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How secure is your lifeline?

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It’s been said that prayer is the Christian’s lifeline to God, and in this day of rebellion and licentious behavior that lifeline has become more important than ever.

So many vile, reprehensible events are taking place in our midst that one hardly has time to sort them out before the next one occurs. Mass shootings in churches, schools, and synagogues have become horrifyingly common place.

A reduction in violent crime by a mere 0.2% is somehow thought to be a success. Tell that to the 1,247,321 victims (or their families) who in 2017 were raped, murdered, robbed, assaulted, or violated in any number of violent ways. [1]

We live in a time when a new kind of slavery is stealing our children from us. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 1 million children are exploited each year in the commercial sex trade. [2]

Sin, no matter how you choose to define it, has taken control of our government, our schools, our workplaces, and yes even our churches. Just as the scriptures foretold:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  2nd Tim. 3:1

The foremost writer on the subject of prayer, E.M Bounds, said that “prayer is the most appropriate thing for a soul to do in the ‘time of trouble’. Prayer recognizes God in the day of trouble”.

We are living in a largely prayer-less society. The days when churches would meet regularly for prayer are a thing of the past, an abandoned relic from a time when the fire of God burned in the hearts of His people.

How shocking is this when you consider that the church was birthed in a prayer meeting! [3]

Which brings me to the crux of this particular post. As a child of God, do we actually pray anymore? I’m not speaking of praying over our meals, or ‘now I lay me down to sleep’ prayers.

Prayer is, of course, an intensely personal thing. Everyone does it differently, just as most churches approach prayer differently.

I’m referring to the kind of praying however that the people of God have done in the past when confronted by situations and circumstances beyond their control. In other words, the deep, heartfelt, one on one communication with God that we read about in the Bible.

Again, E.M. Bounds understood this well when he said that “A lack of fervency in prayer is the sure sign of a lack of depth and of intensity of desire; and the absence of intense desire is a sure sign of God’s absence from the heart”!

Take the prophet Daniel for instance. As a teenager, Daniel was part of the captivity of Israel when it was led into slavery by the Babylonians. So determined was he to not forsake the Lord and adopt the ways of the heathen, that he continued to earnestly seek the face of God even unto his 80’s when he returned to Israel.

Because the Lord had given Daniel great favor in the eyes of king Darius, many of the governors became consumed with jealously and plotted his demise. From this the famous story of Daniel and the lions den ensued. [4]

As the story unfolds, we find Daniel refusing to bow to the decree that there could be no worship of any type for 30 days, except it be the worship of the king. Daniel’s response to this was to continue to pray three times a day at his open window, a window that faced Jerusalem.

The prophet knew that his lifeline to God was prayer. In a strange land, surrounded by people and customs he was unfamiliar with, Daniel maintained his integrity by seeking God in prayer three times each day.

He clung to his lifeline.

The story of Danial and the lions den is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is that it mirrors our own circumstances today.

In just a few days, we here in America will be voting for our chosen candidates, a vote that many believe is one of the most critical this nation has ever faced. For weeks now we have been inundated with viscous attack ads that say nothing about what the candidate plans to do, but rather are all about how evil their opponent is.

The nation is on edge, uncertainty reigns in the hearts of the populace. “Blood in the streets” has been promised if the Democrats don’t take back control of the House. Funny how that inciting comment has gone largely ignored, isn’t it?

Christians, I’m sad to say, are just as anxious as the heathen over the upcoming election. One has to ask if Heaven is our home, and we’re merely pilgrims passing through, then why the fear over all of this?

It is because we have lost sight of whose we are. We say that Jesus is Lord of our life, but we live and act like everyone else who has no hope. This is a testament to how well Satan has done his job in dividing our heart’s loyalty.

It is because we do not truly believe that God reigns in the affairs of men. Christians are no different than the heathen who believe that man is in charge of his own destiny. If we truly believed that God was God and that He reigned in the affairs of men, we would not have one ounce of anxiety over the upcoming election.

But we have allowed Satan to garner a toehold in our minds, and he is exploiting this for all he is worth. The enemy of our soul is confounding us with doubt, fear, and disillusionment.

We are not looking to God as we should for hope, strength, and peace. Instead, we are looking for a candidate that we can throw our support behind who will lead us to the worlds version of the “Promised Land”.

Where are the modern day “Daniels” who will point out to us that we are not to cower in the face of societal unrest and uncertainty? Where are the seasoned Christians who have lived through tumultuous times by clinging to their lifeline to God? Have they too been silenced by the decrees of the unrighteous?

It was Joshua who uttered the famous words…

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   Joshua 24:15

And it was the Lord himself who said…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matt. 6:21

I know where my hope is. I know where my treasure is. I also know that I cannot let go of my lifeline to God. It is my only real security in these days of uncertainty.

Ron

[1] source: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/violent-crime

[2] source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/01/30/sex-trafficking-column/1073459001/

[3] Acts chapters 1 & 2 reference

[4] Daniel chapter 6 reference

 

Priorities

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Priorities. We’ve all got them don’t we?

For most of us,priorities are fluid in that they are constantly changing and evolving.

If you’re like a lot of people,your priorities will usually end up on an itemized list like this:

No doubt your list will differ from my list. Yours may look more like a top ten list,while mine may have just a couple of items on it.For many, priorities revolve around family or career,or perhaps your education.Some people are very good at putting their priorities on a list,while others of us struggle to sort it all out.

Whatever it is that makes your list will become a goal that you must work hard to achieve.After all,nothing is given in this life.If you want it you have to earn it.And that takes work.A lot of hard work.

Jesus talked about priorities too.In fact,He even told us which ones should make it to the top of our lists.You can read all about it in the book of Matthew,chapter six.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matthew 6:19-21  NKJV

Lets look into these verses a bit deeper.Notice the first words Jesus said were for us NOT to lay up treasures,or our priorities, on this earth because they were subject to destruction.Subject to failure,destruction,loss, and disappointment.Isn’t that the nature of things here on earth?

Now,if you and I were to compare these words of Jesus to our personal list of priorities,or our list of treasures,would we find that our list is in harmony with His words?

Or would we find that our personal list of priorities are pretty much dominated by earthly,or material things?Not saying we can’t or shouldn’t have priorities while we’re on this earth,but is your list of priorities dominated by them? Is your list out of balance? Many of us are probably like that aren’t we?

Life definitely has a way of twisting our priorities around.

  • Bills to pay
  • Dr.visits
  • Job loss
  • Divorce

All of these and countless others are life events that can turn our world upside down,and along with it our list of priorities.Which tells us that focusing the majority of our priorities on earthly things will leave us longing for something better.

Which is why Jesus tells us exactly where out treasures,or priorities,should be.He said they should be in heaven,because in heaven there will be no destruction of them.

Heaven.That place that you heard about as a child but maybe no longer believe in.That place where there is no night.That place where every tear is wiped away.That place where sorrow and pain will never make an appearance.

That place.Jesus told us to place our treasure,or our priorities,in heaven.

Maybe Jesus understands more about our nature then we like to let on.Maybe Jesus knew something about what motivates us.Maybe that’s why Jesus said this:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Your treasures,or your priorities, will capture your heart.If your treasures,or priorities,are carnal than your heart will be as well.If our focus is predominantly on self or what we can get,it’s a sure bet that our heart will be intently focused on those things.

Funny thing about Jesus.He never left us guessing as to whether or not there was a “middle of the road” position to take did He? That is clearly evident with these few verses as well, for if we are earthly minded,our heart will be also.Oh,we may give a token thought or action to things above,but our first priority,our best efforts, will be geared towards the things of this life.

If we are heavenly minded,our heart will be also.Our hearts are fixed on heaven,on things eternal.We look forward to that day when we leave this life and step into a new one,one where things are not corrupted.Where thieves do not break in and steal.Where the Lamb is the light of the city.

Priorities.We’ve all got them don’t we?

Mine are changing with the passing of time.Having been a Christian now for 40 years my priorities have been to be a good provider for my family and to make heaven my eternal home one day.And I can see more clearly than ever before that both my treasures and my heart must be on things above.

The important things are the things that last,not the temporary things that we work so hard to attain.One day all of those earthly,temporal things that we prioritized in this life will sift through our fingers like grains of sand, and be gone.

They don’t seem all that important when you look at it this was,do they?

Laying up our treasures in heaven,having our hearts fixed on heavenly things,these are the things that stand the test of eternity.

Priorities.Where are yours today?

Be blessed,

Ron