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David Leonard Q&A

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October Newsletter-Culture

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Culture (While writing this letter I thought of how it reminds me of a car battery. I start out touching the negative terminal and end up clamping on to the positive terminal. Here we go.)
‘Education is the soul of society as it passes from one generation to another… Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.’ (British Christian author G.K Chesterton 1874-1936)

It is likely that: ‘…it is improbable that Jesus would have been permitted to be born at all. Mary’s pregnancy, in poor circumstances, and with the father unknown, would have been an obvious case for an abortion; and her talk of having conceived as a result of the intervention of the Holy Ghost would have pointed to the need for psychiatric treatment, and made the case for terminating her pregnancy even stronger. Thus our generation, needing a Savior more, perhaps, than any that ever existed, would be too humane to allow one (a Savior) to be born; too enlightened to permit the Light of the World to shine in a darkness that grows ever more oppressive.’ (Malcolm Muggeridge, in Seeing Through The Eye, 2005)

The image we paint of God in our minds is a big deal; in some ways it can be a deal breaker. How we perceive Him affects every thought, idea, word, prayer, sharing and our own consciousness of God. Everything hinges, first of all, upon our own definition of who He is. Sometimes, the concepts we grow in our minds (imagination) covers over what our heart’s message to us is. If not careful, we can plaster our own image of God over Jesus’ declared image. We can see Him in the context of ‘how He must be’ rather than accepting the Jesus definition of Who He is. We can bake in fears, guilt, even our weaknesses and use the logic of those truths about ourselves to transform our own thinking about Him. We simply are guilty of what psychologists define as projection, in this case, attributing our own characteristics as His characteristics. If we are angry, He must be angry! If we are compassionate about something, surely He feels the same way. I try and stay aware of this: whatever you believe about, whatever you say about God, you will have to sell it to God, face to face, in the next life. He will, I’m sure, be listening very intently.

Today, to remain calm and peaceful in this world, we must believe that the Father behind our Gospel is incredibly trustworthy. We’re to be assured that His Love is bigger than anything this world can deal out to us. That He will sort out all things in ways we can’t even imagine. We, many times, are trying to use human-sized brains in a God-sized reality. That He can comfort us until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God!

There’s something about free will on earth that makes us victims of the free will of others. It’s the source of evil in the world, and evil does have consequences, even for innocent victims. Sometimes people bear a disproportionate weight of that pain. Jesus was motivated by his vision of the end of his story, his earthly journey wasn’t comfortable or pleasant. When Christ was crucified on that Cross, only one disciple was present, only one loyal. All the others looked at Jesus’ killing as the end and they disappeared. They disregarded all that had taken place for 33 years. Miracles, words, relationships, purposes, all were abandoned. Jesus was dead. Realistically, it took a miracle resurrection to spark new life. And today, a day that looks pretty disheartening much of the time, Jesus still has a word to be spoken, another redemption coming. Someday, Jesus will get the last word on everyone and everything. That just hasn’t happened yet.

Negative post: The headlines today are suggestive of endorsing what can be called ‘strange-therapy’ for grade school children, on issues that have never been raised before in human history, raised by this culture alone. We justify abortion for full term babies and ‘righteous’ lawlessness now is superior to actual law. Just imagine that in the context of the next generation, let alone this one. To me personally, what we’re willing to subject our children to, what we do to them in the name of human progress identifies the true reality of this culture’s heart; nothing screams louder of destroying human life than what is being forced upon our kids. You tell me, do you think it is possible that in today’s world morality can become, by current worldly standards, immorality? Is that happening? It was G.K. Chesterton who suggested that a society that gives in to the fiction of using politics to define our words/vocabulary will end up not being able to define anything. It feels like much of the things the world promotes today as progress is regressing back into ancient ideas rather than real progress, ethically and politically; recapturing the heart of Cain and Abel, not Jesus’ heart. It appears to be more of a backward journey than a growth in intellect or the human heart. (In point of fact, even stepping aside from the biblical arguments, killing babies is kind of a pagan idea, yet every time it’s defended as one of the highest humanitarian motives that are common to every generation that practices it.)

Perhaps these are special times, but they’re very much like the Old Testament cultures as well. The only difference: the Life of Jesus. That’s the ‘game changer’ that no other pre-cross people possessed. For me personally, Jesus is what makes mankind human. I don’t think sharing God with the world through fear will ever win people away from their blinded hearts and lead them to His heart. Notice, Jesus didn’t do anything like that when he was here. He stayed in one relatively small area; sharing with those God had given him to share with. That was efficient enough (through the Spirit) to create a worldwide Faith. Those that can rest in His Love and be confident in His work are in the best place to present the Gospel to others around them.
I was talking to someone the other day about the original language used in Genesis 1. How Elohim (God) used currently existing materials when He created Earth and all that followed. He took a place/material that had become VOID and He re-designed it. If you will, He redeemed it. That was the first thing he did in creation, it’s what He did with the Cross and it’s still what He does today.

Of course the world would hate Jesus! He taught Peace, taught of inner Joy, not retail joy. His teaching creates the experience of a natural-beautiful ‘high’ from knowing the Father and Spirit, not the substitute highs the cultures offer. Today, as back then, the blinded heart yells crucify him: Jesus, who healed, raised the dead, set people free, preached love not hate.

Following Jesus does not save us from the chaos of a broken creation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us that the sun and rain comes upon the just and the unjust. God’s goodness and the world’s chaos fall on those who follow him and those who don’t. The difference between the two is His presence in our lives, His blessing allows us to navigate the chaos and allow his glory to be more fully formed in us.

I once read someone’s writing, I don’t remember whose: When the night begins to surround us, it’s easy to chase after the dimming, fading light hoping to catch it. Think of trying to do that with a sunset. You can pursue the sun westward all you want, but you’ll never catch it. The fastest way through the darkness is to turn east and run toward the rising sun (Son) you can’t see yet. Jesus is the one that can show us how to do that in the middle of our darkest moments.

Positive post: Believers are encouraged with a few simple truths from the heart of God: Fear not, be of good cheer, don’t be anxious and comfort one another. What are we to do given the realities of what the Church currently faces? In Galatians 6-9 Paul encourages us not to grow weary (literally, lose courage, lose heart in trials and evils). That may not be easy but it’s our Good News remedy ‘in Jesus Name.’ Hebrews 12-2: …looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ That Joy is defined as ‘calm delight.’ Jesus looked past the present suffering, the disappointments and stared at the future which was coming at the appropriate time and season. We all have a future, as a believer it’s a future bracketed by Hope. With His resurrection, He gave us the ability to do that each moment as well…..I have a simple expression about Faith: What I can’t change, I can, in Christ, overcome.

I’m going to repeat this comment three times, once in each of the next three newsletters. Don’t get discouraged; don’t be like the disciples that ran away leaving one with Jesus on crucifixion day. Luke 18:8… when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Will we be celebrating or wrapped in fear?

David Leonard

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