WORD WEEK 11-06-05
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. The foundation the Christian's development, fellowship, communion, prayer, service, mission, devotion, and a life of faithful living through JESUS CHRIST is grounded upon these virtues. Christ exemplified for the believer that the pilgrimage to a meaningful and bountiful spiritual life requires that these virtues be integrated into our lives daily.
The virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness seem effortless when grace has withheld the clouds, the storms, the floods, and the earthquakes of life; all of which are circumstances that not only challenge what one believes, but the profundity of one's convictions about his/her faith significantly.
As we approach the dawning of the year 2005, we, GOD'S PEOPLE, approach this time of year with a deeper reverence to GOD and with a spirit of thanksgiving and praise as we reflect upon both the lessons learned and the joy of which we are the recipients. Commensurate with the joy is a sense of somberness as we reflect upon the pandemic suffering of which we are recipients as well.
Throughout the year 2005, each of us has been directly and indirectly impacted by far too many incidents of unsolicited persecution in our world as we have been witnesses of and impacted by: 1) The War in Iraq, 2) Tsunami, 3) Hurricane Katrina, 4) The Earthquake in Asia, 4) Starvation in Africa, 5) the death of great leaders in the world, 6) Unemployment, 7) Escalated gasoline prices, and 8) a sociopolitical milieu as well as an economic system that is in utter disarray. Moreover, while these events are in no way exhaustive of the pandemic suffering in the world and in our personal lives, they do serve as metaphors that might offer us an invitation to get at the manner by which we process our faith in the LORD and the movement of GRACE in our lives when we witness the innocent persecuted via unsolicited persecution!
Life offers us intoxicating grandeur, beauty, majesty, and wonder and at the same time presents GOD'S people with paradoxes that causes one to raise very difficult to answer theological questions that warrant prayer and listening, listening and prayer, prayer and prayer, listening and listening, and back to prayer and listening again! Help us GOD! Clearly stated, it becomes almost paralyzing when we witness innocent people suffering, not necessarily by a lack of faith, by a lack of faithfulness, nor by any orchestration of events themselves, but by the unsolicited persecution of the hands of those who are in positions designed: 1) To protect the integrity of GOD'S peoples' personal power, 2) To advocate the causes of those who are unable to advocate for themselves, 3) To protect the rights of all human beings, 4) To make accessible to all human beings the basic necessities of life, and 5) To protect, secure, and guarantee the civil rights, justice, and liberty of all! Ironically and tragically, western society has become complacent and accusatory in its response to pandemic unsolicited persecution to the degree that the victims become the inimical objects/targets of scorn as they function as the projection screen for the compelled avoidance-type to reconcile. Far too often, Christians are challenged to live their lives amidst conflicts, inconsistencies, and paradoxes because love does not seem to yield love, but generate hatred; joy does not seem to yield joy, but generate sadness; peace does not appear to yield peace, but generate pandemic distress; patience does not appear to yield patience, but generate schizophrenic frenzy; kindness does not appear to yield kindness, but generate mean-spiritedness; goodness does not appear to yield goodness, but generate evil; faithfulness does not appear to yield faithfulness, but generate utter despair!
The word of GOD reminds us that in this life there will be suffering, pain, injustices, contradictions, and unsolicited persecutions that might tempt the people of GOD to question the efficacy of the breadth, scope, might, depth, power, grace, mercy, and love of the LORD! He reminds us the there is nothing, "NO THING" Beloved of GOD that can vanquish you, annihilate you, claim you, overtake you destroy you, block you, stop you, or cancel you in JESUS CHRIST!
Paul reminds us that "33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
In essence, we learn that the persecutions, be they unsolicited, are often indicators of our movement and development with the LORD, not only to the Celestial City of our GOD, but into our present life that must not defined or restricted by pseudo constructs that validate the worth and dignity of a human being! These persecutions reminds us that in the presence and in the eyes of a loving and gracious FATHER is a peace that surpasses all understanding and all troubling circumstances through JESUS CHRIST our LORD.
This weeks "WORD" is devoted to the memory of the late Reverend Dr. Richard I. McKinney, Academician, Consummate Preacher, Theologian, Writer, Mentor, Philosopher, and Prophet
Thank you for being a beckon of light and illumination in a world that has lost its way!
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