Ecclesiastes 3:15 “That which is has been already and that which will be has already been for God seeks that which has passed by.” I just finished the Winter bible study in Jeremiah. It is a sad book, and quite understandable why Jeremiah is called the “Weeping prophet.” Oh, how far Israel and Judah had fallen from the LORD! Jeremiah is tasked with bringing the warning of impending judgment from God on the city of Zion and Jerusalem. The people of Judah and Benjamin are all that remain after the Assyrians took Samaria and the Northern Kingdom and disbursed them to the four winds of the known world. The kings of Judah refused to acknowledge that God was behind the discipline and judgment. The Northern kingdom fell along with Samaria in 722 BC. God uses the gentile kings to bring judgment on HIS PEOPLE. Something we must remember that the prophets preached and prophesied against the “Church of the Old Testament.” I wonder why is it that God can get Gentile nations to do His will, but cannot get HIS own people to be faithful? I cannot imagine what it would be like to hear God say – Do not pray for these people, I will not hear or answer your prayers.
I’ll be doing a conference for the next two weekends, one in Hawaii and the other in Fort Worth. Both conferences have to do with renewal and revival of the Church. Looking at the Church today, especially in America, must cause God to lament. It seems that the “local church” is only good for one complete generation – the founding people. Sometimes it may extend to a second or third generation. Church planting was and I guess still is in some areas of United States the tactic to curb the dying churches. However, that alone cannot be expected to remedy the growing number of closed churches across all denominations. We could blame the people in the church, the pastor, the community or even the culture for apathy and decline in the church. But the real reason is not new – the Church is a spiritual entity and should be handled and treated like the spiritual body it is supposed to be.
Now I realize that not all churches are a product of God in their formation. Many churches have been formed out of spite for other people. Sometimes that is good and necessary, but not always. My work has been with pastoring and church revitalization situations. Trust me it wasn’t my idea! It is difficult and demoralizing at times to try and convince the Church that they are not in tune with God. Change has to happen in the church – but the change I’m talking about is the change in the Church people! Many times the changes that are tried consist of changes music, pews to chairs, lights on stage and dark in the audience, café and atriums and dress down clothing. However, what I see in this attempt is to draw the world into the church – to get attenders that are comfortable – Oh, I forgot you can carry you Big Gulp into the service.
How did we get this so far way from the awe and reverence of God? No way would a high priest go into the Holy of Holies with some of the attire we wear into the sanctuary. My thought – the World has dictated to the CHURCH what is acceptable and what is now in our church services. Sometimes I feel like I’ve just gone to a youth rally instead of Church! We as the Church body of Christ should take out lead from Christ Jesus – Be Holy as I am Holy! Holiness in character, action, behavior and thought. How we do something can be just as important as why we do something.
Now, I have rambled – my thought for today is the origin of why America is in the condition it is in – Judges 2:11-15 explains what happened then, and what is happening now to us. The people of God – turned from God and served Baals [other gods]; the forsook the LORD [rejected HIM] they provoked the LORD to anger and the anger of the LORD burned against them so that HE was not with them, but actually against them – so that they were severely distressed. Israel and American churches [believers] have left God and served humanism. I mentioned the problems we have today in the CHURCH is a spiritual problem. REPENT and RETURN was Jeremiah’s message – they refused and God let Nebuchadnezzar to take them captivity. What will America do? Refuse until it is too late? Or is it already to late for the Winds of Revival to blow?
“It was the best of Times; it was the worst of Times” – this line from Charles Dickens Tale of Two Cities; seems to capture our current state of life. Depending on what you listen to through news programming or social media sites, our perspective of this pandemic and Corona Virus will change. I have many more questions than answers right now, and I will not insult your intelligence by trying to make you think I do. None of us have been through such a crisis on a personal or global level. Our generation may be experiencing our own “Great Depression or Bombing of Peral Harbor” life altering event. Our ancestors came through their own crisis and establish the world we live in today. The question for all of us is “will this be a great character-building time or a chaotic disappointment?
I have tried to talk to people and bring a real perspective to this time in eternity – it is just that, a certain people at a certain time in eternal history. The pandemic is GLOBAL. We must remember that we are not the only ones going through this crisis. Right now, we seem to be dependent on our Governments worldwide to solve this problem. They may help steady the boat so to speak; but the answer is found in our sovereign God!
The bad news keeps getting worse. This pandemic has a mind of its own it seems. Every time I turn around, it has morphed into some other phase. People are dying, industry has stopped; people are quarantined and yet we have no answer for a cure in the foreseeable future. That’s the Worst of Times.
The Best of Times [as I see it] is the mobilization of so many agencies working together to some how soften the effects. There has been a great thrust within Christianity of getting the Word of God out through on-line applications and social media. Many churches are reaching audiences they never touched before. Some churches are launching into the 21st century technology for the first time.
I had a friend of mine tell me that if we don’t experience repentance and revival through all this, then we may have missed the point of the virus happening. That is quite a statement! I know before all this happened millions were praying earnestly for REVIVAL. Simply we may be getting what we asked for! In every Great Awakening and Revival in history it began with Prayer. We all know that our entire world needs the Gospel, and the Church to awaken from its slumber. Our world was in a deep degenerative condition. We had opioid and drug epidemics, Cannabis and CBD oils sales skyrocketing and every imaginable sexual orientation accepted, then the senseless killing of unborn children. Were we in need of revival? Unequivocally yes!
While we could easily get wrapped up into an apocalyptical frenzy, we must stay grounded. Our Faith not Fear is our foundation. 1 Peter 1:6-7, the trying of our faith. We – believers of the Only True God and His Son Jesus Christ have the ability to preserve in trials with overcoming faith as the Holy Spirit gives us strength in our very souls!
I don’t know when this will end, but I do know that our “cure” is from the Lord God. James 1:2-4 is our mandate. Let this be the Churches defining moment to bring great Glory to our Heavenly Father. Psalms 85:4-7; Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not Yourself [revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD, And grant us Your salvation.
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Tagged as character, corona virus, Faith not Fear, revival, virus