It's been a time of frustrations lately. I am not meaning to say that I
am frustrated every day, or that I am unhappy. But I have noticed the smallest things are bugging me and I just want to scream at times. Here
is the catch 22. Most of those things that I want to scream at or about are not affecting my life personally. And as I spend time with other people, I notice that they are frustrated. Once again, not to often personally, but what is frustrating us... dare I say it.... Yes I
think I must. PEOPLE. Ahh there I said it. A six letter dirty word, so please pardon my language.
So I have sat and pondered, why are they frustrating me? And I realized that the first thing frustrating (irritating me) is.... drum roll.... LACK of FAITH. Now the first thing that crosses my mind after making that comment is this... (I can see my friend Mary chuckling)... usually what we do not like in other people is what we do not like about our self or did not like about our self. Hmmm had to ponder somethings. I soul searched. And I realized I am like a Ex-smoker. The kind that looks around at all those people still smoking and saying...pew.. you stink... choke choke...seriously why cant you quit? If I did it, anyone can do it. By now you get the "not so pretty picture".
So the question comes down to this.. instead of being the typical ex-smoker, what can I do to help? What hit me was this.... we have no titus women anymore. Or in this case, also titus men. We do not have the older generation teaching the younger generation about God, ethics, morals, life. Statistically how many families do you think truly teach their children about Jesus anymore? Notice I said statistically. And when we join a church, do the older people embrace the younger lovingly and reach out and mentor them. So one has to wonder what happened? What changed these things?
I loved sitting at my Grandmother's knees and her teaching me about Jesus. I loved doing bible studies with her. And her teaching me to cook and how to try and be a lady, a good wife, a mother. So once again, what changed? And I realized that not just one thing changed, so many things contributed to this downward spiral. Apathy, time management, cares of this world, fear... and the list goes on and on. And than this thought hit me... Brace yourselves. Technically I'm not a child anymore, I (technically) should be a "Titus woman". Oh yeah, now there is an eye opener. I can see my children giggling over this right now while I purse my lips and think about running. But seriously, all joking aside, so if I feel this way, than what is stopping others (maybe even older than myself) from stepping into this role, and I realized so many things. I think we do not know the basics anymore. Maybe we never completely did, because the "church" as a whole has watered things down for so long. So what was I taught...
1. That Jesus came to die for me, and that if I accept him and his sacrifice I will be saved. (For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life)
But what comes to my heart is the man who came to Jesus and asked what he had to do, and Jesus told him to go and sell everything. And the man walked away. See my problem is this. He knew a Savior when he saw him, but in his eyes, the cost was too great. Amazing to think that way right? But here is point one of where I am going with this ...
Do we consider the cost anymore? We quote John 3:16 so often, and it's true, please do not think that I am bunking God's word here. God did send His son, He did come for those reasons. But we have to count the cost. People need to know the cost. That's what I am saying. We need to go back to basics and look at what the cost really is, and than decide to follow or not follow.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost
God spoke to Abraham, and told him that he was to pack up his family (immediate family) and move. God was pretty specific about everything. Abraham did get up and move, though not completely following everything God said. He did take his father with him, and his nephew. And we did see Abraham at times forget to trust God and got himself in some pickles. Human Nature and all that ... But I believe all in all he knew the cost. He got up and left his home and went where God sent him. He even took his son up a mountain and prepared to sacrifice him.
And than there is Ruth and Naomi. That is two women who truly understood cost too. Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem (which means place of bread), in Judah (which means Praise), during a famine and went to Moab. Interesting thing about Moab, they descended from Lot and his daughter and their incestuous relationship. So technically they were Jews at one time. But what jumps out to me is this.. Naomi truly knows cost from both angles... she didnt follow God originally when they went to Moab. Her family did not trust for God's provision in Bethlehem and they left and went and lived among the ungodly, for lack of a better word, and it cost Naomi her family. But than when she was prepared to count the cost and follow God, she gains it all back and even more. And Ruth, I do believe she counted the cost before she left her homeland, and followed Naomi back. She knew that what she was leaving behind was less valuable than who she was following. Her focus was on one thing, and that was what she loved.
Isnt that an interesting thing to notice. Keeping our focus on one thing. Following that one thing, at all cost.
Elisha was plowing when Elijah came and put his mantle on him. He killed his oxen, and turned his plow into a cooking vessel, he fed everyone and left and went after Elijah. When it was almost time for Elijah to be taken up, each time they went to a town Elijah would tell him to stop and stay there, and each time Elisha would not, he said he would go where Elijah went. He counted the cost. He got rid of what was his past, and went chasing after God. And even when he was told to stop and stay he said No, I will go where you go.
I guess what is on my heart today is... we need to teach the people about the cost, so they truly can make a decision on whether to follow like Ruth or like Elisha with their whole heart or not.
Because of what we have been taught, I believe it's caused this lukewarmness that we see in so many churches, and this apathy that is quenching the Holy Spirit. Do we want to be like the young man who walked away or like Elisha and Ruth who saw something that we can only imagine? We must, be Titus people, and we must reach out to those around us, young or old and mentor and teach truth again. We must count the cost for ourselves, and step out even if we are afraid and go forward and start retaking what the church has lost.
Before I close I want to share something with you. Dont laugh, but I love history and I re-read and re-read the OT and never before noticed how many people are symbolic of Jesus. Ahhh the things we miss. I find it interesting that the ministry of both Elijah and Elisha is foretold in the meanings of their name. Elijah means ‘Yahweh is God’ and that was his ministry. The people didn’t know who the true God was anymore. Most followed Baal. Elijah had to come to again show them the true God. Elisha means ‘God is salvation’ and that was his calling. Not so much to point out who the true God was, but to show that God was alive and well and was able to save. That is why Elisha performed more miracles than anyone else in the Bible apart from Jesus. He showed that God is salvation.
Isn't that awesome. Another one pointing the way to Jesus. How do I miss these things?
But also, we sing that these are the days of Elijah.. and they are, the people do not know who the true God is anymore, but these are also the days of Elisha, point them to a God who saves, to a Savior that sacrificed all for them and lives so we can. . And last but not least.. these are the days of God's spirit.. Jesus said he was leaving so the Holy Spirit could come and lead us to all truth and counting the cost. These 3 go hand in hand.
A.W Tozer, in his book ‘The pursuit of God’ quotes psalm 63:8 which says ‘My soul follows hard after you. Your right hand upholds me.’ It’s a good scripture. He goes on to say the following –
‘In this hour of all but universal darkness, one gleam appears. Within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God himself.’
To quote Tozer further
- “But complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual
growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of
Christ to his people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us, he
waits so long, so very long, in vain.”
One last note- It is shown in the attitude of good old Ittai when King David said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why should you come along with us? Go back and stay with King Absalom. You are a foreigner, an exile from your homeland. You came only yesterday. And today shall I make you wander about with us, when I do not know where I am going? Go back, and take your countrymen. May kindness and faithfulness be with you.” But Ittai replied to the king, “As surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be.” It will also be the attitude of the 144,000 Israelites in the last days who will ‘follow the lamb wherever He goes.’ (Rev 14:4)
This must be our attitude... We cannot water it down anymore. They must know truth. They must know all the facts before they make a decision. This decision is the most important decision of a persons life and it cannot be made lightly.
Faith, Everlasting Faith
Smith Wigglesworth was a Pentecostal evangelist who preached his message throughout the world. Ever Increasing Faith is a collection of transcripts of eighteen of his sermons relating to such topics as Spirit, prophecy, divine healing, baptism, and more. It is an inspirational encomium to the healing power of faith.