Sunday, 21 July 2013

Three Trumpet Blasts - The Pharisee Era

Three trumpet blasts you say? What is that about? Seems like a strange title for a blog! But I wanted to convey what was on my heart and three trumpet blasts seemed the best way. Trumpets in scripture were used to call the people of God and to get their attention for a variety of reasons.

Trumpet Blast One: to rejoice before the Lord (Numbers 10:10).
Trumpet Blast Two: to warn the people of the enemy attacking (Ezekiel 33:1-6).
Trumpet Blast Three: to sound the commencement of a battle with the enemy so that the Lord will remember you for honouring Him and bring you victory in His name. (Numbers 10:9).

So what does this have to do with modern day life in the life of a mother and housewife in Brisbane, Australia? A lot! I wanted to tell my story with God so far, from the beginning. To give the prologue to where my blogs first started off. My aim? To call you to rejoice over what God has done in my life, to warn you where the enemy attacked me in my life so that it may help you in your walk with God by sharing the lessons I have learned.

I was raised in Brisbane, eldest daughter of two missionaries in a large interdenominational faith mission. I have memory after memory of God's faithfulness and constant provision in, at times, very difficult circumstances. 

At age eight I understood that I needed God. I needed his forgiveness. I needed his mercy. I needed his gift of salvation. I understood that what Jesus did through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection gave me the right to be called a child of God. I wanted that. I remember asking God for his forgiveness and his gift of salvation. I received the gift. I wanted His Lordship over my life. I gave Him the right to rule.

After my baptism at twelve years of age I noticed a big change in my faith. I wanted to study God's word and to seek him and I did nearly every day. My hunger for God and righteousness continued to grow until my early twenties. Then...

I started living like a Pharisee.

What's a Pharisee you say? Someone who doesn't practise what they preach (Matt 23:3). They are lawless. Funny because lately, in the modern churches here, you seem to hear that a Pharisee is someone who obeys the law but that's not what Jesus said. It's the opposite. He said they didn't obey. Why did I change? I wanted to be popular. To fit in amongst others at the church. I was getting flack for my faith and my stance. What did I do you ask?

I stopped praying.
I stopped obeying God's word.
I stopped soaking myself in God's word.
I stopped hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
I stopped walking in the narrow way, the way of anguish and repentance.
I stopped worshipping the Lord God and serving him only. I worshipped the self instead.
I started justifying sin.
I started dressing immodestly.
I started touching the unclean things.
I started welcoming sexual immorality.
I started reading and listening to the coarse and crass and crude.
I started calling things in Scripture 'cultural' so I didn't need to obey.
I started to ignore my children and family, abandoning them for my own pleasure and goals.
I started to rule over my husband.
I started to let anger rule
I started hiding sin.

At times, I wanted to die.

“Come back to me. Come back to me” Jesus would say, each time I would slow down enough to listen. And I would promise to do so but still did not obey. I was as spiritually dry as a desert, but still heavily involved in the church and running lots of programs. Looking to all intent and purposes like a godly woman – to the undiscerning that is. Programs can hide a lot of sin, I've found. That's the thing these days, there's no accountability in a large church. Well there wasn't for me. And yes, I was in a small group bible study. But we were mostly all doing the same things. The blind leading the blind. Sheep without a shepherd. There was little call to holiness and repentance from the pulpit - and none in the small group.

Bored one day, about 5 years ago, I read Reece Howells Intercessor by Norman Grubb. It changed my life. I remember weeping in my bedroom, confessing my sin of being a Pharisee. I told God I wanted my relationship back. I wanted to know the Living God. I wanted victory over sin. I confessed I didn't even like reading His word! I begged Him to change me and fill me with a hunger for His word. In His mercy He forgave me.

Does that mean there haven't been consequences for my sin? No!! I still had to clean up the mess. There were so many relationships I needed to heal – and He equipped me. There were so many changes I need to make to my lifestyle and He equipped me. I hate how some preachers speak as if God removes the consequences of sin on this earth when we repent. Maybe in a small way but if there were no consequences we wouldn't learn from our mistakes. By cleaning up the mess, I see how much damage it has caused and it repels me from touching the unclean again. I learn the lesson.

So I ask you to examine yourself. To see if you are pursuing Holiness and the Living God with every fibre of your being. Worship God and Him alone. Obey His word. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

Read part 2 of my story here: Three Trumpet Blasts - Suffering pt 2

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