Monday, August 14, 2017
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"They had to use the paddles on him." Now that sounds like something we might say about an exasperated parent's response to an out-of-control child. But the paddles we're talking about here were the ones they used on our neighbor when he was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. His wife said they saved his life by using the "paddles" on him. Actually, what they used was a device called a defibrillator. (You see why most people call them the paddles.) The defibrillator has two paddles that, after they are placed on the patient's chest, generate this strong electric jolt to restart the heart. More and more ambulances are carrying them, more and more emergency medical technicians are being trained to use them, and they are in more and more public places. When the heart stops, something has to be done to get it going again - even if it takes a big jolt.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Big Jolt To Your Heart."
Actually, that might be God's prescription for your heart condition right now. Because a heart that was once beating strong spiritually can start slowing down, and even stop beating. Something radical has got to be done to restart a heart for God that is in trouble. That's where God brings out His "paddles" to administer a shock to bring someone back to life.
Now our word for today from the Word of God is in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. Verse 14 is that classic verse on spiritual revival. Well known. It lays out the steps we need to take to receive the answers to our seemingly unanswered prayers...to make a new beginning...to fix what's broken in our lives. Here's what God says. "If My people, who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
Those are pretty aggressive steps to get back a spiritual life and health that you have lost. What would make us come to the point where we would surrender our self-reliance and our pride, get on our knees, and abandon the sin and compromise we have been tolerating? What makes us come back to life is a jolt from God.
In verse 13, the one right before this great formula for revival, God says this. "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people, if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves..." and so on...in other words God says, "I have to wake you up somehow so you will realize what you've lost and you will pay the price to get it back." So He sends the drought, the locusts, the plague - not because He doesn't love you, but because He does! The doctor administers that electric jolt, not because he doesn't care about the patient, but because he does. He knows it's what it will take to bring the patient back to life.
So maybe this explains why you've been having some of the jolts that you've been getting hit with lately. You've been asking, "Why?" and God is answering, "To restart your failing heart." The jolts are God's shocks to get your attention so you will listen to what He's been trying to say to you. You haven't responded to His gentler therapies, so now He has sent these jolts to bring you back.
So you've got the pain...now please get the point. It may be all about you returning to your first love for Jesus...to establishing your daily Jesus-time as the center of your life...maybe He's calling you to a new purity where there's a zero tolerance for sin in your life. In order to reach us, God sends situations - like plagues and droughts - that are totally beyond our power to fix so we will surrender again to the only One who can. Sometimes He allows us to become emotionally isolated so we are shut up alone with Him, to find our identity and our fulfillment totally in Him.
So, if you've been feeling the jolts lately, consider the possibility that God sent them to bring you back to life. He knows your heart for Him has been slowing down, even stopping. And He's not going to let you slip away. Your Father who loves you is sending those jolts to restart your heart.