Lucia's Blog: 2021
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

"WHEN MY LOVE TO CHRIST GROWS WEAK"

 

“And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.' 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ 63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.”’ 
Luke 22:39-65


The song “When My Love to Christ Grows Weak” reminds us of what our Lord and Savior had to endure and suffer before He was hung on that cross of Calvary. He prayed fervently when He was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane before they tortured Him and crucified Him. When our love grows weak for Christ, we must think of Gethsemane, for it reminds us of how He first loved us. 

 "We love because he first loved us"  (1 John 4:19).


We must have a deeper faith.  

We must increase our faith to remind us of Jesus’ sufferings and death in Gethsemane and to sustain us when we are weak (Luke 17:5

Jesus wept and prayed for us in Gethsemane.  

His soul was exceedingly sorrowful even to death.

"Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, 'Sit here, while I go over there and pray.' 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled"'  (Matthew 26:36-38). 


He knelt there to pray as a “suffering, friendless One.” 

He felt sorrowful and troubled while He watched His disciples sleep, whom He took to watch with Him.

"And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.' 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, 'So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'" (Matthew 26:39-41). 


And though He was troubled and in anguish, He still prayed and wept for us because He first loved us.

"Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, 'My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.' 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again"(Matt. 26:42-44).


When our love grows weak for Christ, we must seek for deeper faith by thinking of Calvary. 

We must love one another because He first loved us and gave Himself to die on Calvary.

"If anyone says, 'I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother'" (1 Jn. 4:20-21). 


When our love grows weak for one another, we must think of Calvary to strengthen our faith and give glory to God.

"No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised"  (Rom. 4:20-21). 


It was on Calvary that our Lord and Savior was crucified, shedding His blood for the remission of everyone’s sins.

"And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left"  (Luke 23:33). 


At Calvary, our Lord was mocked, scoffed, blasphemed, beaten.  At Calvary, He suffered in agony on a bitter tree.
"And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'  And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, 'He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!' 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, 'If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!' 38 There was also an inscription over him, 'This is the King of the Jews'"  (Lk. 23:34-38). 

Though our Lord and Savior was in deep anguish, we can still see how deep was His faith and His love, as He spoke to one of the criminals that hung next to Him.
"One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, 'Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!' 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' 42 And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' 43 And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise'"  (Lk. 23:39-43). 

We can clearly see His triumphant love as He died for the sins of this world of darkness.

"It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!' And having said this he breathed his last'" (Lk. 23:44-46). 


Therefore, since Jesus, our Lord, suffered in Gethsemane and died on Calvary, we must reflect on what He did for us by denying ourselves, dying to self, and bearing our own cross in full sacrifice.

"And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels'" (Lk. 9:23-26). 


When our love for Christ grows weak, we must reflect on His sacrifice because that helps us be more devoted and faithful to Him with deeper faith that will overcome this world of darkness in triumphant victory.

I hope the words of “When My Love For Christ Grows Weak” move you deeply as you meditate on what Jesus did for us in Gethsemane and Calvary.


When my love for Christ grows weak,
When for deeper faith I seek,
Then in thought I go to thee, 
Garden of Gethsemane.

There I walk amid the shades,
While the lingering twilight fades,
See that suffering, friendless One,
Weeping, praying there alone.

When my love for man grows weak,
When for stronger faith I seek,
Hill of Calvary, I go 
To thy scenes of fear and woe.

There behold His agony,
Suffered on the bitter tree;
See His anguish, see His faith,
Love triumphant still in death.

Then to life I turn again,
Learning all the worth of pain,
Learning all the might that lies
In a full self-sacrifice.


Luci


Saturday, January 9, 2021

POLITICS AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA

 

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some."  
1 Corinthians 9:19-22


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about social media, its pros, and cons. It is an excellent way to connect with people, get news, and share information wider and faster with others.  On the other hand, it is a place where common sense and decency often die.  Why?  Because many foolish people spew hatred, lunacy, and folly without a second thought.  They do not follow God's wisdom in their social media.  

Thanks to platforms like Facebook, some take pride in sowing strife and stirring the pot when it would be better to show gentleness, kindness (2 Tim. 2:24), and love (Eph. 4:15).  The venom is sometimes stronger when someone is sharing and defending the Truth.  Many users forget that we can tell and defend the Truth without devastating and vehement vituperation.  Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are weapons to instigate and spread division instead of promoting love and unity among brethren.  It grieves me greatly when I see my brethren starting brawls and outrage over politics, race, law enforcement, “guilt by association,” and nitpicking the church.  Surely we can express our faith and convictions without divisive diversions.  Do you think the Lord is pleased with that kind of entertainment and ungodly behavior?  What do you think?

The question is:  Do you use Facebook and other social media as a tool for the glory of God or as a distraction from spiritual priorities?  Is Facebook helping or hindering you from walking in righteousness and holiness?  

In Proverbs 29:11, we have a wise reminder.
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” 

Just because we can post anything, it doesn’t mean we must.  Be wise and ask “why?” then be sure you have a really good answer before you post.  Wisdom is to hold back speech.  There is a time to hold back speech to yourself.  Likewise, there is a time to talk and say it all. Wise and righteous people know what to say before speaking and when to speak, but fools spill everything without preparation, examination, and thought.  Indeed, fools talk a lot! They cannot keep their mouths shut.  They give in to their desires to let everything rush out of their mouths (any little thought, no matter how frivolous, no matter how unstudied, no matter how inappropriate).   A wise person speaks with caution.  He does not speak hastily, without examination, or offers his opinions as truth.  He rules his mouth to choose wise words; thus, he waits for the right timing.  A talker is a fool, for he talks arrogantly, hastily, and loudly.  He confirms his folly.  A fool loves the sound of his own voice, and he thinks others should love it also. He thinks he has wisdom to share, and he believes others are blessed to hear him. So he gets angry when he is eventually isolated due to his ignorant and obnoxious speech and thinking.

There is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7). But knowing when to speak and when to keep silent requires discretion and prudence, two branches of wisdom the fool has never considered.

Our social interactions must encourage others to come to God's kingdom. We must be salt and light.  It requires a great understanding of culture and its effects on us. Facebook is a dangerous social tool if one does not use wisdom and discernment. The way I conduct myself on such a particular platform may glorify God or hurt Christ and His church.  We must follow the example of the tribe of Issachar, who had “men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”  (1 Chron. 12:32).


FRUITLESS AND UNGODLY DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • Trolling And Lying:
Some use Facebook as a means to troll others. This is seen in many political posts. Some create memes and images to troll with something completely false.  As a result, many believe these lies and share them with others, causing controversy, endless arguments, and divisive issues. How sad!  Memes are used to distort the truth, especially in the political arena.  We must be careful since many news sources can not be trusted.  Many political websites twist reality and distort facts, so people will click on the links and generate ad revenue. Take heed!

  • Using Wisdom And Sound Judgment on Social Media:
As Christians, we must be careful not to be drawn into fruitless and ungodly discussions, especially over politics.  Social media can be a powerful tool, either for good or for evil. Today political debate is dominating much of Facebook. The children of God are tempted to forget their godliness when they enter these discussions, and sound judgment flies out the window. It grieves me greatly to see brethren against each other over trivial matters, and all about what?  It is like some of our useless and foolish discussions about college football.  Whose soul is lost or won? Whose faith is strengthened or weakened?  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,  has taught principles of kindness and courtesy.  Sadly, that knowledge is suspended when we behave like carnal-minded men and women.  I don't deny that our faith must touch every compartment of our life and that politics must not be unimportant.  However, it is critical for us Christians to stress that politics must never be our primary focus, but rather God and His principles of righteousness.  God is ultimately in control (Daniel 2:21; 4:17; 34-35).  

On the Day of Judgment, when we're standing before the judgment seat of Christ, the only thing that will matter is not the position we held in the political arena, security issues, health care, and many other political issues that are thrown our way to make us stumble, but our godly and righteous living.  It grieves me when I see my brethren divided over political issues, knowing that the Lord is not pleased.  He hates those who sow seeds of discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16-19).  There is so much danger when one speaks or writes without using wisdom and sound judgment in his political statements or views on another brother or sister's post. You can rest assured it will influence the way people think about us, the Lord's church, and view us.  

Do you not know that when we proclaim our faith, but at the same time mix it up with our political views, it hurts our influence as godly Christians and faithful believers of our Lord Jesus and His Gospel Message?  When we attach our faith to our political leanings, we hinder many from hearing the good news, the Gospel message, that Jesus is offering for their salvation.

It would be better to remind ourselves that this world is not our home and that our citizenship is in heaven, in the kingdom of Christ, before we post on politics and stir the pot over unnecessary and damaging disagreements.  Remember that our conversations on social media must reflect Christ and His kingdom of righteousness.  May it never be that our efforts of evangelizing the lost be hindered because of our Facebook posts!  But if you must post on politics, I suggest that you be reserved and cautious. Much of what we hear turns out later to be false, and we are left looking ridiculous.  Keep in mind the wisdom that Paul expressed in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.


Jesus once said, 

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16


Thus, before you post on any political issue, let your wisdom and sound judgment lead you to ask yourself.

“Do I have all the facts?  Do I really need to comment on this?”  


In Ephesians 4:20, the Lord instructs us saying, 
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."    

Here are a few wise reminders to consider.
  1. Are your words and posts pointing others to Christ?  
  2. Are your posts revealing the Light or darkness?  
  3. Are your posts glorifying our Lord and His cause?  
  4. Are your posts speaking in a way that shows grace to others?  

It is easy for us to post whatever comes to mind about any issue without thinking twice and thus end up bringing shame upon Christ and His church through careless and foolish speech.  It is pure foolishness to vent our opinions and end up insulting others who need to be edified and not torn down.  Such godless behavior demonstrates a lack of love for God and our neighbor.  It does not honor our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So before you post on a political issue, stop, pause and ponder about what you're about to write.  

Ask yourself, 

  • Am I posting for the best interests of others?  
  • Am I hurting how others think of Jesus, His church, and His principles of righteousness?  

If you insist on your political view, why not use your messenger and privately share your views with a trusted friend who is not afraid to tell you "no"?  It is very dangerous to rebuke or humiliate others publicly over political issues.  It is one thing to discuss an issue of doctrinal error or a political matter privately, but it is altogether different when we drag the issues into the public eye on platforms s such as Facebook, bringing shame and dishonor to the cause of Christ.  

Our godless culture does enough of this foolishness already without our help.  Brethren, we must pause and think before posting, especially about politics!  Ask yourself with an honest heart:   

  • Am I honestly posting for the glory of God?  
  • Are my motives pure when I respond to those who disagree with me?  
  • Are we, you and I, posting, reacting, and responding graciously, kindly and thoughtfully, and patiently to those whom we disagree with? 


CONCLUSION:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, if you feel that you must post on political issues on social media like Facebook or other platforms, do it cautiously, with wisdom and sound judgment.  Don't ever forget, you are a Christian first and that you represent our King and Lord Jesus as well as His church, His kingdom of righteousness!  Post reflecting the priorities and character of our King and His kingdom.  Consider the words you speak both in person and online.  Choose to remain silent over trivial matters that will possibly hurt our Lord, His church, and our influence.  Remember, we must not cause others to stumble and hinder the Gospel Message because of our social media posts.  

Let us reaffirm our heavenly citizenship, and most importantly, let us refocus on our primary goal.  Let us resolve to give leaders their due.  Let us keep praying for godly rulers.  Let us keep living righteously and not defile ourselves, and finally, let us all resume our role as peacemakers.  Our God and His kingdom are unshakable, and we are on our way Home.  Remember that righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).

May the Lord help us to adjust and correct our online behavior for His glory and His Gospel Message.

Luci