God is right
God is left
Thank God he’s in charge of this great big mess!
Interestingly, and unfortunately, the divide within the Christian Church parallels the current US election with the debating and campaigning. Everyone’s interest is in the big win, whether they will confess to it or not.
In each arena there is debating – theological and/or political, boasting in accomplishments, “fact checking” opponents, accusations of heresy and false teachings, character assassinations and feeling justified in bringing their opponent(s) down, dismissing the ways and means of others as lies and deception; then with complete confidence claiming who is “in” and who is “out.” Finally, resting smugly satisfied that their interpretation of things is the way to greatness…bologna!
The 2016 election will take place (unless Jesus returns first) and the circus of American politics will continue its decline – speed of decline will be determined by which candidate wins.
As for the church…
When Jesus returns, he will separate the sheep from the goats. In all three of the parables in Matthew 25 – the Ten Virgins, the Bags of Gold, and the Sheep and the Goats – Jesus is talking about those who consider Him their Master and profess Him as their Lord. Thus, he is speaking about those within the Christian church. He will be the one to separate His true sheep from within the church sheep-pen.
In these parables, the ones that “do” are rewarded and the ones that “don’t do” are tossed aside. Thus, He separates them by their actions: by their compassion for the hurting, the helpless, and the confined; by their willingness to use their talents to further God’s kingdom; and by looking for and preparing for Jesus’ return.
In the church today there is much debate on whether God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit still speaks to us directly. According to certain theology, this type of direct communication, along with the gifts of the Spirit, ceased when the apostles died or shortly there afterwards. The belief is that today only through the reading of Scripture can we hear (and I use that term gingerly) God.
I can only tell you that God spoke to me and told me about his son – Jesus.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child and was spoken to as a child. In return, I listened as a child and did as a child does, that is, I obeyed without needing to understand. I was okay with it then and I still am today.
We lived in Homestead FL at the time and I was about 6 years old. Every Sunday morning we went to Sunday school and then to church service. Every Sunday I sat with my mom during service; every Sunday, that is, except one. On that morning I sat with a friend. Wouldn’t you know that would be the day God chose to speak to me.
Unlike a lot of kids, I actually listened and enjoyed the sermons – for the most part. This particular Sunday, as the hymn of invitation was being played, my heart began to burn. I don’t mean indigestion; I mean there was a fire burning in my chest. My heart burned during the entire invitation. It burned as each hymn verse was sung. It burned as the pastor stood at the end of the isle calling for someone to step out and walk to the altar.
I knew God wanted me to come, to step out and walk down that isle but I was afraid. Afraid I would get in trouble with my mom. That she wouldn’t believe that God had spoken to me and would think I had just gone down front because I wasn’t sitting with her. I was afraid because I didn’t know what to say or do once I got to the altar if I did step out. And I was afraid because I couldn’t do what God was telling me to do. And so that day I stayed still with quiet tears rolling down my cheeks.
The next Sunday, after speaking with my mom and with the Pastor, I stepped out into the isle and walked down front to profess my faith in Jesus for dying for my sins. A few Sundays later I was baptized. There was no burning, there was no change, there was nothing…but I did just like I was told to do. I didn’t understand much, in fact I understood very little, but that really wasn’t the point. The point was that I heard God’s voice and then I did as my Father asked (once I had spoken to my mom…she seemed more scary than God at the time). In turn, He introduced me to Jesus.
Jesus said that his sheep will know Him and will know His voice…I certainly did.
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. John 10:14-16