But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
Let me begin by asking for prayers for myself and my family at Trinity United Methodist, as well as for all my ‘family’ that is scattered to the four winds in different churches in the area. As Christians we are all the body of Christ, joined and connected, and when one is hurting and stressed, then we all share that condition. There has been a major shake up with our local congregation here in Flora. I am not going to go into detail, as I assume that will follow in the near future, but sufficed to say things are getting ready to change.
I will not sugarcoat this, these changes look very dire and negative to the outside world, but in actuality, I think they are a thing to be rejoiced over. God truly works in mysterious ways. As the Bible says, His ways are not our ways, and I see him moving and doing things that blow me away. Prayers are being answered, although maybe not the way we or others thought they would. Again, please keep our fellowship in your thoughts and prayers.
So, I have a million things floating around in my head and a million things I want to say. I have been doing some soul searching and digging into the Psalms, so currently, even as I write all of this, I am preaching to myself. Through this searching I find that God calls us to be meek as sheep and wise as serpents. Meek doesn’t mean we are to not stand up for ourselves. Meek, as used in Matthew 5:5, means to be humble, not a doormat. Humbleness before God is recognizing who is in charge and has control, and then bowing to that one that is in control, not bowing down before the powers that be. It is said, that Martin Luther in the book, Here I Stand, when brought before the Catholic councils is said to have said something to this effect: That he, “who had looked on the face of God and trembled, had no fear of what man could do to him.” So to those of us tasked with standing up for the truth of the gospel, I say let man’s word be a lie, hold to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What are we to do when rebuffed?
Matthew 10:14-20 (NASB)
14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15 “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
A Hard Road before Them
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
If you notice, half way through, God acknowledges what path He has sent us on. We are sheep. The Strong’s Dictionary defines it as a “quadruped that walks forward.” I love that the definition includes this, “forward.” We are not in retreat mode saints! Ever forward we march, accounted as what? Sheep to the slaughterer.
But, it’s not gloom and doom, as there is hope here!
More Than Conquerors
Romans 8:31-39 (NASB)
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” 37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
WE WIN SAINTS! Let the forces of darkness read on this and tremble. The body of Christ is moving forward conquering and holding evil back. Lift up your eyes and quit moping. God is in control of our situations. He holds all of this in his hands, and he is not surprised by anything that is or will happen. -(Just had to get this out.)
But, like all sheep we need a shepherd. We all serve the Chief Shepard, as well as his under shepherds, pastors that are given for the perfecting of the saints. They lead and guide us as we are on this move forward.
So, what then are we to be wary of? Why the need for a shepherd? Quite simply, the Wolves. We are in the midst of wolves everyday, ready to be possibly slaughtered.
I find it interesting that the Greek word for wolf comes from a root meaning ‘whitish hair’. So white colored wolves. Hmmm… reading into this, I look at the verse back in the Gospels where it talks about men being ‘whited sepulchers.’ They appear to be good on the outside, but inside they are rotten to the core, full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness. Therefore, we must always be watching and prayerfully asking for guidance. Hence the wise as serpents. The Greek definition says to have keen eyesight and intelligence. We have to be able to spot these ‘white’ wolves.
Saints, we can’t be disheartened on this walk. In this day and age where Christianity is bashed in the media and where morals have been sliding down ever so slightly until we look at this world and ask, “How did we get here?” Where people who keep to their principles are no longer looked upon as examples, but stubborn people, and in some case called bigots? I say the body of Christ needs to stand up for what is right and not back down on theological issues. These need to be recognized and stood up for. If you are siting in a church that is a denomination with a hierarchy of rulership, then you need to see what that organization stands for. You may be surprised to find out that you and they may not stand for the same things.
Saints, I think it high time to look around and see what we are up against. People like Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis are pointing this out. He is like a ‘watchman’ mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 33:5-7 (NASB)
5‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. 6‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ 7“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.
Religious denominations are not holding to their one true love and they are elevating traditions and writings that are not biblical to heights that are on par with the Bible. Churches are not fighting for things like the teaching of Creationism in schools as a valid alternative to Evolution. We are losing the war and our kids. Make no mistake, lines are being drawn and sides chosen. We need to harken back to Christ’s words.
Matthew 12:30 (NASB)
“He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
There is no parsing of words here. No semantical hairs to be split. There is no compromise to be had. Christ is your shepherd or he isn’t. You are either a Christian or not. You are not a methodist, a baptist, a non-denominational (fill in the blank), etc…, but a CHRISTIAN if you walk with CHRIST.
Whom do you choose to be?
Grace and Peace,