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"Understanding and Acting"
"Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32).
I just read an insightful article titled "Fast Food Church" that provides an interesting perspective about the modern church, at least here in America.
It begins by quoting 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” There is a spiritual epidemic in the United States, affecting many with its malnourished gospel message. Untold numbers fall ill from its effects of false spirituality which is being packaged and marketed as 100% pure truth.
There is an increasing intensity it seems; a sense I have in my spirit of some type of significant threshold being reached, a tipping point as some would say. I want God to give me wisdom to understand the times and know how to properly respond.
I desire to have the spiritual discernment of the men of Issachar, "who understood the times and knew what Israel should do." Issachar was one of Jacob's sons and his descendents later became a tribe which had amazingly maintained their distinct identity for some 800 years up to the time of David. This verse is found in a section of Scripture chronicling David's soldiers. Two qualities marked these men of Issachar and the special contribution they made during the time they lived. They "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."
1) They "understood the times." What a powerful statement! We are bombarded with information about the times in which we live. I can turn on the TV or sit down at my computer and instantly get an update on significant or insignificant news from anywhere in the world. But "understanding the times" is far more than this. It involves spiritual discernment. We find contemporary events interesting yet often disturbing, frightening and even potentially despairing. But the fundamental focus on properly understanding the times is a steady, growing understanding of God and His Word. "The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:5,6).
2) They "knew what Israel should do." As a result of spiritual understanding and godly discernment we need to know what to do in these times to keep our life, family and ministry on the right track. Here's a lengthy portion of Holy Scripture that I ask you to read thoughtfully and apply to your life: "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Romans 13:11-14).
A powerful apocalyptic verse at the end of Daniel states, "Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand" (Daniel 12:10).
We want to be wise in the sight of God by interpreting and discerning the mindset of our present culture with Scriptural understanding. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (Proverbs 1:7). The Life Application study notes shed further insight on this familiar Scripture: "In this information age knowledge is plentiful, but wisdom is scarce. Wisdom means far more than simply knowing a lot. It is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life. The foundation of knowledge is to fear the Lord – to honor and respect God, to live in awe of His power and to obey His Word. Faith in God should be the controlling principle for your understanding of the world, your attitudes and your actions."
We urge you to consider these qualities in your life today and pray that the Lord will help you to understand the times and show you how to remain faithful, as you press on for Christ and represent His Kingdom! Let us all be like the men of Issachar.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father of all wisdom, we who are children of the light, do not live as those in darkness. Instead You have shown us right from wrong, truth from error, and You have given us discernment to test the spirits to see that which is from You and that which is from the evil one. The foundations seem to be shaking as we are flooded with a tidal wave of twists and spins that seeks to confuse or demean the believer. We clothe ourselves daily with godly armor, both defensive and offensive weaponry since our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but rather the authorities from this world. Keep our souls untainted by the changing rhetoric and sliding standards from our decadent society as we stand against the spiritual forces of evil like the men of Issachar. Help us to walk boldly in the conviction power of the Holy Spirit today, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Be Thou My Vision" VideoSend a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.
"When It's All Been Said And Done" Video Robin Mark
"McChurch" A humorous, but sadly far too true, short video.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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