September 18, 2010

Dear Friends,

The most critical hour of human history is upon us. Evil is rising at an unprecedented rate, propelling us forward to the coming of the antichrist and his one world order, and ultimately to the triumphant return of our warrior King.

Every news station tells of the combination of creation’s groaning, God’s judgment, and the rising of evil. Our economy is in shambles, pornography is ravaging our churches and our homes, we have aborted countless innocent lives, and we have stood quietly and ignored the screams of women and children trapped in sex slavery.

And our churches? For the most part, we cut our own throats building idols to man’s traditions, falling into offense at any given provocation, feeding off of gossip, and competing to see who can get a monopoly on the Spirit’s moving in a region. We have equated loving God to feeling a buzz during worship songs. We’ve made the pinnacle of Holy Spirit experience to making people fall down when we pray for them; and meanwhile the demoniac remains undelivered, the paraplegic stays in a wheelchair, and the alcoholic stays trapped in hopelessness. We have traded Holy Spirit power for a 12-step program.

God’s prescription has not changed with the turning of centuries.  The prophet Joel begs us to call a fast, gather the assembly, and cry out before the Lord for mercy–for who knows?; He may relent and leave behind a blessing. History shows that when we set ourselves to seek God through repentance, humbling ourselves, and prayer, we touch His heart.

This weekend, our Jewish brothers and sisters are observing Yom Kippur–a day of fasting and repentant prayer. From sundown Friday night until sundown Saturday, many of them will not eat, drink, or indulge in any pleasure-giving form of entertainment. Instead, they will observe five set times of prayer throughout the day, finally breaking their fast with a celebration on Saturday night.

I invite you to prayerfully consider observing this 24-hour period into a day of fasting and prayer as well. Fast as much as you are able. If possible, meet with other believers and pray corporately. Cry out to God for mercy–for the church who has not stood up for justice; for government leaders who have promoted dishonest schemes; for the lives of babies who never see the light of day; for the freedom of 5-year-old girls who have never known a life outside of sexual slavery. Set periods in the day where you examine your own life and bring to the Lord your own weak flesh. He is our righteousness, and He longs to hear our voices.

“Who knows….perhaps He will relent….”

 ~Chrystal

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This entry was posted in cross, groan, heart, humility, intercession, justice, mercy, mourning. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to September 18, 2010

  1. Joe says:

    As always sister, you have a great handle on the malaise that surrounds us all. To your section on our churches, I would also add an absence of expository preaching, which some feel can be given in short soundbite sermons. I read of a church recently that keeps their sermons to 8 minutes. What wrestling with the text can be done with the congregation in 8 minutes ? Who gets fed by the Word when it’s thought of so lightly by those in the pulpit ?

    Your thoughts on the news of our day is sobering but so true. We have turned such a blind eye to what is happening around us that I think a certain numbness has set in. What really shocks anyone anymore, especially when reality TV is now the norm and not the exception ? What lower levels are left to sink to at this point ? John MacArthur comments on this as well, if you haven’t seen this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix-on0u5g5Y

    Thank you Chrystal for your commitment to the Truth and for the profound insights you continually share with all of us. Blessings to you sister …

    • Chrystal says:

      That is absolutely true, Joe. What is even worse is when we demand “soundbite sermons” once a week and don’t spend any time in the Word ourselves between Sundays. God help us all! We’ve focused more on “being relevant” than on having intimacy with God.

    • Chrystal says:

      I’m currently listening to John MacArthur’s comments for the third time, and the tears in my eyes are about to spill over. Oh God–oh God….have mercy on us!

  2. Sei ermutigt says:

    It is great to see that you a stirred up again in helpful way, Chrystal.
    For optimum results we need to approach our work very patiently, because it’s a long journey back to God for someone who is currently putting their trust in an adrenaline rush as opposed to fervently desiring to walk humbly before the unique God of the Holy Bible.
    Let’s start by focusing our attention on ourselves. Our mission is to go into the world and teach the untaught and the unreached. Jesus teaches us that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. I believe that we pray to the LORD for more labourers most effectively by prayer, study and teaching – and working on behalf of the afflicted.
    The gift of crying out to God for mercy will not be granted to people who are putting their faith in a temporal adrenaline rush until they voluntarily turn from their
    wayward behaviour. Only when we are truly Christian is Jesus is Our righteousness, though it true that He longs to hear from us, so that He can cleanse us and reveal Himself to us as the Sovereign LORD and a greatly compassionate companion .
    Just in case you are curious, Chrstal, sei ermutigt means be encouraged.

    Most assuredly to accept the person of Jesus Christ is to accept His cross.
    Beloved LORD Jesus, thank You for helping us to be willing to commit to You with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Dear readers, God sets before us all a very great challenge in the midst of the many voices clamoring for our time, money, allegiance and attention, to choose Jesus Christ above all else and to put our trust wholeheartedly in Him. We will all need to use wisdom in assessing the cost of discipleship. Following Jesus Christ will require an allegiance that will always need to be our highest priority. As for me, I am willing to walk and stay with Jesus, My great Friend and awesome LORD. all the way! Let’s rejoice, treasured readers, for Jesus Christ is always calling us to an authentic, precious, loyal discipleship. Searchers for truth, don’t spend your life wastefully sitting on a fence called “It is very very cosy and comfortable here”, for only total commitment to God’s Saviour King Jesus Christ will bring us total fulfillment.

    Searchers for truth, God’s blessing of happiness will come our way more consistently as we decide joyfully to meet our obligations by doing our duty for Our faithful Shepherd God, especially in small matters, so that we can graciously rise to meet the harder future challenges that await us. Truly we will never be the same because Jesus, the first and the last, has called us, loved us, changed us and keeps moulding us more and more, so that we resemble Him more and more.
    May holy God Triune be forever praised.

    • Chrystal says:

      I always welcome your comments–and thank you, I did wonder about the meaning of sei ermutigt.

      This is a powerful point: “Following Jesus Christ will require an allegiance that will always need to be our highest priority” The word “allegiance” is so powerful to me. For too many of us, faith has not spilled over to allegiance–perhaps we don’t really even know what it means to pledge allegiance to something because we break our promises so easily.

      May the light of His face shine on you and draw you deeper into His love. Bless you!

  3. jelillie says:

    Powerful words Chrystal. We stand on the precipice of national judgment and indeed the long slide down that cliff has begun. In days to come the remnant church will have much work to do in prayer and ministry. Matthew 25: 1-13 tells us that large portions of the church will not join us in this work. Choosing to hold onto the chords of easy believism and emergent theology they will indeed embrace a “form of godliness but deny the power thereof.”
    As we fast and pray continually in these days let us not look to the fearful judgment all around us but let us look to Jesus our Hope and Stay! “He who endures to the end shall be saved!” Matthew 24:13

    • Chrystal says:

      I’m honored to find you are a fellow “running buddy.” May you be encouraged and quickened in your race today. I confess, I’ve been somewhat discouraged lately, confronting “what’s the use” questions–to see from these comments that there are godly men chasing after His righteousness warms me so much. Bless you, friend.

  4. timbob says:

    hi Chrystal. Thanks for continuing to sound the alarm concerning the apostasy that’s befallen much of the church. It’s interesting that, in every church that I’ve visited over the past few years, I always end up comparing it to True Vine church in Norfolk, where I fellowshipped while living there in the late 1980s. They were a small church with no elaborate worship team. (just sister Brown on the piano) They didn’t hold one seminar after another about relationships and finances, use an array of tactics to manipulate the emotions, or engage in endless building projects.

    What they did do is preach the word without reservation. They had a heart for the lost like no other place that I’ve ever been. One night after taking the gospel to the beach front in Virginia Beach, we returned to the building for a quick time of prayer. That quick time of prayer lasted until 4:00 am. The number or missionaries that they sent support to seemed impossible for such a small fellowship. Nobody had televisions in their house, but it wasn’t because of legalistic teaching. The folks there had a heart for God and it manifested in the way that they used their time.

    Twenty two years later, I still miss that little store-front church. After being apart of such a place, one will never again be satisfied to participate in a carefully choreographed form of godliness which comes complete with pre-packaged sermons that run forty minutes and never offend anyone.

    Sorry for going nutty; it’s just that the general consensus of what makes up a church seems far removed from the examples found in scripture. You have identified many of the problems in this post. Thanks. I missed Yom Kappur and didn’t read this until tonight. I like your idea of fasting during this time. We all must be giving ourselves to prayer and fasting. Your first paragraph sums it up perfectly.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

    timbob

  5. Chrystal says:

    “What they did do is preach the word without reservation. They had a heart for the lost like no other place that I’ve ever been. One night after taking the gospel to the beach front in Virginia Beach, we returned to the building for a quick time of prayer. That quick time of prayer lasted until 4:00 am.”

    This brings such joy to my heart. The pastor of the church I attend said last Sunday that “hellfire and brimstone sermons” have gotten too much judgment over the years, because he would take the character of the generation raised on such sermons over the character he’s seeing in the modern generation any day. I’m so glad to know others who are dedicated to committing themselves to fasting and to prayer–whether on Yom Kippur or any other day (or as a lifestyle). I truly believe it is God’s prescription for the crisis we are facing.

    Bless you!

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