting a gospel of confusion.

Galatians 1:8-9 specifically calls this out. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”

We cannot preach another gospel.

Supporting another god supports another gospel.

Ad you can say to me that you aren’t supporting the god, but the people to have freedom to believe as they will. And to that I say to you, “nice try, but you are wrong.”

Supporting another religion is always about serving another god. You can mask it in religious liberty or supporting people, but it is about supporting that other god and their beliefs.

Mark 13:22 says that there will be false christs and false prophets that will rise up to lead people, including the elect, away from the Gospel of Christ.

We cannot support another religion over ours. If we do then we are just as worthless as the religion we are supporting.

James 1:26 – If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

Russell Moore, and the SBC, should have not taken pride in their religion. According to many, they should have held their tongues in something they knew was against God’s Word.

Next week I will end my series by giving you my viewpoint. I believe you might be a little surprised as to what I believe. And I will try to give you as much detail around it as possible so that there is no confusion as to my stance.

What do YOU Believe? Part 2 – Pro

Last week I started writing about the SBC’s decision to support the Islamic Society in a New Jersey town  through writing a brief on religious liberty. Over the next few weeks I will look at both sides of the argument, for and against, and end with a post about my view.

This week, I will look at the SBC’s view and why they supported the mosque.

This process was led by Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. While Moore led the charge, it was supported by others in leadership, including David Platt, President of the International Mission Board. Not only did other SBC members join this brief, but so did other religions: The American Association of Jewish Lawyers, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, National Association of Evangelicals, and Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry among many others.

So what is the rationale behind the support?

Moore is quoted as saying “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody.” His rationale is that when one religion is persecuted, it is only a matter of time until all religions are persecuted.

At the end of the day, the question that Moore feels is of utmost importance is whether one religion can be subject to a different land-use approval than another. Those who don’t support Moore’s views believe the question that is most important is whether Christians and non-Christians can be unequally yoked.

I posed the question to my Facebook friends: Can a Christian in all integrity to Christianity support the building of a mosque?

To say that it was a lively conversation is an understatement.

Some of the comments for supporting the mosque are:

  • I believe that every religion has a right to be able to have a sanctuary in their city/town
  • If we are able to discriminate…then it is just a matter of time before the tables are turned
  • It would boost my trust in the leaders (who support it) that they are following Christ’s example
  • Many Christians want religious liberty…as long as it is theirs alone
  • Not allowing the mosque in the area hurts evangelism in that city
  • There is no theological conflict with civic religious freedom and being a biblical Christian
  • In Christ, we are to love all people, even those who want to harm us

Before I get into the scriptural evidences that others use to show it is ok to support the mosque being built, I want to share a quick story. This is the story about the first Muslims and how a Christian king allowed them sanctuary and the ability to grow and survive.

When Islam was first started to be proclaimed publically, the pagans in Makkan started persecuting the young Muslims severely. Many died. Many more were tortured. Eleven of the Muslims fled to Absynnia, a city that was led by a Christian king, Negus. They were offered sanctuary. Once the Muslims realized that they were in a peaceful area, they sent for more of their people.  The king continued to welcome the Muslims and offered them safety.

The Christian king asked the Muslims a simple question: “What do you say concerning Jesus?”

The Muslims said, “…we can only say what our Prophet has taught us: Jesus is the servant and messenger of God, the spirit and the word of God, whom God entrusted to the virgin Mary.”

When King Negus heard this, he picked up a twig from the ground and said, “I swear, the difference between what we believe about Jesus, the Son of Mary, and what you have said is not greater than the width of this twig.”

After the Makkan’s heard about the Muslims in Absynnia, they sent a delegation to request that they be deported back to Makkan. The king refused.

This is the first instance of Christians supporting Muslims.

While that is a great testament to Christians supporting others, the next question is: Is it Scriptural?

When I posed the Scripture question to my Facebook friends, I received a TON of verses and theologies as to why we should support the Islamic Society.

  • “The 10 commandments in Exodus 20 all point towards loving others unconditionally.”
  • The Good Samaritan story
  • 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
  • Matthew 25:35-40
  • Luke 6:27-36

All of those are very interesting views. the majority of those point toward one word, “love.”

But, as Haddaway sang in 1993, “What is love?” (admit it, now you are singing that song)

This is not the kind of post that is going to dig into the Christian definition of love. But I would be missing something if I didn’t at least touch upon it.

Christian love is not simply allowing everything. In Christian love, the idea of emotion, although part of our image of God, is not what the concept of Christian love, agape love, is about. Agape loves so deeply that we aren’t afraid to tell the truth and hold accountable. Agape bases love on the image of God, regardless of anything. And, since God is holy, we cannot allow evil to be part of the church.

But is this evil?

We could go on and on all month asking these philosophical kind of questions.

But I won’t.

So, getting back to the question at hand, is it ok for a Christian to support another religion?

According to Russell Moore, who spearheaded this entire debate, “One thing we need to be very clear about is that religious liberty is not a government ‘benefit,’ but a natural and inalienable right granted by God.”

He goes on to say, “When we say—as Baptists and many other Christians always have—that freedom of religion applies to all people, whether Christian or not, we are not suggesting that there are many paths to God, or that truth claims are relative. We are fighting for the opposite. We are saying that religion should be free from state control because we believe that every person must give an account before the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

He uses Romans 13:1-7 and John 12:42-43 to support his view. He says that government can only rule by the sword. The sword of government cannot save a soul. This means that it becomes a religion of external conformity. It comes from state mandate or peer pressure. This happened with those who heard Jesus’ words. They understood His truth, but they loved the glory that came from man more than that which comes through God.

He continues by saying forcing someone to Christianity will make a state of pretend Christians. He says that if you want to see people come to Christ, you do it through boldly proclaiming the saving power of Christ, not by forcing them into hiding through shutting down their personal journey to Christ.

For those who say that non-violent Muslims are inconsistent Muslims (similar to “cafeteria Christians”, then he has a rebuttal to that. He says that the government’s job is to punish evil-doers. not to decide who is most theologically sound and consistent with their religious books.

He believes that there are limits to our freedom, and government has an obligation to protect the people inside its borders from harm and violence. But, he continues, government has an obligation to protect the citizens from the government itself. It is an act of aggression to strip a religious community of its civil liberties.

This line of thinking believes that to believe in Jesus’ Gospel message means that we do not need the power of the government to carry it out. The precedent in the Bible comes from Revelation 13. This is the example of a church that is forced on its people. That is not the church of Christ.

Next week I will look at the opposing view to this.

What do YOU believe?

1 Corinthians 8:5-6 – For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

The next few weeks I want to discuss something that is pretty interesting, and important. Before I start writing about it, I want to explain this series. First, this is going to be a very polarizing topic. It crosses both political and religious lines, especially among Christians. Next, I am not going to give you my “opinion” until the final post in the series.

This series is going to span 4 posts. The first week I am going to discuss the event that brought about this series. Next week I will discuss the pro side of the argument followed by the con side the third week. In the final week I will discuss what I believe and why.

So, Fred, what is the story?

Back in May 2016 the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention joined an amicus brief to help protect the religious liberties of an Islamic group who was attempting to build a mosque.

An amicus brief is a legal document that is filed in an appellate court by people not associated with the case but who have strong interests in the subject.

The amicus brief was to help the Islamic Society in Basking Ridge NJ get approval to build a mosque. In December 2016, the court ruled in favor of the Islamic Society. The court found that the planning commission of the town violated the law when it required “more than twice as much parking in its site plan for a proposed mosque as it required for local Christian and Jewish houses of worship.”

Along with the ERLC, the International Mission Board (IMB) also joined the amicus brief. Because of that, one of the IMB’s trustees resigned because of the amicus brief.

Because of this, some Southern Baptist churches are withholding financial support of the Convention, including Prestonwood Baptist, a 41,000-member megachurch, who is withholding $1 million in support from the Convention’s state and national initiatives.

So after reading this, I decided to post on Facebook a simple question:

“How would you feel/react if your pastor or leader stood up against religious discrimination and signed a petition to allow a mosque to come into your town after the government intentionally made it extra hard for them to come in?”

I followed it up with asking everyone to give scriptural evidence for their views. There were over 70 comments and replies on the post, the most I have ever had on a post. The comments were by many people I consider strong Christians.

And the comments were all across the spectrum.

These comments were all by people I respect and admire

And they were all different.

I go to church with many of those who commented.

So over the next couple weeks I will look at the varying positions my friends took as well as those taken by others I admire as well. I will look at those who say that supporting the Islamic Society is an example of Christ’s love as well as those who say that we cannot support  Christianity and other religions.

So next week I will tackle those who say we can, and should, support the Islamic Society.

Deuteronomy 10:17 – For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missions Worldwide, part 3: The Parallels

Mark 13:10 – And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.

There isn’t a lot of data when it comes to missionaries from America in the early stages of our country. The majority of Christian missions occurred internally before moving overseas. The majority of “missions” work came from denominations such as Methodists and Baptists scrambling to find enough pastors and leaders to go west. In 1790, there were only 13 states in America. The west was largely unknown.

The primary task was to build a nation while, at the same time, evangelizing the culture. Methodist circuit riders were very successful in this as they could cover large areas quickly and “plant churches” in areas that others couldn’t.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, much of the missionary work had been done by the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. After the war, the Anglican church pulled out of America and we were left to our own leaders. Francis Asbury, for example, was a missionary to America and he traveled and preached across the country until his death in 1816.

What started in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, which would double the size of our country, was the first big move into missions for many evangelical Protestants. For a few hundred years already, Protestants were on mission to the Native Americans.

Many Christians believed they were in the last times after the Revolutionary War. Many believed it was important to convert as many people as possible before the coming of Christ. Missionary work fit well with this new dynamic in the young country.

By 1810, small group of men attending Andover Seminary banded together to follow the path that English Baptists were doing since 1792, evangelizing Asia. Men like Adoniram Judson and Samuel Mills created the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, supported by the Congregationalist denomination. They began raising money and creating resources and, by 1812, Judson and his wife left for India with a few other families. Eventually they reached Burma where they ministered for 38 years. Judson’s group was the first

Throughout the early 1800s, there were only a few hundred American missionaries throughout the world. By the turn of the century, there would still be very few missionaries worldwide. If you totaled all of the missionaries from both Europe and America throughout the 1800s, they would total no more than 15,000 and many of those died within their first 2 years in the field.

The main issue with missions throughout the 1800s was twofold:

  • With much of the young America in need of both evangelizing and social missions, many of the churches focused their missions efforts at home.
  • The War of 1812 caused Americans to lose their international spirit. This time of isolationism would last until just after the Civil War.

In 1800 only 1% of all Protestant Christians lived in Asia, Africa or Central/South America. Today that number totals 67% of all Protestants live there.

But this brings up a very interesting point. With regard to immigration reform, the problems with England caused an isolationist view, not just for missionaries, but for all of America. The isolationist views caused denominations and religious leaders to withhold much of their international missions activity.

The majority of missions happened at home.

But when the century changed from the 1800s to 1900, there was a large missions conference in New York City called the Ecumenical Missionary Conference. Over 162 different mission organizations were represented.  Much of the reason mission organizations became interested in overseas missions again is that after the Civil War, the United States was experiencing a labor shortage and opened up immigration to allow people to come in to offset that shortage. The influx of new cultures into America gave churches a taste of what else was outside of America.

All the major denominations formed their own missionary societies.

But the 1900s would not be without their share of problems, much of it tied to both immigration reform and the American dream. For much of the early 1900s we had significantly restrictive immigration policies against those of Asian descent. This led to many missionary agencies in Asia and eastern countries shutting down.

World War 1 ended in in 1918 and a few short years afterward America realized that we needed to protect our borders.

While American Protestants worked their way into Central and South America at the turn of the 20th century, the majority of cultural understanding didn’t start until soon after the signing of Bracero Agreement in 1942.

With many of the special allowances for Mexico and other countries, especially those from Europe, Asian countries started to remove American missionaries. Many missionaries in the 1950s were removed from China. This was partially due to Marxist ideology taking hold in China at the time, but the lack of deference for Asian, and primarily Chinese, immigrants led to China closing much of their opportunities for American missionaries during the 50s.

Another interesting parallel happened in the late 1960s. We passed preference system which replaced the quota system in 1965. Over the next few years, there would be an increase in missionary attacks and countries, like Guinea, for example, who would close their borders to all missionaries. Thousands of churches internationally would be destroyed. Coincidentally, the preference system that America adopted to help with immigration would prefer European countries and skilled workers but place a cap on the countries those countries that eventually expelled missionaries or started persecuting them.

Then in 1980, the Refugee Act opened up emergency immigration relief to those who were persecuted and then in 1986, the Simpson-Mazolli Act gave amnesty to over 2.7 million illegal immigrants. Also at the same time, there was a significant increase in the number of missions organizations throughout America. There were also some very large conferences on missions throughout the world. As a matter of fact, Time Magazine ran a cover article on missionaries in 1982.

These are just a few of the parallels that can be derived from the information. Honestly, I wish I had taken much more time in the research of this.

I wish I had taken this beyond just parallels.

There is no research out there at all about this topic. And it is something that perplexes me. With all of the missions organizations out there who make their livelihoods from ensuring the safety and growth of their missional communities, why would there not be any research done about this topic?

In all honesty, the research would be somewhat easy, although very time-consuming:

  • Contact every missions organization in the world (and there are thousands) and get their missionary information since their inception. Find out how many missionaries they had each year since they started, find out their low and high points on their organizational life cycle, and incorporate the number of missionaries that were commissioned and the number of churches that were planted versus the number of missionaries that either died or came out of the field as well as the number of churches that were closed/destroyed.
  • Consolidate the information from those organizations on a chart by year.
  • Overlay the highlights in American immigration reform.
  • That alone would be enough to give better data than simple parallels.
  • If you want to take it further, then reach out to the State Department for their take on the question.
  • Then reach out to countries that have traditionally been for and been against having missionaries in their countries. Speak to someone at the leadership level in those countries and get whatever information possible. This could be done through a simple questionnaire that would be standard for all countries contacted.
  • Plot their information on the combined yearly missionary chart to get key points along the timeline.

While that would get us enough for a published book on the topic, it would definitely not be enough to provide scientific evidence.

I would love to speak further with missions experts about this topic. I am sure that there is something there, I just can’t officially put my finger on it. If anyone would like to work together on a project like this, please reach out to me at coffeeguy777@hotmail.com.

Isaiah 6:8 – And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide, part 2: Mission Statistics

Mark 16:15 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Last week I reviewed a little bit about what I learned about immigration reform in America since 1790.  I received a few questions as to my post last week. The first had to do with sources. I used quite a bit, but the majority of my sources came from both www.uscis.gov (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and Pew Research, a nonpartisan fact tank.

Also, I want to suggest to people to take my post last week as a beginning to the conversation. There is no lack of controversy when you begin discussing immigration reform. Some people will agree completely with what I say about it and others won’t. But rather than turning my blog into a potential “fake news” site, I would rather you use it to begin the conversation and to spark a desire to research about the issues yourself rather than taking what people say without doing the research.

That said, I want to take this week and discuss the world as seen by a missionary sending organization.  I am going to be talking about several different Christian-specific principles, so if you have questions about it, again, please do the research and don’t just potentially quote me out of context.

I am pulling this information from several different missions organizations and societies. When dealing with such large numbers in the billions, do not get bogged down in arguing a few thousand people one way or the other. the majority of my world statistic numbers will be coming from 2014 government data.

To start, there are almost 7.2 billion people on the earth today with a median age of just under 30 and a life expectancy of about 68 years. The countries which have the highest population are (in order):

  • China – 1.3 billion
  • India – 1.2 billion
  • USA – 318 million
  • Indonesia – 253 million
  • Brazil – 202 million
  • Pakistan – 196 million
  • Nigeria – 177 million
  • Bangladesh – 166 million
  • Russia – 142 million
  • Japan – 127 million

Out of all of the people in the world, they are broken into 16,761 distinct people groups. A people group is defined as an ethnolinguistic group with a common self-identity that is shared by the members. The organization, The Joshua Project, analyzes all of these people groups and determines how “reached” they are by Christianity.

The first group is the unreached peoples. Those are communities that have less than 2% as evangelical Christian. Of the 16,761 people groups throughout the world, 7,050 of those are unreached! That accounts for over 2.9 BILLION people, or 42% of the world’s population.

The next group is the unevangelized. These are groups that have higher than 2% evangelical Christan but still have very high numbers of unsaved. There are 2,854 unevangelized people groups in the world. That accounts for almost 17%, or 900 million people.

Before I go any further, I need to define what evangelical Christian means. In America, the term “evangelical” holds a very negative connotation as that group of Christians have associated themselves deeply with a singular political party. For terms of this post, an evangelical Christian is a person who believes Jesus is the sole path to salvation, has a personal faith in Him, recognizes the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and is committed to Biblical preaching and evangelism as the way to bring others to faith in Christ.

That brings us to the 10/40 window. Most of the unreached people groups in the world are inside the 10/40 window. It stands for the degrees of latitude, between 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. 60% of the unreached groups live in the 10/40 window and over half of the world’s population as a whole are in that window as well.

Of those unreached people groups, the majority of them are Muslim, followed by the majority religions inside China, and then Hindi. Islam has 3,431 of the world’s people groups and 2,854 are unreached. China, one of the fastest growing Christian churches in the world, has 519 of the world’s people groups and 428 are still unreached.

As for the Christians in the world, over 95% of all Christians work within the Christian world. The total number of Christians worldwide is about 2.2 billion with 550 million evangelical. It is pretty amazing to know that evangelical Christians have grown from 3 million in AD 1500 to 550 million today. There are 900 churches for every unreached group and 78,000 Christians for every unreached group.

It is estimated that there are 6,909 languages worldwide. The largest is Mandarin Chinese at 12.44%. This is followed by Spanish at 4.85% and English at 4.83%. Over 4,400 languages in the world do not have a readable version of Scripture available to them. Right now there are over 1,600 languages that have been started for Bible translation, which leaves the rest still needing someone to begin the project.

Reaching the world can be as easy as reaching those international students who have come to America. Right now, there are an estimated 886,052 international students in the United States. 62% of them are from the 10/40 window. 80% of those students will return to their countries never being invited to the home of an American citizen. That is a huge opportunity for Christians here in America!

Over 40% of the world’s 220 Heads of State once studied in America. Only 10% of all international students, which includes those Heads of State, were invited to a ministry by a Christian.

The top countries that have students over here in America are China, India, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey. Many of those countries have high amounts of unreached people groups.

Now let’s shift gears a little. Let’s look at the money. The total annual income of all church members worldwide is $42 trillion, with $7 trillion coming from evangelical Christians. The interesting thing is that Christians worldwide give about $700 billion to Christian causes.

But get this….

That $700 billion includes purchasing presents for Christmas!

If we factor out Christmas spending, only a mere $45 billion is given to missions. That is 6.4%.That is equal to the amount America spends on dieting programs and, until recently, less than Americans spend on Halloween costumes.

The majority of the money given goes to tithing and pastoral ministries. Only about $450 million went to reaching the unreached people groups. Sadly, this means that for every $100,000 that Christians make, only $1 goes toward reaching the unreached people groups around the world.

Some thoughts about this, but if Christians used only .003% of their income to plant churches in each of the areas that have unreached people groups, then we would reach all groups around the world.  And if every Christian gave 10% of their income to missions, we could easily support 2 MILLION new missionaries!

So how many missionaries are actually out there?

There are only 400,000 Christian missionaries in the world today. Only 13,300 are in areas with unreached people groups. Over 75% of those missionaries are in areas that are already reached. Some more interesting statistics about this:

  • 1 missionary for every 60,000 tribal/animist people
  • 1 missionary for every 179,000 Hindu people
  • 1 missionary for every 405,000 Muslim
  • 1 missionary for every 260,000 Buddhists

This means that you are more likely to be in a plane crash than being one of the few missionaries that go to unreached areas.

Moving into next week, I want to begin looking at missionaries over the ages. Since there is little to no research done on the effect of immigration reform on missionaries worldwide, I will need to make some assumptions until professional research can be done.

So next week, we will start at 1790 and begin working toward the present day.

Psalm 96:3 – Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Immigration Policy and the Effect on Missionaries Worldwide: Part 1, Policy

Leviticus 19:33-34 – “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

This post will kick off a series of posts about immigration reform and the affect it has on missionaries since the founding of our country. This first one is going to be a little tough to digest. It was for me. This is going to lay out the actual immigration policies since 1790.

Almost 52 years ago the United States enacted the Immigration and Nationality Act which replaced the previous immigration program that we had which favored Europeans. The policy put in place 52 years ago opened visas to people from other countries and gave increased priority to people with relatives who are American citizens.

Prior to that, over 65% of the visas allowed in America were given to only 3 countries: Ireland, Germany, and the UK. Today, only 10% of the visas approved come from those 3 countries and the majority of them come from countries in Asia or Latin America.

All the way back to 1790 we have documentation of immigration policies. The Naturalization Policy of 1790 excluded anyone who was non-white from being a naturalized citizen. In order to be naturalized, you must have 2 years of residency, “good moral character,” and be a “free white person.” In 1795 it was extended to 5 years of residency, in 1798 it was extended to 14 years. BY 1802 it dropped back down to 5 years.

In 1798, the president was given the ability to deport or imprison anyone who was deemed dangerous to the United States. It was the first act to authorize deportation of immigrants.  Another 1798 policy, which is still alive today in modified form, was the Alien Enemies Act. It allows the deportation of men (aged 14 and older) from a hostile country during times of war. This was used widely during World War II and, even though modified, currently permits the president to detain, relocate, or deport aliens during war times.

Fast forward to 1864. An Immigration Department is formed under the Secretary of State and the “Act to Encourage Immigration” was enacted. Because of the labor shortages after the Civil War, this act allowed for the government to create contracts with other countries to provide immigrant labor.

By 1870, naturalization was given to those of African nativity or descent. By this time, our immigrant population was at its highest since the inception of the country at 14.4%.

In 1875, the country released its first restrictive immigration legislation with the Page Law, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act.  This prohibited the immigration of criminals into the country and also made it a felony to contract with forced Asian laborers.  By 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese laborers from immigrating for the next 10 years and authorized deportation of unauthorized Chinese immigrants. Anyone of Chinese descent who immigrated prior to 1880 was given amnesty, but could not naturalize. By 1892 the amount of time Chinese could not immigrate to the USA was increased to 20 years and they must show documentation and proof of identity.

The 1891 Immigration Act was pretty large. It increased the list of people banned from immigrating to include polygamists and those with a contagious disease. It also permitted deportation of ANY unauthorized immigrants and it made it a federal misdemeanor to illegally immigrate.

1903 brought about a policy that barred people from immigrating because of their political beliefs. This act prevented anarchists, beggars, and importers of prostitutes from immigrating to the country.

By 1916 we start seeing more exclusions. Almost every Asian country was now excluded from being able to immigrate to the United States and any immigrant over the age of 16 must be able to demonstrate basic reading ability.

In 1921 the Emergency Quota Act was passed. It created numerical quotas for immigration based on nationality. Quotas were to be 3% of the foreign born population of that nationality in the 1910 census. Asian countries were still barred from immigrating. Also, the total amount of people allowed to immigrate to America was capped at 350,000.

1924 saw the creation of U.S. Border Patrol. Also in 1924, the immigration cap was decreased from 350,000 to 165,000. The quotas were also changed. The quota change favored countries that had a longer immigration record with the United States than those with shorter. It also denied entry to the United States of anyone who was ineligible to become a citizen. This meant that only whites and people of African descent were allowed entry.

In 1942 the Bracero Agreement allowed temporary visas to Mexican nationals for the purpose of working in the agricultural fields. This agreement stayed in effect until 1962.

In 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed and they were added to the quotas. Also with this, Chinese people were able to naturalize in the United States.

In 1952, the McCarren-Walter Act formally removed race as an exclusion for immigration and naturalization. Also under this law, political views, ideology, mental health, and other criteria were used a basis for exclusion and deportation. It also created priority immigration status for those who were skilled workers and those who were immigrating to reunite with their families.

In 1953, the Refugee Relief Act authorized special visas for 200,000 refugees and allowed these immigrants to become permanent residents.

President Kennedy, in 1961, provided medical care, financial aid, assistance with resettlement, and child welfare services for Cuban refugees. The Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 assisted individuals in the Western Hemisphere fleeing from “persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion.”

In 1965, the antiquated quota system was removed and replaced with a preference system that included standards such as family reunification and skilled immigrants. The visa cap was also removed for the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere was given a 120,000 cap on visas.

President Ford, in 1975, approved the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act. This gave 130,000 Vietnamese funds for relocation and resettlement. This was due to the the fact that South Vietnam would fall to the communist north.

Then in 1976, the visa caps went back into play when Mexico was given a cap of 20,000 visas annually and the entire world was given 290,000. Prior to this, Mexican immigration was at its highest.

The Refugee Act of 1980 adopted the UN’s definition of refugee admission standards. It also included deportation relief and admission based on region or nationality. This means it paved the way for emergency immigration relief for the persecuted and unprotected around the world. A short time later in 1986, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act gave permanent residency to illegal immigrants who lived in the US and worked certain agricultural jobs. This provided amnesty to over 2.7 million illegals. Reagan added to that the minor children and spouses of those who became legal under the 1986 law.

In 1990 the cap was briefly increased to 700,000 and then reduced to 675,000 on the number of visas granted. Of that, 480,000 must be family-sponsored visas, 140,000 are employment visas, and 55,000 are what are known as “diversity immigrant” visas. These are for people who come from countries with low immigration to America.

1996 brought about more protections. President Clinton approved the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This increased enforcement at the borders and allowed the building of fences and walls at the highest points of entry in the United States. It tightened workforce enforcement, removing criminal and deportable aliens from the country. It also increased the restrictions on aid that immigrants can receive, especially illegal immigrants.

By 2002 we digitized the admissions and removal of immigrants and the visa program. Also, in the wake of 9/11, the Homeland Security Act transfers almost all of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) to DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

In 2006, Bush 43 got the Secure Fence Act passed. Due to the failure of immigration reform, the law mandates a 700-mile double-layered fence to be constructed on America’s southwest border. It also beefed up staffing of border security there as well.

In 2012, President Obama, through executive action, signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. This law affected illegal immigrants between the ages of 15-30 who were brought to America illegally as children to apply for temporary deportation relief and a 2-year work visa. Over 750,000 people applied for that relief.

In 2014, a second executive order allowed illegal immigrant parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years and have children during that time who are U.S. citizens to apply for deportation relief and a 3-year work visa.

This year, so far, President Trump put through executive action to change immigration policies. These policies will affect 4 distinct groups of people:

  • Criminals who are immigrants. Trump has promised that he will remove 2-3 million criminal immigrants. He has taken a broad stroke on the definition of “criminal” as most partisan and non-partisan groups place that number significantly lower at under 1 million.
  • Immigrants who arrived as children. Over 750,000 qualified for the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act. While Trump pledged to remove DACA, he has since softened his stance saying that he is willing to work with those who qualified for it. If it was rescinded, those people would face unemployment, the inability to attend college, and possible deportation. There is currently legislation in the Senate that would provide this group “provisional protected presence” but no path to citizenship.
  • Immigrant parents of American citizens. About 4 million people qualified for the 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Again, Trump wanted to immediately rescind both DAPA and DACA, and he may still do so. But they will likely be a low enforcement priority.
  • Workers and recent arrivals. While they may remain low on the immigration totem pole, if Trump decides to follow Bush 43’s lead, there could be an increase in workplace raids. Many recent arrivals were already targeted for prioritized deportation under Obama, such as children from Central America fleeing violence. Trump has considered maintaining their deportation priority.

Trump also recently put a temporary ban on entrance from 7 Muslim-majority nations and an indefinite ban on entrance from Syria. So far this has led to only 109 people being detained nationally. according to his numbers. According to the lawsuit put forward by the states, that number is over 100,000. This isn’t new. Obama did a very similar action in his second term. Unfortunately, whether it is 100,000, 109, or even 1, with a president as polarizing as Trump, the media will be in a firestorm, which will embolden other countries to stand up to Americans.

Beginning next week, I want to look at the potential effect of Americans abroad, especially missionaries, when countries lash out against America for current legislation.

Exodus 22:21 – “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

The Attributes of God, Part 2

Last week I looked at those attributes of God that are not transferable to humanity. They are qualities that make up the essence of God. He alone can claim them.

This week I would like to look at those attributes that caused God to proclaim in Genesis that are made in His image.

Genesis 1:27 – So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

I am sure I will leave out some qualities. There really are too many to count. But I want to touch upon those qualities that God has provided us. Now keep in mind that just because we have a quality that God has it does not mean that we use it properly. More often than not we muddy God’s image in the way we behave and act out.

These are also attributes that we need learn to imitate God if we expect to be called a Christian.

Genesis 1:3 – And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The first of these qualities is the ability to communicate. We know that God spoke, and speaks. Genesis 1:3 is a great example of that. God’s communication is filled with both truth and power. Unfortunately, as humans our communications is often filled with half-truths, lies, and weak statements. We spend our time getting into Facebook arguments, listening blindly to people with agendas, and hurting those we love most with our words.  Christians should learn to speak with truth in love and to command the power that God gave us. In Genesis God tells us that we will rule over everything. Rulers don’t speak with wimpy mumbling. Rulers command respect and their words are filled with truth and power.

1 John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Psalm 11:5 – The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.

Next, God both loves and hates.

Whoa Fred! God is love! How can He hate?

Well, our human definitions of love and hate just are not big enough to encompass those qualities in God. We know God is and shows love. He did that through Jesus Christ. We are able to express love as well, even though it is tainted by sin. No matter how deeply you love your spouse or child it will never be as deep as God loves His children.

Now what about hate? When we think of hate, we usually think of someone who is filled with ignorance about a situation or person. For example, there may be a person at work that completely gets under your skin. You cannot stand working with them. They might be abrasive toward you or demeaning toward you. If you were to come up to me and say that you hate that person, I would ask you if you have considered what they might be going through. Perhaps you remind them of someone who hurt them deeply. Maybe something you did or said inadvertently upset that person and they can’t get over it. But God is not like that. In last week’s post we discussed how God is omnipresent and omniscient. This means he sees all and knows all that people are going through. He looks directly to the heart of a person. At the risk of sounding reformed in my theology here, I want you to imagine Hitler. During his time of killing the Jewish people and waging a war that killed many more, I am going to go out on a limb and say that during that time God hated Hitler. Now let’s look at something that most likely didn’t happen, but if Hitler stopped killing, repented of his ways as best he could, and completely turned around, working for the ways of God and justice, then God’s heart would change toward him because Christ’s blood would have covered him. God loves His children. He hates those who crave violence and destroy justice.

Isaiah 30:18 – Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Another couple of attributes of God is both justice and mercy. We share in those with God. God provides us mercy. He has done everything to allow us the opportunity to get out of what we rightfully deserve. We do exhibit mercy to people. At my church we have a program called Overcomer’s Outreach. Many of the people in there deserve a lot of bad things. Most have had several bad things happen to them already, but they have stopped short of killing themselves or others. Our church steps in to prevent them from hurting themselves further. Even though they don’t deserve it, and sometimes don’t even want it, we help them to get out of their messes. But humanity is imperfect. We don’t always show mercy perfectly as Christ has.

God always does what is perfectly right according to the law. That is called justice. While we have the ability to be lawful, we are imperfect in our execution of justice. This is seen in how we create laws in our country. Recently our country elected a new president. This president is doing what is right in his eyes. Unfortunately that has upset quite a few people who don’t see justice the same way he does and we have seen rallies and demonstrations because of it. This is an example of our imperfect view of justice.

1 John 3:20 – If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

James 3:17 – But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

The next set of attributes of God that is also available to us is wisdom and knowledge. God knows all. He is omniscient. We have knowledge, but only in part. To go along with that, we are able to show wisdom, which is the proper use of knowledge.  Wisdom is used properly when it is used in light of Scripture. God has perfect wisdom and is able to determine the best course of action for accomplishing His decisions.

Acts 26:25 – “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable.

To go along with wisdom and knowledge, God is also rational and He gives us the ability to be rational as well. Everything God possesses in His wisdom and knowledge comprises His perfect thought. We have the ability to be rational, but our decisions are not always right. Since we don’t have perfect knowledge and are affected by sin, we cannot have perfect rationality.

Titus 1:2 – in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

Truth is where words or actions reflect what is actual, and it is a quality possessed by God. We can be truthful, but we are never perfectly truthful. We exaggerate or tell small lies so that people don’t get hurt by our words.

Psalm 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.

The final attribute of God that is communicable is goodness. Being good can only be understood with relationship to God and His character. Humanity is able to be good with one another, but our standards of goodness are very subjective. No one sees everything the same way when it comes to goodness. true goodness can only be understood in relation to God and Scripture.

Now I am sure I missed a lot of qualities. All of Galatians 5 comes to mind. But Galatians 5 can be described through one or more of the above attributes.

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Recent College Grad's Quest For Meaning

Blonde and Fabulous

some girls were born with glitter in their veins.

Book Hub, Inc.

The Total Book Experience

Morgan Mitchell

• Dreamer, Thinker, Blogger • |Loves Jesus| • College Student • |Living proof of a loving God to a watching World.| • #fivecollective

valeriu dg barbu

© valeriu barbu

Love Christ.Obey Christ.Share Christ

lets connect: twitter @cbailitz -OR- facebook.com/cbailitz

Cole Ryan

A Few Thoughts On Christianity

Moving at the Speed of God

Sharing the Thoughts and Adventures of David Jackson, Church Multiplication Missionary with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware

philliphowell

Tasting and seeing that the Lord is very good!

My Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Writing Sisters

Your Story - Our Story - God's Story

Chris Martin Writes

Sowing seeds for the Kingdom

God’s truth abideth still

Life & Faith through the lens of a student

By the Rivulet

A Writing Journey on the Life of Faith

Morning Story and Dilbert

Inspiring, Encouraging, Healthy / Why waste the best stories of the World, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and let your worries drift away…

Tea Cups and Grace

Life, faith and cups of tea.

True Warriors of God

Put on the full armour of God ~ Ephesians 6:13

Write For A Cause

The Spiritually Inclined Deductions by Jenine Silos