“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”            Philippians 3:20,21

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but alsoto all who have longed for his appearing.”       II Timothy 4:8

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”           II Peter 3:11,12

Is the Church of Jesus Christ in America in 2013 truly “awaiting” their “Savior,” the “blessed hope” of the “glorious appearing” of the Lord? This is clearly what the above Scriptures are admonishing us to do. However, another verse, from Luke 18:8 (see title), makes us wonder what the Lord is trying to tell us. Also, as we look around us today, we have to wonder ourselves, – “where is the passion of God’s people?”

In a recent compilation of the evangelist Billy Graham’s quotes, put together by his son Franklin, Rev. Graham is quoted as saying, about the early Church, “When Rome was at the height of her glory and power, there appeared a disturbing sect called Christians. Because of a fire that burned within them, these people dared to be different….they refused to be defiled by the sensual practices of a disintegrating civilization…..These Christians refused to be absorbed into the godless society.” [1]

The situation in America seems to be much like that of the Roman Empire during the times of the early Church. America today seems to be disintegrating morally, and becoming more and more godless. But is the Body of Christ in the U.S. “refusing to be absorbed?” Are we truly being a light to the world we are living in? Do we actually “dare to be different?” Where is the “fire” that should be burning in us?

Has the fire gone out in the Church in America? I don’t know about you – I can only speak for myself. And I must admit that the fire in my soul often flickers very low. But even so, I’m not ready to give up hope for the Scriptures have MUCH hope to offer. Through the prophet Isaiah, God tells us “a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” And Jesus even told the lukewarm Laodicean church that He only rebukes those whom He loves. So, rather than be downhearted, we need to “be earnest, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

If we will only refocus our eyes upon the prize that the apostle Paul referred to, we will soon see that we have much to hope for in the calling of our Lord. Instead of focusing on the same pleasures of this world that our lost friends and neighbors are absorbed in, we, the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ have a much greater and higher calling. To quote from Mr. Graham again, —

“History is going somewhere. And we know full well that He who does all things well will bring beauty from the ashes of world chaos. A new world is being born. A new social order will emerge when Christ comes back. A fabulous future is on the way.”

“The second coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. Death will be modified. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. Man will live as it was originally intended he should live.”[2]

I believe it is time for the Church to dare to be different. If we only mimic the world in which we live, how will that call the lost to come to salvation in Christ. All of this world’s treasures and pleasures are temporary and completely worthless compared to the blessings of eternity.

I must admit, I’ve never been the model of discipline, but I believe it is time to turn away from the noise of this world and open our Bibles and pray. It is time to rediscover the seldom used tradition of fasting. Its time to call out to our God to grant us the gift of true repentance and revival. For our lost loved ones, for our friends and neighbors, for our nation and for ourselves.

Lord, hear my prayer today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham in Quotes, Nelson (2011), p. 57

Ibid, p. 123

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