“But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’.”
The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has become a symbol of a deep seething alienation many in our country would rather repress. Every part of the incident on August 9, the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision not to indict, and subsequent protests in many cities has been deplorable — a word that describes every incident which leads to a police officer killing a citizen. When this divisive issue gets raised in sympathy for Michael and any other black males, the all-too-common response is, “yeah, but…,” and then any one of a half-dozen narratives that deflect the topic and blame: thuggery, black-on-black violence, opportunistic looting, police bashing, etc.
“Yeah, but” responses usually indicate that we are not listening, or at least not hearing the hearts of those who are yearning to see the end of profiling and seemingly discriminate police action. Criminal activity, disrespect for law, and police hostility should not be tolerated, but stereotyping young, African-American males is a pernicious evil that can only deepen the wounds.
The thought that one of our Pillar College students could be victimized because of his gender and race horrifies me. And it can easily happen. Many of us who work with, are or have African-American friends know of victims of DWB — driving while black. Unfortunately, not all the protesting in the world will heal the rift; it can only get the attention of society. If we thought the civil rights movement of the 1960’s solved all racial issues, we were wrong. Evil, whether criminal or “justified,” can be stopped only by changed hearts, including the ones that beat inside white-skinned bodies. Isn’t that what the parable of the Good Samaritan was about? The true neighbor is not the thieves nor the victim, but “the one who had mercy.”
Planning to read the Bible through this year? There are lots of plans out there, but if you’re like me, one of two factors will probably stop you before Valentine’s Day or Easter. You might miss a few days and get too far behind to recover. Or, you may just get bogged down in the ceremonial rules of Leviticus, the tribal offerings of Numbers. or the genealogies of 1st Chronicles.
You may also notice that without reading Psalms or New Testament until later in the year, you don’t feel like you are spiritually fed. Well, I have a solution for you that has worked for dozens of people during the past few years. By reading five chapters five days per week, alternating between Law, History, Writings, Prophets, and New Testament, you will have a balanced Bible reading menu, and thoroughly enjoy the variety, the pace, and your progress.
Fill in the contact info below so I can send you this recipe for spiritual nutrition (anything information submitted will only be used for emailing this form). You can start the program any time of the year, and by sticking with it, you will finish the Bible in 52 weeks.
If you aren’t ready for five chapters a day, maybe you’d like to focus on just the New Testament. Do you know how many weekdays there are in a year? 260. How many NT chapters are there? 260. My NT Bible reading plan goes through chronologically, but each quarter ends with reading one of the Gospels.
So, if you want the New Testament balanced reading program for the year, please submit the form below. There is no charge for either menu. I just want you to help me stamp out biblical illiteracy.
May The Lord bless you as you feed yourself on God’s Word.
May I suggest to you that you never were in My perfect will? From your birth you were tainted with the disease of Adam: sin. Only as you enter Christ can you enter My perfect will, but it has nothing to do with your behavior or your life-path. Being in My perfect will is totally dependent upon living perfectly centered in Christ, dead to self-promotion and striving, and alive to your constant need for grace and mercy. Do not seek My perfect will; seek to die to your self-will and to live in the delight of Christ’s righteousness.
“But, what,” you may say, “of finding God’s perfect will in the choices I must make — career, school, mate, mission, home, purchases, etc.?” I have told you, seek first Christ’s kingdom, and all these things will find their place. Be saturated with one ambition — to dwell in Christ. Any other concerns or affections cannot possibly take you into My perfect will.