June 26, 2015…An American Historic and Sad Day…
As I sat in my living room and heard the news of our nation’s Supreme Court’s ruling today regarding same-sex marriage, I began to cry. But, I was not crying because of what our justices had just voted into law or their vote against individual state rights. I was crying because of the tragic loss of our Divine and Spiritual influences of the church, through Jesus Christ, upon our nation and society. Where has our Power and Position gone?
I can only speak of the days and times in which I have lived. I cannot speak of generations and generations ago as I was born in the 20th century; 1956 to be exact. But, let me share what I have witnessed in my fifty-nine years of living in this nation (not necessarily in chronological order).
I have witnessed Viet-Nam; the 60’s Civil Rights Movement; the accomplishments and defeats of NASA including Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon; the first electric typewriter; the first heart plant surgery; the election of President John F. Kennedy and his assassination three years later; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Cold War and bomb drills; the “I Have a Dream” speech; the senseless assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Bobby Kennedy; the ruling of Roe versus Wade (1973); the spread of AIDS and other STD diseases (80’s), the national enforcement of Separation of Church and State; the taking down of the Ten Commandments in public places; the removal of reading the Bible in public schools and public places; not allowing prayer before athletic events in public schools; taking the Biblical meaning of “Christ” out of Christmas; not being able to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” while working in the retail world; the promotion of alternative life-styles; the promotion by social media, TV, and Hollywood to desensitize all moral and Biblical values; the moral decline from family shows such as “Father Knows Best” and “Andy Griffith” to Bart Simpson and Modern Family; the introduction of the personal computer, the introduction of the World Wide Web (90’s), the attack upon and demise of the traditional family unit; the terrorist attack of 9/11; Desert Storm, the rise of Islam and ISIS around the world; watching world-wide catastrophic storms and weather patterns all over the globe; and local churches and Pastors that were once grounded in the Word of God following the “world” and becoming no more than speakers in country club settings and places for fun and entertainment.
With the continued demise of moral values, weakening church-influences upon our society, and the loss of traditional family values, is it any wonder that today’s ruling favored the Homosexual community? No; of course not.
Let me just say this. To disagree with someone’s choices in life is not an act of hate. I disagree with the “practice” of homosexuality from a Biblical perspective. From the beginning, God ordained the family and the act of procreation through one man and one woman. Yes; God loves the sinner (He died for the whole world), but He hates the sins of the world. (See Genesis 1, John 3:16-17 and Romans 10).
Here is my take on the matter. In the book of II Chronicles 7:14 it reads, “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.”
This is a “conditional” promise from God. So, who is to blame for the downfall of our nation and society? I suppose those who name the name of God but who do not follow his teachings in their daily lives.
Just as I have witnessed many changes in our nation’s history over the past fifty-plus years I have witnessed tremendous changes from the pulpits of our churches to the lives of those who attend church. What has happened? Isn’t our God the Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever? Yes; He is…But, we are not.
Do you recall a time in your life when church and church activities set your calendar and schedule for the week, for the month, and for the year? I do. I remember a time when every function in our family’s lives depended upon what was happening at the House of God. My children did not practice or play baseball, softball, or soccer on Sundays. We didn’t shop at the Wal-Mart on Sundays. We didn’t spend summer weekends at the lake or winter weekends at ski resorts and try to fit “church” in when we had nothing else planned. We attended week-long revival meetings where the evangelist preached Heaven sweet and Hell hot. Back then, Holy Ghost conviction was the norm for repenting and calling upon the Lord to save you; not just an emotional response and a simple hand-shake.
Prayer Meetings were actually prayer- meetings where all the people in attendance gathered around the altar to pray in one accord and one mind over the lives of their loved ones and the many burdens they were facing. I recall taking “every” problem we faced to God in those weekly cooperate prayer meetings; as well as personal daily prayers on behalf of my family.
Christians even dressed more modestly back then than they do today. And, they possessed respect for the House of God. You may have worn bathing suits, shorts, and slacks at home and out in the community, but you dressed appropriately for the sacred environment of the church’s sanctuary. Today, people dress as if they are going to a concert or the beach; not to church…Just “whatever” feels good is the fade…And, some churches actually proudly advertise, “We are the church for non-church people.” In other words, come as you are and live as you please…just remember to learn how to smile through every difficulty in life!
Today, we have many good “teaching” preachers and pastors across our nation, but very few “preaching” preachers and pastors. There is a huge difference! Teaching imputes knowledge into our hearts and mind…Then, we choose accordingly to obey or disobey God’s teachings. Preaching, some might even call “Old-Time Preaching,” brings about conviction through the Power of the Holy Spirit to “transform” and “renew” one’s life in Christ. You can teach a person not to drink alcohol or to reframe from other sinful vices all you wish, but without the empowerment of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit he or she cannot overcome the temptation.
For some strange reason, the “church” decided to start following the world’s standards instead of maintaining and following God’s standards. In our modern-day world, the “world” sees no differences between their life-styles and many of those who claim to be followers of Christ. The influential Power of the Holy Spirit has been reduced and removed due to our own lack of commitment and blatant sinful behaviors. The world generally sees Christians as “people-haters” filled with biases and judgmental taunts. They no longer see the church as a living institution born through the Blood of Christ that offers Hope and Salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Contemporary and Rock music became the focal point of many churches beginning in the 80’s. Out went the choir lofts and in came the platform stages geared at entertaining the “younger” crowds. Churches brought in worldly sounding instruments played by worldly dressed musicians. The motto became “dress-down” to attract the “younger” world to come “inside” of our churches…But, as we “dressed-down” and learned to jump up and down to the beat of the music, the power of the church through Christ Jesus to “transform” lives became weaker and weaker. We began to have a “form of godliness but denying the Power thereof.”
Then, our churches began to teach a “positive attitude Gospel” as opposed to the Good News of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to save us from our sins and reconcile us back to God. At this point, it was no longer a matter of what anyone did or said, or how they lived, just as long as they approached life and all of its trials with a giant smile on their face. After all, we are a happy, happy bunch…Right?
But, Jesus taught us to “sow the Gospel with our tears.” The Bible says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5) There’s not too much to be joyful about when your neighbor or loved one is going to Hell. You can smile all you wish, but your tears will bring them to Christ! Then, you shall reap in Joy!
So, week after week for the last three decades or so, crowds of people have assembled themselves in our churches week after week to have a “form of godliness” while denying the Power thereof. What Power? The Power to see Salvation; a transformed life birthed into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ…Not the self –will power and mindset to smile when all of hell is breaking out around you! In all honesty, if your life is falling apart I suggest you find a closet, close the door, and cry your heart out with hot, burning tears unto a Holy God! Ask God to send a “spirit” of reverence, revelation, repentance, and meekness into your life. Ask God to save you!
So, lastly, here we are….June 26, 2015 and our nation has ruled on behalf of gay and lesbian couples all over our nation to come boldly out of the closet and run to the nearest court-house to obtain a license to legally marry….It doesn’t matter what God and the Bible has to say about it. I suggest that you read from the New Testament Bible in the book of Romans, chapter one, for a complete in-depth teaching on the matter.
Question: Did we, as members of the church, realize how far we were straying away from God? Did we listen to God when we first started compromising with the world? As the old saying goes, “Sin will take your farther than you wanted and keep you there longer than you wanted.” And, that is exactly where we are today…Far, far away from the Holy teachings, practices, and preaching of God.
We have but ONE chance to regain God’s favor and mercy upon our land and that is through actual repentance, prayer, confession, and transformation. Do I mean to throw out all the contemporary songs and just sing, “Amazing Grace?” Do I mean that all the ladies are to start wearing long dresses and hats and sit each week with a frown on your face? No, no, I don’t. But, I do suggest that we go back to “Bethel” and understand what and who the church represents and what its purpose is here on planet Earth; and prayerfully seek HIS FACE for Divine guidance.
The truth is that the church should be a place of separation from the wiles of the world, Satan, and worldly systems. Our distinctness is what should “draw” and “appeal” to a lost and dying world who can’t find the right answers to life’s problems…The true church has the right answer…JESUS CHRIST…. and those professing Jesus should walk and live according to HIS teachings, plan, and purpose.
God wasn’t just filling a page with empty words when He said:
“If my people, (Believers in God through Christ) which are called by my name(Christians), 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.” Amen.
Remember, God Loves You (But hates sin)…John 3:16
Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author