Communion is a wonderful time in most churches. I know in mine it is.
Assessment is required before taking communion. Why?
God wants us to examine ourselves and be sure to lay before Him any sin that may hinder our taking sacred elements.
The heart is fickle at times. Well more to the point, according to Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?"
Obviously God knows the heart, but do we ourselves know our hearts?
Verse 10 goes on to say "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."
Do we ourselves take such an introspective look into the inner motives of our hearts? No.
So many people are led by the emotions of the moment. Just think about all that has happened these last few weeks around the world. Mass shootings. Bombings. Murder-suicides. Etc. They all spring from some devotion or love of an person or ideology.
Yet, the death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary over 2,000+ years ago, was the greatest show of love and devotion to His Father for whom we are/were seperated from, because of sin.
God did not say some lives matter, or black lives matter, or only white lives matter. He easily could have said only the lives of Israely people matter.
But He did not.
"FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE."
We all have seen and heard this verse and still the depth of it escapes us.
If we truly wanted justice to prevail in this country then we need to look within ourselves and acknowledged that we have not respected the one life that was given for us all. That life belonged to Jesus Christ. His death on the cross was not in vain. There was purpose behind it. God's judgement needed to be satisfied and He was the only one who could fulfill the requirement.
I am not by any means downplaying the lives lost over the past few weeks and even years.
Before we cast stones, then we must examine our own hearts and see if we are part of the problem and not the solution.
"So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so He has dealt with us.'"'" (Zechariah 1:6)
Once sin became a part of our human DNA, humanity has struggled with its identity. Who and what are we supposed to be. Our forefathers knew from the earliest days of our country's infancy that God was responsible for our being here. A new nation, a new people, called out from among the many nations of the world. Israel had such a beginning herself. Deuteronomy 7:6 "For you are a holy peopleto the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth."
God in His wisdom seconded the United States as a nation unto Himself. But we have turned away from His word, His grace and His covenants.
The world right now is experiencing God's coming judgment. At what corner of the globe can we look and not see something supernatural happening? Despite the birth pangs we are feeling and ignoring, there are those who do not see the need for a Saviour.
Jesus said to His disciples in John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
In Christ Jesus, those who are born-again believers have the peace of God. It is without end and assures us of His presence in our lives.
Those who are in the world, live in doubt and fear and put their trust in the world system that will fail them.
In the last days God will not only restore mankind to its original state, but He will also restore the world to its original state. Only those (humans) who have accepted Gods free offering of eternal life through Jesus Christ His Son, will be a part of this.
A seperation is going on right now. In the end which side of the ledger will you end up on?
Israel was nearing the end of its 70 year period of captivity in Babylon. God, through His prophet Zechariah, is calling for a national repentance from His people.
Therefore say to them, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 1:3)
How appropriate are the words spoken to Israel then, near the end of its captivity, for America today, as we appear to be heading into a form of captivity ourselves?
There is no denying the headlines, news reports and personal eyewitness accounts. We had come to a turning point in this country where nothing is what it used to be, nor will it ever be the same again. Yet, instead of acknowledging our part in the downfall of this nation, we have chosen to further rebel against God.
We are no longer allowed to pray openly in public areas.
We have taken taken His word out of the schools.
The godlyprinciples and morals that once defined who we are as a nation has been turned on its head.
The Ten Commandments have been pulled down from our government buildings.
The Bible has been placed in the darkest corners of our libraries.
We have embraced our sin and pushed the boundaries of God's patience.
We are no longer One nation under God.
America has turned its back on God.
Our hearts have become so hardened by the choices we have made, that we no longer are a free people. We have become a people of strife and division.
"You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation." (Malachi 3:9)
America has robbed God of His glory and honour. It was he who founded this nation and it was he who sustained it.
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal."
"One nation under God"
"In God we trust"
A lot of our federal, state and local laws were written from a biblical standpoint.
The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta. All derived from the Holy Word of God. The Bible.
We cannot make God irrevelant. His fingerprints, literally, are all over this land. To try and make our Creator a nonentity means we as a nation will become a nonentity in the eyes of all the other nations of the world.
Tell me you do not see it happening now?
Even still an Infinite and merciful God says "Repent of your sins and turn back to Me."
God is ready to forgive us and once again embrace us as His own.
Are we willing to let go of the things that are separating us from Him and once again be one nation under God?
Are we ready individually to accept His ways above our own?
Some time has passed since I last sang from my hymnal.
It was during my time of prayer when I heard the words "sing a song".
Not having used it for a while, it took me a few seconds to find my hymnal buried under a pile of papers.
As I turned the pages I looked for songs I had not heard before and try them out. Praise God I found two good ones. Song #1 "I Am His and He is Mine" reminds me that no matter who or what, God will always be there for me.
Song #2 "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" is a call to arms for these current times. A not so subtle reminder to keep fighting the fight of faith and the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11-18 & Isaiah 60:1-5 come to mind as I sing this song.
Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on
Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son
Strong in the Lord of hosts, and in His mighty power
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts Is more than conqueror.
Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued
And take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That having all things done, and all your conflicts past
Ye may overcome, through Christ alone, and stand entire at last.
Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole
From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray
Tread all the powers of darkness down, and win the well fought day.
Life is never truly easy. Yet, for some there are few difficulties. In the lives of others, the opposite happens, there are few good days.
I say this because I am about to experience another transition in my life.
Change has never been easy for me and I have fought hard against it. In the end I have had more difficulties because of my resistance to change and I have also found that change is from God and for the better.
"O LORD my God" are the opening words to Psalm 7. "In You I trust" finishes the verse.
The header for this chapter reads as such, A meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite.
Following the shock and horror being displayed befor my eyes regarding the recents events of the past week I can say " I want Jesus' return to happen yesterday."
Evil seems to be prevailing and many more battles are beginning daily in many towns across this land.
Injustices the central theme which is leading to, unfortunately, racial divides.
Quoting the words of Jesus Crhist in Matthew 5:44-45 (44) "but I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for,those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) "that you may be sons (and daughters) of your Father in heaven; for He makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust."
In the natural we want to respond in kind and lash out at the disregard for human life. It is understandable. Yet Jesus says "respond supernaturally" with prayer, with a heart of compassion and love.
Skin pigmentation does not matter. The condition of their soul does. Weep for the victims and their families while also weeping for the perpetrators.
If we do that, then our next words should be the beginning of our prayer to God.