Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Crucible, Washington, and WalMart

Do you ever wonder if you're making progress?

How will you ever know if your faith is solid?

What 'measuring stick' will you use to determine whether or not you are being 'sanctified'--ie, made more holy?

"It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God... For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

So, how will we know?

Sometimes, it's how we act in the pressure we act when the heat is on.

     That is when we really know.

I wonder if God doesn't look at our nation like that.

How will we--as a people--react when the pressure is on.

Back in the 20s and 30s, during the Great Depression, how did people react?

I'm sure there were negative examples, but in general, the people pulled together. They helped each other. They traded and bartered the gifts, talents and goods they did have, rather than stealing the goods they did not have.

I wonder if God is going to let us experience that kind of test again. 
If He does, how do you think we will react--as a culture?

The past week, we've seen some glimpses of that.

In Washington, politicians are busy jockeying for political position and trying to score political points, incurring ever-increasing debt and making the government bigger and more powerful over us, all the while telling us that they are representing our best interests, and trying to get us to turn against our friends and neighbors, who see things differently.

At the same time, we've seen from a completely different perspective that we, the 'common people' may fail the test too--if a real test comes along.

This past weekend there was a computer glitch in the EBT system in several states. Many people found that they could not use theirr 'foodstamp' cards to buy groceries and, understandably, this made them quite anxious.

Others--for example, in Lousiana, found out the WalMart stores were letting them use theirr cards, even though the 'limit' per card was not registering.

In other words, WalMart was letting them buy as much as they wanted on their cards, even though the store, the cashier, and the customer all knew it was WAY over what they were authorized to do. In fact, according to procedure in that case, the limit is supposed to be $50. 

Once news started to spread, customers with EBT cards took to social media to spread the word. Suddenly, the stores filled with hundreds of people who emptied the shelves! Some ran up bills of more than $700 in groceries. Some customers took 10 full shopping carts out!

Why? WalMart spokesmen said that they made the decision to alleviate any stress on the EBT customers, and the situation got away from them. They called the police to manage crowd control (interestingly, it was NOT to stop the behavior). 

When the glitch was fixed, customers simply walked out, abandoning their carts full of groceries to thaw and rot. 

This leads me to ask about our culture. Is there any hope left for us?

If, when the crucible of trial is applied, we fail so quickly, what will happen when that 'glitch' lasts for a week...or a month?

“My people bend their tongues like bows
    to shoot out lies.
They refuse to stand up for the truth.
    They only go from bad to worse.
They do not know me,”
    says the Lord.
 “Beware of your neighbor!
    Don’t even trust your brother!
For brother takes advantage of brother,
    and friend slanders friend.
 They all fool and defraud ea other;
    no one tells the truth.
With practiced tongues they tell lies;
    they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
 They pile lie upon lie
    and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”
    says the Lord.
 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“See, I will melt them down in a crucible
    and test them like metal.
What else can I do with my people?

They speak friendly words to their neighbors
    while scheming in their heart to kill them.
 Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord.
    “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” (Jeremiah 9:3-9)

If God is going to salvage us, as a people--as a nation, He may just send the 'crucible' upon us. If that happens, how will we react?

As a Christ-Follower, how will YOU react?

IF, as we've been talking about in our Sunday services, your "Identity" is as a Citizen of Heaven...and IF you are dedicating yourself to "Living a life worthy of your calling", and IF you know that your strength is from the Lord, THEN you will shine like a star in the sky.

Not sure what you will do?

Do some serious business with the Lord this week and ask Him to show you who you are--at your core. Then allow Him to 'sanctify' you so that you will pass the test.

The crucible can burn you, or it can purify's up you!

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