Judgment Begins in the House of the Lord

Our Bible study group is reading a book entitled THRIVING IN BABYLON by Larry Osborne. It’s an enlightening book about God’s judgment and how innocent Daniel was taken to Babylon, not because of his own sin, but because of the sins of his nation. God had called on Israel to repent, repeatedly, in fact, but to no avail. So, God, being the just God that He is, allowed consequences including the Babylonian captivity. Harsh? Yes, but sometimes harsh is the only thing that gets our attention.

In pondering the sins of our nation and how God has called us to repent and the fact that it has not happened on a large scale ( or some would say, at all), I have to say that our nation is ripe for God’s judgment. God has been gracious and merciful with the United States for centuries, but He will not wait forever for repentance. Repentance is change, turning away from sin, not just crying because you’re sorry you were caught. Thus, I believe that the things that are happening in our nation today, with godless leadership who have few morals and no real moral compass, are a direct result of the lack of repentance in our nation.

As Christians, we are appalled at the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ agenda and all of the sin that goes with it. But, are we equally appalled when a young couple comes to church and unashamedly admit that they are living together? God calls that sin, too, but we have come to accept a lot of things as just a change in the culture instead of the sin that it is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the couple should not be allowed to come to church. What I am saying is that the fact that they are living in sin should be addressed and they should be told that the only clear path to God is repentance, which might mean they separate or even get married. In today’s culture, that is not at all popular. The current belief system is that you need to “try out” living together before you get married and make that commitment. I’m okay with that if you can show me one place in God’s Word that He says living together is okay. Are we equally appalled at those who steal from their employers by turning in false expense reports? Or those who walk away from a long-term marriage because they have “found someone else”? I think you get the idea.

There are many sins in today’s culture, even in the churches that we attend, and God will not be mocked. He consistently points out the sin and we consistently make excuses. My favorite excuse is, “But, God, what I am doing is not as bad as so-and-so and their sin.” Hmm. God may already be dealing with that other person, but if He is dealing with you and your sin right now, that is enough for you to deal with.

Judgment begins in God’s house, not with the pagans. After all, they are already on Satan’s side, so although God’s love reaches out to them, He is very concerned about the sins that we, the ones called by His Name, have allowed to creep into our own lives. We cry out to God because there are millions of babies killed by abortion. We cry out to God when the President of our nation supports abortion and rant about how godless that is. But, do we not see that our own attitudes towards the sanctity of life have led to this debacle? The silence of the Christian community is deafening. How many judge the one getting an abortion instead of reaching out a hand to offer assistance and counseling?

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am not surprised at the mess that our nation finds itself in. The church is a microcosm of the nation and the church itself needs to repent. Go back to the last thing God told you to do and do it, no matter how hard it is or how humbling. Then, do the next thing, Then, the next thing. The United States may not be carried off in captivity to Babylon (a wicked nation that is used as an example of evil in the Bible), but we may be more like Babylon ourselves than we are willing to admit.

Finding a Church that Fits

I never thought in my wildest dreams that a pandemic would strike our nation and that we would be unable to go to church for almost a year. But then it happened. My soul desired fellowship with other believers, a time of prayer and a time of praise. But all we had were the TV shows that we found that fed our thirst for more about Christ but which lacked the personal touch that I craved. Finally, in February of this year, I had had enough of this lockdown and my husband and I wanted to find a new church. I had been discontent in our previous one for many months, but my husband had been serving as a deacon and wanted to fulfill his commitment there before we moved on. So, how do you go about finding a new church? Do you make a list and check off the boxes to make sure that it’s a good fit? No! I suggest to you that you wait for God’s timing and He will show you where He wants you to be.

This last year was a year of many firsts for many people, including me. This was the first year in almost seventy years of life that I had a problem with one of my teeth and ended up needing a crown. I was more than a little dismayed about this process, especially since it was also the year that I broke my foot and was in a huge boot when I got there. The dental tech got me settled into the chair and was asking me about my boot. I told her that I had a small bone broken in my foot due to a fall and she shared with me that her small son had been in a terrible accident with his own foot and almost lost it. She then shared with me that she had her whole church praying for the little tyke since the doctors were all telling her that he would have to have his foot amputated. She was praising God that he was healed and walking around just fine on his two feet. I asked what church she attended that believed in the power of prayer and she shared with me that it is Compass Christian Church.

My husband and I visited and both of us were impressed with the number of Scriptures shared during a service, with the humility of the two pastors and with the friendliness of the church members. They have communion every Sunday; they sing and praise God every Sunday and they have a sermon that lifts up God and teaches, every Sunday. We have been happy there and plugged into a small group that meets in a nearby community so that we are making connections. It was amazing to us how fast the church was growing, from 200 people pre-pandemic to over 600 in three different services. One of the things that was very different for me was that the church is not part of a Charismatic Movement. They don’t practice the gifts of the Spirit and I really had to pray about that. From the time of my salvation almost five decades ago until now, the churches that we have joined have been one that practiced Acts 2 vocally and regularly. So, instead of dismissing this church because of the lack of speaking in tongues, prophesying,etc., I prayed and God spoke to my heart that I can still use my prayer language, quietly, for my own edification and for God’s glory. That is what I have been doing. As we worship at church and enter into God’s presence, it is a natural thing for me to pray in my prayer language. But no one has to hear and know that I am praying in tongues except for God and me. I feel like I’m in a prayer closet, alone with God, feeling His touch and His presence. I must say that this is different for me, but in a really good way. My focus is on God, not on whether I speak in tongues that week or not. My focus is on worshipping my Creator, not on being used by Him to prophesy. This church may be for a season for us, since we may have to move next year, but however long we are here, we are content. It is a good fit for us since we were both hungry for the Word and for fellowship with Christians.

For those who are gasping that I am setting aside the gifts of the Spirit, I want to assure you that I am not. The Holy Spirit is still active in my prayer time, my worship time and at church. It’s just not something that I have to toot my horn about because it’s a private thing between me and God and I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m better than okay. I’m happy that God is still there for me, in spite of all my circumstances and failings.

When I contacted the church secretary recently to ask for prayer about my kidney problem and new diet, I was put on the prayer list for the elders to pray for in their weekly meeting. The next week, one of the pastors came by where I was sitting to ask how I am doing and if there is anything they can do for me. Pray! Just pray, was my reply, because God made me and He already knows that I have some physical challenges. The change to a new diet is nothing new really since I have been on a stroke diet for six years. Now I have to be on a special low potassium kidney diet and have sought the help of a registered dietician since I have so many restrictions. I have also sought the comfort of God as I once again have to give up so many foods that I genuinely enjoy, like tomatoes and bananas and oranges.

But God is there, my church is praying for me and I am working things out. This church fits me. It makes me feel good to walk into the doors and it makes me feel fulfilled when I leave. No more wondering and worrying if the commentaries that were used for the sermons were accurate because the Scriptures are preached, just the Scriptures, no additions to be wondering about. Contented…blessed and glorifying God that He sent the dental tech at just the right moment to give me a testimony that sent me to the church that I fit into. It’s a God-incidence! He was there and He saw my need and met it. Isn’t that just like God? Praise His Name, for He is always worthy and always there!

Love God, Love People, Serve Both.

Compass Christian Church

May you have a blessed week and I hope that each of you takes time to remember the sacrifices of those who gave everything so that we could have freedom!

Memorial Day Card