July 08, 2020
It is a tragic thing to watch a nation digress. The youngest of those who live in our nation today cannot possibly remember anything different. But many of us can. We remember a nation, not long ago where …
These days were not perfect or even spiritual at times. Those of us from that era have much to repent of ... and there are many things that we see now that were terribly wrong. But there was a general morality, based on Judeo/Christian truth.
There was much that contributed to the fall we’ve witnessed. But it has eroded dramatically. The last few years have seen this decline increase exponentially.
The next step in a nation is the lifting of God's hand leading to the final step of the anarchy that ensues when a nation forsakes God and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.
Nehemiah watched a similar digression. His people had disobeyed God and God had given them up to their enemies. This was intended to bring them to the end of themselves and such desperation that they would return to Him.
Nehemiah realized the situation of his nation when he sought a report from his brother who had returned to Babylon from their hometown of Jerusalem.
Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.” When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:1-4)
There are four responses we can make when we realize the walls are down and the gates are burned with fire.
1. GRADUAL ASSIMILATION
If spiritual apathy exists, this will happen without knowing. Like the frog in the proverbial kettle, we can gradually adjust our morals so that godlessness is a part of our lifestyle and doesn't really disturb us anymore.
2. HOPELESS RESIGNATION
We can be disturbed, but just throw up our hands and offer no resistance.
3. FRANTIC HUMANISM
We can rush around, vainly trying every human option to stem the tide of the enemy's assault. This can make a big noise, but in the end produce little substantive change.
4. SPIRITUAL REPENTANCE
Nehemiah chose this response. His appeal was to the God who is above the nations and rules over all. He fasted and prayed and then immediately obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit and the directives of His Word. Read Nehemiah, Chapter 1 and understand the depth and perseverance of Nehemiah's continual cry to God. See his surrender--even at the risk of death--to lead in spiritual renewal. In the end, his response led to one of the greatest nationwide revivals in the history of the world (see Nehemiah, Chapter 8-9).
Nehemiah knew that only God could stem the tide and reverse the decay. Only God could mercifully forgive and return His glory to the land. Only God. Only God.
As you survey the land today, what do you suppose this is a time to do?
Father, forgive us, cleanse us, heal our land! The walls are broken down and the gates are burned with fire. Help us, like Nehemiah, to turn to the only One who can bring revival and spiritual awakening. Create a humble, contrite heart in us that would respond in fasting, prayer, and repentant obedience.
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August 07, 2020
August 06, 2020
There are thousands, perhaps millions of people who believe they are Christians who will never enter heaven. This is not my evaluation, but the clear teaching of Christ Himself.
Christ spoke of false prophets who "come to you in sheep clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matt 7:15). It is not the outward clothing, but the inward heart that indicates a true believer.
What is the only way to know the difference between a professing believer and a real believer?
August 05, 2020
Of all the things Jesus could have addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, it's fascinating that He spends a good bit of time addressing worry. In fact, He commands us not to be worried: "Do not be worried about your life."
We are champion worriers. God knows that worry is so counterproductive. Not only is it useless, but it ties us up, destroys our faith, is a poor witness to those who are watching, and dishonors God. So, to help us He gives His true followers multiple reasons why worry is so useless.