Preparing for Revival #2

Preparing For Revival #1

Jesus Christ is Coming!

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Matthew 24:36-51

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[b] but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,[c] whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Cooperation with your Transformation

          God is committed to our transformation. In fact, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

2 Peter 1:3-4

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

          In my previous post we saw that God shoulders the lion’s share of responsibility to transform us, however, there are things we can do to help expedite our transformation.

“God is obligated to fulfill His promise of transformation,

He is not obligated to fulfill your potential.”

          God has given us the ability to be transformed into His image. He has given us the “Down Payment of the Holy Spirit” to guide us and Jesus Christ as the model for us to follow. God has given us everything needed to be conformed to His image and yet, how far we get in the transformation process is greatly dependent on our cooperation with His plan and purpose.

          Two things we must make routine for healthy cooperation and consistent growth are daily intake and exposure to the Word of God and beholding His glory.

#1) Renew our minds to the written Word of God.

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

          The mind is the battlefield in the fight for the Kingdom. The Mind of Christ is found in His Word. If we say we love God and don’t love His Word, we are deceived. The way we think, the way we perceive things, the way we see people, are all affected by our understanding of God’s Word. To gain a heavenly perspective requires daily exposure and intake of the Word of God.

1 Peter 2:2-3

 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

          Notice it says, “as newborn infants, long for the spiritual milk.” No matter where we are in our spiritual development, we should have a hunger and longing for the Word like an infant craving milk it needs to grow. It’s not saying only babies need the milk, its saying that we ALL should desire the Word and depend on it like a newborn babe depends on milk. It is that critical for our spiritual growth and development.

#2) Being doers of the Word

2 Corinthians 3:15-18

Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

          In verse 16 it says, “when we turn to the Lord, the veil is removed.” What does it mean to “turn to the Lord?” Turning has to do with repentance, turning from old, carnal thinking to a new and living way! It is only after the action of turning (repentance) that the veil is removed, and we are able to see His Glory

          What is His Glory? Any made known, made seen attribute of Christ is the glory of God revealed. Healing, the fruits of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, revelation in His word, these are all the glory of God revealed. We receive Christ (the Word made Flesh) by acting on the Word that we know. If we simply read the Word academically, instead of letting it speak to us, correct us, and shape us, we forget who we are. We forget that we are a blood bought child of the Living God with a new nature, a new purpose, a new destiny!

          Beholding His Glory Is directly connected to being a doer of His Word. Without being a “doer” of the Word, our capacity to see and understand truth is compromised. It takes obedience to the Word to behold His Glory. Without obedience to the Word, we forget who we are and see with the carnal eyes of the old man with his fallen nature.

James 1:22-25

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

          Blessings and transformation are promised to those who are doers of the Word.

God’s Promise to Change You

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          Have you ever heard this old saying?

“God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.”

  Praise God there is scripture to back up that statement!

1Thessallonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

          We tend to assume that since He was so gracious to save us we now have the responsibility to “tow the line, shape up, do what is right, separating ourselves from carnal tendencies and worldly lusts.” While this is certainly what needs to happen, God never intended us to shoulder all the responsibility of sanctification and transformation. The truth is, we are no more capable of doing this on our own than we were before Christ.

          “Salvation is not an event as much as it is a process.”

Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

          Christianity is a glorious journey of salvation and transformation. Saving us from death and eternal damnation and transforming us more and more into His image. Paul exhorted Timothy to work this out in His own life with “fear and trembling.” Why? Because God is doing the heavy lifting here! HE is the Great Potter, and WE are the clay. Clay does not have the power to change itself, it can only be changed by another influence.

potter1

So, what is our part?

          Lay our lives down on the Potter’s wheel, let the washing of water by God’s Word clean us and make us soft and pliable allowing the hand of God’s grace to shape us into His image.

How to Change a President

Why is it Hard to Read the Bible?

          Have you noticed that reading the Bible is actually harder than reading a secular book or magazine? I have picked up a good fiction novel and finished it within a day or two many times. In fact, I have read Christian books about the Bible and have been able to cruise through most of them in a short time as well. However, when I pick up the Bible and determine to read say…5 chapters, by the time I am done (if I finish) I am exhausted! Why is that!?

          When asking the Lord about this He gave me some real insight as to why this happens and I want to share.

          First off, the Bible is a LIVING book! God’s Word is ALIVE and ACTIVE, it is full of GRACE and TRUTH!

HEBREWS 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

          Anytime we are exposed to the living Word of God it requires spiritual and physical effort. The impact of truth on the carnal man cause the fallen nature to DIE! Your carnal man does not want to die so the flesh resists even opening the Bible, let alone reading multiple chapters.

Consider this passage of scripture in light of these thoughts:

Exodus 33:20-23 But He (GOD) said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 “So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 “Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.

 Understand that reading God’s Word is your carnal man’s FACE to FACE encounter with God! To truly die to self you MUST have constant exposure to His Word.

GALATIANS 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

          If you maintain a disciplined approach to reading and studying your Bible you will be successful in “Dying to Self.” This is a core message of the Gospel and without the old man dying, you will never experience the fullness of the new man in Christ.

COLOSSIANS 3:10 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

EPHESIANS 4:21-24 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

  • Is the Bible harder to read than other books? YES!
  • Is it more beneficial than any other book? YES!
  • Is it spiritual food and nourishment for us? YES!
  • Is it required to live a successful Christian life? YES!

          So be encouraged! The Bible is just as difficult to read for others as it is for you. So discipline yourself to have DAILY exposure to, and INTAKE of God’s Word and put to death that nasty old flesh so the NEW MAN, CHRIST, may live in and through you in fullness!

JC

How to Deliver Truth

Love is the license to speak truth

            Sharing the truth of God’s word is an important part of the Christian life. At some point we responded to truth and made a decision to follow Christ and now we have a responsibility to share that truth with others so they will have the same opportunity that we had. With that new responsibility we should keep in mind the manner in which we deliver that truth.

           Truth is received in the manner it is delivered. The Word of God is truth. It is also a sword, a double edged one at that. Truth should never be delivered with the intention of “straightening someone out,” or “correcting someone.” Scripture is profitable if it is delivered with the right heart. If it is delivered with wrong motives it can actually drive people away from God instead of drawing them to Him. This is a real problem in our generation.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This passage is repeatedly misused to justify Bible bashing, finger pointing, and a judgmental approach to correcting people in the name of God. A self-righteous assault on people is a reproach on Christ and opens one up to the influence of religious spirits. Not to mention hurting the one we are supposed to be helping.

          Notice that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” God is love according to 1 John 4:8

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Therefore, all scripture is given by the inspiration of Love. When the Word of Truth is shared it should be inspired by Love.

          If the delivery of truth isn’t inspired by Love it is NOT profitable for doctrine, it will NOT reprove, it will NOT correct, it will NOT instruct, it will NOT complete, and it will NOT equip. It just cuts, and it cuts deep. Love is the license to speak truth. If we don’t have genuine love and compassion in our hearts toward the ones we are speaking to, we have lost our license to speak on God’s behalf.

            I really love a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak. It may be my favorite food in the world, but if it is served to me wrapped in a dirty diaper I am not going to eat it. It’s the same with delivering truth. The word of God is so powerful it can change a life, but it must be palatable, seasoned with salt, full of grace, and delivered in sincere love for it to be received.

   If we are not imparting God’s grace, communicating God’s heart, and being a vessel of God’s love, we should remain silent. If we can’t correct that on the spot, we may need to stop and reschedule the conversation for another time, giving us time to pray or seek council from another leader.

“Don’t be pressured into speaking when you know your heart isn’t right.”

            There is a simple rule that will keep us from a myriad of problems if we apply it.

“When you speak, be sure it’s an Improvement on Silence.”

            Following this rule does a few things,

  • It slows down the conversation and keeps us mindful of the power and purpose of our words.
  • It diffuses conflict that arises from elevated emotions.
  • It teaches us the value and power of silence.
  • It gives us greater control over ourselves and the entire situation.
  • It allows us time to hear from our heart what the Holy Spirit is saying in the situation.

   Personally, I believe this is what was happening in John 8:1-11 when Jesus was writing in the sand with His finger while everyone pressed Him for an answer to judge the woman caught in adultery. I think Jesus was simply giving His heart time to tell His mouth what to say.

            Not being willing to speak until He heard from the Father is a lesson that every leader should take to heart. There are few worse feelings than knowing we have hurt one of God’s children with our words.

            As leaders, we think before we speak, selecting words that nurture and build up rather than tear down and destroy. When faced with hostility we speak gently to diffuse anger and emotions rather than feed them. When faced with uncertainty, we are slow to speak, letting silence speak to the person and God speak us.

“Godly communication isn’t merely a skill; it is a discipline.”

Your Evil Little Tongue

Watch! …and Pray