Source: SO…WHAT’S NEXT?
Someone much wiser than me said: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” Since the ‘50’s, the law of centrifugal force has gathered political speed in America. And the past eight years this nation, like a free-range snowball, has sucked momentum in its plunge down the slippery slope toward the bulls-eye of destruction.
This should be no surprise. Over two thousand years ago God told us: “And if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:24-25 NAS).
And the chasm of the dark divide in America grows wider and deeper each day.
We have watched and read over the past four thousand years those truths unfold in the history of nations across the globe. Ah, but we think, this is America. We’re special. Things will continue here, just like always.
Really? All we have to do is research the history of Israel to confirm that past and future behavior statement. God chose the nation of Israel to be His people. They were to preserve His Word. God promised the Messiah, spoken of from the beginning chapters of Genesis, would come through the nation of Judah.
But they were a stubborn, faithless people. Just like Americans are today.
After God brought this great assembly out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and gave them a land, He formed a Theocratic form of government. God appointed judges to rule them. And the people stood before the mountain and pledged, “All that You have said, we will do.”
But do I need to remind you of that difficult trip through the dessert? They had faith issues, just like we do.
Before they went into the land, God divided their priests into two groups—one to recite the blessings if they obeyed, and the second to warn of the curses if they disobeyed. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God records:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”
And the Lord God led them into the land and they looked around at the nations they were to have wiped out or converted, and like every other people on the planet said, we want to be just like them. We want a king we can see to rule over us.
We have the account of Samuel’s, the last judge of Israel, reaction when he heard of the division of this people that had been so blessed by God. To say Samuel was irked would have been an understatement, and he took this matter to God. But God didn’t strike the folks with a lightning rod. No. Listen to what God instructed Samuel to do.
“And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them’” (1 Samuel 8:7-9 NAS).
And the majority of Americans have rejected God from being King over them too.
Many of us asked God to provide candidates who trusted and believed in Him. He answered and provided at least four. And then we watched this majority of Americans reject these men and women of godly principles, and then promote unprincipled politicians who reject God’s Word and God’s requirement of righteousness from His people. We have spiraled so far into this dark chasm, there is an avowed socialist still in the running, and our young people love him and clamor to be like the other nations.
Can you name one nation where socialism worked for the good of the people? Have we become such lazy, deceived, and insolent people, we would rather depend on an elite group of people we don’t even know rather than work to enjoy freedom and responsibility?
If we look back through history, we can pick out various times when God used ungodly people to accomplish His purposes, and 2016 might be one of those times. He could use Trump like He did Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus. But I would remind you, Israel had to suffer God’s judgment for their rebellion by exile to Babylon before God moved in King Neb’s life. Also remember, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never overlook the sins and rebellion of His people. Forgiven—yes. But consequences remain.
So what’s next? How are we to act and react each day?
When Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth, according to Luke 4:18-19, He stood and read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, Chapter 61-1-2:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden. To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord…”
Then Jesus explained:
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21 NAS).
And the crowd went nuts! They wanted to kill Him. Because they understood exactly what He claimed.
Precious reader, I don’t know if this is the end of this age, or when it will be. But I do understand one thing, we are still living in the favorable year of our Lord. And Jesus instructed us as the cloud caught Him up after His death, burial, and resurrection, “Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you to the end of this age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NAS).
We’d best be about the Father’s business, because time is shorter than it’s ever been. And we can’t be screaming messages of hate in one gasp, then talk about the love of Christ in the next breath. And that’s been the problem with religion for years. When Jesus spoke to the crowd in Nazareth that day He left out one single phrase Isaiah wrote. A phrase that we must, two thousand years later, be mindful of:
“…and the day of vengeance of our God…”
These are two separate times. Thousands of years apart. The favorable year of our Lord—and the day of vengeance of our God. Prophecies have been fulfilled, Christ’s return is next, and then God’s judgment. When that day arrives, there will be no opportunity for change.
So what’s next for you and me?
Learning to love people like Jesus does—not just those who are like you. Sharing the message of His love and mercy and forgiveness with everyone He puts in your path. Showing them the kindness and grace the Holy Spirit develops in you and me—that’s why we’re here—in the last times of this age. And to pray diligently.
We are to stand firm and occupy ‘til Jesus comes—as dual citizens—of the here and now and the kingdom that is to come. And yes, this will be another year of a vote against, rather than a vote for. But a failure to vote is a vote for the opposition. Be sure to count the costs and consider the consequences, then remember God puts kings in place and makes them fall.
But like He did with Ancient Israel, God often gives us what we think we want, in order to bring us to the end of ourselves and to the place we’re ready to surrender and listen and obey Him.
Posted in A Nation Divided | Tagged Choose life so you may live, Day of vengeance of our God, Divided nation, Forgiven...Yes. But consequences remain, Go make disciples, God uses ungodly and godly for is purposes, Learning to love others, Like the other nations, Listen, Obey, Predictor of behavior, Rejected Me from being King, Responsibility to vote, Stubborn and Faithless People, Surrender, The favorable year of the Lord, Why are we here? | 6 Comments »
A gentle breeze ruffled the massive oaks on the sprawling spring-green lawn of the Texas Capital in Austin this past week. Eight-thousand-plus people were gathered to pray. The sights and sounds of…
Source: WHEN PEOPLE PRAY
A gentle breeze ruffled the massive oaks on the sprawling spring-green lawn of the Texas Capital in Austin this past week. Eight-thousand-plus people were gathered to pray.
The sights and sounds of people of like mind and faith—some kneeling, some with hands lifted, some standing—all with heads and hearts bowed, humbled before the Sovereign God of the Universe, confessing the sins of our fathers, the sins of our nation, and our own sins.
How sweet was the sound of those voices lifted to Heaven, recognizing the only hope for our nation comes from The Lord God Almighty and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As we held hands and prayed with people of many races, nations, and ages, I felt the presence of the Lord and His peace and knew we were standing on holy ground.
At the close of the hour of prayer, we sang God Bless America, and my eyes could no longer hold back the tears.
And this scene is being repeated in State after State, as Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, calls Americans to prayer. Praying not to a god of our imagination, or an idol of wood or stone, but to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—The God of all creation—El Shaddai, The Lord God Almighty.
The only God. The God of our forefathers. And the God upon whose principles America was founded and has prospered–until we chose to turn our backs in ridicule of His holiness and righteousness and march to the tune of our own drum beat.
But our God is a God of mercy, forgiveness, grace, and a love so deep our tiny hearts and minds do not have the ability to comprehend, unless we choose to come to the cross, and allow His Spirit to teach us His way.
In II Chronicles 7:14 God gave His people the following instructions:
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.”
Almost 2,700 years ago a young Jewish teen was captured and carried to Babylon with thousands of other Jews. Jews who were given over to judgment by this same righteous, holy God for many of the same offenses Americans are participating in today. Their priests were corrupt. Their kings were evil. The people had forsaken the Lord God Almighty and perverted their worship and their ways.
According to His Word, God had to judge them, just as He will have to judge us. Scripture tells us, “God is the same today, yesterday, and forever.”
This Jewish teen, Daniel, spent seventy years in Babylon, just as God had told them through the prophet Jeremiah, and Daniel realized because of the books—God’s Word recorded by the prophets from the beginning—the time of their desolation was almost completed. So Daniel “…set his face before the Lord God to make requests by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sack cloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3 NKJV). “Oh Lord, to us belongs shame of face to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You” (Daniel 9:8 NKJV).
Daniel’s prayer is recorded in the 9th Chapter of Daniel, and I plead with you—take time to study this prayer and use it as a model, a template, for your prayer time.
If you are concerned about the state of our nation, the condition of our homes and churches, and the peril facing our children, I ask you to set aside time every day to come apart from the chaos of your life and earnestly seek God—confessing your sins, seeking His forgiveness, asking His directions, and pleading for Him to create in you an insatiable appetite for His Word.
We are in trouble, folks. Trouble no political party or candidate can fix. Trouble no stable economy or being great again can mend. If we are to survive as a nation and a people, we must seek God. Now. If like Daniel, we look at the Book, we will know there’s little time left to seek God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness. Little time left for our generation to repent and return to the God of our Fathers.
GOD, PLEASE RESTORE AND BLESS AMERICA
Posted in A Nation Divided | Tagged Chosing Righteousness, Confess sin, Decision America, El Shaddai, forgiveness, Franklin Graham, God bless Texas, God of our Fathers, God please restore America, Grace, mercy, Only God can restore, Prayer, Restoration, United-together | 9 Comments »
Shelters, refuges, and tornadoes are all synonymous during springtime in Texas. While not all hail storms and tornadoes damage homes, nor are they all deadly; we never know which one will be the funnel or storm that drops out of the sky to decimate our dwelling and our life. But we understand—prepare before the storm exists, lest you be caught unprepared.
Very early each year news reports warn folks to designate a place in our houses as a safe place, where the family knows to run and remain during one of these treacherous-devil-twisters.
Inevitably these warnings come after dark; and during the early years of writing my now published YA novel Roped, I would gather everything Roped (as well as the other four books I’m working on) and head for our designated shelter—the laundry room.
But one evening, while the grandchildren were with us, the storm was upon us before we realized the need to dash for cover, and we couldn’t make it to the laundry room. While I huddled in the bathtub with my precious little ones and all their stuffed animals and pillows, husband stood with neighbors on the back patio watching the clouds rotate overhead, striking less than ten miles north of us.
It’s prudent to pick out a designated shelter, wait for the weather radio, or TV, or upside-down-ant-hill clouds to shriek a warning the funnel is on the ground near you, then dash inside—when you’re home. But where do you flee for shelter when there is no storm alert? When there’s no storm shelter, only the screaming freight-train of wreck and ruin gaining on you?
Loss of a loved one, terminal illnesses, financial ruin, rebellious teens in trouble again, a mate who demands freedom, job loss—the list is endless. Storms of adversity whip around us each day. Where is your designated shelter, and how do you find your way inside, out of harm’s way? To peace and security?
David tells us: “For Thou hast been my stronghold. And a refuge in the day of my distress…for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness” (Psalm 59:16-16 NAS).
Yes, Jesus is our refuge, but you have to know the way into that place of comfort and peace. And it is much better to practice running to Him during peaceful times, rather than waiting until you’re swirling, injured in the chaos.
So in the quietness, before the storm, take advantage of the lull. David also instructs us:
“My soul wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:5-8 NAS).
The key to peace and comfort through the storm, is learning to practice peace and comfort before the storm strikes.
I have two quiet places. Places I meet the Lord. My chair in our family room, with my Bible and a cup of tea, before the turmoil of the day begins. And (weather permitting) the swing in my backyard.
Where do you meet the Lord? Have you designated an everyday shelter from the threatening storms?
My personality screams of my need to learn to be still and quiet before Him. And I can tell you I don’t always make it to the shelter before the storm breaks. It takes lots of discipline and determination and I’m easily distracted. Because the wind in this Texas home whips from the time my feet hit the floor. And if I am truthful, probably before that, like when I open my eyes. Winds of urgency and pride, deceptive winds whispering, I’ve got to…
Rather than sitting in quietness, listening to the day’s weather report and warnings from my Sovereign God, letting Him order my day.
It’s not enough to know where your place of safety is, you’ve got to have traveled to that designated shelter over and over again, so even in the darkness of a storm you instinctively listen—
“And your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it’ “(Isaiah 30:21 NAS). “ ‘I will never dessert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?’ “(Hebrews 13:5-6 NAS).
Posted in A Nation Divided | Tagged My hope, My Refuge, My Stronghold, Peace through the storm, Practicing peace, Quietness in the chaos, Security in the storm, Shelter from the Storms, The lull before the storm, Where is your place of security?, Who is your designated shelter? | 13 Comments »