Monday, July 11, 2016

How Long Will It Take For This Nation to Cry Out to God?

In light of all that has happened this week in this country, it makes you wonder, if there is any hope left? When things get so out of control that people take matters into their own hands and justify their actions as right, when it is clearly wrong. The Bible spoke of the days and times in which we, as American's find ourselves living in currently. You can see the signs clearly. God said in the latter days, there would be ethic wars, or racial wars against one another. God however doesn't see skin color because He created us all the same. What we see happening all around us is evil going on a rampage. There is a sense of lawlessness and godlessness all around. People are growing cold towards the value of human life, and the real issue at the center of it is a heart that has lost God and has said, "No thanks God, I'll handle things on my own. I don't need you to help me any longer."

We are the biggest bunch of whiners of an industrialized nation on earth. We file lawsuits, and in California, we file the most; we complain, we gripe, we file grievances, our feelings are hurt, and we try to justify our actions as right, by saying "that's offensive," "you're not tolerant," and the list goes on and on. How long does it take a nation to cry out to God? Sometimes for us, we can go our entire lives and not forgive someone who wronged us in our past. We, as believers, need three things to survive or thrive in this world today.

There can be no forgiveness extended until there is repentance. This applies to all of us. God doesn't forgive anyone unless they repent first. You don't forgive anyone unless they repent of their sin. Don't let them throw Scripture at you, telling you that you have to forgive them because you're a Christian. It doesn't work that way and God doesn't expect you to forgive them if they are not truly repent or sorry for wronging you.

We learned last week about having a thankful heart. We need to instill this into our children, by training them in what they are thankful for. There is nothing more powerful than a thankful heart. If you start when they are young, it helps them to grow up to be thankful as an adult. They can find things to be thankful for and to praise God in all things. That is what is vitally missing in the world today, where people feel they are entitled to things instead of being thankful for what they have. Entitled people are NEVER thankful because they will always want more.

A thankful heart, creates appreciation. Israel forgot God for 45 years when they had peace and prosperity. A thankful heart creates a call to action because it causes us to reach out and help others. When a culture no longer has regard for one another, that is a dangerous time. If you break down on the side of the road and no one stop because they don't care. A thankful heart shapes attitude. It truly changes those around you when facing any crisis or negative circumstance. We spoil things that don't count and it takes a crisis to bring our focus back to what matters (at least we still have each other).

So how do we do it? How do we have a thankful heart?

1. Choose to be appreciative right now. Find something right now you can appreciate and thank God for. We need to count our blessings. The power is in the choosing, it begins to affect everything and everyone around you when you do.

2. Decide to go active. Get engaged. Do things like vote. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Do everything you can today to make a difference. Be the salt and the light!

3. Take on a new attitude right now. Stop whining and gripping and instead be more appreciative and thankful.

Now we move on to the second thing believers need to survive in this world and that is developing a submissive spirit.

Judges 10:6-16 ~ "Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they harassed (to bite the heels of, to pick at, to taunt) and oppressed (to chip away piece by piece) the children of Israel for eighteen years - all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed ( to be worn out, made thin, tired, worn). And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals ( or allah today)!" So that Lord said to the children of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? (Yes). Also the Sidonians and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you' and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand? (Yes). Yet you have forsaken Me and have served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress." And the children of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray." So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel."

Notice some key points in this portion of Scripture:

" again did evil in the sight of the Lord." Doesn't that just make you want to shake them, but yet we are just like them.

"they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him." God doesn't take this lightly and it applies not only to America but to any nation. God will not bless them. Do the research and see what happens when a nation turns their back on God.

"He sold them.." doesn't mean God actually put a price on their heads, but this means that they were so hot after their passions in other gods, that God simply let them have their way. He allowed them to do whatever they wanted. You can try and justify things in your own life, telling yourself that God wants you to have this or that...believing it's God's will for your life, and then wonder why you struggle when you get it. You can't afford it. Wonder why you are not content in it.

Just like the Israelites when God gave them plenty of manna each day, yet they got sick of it and complained to God, "We want meat!" God granted their request, but He made them lean in their Spirits and the meat made them sick. You can get ahead of God and then wonder why your spiritual walk is so cold. You begin to develop an attitude of entitlement and then wonder where God is in all of it. Why does God feel so far away now? Nothing in your life should ever take the place of God. He wants to be number one on a list of one, not number one on a list of ten!

This was a culture that had gone completely pagan. They had various temples and gods. But when it says that they "put away the foreign gods from among them" it means they completely burned down and destroyed these temples and gods. They even killed those who worshiped them.

If the world goes forth after false gods, and God steps in and sends a revival to this nation, would Christians be able to handle it? Could you love people like God does and share the gospel truth with them no matter where they are or what they are doing? To share the love of God with a world that no longer seems to care?

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