So there is this guy named Michael, who is eccentric, brilliant and was in the right place at the right time, the time being 2005. He started to see cracks in the housing market and as he dug deeper into the numbers, he began to calculate an inevitability that would produce a financial crash in the eery likeness of the Great Depression. Being a savvy finance manager and a clever guy, he began approaching big banks and their financial backers with the proposal to bet against the system that ran the mortgage market. This was not something people did. This was, in the eyes of the big banks and securities firms, a crazy person willing to throw away his money (and the money of his investors). He bought and bought and bought and a few like minded money men caught on to his 'theory' and decided to get in on the action as well; however, still widely viewed as insane. Cut to 2007/2008, our friend Michael is being sued by his investors who in the 2+year timeframe had their money locked into a ridiculous notion that the housing market would collapse and banks would go broke; and then just like that, it happens. He was right all along. His investors make millions and he makes billions. And the United States of America would suffer a moment in history that is rife with greed, callousness, loss, hopelessness, homelessness and a broken trust in the systems that were once "too big to fail." And Michael saw it all coming.
Of course this story (albeit true and well documented) is also at the center of a low budget movie with Christian Bale portraying our man Michael Burry. A movie that made 80+% over the original $50 million budget and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Because even just the telling of this story awakens something on the inside of people. Some people finally realized that the financial system is merely a larger scale version of Las Vegas (only more rigged); while others were able to see an example outside of the Bible that involved one guy seeing something that no one else could see, being convinced of the knowledge that he had to the point of risking everything to make it to the end that he knew was coming. His story is ultimately a glimpse into what could be for all of us, if only we were sure about this.
Matthew 24:42-44 (NASB)
"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will."
Being sure and being certain are the same thing. They both invoke confidence and they both lack any doubt. Whether it be as our main man Michael had - confidence in math, or whether it be that which we (as followers of Jesus) must have - confidence in God, knowing we have a sure thing is required. Romans 4:20-21 (TLB) "But Abraham never doubted. He believed God, for his faith and trust grew ever stronger, and he praised God for this blessing even before it happened. He was COMPLETELY SURE that God was well able to do anything He promised."
When everything is on the line, when we are all in, when we are at an all time high because we are stepping out of the boat, all the way to when things don't look like we thought they would, to when we start seeing things go more toward the negative than the positive, to when it seems like we are way out on a limb, alone and still waiting for what we KNOW is inevitable - will we remain confident, certain and sure? At this point, we BETTER be SURE. See, the reason is because we aren't going to see the completion until we ARE sure.
Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Undoubtedly, we all think we are sure about the God thing in our lives. We say "God thing" because until it becomes our ONLY OPTION EVER, it's just one of the things that we have in our toolbox to fix stuff that breaks, to get help when we need it and to vent our requests as part of our therapy session when we are in need of a breakthrough in our lives. But how do we KNOW that we are really SURE about any of it?
Luke 1:1-4 (MSG)
"So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught."
This is what the TRUTH of God's Word is all about, the certainty of all the stories in the Bible and the struggles and wins and the failures and the obstacles and the battles and the instructions and the best part (Jesus) and the encouragement and the wisdom and the knowledge and even that which is still to come - all of it - is part of what Luke is speaking to Theophilus about. These stories help us to build our own confidence in who God truly is. For this reason incredible stories from the Old Testament are sprinkled all over the New Testament, reminding us that God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. This in turn becomes the way in which we are sure and as Romans 1:20 provides, we have additional proof in all of creation; and as we stand our ground, refusing to give up we find this becomes the way in which we keep our focus and hold tight to that which we KNOW.
See, even more now in 2020 and beyond, our need to become less dependent upon the systems of the world in which we live (and remain not of) is increasingly obvious. Past that understanding, as Christians and in accordance with what Jesus said in the Amplified Translation of Matthew 11:28-30, our need to be less crippled by our dependence on our local church to take care of the heavy burden of religious obligations that have been imposed by the mere nature of mankind's quest to be as God, is even greater now than in the beginning. In other words, the time for the followers of Jesus to turn on that lightbulb within themselves and solidify a working and functioning relationship with God Almighty and Jesus His Son with the increasing awareness and tapping into of His Holy Spirit at work in us, through us and for us at ALL times is MOST important as we head toward the crazier days still to come. The quicker we prepare our hearts and understand that the days of 'business as usual' have come to an end, the more confident our own spirit becomes on the inside of each one of us. Oh sure, there will be attempts of many to try and swiftly piece a solution together that may seem to be the answer that solves everything so that we can all just get back to what we have known life (or Christianity) to be; but just as it happened in 2007/2008 when the banks scrambled before the crash to essentially bail each other out in an attempt to "save the economy," but more so to save themselves from their exposed failures and frauds, our society as a whole including our mega church models will attempt to do the same, if they haven't already.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NOG)
"You must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time. People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy, and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good. They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God. They will appear to have a Godly life, but they will not let it's power change them. Stay away from such people."
Seems to be pretty serious because it is pretty serious. The good news, however, is that we have all the things we need to stare down anything/everything and in doing so remove it's power, it's grip, it's hold and it's deeply inserted claws from off of our hearts, our minds and our physical bodies. How do we have this and where do we get it? Good question.
Isaiah 41:10-13 (NIV)
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, DO NOT FEAR; I WILL HELP YOU."
So as we finish this BLOG and turn it over for the purpose of digesting what we have written, we once again ask ourselves the question "Are We Sure About This?" and because we KNOW we are SURE, we overwhelmingly raise our hands to answer in unison -
NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.