Job 14:1 says, “A mortal born of woman, is of few days and full of turmoil”. As so many of us in the United States prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we are already sharing what we are thankful for at office parties, among friends, in our congregations, and elsewhere. In a nation of such abundance, we do have much to give thanks for. Many of us count our blessings based on what we have achieved or acquired and are gleeful to say how blessed we are. Yet, the world is full of turmoil and our technologically connected world brings it closer to our reality each moment. For some of us, the problem is a blessing others would love to have. Our worldview may be upside down when compared to another person’s needs, desires, and expectations. No matter our circumstances, we would do well to recognize that neither the blessings nor the help we seek is of our own making.
We often fail to give God the glory for those very blessings we talk about and in so doing we fail to glorify Him with it. The question is, can we maintain that same attitude of gratitude when difficult times come? In a world full of turmoil, it may only be a matter of time before that turmoil hits home. It can challenge our faith and our worldview. It can test the firmness of our foundation and the bond that hold families together.
How we make it through these difficult times can determine how much the next test will impact us and the extent of our faith and spiritual growth. We must recognize early on that our help is from the Lord and is not of our own making. Our strength, wealth, wisdom, and devices. it is always wise to look to the heavens and cry, Lord, help me! Our hearts’ attitude should always be in that state no matter what because our help comes from Him only. When we feel blessed, we should cry Lord, help me to glorify you with these blessings. When are in need, we should cry Lord fill my need, and when we have complete peace we should cry Lord help me to keep my eyes on you!
No matter what, we must remain in a state of thankfulness and complete dependence on the Lord.
Throughout scripture, we find continual encouragement to wait for the Lord. This is often very difficult for us, especially when we find ourselves in a tough situation. Maybe I should speak for myself here, but I am confident in saying I am not the only one guilty of taking matters into my own hands when it seems God is not moving fast enough. After pleading with God to not turn him over to the desire of his foes and false witnesses who rose against him, David shared his confidence in the Lord and encourages us to wait for Adonai (Ps. 27:14).(more…)
For the music director: a psalm of the sons of Korah.
Hear this, all you peoples.Give ear, all you inhabitants of the world, both low and high,rich and poor together. My mouth speaks wisdom,My heart’s meditation is understanding. I will turn my ear to a proverb.I will utter my riddle on the harp: Why should I fear in evil days?when the iniquity of my deceivers surrounds me? Or those trusting in their wealth,boasting about their great riches? For the redemption of a soul is costly—so, one should stop trying forever.
No man can redeem his brother,or give to God a ransom for him. Will he live forever—and never see the Pit? Surely he must see, even wise men die.The fool and the brutish will alike perish,leaving their wealth to others. Their inward thought is:Their houses are eternal,their dwellings for generation after generation.
They name their lands after themselves. But the pompous man will not endure—he is like the beasts that perish. Such is the way of the self-confident,and their followers who approve their sayings. Selah Like sheep they are destined for Sheol.Death will be their shepherdand the upright will rule over them in the morning.Their image will decay in Sheol—far from its lofty place. But God redeems my soul from the power of Sheol—for He receives me. Selah Do not be afraid when a man gets rich,when his house’s splendor increases.
For when he dies he takes nothing away.His splendor will not follow him down. Though during his life he congratulates himself,and men praise you when you do well for yourself— He will still join his fathers’ company,who will never see the light. A pompous man, without understanding—he is like the beasts that perish.
It comes up at Bible studies, conferences, and during televised or live radio programs. “Where is America in Biblical prophecy?” the question is often preface by comment like “we are the most powerful nation on earth” and “given our unique place in history”……. surely America must be in the Bible! Some theologians have tried to satisfy the curiosity of the questionner by pointing to the eagle in Revelation 8:13 or the lion with eagles’ wings in Daniel 7:4.
I have two questions. 1. Does it matter? 2. Which beast in Biblical prophecy would you want America to be, especially since no of them are referred to in the positive? I could get technical and say that American is actually in the bible under the banner of “all nations” but I’m sure that wouldn’t be a welcome answer. I think the most important question is, what kind of nation does America want to be? We use titles like “exceptional”, “Christian/Judeo-Christian”, “light on the hill”, “nation of laws”, etc., but is American a faithful nation?(more…)
During Hezekiah’s reign, the king of Assyria sent his generals up to Judah. “Then the Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the language of the Jews and said: “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. ‘Thus says the king: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand! Nor let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in Adonai by saying: “Adonai will surely deliver us—this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria”” (2 Kings 18:28-30).
The Rab-shakeh’s strategy was to create division among the guards and create an internal (insider) threat. Divisions and internal threats are among the most dangerous any nation faces. To rot from within is often difficult to detect and may be too late to cure if detected. That to which our leaders credit America’s strength is the very thing that may also be its greatest weakness – its diversity. Not because a diverse nation is a problem, for such is the Kingdom of God (Revelation 7:9), but because there are those within its borders who would rather turn its borders over to another nation than share it with those who are different. They do not believe the freedoms inherent in the Bill of Rights should extend to others outside their race, which creates a never-ending internal struggle for power and equality.(more…)
God wants us to live a life free of spiritual encumbrances – burdens and impediments to our shared salvation. The world is increasingly encroaching on the body of Messiah; and has already breached many congregations even to occupy the seat of power among them. Unless we tend to our spiritual life, we will become like an abandoned garden. The path before us will be obscured by untended vines and bushes that encroach on it. The same is true for our spiritual life. We become encumbered by issues of life that, if left unchecked, can obscure our spiritual journey.(more…)
Here is a rhetorical question. What happens when we look the other way as a wrongful act or crime is being committed? Faced with these situations, self-preservation may take priority over any other options before us. Is that what is happening among believers today? Individuals and groups are constantly seeking the support of believers and are quick to offer words of “comfort” to gain our loyalty. As the old saying goes, action speaks louder than words!
What happens when the true motives of those we support are revealed and their true nature brought to light? Do we withdraw our loyalties and support so that we may hold to righteousness? The book of Proverbs instructs us on how to preserve righteousness, justice, truth, and how to walk in the ways of God. If we live by these words of wisdom, we will remain accountable to God and hold those around us accountable also. Disobedience to God is open rebellion; at the root of rebellion is pride, and pride is very closely tied to self-preservation.(more…)
“So the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from the trials and how to hold the wicked until the Day of Judgement while continuing to punish them” (2 Peter 2:9).
If you are like me, you may at times feel a sense of anguish thinking about all the evils in the world. You may also wonder why there is seemingly little to no penalty for their wrong-doings and that judgement is far off; all while innocent people continue to lose their lives and livelihood. I sometimes take comfort in reading the Psalms and being reminded this is nothing new. Though, that sense of comfort doesn’t last; both because of my desire for a perfect world and the next tragedy to hit the news.(more…)
America has a problem – sin!
We like to talk about how we are the greatest nation on earth; the greatest nation that ever existed and how we are a Christian nation. We boast about our military might, wealth, and democratic values. We boast about how “good” we are and how much we love. Are we? Do we? Or is this nation so bathed in sin and demonic activities that we are merely a shadow of what we should be? Have the walls that cover our secret sins beginning to crumble around us?
“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light“Luke 8:17
There are many issues at the heart of what is happening in this nation. James warned that “if you harbor in your hearts bitter jealousy and selfish ambition, don’t boast and attack the truth with lies! This wisdom is not the kind that comes down from above; on the contrary, it is worldly, unspiritual, demonic. For where there are jealousy and selfish ambition, there will be disharmony and every foul practice” (James 4:14-16).
As soon as we mention sin and demonic activity the world goes into a frenzy. Yet, those are the primary source of the ills we see in this country and around the world. All forms of bitterness, jealousy, and selfish ambition go back to the prideful desires that caused Lucifer’s fall from heaven. They were at play in the Garden of Eden, the slaying of Abel, the Tower of Babel, and is in every unrighteous act of man to this day.
It is possible that I am preaching to the choir here, but I have seen much of this tolerated, empowered, and practiced in the church today. Congregational leaders are participating in events and supporting politicians, groups, and institutional leaders who embody these traits. Congregants spew the same poisonous rhetoric to each other, and form groups based on their political ideology.
Believers should not take part in or encourage these behaviors. Our gathering should be according to Paul’s encouragement in Hebrews 10:25-31. We should not partner with those who are intent on acting in a manner contrary to scripture. Nor should we follow Congregational leaders who are corrupting the Word of God for their own selfish ends. The church is complicit with the sins of the nation. Without immediate change, we will not last. God will judge this nation, and we cannot save ourselves!
I have always wondered how that after all the judgments described in Revelation people still refused to repent. Are we that hard of heart that we don’t want to bow down to God and instead choose destruction? Have you also pondered this and came up with your own reason about why that is? I admit, I never came to a conclusion about why people would still not repent. I guess I was too focused on trying to understand the Book of Revelation to even get that far.
During the week of August 16, 2021, I had a dream two nights in a row where I saw flooding, panic, and confusion. Later that week, there were some flash floods across Massachusetts and a friend who lives there describes scenes that brought my dreams to memory. I thought maybe my dreams were playing out and kept the matter in mind. That same week, flash floods in Tennessee killed abut 22 people and caused major damage. Though, with hurricane Ida bearing down on Louisiana, this did not get much coverage. I began to think even more on my dream and whether it had broader implications. Then came the disastrous impact of Ida from the Gulf all the way up to New York and New England. My dream was no longer just a dream — to me, it was prophetic, and I had no idea what to do with it.(more…)