(I'm adding these thoughts on Friday morning, March 11........Since I wrote this two days ago, catastrophic events have happened around the world. Even here in the United States, people on the west coast are terrified at the tsunami warnings. Suddenly I am reading comments from people who are calling out to God on public comment sections. One lady has even listed a section of chapters from the book of Psalms. It's time. God is waiting. Please prayerfully consider the last paragraph of this writing. Only you and God know where your heart is today.
As always, much love.)
I have been slowly......and I do mean SLOWLY....making my way through the book of Judges. I find Judges to be a very depressing book to get though mainly because of the constant pattern of God rescuing Israel over and over, only for them to keep turning right around and forsaking Him for their evil ways. To put it in a way that we can relate to, God must have felt stabbed in the back by His chosen people over and over. I think of how we feel if we help a friend many times over because of love and kindness, only for them to fall back into the same pattern. After awhile you get tired of it and give up, but God had this huge soft spot for Israel that always bailed them out.
There was even an account where the the scripture says that, "The anger of the Lord was hot against Israel." (Judges 10:7) I'm sure that you've seen animations or movies of dragons that breath fire. Well, in this case the Hebrew word for anger is "aph" which gives the picture of one so hot with anger that it is observable in breathing through the nose. In that chapter God then basically tells the people that He is tired of their ways and that they should instead pray to the gods that they are serving to see if they will help them. The people cry out more and begin to get rid of their foreign gods. Then, "HIS SOUL COULD NO LONGER ENDURE THE MISERY OF ISRAEL." Honestly that brings tears to my eyes. We have an incredible depth of love there that almost seems illogical. This was way before Jesus and the cross. Here we have Father God looking directly at sin, which He can't stand and the buffer of the shed blood of Christ was not there to shield His wrath. Yet He STILL would rather give in to Israel out of His love than to see them suffer longer. Me? I would have said way before this, "You made your bed, just keep sleeping in it."
Oh what great love. Oh how He loves His people
But here is what breaks my heart. Here is why I am working so hard to turn things back around to God. Are we any different than Israel? Seriously think about it. People have so many things in their lives that really do come before God. Houses, cars, tv, sports, reality shows, movies, clothing, physical appearance.......you get the idea. There is nothing wrong with any of those things unless they come before God. In that case they become our personal gods. I know people who almost can't live if they miss one episode of their favorite reality show, but they can go a night or two without even thinking about reading a chapter from God's love letters, or spending serious time in prayer. Same with sports. That used to be me, but it is me no more. I haven't mentioned, but will now, the more destroying gods of alcohol, pornography, or drugs. Did you know that studies show that many people who say they are Christian spend more time looking at pornography than they do looking into God's word? Yet God is still jealous for our attention.
Think back to 9/11. Remember how the churches were flooded for awhile right after that happened. People everywhere in this nation saw the need to get right with and turn back to God. How long did it take for that to fade? This morning I was reading an article online from the Weather Channel about how dangerous and severe things could be for people in the Northeast this weekend as melting snow and more heavy rains appear imminent. Some very serious warnings have been issued. There is a place where people could comment on the article and as of this writing, not one person had mentioned, prayer, turning, or crying out to God for protection, or anything that even resembled a thought towards the Almighty. In fact there were a few comments that I found very disturbing. And we consider ourselves a Christian nation in the U.S.?
It's time. It's time to lay some things down. It's time to run after righteousness and godliness. It's in fact past time. There is a verse in Ephesians that basically says to use our time wisely, because the days are evil enough.
Now I must leave with positive thoughts. There is an uprising going on. There are men and women of God who are running after Him like has not been seen in a long, long time. It will be these people who will make differences. In fact their prayers are already making a difference. It is because of these people that God will show His glories and mercies in a way that many of us have never seen before. God's grace and forgiveness is being made in an overwhelming way to all. Some won't even be looking for God and His Spirit will suddenly just fall on them. For those who want to see the glories and miracles of God they are already happening. For those who desire to see into God's invisible realm it is very possible and is a reality for some already. I say very humbly that I have seen some things that not long ago I never would have believed possible. I can understand why Jesus told people not to go and tell of the miracle that they had witnessed. Many would have followed Him for the miracle, not because of who He was. There have been some things recently that I couldn't wait to write about, but I've heard the Holy Spirit tell me no. I believe the time will come soon, but it is not yet. Along with the craziness going on in the world, the "craziness" of God will increase. For those who love God we have no reason to fear and every reason to be excited.
Listen, if you are are reading this blog for the very first time....if you are concerned about all the crazy stuff going on in this world.......if you don't know what to think and are looking for answers.......if you have never considered giving your life to Christ..........this is your day. You are being called for such a time as this. No matter what you've done or how you've lived, God has a major soft spot for you. Come to Jesus and discover a brand new life. Like He did for Israel, let God come to your rescue. For the believer, if you have been more about this world than pursuing God, let God rescue you from your carnality. He would rather win over your affections than to chastise you with judgment.
"And His (God's) soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel." In the words of Pastor Steve Witt of Bethel Cleveland............"Mercy triumphs over judgment!"
Thanking God for for you always,