Judgment of the Unreformed Church

The word reform denotes a change from one way of life to another way of life.  The book of Jonah depicts the true nature of reformation in the most universal sense.  There may be a few preachers who talk about reformation, but they do not appear to take reformation very serious.  When they do talk about reformation they are often concerned with constraint and circumscription’s that limit reformation.  Let me make it clear that when I use the word reformation, I have biblical reformation in mind.  Biblical reformation is the discovery or either the recovery of biblical truth.  Since reformation is the recovery of biblical truth, we should hasten to bring it about.  Recovering the truth of the law and gospel is ultimately important for the survival of the church, because such recovery integrates dignity and moral standards.

Look at the little ones among us.   While some of us are getting ready to die, they’re getting ready to live.  What will we devolve on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren if we do not seriously and sincerely seek reformation in the church, thus affecting every area of life including our religious, familial, social, economic, and political lives?  An insincere reformation is no reformation at all.

The book and life of Jonah reflect the principles necessary for reformation in the church that will lead to reformation in the culture. Being reformed by the Word of God is necessary to grasp the substance of life and eternity.  To ignore reformation is dangerous indeed, because without reformation God’s wrath will be provoked.

Deuteronomy 4:25 – “When you begat children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, an do evil in the sight of the Lord your God to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day. . .”

Doing evil provokes God to anger. From 1450 B.C. to 600 B.C. the people of God provoked God to the point that His glory departed from the temple in Jerusalem.  It was symbolic of God’s favorable presence leaving the people that professed to believe Him.

The people in Sodom tried neutrality.  It didn’t work.  When the wicked men of Sodom were told of the eminent destruction they just couldn’t believe it was true.  The nearness, the uncertainty, greatness and eternity of God’s punishment and wrath doesn’t seem dreadful or miserable for the unreformed man.  Natural man cannot be reformed and wicked men will not be reformed, but those whom God has called to Himself can and must seek reformation.  The choice is simple:  reformation or judgment.

The reformation in Ninevah was not permanent.  Every generation must seek reformation according to the Word of God.  It was for that reason that the 16th century Reformation reformers used the Latin phrase:

“Ecclesia reformata semper est reformanda”

“The church (being) reformed (by the Word of God) is always reforming”

Every Christian and every generation must rediscovery the truth of the Word of God, so the beauty, majesty, and dignity of God will be evident in the church.

After Jonah’s personal reformation he went to preach reformation to the whole city of Nineveh or to put it in other terms Jonah preached to a culture unfamiliar with the true and living God.  Jonah went through the streets of Nineveh preaching a very simple, but very persuasive sermon: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Apparently Jonah’s preaching was very powerful and very convincing, because the whole city repented in sackcloth and ashes.

The repentance at Nineveh was universal and was occasioned by their faith in God.  The unexpected, but sudden reformation at Nineveh began with the people and very quickly reached the heads of state.  The undeniable truth from the book of Jonah is that the reformation at Nineveh saved that city from God’s impending judgment.  “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;  and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them and He did not do it (Jonah 3:10).”  The sinful people at Nineveh were about to have the wrath of God poured out upon them.  But God showed mercy after the people of Nineveh were reformed.

What we learn from Jonah and Nineveh is that reformation and the people turning from their evil ways averts God’s threatened judgment.  Not only from Jonah,  God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah and said, “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it (Jeremiah 18:7).”

God not only calls the church to reformation, but God calls nations to reform. The church should be the light on the hill. Once the church has recovered the truth of God’s grace, the church must then take that truth to the culture.  Our present national sins should be of great concern to the church.  Today God’s people feel the threats of every international, national, and local crisis that erupts.  We sense the coming economic calamity.  We see the moral catastrophe that accompanies a form of godliness among so many professing Christians.

The people of Nineveh believed the Word of God.  This is the central principle of reformation “they believed the Word of God.”  Then they fasted.  Like Jonah, you’ll have to experience personal reformation first.  Rediscover God’s truth.  The light of God’s truth will light up a passion for reformation that will work itself out as a revival.

The well intentioned Christian may say:  “We know of God’s impending judgment, but preaching God’s judgment will chase people away and we’ll never get to save them.” It is correct that the church cannot save anyone. God saves and He uses His word to convict sinners of their sins.  When the “Lord opened her (Lydia’s) heart to heed the things spoken” she was able to believe and seek reformation from the written Word.

The majority of the church and most of our nation has not given attention to the terrible threats of God.  A few sermons have been preached about reformation and the imminent dangers if the church continues unreformed.  Those sermons have largely been ignored.  God is angry with the gross hypocrisy and the great heresies that plague the professing church.    The church will do well to listen to God’s threat of judgment.   The church will do well to cut out all the talk about reformation, and stop amusing themselves with egocentric worship.  Useless talk and self-worship will find its end in God’s judgment. The present unreformed church simply refuses to preach the simplicity of God’s grace, man’s sinful condition and in particular the doctrine of God’s salvation.

The church must recover the full counsel of God for reformation in the church extending to the culture.  Judgment of the unreformed church may be prevented, if the church will:

  • Seek God’s counsel from His Word
  • Hide God’s Word in the heart’s mind
  • Declare God’s Word without shame
  • Delight in the Word of God and never forget it

Reformation is the recovery of biblical truth.

Natural man cannot recover biblical truth.

Wicked men will not recover biblical truth.

God’s covenant people are the only instruments of reformation.

Will we do any less than the Ninevites?

Will we believe?

Will we repent?

If so, God may relent from the disaster that is coming upon us!

What Does Your World Look Like?

In your community, town, state, and nation, there are embedded worldviews. A worldview helps you identify the way you understand life. Principles, good or bad, build and express your worldviews. Dr. J. P. Moreland explains the nature of a worldview:

A person’s worldview contains two important features. First, it includes the set of beliefs the person accepts, especially those about important matters such as reality, God, value, knowledge, and so on…[and] a worldview includes the rational structure that occurs among the set of beliefs that constitute it. (Kingdom Triangle, by J. P. Moreland, p. 33)

Worldviews are formed and confirmed by the way a person interprets the world around him or her. Christian worldviews derive from truth, because God is truth. Ungodly and unbiblical worldviews are derived from falsehood (lies) articulated by Satan, the father of lies. It only takes one step to turn a legitimate discipline in life, like being human into a worldview, which then turns into a false god. To put it another worldviews may become your object of worship.

The easy way to identify and express worldviews is the “ism” attached to the end of a noun. When the noun forming suffix, “ism,” is added to the end of a noun, it describes an ideology or a way of life. Christians should have some knowledge of how the various “isms” affect them corporately as a church and individually as Christians.  It is the duty of Christians to formulate a worldview that places the God they worship in the centerpiece of their thinking. It is a way of life that has ultimate value for you, your community, your town, or your nation. When the majority assume a worldview, it is “the dominant worldview”.1 The following worldviews are mere samples of many used in modern/postmodern culture.

Theism is the fundamental worldview of the Christian religion.  Theism is the worldview that acknowledges our relationship to God in a personal way and further that God’s nature and character is what is claimed in the Word of God.

Humanism is contrary to theism. A brief description of humanism: “Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values” (American Humanist Association). An ancient Greek philosopher named Protagoras has given the modern humanist a motto:  “Man, the measure.”  Protagoras believed that man was the measure of all things.

Secularism is the most misinterpreted worldview. The root of the word Secularism is derived from the word secular.  The word secular describes the here and now. Secular is actually a good word because we all live in the here and now. However, when you turn it into a worldview it means, “Live for today, because there may not be a tomorrow.”  Secularism is probably the most influential worldview and is in direct opposition to theism.  Theism places the importance on the sacred rather than the secular, the divine rather than the human, the truth rather than expedience, and the good life rather than the happy life.

Naturalism is the worldview that denies the existence of a theistic God.  Naturalism believes the Universe is natural and energy and matter is the substance of existence.  Naturalism denies the spiritual nature of man.  Humanism, secularism, and naturalism are contrary to thesim and supernaturalism.

Individualism is the worldview that produces irresponsible and mass confusion in the church and in the culture. An individual person is a creative work of God.  However, when the noun forming suffix, “ism,” is added to the word “individual,” it describes an ideology or a way of life.  Individualism may become a false god to the individual.  The philosophy of individualism places self at the center of life. “I am and there is no one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:10).

Statism is the worldview that gives the state all sovereignty and authority over its “collective equals.”  Webster defines it as “the principle or policy of concentrating extensive economic, political, and related controls in the state at the cost of individual liberty.”  The state then becomes the savior of those collective equals. Statism recruits egalitarianism as an accompanying worldview.  Egalitarianism is the worldview that claims all people are equal.  Allan Bloom in his book, The Closing of the American Mind, reasons that, “Although every man in a democracy thinks himself individually the equal of every other man, this makes it difficult to resist the collectivity of equal men.”  This however, is another danger in our American democratic system.  The result of two centuries of American democratic federalism has produced the statism of our present day. This is one of the most influential worldviews in the United States.

Victimizationalism is a passive worldview that was popularized by an unbiblical therapeutic generation accompanied by a litigious society.  It is a worldview void of any biblical understanding.  The basic assumption behind victimizationalism is the goodness and worth of self.  It is built on the unbiblical notion that “I am and there is not one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:10).  This unbiblical destructive worldview essentially says, “When something bad happens to me it is the fault of someone else.  On a practical level the alleged victim says, “Since it is their fault, they must pay me some money.”

Feminism was born at the feet of egalitarianism, individualism, and statism. The fundamental ideology is that women have equal rights, the same rights that men have as a secular worldview. If taken to its logical end, it would mean that women desire to dominate men. Now, where did that come from? Maybe from the mouth of God! “To the woman he [God] said, ‘I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you’” (Genesis 3:16). As punishment for breaking God’s covenant, Eve the woman would desire to control Adam the man. It has been part of the old man (sinful nature) since the beginning.

There are many more worldviews, but the real question is, which will your choose? There are plenty of ungodly worldviews like pragmatism, consumerism, sophism, deism, hedonism, narcissism, relativism, utilitarianism, and multi-culturalism; Just to mention a few of the most popular false gods. Three letters, “ism,” may lead a professing Christian down a destructive path. Look and listen for “isms” then do a little research and study the whole counsel of God, because there you will find the truth.  Christian worldviews derive from truth, because God is truth. Ungodly and unbiblical worldviews are derived from falsehood (lies) articulated by Satan, the father of lies.

1. The Dominant Culture: Living in the Promised Land

Egalitarianism and Racial Ignorance

The classical meaning of race and racism has been practically effaced by the literary jargon of the 19th and 20th century. The common use of the word race allegedly refers to a class of people related by blood, ethnic similarities, traditions, et al. It has become a common practice to add the English suffix “ism” to caricature a word to the degree of a world and life view. Then racism becomes a term meaning the supreme exaltation of a race of people. The consequence would be the hatred for a different ethnic group. The imago Dei (the image of God) is a natural resident for all human beings according to Christian theology. R. L. Dabney’s Systematic Theology posits, “we learn that man, unlike all lower creatures, was formed in the ‘image of God – after His likeness.’  The general idea here is obviously, that there is a resemblance of man to God.

There is a certain ubiquity associated with the term racism.  To show the shallow rational and mental effort put into defining words we only have to turn to Webster’s Dictionary.  It describes racism as “a belief that human races have distinctive characteristics that determine their respective cultures usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.”  Then Webster defines race as “a group of persons related by common descent, blood, or heredity.”  According to Webster there is a difference in races when using the term “race” but when using “racism” the subjectivity shifts only to “a belief” that there are differences in races.  God created one race, the human race, but because of sin they are divided into various ethnic groups. The mass media, powerful politicians, and elusive educators have successfully duped Americans into believing that definitions to words are unnecessary.  We live at a time when ignorance hides under the charm of scholarship and true education is condemned by uneducated scholars.  Anti-intellectualism has been crowned queen of the public square.

The greatest gift God gave the human race was a rational mind.  (Please note:  The greatest gift God gave the children of God is the grace of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.)  An uneducated man may use his rational faculties.  However, an educated man may suppress his rational faculties.  An uneducated man may employ principles of logic while the educated man may employ the principles of confusion.  We have cultural elites treating words with contempt and stirring up confusion.  The sad effect will eventually show its face.  One day people will learn, maybe too late, that words are meaningful.  Then many will look back and realize theological and philosophical principles relating to life and culture should not have been ignored.

The contemporary church has adopted the imaginary assumption that God ordained an egalitarian undefined people called human beings.  In so doing the church ignores the basic principle of taxonomy found in Genesis chapter one.  God not only classified His creation, He ordered the division of nations, boundaries, and an inheritance by separating them into their various lands (Genesis 10).  They were nations with various ethnic and cultural distinctions.  When we avoid the distinction of nations, ethnic groups, and cultural milieus (popularly misinterpreted as racism) we promote the sin of egalitarianism.  I need only to remind you that the amalgamation of the races was a sin against God (Genesis 11).  The Bible teaches that it is a sin to despise or hate another person for any reason, especially because of their natural birth.  The sin is not “racism” but that of pride, envy, and murder.  It is humanism that has reversed God’s plan.  It is humanism with its beloved children (multi-culturalism, despotism, and the one world order) that say “let us build ourselves a city and a tower reaching to the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves.”

The passion of every human being is the desire to be equal to God. It began with the first two people representing the human race. They were charmed with the idea they could “be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Natural man says, “I am and there is no one else besides me” (Isaiah 47:10). Egalitarianism is a world view popularized by the war cry of the French Revolution, ” Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” Egalitarianism or the rarely used term, ultimate equalism, is wicked to the core. The human race is only equal in terms of, “all are sinners.” R. L. Dabney rightly declared, “The extreme claim of equality is false and iniquitous.  For out of the wide natural diversities of sex and of character must arise a wide difference of natural relations between individuals and the State.  To attempt to bestow identical franchises upon all thus appears to be unjust, and, indeed, impossible.” There are universal natural distinctions found in human beings.  However, he also believed “There is a natural moral equality between all men, in that all are generically men.  All  have a rational, responsible and immortal destiny, and are inalienably entitled to pursue it;  all are morally related alike to God, the common Father; and all have equitable title to the protection of the laws under which Divine Providence places them.”

I pray that the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit may reach the hearts of those professing Christians who have adopted the modern concept of rationalism and the postmodern concept of subjectivism.  I pray they will adopt the Word of God to understand life and faith. May we all agree with the inspired words of the Psalmist:

“Give me understanding according to Your word”

“Deliver me according to Your word”

“Teach me Your statutes”

“For all Your commandments are righteousness.”

Psalm 119:169-176

How to Win Friends and Influence People

  1. Don’t insist on telling the truth on every occasion
  2. Don’t insist on preserving a man’s good name
  3. Don’t insist on keeping promises
  4. Do be willing to hide the truth if it benefits your cause
  5. Do be willing to tell a lie, even if it hurts another person
  6. Do be willing to flatter someone to accomplish your goal

The above six points may win alleged friends and may influence someone, but the six points are ungodly and anti-Christian.

In a society consumed by postmodern rhetoric the ninth commandment, “Do Not Lie” does not fit into the new reality agenda. Friends may not harmonize with the truth; therefore, telling the truth on every occasion may result in a loss of friends.  However, Christians do not have a choice between friends and truth.  The ninth commandment requires a person to tell the truth about his or her  neighbor.

I have alleged that the world of communication technology has changed the way people think.  It has been said that we are living in the fastest age in human history.  We know that time is not relative.  The measurement for time is consistent.  There are 60 minutes for each hour, etc and it always has been.  What is different is what we can accomplish in those 60 minutes compared to a few generations ago.  For instance, no one would travel very far out of the community for regular worship services and church related activities.  Now days it is not uncommon for people to drive to different towns or communities to associate with a local church.  Human history is moving at the same pace it has always moved.  However, with the speed and flow of information, the acquisition of information is faster than it has ever been before.

Telephone (FAXs), radio, television and computer networks have greatly enhanced the ability to instantaneously communicate ideas. We must not denigrate the positive dimensions of electronic communications, but on the other hand, we must not ignore the negative factors of electronic communications.

Radio has a variety of music, talk shows, preachers and teachers with their own programs.  Many of them promote anti-intellectual agendas with a wide variety of very different biblical doctrines.  Television, video, and smart phones have the same influence, but the visual elements corrupt or maybe even destroy the thinking process.

On top of all this, we live in the postmodern era.  Many Ivy League colleges teach literary deconstructionism as the accepted method for interpreting human language.  Deconstructionism teaches that the author uses words to compose a literary piece, but those words are meaningless to the recipient until someone deconstructs the words and gives them meaning.  This means there is no absolute truth for any written communication. To put it another way the author had no real intention to convey absolute truth with the words.  The ninth commandment must be understood based on two inseparable biblical concepts.  They are human communication and truth.

Why are professing Christians becoming less inclined to believe in absolute truth?

They are disinclined to believe the first eight commandments.

They are inclined to believe there are many gods.

They do not believe the true God requires true worship.

They do not have the proper reverence for God.

They do not work and worship according to God’s commandments.

They do not respect the authority of God.

They do not value life or property.

They do not place any value on truth.

Most of what Christians read, hear, and see is fantasy, therefore the truth of reality does not satisfy the human lust for power and excitement.

The doctrine associated with the ninth commandment is derived from the whole counsel of God; it is exceedingly wide and very deep.  There are two doctrinal principles derived from a study of the ninth commandment.

The first principle is that where there is a lie on the tongue, Satan is in the heart.  Professing Christians allow Satan to deceive them into believing that truth is relative to circumstances, conditions, and cultures.  Christians who reject the truth will be drawn into the vortex of Satan’s lies.  For too long truth and error have slept comfortably in the same bed.

The second principle is that for those who have violated this commandment, there is refuge in the righteousness of the one who is the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. Run to Him, confess, repent, ask forgiveness and be restored into the joy of God’s saving grace.

You may deceive people and allegedly win friends and influence people, but God cannot be deceived and He will never be influenced with lies.

No Men In Israel

You may deny reality, but you cannot hide reality.  Our nation is seriously divided along racial lines, economic factors, religious belief and many other world and life views. The marriage institution is the most dangerous division of all.

Marriage is a divine institution originating within God’s covenant with man at creation. God ordained it in the perfect world before sin entered into the world. To understand this institution properly there are chronological factors that must be applied to the logic of the institution.  Man, a male being, was created first.  God created man to have dominion by the labor of his hands and the propagation of his own kind.  Since man was alone, he had no mutual help to fulfill the covenant responsibilities.  God provided the woman, one of man’s own kind, for mutual help.

God created a male and female human being that constitute a married couple (See Genesis 1:27).  God’s plan for marriage includes order and harmony.  The Lord said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18).  Although there are several renderings of the phrase “helper comparable to him”, the essence of the text is that the woman is just right for the man.  The woman made man complete.

After this remarkable creation, God brought the woman to man, thus forming the divine institution commonly known as marriage.  Marriage is an ordinance of God’s creative work.  Marriage is not a sacrament and marriage, as an institution, does not belong to God’s redemptive plan.

Now we have to ask:  what happened to this divine institution?  Sin entered the world.  Sin does not change the fact that God ordained marriage and therefore God must regulate marriage.  In fact, sin is all the more reason that marriage must be God regulated.

A careful examination of the Word of God will reveal the fundamental principles necessary for a biblical marriage and therefore a biblical family.

Marriage is honorable.  Hebrews 13:4

The woman is necessary for the man. Genesis 2 and 1 Corinthians 11:11-12

The man is the head in marriage.  1 Peter 3:1-7;  Col. 3:18;  Ephesians 5:22

The honor and necessity of marriage is rarely questioned by any culture, because in most cultures males and females marry.  In most cultures the government of the marriage is closely defined.  In America, that is not the case.

The western culture has three kinds of government in the marriage:

The husband is manager

The wife is manager

The husband and wife are co-managers

Which do you think is the Biblical form of marriage management?  The model is the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In the Trinity, it is clear from the Bible that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit work in perfect harmony.

Unfortunately, when the husband does manage he often acts like a tyrant.  A tyrant exercises authority, headship, and makes decisions, but what motivates the tyrant?  Is it love or justice?  The answer is no, no.  A tyrant cannot exercise justice because he is motivated by his egocentricity.  I expect much of male headship in the home is tyranny.  The godly biblical prescription is dismissed as impossible in our permissive society. Feminism is the present day view of women ruling in the church and state. I’m not making any accusations because self-professing feminist claim feminism as their world view.

The authority of the man in a marriage relationship begins with the primary duty, which the Bible describes as love.  Sentiment is not love.  Sentiment is ones opinion or ones feeling toward someone else.  Spontaneous sentiment is not biblical love.  In a biblical marriage sentiment diminishes as love increases. The husband loves his wife with an overwhelming love and the wife submits to his godly leadership. Harmony and order prevail until the charm of Satan enters into the relationship.

The biblical illustration I use in my book, The Dominant Culture, may be helpful. The context is the nation of Israel during the period of the Judges.

The Bible states the children of Israel were harshly oppressed.  During this oppression and suffering you would think that God would raise up a deliverer or a savior for the people.  God raised up two deliverers, Othniel (Judges 3:9) and Ehud (Judges 3:15).  When Ehud died the people of Israel, “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Even though God’s children were “harshly oppressed,” the Bible does not mention their plea for help or that God raised up a deliverer.  The Bible does not say that God raised Deborah to Judge Israel; it simply says, “Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time” (Judges 4:4).  The nation of Israel found itself without a man as a Judge.  The nation of Israel was uniquely a church/state ruled by God’s appointed servants.  The assertion that there were “no men in Israel” does not mean that some male human beings did not reside there, but the Bible makes it clear there was no male leadership in the church or the state.

The remedy for the breakdown of the biblical marriage institution is to follow the biblical principles for all of faith and practice. The great danger for our church and nation is  “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” It is never too late to say, “we will follow the Lord.”

God’s Promise

After my conversion to Christianity, late in life, I wanted everyone to know the forgiveness, acceptance, and peace I experienced from God’s saving grace.  The Christian experience was not a fantasy.  I knew that my experience was grounded in reality.  What I did not know was whether or not God’s promises were applicable to me?  What about Joshua?  Did he know that God’s promises were applicable to him?   What about you?

Immediately following the transition from Moses to Joshua God made a promise to Joshua.  God said, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5).  Wow!  You mean God said He would never leave or forsake Joshua.  Yes, not only Joshua, but God also makes that promise to you.  God’s children need to be constantly reminded of God’s presence.  As you face the transitions of life, the assurance of God’s presence and His promises will sustain you.

Think back through this past week or this past year.  Did you encounter some bumps in the road?  Maybe a death in the family, a serious illness, a financial setback or at the very least a flat tire which made you late for an appointment was a bump in the road for you.  Was God with you through the transition?  Sure He was, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  Joshua was reminded of the previous faithfulness of God.  God was with Moses during some difficult transitions and Moses was aware of God’s presence.  How many times does Moses refer to “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?”  Too many to mention, but the point is that God is not just the God of three generations.  He is the God of all generations.  It was a reminder to Moses that God was with all previous generations, because God is an eternal God.  The eternality of God is our benchmark to look back and see how God carried us through the transitions of life.

We live in a fast paced world, a technical world, and an image producing world.  These characteristics do not serve well to remind us of God’s presence.  So, you may ask, how can I be reminded of God’s past faithfulness.  More particularly how will God’s past faithfulness affect my present circumstances?

Make sure you have a favorable relationship with God. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “believe and you will be saved.”  Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to follow the ways of the Lord. Read the Word of God.  You cannot and will not ever understand God’s promises unless you read the Bible. Read church history and don’t think for one minute that you will not be as spiritual as the next person.  God’s promises to help us during the transitions of life are evident from reading church history. Two thousand years of church history reveals God keeping His promises and man breaking his promises.  The failure of the evangelical church to teach church history within the agenda of Christian Education robs Christianity of the great revivals and reformations.  To ignore nearly two thousand years of church history will create a vacuum in the demonstrated promises of God.  Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of seeing how God has provided for and protected His children throughout the history of the church. God’s faithfulness is evident every day.  And for sure, ponder those transitions you experienced and overcame by the grace of God!  Write the transitions in a journal, because next week, next month, or next year you will need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness.

Most of us make it through transitions and say, “thank goodness it’s over.”  During my undergraduate work at Columbia International University, I had the opportunity to become friends with many married students.  A married student with a couple of children taking a full load was likely to face financial difficulties at one time or another.  I remember one student telling me that he was thankful for God’s gracious hand as he went through some difficult times.  We are all thankful for God’s gracious promises, but most of us often face transitions with uncertainty about the future.  Do you sometimes have that feeling that the road up ahead has some big bumps?  Do you wonder how you will make it over those bumps?

God told Joshua, “I will be with you.”  The Hebrew verb translated “will be” refers to a future action as good as accomplished.  It’s like your favorite basketball team leading by thirty one points with only thirty seconds left in the game.  You could say “we’ve won the game.”   When God called Moses to the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God promised “to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land” (Exodus 3:8).  God’s plan did not change no matter how many transitions the Israelites faced or how difficult they may be.  For the Israelites in the Old Testament and the Christians in the New Testament, God’s great promise is His special and gracious presence.  During the teenage years there will be an outburst of transitions.  As teenagers become young adults new responsibilities bring more transitions.  When a single person becomes engaged and marriage takes place, then you have life transitions.  If your un-married daughter announces she is pregnant, your homosexual son comes out of the closet, or you lose your mate, then you are facing those transitions in life that you thought would happen to the other person.  When the transitions come, and they will, remember God’s past promises are also future promises.  Trust Him today for the rest of your life.  The words of the Psalmist are present tense as he says “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God” (Psalm 25:1,2).  The Psalmist also looks to the future with positive expectations as he says “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).