Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Spoiled Church - Part Four

"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)

To read A Spoiled Church - Part One, click here.
Are you awake yet?
Have your senses been jolted?
Do you sense the sifting that is going on among the ranks of God's church?
Can you discern the urgency of the hour?
Are you willing to join me in taking that first "4-3 2 Chronicles 7:14" step towards redemption?

As Kevin and I sat talking the other morning, my eyes filled with tears.
"I just feel like finding a cave somewhere and hiding in it!" I moaned.

Instantly, both of our minds went to a heavily-burdened prophet from long ago...
way back in Old Testament times....
who could not only relate, but who actually did find a cave...and hide in it.

I'm sure you know who I mean.

Remember, Elijah?

The man was weary...of the evil, the rebellion, the lawlessness, the total disregard for God
and His holy law.
He was on the run...being hunted down by the heathenistic queen Jezebel and her wicked husband,
King Ahab.

There was a deeply-embedded hatred in the heart of Jezebel towards the prophet Elijah
because he stood firm for the one, true God of Heaven.
He refused to succumb to the worship of her foreign, pagan, false gods.
This infuriated her.
Jezebel seemed not only to hate Elijah, but to loathe the Spirit of God that resided within him.
She made a proclamation that she would kill Elijah, which put him in the position of running for his life.

As he ran, he came upon a cave, and he hid in it.
Well, I can't say for sure that he was actually hiding...but we do know he "lodged there",
or at least spent one night.

There are so many spiritual nuggets in that story.
But, for the sake of time and length, we'll have to save those for another day, perhaps.
Meanwhile, you can read all about it in the 19th chapter of I Kings.

Now that we are awakening to our conditions,
the temptation is REAL for us to go hide in a cave, isn't it?
There is this lure to roll over, hit the snooze button, 
nuzzle back under our hypocrisy "cover",
pretend all of this is not happening, and lazily drift back to sleep.

And that is precisely what the enemy of our souls is hoping we will do.
Right now, he is feeling threatened because God's people are waking up.

It is always easier to bury your head in the sand than to face the music.

Dear friends, we cannot afford to do this.
Apathetic "ignorance" is no longer an option.
Not this time.
Not on our watch.
This is not the time to be passive.
Complacency must be shaken off.
There is way too much at stake.

We are dangerously close to losing it all.
I believe this with all my heart.

Be assured, this is not fear mongering or scare tactics,
nor am I selling anything.
I have no ulterior motive.
This blog is not monetized.
I am not receiving pay for anything I write here.
I will gain nothing by your adherence to this advice.
The only agenda I wish to promote is God's.

It would be easier...on my flesh, that is...to just ignore the heaviness of the burden God is placing upon my heart.
But, in all honestly, would it?
Because it is weighty.
It stays with me...always.

And if I have learned anything in my years serving the Lord,
no matter how hard something is that He is asking me to do,
it is always easier to be obedient than to walk through life with His disapproval.

I care.
Deeply.
Sincerely.
Passionately.
Zealously.
About our nation.
About God's church on this earth.

I care enough that I am willing to take personal responsibility 
for the spoiled condition we are in.
I care enough to "get down to business" with God...
to read His Word with an open heart and mind...
to confess my sins of passivity, indifference, complacency, apathy, carelessness, and negligence...
to take the proactive steps that He instructs me, on a personal level, to take...
and to speak the truth that He lays so heavily upon my heart.

I care enough to obey Isaiah 58:1.
"Cry aloud, spare not, 
lift up thy voice like a trumpet, 
and shew My people their transgression..."

We have failed to cry out, "spared", and held back for way too long.
Too much sugar-coated, watered-down, people-pleasing, ear-tickling "preaching"
is part of our problem...it is part of the reason we are where we are.
If we, as Christ's earthly body, do not bring ourselves in line,
things will never change in our nation.
Guaranteed.

Dear Lord, help us.
Things have to change, and the change has to take place...
in us.

We are now engaged in intense spiritual warfare.
God is sending out a battle cry, and He is waiting for our response.

These two songs are quickly becoming two of my favorites,
as their message really resonates right now.
I hope you will take the time to listen to their words.



If video doesn't load, click here.



If video doesn't load, click here.

Can you hear the battle cry?
Are you ready for one more battle stand?

It all starts with me...and you.
We can afford to wait no longer!
Our Captain awaits.
We have no time to lose.
As the song says, "we must soldier on."

So, without further ado and by faith in God's promise to hear from Heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land,
we step forward and take our first prerequisite step.
Let's take it together.
Shall we, my friend?
I'll go first.
I hope you will follow.

"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves..."

What does this mean...to humble ourselves?
I really wanted to know, so I began to delve into the original Hebrew meaning.

These are the definitions I unearthed:

to make or become low, 
to humiliate, 
to level, 
to bring into a humble condition, 
to assign a lower rank or place to,
to be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded,
to stoop to a condition of a servant,
to lower one's soul,
to bring down one's pride,
to have a modest opinion of oneself,
to behave in an unassuming manner devoid of all haughtiness,
to confess and deplore one's spiritual littleness and unworthiness,
to afflict one's soul,
to disturb and distress the soul of one,
to submit oneself in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God,
to put to the blush

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.

The first one is hard.
The second one, I believe, is even harder.

In this post, we will talk about what it means to humble ourselves before God,
because this step must happen first.
We will devote the next post to the explanation of humbling ourselves to each other.

There was one point in time, in this downward spiral, that I was praying, begging God to allow a different outcome to take place in a certain situation.

I will never forget His words to me that day.

"My people have not humbled enough."

It was one of those trends when it seemed that God's people had become slightly concerned
about the conditions, and they were beginning to show a bit of alarm.

But, it was as if God was letting me know that what few feeble attempts they had made at humbling themselves fell way short.

So, He did not answer my earnest prayers in that situation,
and He allowed just the opposite of what I was asking to take place.
I will never forget how hard I cried, because, even as I prayed for a different outcome,
I knew deep inside, God was saying no to that prayer.
I believe the sole reason for His denial of that request was so that things would
escalate to the point they are now.
Because, we seem to be a people who are slow to catch on.
Things seem to have to reach such an intense peak of blatancy before we ever feel that we need to actually get up and do something.

Did I mention that I believe we are spoiled?
And that our character and disposition has been harmed by our pampering?

We are going to have to humble ourselves, dear friends.

I mean really humble ourselves.
To the point that we are absolutely willing to do anything and everything God demands.
To the point of complete and thorough resignation of selfishness and everything contrary to God's Word.

We are a very proud people, who see ourselves as quite self-sufficient, so this is not going to be easy.
The higher we exalt ourselves, the harder we fall.

Humbling ourselves means that we must...

1.  Admit our true condition.
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..."
Isaiah 64:6
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; 
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:6
"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

Stop sugar-coating it.
Snap out of denial.
We are in one, bona fide mess.
We have completely gone against His Word and His will.
We are self-destructing right before our own eyes,
on a downward spiral towards an abyss from which we will never be able to return or recover on our own, and we absolutely cannot halt the momentum.
We are reeling out of control, and there is no human way of stopping it.

2.  Feel genuine remorse and sorrow for where we are.
"For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of..."
2 Corinthians 7:10

I'm talking about an anguish that bathes the soul with a deep, penetrating shame.
A Godly sorrow that flows from deep within the spirit.
The kind Josiah felt when he heard the Words of God's law being read for the first time,
and the light of it pointed to the enormity of their transgressions.
  The kind that will compel us to repent and let go of our sins.
Picture this.
You have just died...crossed over that narrow, fragile threshold that separates time from eternity.
You now find yourself standing directly in front of the Judgment seat of Christ.
For the first time, you look fully into the face of Almighty God.
It is just you...and HIM.
The brightness of His holiness, righteousness, and purity shines an overpowering spotlight upon your every hidden sin.
How you wish you could return...take that narrow, fragile step backwards,
to the place where the words "I'm sorry" still mattered and meant something.
You realize, too late, that you are not saved.
That, tragically, the day of His grace is past.
You think back over your life and realize that you always meant to take that step,
but somehow you just never got around to it.
And now, He, Who was only moments ago, The Savior, offering redemption,
is now, The Judge, about to dole out your eternal death sentence.
Mercy's door has been for you forever closed.
The reality of His presence, so strong, so intense, compels you to hang your head
in the most profound sense of contrition you have ever before experienced.
For the first time, denial is no longer an option, and you realize, and you fully embrace the fact that you are wrong...and He is right...and He was all along.
Now, that you have pictured that scene and imagined that horror,
own your personal responsibility in all of this, my friend.
And allow that sense of accountability to drive you to your knees for the sins of our nation.

3.  Acknowledge that God is God, and He is our only hope.
"And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee."
Psalm 39:7

We cannot save ourselves.
We can't turn the tide.
The downward-pulling current is way too strong.
We need a Savior.
Someone bigger than us.
Stop trying to figure out a way around this.
Let's face it.
If God doesn't have mercy, we are doomed.
Period.

4.  Be willing to do anything He asks us to do.
""I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, 
which is your reasonable service."
Romans 12:1

Give Him the reins to every part of your life.
Reach a place of total surrender.
Wave the white flag of your will, once for all.
Go deeper with Him than ever before.
Put Him in charge, and make Him the true Lord of your life...
your actions, your thoughts, your motivations, everything about you.
Acknowledge that there is a cause far bigger than your own.
Think about what is at stake, instead of how you may be inconvenienced.
Ask Him how you can make a difference.
Stop allowing fear of what He might ask you to do to hold you back from complete submission to Him.
He will never ask you to do anything that He won't do with you.
Give Him your all.
Make a brand-new, fresh commitment to follow Jesus forever.
Recognize that you are here right now for a Divine purpose,
and selfishness is not a luxury we can longer afford.
Get over yourself and what you want to do with your life.
Consecrate your all on the altar of His will.
If you don't do what He is calling you to do, who will?
Who and what will suffer because of your disobedience?
Is it worth it?

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time..."
1 Peter 5:6

"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. 
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
James 4:7,8

We must humble ourselves, dear friends.
This is the first multi-faceted step of the four contingent steps God requires us to take
in order for Him to hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

Will you take this first step?

I close this post, with a few powerful words from one of my favorite public people ever.


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

24 comments:

  1. Wow, let me add a great big amen.

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    1. Thank you ever so much for the encouragement! God bless you and Eddie, Denise. I am praying for you. :)

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  2. Your words go straight to our heart, dear Cheryl !
    Thank you so very much,
    wholeheartedly
    Daniela

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting, sweet Daniela! God bless you abundantly!

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  3. Wow. This is seriously powerful. I love that verse and quote it almost daily as my prayer for this nation. And yes, it all starts in humility. I believe that one can't begin to know the heart of our Father without humility. Pride separates us and puts us before the One that gave us life and provides our every breath! If we can't acknowledge that we can't begin to know Truth. Seeking HIs revival with you, sister. Thanks for your heart and backbone!

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    1. Thank you so much, Floyd. I so appreciate your support and encouragement. You are so right...pride separates us, and the only remedy is humility. God help us all!! And, may He bless you abundantly. :)

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  4. Wow Cheryl this series is fabulous and convicting and humbling. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays we all need to hear this. Thank you for answering God's call on your heart to write this, may you be blessed dear friend xxx

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    1. So grateful for your sweet visit and precious encouragement, Terri. It always means so much to see that you have stopped by! God bless you abundantly, dear friend. :)

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  5. Great post Cheryl! It is a much needed word in these times. I have been so overwhelmed that I haven't been able to even begin writing yet, but I hope to soon. This concern is on my heart as well. It's time to get down to business. When I see the news from day to day, I just shake my head. It's terrible news, but it comes as no surprise. Amen on this wonderful post!
    Love you!

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    1. Thanks, Chris, for your support, encouragement, and for taking a stand. God bless you. ;) Love you, too, sweet friend!!

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  6. This sounded like a call to arms!! Adding these Scriptures:

    "You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth." (Psalm 60:4, NASB)

    "Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”). He said, 'They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war...'" (Exodus 17:15-16, NLT)

    "Raise a signal flag on a bare hilltop. Call up an army against Babylon. Wave your hand to encourage them as they march into the palaces of the high and mighty. I, the LORD, have dedicated these soldiers for this task. Yes, I have called mighty warriors to express my anger, and they will rejoice when I am exalted.” (Isaiah 13:2-3, NLT)

    "May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God." (Psalm 20:5, NLT)


    May we be wise to see the battle, humble to ask for strength, and courageous enough to fight!

    Onward Christian Soldiers!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. A call to arms....YES, dear friend, that is what this is! I love that old song you mentioned...Onward Christian Soldiers, yes, dear Lord, help us to press forward, in spite of the opposition and oppression. God's people always rise to the challenge when they are put to the point. God sifting the true from the false. May He find us standing on His side! Sending you much love and big hugs across the miles!!

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  7. Take heart and be encouraged, because as God told Elijah in the cave - - "I have MANY who are serving me." When we met to pray over our city and stood at the dam - one of the first things I told them is to first humble yourself, repent for your own sins, ask forgiveness and then make a proclamation to repent for the sins of the people and to forgive the people as Jesus told us "Whose sins you remit, they shall be forgiven." They as we cleanse ourselves and stand as HOLY kings and priests, we can proclaim deliverance, salvation and a stop on terror and evil decision. We can proclaim common sense and wisdom for our leaders that they shall take a second look at what they are doing. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Yes, praise God, there are MANY who are standing firm and valiant for the truth. We are discouraged when we hear the disparaging news and are lured into the falsehood that we are so outnumbered. I know God is still on the throne, and He is with His trusting children. Soon, He will come and deliver us all from this evil world. Your advice to your friends was SO sound and wise. We must first repent for our own sins and get clear, then proceed to do so for the sins of our nation. I love what you and your church are doing for your community and for America. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend.

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  8. Dear Cheryl... such a timeless message in this post! When we truly surrender our will and willingly take on the will of Christ in all we do, it helps knowing that many times such an effort will bring reproach from those around us who do not understand... it will usher in tough times. I have been there. Following Christ oftentimes means reproach from those who "think" they are following the Lord as well, but who have never truly submitted "their" will to His. When you submit your will to Christ, and walk according to the path He has called you to, there will be reproach, pain and suffering, often at the hands of those who should be loving and encouraging you. I speak this from experience, and I know you have experienced the same. When we understand that it was the religious Pharisees who crucified Jesus, the religious group of the day who hated Him so... it should not surprise us that when we truly follow Jesus, the same will be true for us. Yet - there is something so incredibly miraculous that will take place in our lives when we truly do follow Christ, despite the hurt of those around us... and His rewards are eternal!

    Your words are a balm, and a blessing to my soul, dear heart! Please continue to write the things the Lord has placed on your heart. Many, many need to hear! May the Lord bless and multiply in great ways your willingness to do all for HIS kingdom!!!!

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    1. Oh, how true your words!! I think often of how the religious elite were the very ones who put our dear Lord and Savior to death. It is hard to imagine, but it is true. And, you and I are facing the same spirit today. I am so touched and moved by your precious comments and they just encourage me to press on and keep seeking God for what He wants spoken here. You always know just what to say to bless me and keep my eyes on Him. Thank you ever so much for all you do...I appreciate you so very much.

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  9. Cheryl, Your tenderness and heart for the Lord and His Church is so evident by the passion in which you write about it.

    I was convicted by those attitudes of the heart you listed by your own confession that I am guilty of as well. I have my besetting sins, but I don't think about apathy, burying my head in the sand, looking the other way at the conditions of our world as part of that equation, but indeed they are!

    I feel so overwhelmed wondering, "What can I do??", but first and foremost I confess I don't pray for our nation in the way of Jeremiah as he tore at his clothing in despair. Or seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what I can do in my station in life where He has me.

    Thank you so much for humbly continuing to spur us, His children, on to awake from slumber and "fight" for the Lord and His Word.

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    1. Thank you SO much for all of your kind words, dear friend. Oh, they meant so much to me tonight!! I know it is surely hard to know what to do, on an individual basis, but the dear Lord will lead us along and show as we continue to humble ourselves before Him. You are such a consistent blessing to me, and I am so thankful to be walking this Christian journey with you. God bless you abundantly!

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  10. Thanks for highlighting the importance of prayer. The church must be a house of prayer. As you pointed out, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and PRAY..."

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    1. Yes, my friend, God is truly our only hope, and our way of finding His remedy is through the 4 steps He laid out in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate your visit. :) God bless you.

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  11. Amen sister, Amen!

    You are right, we are being sifted. There is a definite change among the ranks, and we're having more and more to know what we believe and be willing to stand (and sacrifice) if need be for it.

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    1. Amen! You are so right. God help us all to be faithful and stand firm for His truth. We are surely living in the perilous times that were prophesied of in these end times. So thankful for you and your love of the truth and your encouragement here. It just means so much to me when you come by. God bless you abundantly, dear friend!

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  12. The Kingsmen were honored to have met your family at a concert recently and are also honored you chose to make our song, "Battle Cry", to be a part of this great article. Keep on spreading the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, rose again defeating Satan and the grave, and is SOON coming back. May God bless you!

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    1. What a wonderful blessing to find your comment here, Bob! You and the Kingsmen will never begin to know what a dear blessing you all were to us at the concert AND through listening to your anointed music here at home. Only God knows how much you all and your ministry means to my family and me. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to stop by and leave this precious encouragement behind. I am humbled beyond words to know that you were here. May the dear Lord bless you and your ministry and all of the members of the Kingsmen in a special way. May you always "soldier on" and continue to sound the battle cry in these last days! God be with you always, brother.

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