Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unshakable Kingdom

One Year Bible
New Testament Passage (for Thurs., Nov. 15, 2012): Hebrews 12:14-29

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.  28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  Hebrews 12:25-28 (NKJV)

In the life of every congregation there is an interesting phenomenon.  No matter how large the church, it seems that there is never a week that goes by but that there is not some sort of shaking taking place.  It may be a marital breakup or a financial disaster -- a child in distress or a friend in the hospital.  It can range from that which is life-threatening (and sometimes life-taking) to that which by comparison seems trivial.  ...   But nothing is trivial.  The list is endless.  And each challenge feels bigger than the one before.

It seems that EVERYTHING IS BEING SHAKEN.  I can honestly say that after pastoring for over 40 years, I have heard it all.  I have walked through the darkest nights with the most precious people.  I have stood in the waiting room with folks when the doctor came out and shook his head.  Phone calls have come in the middle of the night and confessions have been heard.  We live in a world of full of hurt.  EVERYTHING IS BEING SHAKEN.

We are called to be ambassadors of an unshakable kingdom in the midst of a very breakable world.  John Piper in his classic book Desiring God, writes in the Preface: "My life (pastoring Bethlelem Baptist Church, Minneapolis) has been a mingling of heartache and happiness.  Can so much devastation and so much delight coexist in one community and one soul?  It can."  How can we be UNSHAKABLE  in the midst of so much SHAKING?  How can we be strong, when so much around us is falling apart?

The old hymn Solid Rock says, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay."  We need Kingdom People in our day.  They have enduring the shaking and have clung to the rock.  When all that is illusory proved to be but a failed promise, they rested on that which will never fail.  "His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood."

We come to a mountain that does not move -- to a rock that we can depend on.  Psalm 46 echoes this:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah.

The Psalmist goes on to say: There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

RUN TO THE ROCK.  DIVE IN THE RIVER OF GOD.  He is your refuge, your strong tower.  You can not only survive the shaking, but you can PREVAIL.  He will help you.  Even though it might be just "at the break of dawn", yet our God will be your constant help, comfort, and strength.

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