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!

He's all Yours, God.

Tonight I finally discovered who has been spreading far and wide in my ward the assertions that I'm agitating for women to hold the priesthood, and headed into apostasy.  (Which is so far from the truth!)  I'm so relieved to finally know who it is, and at first I wanted to approach him, and in two sentences tell him the truth and formally assign him to repair the damage he has done to my name and our ward.  But more than anything, I just want it to stop. I want the spreading of cancerous judgement amongst the members of body of Christ to end.  I want this brother to begin to have an understanding of the pain and damage he wreaks as he, of his own wisdom and understanding, fights pitched battles against imagined foes, leaving swaths of collateral damage along the way.

And then I read the third chapter of Paul's second epistle to Timothy.

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 8-14 NLT

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.  For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.  They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.  They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.  They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.  But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.  You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it.  Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

Observation: I live in difficult times, filled with people that will work against God's will and purposes; and plenty of them will be within my own church family.  And even then, what I'm dealing with right now is peanuts to what Paul and Timothy endured.

Application: I need to hold to what I know to be true. Those who agitate against me (or other simple followers of Christ) will eventually be exposed through their own actions.  It's not for me to spring to my own defense, for Christ is my defense, my rock & my salvation.  I have been told, so clearly and so sweetly and gently through His Spirit, that my job is to pray for this brother, and anyone else who does the same.  To bless them and love them and do all I can to be a window to the Light and Love of Jesus Christ.  Christ can and will defend His own.  Odds are, nothing I could say or do in and of myself would do any good; and it could possibly be turned to even more evil.  But if I leave this battle to Christ--to Him who has the right of judgement and mercy--it most definitely will be settled in the best way possible . . . Jesus can change this man's heart and mind.  I, myself, most assuredly cannot. (There is one in our church family who has tried, for two years, to reclaim his good name against this brother's black opinion. And utterly failed.)

Prayer: God, bless this man.  Bless his heart to soften and swell with love towards ALL of his brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.  Reach out your all-powerful hand and gather him in to Yourself, move in his life and make Yourself manifest unto him, even if it's as powerfully as with Saul and Alma the Younger.  Rise up and protect your gentle sheep, and show this brother the reality of what he has done.  Harrow up his soul with the true knowledge of his actions, and let him turn to You, so you can forgive and heal him, PLEASE.  Bless him with love from all sides--love expressed in ways that surprise and touch him; love unexpected and, in his mind, undeserved.  Let him accept this love . . . and let it change him forever for his own good and Your name's Glory!  Yes, I want this behavior to end--but more than that, I want this brother's heart to be at peace.  I want him to see the good in others, and no longer be so frightened by other people.  Let him trust in YOU, and give him blessed, sweet, peaceful rest.  Please . . . please, I plead with You, as the one who holds mercy and judgement in Your hands.  So be it, in Jesus name! Amen!

What We Need

Scripture: Proverbs 10:3 -- The Lord will not let the righteous go hungry, but He denies the wicked what they desire.

Observation: God gives us what we need. When our desires are righteous, what He gives fills them. When they're not, nothing we can give ourselves will satisfy. Ever.

Application: How many thousands of mornings have I disobeyed what I knew was God's will, in order to satisfy (however abusmally ineffectually) the idol of "a good night's sleep"? But He has better plans for me, and will make good on His promises.

Prayer: Oh, Lord, ever remind me to hunger & thirst ONLY for You! In Jesus' name!