Complete Forgiveness!

By Jon Marc Lyttle on April 12, 2012

Easter is the time when I realize afresh just how much it cost God that I could be forgiven. He gave his only begotten Son, sent Him to die a terrible death, turned His back on Him, and allowed Him to suffer the deepest of agony and humiliation, that as undeserving sinners each one of us could be forgiven for all our sin. Not only the past but the future sins as well. Amazing!!!
Of course, we know now that Jesus did not stay dead, but that did not make His suffering any less or the shame of carrying my sin any easier for Jesus to bear. But again, it makes our lives so much better when we can know Jesus now and have a relationship with Him, even while still on this earth!! Again, amazing and awesome!!
Before Jesus could pay the price of our sins, He had to bear the shame and the weight of these sins even though He never committed them. Therefore, before we can know His complete forgiveness of our sins, we need to acknowledge that we have sinned. So often, this is not the case! When a person is asked if they want to accept Jesus, some people say they do without ever being convicted of the sins they have committed. I don’t believe it is possible to fully repent of sins that we haven’t even admitted to ourselves.
As a younger Christian, it used to puzzle me how it was that a drunkard or addict who was wonderfully saved, could turn so easily away from alcohol or drugs, yet someone who knew and understood their need to trust Jesus could still dabble in pornography or have trouble giving up smoking etc. But eventually, I understood that those who get saved from a deeply sinful life, know what they are, accept responsibility for all they’ve done, and realising the enormity of their sin, they lay it down gladly at His feet. They are indeed made into new creations when they accept His offer of salvation!
I also believe that is why, instead of living victorious Christian lives, so many of us live in fear, because of never having accepted responsibility for what we have done. We lose out on so much of what God has in store for us, so much of what He wants to bless us with and do through us, because we don’t acknowledge our guilt and wrongdoing, and asking Him to remove that sin from our lives forever. He has promised to do just that, to remove our sins far from us and has even chosen to remember them no more. Those of us who have been privileged to sit under the sound of the Gospel, in church and at home for most of our lives, need to realize that it was our sins that nailed Him to the tree, and even if there had only been our sins, Jesus would still have had to die the same death to save us!
I have met many believers who have fallen again into sin, but, who after a period of time come back and try to continue from where they left off. But the spark is missing! The joy of the Lord is clouded by fear of further wrong doing, as they seem to be still living in shame. Is it because the sin was dealt with too lightly, without them really accepting responsibility for their actions? Sin costs and sin leaves consequences behind. Jesus bears the scars of sin and the cross for eternity, not because He had to, but He chose to that we don’t have to. Accept responsibility, make things right with those who have been wronged, if possible, and then lay the sin down at His feet for ever. That way the joy will return and He will give beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for sadness.
One aspect of being completely forgiven is that we can also be forgiven by those we have wronged, but that is not possible if we don’t, up front, acknowledge our sin. As a believer, even if the other person doesn’t want to be forgiven or doesn’t realize the need for forgiveness, we are still required to forgive to keep us from bitterness, to enhance our maturity in Christ and deepen our relationship with God. Likewise, as the person who has done wrong, we are expected to go to the one wronged, and ask their forgiveness, before we can know complete freedom and once again experience the joy of the Lord and the fullness of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
What a cost it was for Christ to die, but what an undeserved Salvation we have because He was willing!!!! Because the debt was paid in full, we can have total freedom in this life, not waiting till we get to Heaven, but trusting in His paid penalty every day!!! Happy Easter!

Until That Day Dawns

By Wilma on February 21, 2012

On February 6th 2012, my mother, Betty MacDonald, was lifted to Heaven in the arms of her Saviour. She passed quickly with no fuss and no ado, so typical of my mother, who never wanted to cause anyone any bother. Yet, her whole life was spent serving others as the vast crowd at her funeral stood to testify to. She was a lovely lady and we will all miss her.
She would have rejoiced at her own funeral service, as she loved good hearty singing of hymns and the passage and solo were her favourites. One of Mum’s much-loved hymns was ‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,’ and we know that she was experiencing that amazement as we were singing the hymn. If the church door was open and services were on, mum was there. She left a gap in many ways, yet, if given the choice, she would not change being in the presence of the Lord for returning to this earth. As her favourite Scripture Psalm 27 says, ‘The Lord is my Light and my Salvation’ and she is experiencing that to the full now.
We as a family, benefitted from her example of caring for others. Numerous people told us of the things mum did for them, from feeding them when they were hungry, to rescuing them from a life of alcohol, even to putting them in their place, when it was needed. She had a great gift of hospitality and caring for others and I hope we are able to follow that example a little.
Our father, Neil MacDonald, had, in mum, a faithful, strong woman, who stood by him through thick and thin and without her, he would not have achieved as much as he did in life. As children, each one of us knew we were faithfully prayed for throughout our lives. As missionaries, both Elizabeth’s family and ours have known what it is to have parents who prayed and supported us through many years and many travels. Mum and Dad came out to various countries we were involved with, to help out in mission activities, even though some of the work was difficult.
Our children, learnt much from their grandparents who especially enjoyed spending time with them when it was possible. During periods of deputation they came to where we were living and looked after our children while we travelled to the mainland for services. Their influence on these boys will live on for many years and has already helped them in many facets of their lives.
Many thanks to all who prayed, sent cards or phoned us over this sad time. We appreciate your participation in our grief and are very grateful to be part of the huge family of God!!! It is us, the left behind that feel bereft, even though we know it is only for a short time. How precious to have the knowledge that one day, in the not too distant future, we will meet again and the rejoicing will be a huge celebration. Mum loved celebrations and parties and you cannot imagine the party we will have when that day dawns!!!

Nevertheless, However, Even so & Yet!

By Wilma on December 14, 2011

Some words in the Bible we always remember, while others we often forget
Words like ‘nevertheless’ and ‘however,’ or like ‘even so’ and ‘yet’!
These words full of grace, mercy and hope, tell us He’s promised far more
In His perfect plan, He has made a way ‘in spite of what has gone before.’

400 years there was silence from Heaven, for sins that His people had done
Nevertheless, God remembered He said, ‘One day a Redeemer would come.’
People were waiting, expecting a King, to come to this earth for to reign
However, God chose to send His own Son, to bring back His People again!

He came as a babe, grew into a man. Loved, taught, healed and cared
Even so, He was God, therefore knew of the plan, His Father had prepared
Though He was hailed as the Jewish King, when he rode on the back of an ass
Yet, the promise of God to redeem our souls meant Jesus would die on a cross

In the garden that night, in anguish He asked, was there no other way
Nevertheless, in obedience, was ready to die, the price for our sin to pay
We, who had wandered from God and His Will, deserved to be hung on that tree
However, His death paid the price for us all, that we from sin’s curse can be free.

Peter denied any knowledge of Christ, when asked by a maid on the way
Even so, He was first to run to the tomb, when Christ had arisen that day
Ashamed at the look he’d felt from the Lord, Peter left to fish on the sea
Yet, Jesus forgave him and called Peter forth, His loyal apostle to be.

A Samaritan woman, married five times, despised by most in her town
Nevertheless, after meeting with Christ, made sure His message was known
The prodigal Son, spent all that he had, was hungry, lonely and tired
However, was welcomed home as a son, and not as one who was hired

Saul, met with God, in his great quest to kill, those who would follow our Lord
Even so, as Paul, he built up the church, while penning much of God’s Word
Young Mark, overwhelmed by all he had seen, decided to leave Paul alone
Yet Paul, when in prison, requested his help in getting the needed task done.

We oft feel unworthy, so foolish and frail, yet no one the Lord will refuse!
No matter how little we think we can do, even so, our weakness He’ll use.
However, He won’t leave us just as we are, God fits us for Heaven above.
Nevertheless, as we wait for His Coming one day, we should reach out to others in love.

As one year ends with the future unknown, yet, the best is still to appear
When some days are dark and troubles are many, even so, we need not fear
We wish you His Love and peace for each day, however, you need it the best
No matter what life should bring on the way, you can look for God’s nevertheless!
Wilma Lyttle Christmas 2011

Greek Crisis – an Evangelical View

By Wilma on November 14, 2011

I’m glad to provide a guest post by Dr. Myrto Theocharous (M.A. Wheaton College. Ph.D Cambridge Uni ), Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at the Greek Bible College in Athens. She provides some reflections from Habakkuk on the Greek economic crisis from the vantage point of a Greek evangelical. I think for many this will dive clarity into the situation here in Greece at this time and the responsibility we as believers have to use the opportunity. Wilma

The Greek debt crisis, while tragic, affords the opportunity to face hitherto hidden dilemmas for evangelicals. Parallel to the prophet Habakkuk’s view, the problem is both national and global. On the one hand there is the national ethical degradation. Greece is a nation which has learned to operate in its daily dealings through unlawful means, a situation which was often purposefully left unnoticed by government officials and the country’s leadership as this allowed them to pursue their own corrupt schemes undisturbed. These schemes included feeding off EU grants and loans, but also taxation from those who were not in a position to hide their incomes (usually those at the bottom), while at the same time enjoying political asylum. This cycle of corruption had become the established way of survival in the country and it was very difficult for anyone to do business without participating in one measure or another in this game. Businesses that refused to “bribe” their way in were easily marginalized and lost in bureaucracy.
On the other hand, as Habakkuk also observed in his time, the oppression comes from outside. Greece is one of the few countries that faced occupation for centuries. Upon escaping from Ottoman rule, the Greeks were faced not only with World Wars, but also civil wars, dictatorships and multiple Turkish threats (all in the last century) with each of these leaving irrecoverable wounds and a deep suspicion of government. The euro did bring some development for the country’s infrastructure… but much got lost in other pockets—yet no one at that level is ever punished.
In the crisis that we face today, although all have sinned, some have sinned to become wealthy and some have sinned to survive. Lots of Greeks see that not everyone is paying to make things right, thus perpetuating an unjust system where the elite always manage to escape with their funds unscathed. It is the lower strata of society that have to carry the burden for the sins of the powerful: their salaries are slashed, thousands have lost their jobs, cannot pay for their rent, stores are closing down one after the other – all sheep to the slaughter for saving the banks.
How does the evangelical religious minority react to this? On the one hand, the traditional approach continues: the church remains focused on spiritual issues and individual guilt, while passively submitting to the government (appealing to Romans 13) and trusting the EU’s “roadmap” on how to get out of the financial mess. Some tend to emphasize the church’s “heavenly” citizenship and the imminent coming of Christ, which render political involvement futile. Evangelistic efforts and charity continue, both of which focus on saving individuals from the clutches of what seems to be an irredeemable society. Without discounting the traditional approach, some are beginning to place greater focus on systemic evil, assessing what should be the level of their political involvement and what direction it should take. For some the evil lies in the productivity-killing corrupted socialist system of Greece, while for others it is to be found in the poverty-generating greed inherent in global capitalism.
Theological and political issues are thus discussed with an acute sense of urgency, as previous perspectives are now being put to the test in life-altering ways; there is no doubt that all of us will emerge from this changed. While there is currently no unified viewpoint or course of action among Greek evangelicals, the crisis is demanding a reevaluation of the church’s role in the political sphere, something we must all pursue in open and deep scriptural reflection in order for the church to be relevant to our troubled world. As the world learns from the Greek debt crisis, let us hope the lessons learned by Greek evangelicals will be heard and heeded by believers in countries whose turn for crisis has not yet come; for as Habakkuk assures us, it certainly will.
Myrto Theocharous, Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Greek Bible College, Athens

A Real Prayer conference!

By Wilma on November 3, 2011

Recently, we were invited to a Prayer Conference for countries in the Balkan Area. We did not have a program in advance as this was the first conference organized by our friends there. All we knew was it should begin in the evening of Friday and David was to preach at the ministry service on Sunday at 11am.
Soon after arriving, we heard of many who had traveled 12-14 hours, cramped together as many as possible in one vehicle, to get there. They arrived tired, disheveled but ready for the weekend! Some of them told us how hard it had been to get a free day from work on the Friday and how their bosses did not understand their need to go, warning them they had better be present and ready to work on Monday morning.
Then the prayer times began and we were split up into small groups according to the language we understood best. As 9 or 10 countries were represented that put us in small groups of maybe 7/8 people. And so we began to pray. I left at midnight with a few others who were dead tired and the rest prayed on!
Over the weekend each country was given a few minutes to present the needs for prayer in their country and church. Then it was directly to prayer! All day Saturday, apart from mealtimes, when the food was ready to be served b the staff and did not take long to devour! At the evening meal, we were all told it was the day to change the clock back, and we should do it immediately, as it would mean we could pray for an extra hour!!! Why did I not think of it that way?
It was amazing to watch believers praying for each other’s countries, where not so long ago there was war between these nations! Even more amazing was to see nations where generations of hatred and bitterness has left people at various stages of disagreement, placing hands on another’s shoulders as they prayed fervently for the church in that land. Certainly, with God there are no barriers! Some who had fought in the war, said they still had some unease to be in the other country, but there was no problem fellowshiping with their brothers!
Again I left them praying around midnight, to begin again after 6 am continuing where we left off. By this time, there was some brokenness among those who were known to be the stalwarts of the faith in some countries, as they acknowledged allowing traditionalism and legalism to rule in their fellowships for so many years and having suffered by not seeing any fruit for their labor in the past 40 years. God had given them an opportunity to see widespread evangelism done in the area 40 years previously, but because the leader of the evangelistic outreach was not from their denomination, they refused to have him. This man has since been used by God to see hundreds find the Lord in India, and the elders who refused him have realized their folly in refusing God’s opportunity. They repented and we know ‘God will restore the years the locusts have eaten’ but how sad for the generation who have grown up without knowing the Gospel.
Apart from the Breaking of Bread worship service followed by ministry of the Word brought by David, the rest of the weekend was spent in prayer and then after a quick meal the travelers turned round, got into their cramped cars again, for the return journey lasting another 12-14 hrs.
What a weekend! It has been a long time since I spent so much time in consistent, concentrated prayer! Yet, it was a great time, made even more wonderful by witnessing how vision and burden for the lost was renewed in each of the participants as we left for home, meaning we were already seeing answered prayer. This was really a Prayer Conference where not so much was talked about among us, but everything was prayed about and God was the Divine listener and motivator of every conversation!

We Have the Answer!

By Wilma on October 23, 2011

Living in Greece during these troubled times, we witness the increased poverty, feel the frustrations of the people, the abject hopelessness is tangible at times, even though the media do an expert job of exaggerating the rioting! There has not been anyone killed in the uprisings and the one man who did die, had taken a cardiac arrest, due most likely to stress and made increasingly probable by devouring too many gyros! I have no clue why the media need to put everything so far out of proportion, as there is plenty of things they can write about the problems without resorting to lies and gross exaggeration!
Most people won’t hear on their news broadcast that a young man in Greece was imprisoned for the simple act of spreading the Gospel, not in a Muslim country, but in a land where they profess to be a Christian (albeit Orthodox) nation. Is it any wonder the blessing of God is not on the land when they do such things to those trying to help the situation, by giving people hope!
Someone once said that there are 366 occasions in the Bible where we are told to ‘Fear Not’ to ‘Depend on the Lord’ or some other admonition to that effect, this being one promise for every day of the year even a leap year. It appears today we need every one of these admonitions if we look around us. Greece is not the only land with economic problems, many lands are filled with children, mothers and families who are starving to death for lack of food, drink and heat. Some places are still battling the effects of Earthquakes, Tsunamis or flooding, and believe it or not, there are many countries where Christians are suffering severely for their faith.
This week we saw the killing of another tyrant leader, and that country needs our prayers so they do not get a worse devil than the one they got removed. In some ways removing the authority figure allows for the possibility to rebellion and the spirit of lawlessness is widespread in our world today. As I read about the riots in Great Britain of recent weeks and witness the protests here in Greece, I am aware that people are getting desperate and resorting to these measures in the hope of finding answers.
We have the answer as believers and may it cause unrest in our souls and make us even more ardent and ready to give others the good news of Jesus that we know to be true. The opportunity is ours, the power to save and change people is God’s, so we need to be busy.
2 Chronicles 7:14 reads “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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” We have the answers, it all begins in his house and with the people of God! If we do our part, He will use us to reach others and once again God can forgive a nation for the sake of a number of people who have turned from their wicked ways and seek the Lord!

Amazed at God!

By Wilma on August 19, 2011

Recently, we had friends come and stay with us from a country where life is very different. They look just like us and indeed on the outside there does not seem to be much difference. But it was not long before we saw the differences in our lifestyle. These people got so excited by little things we hardly notice. They were excited to meet another believer when David went out the gate of our home and to be greeted by ‘Doxa to Theo’ (Praise the Lord)! Imagine their delight when they met some of the local Christian youth on the beach when they were swimming. They had begun to think there were many believers in Greece. Actually, there are only 0.2% of people profess to have a relationship with Christ in Greece and yet to them it was many. In the country they come from they go from one Sunday to the next and never see another believer, and if they did meet one, he would not feel free enough to Praise the Lord in public. I wonder do we really appreciate the freedoms we have to spread the good news to others?
The folks were fascinated by the amount of information we had from people for prayer. They had never seen a prayer letter and knew nothing of the sufferings others were going through for Jesus. They counted it such a joy and privilege to spend time every day praying for the people we had been asked to pray for. They wept tears for others who they never met and knew so little about, yet they knew that part of the body of Christ was suffering and they could pray for them. I wonder, how delighted we are to have the privilege to pray for others? Do we help in any other way we can?
It wasn’t the shops that fascinated these people or the variety of goods available which was not in their country. In fact, they found everything to be extortionately expensive!!! But they could not wait to go home and spread the news of what they learnt about God and about their sisters and brothers in Christ during these days in Greece. They loved the fact that people feel free to come and call on us for coffee and a chat and the opportunity it gives to speak about Jesus. Not easy to do in their country, but with a bit of innovation and carefully choosing those to speak to, they look forward to trying it out. Even though in their country they are classed as a sect for believing in Jesus, they showed such excitement over the possibility to prove God’s faithfulness in helping them tell others about true life in Him! How excited are we to share the love of Christ with our friends, no matter the reaction?
Yes, they did go back and give testimony to their small group about all they learned while here, but I think we also learned a new appreciation of what we can do and how He has placed us here at this time for His particular purpose. Look around, see your circumstances as being for His particular purpose, and you might also be amazed at how many opportunities are right before your nose!

Temptations or Testing!!

By Wilma on July 2, 2011

Do you as a believer know that God never sends temptation? (James 1:13) He tests us to make us stronger, but never tempts us. Satan is the author of temptation and he will certainly try. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between temptations and testing, but there is one easy way! When God tests us it is for our good and He wants us to win!!! When Satan tempts us it is to do us harm and he wants us to lose or fail!! When we give in to Satan’s tempting the result is always bad, often the consequences have to be carried with us and possibly also affects others too. How important it is to know that:-
• God will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to take,(1Corinthians 10:13a)
• He will go with us through it, and not only that, (Deuteronomy 31:6)
• ‘He will provide a way of escape.’ (1Corinthians 10:13b)
• God wants us to know that, in His Strength, we can overcome all Satan’s temptations
However, when we fail God’s tests, we remain on the same spiritual plane and don’t progress in our spiritual lives. Do you ever feel that spiritually you are stuck in a rut? Are you trying to avoid the tests, trying to take the easy way out? I know it, I’ve done it and thought I was clever in avoiding the problems and yet it meant I had failed the test! It isn’t long before you realize you have lost that intimacy with God and are stumbling on in your own strength. Prayers seem to reach only the ceiling, the desire to worship is weak and life seems dull and stale. No one who has known His deep love and care wants to stay that way for long and we will soon yearn for the fellowship and oneness of which we are now bereft.
Believe me, if we did not stand the test the first time, we can’t go further with Him till we try it again. He will give us another opportunity, maybe in a different way or circumstance, but there is no running from it, until eventually we make it through. Just like being tested in school: one cannot progress to the next class until the last one has been successfully passed. So God will not trust us with a higher responsibility, till we pass the tests set before us in the one we have.
Each of these ‘tests’ we face are purposely set to bring us into the realization that God wants our love, our praise and our service because He loves us so deeply and personally. In other words, they are to make us grow in our knowledge and love of Him, that we may be mature in Him. As we become more certain of God’s personal love for us and stronger in the knowledge that He can take us through, it becomes easier to know that we can stand through the devil’s temptations in God’s Power and not in our own strength. (2Corinthians 12:9)
Dr Harold Willmington used to tell us we are ‘either in a crisis, about to enter one or just coming out of one’ in our Christian lives. Let us discern which are tests from God or temptations from the devil and stand strong in His Power to find the ‘way of escape’, or to pass the test.

God Thinks You Are Wonderful!

By Wilma on June 24, 2011

Most of us understand that God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to die for the sins of mankind. (John 3:16). But how much harder it is to grasp that He loves each one of us as individuals. Yet it is by understanding and realizing how much He loves us, that it finally becomes clear to us that He is interested in every aspect of our lives. His desire is for a deep personal relationship with each of us and not just our adherence to a set of Biblical rules and rituals. It is only then, we can know for certain that faith is not about religion but relationship with Christ.
Recently, I heard of a young mother, who was being tortured for her faith, in a country which does not accept the Gospel Message. Her captors ordered her to recant and deny Jesus Christ. Although this young woman had everything to live for, and had no desire to die at that moment, she bravely told them she could not deny Christ. ‘In fact,’ she said, ‘He lives within me and if you kill me you actually send me home to be with Him.’ These men did kill that lady, but she knew that ‘for her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.’ (Philippians 1:21). After death, she was immediately in the presence of the Lord, who loved her deeply and whom she had grown to love too. It takes the knowledge of being loved personally by God to be able to stand firm under such pressure.
We shared in a conference last week with many people from nations where it costs to take a stand for Christ, where they live with constant threats of death and other dangers. I was impressed not so much by what they said, but by how much they love! It shines from their faces, they love not only God and their fellow man, but they are happy in their own skin. Instead of being glad to be in a place of safety and freedom, with plenty of food provided both physically and spiritually, they were missing home, looking forward to being back with their loved ones and their church folks. One man who was supposed to come could not as he was forced to go into hiding just a few days earlier.
Many of us as believers, have accepted Christ and are sure that we have escaped eternal damnation and will one day go to Heaven when we die. But what about now!! God does not promise only to give us life abundant after we die but right now!! If we get our relationship sorted out, it makes every other aspect of Christian life so much easier, and we can know and show the joy of the Christian life. Yes, we will go through the same trials and temptations, have some of the same problems and hurdles to get over! But, accepting that because He loves us personally, and has a perfect plan for this life He has given, helps us tremendously to cope in difficult circumstances. We know then that God is standing right by our sides and going through with us. We know we have the power of the Holy Spirit to lead and to guide us in all truth and we know Jesus loves us with unconditional love and indeed He thinks we are wonderful!! (Psalm 139:14)
So promise me you’ll never forget… that you aren’t an accident or an incident…
You are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God.
You were knit together. You weren’t mass produced.
You aren’t an assembly -line product.
You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted,
and lovingly positioned on this earth…by the Master Crafts-Man.
This poem was written by Roy Lessin of Dayspring

The Withering Fig Tree (2)

By Wilma on April 30, 2011

Following on from last blog on the subject of the fig tree
If we look back at what had just happened before the incidence of the withered fig tree, we can see Mark 11 records that Jesus had come into Jerusalem on the back of a colt. People were waving branches, and worshiping Him, calling on Him to ‘save’ them. (Hoshana), but Jesus knew that was surface adoration, and it would not be long till they were crying, ‘crucify Him.’ This sham was just outward talk and not what was going on inside. So it is with the fig tree: When you see the green lush leaves on the exterior, covering the tree, you expect to see fruit when you search the tree, but instead, for many months of the year, you will not find any figs. Indeed the season for fruit is very short! The external covering is not reflective of what is going on in the inside. How often we sit and warm pews, looking great on the outside, but sham inside and certainly not bearing fruit for His Glory! No wonder, Jesus used this illustration!
As we read in the Matthew 21 account Jesus had recently thrown the money-changers out of the temple, quoting Isaiah 56:7, and telling them in verses 12-13 that ‘God ordained His house to be called a house of Prayer and they had turned it into a den of thieves’. (WLT) Again on the outside, the Jews visited the Temple, completed the rituals, kept the rules, but it was all sham and they were using God’s house for profit for themselves. Recently, a survey was done asking people what they thought was the purpose of church. 88% of those asked believe church was there to serve them and their families. That means that only 12 % believed it was a place where they could serve others and bring worship and Glory to God through doing so! Shame on us!
I saw for myself last year, many pious Jews marching to the wailing wall, knocking over market stands from those for whom it was not Shabhat, knocking over other people on the road, in their rush to get there and being totally inconsiderate of any other in their eagerness to show God how holy they were. Each one of us can be guilty of covering up the sham with the fig leaves, just as Adam and Eve covered their shame with the same leaves in the Garden of Eden. God wants to see the reality in us, not that we will do everything perfect, but showing an eagerness to win souls and having the faith to believe He will produce fruit through us.
If Jesus had seen one effort in that tree to produce fruit, a seed, a blossom, a nodule where fruit would grow, He would have been encouraged, but there was nothing. We may think we can do nothing to produce fruit for His Glory, but every serious effort we make, He will bless. Oh yes we will fail as we learn, but if we keep short accounts with God, keep open to His leading and look for the opportunities, He will empower us to be fruitful for His Kingdom.