Friday, November 25, 2011

Shrewd as Snakes

            I’ve already written one post today but I just didn’t feel satisfied since it was written quickly from my iPhone in between returning from a Marine’s memorial service, Amanda trying to get a nap in, and both kids in their respective rooms crying out, “Mommy!” because they believe it to be the end of their nap time! Ah … there’s no rest for the wicked.
            To continue on my previous blog entry: “Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18). Heads up leadership! Be even more leery those of you (those of us) who appoint and allow others to lead. From the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world; things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

            I’m sure Christians in America have felt like this in every generation but at no time else during America’s history has there been such an onslaught – such a systematic dismantling of the foundation of this Nation. I think the saddest part of this is that what made this country great – the stones on which it was built because of the “stones” a good number of men had during the birthing pains of this nation are being destroyed under the guise of “forward thinking” or “enlightenment” – and this is coming from someone who is definitely not a saint (I have demons and skeletons uglier than the ones you have in your own closet).
            It’s sad. Nothing is sacred. Because of “lack of evidence” we allow an accused baby killing mother to walk while with a “preponderance of evidence” we convict a doctor for “murdering” an entertainment icon despite him being a suspected child molester. Something just ain’t right. And what about, “If the glove doesn’t fit then you’ve gotta acquit.” How much more of a mockery of things could that one have been???
            To me, it all comes back to leadership. Granted … only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was perfect … so that’s not what I’m calling for in my frustration. I’m calling for excellence. With as many individuals who come together to make the collective leadership of our country, one would think that excellence could be achieved easily at the highest levels. One would think that as American’s, our leadership would instinctively strive for excellence. Instead, leadership is mediocre at best and most times, it lacks any substance at all.

“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”
And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.”
So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you – whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” – (1 Corinthians 3:18-23)

The reality – again, in my eyes – is not mediocrity … it’s not really “their” inability to lead with excellence …it’s about their fascination with sin. You’ve heard the saying, “History repeats itself” or “If you don’t know your history then you’re bound to repeat it.” Pastor Bobby Davis (Lifechurch / Cookeville, TN) alluded to this last week in his Sunday sermon as have multitudes of God-fearing men and women: America is the modern day Roman Empire! Read what happens when Rome turns its back on God. This is from the top down!!!

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” – Romans 3:18-32

In all reality folks … I think this is where we’re sitting. Are these the end times? I don’t know but it might be for the great Nation we call home. Indifference and apathy will undo what’s not being guarded. We have to be the watchmen! “Let the watchman be fully alert!”

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking – it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.  And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:16-22

All that to say this … keep praying, Saints!!! We need a miracle in this Nation. I performed two Marine’s memorials this week: a Vietnam-era Marine who earned a Bronze Star with “V” Device for actions that saved his buddy’s life and a Marine from the “Greatest Generation” who served in two wars, WWII and Korea. Our country was built on the backs and blood of men like them – not by some overeducated, tucked-away safely bureaucrats who’s only interest in this country is to bleed it dry with a life-long pension at the expense of those who have the “stones” to lay it on the line.

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