****I find myself preaching the same sermon in different ways. I have added the beginning of this post as an afterthought. After I read my last few posts on my blog. After I knew that God was laying the same thoughts on my heart. The last post I made had some humor, but I'm having a hard time finding much humor in the fact that this message is continually in my mind. I'm writing it differently but using the same words and ideas. I'm sorry if it is as redundant to you as it is to me, but I'm gonna write it again anyway.****
We like to think that we are the rulers of our own world. That we have the ability to control our realities.
As Christians, we like to say God is the ruler. He created it, created us. He formed our world from nothing, knit us in our mother's womb. He is the ruler of this domain and all others. But is that true?
I believe that God is THE Creator. He made the planets, the light, the animals, water, sky, and knit each of us in our mother's womb. He did all the things the Bible says He did. I don't have to explain it. I don't have to justify it. I am allowed my belief. I believe that the fall of mankind was in the Garden of Eden and it came at the hands of Satan and weak humanity. I believe that God gave us the free will to either live with the belief that this world is all that there is, or the free will to surrender to Him. In this case, I surrender, white flag. Not because I need someone to blame, but because my faith allows me to believe that good wins. That at the hands of The Almighty, evil is crushed. That the light overcomes the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it. (John 1:5)
A couple of months ago I wrote about Lazarus. Maybe 65 people saw this post. I talked about the "If-fing" and how Mary and Martha told Jesus that "IF" He had been there their brother, Lazarus wouldn't have died. The last few days have reminded me of those verses. As we have seen yet another horrific tragedy unfold in Texas, I have watched unbelievers along with some believers ask where God was. How He could allow His people to be slaughtered. I have seen the "if" in the hearts of people.
It all breaks my heart. The evil, the sadness, the "if," the turning on each other, and some loss of faith. I've seen how people think that prayers are useless because God didn't display His power through a miracle in that church. Do you know where else God didn't display His power? On Calvary. When He watched His Son be mocked, spat on, hanged from a cross at the hands of the very people He was giving His life for. Our God doesn't ever say that He will intervene on our behalf, He says, "Do not fear." He says that He is with us. He says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
We are not promised a smooth ride, we are promised a landing to our final destination. The strength of our faith is measured in the trials of this world.
In a couple of verses God talks about the "ruler of this world." He is referring to Satan, to evil. The Lord created this world, but He is not the ruler. The poor decision making of humanity allowed a new ruler and he places no value on life, yours, mine, or any other.
John 12:31-32, "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." In John 14:30, "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me."
Y'all, this is serious. If you are a child of God and you have faith in His authority, and you believe that God is allowing tragedy and trials in this world to get the attention of unbelievers, listen closely, YOU ARE WRONG. Oh He wants their attention, but not as badly as He wants ours.
God allows much sorrow because we chose for this world to be ruled by evil and the only line of defense we have is that some of us have surrendered our free will back to God and we are followers of Christ. We have left a gaping hole in the game plan. God is allowing the evil to rear its head because we have backed off from our responsibilities. God is not trying to get the attention of nonbelievers, He is not making this happen to prove that the world should turn to Him. He is allowing us to destroy ourselves, because of our own choices, and we are standing on the sidelines blaming terrorism, bigotry, unbelief, legislation, or leaders.
We are saying, "Well God, IF you had been there...."
And you know what God is probably wanting to scream? Well, IF you were really turning to me. IF your surrender was true. IF you were living IN the world and not OF the world. IF you had faith the size of a mustard seed...IF you were loving your neighbor. IF you were as busy praying for souls as you are praying for your own successes...
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
Pray for ALL THE THINGS. Give thanks for ALL THE THINGS. Be anxious FOR NOTHING. For none. of. the. things.
We have all the tools we need in the toolbox provided by God. But here we are on a job site using a stick and a rock to hammer a nail. The Bible has the answers for each and every believer out there.
God wants our undivided attention. He wants us to not be anxious. He wants us to pray and exercise our faith in Him. He wants us to believe without seeing. God doesn't allow the world to be the world to get the attention of humans who aren't His children. He wants His children to remember who they surrendered their worldly will to. He wants OUR attention. Stop trying to find a reason, someone to blame, a place to point a finger, because just like when we were kids, a finger pointing out leaves 3 pointing back at us.
These words aren't mine. They are Gods and we need to see them and put them to use in our hearts. John 12:44-47
"Then Jesus cried out and said,
"He who believes in me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world."
Jesus didn't come to judge the world, but to save it. If He didn't come to judge the world, what in tarnation are we doing trying to judge everything and everyone? We are supposed to be a continuation of Jesus' light, praying for others, guiding others, abiding in the light.
We are failing, but we have hope. We can walk in the light. We can do all things because the Lord strengthens us. We need to get it together.
The ruler of this world won't win. He's already lost and that makes the battle today all the more fierce for him. He'll never win the war, so he gives his all in every, tiny, miserable battle. Don't be a casualty in a war that's already been won. The ruler of the world isn't the same as the ruler of your heart so don't give power to the darkness. Light it up, y'all.