Monday, July 27, 2015

A Spoiled Church - Part Five

"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."
2 Chronicles 7:14
(KJV)

My heart is so burdened this morning.
Because even as God lays the words to this post upon my heart,
and I wake up early to obey His voice and write them,
I fear that all effort may be in vain.
It leaves me with an uneasy sense of dread as I realize that our healing hinges solely upon us.
I hate to say this, but that is not a comforting thought.

Because based upon our past performance of doing the very least we can skim by with,
it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the hope that we will do things any differently this time.

This time, it is going to require a great deal of actual effort.
It is going to require wholeheartedness.
Earnestness.
Fervency of spirit.
Sacrifice of self.
A humbling down such as we have never needed to condescend before.

Things have never been on such an evil downward spiral in our country.
Things have never been so cold and indifferent in the American church.
We have never been so spoiled.

In Jesus' letter to the Laodicean church of Revelation,
He told them He would prefer they would be either all the way cold or all the way hot,
rather than to find them in their lukewarm condition.
He said if they stayed lukewarm, He would spew them out of His mouth. Revelation 3:16
God hates lukewarmness.
Lukewarmness sickens God...to the point of vomiting.

Being the spoiled lot that we are, we tend to like lukewarm.
Lukewarm is comfortable.
Lukewarm is really hard to leave.
Lukewarm feels good.
Not too hot, not too cold.
Just enough of God to make us feel justified,
yet not enough to convince us to dive in full force.
We just love attaching that name "Christ-follower" to ourselves,
but we don't like the thoughts of actually "following" Him.
We are Gospel-educated enough to comprehend that truly emulating Him is going to go against everything "politically-correct" suggests, and to really be His life-disciple is going to work like a cross to our nature and demand us to take the very radical path of greatest resistance.
What lukewarm person likes the sounds of that?
The mere idea makes the lazy and spoiled exhausted,
before they ever take the first baby step.
So, the usual response is to settle back in...snuggle back under the covers,
pretend it isn't happening, and allow the sweet power of blissful ignorance to overwhelm.
Giving in to this conniving temptation will lull us back to sleep
and give satan even more brazen boldness...just enough to finish us off.

Oh, dear Christian!
I won't allow you to hit that snooze button...not here...not on my watch!!!!!
By God's grace, I will keep splashing water all over your sleepy face.
Cold enough to make you squirm and open your eyes and jolt your senses.
Every time you come by here.
As long as I have a platform.
For as long as I have breath.

The time has come that every, single one of us must answer the age-old question...
who is really on the Lord's side?  Joshua 24:15

If we choose this day to follow Jesus,
we are going to have leave lukewarm behind.
Us and lukewarm....we must part ways on the most hostile and uncivil terms.

In the last post, we discussed what it means to humble ourselves to and before God.
Have you done that?
Have you surrendered?
Unreservedly?
Unselfishly?
Willingly?
Honestly?
Ungrudgingly?
Unquestioningly?
Thoroughly?

Have you humbled yourself to God?
If you haven't, will you consider doing that now?
Right now?
Before you go any farther?
Because until you do that, progress stops.

I hope and pray that each one of us have already made that full surrender and humbled ourselves low at His feet, with a sense of urgency and abandonment like never before.

Presuming we have all done this...individually, we will attempt to proceed to that next problematic issue that we would probably rather just avoid and pretend we didn't hear about.
You know, that part in the last post that said,
"This first 2 Chronicles 7:14 step of humbling ourselves is two-fold.
There is the part of humbling ourselves before God, which is a multi-faceted process,
and then, there is the issue of humbling ourselves...to each other."

Stick with me, my friends.
There is no "skip" button at the bottom of this post.
Neither you....nor I...get a free pass.

Were we really hoping God would forgo this step and let us slide?

You and I are going to have to humble ourselves...to each other.

What does this mean?
Where do we even start?

We are so splintered!!
Oh, dear Lord, how it must break Your heart!

Jesus' heart-wrenched prayer in the 17th chapter of John was that we all might be one.

We are far from it.
According to this apologetic link, in mid-2000 there were 33,800 denominations within the ranks of Christianity.
The projections on the chart show that by the year 2025, that number will have risen to 55,000.

So, if the projections in the chart are correct and have come to pass as predicted,
we will assume that, at this time, there is somewhere around 46,500
factions, schisms, and departmentalized denominations within the ranks of those who profess
to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I don't know about you, but that just boggles my mind.

And it makes me sad.

Because Jesus' heart was heavy when He left here.
This is exactly what He did not want to happen.

And, here we are.
Holding one another at arm's length.
Huddled up in our little, compartmentalized groups, all of us thinking we are the only ones who have it right, and taking a Pharisee-like stance towards anyone who doesn't agree.

I'll be honest.
When I got to the writing of this post, I nearly gave up on this whole series.
Because, as I said above, realistically, I see very little hope of this step ever happening.

There is so much pride among God's people, that, it is hard for me to even imagine a mass humbling.

We are spiritually prejudice.
We look at one another, externally size one another up,
and we draw foregone conclusions, without ever having given each other a fair chance.

I John 4:1 says, 
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God..."

It says to "try the spirits" to see whether or not they are of God.

The biggest part of the time, we never even reach this step.

Because if a professing brother or sister in Christ is wearing a different label,
worshiping in a different faction or denomination,
and if they look different than us, we automatically assume that we are right,
they are wrong, we are on a higher spiritual plane than they are,
and it is impossible for us to ever have fellowship.

So, we walk away in our pride, and we dismiss them as an enemy,
never even coming close to being able to "try their spirit".

To try the spirit of another, we have to get close enough to look beyond the outside.
The spirit is not visible from the outside.
And while I am braced for the argument that "if the inside of the cup is clean,
the outside will automatically come clean", I am also prepared to burst the bubble
and proclaim that I am not the judge...and neither are you, dear friend.

If the Spirit of God is in you, and the Spirit of God is in me,
there will be an automatic union of our souls, regardless of our "labels".
There will be an instant recognition.
We will recognize It in each other, and the world around us will discern It, as well.

The proof is in the love.

In John 13:35, Jesus said, 
"By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another."

"...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Romans 5:5

I don't know about you, but I have never seen such an "unloving" time among "God's people".

Jesus said it would be this way.
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Matthew 24:12

There is too much iniquity going on.
We have allowed the world to infiltrate us to the degree that our love for God
and for one another and for the world around us...has "waxed" stone cold.

Humbling ourselves will require us to lay aside preconceived notions.
It will demand us to look beyond...to give one another time and opportunity and space 
to reveal what is in our hearts.

If only we would do this!
If only we would lay aside our petty differences...
those things that are negotiable...
for the sake of what is not.

Jesus must weep, as He looks down upon the disarray and our consistent petulance.

What would you be willing to give to see Him hear from Heaven,
and forgive our sins, and heal our land?

Just how important is this to you?
Just how much does it mean?

Do you look around and see the conditions and mourn?
Does it bother you that, while we bicker over the insignificant, and while we dig in our heels against each other, there is a real enemy working overtime to pull our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion right out from under us?
Does it set off an alarm inside of you that if we don't get busy and break down the walls within our ranks, come together in one accord, stop seeing each other as the enemy, and unify our efforts to turn the tide, we will soon not be able to recognize our "Christian" nation...at all?

Does this concern you?

Does it startle you enough to do something about it?

We are never going to convince God to heal our land, 
if we do not meet HIS conditions.

It is just not going to happen.

Just how much is this worth to you?

Is it worth enough to compel you to humble yourself....first to God,
then by taking the following steps of humbling to each other?

1.  Ask forgiveness.

Think about it.
Go ahead.
I'll wait.
Do you owe someone an apology?
Anyone?
Your spouse?
Your child?
Your parent?
Your sibling?
Another relative?
Your boss?
Your co-worker?
Your brother in Christ?
Your sister in Christ?
Your pastor?
Your neighbor?
A dear friend?
Anyone?
Have you wronged someone?
Were you dishonest with someone?
Have you cheated on someone?
Did you join in on gossiping about someone?
Is someone hurt because of something you, intentionally OR unintentionally did?
Let's take it a step farther.
Is someone offended at you, even though you feel you did nothing wrong?
Take your time.
Examine yourself.
Think hard.
Is God spotlighting anything...at all?
Yes?
Okay, will you do something for me...or more importantly, for HIM?
For the healing of our nation?
Stop right now, go grab a pen and paper, and write down the thing(s) that are coming to your mind.
Will you do this?
No one in the world has to ever see this.
Just God.
And you.
Make a list, if you need to.
Keep writing, until every, single thing God brings across your mind is written down.
This may take some time.
Take it.
Get it all out.
Transfer every last thing to the paper in front of you.
Now, I ask you again...how bad do you want God to hear from Heaven?
How much does it mean to you that He forgive the sins of our nation?
How deeply do you long for Him to heal our land?
Do you want these things bad enough to right your wrongs?
Look at that list again.
I know.
It's not easy on the eye.
This stings.
This is hard.
This is....downright humiliating.
Ahem...what were we talking about here?
Um...isn't that what God says has to happen?
Humiliation.
Who enjoys that?
Who likes humbling themselves...all the way down to a crawl?
How bad do we want to turn this thing around, my friends?
Enough to let go of our pride?
God says we have to do this,
or He won't do what we need the most.
PLEASE.
I beg you.
Consider this.
Go to the first item on your list.
Ask yourself some pointed, direct, practical questions.
How can this wrong be made right?
What will it take?
A phone call?
A letter?
An email?
A personal visit?
A restitution?
OUCH!
We don't like that, do we?
Who even preaches on that anymore?
Stop thinking about how this is going to make you look.
Stop caring about what everyone else will think of you.
Wouldn't it feel GREAT to be able to mark off every, single thing on that list of yours?
Don't you want to be free from guilt?
Isn't it time to make amends?
Read Jesus' words very carefully.

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, 
and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.  Agree with thine adversary quickly..."
Matthew 5:23-25

Is there anyone with whom you need to be reconciled?
Will you humble yourself?
The sooner you do it, the better.
Time's a wastin'.

2.  Forgive.

"And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: 
that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Mark 11:25,26
It requires humility to ask forgiveness.
It requires humility to forgive.
It isn't easy to let go of a grudge.
Sometimes we nurse them so long, they become a part of us.
Like a security blanket, we carry them around, as we pout.
Did I mention that we are a spoiled church?
Jesus didn't say that we are to forgive only when we are asked forgiveness.
He said to forgive.
Period.
You may never get that long-coveted apology.
You may be right.
They may be wrong.
It doesn't matter.
God said that the only way He will hear from Heaven,
forgive our sins, and heal our land, is for us to humble ourselves.
I heard a quote that went something like this...
"Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
(I found a similar quote by Marianne Williamson so am attributing this to her.)
Unforgiveness is a prison without bars.
Have you ever thought of the depths of humility to which Jesus had to condescend in order to say,
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", while hanging, bleeding, and dying on an old, rugged cross?
Did the perpetrators of His mutilation and abuse ask Him to forgive them?
Did He need their apology in order to let it go?
Can we humble ourselves and follow His example?
"...for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; 
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 18:14
Is there someone you need to forgive?
Isn't it time to let it go?
Can you turn it loose for the sake of God's forgiveness and healing?
Just how much do we want His help?
Will we pay His price?
He will not negotiate.
It is what it is.
Jesus annihilated any excuse we could ever fabricate.

3.  Lay aside differences.

Differences of opinion are what led us to such a divided state.
You know, when it all boils down, 
we have a lot more in common than you might think.
If we would stop prejudging and start "trying the spirits" instead,
we may be pleasantly surprised to find that there are many who love Jesus Christ every bit as much as we do, and who are endeavoring just as hard as we are to serve and please Him.
We may be shocked to discover that even though they worship in a different building with a different sign over the door, down under the exterior that we are so quick to size up,
there is much that we agree upon.
What would happen if we all started focusing on what we can agree on,
instead of what we do not?
What if we cast aside the negotiables...those traditions of men that have absolutely no Scriptural foundation...and came together to discuss what is non-negotiable...
non-negotiable being the Biblically-based absolute truths of God's Word.
What if we elevated our eyes and thoughts to Him Whom we are trying to serve?
What if, instead of exalting our ideas and opinions and interpretations,
we got back to the basics and followed His example of humility and started washing one another's feet?
If something is not Bible-based, if it is simply your opinion or the opinion of someone you respect,
and if it is based on traditions only, would you consider laying it down for the sake of the healing of our land?
Are your opinions that important?
At the end of the day, when you stand before God, how much will they be worth?

4.  Become teachable.

"Be of the same mind one toward another. 
Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. 
Be not wise in your own conceits."
Romans 12:16
Own the fact that you do not know it all, and there is still much to learn.
Be willing to learn from any source God chooses.
He chose a donkey to teach Baalam's lesson, remember?
(Numbers 22)
He got Moses' attention by speaking to him through a bush that was on fire, but would not burn.
(Exodus 3:1-6)
He communed with Jonah as he languished in the belly of a whale.
(Jonah 2)
Sometimes, we miss the whole point because God chooses to send the lesson through someone or something different from what we were expecting.
Within our prideful "brands", we have convinced ourselves that we cannot learn from those whom we perceive to be "beneath us" spiritually.
If we are truly honest before God, He has a way of pruning off that selfish pride,
and bringing us to places of submission where we are willing to be taught by those we formerly deemed spiritually inferior.

5.  Surrender your "right to be right"...
for the sake of a greater cause.

This is a tough one!
But, may I remind you that this is precisely what our Lord did...for us?

"In His humiliation His judgment was taken away..."
Acts 8:33

In His humiliation.
His judgment was taken away.
His rights to defend Himself.
He laid them down willingly.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords surrendered His rights
for the sake of my salvation....and yours.

"Therefore doth my Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. 
I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. 
This commandment have I received of My Father."
John 10:17,18

Should we get by with less?

When I began to ponder this, the dear Lord brought something to my mind...
a painful lesson He once had to teach me.
One that I will never forget.

I was, at the time, involved in a situation that was beyond difficult for me.
Without going into too many particulars, suffice to say, I was doing something I felt God was requiring me to do, while being surrounded by very hard-to-deal-with people.
It seemed that I was contested on every hand, continually making extreme sacrifices, 
while being fought to the limit by the very ones for whom I was sacrificing.

Honestly, looking back, I marvel that I ever came through such an ordeal.
But, God used it...all of it...the bad, the ugly, and the impossible,
to teach me many spiritual lessons.
The whole experience served me well and purged away dross that I wasn't even aware I had.

The learned lesson that I want to share here is the one God called "the last quail".
Let me explain.
While deep in the throes of the above-described situation,
Zach and I were doing school one day, and we began to study about quails.
While all of it was interesting to me, the part I found most intriguing was their pecking order.
We learned that there is a quail who is at the top of the pecking order.
This quail can peck all of the other birds, but none of them can peck back.
The second quail in line can peck all of the birds, except the one at the top of the pecking order.
The third quail can peck all of the others, except for the top two.
This continues, all the way down the line, until you reach the last quail.
This bird can be pecked by every other bird, but it cannot peck back.
At all.
No retaliation for ill treatment.
No revenge for abuse.
No getting even for injustice.
Just surrender.

Immediately, God spoke to my heart, reminding me of my current struggle.

"Child, you are the last quail."

"Huh?"

"You are the last quail."

The reality and implication of what He was saying hit home...hard,
Let me tell you, I did not like my placement in the pecking order.
Not one little bit.

I began to argue.
"But, Lord, they are not doing me right!
They totally override my position and everything I try to do!
They act like my opinions don't matter.
They are so hurtful, and rude, and unappreciative.
I try so hard.
It is all so unfair!"

On and on, I droned.

God listened...and waited...until I was finished with my self-defending rant.

"You are going to have to accept that you are the last quail."

Period?
That's it, Lord?
No negotiating?

His words to me were final.

I looked at Zach and told him what was going on,
repeating the words God was speaking to me.
He instantly understood.
Bless his heart, he has seen it all...
walked through it...right along with Kevin and me.

He knew.
So did I.
God was right.
I had to surrender my "rights to be right" in that situation.
As long as I kept nursing self and taking offense, peace was going to persistently evade me.
The other people involved were not going to change.
That was obvious.
And, I tell you the truth, they were Biblically wrong in what they were doing.
But, even though they were absolutely on the wrong side of the issue,
there was something I absolutely needed to learn.
God was teaching ME that lesson.
How often He uses other people, strategically placed in our lives by Divine providence,
to teach us what we need to know.
After I finally adjusted myself and resigned to my God-ordained place in that particular "pecking order", a sense of peace filled my soul.
I'm not going to lie and tell you it was easy.
There were moments I was so hurt and bewildered and frustrated,
but, time after time, God reminded me of what He expected of me,
and I finally reached a place where I could just accept that, and it was okay.
It sure made it a lot easier when the inside tug-of-war between God and self was finally over.
What I learned, during my being at the end of the pecking order,
has served me well over and over again since then.
It was absolutely necessary for me to reach a place of "no pecking back".
It was the only path to true peace.

Sometimes, we need to humble ourselves, even when we have done nothing wrong.
Sometimes, we need to humble ourselves when we are right...
for the sake of a greater cause.

There is way too much self on board.
In our quest to protect it, pamper it, and preserve it,
we are creating great divides and canyons among us, 
and we are turning those who are seeking for truth against Christianity entirely.

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord..."
Hebrews 12:14

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Romans 12:18

Why is it so hard to say I'm sorry?
To forgive?
To lay aside our differences?
To become teachable?
To surrender our rights to be right?

It is all a part of fulfilling the first step of God's healing plan laid out in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
There are many other aspects of this, but this post is so long already,
and I feel God saying that this is enough.

Stay tuned for Part Six of "A Spoiled Church"!!!
Coming soon, Lord willing!!!

28 comments:

  1. such an amazing post, bless you.

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    1. And bless you, too, sweet friend. I am continuing to pray for you and Eddie. God be with you both!

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  2. Cheryl, thank you for being obedient to God's call to faithfully write the words He has given you. Your words are not the most welcoming but they are ones we as the body of Christ need to hear more of in this hour. Know that your labor of love and obedience is not in vain. Blessings to you.

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    1. Oh, Wanda! You will never know how much I appreciated your dear words of encouragement! Your support and kindness means so much to me. I hope all is well with you, dear friend. Sending you big hugs!

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  3. Your points are right on and well thought out. Now is not the time to be complacent or lukewarm. I keep reminding myself that God is at work in my prayers for my lost loved ones. He is more powerful that what I am actually seeing. He has been so patient with us in our country, in our society. Sometimes I feel like we're walking on egg shells.

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    1. Yes, dear friend, He is at work, and He hears every one of those faithful prayers you pray! I agree...it feels like we are sitting on a keg of dynamite. If it weren't for Jesus interceding for the Father to have mercy, and if it weren't for His people praying so hard, I do believe God's wrath would have already been unleashed. We provoke Him by our rebellion. God help us all. So happy to have you come by today...it is always such a blessing to see that you were here! God bless you, dear friend.

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  4. It is not easy to give up our rights. Early this year, God told me to leave my cold church, that was more of a club than anything else. Leaving was not easy, but I began to visit and each church, God said NO. I was ready to settle, but then God sent me to a church that is more of a mission church for homeless, and new converts. We are on the move to claim our city, our State and our Nation for God. We do pray over the churches that eyes will be opened and to be willing to allow the fire to fall and burn out all the dross. Thanks for sharing at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Oh, my, I am so sorry you had to go through this ordeal. It sounds like God has really led you to a place where He is optimally using you and your gifts. I can only imagine how much you bless others there, and it is so admirable the way you go out and pray over your city. If only more would make these sacrifices and put self on the back burner for the sake of God's cause. So thankful to have you share your thoughts here. God bless you, my friend!

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  5. Dearest Cheryl... oh how your words echoed deeply in my heart the very things I hear the Lord saying to me today as well. I cannot come to spend time with him, without knowing the reality of the truth you speak. We cannot truly be His disciples until we are willing to obey His will and do His will, regardless of the cost to self involved. Each day we must make a conscious decision, actually moment by moment, to surrender our hearts and lives to HIS purposes and His will, not our own. When we take rejection, hurt, sorrow, pain and suffering that should not be (as you have!) God is able to use the very thing that hurt you so, to bring you to a deeper place in Him that you could never have reached before. I think of the book Hinds Feet on High Places, and what a beautiful story of how painful laying down our flesh is, but how glorious life becomes when it becomes a reality in our lives.

    I pray that the Lord continues to bless you and your dear family as you write the things you are hearing, and learning! Much love in Christ, my dear precious sister!

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    1. My dear friend, your words are like goads to me. I can't thank you enough for your dear encouragement and support. I had forgotten all about that book, but I surely feel like I need to find it and read it. I started reading it years ago, and then it seems like I got distracted and never finished it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, your friendship, and your faithfulness to God and carrying these burdens. May the dear Lord richly and abundantly bless you. Sending you big hugs and much love from across the miles!

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  6. Yes, I've experienced the "sometimes we need to humble ourselves even when we are right." Like you said, it's not always easy, but it does bring peace. God is good, especially when He is teaching us wisdom.

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    1. Yes, it surely is the only path to peace. When self is struggling with God's will, it is an intense, violent inward turmoil. Thank you so much for stopping by, Pamela! God bless you, sweet sister. :)

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  7. Well sis, once again you have hit the nail on the head with this post, and you will never know just how much "the last quail" story hit home with me. I thank you sooooo much for sharing it!! I too have been in that same scenario and am truly in that same pecking order...and admittedly telling God that things just aren't fair and how abused I feel...but at the same time have come to the realization that it's all in God's plan and that there is a reason I am in that position...and yes, he has purged me of some impurities (many impurities though that position) and gotten me to a place and state of mind and heart to be at peace with my position and with those who hold positions above mine. It's human nature to want to peck back and it's truly hard not to, but so rewarding just to hold our peace.

    And sis, the thought has hit me more than once in reading this series that you should put every last one of these words from the entire series (even the posts not yet written) into a book and have it published. This is such good material and coming straight from the mouth of the Almighty God. I know this blog is public but I know a lot of people outside the blogging arena who would benefit from it being in book form. I believe it could be used in bible study format and in the classroom and would be a tremendous blessing to many. Please seek the mind and heart of God about that and considering publishing this material in a book. Thank you and God bless sis. I can't wait to gobble up the word in part 6 when it's comes.

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    1. Bless your dear heart, Sheila! I could never express how much your words touched me today. I will do as you asked, and I will seek God's will. I have no idea what He has in store, but it sure lays heavy upon my heart. I am trying to just be obedient and follow Him, as He leads. I surely desire your prayers. Much love and gratitude to you for your precious support and encouragement. It means so much!

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  8. Your words also remind me there is always hope because there is always grace. So thankful that our God is one of goodness and love. Also I'm grateful that it is because of HIS faithfulness and love that we are tucked away safely in His hands. Blessings to you,Cheryl.

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    1. Yes, praise the Lord, we are still living in the day of His grace, and now is the time for us to measure up to His standards, as the Body of Christ. It is time for us to have a backbone and take a stand for His truth and point others to Him and His forgiveness. His grace is abundant, and He stands with His arms wide open to receive all who will forsake their sins and follow Him and His holiness. Thank you for stopping by, Lisa. God bless you, my friend. :)

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  9. We leave in the last of the last days ubnfortunately satan is working hard to cause us to forget there is a heaven to gain and hell to lose. The enemy keeps many focused on what is not important...
    God from time has always called to draw His people back to Him, like He is alling us now via your post Cheryl.
    My prayer is that His Church will not only heed His call but fight everyday to REMAIN with Him and for Him.
    God bless you sis!
    Love

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    1. Yes, my friend, that is a wonderful way to pray. We need to stay as close to Jesus as possibly can in these trying, perilous times. Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving such sweet encouragement behind. Love and appreciate you!!

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  10. Oh my, this is intense. I know some things I need to repent of. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, dear friend. I feel like I could stay on my knees in repentance all day long. God has convicted me so much while writing these posts. I have had to repent so much, too. I can't thank you enough for your sweet encouragement and support! God bless you.

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  11. Huuuuuhhhh. I was looking for the "free pass" button?

    No free passes on this side of the Grand Curtain... As I was reading the same word that you were building up to was twirling in my head; humility. Without it we can't begin to find the heart and grace of our Father. It's the key word in the verse you're quoting the series. "If" we humble ourselves. That's first! So if we can't start with that... we can't start. And the logical reasoning is that if we don't "humble ourselves" then the nation and our hearts don't get healed.

    Pride is sinister relative to the original sin of selfishness that has wreaked havoc on this fallen world. If we're in the center of our world then we don't know Truth.

    Thanks again for the encouragement. Keep sharing from you heart where the Holy Spirit leads you. Praying for you and your family.

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    1. No, brother, there is no free passes on this side...you are right. We are going to have to come in line with God and stop trying to make Him come in line with us. I love the thoughts you shared and can't thank you enough for your faithful support and encouragement. It is such a blessing to me. And, I can't thank you enough for your prayers for my family and me...we need them and appreciate them very much. I am praying for you and your family, too. God bless you abundantly.

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  12. When our pastor asked me to have a weekly focus as we meet on Wednesdays, I did a search on the internet "How others were praying for their city, and discovered Laura Gagnon a minister/blogger and she is a prayer warrior. This is her prayer over cities, but it can also be over our nation: We pray first then make decrees over the city or nation: http://xpectamiracle.blogspot.com/p/prayer-and-decree-for-city.html
    She has a wonderful pray for our children. Some might think her prayers are to deep and far out - but it is time to do business with God and take authority over what Satan is destroying - - even if the prayers seem different that what we are used to praying. Her home page is: http://xpectamiracle.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you for this wonderful link, Hazel. I checked out her blog. You are right...those are some powerful prayers. Such a blessing. God bless you in return, dear friend. :)

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  13. What a sobering post. And makes me look inward. Never fun. You said that you felt it might all be in vain. If you had posted this before Mother's Day I would have said...NO...it is not in vain!!! But I attended a very large church in my area on Mother's Day for a baby dedication. I was shocked! I was the only person I saw that whole morning with a Bible. And if I hadn't known I was at a church I would have thought I had stumbled into a Porn star convention! It had been about 11 years since I had been to a church other than my Independent Baptist church. I had shell shock! I am very concerned for our ability to humble ourselves or turn from our wicked ways. I have to imagine that that is not the only church in that condition.

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    1. Oh, dear Lord, help us all! I know what you mean. We have seen some things lately that have been real eye-openers, to say the least. It is time that we DO open our eyes, and apply the eye salve, and start facing the reality of where we really are. It is shocking, as you said. Absolutely shocking. And we need to own our condition and humble down low at the feet of Jesus in Godly sorrow and true repentance. If we don't, there is no other means of hope. I appreciate you, Desiree. Your comments always speak truth and are much welcomed here. Much love and many thanks to you, dear friend. God bless you and your sweet family. :)

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  14. Ouch.

    The spoiled church - doesn't it really start in each of our own individual hearts? I know that I often get so dismayed when life isn't working the way I want it to. And truly, isn't that a temptation unique to the believer? To be tempted to think that if we follow the Lord faithfully, then we should be given an easy (or at least easier) path to walk? And when trials and tribulations come, how often do we cry out, "Lord! This isn't fair!!" Hmmm. According to whom?

    The story of Job certainly pointed out the wrongness of believing that good people will never suffer. And it also told us what to do in the middle of the suffering. Be humble, recognizing that God's ways are much higher than ours.

    Perhaps there is no harder verse to say, and yet no victory more strongly embraced, than this:

    "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20, NLT)

    And who else but our Lord ever gave up so much, in humility, for the sake of others. The Lamb of God exemplified what it looks like to be "the last quail."

    GOD BLESS.

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    1. Yes, bless His wonderful name, HE surely did. Jesus was Lord of all, yet, He became servant to all. So meek and lowly and so dear in every way. I love the verse you shared. And I also love the one "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain". It is all about HIM. He is so precious to me! God bless you abundantly, my dear, sweet friend. :)

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