Whose Fault

by Doug McCurry

Adam and Eve were living the blessed life in the Garden of Eden. God had given them all that they would need. They were taken care of by God, and they had a living personal relationship with God who created them in his image. God created them to commune with Him and to enjoy Him. Everything was good.

God had given everything to Adam but one thing. Adam was told not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he did eat it, then he would die. God gave Adam a helpmate to stand by his side as his equal and to procreate. Her name was Eve.

One day Eve was in the garden alone. She was approached by the serpent (the presence of evil). The serpent tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3). The temptation continued with the serpent challenging God’s word and the woman saw that the fruit looked good to eat. So, she ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to the man to eat as well. Immediately they realized they were naked which was the immediate consequence of their disobedience.

When asked by God if they ate the forbidden fruit: Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the Serpent, and God pronounced their consequence of their sin. When we read Genesis 3, we often blame Eve for the sin. She was the one who willingly took the fruit, ate it, and gave it to the man to eat. However, when we read about this act of disobedience in Romans chapter 5, we are told that it is Adam’s fault. Sin came into the world by one man.

How is it that Adam is to blame when Eve clearly made the first move? I think it goes back to what the woman said to the serpent, “neither shall you touch it.” (Genesis 3:3). The addition of this clause tells us one of two things. Either Eve added on to the command not to eat, or Adam didn’t instruct Eve properly. If Adam was given the command by God not to eat, and Eve didn’t learn properly, then it is the teacher, Adam, who is to blame. Perhaps this is why Paul credits Adam with the guilt of the sin by which we all suffer.

What do you think? Who is to blame? We all want someone to blame for our sinful actions. It’s my parents’ fault because they were bad parents. It’s my spouse’s fault because he or she cheated on me first, so I did. It’s my boss’s fault (or coworker’s) because he treats me unfairly therefore, I come home and treat everyone else badly.

We all want someone else to blame for our bad behavior. We are more ready to point the finger at anyone else than ourselves. However, each of us is ultimately responsible for our own behavior. When we take responsibility for our own actions, then we will find healing and forgiveness.

 

 

 

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What does it mean to live in a community?

Living in a godly community such as a church brings challenges and affects holiness to all that participate wholeheartedly in the community.
Learning to Love
Living in an intentional community points one toward the great commandment to love God and our neighbors (Matthew 22:37). The love we are called to is a self-abandoned, self-sacrificial, without expectations. Too often our expectations cause us to be disappointed and not to love. When we place our own agenda on a brother or sister we are always let down. That is one of the reasons Paul was inspired to write, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3).
Learning to Forgive
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)
The Lord who forgives all our sins demands that we forgive the sins of others. Forgiveness is the heart of the gospel. Christ died to forgive us our sins so that we are able to forgive others.
Learning to forgive is learning fully to accept forgiveness from God, learning not to focus on the speck in my brother’s eye instead of the plank in my own eye, and learning to count other’s greater than me.
The story in Luke
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Learning to Participate
18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Corinthians 12:18-19)
There is no such thing as a lone Christian. Christians are designed, gifted and blessed to be in a community with one another. Each of us needs one another in order to fully function as Christ would have us function. It is sinful to think that we can watch church on TV and be a part of the body of Christ.
In order to be a part of the body of Christ we must mutually submit to one another; be willing to encourage and instruct one another in our Christian journey; to fellowship with one another through the Holy Spirit, and to share in Holy Eucharist with the worshiping community. (Acts 2:42)
To not be a participant in the body of Christ is to effectively excommunicate oneself from the blessings God has in store for each of us.
In our house we have learned to live in community and to receive the blessing from God. There is no one person who carries the entire household. We share with each the duties of the house. We do not shy away from contributing where we can (especially when asked). It is the same in the church. Each of us has an ability to contribute to the life of the church and to participate in the spiritual instruction offered. God is getting ready to grow Legacy as he already has and it is incumbent upon each one of us to participate in the body of Christ, to love one another, to forgive one another and to prefer one another above our own desires.

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People of the Resurrection

Easter is the celebration of the resurrected Christ-Jesus our Lord. As we join the celebration we leave behind Lent and our Lenten disciplines. We eat sweets, drink cokes, stop fasting for a season, etc. We are filled with joy as we are reminded that Christ has won the victory, he has triumphed over death by being resurrected by God.

We, as his followers, share in his victory. Sin has lost its grip; death has lost its sting; and Satan is defeated. Yet we still sin; we will die one day; and Satan prowls around like a lion seeking to devour its prey. The question then is, “how do we live as victorious people and followers of the resurrected Christ?”

In the hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” we sing, “the cross before me, the world behind me.” The way to live as people of the resurrection is to constantly put before us the cross. On the cross of Christ, all my sins and transgressions were nailed along with Jesus (Col. 2:14). On the cross Jesus died for my sins.

On the cross I am reminded that I daily need to die to self and walk in the resurrection. To live totally sold out to Christ is a difficult task which no person could do perfectly. However, by the power of Christ and his spirit in us, we can daily die to the sin in our lives becoming more Christ like.

Walking as people of the resurrection is not about being perfect. It is about being real with one’s own self and knowing our short comings. Being more self aware allows us to confess our sins, avoid temptations, and flee idolatry.

Yes the victory is won; death has lost its sting; and Satan is defeated. But the pockets of resistance to Christ’s Lordship are still prevalent. We may give up our Lenten fasts but we can ill-afford to let down our guard to the wiles of the devil.

Walking in the resurrection means to daily die to self and to walk victoriously. Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Prone to Wander

It is the middle of Lent and you may have slipped by eating what you gave up for Lent or you may have gotten off track one way or another. Do not be discouraged but be encouraged to continue on, not looking back, but pressing on toward the end.

In our journey with the Lord, we may have similar experiences. I think all of us run hot and cold with Jesus. We may have times when our relationship is close; we feel Jesus in our lives; we are disciplined and reading God’s word. There may be periods in our life when we attend Wednesday nights on a regular basis, help out with different ministries, or volunteer in church. Then there are times in our lives when we feel too busy for church stuff;  we do not take time with God during the day; we do not give of our time, talent, or treasure; we simply are not motivated towards God. Our relationship and walk with God is neglected. Like the hymn we are, “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” (Robert Robinson 1735-1790)

When you have wandered, ask God to forgive you. Do not let your spiritual walk fall prey to distractions, and keep your eyes on Jesus.

Forget the Past (mostly)

The Apostle Paul counts his personal accomplishments as rubbish (Philippians 3:5-8). Sometimes we take too much pride in the past or rely too much on the past and neglect what is ahead of us.  We may have the attitude that we have been there done that and do not need to do it again, or that we have already taken our turn teaching Sunday school or leading the youth. All our past accomplishments pale in comparison to the grace of God at work in our lives.

On the other hand, we do not need to beat ourselves for our past sins. The price has been paid for our sins and we do not need to leave a tip. We feel remorse, which is natural, but we ask for forgiveness and move forward. God refuses to bring up our past sins (Rom. 4:7-8). We need to follow His example.  

Looking back at how great we were or how bad we were does not add to the future relationship with God through Christ.  There are times, however, when we should look back. We look back at the great things God has done in our lives. God’s activity in our lives encourages us in our current struggles and needs to be remembered and celebrated.

Resist Distractions

Moses told God’s people wandering in the desert, “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.” (Deut. 5:32-33)

Life is full of distractions, both good and bad; but we need to focus on God’s best for us. There is a lot of good that can be done in the world but what is God’s best for our walk with him? There are worries and cares of the world that distract us. There is temptation and sin that distracts us. There is our desire for rest or sleep that distracts us. Turn not to the left or to the right but keep your eyes focus on what lies ahead.

Focus on the Goal

Focusing on the future and where we are going with the Lord and our relationship with God is all that matters. Everything else in our earthly existence is secondary to developing and maintaining a relationship with the Lord.

Do not grow weary of the distractions and the past but be encouraged to stay the course and fight the good fight. Recommit yourself to your spiritual journey and ask God to help you to the end. “Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above,” is the last line of the hymn by Robinson. It is never too late to recommit yourself to your spiritual walk with the Lord. 

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Put Christ in the Center

When I was in high school I took a class on gun safety at the police station. I took this class as a part of NJROTC. After the class we were invited to the shooting range in the basement of the police station. We were taught how to aim the rifle while standing, kneeling and in the prone position. Always we aimed for the center of the target.

God, in his divine wisdom, placed Christ Jesus in the center of our salvation. He is the source of salvation (Hebrews 5:9).  Without Jesus there is no salvation. Without Jesus there is no hope. Without Jesus there is no forgiveness of sin. All of creation owes their grace-filled existence to the one redeemer of the universe the only begotten Son of God, Jesus the Messiah.

Upon first realizing the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we begin a new life, changed for eternity. No longer are we nobody with no hope, but we are a people. We are sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. With our new identity, we begin to live no longer for ourselves but for him who died for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:15). Empowered by the Holy Spirit we carry forth the work of Christ as his ambassadors.

Living for Christ and not for ourselves means that we live not to succumb to our fleshly desires, but “we live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). When we live totally for the Son of God our decisions are influenced by him. The way we relate to others is influence by Christ; how we take care of our bodies is influenced by Christ; how we handle our money is influence by Christ; how we discipline our children is influence by Christ. Our entire life is to be influenced by Christ.

What do we do when we make poor decisions and don’t live godly lives? When we find ourselves in the middle of sin or about to sin, we can call on Jesus and put him in the center of our life at that moment. When we cry out to Jesus we cannot continue in the sin as Christ takes away the desire and we walk away.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV)

When Christ is the center of our lives, our attention, our focus, then all else loses its power. When our thoughts turn negative and we start blaming others or ourselves, call on Christ. When we feel that we need to “stretch the truth,” call on Christ. When we feel sickness coming on, call on Christ. When we begin to worry, stress, obsess about something or someone, call on Christ.

Each one of us should be able to fill in the blank. “When I am feel _____________, I will call on Jesus.” He died on the cross in order to save us and to become the center of our lives reconciling us to the Father.

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Hold Fast the Hope of Everlasting Life

Conflict and stress seem to creep up on us during the holidays. The extra commitments-socially, financially, and interpersonally add to the stress of the season. We have to go here; we need to get this done; we need to get it mailed; etc. All or some of this is swirling in our heads.

On top of it all our world is rapidly changing and is challenging. Our nation is facing a “financial cliff” added healthcare costs, and possible tax increases. Rising prices, less disposable income, and a future that appears to be unstable and lacking security. Not to mention the attacks on Christianity and Christian values which seem to become popular at this time of year.

Every year we read about individuals in court challenging the public display of Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, or other Christian Christmas decorations. We have observed a push to remove the word Christmas and replace it with Holiday-happy holidays, holiday parade, and holiday tree to name a few examples. Christianity in America is being attacked slowly and incrementally. Without Christian “watch dog” groups and publications I don’t think many of us would stop and critically evaluate what is going on. But the days are getting darker and the pressure on the Church to give in to the prevailing culture is enormous.

A friend of mine’s son, who is in college, has a male classmate who comes to class wearing a dress and high heels. We see television shows that have two men who want to raise a child together. Lesbian talk show hosts continue season after season. The show “Will and Grace” portrayed an alternative lifestyle as acceptable and funny. Movies, TV shows, miniseries, etc. portray unmarried relations frequently. Children are portrayed as the smart and clever character while the adult is portrayed as the goofy and out of touch old fool. These types of behaviors are being touted as the “new normal.” This catch phrase seems to be intent on moving our society away from Christian values and morals that made America great and exposing a generation to believing that what was referred to as deviant behavior is now the “new normal.”

With our rapidly changing culture one might wonder how Christians should respond. May I suggest four things to consider?

First, on our own we are not anymore righteous than the world is, save the righteousness that comes from Jesus Christ.

In Romans we read, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (verse 23).

A self-righteous attitude will not go over very well with those in the world. Instead we acknowledge that “there but for the grace of God go I.” In other words, without God’s divine mercy I, too, might suffer the same.

Acknowledging that we as Christians aren’t better people, but we are people who have received forgiveness, mercy and grace helps our overall attitude in reaching out to the lost. The Ladies of Legacy who volunteer to feed the hungry at the Friendship Mission certainly know the value of serving the least of these in our society.

Christians are to be a blessing to those around them. Churches are to bless the communities in which they minister. A humble, caring and loving attitude towards others is what Jesus emulated for his followers. An attitude such as this will go a long way in earning the right to share the gospel with those outside the Church, which is the Great Commission for all of Christ’s followers (Matthew 28:16-20).

Second, we are not to buy in to the “new normal.”

Christians need to stand firm in the truth of the gospel. We need to know and understand how we are to live or lives. The only way to know and understand is to be well versed in the bible. Holy Scripture has been preserved for us. We need to take advantage of the availability of God’s Word. As the Anglican Collect states,

“Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.”

Knowing God’s Holy Word will strengthen our resolve to do what is righteous in God’s sight. It will protect us from being swayed by worldly agendas and deceptions. And it will embed in our souls hope that does not disappoint us.

Third, remember our hope is in Jesus Christ and not the world and its leaders.

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:9-10)

There is one Lord and Savior and our hope is in him. Our hope is not wishful thinking or good wishes but it is a hope that delivers us, preserves us and brings us to our heavenly home. Hope which is place on that which is seen is no hope at all (cf. Romans 8:24-25).

Fourth, be prepared for the oncoming darkness.

We need to be prepared for the onslaught of spiritual darkness. We need to not be beguiled by the seemingly innocuous eroding of Christian morals and biblical truth. We have to set in our minds and hearts where the plum is concerning our Christian conviction. Otherwise we will eventually be lured into complacency and mediocrity. Stand firm, therefore, in the spiritual battles that we will be called to fight through prayer and unwavering conviction in Holy Scripture.

In conclusion, we should always let the love of Christ rule not only our hearts but our mouths, in dealing with those outside the Church. Any response or position that we take we need to take in humility and love. Those who know they have received mercy, are secure in what they believe, are grounded in hope, and girded in prayer, are able to lovingly respond to the pressures that society is imposing on Christianity.

 

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Rest & Be Still

“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:7-9 English Standard Version)


Anger is a primal response to pain or hurt. When one feels that he is being hurt, that person may lash out in anger in response to the pain being delivered or the perceived pain being received. Anger is a reptilian response that does not need rational thought to bring it about. It is often irrational and reactionary.
Anger may stew in one’s heart for a while before it comes out in destructive ways, either through actions or words. In the story of Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, Cain was upset with God because Abel’s offering was acceptable and Cain’s was not. Cain stewed in his anger until he murdered his brother Abel. God warned Cain that he was being tempted to sin and that doing the right thing would make him acceptable to God. God was rational and Cain was not. He was angry.
In Psalm 37 we are warned to refrain from anger and forsake wrath. The psalm is speaking specifically about anger toward God. The anger toward God is due to the irrational hurt that the wicked are prospering and the child of God is suffering. The person feels slighted by God.
Anger toward God is ill-founded and born out of mankind’s sense of what is fair and what is not. It is not fair that Polly Pagan should receive more than Charlie Christian. That may be a belief of some Christians. “Why do the wicked prosper and your children suffer,” one may ask God.
The answer is not to compare oneself to others, but to wait patiently for the Lord to reveal the fullness of his blessings to his people. Having patience with God is the antidote for our frustration with God or others. God will bring about what he desires in his time and does not follow our timeline.
Are you struggling with your finances and wonder why others have it better than you? Wait patiently for the Lord to move. Are you struggling with anger issues toward someone? Wait patiently for the Lord to move. Are you sick and tired of being sick, depressed, lonely, sad, etc.? Wait patiently for the Lord to move.
In the King James Version, verse 7 says, “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” The Lord desires for us to rest in him and be still before him. When we get to the place where we can completely trust in the Lord, resting him and being still, then we will no longer be frustrated or angry with him or our situation. He will do what is best for his children in his time. “The evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.”

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Let Your Light Shine

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 English Standard Version)

One of the themes of the season of Epiphany, which begins January 6 and ends the day before Ash Wednesday (Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras) is Light. The light came to the people who did not know God. The light that came is none other than the Messiah, Jesus our Lord.

Jesus condescended from his heavenly throne, becoming like us, taking on our flesh and living among us. In his incarnation, he brought into the world the perfect light, as he is the light. “The true light which gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” (John 1:4 ESV) Yet the world did not recognize the light. His own people didn’t recognize him. Yet he was the living God made man – the light for all.

In the 21st century the light is still in the world living in the hearts of believers. Each one of us who has become a disciple of Jesus carries in our souls the light of the world through the gift of Holy Spirit. We bear in our bodies the Spirit of God and we either let the light shine or we hide it from others.

If we are to let the light shine, then our actions and attitudes will be the points of illumination to a world groping in the darkness. People will be drawn to the light in us because of the genuine love of God shining through us. Genuine love is more than being polite or proper. It is heartfelt care of others. It is the light that Jesus brought into the world and that God uses to draw people to himself.

As we begin a New Year, let your light shine and bring glory to God. This is most readily done by allowing God to have more of you – your thoughts, your words and your actions. Fill yourself with his Word by reading the Bible, joining Bible studies and worshiping on Sunday mornings. As you take in more of the things of God, the more light shines through you. Let It Shine!

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Holy Visitation

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was going about her daily work when suddenly the angel Gabriel appeared to her with a message from God. Mary was betrothed to Joseph and had not had relations with him. She was a virgin. The angel appeared to inform her that she would do great things. She had been chosen by God to bear his only Son, Jesus the Messiah. (see Luke 1:26-38)

“And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35) The power of God, through the Holy Spirit, caused the virgin woman named Mary to conceive a male child who is Holy.

Why was it necessary for the Messiah to be born of a virgin? Wayne Grudem suggests three reasons. First, it shows that salvation ultimately must come from the Lord. Second, it unites the two natures of Christ, the divine and the human. Third, it makes it possible for Jesus to be born without sin. [1]

Salvation comes from the Lord

If Mary was able to bear the Messiah by joining together with her husband then the Messiah would be born merely of human effort. Even if one argues that God filled Jesus with His spirit, it would still be human effort that started the entire process.

God promises to bring about salvation through the offspring of the woman (Genesis 3:15).  Jesus is the promised gift of salvation to humankind. It is God who causes the Messiah to be born and it is God who initiates the process with the holy visitation of Gabriel with Mary.

It is only through the supernatural work of God that any can be saved. Each one of us is saved not by our own efforts but through the power of God reaching out to us in our own “holy visitation.”

Divine and Human Natures Unite

At the point of conception the union between God and Man is consummated. It is because of the virgin birth that the Messiah could be fully human and fully divine, as is stated in the council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451… “two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two person, but one and the same Son and only begotten, God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is important that Jesus is God and Man. He was tempted in everyway as everyman is tempted  yet without sin. He is able to sympathize with us and yet He is divine and therefore a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Taking away from either of Jesus’ two natures would denigrate his sacrifice or his ability to overcome sin.

Jesus Is Born Sinless

Each and every human being born in this world after the fall is born with original sin. Original sin is sin passed through our humanity from parents to children. It is our inheritance from Adam. He sinned therefore all born after him are born into sin.

In order to break the curse of original sin, Jesus had to be begotten of the Holy Spirit. It was through the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary and impregnating her that the curse of original sin could be broken. When this Holy Visitation occurred, Mary’s sin nature was overshadowed by the holiness of God preventing it from being passed on.

The Holy visitation that changed the world came to Mary in her routine life. God chooses who to visit and when to visit. He did so with each and every person who is born again. God chose to visit us and to redeem us, reconcile us, justify us, sanctify us all because the Holy Spirit visited Mary and bore His only Son who had the nature and the mission to save the world.

 

 


[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), pp. 529-532.

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Vacation

August seems to be the hottest month of the year in Montgomery and sometimes driest. But it is also the last month of Summer vacation for many. It is also the month when we get back into our routines. School starts in August, people take their final vacation, the routines we let slide during the summer start up again. It is also a month where we begin to see visitors and people returning to church. The summer slump in church attendance is over and people get back to church. For whatever reason, summer is seen as the vacation months.
What if God took a vacation every summer and we only realized his presence after a break? Similarly Israel experienced God’s increased presence after what was a season of divine inactivity. The Psalmist writes, “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine.” (78:65 ESV).
This is a strong and daring image of the Lord. What the Psalmist metaphorically communicates is the Lord, who after a period of divine rest from aiding Israel, awakens like a warrior ready for battle and is emboldened by strong wine. We see this image in Isaiah, “The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. (Isaiah 42:13 ESV).
In some ways, the church in America is experiencing a period of divine inactivity. Attendance is down, bible reading is off, and beliefs lining up with the Christian Worldview have faded. Church members actually emulate the world when it comes to what they believe regarding fundamental Christian beliefs such as: Christ died without ever sinning, God is supreme ruler of all creation, Satan is a real fallen angel (not just an evil force), there is an Absolute truth revealed by an all knowing God, etc.
The First and Second Great Awakenings in America occurred first in 1730s-1740s and the second in 1820s-1830s. Church attendance rose, conversions occurred, belief in Christ was strengthened. These periods were spiritual highs in America. They helped unite the Colonies before the revolution and the second resulted in growth of Methodism in America. The Methodist church in the South was the largest benefactor of the Second Great Awakening.
Many have prayed for a revival in America. Christians are crying-out to God to do something. America’s ills are obvious with legalized abortions, high divorce rates, rampant sexual promiscuity, and easily accessible pornography. The state of the economy gets more attention than caring for the weaker, underprivileged and downtrodden in America. Something needs to give. However, God is the only one who can bring about the needed change.
When the Lord moves in the Church in America, and perhaps the Northern and Western hemispheres, it will be like a strong man awakening and shouting for wine as a warrior ready for the fight. For too long we have acted like God has taken a vacation or has fallen asleep. When he wakes, we need to be ready for him personally, spiritually, and corporately. Lucy, in the Chronicles of Narnia, asked if Aslan was safe or not, and Mr. Beaver replied, “Safe…Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God is good and what he does is good. It may not always feel safe but we are safely with him in our salvation. Summer vacation is over for us and we return to our routine. But who knows when God will be ready to move again like he has in the past.

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