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DALLAS~ We Have Sinned - Friday, April 20th, 2007

“They said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.’
When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, ‘I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statues, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.
Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’”
Nehemiah 1:4-9

Yesterday, with the guidance of a relief agency in Dallas that works with physical, emotional and spiritual crisis, I had an opportunity to visit a residential area located in Dallas County that has no drinking water. Yeah, you read it right. We are in the 21st century, located in a major metropolitan city and there is a small community of 54 homes that do not have water that they can drink. I am completely heart-broken over this fact. And it is a fact. I was there and saw the situation for my very own eyes. How can this be Lord? In a culture where wealth runs rampant, and yet 15 miles away, a community is thirsting for clean, drinkable water. Why haven’t I ever heard about this sad situation before? Could it be that much has been swept under the rug and no one is to know and find out? Who are we to say, but it doesn’t look right.

This poor community doesn’t have a voice for them. They don’t have any advocates. A food bank does bring out a pallet of water to them once a month. But that is once a month. The three local churches in the area help when they can. But the reality is, they are in need of more water. Yet, as a group of us (from the revival) met with the individuals in charge of the water distribution, they appeared to be calm. They appeared to be at peace. The soft-spoken leader of the community, an elderly African-American lady, is a believer who has such a sweet spirit about her. Her demeanor is precious. And despite not having water to drink from the faucet, she has adapted to the unfortunate environment. It is all she and her neighbors have known for decades. Literally.

But to me, there is something wrong with this picture. The county won’t provide the plumbing to their houses. But even if they did, then the houses would have to be condemned. Their houses are very small in nature, and more in likely wouldn’t pass current residential code if they were given the appropriate plumbing. Worse yet, the ground has been contaminated by the local nearby septic plant, so from what I understand, the well system won’t even work. So what do we do? How do we handle this situation?

Well, first and foremost before any action can be taken, confession must take place. Look at the life of Nehemiah. When he learned about the devastation of Jerusalem, Nehemiah wept, prayed, fasted, and mourned over his city’s bleak situation. But even more so, he confessed the sins of the city to God. Nehemiah knew that nothing could come to fruition in the future for his city, unless he acknowledged the sinfulness of God’s people. Therefore Nehemiah said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statues, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”

As Nehemiah did, I too want to confess on behalf of our city and county. I live in this county and we have neglected our people. Even if I didn’t know about this sin prior to now, I confess before the Lord. Promises have been made, and nothing has been followed through. It appears that the individuals have turned their back against this unfathomable problem. So as a result of the actions (not) taken in this city and county, I want to confess before God my Father and the body of Christ in Dallas.

“Oh Lord, please forgive us for we have turned our back against You. Oh Lord, we have attempted to hide our sins from You.
Please Lord, forgive us of our negligence taken in this county. Forgive us for not remembering the great two commandments, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Please Lord, graciously grant us mercy in this time.”

Confession will draw us closer to the Lord. And as Nehemiah revealed, it must be honest and real. For when we do confess our sins, God will remain faithful to His people. In the Israelites’ case, Nehemiah reminded God of this hope when he said, “Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’” Therefore, as the body of Christ in Dallas, let us no longer ignore the sins within our city. God is willing to listen and forgive, so what are we waiting for? The time is now ~ let us acknowledge our wrong-doings and confess.
-klm

" We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again."

- G. Campbell Morgan