Jeremiah 26:13 Therefore, now change your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the LORD your God; then the LORD will relent and reverse His decision concerning the misfortune which He has pronounced against you.
Chances are you are not going to change unless you are struck by divine lightning or have a near-death experience that demonstrates how fragile your condition is whether in health, or ideology. This might sound odd, but in most cases, people do not change unless the reason for the change is life-threatening which brings out the survival instinct within a soul or have an inspirational vision so incredible that it alters the heart of the person experiencing the vision. Acts 9:3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.
Chances are Saul would not have become the Aposle of renown who is known as Paul had he not gone through his incredible encounter with the Lord. This life-changing event put Saul in a place where he had to rethink a lot of his preconceived ideas. The fact that the encounter left Saul blind, would have had his full attention. Acts 9:9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. After receiving his sight and the directions from the Holy Spirit, Paul went on to evangelize the known world, and write much of the New Testament.
Chances are had I not had a stroke and gone through my encounter with divinity over nine years ago, I would have died of any of the coronary diseases available to those who do not take care of their health. It is possible that many more lives would have lived had they changed what would eventually kill them, had they listened to the warning signs that were all around them day and night. Matt. 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until today.
My friend David and I were discussing the plight and terrible conditions that many of the sons and daughters who had gone to Bible College with David had ended up in. What had we (my generation) done wrong to have influenced or not been able to stop so many from walking away from their faith? My explanation was that there had been so many new ideas and technological changes to entice these souls away that the church could not compete with what was being offered in the areas of fun and titillation. David said I was being too sympathetic in my explanation. He said it was as simple as – there was an air that the pastors in charge were presenting themselves as flawless people who had never sinned and that they were constantly telling the sheep not to sin, but were not showing them how not to sin. Jer. 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.
He went on to say, “To this day, I have no idea if the pastors who were in charge at the time have ever sinned or have ever had problems in their lives that they admitted they needed to overcome. It’s as if this code of conduct didn’t allow pastors to demonstrate any weakness in any area of their lives. Just come to Jesus and you will have everything under control like we have.” He went on to say, “Chances are if they had confessed their faults one to another and asked for prayer in areas of their lives that they were battling, many of those who walked away would have found that there was hope in the faith.” James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another your false steps, your offenses, and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) is able to accomplish much when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power. Ouch, ouch, ouch was what I was thinking as his words were swirling around in my spirit.
We were not laying all the fault at the feet of the pastors, for the lost remnant we were concerned about, because people who want to sin will do so regardless of the excuse they choose to put out there. We were trying to find out what would be needed to bring these souls back into fellowship with God. Yes, pray for them, and intercede for their lives, but what else and what grace would need to be extended to bring our children home to the Father? Mal. 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse. As an elder in the faith, I feel a personal weight in my heart for these sons and daughters whom I had the privilege of teaching way back when in Bible College. As I disciple the ones whom God brings into my sphere of influence, may I have the grace and humility to ask for prayer and confess my faults so that I may have victory and lead through the example the Lord has laid out for me in His Word. Because chances are, I too, could have become a casualty in the faith had it not been for the saving grace of my Saviour.
Father, In Jesus name, bring back our sons and daughters who have walked off the path You have for them. Let them again feel your love drawing them to your side. Amen!
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