All of us have “halted between two opinions." Sometimes we cannot seem to make up our minds about a particular situation. We vacillate back and forth trying to make wise decisions but sometimes we allow other things to influence us that end up causing us to make the wrong decision. Many times those unwise decisions have serious negative consequences.

Right now we are seeing a great separation in our country. Up until maybe 30-40 years ago, in spite of our differences politically, philosophically and to some extent doctrinally, we were able to at least temporarily lay aside our personal preferences for the good of our country or our fellow citizens. That is no longer true generally speaking.

As I shared last week, I believe we are in serious times where hard decisions need to be made individually as well as looking at the direction that our country has been heading and supporting those who can make a difference with biblically-based decisions and initiatives. God is trying to get our attention and in His great mercy has allowed some of our current circumstances to shake us. The scriptures even say that God will shake everything that can be shaken, in order that what cannot be shaken will be made manifest and will remain. The Word also states very plainly that God will discipline His own sons and daughters and that He is looking for a Bride that is making herself ready for her heavenly Bridegroom. That means that the areas in our lives where there is compromise and lukewarmness need to be repented of so that we can live and walk in a way that pleases Him.

The book of Joel could very easily be written for the times we are currently in. It certainly has many parallels for today. Joel 3:14 states that there are: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Verse 16 says: “The Lord also will roar from Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and the earth will shake; but the Lord will be a shelter for His people and the strength of the children of Israel.” In the midst of all the shaking there is a place of shelter and strength for those who put their trust in the Lord.

I recently heard a minister say: “Before we can have a Great Awakening, there must be a rude awakening.” Many have likened the overall church of the last days to the church mentioned in Revelation 3 — the lukewarm church of Laodicea. I certainly couldn’t agree more from my own limited observations. In a town this size with over 200 churches, many excellent ministries and outspoken men and women in every sphere of influence, why has not our own city been transformed by the power of the gospel? What are we doing or not doing that would and should change the culture of our community in such a profound way that outside observers would know that this is a city who not only loves and honors God, but which also loves and honors our neighbors all over this community? There are modern day examples right here in our own country of that happening!

Sometimes we are intimidated by the talents and gifts that other people have and operate in. We use the excuse that we are not so talented or gifted, thereby reasoning that we can just be a part of the “home team.” However, faith without works is dead. I think that means that every one of us can demonstrate our love for God and our fellow man by being engaged on some level to make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate than we are. If we are truly going to see a Great Awakening, we must each repent in the areas where we have been selfish or wrong in our thinking and actions.

That great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, lists many of our forefathers who are part of the great cloud of witnesses because of their faith. All of them had to go through times where they had to trust that what they had heard from God was the truth and walk in obedience to that word in spite of the outward circumstances which seemed to say otherwise. A most sobering verse (15) comes right after this verse (13) that states “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Then verse 15 states: “And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.” In other words, if they had begun to dwell on the old life, if they had begun to vacillate between going forward or moving backwards from where they had come from, the Lord would have given them that opportunity to return. Some things are more comfortable because they are familiar but faith will never be developed and grow when we stay in that place of familiarity.

I want to challenge each of us to take some time and go through our personal belief system and ask ourselves why we believe what we believe? Do we compromise those beliefs when circumstances start pressing on us. Right now in parts of our country, it may not be safe for one reason or another to venture out particularly at night. Do we know with certainty that we are in a right relationship with God and with one another if we were to die today? Is our eternal destiny sure? Can we hear the Lord clearly enough to tell us specific things that may put us in a place of vulnerability? We may not be able to “halt between two opinions” much longer without the possibility of bad consequences when we make the wrong choices.

My heart’s cry for myself and for each of you, my readers, is to become so intimate with His voice that we can go into any situation with confidence, knowing that no matter the outcome, we are doing His will and pleasing Him. I want to hear His voice and then obey His directions. After all, I want to hear Him say “Well done” when my appointed time does come!

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