The Unending Pattern

An unending pattern existed in Israel during the time of the Judges. It went like this: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and some versions word it this way: “There was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’ This happened eight times in the course of the Judges.

Of course, it was inevitable that hardship should fall on the people. They had turned from God and were doing their own thing, and it wasn’t a good thing. They messed up.

The next part of the cycle went like this: “And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord.”

Finally, they understood that there was only One who could help them. Things had gotten so bad they could no longer depend on their own strength or wisdom. They needed God. He heard their cry and came to their rescue.

Then, here’s what happened, time and time again: “And the land had rest 40 years.” (One time it was 80 years.) But, how does the Book of Judges end? “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

And, no surprise, the next book (the Book of Ruth) begins with a famine in the land.

Now, I’m aware that this example is talking about the Israelites in that day and time. Didn’t God warn His people not to behave that way? (Deuteronomy 12:8)

The thing is, we should learn from their example. A similar pattern prevails in America and throughout the world. We become smug in our prosperity. We ignore God and do our own thing. Then, the enemy hits us. We experience 9/11. We are at war. A terrible illness threatens our very lives.

Isn’t this the time to turn to the only One who has the power to rescue us? Hasn’t He proven Himself, year after year, decade after decade, century after century? Just like the Israelites eventually turned to the Living God to rescue them, so should we.

While we wait for the doctors and scientists to come up with a cure, do like the Israelites did long ago and cry out to the Lord, and then watch Him work.

To God be the Glory!

THE RAVAGES OF A VIRUS

Several years ago, a serious virus was threatening to take my life. Doctors told my husband I was going to die on three separate occasions. I was in the hospital for two months, in ICU for five weeks, and on life support for 3 1/2 weeks. It looked hopeless.

Being on a ventilator is no picnic. A nurse came in every four hours to suction my lungs until I gagged. I had no TV, no Bible or any other reading materials, and no visitors aside from my immediate family. If not for the Scriptures I had memorized, I wouldn’t have had any hope at all. Verses came flooding back to my half-conscious mind.

I especially remembered Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve they going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

After exhausting all other efforts and an intense regimen of antibiotics that didn’t work for me, the doctors decided to put me in a state of hypothermia. They placed me on a bed that lowered my temperature and placed me in a controlled coma for 48 hours. When I awoke, the virus was gone. Apparently, some viruses will not survive extreme cold.

Even after my release from the hospital, it took a year for me to get back to normal. As I look back, I am grateful for the medical professionals who tried every means at their disposal to save my life. But I know who really saved me. It was the One who never slumbers, the one who heard the prayers of friends and family, the One who was in that hospital room with me, invisible to the naked eye, but ever present in my heart.

FACING THE ENEMY

A dark shadow has fallen over the world. Within a few weeks, the coronavirus moved from one country to another, from one state to another, from one person to another. An insidious, invisible enemy has taken the lives of thousands and left many imprisoned by fear.

In the midst of this “war,” our government leaders have given us a protocol to help us protect ourselves and our loved ones. We should follow those recommendations. They make sense. But, is it enough? There is one more resource many of us have neglected for far too long. That is the One True God who is able to sustain us through this difficult time.

In his daily devotional book, God’s Way, Charles Stanley wrote this message: “The Spirit-filled life is not a life without responsibility or pressure. It is, however, a life in which God is seen as a faithful provider that we are free to do what we know to do while trusting Him with those things that are beyond our control.”

Remember these words of the prophet Nahum: The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows them that trust in Him.Nahum 1:7

 

THE NAME OF JESUS

All of the Ten Commandments are important, but I take a special interest in the Third Commandment, which says, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord they God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

I am not guiltless. I’m ashamed to admit there was a time when I used God’s name flippantly and even in cursing. I could say it was in by BC days (before Christ), but that’s a flimsy excuse.

The thing is, we go to church and sing songs like “What a Beautiful Name it is, the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord,” and “What a Powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus Christ, the King.” But do we really honor the name of the King?

I was convicted a couple of years ago that too many DVDs on my shelf, though rated PG, contained scenes in which the actor blatantly used God’s name in a curse (GD) or blurted out Jesus’ name in much the same way. You’d be surprised at some of the titles, because they were decent movies, films like: You’ve Got Mail, What about Bob?, and Independence Day. I loved those movies and thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Until one of the actors decided to take my Lord’s name in vain.

I can’t tell you how many films I either gave away or tossed in the trash. Maybe I’m being a bit of a Pharisee. I hope not. I certainly don’t expect anyone else to live up to my personal convictions. But doesn’t it make you stop and think? Already Hollywood has tried to make a mockery of Christian faith. You won’t see very many films coming out of Hollywood that you can trust for decency and respect for God’s name.

I read somewhere that Beau Bridges had a clause put in his movie contracts that he should not be forced to use God’s name in vain in his roles. I have to say, I really respect that man for doing so. Of course, you won’t see him in very many Hollywood films. But if you check the list of faith-based films, you’ll find his name there often.

Thank God for actors like Beau Bridges, Kevin Sorbo, and Kirk Cameron, and so many others who have taken a stand and provide us with decent entertainment.

To God Be the Glory!

 

 

KEEP BELIEVING, GOD IS NOT DEAD

Though they spent 40 years in the wilderness, the Israelites’ shoes didn’t wear out.

Though famine had covered the land, the widow’s cruse of oil didn’t run out.

Though the Temple was under siege often over the centuries, the lamp didn’t go out.

No matter what is happening in your life, don’t let your passion die out. Even when you can’t see Him working, God is there. He has not forsaken or deserted you. Keep the blaze going and never give up.

Fear Not!

What did the Lord say to Moses at the banks of the Red Sea?

“Fear Not! Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you this day….The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Sometimes, all we have to do is stand back and keep silent. We only need to wait and watch.

Though it goes against our human nature, we don’t always have to take action. When oppression comes, we don’t always have to speak up or defend ourselves or fight back.

The Lord is our helper. We need not fear what man will do to us. The Lord is our strength. The Lord is our guide, our teacher, our protector, our Savior, our King.

There may be times when we have to speak or act or defend ourselves. But, when our efforts appear to be ineffective, when we’ve reached our personal Red Sea and the army of evil is fast approaching, we should stand still, look to the Lord, bow down, and humbly declare our helplessness.

Then, simply watch Him work.

Partial Birth Abortion

The first mention of partial birth abortion is in Exodus 1:15-16 — And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

How did the Hebrew midwives respond? Verse 17 — But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

It is better to obey God than man. It is better to choose life, not abortion. It is better to save the children, not the so-called right of women over their own bodies. Women’s rights? They are destroying us.