One of our greatest spiritual blessings is when God draws our attention to otherwise overlooked spiritual needs. As a matter of fact, we all need help in recognizing our problems – a point the prophet Hosea made in the context of Israel remaining oblivious to problems that should have been obvious:
Ephraim is unturned bread baked on a griddle. Foreigners consume his strength, but he does not notice. Even his hair is streaked with gray, but he does not notice (Hosea 7:8b-9).
Hosea was addressing the reality of his nation’s decline. Today as well there are those who have turned a blind eye to the physical as well as spiritual deterioration all around us.
For a number of reasons, it’s easy to overlook, ignore or rationalize life’s harsh realities. This is certainly true in a physical sense as I was reminded by the hailstorms that came through the Dallas area this past April. Initially I thought that my vehicle had escaped suffering damage from the storms. As a matter of fact, it was at least two weeks after the storms had passed that I first noticed adeep dent in the hood of my car. I showed the dent to my assistant who promptly discovered several other dents that were out of my view. Later, the insurance adjuster, using special equipment, was able to find nearly 20 additional dents.
To me, this experience illustrates a spiritual lesson. We all need help from others to recognize certain problems. And while this is important to understand from a physical perspective, it’s even more important spiritually. I can certainly attest to this reality.
A year or two ago my wife, Elaine, expressed concern that I might be neglecting prayer in my personal life. The kind and thoughtful way she made her point really got my attention! That precious memory continues to encourage me to share my thoughts and concerns with God more consistently.
Through the Word of God we can know that as surely as remedies exist for hail damage, there is promise of a future restoration from all the damage caused by sinful behavior. In the book of Acts, Luke includes this remarkable prophecy of Jesus:
Heaven must welcome Him until the times of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about by the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning (Acts 3:21).
In the community of believers, we have the opportunity to participate in that process of restoration by alerting individuals to the harmful effects of certain behaviors:
And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Please check out Principle #15, page 1719, in my Life Essentials Study Bible:
Once we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, we are to become a functioning part of God’s family.
“Not staying away from worship meetings”….that portion of the Scripture in the above mentioned reference in Hebrews…got my attention and gave me pause. I find myself now in a border town full of Mexican Immigrants and mostly Spanish speaking people. Most do know English but, they prefer to speak Spanish socially. I am a Midwesterner. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. I sometimes realize how much I feel alien. I grew very weary of Church gatherings and have avoided much of the services in our local church except Sunday Worship.
Working as a leader with our Women’s Home Groups and writing the lesson plans for all the women’s groups has given me a purpose (a calling) and steady concentration in the presence of God, His Word, Meditation, Prayer. I am focused on my portion of contribution and love my ladies and hosting groups in our home. Most of that work is done in my home. I enjoy serving God in this capacity and believe that I am right where God wants me to be for now.
We also attend a failing elder…my husband’s Aunt OLGITA…who is now 86 and very fragile and suffers Dementia, COPD, and Arthritis. She receives very little money and the facilities in this area are sub-standard, at best. She had no family, never married, no children. She is slow mentally other than the Dementia and always has been. She was sheltered by her Mother and Sister and now they are gone. She honestly, does not know how to boil an egg. Yes! It is truly that bad. We came for a visit and found her living in filth and hoarding, with rats, mice, and a dog making everywhere in the house….sad, so sad. We had to take her in….she was helpless. Until this chapter ends with her we have promised to care of her.
Many in this area, perceive my husband and I as wealthy. We are comfortable, but we are in our mid 60’s and both have Heath issues, as well. Church fellowship is simply put…..”draining” in every aspect, even financially. We are constantly approached for loans (handouts), and dramatic issues that our congregation have arising in their lives…all the time, it seems….