Nehemiah Chapter 1 has really ministered to me these last couple of days. I am so thankful that God gave us His Word and all of these stories to read so we would know how to respond to everything coming at us!
Yes, we are living in "unprecedented" times but not "unprincipled"!
"Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come."
1 Cor 10:11
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
We are not alone. He did not leave us here as orphans.
The Word of God will illuminate this dark path! The Bible is alive. It truly is our Treasure Map to heaven!
"Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Sometimes part of the journey to the Treasure (Jesus!) is dangerous. We have been given a map (the Word). And when the journey gets scary, we will see miracles...like water pouring out of a hard rock!
"He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock."
I'm sensing we are entering into venomous snake/scorpion territory.
(Why did it have to be snakes?" Indiana Jones)
He is leading us THROUGH the snakes and scorpions and is going to give us water out of hard rock. Imagine water gushing out of your Bible when you open it because spiritual water does. Turn your rock faucet on. :)
Something that is getting on my nerves these days are people acting like none of this political stuff matters because our citizenship is in heaven. They condemn anyone who is struggling as they watch their country being destroyed and accuse them of idolatry. (Sidenote: Anything can be an idol but it's not the "thing's" fault. It is the heart's fault. We have to constantly be keeping ourselves from idols).
If you have real faith (like them), you only care about heaven- not earth.
Well, a few thoughts. I am trying to imagine our goofy generation having this conversation with the greatest generation of all time who risked their lives so that we could live in this freedom. They knew freedom was worth fighting for! If our grandparents heard these conversations, I think they would have a few stern words for us. At my grandfather's funeral, he had two flags presented to Reece: the American flag and the Christian flag. You CAN love both. You don't have to pick one!!
Secondly, it is just spiritual elitism rearing its ugly head. They like to mock and tear down people who are deeply affected as they watch this disaster. There is often condemnation for anyone who loves America and especially Donald Trump. It has somehow been twisted into a sinful thing. It is wild how fast norms are changing! I think this type of talk is done by people who are simply not aware or engaged in the spiritual battle for our country. Maybe it makes them feel better about their apathy? God sees who is engaged in the battle and who isn't and it will be credited to their account. He sees who is speaking out against the things He hates and praying for them to be stopped.
We are STEWARDS while we are here. God cares about this nation and he has told us to occupy until He comes. Our job as stated in Gen 1 is to subdue the earth and have dominion here! We are STEWARDS! That is our JOB. Call it idolatry if you want but we have a job to do.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!
Do not apologize for loving your country.
But do keep your passions in "check" with the Holy Spirit. Have your discernment radar gun on HIGH as you read what people are saying right now. Even if it is Beth Moore, John Piper, Tim Keller, or Ann Voskamp. These people have no more access to truth than you do.
Be a BEREAN and be careful of high sounding nonsense.
"Don't let ANYONE capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ."
I just asked Tim while we were having breakfast, "Is it wrong to love your country?"
He thought about it and then said,
"It isn't wrong to love anything. You just can't love it more than you love God."
There are ditches everywhere right now. If you love your country more than God, that is a ditch. If you are so caught up in your cause that you forget the gospel, that is a ditch. If you are too busy worrying about everybody else's problems, that is a ditch. If you think it is sin to for believers to love their country, that is a ditch. If you think you have everything figured out, that is a ditch. Spiritual elitism is the bent of all of us. We have to ask God to search our hearts and show us our offensive ways!
I love this verse:
"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground."
Walking in the Spirit will keep us out of ditches.
God, keep ME out of ditches and lead me by your Good Spirit!
I think soon we are going to be forced to bow to "Nebuccadnezer" and few will have the courage to stand. There is already a demanding of conformity or you will PAY. Some are even losing their ability to buy and sell (through Paypal and Venmo) already. This is gonna take spiritual GUTS. We have to continually ask God to fill us with His Spirit, teach us from Scripture, and help us know how to navigate this.
First of all, how did Jesus respond when a people/land He loved was falling apart?
"But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19:41-42
Goodness, if anybody had the spiritual elitism to hyper-focus on heaven and ignore the cares of this world, it was JESUS. But he didn't. He WEPT over the city and wanted them to understand the way to peace. I hope peace has not been hidden from America's eyes. It sure feels like it right now.
Let's look at how Nehemiah responded to the destruction of his land:
"They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”