Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Better a day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere!

"10 Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. 12 Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of Hosts!" Psalm 84:10,12 (HCSB)

Have you ever felt this way? I so identify with David in this Psalm. I would much rather spend time with Him than anything the world could offer. He is my God and I am His child, His sheep, His.

You see, God and I have had a relationship for a very long time. I knew Him before I finally accepted Him as my Savior at the age of 7. I fully believe the intimacy of my relationship with God began in the womb, but became a part of who I am when I was three.

I have no memories of this time, but I know that I took something special away from the experience. At the age of 3, I had pneumonia and developed a fever. My mother, believing the old school notion of covering up the child when the chills come, piled blankets on me until I began to have convulsions.

I was run quickly to the hospital where they stripped me down and threw me on ice, trying to bring down the fever, which had risen to 108º! The fever was brought down to 105º where it stayed for the next three days. I remained in the hospital for 11 days. I can only imagine the fear that must have coursed through my little body.

The health care professionals thought I would be a vegetable. They were wrong. I am a viable, intelligent human being. A couple of issues happened because of the fever, but my brain managed to create new pathways to cope. This, my friends, is definitely a God thing!

So, why do I attribute my special relationship with my God to this time? I firmly believe God was there, holding me through the entire experience. I developed a trust that cannot be explained in the usual manner, and had conversations (prayers) with God from early on. He has always been the one for me through everything.

He walked with me through the hazards and joys of my entire life, always giving me what I needed, when I needed it. Always showing me His hand and bringing me to the things I needed, good or bad, to become the best Angie I could be. I don’t know for sure that this early relationship with God is unusual, but from what I know from others, it is. Some feel called from an early age, but not very many have what I had and have.

God and I have had so much fun building the God stories in my life. I do long for the day when we can be face to face forever without the baggage that life brings. I don’t know what He has for my future while still on earth, but I do know what He has for my forever future. Whatever He has, I trust Him and He has always been faithful, so I don’t need to worry – He’s got my back!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Righteousness begets Righteousness: Seeking to change our world

In re-writing an article about Proverbs 28:28 and the definition for wisdom, and it started me thinking. Proverbs 28:28 reads: "When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase." The article stirred my heart and got me thinking about my country and its rapid descent into wickedness. No longer is wickedness merely tolerated, it is accepted and excused. This ought not to be.

Wisdom, defined from I Kings 3:4-11 by Solomon's response to God's request to give him anything He wanted, is:

~Acknowledging God's mercy and kindness to those who walk in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart with God. (v. 6)

~Recognizing the nothingness of one's knowledge, understanding, and abilities. (v. 7)

~Recognizing that the task is impossible for mere man without God. (v. 8)

~Asking God for an understanding heart, and the ability to discern between good and evil, along with recognizing it all comes from Him and Him alone. (v. 9)

Seems simple doesn't it? I can't; God can; He is my source for everything; without Him I am nothing.

Now back to Proverbs 28:28. When wickedness grows, the righteousness of the land wanes. Those who are righteous fear for their lives and hide from the wickedness around them. This, then, leaves the wicked open with little opposition, and they continue to gobble up everyone they can in their path. Not only do they do wicked things, the glory in those who do them, seek to have their wicked deeds accepted as normal, and hate anyone who tries to tell them otherwise. When the wicked abound, everyone has to fear for their lives and their property and much more because there is no restraint to keep people from harming themselves and others.

On the other hand, "when they perish, the righteous increase." Let's word that this way: when the righteous increase, the wicked perish. That may be taking liberties, but stay with me. The wicked arise because God-fearing people are no longer wise.

They become like the world through compromise; they begin to believe their own understanding instead of seeking God's understanding and God's purpose; they often have a form of worship, but lack depth and a real connection with the God they are supposedly serving; they begin to laugh at things that would have shocked them at one time; their standards and morals begin to gradually slide away; they hide their light under a bushel, not allowing it to shine out into and illuminate the wickedness of the world.

The world wanders around in increasing darkness, seeking the ever illusive peace and happiness satan has promised them through his counterfit offerings. Where are the righteous? Those that exist have hidden their lights for fear of their life.

What I believe this scripture is pointing out is that in a time of wickedness, Christians need to seek God and His wisdom and stand tall and firm if they want to effect the nation. Instead of buying the "politically correct" notions and the understandings of the world, Christians need to get right and stand tall, letting their light shine out into the darkness. If death comes from this, then praise the Lord that you get to die for him.

If we want to turn our nation around, we must seek the kind of wisdom Solomon asked for and be a light to the world.

"Proverbs 28:28 serves as a warning to those of us seeking God’s wisdom and His righteousness to stand up and let our God shine from our lives for others to see. When the righteous act as a light in the darkness of wickedness, they draw the wicked to God. Wisdom realizes this and seeks to get the life aligned with God’s ways, eschewing complacency, political-correctness, compromise and even legalism to stand out in a way that turns the tide from increasing wickedness to increasing righteousness. This then is wisdom." (quote from my article) And this, then, is what God is calling His followers to do today to turn around our country AND our churches.

Bible study: Job 28:28 What is wisdom

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