Friday, October 21, 2016

Backsliding part 3 - A mission

As God brings repentance to my backsliding heart, as He attracts me with His loving kindness, I find that not only does He want to restore me, but He wants to make me a restorer. 

One of the areas that has been restored in my life is prayer. And lately, a lot of our prayer time (I pray with my precious husband) is spent on intercession. 
We don't have a prayer list. We don't have a specific set of petitions, or people. When we begin, we ask God to bring to our hearts the requests He wants us to lay at His throne. And He always does. 

One group of people that comes up in our prayers, one way or another, is the church. We grieve over the sin we see in our midst. We grieve over false doctrines, which lead to different kinds of errors and sins. 

But we have understood that the Lord has provided discernment, not to make us judgmental and self-righteous. Just the opposite is true. The Lord shows us that, many times, the sins we see in others are a reflection of sins we ourselves make, and that we need to apply the advice the Lord gives each one of us:

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

I plan to write a series of posts on this issue when I come round to it, but in a few words... When we feel the rush to be judgmental... Let's go to God in prayer. Let's humbly ask Him to reveal any hidden sin regarding the sin we're seeing in others. If the Lord shows us anything, let's confess it with no self-justification whatsoever. Let's settle our accounts with God first, in all humility and meekness accepting His correction, and THEN, after step one is dealt with, we can move forward to help brothers and sisters remove the speck from their eyes.

And how do we help our brothers and sisters be restored? Back to my topic. The first thing we can do for all of our brothers and sisters is pray for them! Pray with an earnest heart. A heart that will be willing to devote time to the well-being of others. In this case, prayer time.  

I want to share a few verses from Isaiah 62.  

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
    and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
    and her salvation as a burning torch.
The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.

Let's pray for our brothers and sisters, that they will be sanctified in God's truth. That each one of us will learn to abide in Christ, abide in His teaching, abide in His love. That we will learn that His commandments are not grievous, but joyful. The commandment of loving God with all of our hearts, and loving each other as He loved us. We need to come back to these two basic laws. True righteousness is Christ-likeness. We need to pray that each one of us will grow more and more like Christ, and less and less like the world.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.

Jesus Christ is our hope of glory. He's the one who makes us beautiful. He's the most precious jewel we can possess. God wants to delight in us. Let's pray that we will greatly rejoice in the thought of the wedding that is to take place in Heaven, with the Bridegroom. That joy, that hope, will make all other pleasures seem so insignificant. We need to pray for each other, so that our brothers and sisters will wake up to this glorious truth!

On your walls, O Jerusalem,
    I have set watchmen;
all the day and all the night
    they shall never be silent.
You who put the Lord in remembrance,
    take no rest,
and give him no rest
    until he establishes Jerusalem
    and makes it a praise in the earth.

Will you be one such watchman? Will you raise your voice, like Esther did before an earthly king for the sake of her people. You have a much more powerful king who is waiting to hear your voice! Will you persevere in prayer until you see the new Jerusalem established in the hearts of your brothers and sisters? Will we love our coming king and earnestly pray for the prosperity of His Kingdom?

The Lord has sworn by his right hand
    and by his mighty arm:
“I will not again give your grain
    to be food for your enemies,
and foreigners shall not drink your wine
    for which you have labored;
but those who garner it shall eat it
    and praise the Lord,
and those who gather it shall drink it
    in the courts of my sanctuary.”

We've allowed the enemy of our souls to tempt us, to distract us, to lull us to sleep. Therefore, because of our sloth, our grain was lost. We labored, but we labored in vain because we'd lost our first love. Let us return to Him! Let's pray for the return of many brothers and sisters who have backslidden, just like we have, who have been blinded, just like we have, whose salt has lost its flavor just like ours.  

Go through, go through the gates;
    prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
    clear it of stones;
    lift up a signal over the peoples.
Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
    to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
    “Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.”
And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

If we want for God to use us to prepare the way for the people, to clear the highway of stones, the first thing to do is repent of our own backslidings, and pray for those soldiers who have fallen in battle. 

The Lord has power to bring the Lazarus back from the dead. He has power over dry bones. Can we pray and believe that almighty God can use our feeble prayers to bring about change?

In closing, I want to share a few verses from James 5:

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

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