“If My people, which are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways…” So the LORD said to the people of Israel in II Chronicles 7:14. Because of what Christ did by redeeming us to Himself and grafting us into His family, I believe we can apply these verses to ourselves. More importantly, I believe God has said we can; He will fulfill this promise to us as His children.
But are we understanding the true picture of what is being said? Humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways… A casual reading will lead us to think it means if we realize we need God’s help in fixing our mess, and we humble ourselves enough to ask Him for help, and we ask for His will to be done, and we promise not to do the same things again, then He is obligated to come fix our problems. I’m afraid we’ve missed the first point and thus miss out on everything else.
We must interpret the first point by the last to get on the right track. We must humble ourselves, not to the point of asking for help, but to the point where we realize and acknowledge that we are wicked. We have sinned. We are fully responsible for the mess we are in. And we must be willing to forsake it all. Completely. There must not be any vestige of ourselves or our pride left in our confession. We then pray and seek His face. Not His hands. Not what He can do for us, but God Himself. A relationship with Him. An acknowledgement that we want to continue our lives with Him and not on our terms. Then we will be empowered to truly turn from our wicked ways.
Sparkling hats, crazy eye glasses, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people crammed into Times Square in the bitter cold. Why do people make such a big deal of the new year? I know some will take any opportunity as an excuse to celebrate, but the revelry of a new year appears to be universal. Perhaps it’s the thought of something new, something different, the anticipation of what the new year will bring. For many, I’m sure it’s also the idea that they have a chance at a new beginning, an opportunity for a fresh start.
We all like second chances. Or thirds, or fourths. It’s not easy getting things right the first time, and many times we make such a mess of things, the only solution is to start over from the beginning. But does a new year really alter anything? Is making resolutions and perhaps changing our behavior truly making us different? We can change our actions and methods of living, but we’re still the same people. We can’t really create anything new. Turning over a new leaf may display different words, but it’s still the same book.
Fortunately, there is one who can truly make a difference in us, one who can recreate us and give us that second chance. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:17 that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” When you receive the free gift of salvation from Christ, He comes into your life and recreates you. Yes, you may look the same on the outside, and for a time, you may have some of the same habits and problems that you’ve always had. But you are no longer the person you were at the core of your being. And because of this, with His strength, you can change those habits and problems. You not only turn over a new leaf, you begin operating from a whole new book.
The Bible also tells us of another time, a time somewhere in the future, when all things will change and become new. Revelation 21:5 says, “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” New heavens and a new earth. What a day that will be! Receive His gift of a second chance. Let Him change you from the inside out and begin making you new today. Then you’ll be ready for that ultimate New Year.
Front pages all across our nation are carrying the same story this morning. Once again we are mourning the loss of innocence as some warped individual decided to act out a crazed fantasy or lost control of his faculties and lashed out at his view of reality. Television networks will bring in their experts for days on end to speculate and give their opinions as to the possible motive behind the man’s actions and to offer some vague idea of how people are supposed to cope with such tragedy. Politicians will rant and rave about how terrible it is that something like this could happen and offer to pass new laws which they say will prevent such things from happening, as though what happened wasn’t against the law already.
So many voices and so many opinions, but no one wants to speak of the truth. The truth of the matter is that this tragedy could not have been nor can be prevented. Evil exists in this world. If a wicked person chooses to do an evil deed, he will find a way to do it. Unless he gives some warning beforehand, all we can do is respond, however quickly, after the fact. Certainly we can use wisdom and good sense to enact measures to make it more difficult for these situations to happen, but we can never completely prevent their occurrence. All we can do is hope to hinder them as much as possible, to stop them from becoming as horrible as they could be, and to deal with the aftermath.
People will ask, what do we do now; how do we handle what has happened? We can spout about how we must do what we can and move on, or learn to put such things behind us, or find some reason behind the madness which will allow us to cope. But the truth here is that we cannot. We can patch up our physical hurts and attempt to ease our minds, but the scars and memories will be there forever. We can study and speculate and analyze, but in the end we’ll never know for sure the exact reason behind such actions. Besides, knowing and even understanding the reason will not make the hurt go away. On our own, we don’t have the capabilities to handle this or any tragedy. Fortunately, there is One who does, and He is the embodiment of truth.
Tragedies such as this one never catch Him by surprise because He sees them before they happen, and in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty, He allows them to take place. He can do this because He is able to see into the deepest heart of not only the one who causes such pain, but also the ones who must endure it. He offers to walk through these storms with us, a constant guide and companion, so we never have to be or even feel alone with our hurt. And even though He could give us the reasons and wherefores behind our trouble, He gives us peace instead for He is the Prince of Peace.
I pray in the days and weeks and months ahead that our Heavenly Father will pour out His comfort on those hurting and grant them the peace that can come only from Him.
Election was yesterday. Barack Obama was re-elected. God have mercy on us.
Perhaps that is the point; we’ve put our faith in man and not in Him. We may indeed have passed beyond the point of avoiding judgement. As a nation, we’ve thumbed our noses at God and refused to repent. As His people, we’ve failed to follow Him and His leading and have become fat, lazy, and cold hearted toward others. He said, “If My people will turn from their wicked ways…” We did not.
So much could be said about the election, but in the end it does not matter. I should have been so focused on Him that who runs the country is irrelevent. Besides being a principle, the fact is obvious. When life is over here, there is only Him. That is the way with all men.
I cannot change the past, but I can decide how to face the future. I choose to live each day as it comes, with my eyes on Him.
I use the social network site Facebook to keep up with family and friends. It’s nice to see what’s going on in folk’s lives, to see if they have joys to relate or problems that need prayer. It’s also a good way to find out people’s opinions on topics of the day.
Because the people . . . → Read More: Priorities
The people of Judah reached a very disturbing place. They tried God’s patience for hundreds of years, and now they had reached the end. God declared judgment on them; a judgment from which He would not relent.
15:1 – Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before . . . → Read More: Out of Time
We’ve looked at our need for salvation and God’s plan for our salvation. Finally, we’ll look at God’s fulfillment of our salvation which is through Jesus Christ.
We know that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for us. Because He was fully man, He could die in our place. And because He was also fully God, . . . → Read More: Salvation: The Fulfillment
We know the story of Jonah and the big fish. God told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah didn’t like that idea. The citizens of Nineveh were known for their cruelty, and Jonah was angry God would choose to offer them mercy. He decided to rebel and hopped a boat . . . → Read More: Dangerous Comfort