From the Front Porch9:09 PM
My newest discovery (prompting "why didn't I think of this before?" thoughts!) is that my wireless internet works on the front porch. Of my little cottage. Now dusk has fallen. The sky turned into a beautiful shade of not-quite-midnight blue. Sounds of rippling waters echo through my little hideaway in the valley. I hear the hum of cars and see their headlights flashing across the hill, but mostly my thoughts are meditative in this stillness... or, as still as small-town life gets...
Blogs have been few and far between lately. Even the staple 'weekend in review' has been left behind this week. Now I am returning... at least for this evening, to share what's been on my heart.
On Sunday morning, my pastor shared a message about the church of Sardis. As a message to us. To my church. To me! It was very pointed. And sharp. And fitly spoken to my heart.
"... I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die, for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God."
The church of Sardis was a church with a reputation for spiritual life. Many people thought that things were happening there---they were on fire! God was moving... or was He?
Our church has a reputation. We're the ones that "pray loud." Or 'have youth that are on-fire,' or are 'really radical.' I've heard many things spoken (those are the positive words). And while some is true... we really do pray loud... I still wonder...
Is the reputation just a wisp of a dream? A fleeting mirage of spirituality? An echo of spiritual fire that burned ten years ago--five years ago--last year?
Reputations give way to pride, which is the deadliest and most dangerous sin. Yes, God has done great things in our midst. Who are we to glory in ourselves? Have we worked supernatural wonders? Was it our faith that saw miracles---or the God who gave the seed of faith within us? If God is pleased in anything among our Body, He has done it Himself.
Pastor brought a challenge to our church this Sunday.
"Wake up and strengthen the things that remain!"
We can't let these things die!
- Faith. Yes, the "faith camp" has perverted the truth about faith into something that benefits flesh and pleasure. But this does not negate the Biblical message of faith. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Jesus never dealt mercifully with unbelief. To doubt God's promises and His willingness to fulfill them is to doubt God Himself. Faith pleases God, and that's the pure truth of it!
- Love for the Word of God. It is our supreme teaching. We ought to tremble at His Word. It is infallible and inerrant.
- Divine Healing. For all! "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:38
- Prayer. Personal prayer. There is no life outside prayer. If you are trying to find direction in your life and you don't have a prayer life, you will be confused! Fervent prayer. We should ALL be fervent in spirit, praying fervently, listening fervently.
- Holiness. Not self-righteousness or hypocritical standards. A holiness that comes from being in the presence of the Most Holy God.
- Authority. To meet God is to meet authority. Americans are independent. We pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency and independence. And that's great--in politics. The kingdom of God is not a democracy. It is a theocracy, and Christ is the head!