Revive Cold Hearts

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

Jesus told us what the signs will be of His return. He gave a word of caution when He told His disciples what will come to pass before His return. He said, when these things happen, be ready, because His return will soon be following.

He did not say things would be easier and everyone will be at peace before His return. He describes persecution, hatred, fear, coldness… We know these things must come to pass, and even now we can see it unfolding before our eyes.

One thing in particular standing out to me is this… hearts growing cold.

There are some who will preach do not forsake the gathering of the saints to get you through the church doors. I, for one, do not believe this is what Hebrews 10:24-25 means.

Paul clearly admonishes us to come together to warn, urge, and encourage one another, especially as the day of His return approaches. Is this happening in the “church institution” today?

Have you ever been in a room full of people and still feel alone? Have you ever tasted loneliness? Have you ever been through a struggle and just needed someone to come alongside you and tell you it will be OK? Or how about this… do you have a secret sin you struggle with and you need someone to hold you accountable, to lead you into restoration?

Proverbs 27:6 says, faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

What is a friend? A friend is someone who loves you enough to be honest with you. A friend cares about your well being and if they see you heading to a cliff they will stop you. A friend is invested in your well being.

I am going to speak for myself, I don’t dare speak for any other, though I suspect I am not alone this. I have been in churches, surrounded by people, heard some good sermons (and some not so good), and felt alone. I have walked into churches unnoticed and have left unnoticed. There have been times I have thought, I could have stayed home and watched TD Jakes on the internet and received more encouragement and fellowship than I did sitting in a full church on a pew.

We are responsible to work out our own salvation. But we should not be alone. Nor should we neglect others.

We were created in the image of God. Our God is the God of relationship. Intimate relationships. As His Body, we should be representing Him through relationships.

I ask myself, how do peoples hearts grow cold? How does someone who loves the Lord have a cold heart? How is this possible?

Have we, as a body, become so busy we cannot even truly fellowship with other believers? Do we do “our time” on Sunday mornings and then spend the rest of the week living selfishly for ourselves? How many times has someone reached out to us and said “I need a friend” and we pat them on the back, say be well, and send them on their way?

What could possibly be so important we cannot take time for one another?

Of course, we all have responsibilities that require our attention, work, family, etc.. But in the hustle of busyness have we forsaken each other?  Loneliness and depression should not exist in the body.

What is fellowship? Anytime we come together, to lift His Name, encourage one another, confess to one another, pray for each other, break bread and share with each other, this IS the gathering Paul tells us to not forsake. It is in this environment we grow, we are strengthened, and we are challenged.

I consider Christians in other countries that are truly persecuted for their faith, even to the point of death. They are true Christians. You better believe they will gather with other believers because they need each other.

Yet, here in the US our persecution is subtle, and it is not to physical death (though I argue it may be to a spiritual death). We battle complacency, business, selfishness. Our hearts are growing cold. Can we say we love God and yet, neglect His body?

There is power in unity. A chord of three strands is not easily broken.

Do you know how gangs are formed? Do you know why we are losing so many young people to gang activity? One word, COMMUNITY. Everyone has a need to belong, to be accepted. Awake church! We have within us the answer to what they seek. We have the cure to the disease that is killing the world. We are the light, let us shine.

Oh, God, revive us. Awaken Your church from the slumber of complacency and business. Set our hearts on fire so we may not be cold any longer. Call Your five fold ministry to step into their position, bring forth order within the church. Forgive us, God, for not loving as we have been called to love. Give us Your heart of flesh. Heal us, oh God.

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Frog in a Pot

Put a frog into a pot of tepid water and then place the pot on the stove, the frog will begin to slowly cook and not even realize it. Because the water heats gradually. He doesn’t even notice the water is starting to get hot. It is like he has become a part of his environment and didn’t notice the change in temperature.

So is it with us…. one compromise at a time, one stretched truth at a time, the next thing you know, you are so far from the truth, you are in boiling water.

I suppose the moral of this story is to look around you, have you become a part of your environment? Have your senses grown dull? Has your love grown cold? Are the lies and excuses flowing right off your tongue and you don’t even feel the conviction anymore? Are you feeling comfortable and like the idea no one challenges you? Or do you find yourself constantly looking over your shoulder?

Oh, my friend, the water is boiling… get out of the pot.

Fresh Rain, Fresh Fire

Oh, God, revive us. Set a fire deep into our bellies that can not be quenched. Draw our hearts back to You, create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us. Do not let us give lip service only while our hearts are far from You. Lead us to repentance. Forgive us, God, for building idols in forms of self gratification, pride, fear, and political correctness.

Heal us, Father. Touch the deep wounds with Your healing balm. Where we are proud, help us to humble ourselves. Where we have been offended, help us to forgive. Where we have offended, help us to seek forgiveness. When the enemy comes in like a flood, lift a standard against him. Help us to not forget where we come from so we may have compassion on others.

Do not let us give lip service only, we do not want to be walking dead people. Show us, Holy Spirit, how we can express our faith to the world to bring You glory and honor. Let everything we do and say lead others to You. Help us to walk in a spirit of humility, gentleness, kindness, patience, and love.

You said You always have a remnant, I call them forth now, from the east, west, north, and south. I call Your people to answer the call, to rise up, to not slumber, for we know Your return is very soon. Jesus, come soon, and find faith in this world.

I love You, Lord. Revive us, start with me, shine Your light through me in this dark world. Strengthen my legs so I may stand. Anoint my lips so I may speak. Remove anything not of You. Lead me, Lord, set up road blocks to keep me on Your path.

Thank You for Your unfailing love. In You we are fully accepted and forgiven. We are Your people and You are our God.

My Testimony

One thing I know without any doubt, is His great love for us. No matter what storm comes, or who leaves, He is my constant.

The world is a loud and hostile place and it is easy to feel alone.

I want to share a bit of my testimony with you. I hope, through reading it, you will see what He has done for me He will also do for you. My prayer is no matter how loud the world can be, may you always listen for His voice calling you, because He loves you so very much.

Click on the link below to read my testimony. While you are there, browse the site and read other testimonies. I trust you will find the true stories there to be encouraging and comforting.

http://www.faithandtestimony.com/perfect-love-casts-out-fear/

No Compromise

Nothing is solely for entertainment purposes. What you set your mind to, is what you will become.

Is it time to take inventory of your thoughts? “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

We become conformed into the image of Christ through the renewing of our mind. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

We are bombarded on a daily basis, our minds are assaulted at every turn, through images and sound. At a rapid pace, the world calls what is evil, good. And what is good, evil. The message of the world is if it makes you happy, do it.

Alexander Hamilton quoted, “those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.” How true this is.

If we have Christ, we are to be a light in this present darkness. Jesus came so that all who believe in Him will have eternal life. It is His heart that none should perish. We carry His Spirit in us, if we have been conformed into His image, then it should be our heart as well, that none should perish.

I remember as a child, if I wanted something I would wait until my mom was asleep and ask her. Because in her tired state, she would say yes. Even if she did not say yes, if she grunted anything audible, I always took it as a yes. Or if she said nothing at all, I took it as yes, because she did not say no.

I am not suggesting we walk around pointing fingers or beat people up with scripture. But, what I am saying is we need to do a serious evaluation on our own thoughts and motives. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world, but have we let the world get in us?  How can we live a victorious life through Christ, and be a witness for Him, if we have become inoculated by the world.

My friend, we are living in the last hour, the signs He told us to look for of His return are all around us. Now is not the time to slumber. Do not allow your mind and your spirit to be in a haze. Do not compromise. You may feel alone and out of place, but you are never truly alone.

If the whole purpose of salvation is for us alone, then we would die and go be with Jesus as soon as we got saved. But His gift of salvation, life, freedom, is for everyone and we are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We should always be ready to give an explanation for the hope we have. But, how can anyone see the hope we have if we blend so well with the world? Why would anyone ask us what is so different about us, if we are not different? We are to be a peculiar people.

A peculiar person loves in the midst of darkness. A peculiar person says, like the three Hebrew children, you can throw me in the fire if you want, but I will never bow my knee to the god of this world. The fire you may face will probably not be an actual furnace, it may be ridicule, ostracizing, rejection, mocking, and/or loss. To lose is to gain, my friend.

Do not strive to be so PC that you have lost your salt. Jesus did say the salt that lost it’s flavor will be thrown out and trampled on.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2

I encourage you, ask Him to search your heart and to show you if there is anything not of Him, and then ask Him to remove it.

Go! Be the light! Enjoy freedom through Christ, laugh, live, love, help others, be a true minister of reconciliation. By this, the world will know who you belong to and when the world has turned its back on their own, pray they turn to God. May you experience the joy that comes with leading someone to Christ, the One and Only True Living God.

He is our hope.

Be Free & Stay Free

Hidden Treasures

Treasure hunters will go to great lengths to unearth a treasure. Some may travel the far corners of the world to find the precious gem, risk life and limb, sacrifice rest and self, to excavate what they believe to be of great worth.

What may look like nothing to an untrained eye, is sheer beauty to the one who knows its worth.

The treasure seeker will dig through earth, rocks, sand, and soil, to lay hold of the prize. When they have unearthed it, they carefully lift it with their hands, as to not damage it. Upon first sight, it is covered in dirt, caked with years of debris. But with delicate hands, they will clean it, polish it, restore it back to it’s original beauty, and preserve it.

Why do treasure hunters do this? Because they recognize the value. Some treasures are worth far more value than most are willing to pay.

The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field. Matthew 13:44

God did this. He is the greatest treasure hunter. He placed such value on each of us, He was willing to go through great lengths to find us, unearth us, and bring us back to our natural beauty. He sent His Son to take such a beating for us, to go into the earth for three days, to bring us up from the grasp of the thief, to restore us, reconcile us, and bring us back to our created purpose.

Even when we were caked in the soil of the world, drowning in our sins, wrapped in the bondage of our hurts, rejected and abandoned as unworthy, He saw us and He restored us. He looked beyond the outward, He looked into our hearts and He placed His strong gentle hands on us and He declared… this one is Mine.

Then He placed us on display. Paraded us past the enemy and held the banner of Love over us.

The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

Who is our neighbor? The person who has need, the poor one, the broken one, the sick one, the one who can never repay…

How about those who are closest to us? Those we know so well, we know their imperfections, their quirks, their hang-ups, the one who has hurt us? What about them?

I submit to you, one of the main causes for break-ups, divorce, and division is we fail to see beyond the outward to look at the heart. For if we truly desired to be like Christ, we would delicately unearth the heart, speak words of compassion, create a safe environment, and allow God to use us to bring healing to the wounded hearts. We just might find a treasure of great worth, if we truly followed the words of Mark 12:30-31.

We are all broken vessels, but in the hands of God, we will shine with such brilliance hell will be blinded, relationship’s restored, ministries birthed, and the Glory of the Lord would rest on us and bring great revival, healing, deliverance, and salvation to many.

Be a minister He can use. With the same grace given to you, give to others. For inside each of us is something far more valuable than money can buy. Only through love can a heart shine.