Broken Country, Broken Heart

As I was preparing to leave my house today, across the
television was the image of police searching for criminals. The police were
searching for two individuals who had killed a police officer. Maybe you have
seen the report I’m talking about or maybe you have seen similar reports.
Unfortunately, such images are all too common in our day. Within these images I
couldn’t help but feel pain. I couldn’t help but feel the pain of our broken
nation. Usually I am a global citizen. By that, I mean I feel it is just as
important to pray for other countries as well as our own. Yet, today I am very
much broken hearted for our own country. We like to believe that we live in a
country that is accepting and tolerant of all people. The reality is, we simply
do not. We are a broken nation.

We shutter at images of police brutality or brutality towards police. The argument in
Kentucky, about whether a clerk should be forced to issue a marriage license to
a gay couple, indicates that we struggle over whether honoring another
individual’s rights surpasses that of our own rights. We are discovering
atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood and feeling shame that we live in a
society where bartering for pieces of a baby’s body is even possible. We are a
broken nation.

I don’t often call for this, but let us pray for our nation. We are in need of the
power of God to fill our nation. We are in need of a reminder that all of us
have the potential to do evil. When God reminds us of that fact, we remember
our humanity and God’s divinity. We remember that at the core of our being is
an utter dependence upon the one who is, was and always will be. Let’s pray for
less divisiveness or more unity. Let’s pray for an attitude of humility and
love. Let’s pray that our broken nation may be healed and that we may soon see
a society that looks less atrocious and more like God’s Kingdom. We are a
broken nation. My heart today is broken. May the Lord mend our brokenness.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Not Easily Seen

It’s not easily seen. In fact, it is never really seen. If we look closely we might see brief reminders or hints of its existence yet its physical presence remains elusive.

Wouldn’t you agree that this is true of what is most important in your life. We’re so easily entrapped into elevating the importance of physical objects that we can view and touch, perhaps because they scream for our attention simply by their physical presence. If you and I were to write the top three or four things that are important to us, I bet the amount of visible objects we list would be minimal. For instance, I wouldn’t write that my wife is important to me rather I would write the love that my wife and I share is important. Without love, my wife would just be an amazing woman who I know- the unseen love we share is what makes her important to me. The kiss that my wife gives me each day is a subtle reminder or brief hint of our love.

The same is true of my belief in God, whom I’ve never seen. At this moment, I do not see Him but I have an overwhelming sense that I am surrounded with His presence. Jesus even said to Thomas, “Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe” (John 20:29 CEB).

Today, what is most important to you? Is it physical in presence or is it unseen? How would your world be different without them?

One of the Greatest Things I Have Ever Learned

You know the individual I’m about to write about. He or she is the person that knows how to say the right thing at just the right time thus driving you insane. They have the unique ability to push all your wrong buttons so that your blood begins to boil. Other individuals may fall within the lesser evil of simply hard to communicate with or understand. Regardless of which category the individual falls within, they are part of the greatest thing I learned in my time at Asbury.

The greatest thing that I learned at Asbury, maybe one of the top ten lessons I have ever learned, is that the unlovable individual actually has a gift to share. I firmly believe in God’s grace. I will never earn His extravagant love. I also believe that prevenient grace is a great way to describe the love we receive from God when we are unaware that we have need. When an individual is unaware of their need for God and yet He still imparts that love to her, that is prevenient grace. If you and I believe God gives prevenient grace then we should also believe the most unlovable person has a gift from God to share. The individual that drives us insane, the outcast or the lowly can actually share something great with us if we’d only listen.

The greatest thing I learned while at Asbury is that every individual has something from God to share and I should not, under any circumstance, completely write off an individual. Gaining this perspective on prevenient grace and the gifts that God gives has dramatically impacted how I view people. Would love to hear what you think. Have you ever spent time with a challenging individual that actually shared something of great value with you? Is there a person that you have written off and maybe you need to listen again to what they have to say?

Hello friends.  You may have heard of the tragedy that struck an elementary school in Connecticut yesterday. Like you are probably feeling, I am full of many emotions. First and foremost I am heart broken. As we mourn the tragedy that has struck these families, may we lift them up in our prayers. Sometimes knowing how to pray can be so very difficult, especially in times like these. Below is a prayer that I hope you pray and reflect on. Take your time and absorb the words deep in your heart and soul as you express them to our gracious Father who feels our deepest pains.

LORD GOD, we don’t know how to pray.
This immense disaster feels overwhelming.
We can only imagine how the victims feel,
and we are so many miles away that we feel helpless.
Surround those directly involved with your loving presence.
Comfort the dead and injured.
Help all of us to remember that your love
is bigger and stronger than despair and destruction.
Guide and strengthen us to reach out to those affected in ways that will bring healing.
Give them and us a sense of your peace and hope.
In the name of Jesus, our friend and healer. Amen.

Prayer from Prayer of Life’s Ordinary and Extraordinary Moments edited by Mary Lou Redding.

Lyrical Mondays: “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less”

English: Boulders, Embleton Bay Embleton Bay h...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this week’s “Lyrical Mondays” we are reflecting on the lyrics from the song, “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less.”  As you read these lyrics may your heart be blessed and your spirit realigned to that which is the foundation of our lives, Jesus Christ.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Written by Edward Mote