From Within…

There have been many scandals throughout history.  Scandals of all kinds and sorts with plots ranging from ‘this to that’.  One of those which took place in our time shook our trust in leadership and formed our thoughts about who we want to lead us.  This particular scandal took place in non-other than Washington D.C.  That is right, our federal government and the Watergate scandal, as it became known, which started with a break-in of one of the party offices and it ballooned from there.  What came out of that was some prison terms for some men in the top echelon of government.
One of them that became well known after getting out of prison wrote some books about what he did and his conversion to Christianity.  He has left an impact on many because of ability to be forthright and fess up for what he did and how he had destroyed peoples trust in him by the role he played in all of this.  Chuck Colson has left a legacy for all to learn from.
We select our leaders based one their past experience in politics and what they have done to uphold the law of the land.  The candidates also have their academic and business acumen, as well as their personal lives gone over with a fine tooth comb.  Debates are set so we can hear their answers to various questions that are put together for that purpose so we get a better idea of what makes the man.
There is another way.  In His selection of a king for Israel, God said to Samuel “Do not judge from appearance or lofty stature…Not as man sees does God see, for man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart”(Samuel 16:7).  Later on in the life of David and his son Solomon, David says to his son “As for you, Solomon, my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing soul, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts.  If you seek Him, he will let himself be found by you; but if you abandon him, he will cast you off forever.  The Lord has chosen you to build a house as His sanctuary.  Take courage and set to work.”(1Chr 28:9-10)  Then there is the testing of Gideon and the way his army was pared down from 32,000 troops to 300 men with whom he defeated the Midianites.  The way that God chose to test those men was curious but God works in mysterious ways.  Jesus knows the hearts of men;  Jesus knows the hearts of many.  “You may look spiritual on the outside, going to church and acting ‘Christianly’, but your heart may be full of sin.”(JOHN F. MACARTHUR).
Nicodemus, a rabbinical scholar in Jesus’ time, did not understand when Jesus said man had to be born again.  He knew that man could not reenter the womb so he asked how that was possible,  to be reborn.  The crux of Jesus response was that the heart needs to be healed, to be regenerated.  This is done why?  God cannot live in a place full of sin so it needs to be healed and cleansed.  The source of that healing is the Father and the Holy Spirit does the cleaning to prepare that place for God to take up residence.  Regeneration precedes FAITH.  Regeneration is not a fruit but rather it is the work of the Spirit.  Thus by faith, we are a new creation.  This healing is not the full experience of conversion.  “What we do should flow from who we are”.(Chuck Colson)  Now because my nature is darkness, I can never regenerate myself.
Everyone who believes moves from condemned to saved and being born again is the beginning of that process.  Being born again involves my heart and not my head.   God’s decision is to regenerate, my responsibility is to believe and receive.
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