I need some serious critiquing for this project. I will be submitting this in a few days and I would like your honest critique of it. Where could I make it better? Does it flow well? Are the bridges built well? Etc... Thank you in advance!
A question of faith
Meeting the God of America
When the tank is dry…
The unsatisfied soul is a train wreck waiting to happen… it is the broken tracks that derail an otherwise pretty good life, or so the world may think. Add fear to dissatisfaction and we have a sure fire derailment with a huge casualty list. It creates a life that is completely useless because one who is not satisfied cannot satisfy.
The reasons for dissatisfaction are wide and varied, but it when the water has boiled away, the kernel of truth left is there is a lack of something. It is quite surprising that Americans have this dissatisfaction in their hearts. After all, America is the land of milk and honey. Americans have more pocket change than most of the world has in a week. Why do Americans have such cravings that no amount of new clothes, new cars, new toys, new sex, husband, wife, children, work, hobby or church activity can satisfy? The answer lies in a hole in the soul.
There is a chasm so deep and so wide that all of creation cannot fill it up. Mankind tries to fill it up because it hurts, and it cries to be filled. This abyss is located in man’s soul. It is precisely why, down through the ages, mankind has devised so many different things to fill up this hole. Two things which man tries to use are Fortune and Destiny. These are so primordial that they are mentioned in various ancient texts including the Holy Bible.
For the most part, Americans give evidence that they worship these gods more than any other. The question is why do so many put faith in what has proven very fickle down through the ages? Humans would rather put faith in something seen and that can be touched rather than in the invisible. However, that is not faith. It is worship of the work of man’s hands in the case of Fortune. In the case of the demon Destiny, that god is credited with how things turn out. “It just wasn’t in the cards. It was fate.”
Seeds of discontent germinate when satisfaction is tasted, but not savored and fully digested. Cravings keep driving a person without giving any direction to where it can be satisfied. This causes that circle of despair which has no egress. This is what causes Americans to put faith in what the moth can destroy and hope in what can be gone in a moment. Those things have no eyes to see the despair and troubles, no ears to hear the cry for help and no hand to reach down and comfort. Yet, Americans keep driving down an empty road searching for the elusive prize of satisfaction.
This quest for Satisfaction rules the hearts of most humans. Hungry, we reach for something to eat, thirsty something to drink, cold we turn up the heat, hot we crank up the air conditioner. It seems to be the god of most Americans. Our forefathers are rolling in their graves, so to speak, at what America puts first. Our nation was built on Biblical principles by Christian men and women. Satan’s lie is that it was not. One has only to do a bit of reading of historical speeches and writings of John Hancock, John Adams, Sam Adams, and many others to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Matthew, Mark, Paul and John was also the God of our forefathers. Nonetheless, today the battle cry is not Give me liberty or give me death. It is king size it and I’ll have it my way for if it feels good, I’ll just do it, because I deserve a break today. Regardless of lessons from times past, people have not learned how to let history be a teacher.
Anna Nicole, Brittney Spears, Lindsey Lohan. Everybody knows them. They’re famous. One is dead and not even she knew who the father of that precious baby of hers was. No one knew until after she was dead. The other two are traveling a road that is fraught with pitfalls. All because they are searching for something they cannot find. Five years or ten years from now there will be other famous people traveling down this same road, and they keep searching.
Where is their security? Brittney was raised in a Christian home, and at one time in her life knew what Christian living was like -- at least that’s what she said. Who knows about Lindsey? It is so sad what I see in their lives; the choices they have made. For it truly is a choice how we live our lives and how we align our priorities. Our forefathers could recognize Truth when they saw it, but today we are told truth is relative.
Too many people believe a good and loving God would never allow troubles or problems. Some believe that all troubles are the result of sin, when in fact, it is because the one true God is good and loving that there are troubles. One reason for the predicaments we face is that they are common to man. There are many whose problems seem greater and quite a few who we think we should be blessed with their problems, and their money. Give a person a lot of money and unlock all restrictions and there goes a walking time bomb. Too many of the rich and famous have the world on a string: Great job, beautiful home, the things that make life grand. They suck down temporary pleasure, listening to the call of the world becoming mesmerized by the world like some cobra charmed by the charmer. We all know who that charmer is. It would seem that pursuit of satisfaction is their life journey and Personal Pleasure is their god.
But, their trials are really no different than what you and I face day to day. Sure, it boils down to choices, but if you are breathing, you have problems. We all have problems. Some people’s problems seem bigger than other people’s problems. They are not. Centuries ago one man wrote, You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test the way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it.
Troubles follow every human. They serve a purpose whether we realize it or not. Just as we go to school, take tests and move on to the next lesson, so, too, is life. We show up for class every day. The huge question is whether we learn from our troubles or once having passed through that fire must go through it again and again. Troubles are purposed in the Lord. Yes, even those who are not Believers. Most of the time, it takes bringing an unbeliever to a place so low that the only way to look is up before it finally registers that God is the solution to the problems and cares of this world. However, Americans have rebellious hearts.
From as far back in time as 1689 when our ancestors rebelled against England, troubles abounded so the rebels rebelled. But, they all looked to one God. In 1775, John Adams said, “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no king but Jesus!” Inscribed in the front of Thomas Jefferson’s personal bible, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.” Patrick Henry quoted both Jeremiah and Matthew in his speech, “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Unfortunately, it is only the last that is usually quoted or remembered. George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Abraham Lincoln said, “I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.”
Our founding fathers knew who to lean on, who to pray to, who would carry them in times of travails so insidious their lives could have been forfeit. Down through the ages, Americans hark back to those first days of an infant nation, recognizing God as the founder. “It is necessary for the welfare of the nation that men's lives be based on the principles of the Bible. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible,” so said Theodore Roosevelt. John F. Kennedy said, “The rights of man come not from the state but from the hand of God.” When the astronauts of Apollo 13 faced certain death, President Nixon called for all Americans to pray for them. It wasn’t to pray to Fortune, or to Destiny, or to any other god. After 911, Congress gathered on the steps in the sun and prayed with one heart for God to protect our nation. That is the one true God of America.
Adrian Rogers once said, “A faith that hasn’t been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.” Troubles put a person, and a nation, to the sun test. In the first century, potters would fire a pot and if it cracked, would put wax in the crack which would conceal the flaw. If the cracked pot was unfortunate enough to find the sun’s rays, the heat of the sun would melt the wax and the flaw would be exposed. That is where the word, sincere comes from. Sun-tested. Flaws exposed. The difference is that we have the power and the choice to bring our flaws to God to be worked on, smoothed out, fixed, or skimmed off so that all the silver left after the firing is pure and reflective of our Lord. However, many see that as weakness, lack of control, or even giving up freedom. So they buy the seeds and sow discontent within their hearts, never leaving the vicious circle of despair by choice. Their gods never satisfy and the cravings never end.
Troubles also serve another purpose: the Thorn-in-the-side. Those troubles are put there for us to recognize whence our grace and strength comes, not to concentrate on the pain of the trial. It is there to reflect God’s glory to the world. Unfortunately, too many do not see past the pain.
Another purpose is to be the witness by the response to the trouble. Do we react like the seed that fell in the brambles? Get all choked with the cares and worries of the world? Or do we put down our roots, confident in the fact that the one true God is much greater than any problem or trouble? The world sees how we react to our travails and that can be a much more powerful witness than any spoken word.
An extremely good teacher once said, “Sometimes God must shake well before using.” This is why bad things happen to good people. Bad choices make for extremely fruitful seeds of discontent, and life is not fair. It never has been, nor ever will be fair. Our sense of justice gets bruised and we rail at what some suppose God is, that invisible ruler with an iron and irascible fist, because blame is the name of the game. Someone is to blame and it can’t be me, it has got to be God.
Fill ‘er up…
So Americans go about grabbing all they can to stuff into the God-sized hole that He created in our soul when our soul was created. They stuff new clothes and shoes into the hole, or more parties, or boats and cars, or change wives like they change shoes to satisfy that hunger and soothe the ache that bruises our insides. The culprit of dissatisfaction draws us down paths in search of Shangri-La, the greener grass, the things hoped for and things as yet unseen. Americans search for the American dream, yet when things like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 911 disaster, and all kinds of economic distress hit American hearts and minds, Main Streets and kitchen pantries, that is when the hearts of Americans turn to the God with eyes to see the misery, the grace to forgive sin, the hand to lift the fallen underneath their heavy loads. We go back to the foundation laid by our forefathers, all the way back to a hill called Calvary and a blood stained cross. That is what has given us great comfort, great courage, great peace, and that is what fills the God-sized hole.
We live in a land of great freedom and the land of slavery… addictions… bitterness… rage… unforgiveness… all the seeds of the dissatisfied soul. It would be so much easier to let God carry us than for us to walk on our own two feet. God wants to teach our feet to walk on all types of ground—rocky, grassy, soft dirt, swinging bridges, up hill and down vale. He does not intend to carry us our entire lives. We must walk in order to receive God’s blessings. Our founding fathers knew this and gladly suffered frost, heat, bullets, hunger, thirst, inadequate clothing, treasons, life without limbs, and death to give us this legacy of freedom. They did this while trusting and loving God, and giving Him the glory.
Oh, it is so incredibly easy to be sustained by His wonders… to be lifted up by emotions, and to rely upon those fickle feelings rather than to rely upon His word for sustenance and to be filled to bursting with the Truth and the Light of Jesus breath, His word. It is also much easier to enjoy the blessings rather than becoming the blessing. Without investing our lives and becoming the miracle, we cannot be the salt or the light in a dark world. We effectively become stagnant.
In order to move into the Promised Land, the Israelites had to cross the river, take up their swords and follow God’s lead on who to fight when. Just as Egypt was the place of bondage, Canaan was the place of victory and spiritual maturity. We must participate in His will, His commands, His statutes for our own good. And that takes work mixed with believing God. Our fathers believed Him.
With belief, comes action. With action, comes blessing. With blessing, comes pleasure. With pleasure, comes God’s smile… And that is the prize they claimed, then handed down to us! But, even beyond that, we reap all the fruit of the Spirit: Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law. All those wonderful things are ours just because we belong to Him, yet how many of us actually have tanks completely full, topped off with this fruit? Why don’t we?
So where does the satisfaction come from? Isa 58:11 And Jehovah shall always guide you, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
When we run dry, and we always do, we’ve got a huge God who will fill us up, but we’ve got to go to the right place for a fill up… we’ve got to have the right attitude and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right motivation in our hearts, but mainly we must continue to make sure our foundation is securely placed upon the Rock as did our forefathers.