So things are pretty exciting for me at this point!
There is officially movement forward with me moving to Papua New Guinea and the visa and work permit process has started. I've got some money raised and am starting to get some of the supplies I'll need - exciting stuff! I also feel the LORD calling me to put my trust and hope in Him for the rest of the money and the timing for everything.
Though things are going fairly well for me personally, I feel I am constantly being hit - hard - with devastating realities and circumstances in the lives of individuals around me and around the world. It seems like I find out each day of a new school shooting or a death by a terrorist attack. There seems to be so many people who are loosing loved ones to a variety of illnesses and suicide, not to mention the exponential increase of people being diagnosed with various diseases. And throw in the rapid degradation of morality in this country and around the world.
*I know there are a lot of opinions on the heated political topics of the day and what would be considered "moral" degradation. The way I see it, the opinion that matters the most about what the definitive right and wrong is, is the One who created all. Who IS right and thus knows wrong and has given us a written document of what He thinks on these subjects. The subject of what is right and wrong, good and bad as well as the inherency of scripture could be an infinitely long conversation. With that said I'm writing this blog post from the standpoint that there are moral standards and that they can be found in the Bible because YHWH, the God of the Universe had His Hand in writing it.
I read a very interesting chapter of scripture the other day in the book of Judges where a woman asked his son to take money she dedicated to the True God and to make an idol with it. It also talks about a man who makes his own personal "house of God" and hires a Levite to be priest in his house of God which is also home to other household gods. It says at the end of the section in verse 6 of Judges 17, "At that time there was no king in Isra’el; a man simply did whatever he thought was right." (CJB) This was after Moses and the laws/guidelines were given, but it was also after the leaders were gone and the guidance, direction and rules given from YHWH through Moses were not available to the people as individuals. So the people were in fact, "...without a shepherd" (Numbers 27:17, Matthew 9:36).
I think many (not all) facets of the believing community (I'm including myself in this) have been living life simply doing, "... whatever [we] thought was right" and I don't think our Creator is happy about that. 1 Peter 4:17 says, "For the time has come for the judgment to begin. It begins with the household of God; and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God’s Good News? —" Yes, people who do not know of God and the Good News of His Son are doing horrible things in increasing measurements, but I'm not talking about them and neither are these verses: "The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: 'It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses." Isaiah 3:14 "...when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning." Isaiah 4:4 "As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God." Ezekiel 20:46 "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak..." Matthew 12:36 "...and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." John 5:29 (ESV)
As I stated before, I believe there is a perfect manual for how to live a life that produces blessing and that is pleasing to our Creator and Father YHWH, and that way of life is found in the TOTALITY of His written Word.
One of the words for repent in Hebrew is nacham which means to sigh implicating to be (feel, deeply) sorry. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17 ESV. The other word used is shuv which means to turn back. Back to what? A better question is, back to Who?
We know the answer, its an easy answer. The crux of all of this is the terms to which we turn back or repent. This is where I feel for decades we've been getting it wrong. We've been returning to God in ways that we thought were right, instead of going to the WHOLE counsel of His living Word, Genesis to Revelation, for the answer... and not necessarily going to any mans opinions of what that Word says.
I'm feeling what the LORD wants us all to do is set aside everything. Our opinions, our leaders opinions, our families opinions, popular opinions, non-popular opinions and seek for only HIS opinions of how He wants us to live; how He wants us to love Him, serve Him, serve others. We can find this out in His Word - we even have the availability of the original languages for free! This is so much more than what almost every other generation has been given, what have we done with this kind of knowledge available to us?
I'll leave you, and myself, with these verses. This first one was our Saviors first words as He started His ministry, "From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17)
The second is 3,000 year old wise, wise words:
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV