Yesterday, for the life of me, I couldn't stop singing Petra's song, Not Of This World, from their album by the same title. Later in the afternoon, I remembered DeGarmo & Key wrote a song on this exact theme, Aliens & Strangers.
From DeGarmo & Key, it's the realization, of a difference in life, before and after Christ. For Christians, earth is not our home. "They're pilgrims just passing through; Heroes from their homeland". And a Sunday morning, the songwriter, realizes as he looks around, "My closest friends are aliens and strangers, travelers here, living with danger."
"We are pilgrims in a strange land // We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it seems so clear // This world will never want us here
We're not welcome in this world of wrong // We are foreigners who don't belong
(chorus) We are strangers, we are aliens // We are not of this world
We are envoys, we must tarry // With this message we must carry
There's so much to do before we leave // With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail // And the gates of hell will not prevail"
[Then they close with this....]
"Jesus told us men would hate us // But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness // Soon we will depart from here"
Somehow, as both songs kept playing in my head, like a CD stuck on "repeat one track", I remembered Jesus words. Don't be surprised, when the world reviles you and says all manner of evil against you. It's not you they hate. It's me.
Well, if it's us they hate, but it's because of Jesus, that people have a problem with Christians. (although sadly, some Christians have given people reason to dislike the person on their merit, not just Christ')
There will be disagreements, tension and frustration between the body of Christ and those who have yet to accept Christ. It's Light against Darkness. It's the truth of Heaven against the lies of the Hell. It's God's Word against Satan's interpretation. He has no new material!! Remember his first words, when he tempted Adam & Eve? It was NOT his own thoughts... it was "did God really say that?" He offered nothing of his own, except seeds of doubt.
The doubt has given way to an enormous expansion of other feelings and emotions people use to express their wanting to do nothing with Christ, the believer and the changes that occur in a life that says "YES" to Jesus Christ. But that should not keep us from genuinely sharing the love of the message of the cross... for the changes that come after saying "YES" are worth leaving behind the world of darkness... even before our departure.
Pray, this #communitySaturday, may the body of Christ be encouraged, as we are reminded, we are indeed, not of this world... that Christ is returning and we need to stay focused and prepared for that truth. Pray, as we engage community, that we would not give opportunity for people to have 'one more reason' to reject Christ, but that God would prepare hearts and minds to hear the truth of God's Word and the love of Jesus Christ... even when it makes them uncomfortable, afraid and doubtful.
In a world so desperately in need of Christ... pray for the miraculous in this troubled world.
If Jesus could continue to express love, grace and mercy in spite of the hatred He was subject to, then by the power of the Holy Spirit, we too must endure, keeping our eyes focused on Him... even for a short while longer. Eternity awaits all of us.
His LOVE defeats ALL hatred. It is not by our strength of will, but by the power of the Cross.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.