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Archive for May, 2013

“You who can resist the half-articulate pleading of many and many a heart today, can you resist this? From millions of voiceless souls, it is rising now – does it not touch you at all? The missionary magazines try to echo the silent sob. You read them? Yes; and you skim them for good stories, nice pictures, bits of excitement – the more the better.  Then they drop into the wastepaper basket, or swell some dusty pile in the corner. For perhaps “there isn’t much in them.” Very likely not; “there isn’t much” in the silence any more than in darkness, at least not very much reducible to print; but to God there is something in it for all that.  Oh! You – you, I mean, who are weary of hearing the reiteration of the great unrepealed commission, you who think you care, but who certainly don’t, past costing point, is there nothing will touch you?”

I read this today and it struck me that this is exactly how I feel sometimes.  What a frustration to try and convey the intense need, the desperate hunger, and the ageless call to a Church who sits as Esther and has no grasp of what is happening beyond the palace walls.

The author of the above quote?  Amy Carmichael.  Two hundred years ago.

The name of the book it came from?  “A Chance to Die”, but Elizabeth Elliot.

The “unrepealed commission”, as she put it, is still calling you today.  Have you drawn your fiscal line at exactly 10% so that you are “okay”, you have fulfilled your responsibility.  You give waitresses more than that, but what will you give God?  Instead, why don’t you take out your checkbook and write down the largest amount of money you can possible afford – even more than you can afford. Let it be a real sacrifice. As the old preacher used to say, “Give until it hurts! … and keep on giving until it stops hurting.”  

And then, on the line where it says “To” … write down your own name. 

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“… and he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house: Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house”

(Leviticus 14:35-36)

 

When there was a leprosy found in a house, everything inside that house was to be removed while the walls were scraped and cleansed.  If that didn’t work, they yanked the stones that were affected and scraped the walls and took the dust and stones away to an unclean place outside the city.  It doesn’t say what was meant by an “unclean place”, but I get the impression it would have been like a place where you dump your septic tank. 

 If the priest came back in seven days and the leprosy was still not purged, then the whole house was to be dumped out there in the dung pit.  Anything that was left in the house had to be taken and dumped also.  The leprosy would have infected anything that was still in the house.

The laws for leprosy in a house also apply to churches.  If we allow the least amount of sin to enter in, it will grow like cancer and corrupt the entire house and those who remain in it.

But Satan never comes with a big brass band. He always enters in with subtlety and a smooth, satanic grace. He may start with just a touch of worldliness in the song service, or a relaxation of dress codes, or maybe just a broader acceptance of other ideas.  It always seems so harmless at first …

Satan’s ultimate objective isn’t to make you think that sin isn’t sin; Satan’s job is to make you think you can get away with sin.  To do that, he must reduce the threat of sin, make it more palatable, excusable, and forgivable.  His lie to Eve in the Garden is still used today, “Thou shalt not surely die.”

At a recent Bible Study, I listened to a well-meaning and fervent believer make the case that even if you are in sin, God will still hear your prayers.  He argued in a deeply theological bent and drew from wells of scholasticism and theory and thought, but the basic argument was a defense of sin. 

[for scriptures to refute this, go to: www.revivalfire.org/tracts/prayersandsin.htm ]

You cannot minimize sin.  Neither can you excuse it, justify it, or rationalize it away. God hates sin. He had to watch His only begotten Son be tortured and slaughtered like an animal to cover your filth, degeneracy, and rebellion … and you would have the audacity to go to His Throne in prayer covered in this filth?

The root cause of this kind of entrance into the Church today rests in our resistance to the preaching of the real, chilling fear of God.  Everything is about love these days, while the preaching about the fear of God is considered caustic, legalistic, and harsh. But when you lose your fear of God, you lose your power in God.  And as a result, sin creeps in every so slowly.  Soon, sin does not seem so bad.

And we wonder why our churches are so anemic.

 

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