How Much Longer?

This blog has been the most difficult blog I have created. I have struggled with this topic for days. The difficulty comes because it is a complex subject and I am not sure I can put into words how I feel. I am not even sure how to give this topic a name.

I am talking about the rise of violence and the decay of the moral fiber of our nation. I recently turned 72 years old, which means I have lived long enough to horrific change in our culture. I am afraid if I start listing examples, I don’t know where to stop. I hardly watch the news on television because it upsets me so bad I almost get physically sick. The way our elected officials treat each other is appalling; hatred, lying, deception and totally ignoring our constitution and established laws. I was taught at an early to respect and obey those in authority. Romans 13:1-5. It did not matter if I liked them. It did not matter if I disagreed with them. I was to respect and obey them.

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Politicians provoke people to violence because they disagree with policies that are not to their liking. Leaders inciting racial division, trying to destroy the stability of our nation. https://fxn.ws/2OFSbNg Why is it so difficult to accept someone else’s opinion?  The First Amendment assures EVERY person the right of free speech which includes the press. If a certain news channel upsets you by their opinion; change the channel!

I must stop. I know that the majority of people could care less about what the Bible says about how we should live. But allow me to share a passage that causes me to wonder how long we can go on like this.

Genesis 6:5-7 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.  So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing…”

The Bible said God saw that people were so evil; it broke His heart and He destroyed the world with a flood The description of people in Genesis 6 matches the attitude of our society. The question is how long will God put up with us?

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Prone To Wander?

When I first surrendered to Jesus Christ, it was without question the greatest experience of my life. I could not describe the incredible joy I had. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. It was written in 1757 by Robert Robinson who penned the words at age 22. I really enjoyed singing that song but I had a problem with one of the lyrics… Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love,…

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Personally, I could not imagine ME being prone to ‘leave the God I loved’. I was too much in love with my Savior; I was too committed! I guess I was in the same camp as the Apostle Peter when he said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  Mt. 26:33.

In my zeal to follow Christ, I had not yet read Matthew 26:41 You should have learned by now that your spirit is eager enough, but your humanity is weak” Mankind was born with a sinful nature and therefore has a propensity [pull] to return to its origin. But I remember the words of another song… This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

The pull may be strong but remember “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us…” Romans 3:31-39

Don’t Waste Your Pain

Do you remember the advertisement for Bowflex? “No pain. No gain.” Of course, you do. But that statement is more than just memorable, it’s true. To build muscle, there must be resistance = pain. Pain is inevitable. It is part of life.

“. .. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrow…” John 16:33 If you watch TV, even a little bit, you will see ads for pain relievers. No normal person enjoys pain. John 12:10-11 We will go to the doctor, buy the strongest medicine all to avoid pain. I am very thankful for all the advances in medicine but in our effort to avoid pain, we may be missing something.

Pain might be telling you something. Have you been listening? Are you using the pain of your past for the sake? C.S. Lewis said, “ God whispers to us in our pleasures; speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our world.” 

One of the most beneficial books I have read is Don’t Waste Your Sorrows by Paul Billheimer. The author shows us how to use our pain to produce ‘gain.’ What about you? Have you heard God shout? Is there bad news that lingers, compelling you to better?

Remember, God doesn’t waste pain and neither should you.

Is God Your Friend?

What is God like? How would you describe Him? I am sure that there would be a variety of answers. Most have a wrong idea of who God is. Some people view God as kind, benevolent like a heavenly grandfather granting his children every whim they desire. On the other hand, some see God as the celestial cop; waiting to punish us as so as we step out of line. And others, fall somewhere between the two.

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Those familiar with Facebook are familiar with the term “befriended.” It refers to one person who is enrolled in Facebook inviting another person to be their “friend” which enables them to share information. 

Recently a new television program, God Befriended Me premiered. It is a humorous, uplifting drama about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from God and unwittingly becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.

That got me to thinking. Isn’t that exactly what God is all about? He has called each of us to close relationship with Him. ““No longer do I call you slaves…but I have called you friends.” John 15  Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament was referred to as the friend of God. James 2:23. 

When people think about God being your friend, they think it is sacrilegious. But Jesus, Himself,  calls us His friends because He communicates with us. John 15:14 Our relationship with God is the most personal relationship we can ever have but the choice is yours. Will you accept His invitation to be His friend?

 

Headwinds

He causes His wind to blow.

Psalm 147:18

In 1942, a group of volunteers from the Army Air Corps signed onto a dangerous secret mission to conduct bombing raids under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle.

One of the men, Sergeant Joe Manske, was a mechanic and gunner on the fifth B-25 to take off from the USS Hornet. The men completed their mission and were making their way to a landing strip in China when they were confronted by tremendous headwinds that slowed their progress and depleted their fuel. Manske knew there was only one hope. In the back of the Mitchell B-25 bomber, he got down on his knees and earnestly prayed. And as he prayed, the winds began to shift direction, and what had been a headwind slowly turned into a tailwind of about 25 miles per hour and began pushing the plane toward their landing site. According to Navy meteorologists, that kind of wind never occurred in that region. The crew made it to China where all five crewmembers bailed out and were rescued.

When we pray, God gradually transforms headwinds into tailwinds. He turns curses into blessings.

From Turning Point with David Jeremiah

Tomorrow, I turn 72! I know, I know, I can’t believe it either! This is the age when I can truthfully say, “When I was your age….” No, I did not walk 6 miles to school, uphill, in a blinding snow storm, no shoes, etc. but I HAVE seen some tremendous changes in my life time:

  1. Rotary phones to cell phones
  2. Black & white TV (no remote) to color 82″ screen that you can record using your smart phone.
  3. I learned to drive a car with standard transmission, no A/C, no radio. Now cars can tell you where to go (GPS), drive themselves, and a host of features too long to mention here.

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But the greatest change I have noticed is level of anger in our society. I know that anger has been around since the beginning of time but people no longer care to even control their anger. In the past, people may have been angry but they controlled it; they did not express it. If you did not like someone; you at least treated them civilly and with respect. People are not embarrassed by their anger but rather it seen a a badge of courage!

  • People interrupted the Supreme Court confirmation hearing just because the nominee did not share the same political view.
  • North Korea and China hates America.
  • Democrats hate Republicans and President Trump.
  • Citizens did not hate Trump until he became President.
  • White Supremacists hate people of color or their nationality.
  • McDonald worker puts cleaner in policeman’s food.
  • Democrats vow to fight Brett Kavanaugh even after his appointment.

Anger is an emotion that is common to man. Anger is not bad by itself. Anger becomes wrong when we allow it to control us.

If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.” Ephesians 4:26

Venting your anger does not help the situation. “Human anger doesn’t produce the holy life God wants.” James 1:20

Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Ephesians 4:31

Allow me to leave you with this advise; “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:9

Getting Used to the Dark

DarknessLight is a wonderful thing. It allows us to walk through a dark room without stumbling over that footstool. When we retire for the night, we turn off the light and instantly the room becomes dark. So we pause for a few seconds (or minutes) until our eyes become accustomed to the dark.

In Scripture, light is often a symbol. 1st John 1:5. In the Bible, light is seen as good and darkness is seen as evil. For the Christ-follower we live in a world controlled by the Prince of Darkness (Satan) 2 Cor 4:4 and he is a master deceiver. Before Christ’s 2nd return, Satan is going to deceive a multitude of people into believing their relationship with Christ is genuine. Mt. 7:22-23

He does this through the slow process of getting used to the dark; accepting things that we once knew were wrong. Television and movies have had a tremendous negative impact on the church. We read books that we now find “acceptable.” We spend our hard earned money to watch movies that glorify sex, violence, and filthy language. The movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” (I did not see it!!) was a blockbuster success. It was promoted as a “erotic” romance. It celebrated the immorality of our culture. I was appaled by the number of women in our churches that could hardly wait for it to open in our theaters. 

If adultery, premartial sex, lying, profanity, are sinful (and they are) should a Christ-follower watch those things as entertainment? Years ago, the question was asked this way; “Could you invite Christ to watch this movie with you?” “ Would you be embarrassed  for Jesus to read your last book? Research shows us there is very little difference between non-believers and Christ-followers. We attend the s andame movies, read the same books wear the same style clothes.I am not advocating a legalistic life style but rather a life of obedience and one that honors Christ. 

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Ephesians 5:15