Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not a Chicken or Egg Question

I've recently heard comments from different Christians that God’s wrath will be coming to this nation because of the recent decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the resultant federal sanctioning of homosexual marriage. I think this statement distorts the truth a bit, and I believe God wants me to write about this issue. I don’t want to come across as critical of others or to close doors on relationships for both now and in the future. However, I do want to be faithful to my God and King and I want to share truth with those who are, like me, seeking to live in truth and love.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
It all started when as a nation, as a culture, and as Christians, we forgot the power and importance of truth. We decided that, at least in some areas of our lives, it would be more convenient to live as if “truth” were relative rather than absolute. Now, it’s true that it’s not always easy to discern the truth, but it’s out there and can be found. The scientific method is based on this assumption, and for the believer, the belief in truth extends beyond natural laws and into moral law. But culturally we have increasingly become more agenda-driven, more likely to cover up a fact that doesn't support our agenda for fear that it would weaken our attempts to win an argument. We've reached a point where we can’t talk. But this behavior doesn't allow the truth to set us free or let the healthy conflict grow our understanding of the truth. (Proverbs 27:17) In covering up the issues, we can’t work to resolve them.

We have failed to love our brother: the minority, the exploited, or simply the person who struggled with a sin that was different from the familiar one that plagued us. And because we didn't want our argument weakened, we ignored or minimized our offending behavior, never really apologizing and turning away from our wrong actions. So people started questioning Christianity and started accusing Christians as hypocrites. If we are completely honest, we will concede to the truth behind many of these accusations. If we are afraid that it will weaken our arguments, then we need to more fully believe in the power of the truth. It will make itself known, with or without our help. God will become more visible in our weaknesses than in our strengths; replying “I don’t know” is simply more powerful than “don’t ask those kinds of questions”.

But even if believers in this nation have been poor witnesses, anyone who rejects God can only blame it on themself, because the truth always makes itself known. And because we as a nation have rejected God, He is rejecting us. Who can look at this past year and honestly not question if God might be trying to get our attention: the drought of 2012, Hurricane Sandy, horrific shootings, tornadoes in Oklahoma, secret government initiatives to spy on the American people, and weakening of the 5th Amendment? And in our arrogance, we proclaim: “We are strong and resilient! We will rebuild!” Instead, we should be seeking God and crying: “Have mercy! Turn our hearts toward You and Your ways! Forgive my brothers! Have mercy and bring healing, Lord!”

The wrath of God isn’t coming upon America because DOMA was repealed or because we've been greedy as a people. These are results of a wrath that has been unfolding for decades to a people that have refused to listen to His voice and allow the truth to free both them and the world around them. We cannot suppress the truth of God; He will not allow it. 
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. 
(Romans 1:18-32)
There is still time for us to turn back to Him. He will be true to His nature and will avert His wrath if we just return to Him. But if we don’t, His hand of protection will be removed quickly and this nation will fall. I can’t say when this will happen, but I know that the urgency of this message is increasing. 

copyright ©2013 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Day of the Lord’s Wrath

I remember hearing a conversation years ago:

     “The early Christians believed Christ was returning in their lifetime, but that was 2000 years ago. How can we think that He’ll return in our life?” said the younger man.

     “That’s true,” responded the older of the two, “And scripture tells us that no man knows the day nor the hour of His return. But we DO know His return is closer today than it was yesterday.”

That conversation impacted my way of seeing things. The simple truth is that He will return, and it doesn’t matter how long we’ve waited. The day of His return is looked forward to by believers, but there’s a side of it that we need to consider: a day of wrath is also associated with His return. It’s a day when there is no longer hope for those who have refused to yield to His authority. 
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice… (Proverbs 24:17)
Revelations 8 describes the intense solemnity when the seventh and last seal is opened; heaven is completely silent for an half hour. My interpretation is that this is a time for grieving, a time of sorrow because God, Who knows all, has determined it’s time to destroy His work because what remains has no restorative value. None.

My take-away from this is that we should rejoice in this present day, because there is still hope. There is hope that this darkness around us has not become so black as to shut down God’s plan for restoring the lost ones. There is hope that we can reach those around us with a supernatural love that is reflected from the love our heavenly Father has for us. We should rejoice that despite any degree of pain, oppression or discomfort, the Enemy has not been allowed to destroy us, God’s emissaries to the world. And we rejoice that His power is supreme and He will return.

Although His return is sure, we need to make best use of all that He has given us, ready for both His immediate return and prepared for a long stay in this world. We are like Israel while exiled to Babylon, confident of both His promised redemption and resourceful in using what He’s provided in this present day.
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
And while we are here, we are to make every effort to do the best with what we have, no matter how small or large. We should build wealth so as to use our greater influence to reach out and minister to others… keeping the perspective that we are in this world yet not of it… knowing that all we have belongs first to God, to be used for His purposes. 
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)
We need to keep the right perspective on the wealth God brings us. It is no shield from the day of disaster. It offers no security and brings no real happiness. I sometimes wonder just how different this world would be if believers prayed before spending money on anything, especially comfort items? I don’t do this all the time, but I should… we all should. We should consider how to use what we have as a resource for the Kingdom rather than a rightful privilege of our hard work.
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
But to be sure, Christ is returning and there is a day of wrath. That day is sooner now than ever before, and I when hear people scoffing about His return, I am even more convinced of the wickedness of this present day. But we should not be praying for God’s wrath on the wicked. Rather, we should be praying for grace, for renewal, and for revival. Because there is hope that God can still bring restoration.

copyright ©2013 Mitchell Malloy (http://mitchellmalloyblogspot.com/)