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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Come out of her, my people II

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Affordable Care Act's requirement that every policy issued for health care include coverage for contraception has become a lightning rod for conservative Christians, and with almost one voice, they have cried, "Foul!"

Not so fast.

This is not our fight, and to take up the standard against such a requirement is the height of hypocrisy, and shames the Name of the One we purport to follow.

The use of birth control, tragically up to and including late term abortions, is not unheard of in the realms of those who call themselves by the Name of the Lord. To tell the world, or in this case, the U.S. Government, that they have crossed a spiritual line, is absolutely ludicrous. The world, including the U.S. Government, is only interested in righteousness when it suits the bottom line. It's the way the world works, by design, designed by men, enacted by men, and altered by men whenever and however it suits whoever is in power, today.

What should we be doing, brothers and sisters? Where is our fight? If we are called to truth, to whom do we speak it?

We speak it to one another, in love, because truth fades from lack of use; because we are called to carry one another's burden; because we are meant to encourage one another; even to correct a brother if he should fall into grievous error.

Where is our fight? If we are to be called children of the light, there can be no darkness within us. We must open our eyes to the truth of who we are, what we do, and how we speak. And we must let the clear beam of truth illuminate our path and filter our speech.

Where is our fight? In the generations of believers that surround our own. Older women, mentor the younger. Teach them the joys of marriage; of child-bearing; of educating and nurturing the next generation to do the same. Keep in mind that the children of your children will care for you in your old age and infirmity. We must each one take our part within our generation, but we must know our part in order to fulfill it.

Therefore, teach the young women to say, with Mary, when told of her impending motherhood, "May it be unto me as you have said." (Luke 1:38) And teach the young men what it means to honor, to love, even to cherish, their mothers, their sisters, and especially, their wives. (Ephesians 5:25)

Where is our fight, my brothers? Answer this: Are there any among you hungry, naked or unsheltered? Perhaps a sister is suffering from the strange widowhood precipitated by divorce or abandonment. Provide for one another until poverty or need passes. Know this: We ought not to be beholden to the world for anything. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, to the last penny; take nothing from him beyond your due, being ever mindful that who you owe, owns you. Those who belong to the Lord look after one another, never sending a brother "back to Egypt," (Numbers 14:4) thereby teaching them to trust in horses and chariots rather than teaching them to trust in the Lord who loves them and has purchased them "at a price." (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Where is our fight, my sisters? Have you encountered a stranger along the way? Don't send him away, making him even more beholden to the world that has already labeled him and cast him aside. Practice hospitality, thereby entertaining angels unaware. (Hebrews 13:2)

Where is our fight? Is it in our manner of dress? Is it found in ritual? Is it in the halls of education? Is it in technology?

It is and it isn't. We dress with a care for those who will see what we choose to expose.

Ritual brings us no closer to God than we already are, because he is always near to us.

Training the intellect is wise, trusting it may not always be so.

Technology is a tool. If it becomes more than a tool, there is danger there.

Where is our fight? In the ledger of each day and each day's pay. Have we withheld from any man what he is due? The rent must be paid. The electric company must be satisfied. The grocer can only pay his rent because he's not carrying my debt, nor the debt of my brother, nor the debt of any stranger of no means I may encounter. The laborer goes home with supper in his pocket rather than an empty promise of payment, someday.

Where is our fight? Our fight is against the powers and principalities of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) that surround us and seek to derail us; to, at the very least, destroy our testimony of what it means to love the Lord, to follow Jesus, to live out the truth of who we once were and who, by his all-sufficient grace, we will one day be.

For myself, I desire but one bed each night and have no need of another. I am clothed sufficient unto each day, warm in winter and cool in summer's heat. Agur's prayer, uttered in Proverbs 30: 8-9, is answered in my life. I am not so rich, nor ever shall be, that I may forget my Father, who richly provides for all of those who love him, therefore I will never want to the point of shaming his name.

This is our fight. Up close and personal. How will I live, today? Will I honor my Savior or shame him? Will I obey or rationalize? The culture war will have to go on without me, it is un-winnable, after all, and is not now, nor ever has been, my fight.

"Then I heard another voice from heaven say: 'Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;'" Revelation 18:4 (NIV)

I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for a while and discover Him together.


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