Monday, December 21, 2009

The New Year For America

As this year, 2009, comes to a close and a new one begins I, as well as all Christians, are concerned about, and pray for the spiritual condition of our country. Our country is on a face pace to destruction. At the rate that this country is going we will soon be living in a country without God. Our country has taken the attitude of: “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we may die.” God is no longer in our court houses, our schools, and our government buildings. Most of our churches compromise the word of God. This nation kills unborn baby's, condones homosexuals, lesbians, and many other ungodly sins. We have cities in this nation that are worse than Sodom and Gomorrah and we wonder why this country is in the state that it is in. All we need to do is look in God's Word for the answer.

In Psalm 9 :17 we read this "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God," during the days of Jeremiah the tribe of Judah, was a nation which had forgotten and discarded God, much like this nation of ours has now for gotten the Lord All through the Book of Jeremiah as he preached to that nation, we see a nation that was still going straight to a devil's hell. They did not heed the word of the Lord. There was chaos spreading throughout the land, corruption was widespread in government, morality constantly declining, sin and evil corrupting the people, the life of the nation and its people slowly becoming more and more hellish just like the word in Jeremiah said it would. God's word always comes to pass. We must never forget that.
In our own day, as Christians, we all know, America is a nation that is rapidly forgetting God. This nation is condoning abortions, homosexuality, and many other things such as taking God out of our court rooms, and schools. We have a president that says some of the Bible is outdated. And so, in our own time, as it was in the time of Jeremiah, we also are watching the phenomenon of a nation which has forgotten and disregarded God, being turned into hell , with corruption and sin spreading in every fiber of our country, the moral fiber of this nation's people are losing its consistency. It is coming apart at the threads, Our government is increasingly unable to govern wisely and properly, going against God's Holy Word at every turn. The very establishment of the American way of life is being shaken steadily by terror and fear. We are a nation that is torn with dissension and discord. Our nation is rent into. All because this nation is turning its back on the creator. We are being ripped apart at the seams and it is all exactly in line with the prediction of the Scriptures. What lies beyond these predictions? What can the American people expect?
There are two great truths from the word of God that we must consider as we think about these things: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt," in other words "There is no hope in man." No nation, ever, has reversed the trend of deterioration simply by trying to gather up its own resources and building up its own moral strength and, through human wisdom, work out a remedy for the reprobate mental faculty in that nation. It has never happened. America is no different. There is no hope, what so ever, in man. We must depend on God! That is a fact. Our hope is in God! The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt. We must wake up to that fact. It is God that will save this nation and Him alone.
Remember this, "There is hope in God -- And when a person, or a nation turns to God, healing begins to come back into that life whether it is a single person or a nation. Does not the Word of God tell us this very thing in 2 Chronicles 7:14:: "...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."
In Chapter 18 we have an additional lesson that we can learn from. It says this:The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words." So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. (Jeremiah 18:1-4)
Jeremiah was sent down to the potter's house, and there he saw three simple things. But these three things showed him a great lesson. The art of making a clay pot has not changed through the centuries. The wheel is now, sometimes, turned by an electric motor, but that is about the only difference. Even this is still controlled by the foot of the potter. The clay is the same as it has always been. The potter is the same, with his capable hands, guided by his intelligence, working to mold and shape the clay into the vessel he has in mind. As Jeremiah watched the potter shaping and molding the clay, he was looking at a picture of himself, and of every man, and of every nation. We are the clay. In the New Testament we have the voice of Paul in that great passage in Romans 9, reminding us that God is the Potter and we are the clay. So Jeremiah saw the clay being shaped and molded into a vessel. Then some imperfection in the clay spoiled it in the potter's hand, and the potter crumbled it up, and began again the process of shaping it into a vessel that pleased him.
Jeremiah saw the wheel turning constantly, bringing the clay against the potter's hand. That wheel is just like the turning circumstances of our life, under the control of the Potter, for it is the potter's foot that guides the wheel. The lesson is clear. As our life is being shaped and molded by the Great Potter, it is the circumstances of our life, the wheels of circumstance, which bring us again and again under the potter's hand, under the pressure of the molding fingers of the Potter, so that he shapes the vessel according to his will as to what he wants us to be. The vessel is shaped according to the image in the potter's mind.
So as Jeremiah, watched, he learned that an individual or a nation is clay in the Great Potter's hands. He has a sovereign right, as our lord and Master, to make that person or nation what he wants it to be. He has the skill and design to work with the clay and to bring it to pass. And if there be some imperfection in the clay, something which mars the design, spoils the work, the potter simply crushes the clay down to a lump and begins again to make it yet a vessel according to his own mind. In the verses which follow, this lesson is applied to the nation:
Then the word of the Lord came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will repent of the evil that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will repent of the good which I had intended to do to it." (Jeremiah 18:10)
In other, other words, this is the same lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house, applied to the nation. It also applies to this nation of ours! When the pressure the potter applies is successful in turning the clay in the right direction, the potter seems to repent, the pressure is relieved, and the clay is allowed then to remain in the form it has taken. But when something in the clay resists, the potter then seems to repent of making a vessel at all, and he crushes it into a lump, and begins again to make it yet into the vessel he desires. And this is true of our individual lives, as well as this nation. If some hard circumstance comes into our lives {and it may be there right now, or it may be just around the corner, or you may just have passed through it} that circumstance is the wheel of God, brining us against the pressure of the Potter's hand. If you do not resist, if your will does not spoil the work by murmuring, grumbling, or complaining, or feeling resentful and bitter, but you accept the working of the Potter, then the pressure is relieved, and the vessel takes shape. But if there is resistance, if the human will, like some imperfection in the clay, chooses something other than the Potter has in mind, then the Potter can do nothing else but crush it down to a lump once again and, beginning with the same lump, and he make it over into a vessel which suits his heart and mind. The great lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house was that of the sovereign control of God. He is the potter, and we are the clay. His will be done not ours! We must learn a lesson from that. Mold me and make me, Lord, to what you would have me to be.
There is a lesson in the word "repent" as it is used in reference to God. When you and I talk about repenting, we speak in terms of changing our mind. We started out to do something. Circumstances occurred which caused us to change our mind. So we then did something else. But that is not the way the word is used concerning God. Many Scriptures tell us that God never changes his mind. And though we use the word "repent" because it looks as if he has changed his mind, it does not express the thought satisfactory or in the right way. The Hebrew word used here is very interesting. It is really the word "sigh," or "heave a sigh." It can be used either as a sigh of sorrow, or a sigh or relief. The word is used both ways here in this passage. God says, "If I say to a nation, 'I'm going to destroy you,' or to an individual, 'I'm going to uproot you, crush you,' and I will bring pressure upon you to that end, if you yield to it, if you conform to what the pressure is driving you to do, then I will heave a sigh of relief."
The Lord has one thing in mind -- to make a vessel according to his design and to what he wants. Nothing will stop him because He is God. But he does not like to judge. He does not like harshness and severity and chastisement. In fact, in the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah says that God does not willingly afflict the sons of men. He takes no delight in it at all. Isaiah calls it God's "strange" work. Judgment is not according to the desire of His heart. What He is doing is bringing pressure, molding and shaping the clay, forcing it up and out and into the shape of the vessel He wants it to be, hoping the clay will conform. And when it yields to His touch, He breathes a sigh of relief: "This is enough pressure, I don't have to bring any more." He heaves a sigh of relief.
There is the self-determination of the Potter over the clay. Men make plans. God makes other plans. Napoleon had to learn that lesson the hard way. He once said, "God is on the side of the army with the heaviest artillery and the biggest army." But there came a time in his life when he was exiled on the island of St. Helena, when he said, "Man proposes; but God disposes."
"'And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life.” (Jeremiah 19:7)
These words came literally true. In but a few years the armies of Nebuchadnezzar surrounded this city, laid siege to it,Then the armies broke down the walls of the city and leveled them to the ground, so that later those passing by would whistle in amazement at the destruction which came upon this city. That is the way the world sees God right now. They see the hell which is coming into our nation, the hellish things which are taking place. And soon it will be worse, according to the prophetic Scriptures. America needs to turn back to God. There will be worse signs taking place, worse affairs among men, in which "men's hearts will fail them for fear of seeing the things which are coming to pass on the face of the earth." They will cry out against God as being harsh and ruthless and vindictive, filled with vengeance and anger and hatred. That is all the world sees.
But the people of God are taught further truth. Jeremiah had been to the potter's house. He had seen the potter making a vessel, and he knew that it was love behind the Potter's pressures, and that when the vessel was marred, the Potter was capable of crushing it down again, bringing it to nothing but a lump, and then molding it, shaping it once again, perhaps doing this again and again, until at last it fulfilled what God wanted. That is the great lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house, and that we can learn at the potter's house, as well.
One of the great lessons we can learn from the New Testament's use of the figure of the potter is in the book of Acts -- the incident when Judas brought back the thirty pieces of silver and flung them down at the feet of the priests, after having betrayed his Lord. The priests gathered up the money and took counsel together, and bought with the money a potter's field. And it was known thereafter as "the field of blood," (Matthew 27:6-10). This once again is God's wonderful reminder of the heart of the Potter. For if you watch this Potter very carefully, at work in your life, you will find that his hands and his feet bear nail prints, and that it is through his precious blood, the blood of the Potter himself, that the vessel is being shaped into what he wants it to be.
When we are in the Potter's hands, feeling his pressures, feeling the molding of his fingers, we can relax and trust him, for we know that this Potter has suffered with us and knows how we feel, but is determined to make us into a vessel "meet for the master's use" (2 Timothy 2:21 KJV). What a tremendous lesson, what a beautiful lesson Jeremiah learned at the potter's house -- one which I hope will guide us and guard us under the pressures which are coming into our lives these days. Remember, as the new year approaches, that the Potter has a purpose in mind, and the skill and ability to fulfill it, no matter how many times he may have to make the vessel over again. Let us pray that this nation will return to God so that he can mold us and make us to what He desires us to be.
My prayer for this new year is this: Dear Lord, Please mold me and make me into the vessel that you would have me to be, for your use, and above all my God please mold and make America into the country that you would have her to be.

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