Why Don’t We Celebrate Life?

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I will start by admitting that I did not spend a lot of time researching what happened at the Cincinnati Zoo. I only saw a few posts by my friends on Facebook when I got home from work last night. I did watch about a minute of the video, and I Googled it a little to find out which zoo it was for this post and gather a little more info on what exactly happened.

But I am not going to write about what happened or didn’t happen or what should have happened. I am not going to write about my opinion on the few bits of info I saw and read. I am not the kind of person who likes to jump to conclusions on the bare minimum amount of info and go on a passionate rant for justice.

So, here is what I was thinking last night when this was first brought to my attention.

“What if that was my son?”

“I am so thankful that the boy is alive and well.”

“I am confident that the zoo knew what they were doing.”

While I don’t know the facts, I do know that people who work at zoos love animals. That is why they do what they do. They go to school for this stuff. They get attached to the animals that they work with. My thought last night was that this was not a decision that they made lightly. If they made the decision to kill Harambe then it was the right thing to do. Also, when I Googled it the first few articles that pulled up said that the zoo stood by their decision and that they would do it again if they had to. This wasn’t a rash decision that they are regretting now. It was a really tough call that I am sure they are not happy about, but it saved a little boy’s life.

That brings me to my point.

It is ok to mourn for Harambe, but why can’t we also celebrate that the life of a child was saved?

What would the headlines have said had the child died? Would we mourn for him? I don’t know anymore. I see a world that wants to save trees and animals, (Great! God wants us to be good stewards of His creation), but passionately desires the death of babies.

Life needs to be valued and celebrated.

Now, I realized that sin is the problem, and that it is never going to go away until Jesus returns, but you have a sphere of influence. Use it to promote God’s love and the celebration of life. Teach your kids to value life. A great way to do that is teach them to be nice to animals). Every life matters, but human life is more valuable than animals. The zoo made the right decision.

My final thoughts go to the boy and his family. It is easy for me to watch the video and think, “I am glad that is over,” but it really happened. That boy is real. He is out there somewhere reliving the moment. Hopefully he learned from it, but that was incredibly scary and he won’t be forgetting the fear anytime soon. And on top of what he is already feeling and thinking, is he also hearing people say that the zoo made the wrong decision? That they should have risked his life further to save the gorilla.

I pray that he and his family find peace and that they can rejoice in what happened.

 

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Should We Love Our Neighbor or Our Brother

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I want to start by asking God to help me to check my heart every moment of every day so that I can love like He loves. This isn’t something that we will ever perfect this side of Heaven, but I pray that my words and actions reflect Christ’s love to EVERYONE I meet.

To answer my title question: We should love both our neighbor and our brother. Let me explain why I am separating the two. When Jesus instructed his followers to love their neighbor, He meant that everyone you see is your neighbor, so basically love everyone. However, there are many times when the Bible talks about loving your brother. Those were spoken to the body of Christ exclusively. So, when I say “love your neighbor, I personally am referencing non-believers, and when I say “love your brother” I am referencing the body of Christ. I do believe that when Jesus spoke, “neighbor” included everyone.

Although I know many non-believers, I am selective of who I let get close to me. I want to reach out and share God’s love with everyone, but not everyone is going to make it onto my Facebook friends list. Not everyone is going to be allowed access to my personal daily activities. So, it comes as a surprise to me that when I check my newsfeed right after a big issue hits the media (example: abortion, transgenders in women’s bathrooms, Donald Trump running for the presidency, etc.) that among my brothers and sisters in Christ (because they make up the majority of my FB friends) there is a lot of judging, pointing fingers, and accusations of who’s not being loving to their neighbors.

People love to remind us that Jesus ate with the “sinners”. I’ve been disturbed in my spirit for the last couple of weeks about this which is why I haven’t posted in awhile. I did not know what to say.

While I was pondering this, God dropped a bombshell on my thought train. He said this, “I love the Pharisees too”. You guys, yes, Jesus spent most of His time with “sinners”, but that doesn’t mean that He didn’t love the religious leaders. He said harsh (unloving?) things to them, but He said harsh things to Peter as well. Jesus was being loving when He said those things.

The quote of Jesus that has been playing on repeat in my mind for that last couple of weeks is this, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV

I think we miss this one as we try to fit into a culture that preaches tolerance. If one of our brothers or sisters appears to be judging another human being we go right along with the world and tell them to be more loving. We say that that is what Jesus would do. Jesus never condoned anyones sinful lifestyle. Over and over again He touched the untouchable, He healed them, and He told them that their sins were forgiven. Then He told them to “go and sin no more.”

Has anyone ever said to you, “I don’t like Christians, but you aren’t so bad.” And then do you feel pleased that you are reaching a lost person with your love for them even though they are a sinner? Have you ever responded with something similar to this: “Yeah, I know that the church isn’t very loving these days, but that is not really what Jesus is like.” I am not so sure that you have won a follower of Christ or a new buddy. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Pointing fingers and name calling (hypocrite, judgmental, etc.) are not loving, and according to Jesus won’t draw anyone to Him.

Jesus does say to love your neighbor. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that loving the body is more important than loving your neighbor, but He never said that loving them at the expense of loving your brother will draw anyone to Him.

I am not trying to tell you how to love, just who to love. Your neighbor = everyone. Don’t forget your brothers and sisters.

Every track my thought train has taken me on the last two weeks has brought me back to this: Love God above all. 1 John 4:21 says this: And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

My husband and I took a marriage class at our church, and that was a big theme that I saw in the series. In order to love anyone you must love God first and above all. When my heart feels icky and I realize that I am not loving someone with my words, actions or thoughts, I repent and apologize to God for not loving Him. Whether or not I love someone is a fruit of my relationship with God.

There are hateful people in the church, and I don’t always have it all together myself. If you ever are bothered by what someone is saying, please pray and search Scripture before you attack them. Most of you probably do think that you are being loving by confronting a person who appears to be unloving, but make sure you remove the “log” from your own eye first. Make sure you are seeing the situation clearly and are being guided by the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Why I Don’t Take “Me” Times

   


   What is your worst quality? If there was anything you could change anything about yourself what would it be?

   While I could list so many things for my answer, this week God has really been highlighting one word (two actually) that sums it ALL up. 

   SIN 

   SIN, and specifically selfishness. I am a sinner. I am incredibly selfish everyday. 

   My 1 1/2 year old son is so needy. The house is never clean though I am always cleaning. My husband needs time. And I just worked 40 hours even though I am a part time employee. Sound familiar? Why can’t I take 5 minutes? Why can’t I pray or read or visit Facebook or Pinterest without my son jumping on me yelling “Melmo!” Or while playing with his toy vacuum cleaner insisting that I stop what I am doing every 30 seconds to say “vacuum” before he can continue? Why, after a full day of work and play, do the dishes need to be washed and toys picked up? 

   Stop. Before I continue, I need to say that time to yourself is VERY important. It isn’t an option. But I live in a sinful body that tries to rule me. So do you. I find myself demanding that precious time and wanting to act like my toddler when he has a tantrum when I don’t get what I want. I find myself not satisfied with and grateful for a rare quiet bathroom break or a chore free nap time so that I can nap or read of do whatever I want. I find myself demanding more. 

   So, I don’t take “me” times. It can’t be about me. It has to be ALL about God. My flesh tells me that that is extreme. God loves me and wants me to be happy. True, but it can’t be about me. 

   I take rest times. When you Aron an airplane the flight attendant tells you that in an emergency to put your oxygen mask on first and then help the person next to you. Have you heard that analogy before? I rest so that I can help my family. I rest so that I can serve God. I rest so that I can be sane again. Haha! 

  Do you see the mindset change? Me times make me focus on myself and turn me back into a tantrum throwing toddler. Rest times make me focus on why I am taking them. 

   Slow down. Take a deep breath; breath in the Holy Spirit so that you can go again. Not so that you can feel like an adult again. Not so that you can be entertained by something other than Melmo or The Wheels On the Bus. 

   None of these things are bad in themselves, but when I give selfishness an inch it takes a mile. Just rest because you need it. Keep it simple. I am finding how much relying on the Holy Spirit in everything changes everything.