Healed and Whole

2 Chronicles 7: 14

If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When you read the verses which precede this one you understand that God is saying, “In your time of need, if you will call out to Me and seek Me then I will hear and restore you.” This verse comes from the point of need, the time of trouble, so the first point I would make is how much more does this apply when we don’t have our backs to the wall because of our sin, recklessness or error.

The major point, though, is that God is standing at the ready when we finally get around to calling on Him. One can see the situation unfold like this, we have run around doing our own thing, ignoring God and have not sought His counsel. The result is inevitable – trouble. All the while God was sitting on His phone watching and waiting for us to call. He says, “Look, if you will just inquire of Me, I will fix everything. I will lead you in the way you should go and I will repair the damage your ignorance created.” That is amazing to me. This is the exact opposite of the world which says, “You made the bed, now sleep in it,” which of course means, you made the mess so deal with it. God is ever ready to rescue us, even from the calamity of our own making. He actually wants to heal and restore you.

Let’s talk about “your land” for a moment. The verse refers to God healing His people’s land. The Bible is a historical record and a living document at the same time. Therefore, this verse represents not only God’s promise to Israel, which would have been the application at the time it was spoken, but it also applies to you and me through the living Word, Jesus our Messiah. You see, if it was just a dead letter, it would only show us His response to Israel. However, we know that Jesus is the Word (John 1: 1). He has breathed new life into the Old Testament for everyone who calls him Lord. That has got to make you want to shout! All those Old Testament promises, like the one from today’s verse are yours in Christ Jesus. Yea!

You are His people who are called by His name. That is the first element of this verse. What are the others? Humility, prayer, seeking and repentance. If we will humbly seek Him and pray, turning away from our ways, He will respond with all His grace and love to heal your world. Your land may be your home, your work, business, health, finances, family or any other area. It can also apply to the country you live in or are from.  They are all under God’s grace when you invite Him in through humility, seeking His face and His advice. Find that quiet space in your life and seek the Lord and His counsel. Be whole. Be blessed!

Heaven or Hell?

Matthew 3: 2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

No, this isn’t the typical “Are you going to heaven or hell” speech we hear so frequently. I really want to pose a question. Do you want to go to heaven or do you simply want to avoid hell? What motivates you, heaven or hell? You see, I think some people just want to avoid hell, and well, that is a good motivation. Hell is not a place any person will enjoy. In fact, we should avoid it at all costs. Selah.

Some of us gave our lives to Christ because we wished to avoid the horror of eternity in hell. Somewhere along the line, though, hell became less of an issue, less of a point of focus, and heaven became the target. Avoiding hell is good but it certainly is not the prize. Heaven is the prize. What is heaven anyway? At some level we think of it as a place, but the real draw is that it is the residence of Jesus and the Father. In other words, wherever they are, is heaven, at least to me. Heaven is spending eternity in the direct company of Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spirit (I wish he would tell me his name).

Imagine a scenario where there is hell, a neutral place and heaven. At this point we have removed our names from the register in hell but to be forever in the neutrality without God would not satisfy. Of course, that would be hell, but the point is that the neutral space would no longer satisfy us. Our longing is to be with the Father. Our energy is focused on knowing Him. Getting into heaven is good but the heart’s desire is far beyond just getting in the gate. Don’t we long to sit at the Father’s feet and listen to His stories? Perhaps you just want to put your eyes upon Him. There is nothing so great as being in the presence of the Holy Trinity.

Repent means to change your direction, change your way of thinking. So, we continuously readjust our sights and compasses so that we are pointed straight towards the Father of heaven. We seek His presence here, true, but we are also seeking His presence in eternity.

One last thought about today’s verse, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As we reread it and think about it, thoughts about saving lost souls may surface. Additionally, it may even call into question our approach to evangelism. The first thing I noticed is that there is no mention of hell here. Jesus did not preach about the kingdom of hell. He preached the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven. He called people up to God. He did not come condemning them, or us, as sinners. Our sin was fact, but not the message. The message is heaven. The message is the greatness of a Father who loves us. Just a thought to ponder. Selah.

Bad Seed

Job 4: 8

According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.

According to what I have seen, this verse is true, alarmingly true. Sometimes when bad things happen it is, unfortunately, because we have sown bad seed. It is almost frightening at times to think about what kind of seed we might have in the ground. Whatever we have sown will produce a harvest. Galatians 6: 7 couldn’t be more clear, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” This may sound like pretty bad news but we have heard that the Gospel is supposed to be good news, so, how can this verse inform our lives for the positive?

First, if you are living in a deluge of bad things happening, frustrations and just generally unsettled waters, inquire of the Lord if any of it is the harvest of seed you have sown. We certainly don’t want to hear God tell us, “yes,” but even if He does, at least we can develop a strategy for overcoming it. Remember that Jesus made us overcomers. If the answer is yes, there is an answer because Jesus made a way for us. You can ask your Father what the seed was, and then it is as simple as repenting. What is repentance? It is a change of direction, a change of heart, a change of mind. If you will just tell God with a sincere heart that you are sorry and that is not what you want for your life He will shower you with the fruit of His forgiveness.

Next, ask Him to redeem the bad seed. Ask Him to kill it at the root. You can also ask Him to reveal to you any other bad seed and the two of you can uproot it. You do not have to live with the produce of your errors but you do have to be sincere about your change of direction if you want Dad to destroy the bad crop.

Look, everyone makes mistakes and we are all learning and growing. Sometimes we let that old dead man out of his grave and he always sows bad seed. No worries. Jesus is the master gardener. Humbly ask him to help you and he will hoe new ground shoulder to shoulder with you.

Lastly, if you are sowing discord, grief, or any negativity into the lives of others, please be advised. It is going to come back to you. And the great and horrible thing about a seed is that it produces much more harvest than its size. There is forgiveness for this but you need the help of the Father. Humility and honesty will avail much. Prostrate your ego at the feet of Jesus and he will help you.