You may not like what I have to say today.
I'm thinking this out aloud.
And one thing I think is that
we're going to have to be very careful in the coming days.
Do you sense that, too?
As the world spins closer to the end,
we will be best served and will best serve one another
by listening closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
And we'll need to be sure that when we give "Biblical" advice
that it's based on the entire Bible.
For instance, Solomon wrote that there's a time to speak -
we love that verse,
we're a speak out generation
most of us don't harbor a single unexpressed thought
in fact, a majority of us don't know what we think until we hear ourselves say it out loud
or tweet it
or update our status on Facebook.
But Solomon also wrote that there's a time to be silent
and that's a particularly scary act of restraint for modern believers.
We associate silence with inaction, cowardice, indecision, and fear
so we applaud anyone who speaks up
and chastise those who keep their thoughts to themselves
but God says, there's a time for everything.
So if we judge the brother or sister who remains silent in faith,
we contradict our Lord.
There's been a post going around social media about a member of the Air Force being persecuted, in fact, risking court martial, for speaking out against gay marriage to his superior officer, a lesbian.
Believers, on-line, are rallying around the airman and I have no objection to that.
But the story is a sobering one and it's made me think what hill I'll be called to die on in the coming days.
I write bold
but that's not a hard thing for me to do so.
Writing bold posts costs me nothing.
But what if my boss told me that writing publicly about my views regarding abortion or gay marriage or divorce would cost me my job?
I need my job.
My family needs me to keep my job.
There are lots of other things to write about that glorify God.
Right at this moment, I don't know what I would do except that I know I'd be on my knees seeking God's guidance.
Is this a time to speak or a time to be silent?
Right now, I don't know the answer because I don't need to know the answer - my boss has issued no such threat and I can write what I want and keep our medical coverage.
But, that day may come and only God knows what time it will be.
One airman may have faith to trust God to care for his family should he be court-martialed for expressing his views
while another airman, one who loves Jesus just as much, may not have the same faith or may feel led to be silent while he or she looks for opportunities to share the love of Christ with his or her superior officer
and both may be acting within the will of God.
As the enemy roars and rails,
knowing his end is near,
the toxic smoke from his blazing nostrils filling the air with the confusing sulfur of deception,
we need to make every effort not to turn on one another.
Paul cautions us like this: "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4 ESV
Cowardice is bad and God will judge the coward in the end.
Restraint is good and God will reward restraint and self-control, it's a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Silence can stem from either cowardice or restraint and only the One who sees the heart can know which.
And sometimes people speak out, not inspired by courage, but by a lack of self-control, an uninformed impulsivity, a misguided desire to pick a fight
like the disciple in the garden who drew his sword to defend Jesus and was reprimanded by our Lord -
it was not the time for swords
it was time to suffer and die.
Each of us should be preparing
when we're alone with God,
learning to hear His voice,
shoring up our understanding of what we believe is the truth,
and cultivating the fruits of the spirit.
And we should also be practicing the discipline of withholding judgment
against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Boot camp for the end times, baby.
Not a time for cut-and-paste understanding of scripture-
a time to pull it all together and draw from the entirety of the revelation
there's a time to speak
and a time to be silent
a time for war
and a time for peace
a time to be born
and time to face the end of our days
Some will go out fighting
others will go out like lambs led to slaughter
but let all go in the power of the Holy Spirit
for in the Spirit - we are one.