Kids it's time to come home!!" I can still hear my mom's voice from a time I was a kid. I'd be across the street playing ball, my little brother at another neighbor's house and my little sister too...but a voice we all knew would shout and we would hear and we would obey and come home"
Sometimes that call would come because a storm was coming or it was time to eat or we were going somewhere
Ironically I think Our Father is making that same call for those exact same reasons
A storm is coming...The Day of the Lord is at hand
It is time to eat...The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is warming up
We are going somewhere .A shout is about to go out .."Let Not Your Heart be troubled I will come again and receive you unto Myself"
Many who name the name of Christ ..(even whole churches) who have been born again, have found themselves in a strange and foreign land..or maybe are making like and Adam and Eve and are just hiding in fear and shame.
But God once again is asking "Where are you?"
I pray you take a moment and stop and think and realize where you are at! Are you living your life as if God is some where else? Like He's not right there taking note of every idle word (searching your heart), of not counting or knowing the very numbers of hair on your head? Forgetting that He has made a promise that He would NEVER leave you and never forsake you?
"But you don't realize how bad I've been?" "you don't know the things I've done since I gave my life to Christ"
And to those who think this message is not for you...that you are "going to church" faithfully and aren't doing bad stuff, but are you doing God Stuff? please have ears to hear too! There are sins of commission but there are plenty of sins of ommission as well, Jesus did not come for the well but those would awaken to realize their desperate need for Him in every area that they might fail and fall short
With the Calling God has put on my life, a lot of times I believe I can begin to sound like a broken record. In How many different ways can you proclaim the message of our need to "Repent" to "Stop and Think" to "Turn to the Lord"??
In recent days I've wrestled with this in my thoughts and prayers..just to be honest, of which the heart of this whole message I pray comes from the most honest and vulnerable side of me there is. I pray it's straight from the Heart of Christ who lives in me.
The Restrainer .
In the last few weeks we have heard of some of the most violent of acts ."flesh eating man eats another mans face" "roommate kills then cooks his his fellow roommates brain"
I wish I could say these were just "made for tv or movie events" but sadly these are real life events...happening in our real worlds.
But here is the most sobering thought of all .this is all happening while The Restrainer is Restraining!!!
Despite all the Bad News let's camp out at some good news!!
Let's stop and think and talk about a glorious aspect of God's daily presence in our lives...one we don't recognize and one I pray as we begin to talk this out...realize how close God is. In fact Jesus said it was good for us that He went away...wow ...really Jesus?
John 16:5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me (JESUS), for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Ok, straight up...do you realize how wicked you would be IF it were not for the restraining presence of The Holy Spirit in your life? How many times a day ..a week.. do thoughts come that you take captive..but in reality ..it's not you taking them captive..it's The Restrainer.."keeping You" I mean be honest and be for real. Their is some wicked stuff that comes at us...through technology, through media and just LIFE...I mean if you go to the lake in the midwest ...or go on a family float trip or you go to the mall or you stand in the line at the supermarket...their is all kinds of advertisements and enticements to SIN.
But thank God that we know in whom we have believed and He is keeping us, we who have committed ourselves unto Him against that Day! But somedays, doesn't it seem like war and its you that is warring against the good side of you instead of the bad side of you? Oh please don't be holier than thou on me...
I do NOT have a Dove or a Cross as a bumper sticker because I don't want to hurt my testimony ...I do NOT do well with traffic
If you are the type of driver who drives in the left hand lane 1 mph less than the 4 semi's you are trying to pass, ...you and I have issues and thank God ...He restrains me from the road rage I'm tempted to feel towards you..and maybe you are the driver who is fuming that I'm the guy tailgating you ..."get off my bumper" you hit the breaks over and over putting me in my place 70 x 7 Lord...lol you get the point
Thank God for His convicting presence...His restraining, because if He left me to my own device...I'd be toast.
How many times a day do thoughts come that are struck down instantly through what we deem common sense or of biblical merit? Because they are!! Because of God's Convincing Presence in our lives saying "this is the way ...walk in it"
Don't go to that site, (I personally don't go to fox news anymore because of the junk at the bottom of the homepage) Don't flip to that channel, pray for your Pastor, pray for your angry co-worker, pray for your wife, don't "go there" with your attitude, don't say that to them, don't take that thought and react, don't listen to that (that old party music that could take your thoughtlife back to a sinful time), forgive that guy, forgive that driver, forgive forgive forgive .Oh the Joy of Our Lord's Presence!! Thank You Jesus that You went away and sent Your Spirit... Thank You that You Never leave us and never forsake us!! Because if we were left to ourselves, that side of us that is at war with God ...if we wouldn't be restrained ..withheld in your right hand...how bad would we gossip and backbite and drink and cuss and cheat and steal even though we are saved?
The truth is the Restrainer never leaves us and He is always at work cleaning us up when allowed..He has been restraining us with much Grace ...but I know there is much more He desires us to do than just restrain us He wants to set us FREE and then propel us out
So with that said I'd say "it's time to come home" from the prodigal pit of compromise and lukewarm living
IT is time to make war with a certain mindset that has plagued the church of this generation
Their is a song I love that starts out with these lyrics..."I am so tired of luke warm living, I am so tired of compromising" aren't we??
Repentance is a change of thinking (of wrotten stinking thinking)...it changes MINDSETS and produces fruit of that change.
For whatever gazillion reasons we live in a time that our minds have been set to do what is evil in our Lord's sight and call it a weakness or "that's just who I am, that's just the way God made me" NO, that's what Sin did to what God made, it perverted us, it took us off the beaten path, off course, missing the mark and The Time has Come for the Church to come out from being just like this present age to be set apart and set aside to do what is right!! But the deal is we can NOT do this, we have to have HELP!!!
So Dear Father, as we continue forward in this message I pray for Help to Convey what You have laid upon my heart to share, and Father I pray it stirs and turns many away from defeated, condemned, compromising ..luke warm living to Passionate ..Joyfilled ..Forgiven but unadulterated lives...set on Fire by Your Doing..in Jesus Name
STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT
The mindest of this hour that needs to be rendered null and void is that of compromise...that wallows in sin instead of forsaking sin.
NOW before you get all condemned and beat up about a personal life time struggle of a certain area of sin that you have wrestled with
The Goodnews is that you are wrestling with it already I mean the lost don't wrestle ...they just go with the flow of their sinful nature...even to the point of eating faces I guess.
But straight up...hear this, we have been saved to win every fight...to be more than conqueror's and called overcomer's ...God has way more for us than wallowing in defeat and bondage. So in that light...here we go
Would you want a "Christian" who was a former rapist to deal with his sinful nature the way you treat yours? Or would You want Him to STOP IT??? Would you want a former "murderer" turn Born Again (New Nature) to yield to his old nature in his old sin pattern or STOP IT? For some reason it's easy for us "christians" to believe that a former murderer should stop murdering, or a former child molestor to stop child molesting, but when it comes to our pet sins gossip, online adult viewing, crude jokes at work, getting drunk, over eating, back biting ..road raging, "how rude?" snobbery as someone beats you to the sale rack at the mall ...don't read my bible, don't pray but "bless me Lord" mentality?
Here is the heart of where this is coming from...I want you to realize we ALL have times we can be tempted to go Prodigal at heart ..that we draw near to God withour lips but our hearts are far off...that we wallow instead of overcome...but a Loving Father is compelling us, drawing us back home. In the Story of the Prodigal ..the Father was not angry over the wallowing He was longing for the wallowing to end and for His Son to come back home...so much so that when the Prodigal was a far ways off...The Father ran to Him!! The Father is wanting to Run to US!! To this Prodigal/Lukewarm/Compromising Church Age!!
It's Time to Change!
I sincerely believe this is the greatest hour of The Church and God is wanting to be Himself through us, but first He must heat things up and remove some things we have become blinded too, and right now I fear their is a deep blindness and darkness upon many who have been sold into compromise and lukewarm living through a false mindset of God has saved me to heaven but I have to live like I'm in Hell until the Blessed Hope happens .NUH UH
God is an Awesome God and He has made us and saved us to be more than conqueror's and it's NOT just victory over this mindset that He is desiring that's just a step in the right direction. See, being stuck in compromise and lukewarm living is hurting us, but not only us...it's hurting THE CAUSE! (had to throw that out their for my pastor)
The Only reason God leaves us here after our salvation takes place is for His desire to be Himself through us in outreach to those He created us individually to reach and touch.Now that is awesome, when the Potter is working on us the clay ..He has a specific group of people He has on His heart to reach through us..please stop and think about that a minute ..wow, it's not just about our individual relationship as to why we are still here if so...He would have raptured us and we'd just hang out..but God's Sovereign plan has made allowance that He takes (saves) Us, He blesses us, He Breaks us and then He gives us out. He has left us here to be an extension and co-laboring representative of His plan of redemption. Partakers of His divine nature and inheritance...lost souls that Jesus bled and died for ...who He has already prayed for and who are ripe unto harvest. They just need to hear the Goodnews coming from people who are living the Good News "though your sins be as scarlet I have made them white as snow" "as far as the east is from the west" "remembering them no more" You are Free to Go and Sin No More You don't have to miss the mark today, You can hang out with God ...and by the way in honor of the most recent Father's Day...He has told us to come Boldly and even to call him "Father"..Because He first loved US! You don't have to live in fear and shame...quit hiding..I see it all, I know it all, but listen I'm right here..put down the drink and instead go sit on your porch and just pour out all the hurt and fear upon Me..don't listen to Oprah or Dr Phil, ...read Mathew, Mark, Luke and John...you don't need to be filling your mind with 50 Cent worth of rap and rhyme, but filling your time with my very near Presence..I mean we can be tempted to feed on some scraps now and be sold on "this is the life" but we are King's kids... lets wake up and come to our senses
In this final hour...the time has come! It's time for us the body of Christ to "FORGET The former things" all the defeats and all the issues and bondages and habits and guilt and condemnation. God is "calling us out" to Himself
Ever saw a coach call a time out ...and gather his team around Himself to give instruction? This is the "two minute warning" this is "crunch time"
If there was ever a time God is calling His People unto Himself and Prayer ...it is NOW!
Their is no superficial answer to the problems we are facing and about to face...God is all about sounding the alarm and calling everyone who has ears to hear to a time of sacrificial ..heartfelt ..weeping and mourning over the compromise and lukewarm state we are in! No amount of Paxil or "quick fixes" or numbing agents or movie marathons can drown out God's voice of calling us out of our pigs pens...Please, this is not a pointing finger of accusation but rather one who has been there and wallowed ...I tried to drown out God's call on my life with alcohol or "outer court" platitudes to God ...religious exercises..reading a daily devotional or playing the right Praise N Worship Song and nodding my head up and down but it wasn't until I came to the end of me that I ran to a secret place and said God...NO MORE, I can't take ME and the way I am no more!
And that is awesome...Our God's even now sending out a cry to us to "come to our senses" and flee the pigs pit and head back home" to our Father's House
You know "church" itself can be a pigs pit right? A place of just settling for scraps and wallowing in "what was once in my Father's House?" It doesn't have to be that way, we can live in His Abiding Presence, it is we that settle for less. It's so wrong to go to Church with an attitude of not actually meeting with Jesus but just scratching off a religious "done" button. We need to be in His Presence because in His Presence is freedom from the pig's pit.
Please hear this we've lived too long looking just like the other's in the same pit...do we really look any different at this point in time? HONESTLY? We've tried to be so culturally relevant that we've compromised and sacrificed the authenticity of The Power of God to not only save us but set us free!!
Its time to Get Real and fast. Honestly IF you go to a beauty shop and your hair is in rats and greasy and after you leave looking the same way...you might need to fire that stylist? Or did you go there but not put yourself in the chair to be worked on?? A lot of people go to church in this day an hour...but are we really going to God? Are we changing for real? I mean if we aren't changing it's not because God is not able or willing, it might be that we aren't truly and sincerely going to Him! Church is NOT God, it's a place of meeting, but many forsake God by settling for "just church" Ask yourself right now..."where are you?" Are you really sincerely "close to God?" I mean have you talked to Him today, this week..have you heard from Him? Have you opened your bible and prayed.."Lord, speak to my life?"
Where are we? We are living in 2012 and people are eating people, they are getting drunk, stoned, high and hooked on every addiction known to man...they are living hard and headed to hell. And it has flooded the Church and not found healing and deliverance but rather tolerance and soothsaying psychological answers instead of the Word of God that pierces and divides the soul! is that what you are doing? With the Lord's Very Present Help I ask us all to "Stop It" and to run to an intentional, dedicated..purposeful time of crying out to THE Only Answer to what ails us.
When a terrible virus or contagion breaks out everyone hopes for a cure! I can hear my son saying "Duh Dad"
Well, the contagions of lukewarm living and compromise have spread far and wide.
Let's RE- Fix our Eyes on the Cure and run back to Him and when they (the world) see His Work in our lives ..setting us free..they will be quick to listen to what we have to say...That Jesus Christ and Him Crucified is the Cure to us ALL!
I'm convinced if John the Baptist were alive today on earth...or wait even one Better..JESUS IS ALIVE and I believe this is what He is wanting to say!!
Joel 2:“Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”