Month: December 2019

The World As You Know It

The world we live in is changing and will be different for our children and grandchildren. Ask your parents, and they may tell you that they, too, feel the same about our generation. If you are reading this while riding the bus, your world is different that in the 1970s and 1980s. You may feel you live in a more exciting time but for another it may be one of the scariest times of all. Some people are experiencing great economic certainty while others are barely scraping by. “But hasn’t that always been the case”? True, there has always been the haves and the have-nots. What makes the world as you know if unique is that this is the time in which you live. You may remember a time when the main highway through your town was a bi-directional one way street with very little traffic lights. Today that same street may be a local road that you try to avoid because of the many cross-streets and traffic lights. What you consider convenience may be complicated for another generation and the days your parents long for may have little appeal to you.

The world as we know it, is changing and there is very little we may be able to do to stop it or slow down the rate of change! Change is the one constant, Regardless of whether you embrace or resist it. What may matter most is what you do today to make tomorrow better for your children, friends, and neighbors. Is the world as you know it a perfect one? Great! What will you do to make sure it, is perfect tomorrow? Is the world as you know it in need of massive reform? What actions are you taking to foster those reforms you feel are necessary?

The world you know is the world you have the most impact on. It may be a community, a municipality, or an entire country. What do you feel is your role in maintaining or changing it for the better? Are you interested in changing it for the better!? You may simply want to mind your business and not be bothered by societal issues, and you have that right! In that case, one may argue that the world as you know it, is all about you. And still, you have that right.

For everyone else, there is a task at hand! Find out what that is and do it!

What was a cliche to the earlier generations is the norm today and people now embrace some of what were not before acceptable. Some today are arguing that precedent is under assault, while political activists are debating the degradation of norms. State governments are decriminalizing marijuana, and courts are contending with marriage equality. These are some of the issues that some may not have figured would be so prominent in their lifetime, but here we are. What change do you find most surprising and what do you wish the earlier generation had done differently?

The question above requires no answer. Instead, one may choose to look at where we are today and what we can do to make sure the next generation doesn’t have to look back and ask that same question. The question is not if, but when will the next change occur? Mans quest for knowledge makes change inevitable and we don’t always accept change outright. Change sometimes came about through bloodshed and much division. We need only to look back at the American Civil War to get a clear understanding of people’s resistance to change.

The world as you know it, already changed ever so slightly in the time it took to read this short note. What is your next move?

Testing

Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys testing or temptation and I personally do not like having to endure testing. Yeshua himself taught us to pray that Adonai would not lead us into temptation/hard testing (Matt. 6:13). Yet, his brother Ya’akov (James) says “Happy is the one who endures testing“. Some may use this to say that we should be joyful in our trials because it will make us stronger in the end. Yes, we should always encourage and offer aid to those who are facing various trials but don’t be deceived into thinking that you will always laugh your way through difficult times. When was the last time you laughed your way through a difficult period? It is not practical to think that people will be “happy” when going through hard testing.

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Unlike the kind of training and testing we undergo to build our muscles, we are generally unwilling participants in many of the testing that come our way. They manifest in the form of persecution, spiritual warfare, and from simply existing in a fallen world. You may be or have been a victim of injustice or misunderstanding. But if you are reading this, you endure! In enduring you will strengthen your faith in God your deliverer and on the other side of testing you become equipped to fight your other battles and to help others in their struggles as well.

Your happiness is in the enduring because the rewards are on the other side of the test. This is why James said, “he who have stood the test will receive the crown of life“. Think of how joyful you feel when you draw from your experience to help others. Think of how you respond when you are able to avoid and overcome a situation because you drew on past experiences. We don’t know for certain the outcome of our testing but we do know that we serve a faithful God who “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“One of the elders asked me, “These people dressed in white robes — who are they, and where are they from?”  “Sir,” I answered, “you know.” Then he told me, “These are the people who have come out of the Great Persecution. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb.  That is why they are before God’s throne.” (Revelation 7 :13-15)

There is great happiness and rejoicing when we overcome trials and testing. Encourage one another in your testing and and trust that God is faithful to deliver you. You may get bruised, battered, and soiled along the way but there is healing on the other side. There is both temporal and eternal rewards for enduring the test of faith in this fallen world. Yeshua told us the reward that awaits us; “Don’t let yourselves be disturbed. Trust in God and trust in me. In my Father’s house are many places to live. If there weren’t, I would have told you; because I am going there to prepare a place for you. Since I am going and preparing a place for you, I will return to take you with me; so that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

Keep this in mind, and keep your eyes on Yeshua as you face the various trials so that tomorrow you will rejoice in your reward!