Friday, November 2, 2012

Spiritual - Not Political

Like many of you, I am saddened and burdened to pray for the Northeast and all those affected by the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. For those who are financially able, it is good to give to trusted organizations who can offer assistance. I wanted to establish that, so that what I'm about to say would not be taken the wrong way...

Whether you are of the impression that this storm was a wake-up call from God for our Nation, or if it was sent from the enemy to destroy us...the fact remains that despite the many prayers that went up for protection, God allowed this storm.

The Bible says that it rains on the righteous and unrighteous alike - we all know that everyone faces trials. It is in how we as Christians face a crisis like this, that sets us apart and brings glory to God.

I was watching tv this morning as the news reported that people are starting to get angry now that the initial shock of the storm has passed. They're inpatient with the long lines, and the lack of food (this is understandable, and don't get me wrong, the conditions are horrible!)

I watched as one woman cried out to the reporter "where is the government? If they don't help us, we're going to die!"

Immediately my heart was grieved.

Where do we put our trust? I can tell you right now that while the Government can help somewhat...ultimately no political party, no man or woman, no system, no amount of money, no ingenuity or man-made plan...can help us out of the mess we're in.

Our hope must be in God, and God alone!

As we humble ourselves and seek His face, then He will give us direction, provision, ideas and ingenuity, favor, and ultimately His blessing to help us in our time of need. This is promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

After I watched the news and saw the lady saying if the government didn't help them, they were going to die...I turned it off and began to pray. I also spent some time listening to praise music. Ironically one of the songs I listened to was "Still" by Hillsong (I say ironically because it talks about Jesus being "King over the flood" - this was unintentional on my part)

 Here are some of the lyrics that really jumped out at me this morning:
"Find rest my soul, in Christ alone, know His power, in quietness and trust."
After I finished with some praise and worship, I went to read my Bible. I felt impressed to read out of Isaiah, so I was thumbing through the different chapters. My eyes rested on Chapter 30 - the title of the chapter read "Woe to the Obstinate Nation". I thought I knew the meaning of the word "Obstinate" but I looked it up just to be sure. It means stubborn or refusing to change.

It starts out "woe to the obstinate children" - God is still calling them His children, but they have become are they acting out?
"to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit".
They were trusting in Egypt to help them out of their trouble, instead of asking for God's help. This immediately reminded me of the woman crying out this morning "where is the government?" - shouldn't our cry be "God, help us"?

I went on to read that instead of listening to the prophets who tried to tell them what God was saying...they preferred lies that made them feel good.
"They say to the seers, 'see no more visions!' and to the prophets, 'give us no more visions of what is right!' Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!'"
God's response is found in Isaiah 30:12: "Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression, and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant."

This is what their response should have been (as described in Isaiah 30:15): "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it."

These are similar to the words found in the lyrics from the song I just quoted. I felt like this was the message God was giving me in direct response to my heart being grieved this morning by the woman on the news.

Too many people are trusting in the Government for help - when we should be asking for God's intervention. We've misplaced our allegiance, and our trust. We've made plans, without seeking wisdom from above. In repentance and rest (faith) is our salvation, in quietness and trust, is our strength. He is our only hope!

Even after this blatant rebellion, listen to God's heart toward His people:

Isaiah 30:18-19 - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice, Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion (that's the Church), who live in Jerusalem (in this case, America) you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry out for help!"

The passage goes on to explain how He will help us in Isaiah 30:20-26. - Especially in vs. 21 where it says "
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you (God's got your back!) saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'"
In other words, God is going to give you step by step instructions to get you out of whatever mess we're in, IF we call out to HIM for help!

This is NOT a political argument - this is a plea for the people of God to humble themselves and pray for our Nation to turn our hearts back to God. Along with my prayers this morning, I asked that we the Church would really shine for Him - that we would be so filled with His love, compassion and POWER, that we would be a beacon of light and hope to the lost, shining a light straight to Him. I don't mean these words to sound poetic, I'm trying to give you a vision of my heart - I genuinely want to fulfill Matthew 5:13-16!
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
There's a lot I could say about being "salt and light", but that's a whole other blog...

Have a blessed day - and don't forget to cry out to God for the people in the Northeast, as well as our Nation as a whole.