"It's really cold outside" has been the commentary given by many people in our region as well as by local newscasters here in Greater New Orleans in recent days. Like most of the nation, we've been the recipients of an Arctic blast that has sent temperatures to near record lows in our region for this time of the year. The record low for mid-January on the Southshore is 20 degrees and on the Northshore is 15 degrees, both records set in January 2018. And we've been close to those numbers yesterday and today.
I'm certainly concerned about very cold temperatures, especially how they affect people who are homeless or people who live with substandard home heating systems. But I'm even more concerned with how "cold" many people's hearts have become in our day - even people who could claim to be professing Christians.
I'm currently teaching a midweek series at Celebration on Airline titled, Get Ready - Jesus Is Coming. I'm teaching on that subject because anytime there is a big conflict in or around the nation of Israel like is currently going on, people begin to wonder if the return of the Lord and the "end of time" is at hand. Tonight I will be teaching about "The Signs Of The Times," and Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that one of the "signs'' that the "end of time" is near is that "Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold."
"Do you have a heart that is 'hot for the Lord' or 'hot to help others'?"
Now, we know that the hearts of non-believing human beings have been "cold", extremely cold for a long, long time. That's why there's been so much anger, bitterness, envy, hurt, injustice and immorality in our world throughout the centuries. But in recent years, we've seen the hearts of professing Chrisians "grow cold" just like Jesus predicted would happen in Matthew 24. The hearts of many Christians have grown so "cold" that they rarely feel a desire or need to read their Bible, pray wholeheartedly, attend Church worship services, grow and learn with other Christians, share their faith with others or be involved in serving God through serving others. And because "the love of many (including many Christians) has grown cold," the world is going downhill instead of uphill at a faster pace than ever.
So let me ask you, "Do you have a heart that is 'hot for the Lord' or 'hot to help others'?" Do you have a fire in your inner being that prompts you to regularly read God's Word, spend time in prayer, and join fellow Christians in worship services, small groups and ministry service? Do you have a heart that is "hot" for growing in your relationship with the Lord and helping others? If you don't, you may be one of the reasons that the Lord is planning to return to our earth in the near future to rescue and reward His "hot-hearted people" and judge the rest of the world and defeat the Devil and his legions once and for all.
Some people are "fasting" 1-2-3 meals a day from now through lunchtime on January 21. Others are participating in a Daniel Fast (no wheats, meats or sweets), and some are fasting from other things like social media, watching television at night, etc.
I'm not completely sure whether or not we're in the "last days." But I am sure of this truth. I am sure that those who don't allow their hearts to grow cold are the ones that will be blessed by the Lord in this life, and rewarded by Him in the next life. So let me encourage you in these "last days" (or days leading up to the "last days") to pursue a "hot relationship with the Lord." Pursue Him with all your heart. In doing so you will find joy and peace in this life, you will be a blessing to the Lord and many others, and you will receive many accolades and awards in the next life.
By the way, we're streaming that series I'm teaching, Get Ready - Jesus Is Coming. So if you're not able to make it in-person on Wednesday nights, you can catch it online HERE. I believe you will be encouraged as you check it out.
Speaking of having a "hot heart" for the Lord, I encourage you to keep praying and fasting with us over the next couple of days. I believe that as you "seek the Lord" with all your heart through daily prayer and fasting that you will encounter the Lord, hear from Him, receive direction from Him, and see Him begin to work mightily in your life, circumstances or relationships, or in the lives, circumstances and relationships of those you are praying for.
This past Sunday we launched IT'S TIME TO CHANGE at our Celebration Campuses. We learned this past Sunday that we will experience positive and powerful changes in our lives, circumstances and relationships as we: 1) Acknowledge Our Need For Change, 2) Believe That God Can Change Us, 3) Commit To Letting God Change Us, and 4) Determine To Give Our Best Effort. If you weren't able to join us, catch the online service HERE. And plan to join us this weekend in-person or online.
By the way, it's cold outside, but it's been really "hot" in our Worship Services at our Celebration Campuses. There is a great sense of excitement and enthusiasm from our Worship service attendees, and a tangible sense of the Lord's presence. And we've already seen big numbers of people experience the transforming presence and power of Jesus in their lives. So join us this Sunday as we continue IT'S TIME TO CHANGE. And ask your friends and family members who need and want "change" in their lives to come along with you.
IT'S TIME TO CHANGE!