Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Below is a series of short articles I posted on facebook, and decided to post here for visitors to read. You can scroll down below to read them. They are on the following subjects: 

Elements That Make Democracy Work
Brokenness
Facing Persecution
Pouring Your Heart Out Before the Lord
Advice to the Girl (Woman) Looking for a Good Man.

---Billy Long


ELEMENTS THAT MAKE DEMOCRACY WORK
Plato and other Greek philosophers believed that democracy is a bad form of government because it eventually degenerates to the lowest common denominator, resulting in a society governed by the rule of the uneducated, uninformed, morally weak, and self-indulgent masses. We see these trends today. People move from freedom to license and chaos that ultimately bring society under the tyranny of excessive government control and dictatorial rule. 
Plato and the philosophers were right in that democracy is a bad form of government— UNLESS it is held together by the following necessary ingredients that work to make it the best form of government, creating the most freedom and prosperity. .
A Democracy can only be sustained where the following elements exist.
1) a healthy self-restraint produced by moral character in the people. In our nation Judeo-Christian (Biblical) values produced this self-restraint that is necessary for a free and healthy democratic society.
(2) a strong and well-informed middle-class. A strong middle-class is necessary for the sustained existence of a democracy because it prevents the animosity and class warfare that fall on a people governed by either the very rich or the very poor. An informed public with moral fiber is least likely to be manipulated by propaganda and demagoguery.
(3) the authority of a governing document such as our constitution designed to keep the power of the government in check and protect the people from the arbitrary rule of men who would otherwise seek power and rule according to their own will. The constitution holds rulers in check by setting boundaries around their powers. It is sad that too many of our citizens do not realize the importance of our constitution nor the dangers (to our freedom) that will oppress us if we violate and trample this document.
We as a people should be aware that the violation and neglect of these three principles will erode and undermine our freedom, our peace, and our prosperity. Our nation has lived in the fruit of these values and is now in the process of weakening these very pillars that have made us great. We are already beginning to taste in small measure the painful consequences we will inevitably experience in full measure if we continue on this path.
Our hope is in God. Genuine Christians need to call upon the Lord and pray that multitudes will come to Christ.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 14
BROKENNESS
Psalm 51:17 “A broken and a contrite heart, Oh God, You will not despise.”
Brokenness is a subject that requires revelation to see the reality and depth of what is being discussed. It is a topic for which most people will only see the tip of the iceberg while the main body and substance will remain hidden. Therefore, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” --B L
The essence of brokenness is surrender and humility. It speaks of how we respond to God and to his leading and discipline in our lives.
Brokenness refers to a contriteness that is willing to die to self and its desires. The absence of brokenness is characterized by a stubborn and self-centered struggle to resist change, correction, and God’s rule. Our unbroken human nature can be compared to the wild horse that is unwilling to submit to the rider and the bridle. The spirit of rebellion is basically the desire to cast off the yoke of God’s rule, to go its own way, and to satisfy its own desires. Much stress and distress comes from holding to self and its interest and from the refusal to surrender, and “give up” before the Lord.
A broken person will surrender and allow God to take him in hand. He responds properly to God's dealings. Surrender means that a person has yielded to God's hand, God's will, and God's discipline in his life. He has become tractable and capable of being led, taught, and managed in the same way a horse is broken and no longer wild. Humility refers to the crushing of independent, rebellious self. It is a person's recognizing his own inability apart from God. Brokenness deals with independence, resistance, stubbornness, pride, arrogance, self-dependence, and the need for self-vindication. When a person is broken, he casts himself upon God and is freed from the need to prove a point, vindicate himself, or get his own way. He has learned the way of the cross. He has learned that, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone.
Brokenness affects our relationship with God and with others. It helps prevent conflict in some cases. Much conflict is protracted and drags on and on because of the failure of a person to simply “give up.” Much of our stress and distress would evaporate or resolve itself if we only knew how to take a deep breath, and simply “give up” and quit fighting in the flesh. An unbroken person will fight by means of his lower nature rather than using the spiritual weapons that are at hand but hidden.
Brokenness means that a person has humbled himself before God, confessed and repented of his sin. He walks in a meekness that trusts God to defend, to uphold the right and to judge the wrong. He walks in godly character and in God's ways to accomplish God's will during times of difficulty, affliction, stress, and injustice. Brokenness requires faith in the Sovereign God and a heart that has gone the way of the cross.

FACING PERSECUTION
Since the founding of America we have had the unique experience of living in a society that has enjoyed the fruit of the Judeo-Christian world-view, ethics, and values. This context has made it relatively comfortable for Christians. For the most part we have not been seriously persecuted.
This, however, has been changing over the last few decades, and the trend seems to be intensifying.
While Christians have been reluctant to face the battle out in the world, we need to be aware that the battle may now come to us. The spiritual forces that hate God and His word will also hate Christians. But to be more specific, they may claim to love God, but just hate Jesus Christ, and those who follow Him. That's why the Bible calls the end time "man of sin" the anti-Christ." As the western world tends to unite under some all-inclusive religious unity devoid of Christ, it will begin more and more to attack Christians personally and legally through the laws of the land, and thus attempt to silence the testimony of Christian who would share the good news of Jesus Christ and His Word.
We are in a spiritual battle. And Christians who have tended to retreat into the four walls of the church need to be aware that the world-system will attempt to make those four walls our prison in an effort to keep the message hidden away from the real world and the issues of the day.
Christians have tended to hide within the four walls of the church, but the truth is we cannot avoid the spiritual warfare that affects all of us in the real areas of life we face everyday. We will not be able to hide in church. The battle will come to us anyway, and at some point in time the only way to avoid it will be to deny the Lord either in word or actions, or to hide in one of the so-called Christian, religious institutions that will compromise and deny their very foundation in Christ and the truth of the Bible.
We, as followers of Christ, need to take our stand with the Apostle Paul who said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation." Also he said, "It is given to you in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on His name but also to suffer for His sake."
POUR OUT YOUR HEART BEFORE THE LORD.
“…always laboring fervently for you in prayers…” Colossians 4: 12
There was a prayer chapel on the first floor of the men’s dorm at the college I attended. It was a small, carpeted room with an altar up front. I would often go there at night to pray. The fellows who went in there to pray usually left the lights off and sat in the soft light that passed through the stained glass in the door. I would sit on the wooden pews or kneel, but often I would lie on the floor.
It was there, during my freshman year of college, that I discovered a deeper level of intercessory prayer. I would begin to weep before the Lord, sometimes vehemently, as I cried to Him in behalf of various family members and other areas of concern. During these intense times of prayer, I was not able to speak much or say anything, but could only cry before the Lord.

I described this to one of my professors, and his explanation made a deep impact upon me. “During those times,” he said, “the Holy Spirit is working through you and leading you into a deeper level of intercession. Much is being accomplished through those prayers.” He then quoted the Apostle Paul who said, “…the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8: 26).
I learned that prayer is not just an exercise of the mind, but also an exercise of my spirit working together with the Holy Spirit, and sometimes it involves travail.
Prayer should include praise and thanksgiving; and It is often a time of joy and sometimes quietness, but these verses show us that there is also a place for passion and intensity. This does not speak of an emotional ritual, but rather a reflection of the genuine burden we have for those people and situations for which we pray.
“Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear.” Hebrews 5: 7
“And being in agony He prayed more earnestly…” Luke 22: 44
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers…” Colossians 4 12
“Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
“Arise, cry out in the night…pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.” Lamentations 2:19