Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Change of Heart

Deuteronomy 32:18 - Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.

Wondering what's happening in the world? I'm sure more people than we know are wondering. Many think it's just a glitch in "something." Maybe we need a change in the county's leadership, more tolerance, gun control. Maybe it's the climate! Something. How about a very special change of heart? The only change that would be beneficial would be returning back to God.

I had two occurrences this week that I were closely related. I received an email from a friend wondering:
*Why God doesn't do something about all the evil happening in the world.
*Why He won't do something NOW, instead of waiting.
And then...I was amazed the other morning when a physical therapist at the hospital where I volunteer sat down with a patient in a small waiting room I was in. He picked up the Bible on the table next to him, opened it randomly and read aloud Deuteronomy 32:18 above. I had to comment: Sounds like what's happening in the world today. Even the patient commented on its content. This IS what is happening...and God sees. 

If you read that verse in context there's more. It tells a truth. It should open our eyes. Just a few points from this song of Moses as he proclaimed the name of the LORD. Moses wanted God's people to hear him: Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (Deuteronomy 32:1) These words. How important. We have done the same thing. Hear these words. They bit then and they bite now.

God is: great, our Rock, perfect, just, truthful, without injustice, righteous, upright, our Father
But the people (us included) have become:
Corrupt - perverse - crooked - foolish - unwise - have no faith.

Here's what He says He will do and who those are who reject Him:
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faith. They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell; it shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them. 
They shall be wasted with hunger, devoured by pestilence and bitter 
destruction; I will also send against them the teeth of beasts, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword shall destroy outside; there shall be terror within for the young man and virgin, the nursing child with the man of gray hairs. 

For they are a nation void of counsel, nor is there any understanding in them. Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them. 

Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. For I raise My hand to heaven, and say, “As I live forever, ...I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me." (Deuteronomy 32)

But praise God for what He promises those who take Him seriously, who reverently fear Him, who rejoice in His return:
Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people. (Deuteronomy 32:41,43)

As for the email I received. It took days to write a response. Days of praying the words weren't too much and right. 

What is happening in the world and why hasn't God done anything; why is He waiting? While my answer was much longer, the first answer is sin! We have, like Israel thousands of years ago, removed God from our lives. And that isn't just ignoring Him. It's believing the lie that some churches promote that God is good but nothing about repentance or His anger and His being just, not liking our sin. Yes, God loves us. He loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us.

So here comes the hard part.

We think because we have grown up in a church, attended classes and Sunday school, sing in the choir, are "basically good people," that we don't need to receive Christ with all our hearts. We don't need to get baptized again because we were as children. If we are not born again as Jesus tells us we must be, we have not received Him. If we have not sometime in our lives 
believed we are filled with sin, confessed Christ, repented of our sins, 
believed He has removed those sins and begun to live for Him, we have not really received Him. 

So sin abounds and it's not a popular subject because no one wants to admit they are something other than what they think they are. Me included! There are days when I have to remind myself I am no one apart from God. I have to remind myself of what He did for me. I have to take stock of my life today and ask for forgiveness when I feel I have failed Him...again...and again. This is what we (should) do. Am I living for Him?

Why won't God do anything? He did. He sent Christ. It's what we aren't doing. Receiving Him. Instead we are pushing Him further out the door. So He allows these disasters in the world and even in our lives through sickness and strife to draw us to Him. To ask these questions and begin to seek Him. 

He IS going to do something. But it may not be what many would like to see. He will return. But He will return to bring justice. He will return to remove His saints from the mess we've created and the foolish unbelievers and scoffers remain will remain to face the ultimate judgment, the wrath of God. It will not be pretty. He will destroy this earth one more time that He may return and reign for 1000 years with His dedicated followers.  

So it is important, timely, urgent, as we repeatedly say in our class on Revelation, to let people know of the coming judgment and how to avoid it. To, unapologetically, preach Christ. To, if necessary, offend like Jesus did, with His hard words. 

Things have not changed. The Word remains the same. The salvation of Jesus Christ remains the same...You must be born again. God never changes. He remains the same today... For I, the LORD, change not...(Malachi 3:6) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. (Hebrews 18:3) 

So, a change of heart is what we need. Only Christ can do this and through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need Christ for that. He must live in our hearts. We must abide in Him and Him in us. He must be our vine that brings life. He must be the living water, the bread of life. His words must be in our hearts and on our minds. We must commune with Him daily and worship Him. We must recognize His greatness in all we see. 

Oh, Lord, great is Your faithfulness. Your mercies are new every morning. Your promises are true and just. They are yes and amen. You are King of kings and Lord of lords. Your Word never fails. You are honest and true...and just. You love unconditionally. You are longsuffering for us. But it can't last forever because You have said You WILL return to bring judgment. Lord, search my heart and see if there be any wickedness in it and then purify my heart and make it whole. Let the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing to You, O my God and my Redeemer. 

Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:4‬ ‭- He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.

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