Once more has a senseless loss crashed down upon us the torrential reality of fear, mistrust, and disharmony in our country. The words, “I can’t breathe”, have become a catchphrase to symbolically express the weight of oppression and its relentless effect of suffocating a people, men and women who are created in the image of God and, through Christ, are my brothers and sisters.

The tragedy of George Floyd’s death, the affliction of hatred, and the anguish of racism have yet again moved the people of our nation to rallying points that can either help us move forward to paths of healing and hope, or can be the building blocks of relational catastrophe. Inasmuch as this allows people’s minds and hearts to change toward one another in that people are regarded as equals no matter their skin color or ethnicity, then maybe Mr. Floyd’s death will not be in vain, although his family and friends will not easily be comforted.

I fear that what healing has occurred in the past is in danger, but it is imperative that vestiges of inhumanity toward one another be unveiled and dealt with. Justice is essential here. And God is a god of justice Who does not close His eyes to sin and evil in our society or in our hearts.

I pray for healing – not Band-Aids. I hope for reconciliation – not platitudes. I look to my brothers and sisters in Christ in love and hold my arms out to them with my mind drawn to the Bible’s explanation of the nature of the oneship I share with them in Jesus that is founded on something holy and perfect: “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… all were made to drink one Spirit…. If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Corinthians 12:13a, 13c, 26 ESV).

It is not evil to stand for justice. Quite the opposite actually. It is not wrong to cry out for correction of what is wrong. It is essential that we do so. But let us be careful to not catch the viral infection of hate. Social distancing in this regard is perhaps more important than with Covid-19. And if we find that we have caught the bug of hate, bitterness, or fear, let us seek the healing that only God’s Spirit can bring and allow Him to cleanse our hearts and souls with the waters of His Word.

The Bible moves from the remarks referenced above regarding our unity as the body of Christ (in 1 Corinthians chapter 12) to the “still more excellent way” of love in chapter 13. Here is the healing we need even as we stand for justice.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 ESV).

As a Christian, it is not an option to love others… even those “different” from me. It is who I am. If you are a Christian, then it is not an option for you either. It is the outflow of the presence of the Savior you say you follow. So tend well your heart, your attitude, your words and deeds. Let them flow from a heart filled with the love of God.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

You and I are continually confronted with choices. Granted, a lot of our choices are in the general area of small decisions such as do I go with the blue shirt today and khakis or maybe the cream shirt and black? Or do I want hamburger or chicken for supper? Or what show do I feel like watching tonight? The vast majority of decisions we make are ones we are not even aware that we’re making. These range from the tone we subconsciously use in speaking to our children, spouse, or coworker in any given conversation to choosing to scroll just a few more seconds on Facebook before we get back to work.

Most decisions are not “big” decisions in that any one of them make or break us or drastically alter our future (although some can and do such as choosing to run a stop sign or drinking before we drive). Most decisions have cumulative effects and direct our lives in general trends: there is a big difference between out-of-character acting irritably towards someone when we are tired versus habitually criticizing or berating another; a relationship marked by ongoing negativity is bound to be riddled with all sorts of relational problems and negative long term effects.

There are some decisions, however, that are enormous ones and our futures are determined by them. Marriage, for one thing, is a big deal. A lesser one, but still important, is what college or trade school we attend. But one decision in particular is crucial and must not be treated as anything less.

In the book of Matthew, the Bible records for us an encounter that the Lord Jesus has with a man whose soul is hungry. The man has lots of material possessions, seems to be a moral and upstanding citizen, and appears to be quite successful. Yet he knows in his heart the futility of such things. So he goes to Jesus.

He asks Jesus what he still needs (see verse 20). Jesus, knowing that the man has placed his hope in finding peace and purpose in his worldly possessions and position, counsels the man to let go of those things and to follow Him.

The Bible tells us that “when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22 ESV).

Perhaps the man went away, thought about what Jesus said, and came back eventually, choosing to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. Perhaps. The Bible doesn’t tell us. It simply records for us that in that moment, he chose something over Jesus. It is very possible that the man did not come back to Jesus. He may well have been involved in a chariot hit-and-run later that same day and did not have another opportunity to come back to the Lord. Or maybe he lived a long life, but his heart became increasingly hard and bitter as he continued along the path his decision determined for him. We don’t know.

But what we do know is that the same decision that confronted this man is a decision that we all must make. And just as he may not have had subsequent opportunities to repent and turn in faith to Jesus Christ, we should not assume that we can put Jesus off. A moment in which we make the decision to not trust Him as Lord and Savior may be the last chance we had to do so.

So if your heart is hungry and you are stirred up to seek out Jesus, know that His grace has brought you to this moment so that you can yourself receive His gift of peace, love and joy. Be careful to not turn away, taking for granted the opportunity you were given by His grace, but wholeheartedly embrace His love and forgiveness and power to give your life purpose and peace. Some choices are more important than others; but no choice is more important than this, to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

Words matter.  What you say matters.  Not only that.  How you say what you say matters.  To further complicate things, when you say what you say matters.  Oh, I am not advocating for a script per se in how we speak to one another.  But it is clear that Christians could do a whole lot better in the speaking department.  And, to be clear, this applies to things we post on social media as well.

Maybe we don’t see the two as the same thing.  Perhaps we feel that posting things in the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter multi-verse is different from saying something to someone’s face.  We feel insulated by our screens and lose a sense of responsibility for what we’re posting due to the lack of contact and the sense immediate accountability that it gives us relationally.  We lose sight of the fact that people to whom we “speak” and people about whom we “speak” (post on social media) are real-life people on whom the image of God has been stamped.

We’re discourteous, rude, short-tempered, accusatory, and so on.  We gossip and distort the things others have said or done.  We’re out-and-out accusing, implying and inferring things so that others pick up the torch of our suggestive comments and are caught up in the verbal lynching of others.

As God’s children, we can do better.  In fact, we must do better.  We, of all people, should be leading the way with a holy conduct that truly portrays the God of grace and mercy Whose Son died for us. LightInDarkness

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29- 32 ESV).

The times are tense.  They are difficult.  People are anxious and fearful.  Don’t give in to the temptation to react with the caustic tools of the world, but to respond with the comforting presence of our Creator.  Maybe the reason we struggle with this is that we’re not personally experiencing that comforting presence.

If that is the case, then let us turn our eyes once again to our God.  Let us once again be washed in the cleansing flow of His holy Word.  Let us again find our anchor in His promises of provision, protection, and presence.  The world needs the light of Jesus.  So let His light shine… through you… and let it shine now.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

In all the whirlwind of change taking place today, and the “out-of-control” feelings that it is creating for us collectively, it is very important that we remember who is at the helm of the ship. There is a lot of talk about our crisis being artificially orchestrated and certain persons being intentional about having created the crisis with which we are now faced. Whether or not this is true is beyond me and beyond most of us – especially given the huge torrents of divisive accusations, reports and opinions unleashed upon us.

Do I believe that there is a conspiracy afoot? Of course, I do. Even if there are world leaders who plan to exploit us (or not), I know that Satan has conspired against us from humanity’s first days in the garden. He conspires even now to distract, disorient, delude, and divide the people of God. Mostly, he conspires to destroy our knowledge of God: a knowledge that is an intimate and personal experience of God’s glory, grace, love and power. That knowledge is so precious to God that He fine tunes the details of events, activities, trends, governments to accomplish His perfect plan of grace of which you and I are the recipients.

So as I see all the events happening in the world today and hear (or read) the various things being said, I recall what God told an arrogant world leader named Sennacherib in Isaiah 37:26, “Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass”.

As I read this (especially in its context), I realize that no event taking place today has caught God off guard. He is in charge and, because He is a God of great power and love, is working all things still today in accordance with His plan of redemption and restoration with people like you and me – sinners forgiven because of the blood of Jesus Christ.

That means that world events over which I have no power, as well as personal situations that have unexpectedly come into my life, were “planned from days of old and are now being brought to pass.” That helps me because I know that the God of love has method to the madness I think I’m facing. It helps me because I know that there is a destination – a good place – to which God is bringing me and this is the path by which I will arrive – by which all His people will arrive as they trust Him as Savior and Lord.

God is working! And God is loving! He is working in your life! He is loving you even now and invites you to trust Him!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV).

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

These are definitely times in which faith – true faith – is tested.  On the one hand, it seems troubling to us as we find ourselves being forced to leave behind those things that have been for so long comfortable to us.  If we are honest, we will have to confess much of what we’ve been forced to do without has been a bit of a trap for us in the past as we have been preoccupied by our comforts and trust in ourselves.  Such traps are ruts that our daily routines maintained for us as we have pursued our agendas (or those supplied us by the world around us) and only turned to God when some sort of personal calamity strikes.

As it is, we cannot with human wisdom make sense of what is happening around us and to us.  We feel as though we are out of control and struggle with the temptation to panic.  But the Bible, God’s Word, would have us to remember that any sense of control we ever had has only really been an illusion anyway.  Now we are set free to actually turn from our own human perspectives and agendas and turn to God in faith and obedience.

In the past, we have spent much of our time living our busy lives as we saw fit, ruefully promising God that we’ll get to His agenda some day, yet never quite breaking free from the demands of our routines.  Truly stepping out in faith and following God was always theoretical to us, yet seemingly impossible because it would mean we would have to break free from our schedules, plans, and priorities in order to get on His page.

We might be tempted to be in panic mode right now, feeling anything but peaceful.  However, the Bible tells us, “Now may the God of peace Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV).

What this means is that we are 1) called to do His will, 2) enabled to do what is pleasing to His sight, and 3) given peace in spite of the chaos around us because of the perfect and eternal blood of Jesus, the Shepherd of those who place their faith in Him.  This is huge!

We are caught up by something bigger and greater than ourselves and are given the responsibility to live the life that His blood purchased for us!  That life is a life of calmness, purpose, and high destiny that the problems and trials around us can only help us to realize!

Do you doubt it?  Think of this then!  “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV).

This means that the interruptions that God has allowed to happen in your life are actually opportunities to step out of the patterns of godlessness surrounding us in the world and to step into the life and love and power of the promises of God!  And in those promises are true freedom and victory!

So whether or not we experience problems and even suffering as unexpected detours to greater joy and peace has everything to do with whether we believe God is faithful to the promises He has made to us.  If you trust Him, you will experience His love and power working in your life and orienting you to the eternal home that He has prepared for you.  Let Him take the reins of your life today and begin to steer you into a new journey of discovering how great His love is for you.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

Busyness, when taken away, creates a vacuum.  Our stay-at-home situation has disrupted many people’s daily routines, causing their over encumbered schedules to seemingly bottom out. This has left people stranded on the desert islands of their homes as they toss out their social media bottles with messages in ongoing attempts to stay connected with the outside world.

Vacuums will be filled… with something.  As we may not know how to spend all the time we suddenly find at our disposal, boredom sets in and fear seeps in… like a slow poison to the soul.  I personally think that these two facts have much to do with how we have lost our way with those things that matter most to us and the work it takes to nurture those things.

For example, we speak more often than we think.  I probably don’t need to try to prove that to anyone since our social media accounts are saturated with explosive demonstrations of ignorance.  Time suddenly at our disposal can be used to allow us to begin the process of thinking once again.  That is to say, that we learn to listen carefully and consider what we hear (or read) with an analytic mind, scrutinizing what comes our way as opposed to simply accepting things thrown at us from all sides of the aisle according to whatever fits our already cemented beliefs.

We have now the opportunity to step back from things and weigh them carefully looking for real evidence as opposed to the polished, shiny apples lobbed at us by those who want us on “their side”.  Those shiny apples look and taste good in the sense that they align with our political, emotional, and spiritual taste buds, but they are as surely poisonous as the one that brought low Snow White.

Another area where we could regain something lost to us is the area of our own prayer lives.  Prayer is not for the weak, because it is work to develop an attitude and habit of taking the time to pray.  Yet prayer is for the weak, because it anchors us to the only true power that is… the power of the love and majesty of God which is not subject to our world’s churning circumstances.  Are you finding a lot of down time right now?  Why not invest it in the one thing that lifts you up out of the dreary pace of what you can only see with physical eyes?  Why not connect with the Creator of the universe?  After all, it is a tremendous gift given you as a result of His death on the cross!  Not only that, but His resurrection underscores the validity of doing it:  victory in prayer because of His victory over death!

Yet another area where you could become reestablished with power that transforms the ordinary moment into a Kingdom of God experience is reading the Bible, the Word of God!  Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is an overflow of excitement as the writer just can’t stop gushing about how God’s Words meet every need for the Child of God in every moment!

And finally, there are the “little things” that we can do to change the kind of day others are having.  Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Let’s be honest.  How much of what we had planned before the COVID-19 shutdown was doing what we wanted to do for ourselves?  Our vacations?  Our shopping trips?  Our daily indulgences in whatever pleases us most?

Happily, I know that not everything falls into that category, but much of what we lost probably had to do with what we wanted for ourselves.  Well, here we have time now to make a difference in other people’s lives.  Stripped away are the excuses of how we are too busy to do those things.  Why not call someone who is lonely?  Why not drop a card in the mail?  With sterilized hands, of course.  Why not Facetime someone who is feeling lost, alone, or forgotten?   You’ve got the time.  Now take the time to use it well.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan

Most people in Jesus’ day did not recognize Him. And because they did not recognize Him, they did not understand Him, His mission, or His motives. This paved the way for their rejection of Him, their mistreatment of Him, and their missing out on receiving from Him what they needed most – the gift of eternal life that only He could grant them.

When you read in Luke 23 about Jesus in the presence of that time period’s leaders, Pilate and Herod, you should feel keenly their confusion and take heed that you do not fall into the same traps into which they did.

“Herod with his soldiers treated (Jesus) with contempt and mocked Him. Then, arraying Him in splendid clothing, he sent (Jesus) back to Pilate…. (Pilate) said to (the chief priests and the rulers and the people)…, ‘What evil has He done? I have found in Him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release Him.’ But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted” (Luke 23:11, 22-24 ESV).

Pilate, on the one hand, seemed to perceive Jesus’ innocence and the injustice that the crowds sought to carry out against Him. Yet Pilate shrugged his shoulders, more or less, and abdicated personal responsibility of responding to the uniqueness of Jesus. And Herod, in love with himself, did not find in Jesus anything that fed that selfishness, so he not only dismissed Him, but mistreated and mocked Him.

Both men, though failing to recognize Jesus as Son of God and Lord of Creation, were still accountable for their responses to Him. Jesus, Son of God, the Word made Flesh, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, stood before them and they missed it, rejected Him, and sent Him packing. They couldn’t afford to make that mistake, yet they did. I cannot fathom their reaction when they stepped into eternity without the forgiveness of Christ Jesus and realized the horror of not receiving Him as Lord and Savior.

You and I are in a similar boat. True, we are not in the positions of either Pilate or Herod and it is likely that our names are not going to be known throughout the ages, but our response to Who He is will be the most urgent decision ever before us. And our response to Who He is will be dictated by our recognition of Who He is.

Do we really perceive Him as the Son of God (Luke 1:32)? As the Word of God made Flesh (John 1:14)? As the One to Whom every knee must bow and every tongue confess as Lord (Philippians 2:10-11)?

If we do recognize Him as the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), then we must submit to that fact and make the decision of receiving Him accordingly. He is the Lamb of God who will take away your sin, if you will repent of your sin and turn to Him in faith (see Romans 10:9-10). The moment you do so, God “causes you to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3b-4 ESV).

This is the hope that Good Friday secures for us as we make our way to Easter Sunday’s Resurrection. Do you recognize Jesus? Do you see that He is Lord and Savior? Do you know Him personally?   He died for you and in your place so that you could have a place in heaven with Him. Receive Him today.

Copyright © Thom Mollohan