I was reading a rant on Facebook this morning that brought this “truth” to light. The person was chastising people who call themselves Christians, yet ignore the character flaws of Donald Trump. He went on to berate his readers for criticizing President Obama for character issues while ignoring those found in the man they supported.
Several years ago, someone decided to “help” the fiery evangelist Billy Sunday with his delivery. “Billy,” they said, “you’re rubbing the cat the wrong way.” I’m sure that their intent was pure. In their minds, if Reverend Sunday would simply stop offending people, and make them feel more comfortable, he could be more effective and successful. Unperturbed, Sunday replied, “If the cat would turn around, I would be rubbing him the right way.”
The Prophet Jeremiah never knew Billy Sunday, but I’m sure he could empathize with the sentiment. Jeremiah was called by God to speak a message that was almost completely opposite of the one being spoken by nearly every other prophet in the land.
Much of the modern church is obsessed with getting people “saved.” While this is certainly a noble and important effort, it is interesting to note that the modern altar call did not even exist for most of church history. Out of two millennia of Christianity, the altar call, as we know it, has been around for less than two centuries. Jesus certainly called people to follow Him, but there was no special prayer while the choir sang, “Just as I am.”
In John 10:9, Jesus said, “I am the door.” Reading this, we might quickly be compelled to ask, “the door to what?” It is not often that we see a door standing on its own. Instead it usually leads somewhere. Yes accepting Jesus as our savior is important, but it is only the threshold into much, much more.
God’s heart was breaking! He looked with great sadness upon the people who had repeatedly rejected Him. Though He had freed them from slavery in Egypt, dried up the Red Sea for their escape from Pharaoh’s army, provided for them through the wilderness and led them into their promised land, their hearts were stubborn and unyielding.
Like a husband who loves his wife deeply, God cried for them to turn back to Him. Though they had betrayed Him over and over again, He was willing to take them back and restore them to their former place of glory, but they would have no part of it.
At some time or another, we have probably all had the feeling that we are going nowhere fast. As we get older and/or have health problems, we may even begin to feel that we are going to leave this world without ever having truly released the music that is inside of us.
Through my studies of great men and women, I have come to believe that everyone feels at least a little disappointed with their life at one time or another. I remember hearing the great Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll once say that no one has ever been truly used by God without first being processed deeply. Swindoll has also written, “…no one deserves the right to lead without first persevering through pain and heartache and failure…”