I watched with sadness as the aging pastor pleaded guilty in a court of law to lying and other indiscretions. In recent times many negative stories about pastors have hit the media, sending shockwaves through the body of Christ. Why is all of this happening? As in everything, the word of God holds the answers.
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us; what shall the end be of them that obey mot the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17-18).
Why is God judging His house?
"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"(2 Thessalonians 2:3). That day refers to the coming of Christ in glory to receive His church. A church that is to be "holy and without blemish" Ephesians 5:27.
Is that what we are seeing in the body of Christ today? Are we showing the world the way to holiness, or are we simply bending over backwards to accommodate the world so we can have large congregations. Churches today are larger than they have ever been, yet sin and lawlessness still abound, and in some cases, emanate from the top.
What can the righteous do when we observe these things?
"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 15-16). It does not matter what we see our leaders doing. We are called to be holy, because one day each of us has to give an account to God for the way we have lived our lives.
Also, we are to "forsake not the assembling of ourselves together" as the Bible has commanded us. Many people use what they see in the media as an excuse for not going to church, however we do need that Christian fellowship, as well as the covering of a godly pastor.
"A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again ..." We have to remember that man will always disappoint us. There are many stories of men in the Bible who fell. Great men of God like David and Solomon succumbed to temptation. Even Peter, who walked with Jesus Christ, fell when he denied the Lord. But God forgave them, therefore we, too, must forgive and not be judgmental.
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). I want to emphasize "in the spirit of meekness". Not in a holier than thou attitude, but meekly, lovingly, knowing that we, too, can be in the same position if we are not careful and seek God's presence daily.
So let's pray for our falling and fallen angels that God in His mercy will restore them to a position of grace. Let's pray for those who are standing firm that they may not fall. And let's pray for ourselves that we may remain faithful to God's call on our lives, so that when we stand before Him we may hear the words "Well done thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).
Sunday, January 06, 2008
There was a time when I used to be an avid gardener. I could hardly wait for spring to begin digging, planting and fertilizing. Now that I live in an area where the seasons are more distinct, I find myself not knowing what to plant and when to plant it. Therefore, whenever I go walking through my neighborhood I look at gardens in the hope of picking up some inspiration. Occasionally I see a garden that leaves me ogling with pleasure. Then I walk another block and I see another garden that makes me shake my head.
Two gardens. Two gardeners.
Which makes me think of Adam in the garden of Eden. God placed Adam, the first man, in the garden of Eden, and gave him charge over it to till and fertilize it and take care of the animals. However, Adam gave in to temptation, and as a result the perfect garden was messed up. Thorns and thistles grew up among the shrubbery, broken branches hung from the trees, dead leaves and stems remained unpruned. Chaos and neglect replaced order and caring.
Then along came Jesus.
God placed Him in a garden as well. The Garden of Gethsemane. Here, in a moment of agony, Jesus shed His blood through His sweat and began the task of restoring the damage that Adam had done. It was in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus prayed,"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39)KJV. Jesus didn't give in to the temptation of the flesh as Adam had done, but instead He gave his flesh willingly to be tortured and crucified.
What are you doing with your garden today? Have you given in to sin and temptation and allowed your garden to become untidy and neglected? Has the job become too overwhelming for you? Have you thrown up your hands in despair, or are you persevering in faith, pulling up those weeds, pruning those dead leaves and tilling the soil? If you are not, then you need to ask Jesus to come into your life. He will restore your garden and equip you with the necessary tools to keep your garden in good order. Why not ask Him today?