“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6, NIV 1984).
My Musings – On September 11, 2001, terrorists targeted three of America’s symbolic sites: the World Trade Center (symbol of America’s economic power), the Pentagon (symbol of America’s military might) and either the White House or U.S. Capitol (symbol of America’s form of government). Due to the heroic efforts of its passengers, the last plane never made it to its target. The careful selection of these sites make it clear that the terrorists’ objective stretched beyond the physical targets and “collateral” deaths of the innocent victims. The primary target was perhaps the American psyche.
In the immediate aftermath, the effect was just the opposite. The American psyche was rejuvenated and patriotic fervor was rekindled. The “collateral” benefits was a lessening in the divide between the haves and have nots (economic extremes), the hawks and doves (military extremes) and the Democrats and Republicans (political extremes), at least for a season. But time has passed. The American economy remains the strongest in the world. It’s military might is still unequaled. In terms of government, the great American experiment remains unrivaled. But the divide between the haves and have nots, the hawks and doves and those on the left versus those on the right have widened. What the terrorists failed to do, we are doing to ourselves. The country has not fallen (yet), but the divide among its people is greater than perhaps ever before.
There was a fourth great symbol of America’s strength that was not targeted that day, at least not directly. Perhaps this is because there is no single physical manifestation of it. Perhaps it is because it was not perceived as a serious threat by the perpetrators. The symbol? America’s trust in God, specifically its Christian heritage. There were brief signs of a revival following that attack, but the Church has grown colder and the divide between believers and non-believers is maybe wider than all of the others. This is, I believe, the greatest danger to America, and may be the underlying cause of all the other divides.
My Advice – All of these divides, as great as they might be, are merely symptoms of the greatest divide of all – man’s separation from His creator. But the solution to end the divide is the easiest of all, and it’s free. It’s not by might or power. It’s by surrender. And it could solve the other divides one person at a time. Are you one? Be apart of the solution. Surrender your life to Christ today. My blog series “The Born Again Experience” will show you how, and it really is that simple.
My Musings – Elijah had just faced down 400 prophets of Baal. Both a symbolic and a literal mountaintop experience. Perhaps the zenith of his ministry. An awesome display of God’s power and presence. Yet here he was, on the far side of the desert, cowering in fear over the Queen’s threats to his life.
Sometimes, after an exhilarating mountaintop experience of boldness and ecstasy, we find ourselves plunging deep into a valley of fear and despair. But most of the time, when we find ourselves in a place that we should not be, it follows a period of unguarded complacency.
Whatever the occasion, we need to listen to God’s voice saying “what are you doing here.” It is a call to bring us to our senses and see the height from which we have fallen. Like in the garden (Adam where are you?), He knows exactly where we are, what we are doing and how we got there. But He want us to know it too. Until we do, it would be fruitless to command us to go back the way we came.
My Advice – Watch the “road signs” to keep yourself on track. If you do get off track, realize how you got there so you can know how to “go back the way you came.“
My Musings – The above verse is a conditional statement. Conditional statements contain a hypothetical (if) and a consequence (then) when the conditions of the hypothetical are met.
If – Something(s) that must happen:
- My people, called by My name – In the context of the above verse, this was Israel. Today, we could apply it to the Church.
- Will humble themselves – Freed from pride and arrogance. An expression of deference or submission.
- Pray – To speak to God especially in order to give thanks or to ask for something.
- Seek My face – To go in search of, to look for, to try to discover.
- Turn – To face an opposite or different direction.
- From Wicked Ways – Morally very bad, evil.
Then – Before something else can happen:
- I will hear – To pay attention to.
- I will forgive – Pardon, cancel a debt.
- I will heal – Correct or put right an undesirable situation.
My Advice – We often attribute the declining state of morality on society in general. Yet the above verse places the responsibility on the people of God. We know what we (the Church) need to do (if) in order for God to hear our appeal for the “land” to be healed. A verse from an old song states “that it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon those all around, can warm up in the glowing.” Be a spark in your local Body, then “pass it on.” We have to have a spark before we can have a fire. We have to get it going, before we can expect the glowing.
My Musing – “The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For [few] now live who remember it. Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.” (Galadriel, The Fellowship of the Ring. J. R. R. Tolkien).
It exploded in the first century in the face of great persecution. Later, persecution gave way to proclamation as Christianity was became the official religion of the Roman Empire. There have been times of retreat (the dark ages) and resurgence (the great awakening), but the “gates of hell” have never fully prevailed.
Yet in my lifetime, “the world has changed.” I feel it and smell it. History, is now largely regarded as myth. The age of “reason” has relegated Christianity to no more than a crutch to the superstitious. Even those within the Church are abandoning the faith and “sound doctrine” in favor of whatever their “itching ears” want to hear. Things that should never have been forgotten have been lost. The “breaking of the fellowship” is well underway. The “Return of the King” is near. Yet much evil is yet to come. Which also reminds me of these quotes from “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
Frodo – “I wish none of this had happened.”
Gandalf – “So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
My Advice – What will you decide “to do with the time that is given to you?” Be a beacon of light in an increasingly dark world? Be a herald of truth in an age of deception and lies? Be the salt that gives flavor to what is becoming more and more unsavory? Be faithful to the end? We’ve been given a commission to be the “ring-bearer” of the greatest story ever told. Will you be part of the “fellowship?”
Stay-tuned for tomorrow’s blog – “The Two Powers.”
Romans 13:1-2 – “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (NIV 1984)
Declaration of Independence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
George Washington – “It is impossible to govern the world without God. It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly implore his protection and favor.”
Abraham Lincoln – “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
John F. Kennedy – “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
Ronald Reagan – “America was founded by people who believe that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it’s all right to keep asking if we’re on His side.”
My Musings – Our country is not perfect. These men, who rose to become its leaders, were not without their flaws. But I would like to think that our nation was established and has been favored by God because of its ideals and the shared sentiments of men like these and the citizens they led. My hope is that it would grow even stronger in these convictions. My fear is that they are rapidly crumbling.
My Advice – Acknowledge God.
Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is near to all who call on him. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – At times, He seems distant to me, most likely because I have distanced myself from Him, not because He does not want to be close to me. At times, my prayers seem to go no further than the ceiling, but that does not mean that He is not listening. At times, I feel so empty of Him, but that does not mean His Spirit has departed from me.
My Advice – If you feel the same at times, ask yourself what I ask myself – “who moved?” Like the prodigal, we may have fallen, but we can “fall back.” We can return. Like the prodigal’s Father He’s watching for our return.
Romans 13:1-2 – Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (NIV 1984)
In Congress, July 4, 1776 – The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, Continue reading “Revolutionary Declarations”