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What will it take?

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Problems.

We’ve got big problems here in America.

Drug problems. Employment problems. Gun problems. Hate problems. Mass Murder problems. Rape problems. Criminal problems of every imaginable kind.

crime in America map 1

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These problems vex our society in ways that most of us don’t even think about,let alone understand the complexities of.

And what is most distressing about these issues is that they are getting worse instead of better.

In spite of billions trillions of dollars thrown at them in hopes that we will find solutions,our problems worsen.

Apparently money can’t buy everything after all.

We all know this because we see the evidence of it in our communities on a daily basis.What used to happen only in large cities has found it’s way to the family farm and every small town in America.I’m certain that if Mayberry existed today, Andy & Barney would be knee deep in drugs and violent crime.

But this list is by no means complete,because in addition to the Criminal problems we are facing, we are also dealing with Personal problems on an unprecedented level.

Unemployment. Inequalities of every sort. Brokenness. Hopelessness. Our children addicted to prescription medicines for emotional stress.

Depressing,isn’t it?

It seems that every politician has the answer,which I find interesting since these same politicians have continually said they have the answer.Yet the carnage continues.

yes no

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Pass this bill.Pass that bill.Implement this initiative.

It’s the fault of the left.It’s the fault of the right.

Problems.

Big problems.


Yet as unbelievable as all of this sounds,we have a problem much larger and more serious than any that I have previously listed.

You see…we have a God problem in America.

As in… we have rejected the Lord and are now left to our own abilities.Like this…

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.   1Sa 8:7 NKJV

The children of Israel have just sealed their fate. They insisted on being ruled by a king,just like the nations all around them.They told the prophet Samuel that they wanted an earthly king,and rejected the God that had created them.

Saul

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You see, they made the same mistake that we have made.They looked all around them and saw that the other nations were doing just fine without the rules and laws that they themselves were bound to follow.Serving God had become burdensome to them.They had grown weary of the sacrifices and rituals that must be observed.They wanted an easier life.They wanted to be taken care of like the other nations they encountered.

And so God gave them exactly what they asked for.He even told Samuel to let the people know what kind of a king they were going to get,as well as the cost of his rule over them.Even though king Saul would take their children from them and cause servitude to be the order of the day,still they preferred him over God.

Thus began the downward spiral of what was once the chosen people of God Himself.To read the tragic history of a backslidden Israel is to read the story of modern day America.

And yet we also clamor for a king.Or a queen.is_it_2016_yet_square_sticker_3quot_x_3quot

But we do not ask for God.

Anyone,anything….but God

We do not ask for God because we do not know Him.We cannot inquire of Someone that we know nothing about.We have forgotten,rather thrown away, our heritage.

Shocking,but where are the shepherds crying aloud for this nation to humble itself and return to the Lord? If this were a different day the pastors and priests would repent in sackcloth and ashes.But not us.We have strayed too far.We are far too proud to admit our sins to a Holy God.

What we want, we have been given.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.   2nd Tim 4:3,4

As a nation…we are alone and left to our own devices.

While the nation cries for more gun control,precious few cry out for more God control.

While our leaders stagger under the burden of overwhelming defeat in the battle to control the drug problem in America,very few cry out to God for a mighty deliverance.

More intervention by our government is simply not the answer our society needs. Our government is corrupt and stinking to the core.They cannot help.

We need a God intervention.In the worse possible way.

What is needed is an acknowledgment by all that we do not have the answers in and of ourselves,and that turning back to God is our only hope.

repent-before-its-too-late

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Perhaps,if only for a while,believers can call upon the name of the Lord to hold back the oncoming flood that is destined to engulf this once great nation.

Perhaps that is what it will take.

Looking for a city

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My family has been blessed this past two weeks to be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of SW Florida. Seeing the palm trees swaying in the wind,the waves crashing at the beach,a simple rainbow after a passing shower,yours truly unsuccessfully trying to catch a fish along the beach,or simply enjoying each other at the house we’re staying at are all reminders that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.DSCN4026

This life is nothing more than a temporary home. Just as these earthen bodies are not designed to last forever,so it is that every nation and government will one day yield to the Ultimate Authority in all things.

The great patriarch Abraham,when separating from his nephew Lot to begin searching  for a city “whose builder and maker is God”understood that as great as he was,he was but a speck compared to the Omnipotent God who was directing his every step. We would be wise if we took that same approach to life,for as the bible clearly indicates it worked out pretty well for Abraham.

If we’re not careful it becomes so easy for us to dwell on the negative in this life and forget that God is good and has us in the palm of His mighty hands. Trouble and the fear of things to come may cast a pall upon the hearts of God’s people and cause us to look inward instead of upward,but we are no longer of this world. We also are “looking for a city…”

In short,there are better things ahead for God’s people.

Whether your personal political slant leans to the left or right there is a feeling of uncertainty in the air as we approach the upcoming election in the Fall. As Christians we can take heart in knowing that whichever way things end up,God is still in control. That does not mean that everything is going to be ok. It simply means that God still rules in the hearts of men and as such He will make a way for His children when there doesn’t seem to be a way.

How blessed we are to have this confidence! To know that God is a way maker in a dry and barren land should cause us no small amount of excitement!

Jesus told us in Matthew 24 that in the last days perilous times would come. He spoke of wars and rumors of wars. Famines. Pestilence. Disease. One catastrophe after another. I am in the number of those that believe we are in this period now,and because of what Jesus spoke we will see horrific things on a scale unseen before.

But remember that Jesus also told us this:”in the world you will have tribulation,but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world”.

Beloved,if Jesus overcame we can have confidence that He will make us overcomers as well. To be standing with Jesus at the end of the race is really all that matters!

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

I Wonder…

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I wonder sometimes.

I wonder what has happened to America in the short span of time that I have existed.

I wonder how in the world we ever got to the place we are now.

How we have become so divided.

How we have forgotten the words drilled into us as school children “One nation,under God…”

How we have become a nation of individuals instead of the United States of America.

And then it hits me.We are all of these things and more for one simple reason:we have forgotten the Lord our God.We have lost our way.We are stumbling as blind men in unfamiliar surroundings.Wandering aimlessly about in search of who knows what.

In our zeal to become self sufficient,the caretaker of the free world,masters of our own destiny,we have succumbed to the great lie of Satan in believing that our greatness lies within.Listen to the political speeches crowding the airways today.They all espouse the greatness of America.They all point to you and I as what makes America so great.Words of flattery, all designed for one purpose:to get your vote.

The two impostors positioned to become the next president do not Know Him.They will not lead this nation with any sense of Biblical morality or judgement for they possess neither.

Our leaders have forgotten God.

As a nation,we have made the ultimate blunder in that we have repeated the same fatal error as those nations before us did in believing they no longer needed God.

Yet throughout the history of America there have been many who have marveled at the blessings bestowed upon this nation.Listen to the words of one such man,written long ago in 1835:

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America   (emphasis mine)

Isn’t it interesting that Alexis de Tocqueville uncovered such truths about America while viewing them as an outsider,or visitor to this country? Being of French citizenry he had originally come to America under the guise of studying it’s prison systems, but his real purpose was to study American society.Specifically,he wanted to know why democracy seemed to be working here while in his native France it was failing.

Mr. Tocqueville correctly identified the source of America’s goodness when he listened to men of God proclaiming the timeless truths of the Gospel.Contrast this with the “truths”being propagated today claiming that we are charting our own course with no need of God or religion.Quite a difference wouldn’t you say?

The Bible has a great deal to say about the nations that forget their God. Here are but a few examples:

“Because My people have forgotten Me, They have burned incense to worthless idols. And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, From the ancient paths, To walk in pathways and not on a highway,   Jer 18:15 NKJV

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.   Hos 4:6 NKJV

According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.   Hos 13:6 KJV

Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;   Jer 18:15 KJV

So I wonder…what is next for America?

One thing is certain: we won’t have to wait long to find out because if scripture gives us any historical perspective,it is that severe judgement is coming to America.

Consequences…

Why Prayer Meetings Fail

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Many Christians,especially newer ones,do not know that one of the primary strengths of the church used to be the prayer meeting.This should come as no surprise considering that the church was birthed in an Upper Room prayer meeting.

For so many generations churches of nearly every denomination practiced regular,routine corporate prayer because they understood the dynamics of regular communication with God. For the church to do the work of the church,prayer,especially corporate prayer was a necessity that could not be overlooked.

Through the centuries the practice of corporate prayer has dwindled until in most churches it’s not even practiced any longer,and if it is it’s so sparsely attended as to be of little effect. I suppose the case could easily be made that the demise of the corporate prayer meeting coincides with the general attitude of the Laodicean church today,which is that the church of today is in need of nothing.

Especially God.

This mindset that we are in control,that we are capable of sustaining our own evangelical empires apart from God is something that the church of the book of Acts would reject outright. As would countless millions of Christians through centuries past who routinely cultivated their personal relationship with God through prayer.

Today’s prayer meeting,what little there is of it,has drastically changed in many ways from what our predecessors new,especially considering this major point: what we pray about,or for,is different now. Let me explain.

It used to be that churches had a burning desire to have a positive impact on their community for the sole purpose of winning their community for Christ. They lived the Christian life outside of the church and were examples of God’s love and grace,which served to draw the lost to the church. The primary method at their disposal to accomplish all of this was prayer!

In return,communities recognized that the church genuinely cared for them,and were concerned for their well being. What they saw was Christ extended to them in a way that they were receptive to. Such is the love of God. Like moths drawn to a flame,the love of God will draw lost men and women when nothing else will.

Churches,pastors,lay members alike were all united in the shared goal of reaching the lost,and they knew that prayer was the only way to make that happen.Think about it…what else did the church have at their disposal?

Before the days of the internet,conferences of every conceivable type, car shows,and bouncy houses God’s people relied on the sovereign moving of the Spirit,wrought by prayer,to bring the lost in.

Oh,to be able to go back in time!

Today we have every means of the newest,latest technology at our instant disposal,ready to use to market our latest strategy to bring them in.A very small percentage of this works,the vast majority does not.

Church advertising budgets(disguised as evangelism) are expanding every year,yet the results are the same:pitifully few new converts are being added despite the staggering amount of dollars spent. Growth,what there is of it is mostly from other churches,drawn to the latest gimmickry or cult of personality preacher. History has shown that this is not sustainable growth,as true discipleship has given way to strategies and methods not designed to develop the believer,but to entertain.

In short, prayer has been supplanted in today’s church by every means available. God Himself has been replaced by the inventions of man. The Holy Spirit is no longer welcomed or needed in our churches as the principal agent to draw the lost.

And I think I understand why.

Because we don’t know the One we claim to know.

We use His name.

We use His building.

We sing songs supposedly written in His honor.

We preach sermons using His words.

But we do not know Him like we claim.

If we knew Him like we claim that we do,we would be different. We would be changed.Our hearts would be pure,as would our motives. We would not be this sickly,anemic,weak institution that the world mocks in derision. If we knew Him like we say we do,we would demonstrate His attributes in all that we do.

Perhaps most importantly of all,we do not know Him like we claim we do because we ask Him to do everything except what we desperately need the most:

To change us from within.

We ask Him for things. For stuff. For favor. For anything that will please the flesh.

But we do not ask Him to change us. 

Prayer meetings are no longer in vogue. They are considered old fashioned,relics from a by-gone age. At least that’s what the church of today is being taught.

Could it be however that the real reason that prayer meetings fail,have gone out of style,are no longer considered essential,is because we do not know Him after all?

Something I pray that causes us to stop and think about on this rainy Monday…