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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: Troubled times? Seek advice from the most reliable source

Thursday, January 8, 2009

So, here we are at the beginning of another year. The Year of Our Lord 2009 is upon us and we are all wondering what the New Year might bring. In fact, I've been reading the musings of the pundits, columnists, and generic talking heads and, frankly, they all seem to fall short of saying anything new or revealing as it pertains to the economic disaster we are currently facing or the almost impossible predicament(s) we find ourselves in around the world.

I don't pretend to know more than your average Joe Journalist or Carrie Columnist or Terry Talk Show Host. However, there is one bit of truth I can share with you at this time that, if taken seriously, might just be what we need to overcome what ails us. You might call it a divine formula of sorts. It can be found in the Bible. (Imagine that!)

2 Chronicles 7:14 says "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (New International Version)

Sounds simple, doesn't it. If the people of this nation who call themselves Christians would follow this four step program, it just might make a difference.

Step One: We need to humble ourselves; to lay all that we are on the altar before a mighty God and recognize that for all of our knowledge, strength, and technology, we are still nothing without Him. We must get to that point where we know we need a divine intervention before we can receive what God has to offer.

Step Two: We need to pray. And I don't mean "now I lay me down to sleep." We need to cry out to God in anguish over what we have become as a nation and the messes we've gotten ourselves into; we need to cry out to God for an audience in His throne room. In our nation's history we have seen it time and again: God meets us where we are when we come to Him on His terms. We must learn from our own history.

Step Three: We must seek God's face. This is more than just praying. It has to do with seeking God's will in our personal lives as well as the lives of others and especially in the life of our nation in this trying hour. We must lay it all at the altar and ask our heavenly Father to show us the way and to look upon us with His divine favor.

Step Four: Repentance. The verse says we must humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and repent! This may very well be the hardest step to accomplish. Why? Because in order for repentance to occur there must first be an admission that repentance is needed. We live in a society and a nation today that says "I'm O.K. You're O.K." We label sins as merely character flaws and go on about our business as if we were indeed "right" with the world. If a problem does arise, it surely must be someone else's fault. Finger pointing is the norm and not the exception in our society. But it is imperative that we repent to gain the full value of the program.

We must also look at the fabulous promises attached to adherence to this four step program. God says that if we follow this plan, He will (1) hear our prayers, (2) forgive our sin, and (3) heal our land.

As we look back at 2008, and ahead to what 2009 might bring, it is evident that our land needs a healing. Apparently, that healing might be expedited if we would commit to following the instructions given in scriptures.

Anybody here willing make that kind of commitment?



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BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart