Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Looking For A Better Country

God's people usually find themselves living in a culture that is hostile to their faith.


Hebrews 11:13-16  All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

14  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  15  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  16  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Do you get upset with the lack of morality in the world around you? Good! It should make you feel uncomfortable. Are you grieved that the world seems to be against what you believe and doesn't care about your morals? Get over it! God's children shouldn't feel too comfortable here in this world and we shouldn't expect the world to live up to our standards.

How do you think Noah felt? I think it is easy to rush through the story about the flood and miss the point of how immoral everybody in the world was with the exception of Noah. I suspect that the world was worse than it is today yet Noah was still living to please God and while he was building the ark he was evangelizing his neighbors. (2 Peter 2:5)
Matthew 5:10-12  God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  11  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  12  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
In the Old Testament people like Joseph, Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel and his cool furnace friends, Esther and Mordecai all obeyed God and brought him glory. When God exiled his people from the Promised Land because they didn't obey him there was usually somebody that lived in opposition to the culture, somebody that didn't deserve to be exiled, somebody that had to live with the consequences of the sin of the rest of the nation. Those people didn't whine about the way the people around them lived and why they passed laws that did not honor God.

The New Testament gives us examples like John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and ultimately Jesus. The world hated the man that was the ultimate example of love and so they will also hate us as well. The gospel message was spread across the world because faithful men were willing to endure persecution. (John 15:18-21, 2 Timothy 3:12)

God's people have seldom ever lived in a culture that welcomed them in and had great respect for what they believed. We can get mad about the decline of Godly values in America but we should realize that God's people have never had it so good.

God's people should be easy to spot in a hostile culture but too often we are easy to spot for the wrong reasons. Throughout history we have been the people that have made the news for what we are against and for taking an ugly stand for it. Jesus told us that the world will know us by our love but a lot of people say that they know us by our hate.
Be Still and Wait
Psalms 37:7-9  Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper--it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.
That verse is great advice for us as we live in this world full of evil. Don't worry, don't fret, don't get mad about it! Is it keeping you awake at night? Are you obsessed with watching or reading the news? Are you afraid of the future?

Just be still and wait. What! That's isn't natural! We like to handle things ourselves. We like to help God do what he needs to do. But God tells us to get out of the way, "I am at work here and you don't know what I am up to."

Just be still and wait. In a hostile culture you are forced to rely on God and lean on his strength. We have no human power to lean on, our reliance on people or things gets stripped away when God is all that's left.
Matthew 12:18-21  "Look at My Servant, whom I have chosen. He is My Beloved, who pleases Me. I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally He will cause justice to be victorious. And His name will be the hope of all the world."
Lord help me to follow your example, help me to be still and wait for you and help me to trust in you when the world around me seems to be drifting so far away from the truth found in your word.