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Mass hypnosis is an amazing phenomenon, and we all seem to be experiencing it right now. We Americans appear to be hypnotized with the notion that sympathy is a substitute for action. It is not – but the delusion is killing us from the inside out.
You need to step out from the crowd, shake off the hypnotic trance that has seduced so many, and become a leader at this key time in your life, family and nation. If you don’t, you may very well be swept away. It’s time to wake up – and take action.
Imagine a family whose house is engulfed in a raging inferno. Shocked, and wanting others to recognize their crisis, the family runs frantically throughout the neighborhood, shouting, “Our house is on fire! Our house is on fire! Come and see for yourself – our home has been overcome by monstrous flames!”
“YUP, THAT’S SOME FIRE!”
The family’s social media-savvy teen decides to spread the word on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Soon, hundreds of people are following her and liking, retweeting and sharing her posts. Everyone resoundingly agrees, “Yup, that is some fire!” The news goes viral and a crowd quickly gathers at their once cozy home, now so overcome with flames that no one can get within thirty yards because of the intense, overwhelming heat. What’s worse is that the flames, doing what flames do when unchecked, have now jumped onto nearby homes, engulfing them, too. What was once the problem of a single family has now become the problem of the entire neighborhood.
“. . . the best we seem to do is resort to social media to get others to agree with our observations. We think we are so astute. I can think of at least a half dozen words that would more aptly reflect our response.”
In all the shock of what they were witnessing, everyone forgot that when the fire began it was well within their ability to put it out. It could have been doused by a simple garden hose. Someone could have used the same smart phone which the media-savvy teen used to reach out by social media – to call the doggone fire department. But the mesmerizing spectacle of the flames and the understanding that a house fire is really, really bad, led everyone to sympathize when they should have – and could have – taken decisive action. Welcome to the United States of America – a collection of broken lives, families and houses of worship.
SYMPATHY DISGUISED AS ACTION
The simple truth is that our house is on fire – yet the best we seem able to do is resort to social media to get others to commiserate with our observations. Lately, I’ve heard of calls for a rally or two with motivational speakers (who, in the end, didn’t motivate anyone to the point of action). It would be humorous to believe this was the solution if only it weren’t so tragic.
Do we really think our calls to “action” are astute? They are only calls to sympathy, not action. I’m pretty sure “astute” is not the best word to describe our behavior. I can think of at least a half dozen words that more aptly reflect our responses to our national predicament so far: cowardly, weak, fearful, irresponsible, passive and . . . disconnected.
Come on, folks, our house is on fire. It’s time to call in the Ultimate Fire Department. Merely Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming about the fire is the easiest – and most insignificant thing we can do – if all it does is help others recognize the obvious. Sympathy is no substitute for action.
THE SOLUTION IS . . .
Until we begin to cry out to God – really cry out – nothing positive will change. There is biblical precedent to reach this conclusion. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, often quoted but rarely understood, should be moving us beyond the point of sympathy to the point of action:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Yes, the above passage originally applied to the nation of Israel, but it’s moral truths are timeless, applying to any of God’s people when the hand of God seems to be against them.
Do you know what time it is? It’s time for a National Week of Repentance. What do you think? Learn more, here, and don’t just be sympathetic. Do something about it and spread the word.
Jesus continually said and did the right things at the right time to make his point unmistakable. In this amazing passage, He does it again. In this message, you’ll face the ultimate decision – the one upon which every other decision in life will be based. Find out what it is, and take your life to a deeper, higher place with God. And, share it with your friends.
God’s given you talent – it’s time you MAXIMIZE it. Ten people are each given the same amount of money to make something of their lives. What happens? Who succeeds, who fails – and why? Sellout or Sold Out? will inspire you to maximize your life for the glory of God. Click here to listen. It’s podcast 81 in our Life of Christpodcast series through the entire Gospel of Luke. It’s the Parable of the Ten Minas as you never saw it before.
It’s time to use your talent like never before – for the glory of God.
PS: Don’t forget to get involved in the upcoming National Week of Repentance. Learn more, here.
Have you sold out to something far less than God’s best?
Hot things cool down. This is true about our prayer lives. In case you’ve forgotten, being “lukewarm” about God is not good. Apart from our treatment of people, nothing reflects our love (or lack of love) for God more than our prayer lives. But we all struggle with cultivating a vibrant prayer life – and with it, love for God. Does your prayer life need CPR? Here are some suggestions I’ve learned from my own failures. My hope is that in sharing them, you may succeed.
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” – Jesus, Revelation 3:16
“. . . the best translation of the Bible is the one you actually read.”
“Prayer doesn’t make you righteous; prayer is a behavior of people who have been forgiven.”
Does your prayer life need CPR? Which one of the above tips can help you get a fresh start?
Eventually, we all meet this person. They say they know Jesus Christ as their Savior – but they never seem to walk in victory, with Jesus as Lord. They are constantly going from one person to the next for counsel, help, encouragement and inspiration – but they never seem to have anything to say that comes directly from the mouth of God. They don’t walk in victory. Why? How can a person who says they know Christ follow everyone but Christ? What about you? Are you this person? Every single one of us needs a counselor. A really, really good counselor. It’s good to read books about the Bible, and to seek godly counsel – but it’s best to go right directly to the source of wisdom – God Himself, and His teachings in the Bible. Secondary sources, while helpful in our spiritual journey, are no substitute for the counsel of God Himself.
“Are you listening, taking God up on His offer? One source of counsel creates a victorious life. All the other sources . . . will leave you wanting.”
When all is said and done, you will have either built your life on the words of Jesus, which come directly from His word, the Bible, or you will have built it upon secondary sources.
DIVINE COUNSEL FOR MERE MORTALS Psalm 119 is my favorite Psalm. It’s a real “magnum opus,” a masterpiece of heavenly insight. Though every verse within is rich, verse 24 is great to consider when it comes to who gives you counsel in the course of life:
“Your testimonies are my delight, they are my counselors.”
Who counsels you? The Psalmist explains that God, through His Word, provides counsel to anyone willing to listen. Are you listening, taking God up on His offer? Which would you rather have, unfiltered, pure counsel directly from the throne of God, or counsel that is processed, edited and watered down? One source of counsel creates a victorious life. All the others, if they are the primary places from which you get counsel, will leave you wanting.
I want to encourage you to read Psalm 119 all through this week. Take a month if you’d like. The more time you saturate yourself in it, the more you will be convinced that God is the best counselor you can ever have. He’s the best Counselor available – if only you make His Words the centerpiece of all you are and all you do.
Who is your counselor? Are you living a victorious life? It’s available if you will let God’s Word, the Bible, be your counselor.