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Looking with HOPE to the future

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New Years. new_year_sign_19648

I have to be honest and admit that this is one holiday that I just don’t get. For millions of people it’s an excuse to get crazy drunk. For millions more it’s all about a traditional meal that includes sauerkraut and pork.

And then there are the millions who think of New Years as a chance to start over by saying goodbye to the previous year. Oh well, no one said I had to “get it”!last_year_garbage_can_custom_800_clr_21288

 

Today I asked my mailman if he was looking forward to 2018, and he answered very quickly “I don’t have much hope for the new year,and I don’t expect things will get better until we get a new leader in office”. UGH!

 

Hmmm…..no holiday cheer there, and it was too late to say Bah Humbug!

Actually, his response surprised me as I’ve always thought mail carriers led a pretty good life. But hey, what do I know?

 

What really matters in the big picture is where our hope lies. If, as in the case of my mailman, our hope lies in the next presidential election,there will always be a large percentage of the population left disappointed and wondering what might have been.

This is just one of many reasons why my hope is in Jesus Christ. With Jesus, I never have to wonder what might have been. In addition, with Jesus I already know what to expect, therefore I know in advance that I will not be disappointed.

Now, how cool is that??

Hope in Jesus does that! This hope says that irregardless of situations or circumstances, Jesus will make a way somehow, even in the darkest of nights. Which reminds me of a fish story. Well, sort of.

There was once a fisherman in the Bible whose faith and hope wavered when circumstances began to spiral out of his control. Fact is, he lost all hope and eventually denied even knowing Jesus, in spite of the fact that he had been with him nearly every day for over three years.

Who would have thought that within a very short time his perspective would do a 180?

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ‘     I Peter 1:3

This one time fisherman and denier of Christ became a giant of faith and hope once he fully understood the power of the resurrection. I love the way that Peter uses the words “lively hope” to describe his new found hope in the resurrected Jesus!

As Christians we don’t have a dead hope. Our hope is not in dead religion or rituals. Our hope is alive! Our hope is in the risen Jesus!

light at end of tunnel

Because of this lively hope we have in Jesus Christ, I am looking forward to seeing God do great things in our lives in the coming year. Who can tell what He might have in store for us? Who can tell what He has in store for YOU?

One thing is for certain and that is that while we may not have all the details and particulars, we know that with God its going to be a great adventure!

Be blessed,

Ron

 

 

 

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“What will you do in the end?” Part 3

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I ended Part 2 of this series by saying that America’s “God problem” is so firmly entrenched as to be all but impossible to reverse.

In Part 3 of “What will you do in the end” I will attempt show just how far America’s elected leadership has gone in their rejection of Godly principles. Remember, these are our LEADERS that are supposed to be our examples (may God help us all).

In fact, according to this article, a large percentage of one of our major political parties believes the Church is having a negative impact on America. Before anyone gets too excited about that, keep in mind that the other party doesn’t lag too far behind.

Of course, pollsters love numbers and statistics, and we all know how easily things can be slanted one way or another. My point being this: if even one half of one percent of our elected leaders believe the Church is having a negative impact on America, it is too much! Something has gone horribly wrong!

Think about this for just a moment, would you? Our leaders, elected by we the people, believe the Church is having a negative impact on America! Does that not send alarm bells off in your mind?

Now, to better understand this we need to remind ourselves that elected leaders who support certain agendas will naturally feel the other side is the problem (see part 2 of this series).

So for example, if you are a conservative Christian attending a conservative Christian church that does not support abortion, same sex marriage, the LGBT community, etc.…you of course will be labeled as having a negative impact upon our society.

And much worse.

This does not mean it is true, but the fact remains there are very powerful groups on both sides of the aisle in our nation’s capitol spending untold millions of dollars in their efforts to label anyone who does not go along with their agenda as “negative”. And that is putting it very, very mildly.

Truth be told, if the Church is seen as having a negative impact on society, it is only because of the faithful few (comparatively speaking) that hold to the Biblical standards for living that are a thorn in the side of those that wish to abolish all acknowledgement of, and dependence upon, God.

America’s “God problem” however, is not rooted in politics. Politics is merely a convenient scapegoat, a diversionary tactic used by politicians themselves along with adherents of their respective ideologies to divert attention from the true source of our problems.

America, our great problems lie at our own feet, and WE the Church will ultimately be held accountable for our part in allowing this to happen. Just as Israel was held accountable and banished to enslavement by a foreign power, so shall America be held accountable and suffer the terrible consequences of our choices.

As long as I’m keeping it real here, let’s just throw it out now and acknowledge that America is even now suffering the terrible consequences of its choices. I challenge anyone to show me an example of a time when this nation has been more divided!

Yes, there was a Civil War that divided us. There was a Vietnam Conflict that divided us. There was a decision to allow the killing of unborn children that still divides us. Most recently there was a presidential election that has divided us.

The difference between all of those events,horrific though they be, and those taking place today is that we are not in a battle of ideologies,but one engineered by principalities, by the powers of darkness.

This contest is spiritual in nature, though outwardly it appears to be otherwise. Indeed, what we are seeing play out before our very eyes, is the battle for the soul of America.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”         Ephesians 6:12

This battle for the soul of America is not being fought with guns and tanks. It is being fought in a dimension that though unseen physically, its aftermath is leaving a visual trail of untold numbers of casualties in its wake.

My fear in all of this is not that it’s happening. No, the Bible is clear that as the coming of the Lord draws closer chaos would be the norm. My fear is that as we see the end approaching, Christians are placing a higher priority on aligning themselves with philosophies, ideologies, and political affiliations rather than their faith.

As difficult as it is to accept, we can easily make the connection with what is happening in America today with the latter day account of the Church given by Paul in his message to Timothy.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.    1st Timothy 4:1

Again, the scriptures give further evidence of the spiritual battle taking place in which all of us are participants. Deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons are certainly at work among us, causing many of the faithful to forsake their Christian heritage.

My next post will conclude this series with a “big picture” look at how Christians can not only survive the tumultuous times we are living in, but actually thrive in them!

Be blessed,

Ron

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.