Articles

Articles

Cutting Yourself Some Slack

Cutting Yourself Slack

By Krystal Dunlap

            In a children’s movie, the villain magically converts her opponent’s army into various animals. One soldier asked of his superior, “I’ve been turned into a cow. May I go home?” He was dismissed from the fight. Humorously, the others all stated that they could continue the battle despite their new animal forms.

            The cow soldier’s statement has become an inside joke with my husband and me. Though not a cud-eating creature, I can sympathize with the cartoon character’s inability to continue his responsibilities. Sometimes I wake feeling physically and emotionally incapable of facing the day’s tasks. On such mornings, I quote that soldier’s plea, claiming to be turned into a cow as a reason to take the day off.

            However, those who know me best would attest that I rarely accept my weariness. My somewhat stubborn nature pushes me to do the tasks at hand. Time has taught me that this is not always the wise choice, though. Fighting my physical limits often results in further suffering, which hinders me even more. In some instances, it even leads to errors in and failure to complete the work.

My overwrought desire to refuse that I cannot physically and emotionally persist in the moment comes from a misunderstanding of will. It can be tempting to see completion of doing good as an essential portion of the desire to do good. In that mindset, if one cannot do it, then one must not really have the will.

            Spiritually, this is not the case. Physical obstacles do not negate spiritual commitment. Consider the battle of Rephidim. Moses was given the task to hold up the staff. While he did so, the Israelites would overcome Amelek. As one would expect, Moses’s arms became so tired after a while that he was physically unable to continue lifting them. He was given a seat, and Aaron and Hur helped keep his arms up (Exo.17:8-13).

            I imagine that Moses’s will was to raise that rod high. He desired to keep it aloft, both to follow God’s command and to save His people. Unfortunately, his physical body failed him despite his commitment to the task. Note that he was not criticized for this, though. Rather, his weakness was recognized, and he was given help.

            As Moses, we may wish to persist in completing God’s tasks, fighting through our physical and emotional boundaries. However, we must admit that there will be moments in which we cannot. Whether unable to attend worship, to minister to another’s needs, or to complete other good acts, we should not feel guilt. Sometimes our bodies and minds fail us, as did Moses’s arms. In such instances, we must, as they say, cut ourselves some slack. We should allow ourselves to rest, feeling confident in our commitment and knowing we will continue our work when given the strength again.

Peace and Safety in Islam?!

By Paul R. Blake

            Our former President called Islam a peaceful religion and treated it on equal terms with Christianity. In defense of his mistaken perspective, members of the press cited the excesses of the Inquisition under the Catholic Church as an equivalent to the modern excesses of Muslim extremists. To this day, news commentators advocate that Islam has always been a peaceable religion, which is an absolute misrepresentation of history. From the very beginning, Mohammed practiced “conversion by sword.” Like the German SS who would enter a town and kill a quarter of the population to terrify the rest into submission, likewise Mohammed and his followers colonized the Mediterranean region. During Mohammed’s conquest, his soldiers would enter a town and behead the most important people and then demand that the rest of the folks convert to Islam or die by the sword. It never was, and, if it is practiced as it is written, never will be a peaceable religion.

            The Quran states: “Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every place of ambush” (Quran surah 9:5). “Slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out” (Quran surah 2:191). (Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

            Case in point: in 851 AD, John of Cordova, a common tradesman and a Christian, made household goods and sold them in the community. He was a devoutly religious man who could not read or write, but was very careful to treat everyone fairly in business. Two Muslims in that area controlled by Islam grew jealous of him and accused him of dishonesty in business. He was taken before the judge who demanded witnesses against him, but none could be found. The Muslims then accused him of reviling Mohammed, and again no witnesses could be found. The Islamic judge could not sentence him to death, but instead ordered him beaten simply because he had been accused. The judge stood by while he was being beaten and demanded that he denounce Christ and embrace Allah. At this point, John spoke up and said, “I will not forsake the Christ even unto my death.” The judge was enraged and ordered him to be beaten with 500 lashes. The executioners continued to beat him long after his body slumped in what they thought was death, but he still breathed. The judge then ordered him to be tied backwards on a donkey and lead through the streets while the executioners cried out, “Thus it shall be done to everyone who is a reviler of our prophet and of our worship.” He was then taken to prison where he died shortly thereafter from loss of blood.

            Islam is not, never was, and never will be a peaceable religion. While Christians cannot respond to them with violence, we will not be deceived by the misguided words of Presidents and the dishonesty of the news media. What is the lesson? That outside of Christ, there is no peace and safety in any religion of men. In this world, there is no promise of safety for our flesh. In Christ is the only peace and safety that exists for our souls. And that is where our focus and faith must be: saving our souls through Jesus Christ.

            Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know… I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:1-4, 6).

The King of Kings

By Maurice Dyson

O, sing unto the Lord;

Exalt His Name with praise;

Let all the people worship Him

Who reigns through endless days.

 

His deeds are marvelous;

Declared for all to see;

His right hand and His holy arm

Hath won the victory.

 

Salvation is declared;

The Lord hath made it known;

His righteousness is clearly seen

And manifestly shown.

 

Yet mindful of His love,

And long time faithfulness,

Toward the house of Israel

Whom He has sworn to bless.

 

He comes to judge the earth,

With truth and equity;

And all the people shall behold

His glorious majesty.

 

Give out a joyful sound;

Sing with a cheerful voice;

Sing praises to the Lord, the King;

Let all the earth rejoice.

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