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Responding To Disasters Great or Small

At the height of the Vietnam war, the Wall Street Journal reported that once a week the President and four other politicians met to decide how the war would be waged; that not one military mind sat in on these sessions, not even the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; and that these politicos made such decisions as identifying bombing targets, planes and ordinance to be launched, military tactics employed, etc.

You can imagine how such strategy by politicians snuggled safely in the USA, seeking to placate both dove and hawk, would affect the morale of the warriors in harm’s way. It would undermine their loyalty and erode their resolve for self-sacrifice. There was no consensual big picture embraced by both the warriors and their supreme commander.

Having a clear understanding of and being in agreement with the big picture in which you and your Supreme Commander are involved will dramatically increase your morale. On the other hand, when tragedy strikes, a lack of understanding the big picture erodes morale. Satan seeks to capitalize on this to destroy our faith.

How is your morale in these traumatic post 9-11-2001 days? Do you understand the biblical big picture of the purpose of your life on earth? God hates religion (Amos 5:21-23 He desires relationship, someone of like mind to whom he can relate and share reciprocal affection. He longs for meaningful, intimate, personal interaction with us. But, in initiating His plan to become our Spiritual Father, even our Dad (Gal. 4:6) and wonder of wonders, our Bridegroom (Hos. 2:16-20), there was a rub’He must permit free moral agents to choose to love Him for who He is, rather than for what he can do for them. This problem, you see, escalates exponentially when you’re the "richest man in town" like our beloved Dad is. The richer the person, the greater the possibility that those who profess to love God, simply cater to Him in order to curry His favor. They seek benefits from Him rather that a personal relationship with Him. Folks, that’s huge! How about you? Are you riding the glory train because you’re in love with the "Engineer" or because you seek a smooth, peaceful ride culminating with the grand prize at the end of the line’heaven? Is salvation simply an excellent, eternal retirement plan or does it enable us to have an intimate relationship with Dad? A wrong answer to this question will imperil your morale.

A second indicator that we’re missing the big picture occurs when we rail at God if things don’t go the way we think they should. If we do so, we’re announcing to men and angels (Eph. 2:7; 3:10) that God does not merit our loyalty and love. The only way we can prove that we love God for who He is is when bad things happen to us that we believe we don’t deserve. By praising Him in the midst of such personal calamity, we demonstrate that God gets our vote even if He had to run for reelection every year, or every moment. It’s no sacrifice to praise the Lord on payday; what’s tough is to praise Him and believe that He loves you when you get laid off. This calls for a "sacrifice of praise" (Heb. 13:15).

Bad circumstances give us the option to praise God simply because we believe He still has our best interests at heart. That’s called faith, "without which it’s impossible to please God." Did you get that? When small problems or those the magnitude of the 9-11 holocaust occur, Satan, giving us thoughts using those familiar first person singular pronouns (I, me, my, etc.), accuses God in our thought life of being unworthy of our praise because He allowed this to happen. (The implication is that if we were God, we would have stepped up and saved the world. We’re more magnanimous than God is, you see!) If you receive such lies about God and the big picture, Satan will wear down your resolve to stay in the fight, undermine your morale, and ultimately block you from praising God because things didn’t go your way.

The angels praise God 24/7 because they walk by sight; they know the big picture. To think that they’d need to attend pep club practice till they "get it right" is absurd. They need no extra motivation; they have no Monday blues. You’d have to gag them to keep them from proclaiming God’s worthiness and straight jackets to keep them from lifting holy hands to Him. Worthy is God who gave His Son that He might gain more children. Worthy is the Lamb to volunteer to suffer and die for us unworthy humans. Worthy! Worthy! The angels can’t stop shouting it (Eph. 2:7; 3:8-10). In their opinion, such awesome evidence proves that there is no other God like Him (Isa. 46:9).

So, how do we fit into this big picture? We exist to experience an intimate agape relationship with the God of the universe. Once we choose to believe this and to act like it, by faith, we will become motivated to proclaim His worthiness from the housetops of our lives. Hey, we have the answer! Act like it by proclaiming God’s worthiness (Phil. 2:14-15; 3:7-10) against the ever-darkening backdrop of a hell-bound world. Someone has said that earth is the closest thing to heaven the lost will ever experience, but the closest thing to hell that we’ll experience and that’s true. But, it takes a place like earth to conform us to the image of Christ. Embracing this biblical view of your gracious, Jesus-bestowed role in the big picture will lift your spirit and encourage you. C’mon. Nestle into Dad’s (Rom. 8: 15; Gal. 4: 6) arms and praise Him. Don’t wait for your feeler to agree with this. Don’t allow a part of you to control you that can’t even think! Life will begin to take on new meaning as you praise Him through thick and thin and your will to remain in the battle, your resolve for self-sacrifice even through pain and tears, will hold steady over the long haul.

About the Author

Bill founded Lifetime Guarantee Ministries to encourage people to experience the reality of Christ as life. His transparent, humorous, down-to-earth style and sense of humor made him one of the most effective teachers of his time. He communicated with great clarity the full extent of what God accomplished in Christ and what that means for the Christian identity. Although Bill passed away in June 2011, his messages are timeless and will continue to impact generations to come.