Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Tears for the Fallen

There are two professions in which the practitioners understand full well that they may not return home from their tour of duty alive, soldiers during wartime and police officers. These brave men and women that wear the law enforcement badge upon their chests know full well their next call may be their last. Yet, they are willing and able to protect and serve the public at the risk of their own lives. I served for 29 years in a Milwaukee County suburb and the only time I ever shot my firearm was during training. Every day I prayed that God would guide my mind and body to take whatever action was necessary to protect the public. I prayed that if I was put in a position to use any type of force, I would be guided to use no more than what was lawful and necessary. Law enforcement officers are highly trained, skilled in more than just the use of firearms and are dedicated to placing their lives before those they are called to protect and serve, even those who break the law. Now those who put themselves in harms’ way to protect society are in the crosshairs of those that seek to gain political advantage over tragedies that deeply sadden decent citizens. President Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it best when he declared that no crisis should go to waste.

No law enforcement officer begins his or her tour of duty with intent to cause anyone harm, no matter what color their skin is. To intimate otherwise is propagating a bald faced lie. As in any part of society, some people fall through the cracks, but 99.9% of the 800,000 law enforcement officers in the US treat everyone they meet with respect and want every contact with citizens to end peaceably. As I read the news stories today I am saddened by so many that are rejoicing that at least five Dallas Police officers were gunned down, simply because they wear the uniform and the color of their skin was white. During a peaceful protest, the officers assigned to keep the peace were executed by an assailant that was angered over some recent police shootings. Realize that the incidents are still under investigation and if the officers involved committed a crime they will be held accountable, yet due to the incendiary rhetoric from the left, this depraved individual felt compelled to commit these heinous crimes.

Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans. They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; Psalm 64:2-5,7-8

What has become of our democracy? Evildoers use the freedoms granted by our constitution to create havoc and push our nation towards anarchy. Satan and his minions like Saul Alinsky, should be proud of the bitter hatred that is overcoming our society. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t make our country right again. Pre-judging police interactions with persons of color by our commander in chief simply emboldens those who choose to hate and harm our great democracy. As President Obama now tries to pick up the pieces over the dead bodies of five of our finest with his fine rhetoric at their funerals, it is too little, too late. He has fueled the fire beyond human abilities to quench it. The only way to bridge this societal upheaval is to turn to God. It is always when we think that we have the ability to fix problems of our own accord is when we spiral out of control. The experiment called the “Great Society”, put into place to end poverty, has been an abject failure, trapping so many African Americans into decaying inner cities, enabling men to father, then abandon their children, and pushing God out of their families. A return to God is in order, lest we continue our fall into the abyss.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” Mark 12:28-32

Pray fervently that we come to see the error of our ways before it is too late to turn back. Pray for each and every law enforcement officer that the Lord protects them, as they in turn put their lives on the line to protect us. And finally, pray that those who come into contact with police simply comply, rather than try to escalate situations, based on false pretenses, that would otherwise end peacefully.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Satisfaction


Citing a Rolling Stones song as the basis for a Christian blog article would seem to make unlikely bedfellows. After all, the Stones were the original drugs, sex and rock and roll band. Nothing Biblical about that unless you’re talking about Sodom and Gomorrah. One of their early hits “I Can’t Get no Satisfaction” closely mirrors problems every Christian runs into as they try to be in, but not of the world. You see, humans are control freaks, some worse than others, of course. We try to go it alone. We try to disregard that helping hand from above because either we don’t want to bother God with trivialities or we believe that whatever talent our Maker has bestowed upon us, makes it unnecessary to ask for our Lord’s help. This could not be further from the truth. From the first verse of the song, “I can't get no satisfaction. I can't get no satisfaction. 'Cause I try and I try and I try and I try. I can't get no, I can't get no.” When it becomes all about us, we lose our direction and fall away from God.

If it is worldly goals that drive us to succeed, no success is truly satisfying, because there is always another mountain to climb, another record to be broken and another challenge to overcome. We can never have enough money, fame or love to satisfy our cravings. 1 Peter 1:3-9, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” If pleasing God is our goal, He will always be pleased with our efforts, no matter how feeble they may be. If God is pleased with us, we attain that which we cannot alone, our lives filled with our Father’s love.

From another verse of the song, “When I'm ridin' round the world and I'm doin' this and I'm signing that and I'm tryin' to make some girl who tells me baby better come back later next week 'cause you see I'm on losing streak. I can't get no, oh no no no. Hey hey hey, that's what I say. I can't get no, I can't get no, I can't get no satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction.” This world we live in was created for us by our Father in heaven. Everything we have and are is a gift, given to us by a loving Father. Every misstep, every success and everything in between is a gift to be cherished. When we are thankful for what we have, it is always enough. When we look to please our Lord and worry about our needs secondary, we can get that satisfaction that is so fleeting for those that are not only in the world, but are of the world. This life is fleeting. Nothing more than a short stopping point before eternity. When things are looked at in their proper prospective, we will never be disappointed. When we look at that mirror and see that unworthy, sinful human being that is loved in spite of all of our shortcomings, we can be satisfied. When we realize that our sin is no more, that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ took the punishment we have so justly deserved, we can truly be satisfied. When we realize that our Father prepares a place for us in His house if we only believe, we can be not only satisfied, but overjoyed at the prospect, that after this life, we will live in eternity with our Lord.

Jesus said in John 14:1-7, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” If our God is pleased and loves us, who can truly say they can’t get no satisfaction? God’s grace is our greatest gift. Be truly satisfied in that no matter your circumstance on this earth.