..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain": Is What You've Built Headed for Ruin?

"And every one that heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them not, shall be
likened unto a foolish man, which built
his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods
came, and the winds blew, and beat upon
that house; and it fell: and great was
the fall of it." (Matthew 7: 26,27).

"MacArthur Park is melting in the dark,
all the sweet, green icing flowing down;
someone left a cake out in the rain,..--
Richard Harris, 1968"

This is a hard one. Earlier this month I
couldn't get that classic piece of
exhilaratingly negative foreboding,
O Fortuna, out of my mind.
It was election month,
what can I say?

Now, it's MacArthur Park.
After several rebukes it still
did not go away so I decided
to make it work for me. Last night I had
a great time in the Word looking
up every instance of "cake" and
"rain" in the bible. Two worthy
studies that I highly recommend.

It doesn't take a theologian or a spiritual
director to tell you that something
has gone terribly wrong with our
responsibility to be true to the gospel.
Lee Grady recently spoke of a
"charismatic meltdown" and his
article doesn't touch the tip of the iceberg.

A "MacArthur Park" type frosting malfunction
in wide layers of the current charismatic
movement, along with many of the other
emerging or receding movements within
Christendom, are indeed, "melting in the
dark" of their own making.

We really need to put out the
"no vacancy" sign with folk who would be
careless or crazy enough to leave
"a cake out in the rain." We honor
people who are dishonor Christ, we
embrace false teaching and a false
gospel and we don't notice the difference.
If this is the kind of people we have
become we can anticipate big trouble

As silly as it sounds, we have,
spiritually, left a lot of cakes
out in the rain. We do not really seek
after the lost, we do not really tend to
the lambs, we ignore the basic
things that God has called us to
as believers: forgiveness, reconciliation,
care of the poor, love. Our ideas and
our actions seem good to us now, but what
will hindsight and the judgment of God reveal?

I ask myself this as much as I ask you.
Scripture says "There is a way that seems
right to a man, but its end is the way
of death (Proverbs 14:12)."

The old time Pentecostals, Jimmy Swaggart
I think, used to sing, "Its beginning to rain"
--that song was about the Holy
Spirit coming. I know many people
are expecting a rain of universal
revival but most of that expectation
does not seem to be scripturally
supported. What is promised is
a great "falling away" and also
the saving of the remnant of
Israel, but that not without
unimaginable tribulation.
Somehow we think deception will
happen somewhere else, but what
if it is happening to us and
we fail to notice it? Isn't
that what the Deceiver would want?

Here in the above passage
Jesus speaks of another kind of rain--
a rain so fearsome that it will
level your house if you don't build
it carefully. That kind of rain, and
wind, and flood are starting to get
their storm mojo on, so better check the
footings and board up the windows,
here it all comes.

Brothers and sisters, we all need
to be in our place--we need to be
building where and what God wants us
to build with His building materials
or what we build will most assuredly
melt. In truth it is not we who
build but God and unless He
build it, we labor in vain that
build (Psalm 127:1).

Beloved, lots of things are
being constructed: jerry-built to
high heaven but never capable
of reaching it. Lots of things
look good on the outside but
will never weather a storm.
I'm not talking about things
outside of Christianity, but
INSIDE it, things very close to
you, things you may believe
and perhaps things you practice.

Let's face it, we need to ask
ourselves if we have left our
glorious First Love to run after lesser
things--after signs and wonders,
after prestige, or comfort, after power in
any form, or praise of men, or
the things of this world brought
into our heads and our homes, or the ways
of this world brought into
our churches. The list goes
on and is almost endless.

What we need to do is hold up all
that is being said and done,
both individually and corporately,
under the piercing light of
Scripture and measure it
against the character of our
Most Holy God.

What are we building and who
are we building with? A friend
of mine has been trying, for over
a year, to build a rather large
outbuilding. By now she's hired
a large squad of people, and just
about every last one of them has
completely wrecked his portion
of the work. Even the cement
in the foundation wasn't right,
so you can imagine. Something
that should have taken 3 months
has now taken a year and 3 months.
We need to ask ourselves how are
houses have been built. I hope
they stand up when hell and high
water come.

God says that two cannot walk
together unless they agree (Amos 3:3).
You should not build with someone who
is not of the same Spirit.
Wheat and tares may grow together
until the end but they have two
TOTALLY different agendas and
two totally different destinies.

God does not want us to build
out of our carnality or with
those with whom we are unequally
yoked and that comes in all kinds
of ways. God allows us to
make choices, and He knows we make
foolish ones. He also knows the
consequences: its much worse than
a melted, rain soaked cake.

This is a time for us to make
some serious choices about who
we build with, and what we build with,
and what we are building.
We have to know each other by the Spirit
and we have to know what post we
are meant to stand at. It can't be
a matter of the cake being left
out in the rain and "someone" else,
we don't know who, being responsible.
If everyone is on crack it
doesn't bring glory to God.

As Christians we need to be
accountable to God and to each other.
We need to each stand in our
place just as each family stood
in its place in the time of Nehemiah
while they rebuilt the wall.
All of us, without exception,
cannot assume we are in the
right place. Its time to seek
the Lord so we know where we stand
and where to stand.

You see, the Kingdom of God is
being built and God allows us
to be part of that. Will our
part be found wanting? shabby?
unusable? Will we have compromised
the Gospel? For surely our work will
all be tested by an Inspector
with a keen Eye and the
resources to shake the living
heck out of the foundation
and everything on top of it.

I fear so much of what we, what I,
have built will be quickly annihilated
when the rain comes. We think
things are sturdy but they
are cardboard. We think it is
right, but it is wrong. We
don't build from the building
code of the Spirit, with the
blueprint of Christ, under
the authority of God. We do
not check the written standards
of His Word. We may have set our
standards far too low, or associate with
those who have. Shoddy builders.
Folks who would leave the cake
out in the rain.

How often do we see people
building their house on stilts
by the ocean and then having
it knocked down by the next
"perfect storm?" Do we not learn?
If we build in that neighborhood,
we will undoubtedly share that

We need to exercise wisdom, we
need to listen to God, we need
to associate with those who are
building wisely. Many will lose
that which they have built on
emotion or feeling or spiritual
thrill-seeking or even good
intentions apart from what
God has asked of them. God is a
God of miracles but Jesus said also
that a wicked and adulterous
generation seeks after a sign
(Mat 16:4). God is a God of mercy,
but He is also a God of justice.

Our building will be tested and
we must be prepared for it. There
is every possibility we can
survive the hour of testing intact,
but so many of us, individually and
corporately, are in danger
of massive wind, rain, and flood
damage. At this point, its not too
late to build to last. It may soon be.

Dear ones, it is beginning to rain,
so if you see, sweet, green, icing
flowing down the outside of your
house, know you are in trouble.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and as for MacArthur Park,
named after that noteworthy American
general, for many years it fell
into the hands of drug dealers
and gangsters and was known for
its high murder rate. In recent
years it has undergone revitalization
and is on the upswing.

There is always hope.

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