Personal Lessons - Knowledge Based on Experience
In 2003, Actor Johnny Depp compared the U.S. to a “stupid puppy” in how we handled foreign policy. His popularity took a deep dive and hasn’t stopped falling since. Of course, his behavior towards women doesn’t help his cause.
In the same year and during an overseas concert, the popular band the Dixie Chicks condemned President George W. Bush’s decision to aggressively launch two simultaneous wars. The American people came unglued saying an American should never bad mouth our democracy on foreign soil. Their comments were tagged as treasonous. The band broke up. Whether it has anything to do with the controversy is unclear.
Many of the older Americans I interact with daily have voiced deep frustration that the “younger generation” voices discontent and embarrassment about the country in which they live, work, and pay taxes. The generation gap has parted the best of friends, divided families, and spilled over into a hostile political climate.
Most question what defines a proud American? Is it standing for the National Anthem or is it defending our country at all cost? Is it pride or is it grateful humility? Is it freedom or is it self-preservation? Is it cooperation or is it a hard-nosed stance?
I want to know: Where are the proud Americans that stood against Johnny Depp and tore up their tickets to Dixie Chicks concerts? Where are you, proud American? If you were to ask me right now how proud I am to be an American, I would have to be honest. (I know…you aren’t shocked that I am willing to be honest.) I am proud to live in America. I am grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed on me due to my country of origin and God’s grace allowing me to be born here. But, am I proud to be an American?
Nope. My pride ended in November 2016. So, “leave,” you say? How about those who demean our intelligence operations, law enforcement, and homeland security in front of the Russian leader take the first plane out of the country. Then, I’ll be proud.
Whisper, my child, whisper.
Knowing that I hear.
Believe me when I say to you,
There’s no reason for you to fear.
Pray earnestly to Me, my child.
Never doubt my love.
Understanding that I AM God,
Constantly watching from above.
Remember this my precious child
When you feel caught up in sin,
If your life was a movie
I know exactly how it ends.
There are so many times I hear you child
And while you think I’ve ignored your cries,
I am always listening – always near.
I’m right here by your side.
Believe the promises made my child.
Knowing I never lie.
I’m in your teardrops.
I’m in your pain.
I’m even in your sighs.
I’ll never leave you or forsake you child.
You can depend on me.
So, walk every step and say every word
Knowing I hear and see.
*Poetry by Roni Archer is copyrighted along with the other contents of this website.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also your heart be.” Matthew 6:19-21.
Our life’s ambition reveals those people or things that we consider to be our treasure. Fame, money, power, control...what gets most of my attention? What do I value the most in life? If you are like me, we want to answer “God.” That’s a nice answer, but is it a truthful one? Actions reveal what we consider worthy of our time, attention, money, energy and purpose.
Where does God fit in? Truthfully.
I realize we all think differently and reflect a variety of opinions. Since it’s my blog <wink>, I will share with you what I see is an increasing selfishness; even among God’s children. I see very little community spirit, but a great deal of anger and division. I see, especially among American Christians, very little sacrifice. Very little charity. I see war games. Seriously, we are currently experiencing a civil war. It isn’t a physical war. It is a war among ourselves. It is a war to be right; not so much righteous, but right.
From my perspective, Christianity runs the risk of making our treasure, “self.” If we are more concerned with what we get as opposed to what we give, our treasure isn’t God or God’s work at all. I fear our treasure in America has become pride, arrogance, selfishness, hatred, anger, backbiting, and winning. We want to win at all cost. It seems we willingly sold our souls to a selfish lifestyle as opposed to storing up eternal treasures through acts of compassion and kindness. Let me correct myself: Many of us <ouch> are willing to display selective kindness and compassion. But, we get to decide who gets it.
God help us. (We aren’t doing very well on our own.) True riches are discovered when we sacrifice. Our treasure becomes a giving heart with an eye on eternity. We’ve lost sight that wealth isn’t about material possessions, it’s about a yielded spirit and a giving heart. My treasure owns my heart. Does my heart belong to God?
I read in a book recently that Christians stuck in legalism love slavery. Grace frees; law enslaves. When we focus on being “perfect,” or expect everyone else to be, we are stuck in the mire of legalism. In those cases, we are just like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Though once freed from bondage, they began to reminisce wanting to return to the chains of Egypt. When the going got tough, they wanted to return to slavery instead of resting in God’s promises.
Think about that. Christ freed us from the bondage of fear, performance, rules and laws. Yet, we find black/white, either/or, my way/the highway thinking more appealing than freedom in Christ. A freedom to be who we are - warts and all. Freedom that understands we all make mistakes. Freedom from the bondage of well-meaning religion that often misses grace’s point entirely. The point of grace is while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Not while we were perfect. Not because of the color of our skin. Not due to our denomination or how often we attend church. Not even because I grew up in church and know the Bible well. God looks at Who I know; not what I know. God could care less about what I’ve done. He looks for obedience in what I do now.
Many Christians say they want Christ to return. Some say it will be soon because the world is so bad. If we truly believe Christ is going to walk through the door any minute, I believe we’d embrace freedom and proclaim His message to others. We’d stop telling people to change. We’d be changed people ourselves. We’d believe we have a story to tell all nations. Jesus saves. He never based His grace on what we do or where we live. He based His grace on God’s instructions to act as a sacrifice for all sins and for all people.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
Miry pit? Sinking sand? Solid Rock? We decide.