Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Question I'm Struggling With: Refugees

I want my country and community to be safe. I want the elected officials of our land to secure our boarders and do everything that is reasonable and moral to protect the US from attacks by terrorists and jihadists. 

If I were a refugee trying to flee ISIS and almost certain death, I'd want to go to the best and safest place possible. In other words, If I were a Syrian refugee trying to rescue my family from doom, I'd want to bring them to America.

I know terrorists will exploit any and every avenue possible to attack their enemies (us). I know that opening our boarders to Syrian refugees exposes us to the potential of danger. But if we ship refugees back, aren't we exposing them to an even greater danger?

Is my life and the lives of my family more valuable than a Syrian child, woman, or man?

As a Christian, I'm called to care for the alien, the oppressed, and the refugee. I'm called to be a neighbor. 

And as I think about the fear gripping the US and our leaders I cannot help but think of Exodus 1.

In Exodus 1, a great nation felt threatened by foreigners living within their boarders. Egypt feared the Hebrews would rise up against them and join with Egypt's enemies to destroy the nation from within.

Egypt's solution to this perceived problem was to enslave the Hebrew people and oppress them. They implemented means to control the population (killing babies). They tried to save and protect their nation by any means necessary. Ultimately they failed.

I want my family to be safe. I don't want terrorists infiltrating America. But I don't want to be like an Egyptian either. I want to love my Syrian "neighbors." 

In the end, my opinion of this issue won't matter much. I'm not an elected official. I'm not in congress or the president. Even if I called my Senators, Representative, or the President, some intern would likely file away my message and the powers that be would never read it, nor would they care.

But my attitude does matter. And I want to be Christian in the way I think and behave. 

So, here is my question: How should I as a Christian, a husband, a father, a citizen of the USA, respond and react to the Syrian refugee crisis?

Whatever the answer is, I know it must include love because Christ calls me to love my neighbor and love my enemies. 

Lord, help me to think and respond with Christ-like love to the world around me.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bless Someone in 2015

In 2015, I want to be a blessing to other people. In other words, I want to contribute positively to their lives, help them along as they journey through life, and ultimately draw their attention to Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 shows me how to do this.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

To bless others this year, I resolve to:

1. Show kindness to everyone I encounter.
I will think of the other person before myself. I will do what is right in regard to the other person and will seek their good. I will demonstrate love toward them. Regardless of who they are, what they have done, or what they can do for me, I must remember to be kind to everyone.

2. Extend compassion toward those who are hurting, weak, broken, and suffering.
I will pray for a tender heart and sensitive spirit. I will be slow to judge. I will be quick to help. I will seek to understand and empathize with others. I will do what I can to alleviate their suffering and sorrow. I will weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn.

3. Offer forgiveness to those who are not kind and compassionate toward me.
I will remember that forgiveness is never deserved but must be graciously given. I will remember that I have been forgiven by God because of Christ. I will not take offense quickly or easily. I will forget hurts. I will let go of grudges. I will not let bitterness or animosity take root in my life.

I hope you will join me in trying to be a blessing to others in 2015.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Prayer for the New Year

For New Year's Day

At the dawn of this new year, precious Savior and divine Lord, I desire to begin today in your name. Therefore I ask You to take full possession of my life, hold me by the hand and lead me from day to day, protecting me from all dangers of body and soul. Shield me from the temptations of sin and remove every doubtful thought from my mind. Let not worries and fears of the future rob me of that peace of mind which is mine through Your sacrifice on Calvary. Order my footsteps in the paths of righteousness and keep me in Your grace.

Abide with Your children where ever they are, and help them through their trials and troubles. Forgive us, one and all, our many sins of the past through Your cleansing and precious blood. Grant me and all that love You the strength to live victoriously every day.

Give to your church, eternal Savior, continued growth, and prosper the work of our hands as wee seek to win souls for You. Bring this saving Gospel to many more. Preserve peace among the nations that Your message of reconciliation may not be hindered in its progress as missionaries go from place to place. Let me live in peace with all people, avoiding discord, strife, and hatred. Give me an unwavering faith in You as my Savior and King. Make this year another year of grace to me and to many, for Your name's sake. Amen.

From My Prayer Book