Ruins

Some say the worship of the church today is in ruins.
The old ways, the tried and proven ways, are gone and in their place are experiments of dubious origin and doubtful outcome.

Others say the church is in ruins. The world has passed her by. She clings to outdated thinking and methods. It is time to rethink, redefine, and retool. We must become all things to all people to win some.

Still others say the world is in ruins. Man’s worship of Himself as the measure of all things has proven to be the most destructive of all idolatries. Despair has become the highest hope of the best people.

Anything that people built will eventually fall into ruin.
The world is littered with the ruins of great civilizations whose crumbling temples, palaces, castles, and monuments testify silently of the temporary nature of the most ancient of things. Tourists climb over them and take pictures, trying their best to recapture the past when real people occupied these old structures and the silent crumbling walls were sturdy and reflected the sounds of real life.

Societies of concerned citizens organize to protect the falling down houses and restore the neglected historical sights before time can destroy them completely. Why? Ruins of the past seem to somehow speak to us of the future. We are in the middle of a journey others have started and still others will finish. We need a connection to the past that gives meaning to today and a promise of tomorrow.

Ruin is the way of the world; time and gravity win eventually. All that is left are the hollowed out walls and arches of cathedrals hundreds of years old and the dry-rotted clapboard and collapsing roofs of humble country churches only a hundred or so years old.

But ruin is not the way of the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ!
Restoration is the business of King Jesus. Just as He was a builder in His shop in Nazareth for 30 years, He is now the rebuilder of broken lives. In this He does the work of His Father. It is practically routine that biblical heroes were reduced to ruins at some point and when they turned to God, he restored them.

If this is not your story yet, it probably will be someday. The enemy deals in ruin and few escape it completely in this life. Satan tells us the story is over. The curtain has fallen and there is no reason to go on.

But, as the old-time preachers used to say about the Devil, “He is a liar and the father of it.”

There is no ruin that Jesus cannot renovate, no relic that He cannot restore, and no derelict beyond His re-design. Impervious to time and untouched by gravity, the Lord’s work is quality work, work that stands the storm and resists the ravages of time.

But ruin is not the way of the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ!
Restoration is the business of King Jesus. Just as He was a builder in His shop in Nazareth for 30 years, He is now the rebuilder of broken lives. In this He does the work of His Father. It is practically routine that biblical heroes were reduced to ruins at some point and when they turned to God, he restored them.

If this is not your story yet, it probably will be someday. The enemy deals in ruin and few escape it completely in this life. Satan tells us the story is over. The curtain has fallen and there is no reason to go on.

But, as the old-time preachers used to say about the Devil, “He is a liar and the father of it.”

Look at people through the eyes of Christ.

  • When we see the homeless one leaning against the wall of a building in the center of the city,
  • when we hear of the recluse locked away in a fog of regret and pain, and
  • when we see young people speeding down the many roads to ruin, we should pray,

“Lord, speak to them somehow! Let some human hand be Your hand, some human voice tell them of Your love.” They are ruins waiting for someone to restore them before time and circumstance have finished their work.

There is no ruin that Jesus cannot renovate, no relic that He cannot restore, and no derelict beyond His re-design. Impervious to time and untouched by gravity, the Lord’s work is quality work, work that stands the storm and resists the ravages of time.

Scriptures:
Psalm 74 
O God, why have you utterly cast us off? Why is your wrath so hot against the sheep of your pasture? Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago, the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance, and Mount Zion where you dwell. Turn your steps toward the endless ruins; the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary. Your adversaries roared in your holy place; they set up their banners as tokens of victory…They burned down all the meeting-places of God in the land. There are no signs for us to see; there is no prophet left; there is not one among us who knows how long. How long, O God, will the adversary scoff? will the enemy blaspheme your Name for ever? Why do you draw back your hand? why is your right hand hidden in your bosom? Yet God is my King from ancient times, victorious in the midst of the earth…Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the moon and the sun. You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter. …Arise, O God, maintain your cause; remember how fools revile you all day long. Forget not the clamor of your adversaries, the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.
Isaiah 58:11-12 NKJV
The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Isaiah 51:3 NKJV
For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me see people with Your eyes! Each one is a creation in Your image, though that visage may be horribly marred by things done to him/her or the things his/she has done. I divest myself of any pretense of superiority on my part. Ruin has touched my life, too. But when I called to You, You answered with a healing, restoring touch. Your carpenter’s hands are skillful and willing to touch anyone I can see as I walk this earth. Restore us, again, O Lord! Amen.

Song:
The Healing Waters
Words: H.H. Heimar; Music: L. L. Pickett

1. Oh, the joy of sins forgiv’n,
Oh, the bliss the blood-washed know,
Oh, the peace akin to Heav’n,
Where the healing waters flow.

Refrain
Where the healing waters flow,
Where the joys celestial glow,
Oh, there’s peace and rest and love,
Where the healing waters flow!

2.Now with Jesus crucified,
At His feet I’m resting low;
Let me evermore abide
Where the healing waters flow.

Refrain

3.O, this precious, perfect love!
How it keeps the heart aglow,
Streaming from the fount above,
Where the healing waters flow.

Refrain

4.Oh, to lean on Jesus’ breast,
While the tempests come and go!
Here is blessèd peace and rest,
Where the healing waters flow.

Refrain

5.Cleansed from every sin and stain,
Whiter than the driven snow,
Now I sing my sweet refrain,
Where the healing waters flow.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

For an article on the restorative ministry of the Holy Spirit go to: “Turning Hearts” http://stevephifer.com/renewal-4/

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