Environmental Protection

By E L Thornton

 

2 Kings 6:15-17 “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

We have heard much in recent years about the environment, the environmental protection agency, and the people for the environment has kept us well informed. Our nation has become concerned about the things that surround us. There are many things that surround us, trees, hills, houses, fields, woods, forest, grass, all these things are our environment, even the unpleasant things.

What we see in our environment can be short sighted, or we can see many things, even to letting ones eyes gaze to the far reaches of the universe. One man said he couldn’t see the forest for the trees. One man told his friend that he had more rats in his barn that his friend had in his. After an extensive argument he took his friend to his old log barn, put his friend at one end of a hollow log. He rammed a long stick in that hollow log and rats went every where. He call to his friend “you see them” his friend called back “No!” The man looked and his friend had his eyes closed tightly. We usually see what we want to see.

After all that’s been said by the environmentalist, about protecting our environment, or protecting the things that surround us, we are concerned with this problem. But there is an environment that surrounds us that has captured my attention more than the one that the environmentalist are interested in. Our Christian environment.

If there ever was a time that we need to protect our surroundings as a child of God, it’s now. We need to protect our “love,” our “fellowship,” our “unity,” our “bonds of peace,” our “spirituality,” our “good conscience,” our “anointed preaching,” our “Holy Ghost.” I summit to you, these things are worth protecting.

The devil has determined to destroy the very foundation of our faith and our belief in the things of God. Satan will show us the fault instead of the good, the burden in place of the blessing, the mistakes instead of the overcomings, the hard task in place of the hopeful progress, the sorrow instead of the laughter, the hurt and pain instead of the glorious health, the dim flicker instead of the strong beacon, the rocks instead of the life boat, the temptation instead of the way of escape.

The devil makes sure that what we see first is always something that discourages, the things that will tare down, things which will destroy. But just as sure as the negative exist there is also the positive, things that will build up, things that will encourage us in our walk with God.

I. THINGS THAT DISCOURAGE:

Text! “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?” Alas means sorrow, pity, or regret.

Servant! What did you see this morning when you went outside? Did you see the sunshine? No! I didn’t notice, but I saw a thousand winks of light playing off of polished chariot wheels as they crossed the green fields.

Servant! Did you hear any of God’s little song birds singing the sun up from a distant horizon? No! But I heard the hoarse cries of strong men making ready for battle.

Servant! Did you see the leaves blowing in the breeze as the morning opened the door to another beautiful day. No! But I saw the waving of men’s garments as they hastened to mount their war horses.

Servant! Didn’t you see any billowy clouds, like beautiful white swans on a refreshing pool, floating across a blue backdrop of endless sky. No! But I saw choking thick dust boiling from under fast racing chariots as they speed toward the city.

Well, did you see or feel the spirit of the Lord in the mountain air. No! But I saw the host of the Syrians in the valley. But surely you felt a little song in your heart. No! I felt the heaviness of death all across the city.

Brother, I don’t know what you will do, nor how you will do, so that the work of God may progress, But I am determined to see not those things that destroy, and tare down, but I will see those things that build up.

Your reasoning I may disapprove, your speech I may distrust, your goals I may oppose, your face I may reject, your words may cause suspicion, But if I look with eyes that have been sanctified by God’s love, if I see deep enough, there will be those things that will bless, uplift, and edify, and I will speak of those things.

I will see the sun for it warms my bones, yet I will see the rain for we need if to survive. I will see the light for it shows the way, yet I will await the darkness because it brings rest to my body.

I will see and love my enemies and they will, hopefully, become my friends. I will encourage my friends and they will eventually become by brothers. Always will I dig for reason to applaud, and never will I scratch away blessings to find reasons to gossip.

When I am tempted to criticize I will look for reasons to commend. And if I search my mind and there is none, I will bite my tongue and say naught. When I am moved to praise, I will speak from the high places so that all may hear. I can see God in everything, and I will not be content with seeing until I do.

I will hear, nor see not, those who weep and complain, for I know their disease is contagious, and the slaughterhouse of deceit and failure is not my destiny.

I will avoid these causes of despair and discouragement, But if this disease of the soul should infect me I will toil on even in despair and discouragement. I will ignore the obstacles at my feet by keeping my eyes on the goal that is above my head; for I know that were dry desert ends, green grass grows. “Lead me to that rock that is higher than I.”

Each frown I meet, if I can feel and see God, will only prepare me for the smile that’s is to come, and I must have the night to appreciate the day.

I am not on this earth by chance, I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. And if I miss my purpose and shrink, it will be to a grain of wheat so I can grow again.

Within me burns the fire of the Holy Ghost, and its heat is a constant irritation to my self-will and my spirit to become better than I am. And I will, And I will. I will not fan the flame of dissatisfaction, trouble, and discouragement, but I will feed the “fire that’s shut up in my bones,” until I become, not a person with whom men trifle, but a man to whom God speaks.

I can see God in everything, and I will not be content with seeing until I do.

Hagar, running breathless and strengthless with her baby, Ishmael, fell down in the heat of the desert and saw the barren sand, the hot sun pouring down on her, felt the parched lips and the dry throat, and wished to die. It took an act of God for her to see the well of water, which, I suppose had been there all the time. If it takes an act of God, please let me see the good things. Phil. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

I can see God in everything and I will not be content with seeing until I do.

II. THE GREATEST BLESSINGS ARE HARDEST TO SEE:

This proved to be true with Elijah and to the servant. “The mountains was full of horses and chariots of fire.” The man of God didn’t need any of these, but they were there.

We see exactly what we want to see at church, at work or at play. It all depends on which environment impresses us the most. We can wallow around in the hog pen, or we can live and dwell in Kings palaces. Some people are attracted to trouble like flies to honey.

I will not see the pealing paint nor the ware that this building shows, but I will see it as the place were we come together to worship the true and living God. I will not see the un-swept floor of the sanctuary, that someone just forgot to clean, but I will endeavor to feel God’s spirit as I enter the door for worship.

I will not go to the kitchen and see the dirty sink that the last crew didn’t get spotless, but I will look for some place to work and thank God that I can work in His kingdom too.

I will not see the faults and failures of my fellow man, but I will see this congregation as the people of God and thank God that I have the opportunity to work among you.

I will not see the inadequate preacher, but I will hear the message he preaches, knowing that I will give an account of every word that I hear him preach. I refuse to hear the blunders of the musicians, but will understand that God loves the joyful noise.

I can see God in everything and I will not be content with seeing until I do.

Abraham didn’t see wealth, friends, family and home, but looked for a city whose builder and maker was God.

Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, despised royalty, marble, crowns, but rather suffered the afflictions of God’s people.

Jacob didn’t get all down and out because of his misfortune, but rather found a place that he could meet God.

David didn’t see the impregnable armor of the giant, but instead saw the name of the Lord.

Isaiah didn’t feel his grief and lonelyness at the death of a friend, but saw the Lord high and lifted up.

John didn’t get down in the pit of self pity when he was put on an island, But was in the spirit on the Lord’s day.

Paul didn’t get all down in the dumps because of his problems, but he was a witness that God’s grace is sufficient for the need.

Peter didn’t give up on God when he was cast into jail, but saw an angel, which led him out of his prison.

The early Church didn’t quit because of persecution, but went every where preaching the gospel.

Paul and Silas didn’t have a pity party because of their plite, but sang at mid-night, and God delivered them.

I can see God in everything and I will not be content with seeing until I do.

( END )

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