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“He turns rivers into wilderness and the watersprings into dry ground…..He turns wilderness into pools of water and dry land into water spring……He also blesses them and they multiply…”  Psalm 107:  33, 35, 38

“Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness….Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of  the people”  Psalm 107 31, 32

I will try not to compartmentalized too much and stay on topic.  Yet one does not have to look too far in the world and see not only a lot of compartmentalization going on in general, but especially compartmentalization going on about God in the world.

It is sadly true that Our Heavenly Father, God Almighty is referred to less and less in mainstream society in terms of having any relevent impact on it.  Not wanting to enforce a “state religion” in the United States, the founding leaders designed a separation of church and government.  That concept, much to the delight of the devil, has morphed into a much broader concept of separation of church and society.  It is no longer a correct and in some cases an allowable exercise to discuss our faith in conjunction with our vocation or outside of solely religious gatherings.

Yet there is one place where calling upon God is still considered a morally correct and admirable thing to do; when people are struck with extreme personal tragedy, often involving health or loved ones’ death.  In the aftermath of significant natural disasters with large loss of life or property, in the wake of a mass shooting or terrorist attack, speaker after speaker stands before the public and pleads with the public to remember these people and their families in our prayers.  Please don’t misunderstand me; I am glad even for that mention of God and His power to heal, comfort and restore.

So here’s an example of compartmentalization recently.  There are horrible wildfires happening in our western and northwestern states.  There has been a lack of rain for significant periods of time and much of the vegetation had dried up over time leading to readily volatile fire conditions.  Various reasons for this period of drought and what to do about it have been offered.  It is man-made climate change.  It is climate change that has nothing to do with man.  It is man’s mismanagement of resources for not storing water when he could.  In short it is man or strictly a natural process with no other influence discussed or possible.  So the fires happen and very sadly, several, brave firefighters have lost their lives.  Then it happens; in talking about the firefighters’ death, we are encouraged to pray for them.  In fact first and foremost that is what speaker after speaker, and these are secular speakers, governors, mayors, fire captains, news reports, even the president, feel completely at ease calling upon you and I to pray to God for these people (and that is again a good thing).

So I have to ask myself and would ask them if I had the chance; why is it correct to pray for these individuals and not the greater circumstances where these people and we ourselves find ourselves?  Are you or we saying that God has only power in helping people in dire or after dire circumstances but has no power in any other aspect of the world we live in?  Of course I’d hate that in, asking that question, their answer would be to stop calling on God altogether.

King David, in Psalm 107 is referring to the power of God Almighty and how He uses that power to bless and yes, withhold blessing.  Yet there is no ambiguity in God’s omnipotence in every aspect of creation.  Now please don’t infer by my example that I am judging areas of our country or saying that the fires are God’s judgement for this act or that.  I do not know the mind of God nor am in any place to be a spokesperson of His judgement; He is all too capable to do that for Himself.  What I am saying with complete conviction is that God is the Creator and has power in all things.  I also proclaim that He is a God of love who longs to hear the prayers of His creation and bless them (us) abundantly.  I also believe, based upon scripture, that God will withhold His blessings when we fail to reach out to Him and act based on our own earthly and evil judgement.  Yet God in His Mercy and Patience will do all that He can do to bring us back.  To show us, not only His Power, but His Love as well.  He will go as far as to sacrifice His only Son to redeem us from our sin and show us His Power by raising Him from the dead, to show us how we can come to live in His presence again.  In fact that very comforting nature of God that is why we are asked to pray for those so significantly hurting.

What I am saying, asking for, cajoling, pleading for is for you and I not to compartmentalized our requests to God.  To understand that God wants to be a part of and then allow Him to come into our lives and be a part of, every aspect of our lives.  I am asking that we understand, there is nothing outside of God’s control so let’s pray for rain and relief of drought and famine, knowing that God has that power.  Pray for a promotion, pray for a grade, pray for a relationship, pray for your finances with the firm faith of God’s intervening power.  He is faithful to answer.  He is faithful to bless.  It may not be in the same time or way that we were thinking but He will make it all the better, all the richer.

One final thing David asks us to do.  For example I have two friends who have recently done exactly what David speaks of.  One friend miraculously survived a horrific automobile accident and his recovery has had physical pain and there are things he can no longer do.  Yet he is unceasing in his praise of Power of God in the recovery his doctors say is nothing short of miraculous.  Another friend and husband were going through financial, health and spiritual troubles that shook them to their very souls thinking, at times there might be no way out other than to bring about their own end.  Yet they did not completely lose their faith and God powerfully intervened and they sing His praises constantly.  We need to tell of God’s blessings.  We need to declare God’s answered prayers.  Many will scoff, but some will hear and be transformed and end their compartmentalization and open all to God.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we humbly and loudly declare You are the Creator God and over all things.  We pray to You in all aspects of our lives to include we pray for rain in our western states to put out the fires.  We pray for drought and famine relief in Saharan Africa.  Show us that You want to us to pray, in love and faith, for specific things and in all aspects of our life.  Forgive us, when we compartmentalized our lives trying to exclude you from some part.  We praise You for the blessings and love you pour down upon us.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“When the Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame she came to Jerusalem to test him…”  2 Chronicles 9:1

“She said to the king….Praise be to the Lord your God who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the Lord….”  2 Chronicles 9:5, 8

Solomon was the son of King David, who became king of the Israelite people after King David died.  When God asked Solomon what he wanted most of all, Solomon responded that he desired wisdom to lead his people.  God responded that because Solomon had not asked for himself, riches or honor or revenge against enemies; God would grant his wish for wisdom as well as riches, honor and peace.  So it is that Solomon’s fame spread far and wide concerning his wisdom.

Far enough to the land of Ethiopia.  There resided a great queen, who had riches and was also known for her wisdom.  This was the Queen of Sheba.  In what I’ve been able to find, initially the queen was not a follower of Our Lord God.  She was a sun worshiper.  Yet she had heard of this king who had such wisdom, goodness and strength that she could scarcely believe it.  So he came to test Solomon, to see if what she had heard could possibly be true.  Upon visiting Solomon, testing him, experiencing his wisdom and seeing how he had been blessed, the queen was overwhelmed and gave glory to God because what she had seen of Solomon in Jerusalem.  The bible says that she was so impressed she gave Solomon riches of every kind in tribute.  Although, the bible does not expressly say this; there is a tradition that she converted to worshiping the Lord.

So today Dear Sisters and Brothers we have a message.  A message that, to the world, may seem impossible to believe.  We have a message of unconditional love and merciful forgiveness.  The people who don’t live by that same belief system are looking at us.  The people who don’t have our faith are often tossed about by the fortunes of this world, finding themselves feeling cast adrift in a world of callous hearts, mean spirits and selfish intents.  So it may very well be that they will come to us; they will try and test us.  They will be seeking to see if there is anything to the proclamations that they have heard.

Yet if this troubles you, take heart.  For Jesus Christ, Himself told us not to fear when we are called upon to testify to what it is we believe in.  For remember it was not Solomon’s wisdom on his own, but the wisdom granted to him by God the Father Almighty which the Queen of Sheba experienced.  In the same way, it is not solely nor souly our testimony that we will proclaim to the world; but it is the testimony of the Holy Spirit which is the gift from Our Heavenly Father with which we will answer the world.  Some will hear that testimony and scoff.  Some will turn away and not even give themselves a chance to hear that testimony.  Yet some will hear, will really listen to that testimony.  May it be that some will see our lives of faith and undeniable joy, even in times of stress and feel themselves compelled to speak wonder and praise to Almighty God by what they witness in us.  Though again, understand that we are not to be prideful in hearing them praise the Father.  And if instead they want to praise you and I instead of our Heavenly Father, we must be diligent in correcting that.  Showing to them, that except for the blessed Love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we would be as lost as anyone else.  That Our Lord and Savior longs to share that love with all, no matter what their circumstances or past.

So let us strive to live lives that will cause others to notice.  Let us live lives that will cause others to question, to be curious, to desire to have what it seems that we have.  And let us strive to look at what we have as not some exclusive, hard to earn, only for us type of triumph, but something we desire to have shared by all to the Glory of our Savior Jesus Christ and Our Heavenly Father.  That in living those lives, we might be vessels of light, His Light shining out for all to see.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, all praise be to You on earth as it is in heaven.  Grant us the gift of faith and wisdom as You did to Solomon, that we may be seen by the world and the world would desire to ask us and yes to even test us about You.  When we are tested, give us Your Strength to withstand the test.  Give us Your Wisdom, Your Spirit to answer the questions in a way that will bring Praise to Your Holy Name and cause others to want to be in relationship with You.  This we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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