The Answer to Hate and Racism

Looting. Murder. Rioting. Stealing. Theft. Destruction. Anger. Burning. Violence. Fear-mongering. Hatred. Racism. Disregard for the rule of law. Race-war. Rage. Tearing down statues. Injustice. Inflammatory name-calling. Lawlessness.

These are all summed up in one foul word: S I N.

Whatever else you may want to call it – these are all acts and attitudes of evil men whose hearts are filled with the darkness of sin. Sin perpetuating more sin and then used as an excuse for even greater sin.

Don’t be mistaken. Don’t be detoured from what the Bible says. The answer is not found in tearing down monuments to the past, making laws restricting free speech or free assembly, violent attacks, or in shaming certain beliefs and political movements. Don’t look to laws or protests or penalties for answers to hate and racism. These same tools can be used to silence your beliefs … even your Christian beliefs.

As Christians, we are convinced that the answer to the evil in the heart is in the transformation of the human heart through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Light has coming into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light, lest His deeds should be exposed (John 3:19-20).

Righteous Lot

righteous-lotYou recall the story from Genesis 19 of a man named Lot. He’d moved to the city of Sodom on the southern shore of the Dead Sea. There were five great cities there, forming a metropolitan area of both considerable wealth and prominence. In Sodom, Lot increased his wealth and political power.

God was aware of the gross sexual perversions of the 5 cities. God said that the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great … their sin is very grievous (Genesis 18:20). Their sin were so awful that their sins cried out to Him for judgment. From then until recent times, the sin of homosexuality has been known by the word sodomy. 

The Lord sent two angels to remove Lot and his family before His wrath fell on the cities. When the angels arrived in Sodom, they were attacked by a gang demanding to rape them.

The next morning, Lot hesitated to leave everything behind. His daughters and their families were there. All of his investments and property were there. It was his life and livelihood. Lot, his wife, and two unmarried daughters had to be dragged from the city by the angels. Once outside Sodom, Mrs Lot disobeyed God and looked back at all she’d left behind. As she looked, God turned her into a pillar of salt.

Peter wrote that God Delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the filthy conduct of the wicked, for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds (2 Peter 2:7-8).

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

First, Lot’s soul was vexed by the horrible sin of his city. Is your soul tormented by the sin around you or have you grown to accept it as just an alternative lifestyle?

Second, despite being tormented by the sin around him, Lot remained in Sodom. Would you have stayed there?

Third, if you knew that God’s wrath was about to fall on your city because of the sin, would you have fled in advance? waited to be dragged out like Lot? or even looked back like Mrs Lot?

Kenyatta, Odinga, and the Will of God

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Romans 13:1).

Kenya is a young nation, having gained its independence from the British on December 12, 1963. The nation has struggled to set aside tribal animosity and bind itself together as one people. Politics has been the flash point. A decade ago, over 1,000 people were murdered in election violence.

Voting for a candidate, or against a candidate, based on his tribal ethnicity instead of his beliefs – will destroy Kenya and any other nation. Tribalism divides rather than heals.

In a few days, on August 8th, Kenyans will go to the polls to elect their president. The great question every Kenyan should be asking is not which candidate will win the election, Kenyatta or Odinga, but how the hearts of sinful men will respond to the will of God.

Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves (Romans 13:2).

** Please keep us in prayer while we minister in Kenya. Thanks!

God is My Strength

humilityGod is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze (2 Samuel 22:33-35).

God was David’s strength and power. He accounted every victory in his life to the Lord who even taught his hands to make war. Yes, David used weapons and strategies and soldiers against the enemies of his people, but these were not the source of a single victory. A nation can have every weapon known to man and still lose a war! That was the experience of the United States in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan. David’s victories were only because God brought defeat to Israel’s enemies.

All too often we fail to give God the credit for what He does in and through us. We are living wells of ever-bubbling pride, but it’s toward the humble that God condescends and gives strength in the midst of every trial.

David never forgot from where his every blessing flowed. He was aware of the One who stooped to fit and enable him for every service.

It is the Power of God

We’ve decided that a political victory, a judge’s ruling, or a bureaucratic tribunal is the answer.

Politicians can create laws to make life appear equitable. Judges can resolve disputes and settle long-standing injustices. Panel discussions can air grievances. Governments can take something from one person and give it to another. Shouting, protests, sit-ins, marches. Not one of these creates a lasting solution. None of these resolves the issue at the heart of mankind’s problem.

The cause behind every social ill, injustice, and ache in the life of humanity is one of the heart. The problem is sin.

Man’s political solutions are a denial of the cross. The preaching of the cross is the ONLY solution for what ails a person, a family, and a nation because only Christ Jesus changes the heart of the sinner. Only a new birth makes a sinner into a saint.

Change the heart, change the person. Change the person, change a nation.

Pastors: ever and only preach the cross and Christ crucified. It is the power of God.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

More Boring than a Wheel

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day (Exodus 20:9, 10, 11).

A CBS News story reported in May that Jews and Christians made up the idea of the 7-day week as a form of time slavery. The “week is man-made, arbitrary, a substance not found in nature.”

Instead of time being a continual revolving cycle of renewal, “Judeo-Christians decided that time was actually linear, beginning at creation and moving toward end times. This idea stuck—and it’s way more boring than a wheel.” To improve the conquest of time, the author of the report said we must elevate the weekend, which she claims was invented by socialist-minded politicians.

If you think that socialism is compatible with Christianity, here’s more proof you’re wrong.

God has a different idea about time than communists. The Bible says that He created the idea of a 7-day week when He created the heavens and the earth in six days and then rested on the seventh. It’s not man-made, it is inherent in His creation.

Instead of conquering time, we must be living circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

The Church is not a Democracy

where living begins

Jesus said, I will build My Church (Matthew 16:18)

The local news headline said it all: “Catholics Rally to Accept Same-Sex Marriage.” A group of Roman Catholics met to demand the Vatican change its view on homosexuality and allow same-sex marriage.

More and more Americans – including those sitting in a pew on Sunday morning – believe that God’s Word is old fashioned. They argue that God needs to catch up with our enlightened views. What we think today must become the Christianity of tomorrow. Christianity is a democracy that must bend (or break) to the will of the progressive majority, not to the will of God.

Sadly, poll after poll shows that Americans are both ignorant of the Bible and don’t care what it says anyway.

But truth is not defined by people. It comes from the God who declares Himself to be truth (John 14:6). The Church of Jesus Christ is not a democracy, it is a Theocracy. It was created by God the Father, is being built and ruled by Jesus Christ, is empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and is governed by the written Word of God. Truth doesn’t come by taking a vote; it came from God to man through the Bible. We cannot change God’s truth; when we do, it ceases to be truth … and becomes a lie.

Protest and petition till the cows come home, but when people who claim to be Christians oppose the clear teaching of the Bible, it is open rebellion against the God who breathed it.

Jesus prayed, Sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is truth (John 17:17).

Our Responsibility

Our responsibility as followers of Jesus is not to fix this broken world. Never once has God called His people to march for justice, redistribute wealth, end cruelty to animals, solve the world hunger problem, or save the oceans. Not once has He commanded the Church to polish the brass on this sinking ship called Earth.

Instead, He commissioned us to preach the Gospel of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).

He saved you to proclaim His message of reconciliation – not racial reconciliation – but the reconciliation of sinners to a holy God.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

Follow us on Twitter @RichardRice124.

Amazing Hands

When did you last consider your hands? Muscles, tendons, ligaments all working together pulling bones and stretching skin. The skin folds in just the right places and ways. Your fingerprints are unique among everyone in the world. Your nail is placed perfectly at the tip of your fingers.

Take a moment to look.

I remember holding and staring at the teensy hands of my son after he was born.  Your hand is a miracle of God’s plan!

The Bible has a lot to say about God’s hands too. Job said of God, Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity (Job 10:8).

In Psalm 18:35, David sang about his on-going conflict with a former friend who was hunting him. Your right hand has held me up.

My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me (Psalm 31:15). What a strong affirmation that God is in control of your life.

Proverbs 21:1 reads, The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. His hand even moves the hearts and decisions of politicians.

He has amazing hands!

God’s hand is personally involved in every aspect of your life; but we often forget that. At one time or another, we’ve all thought, “God has forgotten me. He’s walked away. He’s forsaken me.”  In those times when we feel abandoned by Him, look at your hands and remember His hands.

Now, aren’t hands wonderful?!

Broken Promises

My son and I supported different candidates in the 2016 US presidential election. Daniel’s candidate won and mine lost.

Nearly each week now, we have a conversation that goes something like this:

Daniel, did you see on the news today that your guy broke another of his campaign promises?

Yeah, well, he’s a politician and that’s what politicians do.

But Daniel, didn’t people vote for him because they said he wasn’t a politician and had no reason to lie?

Meh.

Many of us have bought into the idea of putting our hope in a political figure. We’re sure that if we don’t elect so-and-so it will be the end of life as we know it. We place our faith in a man in Washington DC or Nairobi or Harare to make all things right, bring justice, and improve our lives, instead of trusting in the Man from Galilee. Politicians are sinful people like the rest of us. They will always put their own re-election and self-interest ahead of those they are supposed to represent. They will always betray the voters. Always.

Only One put the absolute need of His people first. He proved it by dying for them. Name a political figure who will do that.

Jesus is returning one day to claim His kingdom and bring it to earth. Until then, we eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). He is the only King who will both save His people and rule in righteousness. He’s never broken a promise; He never will.