We Roll Deeper

What can we do? This question is frequently impressed upon my heart in response to many overwhelming & discouraging atrocities and injustices plaguing our world & communities today. Most recently in a discussion with my brother about the ongoing & seemingly worsening Fukushima catastrophe that took place in 2011, I became burdened with a feeling of helplessness.  Today it’s quietly being underreported that due to the nuclear plant meltdown during Fukushima, the Pacific Ocean is now becoming dangerously contaminated with radiation showing up on California shores. Adversely affecting sea life, and threatening the health and well being of all life within its reach. Beyond this looming dark cloud of death & despair, linger other dark clouds of the same character, manufactured by the dictator of darkness himself, the devil. As I write this now I can hear the news caster’s voice from a distant television, reporting a missing air craft that took off from Malaysia and has literally vanished in mid air with 200 passengers on board. Yesterday I received a text from my wife prompting me to pray since there had been a fatal explosion in an east Harlem residential building at 9:30 in the morning. So what can we do?  The rumors of war, the untimely death due to sickness, poverty, violence, each case of abuse, and neglect, the persecution of the church, the perversion of morality, the attack on family & marriage, the campaign of evil powered by music, movies, television & literature. We believers know the spiritual warfare that is taking place, and understand what’s behind the rapid increase of the desensitization to sin in this world, and the result of it. Even with this knowledge at times we can still feel helpless and frightened as we see bible prophecy unfolding further each day. In Mark 29:13 Jesus said “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near- at the doors!”

     In Romans 6:23 Paul writes; “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The latter half of that scripture is so much easier to read, but no truer than the 1st. Even the earth’s natural disasters are a result of the fall. Paul describes this in Romans 8:21-22- “Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pains together until now.”  So the question remains; what can I do? Well there are many answers to this question found in the word of God. Psalm 91 being one, and 1 John 4:4 being another, but I would like to focus on one particular story that recently resonated with me.
     The story of Elisha’s servant, a young man like myself who became afraid as the enemy drew near his camp and even asked the very same question that I find myself asking today.  2 Kings 6: 8-23 tells us of a time when God shut the eyes of the enemy & opened the eye of Elisha’s fearful servant. Elisha was a mighty man of God, a prophet! My assumption is, if you knew Elisha, you knew Jehovah, by his workings through the prophet. Therefore Elisha’s servant must have been well acquainted with the mighty power and provision of God. Even still Elisha’s servant became afraid when he arose early one morning to find his camp had been surrounded by the enemy sent by the King of Syria. A great army of horses and chariots had come by night and surrounded the place where Elisha dwelt. Kind of what it seems like when we awake to terrible news on any given day. Elisha’s servant shouted frantically “Master! What shall we do?” This question although now, may be more contemplative than immediate as in the context it was asked then, is the same question ultimately. The same concern is felt. The enemy is all around, and they appear to be great in number and strength. So what was Elisha’s response to his servant’s panicked reaction? “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” What?! How crazy is that? Elisha’s servant is looking at a giant wave of wickedness about to flood their camp, and yet Elisha confidently assures his servant there is no need to fear for they are greater in number and strength than the enemy. Elisha was obviously plugged into the unseen, aware of the supernatural; and although he may have been weak in himself he was strong in his reliance upon God. Elisha prayed for God to open the eyes of his servant. And the Lord did. When the eyes of Elisha’s servant were opened he saw the mountain full of Angels, horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. Elisha and his servant were not alone! And neither are we. Elisha then prayed that the enemy would be blinded, subsequently fooled foiling their plan of attack. In the end, Elisha chose not to retaliate advising the king of Israel to feed the enemy and send them back to their master instead of killing them. This speaks to me about God’s abounding mercy & the authority we have as God’s people. When because of our Lord Jesus Christ, our enemies retreat to their master, defeated & empty handed, they will know we are a Godly people that cannot be moved, nor shaken. They will know that we are grounded in the Lord.  My prayer is that God open our eyes as he did Elisha servant. That we may sleep peacefully amidst the trials of this world because we have the peace and the hope of Jesus Christ.  My brothers and sisters in Christ be strong, be courageous, and trust in the Lord with all your heart. We roll deeper!

Heaven & Earth Will Pass Away (So Will iPhones & Kanye West Albums)

I just upgraded to the iPhone 5S, and I’m not sure why. In retrospect, I think it’s kind of like the ocean current, only instead its culture current that’s pulling me in. Someone said this to me today in reference to iPhones . “They never make a product to outlive its user; it’s bad business.” Hence the way a lot of big corporations make and market their products today is usually “Good” for the company’s pocket and “Bad” for the consumer’s pocket. Well my newest, new phone is blue and that’s pretty cool. It’s got a lot of nice functions but is purposely limited. Purposely limited to assure I get the newest, new phone when it comes out with the “better” functions that were already available from the start, but kept back, to keep me…Coming back. I wonder if my grandchildren will have the iphone1000. Okay, so this isn’t really about iphones, what I really want us all to consider is this: Are we being pulled in and under by the culture current? Are we at risk of losing control, and drowning in this fast pace microwavable culture? Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God.”
Ever felt the ocean current wrap its massive arms around your legs and pull you in deeper? I’m not the best swimmer so maybe it’s more frightening a feeling for me than it is for you, but I can recall that feeling being quite scary. One minute I’m standing chest deep, and the next minute, I’m chin deep, fighting to get back. You can literally stand in a relatively shallow point of ocean water and suddenly be swept up and pulled in deeper; and deeper within seconds. Some people have even drowned and died from the merciless strength of the Ocean’s pull. We cannot or at least should not deny nor underestimate the oceans strength, we ought to respect it. The trick is it can be deceitful, seductive, and alluring. Seemingly innocent and safe, but in a moment it can turn on you and swallow you whole. The Culture current in which we live has the same power, and is equally dangerous. The culture today, at least here in the states, and I believe it is similar in most of the world’s modernized countries; is F-A-S-T, fast! Breaking news interrupts breaking news on all our devices, not only television. Tweets, beeps, & digital alerts, keep us in the “loop”. Text messages, face time, Skype, the post office is in trouble! The music industry is still trying to figure out how to function in this climate. Children dictate to record label executives how they prefer to get and listen to music. News about an artist trumps the actual music the artist is making. An album is merely an addition to an artist video series, blog, ads, news and media, due to the culture’s shortened attention span and desire for more quick fixes. We have to keep up with what’s new, and what’s new is instantly old; so through the revolving door we go. We want more, we demand more, and we want it faster! This morning’s story is old news by the evening. With all this going on it’s easy to be pulled in by the culture current. Subconsciously adapting to whatever lifestyle the culture deems necessary today. It starts on a surface level, but can rapidly become a much deeper issue.
Do we even notice how deep? What are our treasures? What are our contributions to society? What do we deem important, and hold dear to our hearts? Are they things, Possessions? Are they things that provide instant gratification? Is it something that is momentary, Seasonal? Where is our heart, our mind and focus? Are we lost in a world of social media? What excites us, and fills our time? Does the culture current dictate what is acceptable, what is “cool” and how we ought to live and function? I think I need to come up for air today. I need to fight the pull of the culture’s current, get back to solid ground, and get grounded in the only thing that will surely outlive its user. That is the word of God.
Mathew 7:20 says, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” All the hype of today will certainly pass away. The kids today don’t listen to James Brown, and the kids tomorrow won’t listen to Jay-Z, but the kids of every generation will hear and hopefully listen to the word of Jesus Christ. Society is ever changing. But we don’t have to accept the terms of our society’s culture when its motives, intent, and or result and product are evil, wicked, spiritually detrimental, sinful, and a distraction from truth. I’m not saying my iPhone is sinful or necessarily harmful, but the value and attention I give it can turn into something sinful and harmful. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” My desire is to slow down, and consider the truth of God. By his grace I want to learn to live a truly meaningful life in the eyes of the Lord. Heaven and earth… and iphones too, will surely pass away. But the word of God will always remain. So let’s not get caught up in the microwave hype of today, but instead get caught up in the everlasting word of God; setting our minds on things of eternal significance, and value. After-all the eternal-gevity of the Holy bible is undeniable, for it is the word of the great I-AM.