| Re: How can we not weep?|
MC, this is quite a meal you have set out. I would like to take just a wee bite.
My point is that we do not see how close to home the need for revival is.
You struck a nerve for sure: You turned our fingers back on us. Might I suggest that our sin is not so much the wrong we do, as the right we fail to do. And that is hard for us to see. It doesnt FEEL wrong. I heard a sermon last Sunday that really hit. Here are a few points:
We are called to care for the poor and oppressed. (Judgment fell on Israel for their failure to do so.) Many of us do not consider ourselves wealthy enough to give much. Yet according to statistics, if you make $5000 yearly you are in the top 15% of the worlds wealth. If you make over $50,000, you are in the top 2%. Apparently, if all Christians tithed, they could almost eradicate world poverty.
we spend millions on our pets
. and on and on
Thats only one point
I wonder, how often do I fail to meet a need whether physical, emotional, or spiritual simply because Im too insensitive to notice it even though it may right before me.
Im absorbed in my own incredible self-centeredness my bent to be more concerned about my own needs, my righteousness, and my struggle to fit in to my society?
I wonder, how many of our social deviants and broken families are a sad expression of the failures of the church? Werent WE Christians the ones given the divine ministry of healing and reconciliation? Yet, we cloister ourselves in our churches. Statistically, after one has been in the church for 3 years, he has only 2 non-Christian friends. Sad isnt it? ..... But then, we have the same social problems the rest of society has. Something is terribly wrong!
How can any of us point our fingers at the sinners out there without seeing our own partnership in the sins of our society and our world - though negligence and spiritual impotence?
Surely we do not need to discuss the virtues of weeping. We just need to face reality - and then how can we not weep?
May God open our eyes.
| 2006/7/12 16:25||Profile|
Wonderful, Melissa. Thank you.
| 2006/7/12 23:41||Profile|
Amen to Compton.
You can't have a revival in the nation before first a revival in our own hearts!
| 2006/7/13 4:59|
I would like to take just a wee bite
To be honest, I really appreciate it when our posts are given and recieved as 'public journaling' and certainly not some authoritative diatribe.
You can't have a revival in the nation before first a revival in our own hearts!
Amen Richard...how I have sought these things with my mind many times but still failed to recognize the implications for my heart. I suppose my last post was a public wrestling and confession of this failure.
Like Diane said, the fingers turn back on us. Not just for accusation, but also for pity and weeping. We are painfully aware that our own churches are mostly broken down vehicles of religion putting along on fumes of the great revivals of yesteryear, while many churches abroad are great churning engines of evangelism plowing through jungles, filling homes and streets of cities and villages, and passing through walls of prisons.
In response we are jealous for their attributes. We want tears or courage to do the things they do. Yet, the real problem is not so fragmented as some needing tears and others needing courage. It is much more basic...and painful to me.
We do not have a capacity to weep like Christ over the lost because we are not Christlike.
To be sure this is a much different calamity then suffering from some type of emotional constipation.
So let's join our hearts to these quite noble thoughts for revival! We have too much of the world filling our hearts! There is no room for Christ in our crowded over-burdened lives. There is little use in praying for tears if we are unable to first weep over our own lack of Jesus. There is little use in asking for fire to fall if there is no matter in our lives that we are willing to see burn.
Now like I said, I am not ranting here like some preacher. I realize how great a fool I've been spouting Christian things in the past without the fullness of Christ in my heart. Jonathan Edwards once said that the devils are good orthodox theologians; indeed they know very well the doctrines about the saving power of Jesus and the love of God for mankind. Yet they are never invited to participate or benefit from these great things like we are!
I bring this up with a renewed sense of hope for us North American Christians. It is true we have been duped by world religion...we have been preaching that Jesus has come to bring us the world and that more abundantly. Many of us eaten silently, if not enthusiastically at this happy anti-christ feast, and now are choking on the bones of it's dead meat. But praise be to God he pursues us with grace and favor that is not rooted in our merit, or worthiness, or usefulness...such wonderful persistence of the Love of God is rooted in Jesus! It is for His benefit and glory that we are given a new chance of repentance!
So let's repent! I am easily a qualified spokesman for American Christianity; so let me begin to offer confession. My life is a reflection of the neat divisions we Americans bring into our hearts...secular and sacred. What idolatry...how is this possible for a Christian? My question is not rooted in fear and failure...I feel like my sight is being restored and like the blind man sitting in God's house of prayer itself I am being asked, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?...who is standing before you?"
"Lord I believe!"
In trying to understand more of what was actually going on during the Great Awakening and other revivals I have recently been earnestly listening to their sermons. I have observed one great diving principle in all of these sober sermons. First they sought to push sin as far away from the heart of a Christian as possible...there was no mercy on sin, no understanding, no sensitivity, no clemency in context, no credit for effort, no grading on a scale. All sin was awful and deserving of God being our great dreadful enemy. Second they sought to affirm the trustworthy and sure hope that is in Christ for those souls afflicted with the agony of their remorse and repentance. They did not grade salvation on different levels...old and young, poor and rich, the wild and the civil, if they truly were in Christ they were totally and wonderfully saved! Each compartment of mankind, the lost and the saved, was completely sealed from each other by the infallible bulkhead of Jesus Christ.
Those preachers simply did not have our vocabulary of seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven gradualism when they preached the gravepassing transformation of true Gospel salvation.
As I hear those great messages, a new and deep faith falls on me. I realize they were talking not only to 17th century mankind...but also to all mankind! To me, my family, and church! If the souls of men in their day were just like our own souls, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the revival in our day can be just like the one in theirs! There is no need to over-burden ourselves with cultural relativity or post modern acumen...the question remains the same even for us culturally savvy, worldly wise Christians.
"Do you believe in the Son of God?"
"Lord I believe!"
I suspect that the man healed of his blindness in the temple that day had tears of joy falling from his restored eyes, when he finally saw Jesus for who he was.
A wee bite indeed!
| 2006/7/13 8:32||Profile|
You can't have a revival in the nation before first a revival in our own hearts!
Amen to that aswell
| 2006/7/13 9:59||Profile|
| Re: A time to weep|
. though not a sweet one
If the souls of men in their day were just like our own souls, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the revival in our day can be just like the one in theirs!
This would seem logical. Yet I wish I could be as optimistic. I remember when the idea of revival was first put forth in my (former) church over 11 years ago. Many of us eagerly joined special prayer meetings, we (a few) studied revival, listened to tapes
we fasted.. we hoped for change
.we had revival preachers come
. . and now 11 years later, there is no revival, in fact, quite the opposite. Gods purifying fires came
.. we were dispersed
the pride of former times is gone. The people didnt want revival after all not Gods way. So now I experience a weeping that is different it is more like grieving over a loss of something that was so close. I wonder if its a premonition of what Jeremiah experienced on a grand scale.
I suspect that we will face the same social/cultural upheaval that Jeremiah did - the absolute toppling of his nation. Though we have many prominent prophets around who promise otherwise, I am not convinced. Perhaps I am too gloomy. At this time Jeremiahs agony seems somewhat of a foreshadowing before a future ingathering, or perhaps accompanying an ingathering:
5: 3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
You struck them, but they felt no pain;
you crushed them, but they refused correction.
They made their faces harder than stone
and refused to repent.
4 I thought, "These are only the poor;
they are foolish,
for they do not know the way of the LORD,
the requirements of their God.
5 So I will go to the leaders
and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the LORD,
the requirements of their God."
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
and torn off the bonds.
6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,
a wolf from the desert will ravage them,
a leopard will lie in wait near their towns
to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
and their backslidings many.
6:10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed [a]
so they cannot hear.
The word of the LORD is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
Jer. 8:21- 9:3 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn and horror grips me.
Oh that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears. I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.
Oh that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.
Jer. 9:10 I will weep and wail for the mountains and takes a lament concerning the desert pastures. They are desolate and untravelled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds of the air have fled and the animals are all gone.
14:7 Although our sins testify against us,
O LORD, do something for the sake of your name.
For our backsliding is great;
we have sinned against you.
Surely these words for us today foreshadowing painful times:
"Change your laughter to mourning
and your joy to gloom
Grieve, mourn and wail
Your rich people, weep and wail
because of the misery that is coming upon you." James 5:1;4:9
Weep and wail, you shepherds,
roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock.
For your time to be slaughtered has come" Jer. 25:34
"Arise, cry out in the night,
pour out your heart like water." am. 2:19
| 2006/7/13 10:47||Profile|
Yet I wish I could be as optimistic.
If you read 'optimism' in my thoughts then I need to work harder at my communication skills. Yes, we have been "praying for revival" for many years now. It is most wearisome.
Perhaps many of us should be praying for salvation first. Untill we undertstand this very real need, how can we believe we even have a need for revival? What need of God does Almost Christianity have?
If the evangelist and prophet, and even the new babe in Christ undermines our feeble security in creeds and doctrine...don't despise them but thank them! They are leading us to Christ.
I am not convinced, even by my own sorry experience, that any people in any age are beyond revival. I am hopeful that nothing can seperate us from the love of Christ, though it must be that the Church by and large has never entered into that grace they are so eloquent at preaching and singing about.
So for me reivival is not a renewal of something old but something much more undiscovered in the first place. Many talk about a revival that will make our saved churches spirit-filled hothouses of emotion, enthusiasm, passion and fervor.
As for myself, I am more pursauded that revival means that many repent of enthusiasm, passion and fervor and, through spirit born conversion, truly find hearts that naturally (or supernaturally if you prefer...) love God and our fellow men more then our own lives.
If we do not believe that eternal salvation needs to visit the 'House of God', even our own houses, then we really don't see the need for revival. Imagine the consequences of embracing deep repentance in false profession in the one we claim to love. It is salvation, and not enthusiasm, that will mark the seismic faultline of revival's quake in the church.
What else could produce such lamentations in the Church as you have pointed out!? " Weep and wail, you shepherds, roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come"
So I really want to stress that my hope in the power of the Gospel is not based on optimism. The Gospel is told to be everlasting and eternal, not bested by any age, dispensation, government, or economy of men. Our problem is not that American churches don't want revival, as revival is all the rage these days. No, in simple truth, our churches don't want the Gospel. It's message is too abasing for us who are already righteous, but perhaps only lacking in sincerity, energy and fervor.
God can change that...and if His reaching us requires desconstruction of our illusions on a catastophic scale, then God be praised for his mercy to us.
Blessings dear sister!
| 2006/7/13 12:39||Profile|
| Re: Weeping for the lost?|
Reformatted from my original post.
[i]'They signify how very intent He is to save souls, and how gladly He would save thine, if yet thou wilt accept of mercy while it may be had
And that love that wept over them that were lost, how will it glory in them that are saved! There His love is disappointed and vexed, crossed in its gracious intendment; but here, having compassed it, how will He joy over thee with singing, and rest in His love! And thou also, instead of being revolved in a like ruin with the unreconciled sinners of old Jerusalem, shalt be enrolled among the glorious citizens of the new, and triumph together with them in glory.[/i]
MC said: 'Turn our hearts if they are not facing heaven Lord.'
Sorry to be way behind on this thread. Just want to acknowledge how touched I am by John Howe's plea to the soul who should be saved - but may not be. I hope to let it sink into to my own impenitence and soften the grit.
| 2006/7/14 13:16|
| Re: Why do we weep?|
MC said to Diane:
If you read 'optimism' in my thoughts then I need to work harder at my communication skills
Oh, no, no, no! I just need to engage my mind better. (Its a good exercise). Really this is a very intense and serious subject. It has a double-edged sword - mercy and judgment. The two are inseparable - hope is mixed with grief, optimism with pessimism; as you say:
if His reaching us requires deconstruction of our illusions on a catastrophic scale, then God be praised for his mercy to us
the Church by and large has never entered into that grace they are so eloquent at preaching and singing about.
I suspect (grievously) that our false tickets to eternity, more than anything else, have blinded us from the Better Way. Just imagine, if the bluff were to be called on them all: The entire religious structure would disintegrate the ordinances, music, the membership, the leadership structure, the titles, the sermons, the constitutions, the outreach programs
. . Maybe the ticket is the greatest idol, and thats why challenging its validity is such a threat.
I had always assumed that the faulty foundation was the world or the Law, but now it is dawning on me that the sandyland is really all the void tickets, endorsed by our institutions. The world doesnt need to fall apart in order for the sand to shift. Its already shifting. Ex: declining church membership. Many churches are gasping their last breath - and theres almost no one left to morn their departure. So in a sense the quake is already rumbling, although the faithful members are blissfully going on as usual with their baptisms and strawberry socials. And theyve drifted too far on the other side of the ever-widening chasm to hear warnings. (I dreamed that once)
I suspect that the recent flash-in-the-pan versions of religion are here today and gone tomorrow, simply because theyve uprooted everything good from the past, and havent replaced it with much substance. They are already a leaning tower ready to fall when their real trusts erode - ex economy and govt.
God still calls out:
" I despise your religious feasts;
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps. "mos 5:23
There will be a lot of misplaced grief when he pulls the plug because things arent the way they used to be:
"You flood the Lord's altar with tears.
You weep and wail
because he no longer pays attention to your offerings
or accepts them with pleasure.
But there will be very little weeping because souls werent being saved in our religious system.
I think Jeremiah wept most over mans resistance, and the destruction they invited on themselves.
The wrath of God is being revealed
. They neither glorified him as God, nor gave thanks to him Rom. 1:18,21
Give glory to the Lord your God
before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
but he will turn it to thick darkness and change it to deep gloom.
our churches don't want the Gospel. It's message is too abasing for us who are already righteous,
But if you do not listen
I will weep in secret,
because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly overflowing with tears,
because the Lords flock will be taken captive. Jer. 13:15-17
And so optimism - in the sense that Gods mercy will prevail, is sobered with grief over the implications of deconstruction for our fellow friends, families, and society in general.
| 2006/7/14 17:35||Profile|
Maybe the ticket is the greatest idol, and thats why challenging its validity is such a threat.
You said it Diane.
I'm not sure if you had only the idea of "cheap grace" in mind...or if your ticket metaphor could be anything magic key we think will resolve all our struggles and doubts. I definately have a penchant for finding a new "ticket" and running headlong without the Lord.
Well, Richard, if your reading this, I hope I didn't stray to far from your original question. It is a good thing you want, to share in Jesus' tears for the lost. Surely the Lord is moved by such prayers. Your heart reminds me of an Amy Carmichael poem that has stayed with me.
"How has thou known me?
Oh my Lord I have known thee on the road to Galilee.
I see you have known me on the roads to Galilee. Where else hast thou known me?
My Lord, I have known thee on the tossing sea.
On the tossing sea thou hast known me. Where else has thous known me? Hast thou known me in Gethsamane?
For I would have thee know me, thorn crowned and nailed to a tree. I would have thee know me all the way to Calvary."
| 2006/7/15 5:34||Profile|