Category Archives: Justice

Not Going to Live Small

Although I am grateful for the thread of perpetual hope that God has been faithful to weave into the days of my life, the year 2009 was nonetheless a serious one for me. Looking over the events of those 365 days, I felt sad.35941028_s

On New Year’s Eve I almost gave way to self-pity, but remembered the passage in Proverbs 24:10 that says, “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” …I’m not going to live small; nope, not going there.

While my problems are real, they are small compared to the sufferings of others. The truth is, I know in a big way that life is not about us. God sees our plight and He cares about every hair on our heads. However, He is likewise concerned about the greater good. It’s about His focal and eternal purposes on the earth. This leads me to my next point.

In the normal course of most days I am drawn to consider the suffering of mankind – a necessary exercise for a deep-feeler like me. Before I learned of the power of prayer, I considered my emotions to be somewhat of a handicap. However, lifting the desperate needs of others up to God, the One who has the desire and power to visit and rescue people in their misery, has become my consummate duty, privilege, and comfort.

In 2009 alone I heard that we experienced close to 250 major disasters worldwide, endangering 58 million people. For example, in January, 200 people were feared dead when a passenger ferry sank off the coast of an Indonesian island during a storm. In February bush-fires in Australia rendered more than 7,000 people homeless and caused death and injury to hundreds. In March, a 28 year old man killed 10 people in the worst mass shooting in Alabama history.

Globally, wars and natural disasters have killed thousands of people and left even more impoverished, in ill health, or separated from loved-ones. The fall-out from such trauma is far reaching.

There is more. Each year in the U.S. alone, almost a million children are victimized, and 1,500 to 2,000 of them die from physical abuse. Worldwide, women and children are kidnapped or sold for exploitation. Over the course of centuries the moral fiber of mankind has degenerated to such a degree that sex trafficking has become a gainful business.

Although disheartening, we must give attention to such realities if we are to function as a society. Human rights advocate, Gary Haugen said, “God has a plan to help bring justice to the world—and His plan is us.”

We prefer to look away from these things because the truth is painful. But as responsible citizens of God’s kingdom and occupants of the earth, we must face and courageously uphold it. The convictions, passions, and love that God has placed inside of us exist for a reason. What are we doing with them?

Hebrews 10:24, says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works”. Diana Scimone has made it her mission to raise the awareness of child sex trafficking. I urge you to visit her website at The Born2Fly Project. Diana does not believe that she can stop the madness overnight because the problem is mammoth. However, she is doing her part to educate and mobilize. If enough people get involved, our efforts can make a difference.

By focusing on something outside of our problems that thread of perpetual hope that God weaves through our lives can be decisively grasped.  At the end of the day we will have spent more time praying for, doing for, and concerned about God’s purposes, than our own.

So on New Year’s Eve I almost gave way to self-pity, but was reminded to think bigger than myself!  May we all vow to reach well beyond ourselves in the year 2010. The outcome promises to be no small thing!

Proverbs 24:11-12 NIV Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?’

Matthew 25:35-36 NIV For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 1/2/2010 8:37 PM

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National Day of Prayer

38652129_sbThis week, on May 7th, we observe the National Day of Prayer in America.  Established in 1952 by President Harry Truman and the U.S. Congress, this event is in its 57th year!

It is a blessing to consider the scores of people who pray throughout the country on that day.  It is a time when unity and the purposes of God are advanced, and the plans of the enemy are pushed back.  I add the prayer that is written below to the millions that will be boldly proclaimed, or silently breathed, on this powerful day.  I will be honored if you pray it with me.

FATHER we thank You for Your amazing grace that truly saved us from an eternal hell.  Your selflessness has delivered us from a life of bondage and endless suffering.  How could we repay You?  We cannot.  When we spend time with You we see glimpses of Your heart – Your thoughts – and we become very aware of who we are; how unworthy.  But yet at the same time we are stunned by the way that You love us no matter who we are, or what we do.  Full of gratitude and worship Father, we bow before You.

JESUS, we do not come to You with fluffy prayers, or eloquent words.  We do not come with a system, or a laundry list of needs.  We do not come because we expect You to perform or because You owe us anything.  We come to You because of who You are and because You have the words of life.  We come to You because You know the intents of our hearts and we empty ourselves before You for the needs of many.

We honor You as the Most High God, the One who died to prove His love, the One worthy of our lives, and the One who will never forsake us.  We regret that we have forsaken You.  We have sinned; wash us Lord with the blood spilled at Your cross. Cleanse us from human filth and selfish intents.  Purify us Lord, and give us ears to hear and eyes to see so that we can pray according to Your will.

HOLY SPIRIT, we vow to listen for Your promptings, Your direction.  We thank You for abiding so richly and faithfully within our frail tabernacles.  Thank You for never giving up on us; for seeing us through and empowering us to run this race. We honor You Lord, we desire more of You, and we seek to reflect Your love and Your power on the earth.

For the people, for the people, we cry for the needs of the people all over this world!  Such suffering, devastation, war, terrorism, sickness, oppression, broken families; sin is rampant and so many do not have the hope that You offer.  So many fear, so many do not know that they can find peace in the midst of it all. So many do not know You.

God, we plead with you today for the people.  Drop a blanket of deliverance over us all.  Release the captives from emotional, spiritual, and physical bondage.  Intervene dear Lord in the injustice and tyranny that abounds and comfort the lonely, desperate, and afraid.  As we live under Your covering, teach us quickly how to help the poor, how to feed the hungry, and how to reach the lost.  Motivate us Lord by revealing more about Yourself and Your heart’s cry to love people better, to put ourselves aside, so that we can be effective and reach beyond our human opinions and limitations.  Save, save, save the people Lord!

Lover of our souls, You deserve our faithfulness, You deserve our time, our resources, our very lives and we give ourselves to You again in this moment. Mobilize your people across the earth; let us hear the voice of our Commander; dispatch Your warriors.  We will go where You send us, and do what You ask.  We will be Your hands and feet.

We stand in Your presence willing to fight for what is right, we rebuke the enemy from coming near, and we contend for those who cannot contend for themselves.  We pray for protection from the evil one and we throw ourselves, our churches, our families, our cities, our states, our leaders and officials, our nation and our world on Your mercy!  Help us great God.

Thank you.  Mere words are not enough to express our gratitude, or your magnificence; we invite you to look upon the intent of this prayer – written across our hearts.  WE LOVE YOU FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT, WE LOVE YOU.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!  In JESUS’ name we pray. Amen.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 5/2/2009 8:24 PM

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Looking Beyond the Jacket

How often have we misjudged people by assessing them based on susan-boyle-pic-itv-113257880-300x216what we see on the outside?  Writer Baltasar Gracian said, “Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem.  Most things are judged by their jackets.”

Gracian’s statement is so true. We use an eye-balling standard of judgment with people.  We myopically size them up based on a narrow list of criteria. Then, without consideration of the whole person, we mindlessly slap an invisible label on them and carelessly move on.  It is shameful how systematically we do this, overlooking the fact that every person is made up of body, soul and spirit. Oh, what substance and richness lay within people, unheard and unappreciated if we settle only for what they seem… as opposed to who they are.

Every now and then, by the grace of God, we are eclipsed by something wonderful that causes us to take a second look and hopefully lend an ear. At the time of this writing much of the free world gave that courtesy to Susan Boyle.

Susan was a 47 year old Scottish woman with a dream of becoming a professional singer.  She auditioned on the show, “Britain’s Got Talent”, and the video of her performance had circled the globe through the Internet.  The video was so stunning that it had been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube alone.  I watched it myself a dozen times with torrential tears.

Susan’s appearance and mannerisms were unassuming and slightly peculiar.  She was an atypical contestant, because she was not outwardly glamorous or hip.  It was evident that the judges and audience were dubious about her singing ability, as she was quietly scorned up to the second that she opened her mouth.

Then came Susan’s moment; this dear lady sang, “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables”, and her very first words caused the auditorium to literally erupt with cheers!  Her humble presence and magnificent voice sent an undeniable message of beauty and grace to every ear. Her voice opened the door for us to know her.  She was more than she had seemed!

The Bible says in James chapter 2. “… If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, ‘Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!’ and either ignore the street person or say, ‘Better sit here in the back row,’ haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?”

I believe that God used the fulfillment of Susan Boyle’s dream to get our attention. He expects us to care equally about all people.  He wants us to look beyond the jacket of those we meet.  It is His desire that all would have opportunity to sing!

1 Timothy 1:5 NIV The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 4/22/2009 12:29 AM

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Sweet Victory

Processed by: Helicon Filter; KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAYou may have heard the name Rico Petrocelli.  Rico is  a retired short stop for the Boston Red Sox who played a big part in the 1967 Dream Team.  Due to his participation in that historic event, Rico has become a public speaker addressing audiences everywhere and we invited him to speak at our church.

Rico shared of the earlier days in his career, including his conversion to Christianity.  Then he delivered an insightful message about the moral decay in America over the last 40 years. He talked strikingly and convincingly of a societal war.

We are all familiar with America’s war on drugs, and the war against terrorism, but Rico spoke of another war.  He raised our awareness concerning the premeditated tactics of the pornographic industry to stalk unsuspecting youth, and imprudent adults.

Media, Internet enabled cell phones, palm devices, and other helpful hi-tech tools are being abused by misguided individuals to provide easy access to indecent content, and unsafe associations.  Unfortunately, these advances have made it easier for the immoral to target individuals across various ages and genres.

At the end of Rico’s talk our Pastor stood to dismiss the crowd.  My mind wandered back to what he had shared months before about the dangers in his world as a young man raised in Lebanon. Pastor spoke of days when gunshots prevented access to food, of bombs striking nearby buildings, and of friends being removed from their homes – never to return. The country of Lebanon has been frequently ravaged by war.

I have never experienced war first hand, but I have been affected by the distress of combat.  In 1989 I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.  I had experienced a string of heartbreaks that frayed my emotions to the point of illness. Mine was a different kind of war.

There are seasons in life when we are battered by hard times.  They come in various forms and are often surreptitious assaults that catch us unaware.  So, how do we fight influences that undermine our society, our country, and our personal well-being?

Rico emphasized the need to remain alert to the activities and temptations around us.  He charged us to be proactive concerning what is healthy and in the best interests of ourselves and others, and he urged us to recognize the matchless power of God through Jesus to transform individuals and nations.

Aligning ourselves with God places us in a position of wisdom, safety and strength. So regardless of enemy tactics, we can make it through the battle, to sweet victory!

Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Orig Posted by Donna M Dougherty at 3/6/2009 11:05 AM

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