Make it Stop!

I had the occasion earlier this summer to do something I hadn’t done in a while—ride some roller coasters. I was thinking how, for a lot of people, riding a roller-coaster is an interesting sociological experiment. First, you have the wait, and reading the warning signs as you wait. Then, finally, it is your turn. For me, there is that moment when I am asking myself, “Is this a good idea?” Then you reach another phase in the experiment. You come eventually to that place where you are committed. You are buckled in, and it starts. Then it is too late. At some point, I usually find myself thinking “This was not a good idea!” And, finally, I come to that place where I am saying, “Make it stop!”

I wonder if that is where we are as a nation. What will it take to say “Make it stop!”

Here’s the message of Isaiah 30:21!

God always reveals His way, but He always gives us a choice whether to follow His way.

What keeps us from walking in God’s way?

We decide that we know better. (Isaiah 30:1-8)

Part of Israel’s rebellion against God was to trust in Egypt instead of God. The reality is that Egypt could not save them. In fact, Isaiah used an interesting phrase in verse 7, “Rahab who just sits.” Now, Rahab had been instrumental in earlier days of Israel’s history. It was Rahab that provided cover for the spies who went into the Promised Land when the first wave of Israel entered that land. But God is now saying, Egypt will be like a “Rahab who just sits.”

They have a plan, alright, but it is not God’s plan. The reality is they are just “piling up sins.” (v. 1)

Many in our country have said, “I know better than God.” The reality is “we are just piling up sins.”

We deceive ourselves with other voices. (Isaiah 30:9-15)

First, we make the mistake of not caring what God says. Then, we come to the place where we do not even want to hear what God says. We replace what God says with what we want to hear. If you want to find someone to agree with you on a matter that is contrary to God’s will, you can find that individual. If you want to find someone to agree with your interpretation of God’s Word, you can find that person. They will be smooth in their delivery. They will be convincing in their argument, but just know that doesn’t make it right.

We dodge the consequences. (Isaiah 30:16-17)

They thought they would escape. Verse 16 references the escape they will make right into exile. We dodge consequences only as the result of God’s mercy, but His hand of mercy is not forever promised.

My prayer for our country is my prayer for my life. May I hear the voice of God saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Then may it be that I always walk in God’s ways.

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Is There Any Hope for America?

In 1928 one of our American submarines, S4, sank off the eastern coast on a dive after routine maintenance work. Divers made contact through Morse code. After initial exchange of how many on board, what is your condition etc., the divers received the message from those on board, “Is there any hope?” In the midst of the circumstances, what a penetrating question!

Many are still asking that question today about America. Is there any hope?

I am confident that there is hope, and I am confident that we find our hope in God.

• Our hope is not in Washington but in Heaven.
• Our hope is not in the Constitution but at Calvary.
• Our hope is not in more laws or less laws or better laws, but in a strict observance of the law of law—God’s Holy Word.
• Our hope is not in the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or the Tea party; our hope is in repentance, revival, and a spiritual awakening.

Until we as believers understand these things, I’m afraid “There is no hope for America!”

But, there is always hope.

I have heard before that our national anthem is among the most difficult songs to sing. Maybe that explains why we usually only sing one verse of The Star Spangled Banner. Did you know that it has a second verse? Have you ever noticed that the first verse actually ends with a question? What’s the question? “Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” We sing that line like it is a declaration, but it is a question. Noticing this line as a question, the second verse is the answer to the question.

Hear again the second verse:

Oh thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and war’s desolation
Blessed with victory and peace may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us as a nation
Then conquer we must when our cause is just
And this be our motto, “In God Is Our Trust!”
When we do that then the Star Spangled Banner
In triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Did you see what Francis Scott Key was saying? The only hope for America is for us to honor and acknowledge the one God over our nation!

Those aboard the Submarine S4 did not survive. Contact was maintained over a couple of days and even up to just a few hours before rescuers finally were able to attach an air line to their compartment. But it was too late. When the submarine was brought to the surface and entered, an amazing discovery was made. On a rack, apparently untouched, was a flask containing a considerable amount of oxygen.

This discovery, apparently unexplainable, gave rise to some very dreadful thoughts. Why did they not use that oxygen? Why did they announce that they were at the end of supplies? Was it because they knew the worst, and did not wish to prolong it? But, as the world knows, only a matter of hours after their last taps were heard an air line was successfully attached to their compartment.

I believe there is still hope for our nation. I believe there is still hope for our generation. I hope that history will not record that we did not reach for the oxygen of the life-giving power of Almighty God.

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A Brief Word about My Daily Blog

A nice personal result of the unfortunate national events of recent days is that I have added a whole host of new readers to my blog. For those of you who have shared my blog in recent days, thank you. For those of you who have signed up to get my blog through e-mail, I hope that reading daily will be a blessing to you. With so many new readers as well as to remind existing readers, let me just share again what I attempt to do through this blog.

On Monday, I offer something of a recap from my previous day’s sermon. On Wednesday, I write specifically to First Baptist Church, Lafayette, with “What’s Happening this Week at FBC?” On Friday, I write a devotional piece.

This year, I set the goal to write two additional days. On Tuesday, I try to communicate to a larger audience and write to Louisiana Baptists. As I fulfill my second year as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, I hope this is a good way to communicate about needs and opportunities.

On Thursdays, I attempt to offer something of encouragement regarding our church’s “Do Something” initiative. This is primarily to FBC, Lafayette, but others can join us. Basically, the challenge is to attempt to do something for God that you have never done before.

I probably ought to add one disclaimer here. This plan is my goal. There will be weeks that this plan just doesn’t happen. Thank you now for understanding.

If you are blessed by what you read here, that is a blessing to me.

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