Friday, April 16, 2010

A Verse to Live by.

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.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

What a verse! How often is this verse used to motivate us for revival? Consider the topic of revival. Revival can be thought of a movement from God. It is an awakening. Webster defined revival like this. 1. Return, recall or recovery to life from death or apparent death; as the revival of a drowned person. 2. Return or recall to activity from a state of languor; as the revival of spirits. 3. Recall, return or recovery from a state of neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression; as the revival of letters or learning. 4. Renewed and more active attention to religion; an awakening of men to their spiritual concerns. Four definitions, all focusing on doing what should have been done in the first place. Four definitions, all showing us that for some reason what should have been done was stopped. May I say, that is exactly what we need today. I believe that revival should be seen as a personal matter and not a national matter. If we see that this verse is speaking about us as individuals than we will see God work on a larger scale. With that being said we should consider this verse as a verse to live by.

The first thing that can be see is the personal relationship. Revival is for God's people. This is why I believe revival will not fix our government. It's not meant to. It is designed to help our homes and our churches. Are you one of God's people, by this I mean, are you saved? If not this verse does not apply to you. If you are saved does your relationship with God need to return to a former state? Do you need to have a renewed and more active attention to Him. Remember a relationship is more than knowing a person, it is getting to know a person. How well do we know God? Our lack of a personal relationship is one reason we make the wrong decisions because we do not know God well enough to know what He wants us to do.

The second thought from this verse is a humbling experience. Take note again of what Webster said. Notice the verse he used and the example he gave. 3. Lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud,haughty, arrogant or assuming. In an evangelical sense, having a low opinion of one's self, and a deep sense of unworthiness in the sight of God. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. James 4. Without a humble imitation of the divine author of our blessed religion, we can never hope to be a happy nation. We are a very proud people. It is one thing to take pride in our work, meaning we strive to do our best. It is another to be boastful of what we do and what we have accomplished. Our pride hinders the work of God more than what we think. God wants to work through us but we are so filled with ourselves that there is no room for God. Remember this is a verse to live by. Meditate on what God thinks of pride. Make a conscience effort to be humble. God will show us how. He has a way of humbling us.

The third thought focuses on our prayer life. Seeking God's face is an earnest search. It is more than a "dear Jesus, help all the missionaries," type of prayer. If we seek God then it will help our personal relationship. It will help us to be humble because we would see Him as He is, the way Isaiah did in Isaiah chapter six. It will also help us with the next thought to live by.

The fourth thought to live by is we need to take our sin seriously. God calls sin wicked. We call sin a mistake or in some cases a disease. God wants us to turn from our wicked ways. Have you ever noticed in John chapter four when Jesus talked to the woman at the well He dealt with her sin. I realize that He was dealing with a lost person and it gives us an excellent picture of how to witness to someone. Let us make a personal application. We are all still sinners. Salvation did not make us perfect. We will be perfect when we receive that glorified body. However, right now we still have sin to deal with. Our problem is we like our sin. In fact when we are looking at ourselves we don't see sin as wicked. God does. My friend, we need to turn from our wicked ways. Do it God's way by seeking his face.

The last thought from this verse to live by is the promise that God gave. If we live by this verse God has promised to hear us. Do we long for God to hear us? If God hears us He will send revival to us. I wonder what would happen if one person lived by this verse? Is it possible for this to spread and effect the home and even the church? What would happen to a community if a church lived by this verse? It all starts with one person living by this verse. May God help us to live by 2 Chronicles 7:14

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Have you ever been overlooked?

One of the most popular Bible stories is that of David and Goliath. Goliath challenged the Israelites and no one was willing to fight the giant. Perhaps these soldiers were afraid of losing their lives, or maybe they knew they would loose their lives but the greatest fear was what would happen to the people of Israel. It does not matter why because there was a man named David.

David saw what was going on and was stirred up. Unlike many of us baptist, when he got stirred up he wanted to do something about it. David faced opposition from his own camp. King Saul said, And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." 1 Sam 17:33 (KJV) Saul thought David was not qualified.

Have you ever considered who David was at this point of his life. We are aware of his argument. God delivered him from the lion and the bear. Both tremendous accomplishments. (I couldn't do it.) I purpose there was more to David than what Saul saw. David was overlooked.

Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. 1 Sam 16:18 (KJV) This is the chapter before that great victory. Saul is in search of someone to play the harp for him. David was recommended. These were the qualifications David had.

He was cunning in playing the harp. Any person who is an accomplished musician is someone who understands the value of personal discipline. My sister is the piano player at our church, and she is one of the best I ever heard. I remember her as a little girl always playing the piano. She would practice and practice and practice. Now she plays and teaches. Have you noticed how little personal discipline people have? No wonder very little is being accomplished for God today. It's as if God gets in the way of our entertainment. David was a man of personal discipline, we can learn something from this.

The next characteristic mentioned is that he was a mighty valiant man. The word valiant speaks of his courage. Believers should be courageous. We must be willing to stand for what is right. The church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth. This takes courage. Anybody can compromise. It takes courage at work to not be ashamed of who we serve. It takes courage in the home to say as Joseph did, "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."

David was also a man of war. What does it mean to be a man of war? A man of war knows what side he is on. A man of war understands the tactics of his enemy. A man of war is obedient. A man of war is self-sacrificing because he is serving a greater purpose. Are we men and women of war? There are many pew warmers. They are the Monday morning quarterbacks. They are not involved in the fight. A man of war is what we all should be.

The next characteristic is he was prudent in matters. Solomon is often given credit for his wisdom, but his father was wise as well. Wisdom is knowing how to apply the knowledge we have. We are under the preaching of the Bible, we read our Bibles. We have knowledge. Our problem is we do not use what we have.

Now we come to the fact he was a comely person. This means he was handsome. What makes us handsome in God's eyes? Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Psalms 33:1 (KJV) Praise is what makes us handsome to God. We often only praise God when He has done something for us. When it's testimony time at church we go through our Rolodex of "what have you done for me lately." We need to stop that because God is good. Yes, He is good to us, but He is good as well.

The last one is the Lord was with him. We may not be as talented as David was, but if God was with us then that is really what counts. Do we desire to have God's presence? We are doing the work of God. If God is not with us then we are working in vain.

David was overlooked by Saul. He did not see what we read in chapter sixteen. If you are a person in position of influence be careful not to overlook someone. You could be overlooking a man that God has chosen. If you are being overlooked do not be discouraged you will get your chance one day. Be faithful and God will use you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thoughts on Revival.

What is the greatest need in our country? Is it the repeal of the health care bill that our congress has forced upon us? Is it a boost in job growth? I would argue that the greatest need in our country is a Spiritual Awakening. I speak knowing mine own heart. I need revival. Contrary to what seems to be a popular belief, revival will not fix our government. It will help up the individual believers that make up the churches. It will refocus us on the main thing, which is world-evangelism.

With that as a foundation let us consider the second Beatitude. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Matt 5:4 (KJV) It sounds like a paradox, mourning and comfort. What is the cause of the mourning? Is it loss? Is it grief? Consider mourning over sin. If the latter is the reason for the mourning then this verse would be a key verse in a revival. Godly sorrow worketh repentance. When we are right with God we are comforted by the Holy Spirit. What would we be like if we saw the mourning as grief over our own sins? What would we see God do, not just in our lives, but through us as well? Are we hindering the work of God because we are not mourners? I believe, now more than ever, we need a Spiritual Awakening. Not to fix the government, but to fix our country.

The prayer for revival requires a personal look. Do not look at our neighbors, that will mislead us into believing we are alright. Take an honest look at ourselves, by using the Bible as our standard. Our response would be like Isaiah in chapter six. It is not an enjoyable experience, but it is one that is needed.

May God help us as we mourn over our sins in our pursuit of the comfort of revival.