Last week, I was watching a recorded episode of the Amish Mafia.  For those who haven’t seen this series, it is one of those reality shows, this one in particular being centered around a group of Amish young people who push the envelope of acceptable behavior within their community, apparently with the tacit approval of their church elders.  That is, I’m assuming that the elders give approval to the questionable actions of the show’s cast.  The show’s cast members seem to imply that they are operating with at least unofficial approval for their many un-Amish behaviors such as owning and driving cars, throwing parties at which Amish youth and “English” (non-Amish) youth mingle, and using worldly methods of force to keep order in their gang and to enforce their arbitrarily legalistic morality on certain other members of the community.  I’m sure the gang members in this “Amish mafia,” try to give the people of their community the impression that they carry the blessing and authority of the elders, maybe even explicitly telling them so.  The problem with the whole scenario of the show, though, is that no one is really checking back in Scripture to see if they are doing right.  They’ve gotten so used to living with human-devised systems of legalistic morality, that they feel free to make up their own systems. 

This is what happens in a community built on legalism rather than true Biblical morality.  But I’m sure that these people didn’t just wake up one day in this state.  Like all swamps of sin that we get ourselves into, we get in a little bit at a time, inch-by-inch deeper, until we’re completely immersed.  The small decisions of the moment build up over time into bigger issues without our awareness.  Like the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent flap, we reason to ourselves in the moment that just this little bit of sin won’t be any harm.  And nobody will know anyway, right?  But then that little bit leads to a little bit more, and then bit by bit, we develop habits, then those habits become solidified and turn into addictions or compulsions, etc.  Then the change in us becomes obvious to others as well.  Sin is so “progressive” and supposedly it is so “liberating,” so “liberal.”  We finally get to do exactly what we want to do.  We’re free of the burden of everyone else’s rules and demands, especially God’s.  And it feels good.  At least, it feels good for a season. 

What we tend to forget in our ignorance while in the state of sin is that all the supposedly heavy demands of God were done with His Power and His Wisdom.  But when we’re in sin, we don’t have the benefit of God’s Power or Wisdom.  We have to do everything on our own.  Nor do we have the benefit of His Peace and Joy.  So, we continue in our path of sin until one day, we wake up, just like the Prodigal Son did (Luke 15:17), and we realize just how far off track that we have gone and just how miserable we are.  Then, just like the Prodigal Son, we also start to remember how good it was in our Father’s House, walking in His Will, with His Power, His Peace, and His Joy.  Hopefully, in those moments (probably brought on by the action of the Holy Spirit, as He finally makes us aware of how bad off we are), we will turn back to Him in all our guilt and shame.  Where else can we go?  Just as Peter discovered, there is nowhere else to go, because no one else has the Words of Life (John 6:68).  But in those moments that we turn back to God, how glorious it is when we don’t find judgment and harsh scolding that we expect.  Just as in the story of the Prodigal Son, God runs to meet us on the spot where we first turned back to Him (Luke 15:20), and He gives us nothing but Mercy, Love, and Joy as He is grateful that we have finally turned back to Him (Luke 15:22-24).

I pray that, if you have not already received Jesus as your Savior, that you will do that today without further delay.  And if you already know Jesus but have been living in sin, I pray you will return to God today, that you will no longer put it off.  Whether you are first receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or whether you are returning to God's will, having already been saved, rest assured that He will receive you with Joy, and He will receive you just like you are, no preparation needed.  He will help you clean up whatever needs cleaning in your life, and He will give you His Wisdom and Power to do it.  Please don't try to do this on your own.  And if you are already walking with Him in fellowship but know others that are outside of His Will, I pray that you will pray for them to be awakened by the Holy Spirit, realizing that they are worse off in their willful state of sin and that they will be drawn back to God and His Merciful Love. 



05/03/2016 12:46pm

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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