A few days ago, I was reading Psalm 119 as part of my devotion. When I came to this verse, the Lord pointed out something that I had never noticed before.
God’s Word is a light to my path, enabling me to see where I am going. I see this as me understanding God’s overall plan of salvation, so that I can understand my entire path through life and eternity, from my sin in Adam all the way to my glorification in Jesus when He returns, and beyond. From the Light of God’s Word, I can see the overall path that God has designed for all believers.
But there is not only the general light, there is also a “lamp unto my feet”. I see this as much more focused. The lamp at my feet does not show me the broad strokes of God’s plan, but rather it allows me to see the next step that God wants me to take. Or maybe, if I peer deeply into His Word, I might be able to make out the next two steps. The lamp does not have a long-range, so it will not show me, except on rare occasions, what God wants for me a year from now, or five. But it will show me what He wants for me today. And, if I am living in faith and in trust of my Lord, being able to see today is enough.
I hope that you find this passage of His Word as much a blessing as I do.
Well, I was reading John 17 today, “The High Priestly Prayer” of Jesus, and the answer jumped out at me. I will quote part of it here:
18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus prays specifically that His Church be united, and in verses 21 and 23 He gives the reason, ”that the world may believe that You sent Me” and “and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me“. When we are One Body in Christ, united under One Lord, we are a powerful force in the world, proclaiming through our unity, that Jesus is the Christ, sent be God as a Savior to the world. That is what God intended for His Church from the beginning.
But it seems we have listened to Satan rather than to our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ, and instead of being a unified body, we have divisions everywhere! We have one group that believes, “Once saved, always saved” and another that believes you can lose your salvation. We have one group that believes that anyone can be saved, and another that believes that only a group specifically elected to salvation by God can be saved. I could go on and on, but that would be boring, and I think you have gotten my point. So, we have hundreds of denominations and sects, all of them believing that they are right, and all others are wrong.
Rather than listening to God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within us, and clinging to His simple Gospel message, we have chosen rather to allow Satan to stir up our pride and to divide us against ourselves and against our Lord, making us complicit in his attack against our God and His (our) Church, our very own Spiritual Body.
Divisions in the Church were first addressed by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians and since that day, divisions among us have only gotten worse!
The really sad thing is, it never had to be this way. In Christ, we are more than conquerors, over Satan and over every enemy of the Church. It has always been in our power to stop divisions, but sadly, we never have.
And, can I share the really, really sad thing? If we were half the followers of Christ that we claim to be (and I do include myself) this NEVER would have happened! How can we say that we are His followers, and that Christ lives in us and through us, and then, through our inaction allow this situation to be perpetuated?
This is not something that we will change in a year, or even five or ten. It is something that we could change in a generation.
But only if we start today! Won’t you join us?
photo credit: photobucket.com
Lord, if you are the ocean then I'm drowning! Sinking to the bottom of your love. I will breathe in you. I don't want to breathe the air of the enemy. For it pollutes my lungs. I rather swallow the living water that flows from you.
I put my trust in you and only you Lord. This world is wicked and I know it is not where I want to reside.
Along with talk about fasting on a couple of blogs that I frequent, I realized that God had been speaking to me, albeit, very quietly, about fasting for a few months.
A few months ago I had a medical procedure that required a 24 hour fast. Part of the fast occurred with me at work, and I was surprised at how easy it was to not eat when I knew that I was not able to. This surprised me. Prior to that time, I had always had a very difficult time not indulging in snacks at work, particularly in response to stressful situations. Probably 90% of the time, snacks at work had nothing to do with nourishment, and a lot to do with dealing with stress.
This morning at worship, our Pastor asked a very pointed question. He was using the Book of Acts, ch. 11 for an illustration (read especially, verse 26):
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
26 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. - Acts 11:19-26
The question he asked was, if the “Antiochians” had followed us around as they did the disciples of Christ, would they decide that we should be called “Christians” In other words, would the Light of Jesus show forth from us as it did from them? Or is our light hidden from the world?
Our Pastor was actually preaching from 1 Peter:
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:11,12
So, the question asked by Pastor remains, do the people who know me think of me as “that Christian guy”? Or do they just say, “Oh yeah, that John guy is pretty cool!”?
Or, to put it another way, into which Kingdom do I fit better, the Kingdom of God? Or the Kingdom of this world?
In response to “Was The Garden Of Eden A Prison”:
A very well written article with a very interesting and provocative, thank you Marjorie!
I have been thinking a lot myself about the spiritual reasons for our nation’s predicament recently. We have a tyrannical President, a decidedly left leaning, dependency focused Senate, and a House of Representatives, that, even though there is a Republican majority, is totally inept at using that majority and so, caves to the demands of the “Big Government Left” again and again.
Then I look at where we are as a nation, with a majority of our citizens giving only lip service to their Creator, if that, with murder (abortion) on demand, and with the acceptance of homosexuality being taught in our schools. And I wonder, is God using our current circumstances as a warning that we are drifting far far from where we need to be in relationship to Him?
When I read the Old Testament stories of God’s dealings with the nation of Israel when they went their own way and left God, I see some interesting parallels. True, God has not empowered the enemies of the United States to take us into captivity, nevertheless, our Constitutional form of government that guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is fast slipping from our grasp. It would not be a far reach to say that our American way of life is being taken into captivity.
So, my question is, what must change to reverse our current course?
At this point, I fear that even a turn toward Conservatism would be only short lived, and that within an election cycle or two, we would find ourselves right back where we are now. And I say this because of the reasons listed above. So long as the heart of America is in disregard of her Lord, little we do will be of consequence until her heart is turned back.
I strongly believe that the only hope for America lies in the following biblical passage:
“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 CHR 7:14, KJV
It is time for America and Americans to pray.
I have been working pretty energetically on the Herman Cain online campaign. At this point the main focus is getting people acquainted with Herman Cain and sparking interest in him so that they will want to learn more about him.
One of our slogans is, “America is ready for a real leader!” But sometimes I wonder, are we really ready?
“God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”
Can we any longer be a nation of liberty? I look at our country today and see a nation that, on the whole, cares little for God and seldom, if ever, gives Him even a passing thought. I’d be surprised if 50% of Americans could even quote the part of our Declaration of Independence which says:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And many, if it were quoted to them, could not even identify the Declaration as the document it came from.
The fact is, for the past 60 years or so, God has been systematically removed from America’s consciousness. It started with the school prayer ban, and continues today. Only now we are contemplating the removal of “In God We Trust” from our currency.
Sometimes I wonder, is God withholding His blessing from America because we have turned so far away from Him? When I think about the Obama administration and the direction our country is headed, it’s not so hard to believe, is it? And I wonder, can God bless a nation that murders over a million of its unborn babies every year for parental convenience? But I realize that these are questions that only God can answer, and He will, in His own time.
But there is a question that we can answer as individuals, and one that I ask myself constantly: Am I ready for God’s blessing? Is my heart open to the workings of God? Or is it hardened against Him?
Perhaps, if enough of us are ready for God to work in America, we will witness the truth of this biblical passage:
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 Chr. 7:14, KJV
At least, I hope so, and pray that America is ready for a real leader.