Thursday, May 4, 2017

Being a Force for Good

Today is the National Day of Prayer. It's also Star Wars Day (may the fourth be with you!). At first, it felt odd and awkward that these two days are sharing the spotlight. After thinking about it, however, I see how it's very fitting.

Every day, we need Jesus more than yesterday. His mercy, grace, joy, and peace are all things that we desperately need; even more than the air we breathe. Without Him, we have no hope...because He IS hope....our "only hope." Ponder these verses from Lamentations 3:22-24:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Let that sink in. Because of His unfailing love and compassion, we are not consumed. The dark side of this world can't eat us alive or rob us of the victory that was accomplished on the cross. Every new day is a fresh new display of His faithfulness and goodness. He renews and restores our souls and gives us our portion of grace for the day; whatever that daily bread looks like, He provides it like He did the manna for the Israelites.

We live in a time where it's easy to become discouraged and depressed. We look at the sith lords in power and feel like we'll forever be dominated by greed, power, and war. Yes, tyranny and injustice is hard to witness; but we do not have to be consumed by it. The previous verses remind us of where our hope and joy is found and Psalm 23 tells us who takes care of us. The government doesn't have our backs (and probably never will) but the Lord, our Good Shepherd, always does!

If we truly want to see change, we have to go to the source: our hearts. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the ever popular verse for this day, we see how to do that: 
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves 
and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, 
then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Don't just glaze over the words here. There is some HEAVY stuff in it and we won't see change until we're truly putting these commands into practice. We need to HUMBLE ourselves; that means surrendering and laying down our pride. We need to pray; opening our hearts listen and obey as we earnestly seek His face. That means, pursuing Him, knowing Him, and obeying Him and His commands. That's where the next part comes in; turning away from our wicked ways (repentance). Only then can He heal our land when we confess and repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. It doesn't matter what the government makes legal or illegal. What matters is that WE obey God and repent from our own wickedness. If we SEEK Him in prayer and in His Word, we will KNOW what is right and wrong. We will see things change because people will be living according to God's commands even if they're not the "law of the land."

If there's anything that we can learn from Star Wars, it's that there is always going to be evil and conflict in this fallen world. We should keep fighting the good fight until our dying breath (1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7). Jesus already gave us the victory and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Keep your armor on (Ephesians 6:10-18) and stay connected with other believers; no one is meant to fight alone! To battle the darkness around us, and within us, remember 1 John 4:4: 
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, 
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
This One that is in you, friends, is the Holy Spirit! He's always with you and never leaves you. He is supreme, sovereign, perfect, and REAL! He's beyond anything "the Force" could ever be....and He's living in YOU! Isn't that amazing?! Or, if you have yet to know Him (and would like to invite Him into your heart) please don't wait any longer! Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead. Accept and believe in Him as your Savior and you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10)! Confess your sins to Him; He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Your name will be recorded in the Book of Life and the Holy Spirit will come to live in your heart right away! He's the deposit guaranteeing what is to come!! You will belong to Jesus and His family! Be sure you contact me (or another strong Christian friend that you know) and tell them about your decision for Christ so that you will have someone to walk with you on your journey and help you take your next steps of faith!
Grace and peace to you, my friends! We are a "force" for good in this world when we are living according to the Spirit (Romans 8:3-5). Let's pray hard today, and every day; surrendering ourselves to the will of God as we repent and seek His face! Amen!