Faithless

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By: Susan Bea Good

“And He (Jesus) told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (Luke 13:6-9/ESV)

I wrote a short letter of resignation to my church last night. Too much faithlessness has pressed me out the door. There may not be another congregation any more faithful, but I believe I should try to find one.

For over twenty years I have taught the children in this church. Today was my last 4th grade Sunday School lesson. As I studied my Grace to You curriculum I was amazed at the Lord’s timing. I had a hard time delivering it without weeping. Here it is:

“Israel Disobeys God” (Judges 1-3)

Aim: Obey God and fear the devastating consequences of compromise.

Review: While Joshua lived the people were obedient to drive out the idolators in the land. After his death the tribes began to disobey. They failed to remove the pagan influences and instead learned to live with them and even become enriched by their presence.

Verse: “And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger.” (Judges 2:12/ESV)

Approach: How might the bad influence of others lead us into joining them in sin?

Lesson:

  1. Israel’s Faithlessness (Judges 1)- The tribes of Israel failed to obey God’s command. Manasseh, Ephriam, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali chose to do things their own way. (Proverbs 3:5-6) They decided that trusting in God was not their best option. Instead they applied their own creative alternatives and called that “obedience”…resulting in the provocation of the anger of God.
  2. God Rebukes and Warns Israel (Judges 2:1-5)- They do not repent. The Angel of the Lord (pre-incarnate Jesus) informs them of the impending punishment. “The same evil that you did not remove, but instead used for your own enrichment and even embraced, will now rule over you. The pagans you adored will become thorns in your sides, and their ways a snare to your children. You will weep with brokenness, but it’s too late!” (my paraphrase)
  3. Israel’s Apostasy (Judges 2:6-3:6)-

* Faithlessness was the heart-problem of Israel (2:6-10)

* Apostasy was the result of their faithlessness (2:11-13)

* Punishment would come from the hands of their enemies (2:14-15)

* God has pity and offers some deliverance (2:16-17)

* Israel refuses to repent (2:18-19)

* God’s punishment continues (Judges 2:21-3:6)

Summary: God’s people had a choice…it was a “binary” choice. They could faithfully follow His commands or unfaithfully vote another way. When we refuse to trust God we set ourselves (and our children) up for a lifetime of hardship. Only true repentance will turn God’s wrath back, and there is a point when His anger will not be stopped!

Application: Do you personally trust God to accomplish good with your circumstances? If not you may repent and turn back to Him.

Challenge: Ask for a renewal of faith so that you may regain fellowship with God and receive every blessing He has for you.

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Before heading to church this morning I heard Pastor Charles Stanley deliver this message about faith: https://www.intouch.org/listen/featured/a-time-for-courage-part-1

As I left church today with a heavy heart I turned on my local Christian radio WCSG to hear these three songs, which took me all the way home. God is so good!

“Lift My Hands” by Chris Tomlin  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c24En0r-lXg)

“Higher” By Unspoken (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H9SXqzs0oI)

“Eye of the Storm” Ray Stevenson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sx8wTnnfSc)

“This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to participate in it. Adonai Eloheinu!”

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No More Trusting Republicans!

chian

By: Susan Bea Good

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…” (1 Corinthians 1:27/ESV)

This election has me deeply questioning who I can trust. Since I was a teen in the 1970s one of the most important causes on my heart has been that of abortion. Forty years later I have two adopted daughters who themselves were threatened with the heinous alternative to live birth. I am thankful that it was God’s will to spare their lives and allow me to be their mother.

I hear almost daily that one reason to vote dishonorably in this election is the cause of abortion. I’m told that I can trust Donald J. Trump to end the practice. Because of this and other preposterous Trump-arguments I am finally questioning Republican leadership, and I’ve been taking more time for biblical thinking…something I highly recommend to all who desire to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Biblical thinking requires an honest heart. God’s Word is clear that a dishonest heart has been inherited by every man and woman on this earth today. Because of this, lying to ourselves and to others is a natural instinct that must be fought. It seems that few take this fight seriously.

When it comes to the battle for unborn lives in America I believe that today’s Republican Party does not deserve their status of “Pro-life.” People like me have given them decades of our time and trust while most of them have proven they are liars and will not actually go to battle for this cause…our Representatives love their personal political positions too much to jeopardize that power with such a fight!

To summarize my thoughts on this matter  I’d like to conclude with a friend’s rant. He’s a godly husband, father, Marine, and a primary ballot choice this year for Representative in his Michigan district. Jason Briscoe offers this:

“Where the HELL have all these zealous pro-lifers been for 43 years? Suddenly abortion is the most important thing?…and I am told I must vote for a man who may well destroy our country and shred the Constitution because we ‘might’ get pro-life judges?! Now, millions of dead babies later, is when you people show-up? You’re not interested in fighting for life. If you were you would have been fighting this hard all along and passed a Constitutional Amendment to solve this. Trump is your fire-and-forget missile so you don’t have to work past an election. You’re not committed, you’re LAZY!  FORTY THREE YEARS and 60,000,000 DEAD and you pathetic self-righteous bootlickers act like you have the moral high-ground as you attempt to shame the rest of us into capitulation. You were WORTHLESS to the cause before Trump, and you’ll be WORTHLESS to the cause as soon as he is elected! I’ll see you at the next election when you feel like getting off your asses again.”

Thank you Jason!

“This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to participate in it. Adonai Eloheinu!”

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An Open Letter to Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Byron Harvey

Dear Mr. Falwell,

I watched with interest your glowing introduction of Donald Trump on Monday, particularly given your admission that Mr. Trump “reminds (you) of (your) father”, because “he says what he thinks no matter what anybody cares.” I can identify, to a point: my father taught me by example to stand for truth regardless of the opinions of others (that said, were anyone to compare my dear father to Trump, I’d be tempted to deliver a punch to the mouth). Because of this, I was interested to see how you, in a position of leading thousands of young evangelical students, would speak of this man.

Mr. Falwell, you failed those students, and that very badly.

We live, as you should know, in an age of tremendous ignorance of the Bible, and you are entrusted with leading a school whose mission should be to equip young people to handle the…

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An Open Letter to Sean Hannity

Byron Harvey

Dear Mr. Hannity,

I just listened to the tirade you launched on your October 26 against people like me. You’re “pi**ed”. You’ve “had it” with those of us you call “Nevertrumper jerks”. We’re “idiots”, people who “think (we’re) freaking geniuses”, that we’re “the most principled people on the face of the earth”. You got so worked up at us idiot/jerks that you said things about us that you had to “dump” with your magic button. Then you ask, “who’s the “idiot that’s running third-party” that’s “killing Drumpf out in Utah”?”

Glad you asked, Mr. Hannity. Allow me to enlighten you in your ignorance, sir. His name is Evan McMullin, and this “idiot” put himself regularly in harm’s way as a CIA operative in some of the most dangerous places in the world. This “idiot” served honorably as House Chief Policy Director. This “idiot” has been nothing but an upstanding American…

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Last Call for Baby Boomers

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By: Susan Bea Good

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (I Timothy 6:17-19/ESV)

It looks to me that the Baby Boomers are making their final contributions to America and the world. This is the group that shopped while prayer was being kicked out of the public schools, and partied while the supreme court ruled abortion to be a constitutional right. This is also the generation bringing us Donald Trump.

At this point it is truly “pearls thrown before the swine” to continue trying to convince the Amelia-“Trump Supporter” and the Tom-“Deplorable” demographic. These folks are not wise, and have no desire to truly persevere. They refuse all information from references outside of their narrow worldview. Real life issues faced by “others” are irrelevant in their closed minds. Decidedly rigid on all subjects, they are quite sure there is nothing left to learn.

I will admit that I was taken aback this past year at these Boomers’ attitudes in regards to this election. The phenomenon of DT has revealed that age and experience can be wasted. Indeed, as the old folks like to jab, “Youth is wasted on the young,” well, I think this year we need to acknowledge that “Wisdom is not mandated at maturity.”

I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, but I choose to listen, learn, and love. Does that statement sound self-righteous? I have often been accused of that. However, those voices don’t deter me in the slightest. I hope to continue to see and serve the poor, the desperate, the abused, the struggling, and the lost. I have heeded the calls of Scripture, therefore I do not fear the future or doubt God’s sovereignty today.

Time is running out. This may be the last call for Baby Boomers to do what’s right.

“This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to participate in it. Adonai Eloheinu!”

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The Faith of Twelve Jewish Spies

ripple

By: Susan Bea Good

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward us; none can compare with You! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” (Psalm 40:4-5/ESV)

The people of Israel were faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. God’s man sent twelve into Canaan to spy out that challenge and bring back a report.

Many generations earlier God had given that land to Abraham, and through a series of sovereign actions (Joseph’s kidnaping and a subsequent famine in Canaan) the Jews found themselves enslaved in Egypt for centuries.

Then Moses was raised up as Israel’s deliverer. He led God’s chosen people to freedom and the borders of their ancestral land. Numbers 13-14 records the sending of twelve trustworthy men into danger: their task- to scope out the circumstances of the challenge.

These twelve were considered excellent men. They were elected to lead, and expected to bring back a faithful report. With the espionage complete the majority report declared that circumstances were of such a threatening nature the people should not go forward with faith in God, but instead construct a more feasible man-centered plan to enter the land another way- saying, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, remained faithful to God. They acknowledged the challenge was great and threatening, however they declared that their God was greater and able to accomplish His plan regardless of the danger- saying, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

The people chose to follow eight cowardly spies. The consensus was to forgo God’s orders to enter and take the land. Instead the people of God went their own way fearful and disobedient, which cost them their lives!

God was so angry at their lack of faith that he declared, “…none of the men who have seen My glory and My signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed My voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised Me shall see it.

Forty years later the adults of that unbelieving ancient Jewish population had passed away in the wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb would enter the land.

Refusal to trust in God for His outcome results in bigly losses. Only those who remain faithful to a sovereign God will “enter the land.”

I leave the present-day correlation to this biblical account up to the reader…

“This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to participate in it. Adonai Eloheinu!”

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I’ve Changed My Mind on Trump

foolishness

By: Susan Bea Good

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15/ESV)

Today I’ve realized that the majority of my neighbors, friends, and family are Trump supporters. It seems that my numerous blog posts, intent on exposing him as a candidate to reject, have fallen upon mostly deaf ears.

This morning I received a Facebook message from a highly respected Aunt encouraging me again to consider voting for the Republican. Her link was meant to convince me that Trump is a candidate in whom I may feel “hopeful.” I disagreed. She said, “so sorry you still feel that way”…I said, “Me too.”

This is how it’s been for months now. At this time, as far as I can tell, there are literally three people in my immediate family, a friend from high school, one man at church, a couple of friends on Facebook, and very few pastors and commentators that are still standing firm to never vote for a candidate as bad as Donald Trump. It’s getting lonely!

The most reliable polls and honest strategists are still predicting that Hillary Clinton will win this contest. I’ve stated all along that I believe if she’s still breathing on election day she will become President. Yet, this morning I have changed my mind.

I’ve realized that the Trump-is-savior attitude in the “Christian” community is so distasteful to God that He must judge the nation.

Yesterday was the Franklin Graham prayer rally at the capitol steps here in Michigan. This ministry’s national focus is to convince the Christian community to turn to God in personal and national repentance so we may receive God’s blessings once again.  Since there is so much evidence that this community is not repenting, but in fact wholeheartedly embracing idolatry, how can God spare us any longer from His judgment?

At this point I have realized that Donald Trump, though the numbers still show he will lose this election, will be the 45th President of the United States. Yeah-Trump 2016!!

And then what? Will his generals literally tie his hands so he can’t push the nuclear buttons? Will Phil Robertson publicly baptize him? Will Paula White teach him to pray in tongues?  Will his business advisors force him to make us all rich and “great again?” And who will duck tape his mouth in an effort to hide his vast ignorance?

No, I think President Trump will soon prove to be the terribly foolish man that he has been for most of his seventy years. He himself said that he hasn’t changed much since he was five years old.

If Hillary wins there is a chance for national repentance. But if Trump wins, and does what I think he’ll do- rule as an ignorant, selfish, dictator- there will be self-destruction on the Republican side.

And so it is with sadness that I must reveal that I believe Donald Trump may indeed become our nation’s next President. The discipline and correction of the Lord is sure to follow.

“This blogger’s hope is to be an encouragement to faithful Christ-followers as they recognize God’s Big Picture and purpose to participate in it. Adonai Eloheinu!”

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