I Samuel 2: 17 - "the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord"
2:18 - "but Samuel ministered before the Lord"
2:21 - "And the child Samuel grew before the Lord"
We come to the close of September and tomorrow we start the last 1/4 of this year. And what a year it is has been; both sides of good and evil has been hotly contested for the fate of our nation.
--record setting and unparalleled calls to prayer and outpourings of God's favor in respected meetings across our nation;
--record judgments, death and evil throughout this year in the evil of men in drugs, murders, etc.
so as we close this year and begin to prepare for the new year, we have these 3 statements to consider. As a nation, the church, our families and our own personal heart, where are we before the Lord? Eli's sons were sinning before the Lord; Samuel ministered before the Lord, and then he is growing before the Lord.
sinning before the Lord
Our nation continues in its evil practices and headlines of sinning before the Lord. Laws passed allowing, permitting evil practices and continued wicked hearts multiply the evil of our day. The church who should be void of sinning, but much like Eli's household continue to sin before the Lord by compromising, neglecting and forsaking the ways of the Lord. 'the old paths' have been forsaken that lead to holiness; modern, methodology of men have taken over, leaving the Word of God and the Spirit of God outside the walls of the church. Religious but void of the power and Presence of the Lord.
ministering before the Lord
What a great calling is laid upon us that we may minister before the Lord upon this earth, for such a time as this. When I often consider that the Lord could have passed over me, rejected me, forgotten me or as Paul said it, 'set on the shelf, no longer to be used' I thank God for the opportunity to minister in His Name and for His sake. Remember you have nothing to offer this lost world except that which you receive by being before the Lord to minister to His Great Presence and Name.
grow before the Lord
May you be able to testify that the first 9 months of this year you have grown in grace and knowledge of our Lord. And do not let Satan's devices of contentment foil your growth, but continue to seek and find Him. Continue to, and especially so, these last 3 months of this year you may grow in faith, grow in depth and maturity of His likeness and ways. Too many lose ground, become disenchanted with Him, strive to enter into that right way of the straight and narrow.
The close of the year has become a distracting nightmare for the church. Too much on football, holidays and family activities making the cause of Christ void. Be careful that family, holidays, activities, responsibilities do not put Christ second in your life, which will hinder your finishing this year well. These last several years I have noticed this more and more, we become holiday seekers rather than holy men seekers. Satan gains much ground by our neglect of spiritual duties and services within and through the church.
One of the sections that I have been updating more and more is judgments on our nation, the church, our homes and our own lives. I fear there is much unlearned statements on judgment, simply because we have neglected the Word of God on Who He is and what He has done and will do. The lost attribute of God in all this is 'immutability' Malachi 3:6 , 'The God Who changes not".
I came across this devotional theme on this truth in the transferring of my notes from my old bible to my new bible.
I Samuel 5:6, "He destroyed them and smote them with emerods"
5:9 "the hand of the Lord was against the city with a very great destruction: and He smote the men of the city"
5:11 "For there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city"
do you see the progression of evil and God's judgment? destroyed escalates to great destruction and then continues til end result of deadly destruction;
A few observations that tells us as a nation and the church and family life that we are approaching the end result.
--20 yrs ago, traditional homes and families of parent/married and children was about 80% of all households; Today the traditional family and homes dare less than 15%.
--disease, drugs and death are averaging about 100 - 200 souls per day across this nation; eternity is happening right now for these that are perishing in sin; Deadly Destruction
--foundations of our nation are crumbling and rottening on our watch - He destroyed them with emerods;
--murder-suicides are beginning again to rise and be a weekly occurrence;
--two school shootings in September;
--homicides have topped 500 in Chicago; every church, laborer of prayer should hold that city before the Lord; as well as the other cities facing this evil of 'deadly destruction' -0 Memphis; New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington, DC to name a few;
with this heightening judgments of collapse of our nation, death and destruction in its wake, there is a move of God happening. It is not sweeping like many allude to, but remote areas. And as we know from days gone by of other moves of God, can or could go national, and world wide. It is yet to be seen what the Lord is doing.
But with this outpourings of Truth being proclaimed, record prayer gatherings, and increase it seems in salvation, let us remember this basic truth from Vance Havner:
"We have been so long sub-normal; that when things start to become normal again, we think it to be abnormal"
Meaning - we have been so downsizing, degrading and decreasing in Presence, Person and practice of God for almost 40 years in the church. Now that there is a renewed call of prayer and people seeking the Lord, we think this is revival. I can tell you that those that were active in the churches in the 1950's, the 1960's and I even remember the 1970's that prayer meetings happened often and regularly, witnessing was every week (sometimes visitations several times throughout the week); souls and baptisms happening each month. Assembly of God brethren have testified that the altars were filled 45 min. before the services and 45 mins. after the services with tears, cryings. This is not a new thing, but the normal returning to our subnormal behavior in Christianity. The rest of the world understands this. But we think because its new to this generation that its revival. Remember, revival is not revival til the church as a whole is revived and changes the culture and community.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon