Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Anguish That Brings Repentance

"Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me:
yet Thy commandments are my delights."
Psalm 119:143
(KJV)

Disclaimer:
Please know that I write today's post, as well as all other posts,
from a heart full of love...
and a heart-felt burden...for the Kingdom of God and everything and everyone it pertains to.
I pray I do not sound harsh,
for being harsh is never my intention.
I promise.
I have struggled with this post for days....literally.
Not wanting to hit the "publish" button.
Writing and publishing other posts instead.
Drawing back from saying what God has put upon my heart.
I do not want to hurt anyone.
But, will I become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16)
I pray not.
I wish you could see into my heart and feel the weight...
of what God has placed there.
If you could, you would know that I would rather write a "feel-good" post any day,
but in order to remain true to the Spirit of God's leading,
I cannot....
not this time.
(Ezekiel 33:1-9)
Not today.
Because if I don't deliver this burden on my heart,
I feel I will burst.

It's true that you never know what subject matter you will find here,
but the two things I promise are this....
what you read here will be real...straight from my heart,
and it will be what God has put there.  :~)


So, in order to maintain peace with God, I will go on.
Please hear me out, if you will, 
and please don't hate the messenger! :~)

I'm still thinking of the days of adversity post from the other day,
and how King Solomon instructed us to "consider" when faced with those kinds of days.
I can't seem to get away from the thought.

I don't ever remember there being a time of such adversity-filled days in our nation and world
as the days you and I are witnessing and living through right now.

You can't absorb the news without realizing days have never been filled with so much adversity.
An entire post could be written about all of the calamities,
disasters, and hate-filled behavior that fills up the evening news.
If there were ever a time in which you and I should "consider", 
it is now.
It is easy to point fingers when things go wrong.
To place the blame somewhere....anywhere else, other than upon ourselves.

I believe if we will take our eyes off what is happening in the world around us...
if we stop faulting everyone else....
if we turn our eyes inward...upon ourselves within the inside ranks of those professing Christianity,
we will realize that, in many ways, we are, in a large way, to blame.

God is trying to get our attention.
The purpose for days of adversity is to cause us to stop....and consider.

My inward soul is filled with a deep and motivating anguish,when I realize that
much of the cause of the conditions of our nation
originates directly from the conditions of the church.
My personal, heart-felt anguish causes me to fall before God and repent...
to beg His forgiveness for my personal role in all of this.

True anguish brings about repentance...
a complete turnaround from our former behavior.

"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:
but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
2 Corinthians 7:10

As Christians, I don't think we get the whole repentance thing.
We have a tendency to set ourselves above ever needing to repent....
or even "consider" the thought of it.
We take a "holier-than-thou" air and mindset,
and too often, we find ourselves looking down our noses
upon those we feel are spiritually-inferior to us.

We are a proud people.
So full of self.
So prone to putting on robes of self-righteousness.

It must be repulsive in the eyes...and nostrils of our loving God.
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..."
Isaiah 64:6

As Christians, it has never been more important that we band together...
and that we stop pulling apart.

I find it beyond sad that our pride causes us to group up in little huddles,
and erect sky-reaching walls all around our little groups,
and snuggle up to those who are part of our "elite",
yet we snub and belittle and ex-communicate those who are without our man-built walls.


Man-built walls mean nothing to God.
No matter how fortified, how strong, or how high we build them.
He is higher than the loftiest of walls, and He looks low,
and He sees beyond and through the walls we build....
and He isn't pleased with them.

Because Jesus Christ is the Head of God's church.
Not a person, no matter how highly-exalted he...or she....be.
Not a denomination, regardless of membership or attendance numbers.
Not a "group", no matter how much they claim to know all of the truth.

Humans are fallible.
We show ugly attitudes.
We fail...blunder...falter....flounder...
every single one of us.

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; 
there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Romans 3:10-12

So, for God to have placed a human in charge, 
would have been extremely unwise.
God is all wisdom.
He makes no mistakes.
The Only One worthy...or capable...of being the Chief over God's church
is His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

He was...still is...and always will be, the Head.

That will never change.

And since Jesus Christ is the Head and Cornerstone of the building,
He alone is to be worshiped.
Not a legalistic set of man-made rules that have no Scriptural foundation.
Not a sect built on a set of man-made traditions that cannot be Biblically-justified...
or even explained.

God alone deserves our worship, adoration, and dedication.
And, don't we all claim to be worshiping....Him?

So, why can't we all get along?
Why can't we all love one another...as He loves?
Why do we separate ourselves and live apart....
divided by our man-made, sky-scraper-high walls?


Some of us sing a song that contains the words,
"We reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one",
but, in reality, we do not tell the truth....
as we sing these words.

Let's face it.
A lie is, in fact, a lie.

Because, in reality, we do not reach our hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one....
not if their hands happen to be located outside the perimeters of our man-erected walls.

God's church on this earth is comprised of every heart that has been 
cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
It matters not if you...or I approve.
No one died and left you...or me in charge.

You are not the judge.
Neither am I.

So, to hold each other at arm's length and to say,
"Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou"
creating what the New Living Translation of Isaiah 65:5 calls
"a stench in God's nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away"
is just plain wrong.
It is a proud look...
the first sin mentioned in the list of the seven things God hates.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)
It is uglier in God's sight than the sins of others 
that we are so quick to discover, point out, and judge.

This kind of mindset divides us.
It sends out to our desperate-for-hope world a message of discord and unrest.
It trickles outward to every civilized part of our society....
leaving those who are so desperate, with no hope...at all.

If we, as blood-washed Christians cannot get along,
if we refuse to allow the love of Jesus to flow through us and cover our differences,
how do we ever hope or expect our nation...our world...
 to be in one accord?

The buck stops here, my friend.
We are to blame.
In a lot of ways.

Pride builds walls.

I once did a study on a particular "group" or "denomination" of one name
that narrow-mindedly claims to hold exclusivity to being the entire earthly Body of Christ.
Within that name, I found such an onslaught of individual names,
groups, sects, and divisions,
that I left off my studying completely mind-boggled....and frustrated....and sad.

I found it so absurd...
that each one claims they are the "right" way...
the "only" way,
and if you aren't a part of "them", you are without God,
and without hope.

We cling so tightly to the theory that it is our way or the highway,
and in the process, we turn people completely off and away from even wanting to seek Jesus.
The reality is that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.

Is this lack of unity what Jesus came to create?
Wasn't Jesus a bridge-builder?


Didn't He turn some rugged, jagged, splintery wood and nails
into the biggest bridge ever...between God and man?
Didn't He pray that we all might be one...undivided....in unity?
(Read John 17.)

But, how can we be one, when we refuse to fellowship those who wear a different label, 
even though their heart has been washed as clean as our own
and they teach and practice His Biblical truth?

Isn't that doing the opposite of what Jesus did?
Can we really call ourselves "Christians" and act the way we do?

It must break His loving heart, to see the way we exhibit such hate.

I never knew how severely crushing the blow really was...
until I found myself the victim of its aim....
on the outer side of man-built walls...
yet, closer to Jesus than I have ever been before in my life.

I didn't stay a victim long.
God turned victim into victor...
and filled my heart with a vehement desire 
to be a wall-wrecker....
a bridge-builder....
To love....as Jesus loves.
To leave the judging to the Judge.

Because isn't that the only way you and I will make Heaven?


By way of the cross?
By forgiving those who have wronged us...
and pressing forward in His name,
determined to be the opposite of the "holier-than-thou"?

Jesus was holier than any of us.
He was holiness personified....epitomized.

Yet, He never made anyone feel inferior...
though He had every right.

I look at the conditions of our nation....
our world....
the church.
Anguish, deep in my spirit, produces burning, flowing tears.
I cry out to God for forgiveness...for mercy....for a miracle...
among His earthly body.

The dividing walls must come down, my friend.
Love must replace hate.
Sweet humility must replace ugly, stand-offish, superior pride.
Acceptance must replace ex-communication.
Kindness must take the place of scorn.
Repentance must take place.
It begins here....in your heart...and mine.

It is time to stop the spiritual....and physical prejudice.

We are all trying to make it to the same Heaven.
We share at least that one common goal, right?
Can't we start from there?
And work forward?

Don't you think it is time to repent?
To fall on our knees before God and beg His forgiveness?
To come clean with God?
To stop making excuses...for our hate-filled, bitter, spiteful behavior?
To do a complete turn around?
To pick up the hammer we so skillfully use with which to knock our brother and sister in the head,
and start using it to bust down the dividing walls instead?

It would be music to God's ears....
to hear the rumble...
of falling walls.

It would bring great joy to His heart of love...
and a wide-spread smile to His lips....
to know that His people have turned around....
that beautiful, peace-making bridges are beginning to be built.


2 Chronicles 7:14 says,
"If My people, which are called by My name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray,
 and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
 then will I hear from heaven,
 and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land."

Short version explanation:
If we fix the problems in ourselves,
God will heal our land.
See the correlation?
It is all connected.

I once heard someone say,
"As goes the nation, so goes the church."

I beg to differ.

I say,
"As goes the church, so the nation will follow."

We are the city set on a hill....that cannot be hid.
We are like an open book to the world around us.
Don't you think they know who and what we really are?
That they clearly see every shred of hypocrisy?
It isn't hidden.
None of it.
We are the light of the world.
Unity and oneness produces bright, transforming light.
Discord and division leads us into the blackest of darkness.
If we do not walk as one, with Christ, our Captain,
what should be enlightenment turns to disillusionment.

So, the world around us suffers.
The light dims and goes out.
Souls are left to struggle, with no hope.
They look to the one place they should be able to find answers,
and what they find here, in us, is more confusion.
Because they know...deep in their hearts...that what they seek
should be found....in the church.

People are down-right sickened by what they are seeing,
and, sadly, they are turning away...
to alternate, untrue belief systems,
because they are not finding truth...and love in us.

2 Chronicles 7:14 is a direct message from God....
to HIS people.
To CHRISTians.
To you.
To me.
It is not addressed to unbelievers.

We, regardless of how highly we profess, need to repent.

It all starts with the word,
"humble".

Why is that so hard to do?
What?
Are we afraid of what others will think of us?
Does it really matter?
Do you really care?
When it all boils down?
Say, you knew you were to die tomorrow,
with which would you be most concerned?
The applause of people, or the acceptance of God?

We're on the same team, right?
If we can't tear down the walls of pride that separate you and me,
how can we hope to break through the walls surrounding the hearts of those on the outside?

Do we really think they want any part of what we have?
When all they see and hear is us slandering one another,
putting one another down,
refusing to worship with one another,
standing with our arms crossed and our hearts closed....
to one another?


I have been pleading with God for a revival.
A spiritual awakening.
Across America.
That would be so far-reaching and so wide-spread,
it would touch every heart and soul on American soil.
That it would spread...beyond "from sea to shining sea",
to across the entire world.
To every nation on God's green earth.

Don't you long to see God at the forefront?
Of our society?
Of our politics?
Of our individual lives?

Does it trouble you that there is such hate-filled disdain....
for God,
for Christianity....
for each other inside Christian ranks?

Are you concerned?
Does it burden your heart?
Do you agonize in prayer over it?
Are you to the point of anguish...
that you are willing to do something about it?

Isn't it time....for a change?

It all starts with just one spark.
In one humble, repentant heart.
To light a world-wide flame.

Time is running out...literally.
Souls are dying and going to Hell,
while you and I stand apart and divided,
glaring at each other,
sizing each other up,
unwisely measuring ourselves by ourselves, (2 Corinthians 10:12)
shaking our self-righteous heads at one another,
spreading slander about each other,
finding fault,
and criticizing.

"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
Galatians 5:15

Don't you think it is enough, already?

Where is the love?
The humbleness of mind and heart and action?

My cry is for revival.
The biggest spiritual awakening this world has ever seen.
It isn't going to come while Christians are too proud to repent.
It isn't going to happen until we stop to "consider" these days of adversity....
until our souls are bathed in anguish...
to the point of confessing our sins to Almighty God.
I am convinced of it.

As long as you and I refuse to repent,
revival will not come.

Souls will be lost.
Our nation and world will continue to drift....
farther and farther...from God and all He is.

It all begins with the church....
the visible body of Christ.....
you....me.

Our pride is the real root of the problem.
It is time to lay it aside...for the sake of a greater cause.

It is time for you and I to repent...
and start loving one another,
as Jesus loved.

2 comments:

  1. Amazing post. I struggled with the one I just posted, too... REPENT! It's a message people would rather ignore. I, too, would prefer a nice, "fluffy" message. But God has laid it on the heart of His people... TURN and RETURN to HIM. Wow. I'll say it again, what an amazing post.

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  2. Thank you so very much for your kind encouragement. It means so much! The truth is what will set us free. God bless you, my friend. :)

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