“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—this time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My Name is Yahweh.” (Jeremiah 16: 21)
Repentance is the Beginning, not the End
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is worth reading if you haven’t read it already. It’s short, and it’s good. Few books deserve to be called masterpieces, but that one does.
From time to time, I mention repentance. I talked about it in my editorial on March 30th. It’s important because it’s the first thing that happens when people come to the realization that they need a Savior.
Repentance means to turn and go in the right direction.
In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan talks about the Slough of Despond. It’s a deep, dark place where people find themselves when they wake up to the fact that they need a Redeemer.
I’m from South Georgia, so I think of the Okefenokee Swamp. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in South Florida, and the Everglades remind me of it, too.
Many years ago, my father-in-law arranged for a contractor who worked for him to take me deer hunting on an airboat in the Everglades. I had never done that, so it sounded like fun.
I was impressed by the vastness of the Everglades. We hunted about 25 miles from the nearest road. To me, everything looked the same. The man driving the boat knew where we were, but I didn’t.
While we were zooming across the shallow water at breakneck speed, we hit a cypress stump that was below the waterline. I was in the seat above the propeller. The driver was below me. When we hit the stump, I was thrown out of the seat toward the front of the boat. A 12 gauge shotgun was the only thing I had to hold onto. The driver had the rudder stick in his hand. He bent it badly, but at least he stayed put.
After several minutes of jury-rigging, we were on our way again with a few minor injuries and a battered boat. While we were making repairs, I asked the driver how far we were from civilization.
He said, “I don’t know exactly. The nearest road is maybe 25 or 30 miles away.”
The Okefenokee Swamp is vast, too. It’s not as big as the Everglades, but it’s very large. I’m certain that lots of people have been lost in the Okefenokee Swamp.
Typically, a person doesn’t know that he needs a Savior until he is in a real bind—when all hope seems to be lost. That’s the swamp and getting out is difficult because there are so many hazards, but that’s where the journey begins, in the middle of the swamp.
If the driver had been seriously injured, the probability of me walking the two of us out alive would have been very low. I could have figured out which way was east so I could have walked toward safety, but there are lots of gators, poisonous snakes, and anacondas in the Everglades. I’m certain that we would have encountered more than a few of them on a 25 or 30 mile trek. Besides, hauling another person that distance through a swamp would have been a herculean undertaking.
That’s why Paul said that salvation is impossible without faith in Yahweh. (Hebrews 11: 6) No one can be saved unless he learns to lean on Someone who knows the way out and is strong enough to get him out.
Faith and obedience are the only way out of the swamp:
- You have to know that you need a Savior and repent.
- You must have faith that your Savior knows what He is doing and can protect you.
- You have to be willing to follow/obey Him because you don’t know the way. The Messiah said, “I am the way.” That’s the truth in a nutshell.
People who don’t communicate with their Savior are doomed. It’s called prayer, but it’s not your boilerplate prayer before a meal or at bedtime.
It’s not rehearsed. It’s not repeated day after day by rote. It’s conversational. It’s about the here and now. It changes day by day, minute by minute.
In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” You talk with Yahweh as you go. Sometimes you have a sit-down prayer or a communal prayer, but those are exceptions, not the rule.
A few years ago, a friend and I went to Perry, Georgia to play golf with my brother who is a preacher in South Georgia, another pastor who is a friend of his, and one other guy. There were 5 of us total. Thankfully, the golf pro allowed us to play as a fivesome.
When we finished our round, the preachers wanted to have a prayer for the road, so to speak. I’m not poking fun at preachers, or maybe I am. When preachers pray together, to me it almost seems like a competitive sport. I call it dueling preachers. Add in a few lay people who want to impress the preachers and you have a long oration on your hands. It can go on for a very long time, time that we needed to spend on the road that day.
I don’t like those prayers, especially since I know that I can do it myself without help from anyone. To save some time, I didn’t pray out loud with the group.
One of my daughters had a medical problem at the time. She had an important doctor’s appointment that day in North Carolina. I had mentioned it to my friend as we were driving to Perry. When we got on the road, the first thing he said was “Neil, we forgot to pray for Melanie.”
I said, “I didn’t forget. I prayed for her while you guys were praying.” The look on his face was priceless.
I wasn’t interested in general prayers. I wanted something specific, so that’s what I talked with Yahweh about while they were doing their thing. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be most of the time.
Getting back to the swamp and relating it to the situation that I mentioned in my March 30th editorial, when you realize that you need to repent and that you need a Savior, you still have a long way to go. It took a long time to get into that mess, and it will take a while to get out.
Yahweh doesn’t sprinkle fairy dust over you and suddenly everything is okay. You are still in the middle of a swamp.
In the March 30th editorial, I said that 45 years after the fact, Yahweh told me about things I need to do today that are related to that situation. Why did He wait 45 years to tell me? Why didn’t He tell me then?
The answer is simple: 45 years ago wasn’t the right time. No matter how right it may seem, it’s not right until Yahweh says it’s right.
Remember, He knows the way. We don’t. Our job is to have faith and follow Him.
Stated succinctly, there is a God and I’m not Him.
The Messiah said, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 34) In Philippians, Paul the same thing another way, “Don’t be anxious about anything.”
As difficult as it is, we must learn to lean on our Savior and leave room for Him to do His work. We have a role to play, but we can’t make things happen before they are supposed to happen. Trying hard is not the solution. Praying hard is.
As Walter Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”
To see videos that explain the importance of God’s Name, click here.
1: Douglas Murray—“Excuses” for Terrorists:
The day after the Brussels terror attack, landmarks in the UK were lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag. Portions of the press in Britain excoriated the country on this. Why, they asked, had the now-traditional, mawkish ceremony occurred the day after the attacks rather than on the evening of the attacks themselves? Why were we a day late with our lights when other cities had managed to do their “solidarity” gesture straightaway? Such are our times. And such are our questions.
If there is a question in all this, it is not why it took more than 24 hours for the UK to find its Belgian-colored lights, but why after 67 years of terror, it still has not found the simple blue and white lights it would need to project the flag of Israel onto any public place.
It is not as though there haven’t been plenty of opportunities. Israel’s enemies have provided us with even more opportunities for light displays than have now been offered to the light-infatuated by the followers of ISIS.
SnyderTalk Comment: It’s time to stop excusing and coddling terrorists, and it’s time to recognize Israel for what she is—a truly great country that is the world’s frontline against terror.
I’m not making light of the situation in Europe, but if terrorist attacks in Israel got the kind of media attention that terrorist attacks in Europe are getting, we would see 24/7 news coverage of Israel. Hopefully, Europeans will open their eyes and see that Israel’s enemy is their enemy, too.
I’m not going to hold my breath. European leaders have demonstrated a lack of common sense for a very long time.
Israel’s mere existence is the cause of its terror attacks. European countries invited the disaster by opening their borders.
There is a lot to be said for good fences.
This is my advice for European leaders, and I’m paraphrasing Albert Einstein: The quality of thinking that got you here won’t get you out of here.
About Israel: the other day, someone asked me why I spend so much time there. I said, “There are two reasons: first, because I want to, and second, because I love Israel and the Israeli people.”
I have a strong hunch that one day SnyderTalk will be headquartered in Jerusalem.
2: Susan Warner—Methodists Scramble for Peace and Justice—at Israel’s Expense:
Roughly 850 delegates from every corner of the world are currently preparing for the upcoming United Methodist General Conference (May 10-20, 2016). The quadrennial policy conference brings together representatives of 12.5 million members worldwide, including 7 million in the USA. During this ten-day event, delegates will consider a variety of church governance issues and a broad spectrum of social action proposals presented by member committees.
The United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) is one such committee. This group’s alleged mission, to promote “peace and justice” in Israel and Palestine, is sadly based on promoting the Palestinian cause — at Israel’s expense. Israel, according to the UMKR, appears to be the sole cause of Palestinian suffering.
Although the group accuses Israel of expanding “illegal settlements” in Arab territory, according to Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot, writing in Foreign Policy, the accusation is totally untrue.
By launching nuclear-capable missiles, Iran has defied a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed last year’s nuclear deal, the U.S. and its European allies said in a joint letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday. Iran’s recent ballistic tests were “inconsistent with” and “in defiance of” Resolution 2231, adopted last July, said the joint U.S., British, French, German letter to Spain’s UN Ambassador Roman Marchesi and UN chief Ban Ki-moon. Spain has been assigned the task of coordinating council discussions on Resolution 2231.
Several diplomats said the most Iran could expect would be a public rebuke by the Security Council since the reimposition of UN sanctions would only be triggered by violations of the agreed restrictions on Iran’s atomic work.
SnyderTalk Comment: See “Israel: ‘There Must Be Consequences for Iran’s Hostility’”.
4: Jerusalem Post—UK Labour activist faces backlash over ‘ISIS is run by Israel’ remarks:
The UKs Labour Party was again facing criticism this week over reported remarks made by a party activist who allegedly insinuated that Israel is behind the terrorist group known as Islamic State, British media reported.
According to the British Independent, Labour activist Bob Campbell accused Israel of operating ISIS in a post on Facebook a day after a pair of suicide bombings in Brussels last week.
The report published an alleged screen-shot of Campbell’s Facebook post, in which he said “ISIS is run by Israel,” suggesting that there was a correlation between pro-Palestinian moves in France, Japan, Indonesia and Belgium and ISIS attack.
“How many more attacks have to take place before the world fully understand that ISIS is run by Israel?” he was quoted as saying on Facebook.
Antisemitic flyers began emerging from networked printers at several US universities on Thursday, The Algemeiner has learned.
According to the student newspaper at Chicago’s DePaul University, faculty received an email alerting them that printers at the school had been hacked, and “antisemitic and white supremacist flyers [were] appearing in output trays throughout DePaul’s campus.”
On Friday, CBSChicago reported that numerous schools were experiencing the same attack. Among these were: Princeton University, Brown University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Other schools that had fallen prey to the same phenomenon, though it is not clear when, include: Smith College, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Northeastern University, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
6: Sima Goel—BDS: Helping Palestinians or Promoting Hate?:
The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is busy promoting anti-Semitism, with universities leading the charge.
Sadly, university students, unions, and those in show business who believe they are lending their energy in support of the Palestinian people might take a moment to understand that they are supporting politicians — both from the Palestinian territories and from terrorist sponsors — who are, in fact, using the Palestinian people as pawns in a game of chess where oil, money and power are the rewards.
SnyderTalk Comment: As Deep Throat told Bernstein and Woodward, “Follow the money.”
How did the leaders of Hamas and Fatah get filthy rich, I mean really rich, telling the world how destitute Palestinians are?
The answer is simple. They lie, cheat, and steal. That’s the truth.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)
See “His Name is Yahweh”.