Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter is coming...

My friend, Stephen Bonner, sent this to me on Monday and I was very encouraged by it.  Easter is going to be exactly what God wants it to be… but yet I still have small “freak-out” moments as we are preparing for it… This short devotional helped me remember… God’s got it under control and will use us to glorify himself.

FROM “Today’s Turning Point” with Dr. David Jeremiah.

Jesus lived a Spartan life--at least during His three years of ministry. Yes, He came from a home in Nazareth, but His ministry years are best characterized by Matthew 8:20: ". . . the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." His was a life of dependence on His Father--we never see Him packing a bag when He left to journey from one place to another. In the human realm, an example of dependence we might more easily identify with is Gideon.
Gideon was a simple farmer who God called to drive the Midianites out of Israel. When Gideon rallied an army of 32,000 men, God first reduced it down to 10,000, then to 300--and equipped them only with torches and trumpets. Marching against the innumerable Midiantes, ("as numerous as locusts"; Judges 6:5) with 300 men would have seemed like madness to Gideon--and to us. But Gideon learned that victory comes from the Lord, not from human strength or resources.

As the saying goes, God plus one equals a majority. If you are facing a formidable challenge, don't be discouraged by a lack of resources. Be encouraged by the presence and promises of God.

“We never test the resources of God until we attempt the impossible.” 
F. B. Meyer

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The revival starts with me...

adapted from a blog from Jimmy Proulx...

Have you ever been to a revival service?  From what I have seen they are a great way to fire up a community but I must say this… I do not thing that true revival can be scheduled on a calendar. To me, a revival is not a series of church services that take place in a church building over a period of four or five days. Revival can come out of the meetings but are not the meetings themselves.
God tells Ezekiel in Ezekiel 37 to prophesy to the dry bones. Verse 5 says, “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live.”
Revival has everything to do with life.
There are hearts in every church that are cold, hard, callous, resentful, bitter, guilt ridden, dry, and lifeless. Outside a move of Jesus upon those people, those people will not come to a state of conviction and repentance. This is a problem that can only be fixed by the prayers of intercession and supplication.
To pray for revival, means praying for change. The change has to start with the person doing the praying. For revival to take place in my community, that person should be me. For revival to take place in a church, community, city, state, etc., it has to start with prayer. I mean real prayer. Not your average minute and a half blanket prayer that you pray to cover your whole life for the day. This goes way deeper.
Prayer changes the person praying. Deep prayer causes you to understand that outside God doing work in your church or community, change will never come.
When true revival comes, it comes with the force of a tsunami. It brings with it the thunder and lightening of conviction and repentance. People will fall on their faces before God to confess and repent of sin in their lives. Lost people will come to know Jesus. People will have a hunger for the Word of God. People will want to become passionate, devoted disciples of Jesus.
The change that revival brings is uncomfortable. Real revival will reach inside you and destroy everything. You will be wrecked with a deeper understanding of the gospel and a more passionate relationship with Jesus. You will be purged of known sin. Your life, as you know it, will change to become more conformed to the image of Christ. The very act of this change is gut wrenching. When revival punches a person in their soul, it begins to remove layers of pain, baggage, guilt, sin and whatever else it needs to bulldoze to get that person in right standing with God.
Many people pray for revival. Many people pray for change. They want things to change as long as it is them that does not have to change. You cannot have one apart from the other.
Jeremiah says that the heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick. I know that the closer I come to being conformed to Christ’s image, the more He reveals to me that is in me that needs redeeming.
Do you see? It is my thoughts, my heart, my plans, my desires, my actions, my relationships, my passions, my life that needs to be changed. I need more of God’s redeeming love, grace, and mercy to wreck me. I need to pray Romans 12:1-2 constantly that I may be both a living sacrifice and have my mind transformed by the infallible, inerrant, powerful, purging sword; God’s Holy Word.
When I change, my family changes.  When I change, the church changes.
For a country to be revived, a state has to be revived.
For a state to be revived, a city has to be revived.
For a city to be revived, a church has to be revived.
For my church to be revived, I must be revived.
Revival starts with me.