Much trouble sleeping last night, but not because of the cold. Brrrrrrrrrr.
So as I lay awake i prayed and listened to some classical music on WVIA (the radio station)
and read my bible some. Sometime around 3 a.m. I fell aleep only to be brought out of it by my alarm clock at 5 a.m.
This morning has been of great comfort for me as I have come into the presence of God and worshipped Him for who He is.
Psalm 55 was my default choice this morning because when i opened my bible, that is where my finger was. (Let me add that is not a method i use for bible reading or study.) As I began to read through this portion of scripture I knew that this is where the Holy Spirit wanted me to go.
David is coming to the Lord with what appears to be a heavy heart.
V1. Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my request.
V2. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint and make a noise;
Whoa, a heavy heart indeed.
David attributes his state of mind to the voice of the enemy and the oppression of his mind due to the enemies constant attacks.
V4a. My heart is deeply troubled.
Have you ever felt that way? I have. It is not fun.
"If only I could get away from it all." David says. "If i had the wings of an eagle i would take off and go someplace in the wilderness and have peace and rest."
Many times i have wanted to run and hide. To just be by myself and away from the negative influences of life and those around me who bring me down. But, the pain and oppression would still be within me because the enemy has not been dealt with.
What does David do?
We read what David does in verses 16 & 17. As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice.
Such confidence in the Lord. David knows that God is not precoccupied nor away doing other things.
God has not forgotten His child. In the midst of personal trials, in the midst of a world in turmoil, and in the midst of people who do not fear God, David is reminded (and so are we) to do two things.
1. We are to pray (verse 16). "I will call upon the LORD and He will save me."
2. Trust God (verse 22). "Cast your burden on the LORD and He shall sustain you; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Let God deal with the wicked and slothful man. Let God handle the day-to-day affairs of our lives. He already knows what is going to happen, right? Yes.
Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD;
Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven.
We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.
These words can be found in the book of Lamentations chapter 3.
As I bundle up against the cold chill in the air, I cannot help but think about the United States and the direction we are going in as a nation, as I read this book.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote spoke these words as he looked out at the city of Jerusalem in its current state.
Jerusalem has been reduced to rubble. A shell of her former glory because of the sins of the people.
Jeremiah says this about his former home:
Chapter 1:1 How lovely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow was she, who was great among the nations! The princess among the provinces has become a slave!
Progressing through the book, Jeremiah also describes the condition of the people. Some are killed by the sword of the invaders, while some die of starvation and others simply loose the will to live.
Greater detail is given to the swiftness in which the city of God is overcome. All these are factors in Jeremiah's lament.
Across this country now, many cities are becoming barren wastelands. Economic decline, governmental corruption, overspending, overcrowding and crime are but symptoms of a greater problem. Sin. Someone once told me this, when Israel was put into captivity it was not because of the sin of its king (although they sinned also), but because of the sin of the people. Change starts within. If the people are not holding the king accountable and continue to sin, then God will judge the nation as a whole and captivity follows.
Israel has turned its back on God and have chosen to follow after false gods, worship false idols and revel in their sin. God's messenger, the prophet, has been warning the people of the coming judgment if they do not repent. Sadly enough they chose to continue on the path to destruction.
America is at the same fork in the road. What direction will we choose to go?
We too, are in an economic flux, our cities are riddled with high unemployment rates, economic decline, corrupt governments, crime and a false sense of security. Will we continue in our sin? Are we holding our govenment leaders accountable? No, we are not. If the accountability is not there, to whom will they listen? We cannot expect the leaders to change if we the people are not seeking change ourselves.
I shudder to think what America will look like when we become a nation once great among the nations.
Who will weep for us? NO ONE!
2 Chronicles 7:14 (God speaking) "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Israel was not seeking the LORD. America is not seeking the LORD.
I am not saying no one is praying to God for the salvation of our leaders and for us to return to Him as a nation. But, I hear more people complaining about things than getting on their knees.
God is merciful and just. God is not quick to judge nor condemn.
Nehemiah 9:17 (last part); Joel 2:13; Psalm 103:8; 145:8 all these verses plus others confirm the patience and grace of God.
2 Chronicles 7:15 (God speaking) "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place."
I can picture Jehovah sitting on the edge of His throne in heaven waiting to spring into action for this nation. I really do. However, the prayers of a few are staying the judgment of God now. It is the silence of the many who are not praying that will bring His judgment.
This is the space I go to when I get to work and I sometimes have a few minutes before I start my workday.
(You're in my spot)
Most of the time I pull out my bible and read a couple of scriptures from the Psalms or pray that my attitude and work be pleasing to Him and that I have an opportunity to share Jesus with someone.
Today, I am looking out at this:
You probably cannot tell from the picture but there is a light snowfall coming down. I sit here and marvel at the amount of snow we have gotten which is not much compared to other cities, and how NO two snowflakes are alike. From my human perspective it all looks the same. Not so with God however.
On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the followers of Jesus were gathered together in the upper room waiting for the Promise of the Father. As these men and women fasted and prayed it says
V.2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
V.3 then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
V.4 and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This fire was the Holy Spirit. The very essence and power of God coming down from heaven to fill (consume) His people for a specific task...to carry out the Great Commission. This fire allowed them to speak boldly to rulers, kings and queens, governors, soldiers and common people without fear and of course passion and the godly desire that all come to repentance and gain eternal salvation.
As the snow slowly cascades to the earth, I am reminded of the Paul Wilbur song "Let Your Fire Fall".
Here's a sample, well, verse.
Come and show Your power as in days of old
Lord, Lord let Your fire fall
Burn up the idols of wood and stone
Lord, Lord let Your fire fall
The snow is coming down harder now. I am so glad to be inside, feeling nice and warm and protected from the elements.
I'm warmed spiritually because of my relationship with the Father through His Son as the fire of His Holy Spirit fills me. God has become my shelter and strong tower. He is my defense and I shall not be moved. One day I shall stand in the beauty of His Holiness and be forever warmed.
This was my mother's favorite word to me, i.e., before opening birthday presents, Christmas presents, and while in the toy store, candy store and supermarket. (I listened about half the time.)
Uncle Sam loves this word also. There were many days i had to hurry up to get something done only to have to wait a considerable amount afterwards before the next task.
So why wait? Good question.
In the 16th chapter of Mark, Jesus commissions His disciples (verses 15-16) "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
Surely after these words and seeing Jesus, the 11 men would run like the wind.
They did not.
Going forward to Acts 1:4 we read And being assembled togther with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me;"
Waiting does not inspire me nor does it become me. As a child i never understood that if i did not wait before opening my birthday and christmas presents I would miss out on seeing the reactions of the people who gave me the gifts. It would have been more problematic for my mom had I opened things in the candy store and supermarket.
In the Marines waiting taught me the value of being part of a team. Individuallity does not serve anyone well in the military. Waiting helped me to learn how to rely on those standing beside me during training so I would never doubt them during combat.
For the apostles their waiting would produce the greatest advantage. The Holy Spirit.
Without the Holy Spirit none of what the apostles tried to accomplish would come to pass. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, that they could going out into the world and preaching the gospel.
Waiting in each instance produced memorable experiences for me. I enjoyed sharing my birthday's with my family and friends. Uncle Sam taught me many things and took me many places, but the friendships gained and still maintained are the best.
Waiting on the promise of the Father allowed the apostles to share in the joy of salvation with family and friends and took them many places that added many more family members to the body of Christ.
Waiting is still a problem for me, but not much so as it used to be. Now I just sit still and know that somewhere the Spirit of God is moving in someones heart and unless I wait, how would i know whom to go to.