Saturday, April 29, 2017

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Today news headlines are all about the situation in the Ukraine with Russian troops invading the sovereign nation, which includes the Crimean Peninsula. This region of the globe has been no stranger to chaos historically. And, then there is Syria, as well as the violence at the borders between Palestine and Israel. The situations are endless. Some people are glued to the TV for the news of such events, while others are yawning saying what else is new? Whether your view is brutal reality or comfortable denial, the situation is the same – our world is in chaos. So what does Christ say about this?

 

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to persecution. Paul never laid down his armor when resistance to his ministry continued. In the midst he did consistently call believers to total and unconditional surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ. Even in persecution we see in II Corinthians, the Apostle Paul at one moment the pinnacle of joy, the next in despair but not forsaken. This is a good reminder for us as believers as we too are facing persecution worldwide of unprecedented proportions.

Remember the commercial "Where's the beef?" As Christians living in an increasingly complex world, do we need to ask ourselves "Where is the reverence in our worship today?"

Growing up in the church my family attended and served in with distinction, we had what some would call distinct church customs which I remember well such as donning a hat before entering the sanctuary several minutes early before the service started; sitting quietly in prayer until the congregation began its opening hymn; bowing before the cross when in procession or when we passed it; handing our hymnal to the new person seated next to us; wearing our best dress; kneeling during prayer; standing for the reading of God’s word; and departing the sanctuary only when the cross had receded down the aisle. My parents and grandparents were church leaders so they were either teaching a Sunday school class, ushering, reading Scripture, counting the attendees, or back in the kitchen preparing a fine meal to encourage others who were visiting. When my grandmother died there were over 150 cars in the funeral processional because she was so loved as a member of her church family with her selfless service! My grandfather would get up early every Wednesday to lead the Bible study lesson and be in church very early helping with Sunday worship.

 The heart behind of all those activities was a love of God, a worship of the One who is worthy of all praise, honor, respect, adoration and reverence. The subjective adoration of someone who exceeds personal excellence, who deserves deep acts of respect and praise, is still the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, as believers in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we come to you today to Pray4America on our knees with all humility acknowledging that we in ourselves have no strength, wisdom or empowerment to carry your banner of righteousness without the indwelling of your Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:4)

 

 Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.


Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.


Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.











 

When we think of “exiles” we often are reminded of the Israelites who were exiled many times in biblical history.  Or, we may think of the thousands in Sudan who are being exiled for their faith along with Christians in Syria, Egypt, and many other places around the globe right now. While our forefathers may have been exiled for their faith from Great Britain at the founding of our nation, in the U.S. today we do not usually think of ourselves as having been exiled from one land to another. Yet in a sense, until we are with the Lord in our heavenly home Christians are all exiles in some foreign land. Are you in exile for God?