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Stand Up

Greetings Narrow Gate,

I pray that this message today finds you well. I pray the blessings of the springtime upon you. New beginnings, a fresh start, a clean break from this last year of Covid-19 and the shutdown.

Today the Lord has laid upon my heart a heavy message. Heavy meaning a hard message, a difficult message to deliver to friends. But a message that I will deliver dutifully, as per my call.

What I see around me today is not pleasing. I see rampant dishonesty, from the least of us to our leaders in Raleigh and D.C.. Dishonesty so prevalent that it's difficult to get an honest take on the news. Our freedom of speech is being seriously challenged, in many different ways, all in an effort to curtail freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Our college campuses are full of trite sayings that are useless, cancel culture and faux justice movements. I have paid for and am paying for these educations. No longer is there an education taking place. Indoctrination seems to be the word that I'd use.

Covid-19 is now being used to continue the lock down, even though positive cases are dropping in number. To worsen the Covid scenario, our southern border is wide open, allowing in untested and possibly Covid positive individuals (who knows?) from Central and South America. This is where one of the three new deadly strains of Covid-19 is originating from, the Brazilian strain (the most dangerous one). The other two are from Africa and the United Kingdom. Our nation's capital is enclosed with barbed wire (what are they afraid of?) and our leadership in Washington continues to try turn Americans against their fellow Americans.

Abortions will continue, at a new alarming rate, persecution of specific groups of people are beginning to take place. Laws that are being voted on in Congress are there to specifically take away our freedom of religion, our right to believe in the Word of God, our right to have safe and secure elections. When we can no longer trust our election results, when we can no longer trust our leaders, when we can no longer trust the written word in our papers or the spoken word in our news, what are we to do?

Trust the Word of God. We have become a sinful nation. One thing that has gone unnoticed during the decline of the church is something that should be obvious, the sinfulness of our society is on the rise. So much so, that sin now dominates our airwaves, our print media, our college campuses, almost every bureaucracy within every level of our federal government. We have developed into and become a sinful nation. As church attendance and the influence of the church has declined, sinfulness in our society has increased.

Sin is in our camp. We have allowed it in. We have acquiesced to the slow and gradual rise of sin in our society to the point that many of us don't recognize sin when we see it. The average person has been numbed to the sin on our TVs, radio, news, etc. But God notices the sin. Don't ever think He doesn't. Let's go to the word. Joshua 6:27 through Joshua 7:1-13, NIV.

"So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout the Land.

But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord's anger burned against Israel. Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, 'Go up and spy out the region.' So the men went up and spied out Ai.

When they returned to Joshua, they said, 'Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there.' So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face-down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. And Joshua said, 'Ah, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what can can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?'

The Lord said to Joshua, 'Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says; That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.'

So we begin with God's word saying that the Lord is with Joshua. The very next verse, this fellow named Achan, steals some devoted things, and this sin adversely affects Israel's relationship with the Lord.

How can I extrapolate that this is similar to the United States and it's sinfulness and our decline? It's a stretch isn't it. Yes, I guess it is. But wait, is it really a stretch to think that our nation, which has indeed been blessed (not lucky as some would suggest) would continue to be blessed while it's people continue to elect corrupt leaders, whose sole intent seems to be taking hold of power in a way that they would have no one to answer to? Especially, when babies, and children coming up from the south, and the poor and disadvantaged, and the people paying the taxes are the very ones who are being taken advantage of?

The way that our country is now, with the leaders that we have, why should God continue to bless us?

We let our guard down. We have become complacent, taking for granted the blessings of the Lord. Why shouldn't God be angry with us?

There is a verse here that sums up where the American public is right now. I hate to say this, but this is us. The hearts of the people melted and became like water.

This really bums me out to say this, but this is who we are now. Its disgusting, sickening and sad. The world sees us and this is what they think. Do you think China or Russia, or Iran is afraid of us right now? They are licking their chops. They are dividing us up to take us out.

Oh sure, we have had a pandemic, we have died, we have been sick, many have lost their jobs, kids are not in school, yada, yada, yada. We did this to ourselves.

God's word is telling us to Stand Up! Get up off our faces. Some of us better stand up. If we don't, the decline will continue.

Consecrate yourselves. Make sure that you are not a part of the sin taking place right now in this nation. Seek God's determination on this. Have his Holy Spirit search your heart and see if you are a part of the sinfulness of this country. The Holy Spirit will reveal our sin. If we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our sinfulness, He will.

Turning this country around begins with each one of us seeking forgiveness and repentance for our sins. We can't point fingers about other's sins while we ourselves are sinning. Once we've done this, we can then ask God's Spirit to lead us where we need to go.

I don't know where that is. But that's OK. God does. I just know this: It's not the way we are heading right now.

Pray for this country, our president, our leaders and our neighbors. I am afraid that this will get worse before it gets better. So keep praying. Pray for revival. If you want truth, turn off the TV and read your Bible.

Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.


Thad Brown

Opportunity House

and Harmony UMC

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