I Remember a Time

I remember a time when we could call a friend and talk through our troubles and get perspective and come away feeling lighter.  And then there were cell phones.

When a letter in the mail was a happy moment of catching up between people who cared about each other.  That was exchanged for e-mail, and  now conversations with others happen in text and its more like two separate conversations bypassing each other in realtime across the ether, without merging anywhere along the way. Something bad has happened to communication.

I can remember when going to church was about God, when there was a pulpit, not a stage, a hymnal, not projection screens, and a choir rather than a “praise band”, and church operated like a family rather than a corporation.

I am grateful I can say this, glad I got to experience it.

Unfortunately the erosion has not stopped, instead it is accelerating. Faith in God was the foundation that made America strong, and America, for all it’s faults, contributed to global stability for hundreds of years. No more.

Here we are, languishing like a cancer patient so weakened and eaten up that we’re losing the will to live, in a day in time when legacy and history are looked upon as musty old antiques and everybody wants the new thing just because it is new, regardless whether it has substance, durability, or soundness, because dammit, they are entitled.

Would I turn back the clock? Not on your life!! Not on my life! Not on this nation. Why not? Because human nature doesn’t change, and neither does the history God recorded in advance.

We are where we are, and it is what it is. No proverbial un-ringing of the bell or unscrambling of the egg.

In the beginning God created. He had the first word and will have last. In the end He will destroy this world with fire and create it again. What did He do in eternity past? What else will He create in the ages of ages eternal to come? I look forward to finding out!

At the start of earthly life, some were born to believing parents who knew the Lord well and walked closely with Him, and taught them truth from the cradle on up. Some were born to occultist families rooted so deeply in darkness they barely stood a chance of escaping the bondage. They may have come to salvation in Jesus, but never fully apprehended the freedom and newness of life that afforded them, and so remained in a cage even though the door was not locked, because spiritual bondage was all they had ever known.  I can remember the first night our son spent in his toddler bed. Before, he used to wake up and call for me to come get him out of his crib. The first morning he awoke in his toddler bed, he called to me as usual. I walked to the door of his room and pointed out that he was 8 inches off the floor and no bars and all he had to do was get up, he didn’t need me to get him out. He giggled at the realization, and clambered on out happily.

Spiritually, I forget often, and maybe never have fully learned what fetters were removed when Christ saved me. Living in an age in which name-it-claim-it made God out as a cosmic genie, I am loathe to presume upon God, but I also think I sometimes tolerate spiritual strafing and dive-bombing by the enemy unnecessarily due to a learned helplessness and not fully comprehending my position in Christ.

These are the proverbial perils of we pilgrims and sojourners passing through a world to which we were born but do not belong. It is all we have ever known, but through His Word we have been provided glimpses of a vast “more” that is yet to come, wherein the very best things of this present world will pale and fade to mere shadow, and likewise, even more will the present sufferings. Thus it behooves us to remember a day not of the past, but of that glorious future that awaits us. The time for looking back is no more, and though we are called to be circumspect, even the things taking place around us, and even happening to us, are not about us, other than as refining fire burning away the dross of this fleshly life. I constantly ask God, “what do You want me to do?”, (in this perilous time we live in). More and more the thing I seem to hear is : “Yield”.

Yield?

To produce, as in; bear fruit.

To afford, as in; to spend without loss, or with profit ( spend self for others)

To concede, as in; admit to be true, or accept the truth of ( the end of an age)

To exhibit, as in; to present for inspection (the fruit mentioned above?)

To give, as in; due honor and reverence (to Him, if He be lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him.)

To permit or grant, as in ; to forebear (don’t think more highly of self than of others)

To emit, as in; release, let go (give, throw off the ballast, the weight that doth so easily beset us, worldly possessions)

To resign, as in; to surrender, to accept (accept what is, rather than wish for different circumstance or live  in denial) and perhaps resign as master of my own life. I like to hold on to the right to decide things in my own favor rather than yield to His way sometimes, and He lets me.

For instance my Mom being in a nursing home 6 hours away for months of rehab. I have to lay down my preference to be here where my life is and my longing to have time with my grandbaby. I have to lay down my feelings about things we tried to get our aging parents to consider in the past to prepare for this eventuality, but they wouldn’t. It is what it is now. I’m still accountable for attitude. The Lord wants me to trust Him, even with the overwhelming sense of powerlessness and frustration. How much can I surrender of my will to have the comfort of my own home? How much will I chafe?

He still requires me to seek spiritual strength and edification in the Word, prayer, fellowship, and to hold my thoughts captive and encourage myself and others with hymns, and psalms and spiritual songs. The temptation some days is to pass the hours in mindless tiktok videos that allow me to not have to think. At. All. Or choose among a million other available distractions.

What am I to accept about the present state of the church?

12 years ago we went to our church for the “old paths” and what we could contribute, but they had  very narrow parameters for what they would accept in service, and little by little as we tried to conform to what they required, our joy was dampened and service became a yoke. My husband stopped going, was not willing to just plug in to their sanctioned tasks and priorities and just “do” out of compulsion, nor to just show up to check the “I went to church” box. He also didn’t feel he could learn or grow there  (which we discovered was a sentiment shared by other members and several families left before and after us.)

Our boys were old enough they were working, driving, by then, so I as mom couldn’t very well enforce attendance with Dad staying home. I tried to express all of this to the pastor. He wasn’t receptive. He expressed being hurt.  I gave up and quit going too, not wanting to attend alone. We had already visited every church around before settling there. On paper, they have right and solid doctrine, but seem to have lost sight of the church’s role of equipping the saints, other than to encourage everybody to attend their affiliated Bible college. When we first got there we were appalled at how uninvolved, un-engaged most of the congregants seemed  to be, but after 5 years, we saw that from a different perspective.

I have spent the last six years still praying for that church and pastor, and wondering if I should have just stayed and prayed, considering the doctrine at least was right. Did we forsake the assembling? Did we leave the church, or did the church leave us? I believe the Spirit was grieved by things that the pastor was not willing to see. I believe he loves the Lord, and I have prayed all along the Lord deal with us and guide us back if that is what He wants. I asked for a specific indicator even when I stopped attending. I have to trust He is able to lead, but I proceed  very aware of the admonition about not forsaking the assembling together. We are meant to function in a body. I still do, function as part of the body of Christ, just not local in the way Christians have throughout the church age. But then, God knew the church would go through stages, and this present condition is no surprise to Him.

We have visited churches an hour away that seem to be thriving, but it can take a while to vet a church and after so many years, and so many experiences where we would get involved and invested only for a church to split, or some other awful ugliness to erupt, we really lost the will to go through it all again. It’s like divorce. You see or experience enough of it and the “will” to marry just evaporates. I don’t like being a church orphan. I listen to preaching online all throughout the week. I heard one of those pastors who has expanded his ministry to the online community of church orphans say that he looks at the chat and sees all of the folks in the chat interacting and feels alone. I know pastors feel that way even in their own churches a lot of the time. We always tried to keep that in mind and tried to encourage our pastor and his family at any church we were part of. But if all members are expected to be hands, as opposed to whatever body part God actually made them, that just doesn’t work. We can’t be forced into a mold. We brought our gifts and offerings, and even gave what they did ask, while the unique offerings our family could have contributed were unwanted and not received.

The Bible told us the church of this late hour would have little strength. And that’s the state of it.

It’s time to go home.

I notice some of the pastors who do prophecy updates have started talking more about getting prepared for facing hard times, since they never expected to be here to see so much of what we are seeing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think it is important to keep in mind that God can leave us here to the very last nanosecond without the slightest risk of harm, because He’s the one running it all. So just because things look bad, doesn’t mean we have miscalculated, we just couldn’t see these things until we got as close as we now are. When it’s time to go, we’ll go. Rather than be alarmed, we should be excited. Even as things do get more chaotic, I hold to the description of the world crying for peace and safety, but sudden destruction comes. Sudden. Like the way the harpazzo takes place. Sudden, instantaneous, faster than the glint of light bounces off of an eye.

The hardest thing for me right now is trying, but not succeeding to get through to my Aunt who is a Jehovah’s Witness of 30 years. Free will is a two edged sword. And Satan is a cruel master-deceiver. But I have fasted, I have interceded, and God is mighty to save. I am hopeful because God is merciful.

I pray we yield. Yielding is harder than doing. Theres always so much talk about busyness and about “going about our Father’s business” but how much of what we do, is God really in? It’s easier to be Martha than Mary, despite the fact Martha resented that Mary wasn’t helping with all the “important work” she was doing. Jesus said Mary had chosen that better part. Stillness before the Lord, hearing what He had to say.

I hope that you, remnant believer, are at peace, I pray any lost one who may read this, will realize that as a sinner, you need to admit your need of a Savior and understand that the only Savior is Jesus Christ, who bore the sins of the whole world, on the cross, and that you can receive reconciliation, peace with God, by placing your trust in His death, burial, and resurrection, by which He paid your penalty, and you can have His righteousness imputed to your account by confessing Him as your savior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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