blogs about awakening
Wow! Have you ever experienced anything like what we are going through now? Restaurants, movie theaters, sports facilities, schools, colleges, and our churches all closed! And it all has happened so quickly!
Fortunately, we can rely on the fact that this doesn't take our Sovereign Lord by surprise. Nor does it stop our prayers to Him, prayers that we know He hears.
Like many of you, we have been faithfully praying for revival and spiritual awakening for many years. There have been times I have been led to pray, "Lord, if your Church needs a wake up call--even if that call is painful--bring it on!" No way could I have foreseen this as a possible way for God to answer our prayers.
Now, I don't like pain any more than you do. But, we desperately need revival and spiritual awakening! And let's face it: we don't typically change our course in life unless we become uncomfortable with the way things are now.
You can see the same pattern throughout Scripture: when God's people lose their first love of God, God brings discipline in an attempt to bring them back. But if they don't respond to His discipline, while He is slow to anger, He will ultimately bring devastating judgment. Folks, He's clearly talking to our nation! But will we respond? I pray so!
I think God gets tired of our assuming that "real Christianity" is just putting our time in at church every week, throwing a few bucks in the offering plate, and otherwise just trying to be "nice" as we pursue what we selfishly think is really important in life.
My friends, Jesus gave His all for you and me. After we accept His free gift of salvation, He asks us to give ALL of ourselves to Him, to hold nothing back, to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength. Not just "sprinkle a little Jesus" on top of the other interests in our lives that we consider of greater importance than Him and His Kingdom.
Since He put an end to our church attendance for awhile, as we sit in our homes, what will be our response? Like C.S. Lewis's comment at the top, It's high time to BE the real deal: our families, our relatives, our neighbors and our friends need to see Jesus Christ in and through us.
What will that take? Five things:
1. Daily reading the Word of God. Not just to check off the block, but first to ask God to show us, by His Spirit, what He wants to say to us. Then read it, alert to His word to us today.
2. Daily communicating in prayer with our Lord. Be IN His presence. As someone said, "Pray until you pray." Linger with Him, telling Him your heart, but also listening to His heart for you.
3. At least weekly engaging in life-on-life fellowship with other believers: "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25). While you can't go to a church building, you can still meet with small groups of believers to help you and them deal with your blind spots. Feel free to meet as couples and/or families, but same gender gatherings can also help us be especially vulnerable and real. In many ways, this could be far more life-changing than merely going to a big church gathering and checking off the block: "Done!"
4. Being consistently filled with the Holy Spirit. Daily confess any known sin of pride, self-pity, fear, lack of faith, etc., and pray to be re-filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
5. Being ready to give away your faith to those who don't know Him or have back-slidden and need to come back. Here is a helpful tool to sharing the Gospel. The fields are white unto harvest, but the laborers are few. Pray for more to go gather in the great harvest! And join them yourself!
If you are like us, you have become weary of the nonstop bad news that now blankets the airwaves and internet. Central to it all seems to be this coronavirus (COVID-19) that is closing schools, churches, and colleges, emptying sports stadiums, cancelling airline flights, and even closing the U.S. Capitol.
What is going on? It's tempting to begin to panic. We find ourselves looking around for comfort, for a light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.
A couple days ago, I was drawn again to the message of that old, but very popular song by Anne Murray "A Little Good News." Feel free to click on this link and listen for that key line, "We sure could use a little good news today." (Truth be known, watching this video the other day actually drove me to a few tears. God made us with hearts that long for the perfection of the Eden we lost and the Heaven that awaits us His children.)
But let me suggest to you that in spite of this crisis we face, we have LOTS of good news right now! No, I am not delusional as I say this. I base my belief on solid biblical grounds. Allow me to explain:
1. God is still sovereign over ALL things. Science and chance are NOT in charge. He knows what He is doing, and those of us who follow Him are not victims; we are MORE than conquerors. (Romans 8:37). He has promised to protect us. When you are tempted to get scared, read and meditate on Scripture, like Psalm 91:9-10, "Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent."
2. As we pray and obey, we believe that God can and will get good out of this pandemic. Why do I say this. Because now people are forced to face their own mortality. The death rate in this life is still 100 percent! But most people don't usually think about this much. The uncertainties that surround us are making people hungry for security, which often makes them ready to hear the life-giving truth of the Gospel! Let's share it!! Jesus put it this way, "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." (John 11:25-26) When we come to Christ in faith, our spirits begin eternal life. That is too good an offer to pass up!
Related to this, a couple of respected friends independently forwarded me this video to watch. It is truly outstanding!! Bottom line, it tells how a Jewish follower of Christ sent a prophetic word to our President, asking him to declare a National Day of Prayer for this coronavirus issue. In response, our President declared TODAY a National Day of Prayer!! I firmly believe we are going to see some amazing things happen all for God's glory!!!! LOTS of Good News!!
3. I also firmly believe this virus will do what we have been praying for (and Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23): it will increase our unity as His followers! I pray we will finally give up our petty differences as His followers and show the world our love for each other which will have such powerful results! Look at John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” And also John 17:23, "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me."
4. Finally, I anticipate real revival and spiritual awakening will come from this pandemic. Look again at the oft-repeated words of 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence [or plague] among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
Friends, let's humble ourselves, pray, seek His presence, and really turn from our prayerlessness, love of comfort and stuff, lack of sharing our faith, self-centeredness, etc and be ALL IN with Jesus! Then just watch Him pour out His Spirit in power on our nation for His glory and the salvation of millions!!!
Let's do it, together!!