Kalashnikov, Kids and Kindness

Okay, this one is for the Christians out there. The rest of you can read for your entertainment if you like but I’m addressing people of like faith on this one. How big is YOUR God? Is Yahweh more powerful than Allah?

Over the past few days my position on the refugee crisis has wavered between saying, “Absolutely NOT” to “Maybe” to “What are we afraid of?” My gut response, after seeing the horror perpetrated on Paris was–we need to keep these people out of our country. The truth is, however, the terrorists are already here. They are already living among us and they didn’t sneak in behind traumatized women, children and old people. They came in with visas and passports. They live in towns called “Islamaberg”.

Last night I watched a chilling program on the PBS show, “Frontline”. It was called, “ISIS in Afghanistan”. There were scenes of ISIS men indoctrinating young, young children on the ways of jihad. They were showing them videos of torture and be-headings. They were teaching them the proper way to hold a gun. Every day the children in these villages meet to see new videos, hear new teachings and become more poisoned by the hatred and bile of these fighters. The most horrifying sight to me was a young boy, maybe 7 or 8, holding a Kalashnikov rifle which he pretended to shoot and with an innocent smile on his face proclaimed, “God is great!”

I look at the innocent faces of these Afghani children and I look at the faces of my grandchildren and think, “What are we teaching them?” Chances are we are feeding our children just as much hate and suspicion as the jihadists are. They hear us talk about wiping all the Muslims off the planet, destroying them, killing them. We say these things because we are afraid–afraid of the unknown, afraid of our families being attacked, afraid of an evil we can’t see. But I go back to my original question–How big is YOUR God?

As Christians we say the words, we go to church and sing about how great our God is, how he will protect us, how he will provide for us but when we are faced with a truly dire situation that needs a Christian response suddenly our God is not enough to protect us from the forces of Allah. God is not great enough to sift out evil or keep us safe. Our words mean nothing in the face of the barbaric, despicable radical Muslims because we truly have no confidence in our faith.

I’m just as guilty. I watch these shows about the demon-possessed hordes ravaging the Middle East and Europe. I know they want to destroy us and it shakes me to the core. But, I have to believe MY God is bigger than theirs. And if I believe that how do I respond to mothers, babies, little children, old men and old women who are trying to find some peace and release from their fear?

In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat has been informed an immense army of Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites were on their way to Judah to annihilate them. Jehoshaphat knew there was no way they had enough people to defeat the army coming against them. Instead of running in fear, he stood on the steps of the temple and prayed. There was no way, humanly speaking, for a good outcome and he turned to the God he believed would save them. God spoke to Jehoshaphat and everyone there–Go meet the enemy and take your position, stand your ground and watch what God will do! Instead of going to meet the enemy with swords and spears, they marched toward them singing songs of praise for what God had already done for them. When they arrived at the spot where they would meet up, every one of the enemy soldiers lay dead on the valley floor. The battle was God’s and he won.

We’ve got to stop paying lip service to what we believe about God and act on who we know he is. Either we face the enemy and stand our ground or we run. We can’t be in the middle any more because this is a matter of life and death. If we truly believe in God then we need to show the terrorized masses fleeing their homes the love and kindness of the one true God. If we turn them away, we are reinforcing the messages already being indoctrinated into their minds. It is our job as Christians to show them why we call ourselves by that name and to show the stranger and the sojourner peace and a more blessed way of living.

It is our government’s job to protect us, to ferret out the evil, to take down the wicked ones who would destroy us. We need to hold them accountable for our safety. We need to be aware of our surroundings and do what we physically can to protect ourselves and our children. But, our Christian response should reflect the very actions Christ would require of us. To be the good Samaritan cleaning the wounds and feeding the ones left for dead on the side of the road. Anything less makes us no better.

Is God greater than fear?

Is God greater than fear?

Changing Impossible to Possible

I’ve been dealing with some pretty heavy stuff this past year. I’ve had major surgery because of my Crohns Disease and I’ve been unable to find a job. It is pretty much the stuff depression is made of but God is teaching me even through this difficult time. Yes, there have been times of meltdowns and screaming and asking, “Why me??” but I always come back to this one truth–God can change the impossible to the possible.

My studies in the Bible have centered around the story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah, lately and I’ve learned a valuable lesson–don’t ever laugh at God’s promises because he will always have the last laugh.

God promised Abraham he would be the father of a great nation but there was one small problem. Abraham had no children. Yet, he took God at his word and believed his promise.

One day some esteemed visitors stopped by Abraham’s tent on the way to investigate a situation in Sodom. As the men sat eating and drinking with Abraham, Sarah overheard a conversation. One of the visitors told Abraham within a year Sarah would have a child. Sarah, hiding behind the tent flap, laughed to herself. She was 89 years old and the thought of becoming pregnant was such an outrageous impossibility she couldn’t help but shake her head and snicker. Then, she heard the visitor outside say, “Why did Sarah laugh?”

Sarah was taken aback because she knew she hadn’t laughed out loud. She peeked around the corner of the tent and said, “I didn’t laugh.” The visitor looked right at her, confronting her lie, and said, “Yes, you did laugh.” He then proceeded to ask her, in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Right at that moment Sarah had a choice. Would she believe with God anything was possible? Could she let go of her cynicism and have complete faith in God’s promises?

We read in Genesis 21 Sarah indeed became pregnant and at the age of 90 delivered a son to Abraham who was 100 years old. Sarah laughs again but this time in joy not disbelief. “God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Sarah had laughed derisively at God’s promise but in the end she was laughing with joy, and others joined her, when God indeed turned an impossible situation into a living, breathing possibility.

Life’s experiences can cause us to not accept or embrace God’s promises because we only see the insurmountable impossibility. We laugh to ourselves when someone tells us God will provide our needs or God can heal us or God can change our situation. When we ignore the truth of God’s promises we are laughing at them. We aren’t demonstrating our faith in his ability to change our circumstances. We have a choice at that moment: either accept in complete faith God can do what he says or continue laughing in disbelief.

We limit the power of God when we laugh at his promises but we can watch him change the impossible to the possible when we choose to have complete faith in him. When we take God at his word in the most unlikely, impossible situations and we claim his promises for our life, we can be assured we will be laughing with joy at the end.