What the heck is going on? This country has surely changed in just a few decades. I sense we have become sin sick because for too long Christians have been the “silent” majority. It is time we become re-engaged in our society. Let us be diligent to bring the light of the Lord to every conversation, every family and community endeavor, every behavior, thought, word and deed.
While we have been asleep at the wheel, divorce has become as common in Christian marriages as in marriages in general; abortion clinics proliferate; sexual activities expressly forbidden by our wise God are not only being accepted but are being incorporated into entertainment and communication venues; pornography has become a 1st Amendment right (what??). Filthy, coarse language has infiltrated our schools and families; nudity is almost unrestrained; drug and alcohol abuse has entered into our elementary schools; teenage pregnancies and teen suicides inundate the youth population. Oh yeah, that’s real progress America!
Hmm-let me ponder a moment…all of that is happening while the 10 Commandments are being removed from public display, prayer and Bible are not allowed at the beginning of the school day anymore, and petitions to remove any mention of God from the Pledge of Allegiance, our money or in our public statements are gaining momentum. I don’t think you have to be a scientist or a theologian to see the connection!
Continue to pray, people. But faith without works is dead. Live the right life of the Lord in all you do. Call, email and write your local, state and federal congressional members and voice your opinion…Lord knows the secular humanists, et al, have been busy doing so with theirs! Those who have the fortitude should run for public office; others can support those with higher moral principles…not just those with the programs that are going to give you more freebies. Our lives are full and busy to the max right now, I know, but seek God with all your heart as to what you may do to stem the tide that is overtaking our country little by little. God has a plan…let’s make sure we are right smack in the middle of it. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
Far too often we attribute to God how humans feel, think and act. Remember, God has already told us that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. With that in mind, we can know that His plan is going to lead us to the best, most fruitful and joyful existence. It will not be perfect because we still live in a cursed body on a cursed earth, but with His plan, we are protected and are lead to that which is higher and better for us. Things often go wrong or against us because of the world, the flesh or the devil—not God! Yet the Most High and Holy One is often the brunt of our foolish anger. Thank God, He doesn’t listen to that foolishness.
God even goes beyond our belief and tells us to be of good cheer when these various trials and sufferings happen. How dare He? Is God crazy? No…we are just ignorant of His greater plan. What is often meant for evil against us, He will turn around for good. Just trust Him. His plan is for our welfare and not for our calamity, to give us a future and a hope. Seek God with all your might…do not give up…do not give in. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
Do you find yourself admonishing others as to what they should or should not do, all the while not doing these same things yourself? Do you categorize and judge people and put them into little “boxes” in your mind? Do you just keep them there and not even see their growth, all the while thinking yourself to be growing in leaps and bounds?
Maybe the problem is attitude vs. platitude. Are you just repeating religious clichés (platitudes) or are you a serious student before our great and wonderful God, willing to have Him change your heart and let Him reign (attitude)?
Pretty deep meditation on that one, heh! Take a quiet moment and read Ephesians 2:14-22 and see what the Lord shows you. We let so many things beset us and we draw so many judgments on others, instead of having an attitude that realizes that God uses all of our circumstances…for our good, if we let Him. We may never know through whom God may want to speak to us or to get our attention and touch our hearts.
Before shining that spotlight too quickly on someone else’s faults, perhaps we could instead ask God to turn the spotlight back on us. Pray for the people or circumstances that aggravate you the most and you might be surprised by who experiences the greatest change…it just might be you! If you practice putting away dissent and disgust, God will give you peace. Curl up in your favorite chair with a hot cup of tea and read Psalm 133, Acts 10:24-48 and Ephesians 4:3-6. It’ll do ‘ya good! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
How good are you at listening? That is not one of my strengths either…but, by the grace of God, that will improve. It is very important to be a good listener. Shakespeare once said, “Lend every man thy ear, but few thy voice.” That is natural wisdom at its best. God’s wisdom goes one better. James 1:19 states, “…everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” I see a pattern of direction here. If you are quick to listen, you just might hear some of the other guy’s feelings, needs and observations. If you are slow to speak, you just might have enough time to let God give you the wisest reply needed in the situation. And if your steam engine is not running on high and ready to explode from your mouth, then you just might be able to be slow to anger.
When people come to you with their troubles, you may discover that you have a “birth defect”…your “ear bone” is connected to your “mouth bone”! When patience, understanding and encouragement are most needed, you give advice, platitudes and a bunch of “my experiences top that”, kind of stories.
The burdened that come to you needing to lessen the burden are looking for an “ear bone” connected to a “heart bone”. Let’s work on giving them that.
Always remember, “listen” and “silent” are made of the same six letters! Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
It is not surprising that some in our country are trying to eradicate the use of the phrase, “In God We Trust”. Today’s American culture is being assailed by those whose God is their own intellect and opinion. They deny the existence of the very God upon which this nation was built.
Our founding fathers believed that God was the only sure foundation upon which to build a nation. George Washington stated it simply, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
This reliance upon God is deeply rooted in our country’s important documents and institutions. But today, confidence in God and reliance on His Word is no longer the foundation of our society. Violence, sexual perversion and obscene language pervade our entertainment and advertising; schools no longer begin the day with prayer and a Bible reading; politics and business are full of expedience, lies, corruption and greed. Life is devalued; abortion is commonplace and even children respond daily with unbridled anger and rage.
Oh yeah, that’s real progress from the “Progressives”! It is time to return to the values of God’s Word in our public and private lives. If we call out to Him, confess our sins and turn from our wicked ways, He will heal our land…it’s His promise. God is calling you today. We must act together and cry out, "In God We Trust”. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
How are you ever to know the truth? Just read a book on nutrition, childcare, or marriage. Book after book will detail what to do to help in specific areas, yet many of these details are exactly the opposite of each other! How can we know what is true?
It is the same with knowing what is written or said about God…is it true? There is a way to know that…go to God! He will not lead you to something He did not author. Too many are seeking the truth based on culture, religion, opinion, and feelings. All of those areas are broken. We are born with a broken nature, not broken by God but rather as the end result of the disobedience of Adam thus causing the separation from God of humankind. Some hate to hear this, but we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We try to figure God out with something that cannot know Him.
The gospel, the good news about God, salvation and rescue through Jesus and the new and living way taught and lived by Jesus are foolishness to those who are perishing. Are you perishing? Have you given your heart and life to Christ? Or do you just go through the motions? Many are going to church but not many are going to heaven. Where will you go when you die? You best know the truth now, because when you die and meet God face to face, that is one heck of a time to find out you were wrong!
Trust God to get through to you. You will hear Him, not because you are such a good hearer, but because He is such a good speaker! Have that little talk with Jesus…today. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
Have you ever seen the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”? If not, I urge you to do so and, if you have seen it, I urge you to watch it again! For me, it was an attitude-altering experience. It was like a bucket of cold water being poured on my own desires and thoughts. It put life in such a different and grounded perspective. It made me so sorry for my sins and so extremely sorry that I was one of the reasons Jesus had to suffer the way He suffered. It drew me closer and more intimately into a love relationship with Him.
Each one who sees that movie will walk away with a different reaction and result. That is how the Lord deals with us ... individually. Hopefully, one thing we can all reap from this movie’s message is to understand more clearly that God so greatly and wonderfully loves us and we must translate that into loving each other. May the word of God become so real, so deeply ingrained in our hearts, our thinking, our attitude and our behavior that we will hate all evil and practice and teach the truth.
As you reflect on the visual presentations from the movie, may you come to realize, as I have, that we have never loved as we have been loved by Him. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!
So many people are caught up in the painful response to rejection – from poor or lacking parental love, by a mate, among friends at school or work, etc. Rejection comes in many forms and starts very soon upon our entrance onto this planet. The brokenness of the human nature, passed down after Adam’s rejection of God and eventual separation from Him, is a recurring “soul cancer” in society.
In response to rejection, some people turn inward, become awkward and isolated and develop anti-social behavior. Others turn to life’s handy anesthesia (sex, alcohol and drugs) to numb their pain. All alone, cursing God, shaking a fist at the One they think is an unfeeling elitist who is way off in the comforts of heaven.
Oh, how wrong they are! God does know rejection. Jesus’ life was defined by rejection! Just think of it…His neighbors scoffed at Him, His family wondered about His sanity, His closest friend betrayed Him, and a screaming mob of fellow Jews traded Him off for a criminal! Isaiah tells us He was, “Despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”
Jesus didn’t run from rejection…He let God the Father embrace Him when He felt abandoned, love Him when He felt the sting of hatred, and comfort Him when He felt betrayed. And you can do the same. Let God cover you with His mantle of protection and safety from the rejections in this world. Don’t turn to pain-numbing, problem-increasing methods. Turn to God, in Christ, Who knows your pain and will stay there with you through it all. Endure the fire…it’s producing pure gold!