“In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind; shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.” Psalms 11:1-7 NKJV
In my hometown, right this very moment of time (at the writing of this blog) we daily watch a fire burning in the Catalina Mountains. It’s a bad fire. It’s scary.
This fire started on June 5th as a result of a lightening strike. I’ve been watching it for over a week now as it has burned 10,367 acres thus far. That tally rises every day. Evacuations have happened. The fire is only 10% contained. Several hundred firefighters from five different states are battling this fire day and night. Their work, however, is limited due to the fact that the fire burns in rough terrain – too tough to get boots onto the ground within that area. They rely upon air support planes dropping gallons of water onto the fire from above. Their work is complicated due to our hot temperatures, gusty winds and dry lightening within the area. At the writing of this blog, it is 107 degrees Fahrenheit and expected to be hotter over the next few days. We badly need rain! But the weather forecasters repeatedly say, “No rain in sight!” We pray for rain!!
Wildlife is at risk. Homes and other structures are at risk. Peoples lives are at risk. Although, we have to rejoice in this; at the time of this writing, no injuries, no deaths, no major losses have been reported. But, we all know, with fire, things could change in a heartbeat. People we know have had to leave their homes, not sure if it will be still standing whenever they receive the signal to return. Like I said before, “It’s scary!”
From our home, we watch the fire. We can see that surge in flames, knowing that its getting worse by the hour. More acreage is burned. More of the mountains beauty is marred. More danger. More risk. Every time I look at that fire, I pray! At night, I go out to the front of my home. From that vantage point, I stand and I watch the glow of fire. It’s wide. It’s bright. It’s scary. I watch it. I pray! That’s all I can do.
But my blog readers, it’s not just the fire that I am experiencing. It’s all the other injustices and fearful things that we are seeing around us every day. There’s the world-wide coronavirus pandemic, there’s earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires throughout our country. Daily there are abortions happening that snuff out the very breath of a precious life. Mental health issues, depression and suicide are at staggering numbers. Millions of people have now lost their jobs and some wonder where their next meal will come from or how they are going to pay the bills. You turn on the news feeds – only to hear yet more bad news. Fake news vs. real news is a constant. It’s disheartening to hear some of our politicians fighting and arguing so much with each other instead of caring for the people they serve. Daily news is rife with unfairness, selfishness, greed, misunderstandings, fear, and hopelessness. I long to hear a good story for a change. BUT, …!
There is so much anger and hatred and emotions running a muck in my country, around my world. Protests, killings, riots, lootings, buildings and cars set on fire, businesses destroyed. People have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs, their health, their morals, their dignity and their lives. People are scared, about today, about tomorrow, about their future. Our history is being desecrated as monuments and statues reminding us of our past are daily being destroyed and taken down. Our morals are melting before our eyes as everyone does what is right in their own eyes. It is sad! It is scary!
Our very foundations (physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual foundations) are being destroyed all around us!
I sadly hear the cries of some of my fellow people: “Where is your God now?” “God, yes, he is a joke too!” “We don’t need God.” “God? He is about as useful as our politicians.” “We don’t want God. We don’t want….! We will do this ourselves.” These comments, I will be very honest, cut to the very heart of me. They crush my spirit. But yet, these comments motivate me.
I am motivated to read my Bible and pray more. I love God! I love his Word! I love to spend time with Him in prayer! My relationship with God is such, that I can talk to Him about anything. He listens. He hears. He answers. I may not always like the answers He gives me, but I trust Him and know His answers are for my good. I may not understand His plans and purposes for things that happen in my life or in my world. But, I listen when He talks with me and shows me from His Word what He wants me to know.
In reading God’s Word (the Bible) lately, I have been reminded once again of what God thinks about all that is happening in the world around me. I read in Proverbs 6:16-19 of the 7 things that God hates: “These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
Sadly, I think that describes our world of today! All the different problems and injustices of our world is not God’s fault. It is the result of the sinful heart of mankind. Listen to the words of Genesis 6:5-6, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” The Lord God is grieved in His heart when He sees what mankind is doing right now. He has been grieved since the days of Adam and Eve, when sin first came into the world (Genesis 3). He is grieved for the sin that has gripped generation after generation. I read from the Book of Habakkuk 1:13 what God does with that sin and evil. “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness..” God cannot even look upon our sin, our evil doings, our ever growing wickedness that we allow to run rampant in our world. Man wants what He wants. Man goes after what He wants. Sin prevails in this evil world. And God, while He is greatly grieved by it, He cannot even look upon our sin. He is too pure; Holy is He! We are His creation, created in His image. He loves us. And yet, the sin that we do, separates us from God, from His great love. He cannot – He will not – look upon our sin. He will not tolerate our sin. He allows it. He allows the consequences of sin to play out as needed. But, God hates sin!
I am motivated by the truth that GOD LOVES THE SINNER! I read from God’s Word, the Bible, the most infamous verse within the pages of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
God loves us so much that He provided a way for us to resolve the sin issue. He tells us about that plan in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ did for us.”
Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, died for my sins, for your sins and for the sins of the whole world. He willingly took our place on the cross, shed His own blood, so that we might have forgiveness from our sins. And, whoever among us sinners, who believe on Jesus Christ, who confess their sins to Him, who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, will be saved from the guilt of their sins. We will still have to endure the consequences of those sins; but God, because of His great love, mercy and grace, forgives us of our sins. Forever forgiven! Never to be remembered by God again! That’s God’s love in action!
My friends, each and every one of us, as sinners, standing before a Holy God, have a choice to make. We can choose to remain as sinners, choose to dwell with our sin, choose to continue in evil ways and wickedness. Or we can choose to give our sins to God’s Son, Jesus. We can choose to acknowledge our wrong doings as God does – name it as sin. We can acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins, and choose the gift of everlasting life that is so freely given to us by God. The Bible tells us very clearly in Romans 10:9 and 13, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved….For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Have you made your choice of what to do with your sin?
I am motivated by one more thing. As I live in this world and I see, every day, the evil, the wickedness, the sin about me and I hear about the hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety that so many people are dwelling with right now – all that motivates me to do something. And some might just say, “But what can you do, you are just one person?” True, but, I believe one person can make a powerfully big difference in their world.
We all have choices to make as we dwell together in this world. I have made mine. My choices are based upon and settled firmly upon the foundation of God’s Word, which cannot be destroyed, demolished, and deceptively taken away from me. My choices are pretty clear as I live out my days in this world. I have to tell you truthfully: this world is not my home! I’m just a passing through. My home is secure in heaven, provided by my Heavenly Father, God, gifted to me through His Son, Jesus Christ, through the shedding of His blood. And one day, only God knows when, I will leave this world of evil, wickedness and sin behind to join the God and Savior I love so much in heaven and there to spend all of eternity.
Until that day, I choose this –
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this…But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” I Peter 3: 8-17.
Blog Reader: Thank you for taking the time to read this particular entry into my blog. It is my hope that you will give great consideration to your own relationship with God. He loves you! He invites you to talk with Him – either as a sinner confessing your sins to Him or as a sinner saved by grace who is following after Him. I also give you an invite: like my blog entry, leave a comment for others to see, contact me in private if that is your choice. I’m here to listen and to pray for you. In fact, I’m praying right now!