Scripture says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10 )
Recently my eyes have been opened to this happening in churches all over. ( and yes, I know it has been going on for thousands of years!) In my own life experiences I have watched this escalate and create chaos in the lives of good, Godly people; ripping churches and families and even communities apart. It has become personal. God has pricked my heart for His people and His church. I see and feel a power struggle between dark and light. As God’s people we are called to be a light for the world. A world that is full of pain, problems, confusion and chaos.
14“You are light for the world. A city cannot be hidden when it is located on a hill. 15No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand. Then its light shines on everyone in the house. 16In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.
Pain has roots. It comes from deep down inside and if it is not dealt with correctly it will spread like cancer and kill the body. Pain causes people to become blind, deaf and dumb to God. Pain spreads over the body in such a way that people can no longer see, feel or hear God. To get rid of the pain one must get to the root of the problem. Just like a root canal- if you don’t get all of the roots out you will continue to have pain. Sometimes this requires surgery. The surgery is delicate, precise and requires a specialist. But before having surgery one must submit to the surgeon. A person has to be willing to be operated on. It’s the same way with God. We must submit our heart fully to God and let Him rid us of our problems.
Pain causes anger, strife, control, jealousy, depression, and many other physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Not only does it hurt our physical bodies, it can hurt the church as well. Anger and strife are often carried over into every aspect of the life that is holding onto them and most people don’t even realize it. Deep rooted pain can come out in any form or fashion and if you are the victim of it and you don’t understand it-then you may respond negatively. Causing even more turmoil. But if you are a discerning soul-you will know it when you hear it. The problem lies in our hearing. If we aren’t trained to hear these things, then we could get ourselves into trouble. So how do we do that? Well, as I always say, read your bible.
Let’s look at Cain. In Genesis 4 we see Cain and Abel bringing offerings to the Lord. Cain brought a menial offering and Abel brought the best offering. God looked on Abel with favor and this angered Cain. Let’s look at what God said to Cain as he became angry:
6Then the Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry, and why do you look disappointed? 7If you do well, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do well, sin is lying outside your door ready to attack. It wants to control you, but you must master it.”
What did Cain do? He killed his brother. He didn’t submit to God-he submitted to sin. His anger. Sin is a demon that desires to own you and if you don’t give yourself fully to God it will. Cain did not give himself to God.
Let’s get real.
It is important that we are real and honest with each other. If we aren’t- then people will never see who Jesus is or experience what Jesus can do. We ARE the hands and feet of Christ. We may be the only Jesus that person will ever see. We must allow God to use our bodies as vessels to do His work. In doing this we are submitting to Him and not to ourselves. This means much more than a prayer of salvation. Accepting Christ means devoting your whole life to Him. It means loving Him more than that bottle of booze sitting in your cupboard or eating that large fully loaded pizza or looking at porn on the internet when no one is home.
As a young adult, I used to drink a lot. I believe I was on my way to being an alcoholic. My main goal in life was to get drunk. I am blessed to be alive. My treasure was in the bottle. Today my treasure is in God. I stopped drinking when my kids were born. I also stopped smoking and gained a whole lot of weight. But that’s ok because I’d rather be overweight and happy in the Lord than drunk and wheezing in the hospital. I’ve had two Uncles die of emphysema and both were heavy drinkers. So I have experienced first hand what smoking and drinking can do to a body. They are addictions that take your focus off of God.
So, you are probably asking, what does this have to do with the church? Everything. The church is like the hospital where we come for counseling, for healing and for renewal. But it won’t happen if we don’t submit our issues to God. The church is full of sick people, myself included. We must allow ourselves to be IN fellowship with God. Not just lip service-but an all out total body blood transfusion. It requires extreme obedience and full-on discipline.
O & D
1 John 2: 3-6
3We are sure that we know Christ if we obey his commandments. 4The person who says, “I know him,” but doesn’t obey his commandments is a liar. The truth isn’t in that person. 5But whoever obeys what Christ says is the kind of person in whom God’s love is perfected. That’s how we know we are in Christ. 6Those who say that they live in him must live the same way he lived.
Obedience is hard. I’m still trying to get it right. God sees our efforts and our hearts. There is nothing that he cannot see, so don’t even try to hide. But, being human we do try to hide things from God, but we are only fooling ourselves. Fortunately, we can open our bible and see people who look just like us!
The bible is full of real people who have LIVED! God told people to write this for us to read as a guideline for our lives. But we MUST read it! I can’t read it for you and you can’t read it for Harry. Most people think it is old and worn out and not of any use to them. That’s not true at all. When we begin to read we start to see the truth – ordinary people doing extraordinary things for God. They don’t do them-God does it THROUGH them. They are mere vessels-just as you and I are. We empty ourselves at the foot of the cross and then we come away with our weary arms lifted high in the air, renewed with the strength and sustenance of God. When we go out of the church we empty ourselves into the lives of those around us- in our community, our workplace, school, and family. We share in their pain, praying, believing and expecting miracles in their lives and in our own. We help them leave their pain at the hem of the garment of Jesus. Then we watch them reach up and touch him. A miracle.
When the miracles come and lives start being changed then the church changes too. But this can only happen through submission, obedience and discipline. God never said it would be easy-but it is full of mercy and grace. That mercy and grace will wash you clean and new. You won’t be the same or want to be the same. Then the church becomes a healing center where people flock to-why? Because they have found the source of their healing-the One True God- God the Father-Creator and Wonderful Counselor-our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. On the day that he was crucified your pain exploded into his body and today He is alive and well and sitting at the right hand of God the Father waiting for you! He is your hope.
What will you do?
Reach for the pain or reach for the Savior?
22But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, and self-control.
I encourage you to reach for your Savior and commit to living a life that will be filled with these things!
Blessings as you reach for your True Love,