“Let Go and Let God”

What it means: 
We have concerns and worries in life – this is a constant.
Perhaps there are days when we have trouble sleeping at night because our minds are racing with all of the things that still need to be done at work.  We can often face anxiety attacks and troubles with our health if we allow these stresses and worries to consume us.
worry
Jesus talked about worry –
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

This is how we are to let go and let God – We have to be able to release the stress, the strain, the fear and worry.  It is one thing to say “I’m going to give it to God” and a completely different thing to ACTUALLY give it to Him.  We clutch these fears and worry ever so tightly and we rarely relinquish it because we are afraid to admit we don’t have the strength and we need help.

When we finally admit to ourselves that we have been holding back on giving God all of our cares and burdens (1 Peter 5:7)  we can then allow His Holy Presence into these deep recesses of our pride and heart.  It will hurt.  It will pain us to do so, but within this deep communion with Him we will begin to alleviate our worry and fear.  He is more than willing to take from us these burdens and fears.

What It Doesn’t Mean
Do not use this phrase as a crutch.  response
One could say “well, I’ve given it over to God so I do not have any more responsibilities to take care of”  – Nothing could be further from the truth.  We have this wonderful thing called “free will” which allows us to take control of our lives and make decisions.  We have a responsibility within our faith walk.  We either make good decisions or poor decisions.  Saying “Let Go and Let God” shouldn’t be a catch-all phrase for slacking in our relationship to Him.

It also doesn’t mean that life will suddenly become easier and these worries and problems will disappear.  We can relinquished our stranglehold on burdens, but they will still occur.  It seems like a contradiction but in truth we face them with a Higher perspective and within the lenses of His Kingdom.  “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace

Let Go And Let God? 
walkIn the right context – Yes.
But remember He longs to journey beside us.  He longs for our fellowship each day.  Allow Him access to your heart, to your life and His presence will provide the salve that you need in the midst of the storms you are facing right now.

Something more to ponder today!

To God be the glory!

The Syrian Refugee Crisis…And You!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
-Galatians 6:9

The Bad:

A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refug...A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013. Bulgaria's asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refug…A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013. Bulgaria’s asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images

Since the Syrian civil war took place five years ago, an estimated 4,000,000 (that’s MILLION) refugees have left the war-torn country.  Many have flooded into neighboring countries
It boggles the mind that there are countries in our world who would turn a blind eye to the plight of asylum seekers and refugees.  It has been reported that some of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East are doing nothing to help welcome foreign refugees from Syria.  The same can be said for some European countries as well.  Let’s call it for what it is.  This isn’t about fears of the economic mainframe and fears that a country can’t support a sudden influx of refugees.  This isn’t about resources at all, because either the EU would step in and help as would the United Nations.  In fact, just today one of the UN’s top officials said this current refugee crisis needs a global response (Source: UN Response To Current Crisis)   The refusal by some nations to help displaced Syrian families is abhorrent, wrong and despicable.   Apathy seems to be running rampant in parts of the world.  Self-interests are in play here, as is the practice of turning a blind eye and pretending it doesn’t really exist.  This is about inconvenience.  Some of this is also about ethnic and ideological differences.  Racism still exists.  Bigotry within cultures, religion and lifestyles still exist, and is alive and kicking.

The Good:

Fleeing bombardment of their village by Syria's Assad regime,
Fleeing bombardment of their village by Syria’s Assad regime, “Um Ali,” 38, as the mother of six children asked to be called, sits in the back of the cave they have found as their own shelter. The cave, just outside the village of al Sahriah, measures about 12 by 35 feet. (Andree Kaiser/MCT)

Germany was one of the first countries to step up and do something about this humanitarian crisis.
They have pledged to take up to 500,000 refugees a year!  That is amazing generosity, compassion and willingness to do something remarkable when others have turned a blind eye to the plight of these displaced families in need.
Now, the tide is (hopefully) turning – The Vatican has pledged support and is urging other nations and Christians to do the same.  Some countries, like the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and France are beginning to feel the pressure to offer more than just a band-aid solution but, perhaps a new home to many who are now homeless because of this horrific civil war.

More Still Remains To Be Done:

DAMASCUS, SYRIA - JANUARY 31: In this handout provided by the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Residents wait in line to receive food aid distributed in the Yarmouk refugee camp on January 31, 2014 in Damascus, Syria. The United Nations renewed calls for the Syria regime and rebels to allow food and medical aid into the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk. An estimated 18,000 people are besieged inside the camp as the conflict in Syria continues. (Photo by United Nation Relief and Works Agency via Getty Images)
DAMASCUS, SYRIA – JANUARY 31: In this handout provided by the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Residents wait in line to receive food aid distributed in the Yarmouk refugee camp on January 31, 2014 in Damascus, Syria. The United Nations renewed calls for the Syria regime and rebels to allow food and medical aid into the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk. An estimated 18,000 people are besieged inside the camp as the conflict in Syria continues. (Photo by United Nation Relief and Works Agency via Getty Images)

There is still hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who are seeking peace and a new home.
Syria is most notable war torn country in the news currently; but other places in the world are suffering the same fate year after year; places like Sudan – currently in South Sudan there are more than 600,000 refugees who have fled to the Southern boarders while another 1.5 million people are currently displaced and without a place to call home. (Source: South Sudan Refugee Exodus Continues)

What Can We Do?
How can we help?  We are just soldiers, people, seemingly little in our community…but we are wrong, we do have a voice and must make it heard!
We must continue to give a voice to those who do not have a voice.
We must fight for the powerless, the suffering, the homeless, the refugee, the trafficked sex slaves, the child soldier.
In this current crisis, and crises like it in our world, we must stand against injustice.

In the United States:
Write your state representative or better yet call them
Here is a list of their numbers – Phone Numbers To Call
Urge them to apply pressure to offer more support to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

In Canada: 
Look up your local/governmental officials and apply pressure to help
Contact Information

In The United Kingdom:
Here are some rather current information as to what is being done in the UK –
FactSheet
But more can be done and you can urge your government officials.

I can’t list all of your wonderful countries here today but I would suggest that where ever you live, you must apply some pressure to your governmental units.  Remind them, urge them to help.  We cannot sit idly by while innocent men, women and children are displaced and are suffering.  Turning a blind eye is a conscious choice to not care.  Don’t allow apathy and selfishness to invade your heart!  Do something!

More resources and information:
The Salvation Army Assists Refugees
The Greek Salvation Army Caring For Refugees
UN Refugee Agency
CNN News Report

Something more to ponder today!

Breaking News…”Misremembering” And The Quest For Integrity

Brian Williams has been suspended from NBC this week.
Longtime NBC anchorman was challenged by others within the media world as to the substance of his “encounters” while reporting on the Iraq war in 2003.  His “misremembering” of specific details has left some scratching their heads while others calling for his immediate termination.  Whether intentional or not, the fallout of “misremembering” at the journalistic level will undoubtedly have consequences.

Similarly, within the Christian world “misremembering” and/or inconsistencies of witness will also undoubtedly have consequences!  Like those who report the news nationally and internationally, Christians leaders are looked up to.  They provide other Christians and would-be believers vital information, sources of hope, and godly direction.  Integrity and honesty should be a given, although there have been some who have fallen from grace over the years. swaggart

The witness of Christians can become greatly devalued when inconsistencies and misremembering takes place.  What good is it to speak of love and grace and even Jesus when suddenly we misremember how we are to treat other people?  What good are these Christian qualities when our actions and attitudes do not resemble our words?  Worse yet, what good is it to go to church and sing all the right songs and pray all the right prayers only to walk out of those doors and resemble anything but a Christ follower in our unhealthy habits, speech and actions?

Do we run the risk of running empty on integrity when we misremember how we are to be as Christians?  You bet we do!  The unfortunate consequences of lack of integrity as people of faith is that we will lead people away from God. Why would people want to seek out Christ when His very own followers do not practice what they preach?

Two things happen when we live within the “misremembered” and dishonest walk of “faith”

hypo1. Our Christian witness is compromised, phony and detremental to others who are ACTUALLY living as God has called the faithful to live.  We are not only ruining the chances of potential new believers coming to the faith, but we are making it even harder on other believers who are living lives of integrity.   It only takes a few rotten apples to ruin the whole bunch.  When others look at the church they will mostly likely first see the rotten ones.  We must be aware of our witness to others…it matters THAT much!

2.  Our personal faith and growth will be stuntedstunted
…from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”  (James 3:10-12)
Living a dishonest life within the realms of faith will inevitably shortchange our potential maturity and growth.  We cannot live this way.  As James puts it “this ought not be this way“.   We jeopardize not only the Christian witness to others, but we tarnish our own paths and limit what God can do through us by living this way.   Living a “misremembered” life that lacks integrity is cheap and unfortunately more common than not.  Dare I say that Christ has called us to live the uncommon life that is full of integrity, love and obedience!

BrianLet’s face it, Brian Williams isn’t the only one who has “misremembered” things, he was just caught.
Many are just as guilty of this same character flaw.  Brian Williams just happened to be in the public eye reporting the news.  Will there be more who will fall from grace?  Of course…but you and I do not have to be included in this statistic if we are mindful of this trap!  Integrity is a valuable, often tarnished commodity that many lack today.  As people of faith, we ought to make it our goal to strive to live integrity in all that we do and all that we are!

Let’s stop the “misremembering” madness in our own lives and start practicing honesty, sincerity and truth both in word and deed.

Something more to ponder today!

Dear Salvation Army Officer…

I wanted to talk with my fellow Officers for a moment today.

Just a simple dialogue.

Success:
Spoken or unspoken there is, within our officership, this need to prove ourselves worthy of more responsibilities and ministries to the point of unholy ambitions in our Army.  I am not saying don’t work hard, don’t do your best but if our intention is to “outshine” other fellow officers…If our intention is to “look better” than everyone else…if our intention is aimed at solely pleasing our leaders regardless of how we do that…we will have aimed at the wrong goals.

crest3Outcome Based Success…
Much of the time, our success seems to be based upon “goal oriented” outcomes.  In a business world this is understandable because in the business world they deal with numbers and figures.  Our primary purpose as an Army and as officers is for people and helping those people with the physical and the spiritual needs.  We cannot simply use goal oriented outcomes.  There is a danger of seeking success solely through these means of outcomes.  The danger is that we can lose focus on the very people we are attempting to save and serve.  It is often a fine line to walk.

What if we feel Unsuccessful in an Appointment? wounded
What happens, dear officers, when all that we feel about the place that we have been appointed to is failure and defeat?  What occurs in our hearts?  Is our self-worth tied up completely in living and dying by some sort of “success” meter in Officership?  If we do not have 100+ people coming to Holiness meetings on Sunday mornings then we are utter failures as officers?  Is that how we are to view appointments?  More than likely, on average, your Sunday services are a lot less than 100 people.  But why do we play the numbers game and think this is our measure of self-worth?  Were we misled to think this way?

I do remember coming out of Training College sort of living and breathing the song “We’re gonna fill, fill fill the world with glory!  We’re gonna smile, smile smile and not frown…”  But then the real world hit me square in the face.  The world, where in order for some people to receive the glory, hard work and love needs to take place first.  We serve in a mighty army but many that we serve are hurting, broken, spiritually wounded and stunted.  Miracles do happen but we cannot expect this calling to be a cake walk either.

nevermindBut Be Encouraged…
Although we face a lot of difficulties as Officers and often times we take the burdens of others home with us, we are not alone in this fight!  We are soldiers and we serve, first and foremost, the Commander of this Army – Jesus Christ!  He has commissioned those Christ-followers to make disciples…and in our Army, perhaps this translates to one or two people in our corps right now.  Perhaps it’s not so much about absolute victory in our communities right now, but rather the healing and restoration of a few hurting souls that we already know.

Let earthly success worry about itself…take off that heavy burden that sometimes has been thrust upon us by misleading notions of heavenly success.  Let’s do our best, but don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing in the process.  Losing sight of our principle relationship to the Lord can will cause us to lose sight of every other priority!

We are One Army…be encouraged dear Officer, we serve a mighty God who will provide us the means and direction for the future with and sometimes in spite of those who lead the way.
army2
Something more to ponder today in our Army.
To God Be The Glory!

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