Canaan’s Rest represents a quiet place “set apart” for the purpose of hearing God's voice, growing in intimacy with the Lord, and being renewed in soul and spirit.

Month: April 2020

Great Awakening

Recently, prominent political science scholar,Charles Murray, who happens to be an agnostic, gave an interview in which he speculated that America will unlikely survive without a revival of the religious values that the Founders depended on to undergird the American Experience.  

“The founders ……..were all nominally Christians,” observed Murray.  “But they were absolutely, emphatically agreed that you cannot have a free society with a constitution such as the one they had created unless you are trying to govern a religious people. If you do not have religion as the controlling force, then the kinds of laws we have could not possibly work.”

Without religion there is no “intrinsic motivation” for people of behave morally.   Murray goes so far as to hope for another “Great Awakening.”  He notes, “we’ve had three of them at least, maybe four – [which] had very good effects.  Those changed the behavior of the population in very positive ways. “

America, in Murray’s opinion, is “like the cartoon where the coyote is chasing the roadrunner and runs off the edge of the cliff and continues running without a problem for a while and then suddenly realizes where he is.  He goes crashing to the ground.  We have run off the edge of the cliff and we’re still running great.  It’s not going to last very long.  Decades.”

He give this exhortation that all Christian should hear and take to heart. “You can’t manufacture great people, male or female, just because you need it.  You can hope that the occasion give rise to them.  But it is hope, not a plan.”

These words should be like a trumpet sound to men.  “Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming.  It is close at hand” (Joel 2:1). The last words from Mr. Murray are a call for men to reproduce other men for the days ahead. 

I identify with Tony Evans and his call for “Kingdom men.”  They are men who consistently operate under the rule of God in their lives.  The invasion of the virus is, in Evans’ view, “an opportunity to call men back to what God wanted for men when He created them.” 

Evans is encouraging men who understand the true definition of manhood to mentor other men, teaching them to become who God created them to be.  He refers to Acts 3 where Peter and John healed a man who had been paralyzed since birth.  “If you’re a lame man, you need a couple of men in your life to pick you up,” he points out. “If you’re not a lame man, you need to be picking someone else up.” 

Many men today are not able by themselves to brake free from the shackles put on them by the whole notion of “toxic masculinity.”  They have lost there sense of identity as a man.  Evans call for the rising of kingdom men.  We need to come together. 

This blog site is a small sample of the trumpet being heard in the land.  Men are waking up.  There is an invasion of “invisible” enemy characterizes as the Father of lies (Satan) attempting to take men out.  “Satan is determined to undermine men,” cries Evans.  He wants to “destroy their God-given roles, and re-define the biblical definition of manhood because he wants to see the family unravel and society crumble.” 

Men, find others who are willing to stand with you. “In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of his [boundless] might” (Eph. 5:10 -amp).

 

    

 

Shelter in Place

Who would have ever imagined that the whole nation would be under a “Shelter in place” mandate, which could last at least another month.  Only a month ago we were free to go about our business.  Now men reading this blog are confined to their “shelter.” 

It reminds me of Is. 26:20, “Go my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hid yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.”  We might not be facing the wrath of God, but we are being told to “shelter in place.” What can God be teaching us as we learn to stay home.

The Psalms repeatedly make reference to our shelter with the Lord.  Ps. 91:1 in the amplified reads, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].  In Ps. 61:4 we read, “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” In Ps. 27:5 the Palmist confidently declares, “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”

Each of these Psalms point to the Lord protecting those who are in his shelter.  The Palmist prays in confidence for the Lord to grant rest and security, providing a refuge and hiding place.  Men, that is what God wants to do for you and your family during this time of “exile” in our homes. Here are some thought about this time of being “sheltered in place.”

First, take responsibility for providing spiritual protection for your family. This means like myself, you are to cry out to the Lord in intercessory prayer on behalf of your family.  Maybe you have been lazy in this regard in the past. Remember God hears your prayers.  Please, for your family’s sake, don’t abandon your post. 

Secondly, the stay at home directive, will force your whole family to be together throughout the day.  This could very well expose some cracks in the foundation of your family’s spiritual and relational structure.  Accept this as a time to bring healing into your family.  Men, you don’t have to act like a saint – just be honest about your own faults and needs, asking the rest of the family to do their own self examination. 

Thirdly, with all the family together, new routines will be forming.  Take the lead in establishing some spiritual family habits that have gone by the way side because everyone is going in a different direction most of the time.  Now take time for family prayer, scripture reading and especially praying with and for each other.  Take the risk of leading such an effort with your family

Finally, you have time and extra energy.  This might be a good time to examine the priorities you have had as a family.  Ask the Lord as a family how you could best invest in the kingdom of God, hoping to see some new priorities to maintain when life gets back to normal

Most of all, continue to get praise and thanks to God for how good He has been. Hear these words from Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab. 3: 17-18).  

  

  

Violence at Home

One of the tragic consequences of the covid-19 worldwide pandemic is domestic violence.  United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on governments around the world to make addressing the issue of domestic violence a key part of their response to the pandemic.  

“Violence” he stated, “is not confined to the battlefield.”  What a sad and dreadful reality.  This clearly points to father and other males in the home.  “For many women and girls, the threat looms larger where they should be safest – in their own homes,” he said, appealing “for peace at home – and in homes – around the world.”

Guterrea noted, “Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence.”  He urged “all governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women a key part of their national response plan to COVID-19.”

His urgent plea reminded me of Jesus’ words regarding the signs of the End of the Age.  “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child.  Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death” (Mark 13:12).  Jesus is referring to a brake up in the home.  It is sad, but a reality, when the UN makes an appeal for there to be peace in the home.  

Men, this is an indictment of men all around the world.  God lays the responsibility of establishing a safe and secure environment in the home, at the feet of men.  We provide the protective umbrella.  Watch for leaks in your god given umbrella.  The enemy is sure to get you distracted with all the fear and uncertain with this pandemic.

We have this reminder from Peter on how to treat our wives: “Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.  If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard” (I Pet. 3:7 NLT).  Notice the emphasis of prayer.  No one else can provide the spiritual protection that you can.  Certainly not the government as the General Secretary assumes

Scripture is also very direct with fathers. “And now a word to you fathers.  Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).  Children have only one father.  God has given him the responsibility to lead and protect them.      

Men, don’t beat yourself up if you are feeling trapped at home with your wife and kids. What has been in the spiritual atmosphere of your family life is now coming to the surface.  For some of you it might not look very pretty.  Hey, I have faced some of that with my wife of 54 years. Here are a few tips from a “old warrior.”

First, admit you have failed in your responsibility.  Be truly repentant with your wife and kids.  Your not the Lord; your simply a man facing responsibility.  Don’t run and hide.  You are stuck at home.

Second, your stuck at home so that the Lord can teach you know lessons about spiritual leadership. After being genuinely humbled before your family,  sincerely cry out God for mercy.  He will hear your cry for help  You might not like what he is asking of you, but you have no escape, except to blame and feel sorry for yourself.

Third, above all be thankful and assure your family that God is with you.  They need to know that you are on the same page as the Lord.   

 

Wake up from Your Sleep

These are words from Ephesians 5:14 (The Message).  “Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!”  Nothing in my lifetime has gotten the attention of Americans like the Covid-19 virus.  People are coming out of their spiritual coffins, asking “God” questions, wondering what is next for our nation.  We have no idea what the future has in store for us.  It most certainly is a wake up call.

Is interesting that Ross Douthat’s new book, “The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success” was published just before the outbreak. “Decadence” he maintains, “refers to economic stagnation, institutional decay, and cultural and intellectual exhaustion at a high level of material prosperity and technological development.” 

Basically he sees our society slowly winding down with an uncertain future.  Albert Mohler in his review of the book notes Douthat’s belief, “that our culture just slowly winds down.  It does not blow up; it just loses energy….we are facing something of a slow melt.” 

Mohler quotes  poet W. H. Auden’s familiar description of Rome’s fall: “What fascinates and terrifies us about the Roman Empire is not that it finally went smash, [but that] it managed to last four centuries without creativity, warmth or hope.”  “That” says Mohler, “is the vision that haunts Douthat.

I would think that most sincere followers of Jesus would say that our nations has been going in the wrong direction for some time.  The virus has exposed a lot of cracks in the foundation. God is certainly using the present crisis to get our attention and the wake up the church.  Thus the words, “Wake up from your sleep”

In the next verse the Message reads, “So watch your step.  Use your head.  Make the most of every chance you get.  These are desperate times” (v 15).  Interestingly in the final page of his book, Douthat makes, unknowingly, this prophetic statement; “I’m not predicting the end of the world or the arrival of the millennium here…..I’m just saying that if this were the age in which some major divine intervention happened……there would be, in hindsight, a case that we should have seen it coming.” If you are living in New York city, I am sure, there is a sense that things might not ever be the same. 

As this pandemic continues, I sense greater uncertainty and fear about not only the duration of the pandemic, but  how we will function as a nation in the aftermath.  I personally, need to be discerning with what I read about the virus.  What information can I trust?  

As a follower of Jesus, I want to  avoid  the mistake of listening to the “bad report” similar to the one given to the people of Israel, by the spies, about going into the promised land.  The people said, “Our brothers have made us lose heart” (Deut. 1:28). 

Moses reassured them with these words, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your every eyes, and in the desert.  There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place” (Deut. 1:29-31). 

Men, we belong to the kingdom of God.  He will carry you and your loved ones like a father in the days to come.  We don’t have to fear.  He will see you to the end. Let’s stay awake and be “warrior of the light.”   

 

 

  

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