Devotionals

Is This 'R'-Word the World's Biggest Problem?

What would you say is the world's number one issue? The economy? Terrorism? Hunger? Debt? Poverty? Disease?

Several years ago, Dr. Billy Graham was asked by TV news anchor Diane Sawyer, "If you could wave your hand and make one problem in this world go away, what would it be?"

Without hesitation he replied, "Racial division and strife."

How did our world get to this place of prejudice, discrimination, classism, sectarianism and religious bigotry? Where did racism come from?

"Racism" is a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular group of people.

  •        Racism wounds.
  •        Racism divides.
  •        Racism is based on hate.
  •        Racism breeds favoritism.
  •        Racism causes conflict.
  •        Racism is exclusive.
  •        Gracism heals.  
  •        Gracism unites.
  •        Gracism is based on love.
  •        Gracism brings favor.
  •        Gracism creates peace.
  •        Gracism is inclusive.

Racism is a sin of pride – one considers himself to be better than someone else because of nothing more than a genetic code.

Racism is not a "skin" issue – it is a "sin" issue.

Racism is a powerful tool used to divide, control and manipulate people.

There is only one race of humans. All of us descended from the first two people – "the Adams" – thus we are not biologically different races.

Skin color is the first feature we most often turn to when it comes to making so-called "racial" distinctions among people.

All humans are generally the same color – just variations of it.

All humans have the same basic pigment in the skin called "melanin" and it is usually a brown color.

We are not born with a genetically fixed amount of melanin, but rather with a genetically fixed potential to produce a certain amount of melanin.

In each of us, the amount of melanin increases in response to sunlight, and some of us are more responsive to the sunlight than others. Melanin is the most dominant factor determining skin color. Color of skin doesn't create a race.

From the beginning, God created one race – the human race.  

Acts 17:26 (AMP) – And He (God) made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes).

Your significance, as to who you are, is being made 99 percent in the image and likeness of God and 1 percent ethnicity.

The significance of who we are is the unity of our God-like humanity, not the differences in our ethnicity.

God did everything to make us one, all from one, and we continually divide ourselves by groups — ethnicity, economic, class faith.

Perhaps we who are covered by the Blood of Jesus could just come together as red-blooded human beings under the banner "Brotherhood of Blood."

Perhaps the greatest, yet most neglected story of the Bible is the beauty and excellence of God's Kingdom.

For the vast majority of believers, this profound message of His Kingdom gets swallowed up in the building, activities and programs of the institution we call church.

Jesus envisioned a Kingdom of "Graced" people committed to live by Gracism while continually sharing, as His ambassadors, the sincere message of reconciliation.

Gracism creates an environment of acceptance where once-divided people groups come together in the church to live out kingdom principles of love and unity.  

II Corinthians 5:19-20 (MSG) — All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and Him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. ... God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them...

One of the hallmarks of greatness is to be dominated by a single ruling passion.

Love is the ruling passion of God's kingdom people.  Love is the inward secret of self-esteem, confidence, security, trust, life-energy and joy. Racial harmony will be experienced when we live the message of reconciliation. Grace relations will produce unity in race relations.                

God's remedy for racism is Gracism.

The whole world is waiting for the true sons and daughters of God to come together in racial reconciliation and show to the world the beauty and harmony of oneness in His Kingdom. Since no one, no institution, no government has a cure for this issue, it is time for the church to be that cure. Then, the world will see the true Kingdom of God's sons and daughters as barriers fall and bridges are built.

Perhaps each of us could become the cure for racism by personally committing to and living these verses:

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir — not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! So reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. (Romans 15:5-7 MSG).

Let His Kingdom truly come into our hearts as we live out His message of reconciliation and see the glory of the unity of all mankind! Then the church will be the church Jesus intended it to be.

Tony Scott is senior pastor of The Church on Strayer in the Toledo, Ohio, area. It has campuses in the towns of Maumee and Fremont as well as an aggressive online presence. Scott is recognized internationally as a teacher, visionary leader and the author of two books, The Increase Life and his latest release, The Diamond Life. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Devotionals

Michael Brown Shooting Tragedy Proves Proverbs 18:17 Is True

"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him" (Prov. 18:17, ESV).

The Bible warns us to be sure we hear from both sides and collect full information before we make up our minds. This ancient wisdom of Solomon has been validated again in Ferguson, Missouri.  

The early narrative, spun by racial-grievance mongers, was that Michael Brown, a harmless teddy bear of a boy, was shot by a racist officer because he was black, that he was shot for jaywalking, and that he was shot in the back execution style.  

Riots, mayhem, violence and looting ensued, so unremitting that Gov. Jay Nixon has finally been reduced to calling in the National Guard (after complaining all week about the "militarizing of the police." (Missouri Democrats, by the way, including Nixon and Rep. Clay did not call Attorney General Eric Holder in to "investigate;" they called him in to "prosecute.")

But cracks are starting to appear in the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/New Black Panther narrative. A caller to a local talk-radio program in St. Louis, who claimed to be a friend of Officer Darren Wilson's significant other, gave what she said was the officer's version of events.

The account goes as follows: Wilson stopped Brown and his friend because they were walking in the street. The officer told them to get on the sidewalk. They responded belligerently. The officer tried to exit the vehicle, at which point Brown slammed the door shut to prevent him. Sometime during the stop, Wilson learned via police radio that someone matching Brown's description was a suspect in an armed robbery at a nearby convenience store, a burglary that had happened just minutes before. He observed what looked like the contraband in Wilson's hand.

Now dealing with a criminal suspect, Wilson ordered Brown to stop so he could be detained, at which point apparently Brown stuck the upper half of his body into Wilson's squad car and lunged for the officer's gun. In the tussle over the weapon, it was discharged one time inside the vehicle. Following the shot and his apparent inability to wrest control of the gun from Wilson, Brown took off. Wilson, as police protocol dictates, pursued him.

Officers, of course, cannot simply allow a criminal suspect to run away. With gun drawn, Wilson pursued Brown and ordered him to stop. At some point, Brown stopped, turned around and confronted Wilson with angry epithets. And then apparently after taunting Wilson, he charged him. Wilson then fired six rounds, each of which hit Brown, the last of which entered his skull and killed him. According to the radio caller, he fell dead practically at Wilson's feet. 

This account has been inadvertently corroborated by a conversation between an eyewitness and a bystander, caught on tape by a man using his phone's video recorder. The eyewitness twice said he saw Brown charging Wilson. He said Brown "doubled back toward him" (that is, toward the officer) and "he kept coming toward him" even though the officer was firing at him in order to get him to stop. 

The account of Wilson's friend indicates that Wilson thought Brown was hopped up on something, from the way he was charging and the fact that not even five bullets could slow him down. (This will make the toxicology report extremely important, which likely won't be released for a week or so.)  Now this woman's account is a third-party account and obviously requires confirmation. But that evidence is slowly trickling out.

The first autopsy, for instance, performed on Brown at the direction of his own family, reveals that all six shots that hit his body entered from the front. Not a single entrance wound was found on his back. This destroys the testimony of Brown's accomplice in the cigar heist who claimed that Brown was shot in the back as he was fleeing.  

The autopsy report is consistent with the accounts that Brown was shot while he was charging the officer at full speed. Even the Brown family's pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, admitted Monday morning at a news conference that the fatal wound on the top of Brown's head is consistent with the possibility that he had his head down and was closing on Wilson in an effort to spear him.  

The surveillance video from the store, which Eric Holder did not want the public to see, reveals Brown—all 6 feet 4 inches and 292 pounds of him—to be aggressive and violent, stealing a batch of cigars and shoving the store owner against a display rack. He was not the "gentle giant" the radical left wanted us to think.

Holder has ordered a federal autopsy, likely because the family ordered autopsy does not play into the racist narrative he intends to foster. It's also possible that the grievance mongers had some awareness that the facts might challenge their meme. Not wanting "to let a good crisis go to waste," they hurried to whip as many people into a frenzy as they could before the facts could challenge their version of events.

So while at first blush this incident was painted as a racially motivated execution, fresh information reveals that this incident likely had nothing to do with race at all. It was about criminal behavior. It was about strong-armed robbery, assault, resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer,and physically coming after him with violent intent.  

Do we know everything at this point? Of course not. We do not, for instance, yet have Officer Wilson's official account. But we do have enough evidence to begin thinking that the hyperventilating we have heard from the press (which actually printed a map to Officer Wilson's home) and from race-baiters is unlikely to be true on any salient point. 

So it turns out the Bible has been right all along. "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." Good advice for everybody, including the press, Eric Holder, the governor of Missouri and the president of the United States.

Bryan Fischer is the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association and host of the talk radio program Focal Point.

Devotionals

Robin Williams Was Part of the Baby Boomer Suicide Epidemic

Robin Williams' suicide not only rocked the entertainment world—it rocked people in many parts of the world who loved his comic genius. In the wake of his untimely death, mental-health experts are pointing to statistics that reveal Williams' silent suffering was part of an epidemic.

Suicide is a top-10 cause of death—more people die from self-harm than from car accidents—yet we don't hear much about it until someone of notoriety ends their life. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the suicide rate has jumped nearly 20 percent over the past 10 years even as heart disease, HIV and cancer death rates are declining.

The stats look worse when we come to Robin Williams' generation: the Baby Boomers. According to the CDC, the suicide rate among Americans aged 45 to 64 has climbed over 30 percent in the past 10 years. Cut another way, the category of upper-middle-aged white men has seen a 50 percent rise in suicides.

Why Are So Many Baby Boomers Committing Suicide?

Why are so many Baby Boomers committing suicide? What is the root issue? Where does it start? I've wondered this on a personal level as my uncle committed suicide a few years ago—and he was a Baby Boomer.

"Suicidal thoughts have numerous causes," according to Mayo Clinic. "Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can't cope when you're faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don't have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out." 

As it turns out, suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Nearly 8.3 million adults age 18 and older in the United States—that's 3.7 percent—had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, according to a study called "Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Adults > 18 Years" released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although some suicides are impulsive, most are planned out. More than 2 million adult Americans made a suicide plan in the past year, and about half that many went through with the plan.

Suicide Starts With a Thought

As I've said before, suicide starts with a thought. Indeed, every action we take starts with a thought. As one who struggled with depression for years, I am not trying to oversimplify the solution, but rather merely point out one contributing factor. Many of the harmful actions we take originate from the seed of a thought Satan whispers to our souls. That seed grows as our minds reason out the benefits of acting on the thought. For those contemplating suicide, I believe the seed grows in their minds as they reason themselves out of living because life's circumstances are too overwhelming.

When the enemy plants a vain imagination in our minds, we have two choices: cast it down or meditate on it. When we meditate on vain imaginations, we tend to connect demonic dots that create skewed pictures of reality. Believing what we see in our thought life is real, we talk ourselves into taking action based on a wrong perception. Although there are issues of chemical imbalances, I believe this is what happens with many suicides. The enemy plants a seed in the form of a thought that an already distraught soul doesn't discern as a demonic attack on their life.

Winning the Battle Against a Silent Epidemic

If we want to win the battle against suicide among Baby Boomers—or any demographic—we need to, among many other things, take a hold of Scriptures that instruct us about the battle in our minds. Paul told us, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled" (2 Cor. 10:4-6). No one can take your thoughts captive for you, but you can take your own thoughts captive, and it starts with girding up the loins of your mind (1 Pet. 1:13).

Paul also offered this advice: "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (Phil. 4:8-9). If we do what the Word says—if we meditate on what the Word tells us to meditate on—the enemy's seeds won't take root in our souls.

If you see someone struggling with depression or hear them speak disturbing thoughts that aren't in line with the Word of God, pray and ask God what He would have you do. Then do it. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, and the enemy is targeting our spiritual leaders in this hour. Let's rise up and battle against this disturbing trend in the Name of Jesus.

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor of Charisma. She is also director of Every Nation Prayer Room in Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet and The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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