My favorite poem of all times is Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This poem reminds me of this Scripture, copied here from the Aramaic-English New Testament
"Enter by the straight door, for wide is the door and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many are they, those that go in it. How narrow the door and straight the road that leads to life, and few are they, those that find it." Matthew 7:13-14 AENT
I have had the opportunity to fellowship with believers from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Japan, Argentina, and the Philippines. I lived outside of the United States for 12 years and now have lived back in the states for 12 years. My only emotion derived from what I have experienced is sadness in much of the church in America is sadness.
Read the commendation and indictment pronounced on the assembly of believers in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22 AMP:
And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation:
I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!
For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see.
Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.
He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.
He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).
Probably to others, the church in America is just the same as it has always been. But because we were outside of it for so long and then returned to it, we view it differently. We left the U.S. just a few years after the Jimmy Bakker/Jimmy Swaggart scandals. I think one of the reasons it was such big news, even to the worldly media is because the church still, at least in certain arenas, held up a high standard of clearly what is right and wrong. From that stone rolling, we have had the Catholic church scandals, church shootings, murder-suicides, public affairs, strange phenomena (not miraculous, just strange), and yet, there is no mass repentance, mass reform, no mass weeping for what we have done, for the little ones we have led astray. Instead, our buildings have gotten larger, our sacred music more marketable, our offering buckets larger because we've got to meet the expenses on all of this, our families more dysfunctional, our "outreaches" less about repentance and more about a social club.
I don't suggest throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are pockets of light, but isn't that the point of Matthew 7:13-14. FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.
Can we no longer sing with our own voices? Can we no longer us our homes as houses of worship? Can we no longer search the Scriptures for ourselves (we cannot possibly say we have been "fed" in a 20 minute message, can we?)?
All of our WWJD and COEXIST and other market schemes to make Jesus more palatable to the masses further illustrate that we do not know Him. Had we really searched the Scriptures, we would know not only His acts, but His ways. If you REALLY believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and you truly believe John 1:1 AMP, "IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself." Then how could He contradict Himself? How can He himself honor the Sabbath and then get rid of it or change the day? How could pronounce a curse on all that is dark and evil and then turn the house of worship into a haunted house on Halloween? How could He go from spitting in the dirt and making a salve for blinded eyes to punching someone with stomach cancer in the stomach? Would He declare sexual immorality to be wrong and then turn around and support it?
My goal, my aim, my desire is to KNOW HIM as revealed in His Word, not reinvent Him. He came to this world and manifested His glory to the Hebrew nation. Not because they were big, not because they were might, but because He was faithful to keep His word to His servant Abraham. When they rebelled against Him and were scattered to the ends of the earth as a result, He came to earth Himself, declared that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and demonstrated how to keep the commandments that He Himself established through progressive covenants, Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and new or Renewed Covenant. He established seven festivals that themselves tell the story of redemption. Paul's blessing over the community of Ephesus was, "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]." The treasury of His glory is His Word, specifically the Word that Paul would have had access to the Torah and the Prophets.
Rev. Sam Pascoe put it like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise."
Return! In Hebrew, T'shuvah! Retrace your steps back along the path, past the church coffee shops and book stores, past the T-shirts, CDs, jewelry, and greeting cards. Go home, all the way home. Take your family with you. Spend the sabbath with them. Study the word together. Let your husband lay hands on you and bless you and your children. Speak a blessing over him, EVERY WEEK. Look forward to it, delight yourself in it. Invite people over. Dance, pray, study, laugh. Let them be themselves and untie the yokes that bind them. Pull them out of ditches. Love the Lord and Love His people. Connect. Romans 12:9 AMP, "[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good."
I'm empty of words now. LOL! But today is the Sabbath, and I am SO looking forward to getting my refill!