America has been open for less than a month and the country is now on fire. Protests and riots are popping up every night since we have all seen the atrocity of George Floyd’s unnecessary abuse and subsequent death. This latest wrong happened while the country was still dealing with the controversial killing of Ahmaud Arbery. We think this is a problem of racism and the color of each other’s skin. This is much, much deeper than the color of the skin. Everything we see unfolding around us right now is a problem that stems from the heart, and the fact that hatred, discourse, and disrespect live in the hearts of many in America. When three men grab guns to go investigate a prowler in the neighborhood, in response to some simple burglaries, that is an issue of the heart, that these men instantly felt the need to bring guns to chase an unarmed man through their neighborhood. But in our current gun culture, you almost feel the need to always have a gun on you because so many in our nation carry weapons on them. And again, that is a heart issue, that we feel like we have to be the judge, jury, and, sometimes, executioner. That was never our responsibility. God is the judge. God will be the jury. Our responsibility is to love everyone. Our responsibility is to love everyone as ourselves. Would we pin ourselves down on a street with our knees and weight of our entire body? No. But if we loved others as ourselves, we would also not resist arrest or continue to commit crime. If you want law enforcement to cease to exist, stop making the need for them to be so prevalent in our society. The riots, which is what we are currently seeing, these are not protests, you lose the right to call it a protest as soon as property is damaged, in any way. These riots just give more support for the need for law enforcement in our communities. Crime, evil, the extortion of the human spirit is always on the rise, so the need for law enforcement will always be there. And again, that is a heart issue. We allow our children to grow up without respect for authority and without knowing right from wrong. And these children grow from committing petty crimes in their youth to career criminals. So what is missing in the hearts of many in America, from the angry young men lighting fires in the streets of Minneapolis, to the angry old man sitting in the most important seat in America? That’s obvious. We’re all missing Jesus. That is the common denominator in all our problems across this country and around the world. Jesus is not in our hearts. We do not love God and love creation. We do not love others as ourselves. If we did, we would not have so much anger in our hearts. If we did, we would not be burning down innocent businesses and livelihoods. If we did, we would not be crushing a man’s airway with our knees. If we did, we would not be hunting down prowlers in our neighborhood with deadly weapons. If we did, we would not be committing the crimes that lead to these deadly encounter. If we had Jesus in our hearts we would not be allowing our children to grow up without accurately knowing who Jesus is and how to love as Jesus commanded. If WE had Jesus in our hearts we would be doing more to heal this land before it reaches a boiling point as we are seeing now.
The hatred that’s in Americans hearts has been rearing its ugly head for the last decade. I wrote a fictional work called The Savannah Syndrome almost ten years ago now. In that book, the killing of an innocent man by authorities lead to another civil war breaking out, and our country falling into anarchic ruin. From that ruin God sends a virus out to destroy mankind. This fictitious work is becoming more and more an accurate portrayal of the state of our country because our hearts continued to be filled with hatred and discourse. Or we allow distractions and worthless passions consume our hearts so that loving God and loving others as ourselves has no room in our lives. Wake up weary sleeper. If we are not loving one another as Jesus did, we will never see the right change in our country and in our world. But, then, we were never meant to achieve that kind of love. We’re meant to destroy this world so Jesus finally returns. Perhaps we are getting closer and closer to that moment, which would be fine with me. I grow tired of this wicked world. I’ve been praying for revival and a lasting change to sweep across America in 2020, so that Jesus can return to a world that exists to glorify Him. Maybe I just need to start praying for Jesus to hurry up and return and fulfill John’s prophecies from the Book of Revelation. Because the sooner Jesus returns, the quicker we can get to a place much better than this.
23They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus. 24Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. 25They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:
26“‘Go to this people nad say,
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”
27For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
28“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”(Acts 28:23-28)
Here Paul gives his last recorded speech to the Jewish leaders of Rome. As we see in the opening verses, there were some that did not believe and turned away. But Paul gives them their own prophet’s words from over 400 years before, where Isaiah accurately stated that the Jewish would not believe and God would open eternal salvation to all people. But was salvation ever really designed just for the Israelites? Of course not! God set the Israelites apart from the rest of the world so He could finally speak to all humanity and use the Jewish nation to bring the world Jesus and from Jesus, show all humanity the path to living lives that please the creator of ALL humanity. The end of the Book of Acts shows Paul’s last plea to the Jewish people. As time will march on, many of these Jewish will become Christians. That conversion still happens in our present day as many Jewish see the truth in their lifetime and convert to be Jewish Christians.
We still need to reach the nation of Israel and bring them to the truth that their salvation only rests in believing in Jesus and following His commandments. Learn the Bible, become fluent in both Testaments so you can stand up and reveal the specific prophecies of old and how Jesus fulfilled all of them.
Reading plan: Acts 28
Deeper reading plan: Job 37, 38, 39
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much. Pray for all the businesses trying to recover and keep their associates able to provide for their families. Pray that the world reopens without a surge of new COVID outbreaks. And pray that the world has undergone a lasting change and the flame of revival has been lit!
Fitness challenge: 2.5 miles for time.
Serve Day Challenge: find a way to get out and do some good this weekend. Spread love and servitude, not protests and anger.