Missionaries & Their Service

Whether black, white, Asian, or Hispanic, people are people, so why not make a difference in their lives?  Many speak the same language, but some argue they speak different languages. Be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, or Japanese, but does it really matter which language they speak?  They are definitely one in Christ even if they communicate in their native dialect.  To identify with a particular group often politicians will say a few words in their language, but do they really understand them?  This may happen especially during an election year when we see candidates making pitches to specific blocks of voters.  It may be at synagogue by speaking a few Hebrew words, rubbing shoulders with rabbis, and trying to convince Jewish folk they know about their culture.

But regardless who these people are, it’s good for them to know who they really are.  Steve Jobs (1955–2011), a pioneer of the personal computer revolution said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  A measure of what people become is what they keep coming back to, reminding them to take that next step in pursuing their dreams.  This is true, for their conscience keeps telling them to invest in a particular ministry.

Making a Connection

Some people – young and old alike, make decisions to join the Peace Corps.  While others participate in a Fulbright programs to Asian, African, or South American countries.  They live with the natives, teaching them to plant crops, build wells, and construct homes.  They teach English as a foreign language in their schools.  Missionaries are involved in outreach programs to villages, while working alongside different ethnic groups in remote areas.  By so doing they are fulfilling Christ’s mission in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Interestingly Maya Angelou (1928–2014), an author, and poet wrote, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you.  May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all.  I may not dance your dances or speak your language.  But be a blessing to somebody.  That’s what I think.”  Angelou explained in her own way the missionary service we’re taught to do as believing Christians.

Non-Verbal Contact

To begin understanding people call for more than being able to master the spoken word.  It comes through the Holy Spirit who works in diverse ways.  People also communicate with their eyes and bodies.  Missionaries can see these in natives who seek their help.  With good interpersonal communication barriers are broken down.  But we all have one spirit in common.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a Westerner dressed in fashionable clothes, or a beggar in rags.  It’s the Holy Spirit who dismantles communication barriers.

Barbara Bush (b. 1925), a former first lady of the United States said, “Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.”  With God each human is a friend and a family member.  It doesn’t matter if they live in a small Guyanese town like Ituni, or a faraway place like Timbuktu.  In building up the body of Christ volunteers would come to know like Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist that “the only source of knowledge is experience.”  As Christians these missionaries bring their experiences to the building blocks of life, and knowledge to make the world a better place to live, paving the way for mankind’s eternal future.

People & Church

People go to church for many reasons, but there are some bad and good ones.  It’ll be good to follow the advice of a former French Catholic priest Abbe Pierre (1912–2007), who said, “It’s not enough to attend church and pray every Sunday; you have to act.”

Bad Reasons

Some may say that they go to church because on Sundays their family always attends church.  They are simply following in their footsteps.  It’s tradition.  You would hear it often said, “We grew up in the church, so that’s why we’re in church?”  This declaration doesn’t necessarily make complete sense as the main reason for wanting to attend a church.

Then, there are those who say that although they were never faithful about church going, it’s time to go.  The reason being that they ought to lay down roots some place.  They argue some churches won’t marry them when they are ready to wed a loved one.  Some older people feel they have to be at a church that will bury them when they die.  They may see this death as problematic to their family if they aren’t a church member.  But these are still wrong reasons for going to church.

It doesn’t matter which church a person attends, but if he or she does so for this next reason they will be out of order.  I have heard it said, “I want to meet a good Christian woman, so I’ll find a church, and I’ll meet the right person.  Just don’t worry with the type that goes to nightclubs.”  People who say these things are also missing the real reasons about what a church is all about.

 Good Reasons

Michele Bachmann (b. 1956), a Republican and former member of the United States House of Representatives, serves as a good example of a Christian upbringing.  She wrote, “I was born in a Christian family and brought up in a Lutheran church.  My faith has been the center point of my life, really, since I was a child, but at 16 years of age, I fully surrendered my life over to Christ.  At that point, as a teenager, I began to grasp the concept of Christ’s true love and forgiveness.”

Some people may not like Bachmann’s politics, but it’s a wonderful thing to be introduced to a church as a child.  It doesn’t matter which church it is, as long as it’s Christian, and preaches the Word of God.  As a new member you’ll be baptized into the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ.  The pastor often reminds his or her congregation that they must help raise such a child in their community as a Christian.  As the child grows up to become an adolescent, his or her parents will see to it that he or she is confirmed by the pastor or bishop.  This rite indicates the child has attained the age of responsibility, and is matured enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

What is required?

As such persons grow in the faith’s tradition of their church – be it Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Baptist, they will be attending Christian formation classes.  They will come to realize that they have been blessed with gifts, talent, and treasure that must be shared with their community.

Since they are now part of the body of Christ they will endeavor to fulfill their special missions.  As older individuals they may discover they have the gift of giving and/or teaching.  As a result they may do charitable work.  They might work with manna, feed the poor and homeless, collect clothing for the underprivileged, and contribute funds to organizations e.g., cancer society, diabetic association, and mental health groups – only to mention a few of these.

Once they complete college and working they will tithe.  Daily they read the Scriptures, attend a Bible study group, religious seminars, and are spiritually prepared to take the next step in life.  Now they are planning for marriage.  There’s no problem, for through their church they are able to receive from their pastor marriage counseling.  So when it comes time to marry the groundwork is well laid.  Once married the couple may be blessed with children.  They will have them baptized at their church, and the cycle starts over again.

In their church they will celebrate baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals, and anniversaries.  Their family’s involvement is a living symbol to the other members of their church and community.  They will have cultivated a variety of experiences while being a part of their church.  But through it all they know that it’s their calling to help build up the body of Christ.

As much older adults they are sure to find peace of mind.  So when dad and/or mom become ill and dies, in their afflictions they are assured that there’ll be a fitting Mass at their church.  Further, they are certain that once they exit this earthly plain they will enjoy everlasting life in heaven.

Seek Lasting Peace

A life of prayer will be the light of your life.  It’s abundant and filled with the Word of life.  And it’s how believers know that they are living under God’s protection.  In this world they themselves become instruments of peace.  These people always pray for the Lord’s guidance and security.  They live triumphantly in the Christian faith and with joy shout, “Shalom! Peace!”

Rosalyn Carter (b. 1927), the wife of Jimmy Carter, president of the United States said, “You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried.  If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, you don’t branch out, you don’t try – you don’t take the risk.”  How prayerful people are, doesn’t mean there will always be peace on the horizon.  Even with our best efforts negotiations fall apart.  But as Carter puts it, still it’s best to keep trying.

Transform Lives

Prayer warriors must visualize achieving wholesome lives.  They ought to live honestly by illuminating others, while doing so with serenity.  In letting light shine not only within their hearts, but externally for all to see.  This is how they show the world their beliefs in Christ.  It’s therefore right that such peace begin in their homes, thus enabling them to persevere as peace-makers.  Without peace worldly demons torment us.  But peace takes courage, and bears fruits with happy lives.  In achieving peace people wave olive branches of tranquility.

Thomas A. Edison (1847–1931), an inventor and businessman wrote, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  Peace as an effort we must pursue.  At all costs try, even if you fail in your efforts.  But like Edison explained it’s acceptable to keep trying.

Truths about Living

In life there are some basic truths.  We learn these by the way we live.  This hope is to pursue an everlasting love with Christian beliefs.  With such a life we’ll touch justice, and be blessed with the security in our hearts.  What disappears is a transient peace.

Mike Huckabee (b. 1955), a politician, minister, and governor of Arkansas wrote, “Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’  And I think a lot of people don’t understand that’s there’s a difference between a peace lover and a peace maker.  Everybody loves peace, but wearing jewelry around your neck and saying ‘I love peace’ doesn’t bring it.”  Huckabee’s observation is correct, but jewelry as an expression of peace also has a place in a believer’s life.  It’ll give him or her something to hope for, dream of, and pray about.

 Live in Peace

To live in peace is the way how we live well gloriously.  For many it may be by being faithful to their church.  It’s living compassionately by shining our light on others.  In so doing, we’ll be expressing joy in helping people become peace-makers.  Through our actions the society will change.  With peaceful co-existence our existence will be enhanced.  Anne M. Mulcahy (b. 1952), a former chairperson and CEO of Xerox corporation said, “There’s nothing quite as powerful as people feeling that they can have impact and make a difference.  When you’ve got that going for you, I think it’s a very powerful way to implement change.”  Mulcahy provides ideas about people doing what they love.  This is especially needed with the lasting peace that we seek.

Gifted with Patience

To be gifted with patience is to have peace and joy.  People free from darkness have wisdom, tenderness, and love.  These are the beginnings of a boundless path that’s faithful to Almighty God.  Moreover these are simply expressions of caring in Christ, who loves his creation.  Through him we’ll come to know his healing presence, and what it is to love, and serve others.

Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015), a Christian televangelist, pastor and motivational speaker said, “Never cut a tree down in the winter time.  Never make a negative decision in the low time.  Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods.  Wait.  Be patient.  The storm will pass.  The spring will come.”  It’s all well and good for Christians to make decisions in promoting their churches’ agenda, but Schuller feels this must be done at the right time.  We have to be patient, and wait for those special moments.

Patience in Weaving

 To be effective believers must weave their plans like yarn to achieve the best results.  Let them undertake ministries when they are joyful, and free from anxieties.  They ought to use opportunities to nurture the weak, hopeful in reviving the comatose, and persevere in faithful prayers.  While optimistic they must be watching for better results, fighting the good fight, and kindling the fires of hopefulness.  With love there are golden rays of delight in lifting their crosses towards heaven.  In building these bridges, this is how they will discover the greatest friendships of their lives.  They are able to witness these expressions when they embraced his true love.

Richard P. Feynman (1918–1988), a theoretical physicist wrote, “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”  This statement readily sums up the interrelationships of our loving-kindness that permeates the depths of our souls.

Peace & Joy

Much of what’s centered on a well-lived life is by finding peace and joy.  People become free from the bondage of sin.   They touch serenity and their hearts are filled with the oil of gladness.  This happens when Christians are practitioners of Christ’s teachings.  They evangelize as they look forward to their eternal rewards.  This is trustworthy love that’s based on truth.  Greg Anderson (b. 1966), a current personal trainer said, “Focus on the journey, not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing the activity but in doing it.”  Anderson may well be talking about athletes, or those in our physical culture.  But for Christians joy is found not only in our spiritual walk, but in the abundance of rewards in unexpected places.

New Every Morning

Whatever people end up doing be sure to proceed with happiness, because around every corner there may be surprises, and teachable moments.  The power in the Word is like a furnace that’s igniting love.  Such is the mystery when people show love and feed the poor.  While volunteering their service charitable workers are able to tap into this phenomenon.  This special kind of love is put into practice by helping the least among us.

Leo Buscaglia (1924–1998), an author, motivational speaker and professor of Special Education at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  It’s for believers to use these subtle and not-so-subtle ways to promote goodness among people.  Buscaglia’s words are useful especially when interacting with less fortunate in our midst.  These compliments though will work for everyone in every place most of the time.

Gifts of God’s Kingdom

There’s a place beyond the universe that’s irresistible.  When we die we’ll surely be escorted there by angels.  And we’ll find eternal rest with our Supreme Being with the best of humanity.  This will be our eternal reward won for a life of grace, dedication, and service to Almighty God.  In this everlasting state there will be celebration of peace and joy.  We presently live with angels watching over us with visions of heaven.  But as soon as we cross over into God’s territory there’s no looking back.  Daily, we’ll be face to face with God’s radiance and celestial forces of goodness.

Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), an Italian explorer, navigator and colonizer wrote, “Gold is a treasure and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in the world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise.”  We’ve often heard that gold – money if you wish, corrupts us if not used wisely.  Columbus however viewed gold positively as a source for winning souls.

Family & Friends

Heavenly goals must start with family and friends.  Charles Kuralt (1934–1997), a journalist said, “The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”  We’ve to exchange our earthly crosses for heavenly crowns.  By honoring and obeying God’s will we’ll know his truth, and be touched by love.  So when dark moments raise their ugly heads we would say like Aristotle Onassis (1906–1975), a Greek shipping magnate: “It is during the darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”  Onassis might very well have thought about our final destination of blessedness that surpasses all understanding.

Light & Darkness

Before being called home most will have worn-out bodies.   We’ll experience harrowing feelings, the gushing waters in churning waves, and living in a troubled world.  Evil forces seek to influence us into doing evil deeds.  But do not be dismayed, just remain steadfast in faith, and follow the narrow road that leads to righteousness.

Harriet Tubman (1822–1913), an African American abolitionist reminded us: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach the stars to change the world.”  Tubman’s observation is true.   We must play our role in leading others – even if it’s only one person, to do what’s good.  This is a Christian’s responsibility and we should realize great is our power with the Holy Spirit.

Our Reception

Mother Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic missionary in India exhorted us: “Be faithful in small things because it is in them your strength lie.”  In persevering let us all endeavor to do our very best.  So when we arrive at the finish-line in heaven we’ll be hearing angels proclaiming: “Well done, true and faithful servants.”  Then people will be gathered at God’s heavenly banquet.  There will be rejoicing of angels and archangels as we’re being called to God’s Kingdom for our just rewards.

 

 

Blessings of Heaven

Believers live in joyful anticipation of gifts from heaven.  “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).  These gifts God has revealed in his Word through the Holy Spirit.

An information and technology entrepreneur Steve Jobs (1955–2011) said, “No one wants to die.  Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.  And yet death is the destination we all share.  No one has ever escaped it.  And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.  It is life’s change agent.  It clears out the old to make way for the new.”  Christians ought to rejoice that after death heaven awaits them.  It’s a great promise after facing the trials and tribulations of life.

As believers it isn’t unusual to experience bits of heaven on earth.  Jules Renard (1864–1910), a French author and member of the Académie Goncourt wrote, “On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”  But people express this reality in distinctly different ways.  It’s a blessing to be positive in a broken and sinful world.

People’s Views

Much of how people view life has to do with their knowledge.  How they have been raised, their experiences, and what they end up believing.  William Shakespeare (1564–1616), an English poet and playwright wrote, “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”  Many will agree that it’s better to have understanding than to be in the dark.  It’s people’s belief that with knowledge they will make good decisions.  However, merely knowing isn’t the answer.  It takes understanding, and belief in a just, and caring God.

Gautama Buddha (563/ 480 BC–483/400 BC), an Indian ascetic and founder of Buddhism explained, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.  Then the victory is yours.  It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”  Buddha and Shakespeare were in agreement that to be successful people have to be masters of their destinies.

Our Gifts of Realities

Gifts of divine realities are wrapped up by the way people view the world.  These secrets are in elements we take for granted.  William Blake (1757–1827), an English poet and painter wrote, “To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower holds infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.”  Such realizations boggle the mind.  With every touch people comes face to face with eternity in complex, and amazing ways.

Living on earth is a part of cycles.  Tryon Edwards (1809–1894), a theologian best known for compiling A Dictionary of Thoughts reminded us: “Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.”  Thus by living and dying daily help people prepare for the blessings of our heavenly home.

Our Precious Gifts

We’re encouraged to delight in the Lord and he’ll give us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4).  Believing in him we rejoice with joy.  Inexpressible and full of glory we’ll obtain as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls (1 Pet 1:8-9).  The Lord has put gladness in our hearts more than when grain and new wine abound (Ps 4:7).  “For the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps 84:11).

A Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius (551BC–479 BC) wrote, “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”  Confucius was referring to the qualities it takes in the world.  He however forgot to mention the necessity of having godly gifts to accomplish these tasks.  True excellence can only be accomplished by loving God.

Ways for Accomplishments

Some people look at other ways through which they can have accomplishments.  Napoleon Hill (1883–1970), an author advised, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”  Accomplishment starts in our minds.  We must desire and endeavor to obtain it.  Once we come to know our Lord by service, and prayer we’re sure to find him.  The Holy Spirit guides us in making our lives successful.

Plato (428/427/ 424/423 BC–348/347 BC), a Greek philosopher agreed with Hill when he wrote, “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”  This is why it takes special knowledge to be inspired by the Word of the God.  Christians are prompted in their understanding by the workings of the Holy Spirit.

An Italian-born world champion racing driver Mario Andretti (b. 1940) said, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”  The objective of desire is invoked as the motivation for success.  Christians should know the desire for: What? Who? When? Why?  This desire has to focus on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Eye of Desire

With the right knowledge we could end up saying like Will Durant (1885–1981), a writer, historian and philosopher: “Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul.”  A godly desire is a gift for our souls.  That’s why we have to pursue the right path to be assured of salvation.

But such a desire has to be strong and unrelenting.  That’s why we have to persevere.  A businessman and self-help author Robert Kiyosaki (b. 1947) wrote, “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire, the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”  It’s important to have a strong desire and knowledge, but you ought to ask these questions: “How strong are they?  Do they take center stage in sharing of God’s gifts?  If they do, we’re sure to be blessed abundantly.

Special Gift

Everyone has at least one special gift.  A 13th century Persian poet and Islamic scholar Rumi (1207–1273) explained, “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”  Some of us may never discover the purpose for which we’re made nevertheless, but this gift is still a part of us.  Our gifts build up the body of Christ.  It’s always good for us to make such a discovery for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.

Our Eternal Soul

Our dust will return to the ground it came from, and the gift of the spirit to God (Eccl 12:7).  We’re told to be afraid of “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies: and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  He asked (Jn 11:25).  Again people are reminded what good for a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul (Mk 8:36).  God is not willing for anyone to be lost (Mt 18:14).

Love is such a great gift that it’s impossible to live without it.  It’s one of the gifts of our eternal soul.  A French poet, novelist, and dramatist Victor Hugo (1802–1885) explained, “Try all you will, you cannot annihilate that eternal relic of the human heart, love.”  As a popular song goes, “Love makes the world go round.”  Indeed, it does.

Love is all about living.  It’s ever-present, simple, and far-reaching in its grasp.  Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855), a German mathematician was certain: “Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.”  Every day is different.  People witness the landscape taking shape in all its glory.  Plants blossom, flowers bloom, and we reap harvests of abundant fruits.  These manifestations are alive, and are there to greet us every morning.

Changes in Lives

Welcoming changes in our lives captivate us.  A German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) said, “Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.”  We ought to accept this gift of change.  For it’s only through this that people grow.  Authentic change takes root in our lives.  In the midst of this delight people have to guard against what’s unbeneficial.

But change calls for vigilance, and some opinion leaders share this hope.  These leaders are progressive and they push the society forward.  An Irish orator and politician John Philpot Curran (1750–1817) remarked, “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”  Freedom has to be always nurtured, guarded, and protected.  Brave people have sacrificed their lives for us to be free.

In order to enjoy these blessings we have to offer prayers to our loving God.  Swami Sivananda (1887 -1963), a Hindu spiritual teacher, proponent of Yoga and Vedanta, wrote, “Practice meditation regularly.  Meditation leads to eternal bliss.  Therefore meditate, meditate.”  It’s our responsibility to be faithful to God.  Make the gift of worshiping him a practice, for it brings joy.

Devotion in Living

Devotion keeps God always in our lives.  A Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886–1968) said, “Man can certainly be free from God…but he cannot escape him.  He can certainly hate God and be hateful to God, but he cannot change into its opposite the eternal love of God which triumphs even in his hate.”  God loves us even if some people hate him.  It’s however better to love God because he’s the giver of all good gifts.

Love God’s commandments.  People can’t live without them.  An Italian scholar and poet, Petrarch (1304–1374) was sure: “Love is the crowing grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good.”  Authentic love knows the truth.  When it blossoms it shines goodness on all things eternal.  These gifts are based on the promises of Christ himself.

People’s Dilemma

All unrighteousness is sin (1 Jn 5:17).  God’s eyes are upon our ways.  No one can hide their iniquities from him (Job 34:21-22).  The fool has said in his heart there’s no God, and does abominable wrongs (Ps 53:1).  Wickedness burns like fire devouring the briers and thorns that kindle the thickets in the forest (Isa 9:18).  The wages of sin is death, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23).  People who are guilty in one point of God’s laws are guilty in all (Jas. 2:10).

Sydney J. Harris (1917–1986), a journalist for the Chicago Daily News, later the Chicago SunTimes, said, “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”  For some sinning is a sort of fulfillment.  They don’t have to obey any laws and feel free to act any way they wish, even if it’s wrong.  But change in Christ is reassuring and uplifting.

This simple statement is often a dilemma for some people.  An author and second lady of the United States, Tipper Gore (b. 1948) wrote, “The dilemma for society is how to preserve personal and family values in a nation of diverse tastes.”  Diverse tastes aren’t a problem.  It’s about knowing what’s right from wrong.  This calls for moral leadership to influence us correctly.

Societal Paradoxes

At times society is faced with paradoxes.  Some of these situations can be corrected, but others remain a problem.  A German-born actress and singer Marlene Dietrich (1901–1992) remarked, “A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties.  A father can do neither.  If only sons can see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.”  Once a father, always a father, there can be no abdication here.  Surely a father could run from his responsibilities, but he would always be responsible as the father.  Whether this is a sin or not, depends on what people believe his role to be.

What about those issues people don’t feel like bringing up?  Could these ever be sinful?  It depends on what they are.  James Levin (b. 19943), conductor and pianist said, “The invisible dilemma is that men face the very real problem that they don’t feel comfortable bringing these issues up and they tend not to be acknowledged at work.”  Issues do take various forms.  Some of these are insignificant, while others have to be dealt with to be resolved.  If these aren’t, they tend to undermine our welfare, and lead to fractured relationships.

Nature of Issues

Some issues might be “big” like abortion that people may not fully understand.  Pro-life activist and founder Randall Terry (b. 1959) wrote, “We want every human being in the womb to be safe, not have these babies be killed to solve some dilemma.”  Pro-choice advocates may counter by saying, “It depends what dilemma we’re talking about.”  But our main consideration should be, “Are our views and actions concerning these problems sinful?”  These issues call for prayer and discernment.

In our world people may even see a dilemma between spiritual truths with those that are empirical.  E.O. Wilson (b. 1929), a biologist, naturalist and author said, “The essence of humanity’s spiritual dilemma is that we evolved genetically to accept one truth and discovered another.  Is there a way to erase the dilemma, to resolve the contradictions between the transcendentalists and the empirical world views?”   Yet they are theologians who argue that these differing truths complement each other.  Such an observation leads us to conclude our decision making may well be based on discernment.

Our Blessed Gifts

Our earth has certain characteristics:

  1. It arose some 3.5 billion years ago
  2. 3 billion people inhabit it
  3. 71 percent of its surface is covered with water
  4. Its remaining 29 percent is land with mountains, deserts, plains, and plateaus, and
  5. Over the year because of its axial tilt there is variation of sunlight reaching every part which causes seasonal changes.

John Lubbock (1834–1913), an English banker, Liberal politician, and philanthropist wrote, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can learn from books.”  We may learn that the future of the earth is tied to the gift of the sun.  Over billions of years 99 percent of all species that ever lived on earth are extinct.  And today there exist over 200 sovereign states with which America has diplomatic ties and trade.   American journalists travel to these countries – some torn by political strife, and they present them to worldwide audiences via ubiquitous media networks.

Gift of Earth

There are concerns how long God’s gift of planet earth will continue to sustain life.  These estimates range from 500 million to 2.3 billion years.  The earth’s future is closely tied to that of the sun.  Evo Morales (b. 1959), president of Bolivia said, “Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution.  What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.”  People continue to obtain large deposits of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gasses from the earth’s crust.  They are therefore concerned about how long these will last – and while doing so, much to our detriment, industries, air-crafts, and other motorized apparatuses are polluting our environment.  Some see linkages of environmental pollutants with extreme weather – cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, floods, tsunamis, droughts, and wildfires.

Jimmy Dean (1928–2010), a country music singer, TV host, and businessman said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”  Will we be able to adjust our sails to meet the needs of our 7.3 billion inhabitants that are increasing geometrically each year?  It’s true that wind is a great blessing from our first breath of life, in early civilizations with wind powered sailing ships, to modern air-crafts, windmills as power supply, for dispersing seeds in farming, and in some popular wind-related sports.

Gift of Water

Through evaporation and transpiration there’s precipitation of our lands.  Although this water is a blessing and great gift, some one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water.  More than 2.5 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate sanitation.  Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), a Canadian poet, novelist, and environmental activist explained, “Water does not resist. Water flows.  When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress.  Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you.  But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.  Water is patient.  Dripping water wears away stone.  Remember that, my child.  Remember you are half water.  It you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it.  Water does.”  Undoubtedly, people must continue to do all they can in building dams and constructing wells, to bring pure drinking water to the many villages of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that lack this vital resource.  Many indigenous people’s survival depends on such actions.

Gift of Fire

People must be positive when thinking about fire.  It’s a stimulant of life.  This gift is used for cooking, generating heat, as lighting sources, and propulsion purposes.  It’s also known for its growth and maintaining ecological systems.  Bruce Lee (b. 1940), a Hong Kong American martial artist wrote, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.  As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”

That’s the reason why people must become fired up about God’s great gifts of earth, water, and fire in our lives.  It takes love to kindle these vital resources of the earth for the benefits of mankind.  For these gifts we’re most thankful.