November 27, 2008

Revive Us, Again.

Continuing my study on Revival, I've spent quite a bit of time dwelling on what I ready in regards to God's place in revival, or rather His work in revival. I guess I always viewed revival as it is commonly seen in today's churches: planned and dictated.

For example, a moder day church is planning their annual revival. Everything is predetermined, from the evangelist to the musicians and special music. Goals are even established as to how many new visitors and conversions the church wants to aim for. While setting goals and planning for a revival are amiable and God honoring, I can't help but wonder if it leaves very much room for God to do His work. I doubt the the new Christ Followers at Pentecost had set so many goals....

So like I said, I've tried to focus on God's role in revival. Today I'm going to focus on God's role of Restoration, as described in Psalm 85:4.

A few Scripture References Regarding Restoration:

Job 33:26 "He will pray to God, and God will delight in him. Tha man will behold His face with a shout of joy, and God will restore his righteousness to him."

Psalm 23:3 "He restores my soul...for His namesake."
(The soul is defined in my Bible dictionary as the emotional, spiritual aspect of our lives, and our essential being.)

Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation and make me willing to obey You."

Joel 2:25 " I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten."

There are four observations that I made while reading the above passages.

God Restores:
1. Righteousness to man (Job 33:26)
2. Our Soul, or essential being (Psalm 23:3)
3. Joy to His people (Psalm 51:12)
4. Wasted and barren years (Joel 2:25)

Please note that all of the above can be restored exclusively by Almighty God! No action of man, no chance encounter or spiritual exercise can restore mankind to righteousness, it is the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, and His work alone! Likewise, because our souls are emotional and spiritual rather than physical or chemical, they cannot be revived by exercise and medicine - our souls are only restored and refreshed by our loving Shepherd, Jesus Christ. While happiness can be induced by many factors (material things, exciting circumstances, etc.) joy is inherently the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22 -" But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of") Thus, joy can only be restored by God! Lastly, wasted and barren years - isn't it amazing to know that God can and will restore lost time? He is so full of goodness and grace, and He alone can take our wasted years and restore them for His glory and fame.

As I seek personal revival, I pray that God will restore these four things in my life. Will you pray with me?

November 14, 2008

Revive Us Again

Earlier this month Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States. Because of his liberal policies and voting record, many conservative Christ Followers are concerned about the continued decline (and likely free-fall) of the moral standards in our country. Since that the election, I've heard many Christian leaders calling for prayers for the salvation of President-Elect Obama, as well as a spiritual revival in our nation. I too feel the need for a spiritual revival in this country, though it is not solely based on the results of the 2008 elections.

So I started thinking and realized that I can't very well pray for a national revival if I do not first desire and pursue revival in my own heart. I've spent the past week and a half studying revival in the Word of God, and here's some of what He revealed to me:

Psalm 85: 4-9 reads, "
Restore us again, O God of our salvation,and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever?Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again,that your people may rejoice in you?7 Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,that glory may dwell in our land."

According to my Bible Dictionary, "Revive" literally means, "to bring to, or come to life." Except for the supernatural resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, if something is going to be brought back to life, there is a definite need for a purposeful action of someone else.
(Example, performing CPR or using a resuscitation unit in a hospital ER.) So here's what I learned about the active roll Almighty God plays in spiritual revival:

1. God Restores His people (verse 4)
2. God Revives His people (verse 6)
3. God Shows Mercy to His people (verse 7)
4. God Grants Salvation (verse 7)

Psalm 85 shows us that revival ultimately depends on an action from Almighty God. He must take my heart, and your heart, and renew it for His passions and for His glory. He must actively revive His people. He must show His unconditional love and mercy to His people. And He must be the giver and source of Salvation. Quite simply put, Jesus Christ is the source, the reason, and the means for revival.

After realizing that revival is primarily about God, I started wondering what roll Christ Followers play in revival. According to Psalm 85, there are two actions a Christ Follower must take in order to pursue revival:

1. Listen to What God is saying (verse 8)
2. Do not return to foolishness (verse 8)

Because Christ is the source and means for revival, my primary action is to listen to Him, to heed the Holy Spirit's prompting, and to honor and obey His Word. Christ Followers need not follow a method for revival. There is no formula or inspirational song that can induce revival. Rather, it starts in the heart of a Christ-Follower who is listening to the heart of God.

If your pastor or youth minister calls you to prayer for national revival, and for President-Elect Obama, I urge you to heed their leadership and honor their request. However, I cannot stress the importance of praying for a spiritual renewing of your own heart for the passions of God. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you. Honor the Word of God. This is my own prayer and desire for myself.

I changed my font at