Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mid-Week Message - The Task Set Before Us

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

This past weekend brought news of two mass shootings.  One in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio.  Once again there are family members and friends grieving the losses of those dear to them.  I say "once again" because these shootings are just two more in a succession of violent attacks in this nation.  

Although some of our lawmakers wish to take these incidences and use them as evidence that gun control needs to be enacted, or guns outlawed, I would argue that the reason for this violence runs far deeper than the choice of weapon used.  Rather, my belief is that it stems from a nation that is moving away from the principles it was founded upon.  

Not that long ago in our history, parents took their children to church where they learned the Word of the Lord.  At home, they learned to say a blessing before they ate and to pray before they went to sleep.  Hearing the name of the Lord in school, in our courts and other places in public was not only accepted, it was expected.  However, those times have dwindled away.  Fewer parents attend church, let alone take their children.  Prayer in public is looked at as something odd.  God isn't welcome in our classrooms anymore, nor in our courts.  Christmas is now a "winter holiday" with protests being made about manger scenes or any mention of the birth of Jesus.  

So we have become a nation where our Creator is welcome in far fewer places.  Our children are not being taught His Word which provides a moral foundation unlike any other.  When we don't know that we have Christ to turn to in our times of difficulty then we will seek something else to turn to and the enemy is just waiting to offer his own solutions to our issues.  Unfortunately, many listen to him and choose evil and violence as the answer to their problems and their perceived problems of the world.  

If you think that I am over-simplifying what we are experiencing then you are welcome to your own opinion.  However, when I read God's Word I find that we as His followers are told to pray for our nation and for each other.  Today's verse holds a great promise but the operative word in it is the word "if".  "If"  we humble ourselves, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways and pray, "then" He will hear, forgive and heal.  

There is another verse that is tantamount in this reasoning.  It is Matthew 28:19 which says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost:".  This verse, also called "The Great Commission", was a command, not a suggestion.  We have been tasked with carrying the Good News to those around us.  But because we as Christians have become afraid of being ridiculed, screamed down, or shunned, we have stopped taking this command seriously.  Yet, Romans 10:14 asks us, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?"  

Beloved, the times are urgent.  We must return to obedience of the Lord's Word.  We are to be the carriers of the love, the hope and the salvation of Jesus Christ.  If we sit in our homes with our mouths shut, then how will those who are desperately seeking answers ever hear the truth?  We cannot wait and assume that someone else will tell our neighbor.  We may be the only ones that have the opportunity.  If we refuse, then we are denying Christ and doing harm to that neighbor.  

And we must return to earnest prayer.  God longs to hear our voices raised to Him.  We are to pray for this nation, including the elected officials no matter whether we agree with them or not.  And we are to pray for each other, including our enemies, including those who do harm to others.  Because they are loved just as much as we are by our Father and it is His desire that none should perish.  As we pray, we need to ask to see others as He sees them, rather than relying on our own opinions and reactions.  Maybe, just maybe, if these shooters had been reached with the truth, this evil would not have occurred.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that my job, and your job, is to make sure everyone hears the Gospel.  Those are my thoughts.  God bless.

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