Dear Friends,

“Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The
words, ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken –
that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken (the Kingdom of God)
may remain.” (See Hebrews 12: 25-29) When God seems to be shaking those
things which can be shaken, even the stability of our country, we must listen
up to what He is saying to each one of us personally and to His church corporately.
“He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:43)

The mistake we can make in these critical times as Christians is to be more
concerned about the sins of unbelievers than about examining our own lives in
light of the truth of God’s Word which we can understand by the Holy Spirit.
Unbelievers cannot understand and discern spiritual truths. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
Yet, sadly, many Christian surveys reveal that in areas such as divorce and
pornography Christians are not much different from non-Christians. We then lose
our salt and light influence on our families, friends and communities which
is ultimately reflected in people and leaders throughout our country in government,
business, education, etc. As former chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Richard Halverson
once said: “You cannot have a Kingdom of God society without Kingdom of
God people.” Along with our sins of commission as believers the Lord sees
our sins of omission – lovelessness, prayerlessness, neglecting the Great
Commission, and so on.

It is clear throughout the Old Testament as God disciplines Israel as a nation
and in the New Testament as God deals with us as believers that “those
whom the Lord loves He disciplines.” (Hebrews 12:6) Paul says in 1 Corinthians
10:1- 11 that we as New Testament Christians need to be warned and learn from
the bad example of Israel’s sins so we can avoid God’s discipline
for disobedience. The five particular sins he points out are cravings (v. 6;
Numbers 11:4), idolatry (v. 7; Exodus 32:4), sexual immorality (v. 8; Numbers
25:1), rebellion against God’s appointed leaders (v. 9; Numbers 21:5)
and grumbling (questioning God’s plan v.10; Exodus 17:1-3) As already
mentioned many of these sins are in the church today. Jesus said that life’s
worries, riches and pleasures (cravings) choke out God’s Word and keep
us from maturing and being fruitful. (Luke 8:14; 1 Corinthians 6:12) God’s
Word speaks clearly against sexual immorality: lust (pornography -Matthew 5:
27-30), adultery (Matthew 5:27; Hebrews 13:4) and fornication, saying that He
will “punish men for all such sins” ( 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). Though
we don’t bow down to totem poles or figurines we can commit idolatry in
many ways. The first two commandments in the Old Testament and the Great Commandment
in the New Testament address idolatry: “You shall have no other gods before
Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol.” (Exodus 20:3,4) “Love
the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
mind.” (Matthew 22:37) The god of materialism or mammon is a direct rival
to worshiping God. “You cannot serve both God and Money” Jesus said.
(Matthew 6:24) “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit
and in truth.” (John 4:24) Giving our greatest time and energy to the
temporal, visible, material things in life is the opposite of what God calls
us to. “Faith .. is the evidence of things not seen” and “without
faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:1,6; 2 Corinthians
4:16-18) Idols, both of today and throughout human history, require our worship
(time, energy, ascribing worth and value toward) but do not require us to be
moral. Thus, when we put money before God it is easy to justify charging whatever
the market will bear or paying our employees the least we can get by with. But
God tells us how to worship Him in every area of our life including business.
(Ephesians 6:5-9; James 5:1-5) The sin of grumbling or murmuring is basically
being upset with God for the way our life is going and questioning His wisdom,
love and power. The Israelites were constantly complaining during their forty-year
trek to Canaan. We must remember that Jesus told us to pray “Thy Kingdom
come” not “my kingdom come”. My life, my personal history,
only has spiritual and eternal value as it fits into HIS-STORY. (John 15:5;
Ephesians 2:10) We too easily lose our gratitude for the greatest gift of all,
our salvation, which cost God and His Son death on a cross. That is why giving
thanks is not only a feeling but a command of God and for our good. “Rejoice
always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Rebellion against God-given leaders in the church and body of Christ may be
more subtle than the Israelites who verbally challenged Moses’ and Aaron’s
authority (Numbers 16, 17) but nonetheless a spirit of independence and autonomy
is greatly hindering the work of the church and the growth of believers. The
spirit of independence is like a cancer cell in the body of Christ. We never
sin in a vacuum. We may hate pro-choice when it comes to abortion, but justify
“my rights” when it comes to the way we relate to our spouses, friends,
and others in the body of Christ or unbelievers. God has built into His church
spiritual dynamics of interdependence and unity, of leading and following, and
of submission and mutual submission that benefit individual believers toward
spiritual growth and growth for the body of Christ as a whole. (Ephesians 4:11-13,
5:21-33; 1 Corinthians 12; Hebrews 13:17) The New Testament picture of God’s
church is a volunteer army doing spiritual warfare and fighting the good fight
of faith with disciplined, obedient soldiers in rank, committed to Jesus the
Commander in Chief. (1 Timothy 2:2-4) Jesus modeled this in His submission and
obedience to His Father and His servant leadership of His disciples.

“I have found the enemy and it is me” to use Pogo’s famous
line. If we earnestly want a godly nation, we must begin with ourselves. We
must let the Lord change us, get the planks out of our eyes, remove the sins
that we justify and refuse to repent of. We must remember that as believers
we will not stand before the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ as a nation
but one by one we will each give an account. As one brother was praying prior
to the election he prayed that we would realize that the most important issue
of all, both now and for eternity, is what will we do with Jesus Christ? What
will I do with Jesus Christ? What will you do with Jesus Christ? Life is all
about Him – HIS-STORY.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what
I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, (obeys
Him) I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who
dug down deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred,
the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had
been well built. But the one who has heard and not acted accordingly, is like
a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent
burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was
(Luke 6:46-49)

In these times of instability, there is a Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we
repent of our sins and submit to His Lordship over our lives we will find a
security and peace that cannot be shaken. And we can invite those who are lost
and shaken with fear and insecurity, because the world around them is falling
apart, to receive Him as their Lord, their Rock and say with us: “He only
is my Rock and salvation .” (Psalm 62:2) And the prayer of the humble
tax collector rather than the self-righteous Pharisee (Luke 18: 9-14) is a good
prayer for ourselves, the church and the country: “God, have mercy on
me, a sinner.”

God, have mercy on your church and this nation. Please do not give us what
we deserve. Lord, have mercy.

For Jesus’ sake,

Len and Kristen

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