In the twelfth chapter of Matthew, the bible tells a story of a demon possessed man that is brought to Jesus who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him. But when the Pharisees heard of this they declared Jesus to be a demon of Beelzebul. He then went into a discourse starting with the words, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined.” The passage end with; “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So in the world we live in we are confronted with times where we have to judge whether to accept evil in order to “get along.” The person we may be getting along with may be a friend, a neighbor, a son, a daughter, a parent, or anybody we run into. Our society has become a melting pot of tolerance and acceptance of things that would have turned the stomachs of people only a century ago. Have we left the good tree behind and have started to accept the bitter fruit of evil? Have we decided to allow sin into our lives in order to keep a certain person in our lives? Those are dangerous things to be wrapped up in.
What if we are the last hope of that person who is addicted to a drug, or a lifestyle, or something else that is destructive, do we point out their problem? In the book of Ezekiel we are told that we are responsible for another man’s sin if we don’t try to correct him. So we have a duty to point that out. But what about love? Aren’t we supposed to love people who may be caught in the web of sin? More than likely we are. Is it more loving to accept a sin, or to help them battle through it? Is it more loving to allow a friend or loved one sacrifice their eternity for something that is fleeting in this world?
I would submit that we need to have the wisdom of Solomon and compromise the two schools of thought the same way. Let’s cut the baby in two. The right half can be righteous and the left half can be sinful? We have a common ground and we have kept our family intact. But the baby is now dead and everybody had sacrificed their eternity.
Compromise is the most dangerous thing we can think about bringing into our relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot compromise on love. We have to keep loving them, even when it means we have to turn away from them. We have to pray for them even when they are hateful and vindictive. We have to forgive when they steal or abuse us. The one thing we cannot do is compromise our dedication to God. If that means we lose something of ourselves, or our family, or our belongings, it may be painful, but it may be necessary.
Father, lead us to uncompromising faith full of love and dedication for you and for our fellow man. Help us discern when tough love is necessary. Show us the areas in our own lives that we need to trim and become better. Lord help us not be compromising in our faith of you. I want to pledge this year to indomitable faith of you
In the game of poker, only one hand is greater than four of a kind, and that a straight flush. In today’s world, we are living in the middle of the poker game between good and evil. Evil just threw down four kings.
King number 1: Isis. This band of cutthroats and marauders are still dangerous and causing problems in the Middle East and by proxy with their sympathizer across the globe. There is a chance, albeit rather small, that anybody on the earth could be witness, victim or party to a terrorist activity initiated directly or indirectly by ISIS and the brand of radical Islam they sell. I think it’s important to note that the radical Islam is for sale, and many of the oil rich nations quietly fund those activities. With Iran on the cusp of coming back from isolation, the amount of funds available for terror will only increase. Isis is not the only evil terror group in the world, but they are doing a better job of marketing, and bringing the disenfranchised Islamic groups into their sphere of influence.
King number 2: Refugees. Europe is wilting under the weight of the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Millions of displaced people from the Middle East have converged in more than a dozen nations and the results are sadly predictable. Four million people from Syria alone have come to the European continent and are straining services, patience, and law enforcement. For example look at the trash that was left on one family farm after a group of refugees took it over, instead of continuing down the road as the homeowner requested. The rape gangs that terrorized Cologne, and the subsequent vigilance parties that are on the lookout for payback opportunities.
King number 3: Economics. As much as our political leaders want to talk about the resurgence of the United States economy, we are still coming out of the second Great Depression, and are not running on all cylinders yet. The participation rate in the workforce is the key statistic here. In the US, only 62% of the working age adults and children over 16 are employed. This is the lowest rate since December of 1977. In the late 1990’s that rate topped out at 67.3%. With our greater population, that means that more than 90 million people are not working, who could, and are being supported by family, friends or the welfare state. The sad fact is the United States is faring better than the rest of the world. Brazil is undergoing rampant inflation, Greece and Spain have high unemployment, and China’s mighty economic engine is not only sputtering, but is belching blue smoke.
King number 4: Division. The political spectrum hasn’t shifted left or right, but seems to be shifting to the corners. The politics of liberals are more liberal and less tolerant of centric mindsets. The politics of conservatives are more conservative and less tolerant of centric mindsets. This sets the state for rancor, division, and anger. As demonstrated by the popularity of Donald Trump, the electorate is angry and they want something new. I would remind them that the United States got something new 8 years ago. The Hope and Change of 2008 has turned sour in the mouths of most people. The division is not limited to the United States. France is seeing a resurgence of the far right. The UK is moving farther left. The problem with these moves is the inability to debate and find a way to compromise and move forward for the betterment of all.
Then we can take a look at what good is holding. Since I’m an unrepentant evangelistic Christian, we are going to call upon God to be our good.
Two of hearts. Christ is slated to come to the earth twice, the once to reconcile all of humanity, the second time to judge. His instructions were to love every other person as we love him.
Three of hearts. God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We have the power of all three available to us through prayer and petition to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.
Four of hearts. Look to Proverbs 30:28. It goes into four things that are small but wise. These animals have attributes that would do well for our society to mimic. The ants are creatures of little strength, much like the poor and downtrodden in our society, but store up their food in the summer. Maybe it’s time to do more saving rather than feasting. The hyraxes are creatures of little power, but make their home in the crags. That makes them hard to get to, hard to turn into a meal. Maybe we need to keep ourselves more humble, and not give evil a chance to get at us. The locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks. We as Christians have a king, and yet do little to stand in the way of evil. Maybe it is now time to take a stand. The lizard can be caught with a hand, yet is found in the king’s palace. Common sense and decency are easy to achieve, but not appreciated in the media. Maybe it’s time for some humility to become the norm.
Five of hearts. The fivefold ministry; Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. We all have callings. Are we listening and walking in them? 2016 may be the year to start to turn down the noise of the world and walk the path the Father in Heaven has set forth for us.
Six and Seven of hearts. Proverbs comes to our rescue again, Proverbs 6:16-19 state: “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” These are things we must avoid, things we must not give in to. Arrogance, deceit, abuse, manipulation, giving into temptation, false witness, and stirring up conflict. All of these are things we see rampant in society, or just on our facebook page.
So evil has been dealt four kings, while God gives his people a small straight flush. I’ve read the book to the end. We win. We just have to stay faithful, and persevere through the trials and tribulations that come in this world.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for my arrogance, the times I practice deceit, the times I seek to manipulate or give into temptation. Keep me from abusing others, or giving false witness. Help me be someone who provides hope and love, not conflict. I ask you to loose your power in the world to bring light into the darkness. Give hope to the hopeless, give rise to the righteous. May we live not for ourselves, but for Your glory. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
Webster defines indomitable as ‘impossible to subdue or defeat.’ This is the word that keeps coming to mind for me for 2016. I have had a hard time making it come to focus on how to put it into practice. It would be very easy for me to pour my pride into that word and become self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, and self-fulfilling. Knowing Christ like I do, I know that is the wrong way to approach it.
So, let’s start at a different place. I’m about to turn 51. For the last seven or so years, I’ve named my ages. I started with the magnum years, the resistance year, the prime year, the gold year, and so on. But 51, that’s something different entirely. So I looked up 51 and here is what I found.
51 is the jersey number to Randy Johnson, also known as the Big Unit. The 6 foot 10 inch left handed hurler was one of my favorites to watch, and cheer for. I saw him win two World Series games and then come back on one day’s rest to pitch in relief. Then there was the perfect game. Wow! To put a word to Randy Johnson would be to say, dominating. I could have a dominating year, dominating fear, getting a good handle on the farm, and my employment. That would be a truly good year.
There was a World War II airplane called the P-51 Mustang. It was the first long range fighter the United States could put into service for the war, and it was a workhorse, and gained a following similar to England’s Spitfire. I could sum up the P-51 as elegant, deadly, and long lasting, with the last ones coming out of service in the 1960’s. I would love to have an elegant year, but deadly and long lasting is not something I think I would enjoy.
Area 51 is a military reservation held by the CIA and Air Force to develop and examine secret aircraft. It’s secretive, mysterious, dangerous. It would certainly fit my secular side to have a secretive, mysterious and dangerous year. It might be fun, but I don’t see having a year like that and maintaining my relationship with God.
Then there is US-51, a national highway that stretches from outside of New Orleans to the northern reaches of Wisconsin. It’s a long road and highly travelled as a direct north-south route. It helps feed the country and helps keep families in touch with another. It’s solid, dependable, simple. A solid, dependable, simple year, doesn’t sound too attractive, but it’s a good year if it stays, solid, simple and dependable.
So how do I handle the word indomitable? I’ve decided to have the following: Indomitable Prayer, Indomitable Worship, and finally Indomitable Faith.
My prayer life will be simple, but unrestrained. I’ve learned to pray for people at the drop of a hat. I’ve learned to pray to let loose the power of God on people’s lives. I’ve learned that prayer changes things in the physical world by inviting the power of the spiritual world. I believe in miracles and I believe that prayer is an ingredient that is missing in many people’s lives. It was missing in mine for more than 40 years. I will have a prayer life that is Indomitable.
Worship is a conversation with God. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise. It is my wish to improve my worship life and to intentionally, knowingly, give my heart to him through worship several times a week. My earnestness will overcome my poor ability to sing. I will have a worship life that is Indomitable.
It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain. Faith is given as a gift of the spirit, but can also be cultivated, grown, and itself turned into a spiritual force to be reckoned with. I will have the faith to move mountains. I will have the faith to stand firm. I will have the faith to cry with the heartbroken, and to cheer with the triumphant. I will have the faith to speak of my Lord and Savior at any time, at any place, to any person. I will have a faith that is Indomitable.
So this year, 2016, my 51st, will be year of Indomitable Faith.
How can I pray for you?