Have We Become a Land of Greedy Ingrates?

November 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Wade's Weekly Word

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday I see a ploy of this world system and greedy merchants, who apparently care only about the bottom line and discontentment, attempting to render that day common, worthless and devoid of its original meaning and purpose. What does the word holiday mean? Webster’s definition #1 is “HOLY DAY.” What does “holy” mean? Webster’s says, “A day set aside for religious observance.” Holy is to be sacred, uncommon, set apart, distinct and different. So this is not to be just another day, and by definition not a day for selfish greed and covetousness.

What was the original thanksgiving all about? In December of the pilgrim’s first “getting off the boat,” they were not ready for the winter and nearly half of them died of sickness and starvation. They prayed much and that summer reaped a bountiful, i.e. huge and plentiful, harvest. As a result they set aside a three-day feast on December 13, 1621 TO THANK GOD and celebrate with their Indian (Native American) friends.

Why was a Thanksgiving holiday proclaimed in the USA? In 1781 George Washington, as President, issued a proclamation that the first Thursday of November would be a day of giving thanks. Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November for the same. Lincoln said, “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy…It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

Our nation is on the wrong course! We again have “lamentable…strife” and need to “with humble penitence…implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to..heal wounds…and restore [us].” We are still blessed beyond belief, but we must recognize the Source of these blessings as the gracious providence of the Almighty God who gave us victory over overwhelming odds in becoming an independent nation. As our government and secular atheists continue to try and remove all references to God, and as we embrace foreign religions and false Gods, we are finding our abundance growing thin. In many cases it is still there but those who worship Gaia, a false “god” representing the Earth, and environmental extremists who set the creature above the Creator and people, following Romans 1, are denying us the use and benefits of such resources.

We must return to the God of our forefathers and give Him thanks, repent and cry out for mercy! If we do not our blessings as a nation will NOT long endure and we will find ourselves overtaken by our enemies, stripped of our freedoms, enslaved, disillusioned, dismayed, and sorrowful that we did not seek the LORD in our time of great need! Read the Old Testament. Israel was blessed of God, but forgot Him to their demise. Jesus is able to fix the debt, give us peace from our enemies and restore our land. The Bible says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his…Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; GIVE THANKS TO HIM and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100; emphasis mine)

Only in America would we turn the day after Thanksgiving into the GREEDIEST day of the year. Covetousness and greed run high on black Friday. People are trampled and killed and others are injured by covetous, greedy, selfish, inconsiderate people who care about stuff (mostly Chinese junk) more than about people. Is it wrong to shop on Black Friday? No, not if you can do so in a calm and controlled manner and treat others as you would like for them to treat you, and if you can keep your focus on gratefulness instead of sheer covetousness and greed. Next they moved to midnight of Thanksgiving Day. This year there are stores that will start at 6:00pm on Thanksgiving Day. I see a trend here. The goal is obviously to steal away the day and any of it’s meaning by lulling people into “super deals” and away from any contemplation of God and any manner of giving thanks all in the name of sheer greed. Can’t we even take one day to gather with family and be thankful and do nothing else?

We know that most of advertising is about causing you to be discontent in order to separate you from your money. Capitalism, under the restraint of biblical principles of loving people more than money, and not being sheerly ruthless and greedy is good, but as we have jettisoned God as a nation, capitalism has become unrestrained greed. I am not for socialism, communism or anything else, but as capitalists we must govern our business practices by God’ principles. As citizens we must keep Thanksgiving free of greed and covetousness and not surrender it. We must repent as a nation, turn to the God Of the Bible, be thankful, and seek His mercy and intervention while will still can. I can see where we are heading as a nation and this is a warning, a wake up call to all my fellow countrymen, and I would be amiss and guilty if I did not cry out this warning.

Will I go shopping on Friday? Maybe later in the day, but I refuse to give up Thanksgiving Day. Won’t you join me? You can stop this encroachment by just not shopping on Thursday for any “early Black Friday” deals. Buy your needs on Wednesday and send a message to these corporations that God and family are more important and some things are sacred.

-Shane

He Came To Me!

December 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Message of the Month

Read Luke 10:30-36

The message of Christmas, which is the message of Christianity, can be summed up in a sentence taken from a popular gospel song: “When I could not go to where He was, He came to me!”  Nowhere is this truth illustrated as tangibly and powerfully as in the story Jesus gave that we call the “Good Samaritan.”  By primary interpretation, Jesus never gave this parable for the purpose of telling the Christmas story. Yet by secondary application we see it fleshed out in the deeds of the Good Samaritan. Jesus is the ultimate, original Good Samaritan. In Jesus, God made humanity His neighbor, when the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us! 

The Miserable Lost  

We read in Luke 10:30: “Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” Mindful that this is not the primary interpretation of this story, permit me, for the sake of analogy, to allow the man who was assaulted in the story represent Adam, the first and foremost representative of our entire race. In the Garden of Eden, Adam turned his back on the Heavenly Jerusalem, the place of God’s presence and peace, and headed down to Jericho, the place of the curse. But he no sooner turns his desires toward the world, than he falls under the power of him who is a robber, a murderer, and a destroyer — the Devil (John 8:44). In Adam’s tragic fall, we sinned all! In him we were: (1) robbed of our true nature; (2) stripped of our right standing; (3) mortally wounded by sin; (4) and unable to rise in recovery. 

Sin and Satan have robbed man of his honor, defaced the image of God in him, deprived him of the glory of God, and stripped him of his original covering of righteousness.  

The Merciless Law  

Luke 10:31-32, “Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.” 

The moral law, as represented by the priest, and the ceremonial law, as represented by the Levite, combine to inform us that no mercy is to be expected from the law. It must pass by on the other side for it has neither pity nor power to resolve our plight. It cannot make any allowance for the fall and weakness of man. It is perfect and will not accept the imperfect. It is deaf to all repentance, remorse, and tears. There is no mercy for a soul naked of the robe of righteousness. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Through the agency of the law there is no healing for a wounded conscience; no pity from it, no justification by it, no pardon through it, no atonement of sin by obedience to it, no word of comfort is spoken by it. When the law of God comes with power, it opens up the wounds of sin, fills the conscience with wrath and terror, destroys all man’s former hopes of happiness, and leaves him where he found him! 

The Merciful Lord  

In John 8:48, the Jews called Jesus a demonized Samaritan. Although he wasn’t a Samaritan by birth, by choice he was, for like the Samaritans, He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Despite man’s attitude toward Him, he came to me! He journeyed to earth. He came down. 

A father was quizzing his young son about the content of his Sunday School lesson that was taken from the book of Daniel and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and their experience in the fiery furnace.  “Look,” cried the king, “did not I cast three men into the furnace?  But there are four, and the fourth is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:24-25). The father’s questions were met with the usual nonchalance of a dispassionate young pupil.  “Aw,” the boy said, “it was all about three men who fell into the fire.”  

“But,” the father persisted, “God helped them out, didn’t He?”  

“Naw,” the boy answered, “He fell in, too!”  What a profound insight! 

One incredible night, almost two thousand years ago, God fell into the fire of our human dilemma. Condescending to leave the glories of Heaven, He condensed Himself to fit the confines of a Virgin’s womb and be born in a foul-smelling cow stable in an obscure little town called Bethlehem. This birth was the inauguration of the “Good Samaritan’s Mission.” 

God became man. Yet, although He became what He was not previously, He never ceased to be all that He was before, that is God. He was just as much God if He were not man and just as much man as if He were not God. As a Son of Mary, He rested on her bosom without a human father. As the Son of God, He rested on the bosom of the Eternal Father without a Mother. As the Son of Mary, He is held in the arms of His frail mother. As the Son of God, He upholds all things by the Word of His power. As the Son of Mary, He lived in a simple house making furniture out of wood. As the Son of God his garment was space, his house was the universe, the clouds his chariots, the stars his diadem. This universe was spoken into existence by the Word of His power. 

1. HE CAME WHERE I WAS  

In order to fulfill His assignment as the “Good Samaritan,” He had to come to us. In order to get to us the Son of God must experience the eclipse his choicest glory; for this, God must be made a man, eternity must suffer death, the Lord of angels must weep in a cradle, and the Creator of the world must hang like a slave.  He must be born in a manger in Bethlehem, and die upon a cross on Calvary; unspotted righteousness must be made sin, and unblemished blessedness must be made a curse. The Righteous was given for sin, the Innocent for criminals, and the Glory of Heaven for the dregs of earth.

Jesus had to come down from Heaven’s glory, down to Bethlehem’s stable, down to Gethsemane’s agony, down to Calvary’s horror, down to the grave’s incarceration. Jesus uncrowned himself to crowns us; he put off his robes to put on our rags; he came down from Heaven to keep us out of Hell; he came down from Heaven to earth that he might take us from earth to Heaven when we die!  And Jesus did what he did without our deserving it or even desiring it!

When I could not, yea, would not, go to where He was, He came to me! 

2. HE SAW ME WITH COMPASSION  

Luke 10:33, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.” Christ saw His fallen people before the fall, as they were chosen in Him, and given to Him, in all the glory they were brought into; when He loved them, and His delight was with them. When He came down to earth to redeem His Bride, He saw them lost, weak, wicked, ungodly, enemies and children of wrath — yet in compassion and love for them, He clothed Himself in their nature, took their law place, and bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood! Sealed my pardon with His blood! Hallelujah! What a Savior! How deep is the love of Christ? It is deep enough to reach the lowest, the meanest, the vilest, the least, the loveless, the most lost of sinners. 

In Luke 15, Jesus gave a three-part parable of the lost sheep, the lost silver, and the lost sons which revealed an amazing portrait of God.  It portrays Him as the grieving, seeking, loving, finding God who rejoices when a lost soul is brought back into relationship with Him. This special love of God obviates recrimination, reproof, and remuneration and offers full reconciliation and restoration. Luke 15:20, “When the father saw him a long way off, he ran to meet him and fell on his neck and kissed him.” 

The song writer said in such a soul-stirring way as he testifies, “I was lost, but Jesus found me; found the sheep that went astray.  Threw His loving arms around me, drew me back into His way.”

 Francis Thompson, author of the classic poem, “Hound of Heaven,” was an opium addict in London who was on the run from God. During the day, he would get high on dope and then go to the Thames River to sleep on its banks. Often he would prowl around in the trash until he found a newspaper. After reading it, he would write absolutely brilliant articles the editor. One day while rummaging around in the trash he came across a Bible and begin to read it. He was especially enthralled by the story of Jacob and how God finally ran him down and came to where he was. 

As he continued to dwell on that story day after day, something miraculous happened. Francis describes his conversion in the poem, “Hound of Heaven”: “Yea, in the night, my Soul, my Daughter, Cry ?? clinging Heaven by the hems; And lo, Christ walking on the water not of Galilee, but Thames!”  He came to where Francis Thompson was and captured his heart forever. 

3. HE HEALED ME UP  

Luke 10:34, “So he went to him and bandaged his wounds.” 

Our “Good Samaritan” came to make us whole. There is more to being whole or healthy than not being physically sick.  There are many different types of sickness and thus the need for many different types of healing. For example there is a healing of the spirit, a healing of the hurts of the past, a healing of the demonized, and a healing of the body.

Healing of the Spirit begins with a miracle — a spiritual heart transplant (Ezek 36:25  “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. (26)  “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.(27)  “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”)

We need to be healed of the hurts of the past. These “soul?bruises” affect our relationship with God by producing false concepts of what he is like. This causes the person to be tormented by guilt, unworthiness, and fear of God’s judgment. It affects relationships within ourselves. The hurts of the past cause us to become angry, bitter, and rejected. It causes an inability to give and receive love. Soul-bruises leaves its victim chronically depressed, physically ill, and neurotically perfectionistic. Hurts of the heart affects relationships with other. Fearful of others finding out about our past. Fearful of getting close for fear of being hurt.

All of us have a desperate need to feel important to someone that really matters; to feel valuable, loved, admired, accepted, approved, and affirmed in life. But our inheritance of a sin principle, the things that happen to us or are done to us, coupled with our own personal involvement in sin causes us to spin webs of inferiority, inadequacy, guilt, rejection, unworthiness, and insecurity. This causes us to be guarded, protective of our emotional turf, withdrawn, feeling unloved, unaccepted and making it very hard to show and give love. This produces the barriers of personal inferiority, spiritual insecurity, and relational incompatibility. But our “Heavenly Good Samaritan” comes to bind up the broken hearted and set at liberty them that are bruised.

4. HE FILLED ME UP

Luke 10:34, “… pouring on oil and wine;” In ancient times wine was sometimes poured into wounds. Its alcoholic content served to aid in the healing of sores and wounds by killing bacteria which had infected the lacerations.  The blood of the Lord Jesus heals our sores for “by His stripes we are healed.”  I think we might say with Chrysostom, that the wine is the blood of the Passion and the oil the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The old life of sin leaves many wounds, but He who was wounded for our transgressions can heal the deepest of heart wounds. If the sin-scars are not removed, the sin-fester is cleansed by the oil of the Holy Spirit’s presence. “Such were some of you,” says the Lord, in reminding the saints in Corinth of their former associates in iniquity; but He also says, “but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, by the Spirit of our God” ( 1Cor 6:11).

The oil of the Holy Spirit’s grace comes to us because of the “Good Samaritan’s” atoning sacrifice. The olive oil had to be beaten out of the fruit or pressed out by the mill. This serves to remind us that in order for the gift of the “oil: the Holy Spirit to be poured upon us, Jesus had to pressed by awful sorrow in Gethsemane, beaten by wicked hands at Gabbatha, and crushed by Divine wrath at Golgotha. Pentecost is made possible only by the Passover.

5. HE PICKED ME UP

Luke 10:34,  “… and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

“Oh amazing truth to ponder, the Lord Jesus, sinking to our deepest dishonor, raises us to His highest glory. Sinking Himself with our fallen humanity, He raises us to union with God. Substituting Himself for us, He makes us one with Himself. The love of our Good Samaritan has lifted us up from the dust of our sinful past, from the ash heap of our impoverished positions as bankrupt prodigal sons, and has washed us from our sins in His own precious blood and made us kings and priest unto our God.

The love of Jesus has lifted us out of the kingdom of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son where we have been made fellow members of the household of faith, heirs of the Father and joint heirs with the Son.

His love is high enough to exalt us from guilty sinners awaiting execution on death row to glorified sons enjoying eternal life in the present ?? all the while we are waiting to enter the never ending bliss of Heaven!

“O amazing gift to ponder. He whom angel hosts attend, Lord of Heaven, God’s Son, what wonder, He became the sinner’s friend.

O glorious gift of Christ my Lord Divine, that stooped to save a soul like mine! My song will silence never, I’ll worship Him forever and praise Him for his glorious love!

6. HE SET ME UP

Luke 10:35, “On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him;”

King David graphically depicted man’s plight in sin and God’s rescue from that condition in Psalm 40:1-3a, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. {2} He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. {3} He has put a new song in my mouth; Praise to our God;”

Hallelujah! Jesus came down into the pit of our fallen condition to get us, brought us up, cleaned us up, set us up, and tuned us up — putting a new song in our mouths, even praise to our God. He has set me up and I shall not be moved. He’s my rock; He’s my fortress; He’s my Deliverer, in Him will I trust!

7. HE WILL TAKE ME UP

Luke 10:35b,” and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.” He came to me! When I could not go to where He was, He came to me! And guess what? He is coming again for me! He left behind a note that reads: “Dear Son, I have gone to the Father’s house to prepare your dwelling place. Will return soon. Jesus”!

The Christmas story is one of love coming to the rescue. No human illustration can ever begin to come close to capturing the full import of the redeeming mission of our “Good Samaritan.” With this “inadequacy” in mind, Ravi Zacharias, in his newsletter, tells a true story of love coming to the rescue of the rejected:

“Born in an impoverished home in Romania, little George came into the world without any arms. His distraught parents, believing George’s condition to be the results of a curse upon them, and being too poor to raise him with this handicap, gave him up to an orphanage. Laying in a crib, in filthy conditions, with several other babies, as people would walk by they would abruptly turn their glances away from baby George, for to them, too, his condition bespoke of an evil omen. Unloved, unwanted, helpless and hopeless seemed baby George’s plight. But God in His in His mercy had other plans. A Christian adoption agency heard of baby George’s condition and ran his story in their newsletter — a newsletter that had world?wide circulation. A lovely young couple in Connecticut, upon reading the story, felt impressed to adopt the baby. After several weeks of working with the adoption agency, the couple was told that in order to adopt the baby they must come to Romania and answer the questions of George’s mother.

After the two families met, through an interpreter the mother expressed fear and puzzlement at their interest. She said, “I have heard that in America they use babies like George for spare parts. Why do you want my severely handicapped child?  The young American couple had brought with them a Romania Bible just in case they got an opportunity to share their faith, so rather than attempting to answer, they opened the Bible to Psalm 139 and held it out to the mother to read. Quietly she begin to read, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made … my frame was not hidden from you … How precious to me are your thoughts O God! How vast is the sum of them.”

As she read those majestic words, the tears flowed uncontrollably down her face, and clutching the Bible to her heart she said good?bye to her son and handed him over to the keeping of his new parents.

The baby that nobody wanted; the baby that when the Americans came to adopt him, was one year old and weighed only nine pounds; that baby is today a fully contented, normal weight, bouncing 18 month old boy, with an extraordinary mental capacity, and with an ability to use his toes that most children of his age do not have with their fingers.

When baby George was weak, helpless and hopeless, they came to him from a foreign country, lifted him up from his condition as an armless, unwanted orphan; cleaned him up, clothed him up, and took him to their home to live as their beloved son!

That is the message of Christmas — Jesus has come to where you are. He wants to heal your wounds, clothe your nakedness, and fill you with his presence and power, set you up in safety and security, with the promise to never leave you nor forsake you. All those whom he picks up in salvation, He leaves in the care of the Heavenly Innkeepers, the Church. The Church is directed by the Universal Innkeeper Manager, the Holy Spirit with the promise to eventually personally return for us.

Glory to God in the Highest!

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