It is 4 o’clock in the morning and I cannot sleep. I feel a little like Darius, while Daniel slept in a den full of lions, wondering how it would all turn out in the morning. Just praying our God will deliver.
We are on the brink of either disaster or deliverance. And it is all contingent on whether or not we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and repent. Church. It’s all about OUR response, not the world’s. “If My people, who are called by My name…” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Judgment begins with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17).
Right now, we are experiencing what our idols have been, based on what is most difficult for us about this corona-quarantine. Is it fear of financial future? We, Americans, tend to put a lot of stock in what we have. We substitute the word “need” for our wants. We trust ourselves to be our own providers, when God has promised that if we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, He will give us what we need (Matthew 6:33).
Is it our comforts? We were never promised we wouldn’t suffer. In fact, we were actually promised the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33), “when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2), “all who desire to live godly in Christ will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). But we are also promised that “if we endure to the end, we shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13) and that for those of us who do, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glories that will be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
My concern is, that many of us are not prepared to endure, because we cling too dearly to this life.
I have watched this day coming on the horizon for quite some time, and dare say, have not looked forward to it. We, Church, have stood idly by for far too long and allowed the world to educate our children, and us. We have let the devil define the terms. We have allowed sin in the camp and not done our part to repel it. I know I am guilty. And so are you.
I am watching the world turn on it’s head, as folks are forced to homeschool their own children. But, Church, shouldn’t we have been doing this all along, at least ever since they told our kids they had to cease praying for 8 hours of their day, while they brainwashed them with blasphemous lies about how the world was created and called it “Science” so it sounded official? I am not speaking from hypocrisy here. I kept my kids at home until they were well-suited to defend the truth. Within the first year of Forest going to public school (in 7th grade), he had to defend his God, not only against a science teacher that threatened to give failing grades unless he intentionally lied on tests and told them what they wanted to hear (our whole family rejoiced when he came home and told us he failed his science test), but also against a History teacher who called God a “jerk” in front of the class. Folks, when you send your kids to public school without giving them a solid foundation of what’s true, and those who have authority over them threaten them and blaspheme your God, you are turning your kids, ill-equipped, into the enemy’s camp to be destroyed. And we wonder why approximately 90% of kids raised in the church are turning from the faith within the first year of college. Although they are responsible for their unbelief, so are we, as their parents. I’m not trying to make anyone feel condemned. I am calling us to repentance. We are being given a chance to see the error and turn, right now, as our kids are home and we are responsible for their holistic development and education.
Speaking of that, we have been negligent with our own education. I am appalled at how many Christians “don’t have time” to read the Bible. The Bible isn’t excess. It’s our life blood! Jesus compared it to eating food and the Bible won out (Matthew 4:4). That means, it’s the most important substance we can fill ourselves with. In Ephesians 6, we are encouraged about the invisible war that Christians are fighting (whether or not we realize it) and the only offensive weapon we have is the Word of God. We cannot show up to a sword fight without a sword! Yet that’s exactly what we do when we let our Bibles get dusty.
Another area we have been negligent is with loving our families. I am stunned at the opportunity we are being afforded right now, to turn our hearts and minds homeward. As a culture, we have spent a few decades feeling pretty entitled to what makes us happy. If our spouse suddenly doesn’t suit our fancy, we feel justified in leaving our marriage vows at the altar and seeking a new form of “happiness”. Divorce rates are higher in the church than they are in the rest of the world. Shame on us. You know what else is just as high in and out of the church? On-demand abortion. We are sacrificing our children. A quick read through the Old Testament is all it takes to see how abominable the nations were, in the eyes of God, who sacrificed their children. And a quick read through the New Testament will give us a glimpse of the value that God places on children. “Unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3).
Sometimes I wonder if the reason abortion rates are so high within the Church reflects another insidious problem we have. A lack of grace towards others, and even towards ourselves. We do not know that God is a God of rich, lavish love towards His people, regardless of our folly. He is always wooing us to turn back to Him. He does not wink at our sin, but is quick to extend forgiveness towards us when we turn to Him. But we are so unlike Him. We often feel entitled to His forgiveness, yet make others feel like their past sins will always been worn like the “A” on Hester Prynne’s dress. God warns that He will not grant us forgiveness if we do not dispense it to others (Matthew 6:15).
I am not saying all of this to bend anyone over the knee, but to cry out like a watchman in the street and beg for us to repent, to turn back to God, to turn from justifying sin just because we like it or we are embarrassed to tell the world they are believing lies and shoving them down our throats. So, we not only swallow the lie, but we let others feed the same lies to our children, until we are so well drugged by what the world has to say, and how appealing it sounds to swim with the current, that we actually hold discussions about whether or not we should allow those practicing flagrant sin to fill our pulpits. What’s wrong with us? I believe we have a greater fear of man’s opinion than the Almighty’s! And it’s about to get far more terrifying than it already is, if we don’t repent.
Repentance means turning from sin and towards righteousness. Repentance brings us to freedom and joy. Repentance turns our gaze upward, where our God who suffered and died now reigns forever and ever in glory!
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Church, the warning shots have been fired, numerous times over. We must turn. We must repent. We must pray and seek His face. We must count the cost, pick up our cross, and endure to the end. And we must not lose our first love!