15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; Joshua 24:15-16 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jos.24.15-16.KJV
I’ve heard this most of my life but until I read about how it should be done it truly never occurred to me. African-Americans have been wronged in so many ways, not just in America but even in their mother country as well. Many times it was one tribe who had conquered another tribe for their land or some other resource and then they would sell those to men who were willing to pay for them to be slaves in another country far away from their homes. Many of them didn’t even survive the trip in the ship because of such cramped conditions. Of those who did their life, if you can call it that, was miserable, hard and filled with pain and suffering.
My own ancestor came from either Ireland or Scotland, I’m not sure which, as an indentured slave to someone who could afford the trip to the New World as America was called at the time. I don’t know my ancestor’s name but since his skin was white he or she may not have had such a terrible time of it after arriving here. But I have read that some were just as cruelly treated as any other slave, regardless of skin color. Sometimes they might get a nominal education in order to do the job that their master needed them to do and sometimes they didn’t. Either way, regardless of their skin color, life was hard…much harder than it is today.
The one common thread that weaves through the Word of God is that faith and belief in God and the salvation that He offers grows tremendously when there is persecution involved. The Israelites held on to their faith when they were in bondage to Egypt. The early church was persecuted in horrible ways during the first few hundred years and in some countries today they still are, but the church itself grew in number even then. Faith seems to seek out the Savior when there is uncertainty and hardship regardless of nationality or skin color.
This is exactly what America NEEDS today…right NOW!! We need a solid anchor in the Truth of God’s Word. One that will not move and is always true in every instance that we need it for. Salvation, security, peace, hope, love, mercy and grace are all found in God’s Word and today the whole world needs these to be active and ALIVE in the church even if the church is located in someone’s home or basement.
Is slavery wrong? YES!! In every sense of the word. Child slavery, sex trafficking, and a host of other types of slavery that I didn’t mention…these are all wrong! Should we search out and destroy the places where this is practiced? That would be wonderful but I’m afraid that many in America would be surprised by how close to home this really is. We would be shocked and horrified by the realization that it involved someone we know or maybe even someone that we attend church with. I don’t know this for a fact, so don’t quote me here. But…it is possible.
The only person that could fix this is our Savior and our King, Jesus Christ. Many of these rings which conduct business in the middle of our cities and towns are only known as legitimate businesses. Even people that we do business with at least once or twice every month. It may not happen in small towns but it is possible
Every member of the church should dig deep into God’s Word and learn how He does things and then let your voice be heard. Make sure your voice is heard because if we don’t then the other side will and the country that will rise from their influence will be worse than the one we have now. If we aren’t going to make our voice, as the church, heard then we aren’t helping anyone. God sent His Son to pay the price for our sins and the least we can do is follow in His footsteps. Letting others know about our wonderful Savior and His love for them. If we don’t do that then we aren’t really His followers at all.
God has loved us as His children since before the world was a world! He saw our frail and fickle ways long before the first sin was committed, but He loved us anyway.
Jesus said that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow because today has enough trouble of it’s own. Seek His strength and wisdom in your time of need during those days when nothing seems to be going right. He can give you enough to get through it and then some.
Before I go too far into this small writing, I want to make sure that you understand that I’m not talking about the part of your anatomy which you sit on!
I am talking in this space about the times when you yourself are the “but” that is getting in the way. Sometimes we believe God can do all things but we don’t have deep, strong faith in Him to the extent that we can see where He wants us to go. We tend to place a “but” in places where it should not be. Just as the Israelites who spied out the Promised land did. They saw all of the fruit of the land while they walked the land for 40 days but they saw giants in the land, sons of Anak. They brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it had to be carried on a pole between two grown men! God had already told them that He was giving them the land. But they saw the children of Anak and the Nephilim, men of great stature, giants!
When God told them that He was giving them the land, why didn’t they believe Him? Which is bigger, God or a giant? How strong is a walled city compared to God? Where was their faith? Most of them had seen the miracles which brought them out of Egypt. They walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and with walls of water on each side of them. He gave them water from a rock and yet they didn’t believe that He was able to take care of the giants and the walled cities to bring them into the inheritance that He had promised them. God doesn’t break His promises.
Even today we place “but” in places where it should not be. “I know He has cured my cancer but will He provide for me and my family?” “I’m disabled now, where was God in my problem?” God can and will provide all these wonderful things even when we doubt Him. But…doubt causes some of our rewards to be delayed or possibly lessened. The reward may turn out to be less than it would’ve been if we had placed our full faith and belief in His ways and in His provision. It is usually our own “buts” that cause a blessing or a provision, which He was sending to us, to be delayed.
We need to wake up every day thanking Him for the day and for the blessings of it, whatever they might be. Good or bad, enough or maybe more than enough, God can supply all of our needs. But when we doubt Him or when we don’t think that He will do or provide for us as we have prayed for, it is our “but” and our lack of trusting faith in Him that is getting in His way. Its like we are saying “Are you really able to do this?” “Do you love me enough to provide for us?”
Doubt and fear tend to make our “but” moments more than they should be. We need to remember that God is the Creator and He has known each of us since before creation began. He lives outside of time so He is not contained in it like we are. He can look back to when the world was fresh and new and He can see what is coming in the next 1000 years because He is there and He is here too. So we should consider this before our problem or our storm hits. God stood at the threshold of creation and spoke all that we see into existence. The stars and galaxies, the planets, the sun and moon and all of life on Earth. While it is true that you can choose to believe the Bible’s version or you can go along with science and their “theories”, I know that God can do the things which are described in His Word and He cannot and will not lie. He gave the history of our world to Moses on the mountain, because Moses could not have made all of that stuff up.
Think about how many times there has been a “but” somewhere in your life. Did it work out the way you wanted or did it fail miserably and you had to pick up and go on anyway? There are many days and have been many times in my own life when there was a “but” moment. Then later I can look back and think to myself, “Self, you should’ve trusted God there more than your own ideas.” Usually it is at this point I sound a lot like Homer Simpson, “D’OH!” Because it is too late to fix a problem or the problem, by the time I realize that I messed up.
If I had prayerfully sought God’s provision and His answer for my problem, it would’ve worked out a bit better. So from this point on I am going to seek Him in the problem and for the solution before I try to fix it myself and find out that my efforts are just not good enough.
Taste and See That the LORD Is Good
A Psalm Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
During the times when we are either being attacked because of our faith or brought low in our health, we often ask this question. If you are wondering about the two instances which I listed in the previous sentence, it’s because those are the times when Satan or one of his flunkies are attacking us because of our faith in Jesus.
For many people in the world who are having real problems with their health, like those suffering from cancer, faith in God is the best way to have any hope of either a complete healing or an eternal future. Are there agnostics or atheists who have these problems? I would have to say, Yes! But they don’t really have faith in God until He is the only real hope for them. Atheists don’t believe in God period, no matter what name you give Him.
I am not trying to put people down who don’t believe in God or have a very low opinion of God, but He is the only One Who can accomplish anything in your life and He will if you will believe in Him for your salvation. Does that mean that you can never have any more fun after giving your life to Him? No indeed, the fun that you will have will be tempered by your faith and by His Spirit but He doesn’t take away your enjoyment of life. You just have a different outlook toward God’s creation all around you.
He is everywhere but that doesn’t mean that you should worship a tree or an ocean or a person other than Jesus because only He is the Son of God. He paid the price to redeem you, therefore He deserves our praise and our worship every day of your life. As Jesus told His disciples, “Not even a sparrow falls that my Father doesn’t know about it”; so since God watches over the birds and the other parts of creation, He will watch over you as well.
What does this mean in our society today? It means that we, as a society, should forgive those who have wronged us in the past. It means that the bitterness and resentment should be forgiven by us first toward those who we hold responsible for a wrong. Forgiveness is the closest that we can come to God before we die and it is an act of will on our part that can take away years of pain and suffering. One word and deed which can change the life of those who have held onto bitterness and anger for so long they don’t remember why they were angry, but with true forgiveness they will feel healing and a peace in their lives which has never been there before.
Our country needs a Spirit of forgiveness to sweep over this land and into the hearts and minds of those living here. It will take God’s Holy Spirit to make this happen and it will take an honest revival in our country before this will happen. Can it happen? Yes, but only if people will stop being so politically correct they aren’t any good to the people around them!
God has never stopped loving you or those who wronged you in the past, but until you forgive them and change the way you feel about them, your health and your life will suffer because of it. That is why it says in the Bible, “if you have anything against your brother, leave your offering and be reconciled to him, then come and make your offering“. Living with anything in your past which is unforgiven and causes you to feel anger or resentment and bitterness will make you sick physically. Healing can only come when the forgiveness is full and real between you and your brother or sister.
Don’t live that way because I have seen this in my family and it truly rips a hole in a family and the relationships in that family. I pray that anyone who reads this will seek God’s will for their relationships with their family member and with Him too.
We live each day according to what we have learned in our life. We may live according to what we were taught by our parents or grandparents or according to what we have learned from going to church and reading our Bibles. Some people claim that life doesn’t have a guidebook or an instruction manual but God’s Word is the best manual for living and how to live that I have ever seen or read.
But there are many times in our lives when we can’t find the answer to our problem. Sometimes it escapes us in one way or another. We ask “Why did this happen?” and we can’t find the answer or if we ask God that question…He is either silent or we may not be listening closely enough. Those times cause us to doubt our faith and they can cause us to doubt God too.
Why? It is a very small question but sometimes the answer is not small if it comes at all. The answer can be a diagnosis which a mother or father is not prepared for. The outcome of this diagnosis may be a child which is unable to ever enjoy life again or enjoy anything about life. So what do we do then? Are we supposed to give up on God’s promises of healing and restoration?
God doesn’t make that promise of healing and restoration for every person in the world! If you seek Him in your need and your feelings of grief over a child who is suffering from an accident or even a disease please seek God’s answer and LISTEN to Him. Many of us would rather have our child back or our spouse back, healthy and whole with no problems but consider that God’s healing may take the form of their passing from this life into the next with Him.
While this outcome is not the perfect outcome in our own view, God may truly have something else which is much better. But…we must be willing to truly listen to Him and not to our own voice echo in our head telling us what we want to hear rather than what is good for our child or our spouse or even the decision which is truly in God’s hands.
The problem with waiting for God’s leading and His voice is that we usually try to go around God and get things done the way we want them to be. We don’t want to wait on God but we want the solution right NOW! Life’s troubles and trials are rarely cut neatly with our ideas in mind so that a visit to the hospital turns out as a blessing. Many times it comes with tremendous bills and stress and the possible outcomes which may or may not be the one which we want in our lives.
These are the times when life seems to be broken and there is no amount of glue or tape which can un-break it. Sometimes even our technology can do more harm by keeping a loved one alive but are they really? They are breathing and they may react to some stimulus but if they are unable to live…is that really living?
Pray for those in the hospitals or in nursing homes that are in a coma or a state which, if given a chance, they would likely not want to “live” in. I pray that no mother or father reading this will ever have to go through this type of decision because even though I can write this advice down, but if it were my son it would truly be heartbreaking to have to make that life-altering decision. He has told me if that ever happens don’t let me live in a coma not knowing what is going on or who is around me. But even with his instructions, it would still break my heart.
During the times when we are anxious or fearful about…well, about anything in particular. Whether it is money or disease or death, anxiety and fearfulness can only add to the stress of the situation. Regardless of what is causing the problem itself, we should step back, if we can, in our minds since many times we can’t physically do so. Step back if you can get some quiet time during your time of need and seek to know the mind of God on the matter at hand.
How am I supposed to know or find out what God thinks about my situation? By prayer and the reading His Word.
I know it seems silly to seek God’s help with something in the 21st century but He is still here and His aid is much better at easing your mind than just sitting around fretting about something which you cannot control. It is never outside of God’s ability to control and take care of whatever it may be, no matter the circumstances.
But, in the world today we see all sorts of problems and fears which cause stress on our lives even when we aren’t directly affected by those problems. Why is this? Mainly, in my opinion, because of the twenty-four-hour cycle of news feeds and media and posts on Facebook which we can’t seem to get away from.
This year would be a good year to de-stress your life and only check in on social media when you need to, not every fifteen minutes or so like some do. I use it to keep in touch with family and friends but I only get on FB about once or twice a day. I also steer clear of the drama which tries to get under people’s skin while looking at it so I am not a very active person on that platform.
God will watch over your life and the stress that you carry with you but the best place to lay your stress down is at His feet and leave it there. Don’t ask Him to help you with it and then take it up and worry about it an hour or two later. That’s like taking a letter or a bill payment to the post office and then deciding that you can get it to the recipient faster and more on time than they can. Ridiculous logic there.
God can handle all of your problems, no matter how big and bad they seem to you. He is holding the universe together all the time and that isn’t taking much of His attention from your problems at all. Give your life and your problems to Him, you will never be disappointed with the results if you will.
The world and the media cloud our ideas and our view of the world around us with their own version, their own spin on what is happening and what has happened in the past. So how are we to discern the truth of what is and what will be if we don’t read the Bible? It is God’s inspired Word to mankind and since He cannot lie, it is the whole truth. Regardless of the watered down messages that some teach or try to “interpret” in a way which has nothing to do with its message at all.
God’s predictions for our world’s future, such as the saying of Jesus that “the kingdom of God will come before this generation is done”, did not mean that those living at the time would see His second coming. It did refer to the Jewish people who would still be the state of Israel at the time of His second coming. I am sure that many in that day hoped that Jesus would destroy Rome and its hold of persecution and oppression over the Jewish people but that wasn’t His job at that time.
Jesus came to end the oppression of Satan over the whole world so that people could gain their freedom from the world and its sins and the consequences in their lives. That was His message and His mission the first time. When He comes the second time, it will be as Conquerer and King and He will do it because not one comma or period will pass away before all are fulfilled.
Our world, not just America, is beginning a new year and all of us need to be seeking Jesus as our True Savior. He is the only Way to Heaven and our debts for our sins have been paid, all we have to do is believe in Him and follow Him daily, seeking to be more like Him until that day when He calls us all home. I pray that more people will learn of Him and seek Him as their Savior this year because He is coming soon.