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Archive for April, 2013

This morning I sat in my favorite chair, sipping coffee, with my Precept homework spread around me. Before beginning today’s study, I asked God to teach me what He was saying in this lesson that could be applied in my life.

With the last homework question answered, I was closing my notebook when the Holy Spirit began calling scriptures to my mind, flash-card style.

 “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages which were before us. There is no remembrance of earlier things; and also of the later things which will occur, there will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 NAS).

Genesis tells us God gave Abraham the promise of a land, a seed, and a blessing. Hundreds of years later, God delivered Abraham’s descendants from slavery in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land. God set up a system of judges to govern this young nation; but the people were dissatisfied. They wanted a king—like the nations around them.

Just like people from every generation since that time, the Israelites rejected God as their king. They wanted to be like everyone else in their world—they wanted a human king. And God gave them the desire of their hearts.

Then Samuel’s conversation with God raced through my mind, when the people demanded a king and Samuel was angry, but God told him:

“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 all 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” (I Samuel 8:7-9 NAS).

We know the result of their demand, lived out over the next 475 years—from 1011 B.C. when Saul was anointed king over Israel, until 536 B.C. when the first exiles returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylonian.

And it was predominantly ugly and broke the nation into two kingdoms.

That period of Jewish history was collage of chaos for the northern kingdom. Their continuous rebellion to God’s statutes ended when the Assyrians hauled them away into slavery. The southern kingdom had a few godly kings, but the people and their leaders, even the priests, were equally rebellious and disobedient to the Lord God until He banished them into captivity for seventy years in Babylon. God told them:

Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you and I will destroy your high places…and you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 6:3-7 NAS).

God still gives us our own way. But there are consequences. He’s done that since the garden. He’s not a dictator. He is the Righteous King who desires our allegiance, our love, and our hearts.

In December of 1620, a ragged band of pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, searching for the freedom to worship the Almighty God. It cost them, and most of our founding fathers, their lives. But their determination to maintain their allegiance to God birthed a nation—under God—the United States of America.

And as long as Americans pledged their allegiance to the God of our Fathers, He blessed our land, our people and our children.

But the seed of Adam’s sin infects every generation. Just like in the Garden of Eden, man still struggles with the sin of rebellion against God. Each of us must decide where to place our allegiance. Each of us must choose the laws we will follow. Each of us chooses to give our love and our heart either to God or to Satan.

There is no middle ground and “there is nothing new under the sun.” We are no different from our ancestors, all the way back to Adam and Eve. We just think we’re different because we’ve tossed mud into the waters of the sovereignty of God’s law, hoping our pitiful attempts to obscure His truth in education will silence His Word. But God’s Word will remain forever, in spite of our futile efforts to diminish, twist, and destroy it.

The final flash-card repeated:

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it (the king’s heart) wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1 NAS).

God is the same God in Genesis that He is in 2013. His ways are the same. His authority is the same. His power is the same. And His judgments are the same.

Today fifty-one percent of Americans are screaming for a king. Fifty-one percent of Americans want nothing to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Fifty-one percent of Americans desire a government like the other nations who have either a dictator or a king.

And God will give the people what their hearts desire.

Just like He did to the Israelites who stood on the border of the land God promised and assigned their loyalty to ten lying spies who refused to believe God’s Word and His promise. And that cost those folks forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Until they died.

God was Israel’s king until they rejected Him. And their wrong choices culminated in 475 years of generational pain that ended when they were dragged into slavery in Assyria and Babylon. And the pain that began continues to this day because the people of  Israel refused to believe the promised Messiah was born in that manger in Bethlehem.

Choices bring consequences.

Refusal to address sin and rebellion in our lives, in our families, and in our nation is a refusal to seek God’s presence. Only with God’s presence can we have His blessing and His peace. Without Him there will always be chaos.

What will the cost be to Americans if we continue to reject the Lord God Almighty and desire to be like the other nations? What will the consequences be if this fifty-one percent grows to seventy-five percent? What will become of our young people, our grandchildren, being schooled in the murky waters of Day Age, Evolutional Creation, self-worship, pride, homosexuality, infanticide and millions of other deceptions writhing in the cesspools of evil?

Are you satisfied with Jesus? Does your heart truly belong to Him? Is He your Lord, your God, and your King?

Or does your soul desire another king? If so, are you willing to pay the price?

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I’ve spoken these words of warning so many times. To my children. To my husband. And (sigh) to other folks’ kids too. Haven’t you?

My inference has always been: “Stop! Think about what you’re doing. Get your head (and your heart) on straight and fly right.”

In Haggai, Chapters One and Two, God told the exiles who had returned from Babylon that same thing. He instructed them to stop, and to consider their ways, five times in two chapters.

These folks had been taken captive for seventy years because they continually disobeyed God’s Word.

Their seventy year captivity was completed. God had stirred the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, and he had given permission for those who wanted to return to leave. The hearts of these Israelites were moved to rebuild the House of God that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. You’d have thought they would have learned to trust and obey God. Right?

Wrong.

Like us, they struggled with the human condition—sin. Added to the equation, there were enemies in the land who were not happy to see fifty thousand exiles returning to Jerusalem. And those returning Jews were terrified. Even though the king of Persia and the God of heaven were on their side, they were filled with fear.

Don’t cluck your tongue just yet. Hasn’t the Church of our generation been filled with fear? Silent for years? Haven’t we gone inside, shut the doors, and dared any but those just like us to come in?

Could it be that God is shouting for Americans to consider their ways?

The prophet Haggai delivered God’s words to their leader, Zerubbabel:

“You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes” (Haggai 1:6 NAS).

Then God asks:

“You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why? Declares the Lord of hosts, because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.

I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands” (Haggai 1:9-11 NAS).

And as soon as the people heard Haggai’s words they listened, got up off their backsides, and obeyed the voice of the Lord. And the work that had begun fourteen years previously was completed.

Are there any comparisons with the Church in America today? You bet there is. God will not and cannot bless rebellion and disobedience to His Word.

There are enemies of the living God ruling our nation. Enemies who rebuke, revile, and reject the God of heaven and His Word. Enemies who, like those in ancient Israel, demand we compromise with them to make a union with their diverse and perverse ideologies. And we have. Enemies who shout discouraging words, fearful words, words that frustrate the message of God’s Word. And we’ve listened to them.

The Church of this century has developed spiritual Alzheimer’s. We’ve forgotten who we are and whom we serve—the Lord God of heaven. We’ve neglected to study the Bible so that we know, for ourselves, what His Word says. We’ve allowed these enemies of the cross to influence and steal the hearts and minds of our children because we’ve been too busy to teach them Truth. But you can’t teach what you don’t know.

“Consider your ways,” said the Lord. In recent years, we have experienced enormous terrorists attacks on both Oklahoma City and New York City. Hurricanes of super-storm-magnitude have struck the northeastern states, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Tornadoes of incredible strength have ripped through the nation’s mid-section. Wild fires in the west, floods in the south and northeast, and droughts. What is it going to take to get our attention and turn our hearts back to God? Will we have to be carried to Babylon to learn to listen to God?

“Consider your ways,” said the Lord. The majority of our politicians have trashed the Constitution and the people they are elected to represent. The federal government has become a monster of gigantic proportion, gobbling up our resources and the liberty of  people this entity was formed to protect. Judges who flagrantly ridicule the Word and person of the Lord God Almighty preside and rule over our Courts of Law. And we continue to return these enemies of God to leadership in this land.

“Consider your ways,” said the Lord. We have turned aside from Jesus’ instructions to “go and make disciples.” Like those Israelites returning to Jerusalem, in the face of our fear and dementia, we’ve given our attention to the acquisition of things—idols—that turn our hearts from the Lord God to self-worship.

Financial markets are in chaos all over the globe. Families are ripped and torn by divorce, disease, and addictions of every description. The faith of our fathers lies shredded and trampled beneath the lies and deceptions of enemies we’ve chosen to tolerate.

If God is the same yesterday, today and forever—and He is—what are our options? Is there time to “consider our ways” before more and harsher judgments come?

When God told Zerubbabel and the people to “consider their ways,” they did. Immediately. They obeyed the Lord, finished the work of the temple, and God promised, “I am with you” (Haggai 1:13 NAS).

Folks, why do we attend church? Just to be seen by man or to worship God and build up His Church?

The New Covenant states we are the temple of the God of heaven. Living stones, assigned to build up one another. Instructed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Word of God with a world that desperately needs to hear God loves them.

Are we fulfilling His command to be living stones or are we sitting in the pews on Sunday while the pastor’s words fall on iron ears that cannot hear? Never allowing the Spirit to apply the Truth to our own heart. Never speaking the Truth to those we come in contact with during the week. Never interested enough to seek God’s Truth beyond those few hours on Sunday morning.

If we intend to be living stones we must have clean hands and a pure heart in order to worship our God. And that washing is accomplished each day when we read His Word and allow His Spirit to convict our hearts. To wash us clean again and again.

The fact is, we have an enemy who is intent on diverting us from God’s Word—because he knows the only way the building up of the body can be accomplish is by the living stones remaining steadfast in the Word.

What will be written about our generation? Are we going to be recorded in the likeness of the Church at Laodicea—neither hot nor cold? You know, the ones God is about to spit out of His mouth? Or will we listen as He asks, “What are you doing?” and then follow His instruction to, “Repent and return to Me.”

Remember, a great shaking is coming. A day when God will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land. What is your heart set on? Knowing God and His Word or serving self? Will you stand firm in the Truth of the Lord your God or will you be shaken?

 

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