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Visiting the Past 

Recently my wife and some very close friends visited Ireland and Scotland.

It was an amazing time of getting immersed in their current culture, the history of the past, and taking in the beauty of those two countries. What impressed me the most about their rich history was that Christianity played such an important role. The ruins of the castles we visited all had a connection to a place of worship, and had memorials to men like John Knox and St. Patrick who reformed these countries.  St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin was an amazing building filled with history and artifacts of past generations that brought the gospel toa people and a land. 

The history lessons we took in remind me of how history could be the greatest part of living, and how important it is to look back to find our meaning and purpose. History gives us the foundation of where we have been, but it can’t be the defining factor of who we are today. Every generation must build upon the foundation of the past but it must be built with a new conviction of who we are today in Christ. God used history to remind ancient Israel of her past, and how he delivered them out of slavery and gave them his instructions of how to live, written by men of faith and purpose. History is a great reminder of the mistakes and successes of our human experience. Learning from history means we will not replay the mistakes of the past, but at the same time, be inspired by the heroes of history that changed the world. 

My takeaway from our recent trip was to be inspired by the men and women of conviction that helped shape a nation to follow Christ. Today there are few who call for repentance and a turning back to God. We are shaped more by our culture that does not regard the ramifications of forgetting God and ignores His call to return to Him. Our pulpits are also silent on the issue of conviction. We like to make people feel comfortable and encouraged. I understand that God has that side of him that encourages us to come to Him and find our rest. However when does the conviction of a message become so soft it is hardly ever heard? The conviction of John Knox in Scotland was so strong against the ruling class that he called them whores from his pulpit. Now that is conviction. 

Do we have pulpits willing to bring a message of conviction? Christians changed the world because of conviction but we are trying to do it out of convenience. 

Revivals start because there is a conviction at the heart of the message. We keep people comfortable in church today and that is a mistake that history bears out. We see this mistake from ancient Israel as the Bible tells us their leaders fail to bring conviction and they drifted toward compromise. Europe is another history lesson where conviction died with the great reformers and Europe’s rich Christian heritage today has been relegated to museums and beautiful cathedrals. 

Christianity is a message of conviction. It is a message of conviction because that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He was given to the Church to convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.

John 16:8 “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

We learn from history that it takes a message of conviction to move a nation toward God, let’s hope this lesson is not entirely lost in our generation. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

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