Sunday, November 6, 2011

THINK ON THESE THINGS - SUNDAY


UNCERTAIN CERTAINTY
RELYING ON GOD IN ANXIOUS TIMES

"Certainty is the mother of quiet and repose, and uncertainty the cause of variance and contentions”. This is a quote from the 16th century English businessman Edward Coke.
Let’s look at some definitions:
Certain: free from doubt; destined to happen; absolutely positive; inevitable.
Uncertain: unknown; not confident of; doubtful; indefinite
Variance: a state of difference or disagreement
Contentions: strife; struggling; disharmony; disagreements; disputes

DICHOTOMY

There is a dichotomy between the two views. We have certainty versus the banging cymbals of uncertainty, variance and contentions….and this describes our world today!

We look around and see monster mile-wide long tornadoes completely wiping out entire city blocks of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

We see 5.2 Earthquakes in Oklahoma, with the New Madrid and San Andreas Faults (Midwest and California respectively) ready to go at any time. These faults could cause more loss to people and property than any earthquake around the world so far!

We see untold heavy rains threaten livestock and lives in Cape Girardeau, Missouri as families and friends are scared for their farms.

We see floods gushing through previously untouchable homes and towns, leaving debris in its wake…and more.

Many, including some pretty level-headed people who are somewhat grounded in Biblical truth, scratch their heads and wonder about the Creator allowing this to happen. Even the toughest believers in God gulp and gasp at that terrible wind blowing apart parts of Southern Alabama at NASCAR speed!

We can go on and on with the examples here, but the only way any of these tragedies make any sense is to comprehend some of the Ways of God and why Creation is in an uproar.

Uncertain times demand a comforting word from the Promises of the Creator – the God of the Universe!

YOUR WAYS

When we have a national or large scale tragedy – for instance the Japanese Tsunami or the Alabama Tornados – the rationale mind goes into logic, trying to figure out the incomprehensible.
 Here is what God has to say about that in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

The corrupt puny mind of mortal man manages to manufacture multiple methods to attain to a level of understanding which no one this side of Paradise could EVER comprehend! Sure they can come up with ridiculous things like Evolution and cloning sheep, but they will never be able to fathom the mind of God.

Common sense does not always make sense to an uncommon God. Our minds tell us “by all calculations, thus and such should be so!”  The western concept of the perfectly planned life goes like this:

-         Go to K-12 school; play sports; be in band; get good grades; go to Prom; graduate.

-         Get into a good college; get a student loan; get a part-time retail job; begin classes.
-         Party in college; send home for money; scope out future spouses; cram for finals; use lots of caffeine; get report card; get summer job and go home in u-Haul.
-         Repeat previous line for four years; graduate with a Bachelor or a four year/two year Associates Degree!!

-         Get recruited by a growing or established company or have no trouble finding a job; alongside, as some grieving, move back home 


-         Begin working 8-5 job; drink Starbucks daily; live in cubicle world; join Fitness Club; buy used program car; fall in love.
-         Get married; fall in debt; have 2.5 kids (who is this “.5” kid anyway?) and WE’RE OFF!!!!
Sometime in the past few years, this paradigm was turned on its head. The certainty of the affluent western lifestyle was turned on its overburdened head when the House of Cards collapsed. 

With the encouragement of certain citizens, politicians created the bondage of a Free Lunch, the bill came due, and all this dancing with the devil left hell to pay!

NEW PARADIGM

Beginning in 2008, the economy took such a huge nosedive that it looked like this Path to Success, developed after World War II by the American Dream, began to look like a bad dream. Once safe and secure occupations and sacred cows were considered no longer safe or sacred.

Oh, and by the way, have you ever wondered about this term “Sacred Cow”? The last time someone took ton of gold and fashioned a Golden Calf out of the fire for pagan revelry aka “worship”, God got so angry at Aaron the High Priest and the Israelites that He killed a whole bunch of them….but I digress.

Not only were entire portfolios of retirement and other wealth down the drain, in a corrupt orgy of mammon worship from Wall Street to Washington, DC,  but middle aged professionals lost their jobs with nowhere to turn. The once exciting prospective jobs out there for college graduates completely disappeared.

Then a phenomenon which began about a decade ago, really ramped up. Twenty something’s who lived with all their modern conveniences in their own apartments began to move back in with their parents. Grandparents then began to raise their second batch of children – their grandchildren; while their kids either looked for any kind of work or could not cope with the demands and failures of the results of their lack of …you fill in the blanks.

This was the start of the New Paradigm. It does not mean everyone is a failure just that the opportunities have narrowed and are now almost non-existent, unless you are a self-starter. The modern technological world offers endless possibilities for those who are innovative and have a passion for adventure.

This new generation of both high school and college graduates are unable to find their footing in life. Raised on Electronics, fast cars, fast food and day care, what little they were taught in Sunday school 15 or more years earlier, was lost in the secular humanist world of University and intellectualism!

They have no moral grounding, having been told a pack of lies from “if it feels good, do it” to “it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you sincerely believe it”!

They have no character core, having be sold a bag of goods about alternate lifestyles, premarital sex and may have even witness shortcomings in their parents’ ethics in how THEY conduct their own lives.

They have no Foundation of Faith, because as we now know (because of Ken Ham’s and Britt Beamer’s earth shattering book “ALREADY GONE”), we lost the next generation in our Evangelical churches of America starting in Sunday school…in our BEST Bible-teaching churches!

All college did was speed up their falling away from the Faith to the point where over 57% of EVANGELICALS – that’s people who believe like you and I! They now say there is another way to heaven than Jesus!

ARE  YOU SURE?!

THIS is what we’re operating with – a new generation in their early 20’s – purposely neglect the preaching, teaching and reaching of the Word of God. …and who could care less about it!

Here is what the great Oswald Chambers said, over 100 years ago…and this addresses part of our concern tremendously! Chambers said “Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life: gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness, it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises all the time”. 

What Oswald is saying is, as we look at the failure to achieve certain material milestones by age 25 or 35 etc, it is not necessarily a bad thing….because that kind of thinking is indicative of the movement which rendered Western Europe almost “godless” with their Age of Reason.  This is the stinking thinking which attempts to analyze the Faith with human rationale, rather than live in the hope and expectation of a sure and secure better tomorrow, through the Christian Life.

Following also on his line of thinking, it behooves us to be live in Joyful Uncertainty!! Yes, this is correct!  We must be like little children to see the Kingdom of God and even if we are several decades in the Faith, learning and living for Jesus…and being sure about it, we can look at situations such as Alabama, or Illinois etc with a nervous expectancy of “I wonder how God is going to move here to rescue His People”!!

Jesus Himself gave us this certain promise from John 14:1
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me”.
NOTE THIS: Jesus did not say “believe only this 45% over there and the other 55% over there. He did not say “believe only this certain thing about Me but not this one…or that one…but believe THIS one!!”
DON’T BE ANXIOUS

You know, sometime within the next 50 years or more, EVERY ONE of us will be standing in front of the REAL Lord Jesus for Judgment and rewards if we are saved, and the final Judgment leading to hell, if we aren’t!
These brief unsure and uncertain days and years on planet earth determine our eternal destination. How we live NOW has eternal impact, no matter what it is.

Jesus looked at a generation then who did not have to use anti-depressant drugs and other medication to remain focused but who worried constantly about things they had no control over!

Here are parts of His “Anxious” statements from Matthew 6:
-         do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.(vs. 25)
-         which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (vs. 27)
-         And why are you anxious about clothing? (vs. 28)
He then lights into them and tells them “Oh you of little faith” and then Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you… (Verses 31-33).

The USA is the LAND of Anxiety, my friends and it shows in the National medication prescription drug list! Not only are panic attacks and anxiety problems increasing, including about so-called Christians, but the prescription drug usage is phenomenal! 
The leading Anxiety drugs are Cymbalta, Zoloft and Prozac. It is a multi-billion dollar Bermuda Triangle of downward spiraling away from the Anointing of the best of the Spirit-filled life!

The sad reality is more and more of us on this great continent are unable to cope with the simplest of instructions from the Creator of the Universe – Jesus – and need toxic chemical pills to make it through each day!  Everything Jesus warned against above is in the material realm.  All He is saying is “guys, put this thing in perspective….quit thinking about where and what fancy meal you will eat next, or the shopping at JC Penney’s to be done….or…name it…just put this aside for a minute and see the Bigger Picture!!”

The Bigger Picture is a life of uncertainty based on Faith, knowing that our home is not on this dying planet, but we have an automatic citizenship in Heaven with Abba Father as our Guide, Teacher, Comforter and Friend! Amen!

IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS

So what should we glean from all of this, as we see the world tearing away from reality and (what we consider) order, DAILY?!  When the guy at work next to you, whether it’s at the construction site or the office…or even sitting in the pew next you…when that guy in his genuine confusion, looks at the chaos, the monster tornados, the devastation and loss of life…JUST HOW IS A MAN OR WOMAN OF GOD SUPPOSED TO RESPOND TO THAT?

How can we comfort others in times of uncertainty when God just does not ‘make sense’, in the earthly sense? Well, we HAVE and MUST dig deep within ourselves and access that fountain of Faith He built in there, when He gave us His Holy Spirit and just worship!
YES! I said WORSHIP! I am not telling you anything I haven’t done myself! I can’t begin to tell you the many crises, personal and otherwise, where I just had to give it up,  make myself a living sacrifice, die to myself, fall down and just say “Lord, I don’t get this…please take this from me!!”

And He does! If we would just stay up, look up, pray up and praise up…He will lift us up! Why? Because He is a God Whose Ways we can never understand, but He is certain about His Promises to never leave or forsake you, in a dry and thirsty land!

Worship! That’s how! King David, a man after God’s Own Heart showed us how…here…in part…from 2 Samuel 22: 19-34. I am putting all the verses here, from the Amplified Bible, so we can follow the process of Worship, which David walks us through as He Himself was led out of certain death by his enemies (when King Saul was hunting him and trying to kill him) to a place of certain peace and rest.
 All the noteworthy passages are emphasized.  Comments are in BLUE after the verse.  Glory to His Name! 
2 Samuel 22: 19-24 AMP
19They came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay.
20He brought me forth into a large place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.
    21The Lord rewarded me according to my uprightness with Him; He compensated and benefited me according to the cleanness of my hands. (Perseverance rewarded!)
    22For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. (Don’t join in with the world today, but stay the Course of Christ).
    23For all His ordinances were before me; and from His statutes I did not turn aside. (Staying within the boundaries of the Word keeps us from sin!)
    24I was also blameless before Him and kept myself from guilt and iniquity.
    25Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His [holy] sight.
    26Toward the loving and loyal You will show Yourself loving and loyal, and with the upright and blameless You will show Yourself upright and blameless. (The Eyes of the Lord runneth to and fro, across the WHOLE earth  ...to find those who are LOYAL to HIM…and ALL HIS PROMISES ARE YES and AMEN!!!! IT IS TRUE! TRY HIM!! TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!!!!)
    27To the pure You will show Yourself pure, and to the willful You will show Yourself willful.
    28And the afflicted people You will deliver, but Your eyes are upon the haughty, whom You will bring down.
    29For You, O Lord, are my Lamp; the Lord lightens my darkness. (When it seems darkest today, when calamity strikes, when wars abound and economies fall….HE LIGHTS UP THE WAY FOR US…through WORSHIP!)
    30For by You I run through a troop; by my God I leap over a wall. (I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me…even make it through the coming Tribulation!)
    31As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those who trust and take refuge in Him. (A PROMISE KEPT!)
    32For who is God but the Lord? And who is a Rock except our God? (ANOTHER PROMISE KEPT!)
    33God is my strong Fortress; He guides the blameless in His way and sets him free. (YET ANOTHER PROMISE KEPT!)
    34He makes my feet like the hinds' [firm and able]; He sets me secure and confident upon the heights. (YES AND AMEN!)

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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