2017 is just days away! Shocking right? I know that it’s not a big revelation that it followed 2016 but the way time has flown by almost seems surreal. Kind of like the fact that Obama is leaving office. So, for a few days I’ve been strategizing my coming year. Oh… I always make great plans! And sometimes I even get a few of them accomplished. My word for last year was unusual, and the year in review would prove that 2016 lived up to it. It was unusual in the sense that God opened unusual doors (like the wonderful state of Minnesota), allowed unusual circumstances to occur that changed the fabric of my life (such as people entering and leaving my life) and 2016 brought a vigor into my ministry desires that is carrying me into 2017. I’ll announce my 2017 word in a few days.
Yesterday I worked on the banner of my Facebook page and replaced it with one that read “2017 – Sharing Christ Without Excuse.” I’m sick of my own excuses for not sharing Christ more boldly. My aforementioned snarky comment toward the Obama administration was without regret, but I promise not to get hung up on it like he has with the fact he’s leaving office. But I can say it in truth that I have never felt so free to share my faith than after the election of 2016 – another unusual event! I feel like 2017 is going to offer Christians an opportunity to take back some ground that has been lost the last eight years.
Religion (I’d rather say faith, but I’ll use this term for now) losing ground isn’t new to the world. As I read in Judges this morning of Micah in chapters 17 and 18 it was quite parallel to what I’ve seen happening in America. Micah had stolen some money from his mother (which caused her to cuss) because she had intended to use for religious purposes. Ha! I guess she really did lose her religion! But for whatever reason Micah decides to return it, and this odd woman blesses her son for his state of conscience. She had wholly dedicated this money to the Lord for her son to make a “graven image and a molten image.”
Did God not say not make any graven images? So how this woman thought that the money was wholly set aside is a mystery. Unless you look at religion today, where churches okay a lifestyle of sin, idolatry worship and Jesus combined. And then it looks pretty much the same.
So back to the story and this is definitely a condensed version of it. Micah decides to use the money to make a couple of images and buy himself a priest. What? Yes, that’s what he did because that way he and his momma didn’t have to go all the way into town to church. They had their own. I guess it was their version of a television evangelism of the day. And although the priest they hired was a Levite, he wasn’t necessarily called by God to be a priest.
Well long story even shorter, a group from the tribe of Dan hear Micah’s priest speaking as they passed by. The Danites inquire of him as to whether or not they can defeat the city of Laish, and following their victory, take him from Micah because he might come in handy in the future for more advice. They not only steal the priest but take his idols with them as well and incorporate that into their worship.
Now scroll to the modern day Christianity and compare.
- People no longer go to church because it’s inconvenient.
- A bible proves their faith in God, right? Even if it’s dusty…
- A few dollars in the plate buys them a preacher who will preach what they desire to hear, or they’ll stay home until they’re over it.
That sounds pretty negative but it’s none the less the truth. Church attendance across America is on the decline because people are too busy or deceived into thinking that it’s not necessary for a Christian’s life. I write this to two groups of people, those in church and those not. So you surely fall into one of those categories, or perhaps in the middle because you “attend when you can.”
The children of Israel when into captivity because of their halfhearted faith and I firmly believe that America was just a few votes shy. So, what will we do with 2017? For me I want to live without excuse! If Jesus says go, I want to go. If He says do, I want to do. If He says speak, I want to speak. How about you?
Tune in in a day or two to discover my 2017 word!