Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 3, 2013

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine”. Psalm 33:12-19

Where should we look for national security in a post-911 world of terrorists who are developing nuclear weapons? Ours is a world governed by the aggressive use of force, is it realistic to think that trusting God can keep us safe?

Think about the Exodus! Think about the Red Sea! Think about Jericho! Think David and Goliath! Think Gideon and the Midianites. But more recently, consider this:

Numerous miracles were reported during the famous 1967 war. One such story involved a Catholic journalist who was reporting on the front lines during the war. Ernie Miller had personally met this man in Baton Rouge, LA. The journalist was reporting from the Sinai Desert during the 1967 war. The battle had become very intense and there were numerous casualties. At one point an Israeli soldier was rushed into the medical tent, where the journalist was wiring front line information.
The journalist observed that the soldier was severely wounded. In fact he had been shot in the intestinal area, and his intestines were hanging from his body. He knew it was only a matter of time until the man would die. Yet, the man, who was fully conscience, began praying and saying the various names of God in the Hebrew language. As he prayed he began to talk about God’s ability to heal him and to defeat the enemy armies. To the journalist amazement, the man suddenly screamed, and jumped up from the cot. His intestines were back inside his body and the entire area was healed! The man was jumping and screaming, and ran out of the tent praising God.

The journalist told Ernie, “I am a Catholic and I am suppose to believe in miracles but had never seen one. That day, I saw one with my own eyes that was a true miracle!”

This amazing story clearly demonstrates that the “Battle belongs to the Lord!”

Maybe it is just me but it seems the best way to anticipate what we can trust God for in the future is to see what He has done for His people in the past. Since He never changes and is the same "yesterday, today and tomorrow" it seems like making Him the foundation of our national security makes sense! God did a good job of protecting His nation, Israel when they trusted Him. But Israel maintained an army, too.
The big point here is that security comes from the inside out. Like everything else in our world, it is fundamentally a spiritual issue. God may preserve your life or He may choose not to. Christians die in war as pagans do. But we know He always preserves the soul who has trusted Christ for salvation. Have you received His salvation from your sins and entered into an eternal relationship with God? If you have you can live in this assurance:

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91

July 2, 2013

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Philippians 3:20-21
The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth. 
A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign citizenship by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship.
Followers of Jesus Christ possess dual citizenship. They belong to the nation of their birth and they are citizens of Heaven. While we live as citizens of this world we are to be preparing for the next. At the same time the Scriptures tell us, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:4-7
Ironically, our citizenship in Heaven was made possible by One Who, as a citizen of that world, came to take up citizenship in this world to die for our sins.
This Citizen Who made our citizenship possible, came from a righteous place and was born in a righteous way to qualify Him to become a sacrifice for our sins. But between His righteous birth and His sacrifical death was a lifetime of righteous living. He was righteous when He left Heaven, He was righteous when He arrived in the manger in Bethlehem, and He was still righteous as He was being nailed to the cross. But, He became unrighteous as He took our trangessions upon Himself on that cross. Because of His righteous obedience to the will of His Father in making righteousness available to you and me, He regained His righteousness!
Are you thankful to be a citizen of the great USA?
As you celebrate your freedom as an American over this long Fourth of July week-end, will you also celebrate your citizenship in Heaven?