Continued from Part 2…
As I look out the windows of my home this morning, I see sunshine, blue skies and hardly a cloud in sight. The Cascade Mountain Range is a brilliant sparkling white. From my little house, by using all of the windows, I can see 9 or 10 mountains of this gorgeous range—5 of them over 10,000’ high, several others close in height, and then of course numerous buttes that are over 5,000’ high. It is really enjoyable today—so far—is that there is very little wind, YET! It seems that we have had so much of it lately. (By the time I finished this post and am editing it, we are having wind gusts upwards of 50 mph!) Never a dull moment…
If I were to go by what I see today from my windows and yard, all is well with the world. The tulips in my front yard are blooming, the flowering plum trees in the backyard are blossoming, and if I keep watching, Shirley Temple might come dancing around the corner of the house singing something cute. It is so far just one of those days.
Yet, when I look at the news pages, I quickly realize that my limited view of life in the yard of my home is not the way things really are. The economic woes of yesterday have only become more ominous today. The drum beats of war are beating louder every day. The Middle East has not found peace since I checked the news yesterday; in fact, Syria’s government forces were ramping up last evening for the largest demonstration yet since the street vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire, thereby igniting insurrection in one country after another. After watching news, now on the next morning, reports say that maybe 100 demonstrators have been killed by Syrian government forces, and they appear to be shooting live ammo directly into the mass crowds. Not good! And that is only Syria.
We live in a troubled world, and I just touched on a couple things in the above comments. I’m reminded of the old song, “Eve of Destruction” written by Barry McGuire many years ago. So, I’m brought back to asking once again, “How Should We Then Live?”
Many of us have heard the phrase, “Reality Bites”. It is taken in different ways by different people, but the thing that crosses my mind is how our view of reality changes when we come face to face with unexpected events. For those that are older, like me for instance, reality looks different than it does to a young person. There is something that happens to a person when they have had to weather the storms of life. For older folks, they’d rather not have to weather any more of the bad surprises, and so would rather not think or read about things that are deteriorating in our world. Young people of course want to have something in life to look forward to. There are the dreams of marriage, kids, careers, a nice house somewhere, with two cars in the driveway, a nice green lawn, and of course a dog and a cat. It is not a pleasant thought to consider the possibility that things may get cut short for many. Logically, it has to happen during someone’s generation. By taking a close looks at Biblical prophecies, it appears that we are the generation that is going to see God bring this dispensation of time to a close. But, whether we believe in the fact that it is our generation or not, we need to be prepared on a daily basis regardless. None of us have a guarantee that we are going to live through the day. Then, we will find ourselves standing before our Creator, no matter what we do or don’t believe. That is an inescapable appointment that everyone on earth will have.
Last post I brought up the Scriptures of Jesus throwing out the money changers in the Temple. You have to picture this. Here was one man going into the Temple compound and running them all out. This was not just a handful of people! This was big business at Passover time, and there was a huge amount of profit made by the venders, as well as the priesthood, which was mostly corrupt. The disciples didn’t help Jesus do this. He did it all on His own, and what is really amazing, no one dared stop Him! I also brought up the things that Jesus said to the church in Sardis to make a point. Jesus described this church as a religious people who had a reputation for being alive spiritually, but in God’s sight, they were DEAD.
I wonder if God’s condemnation of the commercialization of the Passover Celebration in Jerusalem was any different than it is today in reference to many of the practices of professing Christendom? I’m not going to name names, nor do I necessarily desire to turn this into a judgmental post. One must ask though why it is that so many ministries advertise a site-owned store that has about every kind of “Christian” trinket one can imagine! “Send $_____ in “seed” money and God will have His angels unload a hundred-fold blessing on your doorstep!” “Buy this especially blessed piece of rock brought directly from the Holy City of Jerusalem, and see how you will be blessed!” “Buy this olive oil made from a genuine crop of olives right out of the Holy Land, and see God unload the treasures of Heaven onto your life, or heal any disease anointed with this special oil. Now I know that some have been blessed and healed when people ordered these items, but God responded to the people’s faith—not the item! The same faith would have had the same results without the item which was bought with money most people could not afford. It would have been better invested in some hand’s on type of ministry.
I don’t have problem with teachings being sold via DVD’s or other means. These are expensive and time-consuming to produce. The research alone behind many of the good books written these days have thousands upon thousands of hours of research behind what is written.
Bottom line is this: Much that goes on in the name of Christ today is disgusting in the sight of God today, and has correction coming from the very God we say we are serving. Much of the Christian world has lost its way. The “AWE” of God has been lost. If that were not true, we would not have replaced our deep love for our Great God whom we claim to serve, for a wretched grab to scoop up all the blessings we can possibly hold! The prosperity gospel is a distortion of what God promised us when He said that He desired for us to be capable of contributing to worthy works of God when the need arises. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says this: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…”
This very passage, as well as a whole host of others, has been twisted and badly misused. What is being said by the Spirit of God is a far cry from the way it is often taught and practiced. Many are giving seed money and supporting high-dollar ministries in order to receive their “due payment” from God. God has been turned into some cosmic banker from whom we think we have the right to demand a withdrawal from any time we have a want! There’s nothing spiritual about it. It’s pure GREED. This is mostly a phenomenon plaguing the western Christian world, although it is being carried overseas from here in America. The Israelites in the Old Testament had their Golden Calf that they formed with their own hands, and then worshiped. It brought great anger from the God of Heaven. They traded worshiping this Great God that had rescued them out of Egypt with the most awesome display of Sovereign power that the world had ever seen to that point, for a Gold Calf that they had themselves created!
There is no sin in being well off. There’s not even a sin in being wealthy! It has to do with our motivation, agenda, and heart condition. Is it all ours, or can God ask us to empty our checkbook if and when He so chooses?? We way too often do not listen to what God is saying at all! This even applies to our giving to ministries. There are many ministries today that are functioning much more as a huge black hole to dump finances into, because they are not doing the bidding of the Spirit of God. Many legitimate true God-serving ministries are shorted the funds that they really need because the Christian population is tapped due to the contributions that God sees as worthless. This is a fact folks! Will God still meet the legitimate ministry needs? Yes He will, but the disobedience of God’s people always has a consequence, and it will hurt someone somewhere. The devil loves to see God’s people waste their money!!!
Much of the westernized Christian world has turned the prosperity gospel into its own “golden calf”! Do we really think God will react any differently with us, when we have traded the true worship of the One and only God for our own self-made idol? People may not see it as an idol, but it is an idol, just the same. It doesn’t matter how we see it. It matters how God sees it. We are so good at patting ourselves on the back for all that we think we have accomplished in God’s Name. We love the recognition and the accolades we receive! We love to be recognized and applauded! And, oh how we love the titles we have bestowed on us!! We become so prideful that we’re offended when someone doesn’t address us with our proper title! How many have wondered how God could possibly have gotten so much done on this earth without their efforts! How fortunate for God that we happened to have come along!! Question: Is that any different than the attitude the Scribes and Pharisees were condemned for? I’m afraid we are no different than them! Human nature has not changed.
The sad thing is; the church will become its most effective and Christ-like when its bank account fizzles to -0-! Actually, that is in process of happening today, all over the country. God will continue to take care of ministries that truly depend on Him and are actually doing His bidding instead of following their own selfish agendas. The millions of Israelites who wandered around in the Sinai desert, where hardly anything grows, and water is extremely scarce, were fed and had water every day of the 40 years! So did every single animal. Can you imagine the amount of animals they had? Can you imagine the needs they had? The clothing these people wore didn’t wear out during that time either. I suspect that God is quite capable of caring for us for however long He keeps us on this earth.
There are bad times coming; very bad times! Who will you depend on? It is wise to have some extra supplies on hand, but no one can be prepared for everything—especially considering the onslaught up ahead. Thank God that He has made provision for those that truly love Him and look for His return! God did not appoint His own people for the wrath that He is going to pour out on an evil world that continues to vehemently reject Him, and is hell-bent on going down the path of destruction.
You and I are still here for one reason, and that is to make a difference. When the time comes that our part, as the representative of Heaven for this time slot in earth’s history has been completed, Jesus will call us home for that Great Ceremony Heaven has been preparing for. That is a tremendous promise from our God, and we need to be about deepening our walk with Him. We’re going to be standing before Him very soon. Also, keep this in mind. God never promised that we are not going to go through some rough times. Most American Christians have had it really easy and can’t imagine anything different. Please hear me: It is changing, and it’s changing quickly! Tomorrow will be different than today, and so will the next day.
I fear most for those that were raised in church and today have fallen asleep. Way too many do not know the Lord any better today than they did 30 years ago. That means they have slipped backward. A person is either moving forward in their walk with God or they are losing ground. Too few are looking for the return of the Lord at all! It will come as quite a shock. What most don’t realize is that the only reason the world has not destroyed itself by now is because of the remnant of true Christians that are still here on the earth. As flawed as the body of Christians is on this earth, there are enough of those who live totally by the agenda of the Holy Spirit of God, rather than their own life plans, that hell can’t pull off its nefarious plans. Without the power of the Spirit of God still here, evil would already have completed its agenda, and that is the total destruction of the human race. This is as straight as I know how to put it.
For those that have actually read this far, you are amazing! I’m sure for some, this may have sounded like a boring sermon. But, if the boring sermon is true in what is said, wouldn’t you rather hear it, respond to it as God desires, and then spend a whole eternity enjoying the inheritance that God has prepared for those that love Him? The only other alternative was made for the devil, the fallen angels and demons. You don’t want to spend eternity there!
To Be Continued…