Monday, August 4, 2008

When is enough, ENOUGH?

How easily do you give up? What does it take for you to throw in the towel and call it a day? When is enough, enough? I am ashamed to admit that it is far too easy for me to get to that point. I am afraid that patience and long suffering is an area that God still needs to grow me. Raising my children is a constant reminder for me that this is NOT one of my strengths. Gods Word paints a similar story, His patience is tried to the breaking point during Jeremiah’s mission and He has made the decision to bring His children to account for the way they have behaved.
King Hezekiah’s earlier reforms only lasted until his son succeeded him. Suddenly following the series of bad leadership that followed, a king of a different sort appears on the scene. His name was Josiah and like Hezekiah he too made sweeping reforms. He removed the offensive idols to Baal from the temple, the Asherah poles from the high places and burned them in the Kidron Valley. He cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the One True God. He also combed the countryside for unauthorized places of worship and killed hundreds of priests that served other gods like Molech (the vile god of the people of Ammon) & Chemosh (the vile god of Moab). He made serious efforts to “thin the herd”, separate the “wheat from the chaff” and get Gods people back on track.
Previously, King Hezekiah was rewarded for reforms such as these, by being given an additional 15 years of life. By contrast, Josiah was he rewarded only by being spared from witnessing himself, the destruction of the kingdom he fought so hard to protect. Josiah’s reign is truly a high point in the history of Judah, but it will not be enough to atone for three centuries of sinning on the part of Israel. The apparent lesson is that sin sometimes sets in motion certain consequences, which even subsequent good intentions cannot forestall.
But for Jesus, we too would be feeling the full wrath of God, as He grows impatient with our wayward behavior and hearts. I lean on Christ to remain vigilant and ALL IN!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Prophets Tears

My own personal bible study of late has been in the Book of Jeremiah. In this book, at a time of brief and relative peace, just prior to the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem, false prophets abound in Israel, preaching that all is well. Peace, peace, peace they preach. By contrast Jeremiah (the weeping prophet), is the sole source of God’s message of displeasure with his people. God has long endured the fickle backsliding nature of His chosen people and His sorrow is revealed through Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 8:18-9:2:
My sorrow is beyond healing,
My heart is faint within me!
Behold, listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land:
"Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not within her?"
"Why have they provoked Me with their graven images, with foreign idols?"
"Harvest is past, summer is ended,
And we are not saved."
For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I am broken;
I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?

Oh that my head were waters
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh that I had in the desert
A wayfarers' lodging place;
That I might leave my people
And go from them!
For all of them are adulterers,
An assembly of treacherous men.

Continuing on, the long period of idolatry just reads as if it builds to the preverbal “straw that broke the camels back”, prompting God to send a much stronger message of condemnation to his people:

Jeremiah 18:13-17:
"Therefore thus says the LORD,
Ask now among the nations,
Who ever heard the like of this?
The virgin of Israel
Has done a most appalling thing.
Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country?
Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?
For My people have forgotten Me,
They burn incense to worthless gods
And they have stumbled from their ways,
From the ancient paths,
To walk in bypaths,
Not on a highway,
To make their land a desolation,
An object of perpetual hissing;
Everyone who passes by it will be astonished
And shake his head.
Like an east wind I will scatter them
Before the enemy;
I will show them My back and not My face
In the day of their calamity.'"

The fall of Jerusalem and the Great Deportation of Israel, is of course, what results from God’s broken heart. It is very sad and difficult reading, especially in light of the wayward world we live in and the arrogant responses we hear all around us to God’s loving plans and the TRUTH revealed in His Son. In 2006, in a radio address on the National Day of prayer, John F. MacArthur revealed his own concern that God may have already turned his back on the United States of America for similar responsiveness. The Battle for defining Marriage in California following the recent California Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage may be reason to believe that John MacArthur was correct.

I fear that more than a weeping prophet is needed, I remain His. I remain ALL IN!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Raising Cain

My folks raised at least one “Cain” in our family. Growing up, I was a boy with a handful of wild ideas dressed in a dirty T-shirt and jeans wearing PF Flyers, Blue Canvas Vans , Wallabee's or Work boots depending on what decade you might be talking about. I had always felt that there must be a God, but I had no understanding of his plans for me, how accessible He was or how He wished to have relationship with me. In many ways, which I will not explore here, and in this sense, I was a “Cain”.

Note: The subject of my own predetermination is a bit to lofty for discussion in this brief blog, but suffice to say, I made it into the family of God. Thanks to my dear Sister and a number of dear friends, that prayed regularly for my very soul.

I now enjoy the task of raising “Cain” as a father. You might say I am raising several “Cains” in differing states of “Cain”-dom. (I know that sounds strange, but hang in there). The raising Cain process is a bit like separating the wheat from the chaff. When raising “Cain”, the trick is really to raise the “Cain” OUT of that person. To this end, as a father and head of my household, I have committed myself to rear my children and make them more ABLE.

More able to: Know God, Love God, Listen to God, Follow God and Share God. To all you parents out there, I wish you the best of success in raising your own “Cain”