Today’s Manna – Our Daily Bread
http://bible.com/116/hab.2.3-5.nlt
This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.
“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. Wealth is treacherous, and the arrogant are never at rest. They open their mouths as wide as the grave, and like death, they are never satisfied. In their greed they have gathered up many nations and swallowed many peoples.”

Observation
If we read the Word of God, if we say,  “Look at the proud!” And we do not set our eyes upon ourselves,  but we think of and point our fingers at others – don’t our deceitful hearts betray that we are the proud? Doesn’t it become very clear that we ate the ones that need to be humbled and laid low?

When we trust in ourselves instead of trusting in the Lord, our crookedness, our twisted natures are revealed. Because faith is not walking by sight,  but stepping out on a limb. It is working without a safety net of self or wealth or the approval of others – but instead trusting in the Lord to catch us.

I find myself broken in all new ways each day as I read this Word of God. It points to areas of my life that fall short of the glory of God. But I do not stop at that covering of my sins that cheap grace offers. I do not seek just the forgiveness of my sins. I seek for it to be overcome and defeated in my life and in the world around me.

I look at the sin of this world and the sin in my past and I despise the sin. But how much more does our Holy Good and Almighty Father despise sin? But He is patient to see His plan come to fulfillment in His perfect time. Even as I wish that my life were perfected and that I could walk without any sin,  in a perfect reflection of Christ – He shows me my vanity.

He shows me that I’ve again made it about me by not trusting. He has me right where He needs me as long as my eyes are set upon glorifying Him and living a life seeking first the Kingdom of God, loving God above all,  and serving others to glorify His name.

In my past, the things that I’ve said, the life that I lived was a horrible example to the world around me. I’ve done and said things that led others down the path to destruction,  because I too enjoyed walking the easy path. I too looked at a Christ as a religion practiced on Sundays,  as a prayer said to get saved and dunked, as a way to avoid punishment,  as a ticket to be bought to get to heaven, as a path to receive blessings – and I had missed it altogether. I was standing amongst the trees and blind to the forest. Because I was focused on myself.

Those things are religious practice. And when they are empty and separate from repentance,  separate from obedience,  separate from discipleship,  separate from faith that effects change within our lives – they are a wide and easy path to destruction. They are pride and vanity when it is about me instead of about God.

We are called to lay down our lives and follow. We are to expect persecution and suffering in the name of Christ. We are to do encounter battle and struggle because we are supposed to be stepping out in faith. But how few of us actually care to get out of the boat.

How fearful do we become when we face Christ’s instruction to sell everything we have and give it to the poor? How many greedy people will call us fools when we step outside the comfort of wealth and security to know the trust that comes from laying down our lives of seeking and trusting in wealth and comfort and prosperity – to seek God with our hearts and to trust in Him fully.

Are we prepared for that day when we might be given the choice – “Deny Christ or we will take your money and your wealth. Deny Christ or we will put you on the street with the boneless and destitute. Deny Christ or we will take the life of your loved one. Deny Christ or we will murder your child before your very eyes.” I do not wish this fate on any of you,  friends. But even moreso, I do not wish the fate of lukewarm religion upon anyone.

If you are a follower of Christ, prepare yourself. If you are a follower by name only,  by empty religion, I am fearful for you friend. We aren’t practicers of Christ.  We either have Him alive inside us,  or we are lost.

I urge you. Examine yourself. Prepare yourselves.

Do we not know the consequences of Sodom, and Gamorrah, of Israel in Jeremiah and Lamentations,  do we not know the promises given with regards to Babylon? Are we blind to the world around us?

Wake up.

There are Christians today facing this very kind of persecution.

While we sit in the comfort of our empty religion, even as the enemy is marching towards the city walls from the North,  and even as the watchmen cry from the towers,  “Arise! Prepare yourselves for battle!” The city is already drunk on the wine of her own destruction. People clamor for one more gold coin,  for one more moment of pleasure before they are put to death.

They do not even put up a fight. They are all dead even while they still have breath in their lungs, because there is no Blood in their veins. There is no new heart in their chest.

Wake up!

Arise!

Put on the full armor of God!

Prepare yourselves for battle,  or prepare yourselves for the grave.

Please, know where you are headed. See clearly the path you have chosen. Examine and test yourself daily,  friends. The wolves and vultures are hungry. They gather and circle as they see death approaching.