What To Do In Times Of Trouble

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me. Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. – Micah 7:7-8, 18-19 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Micah7:7-8,18-19&version=NASB

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To Where Will I Go?

via Daily Prompt: Ascend

“Where can I go from Thy Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there” (Psalm 139:7-8).

“And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man’ ” (John 1:51).

“And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man” (John 3:13).

“Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren, and say to them, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” ‘ ” (John 20:17).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise [ascend] first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17).

 

Worship in the 21st Century

“. . . worship in the church becomes, as H. Berkhof has described it:

an antiphonal event in which, to the one side, God comes to us in such elements as proclamation of grace, command, Scripture reading, preaching, meal, and benediction; and in which to the other side we come before God with our confession of sin, litany of praise, profession of faith, prayers and intercessions, gifts for his work in the church and in the world, and hymns of humiliation and adoration, of praise and petition.

But such familiar exercises in worship are not worthy of him who lived his whole life for us unless the members voluntarily choose to respond attitudinally in a manner that moves them joyfully to offer all of their actions and service on the altar of sacrifice.  The average congregation, with its facile, traditional approach to worship, sees a duty to perform in the acting out of the liturgy as though that were the sum of the leitourgia (priestly service) the New Testament priesthood is invited to bring to God.  Once the hour of service has ended, the Christian feels free to sink back into the neutral (‘secular’) routine of daily living in the world.  I have no desire to denigrate the significance of repeated worship services, but the New Testament surely challenges us all to recapture the totality of its conception of worship.  All thoughts, words and deeds should be performed as worship because the Lamb is ‘worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing’ (Rev. 5:12).  The sevenfold offering, which the innumerable angelic hosts proclaim the slain Lamb is worthy to receive, can be given in reality only by the redeemed on earth.  For his honour, glory, and blessing, we speak, write, work, play, eat, and sleep, for he is worthy of all of the life power that pulsates within us” (Shedd, Russell P., “Worship in the New Testament Church,” in The Church in the Bible and the World, ed. D.A. Carson).

“If I Had A Dream”

“God will dry the tears from our eyes,
No more pain, and we will never die,
There will be an end of sorrow,
No more war, no more killing, no more lies.

I had a dream, and I could clearly see amazing things that seem so real to me,
I saw the holy city coming down for those of us who would believe,
The former things have all passed away,
Heaven and Earth had both passed away,
The beginning of a brand new day.

Unusual realities that drove me straight down to my knees,
Never thought I’d see things like these,
If I had a dream.

I had a dream, and I could see his face,
I saw no shame, and there was no disgrace,
I cried my way down to the floor,
All that I could say were words of praise,
The house of God shall now be with man,
God himself will always be with them,
The hell on Earth will never be remembered.

Unusual realities that drove me straight down to my knees,
Never thought I’d see things like these,
If I had a dream.

God will dry the tears from our eyes,
No more pain, and we will never die,
There will be an end of sorrow,
No more war, no more killing, no more lies,
The evil men were all locked outside,
The wicked – all will be burnt alive,
No where to run, no where to hide.

Unusual realities that drove me straight down to my knees,
Never thought I’d see things like these,
If I had a dream.

If I had a dream,
If I had a dream,
If I had a dream.”

 

“If I Had A Dream” by Undercover off the album “Branded” March 1987

“We All Want Answers”

That was the answer from the Las Vegas under sheriff to the reporters insistent questions about motive in the Las Vegas shooting.  Why did he do it?  Some believe if you find the motive it can help to prevent similar occurrences in the future.  Some believe knowing the motive will bring some level of closure for the families.   I like this quote from Jeffrey Simon, visiting lecturer at UCLA as to why the “why” is so important:  “It’s just human nature to speculate and want to know why something occurred.”  We could call it the Curious George syndrome.  In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Russian agent had this to say to the aliens:  “I just want to know.”  Knowledge, information, data – the more you know, the more informed you are, the better you are able to . . . what?

Knowledge is valuable, education is important, information is vital.  Yet we are missing the key ingredient which is:  knowledge doesn’t change behavior by itself.  Some of the most brilliant people in the world have done some of the dumbest, foolish, most wicked things imaginable.

“But if we can just figure out why perhaps we can prevent . . . .”  Not until we all accept a totalitarian state can you prevent more mass evil but even then you will never prevent everything.  I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Americans will balk at totalitarianism.  I know I would.  That’s not the answer.

The problem is this:  those of we Americans who don’t go around killing people think we are somehow better than those who do.  If the measuring stick is killing people vs. not killing people, most all of us measure up.  But it is just not reality.  Reality is that the measuring stick is perfection and none of us measure up.  NONE.  We need to come to terms with the truth:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.  Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.  The poison of vipers is on their lips.  Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.  Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.  Their is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18 NIV).

Brutal indictment of the human race of which you and I partake.  Yes, we humans are messed up.  Don’t think you are somehow better because you didn’t pull the trigger.  We are all in need of healing; we are all in need of cleansing; we are all in need of The Savior, not just the scumbags who slaughter people at random.  I, the scumbag who doesn’t kill people, am in need of The Savior and so are you.