by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2012
The night of October 29th the Lord woke me at 11:38pm to get up and write. When I sense a little message coming from Him and no paper is nearby, it has become my habit to thumb-type it quickly into my phone and send it to myself so that it does not become lost. On this night, the Lord would have me thumb-type non-stop for 2 hours with the message below, while Hurricane Sandy was wreaking its horrendous damage on the East Coast of the United States. Prayers continue for all impacted by this storm of historic proportions. The text which follows is about a storm of a different sort. Because of the pending election in the USA, this message has been published quickly for each of us to ponder and consider. There is no disrespect intended to those working night and day to recover from the actual Hurricane. May God bless you. May God bless all of us. ~ Elizabeth
All day it is as if there is a storm preparing to rage and now raging here. I sense it in my spirit. And yes, here in our Northern California community, about 45 minutes east of San Francisco and 1 ¼ hours southwest of the capital, Sacramento, it was 80 degrees and sunny today. Outside a full moon, called the year’s Hunter’s Moon illuminates the landscape like midday.
Yet, just like the East Coast, there is a storm raging and it is bigger than the “perfect storm” which batters the Eastern seaboard, including New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Washington, D.C. tonight.
We face the decision – individually and then nationally if we will be a nation under God again. If not, then well we can expect these storms as well as to have to stand up to the storms without God’s help because we have told Him we don’t need Him (and He has respectfully removed Himself).
What a hard reminder that we are not in control and that we cannot stand against that which God allows without Him. He created the wind and rain and He decides where the storms will blow. And despite all our exaltation of human intellect, when He sends a storm we can do small things to try to protect ourselves, yet we know we are subject to the will and grace of God if we are to survive, for we recognize the storm is stronger than we are. And we recognize that we are not in control. It doesn’t matter how much we pontificate, discuss and or exalt our own ideas…in the end we are at the mercy of forces beyond our control – but for God.
What an incredible picture of the United States as a nation before the upcoming presidential election. All along the Eastern seaboard today the message was, “Batten down the hatches; the storm is coming. Pray. Prepare. Pray.” In every state in our nation right now the cry should be the same for we face the promise of fulfillment of either blessings or curses (a storm which comes against us which will not seem as swift or kind in the end in terms of its impact on our lives as Hurricane Sandy.)
We serve an “if-then” God. If we….then He…. He is a God who comes into agreement with what we decide and allows us our consequences. Either we are with Him or against Him. He honors either.
He is all good. Therefore the consequence of having Him over us as Lord is all good. There is nothing bad in Him therefore the consequence of choosing we don’t need Him or subconsciously choosing to do without Him because we are ignoring His authority to set the way we should live will not be as we desire or hope.
For those who are Christian – how could we have gotten this far off track? We have been duped by the greatest deceiver of them all. We have become complacent and apathetic. It doesn’t matter how or if we vote, does it? It couldn’t matter how we spend our time and money? Could it? Does God care about such things?
Yes, God cares. He has always cared. It has always been a condition of His promise to protect and provide. The protection and provision are there – ongoing. They never went away. But these are “with” Him. They are part of who He is, thus when we submit to His authority in our lives and in how we choose to run our nation (pass legislation, etc.), we come under His authority and we are thus under God (and subject to all His blessings).
We did not become a great nation because of our hard work – though hard work is one of His requirements and privileges. We became a great nation because the majority recognized Him as God, sought His way, understood His Sovereignty and Almighty authority in all things, prayed and lived culturally while instituting laws legislatively in a way which honored Him as much as we knew how to do.
This is why Christians who know and have fought hard to end abortion and not allow euthanasia because they believe God is real, know He is greater than we are in every regard and know He alone is the author of life. They understand the value and importance of hard work, the responsibility of each individual to be as independent in supporting self as possible, so as not to become a burden to society, along with the simultaneous mandate to help the poor among us – not because it is a tax deduction, but because it is the right thing to do. What we have is not ours, but His.
All glory and honor to God first. Everything else follows. How would God vote? How would God live each day? For which principles in our culture would God stand strong and in which would He refuse to participate and even fight locally and be active against?
We have our priorities backwards! For many right now God comes last after we work to meet all our own needs and seek to figure out what we think is the better way. We forget: worship God (give Him the place, honor and credit He is due in our lives), seek His way and do it (to the best of our abilities), and then He will take care of everything else. It is a promise. And God cannot lie.
We say we do not know how He would handle the circumstances we face and yet He is unchanging. His way of handling the life issues and choices each person will face – even if wrapped in the particular external covering of a particular generation – does not change. In most cases, we do not know because we have not looked. He is consistent! Where He expected every past generation to put their priorities and order their lives is the same for us now.
There are life principles which reflect His way, such as the value and protection of every human life, even if it means personal sacrifice.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He promises we will have enough if we do the right thing.
We have ordered our lives for personal gain – usually financial gain as the priority, though sometimes for personal pleasure pursuits.
At its worst this is done without regard for its effect on others in a total self-focused frenzy. Often it is pursued without intentionally harming others, but in a way which is useless.
God’s way always has an eternal impact on others – an eternally good impact. There are eternal consequences which are good in our lives and the lives of others when we are following the way set before us by the Master Shepherd.
Without pursuit of a lifestyle with God’s good order, when our lives are done they are simply over. Any effect we had was temporal and passing. In the end it was as if our lives were a passing of the wind. But when we pursue life God’s way, we are part of an eternal plan by the most powerful, Supreme Being (also Creator) of the universe in the execution of His mission to restore as many people as will choose Him as Lord to an eternity spent in His presence.
This is not only good work – to be used by God for His purpose. It is the work for which we were created. We were each created to live for such a time as this and to let God use us to have His impact in the circles in which He has placed us – not necessarily because we preach well, but because we live well. Our lives are noticeably different, not because we have all the exterior right looks, but because internally – where it matters most – we have a different mindset and mode of operation.
First and foremost we are free of worry and fear of death. We know who our God is and what He promises. He is Creator, Savior and Lord. It is because of Him we have life and He alone has the plan for our lives. We understand we are His and that by His Spirit He speaks to us and leads us. We understand we do not have to focus on accumulation of financial wealth, titles, position or awards because He promises to protect and provide for us perfectly. We do not feel the need to acquire all the stuff we can here because we know it is all passing away. Eventually like our physical bodies it will turn to dust again and return to the earth.
These are just things which might provide some measure of comfort to us now, but our joy is in serving God. Our confidence and hope are in Him and while our focus is today, we know today is just the beginning of eternity for us. We understand foremost we are citizens of the Kingdom of God and under His Lordship when we came to faith in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God in Spirit and Truth, we became adopted sons and daughters of God Most High (eternal) with all the rights and privileges of co-heirs. As part of the family business it is our job to be His ambassadors revealing the different way of the King we serve and His kingdom until the day He calls us home. Death is a door, not an end.
Abundance is measured differently. We do not need piles in the bank of assets which cannot go with us. We pray, accumulating what He says each of us need, acquiring those items and experiences unique for each of us, which He will use to help us serve Him, while holding the rest with open hands to disburse or hold however, He instructs.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. All things come from Him. We are mere stewards – managers here on assignment to use, retain and disburse what He enables us to have according to His wishes, not our own. (“Time, talent and treasure” – none of it is ours. Everything is His; not just money alone.) And our God will supply all our needs in Christ Jesus!
We do not fear the storms (which are an inevitable part of life) for God is with us. He does not fail because He cannot fail and promises to use all for good on our behalf and on behalf of others in light of eternity. He takes what the enemy means for evil and uses it for good. He will never leave us or forsake us and tells us not to worry for every hair on our head has been counted. He even cares for every bird, yet says we are more important than the birds and animals.
No matter how much power, wealth or fame we accumulate, the end of physical life will come and our success in these areas is not what will be measured. Our Lord will measure if we sought more knowledge and understanding of Him as our first priority so that we could bow deeper in adoration and enter into His rest. He will measure if we sought His plan and followed where He led without worry, thereby allowing Him His place on the throne (where we acknowledge and freely give Him control over our lives). He will measure if we chose to love. Not the feel-good, ooey-gooey, emotional, temporary burst for another, but the choice to put them before self – again as His Spirit led us (for no one person can take care of all those in need in the world.)
It is for this reason He calls us His body. We each have unique roles to play. He made us each with specific strengths and weaknesses for such a time as this. We are to serve where and how He is calling. And we need each other. We cannot get along as well apart. He is calling us to choose to love and respect one another while standing for His way in our culture. He desires us to be connected, encouraging and supporting one another, choosing courtesy and treating one another with dignity in the knowledge that God loves all.
And so, here we are facing this perfect spiritual storm and many of us do not even know it. How can we prepare if we do not know we are in danger? We cannot….
Yes, our way of life is in danger. We have been a nation under God. It is questionable whether this is still the case, though there is a remnant still loyal to His way.
We have been overrun. The books of Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Psalms, Jeremiah – in fact many of those in the Old Testament – detail the difference of living under God’s blessing and not. When they did not live for Him and His way, they were overrun and the enemy came in like a flood. Where they had been safe in their fortresses, the walls which previously had surrounded them, keeping them safe were knocked down. Nothing could keep them safe when they were not under God. They were vulnerable to attack from every side.
And there are other images of the difference between living under God’s blessing or not in Scripture as well. The second image God uses over and over is that in His sovereignty if the people do not choose Him, as Provider He withholds the provision (allows economic disaster to befall the people). This is because since He enables us to have whatever we have, when a people say they do not want Him, but have chosen to believe they are responsible to provide for themselves by their own power – or they choose to attribute what they have to the power of other gods – the Lord God stops producing. In Old Testament times He stopped the rain – which is completely within His power to do and is one of those things we cannot control. Or He had an enemy take the people into captivity who had become unfaithful to Him and the crops simply were no longer cultivated.
In either case, where the people no longer treated Him as Lord and in charge, where they no longer sought His counsel or recognized what He had done, economic disaster and a time of severe lack ensued. Fields which had produced the harvests (the manner in which the people were provided for) now grew nothing, sometimes despite all human efforts. The land became barren and dry where nothing would grow – a wasteland. A land filled with thorns, hungering wild animals and nothing to eat or drink. There was no abundance, just scavenging for survival.
A season of lack. A time of economic hardship. Isn’t this what we as a nation have been experiencing? Most of us are no longer farmers. We do not grow our own food. But the effect is the same. When we have no jobs, we cannot buy what we need to survive. We cannot care for ourselves. Life is harder than when money flows freely. Though good legislation may be needed, God will not bless us with this prosperity again, allowing human efforts to have effect until we are a nation under God. He can’t. These blessings are part of who He is. They flow freely from Him to us. But when we have chosen to go our own way, we are not with Him, but against Him. And so we are not with Him. If we are not with Him, His blessings of provision and protection cannot flow to us. It is in a similar way to the laws of physics which demonstrate the causes and effects within the physical reality. This is the spiritual reality which has always been.
We have a choice to make: to choose God and His way as our way of life or not. If we choose Him, which means to be part of His Kingdom now and forever, then our lives must change to reflect Him more – not because we must but because we want our lives to be different as soon as we truly begin to understand who He is and what He promises, desiring this for ourselves.
If we continue to choose our own way without regard for Him, He will continue to remove Himself from our midst. We should not expect life to get easier, but harder. Economically we will not thrive. We can expect to be more vulnerable to enemy strategies and natural disasters. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of danger. Therefore we will not fear though the mountains fall into the sea…. (Good, accurate words from King and warrior David!)
God is our refuge-our place of safety. God is our strength – the power which enables all we do (and rest assured we must do the work He sets before us, but when we persevere in it, He will make us successful – not necessarily rich by the world’s standards but with enough to do that to which He has called us until He calls us home into blissful eternity with Him.)
So what are we to do? As in the times recounted in the Book of Nehemiah, we are to understand the urgency of the times. For instance, that the walls of God around us which have protected us are being destroyed – de-constructed by movement of our culture away from God’s way. We must worship God (adoring Him!) first in word, deed, action, attitude and song because when we worship He is put on the throne, promises to draw near, has a pattern of giving the worshippers His strategy and then when they take the courage to obey by His power, He ensures the victory. We need to seek His strategy, listen believing He speaks to us according to His promise, discern what He is saying, and then walk it out thereby step-by-step rebuilding our culture on His values.
As in the times of Nehemiah where the walls of Jerusalem, the city of God, were so broken down the workers had to each take their particular position to rebuild instead of all working to rebuild one spot together, the walls of God’s protection and provision as a refuge around us as a nation are mostly destroyed because He has allowed the attacks, honoring our choice to promote ideas which are not His way. The walls must be rebuilt by each of us choosing His way and standing up for His values in the places where He leads us. Each action and attitude which we choose that honors His way as the one true path of life adds a “brick” to the rebuilding of the walls where we will once again clearly be a nation within His refuge (under the covering of His blessing).
On a very practical level, there are specific responsibilities we have as citizens of God’s kingdom which we can no longer ignore, such as voting according of God’s priorities. We also need VOTE for the candidates who seem to most embrace God’s values running for all offices, paying attention to more than just the election for national president. Once they are in office, we must stay active being aware of and vocal about legislation pending and legislation we believe needs to be introduced. The Body of Christ has been a mostly Silent Majority the past decades while a vocal minority has been activist in pursuing establishment of their values in our society. They have made heavy inroads. Time for us to stand up and be visible and just as active in pursuit of re-establishment of God’s values.
Of course, even when we stand up for God, we stand up differently. We stand firm! But we stand firm in love and respect. There is no place for hate and anger, we are ambassadors for the eternal Kingdom of God. Foremost we are followers of Christ and we are servants of God, whose Son died for all of us, not just those who agreed with Him and who declared from the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”
In addition, we need to honor fellow believers and pray for each other, thus enabling Him to use us as living stones to build a dwelling on the foundation of Jesus Christ in which others will find His love, salvation and blessing (safety). Our prayers for one another create a connectivity between us as different yet equally important parts of His Body. The gift of these selfless prayers for one another invite a canopy of His covering over all of us and they honor Him – the One we love – as we honor each other’s different missions for our Lord, working side by side on distinct tasks yet in unity. We, the many different pieces, connected under one Head, Jesus Christ, who guides and directs each of us according to His perfect will (for we have given up our right to self and given our lives over to God for His use as Jesus did).
If we will believe, listen, persevere and move forward step-by-step, God will use us so that the storm which is raging, and the enemy at the gate will be turned away. The walls of His protection and blessing will rise again surrounding us. Our Lord will be our Dwelling Place and in Him (and His way) our joy will be complete.
The time of decision is now. Our lives are not our own. Our money is not our own. Our time is not our own. Our abilities are not our own. Our votes are not our own. We must pray individually and together to seek His will. We must call on His Spirit to lead us. We do not want good ideas – we want God ideas. We must remember Jesus’ admonition to His apostles – yes, the job He has given to our generation like each one before us is the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:19-20. BUT we cannot accomplish this on our own. God’s assignment to us of the Great Commission will only be accomplished with and according to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit on and through our efforts. These efforts must have been inspired by God, not human mindsets. God’s ways are not ours, but higher and better!
We have to get out of our business-as-usual mindsets and truly let God use us the way He wants. For some this will mean no change, because they have already surrendered all to God and are following step-by-step where the Holy Spirit leads, no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible the path. For others the change will be radical – in mindset and lifestyle.
We are being offered the freedom to see our lives from God’s perspective – from here to eternity and our eternity in His presence under His leadership has begun!
We are to each do our Spirit-led part no matter how hard it seems.
God is unchanging. He always honors our choice to be His followers or not. When we choose our own way, He does remove Himself, but even in this His purpose is to give us understanding. His mission is always and forever restoration of many of us back to Him for eternity as will turn, seek Him, repent and allow themselves to be transformed to be His followers. When He honors our decision to go our own way and removes Himself it provides an opportunity for us to experience what life is really like without Him, so that we will turn and seek Him and His way again. His love never fails.
Thus the question is whether our generation is listening yet and ready to give ourselves wholly to Him, or if we still wish to remain rebellious children with our mouths open talking as if we actually had power and our ideas were supreme, with ears closed to what He has to say and our eyes squeezed shut to the reality of His way.
Do we His hear ever-present call to stand up?