It doesn't take a long conversation with my mom until she settles in on, what seems to be, her favorite saying, "Our world is going to hell in a handbasket!"
Now I know generally what she is referring to - that our world is rapidly deteriorating and is on a course for disaster.
Being the nerdy-wordy person that I am, I got curious as to just where that phrase originated. One theory of origin derives itself from the use of handbaskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment. The decapitated heads were collected in baskets and were most likely destined for hell.
Gruesome indeed! But when I see even more gruesome acts perpetrated against believers like the pastor and members of the church in Charleston who welcomed a supposed seeker with questions into God's house, only to be gunned down by him in a brutal mass killing, I am shaken!
Or, the youth in Pakistan who had petroleum poured on him by Islamic extremists, and then was set ablaze in broad daylight, amidst busy streets and no officials came to his aid or defense, all because he professed to believing in Jesus Christ as his Savior. How can people do this to other people?
Add to that Judeo-Christian values, long held, being overturned in our court system and any symbol of Christianity (like the 10 Commandments) being banned from government property and I begin to feel much like my mother.
Often in this world, I feel like I don't belong...that I am an alien!
This question I ask, "Is it a bad thing if you don't feel comfortable in this world?... or...Is it far worse if this place feels like home to you?"
The Apostle Peter used very intentional words when he pleaded with the church in his day, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul."( 1 Peter 2:11)
Yet, I admit, that accepting my standing as an outsider remains a point of struggle for me.
My soul was made with a desire to belong - but this world is not the place to which I should attach my soul...
If I allow myself to feel too comfortable here...something is desperately wrong!
I like what Cal Thomas, had to say in a recent article for Fox News:
"As a longtime fan of Broadway musicals and plays, I believe that the original cast is always better than the touring company. Evangelical Christians should return to the 'original cast,' whose members include Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Timothy. Consider their lives and tactics as they faced a hostile political and religious environment that brought persecution, even death. These men - and their followers - had little interest in an earthly kingdom. Instead they focused on that other kingdom, and billions of lives have been transformed in the centuries that followed."
I don't think he is saying to turn our backs on this world because it's a gonner, but perhaps one of the best quotes I've read was in the op-ed section of the news in Hudson, WI:
"We cannot change a fallen world, but we can be God's instrument in saving people from it. Eternally speaking, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain." (J. Wheeler)
There are a multitude of scriptures that will confirm that we are "not of this world" - that we are indeed "aliens".
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19)
If you aren't convinced? Try: John 18:36, or Romans 12:2, John 8:23, John 17:14, Ephesians 6:12...and the list goes on.
Okay, so now I'm a hated, alienated, outsider with little hope of changing the world in which I live...where's the hope in that?
Great hope lies in two facts:
1. We know how the story ends
2. God has given us the Good News that can usher people to an eternal kingdom where they WILL belong.
In John 16:33, Jesus is speaking to his disciples, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
What are "these things" that Jesus shares with his disciples?
- The Spirit of Truth will come upon you and He will guide you.
- "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while
you will see me." Your grief will turn to joy.
- After a time of grief, I will see you again and you will rejoice and
no one will be able to take away your joy (John 16:22)
- An analogy in verse 21: A woman giving birth to a child has pain
because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets
the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
Friends, we are in the labor pains right now. Wherever Christians are persecuted, mocked, and tortured, the world groans with horrific labor pains. But a day is coming that we will no longer feel like aliens. We will have a glorious homecoming when Christ returns and our grief will turn to joy - a joy that no one will be able to take away.
What about you? Do you ever feel like an alien in this world? What gives you the hope to carry on?
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that through the shedding of the blood of your Son Jesus Christ, I am already a citizen of Heaven. Help me to know that whenever I feel like an outsider, an alien, that this is truly a world that I am passing through and my eternal home is with you in Heaven. Give me the strength and passion to stand up for my convictions, but when the world hates me, let me experience the peace of your promises. I take heart because You have overcome the world. Let me be an ambassador of peace, ushering those who are desperately seeking, into your Kingdom. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Ps. In our attempt to usher destitute children without hope into the joy and Kingdom of heaven, we are helping them seek refuge from the evil that surrounds them in their daily lives. For only $10/month you can rescue one child and give them the hope of Jesus Christ and an education at Redeemer Christian School. Would you consider sponsoring one child for $120/for one year or even $60/for half a year?
See the faces of Nawaz and Muskan who have recently been sponsored. There are now smiles on their faces where previously no joy existed.
Meet Nisha, Age 10
She has never been to school before. Her mother is very sick so Nisha had to work in someone's home as a house cleaner just to survive. Her first day of school at RCS she literally cried with joy. She never dreamed that she would be able to go to school.
She needs a sponsor...
Meet Salman, age 7
He has never been to school either. He went to work with his father and slaved under a harsh owner, for pitiful wages, as a brick maker at a brick kiln. His story is not unlike the Jewish slaves in Egypt who made bricks for Pharoah. Salman has found refuge at RCS and desperately wants to stay in school.
He needs a sponsor...
Would you please prayerfully consider sponsoring, or providing partial sponsorship for one of these precious children so they can stay in school? If so, please message me at:
Contributions can be sent to: Bev Rihtarchik (put RCS in the memo line)
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
* Though RCS is not yet a registered 501c3 ministry due to the high cost to do so, I can promise is every penny goes toward the education of a child you choose to sponsor!
Thank you for caring about the least of these...and letting them know they matter to God!