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“Revival begins in the individual’s heart. Let it begin with you on your face alone before God. Turn from every sin that might hinder. Renew yourself to a new devotion to the Savior.”

 

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“Steadfastness in believing doth not exclude all temptations from without. When we say a tree is firmly rooted, we do not say the wind never blows upon it.”

~ John Owen (1616-1683), Works of John Owen

John Owen by John Greenhill.jpg

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.

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“I cannot pray but I sin.  I cannot hear or preach a sermon but I sin.  I cannot give an alms or receive the sacrament but I sin.  Nay, I cannot so much as confess my sins, but my very confessions are still aggravations of them.  My repentance needs to be repented of, my tears need washing, and the very washing of my tears needs still to be washed over again with the blood of my Redeemer.”

William Beveridge, Private Thoughts (London, 1720), page 52

“If a person doesn’t have a growing sensitivity toward sin and doesn’t have a desire to become more like Christ, it’s questionable whether that person ever had an authentic conversion.”

~ Jim CymbalaSpirit Rising97.  

“Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour 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 A. Bonar

Dietrich Bonhoeffer described this way…

In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes master over the flesh. All at once a secret, smouldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money . . .  Joy in God is in course of being extinguished in us as we seek all our joy in the creature.
At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real . . . Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God . . . The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: “Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” “Is it really not permitted to me, yes – expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?” . . . It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God. Powers of the body, the mind and the will, which were held in obedience under the discipline of the Word, of which
I believed that I was the master, make it clear to me that I am by no means master of them. . . The adversary deploys my powers against me. 
 

Collin Hansen

When Good Isn’t Good Enough

If former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had died the evening of October 22, when I saw him pull away in a bus from Northwestern after defeating the Wildcats, he would have been celebrated as a national hero. One week later he coached his final game, a home victory against Illinois, giving him a record 409 wins for his distinguished career. A few short days later, the long-tenured and widely revered coach lost his job in perhaps the sorriest scandal in the history of college athletics. We’ve grown accustomed to learning that amateur college athletes shaved points or solicited pay for play. But the allegations that a longtime Paterno assistant sexually abused young boys roiled even the hardest sports scribes. Following the 85-year-old Paterno’s death due to lung cancer on Sunday, fans have struggled to make sense of his mixed legacy. In the case of Paterno, it turns out good isn’t good enough in the court of public opinion.

No one can dispute that Paterno did a lot of good in his long, illustrious life, probably a lot more good than you and I can boast. He coached players on how to maul each other on a field of grass, yes, but he also molded generations of young boys of 18 into model men of 22. Those disciples have turned out in droves this week to honor their beloved mentor. Paterno has been lionized for coaching winning teams that also succeeded in the classroom. Sure, he may have covered for some players who deviated from this culture, but his example contrasted with so many other coaches and schools who willingly sacrificed integrity for victory. Not content merely to win football games, Paterno also contributed to Penn State’s improving academic reputation. Indeed, the library bears his name, due to a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign he and his wife spearheaded. They also contributed at least $1 million to build an interfaith student center.

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Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the co-author of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. You can follow him on Twitter.

It is said…

Simeon in his private hours…was peculiarly broken and prostrate before the Lord.”

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