My “Poster Child” Is Jesus

JESUS OVER BIBLEIn a day of social media, the latest “flavor of the month” issue is just a desktop, tablet, or smart phone away.  As of this writing, Kim Davis has become the “poster child” for “Conservative Christians” taking a stand against the government’s intrusion into the issue of same sex marriage.

I don’t know Kim, personally.  I have no beef with her as an individual.  She has – like all of us –  government granted 1st Amendment rights.

My issue, as a pastor, is with her becoming the “Poster Child” for how to “take a stand” for righteous rights.

In this case it’s the issue of same sex marriage and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the issue.  I am fully aware that – technically – Kim Davis was not breaking the law of the Kentucky constitution.  The Supreme Court does not have the right to overturn state law.  I know that.  That’s not my point.

The point – to me – is more foundational than that for those who are witnesses and representatives of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Kim Davis refused to sign registrations for marriage licenses based on the argument of religious conscience.  She stated that she could not put her name to an action that was going to send people to hell.  I can respect that.  No problem.

What I cannot respect is – what I consider – the “double standard” at best or hypocrisy at worst of “her stand.”  You see, her church also believes that divorce is worthy of hell fire.  Now hold on.  I’m not referring to her own multiple divorces.  I understand that she has become a Christian since then.

What I am referring to is the fact that, since then, she also has had to have put her signature to a large number of applications for divorce.

But wait!  Her church (and she) believes that divorce – like same sex marriage – is a deep sin worthy of separation from God.  So…

Why is she “taking a stand” on same sex marriage and not divorce?  This is only my opinion, but it feels to me a lot like she knows she would get good traction out of making same sex marriage and issue, but not so much with divorce.  The thing is, divorce used to be a hot topic (flavor of the month) for the conservative church to be against.  Now, not so much.

We need to put far more emphasis on what Jesus is for rather than what He is against.  Let’s make Jesus our “Poster Child.”

“Looking Unto Jesus, The Author and Finisher of Our Faith”  (Hebrews 12:2)

It is very interesting to note that the original language on this verse emphasizes “looking away from one thing to fix your gaze on another.”

But, you say, “Isn’t that hiding your head in the sand?  That’s our problem, you continue.  Supposed Christians are always just hiding their heads in the sand!! That’s why we are in the mess we’re in!!”

I’d like to suggest

That isn’t the root cause for the mess we’re in.  May I suggest that the root problems is that instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus, we keep looking away from Him and fixing our eyes on the sins of the culture.  Instead of viewing reality from “top down,” we’re perceiving reality from “bottom up.”

The result is what someone said, “When the church stops listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and starts paying more attention to the evils of society they’ve fallen into the mind trap of the enemy.”  What the church has done is laid down the signs and wonders of God’s Kingdom and picked up the picket signs of earthly protest.

Instead of constantly taking up a defensive position against the cultural, governmental driven systems of our day, instead let’s support and live out the methods of advancing the God’s Government.

Let’s make Jesus our Poster Child of example for advancing the Kingdom of God.

Gary

When Discouragement Comes by Gary Ellis

Discouragement, frustration, negative stress all come to every person.  It’s a normal condition of the flesh in a distressed world.  It comes.  But, it doesn’t have to stay!

Encouragement is an action that means to “fill with courage.”  Discouragement means to “rob of courage.”  Jesus made it pretty clear in His words recorded in John 10:10 that He gives and it is the Thief that robs.  King David asked the question in Psalms 42 and 43, “Why are you cast down [discouraged] my soul [the part of you including emotional responses]?

David gave the solution in the same verses.  Jesus instructed about the remedy for normal flesh life in the words of John 15.

David said, “…hope in God.”  Some translations say, “…wait on God.”  They are both accurately expressing aspects of the same Hebrew word which has the idea of fixing one’s eyes patiently in anticipation of His salvation.Jesus said that we are branches and must stay attached to the vine.  In a very real way, both David and Jesus are relating the same truth.

When a person has been robbed by and through circumstances and other people of their courage, it’s actually the action of the Enemy in their minds.  Their gaze has slipped from the Source of Life and the ears of their inner frustrations have begun to give attention to the voice of accusations.

While walking in the flesh, we typically accuse others and ourselves.  It’s a telltale sign of the Enemy’s presence.

As overly simplistic as it sounds, the first and most important thing to do is cause your inner eyes to look directly at Jesus.  The most effective way to do that is a combination of directing your attention to a promise in the Word and gather a list of remembrances of past victories in Him.

(btw…that’s also a root meaning of ‘waiting’ to the Hebrew mind.  The same word is used in Genesis where the waters were “gathered” into their own places)

Then [actually as part the same action] take deep breaths.  Physically and of His Spirit.

The next time (or now) you are robbed of courage, TAKE IT BACK.  Put your eyes where they belong and He will Re-courage you!

One final thought:  The temptation will be to think, “But all of these circumstances are real.  I’m just being realistic.”  Gravity is real.  But Lift is a higher law that overcomes gravity.  We can choose to live by the highest laws.  That’s were we find peace in the storm…like Jesus did.

Gary