Monday, April 23, 2007

Revive Us LORD!

In my post last week called Time to Repent I ended with the issue of pride. To fix this heart issue, God calls us to repent! Joel 2:12-13 says Even now— [this is] the LORD's declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God.

Here is my prayer for us. “Will you not revive us again oh Lord so that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6). God wants to revive His people. He wants to restore us so we can experience deep joy and rejoice in Him. Isaiah 57:17 says this: For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly (humble) spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly (humble), and to revive the heart of the contrite.

God says He dwells with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the heart and spirit of the lowly and the contrite. Let's look at this word "contrite" to see what it means. In the original language the word is dakka' which means destruction or dust. Dakka' is from the root word daka' which means to crush, destroy and be broken. Do you see what this is telling us? We have got to get to the place in our lives when we can recognize that we are absolutely nothing without God. He is the giver of Life and Breath. Our lives are completely in His hands and apart from Him we can do nothing. We must come before Him broken and admit that we are utterly helpless and spiritually bankrupt. When we see God for who He is we will see how sinful we really are. When we truly see God’s holiness we can’t help but fall down on our faces and acknowledge our impoverished condition. My pastor, Buddy Gray in his sermon "
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit" says “Proud people won’t ever understand spiritual helplessness”. So what are we to do? We MUST confess our pride.

This is such a hard thing to do today for us in our western culture. We are taught that we are to be strong, mighty and that “we” can do anything if we work hard enough at it. Listen to what Chris Tiegreen says in his devotional book called, “At His Feet”. Tiegreen states, “Our world sells us “a higher plane” with self help materials from spiritual gurus. Poverty in spirit is a weakness. Jesus is an offense to the ego of this world. In our natural selves, we see ourselves as lords of our own lives. When those lives are dysfunctional, we seek to mend them. We apply self help techniques, psychological therapies, and religious philosophies-anything to pull ourselves up. We think we need improvement and that we can do it ourselves or with a little help from our friends. But Jesus did not come into the word to improve us. He came to rescue those who are lost, broken, and helpless.”

God’s word tells us that He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. God is looking for contrition. He says He will dwell with those of a contrite and lowly spirit and he will revive the spirit and revive the heart of the contrite. John Piper states in his book “Desiring God”, that “mingled with the feeling of genuine brokenness and contrition there arises a longing for God. "As a heart longs for the flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1-2). "Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:25-26). "O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is" (Psalm 63:1). God is not unresponsive to the contrite longing of the soul. He comes and lifts the load of sin and fills our heart with gladness and gratitude. "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may praise thee and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to thee forever" (Psalm 30: 11-12).”

Believers today desperately need to be revived!! Are we willing to turn to Him and admit our absolute need for Him so He can come and fill our hearts with JOY?

Heavenly Father, "Will you not revive us again so that your people may rejoice in you?"

I thought that I would close with a poem that my good friend Joy wrote:
Revive us, Lord and make us new. Restore us by Your grace.
Cleanse our hearts and hands, O God, That we may see Your face.
Revive us, Lord, and make us pure. Forgive us by Your blood.
Renew our desire for You, O God, That we may dwell in Your love.
Revive us, Lord, and make us free. Save us by Your hand.
Rebuild our hearts and lives, O God, That we may obey Your commands.
Revive us Lord, and make us firm. Steady us by Your truth.
Meet our need for You, O God, That we may rejoice in You.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Give Him Praise!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Time to Repent!

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

In my earlier post “Richer and Sadder” I talked about people being materially wealthy, but spiritually deprived. I wanted to make clear that I do not think that wealth in of itself is a bad thing. God certainly shows in His word that He is the giver of wealth. However, let’s look at a few things that God’s word shows us about money. “1 Timothy 6:10 says, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Hebrews 13:5 says, Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income.

One of my fears in the area of loving money is that we even have preachers that proclaim from pulpits the “prosperity gospel” to many thousands of believers. The prosperity gospel is telling believers that God wants us to be financially wealthy and that all we need to do is "name it and claim it" in Jesus name and God will provide it. Or, even worse, that we deserve riches and blessings! The sad thing is, is that many are falling for it. This is a deceptive teaching and not in line at all with what the bible tells us. Believers are running after God for money and blessings rather than running after God for God alone. John Piper has an awesome article on Prosperity Preaching that is a must read!

2 Timothy 3:2 says in the last days, people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud and arrogant. Certainly we are in those last days. The problem is not the money or wealth itself. The problem is the love of it. We are a very wealthy nation in comparison to the rest of the world. And the fact is that unfortunately, many believers have come to love the money and the material more than they love God. This is not anything new. Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy 8:12-14 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, [be careful] that your heart doesn't become proud and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary puts it this way in regards to these verses of scripture. Moses directs to the duty of a prosperous condition. Let them always remember their Benefactor. In everything we must give thanks. Moses arms them against the temptations of a prosperous condition. When men possess large estates, or are engaged in profitable business, they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong; and they are anxious and troubled about many things. In this the believing poor have the advantage; they more easily perceive their supplies coming from the Lord in answer to the prayer of faith; and, strange as it may seem, they find less difficulty in simply trusting him for daily bread. They taste a sweetness therein, which is generally unknown to the rich, while they are also freed from many of their temptations. Forget not God's former dealings with thee. Here is the great secret of Divine Providence. Infinite wisdom and goodness are the source of all the changes and trials believers experience. Israel had many bitter trials, but it was to do them good. Pride is natural to the human heart. Would one suppose that such a people, after their slavery at the brick-kilns, should need the thorns of the wilderness to humble them? But such is man! And they were proved that they might be humbled. None of us live a single week without giving proofs of our weakness, folly, and depravity. To broken-hearted souls alone the Savior is precious indeed. Nothing can render the most suitable outward and inward trials effectual, but the power of the Spirit of God. See here how God's giving and our getting are reconciled, and apply it to spiritual wealth.

Here is the issue as suggested from the commentary. When man becomes financially wealthy “they find the temptation to pride, forgetfulness of God, and carnal-mindedness, very strong.” So what are we to do? God says that he reproves and disciplines those He loves and He calls us to be zealous and repent (Rev 3:19). Interestingly enough, the word zealous here means to desire earnestly or pursue. So just like the God who Pursues us, we are to earnestly desire and pursue Him and Him alone. Not money, not wealth. Sometimes we don’t even recognize that we have forgotten Him. It’s time we start taking a good look inwardly at our hearts and see if this love of money and material exists. But let’s address the pride issue. This is the hard part. We so often are blinded and can not even recognize pride. We may say things like “I am a good person, I am going to church, and I am reading my bible” etc but we can’t see that we have been satisfied with our own well-being rather than being deeply satisfied in an intimate love for God. “To fix this heart issue, God calls us to repent! Joel 2:12-13 says Even now— [this is] the LORD's declaration— turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the LORD your God.

It's time to repent! More later on this issue.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Sunday's Coming!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Richer and Sadder?

Revelation 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

I found an article the other day called “Richer and sadder? American antidepressant use soars”. Studies show that the number of Americans using antidepressants has skyrocketed in the last decade. According to the Health United States 2004 report, issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, the use of antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft, has nearly tripled among all American adults.

So what’s the deal? Today in America people are bringing in huge incomes, building enormous houses, driving luxury cars and they own almost everything they set their sights on. In fact American’s have so much stuff that they don’t even know what to do with it all. So, why do we have massive numbers of people being diagnosed with depression? They are spiritually bankrupt!

Sadly enough, I have to say that a lot of Christians even fall into this category. There are far too many Christians that are going after the very same things as the rest of the world- Money, position, status, material and the list goes on. In Revelation 3:17 God is speaking to the Laodiceans which are Christians who have turned inward. He is a Christian that says that he has all the world has to offer and he doesn’t need anything more. I believe this is where we are at today.

The word rich that is used in Rev 3:17 means, abounding in material. When we look at our condition, we see a people that have it all materially speaking. But when God looks at us He sees a spiritually deprived people. God says that we are wretched (afflicted), pitiful (miserable), poor (needy), blind (mentally blind) and naked (laid bare). What a pathetic state we are in. Haven’t we had enough?