30 July 2013

It's time to wake the sleepers!

Scripture: 1 John 1:10-13 NLT

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.  But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Observation: 

Not everyone will "get it" . . . even (and maybe especially) those who have long proclaimed themselves as chosen & favored of God.  And yet, this passage states plainly that ALL who believe and accept Christ WILL be reborn.  The rebirth seems like the litmus test for the believer.  Not yet having experienced it doesn't mean you're doomed--just that you have something awesome and amazing out in front of you as you continue to humble yourself and seek the Christ.

Application: 

We who profess the Son of God have to be earnest about it.  Serious. Joyful. Excited. Unrestrainable!  We can't call Him our Lord, and then live like the world.  Or even like most of Christianity.  There are a multitude of variations on "worldly" living . . . but underneath, they're all just new spins on the same old theme: they place in our hearts, in the very most holy and sacred temples of God on the earth, idols that moth and dust can--and will--corrupt.  We have been charged to seek God, and His holiness.  To pursue Him, to press in, to praise and worship Him not only at church but in our lives, in our every step every day.

"And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?  Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? . . . And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"

--Alma 5:14-15, 26

God took my faith, took my belief in Him, and stripped away everything I had built up around it . . . all of my trust in the arm of flesh. And in doing it, He revealed Himself--and suddenly, my sure belief in Him went from a comfortable, Son-warmed rock on which to rest quietly, to a massive mountain, upon which I stand, praising and proclaiming the Love and GOOD News of Jesus. The difference isn't just night and day . . . it's fire and ice . . . a raindrop and the most tempestuously powerful ocean.

Don't give up, church. Don't give into the weariness that comes on all of us from time to time. (I'm on a high right now . . . and I'm riding it for all it's worth!) Hold on to one another. Love one another. (Oh, how I could write and write on that one little three word sentence!) Worship. Pray. Spend real time in the Word. Follow the Holy Spirit. And be glad!!! :o) And do this not only for your own salvation, but for the salvation of those around you. And for the times that WILL come, in my life, when you're the one on the high, and I need your strength and the power of your joyous faith.

Prayer:

Lord of Hosts, I know that You know me. Little, mortal, imperfect, me. I know that You are the Judge . . . and the day of judgement is not yet. (Oh, hallelujah!!!) There is time yet to find You, to preach You, to shout Your praises and the gloriously Good News from the mountaintops of our faith. Help me to know how to proclaim You to everyone I see. Give me the words, the actions, the thoughts & feelings it'll take to wake up your sleepwalking followers who, wander in a broad and open plain. And my heart aches for those I know who now stand far from you, walking in dead works. Let me help, Lord. Please. In Jesus' all-gracious name, amen!

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!