My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the tag “christianity”

It’s Not Hopeless

London WWII – National Archives, US Government

London WWII – National Archives, US Government

Lately I have been hearing things about prophesy and the future that isn’t quite right. What I have hearing from people, seems to be void of all hope.

The other week I was talking with someone and they were telling me that the America could fall. OK I too believe that America could fall. Then they told me that there is now a thing that can create a EMP blast that will send all of America into the dark ages forever. Life here will be like it was 100 years ago.

I had to correct this person. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) has been around for a very long time. It was first made by man during WWII. The US government noticed it when experimenting with the atom bomb. But it has been around since the beginning of time. Lightening strikes are some and I believe solar flares are too.

So will an EMP strike throw the whole United States into the dark ages forever? No. Revelation 13:8 says the people of this world will worship the beast or the Anti-Christ. People can’t worship the beast without the Internet and social media.

Another thing I heard was on television. Some guy was saying that volcanoes could go off covering everything with a fine glass like volcanic ash. True. It will block out the sun and you would not want to be outside breathing this stuff into your lungs. Also true. This happened when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1981. This same guy said that at that time you will need a generator to light your home. You will also need to use duct tape to seal every part of your home to keep the ash out. He said this many times, and I saw it many times with the closed caption.

I soon realized that this man just wasn’t thinking about what he was saying. I’m sorry but when you think about this, it makes no sense. When Mt. St. Helens erupted the ash not only blocked out the sun and covered the ground, it also clogged the air filters of cars and trucks to the point where their engines could not run. People, the ash would also keep the generators from running too. And don’t think solar panels will help you. The same ash that will cover the ground will also cover the solar panels. So what should you use? Flashlights. Normal everyday flashlights. And for your lungs, I would use face dust filters like you would buy at a hardware store. But keep in mind that just because ash is covering the ground, it does not mean the power to your home would be out.

In the eastern part of Washington State, the volcanic ash stuck around for years. However most people were able to go outside in a day or two. By the way, I heard the ash was great for the crops a few years after.

I also heard that having a gun is a good thing to have. I have no argument there. Some say that if you have a gun, you could stop a terrorist! People please watch the news. Unless someone is a nut, a terrorist will most likely use a bomb. I have never heard of I gun stopping a bomb.

So what should you do? Many people live in areas where they often have hurricanes, tornadoes, and other very bad storms. My personal thoughts are to do what these people do. Prepare, but don’t go nuts. Also don’t count on the government to help you because they will most likely be struggling through same disaster as you.

Another thing that bothers me is when people talk about the Anti-Christ. They talk as if, when the Anti-Christ comes, then that’s it. That’s the end. No! That is not the end! Far from it. Jesus will come and defeat the Anti-Christ. And after that there will be life. Things will be OK.

However if you follow the Anti-Christ, you will be domed forever. But what if someone chose not to follow the Anti-Christ and yet still was not a follower of Jesus? I believe life will get better for them. Though they may not live as long. I base this on Isaiah 65:19-21. Please check out what I say as I am not trained in this.

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

But please don’t settle on this. Because if you die without Christ, you’ll be without Him forever. And that would truly be everlasting hopelessness. You don’t know when your last day will be.

Turn your life over to Jesus who died for your sins and then raised again, physically from the dead. Believe in Him and you will have eternal life. With Jesus, life is not hopeless.

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He Loves To Create

orion_spitzerlrot

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Is that it? Far from it. It seems like God enjoys creating. He created food for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness. But there’s more. Much more.

In the beginning the Word already existed.The Word was with God,and the Word was God.He existed in the beginning with God.God created everything through him,and nothing was created except through him.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

For those of you who don’t know, this is Jesus. Now I know some will say Jesus never created anything, but they’re wrong.

In John 2:1-10 Jesus changed water into wine. But how? With no trouble at all, He had the six water jars, filled with water, (H2O) and created more atoms, then molecules, to create fermented grape juice. And then there was wine. And very fine wine at that!

Twice Jesus fed thousands of people with just a few fish and loafs of bread. Mark 6:32-44 and Mark 8:1-9. Imagine the smell of fresh bread and I’m guessing maybe even freshly created seasoning on the fish.

Jesus also healed people. Lots of people. In Matthew 9:27-31 He healed two blind men. Why they were blind, I don’t know. I also don’t know what the Lord did to restore their eyesight. Did He create new nerves? New retinas? Did He remove the old clouded cataract lens and created new ones? I don’t know. All I know is Jesus created new sight for them.

He healed lots of people. This may mean new bones, muscles, tendons, whatever was needed to heal. He even raised the dead.

nasa Blue Marble

Someday, after some of us die, we will have new bodies. Later we’ll live in a new world that God will create. This is because the old world will be gone. God loves to create. The bad news though is most people will not experience this. Will you? How do you know?

Not only does God love to create, He also loves the people He created. Even if you do not like Him.

But here is the problem. Even if we do claim to like God, our sins keeps us from Him. And everyone has sinned. So how do we get right with God? Only by the grace of God through Jesus. Says so, in John 3:14-17.

Paul wrote this to the early Christians:
Ephesians 2:8-10
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Only through Jesus can we be made right with God.

America

Early American flag with 13 stars for the 13 states

Early American flag with 13 stars for the 13 states

On July 4th the United States will be celebrating it’s independence. The celebration will most likely includes fireworks, cooking hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Some communities will even have a parade.

But how did all of this get started? Some say America started with Biblical ideas. Others say there was no thought of God at all in the beginning. So what’s true?

One of the things that many people say is that there is a separation between church and state. In a way there is, but not the way many want you to think.

From the Bill of Rights we get:
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
.

The government is not to make laws against Christian belief. And yet sometimes they do. Like stopping Christians from praying in school. Or even trying to stop Christian chaplains in the military from praying in the name of Jesus.

I have heard that there was no Christianity or any religion in the beginning of this country. Yet the Declaration of Independence says: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Modern American flag with 50 stars for all 50 states

Modern American flag with 50 stars for all 50 states

There are some who believes there there is no Biblical law nor should be any Biblical law in the United States, except for don’t steal and don’t murder. But is this true?

Some time ago the restaurant Subway got into trouble because their foot long sandwiches were not a full foot long. When I go buy fuel for our car, I would see a sticker on the pump with a Washington State seal on it, saying its scales are certified to be accurate. This goes along with Leviticus 19:35-36:
“Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume. Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

What about bribing the police? In this country it’s against the law. Exodus 23:8. In some countries bribing the police is very common. But in those countries there may be a lot of corruption.

What about rape? In so many countries and cultures around the world, the poor woman who gets raped, also gets killed. Why? Deuteronomy 22:25-27 says: “But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die. Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. She is as innocent as a murder victim. Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.”

These are just a few of the laws here in America that are based on Gods word.

Martin Luther King Jr – Wikipedia

Martin Luther King Jr – Wikipedia

Some say Christians must not voice their belief in government. That Christians should not try to change a law. They say that would be very bad. Really? Then why do many of the same people celebrate what Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. did back in the 1960s?

“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.” Deuteronomy 11:26-28 Even though this was first for the Israelites, I believe it could also apply to other countries. I believe this is why the United States has been blessed over the years. Yes I know we’ve blown it from time to time. But for the most part, in the past we have honored the Lord. But are we still honoring the Lord?

Something to think about as we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, parades, barbecues and other actives. My wife and I will be with friends enjoying a car race.

Judging

Speed Limit 60

Imagine being a passenger in a car speeding down a highway. You pass a speed limit sign says SPEED LIMIT 60 MPH (100 KMH). But the driver is going 90 mph (150 mph). You tell the driver to slow down. The driver replies “But I’m born to speed!”
“You shouldn’t speed”
“Stop being so judgemental.”
“Come on man. Going this fast is wrong. Someone could get killed.”
“You’re so judgemental. You’re such a hateful bigot against speeders!”

There are so many ways to go with this. I would like to say all I’m thinking, but I don’t want to write a book. I also don’t want to bore everyone to tears.

Pointing out a wrong is not judging if it’s a law. Either man’s law, like speeding, or God’s law like murder or homosexuality. I know I will get into trouble for saying this. So listen up!

Galatians 5:19-21
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Everyone on this planet is a sinner. Everyone. And once a sinner always a sinner. All sinners fail to meet God’s standards. Whether you have told a little lie or stole a small inexpensive item, to if you are a mass murderer, or anything in between, you have failed to meet God’s standard. The good news is we can all be forgiven. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, then rose again physically. John 3:16 says, For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Remember, pointing out somebody’s sin, is not being judgemental any more than pointing out to someone they’re speeding. Be careful though. Be sure your facts are correct.

Years ago I was leading a Bible study and I came up with a little story. Here it is.

Every Friday afternoon Mr. Jones who happens to be a head Deacon at The First Something Church would enter a bar on Fourth Street. This happened every Friday at about 3:00PM. Sometimes he’d stay in that bar for 20 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour or more. Some of the people of First Something Church were beginning to talk. Saying Mr. Jones must be a sinful drinking man unfit to be a head Deacon of the First Something Church.

The truth is Mr. Jones is a salesman. He enters the bar to sell napkins and paper towels. After he takes the weekly order he visits with the bar owner and some of the drinking customers. Mr. Jones has actually lead one beer-drinking man to the Lord. And although the bar owner never became a Christian (yet) he would still once in awhile visit the First Something Church.

Before you start accusing somebody for doing something wrong, be sure you get your facts straight first. On the other hand if you know someone is doing something wrong, point it out, lovingly.

Luke 17:3
So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive.”

There is another kind of judging that I want to talk about. The kind that everyone has done at one time or another. And that’s judging someone because of there looks, disability, religion or whatever.

Boeing 747-8

Boeing 747-8

I have never met a person who is not guilty of being judgemental. I hate to say it, but I’m guilty of it. Many years ago I met a man who didn’t talk much and was always hunched over a little. And because of his looks, I didn’t believe he was a very smart man. Later I found out he’s a mechanical engineer at Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company.

I myself have been the victim too. So many people seem to think that hearing loss means brain loss. Anyone familiar with this blog knows my thinking and reasoning skills are just as good as anyone else.

This brings up an interesting question. I know that there some who believes that if someone is disabled, in a wheelchair and unabled to use their muscles or talk, they can’t be very intelligent. So here’s the question. How do they explain Stephen Hawking?

Matthew 7:1-2
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

Something to think about.

Mount St. Helens – 35 Years Later

Mount St. Helens Eruption blackening the sky – KOMO TV News

Mount St. Helens Eruption blackening the sky – KOMO TV News

In the morning on May 18, 1980, in the southwestern part of Washington State, Mount St. Helens erupted. It killed 57 people, while throwing the eastern part of the state into a nighttime like darkness, clogging a river, and flattening trees. You can watch the local news broadcast at this link.

This eruption even created a new canyon, called Lava Canyon. What I find interesting when looking for a website about the canyon, is most of the websites are Christian. I did read one website that was not Christian and it said we (Christians) are wrong. Not about Lava Canyon, but saying the Grand Canyon could have been formed in the same way. This person said that fast moving mud and water do not make curves. But just looking at the photos at icr.org web page proves that’s wrong. This person also said fast moving water would not leave vertical walls in the dirt. Again photos proves him wrong.

Mount St Helen mushroom cloud as seen from Toledo, Washington – Wikipedia

Mount St Helen mushroom cloud as seen from Toledo, Washington – Wikipedia

The photo above as well as the one next to this paragraph reminds me of the sixth seal in Revelation 6:12-14. I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. I wrote about it in my post Revelation 6: Opening 6 Of The 7 Seals.

Lava Canyon – www.Hikespeak.com

Lava Canyon – www.Hikespeak.com

I found a website from the US Forest Service for Lava Canyon. This looks like it would be a fun place to go. Click on the link and watch the video. I found a lot websites for hiking in the area. Now I want to go. A great summer activity. Just don’t forget the camera.

Here is a link to an eye witness account of a man who was in high school at the time, 300 miles (480 kilometers) away.

Lesson Of The Fir Tree

Woodpecker on Fir Tree

Woodpecker on Fir Tree

Fir trees are tall and very durable trees. Birds of course live in them, as well as bats. The bats in the Northwest are very tiny and they sometimes live under the coarse bark of the fir tree. Let’s not forget the squirrels they also run up and down these trees.

When a storm comes, I have seen these trees sway back and forth like windshield wipers on a car. And even though they may loose a few branches, after the storm you’ll still find them standing tall.

There are two things that will weaken a fir tree. One is if the other trees around it have been removed. The other is if the tree starts to rot from the inside.

One day a bug embedded itself beneath the bark and started eating away at the tree from the inside. Soon there were more bugs and the interior of the mighty fir tree starts to rot. On the outside the tree still looks strong. And when the breeze blows, it still gently sways back and forth as before. But the tree gets weaker and weaker as worms and the termites eat away and rots the tree from the inside out.

One day in a mild storm, the once mighty fir tree sways as before but then, it stops. The rot has weaken the tree to the point where it could no longer righten itself up any more. It starts to fall. It’s slow at first. But as it leans over it picks up speed. Finally it hits the ground with full force. When a fir tree hits the ground, it often breaks into two or three pieces. It also crushes anything in its way. Cars, houses, even people.

People I fear that the United States is like the fir tree that is rotting from the inside. We still look strong, but sin has been eating away for years now. Will America fall? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. But either way I do believe we will suffer greatly. If we don’t fall completely, I’m sure we will fall from being a superpower.

Genesis 12:2-3
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.

This great nation is Israel. (God said He would make Abraham is great nation. Not a big nation.) The US has not been very kind to Israel lately. Neither have many other countries. And we will pay the price for it.

This seems to go along with what a lot of experts on prophesy have been saying. They say there is no hint of America in End Time prophesy. They do say the Bible talks about Russia and China though.

So what can we do about this? Pray. And get ready. Now when I say get ready, I do not mean sell everything, move into the mountains, clear the land, and live completely off the grid. For most of us that would be stupid. Most likely you’d go into debt. And when worst comes to worst, you’ll still have that debt to pay off.

So what should you do? I don’t know. If you can, get out of debt. And pray.

You should also be sure you are right with God. John 3:14-16 says, And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Believe that Jesus died for you sins. And after he was dead and buried for three days he rose again physically from the dead. Not as a ghost, but as a man who was seen and talked with and ate with. Later He was lifted up into heaven. He will return.

I believe that when America falls, either completely or partly; this world will be one step closer to the anti-Christ.

Also keep in mind that our Lord Jesus could come for us any time from the next few years, to the next few seconds. Be ready.

Yoga, Good or Bad?

One day someone asked me if I would consider doing yoga. To be honest I never thought it. And I really didn’t know much about it. I mean I have heard good things about it as well as some very vague bad stuff. So what is yoga? What is it about?

I looked up a local yoga business on the Internet, and it talked about how helpful and wonderful it is for the body, mind, and spirit. Body I can understand, though I didn’t get the weird slow moving and such. But how can it help the mind? And the part about helping the spirit, well that bothered me.

I looked at another local business website, and they talked about mediation. Meditation? Meditation on what, or who? I checked out a couple types of meditation, and found they’re based on Hindu and Buddhism. This is not good. We should be meditating on the word of God.

If we meditated on something other than God; wouldn’t that be the same as making that a god? If so, then that would be breaking the first commandment. Wouldn’t you want to please God with your thoughts?

I also read somewhere that yoga could open your mind. I have heard that it could help relieve your problems. Psalm 94:18-20 offers something else.

But what about the those different standing positions? Do they have any meaning? They might. Although I have not found anything concrete, after researching this, I feel like I should be washing my mind as while as my laptop out with soap. But instead I’ll pray and get back into God’s word. As far as the laptop, I’ll just clear out the history. I delete the cookies once in a while anyway.

With yoga, you are to concentrate or meditate on a thing created by God and not on God Himself. And although they claim to be able to yoke with ‘Supreme Being’ or a universal spirit, it’s never about the Lord God, God the Creator, or even our Lord Jesus.

Another thing are the poses you make are of cats, cobras, the moon, and four other things common to yoga. So if we stand as something, then clear our mind and meditate on it, wouldn’t that be like making idols of worship out of our own bodies? If so then we would be breaking the second commandment as well as the first. Remember, our bodies that are suppose to be part of the body of Christ.

Obviously this post is for believers in Christ Jesus. And I know a lot of people will disagree with me. That’s your choice. As for me, I refuse to do yoga.

NEWS FLASH!

Monday, April 6, 33

The tomb was found empty yesterday morning. Roman Officials baffled.

On the beginning of Passover a man named Jesus, who calls himself “Son of Man” and some called “King of the Jews” was executed by being nailed to a cross until dead.

After Jesus died he was placed in a new tomb donated by Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus. The stone was rolled to cover the entrance of the tomb. The next day Pilate himself ordered that it would be sealed, and had his soldiers to guard it from tempering.

On Sunday morning there was an earthquake. Roman guards claim to have seen an angel roll away the stone, breaking the seal. These ‘very brave, strong, and armed, Roman soldiers’ fainted with fear.

The angel told two women who happen to be there, that Jesus has risen from the dead. The angel then showed the women the empty tomb. Later that day there were reports of people seeing this risen Jesus walking around as a man, not as a ghost.

Word has leaked out that the leading Hebrew priests bribed the soldiers into saying the body was stolen when they were asleep. The Roman Officials are baffled on the conflicting reports but are investigating. If the soldiers were sleeping, they would be most severely disciplined. If the stories about Jesus being alive and well after being tortured and nailed on a cross, then stabbed by a soldier to ensure that he’s dead, is true; the Roman Officials admit they are clueless as what to do.

Man called 'KING of the JEWS' hangs on cross as witnesses watch

Man called ‘KING of the JEWS’ hangs on cross as witnesses watch

September 23, 34

Roman Officials are baffled on how to handle Christians.

A year and a half after Jesus rose from the dead, there are some uncomfortable facts for some. Over 500 people have seen Jesus since resurrection. And some of them even ate with him.

The disciples who ran as cowards when Jesus was arrested, are now willingly risking their lives talking about him. In fact many who are now called Christians are risking their lives, spreading the good news of salvation. (see the book of Acts) The good news is that God loved the world so much, He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. I believe this good news, as well as my editor who happens to be my wife. We have salvation not because of any good works, but because of grace through Jesus.

Why I Believe In A Young Earth

A hundred years ago there was a stream in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State that had a high level of gold and other minerals in it. And of course there were a lot of placer claims there. Years later they started building a dam to supply water and electricity for the area. This dam was completed in the mid 1960s. All the gold and other minerals are now under hundreds of feet of water.

In 2005 or 2006 there was a bad drought, causing the water level of the man-made lake to go down. I walked into a stream that used to be under water with a metal detector. And there I found what use to be a muddy creek bank so hard I could hardly chip it with a small pick ax. It was the first time I believe anyone could have walked there in 40 years. But I could be wrong about that. There could have been other droughts.

HPIM0332

Anyway my metal detector detected something in what looked like a dirt clod. Thinking that it might have either gold or a rusty nail in it, I tried to break it open. But I couldn’t. It was too hard. So I brought it home with me where I tried to break it open with a chisel and a 32 once hammer. But it was still too hard.

I told all this to a geologist at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, Oregon. She said this didn’t surprised her since she has seen this before. So I said, “So it is possible for us to be older than a rock?!” She said yes, but that she has never thought of it that way before.

I then told my wife that she’s older than a rock. (I’m a very nice romantic guy.)

But this brings up an interesting question. Many people believe that it takes millions of years to create a fossil. What if someone rode their dirt bike across some mud just before the area flooded? What if the motorcycle track turned to rock just like the muddy creek bank or my dirt clod? Would they consider it as evidence, or ignore it because it didn’t fit what they have been taught?

AnswersInGenesis.org

Petrified Teddy Bear – AnswersInGenesis.org

If you Google “petrified teddy bears” you’ll get all kinds strange photos as well as people saying that none of it is true. They insist that it takes millions of years to for things to become petrified. However this link to Mothershipton shows it only takes a short time.

I know a man who was a member of Monte Cristo Preservation Association. He loaned me a VHS tape once about the town Monte Cristo. It was just a bunch of old home movies made on 8mm film. Judging by the cars, it was filmed in the early 1960s. After the home movies were spliced together and added to video tape, voice was added to explain what was being shown. Inside one of the mines; abandoned about 30 or 40 years before, was a room dug out with an 8 or 9 foot (2.5 meter) ceiling. And inside this room, from floor to ceiling were stalactite and stalagmite.

Monte Cristo, Washington 1895 – Wikipedia

Monte Cristo, Washington 1895 – Wikipedia

Wondering if it was possible for this much stalactite and stalagmite to form in 30 or 40 years, I looked it up. Every website I checked out, says it it could be a very quick or a slow process. It can also very in chemical make up, even in the same cave, or man made structure. This I didn’t know.

With this and other posts I have written, you can see why I believe God created everything in six days as told in the first chapter of Genesis. (He rested on the seventh day, remember?) I also believe John 1:1-14.

Many people have added up the generations in the Bible, then add 2015, to get about 6,000 years for the age of the earth. What I find interesting is the Hebrew calendar starts at either the first day of creation, or the sixth and of creation (for when man was created). I understand there is a small debate there. So on their calendar, the year is now 5775. And so, these are my thoughts as posted on Nisan 6, 5775.

Seattle Christians

Meet Nicole, my guest writer. My wife and I have known Nicole and her husband for a few years. Both of them love the Lord just as my wife and I do. Hopefully this is only the first of her writings.
Steve

Seattle Christians
by Nicole

Seattle – Photo from Google

Seattle – Photo from Google

Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words. -St Francis of Assisi

I recently heard someone not local to the Seattle area use this quote in reference to Christians in Seattle. I don’t know if the person repeating it was aware that these are the words of Saint Francis, not to be confused with the current Pope of the same name. And to clarify, I think the person who said this was still making a fairly valid point about Seattle area Christians in general, and I respect this person a lot. To paraphrase, he said that Christians in Seattle tend to be quiet about their faith, and keep it private. Yes, I try to be quiet about it most of the time, but I am also aware that Christians do live in Seattle, so I’m not quite a minority, religiously speaking.

I keep my faith quiet for several reasons, but first and foremost is because so many in the Seattle area who are not followers of Christ tend to have strong opinions about Christianity, whether they understand the Bible, the religion, or not. Most of the arguments I heard against the Church didn’t have anything to do with the faith I was brought up in, but had everything to do with other Christian sects or an historical viewpoint. Those don’t apply to me, for the most part, since I belong to a lesser-known branch of evangelicals, and well, I live in the 21st century and not the crusading Middle Ages. And then in the lime-light there are the Bible-thumping “evangelicals” who adhere to very strict ideas of how Christians ought to live and aren’t shy about declaring who will be “saved” and who is going to be damned to hell. With those ideas, why on earth would I actually publicize that I’m a Christian… with my words?

I love these words of Saint Francis of Assisi about witnessing: Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words. Another way to phrase it is, “Actions speak louder than words.” I believe that the reason my acquaintance criticizes Seattle area Christians is not because we don’t talk enough. It’s because we don’t act enough. We are called to be people of action. Not just Christians, but everyone! That’s not to say that we need to live more in the moment, or that we should act first and think later. No. But we can’t just stand around and talk about stuff, and then call things good.

I’m fine with people not talking about what they believe. I almost wish more would do that. It’s difficult going to downtown Seattle and watching so-called Christians demonstrate with signs that “God is Love” and then see right next to them, or written just below, “God hates Gays” and worse. Those are very cringe-worthy signs and actions. I have no idea where their hearts are, or what God thinks about them, but I don’t identify with that as being part of “Kingdom work.”

The best personal action I can think of recently happened on the night before Thanksgiving last fall. I volunteer for an organization that works with local prostitutes, giving them a hand-up and there was a new girl there that night. For the first time ever, I was someone’s first point-of-contact at the center. She was scared that telling me she’s a lesbian would lead to me asking her to find someplace else to go. My response? “Would you like anything to eat before we get into the rest of these in-take forms?” I heard last week from the center director that this young woman has returned to us several times during the daytime and has asked about me. Wow! Do you see what I’m getting at? My words helped my actions, and reflected more strongly with them. Even more, they have impacted the organization so that she and others feel welcome to come in and get the assistance they are looking for.

Christians don’t need to be preachy or try to act all righteous. They need to forgive and act from places of grace. This still applies to me. I might do things “right” from time to time, but I need correction too. I don’t want to be remembered for my words when I’m gone from this world. I’d far rather be remembered for my actions. Hopefully good ones! I am mostly speaking to the Seattle area, but this call to better accountability in action could be for other pockets of the USA and world as well.

So many speak about their beliefs without considering if their actions measure up. We talk about helping the poor but won’t help the homeless guy begging on the corner. We say it’s a shame that people don’t have clean water in southeast Asia and Africa, but won’t donate the money to help them build proper wells. Instead, we scream that women who abort their unborn children are murderers when what we should be doing is asking them if they need counseling, or if they would like better access to birth control. There is so much inaction in the world. What can you or I do today to speak with our actions, instead of our mouths?

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