Revival Begins With Me, and You

You heard the saying, “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it”?

Our nation has just celebrated Independence Day. But I can’t help but to think in all of our independence we have actually lost our freedom. No, I take that back… I mean, we have handed our freedom over. In all of the looking for a quick fix for the immediate, have we lost our vision for the future?

We wanted change, and we sure did get it, didn’t we?

The beauty of free will is we have a right to choose. The beauty of wisdom is, in our right to choose, we will choose wisely.

The king is on the podium saying ‘peace, peace,’ and there is no peace. Have we been so lulled into a slumber, have our senses become so dull, that we now call good evil and evil good?

When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second, Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. His sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah

And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations.  But it displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them. According to all the works which they have done since I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they also do to you. So listen now to their voice; only solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.

 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king.

 And he said, These will be the ways of the king who shall reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest and to make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots.He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He will take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive orchards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your men and women servants and the best of your cattle and your donkeys and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his slaves. In that day you will cry out because of your king you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not hear you then.

Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, No! We will have a king over us, That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles. Samuel heard all the people’s words and repeated them in the Lord’s ears.

And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to their voice and appoint them a king.

1 Samuel 8

We got what we asked for. How is it working out for us?

But, there is good news, 2 Chronicles 7:14 God say’s,”If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.”

We are to occupy our territory, we are called to be a light in this dark world, seasoned with salt, we are to walk in love and discernment, without compromise to our faith in Christ. We should be impacting the world around us for Christ, not blending in. We will have troubles, no doubt. There will be persecution. But He said, Fear not! He is with us.

Seek God with all your heart. Purge yourself of everything not of Him. Humble yourself and seek Him.

Oh, God, revive us. I call forth the fathers and I say, rise! Take your place. Cover your family, teach your children, let them see your faithfulness to the Lord. I call men to become spiritual fathers to the orphans, mentor them, teach them, love them, be the face of Christ to them. Husbands, love your wives, lead them in gentleness, kindness, patience, and faithfulness. Mothers, teach your children to honor God, respect their fathers, and to be kind and hospitable. Adorn yourself in a gentle and quiet spirit, which is most precious, beautiful, and powerful. Make way for all the prodigals to come home, to be healed and filled, so they may take their place.

Oh, God, revive us. I call forth the Church, the living Body of Christ, to lock arms, and hearts, and stand in unity, in truth, and love. Turn away from the wide highway and choose the narrow path. Do not seek to have your ears tickled, your back patted, and comfort for your complacency and sin. Repent! Embrace truth. Be a true disciple of Christ and make more disciples.

The Lord always has His remnant. When the enemy comes in like a flood, He raises His standard. Arise people of God.

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? Esther 4:14

This is a call to repentance. Get ready. Time is drawing short. Jesus will return, and when He does, He is not coming back as a baby in a manger. All heaven and earth will shake when He places His foot down again. To those of us who are hidden in Him, we have no fear. But if you are not in Him, you can run to the caves and beg the rocks to crush you, but there will be no escape. Seek Him now while He can be found.

True love is this, that He desires no man shall perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). But love never forces Himself on you, you have a free will. Choose life. Choose Jesus.

Revive Cold Hearts

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

Jesus told us what the signs will be of His return. He gave a word of caution when He told His disciples what will come to pass before His return. He said, when these things happen, be ready, because His return will soon be following.

He did not say things would be easier and everyone will be at peace before His return. He describes persecution, hatred, fear, coldness… We know these things must come to pass, and even now we can see it unfolding before our eyes.

One thing in particular standing out to me is this… hearts growing cold.

There are some who will preach do not forsake the gathering of the saints to get you through the church doors. I, for one, do not believe this is what Hebrews 10:24-25 means.

Paul clearly admonishes us to come together to warn, urge, and encourage one another, especially as the day of His return approaches. Is this happening in the “church institution” today?

Have you ever been in a room full of people and still feel alone? Have you ever tasted loneliness? Have you ever been through a struggle and just needed someone to come alongside you and tell you it will be OK? Or how about this… do you have a secret sin you struggle with and you need someone to hold you accountable, to lead you into restoration?

Proverbs 27:6 says, faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

What is a friend? A friend is someone who loves you enough to be honest with you. A friend cares about your well being and if they see you heading to a cliff they will stop you. A friend is invested in your well being.

I am going to speak for myself, I don’t dare speak for any other, though I suspect I am not alone this. I have been in churches, surrounded by people, heard some good sermons (and some not so good), and felt alone. I have walked into churches unnoticed and have left unnoticed. There have been times I have thought, I could have stayed home and watched TD Jakes on the internet and received more encouragement and fellowship than I did sitting in a full church on a pew.

We are responsible to work out our own salvation. But we should not be alone. Nor should we neglect others.

We were created in the image of God. Our God is the God of relationship. Intimate relationships. As His Body, we should be representing Him through relationships.

I ask myself, how do peoples hearts grow cold? How does someone who loves the Lord have a cold heart? How is this possible?

Have we, as a body, become so busy we cannot even truly fellowship with other believers? Do we do “our time” on Sunday mornings and then spend the rest of the week living selfishly for ourselves? How many times has someone reached out to us and said “I need a friend” and we pat them on the back, say be well, and send them on their way?

What could possibly be so important we cannot take time for one another?

Of course, we all have responsibilities that require our attention, work, family, etc.. But in the hustle of busyness have we forsaken each other?  Loneliness and depression should not exist in the body.

What is fellowship? Anytime we come together, to lift His Name, encourage one another, confess to one another, pray for each other, break bread and share with each other, this IS the gathering Paul tells us to not forsake. It is in this environment we grow, we are strengthened, and we are challenged.

I consider Christians in other countries that are truly persecuted for their faith, even to the point of death. They are true Christians. You better believe they will gather with other believers because they need each other.

Yet, here in the US our persecution is subtle, and it is not to physical death (though I argue it may be to a spiritual death). We battle complacency, business, selfishness. Our hearts are growing cold. Can we say we love God and yet, neglect His body?

There is power in unity. A chord of three strands is not easily broken.

Do you know how gangs are formed? Do you know why we are losing so many young people to gang activity? One word, COMMUNITY. Everyone has a need to belong, to be accepted. Awake church! We have within us the answer to what they seek. We have the cure to the disease that is killing the world. We are the light, let us shine.

Oh, God, revive us. Awaken Your church from the slumber of complacency and business. Set our hearts on fire so we may not be cold any longer. Call Your five fold ministry to step into their position, bring forth order within the church. Forgive us, God, for not loving as we have been called to love. Give us Your heart of flesh. Heal us, oh God.