Peter reflects on the new year, and the need to follow God, not man...
As 2012 comes to a close, one thought is on my mind above all others – and it isn’t retirement!
No, it is, ‘Where is the world and, even more importantly, the church, going to head in 2013?’
The answer is quite simple, if we listen to ‘the Jury’ (that is, the people) - the answer, quite bluntly, is, ‘Down the sewer’. Because, if we do not look to the ‘Judge’ the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all that is in it, we are gone; there is but only one way and that is down - down to the lowest common denominator of ‘man’.
As the Lord said through Jeremiah the Prophet (Jeremiah 17:5-9), “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (NKJV)
So, if we rely on ‘the Jury’, rather than on God Himself (the Judge) we are really in trouble.
Sadly, in my humble opinion, (and I say that because I certainly do not claim to be a prophet), it is to the ‘jury’ that so much of today’s church has turned, and consequently so has our government and almost every government in the Western World.
Yet, we must listen to the ‘Judge’ in 2013 and beyond, and not the Jury.
The Judge, in His love and through His mercy, has shown us the way – from Genesis through to Revelation He has spoken – if we deny any part of His Word we become the ‘Jury’, choosing our own way, and our wicked hearts will inevitably lead us astray.
The battles we face have all been fought – the victory was won on the Cross. Truth was nailed to a tree because the jury decided, and today Truth is again being nailed to the tree of death by the jury.
As the articles we sent out before Christmas, by Murray Macleod-Boyle, pointed out, there are only two sides and we are on one or the other. If we follow the jury (our hearts and/or the people) we go against God.
This, I believe, is the great challenge of 2013 - Will we follow the Jury or God?
The answer to that question will determine what happens concerning marriage, what happens about the culture of death, in fact what happens about every issue we face as a nation, as a church, or personally in our own lives in 2013. Who will we serve – the jury or God?
I can only answer for us, in our house – to the best of our ability we will endeavour to serve God before any man. What you do is your decision.
We may not change the world – that is up to God who still controls the nations, the environment, the world, and the whole cosmos. We can only determine, by our individual decisions, whom we will serve.
Will it be ‘The Jury’ (man)? If that is our choice it will drag us, the church and the nation further down the slippery slope. Or will we choose God, the ‘Judge’, who, despite the battles that will rage all around us, will give us personal peace? While the world exists in its current form, that is the only peace we can be sure of.
So, please, choose this day whom you will serve in 2013 - the jury or God.
Just in case you’re wondering what prompted this message, it came to me during the night, as a result of an ongoing email ‘conversation’ with a young man who says he is a Christian and who is struggling with his homosexual thoughts and feelings.
I stated that homosexuality is neither genetic nor innate and his response was, “the Jury is still out on that”.
As I pondered on that statement, and not for the first time I must admit, the answer came – it is not the Jury we must listen to, it is God.
God has already spoken, but all too often we don’t want to hear what He says, we want another, easier, or less definitive answer, and while we can say ‘the Jury is out’ we can avoid the truth.
This is not just the excuse for the person struggling with homosexuality; it is an excuse we all like to use one in way or another. Satan’s first question to Eve in the Garden of Eden gave us that ‘excuse’, and he is still giving it to us today – ‘Did God Really Say?’/ While we hang on to that question we have an excuse, an escape clause led by our hearts.
But God DID really say? From the beginning of time God spoke and it was and He has spoken through His Word about every decision or issue we or the church or the world faces.
Evolution is the ‘big daddy’ of all the ‘Did GOD really say?’ questions that have, especially in recent times, led us away from the Truth because “the heart of man is inherently wicked”.
We want there to be an ‘undecided jury’ so that we don’t have be held accountable.
But God spoke and it was – HE is the Truth, He is the only way.
He has not left us with an undecided ’Jury’ for 2013, but with the TRUTH.
Action - WE must choose this day
WE must choose this day – the last day of 2012 - whom we will serve in 2013: God or the undecided Jury that is still pondering that question, “Did God really say?”