The above comment by Stephen was left on last week’s SMTU, and his “how to” may very well be the most important “how to” of our lives. Every moment of my life, every choice, every act, every friend and foe, every joy and heartbreak have prepared me for the coming salvation and doing my own part in helping to deny the devil his greatest meal…just when he thought he had us all.
Lao Tzu wrote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The idea of our salvation seems more like a hundred-thousand-mile journey. We can feel it in Stephen’s comment. That’s because the devil is very good at what he does. When you stop and think about it, demoralizing is his entire job description in one word.
My one step was taken in September 2015 in a small church on a mountaintop in Wyoming, when Pastor Kirby lit a fire in my heart with James 4:8. It was a step that turned me 180 degrees back to where we all come from. Oswald Chambers tells us salvation means that we are brought to the place we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, remission of sins. Our part as workers for God is to open men’s eyes that they may turn themselves from darkness to light… “that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” By Grace, and Grace alone…Birth and Grace are the greatest bookend gifts from God blessing both ends of the life in between. Neither is deserved, and neither can be earned. Sadly, and tragically, both can be avoided. None of us have control of our own birth, but every last one of us has the power to put ourselves on the path to receive.
One of the devil’s many talents is his ability to blind us to our own power. He does this by demoralizing us first, softening us for our own fears to finish the job. Lao Tzu also knew that a demoralized enemy is an enemy defeated before the battle has even begun. I can’t begin to tell you how many friends have told me they don’t stand up and speak out anymore because we are already lost. They have been completely demoralized. Why bother? They are powerless because they’ve allowed themselves to see themselves so. And it was all so easy and effortless…
Fear is another matter. Again…I love how Oswald Chambers (a fellow Scot) puts it. Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all “supposing” on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.
When I stop and think about what God has put into my life since I consciously and deliberately put Him back into mine, I am brought to tears of amazement and joy. I have brothers and sisters no parent could have given me as well as God has. I have a church family that I grow closer to and more appreciative of with each passing day. I am more in touch with the sheepdog-self God made me to be. And every blessed step of this miraculous mosaic of a journey called life has been incremental. Speaking of the sheepdog self, this is very important. I took a bite, as sheepdogs tend to do, out of a wolf in professor’s clothing the other day: Erik is Colonel Nicholson from Bridge Over the River Kwai. We don’t hate you Erik. My “mean and nasty” isn’t directed at you. I target the beast that has taken your mind and wants your soul. We’re just trying to save you from the “What have I done?” Hell.
How do we deal with the Erik’s as Christian men? This is the heart and soul of Stephen’s question, how to unwind the clock; the march into absurdity, faithlessness and paganism? Erik has been granted his authority as a university professor in Seattle by a master far meaner and nastier than I could ever dream of being, with one purpose; poison the minds of our children, embitter their hearts and minds to their true inheritance, and destroy the future of the America my generation was blessed to grow up in. Unchallenged Eriks are the reason we have “Drag Queen Hours” grooming and sexualizing our children in public libraries across America. Unchallenged Eriks are the reason our children are being taught “Allah good, Jesus bad” in public schools across America. When an old high school friend of mine responded to Sharia-creep in his New Jersey community by calling on his inner sheepdog self, I witnessed another old high school friend discouraging him from doing what his instincts as a man called him to do. What the latter was counseling the former, whether he was conscious of it or not, was to put his interests before the welfare of his community. The total opposite of our highest aspiration and purpose as Christian Americans. Just be a good sheep, in other words. Not On Our Watch!
We “unwind the clock” by showing up. We answer the “(LGBTQ Pride Parade), faithlessness and paganism” with our own “Choose Life Parade”. We can learn an awful lot about ourselves by simply observing the natural world around us. The wolves have effectively been put on notice in our community. Without ever having to actually feel the bite, they know… Join Us!
And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. ~ Matthew 8:29-32