This Is America

People walking in building

Not African-America

Not Hispanic-America

Not Asian-America

Not Norwegian-America

Nor any other ethnic prefix. America is the original Heinz 57, mutt, half-breed country, filled with people of all nationalities who’ve come to blend together, forming one nation, indivisible. This is a country filled with almost all nationalities . . . otherwise known as AMERICANS!

Are there injustices here? Are there prejudices here? Is there hypocrisy here? Of course there are. There are people here aren’t there?

The language of America is a version of British English, known as American, molded and fashioned over a few hundred years. But it is basically, English. We speak English in America. Do you wish to live in this country? Then I suggest you learn the language as all the immigrants who’ve landed on these shores legally have. If any American decides to live in Portugal, guess what language they had better learn?

I don’t have the answers to all our ethnic problems but I do know this: if America continues to fragment itself based on ethnic origin, we will eventually collapse as we divide and establish ethnic boundaries. Hate will fill our land. And violence will be the order of the day.

One more thing: America has one flag. The flag of the United States of America. The United States! Pools of blood have been shed to maintain our freedom in these United States. Blood from all manner of ethnic veins. The blood was shed first in 1776 just to form the United States. Not to form a shattered, broken, dis-unified bunch of groups unwilling to share the same language and goals. What about your rights? A better question asked of all of us by this country would be: What are your responsibilities?

What Is My Filter?

What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror” 1 Cor. 13:12

The eager students sat restlessly in the college classroom, awaiting pearls of wisdom from their new professor. And he didn’t disappoint. “Good morning class. In this box on my desk are various pairs of glasses. Without taking time to carefully select, I want all of you to pass by and pick one of them and return to your desk.” One by one they followed his instructions.

“Now I will pull down this screen behind me, revealing an image, a painting in fact, and I want you to tell me what you see. Before I do, however, you must put on the glasses.” And they did.

In turn he asked his students to describe what they saw. Because of the variously distorted glasses, no person described the same thing. Colors varied, shapes varied; up seemed down and vice versa. After the final student’s description, the professor told them to remove their special glasses. Only then did they all recognize the famous painting. Now they were in accord. Their filters had been removed!

Although we don’t literally wear distorted glasses, we often see life through our own personal filters–making decisions, choosing mates, reacting to one another, feeling confident or insecure and, most importantly, trusting or not trusting God.

Many small plane crashes occur because the inexperienced pilots do not believe what their instruments tell them. They feel as though they are right or left, up or down, contrary to what the instruments say. They crash!

As believers in Christ, our instruments are found in the Bible, clearly laid out for us to follow even in the most perilous of times. Yet, like the inexperienced pilots, we choose not to trust in His words. Instead, we choose to see His life-saving words through our personal filters, distorting the path God has selected. We crash!

What are our filters? There are many. Childhood. Church (legalistic or other negative experiences). Molestation. Death of parent or friend. Failures (God gets the blame). Wars (Again, God gets the blame). Unanswered prayers (More blame for God). Poor teachers. The list is endless. The only answers are found on the pages of the Bible.

Proverbs 3:5-6 With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

If we only learned these two sections in the Bible our lives would be changed forever.

Another filter that affects most of us is money. Too much (I’ll get back to you when I return from my latest cruise, God). Too little (Why don’t I have more money, God? What is wrong?).

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil. Some have been so eager to have it that they have wandered away from the faith and have broken their hearts with many sorrows.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

Another filter is self-worth. Too much (I’m all that and a bag of chips!). Too little (Woe is me. I am not worthy. I don’t measure up. I don’t deserve this).

Revelation 1:5-6 All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

In photography, filters are added to the lens to modify reality. In our lives, we must focus on Jesus Christ and His righteousness, allowing Him to reveal the truth and His truth will remove our filters.

John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Keep this in mind at all times; God uses the filter of Jesus Christ to see those who have accepted His Son’s sacrificial work.