When God Shuts up the Heavens

2 Chronicles 7:13-15 ESV

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.”

Why Would God Do This?

Would there be a purpose today for God to do such as this? To shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or to command the locust to devour the land, or to send pestilence among us? Or to allow us to go through any other type of difficulty or suffering? What purpose would this serve?

• To produce in us endurance, godly character, and hope (Rom. 5:3-5)
• To produce in us steadfastness, that we may be mature (Jas. 1:2-4)
• To test the genuineness of our faith (1 Pet. 1:6-7)
• That our faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:6-7)
• To give opportunity for us to bear witness for Jesus Christ (Lu. 21:13)
• That we might comfort others in their trials with the same comfort we received from God in our difficulties (2 Co. 1:3-11)
• To make us rely not on ourselves but on God (2 Co. 1:3-11)
• For producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Co. 4:17)
• Because God disciplines those he loves for our good (Heb. 12:3-12)
• That we may share God’s holiness (Heb. 12:3-12)
• That it might yield in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it (Heb. 12:3-12)
• To lead us to repentance when we have strayed from the truth and we have gone our own way, instead (Rev. 3:19)

How is Your Church Doing?

As recorded for us in Revelation 2-3, in particular, the Lord sent out letters to the seven churches of Asia, which represent the church throughout the ages, or which represent the church in specific locations at various times or at all times in many different locations.

Five out of the seven the Lord had words of correction and rebuke, and he called them to repent of their sins or to face some type of divine judgment. But if they did repent, and they overcame their sins, and their faith was renewed in the Lord, then they were given promises of eternal rewards.

So, how is the church where you live doing? And I am not talking about an institutional church of any particular denomination. I am speaking of the body of Christ, as a whole, in your nation or state or province or city or area where you live. How is the church, overall, doing spiritually?

Would you say that the church in your area of the world is healthy spiritually? Or would you say that one or all of these five letters in Revelation 2-3 calling for repentance would fit where the church is today in your part of the world? Or would it fit with the two churches not reprimanded?

The Church in America

I live in the USA, so the church here is what I know. Now, I obviously don’t know every Christian in America or every church gathering, but over the past 22 years the Lord has been making me keenly aware of what is going on in the church, overall, in my nation.

And the picture, at large, is not good, although there are believers in Jesus in this nation who are serious about their walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and who are serious about living holy and pure lives dedicated to following Jesus Christ in obedience. But we are not the norm.

So, what is the big issue in America? It is largely that the church, overall, partnered with the US government and incorporated under the state, thus turning the church into a business (a marketplace) to be marketed to the world just like any other business.

So, the gatherings of the church were altered to make them more attractive and inviting to the people of the world so that the world would feel comfortable and acceptable within the gatherings of the church, which is supposed to be the fellowship of the saints of God.

Thus, many pastors then turned into entertainers, actors, and clowns in order to keep the people laughing and coming back for more of the same. And many worship services were turned into stage productions to draw in large crowds of people from the world.

So, the message of the gospel was thus diluted, too, to make it more acceptable, appealing, and non-offensive, but not just to the world, but to the worldly church, too, who craved this diluted gospel because it tickled their itching ears, and it allowed them to continue living in their sins, only now guilt-free. Thus, the church has been on a massive moral decline.

For, what is being taught is that we can believe in Jesus but that we can continue living in sin and that we will still have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny. Or they are teaching that we are not to repent of our sins, and we are not to obey Jesus as Lord, for they call it works-based salvation.

If My People

So, the Lord does judge, and he does discipline, and he does allow us, as the church, or as individuals, to go through trials and tribulations, sometimes in order to get our attention, and to humble us, so that we will look up, and so that we will turn from our sins, and so we will now follow Jesus in obedience.

For, much of what is being taught today as “the gospel” is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a half-truth (lie) created in the minds of human beings which teaches that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, but which does not teach that he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24).

They want the resurrection without first the death. They like the idea of their sins being forgiven so that they can go to heaven when they die, no matter how they live their lives on this earth, and they call that “grace.”

But they leave out the teaching that says we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin, and that we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and that we must walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. For, if we continue living in sin, we will die in our sins. We won’t have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26).

So, the Lord is exposing the lies for what they are, and he is sending out his servants to proclaim the truth. And I believe he is disciplining his church and that there is more to come, for the Lord wants his people to humble themselves, to pray, to seek his face, and to turn from their wicked ways.

This isn’t just Old Covenant teaching. This is New Covenant teaching, too. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in us dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness. It results in us walking in obedience to Christ and making him Lord of our lives, too.

For, if we continue living in sin, making it our practice, walking according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. So, please know the truth, and believe the truth, for your eternity depends on it.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

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