Wait On The Lord: Part 2

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Relational Awareness And The Everlasting Gospel

“The Word became flesh and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, paraphrased)

wait on the Lord

wait on the Lord

If Christians today want to sincerely be a “witness” for God; we need to cultivate our relationship, and our communication skills; and we need to do a much better job of it. The exact location of our daily conversation is itself the most perfect training-ground possible to accomplish the anchoring of our awareness of Divine Presence, in the midst of our day to day exchanges and to accomplish that needed capacity to let our Light shine in a given conversation or interaction of our daily lives.

As human beings we are woefully prone to labeling and categorizing just about everything. Categorizing or stigmatizing destroys how we are to see one another; and it completely ruins what little chance we had of giving the public the right conception of “church.” A right picture of “the church,” is a right view of Christ. How much time do we waste out of each day trying to either defend our reputation, or vying to tarnish someone else’s reputation and image – in order that we may be seen as “right?”

The question today for The “Remnant” is “how do we BEST identify ourselves and elucidate the character of Christ in the modern-day animations and collective image of The Christ, in The Church?”

The Church is portrayed in scripture as a people called and prompted by God, in The Spirit, to gather every nation, in Christ, together, as in promise of our Creator. The Church is shown through God, our Creator, our Caller, and Christ who assumes the nations of the world as being called unto Himself; and The Holy Spirit who indwells and moves the people, who engages The Remnant as they are seen “growing in grace.” (2 Pet 3:18)

God does have His people, in every denomination; in every nation, kindred, tongue and people…(Rev 18:4) But are all of these people really “God’s people?” How do we know for sure they are? Is The Remnant a single thing? Is the remnant a specific group or culture? What special entity is God’s “last-day Church?” An exclusive group? An inclusive group? Or, maybe a bit of both? Is The Remnant a “last-day generation” of think a likes?’ Or of “be a likes?” Or of “do a-likes?” Everybody just stays quiet or sings the same tune? What does God expect? What should we; His people say? What is our “witness?”

Clearly, these are the loud quakess of a crumbling society. People for the Church. People against The Church. “Us” against “them.” Could it be that we are stuck navigating through our daily lives, wrestling with the thousands of ways that we perceive “church,” without really thinking too much about just where we are headed with all that? It is a well-known fact by now that The Roman Catholic Church; despite all of their “ecumenical” brinkmanship, simply do not consider any protestant Churches, to be a “real” Church. ((Karl Adam, Spirit Of Catholicism, Chapter 10) And the entire world is following their lead.

Whenever things like National Geographic, Time, Maclean’s, or other similar entities talk about the history of “Christianity,” in their publications, its almost always a conversation about “The Roman Catholic Church.” Its the perfect “us and them” ecclesial division. And the whole time said organizations are harping the tune of modernity about “inclusivness,” and “diversity.” And according to Catholics; the “ecumenical” solution is to surrender your conscience, and “come back to The Mother Church.” (“The invisible union of all true Christians must some day be a visible union” – Karl Adam).  Many movements are now afoot and attempting to bring this about.

How should Christians in general be responding and relating to this world-wide “ecumenical” effort? Is that really what scripture means by “unity?” (Eph 4:13).

What should our daily conversations with co-workers, neighbors, family or friends look like? How should we respond to competitive and aggressive denominational bullying? Are the descriptors we use for our “witness” of Christ fairly and justly representative of Him and of His will and His character? Do our interactions reflect a reality of the Real Presence, of the Real Christ? Will each person we mingle with on a given day talk about us, or will they talk about Jesus, after we have gone our separate ways to our separate homes, because we have reflected Him, and not ourselves? Who do we leave people thinking about after we have talked to them?

In consideration of modern politics and cultural trends, “the Church” is being swept into a new visibility, according to our still-emerging form. It appears that scripture reflects upon a Remnant that is HUNGRY for “the Bread of Life;” (John 6:35) and we would do well to stop and think long and hard about how we, “the church” should be responding to the many people searching for truth, and about HOW our truth may affect their search.

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Speaking Or Listening?

I am reminded that I have all too often regretted some sharp reply, some snooty comment, or a caustic internet post; and I have sometimes been concerned because I know that I can never take any of that back and once on the internet, always on the internet. It is my opinion that the time is not far-distant, when something we have said, perhaps years ago now, can and will be used against us. Especially if we pride ourselves in “missionary” work. I think that if you are reading this article, then you too would have to admit to being human, and in sharing similar concerns.

Most of the “end time message” has roots in our day to day life, and how we individually go about doing that. Every waking moment offers each Christian a conscious choice about whether to speak, or whether it would be better to listen; and how best to carry out our day to day interactions, which certainly do include listening or speaking. Sometimes we have to wrestle with ourselves a bit in sorting this fine art of talking or listening to those we interact with.  Jesus actually listened by asking questions! In fact; He had asked 308 questions in just the four gospels alone.

I have grown to call that junction where we find that we need to make such decision, the “sweet spot” in our eye-witness for Christ. That one sweet moment where you see God has opened the door to share some bit of education and awareness, some bit of truth that you can share as we seek earnestly to be Christ’s witness, in the daily cares of your life. When was the last time you personally found that “sweet-spot” in the conversation with someone who you wanted to share your witness of Christ with in a meaningful way?

One book I read recently suggested using of the acronym “W.A.I.T.” in order to prompt my mind and heart in the right direction during any given conversation I might be having during the course of my daily activities with other people. WHAT does W.A.I.T. stand for? How does W.A.I.T. help the Christian in being a witness for Christ? Well, the book said that W.A.I.T. stands for “Why Am I Talking?” Yes, I know. I thought that too. I thought that W.A.I.T. was a rather pointless modern-philosophy ruse to distract me from correctly teaching the gospel and raising up a witness for God. Certainly, we could all likely agree fully that it does take some very strong concentration to either speak, or listen, during a very heated or fervent conversation. It would seem that almost no one wants to listen to us talk anymore about Jesus. But is there a reason for this? Are there any ways that we are complicit in blocking the message and the mission, within the context of our daily interactions and conversations?

I recall from the other day how I accidentally hit my knee on a door that I was repairing for someone. It was very painfully obvious about why I was “talking” when that happened; but this wasnt just because of what happened to my knee. It was also because of what was coming out of my mouth. Im pretty sure that some of us here today would not bother with “W.A.I.T.” if they had heard me saying all of that – their idea of being a “witness” for Christ, would be to pronounce what they would call “the warning,” and make sure I and everyone else knew how wrong I was when I did that! The anxiety and/or needs that we all feel and experience in our daily conversations seem to impel the majority of our collective voice towards the deeper-seated needs such as to be seen or heard, or perhaps for safety and acceptance, a sense of belonging and purpose, and as with many Christians, the need to be a “witness” for Christ tops the list, but that one seems to be the least understood one of all.

I have wondered how it would look, if I were to apply this W.A.I.T. acronym to the need and desire in me regarding being a “witness,” for Christ. I have wondered if perhaps “W.A.I.T. might be a better way for me to model the acceptance and inclusion of diversity that Christ Himself always modeled in His ministry. In fact; I would suggest that this was the kind of ministry that was modeled and practiced by Christ in His common, everyday, activities in His daily life. (Psalms 25:8, Mark 2:16, 17, Luke 5:32)

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Already I can feel the scorch of the pundits and the professing “prophets” saying: “But David, what about the mark of the beast, and the giving of the “final warning,” to ‘every nation, kindred, tongue, and people?'” (Rev 14:6).

One Christian writer, talking about Rev 14 put it like this:

“Soon to Be Understood.–The fourteenth chapter of Revelation is a chapter of the deepest interest. This scripture will soon be understood in all its bearings, and the messages given to John the Revelator will be repeated with distinct utterance.” (RH Oct. 13, 1904). {7BC 978.10}

I would suggest that this “distinct utterance,” has very little to do with the wrongs of either the Catholic or of the Protestant Churches. The Bible does not appear to put its major emphasis on that kind of thing, in talking about “the warning” message. Some would have us believe that “the warning” is all about or only about all of the terrible things predicted in Bible prophecy, (Rev 3:10), and while we have to acknowledge that this will be involved, can we say that the Bible has no other priority in its “last-day message?”

I have wondered for some time now, how we, as “the church” could possibly have lost our focus on the soon coming of Jesus, and of how wonderful that event will be. While co-mingled with “a time of trouble such as never was,” (Dan 12:1), scripture definitely notes and even emphasizes how that The Lord, our savior will be “exalted in that day.” (Isa 2:11). So why do we rarely exalt the Lord now in our “prophecy” and “end times” preaching or witness?

In recent times, Big Media has been packed with alarmist agendas especially punctuated with how we are all supposed to behave or how we are supposed to treat each other. These Big Media agendas are rife with pronouncements about our particular roles and our personal expectations of one another. Many people are convinced that today’s distinctions and diversity are hostile, critical, unacceptable and very unwelcoming. Christians, in particular are portrayed as one way or another, being somehow “responsible” for many of the messes society is in today.

“Ecumenical” efforts are under way now that are purported as being the way to “unity,” and “brotherhood.” Diversity and distinctive beliefs are being assaulted as if they are all “hate speech,” and so now, more than ever, Christians need to re-think how they talk about or to others, and how what we say and do in our usual, daily lives might be coming across to people.

Of course, as Christians, we all want to share “the good news,” as much as we can, and most of us would draw from scripture for said good news, and yet, it doesn’t seem like people are really hearing truly “good news” from us anymore. A quick look on You Tube would inform one about that all-too clearly. With all of the “warning messages” on the internet and in some of the churches, Christ followers have forgotten the “good news” in favor of following the aggressive and caustic tactics of Big Media, and recounting as many sins, horrors, crimes, and shocking details as we can find; and all of it, under the guise of “the everlasting gospel.”

I wonder what it would look like if Christians started trying to treat our “witness” with the W.A.I.T. acronym? “Why Am I Talking” to the person, or to the people with this particular message that I want to get across to them? What would it look like to use scripture in our witness and our message; while considering our use thereof as experiencing The Real Presence Of Christ? Would the people or person we are talking to sense the presence of Christ from the message or the scripture we have in mind when we interact? Does our daily conversation and witness actually show the presence of Christ, or the presence of something else? Do our speech and actions Biblicaly identify “the three angels” in what we say and do during our daily routines?

“Christ is coming the second time, with power unto salvation. To prepare human beings for this event, He has sent the first, second, and third angels’ messages. These angels represent those who receive the truth, and with power open the gospel to the world.” (Letter 79, 1900). {7BC 978.11} “The time of God’s destructive judgments is the time of mercy for those who have no opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save, while the door is closed to those who would not enter. Large numbers will be admitted who in these last days hear the truth for the first time.” (RH July 5, 1906). {7BC 979.3}

Notice that the word “TENDERLY” is used in giving the warning message. This sounds to me like the ideal time for us to W.A.I.T. Is what I am saying for the purpose of scaring the day lights out of people, or is it intended to give people the experience we are having, of enjoying the personal presence of our personal Savior?

In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in humanity, we look upon God, and see in Him the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person (ST July 30, 1896). {5BC 1130.5}

Truly, we are living in a time where it would be prudent for every Christian to W.A.I.T.

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“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (John 1:14, Message).

In Psalms 27:7-14 we read of how the triumphant note changes to one of sadness. Did the writer suddenly look from his Redeemer to the “time of trouble” which stood poised for their destruction? Sometimes God seems to hide His face only to draw us to a point of total trust and enlightenment which otherwise our soul would never had never dared to realize? (Mark 7:28). The dearest people we know may forsake, but the Lord gathers.” (Isa 40:11). And we need to W.A.I.T. on that.

“W.A.I.T. on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; W.A.I.T. I say, on the LORD!” (Psalms 27:14, NKJV).

This Psalm apparently dates from the time when the exiled king, surrounded by many evil and vicious foes, looked from his hiding-place beyond the Jordan to the Holy City, where the Ark abode. One thing he desired above all else.

That same “one thing” can be found in most people, we currently count as an enemy. That “one thing” which is truly irresistible, as we are reminded in Philippians 3:13-14. Here we have assurance, Psalms 27:1-6. God’s house for us is His presence. We may live day by day in the New Jerusalem, which needs no light of sun or candle. We are in it, though we know it not. Oh, that our eyes might be opened to see where we are! 2 Kings 6:20. How beautiful must our God be, who has made the world so fair! Truly, “there is always a little light.” (Micah 7:18). “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. (Psa 27:14).  Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Psalms 27: 13,14).

Maybe we do need to W.A.I.T. for it?



 

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