Friday, August 17, 2012
Welcome to Day 229 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Jeremiah 23:5, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 24, the vision of two baskets of figs…
7 “I will give them [good exiles] a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
Jeremiah 25:14, “I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” (This was not a good thing…)
John 18:6, “Pilate answered, ‘You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.'”
30 “Jesus said,
‘It is finished.'”
Interesting how the Lord often used objects to speak to Jeremiah…
The figs (good/rotted)
The clay jar (break it)
The potter and the clay (can I do this with you?)
The linen belt (soiled, ruined and useless)
I love how the Lord uses everyday items to speak to Jeremiah… and to us. Jesus followed suit by using everyday analogies… “Consider the lilies of the field…” “Show me a coin…” “”Drop your nets on the other side of the boat.”
I often think of these verses out of 1 Kings 19, after Elijah had dusted the prophets of Baal and Jezebel threatened him…
10 “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 11 “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
12 After the earthquake came a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
People often see God (and judgment) in natural disasters. This is a great passage that speaks to the fact that God is not “in” every natural occurrence. He wasn’t in the wind, the earthquake or the fire.
We often look for God in the dramatic, when we need to just listen to the gentle whisper…
I commented the other day that I don’t see God judging the United States. I see him blessing our great nation. Have we as a country strayed? Yes. Have we taken him out of our schools? Yes. Does sin abound? Yes.
“And where sin abounds, grace abounds even more!” Romans 5:20
There have always been wars and rumors of wars. There have always been earthquakes.
Our country right now is in the midst of the worst drought in 56 years! Is it God’s judgment? I don’t think so…
All this will do at this point is raise the cost of our food. No one is going to starve in the US because of this drought. No one is going to go hungry. The farmers all have insurance and it will cost billions of tax dollars to cover their losses… but it won’t put them out of business.
If God wanted to judge our country, trust me, he could do something really dramatic that would have lasting impact. We will most likely recover from this drought.
Prophetic people are always looking for what God is doing… seeing God in everyday happenings. Listening for what God is saying. We all should be.
But some see God in the wind, the earthquake and the fire… when He isn’t in it. He could be… but not always.
The Bible is pretty clear on this one law, “You reap what you sow.”
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.” Galatians 6:7-10
As a nation, we have certainly “sowed to the flesh.” I think that’s pretty undeniable… And we may pay for it dearly. God could even use a total financial collapse to make a point…
The US though still sows a lot of good around the world, and I believe there is great blessing in it for our country. We are blessed beyond belief!
Anyone who thinks otherwise should visit a third-world country in Africa, where EVERYONE is poor, and they have to walk five miles for water, where starvation and sickness surrounds you. And attend church with them… and watch as they worship the same Lord that we do. And they are thankful they are still alive… and they praise God for the little they have.
The poor in Africa don’t have houses, cars, air conditioning or flat panel tvs… They may have a one room structure with no windows or doors. Maybe not even a mosquito net to protect them from Malaria.
And they aren’t under judgment…
And they will WALK five miles to go to church… and sit in the dirt for three hours and walk home… and never complain.
Judgment is a matter of perspective.
If you think God is angry… and he is judging our nation, consider this…
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
(Just for the record, I am well aware of Matthew 24 and Revelation 16… I am merely suggesting that God is not “in” (is not speaking through) every wind, earthquake and fire event for the sake of judgment.)
Luke 18:8, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Now that’s a great question…
Lord, help me to see and hear more clearly… to not speak falsely about what you are saying… Help me to know when you are in, or not in, the wind, the earthquake or the fire…