Why I’m Going to Defend Muslims and Refugees

My Facebook feed, and media in general have flooded us with messages about Muslims, messages about refugees, and messages of Sharia Law. For the most part, I feel they have all been fairly persuasive in creating a spirit of fear generated around the current situation of our changing political landscapes. I’ve been quiet on forming an opinion on everything until I came to a place of peace. After A LOT of prayer and seeking God’s Will I have come to a place of peace in my heart regarding Muslims and refugees. My final opinion, formed with God’s help and biblical truth, is this:

I am going to defend Muslims. I am going to defend refugees. I am going to invite Muslims AND refugees into my life as God brings them to me, and furthermore, I will pray that he does bring them to me! What an honour! I am going to choose to not give in to the posts/ reports that feed the spirit of fear or anger. I am going to trust God has a big fat plan.

I fully understand that this seems countercultural not only in the secular world, but also within Christian circles. Before you egg my home, let me explain…

God’s Ultimate Will vs God’s Provisional Will

In order to see where I’m coming from we first have to take off our narrow-minded human perspectives to see a bigger picture. A lesson I learned awhile back taught me that God has an ultimate will, and a provisional will. The ultimate will never changes, the provisional will can. God’s ultimate will is THAT all nations will hear the Gospel message before he sends Jesus to return to earth. God’s provisional will is the WAY that message goes out to reach those nations. God, since he is not limited by borders, can move and shift our landscape to keep his ultimate will on track. When we fail to obey a calling, he lifts up another person/ nation/ group to see that his ultimate will is completed.

What we see right now is a change in political landscape, but what God is doing is shifting a spiritual landscape that for the most part we have missed by feeding into the deception of the enemy. The enemy will win if all we see is politics. The enemy will lose if we can see him for what he is and call him out! We aren’t waging war on people, or borders and boundaries, we are waging war on the crafty work of the Devil, who will keep God’s message from being spread by whatever means he can!!

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What if (and there’s no way I can prove it, but hear me out a minute) there are an abundance of restless hearts from these foreign countries in desperate need to hear God’s message in a timely matter. And what if, to see his Ultimate Will of getting his message into all nations he needed to disperse these people to lands where people can still speak freely about him? What if, the way we behave as believers needs to be witnessed to soften the hard hearts that have grown in these spiritually deprived countries? We have seen in history the way God can change landscapes and move nations to fulfill his ultimate will, and he can use these events around us to change it again.

Here’s the point:

Right now whether or not you like it, our borders are being opened to new neighbours. They have come from war-torn, uninhabitable countries. There are children, mothers, fathers- who desire like any father to protect their family, young men and women, and elderly whose days on earth are limited. Will the enemy sneak in with them? Undoubtably so, but to be fair, he was already here. The people group his army enters in with makes no difference, because he was already weaving an unseen web in our country. A web that has been buried below politics, popular opinion, and whatever other way he can cover up his plan to destroy and deceive.

In Matthew 10 Jesus warns his disciples that they will be persecuted if they follow Jesus. He doesn’t leave it in the fine print, he puts it right out there!

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

In his finals words to the disciples before he ascends to His Father’s right hand, and in spite of the clear warning of persecution in a few chapters earlier, he says this as his parting words:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28- emphasis mine)

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I emphasized the word observe for a reason. Observe means they aren’t just hearing all God has commanded, but they are witnessing it. This means the disciples weren’t just to tell people how to obey God, but to show people how to observe God. This means, they opened doors to their very personal life to allow non-believers the chance to witness how a loving God looks publicly AND privately. And for the record, you can Google the Jewish War of AD 66, or equally the Jewish revolt of AD 132 to see the political landscape of their day wasn’t easy. To preach Jesus’ name meant risking your life, and yet it didn’t stop Jesus from giving his Great Commission. He saved us from death so we wouldn’t fear walking in accordance to his commands (but that’s a post for another day…).

It is our responsibility to not overlook the opportunity we have in our own backyard to preach to all nations, and allow them to observe through us all that God has commanded. This means we let them in close enough to our lives to walk beside them. If we choose to dig in our heels and look away, rest assured the world will come to their rescue (as they already have), and show compassion. If we declare our God is the Greatest Lover of the all, and yet turn our backs in fear, our actions have not matched our message. We will forfeit our opportunity to be able to be God’s provisional will as witnesses in the lives of these creations of God to teach them how to walk in God’s commands.

Finally, since we answer to God’s Law before political laws, and any other laws that may or may not be creeping their way into our country, then we must follow what those laws are first:

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-28)

Jesus goes on to explain who our neighbours are, and that the Samaritan (whom the Jews loathed with every ounce of their being) became the good neighbour because he had compassion. Compassion wins every time!

I am going to choose to defend Muslims, and refugees. I am going to take darts and arrows for them as they are coming from a physically hostile environment to an emotionally hostile environment full of fearful North Americans who want them out for so many reasons. I will stand against those who stand against them in hopes that they see a new kind of love that defends the innocent. I am going to have compassion on my neighbour and yes, I will open my very own personal door to my home (not just the perverbial door) for them as God brings them to me. I am going to do this because they need time. Time for their hearts to soften to see God’s message. Time for them to make decisions about their eternity that they perhaps haven’t the chance to do. If you want to read my article on God’s “stolen” kids you can do so here, but these are his stolen kids, and I intend to do whatever I can to reveal the deception they’ve been fed in their lives and see their deceiver for who he is. And do it from a place of compassion that is a kind of compassion set apart from the world’s version of compassion.

And in response to allowing potential radicals in with them? I am going to pray, pray, pray, pray, and pray some more that God’s ultimate will be done in spite of the Devil’s crafty plan. I am going to pray that he doesn’t gain ground, but the voice of God’s body, and the ACTIONS of God’s body win more ground than he does! I also acknowledge again and again that the enemy we are trying to keep out, was already at work here.

This is why I am going to defend Muslims and refugees. I do see that God is shifting a spiritual world around us right now. I, for one, am excited about what he has in store!

Father, give us eyes, ears, hands, and feet to defend truth. Keep our eyes on you that we may not become deceived by the ways of the world, and our culture. Keep our hearts soft for your lost children. Bring your lost kids to our very doorsteps and give us the means by which to reach out and show them your love in a compassionate way that speaks in the way they need to hear it. In Jesus name, Amen.

love,

S

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A tiny post to start your week

As I enter deeper and deeper into a ministry that God is calling me to I realize how much it’s going to cost me on many levels. This morning as I spent some time pouring my heart out to him he reminded me of a story from my childhood. I remember being a young kid at recess and going outside to realize my friends were no where to be found. Instead of being upset I would make a little fist with my hand and pretend I was holding God’s hand. I would talk out loud (and yes, looking back, I realize how socially akward that probably made me look!) to my Father and carry on with a full understanding that he was right there beside me. Perhaps as a child it was easier to do, since imaginary friends are commonplace to children. But to me, I was keenly aware that while no one else was around to keep me company that he never abandoned my side. In much the same mindset, at night after my mom and dad tucked me in I would fluff my pillow on one side and pat it gently. I would say, “here you go, God, this spot is for you”. I would fall asleep knowing he was beside me in the dark room.

Oh to have the faith of a child! My adult self needed a reminder to have that kind of faith now. When the world, your friends, your family leave you behind and walk out on you for the stand you take, close your fist and take your Father’s hand. He’s still there. When you’re alone at night and the darkness seems too dark, fluff that pillow and invite him to stay close and keep watch. No matter what persecution you are facing for your faith, your Father’s approval and relationship is the only one that really counts. He will not abandon you, my friends!

love,

S

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When it Feels Like Evil is Winning

I had a dream the other night worth sharing as we start a new year…

There was a young forty year old man sitting in a doctor’s office receiving news that he had terminal cancer and was going to die very soon. His family wasn’t present, but I could almost see them like an audience in the background reacting to the news. They were notably upset, angry even. They were angry at the waste of such a young life succumbing to an evil disease. They were outright angry at God and questioned how a loving God could allow such a thing.

Then I saw the man driving home after his appointment. He was driving across a wide open highway when he looked out and saw a small tornado blowing across the prairie field. He saw a small boy about three years old crouched in the field terrified of the approaching storm. Immediately the man jumps out of his truck and runs towards the boy. He scoops him up just as the tornado picks them up and throws them both across the field while the forty year old man shields the young boy. They land on the ground together, the young boy still in the arms of the young man. The young man had been pelted by debris and died on impact breaking the fall for the young lad saving the child’s life at the cost of his own. Again, I could see his family and friends like an audience. This time they sung praises. They called the young man a guardian angel, a hero. By his heroic act they justified his death as worthy and praised God for making him a good man who would be honoured by his death.

I woke up right away aware that God was trying to get my attention. Having been to more funerals than I care to count, I’ve noticed that inevitably at funerals of younger people you could hear statements such as “what a tragedy”, and “taken too soon”. With older people who had lived a “long good life”, there were comments of celebration. Somehow we could justify death if we perceived it to be at a reasonable phase of life,  or if it was death for what we justified as a good reason, such a in my dream in the case of the heroic death. With each perception, our idea of who God was was altered as well. He was either a loving, compassionate God who allowed the person longevity, or he was weak and pathetic stepping back while evil reigned and won a battle.

As I thought about this I realized that we do this beyond just death. God becomes fluid in his personality, actions, and character. If we face enough events where what happened appears to be unjustifiable, we write off God altogether because it challenges our perception of who he is.

This is where faith steps in…

Faith is what kicks in when what we see no longer seems rational, justifiable, or fair. When what we see and hear has no logic, and what we feel brings deep pangs of hurt Faith steps up and says “Trust Him”! If it’s your health, he’s got it. If your work he’s got it. If it’s you’re government, he’s got it. If it’s unanswered prayers, he’s moving mountains where you can’t see yet. Whatever it is, if He’s capable of making everything from nothing he’s certain to make whatever injustice you’ve set eyes on into something beautiful for his glory. Yes, we have free will, yes we can make choices that cause us separation from him. But by his providence and sovereignty and kingship he knows when to step in and breathe life on the lifeless in a way that makes us see through his eternally-focused eyes. The enemy doesn’t win. Period. Like a predictable Hollywood movie we can sit back and know the end even when it looks like the bad side just scored a major win. Somehow watching from the safety of our couch we know the ending, and yet when we are in the midst of our circumstances and trials the end seems rather dismal. 

We wage war in the face of uncertainty. Not with our voices and weapons, but from our knees before anything else. A whisper to God changes more than a million shouts from the enemy. By our quiet whispers we bind and loose things in ways we cannot see. (see Matthew 18:18) We have to have faith that in the realm where angels and demons fight battles that our side is winning, even when it doesn’t seem like it on earth. Don’t give in to the temptation to be another shouting voice above the chaos in front of you. Resist the urge to think that God gave up, or turned his back, or is too weak to “fix” the situation. Resist the urge to be angry, fearful, hurt, envious, to give up, or give in, to stay awake in worry, or to grow anxious. God gave you none of those (see 1 Tim 1:7). He did you hope, love, and FAITH. And when you’re anchored in faith you stand in spite the waves that crash into your foundation. You become a beacon of light in the storm and you did nothing but stand in faith knowing Your God is bigger, you’re God is working in a world we cannot yet see.

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When we have faith in God, we can persevere through whatever the circumstance, even when it looks like Evil has the upper hand.

When we have faith our perception of God doesn’t change with each trial we face. He is a consistent God! (see Malachi 3:6)

When we have faith our minds stay focused on God’s sovereignty knowing he has the ultimate final word on EVERYTHING, even when it may not look like it right now.

If you’re in need of some inspiration of people who chose to have faith in God’s plan instead of believing Evil was gaining the upper hand check out Hebrews 11. Here’s verse one to leave you with…

Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

love,

S

 

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Broken and Discarded

It has been quiet around the blog these days, but not so of my spiritual life. You see, the world is changing me at rapid fire speed, so quick I almost can’t keep up. Before you begin to pray for me that I’ve left behind a world of faith let me explain…

A fire has been burning deeper and deeper into the pit of who I am. Every headline, every conversation comes back to the same things to me over and over again. And today, it became inescapable.

Today something in me broke.

My desire to please others broke, my willingness to sit quietly broke. My timidity, and self doubt of wondering if I had anything worth sharing broke. My thoughts that I cannot, should not, and will not do more than “ordinary” broke. With a spinning head and aching spirit I jumped on my treadmill and began to run.

“Father!!”, I cried out. “What do you want from me?! What’s YOUR will in all this?!”

Everything from the last few months came flooding out me (mostly in the form of these strange rivers down my cheeks). I ran, I cried, I listened until that still small voice you know speaks out only when you are truly ready to listen.

God showed me that my thoughts and my heart when I’m with him are not mine, but His. I cannot just show you headlines, and articles to change your opinion of who we are (those are other people’s words), but I can share with you my heart as God has shown me in my own words. So may I present you with an extremely painful entry from my personal and private prayer journal. It is with God’s boldness and prompting that I want to release this to you…

“Brokenness! Brokenness and cover-ups! We have been lied to, we have been deceived to believe that our brokenness is repulsive, shameful, undesirable. We have thrown beauty in the garbage because it was less than perfect. Abortions, euthanasia, and now euthanasia of children too! We’ve been told our diseases, our unwanted pregnancies, our “brokenness” is unwanted! We’ve been told there’s no reason for us to see, hear, live, carry forward in our brokenness. But Father!! You, YOU see us not for our brokenness, but for PURPOSE.

I’m shattered! I’m utterly destroyed by the frivolousness way we treat the fragility of life. The way we discard, abandon, and look away from anyone and any situation that is below perfection. Anyone and any situation that requires work as if to say, “how dare you take away from my time”. Such selfish individuals we have become.

As if our time is truly ours to hold in the first place.

As if somehow we’ve given ourselves authority to pick and choose what has value and what does not. How dare I ever escalate myself to such a level, or to say “it’s just too much, just too messy”. No! I have not come to live a life of ease and comfort. I have come to SERVE.

I AM HERE WITH A PURPOSE.

The broken, the washed up, the beaten up, sick, discarded, diseased, lifeless, dying but not yet dead, emotionally wrecked, mentally unstable, too old, too young, and the not quite born yet are HERE WITH A PURPOSE.

I am blessed to have a voice, ears that work, eyes that see, and limbs that move. (If I had only of of those I would still have purpose and duty to serve with what I have). It is my obligation as an ambassador of the Father, who is never frivolous with life, to speak life and love to the broken. To not turn my back, or look away, or to even keep silent. Because in my silence, when I clearly know right from wrong in the eyes of the “Father to the Broken” I am letting the lies of the enemy win a war I am deeply invested in.

To those whom much is given, much will be asked. It starts with whatever we have. Look into the eyes of the messy, the unwanted, and the rejected. Be Jesus. I need to tell them they are completely beautiful. Tell them they are desirable. Tell them they are wanted and have purpose. (Tell them they have value!)

Life is fragile and precious. No breath is breathed without the breath of mercy from God!

Father! Save your children. Silence the enemy that seeks to deceive. Let us rise up like a mighty army for you! For your children! For the broken and less than perfect! Raise people up who will reject social norms for the sake of igniting fires in your children. People who will reject laws and social ideologies at whatever the cost for the sake of those you are chasing after. Amen.”

My heart!! Oh how it hurts!!

In a world that has been broken down into binary code and facts, it’s easy to see why we have become just another disposable number. Please know, to the Father, you are not disposable! He took every effort to craft you, and shape you into who you are. Of all the people already in the world, he knew that he needed a YOU to be included his plan. Don’t let that pass you by!! Never underestimate that you have value with the Creator of all things and in all circumstances!

In spite of a world that increasingly tells us we are of no value, and completely disposable, God’s word and his promises do not.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:16-17

So, in my brokenness for brokeness I offer you this final thought. Would you stop seeing the world and the people in it based on the way the world is treating it? Would you stop letting it be ok to discard life and treat it with it so little respect? Would you stop when you hear stories from others and ask, “does this show our value as God sees it?”. And would you instead be brave, and speak up while laying down your need to be culturally acceptable? Would you speak life and value in a God-honouring manner to those who are around you. I am. I’m going to try anyway, and I ask that if you are my sister (or brother) in Christ that you would encourage me and each other to keep going. I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m sure I’ll lose a few friends along the way. And I’m sure I’ll fail miserably sometimes too, giving my selfish thoughts back to the world. But I will keep trying! For you! And for me! May I leave with you some encouragement from our most precious Bridegroom who paid the price and signed the deed for an eternity with you:

I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love. If you obey My teaching, you will live in My love. In this way, I have obeyed My Father’s teaching and live in His love.  I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full. John 15: 9-11

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19 (emphasis mine)

love,

S

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