Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Do We Remember and In What Do We Continue?

What Do We Remember and In What Do We Continue?

By Craig M. Szwed

Last night, I had a dream about an instantaneous, radical shift in the nature of the world around me. I was walking with some other people along the tops of some open grassy mountains. In the distance was a very large city on the coastline. Our view and conversations were very pleasant, as you can imagine, much like a friendly walk through the high grassy hills and mountains along the California coast, particularly in Marin County. The grand view was inspiring, with its open mountainous pastures and the vast distant sea. I felt as if I was a large part of it, yet it humbled me.

All of a sudden, volcanic smoke belched repeatedly from the center of that great seaside city. The city was
shattered and crushed by violent seismic waves. Just as swiftly as the volcano hit the city, the sea swiftly followed suit and drowned it, and all the rest of the coastal world, as the sea level rose to a new permanent depth that was 900 feet higher than it had been. My companions and I stood in shock. We could not, so quickly, absorb such a radical, sudden shift in our world, especially the vast implications of that drastic 900 foot rise in sea level. We were used to things in our world seeming to go on for decades or centuries, unchanged. While we stood there, the sea level had risen to 20 feet below us. And then, after a brief pause, it more gently surged, yet once more, and rose to lap at our toes, as if to say, "This far, and no farther, for now."

Can we, or dare we, imagine what such a violent change would bring to our ways of living? How would we be affected by a 920 foot rise in the level of all the oceans and seas of this world? Right now, those anxious about "global warming" are afraid that melting glacial sheets may cause the seas to rise by about 200 feet, forgetting that in the Ice Ages, the oceans had been as low as 900-1,700 feet below what they are now. IF present sea levels rose by 920 feet, virtually all modern societies, as we know them, would cease to exist, as they are centered on coastlines and very near sea level. Virtually all major power sources would be permanently destroyed, including nuclear reactors. Any land-based life below a current altitude of 920 feet would be drowned. What if that dream's water level is a picture for us of the next huge challenge or disaster in our personal lives, or for our towns or states, or Nation? Are we trusting God and at peace with Him, so that if we must experience the "water of disaster" come to our toes, will we, yet, trust God that the disaster or difficulty will come only that far, if even for the moment?

What a poignant and shocking reminder of my human frailty before God. Even while dreaming this dream, I was stunned by how careless and complacent I am in my life, how often I stray from God to please myself, how little attention I pay to God, how little I walk in His ways, how little I share Him and His mercies with others around me. What prompted my dream? Only God really knows, but I believe it is God's way of letting me know that I need to appreciate everything around me, especially Him, and I need to increasingly be about the work He has set before me, more diligently than ever. His ways must be shared and lived. I think that there is an vital lesson here about making sure that our faith and spiritual foundations are right with Him, as well as our political and other earthly endeavors. Our whole lives, and the lives of those about us, are affected by all we do or neglect to do. I believe that people's attempts to live by "politically correct" and worldly doctrines, instead of by biblical and constitutional Principles, can and do isolate them from our God-given moral, spiritual, and social responsibilities.

When I awakened from the dream, God's Holy Spirit encouraged me to look up the word "continue" in my Bible. Evidently, I needed to be reminded and reassured that only God and His precepts will continue unchanged in life, irrespective of my personal ignorance, desires, or expectations. I am reminded that we urgently need to learn to love the things that He loves and to spurn the things that He hates. Yes, I know the "politically correct" crowd will probably scream about my use of the word hate. They seem to think that they alone have legitimate control over the use of that word. But, they have no clue what the word "hate" means to God, or that their own unholy hateful ways are condemned, for they hate God for telling them what is right and wrong.

Too much of my life, and most of our lives, is spent trying to dictate to God how things should be. We try desperately to keep earthly, worldly things the way that they are, based on our own desires and preferences, without regard to God's Truth or constitutional truth that have been passed down to us. We are prone to selectively forget or neglect those things that we do not like.

I offer the following Bible passages in the hopes of encouraging the reader to accept and walk in God's ways, which starts with seeing things God's way, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. But, there are also other applications of these biblical lessons, in regard to our practical daily lives, especially with regard to the way we view our God-given Constitution and Bill of Rights. What do we choose to remember? Do we honor and live by Truth and God's Standard? If that dream proved nothing else, the simplistic truth of it demonstrates that all humanity shall perish if not walking in the right terrain. I am standing on God's Word and Promises. I choose to let Him live in and work through me, together, now, and for the rest of my life. Joshua 24:14-15 says, "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

The following Bible passages develop and explore the challenges that we face, what we choose to remember, to live by our faith or our flesh, and in what we decide to continue in our struggles with self, God, and Truth. I'm sure that the astute reader can easily find constitutional and political application for many of the truths in these passages. 

James 1:13-25:
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning [ed. note: there is nothing that can change God, or the truth about Him, for He alone is constant]. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."

James 4:11-17:
"Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? 13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

2 Peter 3:1-10:
"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

1 John 2:15-27:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

On what shall we stand? In what shall we trust? What shall we remember? In what shall we continue? The choice is up to each of us. Shall we trust and abide in God and our Constitution, or shall we run with the world to indulge our flesh and sin?

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