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2nd Timothy
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« on: May 30, 2005, 12:27:34 PM »

America at the Crossroads 4 (Final part)
What Now, America?



     What is America’s deadliest enemy? What is it that can cause the greatest destruction, heartache, problems, and tragedy beyond imagination? What enemy, if not conquered, has the power to completely tear down the most powerful, prosperous nation on earth? The answer may surprise you.

Read 2 Chronicles 7:11-14
     Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the Lord and in his palace. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


     In this day and age, it is quite common to hear people talking about the enemies of America. We seem to have a great many foes, don't we? There is one enemy that stands out far above the others, however. This is an opponent that can destroy our nation's very way of life. And, as in any struggle, if we cannot identify the enemy, then we have no chance of defeating it.
     
   Maybe you are thinking our chief foe is another world power. Or, you may have in mind visions of car bombs or terrorist threats. These are certainly chilling rivals, but they are still not what we mean by "America's deadliest enemy." You see, our greatest battles as a nation are not physical—they are not fought with guns and missiles. Instead, our most intense fighting as a nation is in the spiritual realm. We are fighting a spiritual battle for the future of America.
     
   With this in mind, let me ask again: what is America's deadliest enemy? Read this carefully. America's deadliest enemy is the systematic movement to remove God from our society, resulting in the corruption of this society and the removal of God's hand of protection. This enemy can only achieve success if the church remains apathetic and silent, refusing to speak up and take up our great responsibility in this nation.


     Now, how do we find this enemy? The truth is, this can be extremely difficult. When we go to war with another country, we can readily identify the opposing army. However, when the battle is fought in our own lives, and when the enemy camp may include our own friends and neighbors, spotting the opposition may become a dark and hazy thing to do. Satan is so deceptive, he will do anything he can to confuse the issue in our minds. Therefore, he often makes it almost impossible to spot what is, in all actuality, an advancing army. He will try to keep us guessing right up to the point at which we are completely overcome by enemy forces. We cannot let that happen. God's army must open its eyes!
     
   How can we spot the enemy? Romans 1:18 tells us clearly, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." The enemy consists of those who are trying to remove God from society and to suppress the truth of God's Word. They want to throw almighty God out of the country and lock the door behind Him. To accomplish this, these men and women will do anything—anything—to resist the truth of Scripture.


     In the face of such a vicious enemy, why are we who are believers so quiet? Why are the men and women in places of leadership silent when this moral decay creeps into our nation and legislation? It can happen so subtly that sometimes we don't notice it. But other times, a particular idea, movement, or ideology comes to the forefront of the media so quickly and fiercely that we can hardly believe it. Therefore, we have to be able to identify these defining moments and issues of our culture and prepare ourselves to respond accordingly.
     
   Now, you may say, "But if I truly speak out on these things, then people will not like me and I will destroy my witness." Let me say two things here. First, if you are trying to be a witness for Christ, while simultaneously denying the truth of the Word of God, then your witness is already ruined. People will see straight through that hypocrisy. Second—and this is a point you may not like—your stand for Christ will always cause some people to not like you. Where does it say in Scripture that we are to have everyone like us? It doesn't! In fact, just look at the life of the apostle Paul. He was the most outspoken and effective Christian in history, but was he liked by everyone? No! Actually, just the opposite happened. He was chased down, hunted, arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and despised because he was bold enough to believe what the Word of God said about how we should behave and believe. Yes, your stand may bring you a little heat, but that may just be the fire by which God wants to purify your faith.


Describe a time in your life when you have felt pressure from the world for taking a biblical, moral stand. What was the result of your determination? Do you regret the experience?


     We are not responsible for pleasing other people; our responsibility is to always do what is pleasing to God. More often, however, we worry about what may or may not hurt someone's feelings. My friend, who do you want to please? We need to stop placing each others' feelings above our commitment to do what is right in the eyes of God.
     
   Many people do not want to hear this message. They want to continue on with an "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy. I'm here to tell you, however, that we are all not "okay." We are squandering the blessings that God has bestowed upon this great nation and we are in danger of losing those blessings by calling down the Lord's judgment.

     He has created us for much higher purposes than we often consider. Where else in the world is there a nation that has so much of an opportunity to spread the gospel? The devil does not want this to happen, however. Therefore, he will do whatever he can to short-circuit this continual flow of missions. Part of his plan must be to distort the morality of America and to remove God from public life in such a way as to silence the church and her missionaries. We cannot allow this to happen!
     
   There's a problem, though. Many believers are simply too comfortable with their lives to get stirred to action. There are many who are satisfied just where they are, enjoying their possessions, prosperity, freedoms, and so on. Sadly, these people cannot see beyond the walls of their own homes. There is something happening in the nation that is far more important than any individual's pleasure. It is the erosion of the greatest republic known to man. It is the degradation of the most influential society on earth.
     
   In the face of this great challenge, we must ask ourselves some serious questions. Am I content to be quiet? Am I content to be apathetic to what is happening in my country? What kind of country do I want for my children? Will my grandchildren live in a nation in which God is freely worshipped and adored? Will God's Word be loved and accepted in this country a hundred years from now? Would I want to live in a nation where God is considered an outlaw?

Take a moment to prayerfully and seriously respond to the questions presented above.

     These are sobering times. However, Scripture is not silent on these issues. In fact, God has already given us a prescription for the healing of the country, if we will only heed His Word. We see a wonderful discourse between King Solomon and almighty God in 2 Chronicles 7:11-14 that contains a powerfully relevant message to twenty-first century Christians. Take a moment to read the passage in its entirety.

2Ch 7:11-14  
11Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
12  And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.


continued
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2005, 12:29:34 PM »

     We see many important truths in this Scripture. First, we see that it is God who sends and removes blessings. In verse 13, God affirms that He alone can send rain, make crops fruitful, and heal mankind’s ills. He is sovereign over all. Therefore, every blessing originates from God and it is always His prerogative to remove that blessing when or if He deems it necessary to do so. This should certainly be a warning to us, forcing us to realize that our disobedience to the will of God carries the definite repercussion of losing His wonderful blessings.
     
   Why would God remove His hand of blessing? It is because He cannot allow His name to be discredited. He will not continue to bless a nation that rises up against Him. Instead, He must act to remind the world that it is almighty God—not any one nation or group—Who is holy above the earth.


    Second, we see that we are called by God's name. Verse 14 refers to all believers in this way. We are the children of God, heirs to His kingdom, and identified with His only Son, Jesus Christ. The very word "Christian" means "little Christ." The name of God cannot be separated from His children. Therefore, whether we realize it or not, we are living witnesses to His glory.
     
   Third, we discover what is needed in our society: humility. (verse 14) We have not become a humble nation. Instead, our strength has inflated the minds and egos of many, many Americans. This leads too many people—even Christians—to a prideful attitude. And we know from Scripture that God absolutely hates]/I] pride. (Proverbs 6:16-19) He will not tolerate it. Therefore, when we place our own desires above His, He will act swiftly to realign and refocus our priorities. He will remove any obstacle in order to rid our lives of sinful pride. This goes for individuals as well as entire nations.
     
   When we humble ourselves before God, what are we saying above all else? At its heart, humility is the recognition that we need God. We acknowledge that we do not deserve His goodness, but we throw ourselves at His tender mercies nonetheless. In that blessed moment of contriteness, we begin to appreciate our holy God in magnificent new ways.


What are some areas of your life in which you may struggle with an issue of pride? What are some practical ways in which you can begin to show sincere humility in your life today?


    Fourth, Scripture shows us the natural outgrowth of humility: prayer. (verse 14) What is prayer if it is not a simple declaration of insufficiency and humility? It is our cry to God that reveals our deep and abiding need for Him. And we are not simply talking about praying, "Dear God, heal our nation." Instead, we are talking about praying with a burden, motivated by the desperation we see taking place in America today.
     
   Suppose a friend came to you and asked you to pray for his son, who was a bit sick with the flu. I'm sure you would pray for that child once or twice and then perhaps forget the matter entirely. Now, let's take the example a bit further. Imagine that your friend came to you and shared that his son had been involved in a horrible car accident and was, at that moment, fighting for his life in the hospital. Would that impact the way you pray? You bet it would. That would be more than simply saying, "God, please heal this boy." Instead, you would most likely drop to your knees and pray earnestly and emotionally for God to spare the child's life. That is the kind of prayer we need for America—prayer that is rooted in desperation, recognizing that only God can heal the sick and dying land.


     Fifth, we find that repentance is necessary for our healing. (verse 14) Remember, God will not bless our disobedience. If we continue in our “wicked ways,” then we are walking headlong into His judgment. I’m not talking about a believer who simply struggles with a particular sin. I’m referring to an overarching lifestyle of sin—a willful decision to live a life that is openly displeasing to God. However, when we recognize His will and realign our attitudes, decisions, and actions in accordance with His purposes, then we will see a dramatic change in the quality of our lives.
     
   Sixth and last, we see that God’s response will be healing and restoration. (verse 14) God wants to heal America. He desperately desires for us to rise up and continue to be a shining light in the world. He has great plans for America! Only God can protect us from the darkness that is approaching. We cannot place our faith in our military, in our leaders, in our customs, or in our traditions. These are all wonderful things, but they are merely tools in the hands of our one true Hope: almighty God.
     
   Listen carefully. Scripture declares, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This judgment is inescapable. My Christian friend, if you love this nation, you will wake up, stand up, become involved in the issues around you, and engage your culture. You are part of the kingdom of heaven, but right now, you are also part of this awesome country, the United States of America. God wants to see our humility. He wants to hear our prayers. He wants to see our repentance. And God wants to heal our land. May He touch your heart with this challenge, anoint your lips with His truth, empower your arms for His service, and finally, may God bless America . . . again.


     And Father, how grateful we are for the awesome promise of Your Word. And I pray the Holy Spirit will sink this message deep in the heart of every hearer. And Lord I know that several million hearers will hear it, see it. Some believers, some who are unbelievers. And Father, You know that I’m not being critical of any person’s personhood. But, Father, You know I also know that Your Word is so clear. I know Your Word is crystal clear. I pray that every hearer at least will consider honestly the truth of this message, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

End Part 4
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2005, 01:41:10 PM »

2nd Timothy,

Another AMEN Brother. It is far past time for all Christians to wake up and stand up. Christians are the majority in this country, and many have remained silent while watching this country pulled down into the sewer.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Psalms 32:10  Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2005, 06:14:04 AM »

BEP, glad you enjoyed the message.   I know it made me think a lot.

Admittedly I am not very active when it comes to shaping the landscape....aside from elections and witnessing, but I would be interested in hearing how other Christians go about informing themselves about non presidential candidates, and how to contact members of congress, local government officials etc, to let our voices be known.

I could certainly use some education in that area.

Grace and Peace!
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2005, 07:13:35 AM »

2nd Timothy,

I'm on and off active with a list of things. It all depends on health and time. I think that I posted it once, but I'll get the list and post it again. Part of it is on my web site under links. It should be:

http://www.sirinet.net/~blkidps/links.html

I did that from memory, it that's not right, go to the main page and click links:

http://www.sirinet.net/~blkidps/index.html

I have a larger list somewhere that I will find and post.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Romans 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2005, 01:47:02 AM »

Thanks BEP....will have to spend some time looking at these.   It seems there is much we can do.   Some of us are better at expressing ourselves via a letter, and others yet some other way.   I suppose I'm looking for a way the I can be most effective in addition to just voting and praying.

Grace and Peace!
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2005, 06:07:25 PM »

2nd Timothy,

Brother, I sincerely believe that God puts opportunities to serve HIM in our daily walks. It might involve a kindness, witnessing, just standing up for something Godly, and any number of other things. I think that most Christians would stay pretty busy if they acted upon just half of the opportunities that God gives us. I'm also firmly convinced that God might give us opportunities that we might not feel qualified or confident in doing. In those situations, it's good to remember that the Holy Spirit will be working in and through us. I'm pretty certain that God doesn't always allocate HIS work to people who are polished experts with what needs to be done. I'm reflecting now on some fishermen, some with limited education, and others that God used in the New Testament. I couldn't help but also think about Paul and his transformation.

In short, I honestly believe that God will give each of us more than we could ever get done.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Psalms 19:14  Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
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