Longsuffering, merciful and forgiving are characteristics of our God. Longsuffering means patience. patience means being able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. patience is something that many of us lack today. That’s why God said let patience have its perfect work (James 1:4). Patience has a job to do if you will allow it. Through testing and trials our patience is giving an opportunity to work. But our God shows us how patient he is with us with how we test him all the time. Did you realize that while in the wilderness the children of Israel tested God 10 times?(Numbers 14:22). It was obvious that he got tired of the people rejecting him and wanted to strick them with pestilence (diseases) and disinherit them (numbers 14:12) But Moses reminded him of these things, “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving (numbers 14:18). Think about all the things you have been through and ask yourself, “Has God been patient with me?”
Who or what have you given your heart to? For out of the heart flows the issues of life (proverbs 4:23). When turning to God we give him our heart and the issues of life. Jesus said I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). When we give him our issues we are able to experience the abundant (richly supplied) life. He wants to take care of everything that concerns us but we must allow him to have our heart. Some have given their heart to stress. As a result it causes the heart to be under pressure and not function properly. There are times when some people’s heart just stop working because the heart was too weighed down and overloaded. Jesus said Cheer up for I have overcome the world. We are to have the abundantly life filled with love, joy, peace, prosperity, etc. Have you turned your heart towards God? Joel 2:12 says turn to me with all your heart.
Turning requires action. Taking a step in a different direction. Changing positions. When driving we make turns to go in different directions all the time. When we get lost we turn around and go back to where we started. We watch for signs to keep us safe and on the right road. So turning our minds and hearts towards God is no different. Instead of going in the wrong direction we turn towards God who leads us in the right direction. He leads us in the path of righteousness. He is our keeper. If you were driving and saw a sign that said, “Danger or Wrong Way”, would you keep going? Would you stop and turn around? On July 5, 2015 I was driving at night and was attempting to get on the interstate but made a left turn on what I thought was the ramp to get on. Instead I was turning on the ramp where drivers were getting off. I was head in the wrong direction. I didn’t realize what I had did until it came to my mind that the signs were backwards. I hurried up and turned in a another lane back in the right direction. If I had not looked at the signs I would have continued driving into a curve that lead on the interstate in the wrong direction. I could have had a head on collision, but God. Thankfully he covered me and my son because as soon as I turned around that’s when the cars started exiting the interstate where I had entered. That night I could have been injured or lost my life but a turn in the right direction lead by God kept me alive. What direction are you headed? Ezekiel 33:11 says Turn from his way and live.
Repentance is powerful as shown in the days of Jonah. It is simply a change of the mind and heart, turning from sin to God’s forgiveness. Nineveh was headed for destruction when God spoke to Jonah. God told Jonah, “Arise go to Nineveh that great city and cry out against it for their wickedness has come up before me”. So Jonah went to Nineveh and cried out, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown”. The people of Nineveh had two choices, to believe his report or not. They chose to believe the Word of God. As a response the People of Nineveh proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from greatest to the least. Then the word of the Lord came to the King of Nineveh. He also had two choices, to believe word of the Lord or not. He chose to believe. He responded by arising from his throne, covering himself with sackcloth and sitting in ashes. He then proclaimed a fast and prayer and told the people to cry mightily to God and for everyone to turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. The nation simply changed their minds and hearts by turning from sin to God. God then saw their works that they turned from their evil way and God Relentedfrom the disaster that he had said he would bring upon them and he did NOT do it. Jonah 1:2, 3:1-10. The power of prayer, fasting and turning from one’s way is life changing. This nation was able to change their situation simply by turning. This nation was initially headed in the wrong direction but when they made a heart decision to turn, God changed his mind. How powerful is that! If God would forgive and show mercy towards a nation what more would he do for us!
For seven days I will be posting that which I believe God is saying in this time. Through prayer God has revealed several things in which I will share. The other day I was watching Billy Graham on TBN and I remembered when I was a child and his crusades would come on primetime television. Then I thought about how much the world has changed and how many fight against the very thought of the gospel of Jesus Christ being spread. Our nation which stood on, “In God we trust”, have seemed to move far away from God. We as a nation are in serious trouble as many have seemed to forgotten about God and followed their own ways. As with the Children of Israel whom God delivered out of Egypt would follow God one day and then turn away from him the next. By doing so they would eventually bring judgment on themselves. God is calling those who have turned from him to return. Now is not the time to straddle between the fence. You are either on the Lord’s side or not. You will have to choose which side you are on. We are approaching the holy days, the appointed feasts and times of God. We are approaching the end of the Shemitah (Sept 13), approaching the year of jubilee, the Jewish new year (Sept 14), day of atonement (Sept 23), the last blood moon (Sept 27) that is apart of the tetrad that fell on feast days. God is and has been speaking. God wants the heart. In 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain or command the locust to devour the land or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and TURN from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Don’t you just hate when you wear something white and you spill something red on it. What makes it even worst is that you are out in public where everyone can see your stain. You can’t change clothes, so you endure the agony of being looked at by others because of the stain. Our lives often reflect that analogy.
We all have stains from our past. Stains of drugs, infidelity, deceit, alcoholism, domestic violence, lust, crimes, abortion, sex and the list goes on. It’s amazing that one mistake that you made in high school or college or just in life period, people never forget. Some people try to change their image hoping that others will forget what they did some 20 years ago. There is a story about a woman that was caught in an adulterous situation. Her accusers brought her to Jesus, informing him of her being caught in the act (which means they were looking). Jesus says let him without sin cast the first stone and begins writing in the sand and one by one they all left. Jesus then asks the woman, where are your accusers? When she looked up they were all gone. He told her that her sin was forgiven and to sin no more. What does one suppose Jesus was writing in the sand to make them drop their stones and leave? They couldn’t cast their stone because they were not without sin. I believe Jesus was writing the Ten Commandments out in the sand and as he wrote, they left. He exposed their dirty laundry and cleansed the woman of hers. That’s why Jesus came. We have all sinned. We have all done something that we are not proud of. No one wants to wear a scarlet letter on their chest forever. The Lord said that though your sins are scarlet they shall be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). God says that he has separated our sins as far as the east is from the west. Once we ask for forgiveness, he doesn’t remember our sins anymore.
We live in a culture where no one celebrates you getting cleaned but rather being dirty. With the recent lost of a a phenomenal singer, Whitney Houston, the subject has been her past drug abuse and what killed her. It’s amazing that the news reporters who are digging up the dirt are dirty themselves and don’t realize it. Rather than embracing the victories, they glorify the defeats. Yes she has been on drugs, yes she was involved in an abusive relationship, yes she drunk alcohol and acted out of character at times and yes she has been to rehab. Even though those things happened, Christ was sent for those very reasons and more. While the media is airing the dirty laundry like the group of men did to woman caught in the act. God has cleansed Whitney Houston of all her faults in private, like Jesus did with the woman.
The garment you wore with the red stain is now being cleaned in the privacy. The next next time some sees it, the garment will be cleaned. Those who see the cleanliness will not know when it was clean, how it was cleaned and with what it was cleaned. But they will know that the stain that was there before has been removed. Before judging others, deal with yourself first. No one knows what is in another person’s heart. Jesus came to get the drug addicts clean, he came to clean the adulterous, he came to clean the drunkard,etc. He came for you and especially me. I have have been through the washing cycle on permanent press more times than I can count. Ephesians 5:25-27 says that Christ loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the word that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having a spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy without blemish. Pray for the Houston family during their loss.