Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Time To Get IN The Boat!

Anyone who is familiar with the Scriptures knows that God is a patient God. He puts up with a lot of rebellion and disobedience from His children. A well-known example is found in the Old Testament of the journey of the Israelites coming out of Egypt and their wilderness lessons.

Even though they wandered for 40 years God fed them and cared for them as no one else ever could because God is Almighty and full of grace and mercy.

The Lord God sends warnings when His children are on the wrong path. He creates circumstances that reveal His will by "opening and closing doors" of opportunity. He answers prayers for direction and wisdom in our decision making. He speaks to us through nature, Bible verses, other people, and His Holy Spirit. He brings people and situations into our lives to show us the way.

But when we ignore His subtle warnings of convictions sent by His Holy Spirit -- you know, thoughts like "I know I really shouldn't be doing this" and "I shouldn't say this but I'm going to" and "No one will know, it's just one time" and "everyone else is doing it" -- He will begin to speak louder. And His whispers will turn into His "raised voice" and then if we still won't listen, His words to us sometimes become calamities of brokenness if that is what it takes to get us to surrender to His will ("...I bring prosperity and create disaster..." Isaiah 45:7a).

At the same time, please remember the sweet promise of Romans 8:28 that says, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes." We can expect good to come out of our bad situations. Again, He is the God of mercy and grace!

I think we Americans can be compared to the Israelites. I believe we have been rebellious against God in countless ways but I'll just mention a few -- legalizing abortion, prime time TV shows condoning the ungodly behavior of children toward their parents, the shows imitating pornography, and taking prayer (God) out of schools and public buildings.

The tragedy of September 11, 2001, (commonly referred to as 9/11) was truly a catastrophic nightmare for all of us and a wake up call to get back to loving and serving God as a nation. We all went back to church for a while and then America returned to the lifestyle of what's written in the book of Judges where "everyone does what is right in their own eyes."

I believe we are in the midst of a Spiritual 9/11. I believe God has sent the following to wake us up again and get us right with Him: Joblessness. Stock market plunging. Real estate market drying up. Debt as high as Mt. Everest. So now fear, anxiety, and desperation have become the norm presently in our society and more chaos is coming unless we get in the boat! People are looking for a savior. Someone to FIX THIS NOW.

Friends, there is only one Savior and His Name is Jesus Christ. Just like in the days of Noah, God saw how wicked the world was that He created and He had had enough. (Genesis 6:5).

He found a righteous man, Noah, (Genesis 6:9) who had a righteous family and He told him to build a gigantic boat that would save Noah and his family and enough animals to fill the earth again when His "discipline" was completed.

Here's something important: as Noah was OBEYING God and building this massive boat/ark on dry land, he was mocked and ridiculed by the rest of the world. But he kept his eyes and his heart on God. Noah was "righteous in this generation." (Genesis 7:1)

Meanwhile everyone else was full of corruption and living for themselves (Genesis 6:12). The flood came. The people who were not in the boat drowned. Period. God had enough and those people wouldn't turn to God as Lord.

Look at today. It's as if we have seen the tsunami on the horizon -- it's been coming --and we have been ignoring His voice of warning. We need to get into the boat. The lifeboat of Jesus Christ. Jesus saves. ("God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Get into the family of God by turning away from your past, your old self, and ask God to forgive your sins. He will. He promises "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

And then, after we are in the lifeboat we need to immediately turn around, reach out a hand and help others get into the boat! We need to tell them, "There is help. There is hope. Jesus Saves. Jesus is the Lifeboat. He is THE Life Saver and He will come to your rescue, too!"

With love and hope!