The Famine is Here

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Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I 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: 12And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).

 

I’m sure most of you have seen commercials or have seen pictures of young children in different nations of this world, who were living in starvation. They had skinny limbs with bloated stomachs because their nation was suffering from famine. It sure can cause compassion to rise in your heart for these poor helpless children. Thank the Lord for those who go help these people in the time of their great need.  There is another famine that I want to talk about, a famine that I believe is even worse than a famine of food. I don’t know about other nations, but this famine is very prevalent in America. It is a famine of the word of God.

The thing that is the most absurd about this spiritual famine of the word of God is that there is not a shortage of Bibles in our nation. I have had pleas from other nations to send them money so they can purchase Bibles for their people. Here in America, even the poorest of Americans can obtain a Bible. At our church we have given away many Bibles. How many Bibles do you have? How many different versions do you have? It would sound ridiculous for someone to complain that they are starving to death because they haven’t eaten a thing for a month and yet food is all around them. You would immediately question them to why they are not eating the food that is there before them. Well, that is how ridiculous the famine of the word of God is in our nation. We don’t have a shortage of the word of God in paper and ink or electronic devise, but we do have a shortage of men who will preach and teach the word of God. We have a shortage of people who really believe the word of God. We have a shortage of people, and even Christians, who will open their ears to hear the word of God.

Years ago it used to be a very negative thing to be called a church hopper. A typical church hopper was a so-called Christian, who was always disgruntled with whatever church they were in. This isn’t right, that isn’t right. They complain about the music. It’s too loud or too contemporary. The pastor’s suit is too expensive or he doesn’t dress well enough. The people in the church don’t love me. There are too many hypocrites in the church. I’m sure most of you know people like this. However, today I am seeing church hoppers of a different sort. In fact, I don’t want to use the negative connotation of “church hopper,” instead, I see these people as genuine saints of God who are searching for a church that still preaches and teaches the word of God in Spirit and in truth. I have heard of people wanting to move to other states, just so they could go to a church they believed still preached the truth. I have heard from a few saints who told me they went to every Christian church in their city and could not find one that still preached the word in Spirit and in truth. By the way, I do understand that there are those who say they are looking for a church that preaches the word, but they are just looking for a church that has the same old look of the churches they grew up in.

Yes, there is a famine of the word of God in this nation. A famine of the most devastating kind. In most churches you will hear a reading of scripture, you will hear talk about the scripture, but yet you can leave as hungry or even hungrier than when you entered the church that morning. It seems no different than it was in the days of Samuel.

 

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (I Samuel 3:1).

 

The word “precious” declares that the word of God, though it had value, was rare. Now it may not have been any less rare than in those days of Joshua and Judges which preceded Samuel, for they had the writings of Moses. What was rare is that there was a shortage of those who believed and lived the word of God. The books of Moses could have very well been like the average Bible in American homes, up on the shelf collecting dust. The Bible is different from any book in the world in that it isn’t a book that is to be read as much as it is a book to be believed upon and lived out. You have to believe to such a point that you are trusting your whole life to what the Bible says. That means that you will believe and live out every principle, precept and commandment in the Bible.

We are quick to want to blame the ministers for our fallen churches. No doubt, the buck stops with them. Read what Hebrews says. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17). So you can see the heavy responsibility there is on those who rule over our churches. For those like me, who are ministers of the gospel, this portion of scripture should have extra weight to it. I don’t ever want to fail in being a faithful minister of the Lord.

It is not just the ministers who are responsible for the famine of the word, it is also any Christian who has minimized the word of God. They don’t want to really hear what the Bible says. They want the preachers to tell it a little different. They want the smooth word, just like in the days of Isaiah.

 

Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isaiah 30:10).

 

These kind of Christians put pressure on the pastors, not to eliminate the word, but to lighten it up, water it down and nullify it with hyper-grace teachings. Unfortunately some, if not many ministers, cave into the pressure. Add to it that many pastors have come to think their ministry is to fill pews instead of minister, with great authority and power, the word of God to the body of Christ. If they are looking to fill pews, they will do what it takes, and the first thing that has to be altered is the preaching of the word of God. So even though you may hear the word of God read and preached in most churches in America, you will find, according to what I hear, a great famine of those who preach the whole counsel of the word of God. You will find a shortage of those who delight in hearing it and obeying it.

No Book Like It

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You can take every book that has ever been written, stack them all up and put them against the Bible, and the Bible would be light years away from them all. Books can change the mind of man, for his mind is unstable. Books can move the emotions of man, for he is a sensual being. Books can give correction, direction and instruction for man, for his knowledge and wisdom is limited. While books can give information and change the mind of man, there is one thing they cannot do, GIVE MAN A NEW HEART. Books cannot make a new creature out of a human being. Books can alert, convict and convince man that he is a sinner and a vile creature, but books have no power to deliver man from what he is and the course he is on.

The Bible has that kind of power because the Bible is more than a book, it is the word(s) of God. The absolute, unadulterated and infallible word of God. Yet it is even more than that. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). What powerful scriptures. The power of God is beyond our ability to grasp, but these two verses do show us how God created all there is. He just spoke it all into existence. It is because the word is God. To try to make this as simple to understand as possible, just know that what God says is as much God as His presence is. Take note that when Moses asked God, “Show me Thy glory,” God answered his request. “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:5-7). Did you see that? God was as much talking as he was walking before Moses. With God, we get the full experience. He is a God that talks. Everything He says is absolute truth. People say God can do anything. However, there are some things He cannot do. He cannot speak lies. If He did, it would falsely represent Him and he would cease to be the WORD.

Being more specific yet, we learn that Jesus Christ is the Word. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Before there ever was a Jesus, there was the Word. Jesus became the living expression of the Word. It was the Word that was made flesh and dwelt amongst man. Jesus proved to this world the validity of God’s word. Jesus came to believe it, live it and preach it. He preached what and who He was. He was a living manifestation of the word of God.

Some Christians may think Jesus always was. This is not true. The Son of God always was. There was a day when Jesus, a human being was conceived. There was a day he was born. He had a beginning. That was the beginning of the life of Jesus on earth. Though Jesus had a birth, the Word that He was, always was. Jesus was one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God. The man side of Him was born; the God side of Him always was.

Tell me if you can, what book can claim such credentials as the Bible? Take even spiritual books. Any spiritual book that has ever been written (I wrote a couple myself), may encourage and strengthen Christians. However, they only do so because they are based on the Bible. Without the Bible, they have no authority. We must be careful when we read books by men who claim their book is based on the word of God. Man is not like God. “…Let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4). Even in his best intention, man taints, falsifies, opinionates, exaggerates and diminishes the Word of God. Yet he believes he is right on the mark with what he writes. He believes his version of the truth is the right version. There is the King James Version, the New King James Version and many others. Then there is the “MY version,” or the “YOUR version.” The true version is what the Holy Spirit teaches. He teaches the truth.

One of my favorite all time movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I have probably watched it all the way through about ten to fifteen times. I don’t have much interest in it today. I have had my fill of, “Hee Haw, Merry Christmas Bedford Falls, My lip is bleeding” and learning that every time a bell rings another angel gets his wings. The movie doesn’t do much for me anymore because I watched it too many times. It is way different with my Bible. I have read the Bible through over thirty times in my life. I am not exaggerating when I say I still get excited when I get to the part where Samson brings down the temple, and when David runs toward the giant and then topples him with a sling and stone. I know how every Old Testament story ends, but yet, I am still excited to read it. No sixty-five inch TV screen in high definition. No surround sound speakers. Just black letters on a white background. However, the words of the Bible are filled with life. They do something to those who seek for wisdom and understanding. I read over and over that Jesus was born in a manger, but when I read it again it seems Jesus is birthed anew in my heart. I read over and over of the anointing and power that the church had in the Book of Acts. Still, when I read it, it stirs in me a desire to be filled anew with the Spirit and to go forth to demonstrate Christ is alive.

What a book! What a fool any person is who rejects it, forgets it and neglects it. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

If you mess with the word of God, it will mess with you. If you read it, it will read you. If you open your heart to it, it will lay your heart open.

Tell me if you can, what book other than the Bible, has so much power that it can plunge into a person’s heart with the ease of a two-edged sword and cause no bleeding? Tell me if you can, what other book has the ability to separate between your soul and spirit and leave your body feeling more whole? What other book can divide your joints and marrow and leave you even walking better? Tell me if you can, what other book could ever have such authority that it can discern, expose and then correct your heart, and then leave you feeling liberated and close to God. NO OTHER BOOK, BUT THE BIBLE.