However this morning there is a change. I think there is a new hummingbird in town and he is very territorial. He not only is chasing away any hummingbird that tries to come to the feeder, he is even chasing them in the cactus behind the fence! He has taken a position of surveillance above my head on the porch shade so he is pretty much camouflaged from other birds. He reminds me of a bird that used to come every day about 8 years ago, he chased off every other hummingbird. I remember watching him in “attack mode” and I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “I wish my people protected my Word with as much passion”.
Wow! How passionate are we for Christ? Are we lukewarm and allow things in that harm us? As I witness the terror of darkness rising up all around us, I believe God is searching for His people who are willing to submit themselves and return to His word to be filled with His power. Let me explain what I feel the Lord is asking His “church”, His bride. These questions aren’t meant to be offensive, but necessary, if we are going to become the pure, spotless bride of Christ.
A passage in Psalm 24:3 really caught my attention this morning.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who shall stand in his holy place?"
Without Christ, none of us! But how seriously do we take the Word of the Lord? After the psalmist asked the above question, he also gave the answer:
“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him,
That seek thy face, O Jacob.” Selah. (Psalms 24:4-6)
How diligently do we seek His face? How serious are we to spend time in a season of repentance? I’d like to share some of the thoughts and questions that came to mind this morning as I was in the Word.
We know that without the shedding of the blood of Jesus on the cross for our sins that we would have no way of receiving eternal life. Most of us understand that Jesus actually became of our sin (some translations use “bore” our sins which meant He took them on Himself).
In the marketplace, whenever we “receive” something, we buy it, there is a transaction that takes place. In the case of our salvation, Jesus “redeemed” or paid the cost to so we could receive eternal life. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I am so overwhelmed by this incredible gift, it is very humbling since I know I don’t deserve it, but because of His great love for us, He “chose” (voluntarily) gave up His life for mine so that we could experience Ephesians 2:6. “and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” That is our position now!
So here is the big question. How can we continue to live in sin, without any change in our lives, and still be in Christ and call Him our Lord and Savior? Let me clarify “sin” so we can give an honest answer. For those who are saved we can still “sin”, or in other words “miss the mark” at times. But this is not a continual sinning! A continual sinning is a spotlight on a bigger problem, which is what we need to be honest about. Why? Because our eternal life really does depend on it! Like the 5 bridesmaids who were prepared, they had oil in their lamps, the power of the Holy Spirit and were in right alignment in their hearts with the word of God, they entered into the Marriage Supper. But the ones who lacked oil had fallen asleep and were dull to the things of God and could not enter. It is a personal journey, not based on any other person or relationship, but that of Jesus Christ. Listen, dear one, this is a question of life or death!
The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. “ (Romans 6:6-7) This verse clearly describes the difference between one who is surrendered to the things of Christ and one who isn’t. Notice is says that “the body of sin MIGHT be destroyed”. Might...our choice to hold onto, but we aren’t finished yet, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Freed is actually the word for acquitted, cleared of any wrongdoing. So if we are cleared of all charges against us, our slate wiped clean to begin a new life in Christ, I ask the same question the Apostle Paul asked in Romans 6:2: “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” The NASB states the second part this way, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
II Corinthians 5:17 we learn that, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Old thoughts and habits will still come, but we have a new mind, we have the Holy Spirit to divinely guide us! II Corinthians 10:5 explains it further: “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
I have been meditating on these verses a lot lately. Have I really chosen to forgive others who have offended me or hurt me? Have I offended anyone that I need to ask forgiveness of? Do my words speak life into others? Do I love like Christ? Do I have His compassion? Have I been faithful to answer His call for my life? Is there anything in my life that I am still holding onto that He wants me to lay down at the cross?
I ask these questions of myself, and you, that we would all be assured of not only our salvation but that we truly know Christ as Lord of our lives. As we repent of our sins, we can then be freed to begin to pray about the sins of our country, our leaders and pray for divine heavenly direction and protection. As the Apostle John is on the island of Patmos and being taken spiritually into the heavens to see what must come (revelation actually means to take the cover off), he hears Jesus speaking to the church of Laodica, let’s listen:
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:14-22)
Lord God Almighty, these are sobering words. Open up the eyes of my heart to show me where any of these things may be in me! Lord, I submit myself to Your authority, wash me clean that I will be counted worthy to serve You. Open my eyes to see others as You see them, to love them as You love them. Put a fire in my heart that will not be quenched! Lead me in the everlasting way, that Your will be done, not mine. I love You! Amen!