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Posts Tagged ‘Go make disciples’

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Reaping and Sowing

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.

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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.

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