Please Place Your Name Here Cheryl

Hello, my name is Cheryl. I am a newly retired Software Developer

Where are you from? I am from Alabama, USA

What led you to join Connect? I am struggling to follow Jesus’ teaching to love others in the midst of the chaos and division that is raging in my country.

How do you hope to participate? Listen, learn, and ask questions

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Welcome, Cheryl!

I have a good friend who moved to Jasper, AL several years ago. Went for a visit last year and met such wonderful people in Alabama.

The events and the issues that we are all facing these days are powerful, require a lot of thought, and more patience and love than sometimes we ourselves possess. But we can’t keep turning away from what is hard to process. The Good News is that we do have a resource for everything we need to consider and respond to these challenges. God, when we seek His help, will provide all the resources we need!

Connect is one good means of accessing those resources. This is a good place to ask questions and to hear how others, like yourself, are also struggling to follow Jesus in the midst of the chaos of life. A good place to slow down and really think about the problem and how God calls us to respond to the problems in light of Christ’s example and teaching and life.

Know this, let each person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted work, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21

When I’m struggling myself, the Lord frequently brings this verse to mind when I’m feeling especially low on resources in responding to a situation. Always grateful to be reminded that I have resources in Him I can tap into.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26 (whole Psalm is worth a quick read)

Wondering if you might be able to give one or two specific examples of situations in which you are struggling to follow Jesus’ teaching to love others.

Praying for you now that the Lord ministers to you in very concrete ways in this forum and through your prayers and study in His word and in your church home to find the resources and the love you need to be a light where you are!

KC

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Hello Cheryl, welcome to the connect family. As a Husband, Dad, and Grandad, of a blended family I have found love, compassion, and compromise my greatest assets, that also helped me in many of life’s difficult relationships. He has always been faithful to help to help with wisdom from above as the book of James talks about. May His blessings of peace rest on you.

Mike

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Hi KC,

I hesitate to voice exactly where I am struggling because it is political. I have several friends (whom I refer to as former friends) that I have distanced myself from (beyond the pandemic situation) because I can’t understand how they can call themselves Christians and support the person in charge of our country. And now I am struggling with the church that I am a member of for the same reason.

I know and believe we are called to pray for our leaders and that God places people in positions, but I am struggling to pray for those that I feel are destroying our country.

Add to the racial inequality that has, hopefully, awakened this country and living in Alabama (I’m not originally from here) I am again disturbed at those who call themselves followers of Christ and are blind to what is going on in our country.

I’ve always been disturbed by the injustice that I see.

Cheryl

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Dear Cheryl,
I sense your heart and struggles and it is hard to remain objective and clear in ministering to others. Coming from South Africa I have had to deal with similar issues and have been at the brunt of the lesser end. However, Gods grace is more abundantly evident in how He equips us to deal with these situations. I have found that He was ministering to me, and through some very tough situations, I could seek and confirm my position in Him. Even in politics it became hard, but with God as my compass I learnt what it truly meant to rely and rest in Him.

I had to go through the same situations time and time again, and still experience adversity, but it becomes more of a test of my Godly values rather than how I deal with the situation. Through my response, I have been able to minister to fellow Christians with different political and racial convictions than my own.

I hope and pray that God will give you peace, since we can only grow when we face such deep personal adversity. Thinking of you.

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Thank you, Shareen. I am continually praying about my feelings. If I stay away from the news, I am more likely to receive God’s peace. But it is really hard to stay away for long. It so intrudes. That said, I have heard a few things during my time with the Lord… one is “There cannot be new growth without plowing up the land”. I worry more for my children. I know I am just passing through, and I try to remember that, but I have 2 sons, one I think is a believer and one is not, although I know God has him. My son’s eyes have opened a tiny bit.

Thank you for your prayers. I sense them.

Whew!! Found the post. Sending now.

Cheryl,

So good to hear from you! Apologies up front for the length of this post. I will make future posts more concise. Promise!

I completely understand your struggle. I too find it very hard to understand how some of my Christian friends hold fast to some of the perspectives they have. But I cling to the knowledge that all of these folks are precious to God and have intrinsic value even so, and are worth dialoging with.

Couple of things…

Regarding praying for leaders…especially ones that we don’t agree with…Consider the political environment in which Paul lived when he wrote…

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

The world was dominated by the Roman Empire. Israel was an occupied country who viewed Rome as an oppressor. Your question on praying for people who are behaving completely differently from what you believe to be moral is understandable. How can I pray for people like that? For people who’s actions appear to be destructive rather than unifying?

How would you describe the types of prayers that you think He may be asking us to pray? Are you seeing these as prayers to prosper them? For God to bless them…keep them healthy? Does it feel like, if you pray for anything good for them, that it’s as if you are agreeing with the behaviors they’re exhibiting that are wrong? That somehow praying for them would be validating them in some fashion?

Throughout the Bible, over and over again, God demonstrates His ability to move people’s hearts. Nebuchadnezzar readily comes to mind. He had ultimate (or thought he did) authority in his lifetime, and yet when God moved in his life he speaks these words:

Now, I Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven, for all His words are right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble. Daniel 4:37

God is sovereign. And though there is so much darkness and injustice in the world, He has already overcome it. We just haven’t yet seen how everything wraps up. His plans for us are good, and as His children one day we WILL see the way in which He has overcome all of the injustices.

Do not be discourage, my sister. I understand it being hard to pray for specific people, but we can pray for God’s will to be accomplished, even through people who are or may not be believers. And I’m always reminded by His gentle spirit, that He loves even these, who have traveled so far away from Him that they seem unrecognizable. Shall we not pray for these so very lost lambs that they may have eyes to see and turn from their wicked ways? The lesson of Jonah just sprang to mind. That would be a good book to reach as you ponder this issue.

(As an aside, I am by no means saying all we should be doing is folding our hands and praying. I do believe we should take a stand for justice as we have the opportunity where we are. But prayer at the beginning and in the midst of everything, followed by thanksgiving as we see Him work in and through us and others to accomplish His purposes.)

I just finished the Core course through RZIM. (If you’ve never taken the Core course, I would encourage you to look into it; SO much valuable knowledge and experience gained journeying with people from all over the world in this course.) One of the foundations of that training highlighted the importance of focusing on answering the questioner, not merely the question. But how do you know how to do that if you don’t know the questioner or why he/she is asking the question?

How does that relate to the topic at hand? You’ll hear this over and over again in Connect. The importance of asking questions. Gather information. While I realize that there are many people who hold beliefs that are hard for us to fathom, it’s always a good first start to try and figure out why they believe what they believe. It’s amazing how frequently, when we find those answers, we see how they got where they are and may, in fact, be able to identify something that’s crept into their beliefs that doesn’t 100% line up with God’s word. From there, it can be easier to shed light on that discrepancy and further ask them, how does God’s word line up with what you’re believing. At that point, you’re shifting from “I personally disagree with you…you’re wrong”…to getting them to think about whether what they’re thinking may line up with God’s Word and way.

I understand the desire to distance. Sin is ugly. And the more the Lord draws us to Himself and transforms us, the less pleasant/more painful it is to stand next to. But as He draws us closer, He also secures our armor on us better. And, He, in fact, sends us back into the battle to fight against the darkness. How can we fight the darkness if we distance ourselves from where it is? How can we allow Him to use us to help guide people out of the darkness. Some are blind outright. Some have gotten their glasses filthy and obscured their vision.

We can’t change the global issues in our country, but we can be light where we are. Luke 6:20-36 would be worth taking a read through.

Hope some of this resonates. Look forwarding to continuing the conversation.

God’s grace and peace surround you!

K.C.

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Hi Cheryl,

As hard as it may be, it is best to stay away from news and the ungodly influences that floats along with it. We need to renew our minds and focus on whatsoever is good, pure and honourable. My elsdest son, whom I describe as the casualty of my divorce, abused addictive substances, entered into a marriage without God, was in and out of jail … the list is very long. I was long trapped in guilt and could not move on without worrying about him all the time, while I had three other children whom I almost neglected because of my concern for him. I am not quite out of the woods with worrying about him, but I have learnt to trust God more and more for his life. There is nothing I as a human can do to change him or his circumstances – I can only fully trust God. Once we understand the immense of love of God and trust Him completely, the cares fall away like leaves from a winter tree.

God proved this in many situations which seemed impossible – I marveled at His might and could only display gratitude for His steadfastness. God takes us on a path because He knows our future and where we need to grow; everything He does is because He loves us so intensely. Once we surrender (which is really easier said than done!) we will be released from the trap of worry and concern. The scripture: “… consider the lilies of the field, and the birds …” seems far-fetched, but it comes more real as we learn to trust God first in small things, and then gradually in bigger things.

Trust God for you children and through your life He will show Himself to them as you quietly pray and intercede for them. Only once we release our concerns to God, will we be able to experience the broken yoke of oppression.

I pray that God bless you richly with spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9-12)

Shareen

This is a great post. The length is fine with me because sometimes when you say what God is leading, it is imperative to speak at length. We are so blessed to live in America with all the freedom and blessings we have. We must pray for our leaders and authorities and believe that God has it all in His Hands.
God Bless,
Paula