First Things @ First

Ministry Perspectives,

It is widely known and often discussed that our nation and world needs healing on a myriad of levels. While most focus on a vaccine to save the day so that some sense of normalcy can return, the healing that is needed most cannot be provided with a man-made vaccine. The healing we need in our nation requires the proven treatment of hearing and obeying the Word of God.

As of late summer, (after the panic has passed) it appears that many Americans are still not interested enough in doing what is necessary for God to intervene in our nation. Most, some even in the body of the Church are still waiting on God to do something about the mess we're in while God is waiting on us to get desperate enough to adjust our lives to His plan and purpose.

I recently read the biblical account of the children of Israel's journey from Egypt in the immediate days following the crossing of the Red Sea where God's people were miraculously delivered from the oppressive hand of the Pharaoh once and for all. What a miracle that must have been to experience! And just three days after the wide-spread celebration, this vast multitude is seen journeying in the arid climate of the middle East without sufficient water to drink (Exodus 15:22). By the way, three days is about the length of time that a body can survive without suitable hydration, especially in a desert environment.

After three days, this multitude arrives at Marah (bitter). There was water at Marah, but it was unfit to drink. It's difficult to know which is worse, having no water or having water you can't drink. Either way, to many of the people of God this situation had a way of adding insult to injury. Upon their arrival at what they believed to be their solution, they discovered it grossly insufficient. In fact, it only intensified their thirst and their attitude worsened. Their first response was natural. They complained. Sound familiar? There's been quite a lot of that of late. Americans calling out their elected officials and those in places of governance to 'do something' about the circumstance that presses upon them because what they believed to be their solution turned out to be 'unfit' and grossly insufficient.

The Israelites complain to Moses and Moses does the proper thing in taking the problem to God. (Here's a good place to insert the question, have you?) When God heard Moses' petition having already known their plight, He revealed the solution in the form of a tree which would, if placed according to His word alleviate their suffering. The key was/is, God's Word needed to be heard and obeyed for anything of significance to make what was bitter, better. The tree had to be placed in the source of what was bitterness to them. I know that may sound too simple for some among us, but the fact remains, what God said had to be done just as God spelled it out for the bitter to be made better.

Exodus 15:25 says that God 'tested' them (Israel) at Marah. I believe God is testing His people today, as well. He is testing us to see how long it will take for us to become desperate enough to call upon Him for the solution of our present and pressing situation.

God's word was heard and obeyed at Marah that day. The tree that God directed Moses to cast into the water made what was bitter, sweet, just as God planned. In response to obedience, God provided abundantly in their desperation. Problem was that their thankfulness didn't last long.

Honestly, we struggle with the same kind of 'tests' today. And God reminds us from His Word that His hand is not too short to save, nor is His ear too thick to hear (Isaiah 59:1-2). However, the solutions we seek seldom come until we get to the place of desperation over the bitterness of sin and decide to obey the Word of God. If you want what is bitter today to become better, there must be a willingness to embrace His grace in genuine repentance and turn away from the patterns that have surely caused us to become more dependent on ourselves or even the government instead of God.

A few days ago now, I read a statement in direct response to 2 Chronicles 7:14. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin and heal their land." The statement that caught my attention was this--'Many in the Church are waiting on God to heal their land and God is waiting on His people to turn from their sin in repentance.' How true! That verse from God's Word is NOT directed at ALL people or just ANY people. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is directed at God's people--'My people'. The problems we face today didn't originate in Washington D.C. nor did the circumstances we face, fear, or try to flee from begin in early 2020. The problems we face today are the result of many years of God's people (My people) denying God's person and power over their lives. In our stubborn refusal to submit ourselves to God, discipline follows for those who resist His authority over their life.

The Apostle Peter put it like this in 1 Peter 4:17, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and IF it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (It's not good)

The prophet Amos said under the inspiration of God almost twenty-eight-hundred years ago, "Behold the days are coming, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD (Amos 8:11).

Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." That is how a journey with Jesus begins and that is how the journey of promise is blessed even through the times of testing.

When God's people get desperate enough to cry out to God in repentance instead of complaining about the consequences of a 'dry' spirit toward God, God will provide abundantly all we need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

There are many battles on-going today; some internal and some external. And most are centering their attacks on the wrong enemy (Ephesians 6:12). We're in a battle for the soul of this nation. Our adversary, the Devil is on the loose seeking whom he may devour and we, as the Church of the Almighty would do well to sober up (1 Peter 5:8) instead of surrendering to his deceitful tactics.

As the Apostle Paul would say to the Church at Rome in Romans 13:11. "And knowing the time, it is now high time to awaken out of sleep for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed."

There is a way through all this mess and the misery it is producing! The path runs by the altar of forgiveness that flows from a humble heart before God. Be sure and don't pass by it.

One way to put feet to your faith is by joining some in the fellowship at First Baptist, Hinton who are fasting and praying each Wednesday, (as the Lord leads) in praying for the Lord's Church and the nation of America. We are praying for God to arise and for His enemies to be scattered, for those who hate Him to flee before Him (Psalm 68:1).

Fasting coupled with prayer reflects a person humbling themselves before God. By putting away for a time what is common to us all, we humble ourselves. Fasting is not filtered through what we are giving up but in what we are able to gain for His glory! Through that process, we see God establish a clearer and closer relationship with Christ who saved us! In our desperation we cry out for God to do what only He can do. AND HE WILL, IF WE WILL!

How much longer can we afford to wait on circumstances to change without Him? Especially when we who know Him know they won't apart from Him!

Remember to put on the armor of God daily (Ephesians 6).

Blessings from the Lord,

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36