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Need for Holiness
The prayer of Nehemiah continues to be an inspiration for me. O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands. Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer you servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
What impresses me about the prayer is Nehemiah’s confession is his confession for the nation when he himself was probably very upright and innocent.
Our nation and our churches are going through some very changing times. This is not for the best as liberalism and an entertainment mentality attack the church. Satan has successfully divided the church by using the area in which he is best skilled - music. While the church moves to secularism society substitutes vice for virtue. As society becomes more corrupt the government will become more repressive.
In the Phillippines the Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, watched with growing dismay the swelling corruption of Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorial regime. He prayed long over this suppression of human liberty and the plight of his nation. After the assassination of Benigno Aquino - who was opposing Marcos the Archbishop knew he had to do something. When he studied the Bible he saw that Israel’s corrupt leaders where like those of his own nation. When God wants to punish a people, he reasoned, he gives them unjust rulers. What the people of the Philippines needed was not a call to revolt against their unjust ruler but a call to repent of their own unjust hearts.
Archbishop Sin spent months crisscrossing his homeland, preaching repentance, conversion, and obedience. He called the Filipinos to prayer and fasting; the people responded by organizing Bible Studies and prayer groups. A wave of revival - of holiness and renewal - swept through the Philippines. According to some reports, hundreds of thousands began to meet in small groups to fast and pray for their nation. These Christian citizens became the foot soldiers for a non-violent revolution, and the eventual result was the peaceful ousting of Marcos and the restoration of a democratic government.
We are called to be salt and light to a world that is decaying and darkening. Our call is to faithfulness not to flashy ministry. The one who spends time crying out to God for the salvation and transformation of his or her family is doing more for the kingdom of God than the TV evangelist who sports the latest trends in Christianity. Every believer is important to God. We are all asked to communicate the message of hope and forgiveness where more and more people only know violence and destruction. Peter said, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
When Isaiah was called to ministry his first reaction was that he was not holy, not worthy to minister. God cleansed him and then called him. But what was Isaiah’s calling? To go and tell his people about God’s judgement. Isaiah was not to expect a revival because God’s people had hardened their hearts. When asked how long he had to minister God said that he would have to be faithful until God’s judgement and destruction came upon the people.
God does not guarantee us a fruitful and glorious ministry. God only calls us to a life of holiness and faithfulness. How well are we doing? There are many important opportunities to serve God in our church, community and in our world. How are we doing? Are we living to please ourselves or are we here to help others into the kingdom? Are we more concerned about ourselves and our reward or are we concerned about the good of others? May God guide us as we seek to serve God and follow him.
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