Living in Perilous Times
Matt Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, recently stated, “Our nation is in great peril…Violent revolutions throughout history have first attacked churches…There is much we can do together.”
These are days in which perilous times have come. Perilous because everything has been turned upside down and inside out. Good is called evil and evil is called good. We find ourselves at wit’s end in what to do and how to counter it all, forgetting to spend time in prayer, choosing to worry and fret instead about who may be offended. When frustrated and disgusted, we tend to lose our compassion for the real needs around us that God has called us to meet. When something does work out, we may feel more pride than praise.
In Matthew 21:12-17, Jesus mentors us in handling these perils and leading His church through them. As His church, especially leaders in the church, we must take careful assessment of our lives.
First, we straighten things out (verse 12). Ask, “What wrongs can we/I correct? Jesus, “…drove out all who were buying and selling.” Do what is necessary to end the lies and reinstate truth in all we do and say (Romans 1:25).
Second, establish prayer as the real source of power for yourself and the church (verse 13). “It is written,” He said to them, “’My house will be called a house of prayer.’” Make prayer the priority. Encourage, teach and exemplify its place for everyone’s life.
Next, continue to show compassion for all, even those that oppose you (verse 14). “The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them.” Determine personal and church-wide ways to meet the needs in your community.
Finally, direct all praise to God (verses 15-16). “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Be the igniter of praise. God has kindled His praise, so ignite it! Light the fire and watch it spread.
We do well to recall the message of the old hymn, “Rise up, O men of God,” 1911, William Pierson Merrill:
“Rise up, O men (church) of God,
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of Kings.
Rise up, O men (church) of God!
The kingdom tarries long;
Bring in the day of Christ-like love
And end the night of wrong.
Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod;
Led onward by the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men (church) of God!” Parentheses added.
Rise up, do with less, give your all, remember whom you serve. Bring love, end wrong, follow Jesus Christ. As we pray, He will lead us in what we are to do and say in this present darkness.
For added inspiration, read the account of King Josiah in II Chronicles 34.
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