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By ‘us’ I mean comfortable Western Christians like myself.
The reason why Satan doesn’t need to persecute us is because he’s having such success at destroying us without persecution.
Let me put it another way with a question: What would it take to make us deny our faith? If we were under actual and severe persecution, like what many Christians are enduring at this very moment in history, what would it take for us to deny the Lord who saved us?
I ask because whatever that ‘thing’ is, you can bet that Satan is already using it to compromise your faith NOW.
Is it comfort? security? your children? your spouse? your house? your lifestyle? your pleasures? the approval of your peers?
Whatever would make us give up our faith under duress is the very thing that Satan is subtly using to entice us away from total devotion to Jesus, RIGHT NOW.
You see, the enemy doesn’t need to persecute us. He’s already succeeding in destroying our allegiance to Christ without it.
(Want to hear more? I preached on this last week at: www.sermon.net/swccc/sermonid/119957584)
Revelation 3:14-22 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
Was reading Revelation 3 this morning and challenged to once again pray earnestly and regularly for revival. O that God would pour out his Spirit afresh in our churches so that we would be zealous and repent of our complacency! Without the Sovereign Spirit of God at work, we would not even heed this passage as a warning. We wouldn’t invite in the Lord who stands at the door knocking; we wouldn’t repent of our wretchedness and poverty and nakedness. We’d continue to be the smug Western church that is extravagantly wealthy and yet in overall decline – spiritually and numerically.
I am convinced that on the whole, the churches in Australia are Laodicean – neither hot nor cold. May God light a furnace in our generation. Will you join with me in regular prayer for revival?
What’s more dangerous…
1. A charismaniac who prefaces falsehood with ‘Thus says the Lord’ ?
2. A fundamentalist who prefaces falsehood with ‘Thus says the Scriptures’ ?
I read in the Sydney Morning Herald today a study which was done on the eating habits of children and how that has been shown to have a link towards mental health as adolescents. Basically the study concluded that bad eating has direct consequences on anxiety, depression, aggression and other aspects of a person’s mental well-being. In other words, what we do to our bodies affects our minds.
This led me to a memory of a seminar that Dudley and Elizabeth Foord used to run at Katoomba Youth Leadership Convention (now Next Generation) titled ‘The Spiritual Life of a Leader’ (or something like that). I remember thinking that I agreed with everything they said except when they mentioned the importance of fitness, good eating and exercise in the spiritual walk of a good Christian leader. Like most unhealthy teenagers who didn’t like exercising that much and enjoyed a good buffet between main meals, I thought, ‘Nah, that can’t be right! What does the physical have to do with the spiritual?!’
Why I thought of their seminar while reading the SMH article was that the article reminded me of a much neglected fact: human beings are created to be embodied beings. In biblical thought there is no dualism between body and mind, body and soul, or even body and spirit. Jesus’ bodily resurrection and the coming renewal of the created order shows us that physical matter matters. Just as the physical impinges on the mental (as per the mental health study), so also the physical impinges on the spiritual. The converse is also true too: the mental overflows onto the physical, the spiritual to the mental, the spiritual to the physical, the mental to the spiritual. We are a complex network of inside and outside, spiritual and material, and not to be finally separated (whether in this life or in eternity)!
So what does this mean? It means that I gotta keep exercising and watching my (slipping) diet. It means for a lot of uni students they have to watch the amount of rest and sleep they’re getting. (It means that Moore College students need to watch their weight!) Our mental and spiritual well-beings are linked to how well we look after our bodies. In our fight for joy and spiritual growth (and it is a fight!) let’s not neglect the physical.
Alright, so I’ve been sick all week, and the last thing you wanna do when you’re sick is to post something serious or intellectual on your blog. Quite frankly, the brain feels like mush and when I’m sick I’m way too self-absorbed to be helpful.
So a bit of fun instead…
I’ve been reading the Elijah and Elisha narratives in the OT and it reminded me just how cool these two guys were. I mean, Mount Carmel showdown, cursing youths who then get mauled by bears… These prophets got attitude.
And so I thought… mmm… I wonder what music Elijah and Elisha would listen to, were they alive today? The first thing that came to mind was ‘grunge’. Dunno why, but maybe it was the attitude thing.
So then I thought, why not compile a fun list (with your help) of Bible people and their ‘music of choice’ (can be songs, or bands even)… Leave your thoughts in the comments below. The more the merrier.
To get us started:
Ezekiel – psychadelic rock (with the emphasis on psychadelic)
Jonah – Emo all the way (actually, probably a lot of OT prophet types would suit emo)
King Eglon – Meatloaf (remember them?)
Samson – “Eye of the Tiger” and any other Rocky type songs. Or perhaps “Beach Boys” (I wish they all could be Philistin-ia girls)… mmm…
Over to you!
This year marks the 50th year of Billy Graham’s 1959 Crusade in Australia. According to historian Dr. Stuart Piggin, this is as close to ‘revival’ as Sydney has gotten in the last century. Read his article here courtesy of sydneyanglicans.net.
It’s incredible when you think about what God did for Sydney Australia in the last five decades through that revival. Foundations were laid for the kind of ministries and ministers (both paid and lay) that we are still beneficiaries of 50 years later. One of those converted was Bruce Ballantine-Jones. Have a look at his testimony (again courtesy of sydneyanglicans.net):
I guess for me this just creates even more hunger for God to do a work of revival in my generation. As Bill Johnson says, ‘I don’t need God to do it through me, I just wanna be around when it happens!’
Iain Murray’s book Pentecost Today has helpfully highlighted how revival is not something that we can control or manipulate, but only something that God, by a special outpouring of his Spirit at certain times, can bring about. However, one thing that often precedes revival is God stirring up people to hunger for it, long for it and most of all, to pray for it.
So I guess the question is: What are we waiting for? Will you join me in praying for revival to hit our city, in our generation, 50 years later?