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Ray Ortlund

September 20, 2015

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1.  Get thoroughly dissatisfied with yourself.  Complacency is the deadly enemy of spiritual progress. . . . When speaking of earthly goods Paul could say, “I have learned to be content,” but when referring to his spiritual life he testified, “I press toward the mark.”  So stir up the gift of God that is in you.

2.  Set your face like a flint toward a sweeping transformation of your life.  Timid experimenters are tagged for failure before they start.  We must throw our whole soul into our desire for God. . . .

3.  Put yourself in the way of the blessing.  It is a mistake to look for grace to visit us as a kind of benign magic, or to expect God’s help to come as a windfall apart from conditions known and met.  There are plainly marked paths which lead straight to the green pastures; let us walk in them.  To desire revival, for instance, and at the same time to neglect prayer and devotion is to wish one way and walk another.

4.  Do a thorough job of repenting.  Do not hurry to get it over with.  Hasty repentance means shallow spiritual experience and lack of certainty in the whole life.  Let godly sorrow do her healing work. . . . It is our wretched habit of tolerating sin that keeps us in our half-dead condition.

For the rest of the post…

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 by Alvin Reid

Should We Pray for Revival?

When do you think the following observations were made?

  • Ministers today seem more concerned with political power in society than spiritual fervency in the church, while pop culture contributes to the moral decay among the youth.
  • While marked by an increasing ethnic diversity and various religious beliefs, the nation’s established religious groups –– particularly Protestants –– demonstrate a sterile spirituality. One pastor bemoans the obsession with gambling and rudeness, while churches are attended at convenience.
  • College campuses teem with students chasing after the latest philosophies, the more unbiblical the better. The more educated a person you find, the less likely you are to discover a Christian. Meanwhile, churches are filled with people who listen to pastors preach then contradict the sermon by the way they live.

You may think these descriptions came from the blog of some concerned Christian commenting on our time. But the first one comes from Great Britain just before the preaching of John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and others who were used by God to lead a great revival there. The second comes from the American colonies prior to the First Great Awakening. The final came around 1800, with college campuses in the newly formed United States influenced by Voltaire, Rousseau, and others, at the dawn of the Second Great Awakening.

Ours is not the first generation to recognize the spiritual declension among us, or to see the need for God to awaken his church and touch our land. From the saints of the Old Testament to leaders in our time, prayer for revival has marked believers who understand the need for the Spirit surpasses our ability and intelligence.

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“Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervor and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones… Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”

~Andrew Bonar

by Discipleship Ministries…

     There has been a lot of talk in our country about the need for a national revival; the next great awakening. Some opinions are that we have fallen to the darkest valley of our country’s history. I agree that we are experiencing moral decay within the country and within the church, but I do not agree that we have reached the deepest pit. Further, as so many are calling for revival in the church, I disagree that we should be looking for that right now.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yes, the church ought to pray for our nation and lift up our leaders to the Lord. We should long for the Truth of Christ to become a revered and holy part of our lives once again. However, before God will heal the land through revival, we must show repentance first. This comes from our selfless humility. As one commentator states, in the sight of the Lord, humility is the willingness to take our appropriate place in the dust on account of our transgressions.

     Read James 4:1-10 and respond to these verses. If we follow our own fleshly desires and cravings, we are friends with the world. As such, we are enemies of God (vs 4). We are arrogant and proud rejecting His ways. From the passage we read that God opposes the proud (vs 6). But to the humble, He gives grace. Verses 7-10 go on to explain how we are to return to God. We are to submit and draw near to Him. We are to lament, mourn, and purify our hearts. At the conclusion we read, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

     The Greek word tapeinoó is a term for humility that means to be fully dependent on the Lord. A study of the Greek word hupsoó reveals the idea of being properly lifted up. Therefore we interpret this as a promise that God will exalt those who are penitent. A word of caution, though. Do not misinterpret this as prosperity to believing Christians. Those who ask with ill intent do not receive because they do so for selfish pleasures. As for our country, to be lift up by God, we must admit in humility that we need Him to do so.

Before our nation can experience revival, we must all humble ourselves and repent.

     The Lord speaks to Solomon concerning His people in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if they humble themselves, seek His face and repent, then He will hear, forgive and heal them. Do not be proud! For far too long the Western Church has pointed fingers at others in accusation and even judgment.

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by Dr. RAY ORTLUD

The wonderful embarrassment of renewal

“I could tell you a case of a man back home, forty-five years old – a pagan, illiterate, who knew nothing about Christ.  Then he was brought by grace, through the preaching of the Christians, into the presence of Jesus and Him crucified; and that man was so changed that within a month, when impure thoughts came into his heart he literally went outside from a meeting and vomited.  What a standard, what sensitivity!  A man steeped in paganism, with no Bible training, no background.  And now in the light of Calvary, in that smashing, invading love, this man is taken, re-created, renewed, his conscience is so clean that when impure thoughts came he even went and physically vomited.  A sensitivity had been created.  The Holy Spirit had renewed the personality.  Is this your case?

For the rest of the post…Dr. 

Billy Graham

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’

Billy Graham

Father, we deserve absolutely nothing from you! We actually deserve your stern rebuke because we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. We have not been your holy people and the church is not the city on the hill in America! Please forgive us as we prayerfully seek you on this Lord’s Day!

In Jesus Name!

Amen! 

Helping Your People to Repentance

Author: Bill Elliff Date: May 7, 2012

Why would anyone really want to repent? Repentance is that Spirit-wrought change of mind that ushers in a change of direction.

But most people like the direction they’re headed. Our best hope is to get a right view of repentance ourselves.

Do you know how to get an old bone away from a hungry dog? It’s not by reaching into the territory of its mouth—neither the bone nor your fingers will be returned! But put a juicy steak beside the bone, and repentance is guaranteed.

Making the Turn

Repentance is turning from something to something more valuable. And only when people see the value of the alternative will they turn.

Jesus illustrated this by the parable of the pearl of great price. If we can convince men of the value of the pearl, Jesus said they will sell everything they have to possess this treasure.

There are two ways to encourage people to repentance. The most common approach is to preach on the need and duty of repentance, pointing out every sin. God calls us to do this strongly at times, but duty is a weak motivator.

Conversely, one of most effective means of bringing the sheep we lead to repentance is to lift their eyes to the greener pasture. Show them the surpassing beauty of Christ and the glorious reward of serving Him. Help them realize what they’re missing, and they will begin to see the silliness of their current pursuits.

Leading the Way

It is critical to remember that sheep cannot be driven. They must be led.

…For the rest of the post…

Forgive me of sin in my life and help me to be an over comer. I love You and submit this life that You have given me to Your leadership. Teach me how to be the person You created me to be. I pray for the conviction of Your Holy Spirit if ever I start to get off track and I pray for the desire to change. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen (Miracle Place Church)

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