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Self-Proclaimed gods

Genesis 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.  And he said unto the woman, Yea hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

I Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”

I John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them:  because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

As we strive to impact our fallen Eden, we must always be mindful of one very important thing – we will face determined opposition.  In fact, our adversary is active in attempting to thwart our plans for impact and temper our passion for influence.  He hopes to scuttle our sound testimony and sidetrack our spiritual thirst.  He desires to sever our relationship with our Creator.

He is seriously seeking to devour you and sap your effectiveness.  He will prompt you to question God’s Word, oppose God’s plans, and elevate yourself above God’s position of authority.

If we are to have an impact on this fallen Eden, we must be sober and vigilant in order to avoid the pitfalls cleverly set by our adversary.  We must also realize that our Lord is far greater than the powers of this world, and we must cling to Him for protection, provision, and power. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR VIGILANCE IN THE LIVES OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANS AS WE IMPACT OUR NEEDY WORLD FOR CHRIST.  A roaring lion awaits to devour those who stray from their God-given path of influence and impact here in our fallen Eden.  Greater is He who defends us from being devoured than those who would devour us; we must trust and rely on Him.  The world doesn’t need a bunch of self-proclaimed gods trying to exert our own wisdom, when we already have a real God whose wisdom is supreme.

Making Ourselves Wise

Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Proverbs 26:12 “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

Isaiah 5:21 “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

Romans 1:21-22 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”

II Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”

Before I truly leave the PLUS series on Impacting Babylon, I want to make a related final two-post detour to a similar topic – Impacting (a fallen) Eden.  Many scholars believe that Eden was situated in what is now modern day Iraq, largely because of the mention of specific geography related to rivers in Genesis Chapter 2.  The Euphrates and the Tigris (whose ancient name was Hiddekel) run a large portion of the length of Iraq, and converge into one river in the southern part of the country.  It is well situated to be the home of the original paradise.

Yet, it didn’t remain paradise for long because of the pride of its original inhabitants.  Adam and Even were wise in their own eyes, and were attracted to the things that were prohibited to them by God.  Their folly led to a fall that impacts us today in our sin-soaked world.  Woe unto them, and woe unto us.  If only in their quest for wisdom they realized that their sufficiency was of God.

It is easy in a pull-yourselves-up-by-your-bootstraps culture to trust in our own sufficiency to handle our own problems.  We elevate our wisdom above God’s wisdom, and thus stumble through life facing pitfall after pitfall.  In doing so, we are fools who are worthy of pity instead of proclaim.  Additionally, our ability to impact our fallen Eden is hindered by our conceit. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO AVOID THE PITFALLS OF PRIDE AS WE ARE TEMPTED TO SEE OURSELVES AS WISE.  In a desire to prove ourselves as sufficient, we turn our backs on the true source of wisdom that comes only from God.  Woe unto us as we see ourselves prudent and wise; our words and our thoughts cannot make us so!

Transformative

Nahum 3:1 “Woe to the bloody city!  It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not”

Jonah 3:3 “So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.”

Jonah 3:5 “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”

Jonah 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

As we consider how to impact our Nineveh today, we must consider an important element of God’s perspective about ancient Nineveh – even the bloodiest of cities can turn to the Lord in repentance and revival!  Even a place characterized by lies and robberies can turn from their wicked ways and cling to the safety of eternal salvation!  Our powerful and loving God can change a community whose hearts are hardened and whose sins are wretched.  Even the worst among us can turn from their evil ways.  Jonah arose as God’s man to engage with this great city that was in desperate need of the Lord, and God’s work through him was transformative.

It is sometimes easy to flee from God’s calling to witness to a society that is overcome by the stench of sin.  Yet, we must heed God’s calling to impact Nineveh today.  Even our bloodiest of cities can turn to the Lord in repentance and revival. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO FLOCK TO GOD’S CALLING IN TODAY’S SOCIETY INSTEAD OF FLEEING FROM IT.  We need to arise as God’s people to engage with our great communities that are in desperate need of the Lord.  God’s work through us can be transformative!

The Second Time

Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”

Jonah 3:1-3 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying.  Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.  So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD.  Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.”

Esther 4:14 “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Before I completely leave the PLUS series on Impacting Babylon, I want to make a related two-post detour to a similar topic – Impacting Nineveh.  Nineveh, like Babylon, is in modern day Iraq.  This great historical city is situated near the large city of Mosul on the banks of the Tigris river.  In the days of Daniel, this capital of the Assyrian Empire was a thriving metropolis.  It was also filled with worldliness and wickedness.

God clearly directed Jonah to go and witness to this needy people, and Jonah fled from God’s calling.  After an unpleasant nautical detour, God clearly directed Jonah to do so again.  This time, Jonah realized the futility of fleeing from God and the importance of following the Lord’s direction. 

God’s plans to impact a literal or figurative Nineveh won’t be thwarted by a stubborn and resistant believer.  If we refuse to follow the Lord, He may give us another chance after getting our attention.  Or, He may fulfill His purposes without us.  Either way, God will prevail!

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO FAITHFULLY FOLLOW GOD’S CALLING IN OUR LIVES.  We must not stubbornly require God to direct us for the second time.  Instead we must serve and witness immediately when we sense God’s calling if we are to properly impact our Nineveh today!

Potent Fundamentals of Success

Daniel 6:1-3 “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

As I close out this PLUS series on Impacting Babylon, I want to circle back to an important thought about having an excellent spirit using a more modern example.  While none of what I write below is an attempt to elevate Charles Lindbergh to the level of the biblical Daniel, his story punctuates an important point while hopefully offering a dose of pride and patriotism in the midst of our own cynical times.

Lindbergh’s 1927 trans-Atlantic aviation accomplishment was remarkable.  From the moment he landed in Paris, he became a worldwide celebrity who was constantly mobbed by huge crowds and adorned with lavish praise.  At a reception at the National Press Club once he returned back to the United States, Richard Oulahan had the privilege of introducing him to a crowd of over 6000 people.  In part, this is what he said:

“We of the press rub elbows with all manner of mankind.  We see much of good but we see much of self-seeking, of sordid motive, as we sit in the wings watching the world’s procession pass across the stage.  If it is true that through our contacts we are sprinkled with a coating of the dry dust of cynicism, that dust was blown away in a breath, as it were, when our professional brethren who greeted you [Lindbergh] overseas broadcast the news of your peerless exploit.  To Americans it brought a spontaneous feeling of pride that you were of their nationality.

The whole world was carried off its feet by an accomplishment so daring, so masterful in execution, so superb in achievement, by the picture presented of that onrushing chariot of dauntless youth, flashing across uncharted heavens straight through the storm’s barrage.

But if the press, with such an inspiration, performed its mission well, it found equal inspiration.  It performed as fine a mission in chronicling the subsequent conduct of our young Ambassador of Good Will.  His words and bearing dissipated vapors of misunderstanding.  He personified, to a Europe amazed at the revelation, the real spirit of America.

The press should be proud then, if in telling the story of this later phase in the career of the American boy, it brought to the peoples of the world a new realization that clean living, clean thinking, fair play and sportsmanship, modesty of speech and manner, faith in a mother’s prayers, have a front page news value intriguing imagination and inviting emulation, and are still potent as fundamentals of success.”

People were amazed at Lindbergh’s aviation accomplishment in 1927.  Yet, it was the way he carried himself in the face of praise and fame that captured the attention of the world.  It was his character that stood out above his capabilities.  It was an excellent spirit that intrigued the imagination of the world and invited emulation.  It was a potent fundamental of his true success.

Regardless of our accomplishments, it will be our character that stands out above our capabilities.  An excellent spirit can still intrigue the imagination of the world and invite emulation.  It is still a potent fundamental of true success.

PLEASE PRAY FOR AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO REMEMBER THAT OUR CHARACTER STANDS OUT ABOVE OUR CAPABILITIES.  May we cling to clean living, clean thinking, fair play and sportsmanship, modesty of speech and manner, and faith in a mother’s prayers.  These characteristics have front page news value intriguing imagination and inviting emulation.  They are still potent as fundamentals of success as we strive to impact our world today, in a literal or a figurative Babylon.

ADMIN NOTE:  The quote about Lindbergh came from the book “We”

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