Monday, March 4, 2013

You will set my people free!


(This turned out to be way longer than I intended, but when God says write… You write.- I also realize that there are some formatting issues.  I am having some issues with the blog that I am hoping to figure out soon.)

Last night was the premiere of a new 5 part mini-series produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on "The Bible."  I first fell in love with Roma Downey when she played Monica on Touched by An Angel.  Her messages of hope and words of encouragement often had me in tears myself.  Her words were so genuine that there were times I felt she was speaking directly at me.  Even now, as I watch the re-runs of this show on GMC I often find myself caught up in the characters and in God's saving grace that is constantly at work.

The Bible is the greatest book ever written.  It's the greatest story ever told.  It's the only book in the world that has the power to give life.  It's a beautiful love story.  It's a captivating story of God's redemption of His chosen people.  The Bible is a real book, about real people, who encountered a real God.  From Genesis to Revelation it demonstrates God's love for a sinful people.  It beautifully illustrates the need for God's grace and forgiveness through its stories.

I want to write about Moses, but… Before I do that let me give this disclaimer.   
            (Editor’s Note: I was going to write about my opinion on the series itself, but have decided to save that for another post after I have seen the mini-series in its entirety.)

After the series ended last night I discussed with a friend (in length) the parts that we most liked, things that stood out to us, something that may have made us look at a story differently, something that made us want to pick up our Bible’s and study something, favorite lines, and things of that nature.  I was continually drawn back to Moses.  I have always loved the story.  A message of redemption.  A message of hope.  A message of freedom.  A message of peace. 

Moses was a warrior.  Yes, I said warrior.  He was also a beautiful picture of redemption. 
Let me clarify:

Merriam-Webster’s definitions:
Redemption: The act, process, or instance of redeeming.
            Redeeming: Serving to offset or compensate for a defect.
            Redeem: To buy back; to free from what distresses or harms; to free from captivity

Moses, the warrior should have never been.  Why? 

Moses, the baby, wasn’t supposed to have a chance.  Moses, the baby, should have been killed at birth.  Moses’ mother hid him (defying Pharaoh’s orders [Exodus 2:22]  that all of the Israelite’s baby boys be killed) and eventually (Unable to hide him any longer) she placed him in a basket and left the basket in the Nile river until Moses, the baby, was found by Pharaoh’s daughter [Exodus 2:1-10] 

Moses, upon being pulled from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, was taken in despite being an Israelite baby.  He became the child of Pharaoh’s daughter.  I believe that this also shows us that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Moses, the baby, didn’t stand a chance until God intervened.  God knew Moses’ future, and He knew that this little baby had a divine purpose (and that’s a blog for a whole other time because we are talking about redemption). 
Moses had a purpose.  But, Moses killed a man.  [Exodus 2:12]  Moses was out watching the Hebrew’s work and saw an Egyptian who was beating the Hebrew.  Moses reacted and killed the Egyptian and tried to hide his body in the sand.  Pharaoh heard about what happened and wanted Moses to be killed because he killed the Egyptian and Moses fled.  Moses took off from Egypt and didn’t look back.  He no longer wanted any part of it.  He was gone.  He was out of there. 

He has run away from his people.  He has fled from his mistakes.  He killed a man.  Something that I don’t know how you ever recover from.  You might think that’s the end of this story.  That’s it Moses, I’m sorry, but you missed your chance.  You made a mistake.  Say goodbye to God’s purpose for you.  Not going to happen now.  Don’t look back Moses.  Welcome to your life of regret.  You ran away, Moses. You’re finished. 

Thank you Jesus that You are the God of second chances.  You are not a God who walks away from their people.  You are the God of second, third, and fourth chances.  You are God of redemption.  You are the God who placed a burning bush [Exodus 3:2] in the path of Moses to draw him back to his purpose.  You are the God who met him right where he was.  You stepped into his messy life and found him right where he was.  You gave him the chance for redemption.  You then used the Moses’ redemption to redeem an entire nation. 

“You are not a God.  You are only a man.  And you will set my people free.” 

My prayer is that our earth will see more Moses’ begin to rise up.  If we have experienced redemption in our own lives, then we should be out helping other people to experience theirs.  Christianity is not a gift that should be kept to ourselves.  It’s not about just us.  We need more people to become bold like Moses.  We need more people to look the enemy directly in the eye and tell him to set our people free. 

People all over the world are in bondage.  There are currently 27 million people for sale in 161 countries around the world.  27 million.  If that doesn’t stop you in your tracks then I don’t know what will.  The world’s current population (At the time of this post) is 7,101,848,539.  Of that population it is estimated that there are only 2.1 billion Christians.  That means that there are approximately 5,001,848,539 living without the light of Jesus in their life. 

When someone does not have the light of Jesus surrounding them, they are covered by the darkness of Satan.  They are held captive by it.  They can’t get away from it.  It’s time for people to become like Moses and to look Satan square in the eye and remind him, “You are not God.”  It’s time for the people of God to become bold.  It’s time for us to be courageous and to be the voice that is speaking for those in darkness.  It is time for our voice to be the ones that are heard. 

Satan is a very real enemy.  If we do not believe this then we are only fooling ourselves.    
 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” –John 10:10                                                              
 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” –Ephesians 6:12

The enemy is real.  Satan is real.  He is prowling around like a lion looking for anyone to devour.  His goal is to steal.  His goal is to kill.  His goal is to destroy.  Our struggle is against the very forces of evil and darkness.  There is a battle all around us.  We are fighting against the powers of darkness that would seek to devour as many as he can. 

I hate to ruin the series for you (Spoiler alert ahead) but guess what… Jesus WINS! 
This is how it ends. 
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  -Philippians 2:10-11

Let’s be bold.  Let’s live a life of courage.  Let’s not be ignorant to the dark forces that are at work in this world.  If we’ve messed up, let’s come to God.  Let’s experience his redemption.  Let’s allow him to set us free from our captivity.  After that, let’s help others experience that same redemption. 

In 140 characters or less:  I think we need some more Moses' to start looking the enemy in the eye and demanding that he start setting God's people free! #TheBible




Friday, March 1, 2013

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

(While I do realize that this is out of the realm of anything that I would normally blog about, this is something that has been on my heart and I felt compelled to write about it.)

Tomorrow, is Dr. Seuss' birthday.

Today, in classrooms all across the world teachers are dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Kids are celebrating by having green eggs and ham at lunch and reading "Green Eggs and Ham" and "The Lorax" during read aloud time.  It's a day that we celebrate this lovable character who made a historic impact on children's literature.  Children across the nation love the sing-song rhymes and unforgettable characters that come out of his children's books.

My personal favorite and the inspiration for this blog post... "Horton Hears a Who!"
"Horton, the lovable elephant, tries to protect tiny creatures on a speck of dust."

In this book Horton (the elephant) is going about his day when a tiny speck of dust floats past him and he hears the smallest noise.  Horton believes that the speck of dust is inhabited by tiny and microscopic people and that it is his duty to protect them at all costs.    Of course, the bad guys, don't believe Horton and they try to destroy the speck.  To make a long story short... The book ends with the entire tiny Who village banding together to shout over and over again, "We are here! We are here!"  All of the other characters realize that Horton was right and the speck of dust (and tiny Who village) are saved.

It is during the fight for the speck that Dr. Seuss penned the words that have touched my soul.
"A person's a person, no matter how small."

Over the last several weeks my heart has been burdened by the number of children who are tossed aside like garbage all over the world.  My heart and soul have wept (literally) over the little one's that no one wants.  The more research that I have done the more overwhelmed that I have become.  I recently woke up crying one morning because of those that I felt unable to save.  All of this has led me to ask two very important questions.

1) Why aren't these children wanted?
2) What can I do?

Why aren't they wanted?  I look at my own little one's every Sunday and Wednesday and feel overwhelmed with the joy that they bring me.  I look at my sweet boys and can't imagine life without my Piglet and his two older brothers.  Why aren't they wanted?  In many instances, so many children are simply seen as an inconvenience or a financial burden.  American's want to live a life of fun and they don't want to be saddled down with an infant requiring them to get up every two hours to feed and change them.  Many perfectly healthy children aren't wanted because they wear that Extra Chromosome like a badge of honor.  They may have Down Syndrome or another disability.  They are considered to be socially unacceptable and they are tossed aside.  There are many more reason's that I haven't listed here.

Are these good reasons?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Denying a child the right to live a full and happy life simply because they are an inconvenience, or because they have Down Syndrome, or Autism, or simply because someone doesn't want to be bothered is a violation of human rights at the very most basic levels.

Over the last several weeks my eyes have been opened to the tragedies that takes place all around the world every day.  I have wept tears of sorrow as parent's describe the situations from which their adoptive children came, and I have wept tears of joy as I have seen the transformations of children who are now in loving homes with loving families.

That brings me to this... What can we do?

Oh, how I have agonized over this question.  Some days I wake up feeling like Superman.  I know that I can change the world.  Other days, I fall tiredly into bed and think I'll have to try again tomorrow.  So, what can I do?

I can make a choice to no longer be ignorant of the tragedies regarding human life that take place all over the world.  I can choose to watch the news.  I can choose to pick up a newspaper.  I can read blogs.  I can educate myself on what children face all over the world.

I can make a promise to never look at a child with disabilities as anything less than perfect.  When I see a child with Down Syndrome or other disabilities I see pure perfection.  I will praise Jesus for these precious children who are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) just like everyone else.

I can pray every day that these children who are tossed aside like garbage will feel the love that only a Heavenly Father will bring.  I can pray that heart's will be opened to adoption.  I can pray that caretakers will feel led to stay an extra 30 minutes one day to hold a baby who has never been held before.  I can pray that parent's will no longer see this children as an inconvenience but as a blessing.

I can consider adoption.  (Something that I will do one day in the future)  So many of these children simply need someone to look past what's on the outside and love them.  Love and kindness can go an extremely long way.  There are children all over the world (1.5 million in Eastern Europe alone) who are desperate for a family to love them.  If you are unable to adopt, you can give to someone who is.  Adoption is extremely expensive and every donation helps those who are making that step.

I can sponsor a child through Compassion International (http://www.compassion.com/default.htm)  ensuring that they receive proper nutrition, medical care, and education.  I can give to Reece's Rainbow (http://reecesrainbow.org/).  An organization that provides grants to those who are adopting children with special needs.

Never again will I see any child as anything less than perfect.
I will be the one to fight for those who the world is ignoring while they scream out that, "We are here."
My arms will be arms of love for those that no one wants.
My voice will be the one quietly singing in their ears that they are loved.
My voice will be the one advocating for them from the mountaintops.
It will be my knees that are knelt in prayer.

Because after all... "A person's a person, no matter how small."