MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (BP)--In Jeremiah 30:17, God says He will restore health and heal wounds "because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares."
Is this the condition of the church today? No one cares for it? We know that we are labeled an outcast by the world. They have no use for us. Do we not sit in obscurity?
I constantly hear people say, "We cannot reach this culture." And instead of people revering the church and knowing that the church is from God Almighty, they dismiss it as not for them and they only seek after the church when they encounter tragedy.
We have brought this on ourselves. Our neglect of spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, Scripture memorization and a deep prayer life has caused us to lose the blessing and anointing of God.
But if we would return to the ways that God has instructed, He has promised to restore our spiritual health. The first part of Jeremiah 30:17 relates to us, because if we heed what is going on and admit our sin, the Lord has promised to restore our health and heal our wounds.
May we confess our self-inflicted wounds of abandoning the cause of Christ for the ways of the world, of seeking worldly lusts more than setting our hearts on things above.
Confession time during the "Broken Before the Throne" prayer conference in West Virginia in November was deep and revealing. Pastors and laymen alike confessed that they had neglected time in the Word and lacked real depth in prayer.
If we truly want to see people seeking answers in the church, then why don't we turn to the Lord first? Is He not faithful? Is He not longsuffering? Is He not merciful? He has promised hope for us, so why should we delay? Let us make the change now, today.
From the national convention leadership to the state conventions, associations and local church, we all need to commit to making 2008 a year of service to the Lord.
Return to your first love and renew your vows to serve the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Commit to read the Bible through in 2008, practice memorizing Scriptures, use a devotional throughout the year and deepen shallow prayer lives. Then we will see God in our midst, and the world will take note that we have been with Jesus.
But if we continue in our way, the Bible clearly tells of our future. We will continue to see baptisms fall, churches closing their doors, mission efforts failing and millions swept into an eternal hell. May we awaken before the night comes when no man can work.
Dan Biser is pastor of Zoar Baptist Church in Augusta, W.Va., and Fox's Hollow Baptist Church in Romney, W.Va. He is planning another "Broken Before the Throne" prayer conference in West Virginia, scheduled for a yet-to-be-determined time in 2008.