Rise Up

22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually. Psalm 74:22-23

At the end of the day, God is in control of the world. Nothing escapes His view. Nobody catches Him by surprise. We should be grateful that He is patient, must as He was patient with us. And He still is.

Today is a day to be encouraged about a God who is in fact in control. Yeah, the storms of life rain down on us from time to time, but in the end He is there.

Whether you are taking care of your kids all day, trying to supervise a dozen employees, or trying to make sense of what the teacher is telling you, be encouraged about God’s incredible patience and power.

Line in the Sand

Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Psalm 74:21

Keeping with the theme of the last few devotionals, there’s something to be said about fighting for what is right and good and wholesome. What does that mean?

Preachers have been mildly warning about this for years, but too often Christians have let the culture dictate what they should be doing instead of leading the way. Now that the Church has embraced the culture for so many years, the culture decided to take their morals a few levels lower than many Christians wanted to go.

That line in the sand has been crossed, and many in the church find themselves waking up to see how far they’ve drifted as a culture.

So, rather then cursing the darkness and lashing out against what we perceive as our enemies, it’s best that we shine a candle into that darkness. The Scripture today gives us a clue how to do that: praise. When people us at peace and as people of praise, they have to take a second look. They may not understand it. They may not like it. They may even mock us for it. But they do have to take notice.

We must remember, this world is not our home. The people we discuss these issues with are not our enemies.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places]. Ephesians 6:12

So we fight. On our knees. Are you ready to plead with God on your country’s behalf?

In one his sermons before he passed away, the late David Wilkerson said this: “Abraham pleaded with God on behalf the wicked city of Sodom.”

Think about it.

These Are The Times

19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land. Psalm 74:19-20

These verses the last few days are very appropriate to the exact times we find ourselves in. Some may say I’m making too much out of the recent Supreme Court decisions but I don’t think so. When people say good is evil and evil is good, light is dark and dark is light, then it calls for different actions. Many on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue think that there will be widespread discrimination within the church. Pastors and churches will be seen as teaching out of a hate-filled book (the Bible). When required to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, they will comply or risk loss of tax exempt status, lawsuits, fines, and imprisonment!

“Farfetched,” you say? A city in Idaho has already started down that path.

Here’s the important text: “[They] now face a 180-day jail term and a $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.”

Another case in New York displays the same sentiment:

So, your pastors and church leaders need great wisdom on this issue. Pray for them. Unfortunately the issue and the problems associated with it are not going to go away anytime soon.

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated” -Thomas Paine, The Crisis

The Snare and Deception

18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord, how foolish people have reviled your name. Psalm 74:18

If you have been watching the news over the last few days you’ll see one thing that has dominated the newspapers, television, and social media: the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same-sex marriage. As I’ve watched the events unfold, the in-your-face mockery of all things good and wholesome has been difficult to stomach. From the lewd “pride” parades to the hateful comments on the internet and social media, the “marriage equality” proponents have rejoiced openly about that which God has called sin. It’s one thing to actually commit the sin but it takes the sin to a whole new level when people are flaunting it in the open and openly mocking God and His people over it.

Pray for your pastors, church leadership, and church membership as they wrestle with how to minister to those caught in the snare and deception of homosexual behavior.

Out of Control

13 It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. Psalm 74:13-17

When you are flying across the country at 500 miles per hour and look down at the earth passing beneath you, you realize just how “small” you really are. You realize that there are a lot of things in life that you just cannot control.

  • You cannot control the weather.
  • You cannot control the oceans, the stars, the moon, or the sun.
  • You cannot control the actions of corrupt and evil leaders of nations.
  • You cannot even control your family and friends, the two significant groups you’d sometimes like to control.

But that’s fine because you really don’t need to be in control of anything, except yourself and the decisions you make. Hopefully the Holy Spirit is helping you make those decisions.

The bottom line is this, you don’t have to be in control. You don’t have to worry about the weather, current events, geopolitical wars, stock prices, or anything else for that matter. I don’t write that flippantly because I know that men, women, and children are undergoing hardships and persecution we will only ever read about. We can and should pray for them, but  unfortunately we cannot control what happens.

It’s certainly a relief not to have to worry about things we simply can’t control. It’s often a hard lesson to learn.