I think the transition from the old year to the new is a good time to evaluate the good and the bad and make adjustments. At the end of this year, I was in prayer about purpose and priorities for the new year. Here's what God began to speak in my Spirit as I prayed and studied in His Word.
First, the way in which I prioritize in my life is not left to chance. It doesn't come from someone's system that they've devised over the years. It comes from God and His Word. Most of the productivity books I've read lay out the tools you need to keep your job and your daily tasks running smoothly. Some tell you to do the big things first. Some tell you to do the small things first. I see in the Word that we are to put FIRST THINGS FIRST.
In Matthew 22:37 — 40, Jesus answered the question, Which is the GREATEST commandment in the law? Greatest is a superlative, it implies a ranking of things.
Notice His answer:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
So God Himself ranks our priorities. First is our relationship with God, second is our relationship with neighbor. Jesus says, the rest of scriptural instruction fall under these directives. All of this works together for the overriding purpose of all of His Creation - to glorify God.
to be continued...
Once again this year we will celebrate the commemoration of the birth of our Savior as we have done for the last couple of years. We will be sitting down around a table with friends in Haiti. All of the sailors in the harbor here in Ile A Vache will come with a dish. We will all sit around a table I built for my friend Felix, the Haitian proprietor of World Treasure Hotel. Our Sou Let pastor will join us. We will fellowship, get to know new friends, laugh with old ones. This time there will be French, Canadian, German, Hatian, American, Dutch all sharing and enjoying a meal together. We will NOT be shooting and punching people in a mall parking lot over a flat screen TV. Our Savior came into humble surroundings to a place where hardly anyone else would want to go. That describes much of Haiti. So we are just gonna keep it simple with a potluck meal and some good fellowship.
If you are going to mark this season with the remeberance of the incarnation of the Messiah, why not keep it simple? Why not connect with those around you in meaningful ways that would deepen relationships and open of avenues of Gospel dialogue? Why not forgoe the commercial idolatry and greed that only masks what we are attempting to remember? Or you could spend your time arguing about what's Pagan and what's not and connect with absolutely nobody and miss another opportunity to be impactful instead of just trying to be "right."
Just a thought...
I saw an ad for a faith-based movie recently. In the ad was this encouraging phrase "Fight every battle on your knees and you'll win every time." I certainly believe this to be true. However, I think one difficulty we have is how we define win. I believe we sometimes miss the win in our losses or how these perceived setbacks position us for victory.
Let me be clear, I don' t think God wants even one of His children to be a loser. In fact if God be for us who can be against us? For we know we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Yet those very words which we find in Romans chapter 8 follow these verses:"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Then Paul says, "Nay, IN all these things we are more than conquerors..." Notice he says IN these things. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle does not declare that we will avoid these things, but that we are conquerors IN these things. Sometimes God will allow loss and in His plan for us and even for those looking on, it is a WIN! Consider Jonah who went to the deepest depths before he finally walked in his calling. Consider Joseph, who went through a long path of adversity to put him into position beside the throne and save two nations from famine. Even JESUS - The Gospel itself is a story of gain through loss!
Our habit however is to grumble and complain at a perceived loss, rather than to praise God anyway and trust that there is a WIN here somewhere. I realize that looking for the WIN by faith is easier said than done, but let's ask God for help to trust Him in those trying situations where all we can see is loss. Perhaps, sometimes that is the very reason for a loss - to drive us to trust Him in those situations where we can't even see His face. That exercise in seeking Him which brings greater faith is always a WIN!
As the old song says, whether I go or whether I stay, I'M A WINNER either way...
My wife and I travel all over the US where she teaches an average of 265 times in 25 states. You can find a description of many of her lessons here. She teaches legislatures, law enforcement, citizen groups, political parties, schools - public, private, college and homeschool. We spend most of our days, nights, hours, minutes on the road, sleeping in hotels and visiting our home in Florida maybe 4 days of every month. We do all this because we believe America is an exceptional nation. We believe America is losing her liberty. We believe the next generation deserves better.
In the midst of all that travel, we devote a portion of our time to the Gospel ministry in Haiti with Islander Evangelistic Ministries. At the moment Colton and I are spending 3 months ministering in Haiti while KrisAnne continues on the Liberty First mission in the US. This is not an easy separation for any of us, but we believe that the cause is worth the sacrifice, and we are both confident that we have a divine calling to BOTH of these endeavors.
We have so many friends in the liberty movement and their support is overwhelming. Every time we leave for Haiti their support and well-wishes remind me of how blessed I am. On a rare occasion someone who is apparently not completely familiar with all that KrisAnne does, will ask rather indignantly why we are wasting our time in Haiti. The is very simple of course - Yeshua gave His life for Haitians as well as for Americans. John 3:16 says that He loved the "world;" that world includes Haiti. He also commanded us to go into "all the world" in Matthew 28 and that is what we intend to do. There is a King in a Kingdom that we will answer to for what we have done long after America has faded from the scene.
Friends, polling shows that most Americans associate Planned Parenthood with women's health and that most have not seen the videos exposing their butchery. This news blackout shows the control that the leftwing collosus has over the flow of information. Google and Facebook routinely parse headlines and censor voices to shape perception. The average American does not question what they have been fed by their colleges, by CNN and the news networks. Comedians like Tina Fey and John Stewart are accepted as sources of truth. Populist soundbites promoting suicidal Marxist thought are served up by political pied pipers and gobbled up by unthinking fools. Unaware of the routine suppression and distortion of truth, Joe Blow American truly believes that he is informed.
Then there are those who are immersed in the minutiae of life who have no notion that passing on a prosperous country where liberty is valued has anything to do with them. They live a life completely consumed with temporary pleasures and recoil at the suggestion that they should give any attention to anything more weighty than the latest sitcom or their fantasy sports league.
In the Dark Ages many communities became so isolated in their own villages that they had no connection to the real world around them and they sank into an immeasurable ignorance. I believe we may be moving into a Second Dark Ages. Although the world is saturated with information, people do not avail themselves of truth. The information they consume is either worthless or poisonous to the future of the very life they now take for granted as Americans. They have become detached from reality and unmoored from the very foundations that support their existence. And now that America has all but discarded any belief in the need for any sense of moral restraint, there seems to be a vacuum of courage and leadership. Will we see any sound leaders step up to fill this void? Will we see a New Renaissance or will we devolve into a third world backwater that bankrupts itself pampering and feeding the ignorant masses of a mindless and self-involved populace and see 1000 years of unfathomable ignorance and suffering? Only time will tell I suppose. One way or another, this story will come to an end one day.
However i do know that after a long captivity God had this to say to His people as recorded in Jeremiah 29:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Two things I am sure of from this 1) you still have a purpose to pursue even in the darkness and 2) the darkness won't last forever there is a God who remembers you and is thinking of you. Call upon Him, pray unto Him and He will hearken. -JC HALL