Aug 14, 2009

The Answer = You

“The Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. So the LORD handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.” (Judges 6:1-6)

If this story happened in modern times it would, perhaps, look like this...

A culture plagued with problems like materialism, entertainment, immorality, teen pregnancy, murder, injustice in government systems, lost generations of young people…
It would look like a church that forgot the power they possessed, and so became oppressed by society and had their freedoms taken one-by-one…

Sound familiar?
Yes, because it is where we live.

I personally have seen too much of the American church living in oppression, and going into hiding.
Oh, it did not start in my generation. No it started long ago. We did once live in a godly nation, but slowly the enemy began to creep into our culture.
First, he took the entertainment – and the church withdrew.
Then he grabbed music industry too – and the church acted as if nothing happened.
He took over our businesses – and the church lost the fathers, so the mothers took over.
He stole into our families and homes – and the church gave him the spare room.
Then he began to steal our youth – and the church labeled them as needing to find themselves, so we left them to themselves.
Then he crept into our education system – and the church bought into the lies.
He broke our marriages – and the church acquiesced because it was “easier that way”.
He began to kill the unborn – and we turned our faces away. Yes, we made an outcry, but it was too faint and too late.
He set out to ruin the definition of marriage – and the church shrugged its shoulders and said “What is this world coming to?”

He took over the world and we shook our heads in pity and did nothing.
So, when he came knocking on the door of the Church we shrunk back in fear and let him in to plunder what he would.

Now we hear of legislation that puts a gag in the mouth of the church, and the church gets mad…for a moment…then we are lulled back into passivity out of fear.

Yes, some radicals run to the hills to become weird activists, scared of every bump in the night. They have bunkers, pantries stocked with beans and ammo. They hide their children away from the prying eyes of “the government”, and cry wolf every time a “liberal” opens their mouth…but they don’t really DO anything.
Most of us, though, hide in plain view in our well manicured subdivisions, keeping to ourselves because we are afraid to be the only one to speak out…or perhaps we have just forgotten what we were called to.

We’ve become reactionaries. We were called to be people of action.
We struggle on the best we can. We were called to thrive in our promised land.
We thresh our wheat in a winepress. We were called to be a city set on a hill, not hidden.

I know we have all been disturbed by the state of things in our nation. We have prayed, we have cried to the Lord.
What is the answer?

“Then the Angel of the LORD came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The Angel of the LORD appeared to him and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!" "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'? But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites." Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!" (Judges 6:11-14)

Here is the answer.

The first thing Gideon did was start pouring out his complaint to the Lord and his frustration at all that was happening. He asked for a solution, someone strong to come and save them.

The Lord’s answer was simple. He didn’t answer by raising up someone else, he responded by sending Gideon.
“You see the problem, you go take of it. You are tired of your lack of freedom? YOU go be the deliverer.”
This passion that you feel because your inheritance has been stolen is the might that will propel you forward. The hand of the Lord works through you…you are His weapon of choice.

God did it with Gideon, with Moses, with Esther…what would have happened if Martin Luther had waited for another person to stand up?

YOU are the answer to the problems of your culture! If you see a problem, it is your call to go and take care of it. Don’t wait for someone else, don’t look at another person to volunteer.
Don’t wait for some deliverer to rise up from another quarter. Yes, the Lord may raise someone up, but will your generation die in the meantime?

If you are sick of a corrupt political system, get involved in politics. TODAY, before it gets worse. If you are concerned with the welfare programs. Get involved. If you have a passion for the youth of the city, YOU start dreaming up ideas and knocking on the doors of city officials. If you are worried about the state of the church, YOU raise the standard of holiness. You learn how to teach and preach! If you are sick of movies that make immorality and death and violence the norm get out into the movie industry and learn your trade well. If you want to see good Christian artists in the music industry, quit dreaming and start training.

Yes, you can dream all you want, you can even plan all you want, but in order to affect a change you are going to have to wake up and start DOING something, PREPARING for something.

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

What are you passionate about?

Aug 7, 2009


My Lesson for Today:
Give everything
Expect nothing
Let forgiveness know no bounds

In the Bible I read that if I don’t love the Body of Christ I cannot say I love Christ. It sounds so easy, this loving the Church.
It is easy until there is a breach in relationship with one person and I find it easier to withdraw my heart than to willingly sacrifice it on the altar of forgiveness.

1John 2:7-11
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.
Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.
If anyone claims, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.
Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.
But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness."

If I love part of the Body, I have to love the whole and not exclude any member. If I love the whole that must be unfailingly else it is not really love at all because “love never fails”.

Who am I to withhold my love? Was it ever mine to monopolize? Did I originate it? Is my love not just borrowed from the One who loved me first? How selfish I am to grasp the gift of God so tightly in my fists! How ignorant I am to refuse to share it as He commanded.

To love is never easy…see, the thing about love is that it must consume. The thing that fuels love is the offering of my selfish desires to be burned. Love and selfishness are a sorry pair – they can never coexist. Love will always be determined to consume the selfishness and selfishness always desires to quench the fire of love. Love, true love, requires me to die that God might live His love through me.