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Earlier today I was glancing through the newspaper and saw this blurb:

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad – Defending his brand of world politics, President Barack Obama said Sunday that he “strengthens our hand” by reaching out to enemies of the United States and making sure that the nation is a leader, not a lecturer, of democracy.

Source

Now no one would accuse me of being an Obama fan, and most definitely I don’t like the policies of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or Cuba’s Fidel Castro. I have spoken out against leftist dictators and power grabbers in the past. Just not my cup of tea.

And I don’t care for Obama’s stances on most issues. I hate it because I really want to like his policies, but cannot really find them compatible with the way I was taught. (My history, economics and government teacher was my favorite, and he influenced me too much it seems!)

That said, I read the above-mentioned paragraph from the article and considered things differently based on a better understanding I have gained in recent months from talking with others outside of the United States. Additionally and more importantly, I have been rereading the Bible and have been reminded time and again of how Jesus lived. It’s not exactly the same as most so-called Christians live today. Let’s see how He told us to treat our enemies.

Matthew 5

43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

And now see here… this is Joel Rosenberg. A forty-something man who grew up with an Orthodox Jewish father who later accepted Jesus. He considers himself an evangelical Christian and has a strong support of Israel. I keep tabs on his blog and was amazed in early April when I read this concerning North Korea’s plans to test a missile.

The danger, experts say, is that the missile could reach Alaska or Hawaii. It’s not clear if it could reach Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego or another Pacific coast American city. But the missile’s very existence poses a real threat to U.S. national security. What if it is carrying a nuclear warhead? What if the “test” is actually designed to launch an attack that could blindside us? We shouldn’t be taking any chances. We should take out the missile and its launch pad immediately and send a crystal clear message to Pyongyang — and, by extension, to Tehran and other rogue nations — that serious threats to our security will be dealt with firmly and decisively. Some might say that taking pre-emptive military action against an enemy that endangers you is overreacting. But wouldn’t it have been better if the U.S. had taken decisive pre-emptive action against al Qaeda before 9/11? (emphasis mine)

He wants us to go into another country and take out their missile? Are our troops not already stretched thin enough? Do we really need to start another war? Do we need to be involved in another global police mission? North Korea is a godless, cruel nation, but why this approach? I don’t understand this fear-mongering mentality! Mr. Rosenberg, is not God capable of caring for the world on His own? Does He really need America’s help in policing the world and making sure everyone behaves? Yes, I realize you think this will keep America safe and maybe I am wrong, but still. I am just tired of this hardliner evangelical stance on our enemies. So what’s wrong with talking to them? Read again what Jesus said about our enemies.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. ”

So my question is this: are we Americans first or Christ followers? And if you say, “definitely Jesus is first in my life” then prove it! Start loving your enemies and praying for them. Why do sanctions, violence and retaliation have to always be our options? Why this “you’re either with us or against us” approach to our enemies? I don’t see the “let’s bomb ’em to protect our interests” plan promoted by the One Who came to serve others and redeem mankind. And that includes His enemies.

Let’s seek to imitate our Savior — pursue peace, love and serve others, stand up for the oppressed.

Let your light shine in this world so that others will see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (see Mt. 5:16)

Are our lights shining? Does the world see the good that we do in the name of Christ or do they say “Oh, those are the Christians! See how tough they are on their enemies?”

Sadly, this is the mentality many of them have. We are not accurately representing our Lord. We call ourselves Christians when we are nothing like Jesus Christ.

By the way, we overcome evil with GOOD! (Romans 12:21)

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I am reading a book I purchased many months ago, What the Bible Is All About, a handbook by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears. I read parts of it a while back and just recently picked it up and hope to read it a bit most days so I can eventually finish it! What a goal! (It has over 700 pages.)

I was reading the chapter on Esther and came across this question:

“Why has God allowed me to live at this particular hour?”


I would like to further expand upon this and also wonder “out loud” why God has allowed me to live where I do and have the blessings and privileges that He has given me. I’ve been reading Children of Hope by Vernon Brewer and his daughter Noel. It’s about the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the many civil wars within Africa and how it has particularly affected the children. Did you realize in a span of just 100 days approximately 800,000 people were killed when two tribes clashed in Rwanda? That’s nearly a million people gone in just over 3 months!

And suffering abounds elsewhere in the world from the Hmong people hiding in Laotian jungles to North Koreans persecuted by their government to Gazans starved by cruel Zionists and fellow Arabs, on and on and on. I’m not saying we don’t suffer in America. We have much suffering with our families being destroyed by addictions and immorality and cultural decay and so forth. But at least most of us don’t have to worry about not eating today. Or not having clean water. Or a basic education. A warm place to sleep. Electricity. We even have toys! Cars, computers, books, ipods, lots and lots and lots of stuff! We are a blessed nation!

So why did God have me be born now? And why here in America to this family that I did not choose for myself? Why am I blessed materially when many others are starving? And some are wearing home-made shoes while we have choices of Adidas, Nike, Reebok, New Balance and the Wal-mart brand to name a few!

As my preacher challenges us often, I’ll leave you with this Brian classic:

“How many of you know God doesn’t pass us the gravy so we can drown in it?”

And this from Jesus . . .

Matthew 25

34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Perhaps Jesus was serious when He told us to love one another. Love isn’t a feeling.

Love gives!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.