In the US (and many other countries), we have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and look at the consequences! It has affected education, politics, business, family life and more. Lawlessness is at an all time high and, if that’s not bad enough, we continue to see a rise in terrorism around the world and here at home. But, could we, like a handful of faithful men and women in the first century, turn the world upside down?
Hosea 3 & 4
1 John 4.1-21
Could we turn the world upside down?
What a beautiful picture of God’s mercy with His people and the fact that He will, eventually, redeem the true church and the nation of Israel.
Verse 3.1, “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.’ ”
But … Our Choices, Like Theirs, Are Not without Consequences
As I’ve said before, it doesn’t mean there are no consequences for sinful behavior.
It’s impossible not to see some of the parallels between America and rebellious Israel. We have largely turned away from the God of the Bible and loved a lover, a god, of our own making—one who allows us to live however we desire. Look at some of the phrases in chapter 4:
“…no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land … swearing and lying … killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint … bloodshed upon bloodshed … you have rejected knowledge … forgotten the law of your God … they set their heart on iniquity.”
No truth or knowledge of God: He has been “kicked out” of our schools, our government and the public arena. And sadly, we’ve thrown common sense out the window, too.
Swearing and lying: In politics (if this political season has taught us anything), in business (whatever it takes to make a buck), and the list goes on.
Killing and stealing: Just turn on the nightly news.
Committing adultery: We excuse and justify it when it’s our life or our side of the political aisle, but broken marriages, serial relationships, abortion, and the lowering of every sexual standard are the result. Even a sitting President can get away with sexual immorality and argue the meaning of the words.
Breaking all restraint: We have demanded and won the freedom to live out almost any lifestyle we choose. But we’re no longer happy to be allowed to live in sexual sin, we demand that everyone else accept, even applaud it. And we’re willing to destroy anyone who disagrees, dares to tell us we’re wrong, or refuses to participate in our choices!
Bloodshed upon bloodshed: Rioting, gang violence, wholesale murder in some of our inner cities.
Rejection of knowledge and the law of your God: Anyone holding to a biblical standard will be mocked, accused of ramming our opinions down their throat, or worse.
Hearts set on iniquity: There are those who live to lie, cheat, and steal.
The prophet also shall stumble with you: Even some churches have removed a biblical standard and a call to holiness, refusing to use the word sin or to say anything that might offend anyone, ordaining gay clergy, and looking the other way concerning abortion, just for starters. And, sadly, far too many religious leaders have fallen personally (4.5)
And look at some of the consequences:
“Therefore the land will mourn … everyone who dwells there will waste away … even the fish of the sea will be taken away … you shall stumble in the day … I also will forget your children … I will change their glory into shame … they shall eat, but not have enough …” (4.3-10).
Look at the condition of our nation as a whole. There is a lack of morality and justice. Our economy continues to falter. Selfishness rules the day and everyone does what seems right and feels good to him.
The Only Answer … Revival
“Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days” (3.5).
Revival, personally and corporately, is the only answer. So what can we do?
- Pray! Pray for our nation, our leaders, our neighbors, our families and ourselves.
¹Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2.1-4).
- Go! Jesus said we are to take the gospel to those in our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation and the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28.19).
- Disciple! We’re to help others grow in their faith and help them understand how to apply God’s Word to their own lives.
” ‘teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matt. 28.20).
After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, a few faithful men and women turned the world upside down (Acts 17.6). We, too, can make a huge impact on the world around us if we will step out in faith.
Living It Out
I know there is much more that needs to be done and I hope each of us will prayerfully consider how we can do more to share the gospel and teach others, but I also want to commend my fellow bloggers as they seek to impact the world for good.
As I spend time visiting many of your sites and reading your posts, I’m immensely blessed by the quality and quantity of good biblically sound sites. And for those of you who don’t blog, I want you to know blogging is hard work. It takes time and effort. No one does it because they have nothing better to do. The only thing that keeps me going and I’m sure many others, is a passion to share God’s truth.
I have made a concerted effort to share and pin more of the good posts I read by other bloggers. And I can tell all of you, my readers, that I’m immensely blessed and grateful when you share or pin my posts, leave a comment, or sign up for my emails.
So whether you blog, share God’s truth over a cup of coffee, teach adults or children, homeschool your kids, lead a small group, or a million other things you may be doing to further God’s work in your neighborhood and the world, know that nothing you do is wasted. You can make a difference.
If you’ve hung around here much, you already know that counseling and blogging are the primary ways I seek to share the gospel and, hopefully, do a little bit of world turning. My husband is a great encourager to me! There are many others from my church family and the blogging community who do, as well. One who comes to my mind is Michele Morin of Living Our Days. Michele has got to be one of the most encouraging people I know!
So what about you … how are you seeking to turn the world upside down? Who encourages you in your efforts? And who might you encourage?
Today’s Other Readings:
But for Those Who Faithfully Follow Him
Verse 8, “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
Because of His great mercy we can be assured that He does good, that He causes even those things which seem difficult to work for good (Rom. 8.28), and, as I said in yesterday’s post He is perfecting—bringing to maturity—the work He is doing in us (Phil. 1.6).
True Peace, Joy, & Happiness
“Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.”
It looks like God is driving that point home to us today. Where there is no knowledge or understanding of God’s Word, people throw off any restraint.
The NLT says, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.”
When God and His Word are removed from a society, it gives place to every kind of evil and wickedness.
But even in the church where we hear the word preached, we must apply it to our lives Monday through Saturday. It’s God’s law, not His divine suggestions!
Our sinful hearts tell us that it’s in freedom from restraint that we find happiness, but the opposite is true. True peace, joy, and happiness are found in living God’s way!
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world … We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4.1, 6).
Jesus said His sheep know His voice (Jn. 10.27). The only way to know His voice is by spending time with Him, hearing His voice in the pages of Scripture. We recognize error by knowing THE TRUTH. That only comes from a steady intake of God’s Word.
If truth and knowledge are to come back into our land, we must be able to “test the spirits” (v. 1) and recognize the “Spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (v. 6). Only then will we “fear the LORD and His goodness” (Hos. 3.5).
Today’s featured resource:
I love this book and the simple instructions for sharing the gospel with others. Just recently, I heard from two friends who led someone to the Lord for the first time using the simple list of verses recommended. The joy and excitement they experienced was palpable.
Share Jesus Without Fear
In recent years, the Share Jesus without Fear book and its growing family of ancillary products have sparked a faith-sharing movement that continues to gain momentum. It began with the jaw-dropping story of William Fay, once a money-driven businessman with Mafia ties who ran a house of prostitution until it was raided by police. Facing the threat of jail time, Fay turned to Jesus Christ for redemption and ever since has been turning others to Him as well. Now featuring a fresh new cover design, Share Jesus without Fear relays Fay’s passionate, effective instructions on how to share the love of Christ with anyone–without feeling intimidated on either side of the conversation. Bold and joyful, the outreach movement continues without fear.
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“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.