Revive Us, O Lord

You might be familiar with the word to an old hymn:

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love.
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
~ from “Revive Us Again” by William P. Mackay 

Whatever happened to the words “revive” and “revival”? These used to be spoken of more, even prayed for, in churches but have somehow fallen on the wayside. This is tragic, since we are in such desperate need of revival.

Imagine, for a moment, a cruise ship. On board are people involved in various activities. Some are working, some are in meetings concerning itinerary, and others are running to the next fun activity. Many are content with a sense of safety and security. However, look over the rails and there are literally multitudes drowning in the waters. Is this not unthinkable that those on the ship would not have a sense of urgency to help as many as they could?

I am not trying to be critical nor am I saying fun, rest, and relaxation are wrong. However, are not many churches like this ship and its passengers? We have our meetings and planners set for coming events, but often there lacks any real sense of urgency. Oh sure, we want our churches to grow numerically, but does it always have to do with “souls being saved”? While we might say, “Yes!” But does this include those who are quite different than us? The “sinners” and outcasts for whom Jesus also died? Shame on us when the gospel is more for “people like us.” Lord God, have mercy on us for our Pharisaical hypocrisies!

Our church events, like any secular entertainment, are fleeting. The persons (i.e., souls) around us are eternal. How can our hearts not be burdened for the perishing? Oh, that God would revive us again!

We’re Going to Heaven (but So Many Won’t Go)

We’re going to Heaven—O glorious day!
But still there’s so many who are lost on the way.
Will our hearts have compassion, will we be saddened so—
That we’re going to Heaven, but so many won’t go?

We’re going to Heaven, but so many to hell;
My brothers and sisters we have Great News to tell—
That on an ol’ Cross Jesus died for our sins,
Opening Heaven so that all may go in.

We’re going to Heaven, but are family and friends?
Will they know Jesus when they come to the end?
Oh, do they know how much God loves them so?
We’re going to Heaven, but will they, too, go?

We’re going to Heaven—O glorious day!
But still there’s so many who are lost on the way.
Praise God, Jesus saves! Let the redeemed say so—
We’re going to Heaven … but so many won’t go.
~ Geno Pyse

First They Came

In my previous post, “I’m A Patriot, but…,” it would seem as though I am saying the righteous are to be passive. However, just as in the days of Nehemiah, while there was certainly the need of prayer and repentance, there was also work to be done—and that work would be opposed by ungodly men.

Today, just as then, the godly are opposed by the ungodly and wicked. Still, there is much more happening behind the scenes that we do not see. The Bible reveals to us:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ~ Ephesians 6:10-13

There is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9), and this is undoubtedly true concerning the schemes of evil. It is interesting how the wicked today accuse others as being “Nazis” (among other slanderous things), all the while it is they who use many of the very methods of Adolf Hitler to push their agendas (the use of controlling what was taught, use of the media, the stripping of rights, the use of the manipulated and brainwashed youth, etc.). Even though there were godly men such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer who saw what was happening, but those like him were viewed as the enemies. America is facing a similar situation, as wicked individuals who lust not only for power, but the advancement of a godless and evil one world government—a “New World Order.”

Many might be familiar with the poem I spun the following words from, but the truth remains. This is not about a political party, but a darkness rising to strip the rights, voices, and very personhood of a people. 

First they came after bakers and they did not speak out because they’re not bakers. 

Then they came after gun owners and they did not speak out because they don’t have or like guns. 

Then they came after pro-lifers and they did not speak out (although a percentage claim to be pro-lifers).

Then they came after conservatives and they did not speak out because they are not conservatives.

Then they came after Trump supporters (such deplorables!) and they did not speak out because they are not Trump supporters.

Then they came for Christians and Jews whom they have increasingly, brazenly mocked and they did not speak out because they are not Christians or Jews.

Eventually they will trample and rob them of their voice and freedoms and there will be no one left to speak out, and they will be greatly perplexed as they wonder, “What happened? We supported the very ones who trampled upon us!”

The nature of evil is not only that it is corrupt but it also corrupts, poisons, distorts, steals, and destroys (see John 8:44; 10:10). We are witnessing the rise of evil as it seeks to destroy the family structure, freedom, the Constitution, and personhood. It rages against Christ and all who would oppose, scoffs at whatever is holy and right, and tramples on whatever is sacred. This evil transcends political parties, and is not only being applauded but also assisted by many. Understand, evil hides beneath a cloak of deception until it gains the upper hand.

While the battle belongs to the Lord (see 1 Sam. 17:47), the godly and righteous are not to sit idly and do nothing. We must pray for God’s intervention, and we must repent of our own wicked ways (see Neh. 1). We must engage in this spiritual battle being waged and decry the deception, hypocrisy, greed, violence, and blasphemies taking place. My friends, if the plans of the wicked come to fruition, mark my words, misery will be afflicted on many. No, now is not the time to be slothful or passive. We must pray urgently, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and stand to fight. To do nothing is not only wicked in itself, but it is to passively join the ranks of the spreading evil. We are caught between a rock and a hard place, and whatever choice we make will have consequences. But know this, we stand not only for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. If we do not challenge the evil that is rising, then we will deserve the misery inflicted on us. Let me be clear, finally, that this is not a call for violence; rather, the battle we wage is fought on our knees in prayer.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Our country is experiencing wounds I never anticipated, and these are inflicted by her own citizens. I do not think our country has ever been more divided as it is now. What did President Lincoln say, quoting the Scriptures? “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” President Trump cannot heal America’s vexations; however, mark my words, neither can—nor will—Biden or Harris. For how can politicians (both Democrats and Republicans) do so when they are a major part of the problem? How can any of us turn a blind eye to the lies, corruption, and hypocrisy of our so-called leaders?

While “progressives” edit and “re-write” the history books, denying the Christian foundation, and indoctrinate our children with anti-Christian and anti-American teachings, all individuals need to do is research and find unedited writings of our forefathers. Granted, not every father was a Christian, but  they certainly not the immoral monsters many of our university professors teach. But I digress. 

We are living in such tumultuous times. We might be living in an era when God shakes everything that can be shaken. Where do we go from here? Corrupt and deceptive Washington cannot save us, and drunken, immoral Hollywood most certainly cannot. I have been saying this for a long time now, but the only way our nation can be healed is if we turn our eyes unto Jesus Christ in prayer.

Is it not tragic that the very One who taught and modeled perfect love and truth is expelled from the rooms of government, schools, media, and even many churches. The very One who provides the antidote is accused of being the venom? Be not deceived, friends, the corruption in Washington, the growing degradation in schools, the violence in our streets, and the filth propagated through entertainment and media do NOT have Jesus Christ as their source. 

We are told that Jesus wept over Jerusalem, as He cried,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! ~ Matthew 23:37

The people of Jerusalem would cry out for Jesus to be put to death, preferring a murderer to be set free rather than Him. America is making the same mistake, as many would prefer to be impaled and destroyed by their own lusts and passions, than be saved by the One who can heal them. 

If we truly desire genuine unity, justice, and healing of our nation, then we must turn to Jesus. He, alone, is the Savior. The words of the “progressives” are nothing but shovels and excavators digging our graves and that of our nation. Jesus would gather us too. Can we truly afford to resist Him? What has this rebellion produced so far? Nothing good.

“Amen and Awoman”

“Amen and awomen.” Such audacious mockery coming from the forked-tongue of a godless politician, attempting to pray to whom he does not know (this is revealed not only by such childish mockery, but also in stating God as “the monotheistic god, Brahma, and is known by many other names.” Make no mistake, the Creator God is not Brahma (who is one of some 3 million gods of Hindu worship). 

For by [Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  ~ Colossians 1:16

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:11-12

This politician attempts to come to the throne of grace flippantly, yet refuses to acknowledge the Holy Name of Jesus—the only one who can mend and heal our nation.

Our nation is entering a darkness she has never known. Believers and unbelievers alike know there is a storm on the horizon and moving our way. So, will mocking the very Source of light going to help the situation? What complete foolishness!

I realize this windbag thought himself quite clever ending his prayer with such profane irreverence; however, let each of us take heed:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. ~ Galatians 6:7

God, indeed, can help us, but we must approach Him reverently and on His terms, not like a stupid middle-school child speaking flippantly to a substitute teacher to get a chuckle from his peers.

Encourage Your Pastor

One of the sad (but true) jokes in churches is that many families will have roasted pastor for dinner after Sunday’s service. However, the pastor who is genuinely called by God and is trying to lead a congregation in the ways of God has a tremendous responsibility. Furthermore, he does so many things behind the scenes ministering to others most are unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, pastors do far more than “just prepare for sermons and preach.” They serve as counselors and comforters, and many are on-call 24/7.

Pastors are not perfect (although they are to be godly). They have feelings and passions. They experience fear, sadness, discouragement, and anger. Many are husbands and fathers trying to be good In these roles (these are difficult for them too), and often people expect their families to be picture perfect. Dysfunction brings their calling, character, and credibility into question.

Pastors must deal with conviction and accountability to God for how they behave and handle the Word of God. They must deal with their own consciences making them aware of their failures and inadequacies. And pastors have “a target on their backs,”  more so than the average Christian, because if Satan can influence them to fall into gross sin and scandalous activities, then congregations can be divided, confounded, and even faith being shipwrecked of some.

I have read of the following statistics:

  • 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends.
  • 70% of pastors struggle with depression.
  • 1500 pastors quit each month.
  • 10% will retire as pastors.
  • 80% of pastors feel discouraged.
  • 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry.
  • 78% of pastors have no close friends.
  • 90% of pastors report to working 55-75 hours per week.

The primary tasks of a pastor is studying/teaching God’s Word and devoting himself to earnest prayer. Christians can say they “love God’s Word,” but pastors make a lot of people mad when they do truly preach God’s Word!

If you have a godly (albeit imperfect) pastor who strives to be faithful to Jesus Christ, His Word, and the Great Commission; and if he seeks to minister to the congregation and is burdened for the souls of people, then you are truly blessed. The Bible says this of such individuals:

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. ~ 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)

And,

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

Do you give honor—even double honor—to your pastor? Or do you nit pick his flaws, give him grief because he did not call you on your birthday, and roast him because he preached against your beloved pet sin(s)? If the latter, how is this of any benefit to you? What gain is there in wounding and making the work difficult of one who loves you? Sadly, often pastors pour themselves out (sometimes at the expense of their families) only to meet with continual resistance, roasting, and betrayal from congregants. 

Do you pray for your pastor’s well being? Have you encouraged your pastor (and his family) lately? A gift, a note of appreciation, and the like could be of great encouragement to him. It might even be that needed spark to help him keep from giving up. Encourage your pastor. He experiences the stresses of life and loss, just as you, all the while putting these aside ad he tried to minister to others. The weight and burdens he carries with him you will never understand. He needs your prayers and encouragement more than you can ever know.

Unchained, but Still Bound

People often view liberty as freedom from all restraints. For example, in the Scriptures we read,

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” ~ Psalm 2:2-3

However, in the New Testament we read of a poor fellow who dwelt among the tombs, driven by the demonic:

And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. ~ Mark 5:3-5

Many today boast of their “freedom” as they cast off all restraints, all the while bound tightly and oppressed by their vices, addictions, and shame. However, just as it was true for the man in the tombs, so Jesus can also heal people of such miseries today. You can know genuine freedom through Him if you will but cry out to Him in faith.

Sacrifices of Praise

A sacrifice comes with a cost. It is to surrender something we desire for something better, and the cost can be undesirable as the heart breaks. 

Typically, “praise” is associated with joy, gladness, and an eager willingness. Honestly, often it is. However, have you ever been in a church service with a broken heart and fractured soul? You still loved God, although you might not have “felt” like it, because your heart ached and your mind was being bombarded with an onslaught of questions. Perhaps only you and God knew what was tormenting your heart, mind, and soul: loneliness, guilt/shame, loss/grief, anxieties, betrayal, etc. And while those around you sang with enthusiasm, it was an extraordinary accomplishment that you got out of bed and made it to church.

What does all this have to do with sacrifices of praise? During these times praise is a sacrifice, feeling heavy as lead as our feeble voice struggles beneath the strain. Chances are, for many, during these times you do not want to offer such a sacrifice. Believe me, I have been there (and still am, at times). Such an offering is not without pain, but it is a sacrifice for something better (albeit, not immediately). While seemingly small sacrifices, God accepts the sacrifices of tear-sprinkled praise arising from broken hearts: “You are faithful, God!” “I love You, Jesus!” “I trust You, Lord.”

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ~ Hebrews 13:14-15 (ESV)

Armed for Battle

In such times as this, when evil is advancing, it is all too easy for the follower of Christ to mistake the real enemy. While there is an element of truth in wicked people being our foes; yet, Jesus died so that persons, regardless how evil, might repent and be saved. Yes, we are to resist the advances of the wicked, but the true war lies beyond our natural realm. 

We read in the Scriptures,

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:11-12 (ESV)

From whence does this modern thrust to abandon God, decency, and all that is sacred? From whence comes this push and applause the unnatural killing of offspring, and the morbidly growing dismissal of the heinousness of pedophilia? From whence comes the growing renouncing of order and justifying the criminal? While it is true each of us is plagued with a sinful heart, throughout history most civilizations still valued virtue and shunned vice. But our present world is changing this. Why?

We are told in the Scriptures that our real enemies are wicked, demonic spirits that hate God and humankind made in His image with an absolute, malicious hatred. How are followers of Christ to engage in the warfare? With blazing guns like the heroes in the movie, The Matrix? Certainly not! 

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

We are told our armor consists of truth, faith, righteousness, (knowledge of) salvation, and the gospel of peace. Our weaponry are the Word of God (the Bible) and prayer (see Eph. 6:10-18).

If we, the people of God, truly desire  to see the advancements of evil hindered, it will not happen by vehemently opposing rioters or simply casting a vote, and it will not come by being either passive or aggressive. Positive change can only come as God’s people engage in battle through honest prayer, both individually and corporately.

Know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s. ~ 1 Samual 17:47

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Jesus and Prayer

Jesus and prayer. Many scoff at these during these difficult times, saying they don’t work. However, this is like a person cursing tools because he can’t get a screwdriver to screw in a nail or a hammer to saw through a plank. The problem is not the tools but the one misusing them. 

There is peace, guidance, and even healing for our nation and its citizens; Jesus and prayer are the means by which these can be attained. However, we want to approach Him, the King of the universe, as if He is some waiter still in high school: “Hey buddy, yeah, we’d like riches, cures, and power. Do these and you might get a $5 tip and maybe even a thank you… Oh, and make it quick!” We treat the King like some schmuck, then wonder why we seem to be ignored?

Yet, the Scriptures give us promises for if we are ever really ready to do business:

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. ~ Isaiah 1:18

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. ~ Isaiah 59:2

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:13

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. ~ Psalm 51:17

So much good can happen if we would but go to God with humility and sincerity. Jesus and prayer are not the problems. We are. 

If we would but go to God on His terms, acknowledging our guilt (guilty we are), and truly seeking His face—only heaven knows what incredible blessings would come!

Lose not hope. Instead, let us lose our pride.