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This is What Makes Jesus Cry

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.

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“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” Luke 19:41

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that Jesus cried on the number of occasions. Particularly this instance, where he wept, when seeing the city of Jerusalem. What was Jesus crying about? In fact, he wasn’t just crying, the Greek word for “wept” in this passage, literally means to well allowed as opposed to the use of the word wept in another passage, that means to “cry quietly.” So Jesus was wailing over the city. But why?

Verse 44 gives us the answer, speaking to the Israelites: “because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: A Nation of Unsung Heroes

And therein is the answer. Jesus just wants His people to recognize Him, to come to Him, to receive Him, to give their lives to Him, and to accept the salvation that He brings.

I imagine that Jesus feels the same way today. Jesus is waiting for our world to receive Him. Life would be so much better for everyone if they simply gave their lives to the Lord. Yet in our rebelliousness, we continue to lead our own lives in the way that we want. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”

We think that we will be set free yet what we find is bondage.

Free sex! Yet it results in bondage.
Get drunk! Bondage.
Take advantage of others! Bondage.

And on and on.

Proverbs 14:12 warns us that there is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death. In our modern world, we are bombarded with various ways and ideologies that promise happiness, success, and fulfillment. However, many of these ways lead to death, both literally and figuratively.

One way that leads to death is the pursuit of wealth and material possessions. Our society places a high value on money and material goods, and many people believe that accumulating wealth will bring them happiness and security. However, the Bible tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), and that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). When we prioritize wealth over God and others, we become selfish and greedy, and this can lead to broken relationships and a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction.

Another way that leads to death is the pursuit of pleasure and instant gratification. Our culture encourages us to seek pleasure in various forms, whether it be through substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, or other vices. However, these pursuits often lead to addiction, brokenness, and ultimately, physical and spiritual death. As the Bible warns us, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

In contrast to the ways of the world, the Bible offers us a different way of life that leads to true and lasting fulfillment. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When we surrender our lives to Jesus and follow His teachings, we discover a way of life that is marked by love, joy, peace, and eternal life. Let us choose the narrow path that leads to life, rather than the wide path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Back to Luke 19:41, where we see Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem. He knew that the city would reject him and suffer destruction. Jesus’ tears were a reflection of his deep love and compassion for the people, despite their rejection of him.

Likewise, we live in a world that is broken and hurting. We see the effects of sin all around us, including poverty, injustice, violence, and sickness. It can be easy to become overwhelmed or even desensitized to the pain and suffering in our world. However, we are called to have compassion on the world around us, just as Jesus did.

Compassion means to suffer with or empathize with those who are hurting. When we have compassion, we are moved to action. We seek to alleviate the suffering of others and bring hope and healing to those who are in need. We can do this by serving those who are less fortunate, advocating for justice, and sharing the love of Jesus with those who are lost.

However, true compassion requires more than just a one-time act of service or charity. It requires a lifestyle of love and sacrifice. It means being willing to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others and to stand up for what is right, even when it is not popular.

As we seek to have compassion on the world around us, we can take comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Jesus himself is with us, weeping over the brokenness of our world and inviting us to join him in bringing healing and hope to all those who are hurting.

Ultimately the goal is salvation for the world. In fact, that is what produces joy in the heart of the Lord. There is no weeping when a sinner repents.

In Luke 15:7, Jesus says, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” This passage reveals God’s heart for the lost and His joy when sinners turn to him in repentance.

God is not indifferent or angry towards sinners; rather, He longs for them to come back to Him. When we turn away from sin and towards God, we experience His forgiveness, love, and grace. And when we do, God rejoices over us, just as a shepherd rejoices over a lost sheep that is found.

This passage reminds us that no matter how far we may have strayed from God, there is always hope for restoration and reconciliation. We can never be too far gone for God’s love and grace to reach us. When we turn to God in repentance, we are welcomed with open arms and celebrated by heaven.

Let us take heart in the fact that God rejoices over sinners who repent. Let us be people who are quick to repent and seek God’s forgiveness, knowing that He is always ready and willing to receive us back into his loving embrace.

And let our message to the world be that God loves them and that His plan is a good one for their lives!

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Faith

A Nation of Unsung Heroes

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The movie, Unsung Hero, is not only a great movie. It’s a movie that captures the struggle and hard-earned survival and eventual success of millions of Americans who have had to overcome struggles to earn their own American Dream. For two centuries, Americans have been known for their resourcefulness and resilience, and we are not done yet!

We are again living in difficult and challenging times. Surveys suggest that nearly 60% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Their solutions to their plight won’t be coming from politicians in Washington. Their success, as always, depends on their will and resourcefulness in overcoming daily obstacles, their ability to survive on limited resources, their scrounging for work that allows them to survive another day, and help from those who care.

That common but heart-rending struggle is conveyed in an inspiring way in Unsung Hero. The film focuses on the early struggles of the Smallbone family in the early 90’s. We watch as David Smallbone’s once-thriving music business as a concert promoter in Australia falls apart. They lose their home, their car, and their life’s savings. With no opportunities in Australia, David moves the family halfway around the world to Nashville to secure the only job he could secure. After missed flights and a long and tiring journey to Tennessee, David learns that his promised job had been given to someone else.

As their dreams fall apart, you watch as the steady faith and creativity of Helen Smallbone, played by Australian actress and mother Daisy Betts, pulls the family through one setback and challenge after another to find a way through. With six children and another on the way, every member of the family is challenged to do their part to keep them afloat. They do yard work, any work that would fill their jar of savings. They couldn’t let it be empty, and they didn’t. They kept finding a way.

They were Australians with no friends, no family, no car, sleeping on beds made out of clothes. To nurture their faith, they began attending a local church. Aware of their needs, church members found ways to help in any way they could. In a foreign country living in a city with over half-a million people, it took finding a loving faith community who cared enough to help. Watch the movie, to find out the rest of the story. Bring plenty of tissue and be ready for a few tears along the way.

America needs this movie right now. Why? Too many people are feeling hopeless in the face of growing inflation and lost jobs. They face frustrating obstacles and enormous challenges, and the answer is summed up by a quotation of Mother Teresa shared in the movie, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Luke Smallbone, the producer of the film, acknowledged the importance of that truth, “That is really the heartbeat behind the film.” It is also the local solution that has always helped Americans find their way through-the power of family and the presence and support of their local “family of God.”

Washington may send you money, but they can’t provide the flexible and persistent support needed. It’s one’s local family, friends, and faith communities who can encourage resilience and help shape a needed recovery. Solutions come from a local community’s caring and support. It used to always be that way, and it needs to be that way again.

Our nation is full of unsung heroes who are helping their family and friends, and they are more needed than ever. If you don’t have anyone helping you, stop looking to Washinton for the help that will never come no matter who is elected President. Get involved again in your family and your community. Call your family and let them know you need help. Get back involved in your church or synagogue and let God work through them to help you get back on your feet. Investing in community is an adventure that allows you to help and be helped to the glory of God and country.

When you get involved, you most likely will not make any headlines. That is left for terrorists, violent demonstrators, and other disasters and threats out of your control. But America is strong because of millions of unsung heroes who make it all work and seldom get acknowledged. This column is dedicated to you. You deserve to be honored and applauded for all you have done and will do to keep America the country it has been and must remain. May it continue to be so in your adventure!
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Elections

Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!
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