A few years ago I worked for a cleaning company, kind of like Merry Maids, where I went to different homes and scrubbed them down until they shone. It was hard work, and I came home everyday exhausted from the hard, physical labor from bending to clean tubs and those hard to reach places. There were many different houses we did, with lots of varying circumstances of the people who lived in each one. I can remember one particular house we did that always bothered me when I went inside. It was a beautiful house, very big, with lots of bathrooms. My job was to clean the bedrooms and the bathrooms, so I always started on one end of the house and worked my way down to the other end. I remember getting to the last bathroom and as I scrubbed that large shower, I felt a heaviness inside. The Lord laid on my heart to pray for the children in the house. They were living a mixed up life, from what I could tell in the pictures I had seen in their rooms, and it made me sad for them. So I began to lift them up to the Lord, and it led to praying for my children, and for their future too. I began to say a line, "For the sake of the children, Lord, be merciful. For the sake of the children, Lord, be forgiving..." I thought about the future of my children, and what the world might be like when they are my age. I can remember my grandmother saying to me, "It was not like this when I was younger. Things have become so much worse and scary in the world." Now as I look back to the days when I was a little girl, I find myself saying the same exact thing to my children. Things have changed, from bad to worse. So for the sake of our children I pray.
We just finished up an awesome youth conference at our church, and though I did not hear all the messages, the ones I did hear were amazing. They were about standing strong in a generation that all bows down to the same god, the world, and nobody wants to stand up and be different. Nobody wants to be pointed out because it may mean there is a cost. Like the three boys thrown into the fiery furnace, they stood for what was right in their time. They would not bow down to the golden image their king had set up. We must choose to stand for what is right no matter the cost.
Then you take Lot, who moved to Sodom, which God wanted to destroy. The preacher made a very good point here: he said that it was not for the one reason we think of when we think of Sodom that God wanted to destroy the city. No, there is a list of sins in the Bible that were before the one that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Ezekiel 16:49 says, "Behold, this is the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idlness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Does this not describe our country? God hates sin. All sin. Nothing is bigger or worse in His eyes. It is all the same. He loves people, but hates the sin they commit. That is why He came...to save us from our sin. During the message the speaker said that we need to be righteous in a dark world, to be holy in a impure world, and to pray for the sake of our children. Those words hit me hard...those were the words God had given me years ago, and I have prayed them over and over again since that day. Yet, to hear it confirmed through a message to our teenagers, it made it grow even stronger in my heart to pray and beg God about this country for the sake of our children.
As a little girl, I spent hours in the woods playing, making forts, walking, and enjoying the wonderous beauty of God's handiwork all around me. To this day I believe I love nature so much because I spent time in it, learning the smells, sounds, and delicate markings of everything God's hand had created, right down to the smallest detail of the lines on a maple leaf. I learned to see God through the outdoors and He became real to me because of it. One other message that spoke to my heart was the one about falling in love with God. A young person may not fall in love with God so easily these days. With the fear of ticks and bugs, or kidnappings over the fence or at parks, and with the over abundant use of electronics, young people do not spend as much time outside as we once did. They spend more time in the house, staring at a stupid screen for hours on end, missing the beauty of what lies just outside their window. The soft gentle breezes blow, tapping on their windows, yet the shades remain down so the light will not come in and cause a 'glare on the screen.' They remain oblivious to the call of God around them, to the intricate details God has laid out in their own backyards, and we wonder why so many young people are not following after the Lord after they graduate? It is because God has not become real to them! It is because they have not fallen in love with Him. Yes, it may take a lifetime to fall in love, but the desire needs to be there. It may take years of seeing God work in your life; it may take many answers to prayers, but if the desire is not there then it will never happen. God died on that cross with you on His mind. He shed His blood so you would not have to pay for your own sins. He took them upon His own shoulders and bore them for you. I want to fall in love with Jesus and let my light shine for Him. I want to stand strong and be holy, for the sake of my children. Amen.