Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Overcoming Evil With Good & Lauren Hill Update

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21
(KJV)

I have been working on this post for days.
Not wanting to take the chance of offending,
yet, feeling I needed to release the words, so the burden would lift.
Please know that I write this in love and only because I care so much.

I suppose God had me wait to post this until AFTER yesterday's election.
Because standing there yesterday, in my little voting booth,
I felt conviction fall over my spirit with a powerful force.
Never before have I taken the voting process so seriously.
I'll explain the reason for my dilemma later in this post
but first, I'll ask you a few questions, if I may....

Do you ever feel like evil is winning the war?
Like things are so far gone, there is no hope of recovery?
Like we all may as well raise a white flag of surrender,
because there is just no sense in continuing to fight?
Like nothing we do will ever be able to make a difference anyway?
Like you are weary of swimming upstream?
Like you are fighting a forest fire with a garden hose?

I will admit to you that I have become very disheartened over the downward spiral
that seems to be picking up speed at an alarming rate in our nation and world.
It grieves my heart more than I could ever express in mere words.
I can hardly pray without weeping anymore.
It just hurts so much.

We have been studying American History in Zachary's 8th grade curriculum,
and as we read together, sometimes I have to stop, because the tears overpower my words.
As Zach and I read his lessons each day, my heart yearns for the old paths.
When I look at our nation today and compare it with the way it started,
it breaks my heart.

The men who founded this great nation of ours believed in God.
They prayed to God.
They made God the focus of their endeavors.
They trusted in Him and founded our legal system upon the foundation of His Word.

I have often wondered what on earth they would think if they could rise from the dead
and see the state of our present society.
Oh, dear Lord!
Don't we realize we will be judged by the same Book as them?
Just because time has marched on, do we think God has changed His mind?
That He has suddenly decided to condone evil as acceptable behavior?

God's Word is forever settled in Heaven.  (Psalm 119:89)
It has not, nor will It ever change.

Somehow, we have deceived ourselves into thinking that evil is good,
and good is evil.
How did things become so distorted and upside down?
How is it that standing up and reading straight out of the Book of all books...
God's Divinely-inspired, Holy Word,
has become something that is labeled hate-speech?
The Bible is 100% good, righteous, and true.
So, how could this be labeled evil?
And how can the things the Bible condemns as evil,
now be called good and acceptable?

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;
that put darkness for light, and light for darkness..."
Isaiah 5:20

The lines have become blurred in our vision.
What is so clearly black and white/right and wrong in God's Word
has faded into a muddled shade of grayed confusion in our minds and society.

How did this happen?
How did we stray so far from the ways of our founding fathers
who feared God, respected His Word, and had a genuine disdain for evil?
How have we become so desensitized to the exceeding sinfulness of sin?  (Romans 7:13)

In order for there to ever be found a solution, we must first figure out how we got here.
I believe there have been several contributing factors,
but the biggest culprit, sad, sad, sad to say, is surprising and appalling,
because it lies within the confines of the last place we would ever think to look....
the church.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
How can I be so audacious as to place the blame on something so "benign" and "innocent"?

Please stay with me, and hopefully, as you read, you will sense the heavy burden upon my heart,
and you will come to see that we, the church, are very much to blame for the current state of spiritual affairs in our nation and in our world.
I believe we have dropped the ball.
Plain and simple.
I will give you my reasons.
Watered-down, sugar-coated, ear-tickling preaching, for starters.
A lack of proclaiming the full truth from Sunday morning pulpits.
The watchmen on the walls (Ezekiel 33) seeing the signs of danger,
but choosing to ignore them, failing to warn the people,
 and hoping things will "just get better on their own."
Picking and choosing which parts of the Word of God are most palatable
and only preaching those select parts from rostrum platforms.
Fearing the loss of members and allowing that fear to control and dominate
the subject matter of sermons.
Turning sanctuaries into "feel-good" arenas of entertainment,
where church-goers are made to laugh, dance, and worship celebrity idols,
instead of worshiping the Lamb of God, Who died for our sins.
Concern over "offending" the more generous tithers and donors,
therefore withholding Biblical information that contradicts their life choices.
Slipping from complacency into downright apathy.
Failure to get involved in utilizing our God-given right to vote for political leaders who
share and defend the same Biblical values we so strongly believe and support.
Sitting back in our fantasy world of making believe that all will end well,
even if we make the choice to do nothing.
Pretending we possess no personal responsibility or accountability.
Lack of unity among Christ's earthly body.
Refusing to lay aside our petty differences for the sake of a world literally going into eternity,
without God and without hope.
Holding each other within the ranks of Christianity at arm's-length,
tearing each other down, envying one another's individual successes and victories,
trying to outdo one another, competing with one another for applause and acceptance,
and biting and devouring one another in the process.  (Galatians 5:15)
Ignoring the needs of "the least of these",  (Matthew 25:40)
turning a deaf ear to their cries,
and closing our eyes to the reality of their pain.
Completely disregarding God's command to turn from our own wicked ways,
to repent, and to earnestly seek His face for healing and restoration.  (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Placing man-made labels upon ourselves,
boxing ourselves into little huddles of man-made groups and factions,
and refusing to let anyone else in....or out.
Placing the blame on everyone else, when we, ourselves are lackadaisical and refuse to lift a finger in the direction of positive change.
Refusal to call sin by its real name.

Does this younger generation even know or comprehend the definition of sin?

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."
Hosea 4:6

"Therefore My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge:
and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst."
Isaiah 5:13

"Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things:
they have put no difference between the holy and the profane,
neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean,
and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them."
Ezekiel 22:26

If we are blurring the lines from behind pulpits and microphones,
how can we expect those who watch and listen to know the difference between what God calls holy and what He calls profane?

Unfortunately, there are many who rely solely upon their pastor/minister for their spiritual guidance.
There are way too few independent thinkers, who will listen to what is being said,
then go home, take out their Bible, and prayerfully delve into Its contents,
comparing what the Holy Spirit reveals to what they have heard from the pulpit.

We cannot afford to place the most precious part of our being into the safekeeping of another human,
no matter how highly-regarded, well-respected, popular, or world-renown they are,
how many books they have had published,
how many Facebook followers or likes they have,
the square footage or number of pews in their mega-church,
or how many parishioners sit under the sound of their voice every Sunday.

At the end of the day, when all the dust settles, whether they or anyone else likes to admit it,
every single one of us is human.
We are fallible.
We may or may not be withholding necessary information.
We may or may not be blurring the lines.
We may or may not be skewing the facts.
We may or may not have the best interests of our eternity-bound souls at heart.

What if their motivation is greed?
What if they aren't truly God's anointed, but self-appointed?
Is it worth taking the chance of putting the entire weight of your spiritual guidance
on their very mortal shoulders?

Please don't misunderstand me.
I am not trying to spawn suspicion.
I am just saying we need to be careful.
We need to seek God for wisdom.
We need to be filled entirely with His Holy Spirit,
so we will be able to discern what is of God and what is not.
We need to read and study His Word, on our own, outside the walls of our Sunday gatherings,
so we will know 100% certain that we are being told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but.

Because didn't Jesus say it takes the truth to make us free?  (John 8:32)
Don't we want to hear it straight?
Wouldn't it be best to find out our true spiritual state now,
while there is time and opportunity to make adjustments,
rather than to wait until we stand before our Creator, and it is too late?

I absolutely believe that
"as goes the church, so the nation...even the world...will follow."

Near the beginning of this post, I said this,
"In order for there to ever be found a solution, we must first figure out how we got here."
Deep in our heart of hearts, I think we know, don't you?

So, if we, the church, are to blame, what do we do now?
What is the solution?
Even though our generation has inherited a big part of this,
we have done our fair share in advancing it to where it is today...
simply by our passivity.
Our tolerance.
Our desensitized oblivion.

The solution....the antidote....is found in the one place we can look and ALWAYS find good news,
definitive answers, sound advice, and exactly what we need.

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

"Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression,
and the house of Jacob their sins."
Isaiah 58:1



"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain:
let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:
for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."
Joel 2:1


Being silent is no longer an option.
Any hope of salvaging what is left will require courage to stand,
even when it is the most unpopular choice, and even when it means standing alone.
We can no longer bury our heads in the sand, with the foolish hope that someone else 
will pick up the flickering torch and carry the truth into this and the next generation.
It is up to you and me, my friend.
We are here.
We live.
We breathe.
We are responsible.
If we, the church, don't take a stand for God's truth, who will?

Now back to my quandary in the voting booth yesterday.
I pretty much knew who I was voting for before we got there,
at least where most candidates were concerned.
That is.....all candidates but one.
He was the only one I was struggling with.

I'll be honest and tell you why.
I really, really like this guy.
We know him and his wife personally.
We have been in their home and patronized their business.
He has participated in charitable activities and even a church event with us.
He is a really, really nice man.

So, why wasn't it just a no-brainer to click the little check mark when I came to his name
in the voting booth?
Why did I stand there for so long yesterday, feeling so completely conflicted?

It was this.
This man, even though he is one of the nicest people you could ever meet or talk to,
and even though I respect him as a person and enjoy being around him,
has a very liberal, unChristian, non-Biblical worldview
on subjects that are very near and dear to my heart.
These are subjects that I simply cannot ignore.

As I stood there yesterday, boy, did I struggle.
It was like I felt a sense of betrayal if I didn't vote for him,
yet, I felt guilty if I did.

I'll tell you the truth.
I have voted for him in the past.
But, that was before I knew or realized what he stands for and against.
Somehow I thought that since he was such a nice, likable kind of guy,
surely he must be someone I could put my weight behind and support.
But is being likable what really matters?
When these men and women sit down to convene and implement legislation
that will affect our individual lives and the lives of our children for years to come,
what matters most?
The fact that they were likable, or the fact that they were RIGHT?

I stood there, struggling, and the Holy Spirit made it plain.
If I voted for him, I would be putting my personal sanction on every political decision he makes.
So, in a small, not-so-significant way, I would be an accomplice to his participation, right or wrong.
Because after all, my vote, no matter how singular or small,
would help to put him in the position to participate in the first place.

I knew what I had to do, and I did it.
Is it better to please man or to obey God?  (Acts 5:29)

Voting has always been important to me.
If we don't vote and make our individual contribution to the process,
I don't think we have any right to complain about the results.
As Christians, we have held back and been way too passive,
not even utilizing our God-given freedoms to make a difference.
And in the process, we have watched our nation drift...farther and farther from God
and everything our founding fathers believed.

Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that politics and spirituality are in separate worlds.
We could not be more wrong.
Can we not see where lack of involvement and participation has landed us....
far from the spiritual ground of our founding fathers?
Is this where we really want to stay?

Prayerfully going to the voting booth on election day is just one way we can try to reverse this spiral.
Preaching the full truth of the Gospel, in the face of whatever comes against us, is another.

Our nation, our world, has been overcome with evil for a long time.
It is time to start overcoming that evil with good.

Don't you want to see things turn around?
Call me a dreamer, but I still have hopes of a Great Awakening.
I still pray for REVIVAL.
It all starts with one heart full of passion for God and willingness
to do anything and everything He asks.
Let it start here, dear Lord.
Let it start right here.

Positive change starts with you...and me.

Stay tuned for a follow-up post on other ways we can overcome evil with good!

**************************************************************

UPDATE ON LAUREN HILL

Lauren's dream came true when she got to play in her first college basketball game on Sunday!!


I love the Scripture on the back of the T-shirts being worn in her honor.


They say,
"PLAY FOR 22
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9"

Bless her dear heart!
Lauren has to be one of the strongest, most courageous people,
and her story is inspiring so many!
So thankful she was able to live out her dream
and still believing God for the miracle she needs!

Please keep praying for her and all of the others who need prayer at this time.
God is still on the throne, and He is not limited in power.
Let us keep our faith in Him!




17 comments:

  1. This post is brilliant. I'm almost jelous that I didn't write it first :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Kate! It was so nice to have you visit tonight! God bless you in a special way. :)

      Delete
    2. Cheryl, can you see me here nodding my head and saying a hearty "Amen" to every word you spoke? This was definitely the Holy Spirit speaking through your God-given gift with words. You have captured the angst of living in this present day - the worries, the frustrations, the feeling that we have no influence, let alone control, over the way our country is going. Yes, there are problems in the government, but just as you say, there are also problems in the church. And really, it all boils down to the problem in a person's soul. If the throne isn't occupied by The King, then everything is messed up.

      I think of two things when I reflect on our country, our culture, and the state of the world. One, as you've so mightily exhorted us, we cannot be passive believers. We must take a stand, speak out, risk being unpopular, go against the flow - for we are called to be IN the world, but not OF the world. This world needs Jesus...desperately. And we desperately need to be salt and light.

      Second, I realize that at some point in the history of mankind, the world is going to spin "out of control" - it's going to fall ever more deeply into sin. We know at some point, there's going to be an escalation as we approach Revelation times. I just think we might be watching "labor pains." It is scary, it is discouraging - but we know that God is in this, too.

      I pray for the Lord to make me and my fellow believers more courageous and effective as representatives of His Kingdom. And at the same time, I thank Him that it won't be like this forever. I believe time is short. So let's pray like crazy, work to spread the Good News, and be willing to take a stand and do what we can (in His power) to stem the tide of sin - while at the same time, holding on to the sure hope that Jesus is coming back someday!!

      I always say, "Feet to the ground, eyes to the sky."

      GOD BLESS!

      Delete
    3. Oops - not sure why I posted my original comment as a reply rather than a new comment! Senior moment...

      Since I'm here, can I just tell you that all week as I've been linking up, I keep seeing that funny and adorable picture of Baby Obed. Cheryl, that boy - he just does something to my heart!

      Praying!

      xo

      Delete
    4. Oh, dear friend! I am so grateful for your dear, encouraging words however they show up here...through comment or reply!!!! It is always such a joy and blessing to me to hear from you in whatever channel possible. LOL! Your words are so true and edifying and just echo the burden upon my heart. I loved your saying, "Feet to the ground, eyes to the sky." YES!! I know...that picture just tugs at my heartstrings each time I see it, too. :) Much love to you sweet friend. I am praying for you!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, dear Denise! God bless you and keep you in His loving care! Praying for you!

      Delete
  3. Well...I felt this was a really important election, too, for the same reasons as you. I have to say that I love how you can say things in such a nice way. I'm more of an "in your face" kind of person, as I'm sure you've read on my blog. I don't know if it's because my entire life was shared with strong men or what. I can't seem to get that nice, gentle side to come out when I am speaking the Truth. So, you did a great job. :)

    Anyways, what you say is true. I love to listen to Phil Robertson (hated by so many) because he is telling the TRUTH! Did you listen to his 8 minute video from the "I Stand Sunday" meeting? Truer words were never spoken. I try to keep faith that things may turn around, but realistically, it's gonna get worse at some point. This is just the beginning of the end. However, I think that since we're seeing so much wrong now, the end isn't as far as some may think. I, rather cowardly, hope that I die or Jesus returns before it gets too bad. ha, ha. I know that's wrong. But I can't stand so much of the way things are now...I think any worse is going to drive me batty! I'm not sure what happened to people. I suppose they just opened the door and Satan tramped on in, and camped out in there hearts indefinitely. People don't even care about voting anymore. I know someone (who doesn't know the Lord) and she told me she never registered to vote because she didn't want to be called for jury duty! I just shook my head...er...what?!

    And about offending people--we WILL offend people. I don't WANT to, but if we're doing our jobs, we will. People will despise us because we love the Lord. It's all getting very tiring. Maybe, more and more, we're just preaching to strengthen each other, rather than convince others. Soon people's hearts will be so hardened that we'll be on our own. I never thought I'd live to see these days...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your dear and powerful words! They encourage and strengthen me more than you will ever know. YES, you are so right in all you said. I hadn't heard Phil's speech, but we went on and watched it last night. It is POWERFUL and SO true. How I praise God for men like him who will stand up and preach in the public arena, who are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, who have a spine and will not bend to evil! His words were so inspiring. Wish they had given him longer to preach. Thanks for sharing that with me. YES, you are right, we will offend if we speak the truth. But, as Paul asked, "Am I become thine enemy, because I tell you the truth?" God bless you in a special way for being such a consistent blessing to me...I thank God for you and I pray for you often. :)

      Delete
  4. Amen Cheryl! Great post with such wisdom! xo

    waitingforbabybird.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, sweet friend. So happy you stopped by...it is always a blessing to see that you were here. Praying for you and believing God for your miracle! Love you. :)

      Delete
  5. Amen Cheryl! Seems like our hearts and thoughts have been on the same issues. It's time for Christians to stand up for God and at the same time fall down before Him with weeping (sackcloth and ashes type weeping), prayer, and fasting. You were so right about the sugar coated messages now days. So many people are desensitized. So many people question if something is "really" evil, as if there are two evils...a real evil and a not real evil. EVIL is EVIL pure and simple, and it is real. Too many Christians are complacent. Well, I could keep writing, but I won't. I just wanted to commend you for writing the truth. Love ya dearly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, dear sister! I loved your words here! YES, we have become so complacent...thank you for your sweet encouragement. I love you dearly, too. God bless you abundantly!

      Delete
  6. Thank you for sharing your exciting and interesting post with us here at “Tell Me a Story."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link-up, Hazel! God bless you. :)

      Delete
  7. Thank you sharing hour heart in this post. We certainly do need to pray for our nation whetgher it is too late or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for hosting the link-up, Judith. I trust you and your family are well. :) God bless you.

      Delete