I apologize if it seems that a lot of us are "testy." I suppose that it is difficult to truly know the character of members of this forum solely from their posts (or lack thereof). However, I suppose that a person would have to be "serious" to even frequent this website.
Why? We live in a serious time of history.
This world is sinking increasingly into self-justifying sin.
This world, and this nation, has forgotten or neglected the Creator of all things.
The Church is so often busy with the inner affairs of the Church that we often fail to notice the dire condition of our own lives, families and communitiees.
The "success" of a Church is now based on its numeric size, the enthusiasm of its parishoners, the involvement of its young people, the size of its bank account, its prestige amongst outsiders, and the number of apparent "supernatural" events happening within its doors. Yet often, the prayer meeting is empty, true evangelism goes undone, the Word of God goes unread, and the prayer closet continues to go unused.
Many churches now have to rely on fleshly forms of entertainment just to "con" people into walking into our doors.
Families of believers are now broken at nearly the same rate as unbelieving families. Divorce is rampant -- and christian parents continue to neglect their children.
Church attendance is often related to the amount of various programs available throughout the week, rather than on the truth preached from the pulpit.
The pulpit has become a place of comfort, where men of God are too scared to share the Truth (in love) for fear of alienating or offending some of the members.
Christianity has now become an "industry," and churches are now run like corporations. Decisions are often made by logical decision or consensus, rather than by the direction of God.
Many believers are more concerned with physical prosperity than spiritual prosperity. We want to be rich in the things of this earth, but we fail to recognize the poverty of our own souls.
God has become a stranger (and even a legend) to our children.
We are willing to give a tithe to our Church, but we neglect giving our time, effort and money to our families. We also continue to neglect the poor, lost and forgotten within our communities.
We alienate ourselves from other believers due to petty doctrinal or denominational differences, instead of loving those that have also given their hearts to Christ.
We argue amongst ourselves about the timing of the "Rapture" or when and if we are supposed to speak in tongues. Yet we hardly ever tell our neighbors about the day we met Christ.
We have become gullible to the latest fashionable doctrinal "trends" -- yet do not "test everything" by rightfully dividing the Word of Truth.
This world is going to Hell, but we still sleep well at night.
As believers, we should be filled with the joy of the Lord. We should not whither away like dried up prunes, but be filled with the joy that comes from knowing Him. Please excuse us if we do not always display that joy. However, there is certainly a time and season for everything. I suppose that we should do our best to encourage one another. But how much humor do you think was displayed in the Nazi concentration camps? Do you think that the victims were sharing jokes while they watched their loved ones marching toward the gas chambers? The life of Corrie ten Boom reveals that God can provide joy and perfect peace in such a situation. And believe me, there is joy in the camp of the LORD. But sometimes, it is difficult to express our happiness when the world is dying in its sin -- and the Church often appears unconcerned.
I love you, brother! May God fill the Church with "joy unspeakable and full of glory." But may he also fill us with a revelation about the state of this world. Maranatha!