Within the last two weeks I've come across comments such as:"My problem isn't that I am unfamiliar with religion, it's that I am all to familiar with religion. I have spent years with those religious people who once they leave the church and begin their talking about people behind their backs and against blacks and immigration and anyone else who they dislike. I know atheists that live a more moral life than the religious. The great loop hole they put in to make them feel better? You don't have to live a christian life, you just have to believe. Wow...how wonderful. They create religion because they fear death and can't come to grips with that. That is why they stand on the right. Fear is such a great motivator."And another:"Alright, I'm in no way christian, besides that it has pretty good morals. And when I see this group all I can think, is that this group has nothing useful in it. Disregarding all negetive things, you can't live in a @%#^$&* fantasyland! People learn when other people start arguements with them, negetive things turn into positive things. I agree with to to the extent that positive is better, and I try to only argue in a positive, humble way. But, what the &%*(#, if you try to live in your Marxist fantasyland, I don't see much good coming at all. It's called being oblivious, ignorant, insensible. There is no proof at all that God is real, so how about we just live an excellent life without haveing to worry about going to our fancy churches, that would rather spend money on making the worship area pretty, than for starving and diseased people. I see all these enormous, beauteous churches, and all I see is death. Selfish death."---------I originally had the intention of trying to make a grand point, but as God would have it a more simple approach seems best. I really only have a general question, and a plea of sorts.I praise God for being led to this site, and this forum has imparted wisdom to me, as well as confusion at times, but in the end it always taught me to seek the simplest of truths and greatest commandment of all: To seek the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. While I strongly support the mission and aim of this site I wonder if we somehow miss the mark? Both comments above I believe are strong indicators of why revival tarries, not just in America, but wherever people yearn for God to return. And the reason is this: we as His people can't... can't do it. We keep searching for answers when we already know the surest way of growing closer to God is to be wholly devoted to Him. And then to LOVE others as we would love ourselves. Moreover, we should pray and pray consistently. Not about great things, but about the concerns of our hearts. I don't believe God wants us to bear the burden of the entire world, but merely the burdens of those things He gives to us. Most importantly family members, those who have back-slidden, those who aren't saved. We need to be praying for the poor and needy, not the great things of the world, but the lowly. If God moved through the perverted church alone how many would come to Him in a flood?We know God is great and all-powerful, but do we? I'm not questioning the belief of anyone who reads this, but are we looking for something spectacular to showcase the strength of God to prove a point? I believe that is selfishness and prideful. Even Christ didn't use His majesty to do this when He walked the earth, He wanted to do the will of the Father, as should we. I'm not opposed to God doing something monumental, but He should be who decides. I only say this because I've been guilty of this, and it's been an awful hindrance.As Chambers put it: We are not soldiers warring for Christ, He will use us in His battlings.I guess in the hopes to keep this cohesive I'll lend one last thought. I know we need to live apart from the world, not be unequally yoked and the like. But I believe, and this may be foolishly optimistic, one of the greatest reasons many have back-slidden or accepted a perverted gospel is because there was no Paul to Timothy. Where are the examples? Where is the loving spiritual father to help raise the babes in Christ until they mature? Each church, or fellowship, needs one, and it could be you! I know every situation is different, but where does the trend stop? I've come to find the types of comments made above are usually made from people who are 'christian' but no longer. The reason? A cheap and selfish gospel, but more importantly they never had a good example, Paul to Timothy, to see what Christ was doing in someone's life. I believe the latter is at times more gospel than the words.A great illustration is found in 'My Utmost for His Highest' on February 9th. http://www.rbc.org/utmost/index.php?day=09&month=02I am in no way greatly mature, but in humility do I offer this. I see many who say they yearn for Christ in their life yet they want it their way. They're more committed to serving Christ than loving Christ. I've been supremely guilty of this, but what greater service is there than merely loving God with everything we have, And then to love others, and pray for the salvation of the lost? Past that we should merely live for Him and if He calls us to service, we should come to whatever He calls us! If this comes across in an authoritative manner, I ask your forgiveness for I don't mean for it to be!Leigh
Also, just as a quick annotation. This doesn't cover everything, it wasn't meant to. I realize one obvious essential is repentance, when needed, but I'm factoring that in as a given. Didn't want to give the wrong impression!
Cleaned up the foul language, please be more careful, even if you are only relating someone elses words.
[i]If my people which are called by my name[/i] Shall humble themselves And pray And seek my face And turn from their wicked ways [i]Then[/i] will I hear from heaven And will forgive their sin And will heal their land. ~[i]2Ch 7:14[/i]The oft quoted and seemingly less headed scripture ...Humility. We lack it. It's obvious and rampant and even the often tumultuous aspects presented in this forum post over post is it's own evidence. Writing on this mirror cast's it's reflection back."If" "Shall""Will"
Truly it is a vital part of Christianity to be a discipler; and even without realization, in one way or another we are all disciplers, in that everything that we do and say is viewed by someone as acceptable or inacceptable. In other words we are all an example of something: some are the example of a Christ centered life; others the example of a self centered life. And no doubt it is the responsibility of those that name the name of Christ to be the example of Christlikeness in the earth; and they are there, they may not be a visible as some that are not(as the enemy loves to point out those who are not); but they are there. I find it quite remarkable that many "great men of God" in times past were moved not by the person they saw in front of them necessarily, but rather by the account, the diary, of another brother, such as David Brainard.We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, from the past 2000 years, to this present day.I have me women who have suffered HUGE losses; and yet their faces shine with the love of Christ, they may not be perfect; but their hearts are full of faith and love. I have met men who have counted all but loss and who stand within a terrible storm that rages all around them, yet they are not moved; their lives are wonderful representatives of the man fully planted in Christ. I have seen the faces of the simple girl, whose entire family were totally oppressed by sin and its ravages; yet not one person could look into her smile and not see the grace of God in her life. They were not so because they lived in "la-la land"; they were so because they had a strength greater than their own, a hope beyond the struggles in this life, a faith in a merciful God who would always catch their faltering steps!I have heard many, many comments such as those you have heard as well; but do not loose heart, every age has had its share of hypocrites, its share of critics, its share of pride and ignorance. Yet, the God who spoke the worlds into exsistence has never once flinched, He is still the God who speaks to the storm within hearts and minds and says ,'Peace be still' and the storm ceases; He still picks up the wounded, broken hearts and minds and pours the oil of hope, the balm of the Holy Spirit and their wounds are healed; He has taken the heart of the critic and broken through the icy heart due to the life of Christ within the heart of one of God's children.Do I wish there were more of them? YES! I wish every person that named the name were a wonderful example of Christ-likeness; but, if we here on this earth of Christ's disciples are to be as precious stones, gold, holding to a pearl of great price.... go find a piece of gold, a precious stone, a pearl... see how common they are..You may find a precious stone in a gravel pit, but there's still a lot more gravel.Thank goodness I'm not God's defender, He's mine. And often when someone tells me some terrible thing that someone who called themself a Christian did, I simply say, "That is very sad; but Christ is not like that. And I pity them when they stand before Him in that last day to give account of their actions and words; because God will hold them accountable."I don't know of anything in this life that is just the way I would wish it, not the government, the churchworld, the generations I see growing up in a self focused life, the outcasts being pushed away, the prideful being embraced. No, there's not much "fair" about this world; but far greater than my "fear" of death, is my hope of seeing the face of my blessed Savior who gave His life for me, who has carried me through every trial and picked me up every time I fell, whose love searched for me when I was a wandering little sheep about to fall off the cliff."Though there be no cattle in the stalls, no fruit on the vine, nothing I can see with my eyes as praiseworthy; Yet will I praise Him, because He changes not. He is still the same great God He has always been."The fool hath said in his heart,'There is no God'. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." Psalm 14:1"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ...:Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which ye have for all the saints,For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye have heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel." Col 1:1-4Yes, friend it is difficult in this world; it is easy to become unbalanced in our walk one way or another; but as you say, when we are humble even our faltering can be used to give God glory.Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my hope with you, I apologize if I wrote too much, or went on too long.A sister in Christ
Thank you, sister, for sharing your heart andyour hope with us. Thankful that we serve agreat and mighty God who is able and readyto help us to follow in His steps and guide usin the truth and lead us in the way everlasting!!
_________________Martin G. Smith
Sorry about your having to clean up the post. I honestly forgot to proof read them, but thank you!