Week 34 Past the Cross – (Doorways)
By Terri C
Turning on the evening news during dinner is sure to ruin your appetite! Without question, things are getting ugly out there. Oops, did I say “getting ugly”? I’m sorry, that’s not the truth. Things have been ugly since Cain killed Abel. Maybe they got ugly exactly when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, but the story of the first brothers is our first example of the atrocities that man is capable of bestowing upon man. We know that Ecclesiastes says “There is nothing new under the sun”. And there isn’t anything new, is there? Only the finer details differ. Only the ways in which these atrocities are administered differ. Mankind was so horrible at one time that God regretted creating them, and wiped everyone off the face of the earth, except for the “house” of Noah. Murder, sexual immorality, the exploitation of the innocent, crooked dealings and religious extremism have plagued mankind as far back as we can read in Scripture, or even in history. The numbers of occurrences have simply risen according to the rise in population. But the nightly news isn’t reporting “new” news. Unfortunately, the top stories won’t vary in their ugliness until God’s Messiah takes his reign on the throne of David. The world-wide web has simply “lifted the veil” so that we are able to witness so much more bad news than what we were privy to an hundred years ago. But it isn’t new. How, then, do we go about shining God’s Light into a world that seems to be under the cover of darkness? How do we let our faith, and not our fear, increase as we witness these events? Is there anything we can do to be helpful to those who are crippled with fear? Can we bring hope in the midst of so much mayhem? Absolutely!
Before we go about shining God’s light, we first examine our own connection to The Source of that light. If we haven’t allowed Him to illuminate us, we can do more harm than good. If we are crippled in fear ourselves, or if we are living in unrepentance ourselves, we are casting shadows, instead of shining light! Through repentance, prayer and Scripture study, our lives are transformed, and God’s light becomes manifest in our own lives. It is then that we can go about sharing that light, even in times of world-wide crisis. Especially in times of world-wide crisis! For what we can’t do, we trust God. But there are things we can, and should be, doing! I hope you will add to this “list” for even more ways to go about being light:
- Pray! Prayer isn’t our last resort, it is our first defence! What can we pray for in a world gone awry? We can pray for God’s messiah to come quickly, bringing peace. We can pray for God’s will to unfold in each and every area that is dark. We can pray that many will cry out to God in their time of crisis, even those who have never turned to Him before. We can pray for His mercy on the innocent, and for His justice to come to pass. We can pray for repentant hearts, and for courage and strength. We pray, friends, because He instructed us to.
- Check Facts: In this age of social media, every “like” and every “share” is our stamp of affirmation of information. Or misinformation. Let’s take a moment before we click anything and consider the source. Is it reliable news that will be helpful to share with our friends? If we can’t confirm it, or if it is even questionable, let’s just skip it for now. We can always go back to it once we’ve gathered more facts.
- Don’t fuel flames of fear! If there is a common theme in the Tanakh, it is this: God is in control! Do not fear, be strong and courageous. Trust in Him. In my humble opinion, the only thing worse than our own fear would be to encourage fear in others! In the ugliest case scenario, God is still in control! There is no force in existence more mighty than Him. We remember the Proverb that says ~The horse is prepared against the day of battle; But victory is of YHVH~ The media wants us to live in fear. Every time we tune in, their ratings go up. Social media wants us to live in fear. With every clip that “goes viral” their site hits go up. But, friends, God wants us to only fear Him. Period.
- Do something. The world has enough “arm chair quarterbacks”. That is to say, many people do a lot of talking about what they would do in any given situation, but few rise to the occasion by actually doing. Back your beliefs with some actions! Get involved. Give from your resources, be it money, talent or time. God told us to extend our hand to the needy, to go about doing good. Instead, too often, we extend our hand to the keyboard, spouting opinions and beliefs that stop there, on a post or comment thread. To utilize an old adage, we must “put our money where our mouth is”. Let’s make it two old adages for a second witness; “Walk the talk”. If we don’t like what’s happening around us, we must stand up and be a part of reformation. We begin in ourselves, and expand to the extent we are able to. Our home, community, state, country or world. But we mustn’t forget where reformation begins: with us.
- Get in Scripture. Since, as I stated earlier, we know there is nothing new under the sun, then every issue we face has Scriptural guidelines to it. Scriptural concepts. Scriptural solutions. Sometimes they are glaringly apparent, and sometimes they have to be studied at length and in many different passages. Nothing in that Tanakh is there for entertainment purposes, and nothing is there just to appease us so that we will continue reading. And everything in Scripture is tied together, one big flowing account. And so we read about, let’s say, Sarah. Next we ask ourselves, what can we learn from Sarah, and how does it apply to our lives? How does Sarah hold a clue to what we see on the nightly news? We ask the same about Creation Week, or the Psalms, or the Proverbs. If we are inclined to wonder if this world is, indeed, in its “end times” then we turn to the prophets, and ask the same questions. It is in Scripture that God fills us with Himself, first our eyes and brains, and then the verses permeate our hearts and souls. The more firmly we are grounded in God’s Words, the more our feet are under us as we stand though these times of crisis!
We needn’t feel helpless or hopeless when we do tune into the news, we are neither. If this world, as we know it, is in its final stages, what a time to be alive! Not only do we know that our eyes will see God’s salvation after they have seen times of crisis, we are given the instruction and the ability to Rise and Shine His Light through them. Be encouraged! Be strong and courageous! Be all that God has called you to be! In the end, nothing else will matter.
You who live in the shelter of YHVH,
who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai,
who say to YHVH, “My refuge! My fortress!
My God, in whom I trust!” —
HE will rescue you from the trap of the hunter
and from the plague of calamities;
HE will cover you with His pinions,
and under HIS wings you will find refuge;
HIS truth is a shield and protection.
You will not fear the terrors of night
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the plague that roams in the dark,
or the scourge that wreaks havoc at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it won’t come near you.
Only keep your eyes open,
and you will see how the wicked are punished.
For you have made YHVH, the Most High,
who is my refuge, your dwelling-place.
No disaster will happen to you,
no calamity will come near your tent;
for HE will order HIS angels to care for you
and guard you wherever you go.
They will carry you in their hands,
so that you won’t trip on a stone.
You will tread down lions and snakes,
young lions and serpents you will trample underfoot.
“Because he loves me, says YHVH, I will rescue him;
because he knows MY name, I will protect him.
He will call on ME, and I will answer him.
I will be with him when he is in trouble.
I will extricate him and bring him honor.
I will satisfy him with long life
and show him MY salvation.”