I love the study of the Civil War. I see great bravery exemplified on both sides and admire the leadership and character and dedication. Many of these men had attended West Point together, and knew each other before the war. Stonewall Jackson was pursuing a Northern army late in the day. Some of his lieutenants suggested they wait till tomorrow to pursue further. Jackson felt it was a good time to overtake them. So late in the day, and running ahead of his own troops, mixing now with the Northern troops, in failing light, a shot rang out. Jackson had been shot in the left arm by his own troops. Robert E. Lee said that when Jackson lost his left arm, that he, had lost his right arm. Without the leadership of Jackson it would be difficult to continue a winning campaign. Jackson had gone too far; too fast.
The Corona virus caused the world to come to a dead stop. That, my friends, is an opportunity to evaluate your life before God. Politics, the media, the novelty of the virus itself, cannot take away from the fact that God is using this time to talk to you. If you are still mad that it all happened in the first place, and set your plans back, and you do not see the hand of God in it, then I have nothing else to say to you today. Go off and get yourself stirred up again; stay mad, listen to mere men act like they have control of God’s world. But there is something else you can do. Think about the statements below.
“ Nothing is more intolerable to man than a state of complete repose, without desires, without work, without amusements, without occupation. In such a state he becomes aware of his nothingness, his abandonment, his inadequacy, his dependence, his emptiness, his futility. There at once wells up from the depths of his soul weariness, gloom, misery, exasperation, frustration, despair. Sport, pleasure, entertainment and society are so often pursued not because they bring pleasure, but because they take men’s minds off themselves.”
Wow, whoever said that really knew our times. The activity of the world has gotten faster and faster! But we have surely gone too far; too fast. Real meaning and real fulfillment are sliding behind us.
Psalms 46:10 is now a joke, even to many professing Christians. “Cease striving; and know that I am God!” Patience and gentleness is considered a weakness today. Impulsiveness is hidden behind a noble idea of, “Get it done!” Like the old saying goes , “ I don’t know where we are going, but we are getting there in record time!” That attitude has all the earmarks of an addiction. A meaningless addiction!
So who wrote the above quote? When was it written? It was written by the great Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662 A.D. Yea, horse-and-buggy days!
Judgement begins in the household of God (I Peter 4:17-19). Till the Christians face these things then there is little hope for unbelievers to see Christ in us. What do they see? As one unbelieving friend said to me when I ask him what he thought of the best Christians he had seen, he said this; “ Well, they are just like me, but very nice about things. They have the same drives to look successful and have stuff. They have fit their beliefs nicely into, as a supplement, the American dream of prosperity.” About the saddest thing I have ever heard.
So is that it? The world will clearly see Christ in us if we will just be really nice? It is a lot deeper than that!
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12: 1-2.
We have to be different from the world. I have been around a lot of military people. I cannot express how much I admire their focus and dedication. For example, I can spot a Marine now in the public square about anytime and anyplace. The respectful way they speak to civilians, the way they take the back of the line and don’t act like they need to be admired. No amount of plain clothes can hide the fact that they are Marines. They can’t hide the hours and hours they have spent in training to be the defenders of this country. They suffer by having many of their rights taken away that we enjoy as civilians. How ironic that they have to be different, in that way, to guarantee our good!
Finally then, can you be spotted as a Christian quickly in this world, even though all people look about the same physically, and good social mannerisms are about the same? Your speech and actions should make people say, “ You are not from around here, are you?” It has to be, not because you come from a different part of the country, therefore you merely sound different, or look different, but because you spend time with God you have a certain glow! We are the light of the world. Light it up my friend! JWP