Joshua 24:14-15 - “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
When I accepted the invite to travel to Arkansas with a friend from church, only God could have known He'd show up 14 hours later to stir me up. But isn't that what God does? I couldn't come up with one title, as you can see!
When we arrived at the Union Road Assembly of God Church and listened as Pastor Terry Eddings preached his message on the above scripture, I could agree with all he said. I understood. Nothing spoken the time I was down there was new...just presented in new ways to encourage and settle my spirit.
He talked about drawing a line in the sand. I like the phrase in the scripture above, on the other side of the river or the land in which you dwell. When we come to Christ it is a decision we must make. We are on one side of a river and must cross over. Even when we cross that river and dwell in the land He has given us, we must continue to live in the world but not be part of it (Romans 12:2). Have we decided to follow Jesus or do we continue worshipping the things of the world?
If we have understood and received Christ we have crossed that river and now dwell in the land which God has for us. We will begin to see the evil spoken of above in the world. Christ must come first. And that was what Eddings was talking about. Why it affected me so I couldn't say. Why did it take a drive from Wisconsin to Arkansas for me to be so stirred? What I know is, it affected me in some way which will be revealed in God's time. I'm counting on it.
Three other preachers ministered to my spirit, encouraging and reminding of God's promises to His children. We were told we all go through seasons in our walk with God (David Owens). As he stated, God's promises are exhilarating but waiting can be excruciating. We are urged to continue in the Lord and not become discouraged. While others may see us as odd it's because we are, as God has said, peculiar people. We have made the decision for Christ, crossed the river and live in the land He has brought us to. And He will be with us every step of the way. When the promises have been fulfilled, well, what a glorious moment.
We have been saved by grace and nothing more (Tyler Owens). When we are determined to do more, say more, pray more, we try in our own strength. That's the law...never being able to fulfill it. But through Christ's death we have grace. All the sins of the world were placed on Him. He died once for all. Once...fulfilling the laws which could never be kept. When we receive Christ we receive His grace and mercy.
We will still go through struggles. But as two, if not all, of these men of God stated, He will never leave nor forsake those who have chosen to draw a line in the sand for God and who so want to share the gospel to a lost and dying world.
As Lee Shipp stated (paraphrased), Nothing profane is hidden anymore in the world. The devil thinks all these things are what the people need to satisfy them. But God says Jesus is all we need. We've seen just about all there is to see sinwise. All sin is acceptable today and this is leading us to destruction. These are signs of and we are in the last days and if the gospel isn't preached there will be many permanently lost without the grace of God in their lives. (But even that is becoming more difficult to do and will become even more difficult, as we can already see.)
Narrowing Lee Shipp's message down, it's not about the large churches, nor denominations. It's a people, not a building. The stones which are used to build a church are the addicts, prostitutes, murderers, homosexuals, thieves, etc. If only this message would be understood. These are what Christ built His church on...and He is the solid rock, the foundation. The glory of His house is Jesus Christ, not a pastor or priest. When we surrender all to Christ, we make a decision, walk away from the world's view of life into a life of righteousness that only comes through Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
I have been encouraged again in my walk with the Lord, His promises and even in blogging. On our way home we listened to other taped messages. One hit me like a wall...it was on what has God placed in my hand to use for His glory? I can say my number one thing is this blog. And I will no longer refer to it as MY blog. It is the tool He has given me and so it is through Him that I do this; it is His. My purpose is to point others to Christ, for His words of truth to be written. It is one way I serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:24 - And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!"