Friday, August 15, 2014

Reality Check

Current Events:

  • The battle in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas is far from over - the world seems to be taking sides and the underlying question is whether Israel has a right to exist - they are fighting for their very survival and the terrorists' agenda is being promoted even in America - a line is being drawn in the sand
  • Russia is creeping into Ukraine, with darker intentions that we realize - tell me why the downed passenger flight has not been vindicated?
  • Christians in Iraq are not only losing their homes due to ISIS invasions, but they are losing their lives - young children being sawn in two and beheaded - fleeing to the mountains only to be starved out
  • The ebola virus outbreak, according to the World Health Organization this morning, is much worse than what is being reported.  Rumors of terrorist groups attempting to manipulate the outbreak for their benefit has left governments to worry about how to manage this new threat while the death rate of those exposed is rising above 60%
  • In the south, the immigration crisis continues to rise, as in this year alone nearly 70,000 children will cross the border illegally.  Congress continues to debate while many Texas towns are struggling to manage the onslaught of women and children, let alone the drug running that is taking place
  • And it's almost time for school to start again - do I need to review Common Core and explain how it is rewriting American History to change us from a nation of freedom lovers to a nation who oppresses African Americans, women and the homosexual community?

This world is broken.  We almost have to turn off the news because our hearts can't carry the load much longer.  We try to ignore it, we run through our day, keeping ourselves busy with life, knowing that we can't change what is going on out there anyway, so why worry about it.  Then a celebrity dies and suddenly we are thrust back into the sadness of this broken world, not through the avenue of world politics but through the gateway of mental illness and depression.  You can't go on Facebook or turn on the television or pull up the news without seeing major discussions about depression.  And to be honest with you…it's pretty depressing.

Okay, friends, the previous reality check comes to you courtesy of a horizontal world view.  Let's do a vertical reality check.  God tells us to set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth, for we've died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:2,3)  What does the Word tell us?

  • Israel vs.. Hamas - Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse of many - "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." While this verse is precious to the believer, it's primary focus is the nation of Israel.  Jeremiah was a prophet and he was bringing the Word of the Lord to His suffering people.  And guess what, God still has plans for Israel and though they are going to have to go through a great valley to get there, He is in control and His will is being accomplished even today.  So though it is very hard in Israel, we have to trust that God is in the center of their future and our prayers need to flow up to a God who is intimately involved in every detail and greatly loves His chosen people - bottom line, fight hard, Israel, turn your eyes to the Lord, and trust that He is with you
  • Russia's intentions - Heb. 4:12 tells us that only God can judge the thoughts and intentions of man and Proverbs 21:1 tells us that God turns the hearts of kings like channels of water in His hand - we trust that God is doing things that we do not understand.  At this time our "king" is unwilling to act - are you willing to trust that God has placed it on his heart to do nothing?  God is orchestrating something that is far beyond our comprehension, so we pray for our leaders and we pray for God's will to be done on this earth - but we don't lose sleep because we are worried that God is not in control…
  • ISIS vs. Christians - Matthew 24:9 tells us that in the last days the world will hate us, persecute us and deliver us to death for the sake of Jesus name.  We cannot be surprised by this ordeal - we can be heart broken and we can be outraged, but surprised? No.  Jesus warned us of the cost and friends, it's coming.  Prepare today to give up your life for Christ - sobering but not depressing.  Jesus died to save us from the price of the horrid sin and brokenness we see, so we pray for our brothers and sisters who are under fire, knowing that it is coming our way.
  • Ebola - Is this outside of God's control?  Is God frustrated that this has happened and He can't stop it?  Of course not.  Proverbs 3:5,6 tells us to trust in the Lord and not to lean on my understanding - to acknowledge Him and let God direct my paths.  This Ebola outbreak is obviously outside of my control and my understanding, but God knows what is going on.  So I need to trust Him.  Yes, I see the affects of a broken creation, but the Creator is fully intact and in control
  • Immigration crisis - What can I do to affect what is happening there?  Pray.  Pray for these little children who are without their parents.  Pray for their mothers. Pray for the churches and government workers who are meeting their needs. Pray for the translators and pray for our government to figure out what to do.  James 5:16 says the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much - trust the Lord and pray about it.
  • Common core - your children's education is not primarily in the hands of the public school teacher.  God has placed that child in your care.  Whether it's public, private or home schooling, you must know what your child is learning and deprogram with the truth when necessary.  Ephesians 6:4 says we are to train them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord - teach your children to know truth.
Friends, we must understand that this life is not our story.  It is God's.  It might be confusing that God's story is riddled with so much sadness and sin, but He is revealing His character through the brokenness of life.  God is good.  He is rich in mercy.  He hates sin.  He is patient and kind.  He is in control and He is steering the sinful, rebellious hearts of man to accomplish His will.  We must trust Him and we must get our eyes vertical.  Let me end with some scripture for you to take to heart today:
  • Romans 14:8 - "…for if we live, we live for the Lord and if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's."
  • Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ and it is NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME…"
  • Colossians 3:4 - "When Christ, WHO IS OUR LIFE, is revealed, then we also will be revealed with Him in glory…"
  • Genesis 50:20 - "As for you, you meant evil against me, but GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD in order to bring about this present result…"

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