IT'S JUST YOU AND GOD

"Don't dial 911. No one's going to answer. Know that it's just you and God"

 The quote above is Port Arthur, Texas' mayor's response to those who did not heed his warning and flee Port Arthur as hurricane Laura approached the area.

 

I don't know about you, but I have something of a mixed reaction from this statement. On the one hand, I really value our emergency responders, and I agree that individuals who put themselves in harm's way should not be risking the safety of our first responders when those individual decided to stay, come what may. So, this is not any indictment on our first responders, as I have nothing but respect for them.

 

Having said that, I am continually amazed at how often a public official will become surly when people don't heed his or her advice. As Ronald Reagan once brilliantly stated, "Some of the most terrifying words in the English language are: I am from the government, and I am here to help." It's not that I question their sincerity, (though, secretly, I sometimes do), it's just that I question their ability to accurately assess danger and make a correct response.

 

And whether this gentleman's warning was from the perspective of what he perceived to be a strong situation or weak when it comes to trusting to God's help, it is my personal belief that we have a much better chance of survival when it is just up to us and God, as opposed to when it's just up to us and government. And, while I am always delighted to have the help of our first responders when the need arises, I also know best for myself when I can risk failing to heed the warning of some bureaucrat, who may or may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

 

One more thing. A lot of people really have been impacted in serious ways by the recent hurricane, and are in need of our prayers. They have already received a great deal of help from our courageous first responders, and for that we are grateful. But most of all, we are glad that God was there to help those who truly wanted and needed His help.

 

  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13, ESV

YESTERDAY IS OVER... IT ENDED LAST NIGHT

 

Yesterday is over, it ended last night.

 

This quote hangs near the door to my office. It was put there to remind me to get over the things that I no longer have control over and to get on with the things that I can change today. In short, it reminds me to live in the present.

 

One of the things I have noticed in people after preaching for a quarter century is that most people live in the past. They are disappointed in their own actions, they are angry at the actions of others, and they are frustrated at the things that didn't go the way that they would have preferred. The ironic part of this is that by focusing so much on the past, they fail to change the very things that they wished they had taken care of differently, and they doom themselves to repeating a life of frustration.

 

So what in your past do you wish was different? Can you see that by allowing yourself to dwell so much in the past that you are limiting the things that God wants you to accomplish today?

 

For example, are you saved? Are your loved ones? Are you sure?

 

Yesterday truly is gone, and all of the wishing in the world will not bring it back. The beautiful thing about being a Christian, though, is that you still have the same amount of time left today  that you did all those yesterdays ago: Eternity!

 

What will you do with that eternity?  If you are not sure, why not start finding out today. The right answer to this question is found within the pages of the Bible...

 

and you can start today! All you need to do is put yesterday in the past where it belongs, and focus on the things that are within your reach today. Paul said something about this very thing nearly 2,000 years ago:

 

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  - Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, - I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Philippians 3:12-15, NKJV

 

 

 

WHAT CAN WE DO?

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” II Kings 6:15, ESV

 

With all of the events of this year, I imagine a lot of people are wondering the same thing that the prophet Elisha's servant was wondering when he saw what appeared to be insurmountable forces aligned against them.

 

I have run into a lot of people lately who share the same mind set as Elisha's servant. They see the economy collapsing and the fear of a disease they don't understand and the riots that have popped up all over the world due to the perceived injustices of various peoples. Many people are absolutely shell shocked from the seemingly unending barrage of problems, and they are already defeated before the battle has even begun.

 

Does that sound familiar to you? Are you so tired of watching one catastrophe after another that you don't even want to think about it? Maybe you are ready to curl up in a ball and just go to sleep until the difficulties of the day pass. But this has never been the way to handle trouble, and trouble rarely goes away just by ignoring it. So, what can we do?

 

In the event above, we see a man who was overwhelmed by the reality of a huge army that was literally coming after him, so he was right to be concerned - and we are right to be concerned, but again, the question comes back, "What can we do?"

 

And the answer is the same for us today as it was for the servant of Elisha nearly 3,000 years ago. Elisha responded to his servant in this way:

 

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. II Kings 6:16-17, ESV

 

The answer to our problems now, just as it has always been, is to trust in God. When you read about the prophet Elisha and all of the difficulties he went through, you will realize that he still had hardships to undergo and hard work to undertake - God was not promising him a free-ride, nor does He promise us one today. But, what He does promise us is this: If we do not give up and if we will do our part, He will do His part.

 

And, that will be enough. It always has been.

 

Are you willing to stand for God and against evil? If not, then get ready to become a slave to the evil one and his followers.

 

But if you are ready, then open your eyes and take your stand. We will only be able to do this if we will remember the eternal truth that the One who is in us is more powerful than the one who is in the world. The apostle John revealed this great truth to us nearly 2,000 years ago, and it is just as true today as it was when the early church was facing their seemingly insurmountable problems then.

 

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  I John 4:4, NIV 

IS AMERICA A CHRISTIAN NATION?

Maybe the President was right. No, not the one we have now, but the one we had a few years ago. He came out one day and proclaimed that America was not a Christian nation. He did not say it in a manner that reflected shock and shame at such an assessment, rather, he stated it as one might proudly proclaim some sort of a noble accomplishment.

 

So, let's examine the claim that "America is no longer a Christian nation" - could that actually be true?

 

Well, think about this: If two groups of people were to pull down a statue, one a statue of Moses or perhaps of George Washington, the other group a statue portraying some sort of crude "art" such as the type we often find in front of our public libraries and museums, which group do you think would be arrested? If you said the latter, wouldn't you agree that our legal system is more in the control of the evil one than of God?

 

Which position do you feel would be met with the most opposition on our college campuses today: One that supported a godless and accidental universe, or one that affirmed a creation that was intelligently designed by a loving Creator? If you said the latter, wouldn't you agree that our colleges are often run by those outside of the influence of God?

 

Or, as a wild and random example, suppose you had the head of the Center for Disease Control and the Surgeon General of the United States of America come out one month and say that facemasks can do more harm than good when trying to prevent illness, but then just one month later come out and say the exact opposite. Do you think that those in this particular area of trust are being guided by wisdom or by foolishness?

 

And if you supported the traditional family, a male father married to a female mother, rather than supporting a male who says he identifies as a woman and would like to adopt children with his partner who identifies as a man, which position do you think would receive criticism in the media? If you said the first, would you not have to agree that most of our media is guided by satanic influences rather than by godly ones?

 

And, finally, if you saw two policeman, one who arrested a violent protestor who had thrown rocks at a fellow officer just for being a cop, and another policeman who simply turned away, which do you think would be commended by the mass of our current politicians, and which reprimanded? If you said the one who turned the other way and ignored the assault would be the most likely to be praised by our political elites, then wouldn't you agree that most of our politicians are under the influence of the devil rather than God?

 

And if you considered two people, one who raised his voice in objection to this turning of our society to evil, and one who just kept his mouth shut for fear of criticism... then which side do you think he was most supporting: The cause of Christ, or the cause of Satan?

 

Which person are you? Maybe the president who proudly proclaimed that we are no longer a Christian nation was right, but I am not inclined to give up on this One Nation Under God without a protest of my own. How about you?

 

       "For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed,

         when He comes in the glory of His  Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:38, RSV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And

FINISH THE RACE

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Cor. 9:24, NIV

 

Imagine having the opportunity to run a 50 yard dash. In this race, you need only to cross the finish line in an hour, and if you do, you will receive a prize of one billion dollars. The only restrictions are that you have to wait for the signal to start, and you have to run the course marked.

 

Do you think you could do it?

 

Now picture this. You see an individual lined up to start the race, but in such a way as you have never seen anyone do before. He has chained to himself a television set, a computer, his car and his home. Do you think he will complete the race within an hour? Of course, he cannot, because it is not humanly possible to do so...

 

but when you think about it, this is the very thing so many of us are attempting to do in our service to God and to Christ. We are lined up for the race, but we are chained to so many physical things that we cannot possibly run that race. So, not only do many people not finish the course that God has laid out for them, many do not even start. And, yet, they still think that they will receive the prize at the end. People are funny that way.

 

How about you?

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,

and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1, NIV