Heal Our Land

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 2 Chronicles 7:13-16

Heal Our Land

Heal Our Land

In recent years that has no doubt been a growing concern for our nation and for the direction we appear to be headed. Nearly daily, I hear my citizens comment on the need for some kind of intervention to turn our nation in a new and better direction to bring hope and healing. Recently, as I was speaking with a friend, he asked me a simple question — What is the key to experiencing the healing power and presence of God in our nation?  Immediately, my mind remembered 2 Chronicles 7:14 and a quote from Andrew Murray that reminds us that the key revival is having a genuine humility and desperation before God.  Andrew Murray wrote.

Humility is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

I have long believed the key to experiencing the promises of God is living out God’s prescription recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The call is to humble of ourselves before God and to walk free from sin.  Equally important in this commission is to “seek God’s face.” In a sense, the humbling of ourselves and turning from sin are the byproducts, or end results, of coming to know God as He is by meditating upon His character and attributes. To “seek God’s face” is to meditate upon His sovereignty, His holiness, His power, His wisdom and His love.

A unique quality of the disciples of the first century church was they believed mightily in an exalted view of Christ as God. They believed nothing was too great for Him. Absolutely nothing was beyond God’s ability and scope.  As One who is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. God can do anything – including heal our hearts, or homes, and our nation.

As we enter into the July 4th holiday, will you submit and surrender your trust to Him today?  Will you humble yourself and pray, seek His face, and turn from your sinful ways? God is waiting to enter into our lives to work in a mighty way. I believe God wants to move not just in our lives, but also in our communities and in our country.

facebooktwitter

No Other gods

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-40

You shall have no other gods before me. Exodus 20:3

no other gods

no other gods

It does not get any clearer – every heart has a throne and every throne has a god.  The question is which (G)god is sitting on the throne of your life?  As Moses etched these words into the stone tablets I’m certain He understood that all the other commands hinge on the first one.  This is the BIG one.  Get this one right and everything else has a chance to fall into the right place but get it wrong and your life will be ruled by anything and everything that seems pleasing to you.

So we have a choice to make.  We can put Christ on the throne and serve Him or we can put someone or something else on the throne (most likely “ME”) and serve self.  But make no mistake this choice will have a ripple effect not only for today, but for all of eternity.  Why?  Because ultimately, either we are subjecting ourselves to God or we’re subjecting ourselves to God’s enemy.  Thus, like Joshua, we must choose this day who we are going to serve – the gods of this world or the Creator God of the universe.

So what does it mean to place God on the throne?  It means that everything we say and do is under the rule and reign of His kingdom.  It means that every thought and decision we make is performed in light of His purpose and will.  Our single ambition in life is to please Him in every way and to bring honor and glory to His name.  We truly desire to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness as we submit to His calling and serve His mission.

And what does such a life look like… it looks just like JESUS!

facebooktwitter

Too Big for Your Britches

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down,asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”          Matthew 20:20-18

Pride

Pride

What is it inside a man that gives him the desire to see his name in lights?  Lately, it would seem that everyone wants their 5 seconds of fame (just watch American Idol during the audition stage).  But even among the ranks of those who follow Christ, there seems to be a great desire to become famous before men.  Why else do we have magazines reporting the top 100 fastest growing churches?  They might be growing fast but are they accomplishing the Great Commission?  I ask this because drawing a crowd and making disciples are two completely different things.  Sadly, I know of several men in ministry whose greatest desire is to have their name on that list with the hopes that they might get to speak at the next big conference.  Now, I’m not against growing churches who are reaching people for the cause of Christ, but when we start bragging about what we are doing, then something has gone awry.  Jesus does not measure success by nickels and noses but by transformed lives that are in the business of transforming lives.  In this text, Jesus reminds us that those who will be great in His kingdom will lay down their lives to give life whether or not they ever see their name in lights. 

I’m reminded of a story I heard about Billy Graham that I think makes Jesus’ point.  Rev. Graham was invited to speak on a panel and happened to be the first to arrive.  Instead of sitting backstage, Rev. Graham decided to go on stage and take his seat.  As he arrived to his seat and began to sit down, the people in the audience arose to their feet to give Rev. Graham a standing ovation.  Completely unaware that the audience was applauding for him, Rev. Graham stood up and started clapping as he turned to see who was walking onto the stage.  It never crossed Rev. Graham’s mind that the people we applauding for him.

Once we realize Jesus has served us even to the depths of our meagerness, our selfishness, and our sin, nothing we encounter from others will be able to exhaust our determination to serve others for His sake.  Genuine humility before God is the base principle of ministry.

facebooktwitter