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Monday, January 18, 2010

God speaks all the way from India

As I answered the phone yesterday morning before church, imagine my delight when my husbands voice greeted me all the way from India. They had just preached at an open-air church, which is against the law in India. You can 'teach' in a building, but you are not allowed to 'preach' in the open. The people have no building to meet in, so for now, they meet outside. Eagerly seeking the Word of God. Even among the persecution that they suffer there, they were seeking. It was late evening there (9 PM) and they were on their way to their last stop of the day for a dedication of a newly formed church. The people had been waiting 4 hours for them to arrive. Patiently and gladly waiting. Jimbo is always so amazed at the spiritual fervor people in other countries have for God once they get a taste of Him.

As I look around at the churches in our area, I see apathy and detachment. I see complacency and a lack of commitment. I see temples that are lying in ruins. Physical and spiritual.

In these perilous times we live in, it is hard to comprehend why our sanctuary's aren't full and even overflowing. It's hard to fathom that we, as a people of God, don't sense the urgency around us and desire to do something about it!

In view of the problems facing most of us these days, it appears that many have either lost their hope or perhaps haven't gotten to the place in their lives where they see or even recognize hope. I fear that our churches have failed to become the place where that hope is born.

Our church should be a safe haven. A place of shelter and security. A place to learn and grow. Our sanctuary's should loudly beckon to the weary and the faint.

When we feel like all else is failing, we should be able to run like the wind to the church. Fall at the feet of God and cry out for mercy and grace. For healing and direction. Seeking and yearning for a vision. A vision of Christ and what He can do in our lives. And we should know that we are welcome there.

When the world is closing in and we feel like we have nowhere to go, we need to know that the church is there for us. We need to know that the sweet fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ is there for us.

There to edify. To encourage. To walk beside us. To strengthen one another.

The church needs to be that one place where there is no condemnation.

Only love and forgiveness. The place where doubt meets truth. A place where hope abounds. Where we point others to Jesus. A place filled with the glory and splendor of God. A place where the Holy Spirit abounds and His presence dwells.

We need to know that He is just waiting for us to come. Waiting for us to lift our heads, throw out our arms, open our hearts and prepare to receive the awesome things He has for us.  Things that will utterly astound us! Things that will remain in our hearts for all eternity.

The deep things.
The hidden things.
The treasures of the Lord.

It's time we start rebuilding that physical temple of our churches so that we can minister to the spiritual temples that enter in. Let's fill the temple with His glory! Let's fill it so full of His glory that it bursts at the seams and His glory fills the whole earth! Let's go eagerly and expectantly to the House of the Lord to give of ourselves in praise and worship. Let's give so that others can receive. Let's enter into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts!

Let's have church!

"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
(Zephaniah 3:17)



Beth

21 comments:

Wylie said...

I love this word today!!!!!
Wylie

Yolanda said...

For me, this seems to speak along the lines of what He had revealed to my heart as well this morning. Do I only want to play church or will I BE the church? Fighting battles or simply allowing God to use me IN His battle.

Love to you!

Beth in NC said...

Yay! I'm so glad things are going well with your husband in India! And isn't it sad that there is more excitement and hunger in nations that are persecuted than our nation? God have mercy.

What a wonderful post my friend. You are absolutely right.

Love,
b

An Imperfect Perfection said...

I got myself to church yesterday - by myself - for the first time in almost a year. I fight anxiety like crazy but managed to be there and enjoy it. I had to force myself to go-am am hoping and praying I can continue every week. It is a place of Hope.
PS: So glad you heard from your husband!

petrii said...

Beth,
It is so good to hear about the work Jim is doing in India. What a Blessing!!!

What a good word today friend.

Love and hugs to you,
Dawn

~ Being Woven said...

Yes, Beth! You are so on-target with this. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings. The Scripture in Zephaniah is one of my very favorite ones. I am truly amazed that God would sing over me, rejoice over me, and quiet me. What a God we serve!

Thank you for visiting my thanksgiving post today. Doing this is truly opening my eyes to the constant gifting of the LORD. Constant!

As your sister, ~ linda

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Four hours? You're right about our churches. We wouldn't wait 4 minutes for a late preacher! Oh, and heaven forbid we go over 4 minutes past the noon hour...

Yes, we've lost something in America. Our hearts should break at the empty pews and those who live their lives without regard for the kingdom. Many simply do not know. I'm not sure they're being purposefully negligent to the things of God (many are), but many simply haven't heard the Story. It is our responsibility to bring the Story to them. The "sacred intersection between hearts" is what I like to call it.

Thank you for sharing your husband with the people of India and for giving us a window into the heart of the people there. May God's Spirit and blessing pour out upon them and on your household because of the faithfulness of your husband.

peace~elaine

Nana Jul said...

It's been 1 1/2yrs since Alex and I went to India...but I will never forget how incredible the Holy Spirit moved in their church services! My Spirt was "home" with them! I don't even know how to describe it. When we got back, it's just like you wrote in your post...we are lacking the zeal for the Lord, the "Holiness & Awesomeness" for our Great and majestic God. Where is the seeking and expectation and hope? Very Sad. I've been praying for our church out of Haggai. I can't wait to see what the Lord will do!
He's ABLE!

Jackie said...

Amen, Amen and Amen, Beth!!!

Wonderful post my friend!!

So glad you got to hear from your husband and share in what the Holy Spirit is doing in India! Continuing to pray for his safety!!

Sweet Blessings!
Jackie

GrammyGoo said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. Very encourgaging post!
Blessings, GG

Nancy M. said...

I know it was wonderful to hear from your husband! I'm so glad he's doing well and is spreading the word! It is a shame that people in danger of being persecuted worship with all their hearts, while we barely make an effort.

Nancy said...

Sounds like wonderful things going on in India.

Your description of church is one we can all strive for. I also love to run to church for worship. It is a place that always changes me and brings me nearer to God.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Beth: I'm so happy your hus. got to minister in India and experience the fervor in peoples' hearts who are committed to Jesus.

I hate to think we need persecution here to wake us up to the riches we have in Christ...

Great post, sister.

Kim... and Her Coffee said...

Hi Beth,

This is so beautiful. I pray your husband continues to see fruit in his trip and is home to you safe soon. Glad to be back online and connecting with you!!! Have a super night....

Steph T. said...

WOW Beth! What a great post! I love your passion for the lost and for God's church. I do grow weary of the apathy in our church and how people forget that Christ loves his church and his people and we should too. I could go on and on about this but I won't. But I want you to know I appreciate you and your heart for God's kingdom work. You are such an encouragement to me!! SOOO glad that you heard from Jimbo...I wish I was there with him after listening to your blog! We all need to be reminded how blessed we are here in the US to worship in public!

LisaShaw said...

Powerful message Beth! Glad you spoke with your husband and I pray the anointing and blessing over him and all who are doing the work of the LORD.

Your assessment of where the church is today is on point! One which I pray about and speak about often. Much I could say but not necessary as you've said quite a bit sister and I'm with you!

Praying...

Love you.

Greg C said...

Very well said. You know the funny thing is that when you said your husband was going to India, the first thing I thought was that it is so unsafe there that he should reconsider and go someplace safer like Hatti. If given the two choices at that time I would have picked Hatti. Isn't it amazing how God protects us?

We are planning on getting more involved in our church to take things to the next level.

Irritable Mother said...

Yes, Beth!
I just got reacquainted this morning with a woman I knew when I was just a girl. (We've been friends on Facebook for a few months.) She is starting a Bible study at my church tonight. We went over there today so I could show her around and hopefully increase her comfort level.
And all these things you've said in this post - Yes! That is exactly what I am praying she will experience as she comes back to church.
Thanks for getting me even more excited about my friend and all that God can do in her life.
Love you!

kanishk said...

I am truly amazed that God would sing over me, rejoice over me, and quiet me. What a God we serve!

Work from home India

Jackie said...

Just stopping by sweet friend to let you know I've been praying for your husband and co-laborers this morning.

Any news?

Sweet Blessings!
Jackie

Tammy Real-McKeighan said...

Hello Dear Lady,
Don't give up!
I once read where Billy Graham said that God's people are everywhere.
He's so right!
I find them all the time when I interview people for stories for our newspaper.
BTW, I also enjoy Beth Moore Bible studies! My faith has grown a lot since I started doing her studies in 2005!
She's cool.

Bless you,

Tammy Real-McKeighan
Nebraska