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Day 19 Praying for Revival

Day 19 Praying for Revival

The Congregation of the Called

God has created us to be a sociable people. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake “assembling” with one another. An interesting fact is that the word “church” is not found anywhere in the Greek New Testament to describe a building or a location. The word that is used in the Greek New Testament is ecclesia which translated is assembling or congregation If, therefore, the “church” is in fact the assembly or the congregation, it is then in no way, shape, or form a building, an address, or a location. It is the people of God gathered together for the purpose of worshiping and serving God. If we then refuse to participate in “church” we then are refusing to live in obedience to the scripture previously mentioned, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some.” We are forsaking assembling or congregating with other believes as God has commanded us too. Again, we have been so bold as to tell God “No.”

One of the necessities of congregating with other believers is that we are there to help strengthen one another. We fellowship for the purpose of helping one another carry loads we cannot carry on our own. Just prior to the Word of God telling us not to forsake assembling with one another, Hebrews 10:24 says, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Just after that verse the Word of God tells us not to forsake assembling together. Then again just after God’s Word tells us not to forsake assembling together, Hebrews 10:25 says, “But encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” I believe one of the great purposes of God’s people assembling together is clear. We need to draw strength from one another, encourage one another, stimulate one another for good deeds, and love one another.

If the church is not living up to this standard then the church is in rebellion against God and needs to repent. Jesus said that through this standard we would be a witness to the world when He said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If the church is busy backbiting, fussing, fighting, and arguing, it dishonors God and leaves a distasteful reputation of the church in the community.

Acts 2 tells us some amazing things about the first century church. Verse 42 tells us that they had all things in common, and verse 47 tells us that they had favor with the community. Even though they were of greatly diverse backgrounds, they had all things in common because they were all focused on Jesus. They also had a good reputation in the community due to the fact that they were pursuing God’s plans and not their own. They humbled themselves before the Lord; and through their humility, the Lord was glorified. Are we glorifying the Lord with our actions?

One of my most proud moments of the church was just after Hurricane Katrina. The eye of the storm passed right over the church and the community I was pastoring in south Mississippi. We stocked up on supplies like we were told to in preparation for the hurricane. However, we, like most others, prepared only for a few days, not realizing it would be weeks before we would see again any resemblance of a grocery store. We could drive to other towns, but the closest gas that was available was at least seventy-five miles away. What little gas we had was rationed for the generators.

It didn’t take long to figure out that Uncle Sam and Red Cross were not prepared either. The church was a Red Cross shelter, but all we received from them was a roll of toilet paper, a box of mosquito repellent, and some registration forms. I’m not fussing. No one, myself included, was prepared for such a catastrophe. The U.S. had never seen anything like this before. However, God was not overwhelmed. In a very short amount of time, the church (God’s assembly) started showing up from California to Maine and everywhere in-between! They brought food, baby supplies, toiletries, and everything you could ever imagine. God used it all. We set up the church’s gymnasium as a distribution center, giving away all we had. I shed more tears of joy that week as we saw grown men crying when we gave them something as simple as water, mothers overwhelmed when giving them diapers, and children overjoyed when giving them toys. I was amazed as so many people with so many needs poured into the church. I saw people that had previously told me that they would never step foot in a church, come. By the way, they continued to come!

Through the tragedy and chaos of Katrina we saw the church being the church. Our sanctuary lay in ruin; yet, our church was more of a church in that time than they had ever been while sitting in that sanctuary. I hate the death and destruction that Katrina caused but would trade nothing for the privilege of seeing God’s people rise to the occasion. But the question then arises: Why do we wait for tragedy to strike to rise up to the occasion? This world is in constant chaos. The devil is the constant and present destroyer. Imagine a world where the church, the assembly of God, the congregation of the called, would continually rise to the occasion and be the church. Katrina brought about the realization of physical needs. As I write this, years after Katrina, the church is still tending to those physical needs.

The constant chaos and destruction the devil is placing on this world, however, is a spiritual devastation. A devastation that leaves a wake of destruction far worse than Katrina, or any other physical disaster, ever could. Why does the church not rise to the occasion in spiritual matters with such urgency as they do with physical matters? I believe it’s due to pride in our hearts that says, “They got themselves in this mess; they need to get themselves out of it.” It’s not because we don’t see it because we do. It is in our faces everyday; and if we don’t see it, it is because we choose not to see. When we say they deserve what they get, we fail to realize we could not get ourselves out of the mess we made of our lives through our sins and rebellion against God; neither can they. I promise you; we don’t want what we deserve! Are we so prideful as to think that we are better than they or that they deserve what they get, yet we do not? Stephen told the religious leaders of his day in Acts 7:51, “you men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit.” Has this become who we are today?

If we as the assembly of God (the congregation of His called) run to this world with urgency in our hearts ministering to their spiritual needs and hurts, they then will come to the realization of the true and biblical nature of the church. Most importantly they will turn to the Lord. Remember, Jesus was asked by the prideful of heart why He was eating with sinners. He said in Mark 2:17, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” I personally thank God for that.

As I close each service of the local church I pastor and just before we walk out of the door to our building, I ask a simple question, “What time is it?” They then respond, “It’s time to be the church.” From time to time I then ask, “Why do I ask that question?” Someone will then respond with something like, “Once we walk out of those doors, we don’t cease being God’s people.” We need to constantly be reminded that the church isn’t a building; it is the congregation of the called. We walk humbly before God and men while ministering boldly in that name that is above every other name, the name of Jesus. We have pridefully become lost within the walls of our buildings that we call the church, making it all about us. However, God has called us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19.20). Are we again telling God no?

Day 19 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that God would reveal prideful attitudes of self-sufficiency and bring about repentance.
  • Pray that the church would never put their hope in man and their hope would be in God alone.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total obedience.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total dependency on Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 18 Praying for Revival

Day 18 Praying for Revival

The Sin of Self-Sufficiency

I was raised on military bases with both my mother and father serving in the United States Air Force. I was constantly surrounded with symbols and acts of patriotism that instilled a great sense of pride for our nation and continues to fill my heart to this day. With that in mind, I have also come to the great conviction that this nation that I love has acted in great arrogance toward God. We have become arrogant toward God not in word but in action, the action of self-sufficiency. Our national motto says, “In God We Trust;” yet, we say with our actions, “in self we trust.” When we take control and remove God from the equation, we stand in the power of our own self-sufficiency, which truly is no power at all. We must understand that we have only two choices: either we fully trust Him or we don’t trust Him at all. God said in Isaiah 42:8 that He will not share His glory with another. I once saw a bumper sticker that said “God is my co-pilot” If He is our co-pilot, we are in the wrong seat. God needs no co-pilot. For the most part, the church in America has removed God from the driver’s seat and taken hold of the wheel as well. And we wonder why we are so far off the path that God has chosen for us.

Long ago I stopped listening to many “Christian” radio stations because it seemed as though they lost their purpose of promoting the creator for their plan of pushing politicians. I am a social conservative; therefore, I will vote for and support like-minded people that run for office. I encourage all Christians to do the same. With that being said, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that there is not a single politician in this world (regardless of how socially conservative or how intellectually superior they may be) that will bring about revival in this country. We can have an on-fire, born-again believer in the Oval Office, in every seat in the senate as well as congress along with every state level position across this land; and that alone would not bring about a spiritual awakening. That’s neither their job nor their responsibility. Christians need to repent of their political idolatry and their mindsets that if we get the right people in the right political positions we will have peace and prosperity. We need to repent and turn to and trust in God as a nation just as our forefathers did. Our faith and trust in God, not man, is what made this a great nation. Psalm 127:1, says “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain those who build it.” Morality cannot be legislated nor mandated. It can only be initiated through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me be clear on this: Christians should support candidates that uphold moral convictions that line up with the truth of God’s Word. I also support the idea of Christians themselves running for political office. There is an attack on morality and family values in our nation, and the devil is certainly using Washington, D. C. for his purposes. We need to stand firm against his schemes and his lies. However, we don’t put our trust in mortal men. We put our trust in Almighty God. God has chosen the church-and only the church-to demonstrate His power and glory in this world.

However, we are not seeing God move in America as we know He is able to. We must understand that it is not due to things going on in Washington, D. C. It is due to the fact that the American church has become arrogant and full of self-sufficient pride. Of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, Jesus was the harshest toward the Church of Laodicea. He said to them in Revelation 3:17, “Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” The American church today believes that they are rich and in need of nothing yet they do not know as they sit in their multimillion dollar stained-glassed compounds that they are wretched and poor and blind and naked. We have become rich and in need of nothing, including Jesus; so we trust in our own power regardless of the fact that Jesus has clearly said that apart from Him we can do nothing.

Consider how we view the education of our vocational ministers in our American churches. I am in full support of education. I believe that everyone should pursue as much education as they possibly can. However, we have made the level of education for our vocational ministers a prerequisite of whether or not God can work in their lives. When I was first called into the ministry, I was told by a Director of Missions of a Baptist association that I would never pastor in “his” association until I had a Ph.D. or at the very least a Doctorate of Ministry. For some reason I thought it was God who called ministers into churches. Silly me! When a vocational minister pursues education, he must ask himself, “Am I here to gain tools to enhance the ministry to which God has called me?” or “Am I hear to get a degree that will eventually lead me to a larger church?” I have always been of the opinion if a pastor desires a larger church more that he desires work hard in God’s power to make the church he is currently at a larger church rather than using the smaller churches as stepping stones to reach the so called pinnacle of ministerial success, “The Large Church.”

I have met many a prideful preacher who within a few minutes after introductions tells the story of their level of education; yet, they never share about the power of God that has worked in their lives. I have also met many very humble and godly ministers with very extensive education through whom God has done wonders within their lives. However, we often forget about men like D. L. Moody who could hardly read or write when God called him to preach. Yet, God used Him to be one of the greatest evangelists of all time. Have we overlooked the men God called of whom Paul spoke in I Corinthians 1:26, 27, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” I believe it is well past time that we once again trust in the power of God rather than the ability of men.

We are fortunate enough to live in an age today where the church has the most educated ministers in its history. I personally think that is wonderful. Again, I’m all for education. However, if we have the most educated ministers than ever before one would think the church would be more educated than ever before. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Our churches have become full of biblically illiterate members that haven’t a clue of biblical truths. Unlike the dark ages when God’s word was kept from the public today we have an unlimited inventory of Bible studies, devotionals, commentaries, and many other wonderful tools that help us study God’s Word right at our fingertips. Yet we don’t utilize them. Why put forth effort when we have educated ministers that will do it for us?

We believe we are rich and in need of nothing. The members of our churches do not need to put forth any effort because they will just hire a “minister” to do it. They will hire someone to work with everyone from the senior adults all the way down to working with the children in the nursery. I know that God has used many mega churches in great ways, but I also believe that many people leave the small churches flocking to the larger churches where they can blend in so they will not be asked nor expected to actually do anything. They have a minister that will do it. As a vocational minister, I obviously believe there is a place for vocational ministry. However, according to the Bible in Ephesians 4:12, the primary role of pastors and teachers are “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” I stand amazed at the arrogance and pride of the church today that has been so bold as to tell God, “No, we won’t work for Your service to help build up the body of Christ. No, God, we don’t want to be equipped.

Day 18 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that God would reveal prideful attitudes of self-sufficiency and bring about repentance.
  • Pray that the church would never put their hope in man and their hope would be in God alone.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total obedience.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total dependency on Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on March 7, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 17 Praying for Revival

Day 17 Praying for Revival

Humility for His Honor

“Humble themselves”

Defining Humility

Many people have a false idea of what humility actually is. They get a picture of a groveling beggar who is unwilling to lift his head in public, ashamed of who he is. Although I am ashamed of things I have done in my past, when I humble myself before the Lord, I am not ashamed of who I am; and I hold my head up high. The Bible says in Romans 8:37, “we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” People also get the idea that humble people are weak. However, Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 that He is humble, and He certainly is not weak.

To be humble is to be void of pride and arrogance in your life. If you are humble and you know you are, then, my friend, you are by no means humble. Humility isn’t something you do; it is someone you are. Humility is a natural character that flows out from you without thought or conscious effort. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for humility. Humility isn’t natural for us. We need to work on it by denying the flesh and seeking God. However, a truly humble person walks, talks, breathes, and flows in humility as a natural part of who they are just as Christ did. That’s where God desires us to be. Peter said in I Peter 5:5, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

A humble person is one who always puts others first. His needs can wait. Her desires aren’t pressing. His wants are outweighed by the needs of the others. Serving God requires serving people. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:8 that Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We find in Jesus the perfect example of humility-One who was strong enough to put Himself to the side for the greater good of those whom He served. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” The arrogant and prideful feel as though the world owes them and therefore should serve them. This attitude is most certainly not a Christ-like attitude.

Humility is also the realization that we are not self-sufficient. We so desperately need God for every area in our lives. The scriptures are clear that through Christ we can do all things, but apart from Him we can do nothing. Matthew 14:22-33 gives the account when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. They weren’t sure if it was actually Jesus or just a ghost. Put yourself in their sandals for a moment. You would be confused as well. Peter said “Lord, if it is You command me to come to You on the water,” and Jesus said, “come.” Peter then stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. As long as Peter’s focus was on Jesus, He could walk on the water; but once he lost focus, He began to sink.

We find two amazing things about this story. First, as long as Peter’s focus was on Jesus, He could walk on the water. Therefore, as long as we stay focused on Jesus, we can do anything. Secondly, once Peter started to sink Jesus rescued him. Jesus didn’t say “He lost focus so I’m gonna just let that fool drown.” We need the Lord when we are strong, and we need the Lord when we are weak. Paul, speaking of his humility before God said, in II Corinthians 12:10 “When I am week, then I am strong.” God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses. Humility is finding strength in God despite our weakness, as well as leaning on Him despite our strength.

Day 17 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that God would reveal prideful attitudes of self-sufficiency and bring about repentance.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total obedience.
  • Pray for humility upon the people of God that leads to total dependency on Him.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 16 Praying for Revival

Day 16 Praying for Revival

To God be the Glory.

God told Solomon who the spiritual condition of the world rested upon: “If My people who are called by My name.” If we do what God has called us to (in total trust in His power and might), we will see God reclaim the land unto Himself. God has given us spiritual weapons that are not of this world but are “divinely powerful.” (II Corinthians 10:4). He has given us His authority. (Matthew 20:18). He has given us the power of His Holy Spirit, (Acts 1:8), and He has given us His very presence. (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, we are without excuse when we fail to do what God has called us to do. However, when we choose to utilize the great blessings God has given, we will see God moving mightily.

Now remember that when God moves mightily, He is the one who deserves the glory. We have no power, strength or wisdom on our own. We must remember who we are, God’s people called by His name. Zachariah 4:6 says, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts.” We are not mighty but our God is All Mighty. We have no power but our God is All Powerful. We have no wisdom but our God is All Knowing. When we choose to die to ourselves and come alive to the power of God, we give God permission to use us. God doesn’t need our permission; however, He will not work through us without it. Jesus said “apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). God used Paul in a phenomenal way; yet, it was Paul who said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” In other words, he was saying my life is no longer about me; it’s all about the Christ who had redeemed me.

When we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have entered into the family of God. God’s family is a powerful family not because of who the family is, but from whom the family derives its name. When someone is in a powerful and influential family he or she recognizes the responsibilities that come along with being a member of that family. If a person acts dishonorably, he or she not only dishonors themselves but they dishonor the family name. If a person acts in an honorable way he or she gives honor to the family name. God said in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another.” We live for His glory and not our own. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The world will see the works that we do; yet; those works should point them to the Father and not ourselves.

Jesus said something astounding in John 14:12-14. He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Wow! Jesus said even greater works we will do if we believe in Him. This text of scripture is often taken out of context and misinterpreted. Taking the whole of John 14, we see that Jesus was teaching that He and the Father are one. When you see Him you see the Father. Everything Jesus does or says is as a result of the oneness He has with the Father. With that in mind, Jesus said when we believe in Him even greater things will we do. It won’t be because we are greater than He is, but because we are working in oneness with Him for the purpose of continuing His work on this earth which in turn brings glory to the Father. When we as the people of God (called by His name) work in unity and oneness with Christ, the power and the abilities of God are unlimited and unimaginable. So I challenge you as a man or woman of God, stand up in His power, walk in His might, and magnify His name. Let’s reclaim this land for His honor. He is worthy, and the salvation of this world is worth it.

Day 16 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Submit yourself to the Lord as a vessel for His glory.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that all Christians will understand the depth of their salvation and as a result surrender to total service unto God.
  • Pray that church will understand, and stand up to its calling.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that all Christians would take seriously their role as royal ambassadors and live a life of fulfilling the ministry of reconciliation.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
 
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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 15 Praying for Revival

Day 15 Praying for Revival

Ambassadors for Christ

Not only does the Bible teach that we are a “Royal Priesthood” in Christ, but it also says in II Corinthians 5:20 that we are “Ambassadors for Christ.” As priests we represent mankind to God; as ambassadors for Christ we represent God to mankind. As priests we lift the needs up toward God; as ambassadors we allow the Glory of God to flow down to us and through us for man to see-not to see who we are but to see who God is. Paul said in II Corinthians 5:20, “therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us.” To be an ambassador is a high honor and a great privilege.

When King Solomon was praying to the Lord in the dedication of the temple, he asked God to look not only upon them but also on the foreigner who would pray to God, “so that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, and fear You as do Your people Israel.” (II Chronicles 6:33). God’s heart has always been that all of His creation would turn to Him and trust in Him. The temple was a testimony of the power and the presence of God in the midst of His people. Today through Christ the New Testament teaches us that our bodies are now the Temple of God, II Corinthians 6:19. God chooses to reside in us today through His Spirit for the same reasons He chose to reside in the Temple amongst the nation of Israel. One of the main reasons is so that the lost people of the world may know Him through His presence within us. As an ambassador, we do not promote our own agenda or our own plans or even our own ideas. Everything we do points to the one of whom we represent. We have the great advantage as ambassadors of Christ; for the God whom we represent dwells within us.

As Christians we are in this world but are not of this world. We are foreigners in a foreign land. This world is naturally hostile toward the things of God; yet, we are called to represent God in this hostile world. Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 3:12, “indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” When we simply try to blend in with the world and not allow Christ to shine through us, we not only dishonor the Lord; but we also do this world an injustice. The world thinks that their way of living is okay, that they are on the right track, and that they have everything figured out. However, they will never find peace, joy or any sense of contentment in what this world has to offer. I believe that God has put a natural void in the heart of every man that longs for God, and that void cannot be filled by anything else. When the people of the world see the joy, the peace, and the sense of satisfaction in the lives of a Christian, they are then confronted with the realization that something is missing in their lives.

We have already discussed that the church is the only institution upon this earth through which God has chosen to work. Whether operating in our priestly role or ministering in our role as ambassadors, we work through the central headquarters of the church. The church is a spiritual embassy of the Kingdom of God. It is strategically placed in the local level all throughout the world to minister to the people who are members of its kingdom while living in this foreign land. However, God’s embassy has another purpose as well. As the ambassadors of Christ represent the Lord in this hostile land, many come to the realization that the world of which they are citizens is destroying them, consuming their very lives and devouring everything they are. The embassy of the Kingdom of God offers to them spiritual asylum found only in Christ. It offers them a transfer in citizenship from a citizen of this world, of which Satan is in control, to a citizenship in God’s kingdom. Jesus said in John 10:10, “the thief (devil) comes only to steal kill and destroy; but I have come to give you life and to give it to you abundantly.”

In II Corinthians 5, just prior to Paul saying we are ambassadors for Christ, he talked about the ministry of reconciliation. To reconcile with someone is to end a conflict with them. The world is in conflict with God. James said in James 4:4, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The world is under the control of the devil; yet, God’s desire is to redeem everyone from the bondage of this world and the control of Satan. Jesus said to his disciples in John 15:18, 19, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” The whole purpose of the cross is to redeem people out of the world and into God’s grace-from being a foe to being family.

The plan and purpose of God is clear. It is to reconcile this world unto Himself. God chooses to use the church for that plan. We must understand that the church is not a building, a location, or an address. It is God’s people assembled together. For the first 300 years of Christianity, there were no “church” buildings. They met in houses or other public places. Is it, therefore, sinful to have buildings? Of course not. However, I do believe that many of the children of God today have become lost in their buildings and have forgotten the fact that God’s heart is to reconcile this world unto Himself. Some things need to be done in our buildings. However, if we refuse (as God’s children and as God’s church) to participate in the ministry of reconciliation, we have then become rebellious and sinful. This idea of opening the front doors of the building and saying to the community “Ya’ll come” doesn’t work. The reason why it doesn’t work is because that wasn’t God’s design. Jesus said, “Go”.  (Matthew 28:19). Paul stated this great purpose of the church in Ephesians 3:10: “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” We cannot be ambassadors while residing in our own land.

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” I believe we have not been the witnesses that Jesus said “we shall be” because the power of the Holy Spirit has not come upon us. The power of the Holy Spirit has not come upon us because we have been playing church rather than earnestly seeking God as we should. We choose to play by our own rules rather than follow God’s. However, when we begin to pray and earnestly seek God as we should and live in obedience to Him; God will allow the power of the Holy Spirit to fall down upon us. When the power of the Holy Spirit falls, we will be so compelled to be God’s witnesses that no power on earth or in the spiritual realm will be able to stop us. We can debate as to what the signs of someone being filled with the spirit are, but one thing is clear when you read through the book of Acts. People who are filled with God’s spirit are being witnesses for Jesus. They are being ambassadors for Christ.

Day 15 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that all Christians will understand the depth of their salvation and as a result surrender to total service unto God.
  • Pray that church will understand, and stand up to its calling.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that all Christians would take seriously their role as royal ambassadors and live a life of fulfilling the ministry of reconciliation.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
  • Pray for the safety, protection, and influence of Christians who are being persecuted.
 
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Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 14 Praying for Revival

Day 14 Praying for Revival

A Royal Priesthood

            The more we understand the Gospel, the more we understand that the good news of God keeps getting better and better. We have already concluded that God has saved us even though we are unworthy and that He has called us into a calling that is set aside for His purpose-a calling for which He will provide our every need. Those two glorious gifts are worthy of our uttermost dedication and service to God, but that is not the end of the good news. As we continue to search the scriptures, we find that through Christ, God has adopted us as His very own children and that we have become joint heirs in Christ Jesus. The Bible says in Romans 8:14-17, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Many times in scripture Paul called himself a “bond-servant of Christ.”A bond-servant is a willing servant. God has not called us to serve Him as His unwilling slaves. He has called us to serve Him as His child.

As the good news continues to get better and better, we understand more of who God is and who we are because of Him. Jesus is not just royalty; He is the King of Kings. Because we are adopted sons and daughters of God and joint heirs in Christ Jesus, God has allowed us to join in the blessings of being a part of His royal family. In Christ we are royalty. Peter says of those who are a part of the family. I Peter 2:9, 10 says, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” He calls us a “Royal Priesthood.”

Many times in the New Testament believers are referred to as priests. This doctrine is called the “priesthood of the believer.” Some would argue that being a priest is for a select few that are called. However, the Word of God clearly teaches that whoever has accepted Jesus Christ’s work of salvation and has then been adopted into the family of God is a priest. A priest has many roles and responsibilities. However, they can all be summed up into one main purpose. A priest is to represent mankind to God. One of the greatest ways that believers can represent mankind to God is to pray for them. The topic of prayer will be discussed in greater detail in the fourth chapter; however, God expects His people who are called by His name to pray. Jesus is our High Priest, and we see Him many times in the gospels praying for his disciples as seen in John 17. Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 1:3 that he thanks God for him as he mentions him in his prayers.

As the priests of God serving mankind on behalf of God, we should have a great burden for the lost and hurting. Many times I pray asking God to give me the compassion Jesus has-the compassion that calls out with a broken heart as Jesus did in Matthew 23:37 as He said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” Despite the wickedness of their ways, Jesus still loved them and desperately desired to see them repent and turn to His salvation. With the same heart we are also called to cry out to the Father with a broken heart on behalf of the lost condition of this world. I dare say that the bulk of our prayers should be directed to praying for the redemption of the wretched.

As a result of our saving relationship with Jesus Christ the Bible teaches that all believers have direct access to the throne of God. (See Hebrews 4:16). James 5:16 tells us, “that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” As we have already discussed, we have no righteousness of our own. However, for those who have trusted in Christ as their savior, we have a righteousness that is found in Him. (Romans 3:22). As we lift up our voices to God, we are also encouraged with the great news that Jesus is the mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5). So what does all of this mean? It simply means that through Christ we have direct access to the throne of the Father. The righteousness that is found in Christ is perfect righteousness; therefore the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much. Our prayers through Christ are powerful.

Have you ever been told (or even thought to yourself) that someone is too far gone? As I stood at the graveside of my mother, I tried to give the pastor who just finished preaching her funeral some money for his time and effort. He graciously declined, but upon my persistence he told to me if I really wanted to give the money, then I should come to church that Sunday and put it in the offering plate. I agreed and began to walk away. He then grabbed my arm to turn me back around and spoke these words to me, “Rusty I’m going to pray for you until you turn your life over to Jesus.” At that time in my life, I was a drug addict who was consumed with anger, rage, hatred, and bitterness. Not only was I a drug addict, I also considered myself to be an atheist. As he spoke those words to me I shrugged it off like it was nothing. Fifty-six day later I accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord over my life. We are never too far gone, and there is great power in prayer-if we pray.

Day 14 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that all Christians will understand the depth of their salvation and as a result surrender to total service unto God.
  • Pray that church will understand, and stand up to its calling.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
  • Pray for the safety, protection, and influence of Christians who are being persecuted.
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 13 Praying for Revival

Day 13 Praying for Revival

Saved with a Holy Calling.

One of the difficulties we often have is understanding how totally depraved we are apart from Christ.  We often think that we are deserving of the gifts and the blessings of God. However, the Word of God says in Isaiah 64:6, “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our righteousness is the best we can give, and it alone is not enough. The Bible also says in Ephesians 2:3, “by nature we are children of wrath.” The word of God gives a very bleak picture of the nature of man. Every man, woman, and child that has ever lived upon this earth has made a conscious choice at some point in their lives to rebel and sin against God. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

The Bible also tells us that God requires death as the payment for our sins. (Romans 6:23). Death had to be paid as a penalty of sin, but praise be to God that I Corinthians 15:3 tells us, “Christ died for our sins.” We should have paid the penalty for our sins but Jesus stood in our place. Although we have turned our backs on Him time after time, God loves us enough to send us His son to become sin for us. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Due to this great sacrifice, John said in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is worthy of this great gift of sacrifice. We deserve death and hell; yet, God gives us grace by giving us His Son.

With this grace in mind, Paul said in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” He is urging us, because of the mercy of God, to give ourselves entirely to Himself as a living and holy sacrifice. God doesn’t want dead sacrifices. He desires living sacrifices that are set apart for His own purposes. If we truly understand the mercies of God and the great grace that God has bestowed upon us, we will have no problem serving Him. The mercies of God have purchased us from sin, death, and hell and have reconciled us into a right relationship with Him. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” (Ephesians 2:4).

As the Apostle Paul began to write his second letter to young Timothy, he knew his life was going to end soon. He was imprisoned and about to be executed because of his faith in Jesus and his faithful service to Jesus. With this in mind, Paul wrote these words to Timothy in II Timothy 1:8, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” Now, anyone else would have said, “Are you out of your mind? You are about to die and you want me to come join with you in suffering!” What reason would Timothy have in joining with Paul in suffering? Why would he continue to walk down this path of service and loyalty to Jesus when this is the very path that has Paul where he is? Paul answered that question in the very next verse when he said, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” I will serve Him for no other reason than that I am saved by His wonderful grace.

What an honor and a privilege to serve God. When God saves us, He calls us; however, we must also understand that when He calls us, He equips us. When we are called by God, we are not our own, we are His! The bible says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Through Christ we are called to good works. By the hand of God we are shaped, formed, and fitted to fulfill them. God may not have called you to be a pastor or an evangelist or to go to a foreign mission field, but you are called nonetheless. The calling He has placed upon your life may be done in a manner where no one in the world may ever be aware of it. However, it is still a glorious and honorable calling. If we were to be called upon by a king or dignitary of this world to render service, we would consider it an honor. We, however, have been called by the King of Kings. What a glorious honor; for He has saved us and called us with a holy calling.

Day 13 Prayer Guide

  • Ask God to reveal any sin or mindset that would prevent Him from hearing your prayers.
  • Repent of any such hindrance and ask for God’s forgiveness.
  • Ask God to remove any doubts and keep you focused on Him.
  • Seek the Holy Spirit to consume you during this time to lead you. Be obedient to Him.
  • Spend some time praising God for the fact that He is able. Quote some scriptures or some of His characteristics to Him in praise.
  • Pray that the people of God will repent of sins and mindsets that dishonor and hinder Him.
  • Pray that all Christians will understand the depth of their salvation and as a result surrender to total service unto God.
  • Pray that church will understand, and stand up to its calling.
  • Pray that the people of God will stand in faith knowing God can reclaim this land.
  • Pray that our churches would be devoted to, and peruse the things that honor God.
  • Pray that our churches will be a shining light upon the hill.
  • Pray that the people of God would see the need for revival and begin to seek God for it.
  • Pray specifically for revival in your church. Pray for your pastor and church leaders.
  • Pray that the people of God will be broken hearted over the lost.
  • Pray that the church will be a gospel centered church with a heart to evangelize the world while starting in their own back yard.
  • Pray that the power of God would fall on the church moving them to prayer and sowing the gospel seed.
  • Pray for a great awakening in your community. Name off streets and neighborhoods.
  • Do not be judgmental in this, but pray that if there is any within the church who do not have a genuine relationship with Jesus that God would convict their heart and save them.
  • Make a list of individuals who are not saved and begin petitioning God for their salvation.
  • Pray for repentance of sin and a great awakening in our nation.
  • Pray for the safety, protection, and influence of Christians who are being persecuted.
 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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