May 3, 2021
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
Well, the November elections are well behind us. A new president took office months ago. But our nation hasn't changed much. We still feel the effects of the divide that has been developing for a couple of decades. Party politics, escalated by the algorithms that social media shove to us to keep us addicted to what we want to hear, continue to grow on a hyperbolic curve.
We continue to have the growing concern about racism or reverse racism or whether there is any racism and what constitutes racism. Is it against color? Ethnic origin? National allegiance? Religious affiliation? Political ideology? Socioeconomic status? It seems all of those get stirred into the mix whenever racism starts rearing its head in some circles.
The "woke" movement and "cancel" culture are equally divisive. Somehow, we forget our entire history, good and bad, brought us to the place we are today. Right or wrong, the past is what it is and cannot be changed. It is history. Are we proud of our history? Some of it should be rightfully proud. Some of it we should fall on our knees in disgust and ask God forgiveness for our people as Daniel did. It doesn't change the facts of history, but it changes us.
Then we see what is still happening with the pandemic. India seems to be the disease's principal target as I write these words, although the United States still has 32.5 million positive cases and more than half a million deaths in its wake so far. And the number of new cases has remained relatively flat since mid-February despite more than half the population receiving at least one dose of the miracle vaccine to stop the spread. Chances are we will take another booster in six months or at least twelve months because of the mutations the virus undergoes with each generation of its spread.
It appears masks will become the new global fashion statement. The virus's secondary and long-term effects on the body are still being discovered. It is a vicious disease. We also don't yet know the long-term effects of the vaccines we take or the effects of the cures to get us out of intensive care wards. We know those are better than the days of suffering those with the disease endured with death knocking at the door, but we don't yet know what they are only a year into the process. So, what do we do?
Responses look typical from where I sit. Some still isolate themselves, daring to go out only for necessities and emergencies. Businesses like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber capitalized on the isolation quickly delivering whatever you need – with the requisite fee and a tip, of course.
Others try to hoard supplies as if the apocalypse arrived and factories will close forever. When supplies get to needy areas, sometimes money makes a difference in how distributors handle those supplies. The wealthy somehow always seem to have enough, and the poor always seem to remain in need. We can examine the plight internationally and blame poor government, but we can look at home and see the same results. Our responses continue to divide us no matter how we try to come together over issues.
So, what do we do? As Christians, what is our role, and how should we respond to the mess we see around us on every front? Let me share from one of the readings this week, and I think it will speak for itself.
My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other.
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts.
God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. God sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. God stays one with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay one with God and are sure that God loves us.
God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay one in our hearts with God, and he will stay one with us. If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment. A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love.
We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!" (1 John 4:7-21)
I grant you that it is hard to get through the rhetoric we hear on every front today. We get blasted by the far-right and the far-left with little sanity from either side. Both sides' ideas begin to sound okay when all you hear is what they feed you, but when you really listen to what the other side says, you find both sides often want the same outcome. If we would remember that neither party is in control of the world, or the country, or much of anything really, we would start to learn to talk to each other and solve problems. Neither side has control because Jesus is King. The head of one party or the other might promise all kinds of things, but they have little control over what they can do once on their throne. Obstacles in their path blur their vision, cause them to stumble, and stop their plans. It happens to every leader except one – King Jesus. His plans will succeed.
We need to stop listening to the world's rhetoric on both sides and spend time with the King of kings. Learn how he lived and interfaced with those around him. Figure out what he did and what he said to those who followed him. Listen to the words of his disciples, those who lived next to him for three years and saw the miracles he performed and the way he treated the fringes of society. He was and is the King of kings then and now. Most people in the world just haven't acknowledged it yet. But it won't be long until every knee bows before him.
Watch him. God is love, and his actions show us what love looks like, what God looks like in action. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate example of love for his followers and all humanity, taking on his shoulders the sins of all humankind and carrying them to the cross. That horizontal beam of the Roman symbol of agony and death should remind us of the love we should have for each other as Jesus showed us when he lived with us for those few years. He is our example.
Love is the characteristic that sets Jesus' followers apart from the rest of the world. We genuinely care about others. During the final battles between Rome and Jerusalem, the Christians helped those left in the city flee. During the burning of Rome, it was the Christians who provided aid and shelter to those left homeless as they could. It was Christians who helped the plague-ridden victims in the middle ages. Christians come to the assistance of others because they care about their fellow man.
It doesn't matter what color a person's skin. God made all of us some shade of brown, from a pale tan to almost ebony, but when we compare our pigmentation, we all fall onto the brown side of the color wheel. We all look the same inside and react to drugs and treatments about the same way. Our limbs, organs, and brains work the same way. God made us much more alike than different if we will stop to examine humanity. And if God made us all, it means we must love our brothers and sisters. As John tells us, "We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: "Love God and love each other!"
Now, go and demonstrate the love of God where you are, show others who the God of creation is by his Spirit living through you.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked CEV are taken from the CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION (CEV): Scripture taken from the CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH VERSION copyright© 1995 by the American Bible Society. Used by permission.