Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bits of Dust

When I contemplate His greatness to our insignificance, I am invariably, profoundly moved. We literally are little bits of dust supported by His mercy.

How Willing are You?

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, 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 and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. -- 2 Chr 7:13-14

Certainly it is the Almighty Himself who has come against our nation, and certainly we are guilty of horrific and alienating sins. So, it is He we have to deal with. He uses our leaders, our weather, our enemies -- anything and anyone He choses. But it is He who threatens our very existence.

The thing that some miss is the intensity required in this Scripture. The humility required is not merely limited to fasting. It is taking a position of total surrender, a letting go of all things related to our comfort and ease for His correcting rod. Like little children, we must recognize that we are helpless without Him -- meaning we will even accept punishment rather than depart from Him.

The prayer we are called to is an attitude of prayer. We are to dwell in it, calling out to Him without ceasing. These need not be eloquent or lengthy. "Abba, Father!" works. "What would You have me do?" is one of my favorites. The point is to be persistent, present, and diligent. Don't stop until He responds.

Add to these an intense desire to draw ever nearer to Him, an earnest need to know where we have missed it, a willingness to be completely broken, and an eagerness to turn from whatever sin He reveals. So the intensity required is profound. We can't move Him to mercy by mouthing the words or committing to social gatherings. We have to get completely honest and exceedingly serious about our position before Him.

Our Lord takes utterly useless beings and turns us into useful, productive servants, but He cannot change us until we are willing to be changed. We have to want it enough to choose to be remade. We have to desire Him above all else.

That is what this Scripture from 2 Chronicles is really about for us -- the importance of returning to right priorities. I cannot promise that our nation will be saved. The promise of 2 Chronicles was arguably made to Solomon and the Israelites upon the dedication of the temple, a specific promise for a specific people. However, I can tell you that His call to me has included forgiveness and provisions for those who earnestly apply its principles. Further, it is consistent with Who He is for Him to be merciful when a people return to Him.

However, even if our nation is destroyed we will fare much better personally for having returned Him to His rightful position of complete authority in our own lives. God can do much with one righteous, faithful servant. We just need to be willing to let Him.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Be Submissive to Him

Did you not have to submit to God, taking the LORD as your Master to be saved? Now, granted, that submission was not enough to earn you your salvation. Only His sacrifice could do that. However, you did do something. You submitted. You chose. Folks, like it or not that is action. Just saying the words isn't enough. You must actively submit. You must choose.

How then you do expect the children of abortion to be saved by words only? Obviously, in most cases not even the words are being said. That is most professing Christians won't even discuss or pray over abortion, much less do anything about it.

Taking a stand for life is like the act of being saved. It starts with the commitment to obedience. It starts with submission. Many do not realize what they actually have -- in ignoring the children -- is a submission problem. However, that is exactly what the issue is.

We are called to uphold His laws. Part of that is the command to take up the case of the innocent as if to win it, to prevent the shedding of innocent blood.

Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will NOT acquit the wicked.  Exo 23:7

Defend the poor and fatherless. Do justice to the afflicted and needy.   Psa 82:3

That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.  Deu 19:20

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.  Jam 4:17

Exodus assures us that we are not to kill the innocent, or God Himself will consider us wicked. Psalms calls us to take up their case as if to win it. Deuteronomy warns us that failing to do so destroys our nation. And James warns us that inaction is not acceptable.

I have found that once we make the decision to take action, God leads. Like salvation, we surrender, and He wins the battle. In man's view, I have saved many babies. In reality, God granted that I reach those mothers. All I did was show up and be submissive to Him.

Be submissive today. Take up the children's case. Defying God never ends well.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dealing With Prodigal Children

If you have a prodigal child, you know what it is to suffer. We always want the best for our children, but sometimes our children choose the worst. Sometimes they can be so earnest in their pursuit of evil, that to be around them is to court disaster.

It's never easy to let go of a child. Even when they're grown it is only natural to want a relationship with them, to care what happens to them. We don't stop wanting to cuddle and love them just because they're old enough to care for themselves.

Most children realize this. They know we care, and how far we'd go to see to their needs. That can lead to them seeking to take unreasonable advantage. What we need to remember is what God's word says about erring children.

And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. Exo 21:15

And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. Exo 21:17

Now, clearly, we do not live in Old Testament times. No one is going to kill their child, nor should they. However, continuing with an erring child, especially an older child, who has shown a willingness to abuse their parents, is not something we should do, either. I know it's hard. No one wants to be separated from their children. However, if we truly love them, and they behave in such a manner, it is more loving to walk away from them than it would be to continue with them.

Why? Because if they are willing to curse, and physically abuse a parent, they have already crossed the line. (Please note: I am only speaking here of older children, that is grown children. The pre-adult child should be appropriately disciplined.) The problem is continuing the relationship will more likely cause them to sin even more, and there is only so much God will tolerate. (Seriously, folks, God's hand on us has never ceased. He still judges, and removes people daily.)

I'm just saying, there's a kindness in walking away from such a child. If you don't want them judged, let them go their own way, and leave them to it in every way except prayer. (I don't think I have to tell parents they should continue to pray for their children; rather, I'm just acknowledging that this is so.) This way they have the opportunity to recognize their mistake and turn back.

Remember the Prodigal Son parable. (Luk 15:11-32) The father did not go chasing after the son who walked away. No, he let him go. Even if they choose to never return, at least you'll know you did not encourage them to sin even more. It's a bitter pill, filled with anguish, regret, and sorrow; but it is still the best medicine for the disease.