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Posts Tagged ‘Revival’

In John 5:36 John quotes Jesus as saying, “the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me”. It made me wonder about myself; does the work I am doing for God have evidence which testifies that He has sent me – that He is with me?

He was talking with some Pharisees. Though they were very familiar with scripture, they did not recognize that the scripture they were so familiar with testified of Jesus. They were not raised on Him like we were, so it is at least understandable that they could miss Him. But we who have been raised on Him, though we may not be guilty of not recognizing Him, have we missed recognizing the truth of which He came to testify?

I know I have. Seven years ago when I decided to start over in my Christianity, it was this very thing that caused me to start over. What had I missed? My life didn’t reflect the type of life I read about in the scripture. There was far too little evidence that He was with me.

And so still, I am wrestling this out. In this series, which I am calling ‘A Journey of Faith’, this evidence – His testimony of my life – is my focus right now. He is good to confirm along the way that I am on the right track. This passage in John is confirmation.

Awhile back, in a comment from a fellow blogger, was part of a poem:

“Because my heart
Has thus agreed
My mind believes
It has obeyed”

I’m convinced that we are all guilty to some degree of being familiar with scripture and the Jesus of which it speaks, and have settled that that is enough. But I still say there is a wrestling we must do to really get it . . . and until we have God’s testimony on our lives, we haven’t yet got it.

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You expect to see results quickly when you bring a dozer in to move a pile of dirt. But what if you bring a shovel and wheelbarrow? The results will still come; they just come a little slower.

And so it is with our believing. If we’re not taking a dozer into a situation we are believing for – if we’re just taking a shovel and wheelbarrow – we can still have results . . . it will just take a little longer to see them and to get the job done.

In the story of the centurion servant who was suffering from seizures (the one that the disciples could not heal) Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We expect the mountain to move all at once, like it did for Jesus. But Jesus had faith the size of a dozer. We on the other hand come with a shovel and wheelbarrow? Our faith is small in comparison to His; but . . . we can still move the mountain if we stay with it. The evidence may be a little slower to come and a little harder to see, but nevertheless there will be evidence if we stay with it.

We need to see evidence when we pray. Evidence says ‘You are on the right track. Just stay with it.’ We are bad to quit when the whole mountain does not move at once. That is what the disciples did. They couldn’t drive the seizures out with one try so they quit. But faith, even if it is small, it can be sure. Faith, because it knows something, refuses to quit until there is evidence; and then once there is evidence, faith continues to press until the mountain is moved.

Prayer is work. And like with any work, we need to see that the effort of our labor is accomplishing something. It is no different with prayer. We need to see that the effort of our praying is accomplishing something. We need to see evidence. Lately I have seen just enough to know that I am on the right track and that if I will just stay with it – wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow – I will see this mountain moved.

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When the Lord told Abraham that He would take him to a new land and that he would have a son, was Abraham to pray for it to happen when it seemed like it wasn’t going to, or was it for him pray that his faith – his believing – would stay in tack when the fulfillment of that promise looked so bleak? When Sarah became impatient and tried to help God out, did it help?

When God told Moses that He was going to deliver Israel from Egypt and take them to the promised land, was it for Moses and the children of Israel to pray for it to happen, or was it for them to pray that their faith – their believing – would stay in tack when the fulfillment of that promise looked so bleak? When they were caught between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, was God after their praying or their believing?

When God told Joseph that he would rule over his family, was it for him to pray for when he was sitting alone in prison, or was it for him to pray that his faith – his believing – would stay in tack when the fulfillment of that promise looked so bleak? Did he help matters when he took things into his own hands by asking the two prisoners to put in a good word for him?

When God anointed David to be king, was it for him to pray that the Lord would make it happen, or was it for him to pray that his faith – his believing – would stay in tack when the fulfillment of that promise looked so bleak? David surpassed them all. He could have taken things into his own hands several times to help God move things along, but he didn’t. His trust was in God to do what He said He would do.

In all cases, God in His timing, in spite of what these men did to ‘help God along’ (which in no case actually helped), did what He said He would do. And so these thoughts have changed the way I pray. I no longer pray for the Lord to provide because He told me early on that before it was too late He would, and He has. My praying now is that my faith – my believing – would remain in tack when the fulfillment of that promise looks bleak.

It says of the Israelites when they were backed against the Red Sea, that they were ‘terrified’. Can you imagine if some of them would have nudged the one standing beside them and said, ‘Watch this; this is going to be cool.’; or when Jesus was standing in front of Lazarus’ tomb; none of the disciples believed. Can you imagine if just one would have nudged a few of the others and said; ‘Watch this, this is going to be cool’. Can we, when our situation looks so bleak, believe enough to say, ‘Watch this; this is going to be cool’? I believe it would please God if we could.

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About a year and half ago, I was reading in Jeremiah and wrote this piece. In light of his speach on Saturday, I thought it was worth posting again.

Jeremiah 5

Reading Jeremiah reminds me a little of listening to Glenn Beck.

Jer. 5:12, 13 They have lied about the Lord; they said, ‘He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them.’

Jer. 5:24, 25 They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God who gives us spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good.

Jer. 5:31 The prophets prophecy lies and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?

I’m convinced the saddest part for God, in His reaching the point that judgment becomes necessary, is His understanding of the good of which our sins have deprived us. Even when we just fall a little short, we sometimes think God is just waiting to hammer us; nothing could be further from the truth.

Blatant disregard was the case here, not shortcomings. Shortcomings will not bring God’s judgment, but they can keep us from His good. As it takes blatant disregard to bring judgment, I believe it takes blatant (brazenly obvious) regard to experience the good He has planned for our lives.

There is a middle of the road limbo where we do neither. We may not go wholly after our sinful cravings, but neither do we go wholly after God. We neither enjoy the pleasures of sin nor God’s goodness. It is a most unfortunate place to be.

God is not waiting to hammer us for our wrongs, He is longing for us to experience the good He has for us. Help me oh Lord to not be distracted that I might go wholly after You, for only then will I experience the good You have planned for me.

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Two-a-days

 

Anyone closely associated with the sport of football will immediately understand what is meant by two-a-days.  In the worst part of summer—in the grueling heat—two times a day—athletes focus all energy on conditioning that will help them in the new football season.  The old season is over, summer as they have known it has ended, and it soon becomes all too obvious that they are not saved from the need of additional conditioning.  

A new season is upon the church.  To be ready for it—to compete in it—it will take additional conditioning.  Two-a-days may very well be the norm for awhile.  The old season is over, summer as we have known it has ended, and it will soon become obvious that we are not saved from the need of additional conditioning.

Last season we focused on Jesus’ instructions to the disciples as recorded by Matthew; that we should go into all the world and make disciples.  This new season we will focus on an overlooked instruction which Luke records.  Luke refers to the instruction that Matthew mentions when he says that Jesus appeared after His resurrection and spoke to them about the kingdom.  Very true that Jesus said to them “Go and make disciples”.

But . . . there was one more bit of instruction: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised”.  This gift would contain the power that would enable them to be His witnesses—that would enable them to “Go and make disciples”.

I believe we have missed the aspect of waiting.  We have gone out in our own power to do His kingdom work.  It has fell short.   

This new season will be marked by a waiting—a tarrying before God—for the power that has been lacking in former seasons.  Sure many have been converted into church goers; they once did not attend church and now they do.  But how many today were blind and now they see?  How many were dead and now they live? 

Jeremiah puts it this way:  “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”  The church is in much need of two-a-days.

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