Our recent heat wave is reminiscent of 2002, a broiling summer that saw temperatures in the high 90s most days, and for 34 days, in excess of 100 degrees.That figure tied the record for the most days over 100 degrees in a season, set in the early 1930s. (Some records should never be broken.) Couple the high temperatures with the dearth of precipitation and we may be looking at a summer-long storm that will exhaust community resources and test the mettle of every man.
The Lord God has often used weather, be it in the form of drought or violent storms as a curse, or with gentle rains in their season as a blessing. Is the summer of 2012 going to equate to a cursing of our land or will the Lord relent and send gentle rains in their season? Only time will tell.
In either case, brothers and sisters, this is a test. Are you ready for it? Can you stand?
Growing up in the late '60s and early '70s, we had pep clubs in junior high and high school. My sister, Debi, was a member of the Arvada (Colorado) Redskins Pep Club and had the cute little outfit, complete with red and white pom-poms, the required uniform for those who would help to cheer our Redskins to victory.
I never aspired to be a part of the pep club or to be an actual cheerleader, then the brass ring for all high school girls. I am not the least bit athletic, and even though our Redskin cheerleaders were cute as buttons, with straight (usually blond), hair, long and flowing, they also were very athletic. The cheerleading routines were physically demanding and required a lot more than a pretty face and a shapely figure. Among other gymnastic feats, you also had to be able to do the "splits," an achievement that always eluded me. I wouldn't try to do them now on a bet - how would I ever get back up off the ground?
Still, I'm thinking we need more cheerleaders. Because the time of our testing has come and the time to stand is upon us. The storms Jesus promised have come. Not only in the heat wave that slaps us in the face like an open oven door, but in the chaos of the times.
Kings and kingdoms fall almost daily. People have taken to the street, here in the United States and all around the globe.
Powerful men seek more power, and it seems nothing is sacred when power is the prize.
The rains are beating down, the wind is howling and the waves are crashing all around us.
Will we still stand when the rains abate, the winds subside and the waves return to their boundary lines or will we be destroyed in the wrath of the storm?
The boat is tossed about on the stormy lake, capsize seems imminent. Who will calm the storm? Who will calm the fishers of men?
The Arvada High School cheerleaders encouraged the team to "Fight! Fight! Fight!" To vanquish their foes, to press on to victory, until the final whistle blew. Today, we need to stand and get bulldog mean against the principalities of darkness assembled against us. Now is the time to dig deep; to ask the hard questions; to see the next right thing and to do it with all of our might. Do not be afraid -- the answers are true and they are found in the One who dared to make the promises; the One who proved himself able to keep his promises; the One who dared to drink the cup set before him; the One who dared to die and dared to live again; who lives even now; the One who has loved you from first thought.
Consider the promises:
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3)
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned... " (John 3:16-18)
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Revelation 3:20)
Consider also the pitfalls:
"But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of." (Matthew 24:48-50)
"The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out'... But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut." (Matthew 25:8-10)
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:36-38)
"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
I believe a time of testing comes upon each believer, and our time is now. The time has come to stand, the time of testing is upon us.
"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him together.