Isaiah 43:19 NLT
It is a New Year ~ 2013... and a new day is upon us! I imagine that people are still celebrating... watching the football bowl games... or the parades that are all welcoming in the new year! A new year always seems to bring a renewed hope... and I think there are many who need just that.
However... If I am to be completely honest... I am not in a "celebratory or a merry mood." Recently, I have been concerned about the direction our country is taking... moreover, I am concerned about the true 'Church of Jesus Christ' in general... and those of us who call ourselves 'Christians.'
I believe that God's people are in crisis... and either we don't recognize it or we just don't care to know about it. It seems to me... that to some extent... we as Christians have hardened our hearts towards the Lord Jesus. Our desire for Him is not what it once was. I touched on this subject in my December 28th's, "Our First Love..." blog.
We look at the cynics, the mockers, and those who reject Christ as the ones who have the most problems and those with the hardest of hearts. We forget that we are the ones who are supposed to be the 'light' in this world. We are the ones who attend church... go through all the motions... listen to message after message... and still seem to be the same people. Some of us have no problem fitting into the church on Sunday... and yet the very next day...we seem to fit perfectly right into this world. For many... there is no real difference... no change in our lives and what God wants to do in us.
Are we not aware of the fact... that God despises those who hear His Word... yet reject it and all within a day or two. In Proverbs 29:1 we read; "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."
What does this mean? The verse is basically telling us that the hardness of our hearts comes as a result of rejecting the repeating warnings we hear. It also tells us that over time the hardness will become impossible to change or cure... because we will have let the hardness "rule" our lives.
Inspite of hearing the messages that come from the Holy Spirit... most of us do not practice what we hear. We want to see a revival... but we are unwilling to see the changes we need in our own lives. To revive is to restore what we have lost... or awaken to what seems to have gone to sleep in us.
There is a need to get back to the basics of our Christianity. And while we may say we desire "Praise, Worship and Prayer" in our church services... we seem unwilling to yield to the Holy Spirit's voice. Are we ashamed to raise our hands in praise... or kneel at the altar and pray with one another... can we not sit silently in the presence of Jesus and give Him our full attention? Are we reading our Bibles daily... are we meditating on God's Word?
It seems to me... that we have failed to give the Lord full access into our hearts and lives. There remains a part that is distant and callous. We have failed to make Him the object of ALL our affections and compassion. We are content to sit back and wait for blessings from above... but that is it. As a result... hardness has begun to set in... and with some of us... there is no hope of being cured... for we are complacent and content with things as they are! We refuse to allow the changes that are needed to bring us closer to our Lord and Savior!
There are those who would laugh or scoff at this message... I would ask you to seek the Lord for the truth in your own heart and life. Others still... will see the need to draw nearer to God... to you I say wait on the Lord. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him... Psalm 37:7 God will never turn His back on those who truly want and seek Him.
All that is truly needed in all of these situations... is a return to "our first love!" To realize what is going on within us! We must ask ourselves: "Have we fallen away from God.... do we have any idea how far we’ve fallen?" We can't let it be a Lucifer fall! We must turn back! We must run and rediscover our first love. There is no time to waste... run back now... run into the arms of Jesus!
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Revelation 2:4
Perhaps and just maybe... after taking stock of ourselves... and returning to our first love... we will see that renewed hope in ourselves and in our nation. It is time for each of us to pray and seek the Lord...
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14