Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Call to Personal Holiness

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of life everlasting.”

Christian persecution has been an issue close to my heart for many years, particularly the fact that many Christians in this country have no idea that it has been going on.  It has been a story that the mainstream media has ignored.  Now, it is at an all-time high.  Jesus warns of the signs of the end times in Matthew 24:6-10. We need to be praying for our brothers and sisters in the faith, but also for personal holiness, without which, no one will see God. 

Throughout Scripture, God has used Christian persecution as fires of refining for the church.  If we hope to be effectual, we should all examine our lives to see if we are of a "double mind" or "half heart".  Do we have one foot in the world and one in heaven?   We can't serve two masters as that's the root of a lukewarm church.   It's not the lack of evangelism; it's the lack of personal holiness, which hardens the heart to the voice of God, and therefore, to the things of God.
In this country, we have been brainwashed to segregate our lives and portion out the secular and the sacred as if there were such a thing, but there is only light and dark.  So if we were to die today, could we say we've walked only in the light or are we sometimes shades of gray?  We bear in mind that "sin lets the devil in", and that certainly was realized in the life of Judas, who thought he was getting away with something by skimming off some of the offerings for personal use (John 12:6).  Even lesser sins make our armor porous and leave us vulnerable to defeat.

We must understand how even a "small" sin can harden our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.  As we are praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters, we should also be praying Psalm 139:23-24 as we petition the Lord.  As we let the Lord deal with those "little things" in our hearts that have crowded, cluttered, and distracted us, we begin to have clarity. 
Many of our churches have been flirting with the world under the guise of drawing others in.  Instead of new believers being "converted", congregations have become "infected", so that there is little distinction between the church and the world.  Thank God that He does have a church after His own heart, far fewer in number than the church roster, but sincere and obedient! Thank God many of these gather in local Bible studies like Manorwood!

Remembering the persecuted church should always be a call for personal and corporate repentance.  Offering prayer support for those enduring these hardships allow all of us to be able to withstand the sifting process and do so in a position of authority over the enemy and yielded to the Lord.  Then, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).  We want our prayers to be heard.  But Scripture plainly teaches that if we harbor iniquity in our hearts (this can even be something like resentment or unresolved anger), the Lord will NOT hear us (Isaiah 59:1-2).  It would be a tragedy that prayers for our suffering siblings in Christ are not heard because of our own lukewarmness and worldliness.  
Let us examine our hearts and make ourselves ready so that Jesus comes back to a church that is without spot or blemish!
Deborah Claypool

Prayer:  Lord, thank God, that in a bloody, warring world, You give the Kingdom of heaven not to the powerful but to the persecuted, 
comfort not to those wielding control but to those weeping grief, 
the whole earth not to the heavyweights but to the humble, 
a vision of heaven not to the popular in strength but to the pure in heart,
and You give satisfaction not to those who hunger & thirst for *more*, 
but those who hunger and thirst for *justice.*
*Please, Lord,* Bless & be with the persecuted tonight.
Bless & be with the crying, the humble, the pure in heart, the children,
those who hunger & thirst for You — and, one way or another, that is all of us,
all this desperate world.
In the name of Jesus, the only One who has loved us to death
and back to real & forever life again,

Ann Voscamp 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Deb for being a truth teller and for lifting up wisdom from Scripture. I need it--we all need it.