How Will We Manage?

Saturday, March 16, 2013, 7:06 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Here is Your God!” After I read the scripture he put the song “Awaken the Dawn” in my mind.

Here is Your God! / An Original Work / July 18, 2012

Based off Isaiah 40:9-31 NIV

You who bring good tidings to Zion,
Lift up your voice; raise with a shout,
And do not be afraid of the people.
Say, “Here is your God!”
See how the Lord God comes now with power.
His arm rules for Him; His reward with Him.
He tends His flock just like a shepherd,
His lambs in His arms.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from beginning?
Our Lord sits enthroned above all things.
None to Him compare.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens.
Who made all of these? Who calls them by name?
Because of His great power and strength,
All accounted for.

Why do you say, “My way is hidden
From the Lord, and my cause forgotten”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord, He is your God.
He will not weary. He gives us power.
Those who trust in Him will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings just like eagles;
Walk and do faint not.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Jeremiah 11:18-12:17 (NIV):

The Plot

Jeremiah was a prophet of God of the Old Testament. That meant that he spoke the very words of God to the people, i.e. they were the Lord’s God-breathed words exactly. God had Jeremiah confront the people with their sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery; the sins of forsaking their God to follow after other gods and of their breaking of their covenant relationship with God. They were stubborn and rebellious people. God called them to repent of their sins, but they would not hear it. Time and time again God called them to repent, but they refused. We serve a very loving, patient, and compassionate God, but there is a time when he says “Enough!” So, he had Jeremiah prophesy judgment against the people if they did not repent of their sins and turn back to their God in truth and in righteousness.

This did not endear Jeremiah to his friends, his neighbors, and the people of his city and of his own faith. In fact, they hated him and they conspired to end his life and to cut off the fruit of his labor. So, the Lord God revealed their plot to Jeremiah, so that he would be aware of what was happening. And, thus, Jeremiah appealed to God’s justice and mercy.

But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously
and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause.

Why the wicked prosper?

Although the Lord promised to punish Jeremiah’s conspirators, still Jeremiah appeared to grow impatient with God or perhaps to question God’s justice or his slowness in acting. He wanted to know why the wicked prospered. That is an age-old question. He wanted to know why the faithless seemingly lived at ease. He described the wicked as a people of whom God was always on their lips but far from their hearts. He asked the Lord for what appeared to be immediate judgment. He lamented over the obvious results of the wicked being permitted to take root and to bear their evil fruit in the land. And, he appealed to God on the basis of his own faithful relationship with God and God’s testing of his own heart.

God’s Response

God gave Jeremiah what I believe was a gentle rebuke, a caution and a warning, too. If Jeremiah was worn out to the point of exhaustion because of the wickedness of men in times of relative safety (by comparison to what was yet to come), how would he manage to stand strong in battle when things got much, much worse? And, God was saying that it was going to get much worse. These were mere men. He would soon come up against much greater forces than these.

And, then the Lord told him something that must have come as a blow to him, or must have been disheartening. He told him that his relatives, and members of his own family have betrayed him and had raised a loud cry against him, so he was not to trust them, even though they seemed to speak well of him. The Lord gave me a mental picture this morning of a mixture of blood family and God’s family gathering together, seemingly to bring comfort or encouragement, and this came back to mind when I read this section (12:6) of scripture again this afternoon. So, the idea is that those within our own blood families and church family, who may seem cordial and even concerned about us, may not truly be our friends, so this calls for much discernment, but not paranoia.

What about us?

I believe not one of us is a prophet in the sense of the prophets of old who spoke God’s exact words to the people. All the law and the prophets were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and now God speaks to us through his Son. Yet, the Son is within the hearts and lives of Christ’s true followers, in the person of the Holy Spirit, and the Son does speak through us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, to be the Lord’s witnesses (Acts 1:8), to encourage and to build up (spiritually strengthen) the church, to exhort, to caution, to warn, to instruct, to disciple (Matt. 28:19-20), to expose sin, to offer words of forgiveness and restoration, to mend, to call for repentance and renewed faith, to heal, as well as to speak words of prophecy.

Gift of Prophecy: “A person with this gift, like its Old Testament counterpart, has a keen awareness of current events and the cultural implications of not following God’s word. This is important because each church is made up of people, customs, and circumstances that are different from others. Prophecy helps us apply the scriptures to where we live. A person with this gift has a burden to warn of God’s judgment and the need for us to repent... This gift helps the church live holy in the culture and time that they are appointed. It rebukes, strengthens and encourages believers.”

Jesus said that we would be hated, rejected, persecuted, mocked, accused falsely, beaten and even put to death for our faith and testimony (witness) for Jesus Christ and for the true gospel. He told his brothers that the world hated him because he told them that what they did was evil. He was speaking of his own (faith) people and his religious leaders, primarily. He said we would be treated like he was, and his greatest opponents were the members of his own family and those of his own faith, race and culture. Those who put him to death on a cross were of his own faith and culture, and of the religious leaders among them.

The book of Revelation tells us of a time to come when God will pour out his wrath on mankind and on the earth in judgment. He will give authority to the beast, the false prophet and the dragon to rule over mankind harshly and with unjust treatment. He will give the beast permission to pursue the saints of God, to persecute them, to falsely accuse them of wrong, to beat them, imprison them and even put them to death for their faith and testimony for Jesus Christ, and for their refusal to accept the mark of the beast on their bodies, minds, deeds and character.

So, the encouragement here to us is to be patient, to wait on the Lord, to pray, to not get discouraged or disheartened when we are mistreated for our faith, but to keep persevering in the strength and power of the Lord Jesus Christ within us, and to be prepared for things to get much worse, and for the church to undergo a time of great persecution in order to purify us and to make us a bride ready for the wedding with her husband (our Messiah, Savior and Lord Jesus Christ). If we fall to pieces now when things are fairly peaceful (at least here in America), how will we make it when all hell begins to break loose and the church in America is severely persecuted. This is coming. We are already beginning to see some of it taking place. It has already begun within the church. Yet, we must be strong in the Lord and in his mighty strength and put on the full armor of God daily!

Awaken the Dawn / An Original Work / January 15, 2013

Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)

O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.

I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.

Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.