Monday, November 30, 2009

Drop the “E”: From Feasting to Fasting

Had your fill of turkey yet? Hope not. You've got a week of reruns. Marshmallows from the sweet potatoes coming out of your eyes? They stack inside in you, you know. Have you ever thrown a clump of marshmallows in the back yard? They stay forever. They are not biodegradable. They take a while to digest, I bet, too. Have you already been to Braum's for their annual Egg Nog assault? I have. It's been out a couple of weeks now! Finishing off a Thanksgiving meal with Egg Nog is like wrapping your full tummy up in 4 quilts and a thick down comforter. On one level, you feel pretty comfortable and satisfied. On another level, your belly is saying, "It's pretty stuffy in here."

For bigger reasons than balancing out the diet, I want to suggest that in the next month – at least one day between Thanksgiving and Christmas – fast… and pray.

World-wide, we are producing more food than ever, but nearly a billion people still do not have enough to eat. Crop failures, fuel prices that consume about 65% of every food dollar shipped to many remote places, and higher demands for grain for non-food purposes have hurt efforts to battle world hunger. You probably know that hunger isn't just a foreign phenomenon. There are hungry locals, too. Be aware of them. Fast and pray for a God honoring mass feeding of the world.

I'm encouraging you to do some type of food fast – to connect the prayer to the problem. Talk to your doctor before you fast! Some of us have some diet necessities that we must consider. Getting hungry to prompt prayer, to get the focus off of yourself, and to let God know that your heart is serious and your mind is open to his wisdom could be fruitful. If you just can't do a food fast – take something out of your daily diet that makes an impact – a computer fast, as wireless fast, a dessert fast (ought to be more than a day), or a "eat out" fast. Take the money you would spend in a week of eating out and send it to a hunger-fighting faith-based organization. And pray! Did I say talk to your doctor before you fast?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Soldiers and Christians

What are the common concerns of Christians and soldiers? When I was first contemplating what I would write here and asked that question in my head, I thought, "That doesn't sound good. That could be understood to mean that I don't think there are Christian soldiers." So please understand, I know that there are Christians who are also soldiers. I'm thinking about the principles we follow about giving honor where is honor is do. From the vantage point of a Christian, what are some of the honorable motivations behind the actions of a soldier?

The pursuit of justice is a soldier's and a Christian's concern. God will one day "pay back with trouble those who have troubled Christians (2 Thess. 1:6). Why will he do that? Specifically because he is just. God put government in place to provide justice. Government is an agent of wrath to bring punishment to the wrongdoer according to Paul's inspired word (Romans 13:4). When evil doers are active, Christians and soldiers are right to be eager for justice to be accomplished. God sure is – twofold. He's got punishment for evildoers set up here after-here!

Another pursuit of both soldiers and Christians is the drive for an end of oppression. God cares for widows and orphans. He knows full well that both widows and orphans are the targets are greedy idolaters who will take affair advantage of others to fill their pockets. He knows that wicked men in position of power will abuse, steal from, and kill those who cannot protect themselves. God himself will be the witness and the judge of those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice (Malachi 3:5).

Soldiers and Christians have equal concern to bring justice to the evil doers and to rescue the helpless from the wicked who unmercifully oppress them.

But we go about it differently, as ordained by God and his son Jesus. As a soldier, including a Christian soldier, I am part of a force given authority by God to provide justice and protect the oppressed with force – you might say sword.

As a Christian citizen, I have the responsibility of attempting to end violence and oppression through the spreading of the gospel of peace. God would prefer that we reach the future would- be wicked men first, because he doesn't want anyone to perish.

Let's honor veterans; and especially for us, Christian veterans. And let's keep pushing forward to win the world for Christ with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God!