for the past month or so, the Lord has had me on my own personal journey of repentance. i have had a shaking in my heart... i really do mean a shaking. i have had my eyes opened to areas of darkness and compromise in my own heart, and tasted of the actual fear of the Lord in a small measure perhaps for the first time in my life. i am sober. i am searching the Word of God looking for what He would have me to do. i have been looking to see what is the consistent message of the Word - both the written and the Word made Flesh who dwelt among us...
this is the word that i cannot get away from. over and over again, whether it was a shaking in the natural or the shaking in the heart of man, the Bible is consist on the fruit all shaking is to produce: repentance.
some would say that our repentance started and ended at the initial salvation experience. as good as it sounds, the apostles on the 1st church would disagree. they said to repent. repent of dead works. repent of compromise. repent of lawlessness and love of the world's systems.
in the book of acts after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the 40 in the upper room, peter says in his famous sermon:
therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times.i long for Him to return. i am reminded to put my hope in His coming, not in the present hour. i ponder what the restoration of all things means. i consider that He promised to come for a bride who had made herself ready.
what does it look like to make myself ready?
i look out my window as i type and hail the size of chickpeas falls heavy on my front lawn as both strange and unseasonal weather for the area in which i live. it has been hailing for the past week, at some point, almost daily.
some may say, global warming.
others may say, a strange natural phenomenon or weather pattern.
i can't help but ask myself, over and over again like a thought that just will not go away, "is He trying to get my attention? is He trying to get our attention?"
and if He is, what is it that He is trying to say? the God whose name is Yahweh, Always, who never changes and is consistent from eternity past, to present, to eternity future, has always had the same message for His creation that He loves.
repent. return to the Lord. return to Your Maker.
how long will it take my dull hard heart to get the simple message?
as an intercessory missionary and a part of the house of prayer i believe the promise in 2 chronicles 7:14 to solomon upon the dedication of the temple is for us as His people even today:
...and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.i have heard this verse quoted over and over again in isolation. i have quoted and prayed this verse myself over and over again in isolation. but the rule of Bible interpretation is in the context. we forget about the verse before (or that even the Bible wasn't written in chapter and verse) and the 1st half of the very same sentence! why would His people do these things in the first place?
if I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,He is trying to get our attention.
i would love to find a way to say that these things are not from God. it may simply be normalcy bias, (if you aren't familiar with that term, it is fascinating), but just like everyone else, i just wish these things would go away and i could go on with life as usual. i wish the questions weren't there. i resist my heart being affected. for my own heart gets offended at the thought that the One who heals could also be the One who wounds:
the Lord will strike egypt, striking but healing;
so they will return to the Lord,
and He will respond to them and will heal them.
i am not writing to argue about whether God sends earthquakes or judgments on the earth, if it is the result of sin in the world, or if it is simply a natural phenomenon that God is completely disconnected from. (or probably several other options and combinations of the above in differing degrees).
however, as much as i search it out, there is not one place in the Word that i can find that says anything but that He consistently takes credit for using nature to get the attention of people - to draw out repentance.
if my people...
seek My face,
repent from their wicked ways...
He who is mighty to heal is the One who is calling me to repent.
He is calling us to repent.
for He loves mercy. He longs to forgive. He longs to heals.
let him who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
may my ears be open.
may my eyes see.
may my heart not be dull.
may my spirit not sleep.
because we know You are a God of mercy far greater than our own capacity for mercy, we turn to you - i turn to you - and repent.
You who never change, You declared Your name to moses (exodus 34) and i take comfort in Your name.
then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.i too repent. i bow low. i worship Him who alone is Mighty to Save. He alone is good. He alone can be trusted.