Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Promises Fulfilled

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14)

I lost count of the number of well meaning e-mails and articles I’ve received over the years encouraging me to pray for our country based upon the teaching found in II Chronicles 7:14. Now, I know that we are encouraged to pray for those in authority over us and to pray without ceasing, and to pray that righteousness prevail and to pray about all things...however, those well meaning Christians are using the wrong scripture to emphasize this type of prayer. Am I "pickin’ nits" again? Perhaps! The II Chronicles passage was written to a specific group known as God’s people in contradistinction to other nations in the world and those people had a LAND, a promised land. Time and again this verse was played out in the life of Israel. They forsook the Lord, calamity occurred, they cried to the Lord and God raised up a deliverer and healed their land; promises fulfilled. (Judges 2:13,18; 3:7,9,12,15, etc, etc)

If II Chronicles is to be spiritually applied today by the Christian believer, the first thing I want to know is where is our land that God promised to heal? Bear in mind we have believers, i.e., brothers in Christ, all over the world. Do we have a common land on this planet that we can seek His face to heal? Of course, the answer is, NO! Israel was the only people that had been called the "people of God", i.e., "my people", AND had a LAND. Can the Israeli of today pray and expect a healing of their land as described in the II Chronicles passage? The answer is also, NO! Why? Because God’s Kingdom has been enlarged and expanded from the approximate 56,700 square miles encompassed by the "promised land" of the OT to the entire world of today, and ultimately to the "new Jerusalem and the new heavens and the new earth". "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) The present State of Israel occupies only approximately 8300 square miles of that original turf anyway...and before long it may be less. Through what nation is God now working, if not Israel? The answer, "the Israel of God" (Gal 6:16) Of whom does the Israel of God consist? Amazingly enough it consists of Jews......and Dutch and Irish and Germans and Croatians and Slovenians and Arabs and Chinese and Japanese and Americans, among many others. The Israel of God consists of "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev 5:9); also described as a "wild olive tree" which has been grafted into that original olive tree and partakers with them of the rich root of that original (paraphrase of Rom 11:24); Peter calls it, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.." (I Pet 2:9a)

Should we then not pray for our nation, no matter where our nation is? Of course, we should not only pray for our nation but we should also work outwardly the salvation that has been worked inwardly in us and to promote in every possible way that His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Just remember though, this isn’t the promised land. We, like Abraham of old, are seeking a city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God. (Heb 11:10) Meantime, the wheat and the tares are going to grow together. (Matt 13:24-30) Ours is to be the seasoning salt and the illuminating light set on a high hill in a darkened land. We are in the world, but not of it. He just may heal our land, wherever it is, but it won’t be because He promised that to us in II Chronicles 7:14.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Invisible One

Clarence Edward Macartney (1879-1957) was a Presbyterian pastor and author. He was a contemporary of J. Gresham Machen and was equally involved as Machen in the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in the early part of last century. I have his book, "Macartney’s Illustrations" which was purchased by my father in 1945. This is a book of selected sermon vignettes and illustrations that were used by Macartney during his ministry...all compiled into 421 pages revealing his pastoral experience, his wide range of reading, and his own imagination.

Thumbing through the book I ran across the following which I think is particularly timely even though originally written in the midst of the II World War:

"God must be in this terrible chapter of the world’s history through which we are passing today. Otherwise one would have to exclude God from a great part of history. In his powerful description of the battle and battlefield of Sedan, where the German army conquered the French in 1870, Victor Hugo says, "In the midst of the terrible plain, I saw thee, O thou Invisible One." The Invisible One is always present. The history of the world is the judgement of the world, and as a great history maker, Cromwell, put it, "What are all our histories but God throwing down and trampling under foot whatsover He hath not planted?"

Help us to see the hand of The Invisible One as did Elisha with his young student:
"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (II King 6:16,17)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Takin' the Plunge

Silver Dollar City with 3 Grandkids (2 nights): $500.00 +
Eat at Lamberts in Ozark, Mo (w/"throwed rolls"): $50.00
Gas to Branson, Mo. (round trip) $45.00
Souvenirs from Silver Dollar City: $50.00
Photo of two Grandkids "flushed" down the American Plunge ride:
"PRICELESS" (click photo to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chavez's Cartoon Quip

I’m not making this up. Hugo Chavez is known for his flamboyant speaking style. He made a playful comment, according to the Reuters News Service, on June 2, 2009. I have incorporated his comment "verbatim" in my latest cartoon. I’m hoping Hugo is wrong about this, but he may be on to something. Read the story HERE.