Grieve With Me

Sometimes I stroll or skip through life, all is fine and happy; I am content.

Then someone says something, or looks at me a certain way, or I read something in my devotions, or there is simply a heaviness in my heart.

Even though I have my daily devotions time with my Lord, I am not always in tune with my sin. Yes, I confess daily. But sometimes, I am dragged down by the weight of my sin before a Holy God. I am grieved by the sins of myself, my nation, my world. We have done so much wrong.

When we stand before Almighty God, and recognize His presence and power, we must fall on our faces and cry with Isaiah (6.5), “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

We have sinned. All have sinned. We have grieved the Spirit of our Lord and we have brought calamity upon ourselves. We have brought grief upon ourselves, and we cannot save ourselves.

Confess with me, and grieve:

Ezra 9.3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.  6And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens… 10And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments… 13And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; 14Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? 15O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.

Daniel 9. 5We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:

Ps 60.1. O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. 2Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. 3Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

Ps 6. 6I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. 7Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

Hosea 14. 1O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. 3Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

Psalm 106.6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

Psalm 51. 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 38. 3There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. 4For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. 5My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. 6I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

Ps 32. 3When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.

Lamentations 5. 16The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! 17For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.

Stay tuned for my next post, as we explore what to do with our awful sin. In the meantime, grieve with me, for sin is a dreadful thing.

In Whom We Trust

In Whom We Trust

Disillusionment and distrust of the government has always existed among fringe groups, but in the 1930s, ‘40s, and most of the ‘50s, the majority of Americans trusted their government. Many still do.

But in the 1960s, things changed. It started in the late ‘50s, with new and daring music, pulling at teens who were already pulling away from parents. In the ‘60s, the Vietnam War was the breaking point. Draft-aged young men and their families had a notion that this war was somehow not right – nothing they could put their finger on, snippets from here and there we couldn’t quite put together; but the notion was spreading like wildfire. We now know the government lied to the American people for the sake of saving their own faces and for power.

The government had long been split over the issue of treatment of people of color. God says that He created us as equals. Our very Constitution states that we are equal. But too many in leadership worked to soften the edges, for fear of the people. Few stood up to do the right thing, fearing re-election time.

The disillusionment of authority and government wracked the youth. Who could they turn to, if all their authorities lied to them, could not be trusted?

This instability has grown and tilted. We question everything. No one can tell us what to do. Right and Wrong is in the eye of the beholder: the people do what is right in their own eyes. Daily we hear of yet another politician or celebrity or religious leader (or group) who has been lying to us all along, keeping secret sins.

“My God,” people say, “If we can’t trust the government, who can we trust? They control everything – they control our lives, in one form or another.”

The answer is in that very question: My God.

Sadly, many people think that what they see of God, what they sense in the people around them, is who God really is; the Catholic Church, who has been abusing children, and protecting themselves; the Bible-toting old auntie who scolds harshly for running in with muddy feet; the pastor daddy who beats them; the never-miss-a-Sunday momma who keeps her vodka in the locked cupboard. The list is endless, of course, because all of us, even the most devoted followers, are a sinful people.

No wonder we as a nation, a culture, a world, have turned away from whatever calls itself an authority. We learn we must make our own rules, follow what’s best for us, cut ties to anything perceived as unhealthy or not nurturing. We huddle together with like-minded friends until they, too, betray us.

But God.

In God we trust. In God we can trust. In God we must trust.

No one else can be a final authority. No one else has the power to determine the destiny of a person, a community, a nation, a world. No other entity is perfect, perfectly loving, and perfectly just.

It is God who allows or disallows a government. It is God who puts us in families, Who determines who our father and mother will be. It is God Who is the authority and Who establishes authority.

Proverbs 21.1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Matthew 22.21 Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Titus 3.1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work

Romans 13.1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God

And it is God Who loves us.

Psalm 86.15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

And it is God Who provides a remnant. There is always a remnant. That’s us, you know – you and me, my friends. Let us be the ones to show others Who God is, what He wants for us all.

Joel 2.13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

2 Chronicles 7.14 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.