Sunday, August 9, 2020

Is Man Basically Good?

To say the least, it was unusual for a Destroyer to be the flag ship of an admiral, but this was such a small group of ships that the Commodore chose the USS William V. Pratt. It was the ship I served on as a junior officer, and I was fortunate for the experience. I was a new Christian, and one night I found myself in a theological debate with the Commodore over the question: Is man basically good? The flag officer insisted that man was inherently wicked, but I held onto the belief that man was basically good. From my perspective, the cause of bad behavior was that people were hurt by life’s experiences which created a cycle of pain, but I contended that if a person was treated well and educated, they would grow beyond their experience and learn to respond in a better, healthier way.

The prevailing thought in 2020 American society holds the view I boldly debated with the Commodore. In that conversation so many years ago, neither one of us were able to sway the other person, yet I acknowledged he brought up a lot of good points that I had never considered.­ He was also a Christian with many years more experience than I had at that time, and I learned a lot from my conversations with him. 

The Reality 

The reality is that men and women are all made in the Image of God. We were made for love and to do good things. We were created a little lower than the angels, but the Father’s plan has always been for us to become co-inheritors of His Kingdom. This is who we were made to be, but there is more to our reality. As Isaiah pointed out, all of our righteousness is as filthy rags. We were made for love and good deeds, but our hearts tend toward evil, and if our hearts tend toward evil, does that make us wicked? 

No one likes to think of themselves as wicked, so Christians look to the New Testament writings and point to how we are “a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.” We have been redeemed and remade… this is great news! So if our hearts are renewed, that means we no longer lean toward evil, right? Then why does Paul also write that he fails to the good he desires and instead does the evil he doesn’t want? Theologians have gone to great lengths to describe the difference between justification and sanctification, but it can quickly be summarized as this: we were made and re-made for good, but we aren’t there yet. 

However, that does not mean that we are wicked. Yes, our tendency is to go astray, to please ourselves in all its myriad forms, to do only the good that we choose. We were made for good but choose to please ourselves instead. That is our old man fighting against the new man we’ve become. Yet for those who accept God’s grace and seek His presence, we are transformed from “glory to glory” while He works in us to live good and godly lives. We are changed as we spend time in His Presence, and we are empowered “to live and act according to His good pleasure.” Yet the wicked are those who commit the only unforgivable sin, the sin against the Spirit, which I believe is a continuous and intentional refusal to have a relationship with God beginning with an acceptance of His grace that acknowledges our selfish nature. 


  1. We were made for good 
  2. Our hearts tend toward evil 
  3. Even after accepting Christ we continue to do bad things 
  4. God changes us over time to live rightly 
We were made for good but aren’t there yet, and the wicked who never accept God’s grace will never arrive. 

A Practical Response 

So what do we do with this information, and why does it even matter? As a follower of Christ, we need to acknowledge daily our need for Him, and as we walk with Him, He transforms us. We recognize the innate value of every person, and just as we receive the grace of God in our lives, we extend it to others. We build guardrails in our lives that anticipate everyone’s tendency toward selfishness while still looking for and cultivating the good that is in everyone. We even build guardrails in our own lives so that our eyes remain on “Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith”, just as we also build checks and balances into societal power structures to resist corruption. 

If we build a system around false assumptions that system will fail, yet that is exactly what is happening worldwide. I had been taught that man is basically good and therefore as a new Christian, I had a hard time accepting what the Commodore tried to show me: I was made for good, but I wasn’t there yet. 

The admiral shared an understanding of reality that greatly influenced the thinking of America’s founding fathers. They built a system of checks and balances to mitigate the risks of centralized power structures. They understood that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This system they envisioned, the great American experiment, was able to course correct over time to accomplish great things, including the abolition of slavery and the recognition of women’s rights. The system they designed was over time able to support the dream of Dr. Martin Luthor King, and I believe given the time and commitment, we could still see the full realization of that dream. 

Everyone was created with certain “inalienable rights”. Even if a person refuses to accept the reality of God (or God I know Him to be), they are still created in His image and worthy of loving respect, kindness and consideration. The American system of government was established valuing the inherent worthiness of every individual while acknowledging the corruptibility of anyone. 

Ironically, people are seeking to deconstruct our system of government as they seek to establish a global government, all with the underlying assumption that man is basically good. The deconstructionists say that we have evolved intellectually as a global society to the point where we can rise above the things that have held us back in the past. They say war is an evil that can be eliminated by getting rid of the things that cause it: e.g. - patriotism, borders and religion. But what would this world look like if the Allied nations had not gone to war against the Axis powers of WWII? Is it possible that the plurality of nations act as a natural deterrent to global totalitarianism? 

And with respect to religion, what has happened historically when everyone is compelled to follow the same doctrine? When religious power structures are centralized, haven’t they also become corrupted and caused so many travesties? It’s not religion, but the corruption of religious power structures that should concern us! The answer is not to compel a secular religion that forbids all religious expression, but to encourage the open discourse among all belief systems. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another!” 

There are many power structures: government, religion, financial, education, entertainment, etc. What happens to each of these as they become centralized? How many works of art have failed to be recognized because a centralized power structure has silenced innovative beauty in preference to pop art? How has knowledge been stunted because educational power systems have shut down healthy discourse? 

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

We were made for good but aren’t there yet. 

What guardrails need to be in place in our lives as individuals and within our society? “Pray for wisdom”, and do not doubt that God will grant it! 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/) 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Love Pyramid - Part 2

Intimacy, Desire and Ability 

“Boys use emotional intimacy to get physical intimacy and girls use physical intimacy to get emotional intimacy.” The words I heard in college returned to me as I read about a Scandinavian study that showed how 16 year old girls’ self-esteem declined when in a sexual relationship; conversely, 16 year old boys’ self-esteem went up. It made sense. The girls were selling a part of themselves to have a need met, but the boys were discovering a need they weren’t even aware of being fulfilled. 

It also brought back to mind a book my future father-in-law handed me as I dated his daughter: “I Loved a Girl” by Walter Trobisch. Trobisch was an African pastor who brilliantly wrote about physical and emotional intimacy, using a triangle to illustrate the importance of balancing emotional and physical intimacy as a couple progresses in their relationship. I am so grateful for my father-in-law in general, and I especially appreciate him being bold and loving enough to share this book with me. It helped me understand what I want to share with you. 

The Love Pyramid takes the 2 dimensional illustration I learned from Pastor Trobisch and extends the depth of God’s Sovereignty. By 
“sovereignty” I mean: God is fully in control. He has the knowledge, ability, and is the very embodiment of love. Understanding love is foundational to understanding the Love Pyramid. Love is Who God is and who we were made to be. I won’t rehash what I wrote previously, but I encourage you read it for context. 

There are four corners to the Love Pyramid that lead toward Oneness: 

1. Emotional Intimacy 

2. Physical Intimacy 

3. Desire for Commitment 

4. Ability to Commit 



Love is a decision accompanied by many feelings. The loving, romantic relationship God created for a man and wife is filled with all those feelings, feelings that hit us on so many levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Because God is good, love is good, and He made the union of man and wife to be a wonderful kaleidoscope of positive feelings. Jesus told us that a man would leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; that the two would become one flesh. This oneness that God created for marriage is symbolic of the oneness that He desires for each of us. Without going into the many details, it’s precisely because of the beauty of this gift of loving oneness that the enemy has perverted it, using a bait and switch technique to pull us away from God’s best into something that is bent and twisted out of shape. 



God’s desire for us is to grow in oneness together, so it’s easy to understand how someone’s desire for commitment is painful when left unfulfilled. We can also easily understand how our desire for emotional intimacy can sometimes lead to compromises when this good need is left unfulfilled. Reflecting on the 16 year olds in sexual relationships, boys are often vilified their actions, but if we’re completely honest both genders in this scenario are using each other. Both are seeking their own needs over the needs of the other. God created us for both emotional and physical intimacy, but using another person to have one or both of those needs met is not love

Love is enduring and involves commitment. But is it enough if both people have a strong and equal desire to be in a life-long, committed relationship and they both determine to do what is best for the other one? That sounds like love, right? But can it lead to the oneness that God desires for us? 

If both the Lover and the Beloved don’t have the ability to commit, their commitment is limited. Some examples include: very young couples without an ability to financially support themselves or the children that will eventually arrive; a prior commitment to love someone else; a physical constraint such as imprisonment; etc. Any number of other examples can illustrate this point: without the ability to commit, it is pointless and even painful if all the other corners of the pyramid want to soar to the top but the ability to commit is just not there. In such situations, allowing the relationship to progress is short-sighted. If God has you in those circumstances, then it’s important to join Him where you are and not to dwell on the impossible possibilities. This ability to commit in love is where God’s Sovereignty really comes into play. We are in a in a place where He has put us, and we can choose to trust Him or choose to take things into our own hands. 

Looking again at the pyramid we can envision another scenario, where someone has the ability but lacks any desire to commit. In this case they may lack love and may not be living as they were intended to be. They could be losing out on one of God’s greatest gifts for those who were created in His image. 

I encourage you to look at the two images I’ve included and to reflect upon them. Think about the impact of pushing up on one corner of the pyramid when others are stationary. Consider how this applies to either your current situation or past experience then reflect about how this illustration may be helpful for either yourself or to others in your life. I intentionally tried to be concise, but I could easily write a book about this and still not cover it completely. If you have questions or something you’d like to discuss, reach out to “mitch” at “malloyclan.com”. 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Love Pyramid - Part 1


The Foundation of Love 

Some of the best things in life are easy to understand but hard to implement, and when the simple things get difficult, our tendency is to over-complicate the simple. Love is a great example. It is both a decision and a feeling, and because it is often made up of such conflicting desires, people sometimes give up on understanding and refer to it as a great mystery of life. 

There are seven Greek words for love and three Hebrew words, but we only need to be focused on divine love. Paul wrote about this kind of divine unconditional love that is often quoted at marriage ceremonies: 
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. 
Love as described above is truly divine, and it doesn’t come easily for us; however, it is possible when we can look to a visible model of that love. Tragically, some people have never seen love modeled for them, and if any of us look to a human being as our model of love, we will be disappointed because imperfect people love others imperfectly. John the Apostle gives us hope as he tells us that God’s demonstration of love enables and inspires us to reflect His love. 
We love because God loved us first. 
Love is simple; it is a decision to give of oneself to another. We were created to love and to be loved, and because it is part of who we were created to be, we are filled with so many good feelings when we choose to give of ourselves and love someone else. But our feelings can be misleading, and therefore we need to be cautious to not be led by our emotions even if we are often rewarded by them. 

We are filled with so many conflicting desires and seeking to fulfill those desires ironically leaves us strangely unsatisfied with an ever pressing need to fill that growing emptiness. It’s like eating food that is nutrient deprived. Feeding our appetite never satisfies so we eat increasingly larger servings. It is also like a drowning person who in their panic for air is likely to drown any potential savior. This is the nature of lust, which desires nothing more than to receive. It is passion without reason, emotions that promise an empty reward. 

Understanding the nature of love is easy, but our desires make it hard for us to live a life of love. It’s easier to say we can’t understand love than to admit that we don’t feel like loving, and so we complicate love. Understanding this foundation of love is essential to understanding the Love Pyramid that I’ll describe in a future blog. If we grasp this foundational understanding of love, it changes our concept of God, His love for us and all the structures of religion. These structures fall away as unnecessarily complicated rules once we understand that they only implementations of love. There is no need for rules when we love as we were made to love. (see Mark 12:28-34
“Don’t ever think that I came to set aside Moses’ Teachings or the Prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to make them come true.” 
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Focus Now!

I’ve been around for over a half-century, and I’ve learned a few things. Some of them I’d like to unlearn, which I’ve found is significantly harder than learning. Unlearning is not as easy as forgetting, which happens all to easily. Unlearning takes a lot of concentration, to deliberately not think a certain way after having questioned it and found it lacking without letting go of the elements of truth that were useful. 

Athletes sometimes have to unlearn bad habits to build up good habits. Being raised Catholic was a good thing for me that God used to develop my relationship with Him, but for me to grow in my relationship with God and others, I needed to unlearn certain things. For example: my 16 years of Catholic education had taught me to ignore the Old Testament scriptures as part of the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant as described in the New Testament was all I needed to learn. While I’m sure that not all Catholic education teaches this, it was something I needed to unlearn so I could learn so much more about the God Who created me and wanted a relationship with me. 

I’ve focused on many things through the years in my pursuit of Spiritual growth, and I’ve discovered that my focus was often on the wrong thing. Even things that were good became a distraction that hindered my walk with Christ. Scripture says we should desire spiritual gifts, but we should pursue something greater. God has given me both ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, but I’ve been in church circles where the emphasis was on the gift and not the Giver. Better to seek the Fruit of the Spirit and rejoice as the Gifts emerge! Often the focus can also be on Spiritual Warfare, and I can tell you that all sorts of warfare grows in those circles! Strange things that can’t easily be explained in the natural start happening with increasing intensity, justifying the need for greater focus on spiritual warfare! 

Spiritual attacks are real, but I discovered an amazing truth when asked to exorcise a home where demonic manifestations were occurring: to fight the demonic, our eyes need to be focusing on something else. I have seen churches that focused with great intensity on studying Scripture, but their focus led to spiritual pride and intellectual conceit. I have seen churches that focused on stewardship that led to materialism. I’ve seen churches that focused on a prosperity gospel that didn’t develop true Christian character and a fortitude that could endure the hardships of this world. 

I’ve seen where the pursuit of righteousness becomes the self-idol that criticizes others. The Old Testament explains how wickedness grows when everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Adam and Eve ate a fruit so that they could decide what was right and wrong, being like God. But who created what is “right” and called what He created good? Only the Author of creation can tell us what is right and by living in His ways, we are righteous. 

I hear a new false gospel being spread today, and it sounds right at first. Yet every misguided object of focus I’ve mentioned so far is a good by-product of that greater thing we should focus our eyes upon; spiritual gifts, studying scripture, stewardship, and righteousness are simply by-products. Likewise the new idols of unity and social justice are wonderful by-products of focusing on the greater thing. But what is the consequence of focusing on unity and pursuing social justice? The national church of Nazi Germany focused on unity as it overlooked the horrific actions of the fatherland. Can unity really be the secret sauce that makes a good church? The blood purge of Russia executed the social justice of a godless, Marxist dictator and slaughtered millions to establish a new regime. 

William Blake was so right when he observed that we become what we behold. Focusing on injustice, we become violent. Focusing on unity, creates an unhealthy suppression of dialog. The greater thing we should focus on was summarized as two commandments that encompassed all the law. We are called -- we are commanded -- to love God and love others. (Matt 22:34-40

If we focus our eyes on Jesus, loving Him and loving those whom He loves, then studying Scripture becomes a joy as He instructs us, learning about Him and His plans for us. Spiritual warfare is easily victorious when our focus celebrates Jesus and edifies others. Unity happens organically and true social justice is advanced when we are a people known for our love of God and love for others. 

Love is not just a warm, fuzzy feeling; rather, love is intentionally giving for the benefit of the beloved. Loving our enemies does not mean we give them what they want, but we give them what they need. Loving people around us means speaking truth in a loving and kind fashion. Love is patient, kind, etc.

We know that in the end times as lawlessness increases, the love of many will grow cold. (Matt 24:12) No one knows the day or the hour of His return, but I can tell you His return is closer today than it was yesterday, and we know that He has called us for such a time as this: to love God and love others. Doing so, His light will shine brighter in this world, and whether people listen or fail to listen the joy and privilege of being His ambassadors will be the highlight of our time on this planet. 

With great love and admiration to my fellow ambassadors, Mitch. 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence for All!

I grew up beneath the poverty level in America; I recall watching the news one evening as the commentator stated the poverty level income for a family of four in America, so I walked into the other room to ask my mother how much “we” made that year as family of five, and she gave me a number lower than what I had just heard on the news. I’ve since seen abject poverty in this world and understand on many levels why my mom insisted that we weren’t poor; we never went without food and our utilities were never turned off from lack of payment. As they were devout Catholics, my parents somehow even found a way to send us to a Catholic school. 

Still, I felt like we were sometimes looked down upon by others. When it came time to think about life after high school, the guidance counselor did her best to convince me that I was not college material, despite my >4.0 GPA and high SAT scores. I was fortunate that Vice Principal Tully did not look at me as white trash like the school counselor did, and he showed me what I needed to do to apply for college. My wrestling coach, Mr. Craft, encouraged me to graduate a semester early to take advantage of college benefits for low income families that would disappear if I waited until the second semester to graduate.  

Perhaps because of this, I have always been sensitive to the rights of others and have empathy for people who have had to work harder to rise up. Regardless of race, gender or beliefs that differed from mine, I have used whatever influence I have to lift up and encourage my brothers and sisters, to open up opportunities and to be their advocate. I still believe in the ideals America was founded upon, despite the many ways that people have failed to live up to those ideals. That is why Juneteenth should be celebrated as widely in this country as July 4th. The two are linked and combine a common ideal. 

The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 and proclaimed that every person had rights that were innate in every person. Sadly, some of those signing that great document were hypocrites, slave owners who declared an ideal for themselves that they did not extend to all men. The original document penned by Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery proclamation that unfortunately wasn’t included in the final document. You see, while some of the founding fathers embraced slavery, many were abolitionists: John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, James Madison, John Jay, Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, and many more

The war against slavery was fought by white and black Americans before that famous declaration on July 4th, good people who sought to end the evils of slavery that came to the Americas through the British empire. Like many wars, it was a war of ideals that was fought with words and ultimately resulted in a civil war. As that war came to an end, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was announced by Union soldiers, freeing the slaves and finally acknowledging the inalienable rights of every American. The last place to receive this word was Galveston, TX on June 19th, 1965, now commemorated as Juneteenth. Yet as we know, while the ideal of liberty was proclaimed for all Americans, man’s wickedness continued and the rights of our black brothers and sisters continued to be violated. My prayer is that each of us stands firm in actively upholding the rights of all people, actively opposing evil for our collective well-being and living out the love Christ calls us to have for all people. 

People are imperfect and often conflicted; our conflicting priorities are often magnified whenever you pull a group of people together. Yet despite how we have lived this nation’s ideals imperfectly, those lofty standards continue to be a light, both for people within this country and throughout the world,. Our nation rightly and collectively recoiled at the senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd and we had a chance to unify in opposing this terrible violation of his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. My mind still reels with how long it took authorities to bring the rogue cops into custody, and my heart is saddened by those who oppose the great ideals of this country, who are using this event to create greater division within the country. Some are actively driving an agenda that mimics Marxist revolutions throughout the world while others are being incensed into their narrative. Although it may have certain nuances, the story is always the same: a class struggle between the “haves” and “have nots”, the privileged vs the oppressed, the persecutors vs their victims. Likewise, the result is nearly always the same: a group of thugs that take totalitarian control and become magnitudes more oppressive than the preceding regime… e.g. – the blood purges of Stalin, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and the assault-rifle-wielding occupiers of Seattle. 

Now is a time to use unifying language and collaborate under higher ideals, to acknowledge our flaws and seek to be better. Now is a time build trust and seek restoration rather than reparation. Nothing can possibly make up for the evils of the past, and bitterness leads to greater division. We can’t change the past as much as we all wish we could, but we can decide how to move forward as equals. Now is a time to remember who were meant to be: E Pluribus Unum! (One from Many) 

At some point, I believe America will fall from superpower status and a global authority will fill that void, and I believe much of what is currently happening in both American and abroad is a tension created by globalists trying to subdue nationalism. The ideals found in America’s heritage embody a rationale and structure that strive for the rights of all people. Someday, I believe and pray that America will be resurrected from its current state of splintering decline and be unified in brotherly love; I see Isaiah 18 possibly referring to the United States, and it promises a time when we will bring tribute to King Jesus in Israel. Then and only then, when the King sits on His throne will we truly be free! 
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

God is Seen through Life’s Obstacles

I recently started a book written and updated in the early 1980’s by a man born in the late 1880’s. Imagine what this man saw in his lifetime: the gay 90’s during his youth, the last of the American Indian wars as a teenager, the “war to end all wars” (in theory), Spanish Influenza, the roaring 20’s followed by the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Watergate, and finally the recession and rapid inflation of the 70’s. In the preface of his book, he wrote that man was happier working manually in the fields than he was with all the technological advances because the evils grew larger. Had he lived another 30 years, do you think his view would have changed?

With all the comforts modernity has brought us, is the world an easier or harder place? 

Moores’ Law says that processing speeds double every two years, and it has led us to an age of digital disruption where old paradigms are being replaced by new models faster than society can adjust. The computing power in my cell phone is thousands of times more powerful than my 1990’s PC, which was a thousand times more powerful than the tactical data system on my ship as a young naval officer. I have so much information at my fingertips! 

Through various websites and streaming videos, I have easily learned to do so many things: repair my dryer, lay new flooring and remodel a bathroom. The advances in information technology have crossed over into every area of life: medicine, business, education, etc. We are constantly on the move, constantly trying to keep up with a rapidly changing world, moving both mentally and physically. For a couple years, I traveled weekly across the nation for work, and causes me to wonder: how does this compare to Daniel 12:4, where God said to His bewildered prophet: 
But you, Daniel, keep these words secret, and seal the book until the end times. Many will travel everywhere, and knowledge will grow.
Knowledge has certainly grown, but so has foolishness. How much does Romans 1:18-32 apply to our current world, a promise of God’s wrath to a global community that shakes it’s fist in lawless rebellion. This coming wrath could be years from now or still decades away, but it is coming as surely as all the prophecies in Scripture unfold before our eyes. As I’ve said before, the Bible’s prophecies are one of the biggest reasons for its credibility

All that we’re seeing was foretold in Scripture as a testimony that the God of the Bible is truly an all-knowing, all-powerful and fully-good God, Who even now implores us to stop rebelling against Him. “Peace! Good will toward men!” was proclaimed by God’s messengers as He sent His son. (Luke 2:14), but man continues to rebel against God’s ways, choosing to do what is right in his own eyes. This infectious thought pattern is growing in the Church, and just as Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner in Matthew 21:33-46 predicted the diaspora and beginning of the Church age, Paul’s explanation of the olive branches in Romans 11:11-31 predict the renewal of Israel and warn of the coming wrath upon a rebellious church. 

In all the obstacles we see, be sure of this: nothing happens that God didn’t’ predict and isn’t allowing to happen. In our petty short-sightedness believing that this world is all there is and afflictions increase, we may wonder where God is. How tempting to give into the comforts offered by this world, thinking that it is our home or surrender to the oppression. But for those who belong to the Kingdom, remember that we are just travelers in this world, ambassadors of God’s goodness and grace (2 Corinthians 5:16-20). Every affliction or privation is simply an annoying gnat and every temptation is only bait used by the enemy to distract us from our holy purpose, our calling. The enemy has no true power, and illusion is that he is winning. Stand firm and remember who you are and why you are here: you are light for others to see! 

In the end, every obstacle will be revealed as proof of God’s reality as we see each insurmountable barrier collapse; we take steps in faith to a God Who challenges us in the darkest moments with the words: “Do you trust Me?” As Blackaby points out, God takes us to crisis of belief to prove His faithfulness. The Darkness threatens to cover the light, but still the Light shines through, and the trust built through overcoming each obstacle gives us confidence in that which is unseen, an approaching Kingdom that will come in power just as the new Babel is completed. The lawless ones will rejoice in what they believe to be their ultimate triumph, but it is actually the signal of their defeat, all of it foretold thousands of years ago in Scripture. 

Obstacles remind us to trust God and pray about next steps. 


copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Reflecting Light in Growing Darkness

The year 2020 has been one crisis after another, and I feel the burden of it all. It’s exhausting and so easy to just wonder what can be done or how to respond. It feels like the darkness is growing, trying to overpower the light, and it feels like Darkness is winning. It can create anxiety and a sense of hopelessness, a despair that cripples. That is just what Satan wants: to discourage you from being light in this world and to convince you to give up. 

But as long as there is life, there is hope! 

The assault of fear combined with the empty promises of this world is a giant enemy that is growing bigger. But take heart: our God is a giant-killer! The lines between light and darkness are growing sharper even as the arguments blur the lines. It is a battleground for our minds, our emotions, and our very souls, and what happens in this world will reflect the aggregated outcomes of battles within each of us. In other words: if the light wins in each of us, the darkness will fade. 

At some point the Bible tells us that the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:11-13), but as long there is life in us, we are called to represent God’s Kingdom, regardless of the outcome or the threat of destruction. (Matt 5:11) Whether designed by rebellious man or demons, we know that there will be a new world order, a global government led by a man who shakes his fist in rebellion against God. I see so many power centers being centralized and overtaken: “deep state” control within governments, media, educational systems, & big business, now advancing on social media and church. But I find hope in the book of Psalms: 
Do not be preoccupied with an evildoer who succeeds in his way when he carries out his schemes. 
There is nothing new under the sun, and my God is not surprised by anything that is happening. I don’t know the day nor the hour when God will finally say: “Enough!”, but when that Day of the Lord comes, it will come quickly. It will come when people are openly scoffing at those who believe in the Truth, (2 Peter 3:3) when there is partying in extravagant pleasure, celebrating the power of man. They will believe they have created a world of peace and security and have no need for any god other than themselves and what they have created, mocking those that so weakly hold onto the need for God. 

So how should we respond as wicked schemes come to fruition? 
Trust the Lord and do good things. 
Live in the land, and practice being faithful. 
Be happy with the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Entrust your ways to the Lord. 
Trust him, and he will act on your behalf. 
He will make your righteousness shine like a light, your just cause like the noonday sun. 
It can feel so hard to delight in God, to trust in Him, and to believe that He is present in midst of our struggles, but we must persevere! We need to be intentional in our response, to scream in our thoughts and possibly aloud that we trust in a God Who is bigger than the circumstances we can see, Who controls the unseen and Who knows the details of the future. We must remind ourselves of the Truth, the full Truth, and surrender ourselves to the Truth, refusing to succumb to the lies of half-truths that the father of lies uses to discourage. Regardless of how we feel and against all apparent odds, we can stand up to the giants, and like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we may find ourselves in the visible presence of God in this world! (Daniel 3
Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him. 
In the midst of fear and temptation, we surrender our anxiety and our desires to the One will win the final battle, and we trust in Him to be our ultimate Provider and Protector. A couple years ago, the Lord led me to memorize Psalm 37:3-7, knowing how much I would need it in the dark hours of my life. Consider memorizing these verses. With His help, may each of us reflect the Light of His Presence to a world who so desperately needs to know the full Truth! 
Lord, close our ears to the words of the enemy, and cleanse our hearts, our minds and souls  from the echoes of the enemy. Fill us with Your truth and Your love! 

Remove the clouds that keep us from seeing Your Face, knowing that You see us, You love us, and that You are working all things together for good! 
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Healing Our Culture with Love

“I’m giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that you are my disciples because of your love for each other.” John 13:34-35 
It’s undoubtedly Jesus’ heart that we love one another, but do we really know what love is? Love is a feeling, a very powerful feeling, but it’s so much more. I’m told by people more knowledgeable than myself that there are three words for love in Hebrew, and that Greek, the original language of the New Testament, has seven words that translate to “Love” in English. Of all those words, one is singled out as the highest form of love, an unconditional love that is an act of will, doing what is in the other person’s best interest even when they don’t want it and the lover doesn’t feel like doing the loving thing. That word is Agape, the word for love that Jesus uses in the quote above. 

Our society, our world, is forgetting how to love. Love is not a desire for something; rather it is a decision to give. Love is not necessarily giving another person what they want, but it does value the person, their needs and their desires. The Black Community in America has not felt valued, and no wonder as many of their fundamental rights have been repeatedly violated! It’s created a perception that people whose rights have not been violated are privileged, which creates a greater divide within this country, where anyone whose rights have not been violated is perceived as somehow complicit in the acts of oppression. 

Please don’t judge me by the color of my skin for what others who look like me have done! 

If your rights have been violated, that does not make me privileged, and I commit to stand with you in upholding what is truly your right as my neighbor, my countryman, and my brother. All my adult life, I have shared Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream that all people in this country: "will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." I share Dr. King’s biblical worldview, and I see every person, regardless of race or gender, as an Image Bearer, someone who was created in God’s Image and therefore of immeasurable worth. Yet I also see how far we are from reflecting His Image in this world. 

In abusive relationships, it’s not uncommon for the victim to lash out as an abuser, sometimes becoming the very thing they despised in others. The cycle of abuse is perpetuated as the pain one person inflicts is multiplied, reflected by their victims onto new targets, rippling throughout society as wound upon wound grows and pain intensifies. Often the pendulum can swing, as a repentant oppressor becomes the oppressed, accepting this out of a belief that they deserve to be punished for all the harm they have done. None of this is healthy, and none of this is God’s heart for how we should love one another. Instead it can infect communities with codependent behaviors where people seek to avoid or smooth over the dysfunction rather than confronting it with loving kindness. 

So how do we love our brother when he is in pain? How do we communicate “you are respected; you are valued; you are heard” without taking on a false guilt? In healthy relationships, we establish boundaries of healthy behavior, and we continue the dialog within those boundaries so that trust can be built over time. Yes, we understand why some people are lashing out, but we don’t condone the inappropriate behavior. 

Stephen, the first Christian martyr, imitated Jesus’ words on the cross as he was being stoned: “Father forgive them; they don’t know what they do!” (Acts 7:60)  We aren’t seeking to punish people acting out of their pain and frustration, but we acknowledge certain behavioral standards need to be met if we are to find true reconciliation. 

Yes, we understand the pain, even if we can’t fully identify with it. We agree you deserve more, and we eagerly desire your rights to be upheld! 

We can continue the dysfunctional behavior that perpetuates the cycle of pain, or we can seek true racial reconciliation that is built upon mutual respect, kindness and collaboration, actively working together to build that which all but a few desire. Yes, unfortunately, there are those in every race that are actively working against true racial reconciliation. They see this as a power struggle rather than a [lack of] love problem. We must oppose the thought-patterns and divisional voices that seek to separate us, and we must join together in fighting this good fight. 

And we need to understand that we are not fighting against people, but against principalities. There are demonic forces that want to divide Christ’s Body, to keep it from the unity that only comes through Christ’s presence in our hearts, over-flowing as love into the lives of others. We need to keep the biblical perspective of who we are fighting, so that the captives in the war are not confused with the real enemy. 
This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. Ephesians 6:12 
My prayer is that we redefine “race” as the acronym “RasE”, where we “Reconcile as Equals”, comrades in arms against all that would oppress our heavenly family or divide us. We must hold our public servants to a higher standard, and we must commit to the moral character that Dr. King foresaw in his famous speech, a moral character defined by biblical standards. That vision is still within our grasp if we are willing to strive for it together, casting out every destructive word of speech that seeks to divide and conquer us. 
The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
NOTE: Appreciation for the current Northview Church One Another sermon series that started 07-Jun-20 that inspired the image used on this blog post. 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Justice for All?

How can anyone remain silent after viewing the horrific murder of George Floyd? As I watched the video, I asked myself: How would I respond if I was part of the crowd that was pleading for the police officers to just let him breathe? How would I respond if I find myself in a similar situation? Would I rush the cops? Would I attempt non-violent resistance like Gandhi? Would I conspire with other onlookers to place these rogue cops under citizen’s arrest and hope that somehow that would stick? Would I dial 911 and plead with the dispatcher to help stop the murder? Could I stand by helplessly and watch someone die for no apparent reason? 

Conservatives and Liberals can all agree that what happened was wrong… tragic… senseless… reprehensible! It represents what the Black Community has been repeating for years: that America is a racist country. Demonstrations have emerged across our nation, some peaceful and others violent. People who have become frustrated with a system they believe is broken have spread carnage, looting stores and setting the 3rd precinct in Minneapolis on fire. 

In my hometown of Indianapolis, a demonstration over the shooting of Dreasjon Reed turned violent. Dreasjon went to the same high school as my own kids. His final moments were documented on a Facebook live stream video, and protestors frustrated over his death, now compounded with the murder of George Floyd, ultimately found themselves being pelleted with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

I learned as a naval officer in training that perceptions are every bit as real in their consequences as reality. Over the years, people have shortened this management principle to say “Perception is reality”, but if we really want to fix this broken culture, we have to deal with both perceptions and reality. Is America a racist country or is America a country that still has racists? Is the system broken or do we have broken people subverting the system? 

Perceptions are every bit as real in their consequences as reality. 
We must deal with both perceptions and reality. 

It shocks me that all four officers involved in the killing of George Floyd were not immediately taken into custody in light of the video documenting the entire incident. If it was sufficient to immediately fire those officers, then why was it not also appropriate to apprehend them? Stating that an investigation was underway while letting these men walk was fuel for the fire that eventually destroyed their precinct. 

I have family members that served as police officers, and I am very proud of their service. Cops see the worst of society on a daily basis, and they live in a society that ties their hands behind their back while telling them to keep our streets safe, often proclaiming them guilty until proven innocent. Yet our society needs to be swift in holding them accountable for actions unbefitting of their office. With power comes responsibility, and police need to be held to a higher standard than the society that they serve, especially when technology that documents unacceptable behavior is in the fingertips of nearly every person above the age of 13. In other words: we need to refine our system so that it works as it was intended to work and with greater expediency. 
We need to refine our system so that it works as it was intended to work and with greater expediency. 
We also need to respectfully call out the lies as they emerge, dispelling perceptions that are not based in reality, no matter how tragic. The death of Dreasjon Reed was such a tragedy. Watching his final moments on video filled me with both sadness and anger. He stated that he didn’t want to go back to jail. He fled the police in a high-speed chase, and ultimately he pulled a gun on a black police officer who shot Dreasjon multiple times, ending the fugitive’s life. Dreasjon’s death cannot be compared to George Floyd, and the actions of the police in these two situations cannot be more different. I’m sorry that Dreasjon is dead. I truly am. I sincerely wish he had made better choices that didn’t result in his death, but the perception that his death resulted from a racist system is a lie, not based in reality. 

If we want to see healing in our country, in our cities, and in our communities, we need to acknowledge the issues and work on them together. That is what reasonable people do. May God help us address our issues reasonably, not shouting down people with a different perspective or avoiding the tough conversations that need to be discussed. We need to respectfully disagree until our collaborative efforts towards healing cultivate the unity of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream .


copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Respectfully Disagree


My freshman year in high school I was bullied by another guy, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. He would sarcastically make comments about me in mock praise, and at the time, I remember feeling so frustrated. I knew his words were insincere, but I couldn’t confront him directly or call him out on his attacks. I finally figured out that if I “praised” him with equal sarcasm, he would eventually stop. 

I feel that same frustration with what has now become an obvious attack against the things I believe. The words are smooth and nice, filled with empty platitudes that everyone should support, but the results and trends are destroying freedom, not just in America, but throughout the world. Sadly, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, was correct when he said that people will believe a lie if repeated often enough. I wonder how many people take the time to look at the facts, both what is known and unknown, and examine what people have to gain from their position. How many others examine the walk of policy-makers and journalists to see how it matches their talk and then consider the likely results? 

War is evil, but sometimes it is necessary to stop a greater evil. Every life is valuable, yet there are some things worth dying for. In other words: some things are more important than life. On this Memorial Day in the United States, we remember those who gave their lives so that we may live in freedom. Sadly, out of fear and complacent convenience we are incrementally relinquishing freedom. I want to fight for it like the heroes of the past, but I feel like that high school freshman again, confronted with pleasant-sounding lies that have become internalized by so many innocent people in our society. 

I am further saddened by the recent news of Ravi Zacharias, a man gifted with the ability to wage this war with words yet who has now completed his race and joined Christ in His heavenly kingdom. Ravi had a way of respectfully disagreeing with the lies he encountered, treating the questioner with respectful consideration. He would often respond to inquiries and challenges with powerful questions, seeking to understand his questioner so he could better understand their question, and his gentle technique would often help others to find truth. 

Jesus also used questions as He set people free from the lies they had come to believe, and He complemented this with stories to illustrate the truth, making it relevant to their lives and causing them to ponder. I on the other hand want to be direct, and I appreciate directness from others. Unfortunately, that is not very effective in helping people break away from the lies that have captured their minds and ensnared their souls. Being direct works for maybe 5% of us, and then only part of the time. 

So with one less Ravi in the world, who is willing to take up the sword of truth and wield it with precision, attacking the lies and not the person? In a society that is more concerned with pushing forward an agenda than with truth and love, I wonder. People are vilified and mocked for having a different opinion on social media, and they are silenced in the workplace by HR policies that reflect conventional wisdom, regardless of how foolish conventional wisdom has become. Who is bold enough to say, “The emperor has no clothes!” yet considerate in how they say it so as to not embarrass the emperor?

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Piercing the Illusion


The Lord promised me years ago that He would be my inheritance. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, and I’m still figuring it out. However, I do know that He put me in a position of dependency upon Him and has shown me consistently that He is faithful to provide for my every need. Despite this, I am continuously drawn to the illusions of peace and security. I have walked the dual path of expecting His imminent return while following the command to “build houses… plant gardens… get married…” (Jeremiah 29:5-7) and otherwise live in this world, believing that at some point in my lifetime, the harvest will reach fruition and this age will come to an end.

Walking a dual path without being double-minded is a struggle. I am little bit like John the Baptist, who started to doubt if Jesus was the Messiah. In his last days, John sent word to Jesus asking for reassurance. Because of the peril in John’s present circumstances and the gap between his expectations and reality, John needed to know that his life was spent wisely. (Luke 7:19-23) At times, I wonder if I am like the seed that was sown among thorn bushes: will the worries of life, the deceitful pleasures of riches, and the desires for other things take over? Will these distractions choke God’s word in me so that it can’t produce anything? (Mark 4:19

But then I see how my dependency upon God is all part of His plan for me so that I am not ensnared with the thorn bushes when the time comes to make a choice. It’s hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 19:23) because the more you own, the more it owns you. If I’m truly honest, what little I have will be hard to part with. If the Lord told me today in a clear and certain way to leave it all, would I obey with a sad heart or with a joyful expectation that He has something greater in mind? 

The illusion of peace and security, houses and retirement accounts, is one that will keep many from entering the Kingdom when forced to choose. Our global society has erected modern idols of wealth, technology and government to be our providers and protectors, and in the COVID-19 crisis, people are looking to their gods for an answer. They beseech their god of medical technology to provide a cure to this contagion, and they look to their governmental idol for provision. They trusted in their financial plans as a wall of protection, so what will happen when the wall crumbles? I have no doubt that the masses will embrace promises of a universal basic income when their wealth crumbles. Someday, we will discover how much of the world’s current crisis is manmade, but our current trajectory will subjugate us to the global, totalitarian system described in the Bible. In the end, we will get the leaders we deserve, forfeiting the hard-fought freedoms secured by previous generations for the promise of peace and security. When people ignore the truth, they get ensnared in the lies they’ve embraced.
God’s anger is revealed from heaven against every ungodly and immoral thing people do as they try to suppress the truth by their immoral living. What can be known about God is clear to them because he has made it clear to them… While claiming to be wise, they became fools… For this reason God allowed their lusts to control them. As a result, they dishonor their bodies by sexual perversion with each other. These people have exchanged God’s truth for a lie. So they have become ungodly and serve what is created rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen!

We like to think that people are basically good, and while we need to see and cultivate the good in everyone, the fact remains that man is a fallen and selfish creature. It is only the loving grace of God that lifts us up, and it is only in knowing His Truth that we are set free from pet sins that keep us from becoming who we were made to be. The truth shines light on our filth so it can be cleaned. But what happens when we refuse to embrace the truth? The first chapter of John tells us that the light came into the world, but men preferred darkness over light. Our real danger is a spiritual contagion that threatens eternal life, yet people live in denial, avoiding the light of truth that can set them free. 
“These people are rebellious and deceitful children,
children who refuse to listen to the Lord’s teachings.
They say to the seers, ‘Don’t see the future.’
They say to those who have visions,
‘Don’t have visions that tell us what is right.
Tell us what we want to hear. See illusions.
Get out of our way! Stop blocking our path!
Get the Holy One of Israel out of our sight.’”
Magic elixirs promising a cure for all ailments have been sold throughout the ages to gullible and desperate people. How anxious have people become in this global COVID crisis? In desperation and fear, will people grasp onto anything that offers them peace and security? When a man with a confident demeanor emerges with a plan to recover from the global crises, will he be embraced? Will people stop to consider the cost?
The man of sin will come with the power of Satan. He will use every kind of power, including miraculous and wonderful signs. But they will be lies. He will use everything that God disapproves of to deceive those who are dying, those who refused to love the truth that would save them. That’s why God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe a lie.
Healthy people acknowledge the issues; they don’t hide from the truth. I don’t know how close we are to seeing the end of this age, but the world has been staged for the antichrist to appear. Many will embrace a universal ID if it is a requirement for getting a COVID vaccination or universal basic income paycheck. The Book of Revelation predicted this, calling it the “mark of the beast”. Without this “mark” no one will be able to buy or sell in the global economy. The Greek word for this “mark” is “charagma”, which is translated as “an etching or a piercing”. It will become part of a person’s body, like a tattoo or perhaps like a subcutaneous chip that is inserted in animals for tracking them. 

The infrastructure exists to implement a global tracking system for everyone on the planet. The technology exists now for a universal ID to be implanted in everyone and for that ID to be used for security access and exchange of electronic currency. In this COVID crisis, people across the world are now shunning the germ-infested cash and using electronic money. Apple Pay and Google Pay on mobile phones even allow wireless transactions with a cashier. It is a small step to link transaction authorizations to a universal ID, but the Bible warns against accepting this mark of the beast.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 
You may hear religious authorities disagree with me. You may hear religious authorities say we shouldn’t be concerned with end-time prophecies and just focus on living the Christian life. But they either knowingly or unknowingly disregard the introduction for the Book of Revelation: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3) Remember that it was the religious authority of Jesus’ day that arranged for his crucifixion, and Jesus warned His disciples about the Pharisees and Sadducees. So yes, live the Christian life: read the Bible, walk in the Spirit, embrace and extend the grace of God in this world. And do not ignore any truth of Scripture or be ignorant of how it applies to the time in which you live. Do not be desensitized from the truth because people mock it, whether they are within or outside of the Church. 

If anything in this blog has left you concerned or confused, ask God to show you in Scripture what He has said and ask Him to open your eyes more fully to His truth and love. And feel free to reach out to me directly through email: mitch at malloyclan.com. 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/) 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Inconsistent Christian

I've procrastinated writing this blog. It's uncomfortable for me to look at myself honestly, write about it and then publish it for the whole world to see. I'd rather portray some nice image of myself, a picture of who I want to be, someone who always gets it right. Historically, we put on our Sunday best image at church, playing the part of the perfect family for a couple hours each week, rather than being honest about our imperfections. And that's what we do on social media, right?

So you may be thinking: “Then why do it, Mitch? What’s the purpose? What’s the benefit and the cost?” Yes, my thoughts exactly. Why not portray an image of my best self? It only shows part of the truth. God wants each of us to be authentic and has prompted me to do this… insistently… for several months… with ever-increasing intensity. Yet just as Jonah took a ship in the opposite direction, I’ve set this topic aside repeatedly.
Consistently Inconsistent
I wrote before that the one thing consistent about me is my own inconsistency. I re-read that post and see where what I wrote fell short. I put a timeline on something, but 2015 was actually a pretty good year despite what I felt. I sometimes feel such a sense of urgency and importance in a message that I convey the message with that same sense of urgency. I hear the Lord say “soon” and assume it is soon by human standards, but “soon” is a relative term. What seems like an eternity to me is a blink of eye to our eternal God, and I need to remember that He is patient. God will extend the timing of His judgement as long as possible so that (1) no one is left behind and (2) no one is left with an excuse. Ultimately, I’m grateful that He is slow to pass judgement, because it means He is patient with me… patient with my half-hearted, and inconsistent walk with Him. 

His patience is a reflection of His saving grace. Because of His grace, I don’t need to be perfect in behavior, desire or thought; I only need to be perfect in choosing to trust Him. Yet as simple as that is, it's often a decision that I need to make repeatedly throughout the day: struggling, stumbling, repenting and repeating. It is a decision to hand the struggle over to Him and obey the one thing He has told me to do until He gives me the next step. I may not have a singleness of heart and mind at that particular moment, but fixing my eyes upon Him, the anxiety and passion for lesser things fades. Especially during times of inner struggle, I am more keenly aware than anyone else of my need for Christ, yet even then I’m not as aware as my God and Savior wants me to be. He is changing me over time from glory to glory, always becoming. (2 Corinthians 3:18) I have a vision for what I want to become that includes how I measure my growth and guardrails to keep me on the path, but in my selfishness, I jump over the guardrails into the wrong lane. As the Apostle wrote: “I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do.” 

My salvation does not depend upon my faithfulness, but it rests completely upon God being faithful. Still, there are consequences to being unfaithful. It is like a pebble thrown into a still pool of water, creating ripples. No one likes to talk about our failings, but we learn more from our failures than our successes. In other words: every failure is a learning opportunity. Every stumble is a step in our becoming who we were made to be. I heard long ago that a smart man learns from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. I can only hope to be smart in my failures, but you have the opportunity to be wise.
Publicly Inconsistent
My inconsistency has been both public and private. It's easy to see where my public inconsistency has hurt others. The world looks for believers to represent Christ; we are both ambassadors of His grace and recipients of His grace. When we don’t represent Him well, it has a ripple effect. We are rightly called hypocrites, sowing pain and doubt into the lives of those we should be encouraging and strengthening. 

Some of my greatest regrets involve not being consistent in front of my kids. On a family vacation, we decided to go horseback riding, and I lied about son’s age so he could ride along with us. It seemed so innocent in my mind. I easily justified it, but when my son discovered that I lied, it changed him in ways I don’t think he even realizes. On a different occasion, when one of my daughters was 12 years old, I flew into a rage, and even though I never touched her, I deliberately intimidated her to make her afraid of me. Sadly, it worked. My juvenile outburst both terrified her and created a wall between us.

I value kindness and consideration, yet what I did to my daughter was mean and manipulative. The truth is important to me, and there's nothing more detestable to me than a lie. Yet I lied. I can't live up to my own standards; how could I possibly live up to God's perfect Law? That is why God's grace is so important. It's my only hope.

I hate lies, yet I lie. Lies are at the foundation of all our depravity. Adam and Eve believed the lies of the serpent, which led to their fall. The illusion that wealth provides safety and security leads to greed. The perception that temporary pleasures will ease our painful situation leads to so many addictions and does nothing to resolve the root cause. Healing comes when we acknowledge and reject the lie, affirm the truth and resolve to live in truth. The most insidious lies are the half-truths, the ones that leave out that one important detail. We learn to use it as children: "He hit me first!" neglecting to say how much we provoked 'him' to hit me.
Privately Inconsistent
My private inconsistency is that kind of half-truth. Someone on the outside may wonder why I trust in a God who has allowed me to suffer, but they don't see all that is below the surface or understand how God disciplines the ones He loves because they failed to exercise self-discipline. I have privately been an inconsistent Christian, allowing myself to entertain wrong thought patterns that feed the old nature: lust, fear, pride, and laziness. It's God's discipline that dissolves the pride that would otherwise consume me.

My internal thought life can lead to wrong behaviors, yet I can often justify my secret sin as acceptable because "I won't follow through". In other words: “It’s okay to look at the menu so long as you don't order.” But I’ve learned that the internal thought life is where it all begins. It’s the battleground of the soul. While the struggle is only felt by me, the ripple effects pour over into the lives of others. It’s easy to see what we have done to hurt others, but what about what we’ve failed to do? When my thought life has been consumed by some “guilty pleasure”, how have I failed to spend time doing good that others desperately need? How have I failed to be there when my family, friends or neighbors needed someone like me? How have I lost the better thing that God had planned for me? The secret life creates ripples every bit as powerful even if it’s less visible. 

So, I try to be smart man, learning from my mistakes, and I strive to pass this wisdom on to a new generation. My key take-away is to seek a consistent walk with Christ, privately as well as publicly. I realize that I can’t do this perfectly, but as the proverb says: “A righteous person may fall seven times, but he gets up again.” It doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful, and my Father in heaven cheers each step I take toward Him, no matter how many times I may stumble. 
Consistently Hopeful
I proclaimed decades ago that my only hope is in Christ. That remains true today. I was both amazed and excited when I discovered the meaning of Jesus's name: Yahweh Saves! His very name was a promise of what He has done for me! He has saved us, and He leads us to become what we were created to be.

I long to have the promised heart of flesh that replaces my stubborn and rebellious heart of stone, but until that day comes, I’ll remain in this state of becoming, struggling against the old nature that creates this inconsistent Christian walk. God and His promises are unchanging. We see His grace described in the Old Testament (e.g. - Ezekiel 18, Jonah), but it’s in the New Testament where Romans 6 -8 describes the victory of God’s grace over our struggles. It has become the cornerstone doctrine that distinguishes Christianity from other religions and that completes the law of Moses
However, not only creation groans. We, who have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts, also groan inwardly. We groan as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the freeing of our bodies from sin. Romans 8:23
copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/) 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Easter vs Pandemic

Can you celebrate Easter in the midst of a global pandemic? Can you celebrate life and joy and worship an all-powerful, all-knowing, fully-good God when there is so much wrong in the world? How can someone even believe in such a God during the dark moments of life? 

It’s precisely these moments that often turn us toward God. Sadly, I remember reading a blog that read: “We returned to church after 9-11 only to remember why we left.” That saddens me on so many levels but mostly because it tells a story that God’s people did not represent Him well to the author of that blog. 

We are the salt of the world, and if we lose our saltiness then what happens to the world around us? Salt flavors and preserves, and those who bear His name are called to flavor this world with His truth and love. We are the light of world, but what happens to the world when we hide the light that burns within us? 

Easter is a celebration of Life and Joy in God’s Victory! Death has no sting for those who reside in Yahweh’s shadow. As Paul wrote: to live is Christ and to die is gain! In other words, we can represent Christ, be the salt and light for this world until we finally go home to be with Him. I long to hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”, knowing that all my efforts and all my failings don’t factor into either His love or His promises for me. I can love because He first loved me; I know that love is a giving of myself and not just a feeling that is sometimes there and sometimes absent. Love is a decision that can burn through the darkest night, flavor a despairing world, and bring a hope that is based not upon our finite strength but upon the infinite power of a God Who has never let us down, a God Who continues to work all things together for good for those who love Him because He first loved us. 

So how can we be silent on this joyous day? Death has no victory for those who have been blessed with God’s grace! So long as there is life there is hope, and with eternal life comes eternal joy! So on Good Friday, God’s Passover Lamb was sacrificed and the blood covered us so that death could never have victory over us. And on the 3rd Day, Christ rose from the dead to demonstrate His victory over death. It’s not just figurative or theoretical. He has given us a tangible promise to save us from our enemies: death, disease (pandemics), poverty, etc. 

So rejoice and celebrate this Easter in whatever way you can think to glorify God! 

Hallelujah, Christ has risen! 
The Lord is risen indeed, Hallelujah! 

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday 2020

I am thankful for our God: Who never abandons us, Who is always patient with us, Who is faithfully working in us to become the people He has called us to be. He reveals truth to His people and steadfastly brings it to fruition. We are impatient, expecting an immediate answer to our prayers, which He sometimes does but more often makes us wait. 

Why does God make us wait? I honestly don’t know. It could be because He knows that once we get a quick answer or a quick deliverance, we don’t appreciate it as much. Maybe it’s because He wants us to develop a habit, a lifestyle, of drawing close to Him. Maybe He likes to build the suspense to develop our character and help us to trust Him as He catches us… just in time… each and every time. 

Last weekend I suggested we pray. Last year I suggested we pray. 13 years ago I wrote an urgent message. 30 years ago, I said a prayer that changed everything for me. God has been patient and faithful, and He will do as He said He would. We can find shelter in Him in the midst of every storm. Draw close and hang on! 

The Lord says this to the family of Israel:
“Seek me so you can live!
Amos 5:4

copyright ©2020 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)