Tag Archives: true Christianity

What’s Missing?

I always loved these drawings that have subtle differences, and your task is to find them!  It reminds me of these two verses in Joshua, except the differences aren’t too subtle!

But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you,

  • to love the LORD your God,
  • and to walk in all his ways,
  • and to keep his commandments,
  • and to cleave unto him,
  • and to serve him

with all your heart and with all your soul.:

Joshua 22:5

And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God

  • will we serve,
  • and his voice will we obey.

Joshua 24: 24

Do you see what is missing and what is added?  In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua is giving the Israelites his farewell speech. He’s old and he knows his time has ended.  We often quote Joshua 24:15 and hang on our walls:

…choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

The question is not ARE we choosing to serve God, but HOW are we serving Him.  We want to be successful in our walk with the Lord.  We want to please Him, but so often, it just isn’t the case.  The world comes crashing in around us demanding our attention.  Good activities and programs seem impossible to ignore, even though we cringe and hate the fact that perfect attendance is required and their meetings push into Sunday and Wednesday night.

How can we do it?  How can we know that we are doing the right thing?  Well, I’m sharing this because it’s been so heavy on my heart, and the Lord has really been pounding me on it!

IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART! IT’S THE HEART!

Joshua is at the end of an incredible journey.  He knew slavery. He remembered the sting of the taskmaster’s whip! He SAW the Red Sea part and drank the sweetened waters of Marah.  He ate the manna and begged, cried, and wept when the other ten spies gave their evil report.  His heart ached for his leader as he watched him ascend Mt. Pisgah and gaze longingly into the Promised Land—a land he would never enter!

And now Joshua’s done.  Over and over, he urges the Israelites to do right, make right choices, have the right kind of heart.  And their response is this: We will serve. We will obey.  YIKES!  Something was missing!  Something very important: loving, walking, cleaving, and keeping!

Dear Christian, dear born-again believer, check your heart.  Without a whole-hearted love for God, service becomes drudgery and you may find yourself walking away from it.  Your walk becomes an uphill battle, and you don’t even understand cleaving.  Keeping the “law” becomes just that!  It turns into a bunch of “dos and don’ts” instead of a holy garment of praise.

Cleave – to cling closely, steadfastly, or faithfully to somebody or something.  If you have ever been a nursery worker, you understand cleaving, as you try to pry that child out of his mother’s arms!  He has a death grip on her clothing, and he’s not letting go—at least, not without a lot of kicking and crying!

How is my cleaving?  Am I holding on to God for dear life? It started with faith (Forsaking All I Trust Him). I may not have seen the yawning abyss at the edge of my cliff of pride or self-righteousness—the edge which dropped off into an eternal hell, but if I had, I would have clung or cleaved? or clove? or clave? to my precious Savior!

And am I still cleaving?  Is He so precious that I want Him more than anything else in this world?

Today, I offer you A Moment in Time for free.  What does that have to do with cleaving?  Well, I often shake my head in wonder and ask my daughter this question: Why did you and your brothers turn out?  Why do you love the Lord when so many pastors are losing their kids to the world?  She always says the same thing.  “Mom, you and Dad were genuine in your love for God and your service to Him.  It wasn’t just a show, but what Dad preached, you both lived at home.” Please know, it is not any credit to us, but all to the Lord!

The side-by-side drawings look so much alike, just like so many Christians.  They sit together in church, perhaps in the same class at the Christian school, but there’s something drastically different!  You may not be able to see the heart, but God does.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out A Moment in Time is all about “What’s Missing.” In it, you’ll find an all too realistic side-by-side-drawing:  One pastor’s daughter, Carrie Spangler, who looked the part, and another, Esther Fleming, who lived it.

How many are left? About 500…

inside stradivarius bestThat’s how many Stradivarius violins still exist today. Born in 1644, Antonio Stradivari is now known as the best luthier (someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments) of all times; and if you plan on buying one, you’d better have several million dollars in your pocket!

What makes the Stradivarius violin so valuable?  First, it is the quality of the instrument. “His interpretation of geometry and design for the violin has served as a conceptual model for violin makers for more than 250 years.” (Smithsonian, Seriously Amazing) Many luthiers have copied his design, but there is still only one crafter by that name, and that signature is invaluable!

Secondly, there are so few that have been preserved throughout history.  Stradivari himself made around 1,100 instruments, including harps, guitars, viola, cellos, as well as violins.  Whenever there is a lesser amount of anything, the value increases.

So what’s the point?  In Luke 18:8, Jesus asks the question,

“…  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

It seems like an odd question to us, especially when so many people believing that His return is imminent, including me!  We look around and see “Christianity” all around us.  We hear broadcasts on the radio, read blogs 🙂 , see many churches, and it seems as though faith is plentiful.  Is Jesus returning soon, and will there be a lack of faith when He comes?

Matthew Henry gives us this insight into the verse: “Now, when he comes, will he find faith on the earth? The question implies a strong negation: No, he will not; he himself foresees it.” Those of the faith will be rare when Jesus comes, and I wonder if all that we see labeled “Christian” really has anything to do with Jesus Christ at all? Truly, pure, unadulterated Christ-likeness has already become rare!  In fact, it might be a good idea to describe it:

A man or woman of faith – faith in Jesus Christ:

  1. Places his faith in Christ alone; ie. The church and any actions performed by the church have NOTHING to do with salvation: Christ alone saves.
  2. The fruits of the Spirit are clearly evident:
    1. Love not hatred, prejudice, bigotry, or any other form of the word
    2. Joy not sorrow or sadness, depression, constant moodiness or discouragement
    3. Peace not anxiety, unrest, angst
    4. Longsuffering not vengeance or impatience
    5. Gentleness not boldness, or obnoxious behavior
    6. Goodness not evil, or wicked acts of any kind
    7. Faith not doubt or fear
    8. Meekness not pride, arrogance or assertiveness
    9. Temperance not impatience, indulgence or excess
  3. Even though good character is a quality of a man or woman of faith, good character is not faith.
  4. Every sin is “under the blood,” but constant habitual sin does not characterize a true believer.
  5. Believers love to be with other believers.  When someone tells me that he is a Christian, but he doesn’t like to be with other believers or go to church, I have to wonder.

So much of what is happening in the realm of fundamental Christianity is just the opposite of what it should be.  Many are “jumping ship” and throwing in the towel, tired of the fight that Jesus Himself promised would be ours:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6: 1215418r2Nce819a12e2458523048b8c715c068797

Now to you, dear soldier of Christ, I want to offer this note of encouragement. Stand fast, and you are rare and of great value!  Be strong in the Lord, and your worth is limitless!  Stradivari made great violins, but YOU are made in the image of God! Fight the good fight of faith, and rejoice in the fact that our Lord and Captain will issue the final blow; and when you stand before Him, He will say those coveted words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”Matthew 25:21