As I was ministering within a people group, I saw families and individuals destroyed by alcohol, violence, drugs, immorality and laziness. Their societal values and cultural norms were definitely different from mine. Centuries of corruption had deteriorated all guiding principles leaving the family unit fractured and almost non-existent. Seeing corruption all around, it was easy to accuse the people of being lazy, undisciplined or just sinful. Whatever Godly influence had been present within this people group had long been lost through decades and centuries of spiritual, moral and ethical decay. I could see these people floundering physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually because they had no one to help them walk in the principles of God’s word.
As I looked around me I couldn’t help but see the people as those that were floundering like sheep without a shepherd. Seeing the individuals around me, both young and old, male and female, I was reminded of the words of Jesus when He looked over the multitudes, “He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt 9:36) A spiritual revival was necessary in their midst.
Many of these people had experienced God’s word, power and forgiveness at one time in their lives. Unfortunately whatever spiritual guidance and direction they had received reflected a distorted picture of God’s word. Greed among the leaders presented the wrong role model for the people, an overzealous focus on legalistic rules brought discouragement as the people felt that they could never measure up and that they would need to be perfect before God could love them. Walking with God became a wishful desire that was frustrated through false understanding of the nature of God’s expectations.
It was unfortunate that the lack of godly role models kept them bound in their sin and lawlessness. Take a moment to examine your own life. If people were to follow Jesus using your life as an example what would be the results? Ask for our lord to help you better reflect Him to the world around you.
God, in His great creative power has given humans great abilities. Of all the animals, none have the thinking capacity that we humans do. We have developed quantum physics, sent men to the moon and back, surgeons do heart transplants, we have developed micro-circuitry to make smart phones, and we can adjust our living conditions to enable us to live practically anywhere on the globe. As humans we have huge potential.
God has given us powerful minds with strong mental, administrative, organizational, and planning capacity. In the world around us there is no shortage of thoughts that could consume our minds. In light of the intellectual capacity and the many things that could consume our thoughts Philippians 4:8 encourages us to “think on these things.” Not everything that around is harmful, much is good and useful, some things are not beneficial, yet there are certain things upon which we are to focus our thoughts.
“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Phil 4:8 Msg) Take a moment to think about the things that are around you, which of these things around you fit these qualifications? Ask our Lord Jesus to help you to focus your thoughts on the good things. Then take extra time to praise Him for these good things.
There are times when we pray again and again only to see no results, or you are praying for something so difficult it seems impossible for the prayer to do anything. I often feel that way when it comes to praying for our government or when praying for positive changes in the political system. It seems like the amount that needs to be done is so significant that no matter how much I pray, little will be changed in the situation. Our nations are getting worse in many areas and it seems like prayer is doing nothing to bring change.
There are many elections taking place around us. 1 Tim. 2: 1-3 says “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”.
As much as we think prayer accomplishes little, the Apostle Paul says in 1 Tim. that we are to pray for those in authority, so that we would live a peaceful life. Paul was writing at a time of horrific government sponsored persecution against Christians. He does not say, “Pray and you will feel better but nothing will happen”, nor does he say, “Don’t pray because the possibility of changing the government is beyond even the power of God”. Instead he says that we are to pray.
His words speak of a confidence that the prayers would bring results. He had an understanding, pray would not be futile. As various election dates are drawing closer, take time to pray for those in authority and for those that will be in authority. Pray that we might live a “quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
There is a lot of grumbling about what God is allowing to take place around the world. Seeing the existence of evil around them, people quickly criticize or question God. People often question the existence, the love, the goodness or the power of God by saying something like, “If God is so loving and so kind, if His intentions are so good, and if He is all powerful, then why did He allow … to happen.” Out of frustration or disappointment we expect that God would have stepped in and made changes to what people were doing or to what they were failing to do. But what would it mean to have God step into our life’s situations? If God were to “Clean House” so that there was no evil left in the world, then how would He do that?
There are two scriptures that seem to give some indication of how God would go about cleaning up the messy world that we are living in. In Ezekiel chapter 9 we see that God was frustrated because of the evil that was within the nation of Israel. He then gives Ezekiel a vision of what was about to happen. God is about to clean up the mess and He says, “begin at my sanctuary” (Ez 9:6). Then in 1 Peter 4:17 we are told that “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?”
These are frightening words. As Christians we want God to clean up all the evil, but fail to realize that the greatest expectation for people to do things right comes from God upon His own people. From God’s perspective, we should know better for we have the commands and direction of God written in the scriptures which are right before our eyes. The demands and standards upon God’s people are higher than upon the world which does not know the ways or the word of God.
Yes we want God to step in and clean up the messy world around us, but first take some time to ask our Lord to clean up our messy hearts and values.