The God I Serve

8:49 AMHeather

Funny how things change.  Nearly 10 years ago, Muslims across the United States decried the actions of the terrorists from that fateful day of 9/11.  They were quick to defend their faith--striving to separate themselves from the hateful extremists.  Media outlets everywhere were carrying their stories, as well as the back lash against American Muslims in the form of hate crimes.

Today, I am feeling like one of those American Muslims.  I am frenzied in my desire that my faith not be misunderstood or aligned in ANY way with the extreme and hateful actions of that Norweigen gunman.  I cringe to consider that Muslims, atheists, seekers, or agnostics--or people of any faith--would in any way associate the God I serve with the actions of that man.

He might be claiming his "justified" actions due to his religious convictions.  But, he is incredibly deceived.  He might use the word Christianity to describe his faith, just I claim Christianity.  But, what he means and what I mean are worlds apart.

Because, you see, the God I serve "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son."  The Lord I serve is a God of mercy, grace and love.  The Christ I serve gave his very life even while we were yet sinners because He'd rather go to hell for us than to heaven without us.  My Savior spent his time on earth in the company of tax collectors, prostitutes, and adulterers.  He loved the "unloveable."  There were no "untouchables" in his circle of friends.

The God I love drew us with an everlasting love, and it is his LOVINGKINDNESS that draws us to repentence.  My Lord forgives my sins, and casts them as far as the east is from the west.  My God made a way to reconcile with his faithless followers, intent on loving them back to a right relationship.  His desire is that NONE should perish.  My Lord redeems my pain, trials, and consequences from my sin for His good.  My God is slow to anger.  My God delivers me from the bondage of sin and strongholds--and just like the Israelites when they left Egypty--I am not just delivered, but I leave the bondage with a plunder.  

My Lord chose to use a former hate-filled persecutor of Christians to be the author of many books of the Bible.  My Christ was born of the lineage of both a prostitute and a Moabitess, the sworn enemy of the Israelites.  My God used a poor shepherd boy to become king.  And, when that king fell into adultery and even murder--my God redeemed him when he repented rather than cast him away.  My God delivered three young Israelites from a fiery furnace--to the point that they did not even SMELL of smoke when they came out.  My Christ stood between the angered men and the adulterer caught in the act, saving her life--but more importantly, pointing her to eternal life.

This could be a very long blog post if I had the where-with-all to remember all the incredible ways that my God showed his love to His people throughout the Bible and throughout my lifetime.  But, suffice it to say--my God is a God of love.  There is no room for hate.  Instead, there is grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  My God Almighty condemns actions of hate.  Christianity is not designed to conquer through violence, but to grow through a message of hope and love.  

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Be very clear whom you serve.  Be wise and discerning.  Be filled with His love.  Let it overflow onto all whom you encounter in your day.  That is what Christ commanded.  And, choose you this day whom you will serve--the righteous God of love, or the god of the flesh who will lead you into violence and hate.

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