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  • Writer's pictureDr. Meg Hart

#idol #church #revival #newyear #remnant #Jesus #repentance #sin #compromise #holiness

As a new year approaches and the return of Jesus draws near, it’s time to break down the walls of idolatry within the Church. The Church cries for revival yet most are not willing to give up the pleasures of this world and are not willing to repent. “Know this: In the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from such people.” 2 Timothy 3:3-5

Sadly, this is an accurate depiction of the condition of the Church today.

Most churches have become social gatherings events rather than places of godly reverence and holiness. Coffee houses, catchy tunes, bright lights and custom-written scripted sermons spoken by “actors” on green screens have replaced places of worship, the movement of the Holy Spirit, teaching the Word of God, and prayer through the pastors who were called to shepherd their flocks. Congregants can pay top dollar or the latest smartphone, vacation or car, but shutter when asked to tithe or give to missions.

Even most Christian artists, actors, comedians and bands have blended in so well with the world, it’s hard to tell them apart. Jesus is nowhere to be found at these events. You see a whole lot of performance but not a whole lot of worship. There will be concert halls and stadiums filled to capacity, yet there is no presentation of the gospel, no altar call, no prayer team or no Bibles distributed. Rest assured though there will be plenty of hoodies, t-shirts, autographs and photo meet and greet opportunities to look forward to. Instead of leading people into worship and truth and telling them about Jesus, they focus on the number of fans they have on social media or what award they will win or what tour they will perform next. People are paying any price and will literally weep and scream at the chance to meet and get selfies with these Christian “celebrities” for that one moment, yet they were never introduced to Jesus who could give them forever.

Believers are falling away left and right due to self-harm, depression, pornography, adultery, addiction, and suicide, yet most of the Church won’t deal with sin head on and chooses to brush it all under the carpet of sloppy grace.

The majority of the Church has stayed silent as tolerance and acceptance of sin has overtaken the world. At the very moment of opposition or persecution followers have buckled under pressure, given in and fallen away.

If Jesus turned down the tables at the temple then, what would He do now?

Here are three ways followers of Christ can help destroy idolatry within the Church.

1) The Lord says, “My children, wake up from your compromise; I am looking for the remnant!”

We need to individually examine our own hearts and repent for any idols we have made of ourselves and others. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God”. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

2) The Lord says, “My children, speak out and fight for truth; I am looking for the remnant!”

We need to unashamedly and boldly speak up to the movers, shakers and decision makers to put Jesus back into the center of worship, or better yet, ask God to make us people of influence around the world. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

3) The Lord says, “My children, stand up for my Word and for Me; I am looking for the remnant!”

We need to fulfill the Great Commission and exemplify Jesus and the Bible through our words, thoughts and actions. No matter what temporary pain of we experience through rejection and persecution, there are eternal promises and awards gained. “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” Revelation 14:12-13

In the midst of the great falling away, let’s be the remnant who is willing to help the Church become a place of prayer and worship once again. Let's break down, crush and obliterate the high places of idolatry that have been erected in our hearts and within the Church. There are still churches, pastors, and followers of Jesus who are willing to remain faithful to Jesus. There are still people with platforms who are willing to keep their focus on Christ and the Gospel and not on themselves. There are still workers willing to harvest souls for the Kingdom. 2019 is the year when the Church can wake up, speak out and stand up for the only one deserving of all praise, glory, honor and worship—our Lord and Savior Jesus!

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#holidays #christmas #lonely #loss #God #serving #jesus #hope #grief #pain #help

The holidays can be lonely times for those who have suffered losses of loved ones or are missing families, friendships, or relationships due to extenuating circumstances. As a single mom, for many years I had to send my daughter across the country to visit her father and family at Christmas. As a little girl, she would ask me to fly with her because she was afraid to fly alone and wanted me close. Due to the expense and time of travel, it made more sense to stay then to fly back and forth. Many Christmases, I would be in a hotel room by myself. I never minded taking the trips because it helped her feel safe and secure knowing I was close, but it was very lonely for me. I was still walking out my healing from being divorced, I was missing family and friends back at home, and most heart-wrenching, I was missing spending Christmas with my precious daughter.

As I stared at the pop-up Christmas tree that I set up in my hotel room, I cried out to God in my loneliness. The room was filled with His presence and He began to show me how precious this time could be Him if I changed my perspective. As I started to worship and pray, Jesus began to heal my hurting heart and gave me the rest I needed body, mind and spirit. He filled me with His love to cover all of the empty and hurting places.

The following year, in the same hotel room, I asked Jesus how I could show His love to others. I started making care kits for the homeless and evangelized on the streets and started volunteering at a homeless shelter where I served food, set up bedding, prayed with people and helped raise funds and donations for the shelter. When I was wasn’t serving, I was spending precious alone time with Jesus. People starting donating towards my trip and my flights, hotel and supplies were covered! I made lasting friendships with the people at the homeless shelter. The time of loneliness I dreaded the most became a time I looked forward to each year. The last time I had to spend Christmas alone out there, God gave me an open door to share the Gospel with 40 men who were waiting to go inside to sleep at the shelter that night. He gave them prophetic words and many came to accept Christ that night. God used this season to not only change me, but also to serve others for His Kingdom!

That season of our lives is now over, but I will never forget the transformation in my heart that took place. As we approach Christmas, if you are feeling the pain of loss, or the longing to be with your friends and loved ones but circumstances will not allow you to, here are 4 encouraging steps and verses to bring comfort to your hearts.

1. Cry out to God in your pain. It is easy to try and be strong in front of others, but God already knows your hurt and the season you are in. Jesus experienced every pain you are encountering and understands. Call to Him for help in your brokenness. “In my distress I called on the Lord, and cried for help to my God”. Psalm 18:6 MEV

2. In your alone time with Jesus, allow Him to heal all of the empty and broken places. If you have Jesus, you have everything you need to experience wholeness. “He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds”. Psalm 147: 3 MEV

3. Approach this season with a new perspective of expectation, joy and thanksgiving for the life Jesus died to give you, trusting Him to help you each step. “O Lord my God, I cried to you, and You healed me. You have brought up my soul from the grave; you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit…Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; Lord be my helper.” Psalm 30: 2-3, 10 MEV

4. Ask God to give you opportunities to help others who may be hurting. You can serve at a local soup kitchen, shelter, nursing home, veteran’s home or orphanage. You can invite people going through similar circumstances over for dinner. Wherever or whoever God calls you to serve, if you go about the business of the Father, He will take care of yours! “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 MEV

As we prepare to celebrate the day that Jesus entered this world to bring us hope, let this holiday season replace your brokenness, loneliness and sadness with His healing, hope and joy. Jesus will be with you each step of the way, and God can use this time to transform your life and others for His Kingdom, while bringing you the healing and restoration you need.

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Updated: Dec 10, 2018

#eternity #connection #setapart #restored #god #jesus #seasons #intentional #devotions #restoredglobal

Once we have experienced a revelation of God's eternal presence during seasons of earthly loneliness, desire Him above all else, and intentionally redirect our thoughts to the beauty we can share being eternally connected to Jesus, we will start to experience restoration in each area of our lives. It doesn’t all happen at once, and it may not come in the way we expect, but when we choose to see our earthly journey through the lens of Heaven, we can experience eternal transformations that will bring peace, joy and the restoration our hearts longs for.

As we face the trials of this life and the sting that comes from the pain we experience in our present lives, as we intentionally fix our eyes on Jesus and the eternity to come, we can trust and believe that 1) what we are facing on this earth is only for a season. 2) we can trust that God is with us turning every hard time around for His good 3) we can stay connected to him 24/7 through prayer, His Word and praying in the Holy Spirit and 4) that we can live a life of abundance as our desires, goals and action align with God’s perfect will and plan for our lives.

Here are nine passages to encourage and remind believers of the benefits of intentionally living singled out and set apart for God:

1) Intentionally determine in your heart that the trials you are facing right now are only for a season.

God shows us that on this earth everyone will experience ups and downs. We were not guaranteed that our earthly lives would be pain-free because we live in an imperfect world. However, we must stay encouraged in the promise that this is only for a season. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 MEV)

2) Intentionally hold on to the eternal promises of God.

God knows the beginning from the end, and we do not. The longing we feel right now will not be satisfied with anything the world offers. That the eternal hope God placed in our hearts is only found in Jesus. “What benefit does the worker have in his toil? I have seen the task that God has given to sons of men to be concerned with. He has made everything beautiful in its appropriate time. He has also put obscurity (eternity) in their hearts so that no one comes to know the work that God has done from the beginning to the end. I experienced that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and do good in their life. And also, that everyone should eat and drink and experience good in all their labor. This is a gift of God. I have perceived that everything that God has done will be lasting. And to this there is nothing to be added, and from it there is nothing to be taken away. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 MEV).

3) Intentionally reflect on how Jesus stayed eternally connected to God.

Before Jesus left this earth, he was about to face the ultimate rejection from those He came to save. He was about to experience what we felt without the presence of God. However, He knew that the pain he was about to experience was for a moment--a life changing moment that would change history. “Do you now believe? Listen, the hour is coming. Yes, it has now come that you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” ( John 16:31-33 MEV).

4) Intentionally know that you have an eternal Savior living inside of you!

Jesus overcame so we could overcome. Without Him, all hope was lost. We may experience a “good and peaceful” life on this earth, but it will not make any difference because without Jesus, we are guaranteed an eternity in hell. However, through the sacrificial love of Jesus, we all can experience eternal life. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 MEV).

5) Intentionally remain in Jesus.

Knowing about eternal life through Jesus is a start in the right direction, but it isn’t enough. Jesus told us that we need to intentionally stay connected to His Holy Spirit to fulfill our eternal destinies. “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing. As we remain in Him and He remains in us, we are empowered to do what He called us to do in this earth.” (John 15:4-5 MEV).

6) Intentionally see past your earthly roles.

We may have many roles in our earthly lives. We may have the role of parent, pastor, caretaker, teacher, manager, spouse, leader, student, etc., but that is not who we are. We are the hands and feet of Jesus living inside of us to reach a lost and dying world! Every earthly role we play is temporary and will be forgotten, but what we do as Christ’s ambassadors last forever. “For I create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17 MEV).

7) Intentionally align your earthly desires with God’s eternal plan.

Our lives are not wasted and meaningless! Our lives aren’t over because we didn’t get everything we expected or wanted. At the end of this age, our lives are just about to begin! When we desire the eternal riches of God, it is worth more than we will ever gain on earth. “The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; You support my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, an inheritance is beautiful for me. I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my affections also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in security. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol [pit, abyss, destruction], nor will You suffer Your godly one to see corruption. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:5-11 MEV).

8) Intentionally believe that through Jesus, there is eternal transformation!

We must think about how much Jesus has done for us already and will continue to do if we trust Him in every season. “We also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various desires and pleasures, living in evil and envy, filled with hatred and hating each other. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7 MEV).

9) Intentionally live eternally restored!

God promised that those who are in Christ will be made new. Receive it, believe it and live it!

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17 MEV).

No matter who or what hurt us in this life, restoration begins when we see, believe and act upon the fact that God is preparing us for Kingdom eternity and using us to bring others into Kingdom eternity. If we live our lives knowing that this our only purpose for being here, and that our purpose is vital to the Kingdom of God, then we will see our lives in a whole new way!

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