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Faith and Famine

Updated: May 5, 2020

As we are in these last days one thing and one verse that has certainly always come to mind for me is Amos 8:11.Amos 8:11"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, thatI will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:"

Now, it is interesting that when I went back to that verse I also jumped up to the very first verse of Amos Chapter 8 because getting the context is always important and reading even familiar verses sometimes allow new truths and meanings to spring forth based on what's going on in the world at the time. I would certainly encourage all to read and reread those previous verses as that economic chicanery is being done today as well. In fact, it jumped out to me so much that I made a general comment about it on Facebook.

But it's interesting and maybe puzzling to some why there would be a famine for hearing the words of the Lord. Don't we have plenty of churches, megachurches, late night evangelists with the last name of Dollar(convenient ain't it?) and entire religious programming networks? Well, let me ask you this. Do you hear much of the Word of God spoken by Creflo Dollar? Or do you hear about sending him some money so he can afford a new luxury jet? Does Joel Osteen strike you as a man who carefully and rigorously teaches the Word of God or does he seem like a nice enough fellow who has a great smile and likes to sell Tony Robbins style books with a twinge of scripture mixed in?

The point is, as we know all throughout God's Word that there are warnings about and admonitions and rebuke toward false shepherds. What kind of state do we believe that the church world is going to be in when out of the 7 churches of Revelation, 5 of them don't quite make the cut? Keep two things in mind here. First, the names I don't believe matter as we're dealing with the last generation, which is this one. Geographically the 7 churches that did exist by name at that time formed a circle. So I believe symbolically we can say it represents churches at all points on the globe. 7 is also symbolic of spiritual completeness so we can very easily say in that sense it takes in every single Christian church by name. That's pretty much only a 29% pass rate for churches in these days. Or at least a 29% "A" grade. But we also know that the two churches that Christ gave that A grade to, or the 29% were churches that had one thing absolutely without a doubt in common. They knew who the Synagogue of Satan was and they weren't ashamed to teach it in their church. If you don't believe me look it up specifically in Revelation 2:9 and Revelation 3:9. It is I believe also out of these churches, or at least those that have that truth, which will make up God's election in these last days. They aren't deceived and they aren't shaken by anything much that goes on in these days. You had better believe they are well fed spiritually as well.

The fact is that unless a church and its pastor is teaching the way God intends them to teach, it's going to fall short of the mark. That way is outlined in Isaiah 28:10 and especially in verse 13.Isaiah  28:13  "But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." Which is to say that overall you teach the Word of God chapter by chapter and verse by verse. Now, when one does that as God intended we find that it does two things. To one with eyes and ears to see and hear spiritually, it opens the truth of God's Word in a way that they have never experienced before. Once that door has been opened and that key has been turned, they're not shutting it and they're not locking it back up. But for those that believe or prefer a verse here and there and a bunch of hot air, it offends them and they don't understand. They fall for anything that tickles the ear and when those leading their congregation worry about tickling the ear, eventually a church gets to be in the sorry shape that they are in the next chapter. In Isaiah 29 we find one wanting a book, we might say and can say even the Word of God is taken to one that they hope will teach them from it and they get "Oh it's sealed" or, "Oh I am not learned enough to tell you what this means." No man or woman knows everything but when a supposed man or woman of God doesn't teach His Word as He tells them to, there comes a point in which even that pastor becomes so wrapped up in teaching as taught in seminary or as requested by their church board that they become blind themselves spiritually speaking. That's not a good situation to have friend. So if you want to know why and how there will be a famine for hearing the words of the Lord, ask yourself and investigate for yourself if the Word of the Lord is taught and taught correctly by that pastor.

But in the news today we also have warnings of an actual famine or food shortage crisis. It is both sadly and I suppose fortunately worse in other parts of the world than it is in our country. But at the same time I'm sure every single one of you has probably seen and experienced the same thing. Bare spaces on supermarket and retail shelves. Huge or certainly noticeable sections of meat where there's no meat. Canned good and pasta aisles that look a tornado hit them or that people are storing up for the zombie apocalypse. The great toilet paper shortage of 2020 that continues with seemingly no end in sight. As a matter of fact while perusing the web this morning I came across this. I am not vouching for or endorsing the Hal Turner radio show as I know nothing about it. Or at least I can't recall listening to it. Someone already downplayed it as a ploy for him to get subscribers. But if it's real it's concerning.

I know as a displaced worker, as one person put it, I took a job at Walmart. I know two things about my job at Walmart. Actually, I know three things about my job at Walmart. First, I know I'm supposed to get my temperature checked when I arrive and I'm supposed to wear a face mask all day at work. I don't agree with either of those things. But the second part is that I will do them and not make waves as long as I need that job because for now in these times I'll do what I can and what I need to in that situation to stay employed. The third part is as a personal shopper going out into the store to pick the items people have ordered online, I see the shortages first hand. I know that there is a meat shortage in our store. Not drastic by any means. But the bare spots are remaining bare. I know canned goods and pasta selections have been hit hard. I know frozen vegetables are hit and miss. That's particularly the case in the larger value sized bags. Even Pop Tarts are kind of hit and miss.

The reality is I doubt if any of us know how bad things will get. But we probably all have seen or heard the warnings first hand about the food supply chain being in trouble and shortages coming if not already here. It's why, in the face of meat processing plants like Tyson and Smithfield shutting down locations that President Trump signed an executive order to keep them open. You may know I'm no fan of Trump but this isn't about him or his order. It's merely a sign of what we're facing. Stories circulating on social media about gallons of milk being dumped and eggs being destroyed. Crops rotting or being plowed under and meat livestock being destroyed by orders of the government. Not to be an alarmist, but guess what. This very thing has happened before. Yes, it was during The Great Depression.

So, for Christians there are two schools of thought here. One that is being bandied about is Matthew 6:25-34. Specifically the idea that God knows that you need food and your basic needs provided for and as long as you're doing your best to follow verse 33 and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, those needs will be provided to you. I believe in a pinch that is exactly right. God did provide both manna and quail. He even provided water from a rock. Granted, thanks to the murmuring of the children, He delivered quail in a rather exasperated manner and Moses struck the rock twice and claimed credit for delivering the water in the same exasperated manner. That of course cost Moses rather dearly. But God provided. Likewise Elijah was fed by ravens of all things. So yes, God certainly can and will provide if we're seeking and trying to serve Him.

At the same time, I side with my Facebook friend and bible teacher Steve Barwick in that God also expects us to take action. When Joseph learned that there was a famine coming to the area in Genesis, he didn't sit back and say, "Oh well God will take care of me." While I'm sure that Joseph knew God would take care of him as He always had in numerous ways, he acted. How did he act?

Genesis 41:34"Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years."Genesis 41:35"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities."Genesis 41:36"And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine."

Joseph told Pharaoh, "We're going to have seven good and plenteous years for crops. But then we're going to have 7 years of famine. Let's take one fifth of the good, of the abundance each year, and let's store it for the bad years after that so we don't starve." By doing that Joseph saved not only the people of Egypt but his own family.

So I think the message we need to try to apply is, "Trust in God but try to plan ahead." Times are not necessarily good and plenteous even right now. But at the same time there is food in the stores and hopefully for most if not all of you there's money in your account. So use that to store as much as you can and keep that back. Live your life and try to enjoy it even in these times. But don't be foolish and left wondering what happened if it gets really bad in terms of shortages or even as Steve believes at some point, rationing. Now don't take so much that you leaving someone empty handed who might need it more than you. Or be willing to help if you have extra. But take care of yourself and your family as best you can. Finally, of course and indeed, always work to seek His Kingdom, His will, and His righteousness first and foremost as well as His Wisdom and you'll never go wrong.


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