Tuesday, May 26, 2020

God's Deliverance Pt 2

When we were kids, with little else to do, we’d compare scars. “Bike wreck. Hunting knife. BB gun. Stabbed with a pencil. Caught in a fence. Touched a pan on the stove.”

Each wound left its mark. And each mark left a story. Most of them the result of some reckless behavior.

Typically, after most of the kids had finished showing all their scars, I could keep going. Apparently, I was a bit more reckless than most.

Like the afternoon I was in the backyard throwing knives at a tree, I happened to look down at my bare feet. There was a gap between my big toe and the next toe. I thought, I bet I can stick my knife in that gap. I let it loose and missed the gap by only one inch. Unfortunately, the one inch placed the knife point in my foot. It left a scar. 

When I was fingerprinted for my concealed carry license, my fingertips were sliced and diced by marks left there from carelessness with the sharp end of knives. Or mishaps with box cutters. Or slips from a chisel. Or getting caught in a power tool. Even now as an adult, I always keep a box of Band-Aids close by, just in case. 

Many things have caused scars and each scar has its own story.

I’m reminded of a car wreck in high school each time I look at my brow. That scar is there because of a culvert, no seat belts, a windshield and alcohol. But that wreck and the scar that remains, God used to change my life.

Since most scars result from careless, even reckless behavior, this one was the climax of a young life discounting God’s importance. I was a teenager heading away from Him, along with other kids doing the same thing. But, I knew better and God had other plans in mind.

That wreck was God’s opportunity for me to change. As damaging as it was, it had grace written all over it because God was rescuing me. He got my attention and turned my life toward Him. And left me with a scar to remember how much He loved me and what He was willing to do to preserve my life.

As a young girl grew into a teenager, she suddenly became ashamed of the scars on her mother’s arms and hands. They had been savagely burned and left horribly disfigured. One day the daughter told her mother to wear long sleeves and gloves, her scars were embarrassing her. Her grandmother heard the daughter and pulled her aside. She described a day when a fire ravaged the house they were living in. Her mom wasn’t home but came up after the house was engulfed in flames. “You were still inside,” the Grandmother said. “Your mom ran into the flames and soon came out shielding you in a blanket held tightly by her arms and hands. Those scars show how much she loved you and what she was willing to do to preserve your life. To her there is no shame in the scars, only the reminder, your life was worth her sacrifice.” The daughter ran to her mom and kissed the scared hands that saved her life.

When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, not My will but Yours be done, His death was only hours away. How could He handle that? 

Though He knew the pain to come, the suffering and the scars to follow, He accepted the cross because of what it would do to prove how much God loves us and what He was willing to do to preserve our lives. Heb 12:2 who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, Jesus looked past what that day would do to Him and looked at what it would do for us. And, now, when He looks at the scars, He doesn’t look at them with regret, but with joy that He was able to endure what would bring us life.

After the resurrection, all the disciples were present except Thomas. John 20:24-29 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." 

Seeing the scars tells the story. Not just of the brutality of the day, but of the power of love. When we die and meet Jesus, we’ll see the scars, we’ll understand the cost, we’ll fall on our knees and kiss the feet that the nails held to the cross. Why? Because those scars will remind us of how much He loves us and what He was willing to do to preserve our lives.

Heb 9:22 And according to the Law, almost all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  His scars are the evidence of the blood He willingly shed on our behalf – each scar a badge of courage.

I remember reading The Red Badge of Courage as a kid. The story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he wants to go back to his regiment but wishes for a wound wrapped with a white gauze, stained red by blood – a "red badge of courage." He thought it would counteract his cowardice in having run from the fight. Before he can return to his unit, he gets accidently busted in the head with a rifle butt by another soldier and gets his badge. Because of his wound, his regiment welcomes him back, no questions asked. He is fueled with new courage and carries the regimental flag into battle. The blood-saturated bandage proved what his heart had failed to say, that he was, after all, a courageous young man, willing to bleed for the cause.

Many others have sacrificed their own blood for the cause. One of the badges of courage presented to men and women in the military is the Purple Heart. It is the evidence of scars resulting from wounds in which they shed blood fighting the war of freedom. Most get it having survived their wounds. Some have it given to their families after they have given the last full measure of devotion to their country.

That symbol demonstrates the cost many have been willing to pay on behalf of a grateful nation. And for those given another chance at life, though they don’t typically wear the Purple Heart pin, those men and women bear the scars, reminders of their love for their country and the moment they were willing to die to preserve it.

That’s always been the heart of patriots.

The word patriot signifies a person who loves his or her country and is ready to boldly support and defend it at all costs. That was the original meaning when the word came into the English language in the 1500s, but it hasn’t gone unchallenged.

In those early days, Patriots were those who shared a love of country but often that love was defined by a common allegiance with others according to beliefs and ideologies. Patriots were identified by their loyalty to whoever held the power of public opinion. Those who disagreed were disloyal.
During The American Revolutionary War the colonists were called patriots because of their rebellion against the King. Americans liked the word. To them, patriots were those who took action against British control. 

After winning our independence, and since then, the word patriot has been elevated to the title of brave men and women who have or are physically defending the rights and freedoms of our country, as well as anyone with a high degree of love, devotion and allegiance to their country. That would make most all of us patriots.

Unfortunately, many today are trying to make the word negative again by redefining patriotism as some kind of superior attitude over other nations. They call it nationalism which has become a slanderous assault against loving your country first, which, they say, is an insult to modern, world culture. They say America isn’t better than any other nation and should give up her rights to be a dominant force for good over the rest of the world. By attacking the foundation of what makes us America, they have also attacked what makes her good.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman researching American greatness said: “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” 

The goodness of America reflects our connection to God who said: blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. We are not self-made. We are shaped by belief in the goodness of God and the conviction of being accountable to live according to that goodness.

The vast majority of countries in the world cry out for the goodness of America. They want America’s generosity, compassion, resources, wisdom and help. And we have done what we could.

But the fight today is the clash between what kind of country America has been and what kind of country it will become. Will it follow the chain of principles that connect it to its founding principles or toss them aside and recreate an America far removed from that which made her great?

We’ve seen how a man in the White House can lead the country according to ideals rather than according to principle. We’ve also seen how a man in the White House can restore America back to those principles.

The difference between ideals and principles is usually the money those who provide the ideal will get out of it. Never think the battle over climate change is about the earth. Never think Covid-19 is only a health issue. Bill Gates has invested heavily in vaccines. He stands to make nearly $200 billion by the use of vaccines for diseases including the Coronavirus.

Tocqueville: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

What does a bribe do? Prov 17:23 A bribe perverts the ways of justice. 

Everyone has a price at which they will sell out. We must make sure that price is higher than the bribe to give up our rights. No patriot died to have rights taken away but for them to be upheld. 

Theodore Roosevelt: Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him… [when] he fails in his duty to stand by the country. 

Samuel Adams: If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
I believe those times have come. What this virus has exposed about men and women in leadership has shown how corrupt those in government can become with unchallenged authority. But how do we fight it?

In 1645, an army of rural Puritans led by Oliver Cromwell faced the finest swordsmen and cavalry in all of England. Prior to the battle, Cromwell said, “Boys, keep your powder dry and your prayer book handy. Our battle is in the Lord’s hands, and He alone gives the victory.” As one man, the Puritans fell to their knees and began to cry out for supernatural strength.

Cromwell and his men won the battle and much more. This conflict was about the government of England. It was King against the people. Cromwell’s army represented the people. Their win reverberated in a cry to change the government from a King’s rule to a Parliament as it is today. Even though the odds were against Cromwell’s army winning the battle and changing his nation, God intervened. But more than just help these men win a battle for England, He set in motion the very ingredients of government our country would be founded upon a century later.

That’s how the battle is fought: The greatest powers cannot overcome the humblest prayers. This is the battleground for Christian Patriots. It’s where we enter the war zone.

Zech 4:6 This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. 

Most Christian Patriots, will never face physical conflict on behalf of our nation. But since every physical conflict is at heart a spiritual conflict, we must face the spiritual conflict in prayer. As true as any bullet that hits its target, the prayer of righteous men and women will always hit their targets.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 

What we cannot change, weak as we are and unimportant to the grinding of the massive machine of government, God can, taking the cry of our hearts and accomplishing much. 

King Solomon prayed over the dedication of the Temple: 1Kings 8:37-40 If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers. 

God responded: 2Ch 7:14  If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 

The cry for healing is the cry for deliverance. Something has gripped our lives, our hearts, our nation and won’t let go. We feel incapable of doing anything about it, so we pray: “God, this is bigger than we are, but not bigger than You are. God, this is stronger than we are, but not stronger than You are. God, this is more powerful than we are, but not more powerful than You are. We need Your help. Heal our land, O God.”

Remember the word heal includes make whole, save, deliver. Peter said Jesus’ scars prove God’s ability to do all of that. 1Pet 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 

Isa 53:4-5 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 

Healed from what? Our grief, our sorrow, our sins, our un-well-being.

By His scars, His stripes – His badges of courage – we are made whole, saved, healed, delivered. He is the source. Whatever the need for deliverance, from whatever has gripped our nation or our lives and won’t let go, Jesus can break its hold on us. 

How do we connect what He can do with what we need done?
  • Whenever our body is unable to fight what has invaded it, be that a virus, a cancer, a heart break, an upheaval, we can pray for deliverance.
  • Whenever we are attacked by our own government whose ideology has changed dramatically from the original intent, we can pray for deliverance.
  • Whenever those who defy our nation being one nation under God prevail in separating our country from God’s goodness, we can pray for deliverance.
  • Whenever those trying to do right by our Constitution and Bill of Rights are threatened and beaten down by those who want America to change into a socialist state, we can pray for deliverance.
Pray that God leads us back to the kind of nation that creates patriots, willing to live or die to make her great again, willing to bear the scars as their badges of courage, willing to stand against evil by the power of God. Pray that God will heal our land, our hearts, our bodies, knowing that’s what He promised He’d do.

  1. Thank God for the scars in your body that remind you of His willingness to save you from a life of destruction and cause you to seek Him.
  2. Thank God for Jesus’ scars that paid the price for the sin that separated you from Him and brought you into the Family of God.
  3. Thank God also for Jesus’ scars that insure us He can heal, make whole, save and deliver us from all evil.
  4. Thank God for Patriots who have paid for our freedoms with their own blood and who bear the scars of their sacrifice to keep America good.
Ps 91:14 Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation."

See My salvation, My healing, My wholeness, My deliverance.

Monday, May 18, 2020

God's Deliverance

After concluding an amazing study of the Book of Esther, the theme being the Sovereignty of God, we’ve looked at how God works behind the scenes to accomplish His plans and purposes. The invisible work of God, the doings of God that we don’t recognize while they are going on but only see when we look back, remind us that we belong to a God who can do all things, that nothing is impossible for Him, and who can use whoever or whatever He chooses to fulfill His plans.

Within the subject of God’s sovereignty, always comes the question as to: to what extent is God engaged in all that goes on? Some say completely, that nothing happens that God does not make to happen. Others soften that to say, nothing happens that God doesn’t permit to happen. Then there are others who say, some things just happen.

My personal statement of God’s sovereignty is: God doesn’t plan everything that happens, but in everything that happens God has a plan. Like temptation. James says God doesn’t tempt us to sin. Then Paul adds, when we are tempted, God has a plan to make us able to endure or escape. God doesn’t plan our temptation to sin, but when we face it, He has a plan to help us resist.

Can God cause a flood or a hurricane or a tornado or a virus? Of course. Does He cause every flood, hurricane, tornado or virus? No. But in them, He has plans.

When insurance companies declare some savage act of nature an act of God, they forget there is an enemy whose desire is to steal, kill and destroy. Can God cause such destruction? Yes. Does He? Not always. Satan is known to prowl about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 

I’ve heard some say Covid-19 is God’s judgment on the world. I’ve also heard those same voices make similar connections every time there has been some major event or outbreak. AIDS was God’s judgment against homosexuals. 911 was God’s judgement against America’s immorality. The Titanic sank because of the boast made by the builder, “Even God cannot sink this ship.” There’s no question we all deserve God’s judgment, but not every tragedy reflects that judgment.

A white supremacist burns down a black church. Was that evil or an act of God’s judgment? A fire takes away a family’s every possession. Was that evil or an act of God’s judgment? A child drowns in a backyard pool. Was that evil or an act of God’s judgment? 

We’re about to enter hurricane season. Will each storm carry God’s wrath? 

It’s easy to select big topic events and make God responsible. And knowing how much evil there is in the world, it’s not hard to accept any tragedy as God’s judgment. He did so in the past, so He must be doing so now.

But, it’s hard to make every tragedy an act of God’s judgment. When a loved one dies, or a family member is paralyzed in a car wreck, or a sweet, elderly person has a stroke, we reach for the compassion of God for consolation, not try and fit this into the category of His wrath against evil. 

We know God works behind the curtain, in the unseen realm, accomplishing things we cannot think of or imagine or ask for. He turns the evil Satan intends into good. He makes beauty come from ashes. He accomplishes what’s best in our lives. He makes us able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. We cannot lump everything that happens into something He has caused by His wrath. Because He also is a God who redeems, who restores, who revives.

There are times God uses evil to accomplish His plans but He doesn’t create the evil for the plan. Evil does its own work, so He creates a desire within the heart of His children to cry out for His help when that evil shows up.

How can you tell the difference when God is working us through a crisis?
1.      He doesn’t condemn.
a.     Rom 8:1-3 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son
b.     The argument Paul had with the law was its obligation to a system that didn’t work. It was a duty roster of things to do, with no sense of purpose other than “this is required.” To enforce the things to do, those who managed the law (the Pharisees) used condemnation. They placed restrictions on the people, they took away privileges, they judged people as worthy of punishment once they violated a rule.
c.     They took over the Scriptures by deciding what it meant. It was their interpretation that became more important than what the Scriptures said. Like some do to our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
d.     One governor said we need to give up our personal rights for the common good. That’s socialism. That’s not the principle upon which our country was formed. It’s not who we are!
e.     Matt 5:19-20 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Who is Jesus talking about?] For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
f.      Pharisees came about during a crisis to take charge of the outcome and simply stayed in charge. This was during the silent period between the Old and New Testaments. Actually, they began after the Maccabees took back their land from the Greeks and cleansed and restored the Temple in 167 B.C. The people had lived a long time without any clear instruction as to what it meant to live as a Jew. Somebody had to redefine Judaism so here come the Pharisees. A good idea that took on a life of its own.
g.     Pharisees are good at defining how people are to live and making rules. But their enforcement of those rules has always been by threat and coercion. They could only be successful when they had the power to condemn in order to impose their will.
h.     In shutting down our economy, the government defined what was an essential business. The business owners had a different definition. Since their business was essential to their livelihood, many of those businesses reopened. Most were simply shut back down. Some owners were arrested.
i.       Earlier this past week, after Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he would pay the fine and serve the jail time for a hairdresser who reopened her shop and was arrested and charged, Governor Abbott declared there would be no punishment for disobeying the restrictions. Harris County leaders had imposed a $1000 fine for anyone not wearing a mask. The Mayor of Houston was asked about that and asked back, “How else will we get them to abide by the rules?”
j.       Those are the words of a Pharisee. We must have leverage. Pharisees must have some way to pressure people to abide by their rules.
k.     I grew up watching how churches imposed their wishes on their people. Each church had its forbiddens: no TV, no movies, no card playing, no drinking, no dancing, no makeup, no short skirts, no smoking, no cussing. But how do you enforce such rules? In sermons the preacher would pressure the people to agree by condemning those actions publicly. Condemning adds guilt. Guilt is a cheap motivator.
l.       Jesus doesn’t condemn. If there is an area in our lives that needs correcting, He convicts, which is the power of persuasion to convince us the way we’re heading is wrong. Condemning makes the choice for us – comply or pay. Conviction shows us the best and urges us to agree.

2.     He gives us hope not fear.
a.     Paul was caught in a storm at sea on the way from Caesarea to Rome.
b.     Acts 27:20-25 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, "Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and incurred this damage and loss. Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 
c.     The circumstances of the storm, the length of days this had been going on, and the actions of the captain and crew scared the hope out of everyone. Fear made sense until God spoke. “Don’t be afraid, Paul. I’m going to get you through this.” How could Paul remain afraid after God had spoken?
d.     David had a similar moment. Ps 42:5-6 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is in despair within me; therefore I remember You…
e.     God’s response to crisis is trust Me. I’ve got this. I can handle getting you through this. Despair cannot compete with the presence of God.
f.      I’ve watched the news. There was once a day when it seemed the news casts were to give you information, not manage your reactions or control the narrative. This week I heard a montage of news broadcasts from probably 15 various stations repeating the exact words in delivering a message that basically said trust the media to tell you the truth. Who is giving them the exact words to say? Who’s controlling the narrative? The media has proven itself unreliable.
g.     I also notice that the media will push any crisis to an end-times scenario. This is the worst thing that has ever happened. We don’t see how we’ll make it through. The world will never be the same.
h.     Obviously, they’ve never lived through a hurricane, or watched a subdivision rebuild after a tornado, or documented how a city restores itself after a flood, or a family rebuilds after a fire.
i.       Sure, there’s loss, sure there’s pain, sure there’s suffering which is what they try to capture in their news footage, but there is always recovery. The moment of crisis is the most dramatic part of the story when emotions are raw because of the tragedy of loss, but don’t forget hope. Don’t forget that every crisis has a past but no crisis has ended the world. This one won’t either. The world will not end until the angel of God blows the trumpet.
j.       Hope overrules fear. It doesn’t mean we’re not disturbed by what we see. It only means what we see isn’t the final answer. God controls the outcome. Nobody else. Never let what you see determine what you believe about God’s ability to manage a crisis.

How can you tell the difference when God is working us through a crisis?
3.     He calms us instead of stirs us up.
a.     Luke 12:22-26 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?”
b.     Worry is one of the most damaging emotions. Worry is imagined expectations made real in our mind. Sometimes those imaginations are fed by what we read or watch, who we listen to, or are simply fears generated by the suggestions of Satan’s minions in our minds.
c.     I read this this week: The Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte once talked about our tendency “to hang very heavy weights on very thin wires.” For example, we hang the heavy weight of our happiness on our health, only to have that wire snapped by a bad report from the doctor. Or we hang the heavy weight of our security on our job, only to have it snapped by an economic downturn. Or we hang the heavy weight of our purpose in life on our family, only to have it snapped when the kids move away.  
d.     Worry is caused by the fear of loss, having something taken away that we feel is essential to our lives. Fear makes us believe: every additional person that dies from the coronavirus is getting death one step closer to me.
e.     Worry is Satan’s greatest tool to distract us from trusting God. As long as we are worried, we’re not trusting. Satan’s purpose for worry is to get us to react to our concerns rather than place those concerns into God’s hands.
f.      A king or general measured the ability of his army to defeat another army by the amount of resources he had: how many soldiers, how many weapons, how many horses. His confidence rested on what he brought into the battle.
g.     David said: Ps 33:17 A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. 
h.     It wasn’t the horse that won the war, it was the man riding it.
i.       When worry takes over we often, in a panic to find our own answers, will place hope where it doesn’t belong.
j.       The scariest words to ever hear are: Hello, we’re from the government and we’re here to help. We’ve been led to believe that the government is the answer. They have the resources, they have the ability, only they understand the problem, they have the solution.
k.     History has proven otherwise. Help typically comes with strings attached, or personal agendas being met, or there’s some hidden masterplan no one knows anything about, or this being just another attempt to get more people under the oppression of a new master.
l.       What we’ve seen in the past few months are Governors becoming dictators over their states. Some benevolent dictators making good and supportive decisions. Others have reached too far into peoples lives and livelihoods. Their overreach is causing damage that will take years to fix. I can’t blame the people in Michigan or California from revolting against their leaders.
m.   You watch other decisions being made by some who govern. Shut it all down. Keep it shut down. It may never open again. Forget the past, we have a new normal now. And you sense this isn’t America any more. It’s taking on the characteristics seen in communist or socialist takeovers. If left unchecked, what we end up with will be far different than when this all began. My question is why? What’s going on? Why the oppression? Why the fear? Why the hopelessness?
n.     It’s because our world, in general terms, is a godless society. Many of those making decisions come from a secular worldview of life without God. Godless men making godless decisions can only bring about godless solutions. That’s why we pray for those in leadership: that God will overrule any godless influence and guide them to what’s best.
o.     God’s way doesn’t stir up our fears, our concerns, our hopelessness. God’s way calms us. We may not be able to do anything about what’s going on around us, but within, in our minds and hearts, we can remain calm.

Ps 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. 

Stanley Praimath, Vice President for Fuji Bank, was in his office in the South Tower at the World Trade Center when his phone rang. "Are you watching the news?' asked a woman in their Chicago office. "Are you alright?" "I'm fine." Wondering why she had called, he turned to look out the window and saw a low-flying commercial jet heading straight for his tower.

He dropped the phone dove to the floor. He scrambled under his desk where he began praying, "Lord, help me," as the plane smashed into the tower. The smell of jet fuel was in the air. Equipment was scattered all around with rubble covering the floor and dust in the air. He began clawing his way out. "Lord, I have to go home to my family. I have to see my daughters."

Just then he saw a light. "I am here to help you." He thought this was his guardian angel! His guardian angel. It turned out to be Brian Clark, a Christian who was an executive three floors below. The two climbed out of the rubble to safety.

Praimath realized the Lord had some reason to let him live. He said, "I took the filthy, tattered clothes I was wearing that day, put them in a box, and wrote DELIVERANCE over it. I told my wife, 'If I ever forget what God can do, I want you to bring this box to me, open it up, and show me what the Lord brought me through."

The word deliverance in the Greek means to heal, preserve, to be (or make) whole. It’s also the word from which we get our word saved.

It is part of the package of what God does for His children. Within salvation is God’s promise of our deliverance. But deliverance from what? In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus has us ask for deliverance from evil. The evil of godless men’s intentions. The evil from our own desire to rebel against God’s best. The evil attacks from Satan and his minions. Deliverance from what distresses us.

We are in a season of distress. We need deliverance. Deliverance from condemnation. Deliverance from fear. Deliverance from what steals our calm.

We don’t need the government controlling our lives.

We don’t need the media stirring up our emotions.

We need our God to deliver us from evil.

Let’s ask for that. I think it appropriate to pray the Lord’s Prayer and emphasize the part that says: Deliver us from evil.

1.      We must fight the urge to believe everything we see and hear.
2.     Discernment is a part of what God provides when we ask for wisdom, so ask.
3.     Fight the tendency to let what we see and hear decide matters that are unfinished as though they are finished.
4.     Never allow what we see to change what we believe about God.
5.     Always remember, God is in charge of the final outcome.
6.     Trust Him to do what He does best – managing the crisis and then restoring what the enemy has done to steal, kill and destroy.