Tag Archive | First Epistle to the Thessalonians

Don’t ignore bullying

This morning  I watched a Youtube video of a beautiful 15 year old girl, Amanda Todd, expressing her hopelessness and sorrow prior to her committing suicide. What a sad, pathetic story of a young girl that made a few poor decisions and was verbally and physically beaten by others for it. The fact that other teenagers could and would behave so vile and merciless towards her is unbelievable. Where was their decency? Where was their compassion for another human being? It is hard to believe that with all the so called sensitivity training this generation is receiving in schools and various programs etc. that one person could treat another person so horribly.

We all know people that have been bullied. Coming from a home where my own Dad was a bully, I have always detested bullying. I can remember in junior school watching a girl in my class get poked and made fun of and finally exploding at the perpetrators because I couldn’t stand by and watch!  Bullies come in all forms and sizes.. some as abusive parents, some siblings, others as coworkers, fellow students etc..  Fortunately, most of those bullied  do not take their life in desperation. Most come through it but not without their share of mental and physical battle scars!

So as followers of Christ, how should we react when we see bullying? Should we walk away and pray for the person/persons or should we speak up? Should we ignore it and hope it will go away or should we speak up and out on behalf of those  being bullied? Many people choose to walk on past and somehow justify that perhaps that person did something to warrant it….

What does the Bible say about how we are to react to those who are in a position of weakness or vulnerability?

Jeremiah 22:3 NIV This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

1 Peter 3:8 NIV Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

These are powerful words and certainly don’t encourage indifference or apathy, but involvement!   In fact just the opposite, as found in Genesis 42:21 NIV 21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 

This was in reference to the way Joseph’s brothers mistreated him and later felt shame and believed the hardships they were facing was a direct result of their abuse of Joseph.  And finally Psalm 83:3 NIV Defend the weak and the fatherlessuphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

All of these verses are verses of action. When we witness bullying or abuse we are not to sit idly by and ignore it, we are to do what we can to help. This may be with actions, with words or with intervention of others such as the police but we are NOT to ignore the plight of the poor, weak, disheartened or oppressed. As penned by Edmund Burke, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men/women to do nothing.”

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...

 

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Signs of the times are everywhere..

In my teens I used to hear about how things would get worse before Jesus returns.  Back then, when I looked around it was difficult to  to imagine some of the Bible verses actually coming to pass. Things in the world were a little crazy but peace still reigned, at least in my neck of the woods. There were difficult financial years and wars going on afar but North America still seemed like a haven for peace. All that has changed in the last ten years or so. There has been an increase in wars, famines and incredibly unpredictable weather conditions worldwide.  Things are heating up here in North America. Our religious freedoms are being attacked daily. Our leaders seem to lack leadership and seem as confused about what to do as the rest of the population.

All that being said, should Christians panic and worry. NO. We have been warned that all these things and plenty more would come to pass. It is not a surprise to anyone that has studied God’s word. Should we give up on the goals and purposes God has put in our hearts. Absolutely not!  We have been born for a time such as this.  It is all the more important that we live as God has called us to live. Serving and growing in his grace and wisdom. No man knows how much time we have. It could be 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we fulfill our God ordained purposes. It is vital that we ask God for continued wisdom and direction for each and every one of our lives and that we stop wasting time! We need to be basking in Christ’s love and soaking in His word. After all, we know how it all ends.

If you have been getting spiritually lazy and not seeking God on a daily basis, it’s time to put aside your laziness and get on your knees before Him. Get back into the word of God and encourage yourself with His wonderful promises. Let’s look at a few of them..

Luke 12:35-40 NIV 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

1John 2:28 NIV 28 And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at His coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NIV16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. And finally.. Revelation 3:3 NIV Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

If you find yourself growing weary with the increase in worldwide craziness take heart and remember we already know how the story ends. God is not surprised nor stressed about any of this. He is still on His throne and continues to extend His love and mercy to everyone that cries out to Him. Our Messiah didn’t die in vain and offers an eternal peace and joy for any that call on His name!!

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

“Signs of the times are everywhere, there’s a brand new feeling in the air. Keep your eye upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.” From the song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” by Gordon Jensen

Who does God say we are?

When we look in the mirror in the morning we sometimes don’t like what we see. A little older, messier, crazy haired, or perhaps just plain tired. Too often we take that image of who we are and make it our identity. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we have accepted Christ as our Savior and become a child of God we have an identity that in our natural eyes we can’t see. It is our true identity however, as it is how our Heavenly Father sees us.  If we live out of our old identity we find ourselves never quite feeling like we measure up. We lack confidence and therefore often find it hard to love others due to our own lack of self love. It prevents us from accomplishing the amazing things God has planned for each of us to do.

It is time for the body of Christ to live  in our true identity. This identity can be found in the word of God. Thankfully God no longer sees us as we see ourselves and He wants us to live in our new identity. Christ died so that we could be made clean before our Father and walk in fellowship with Him daily. So how does God see those that have been born again into the Kingdom of God by accepting Christ?

If we don’t know, or haven’t really understood our new identity than it’s time we did. It will free us to become all that God wants us to be.  Here are some verses that show how the Father now sees us….

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 3:16 NIV 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Peter 2:9 NIV But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.

2 Corinthians 5:18,19 NIV 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

And here is a beautiful description of who we are and how we can now live!  Romans 8:14,15 NIV 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

John 15:15,16 NIV 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

God chose us. What an amazing realization! Not only are we His children but we are His friends!

Romans 8:37 NIV 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Ephesians 2:6 NIV And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Ephesians 2:19 NIV 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.

God no longer sees us as foreigners outside His family but has welcomed us as His children and His friends. We are seated in Heavenly places in Christ.  We have no excuse to go through life living out of our old nature when He has made us so much more in Christ.  It’s time to start identifying ourselves as God sees us and living a victorious life through Him.  The next time you look in the mirror and feel disappointment,  remind yourself by quoting any of the above verses of who you REALLY are in Christ. 2God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21    

Once we believe and live out of  our true identity in Christ, we are free to go out and help others without all the entanglements  of insecurity. We are free to accomplish great things!

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!