Devotional for Monday July 6th

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fresh wind, fresh fire”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:6-8 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Keep it in perspective and don’t assume the worst.”
 
One of the issues we have all had to deal with lately, and which has greatly contributed to our overall sense of being drained, exhausted, edgy, and jaded, is the racial tensions that seem to be sweeping across our land right now. This morning I want to share a few thoughts with you which you might find helpful.
 
First, keep it in perspective. To a great degree the news media is responsible for fanning the flames of the problem and making it seem much worse than it is. It’s true that there have been large and numerous demonstrations and riots, and many of them have been violent. That’s wrong and the rioters should be arrested and prosecuted.
 
But most African-Americans are not involved in those things. The vast majority are opposed to the violence, and most do not want the police departments defunded or dismantled. Over these months, there have been numerous incidents of black men forming protective circles around white police officers to prevent angry mobs from harming them, as well as other acts of decency and compassion as people of color have displayed kindness and have worked for peace in the middle of all this. Unfortunately, the perception of the situation is made worse when the media over-focus on and amplify the negative, while not giving enough attention to all the good that also exists in that same situation.
 
Second, understand that racism is real. It does exist and it is often a daily problem for people of color. I sometimes have difficulty fully appreciating this myself because as a Caucasian man I don’t personally experience it. However, I raised two sons who were adopted from Korea and I’m very aware of the racism they experienced as they grew up, and which they continue to sometimes experience today. I have African-American and Hispanic family members (they married into the family), and I know from them that racial injustice is a frequent reality in their lives. There are also numerous African-American leaders for whom I have great respect and whose words I trust (General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, current Senator Tim Scott, just to name three), all of whom tell us racial inequality and injustice are real and serious problems. So, although I may have difficulty appreciating the depths of the problem because I don’t personally experience it, I know from the experiences of others that it is real, it is deep, and the situation does need more attention. The simple act of acknowledging the reality of the situation and the need to do something about it, can help to alleviate some of the personal stress and anxiety we feel about it.
 
Finally this morning, in terms of gaining some personal relief from the stress all of this is causing, and gaining a little fresh wind in our sails and fresh fire in our souls, we need to pay attention to the guidance we get from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-8. We need to spend extra time in prayer committing it all to the Lord, and we need to be intentional about focusing on what is good instead of just on what is bad about the situation.
 
Don’t allow the news media to mislead you or to jerk your emotional chain. The things you see on the news are real and they are happening, but it’s not the whole story. Seeing a situation clearly and accurately, and focusing more on the good rather than the bad, will go a long way towards relieving the tension for you.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
 
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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