You Know It Makes Me Wanna…!

praise breakIf you’re familiar with this once popular refrain, then you know that the final word there is, ‘shout!’ Unfortunately church for some has become a place do this only. Of course there is nothing wrong with shouting to the Lord, or lifting up your voice in praise and honor to Him, of blessing His name for all He has done; these things are necessary and scripture encourages us to do so. O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. (Psalm 47:1). I’m simply speaking of those who do nothing else but get caught up in emotional tailspins and outbursts which are ostentatious at best. Our flesh must not be given a chance to shine forth, else it will make a mockery of ourselves and quench the Spirit of God in one fell swoop.

Rather than bowing to the flesh and its sometimes rather gaudy displays of pseudo-spirituality, we should remember that there are those who have shown up to God’s house because they are fed up and are about to give up. We do better to keep in mind that there are those in our midst who are bound by sin and in some cases don’t know it or don’t care. As we enter His house , we should not forget that He himself called it a house of prayer. And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:13). 

What does going into God’s house make you want to do? Worshiping the Lord and lifting up my voice in praise is part of what I want to do. But I also want to be mindful of those around me who may be in need. If I get too caught up with myself, I may miss the opportunity to minister to someone else. Hebrews 6:10 says, For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Let’s ask the Lord to help us reassess our purposes as it pertains to our roles in the house of God. If you have a calling, walk in that calling. If you don’t know where you belong in the kingdom, start at home in church where God has placed you. Someone there may need you. A word, a prayer, a hug or an even an ear. Don’t allow your church time to be relegated to just your own personal ‘shoutin’ time.’  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10).

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.

A Revival of Repentance

repentanceHave you ever been to a revival? Careful how you answer. Most people generally associate revivals with a meeting of some kind. The scheduled gathering of a group of high profile speakers, a few dynamic choirs, a large amount of people (if it has been marketed properly), several powerful worship leaders and an ‘anointed’ word, is usually what constitutes a modern day revival. Many, but not all of these gatherings are little more than dens of entertainment and well meaning, emotionally charged melodious preaching, backed up by a generous organ meant to egg the preacher on. Most would disagree with this assessment of modern day revivals; I can understand that.

On the other hand, there are revivals which are called by individuals who desire to see a move of God. These meetings are saturated with prayer. There may not be any dynamic choirs, but there will be Spirit-filled singing. There may not be any organ during the preaching to pep it up, but there will be conviction. And that’s what we need. Genuine Holy Ghost conviction. It will change everything.

I knew a man years ago who was my first pastor after I became saved. To date, he was the godliest man I’ve ever known; and that was forty years ago. This man would pace the floors during prayer meeting every Tuesday night and other times asking God to send a revival. It was the topic of many of his sermons. It was what the conversation gravitated to if you were talking to him one on one. Now why didn’t he just call or schedule a revival? I believe it was because he understood that as corporate as we want revival to be, it’s still going to happen one soul at a time.

So the question is, what exactly is revival? I’ve heard many definitions, but I know revival is for those who know the Lord. The saved. The born again. It is the bringing back to life of that which was once alive and vibrant; the reigniting of a flame that has gone out. When the child of God no longer senses the power of God, revival is needed. When the child of God no longer allows himself to be led by the Spirit of God, revival is needed.

On any given Sunday morning churches all over are filled to some capacity with people. there reasons for being there are varied. Some are there to worship and praise. Some are there to pray. Nothing wrong with those things. Still others are there simply to meet someone or just to hear the choir sing. But is anyone there to repent? Of all the things we come to church for-I mean to sing, dance, shout and rejoice-does anyone know that what we really need to do is repent? We the people of God are guilty of such things as selfishness, bitterness, dishonesty, pride. There’s malice, fits of rage and we are easily offended. If we, God’s people have such things working in our life, on a nonchalant continual basis, then there is only one thing to say-we need a devil chasing, Holy Ghost, heaven sent revival. We don’t need mere emotional uprisings; not more jumping, spinning or shouting. Not another people or personality driven consecration; no more festivals of the flesh. We need repentance. We need confession. We need brokenness. Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalm 85:6).  Without personal revival, we cannot rejoice in the Lord as we ought.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says it perfectly: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  That’s revival. Let it start in you. Let it start in me. We need to get on the Calvary road and go back to the cross. That’s where it all started; that’s where it must begin again. A revival of repentance.

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me – break me, melt me, mold me, fill me – Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me!

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.

                                                                                                

Careful What You Pray For-You Might Just Get It!

PRAYINGI’ve heard people say that when they pray, and ask God for something, they pray specifically. Not a thing wrong with that. 1 John 5:15 says: And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of him. It says whatever we ask right? More on that later. Right down to the make and model, people pray for their next car. Right down to his or her height, weight, hair color, build and complexion, people pray for a spouse. There can’t be anything wrong with praying for what you want when scripture explicitly states: Delight yourself also in the Lord, And he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4). Seems like a body can’t go wrong. Seems. 

There’s a great quote I read on social media recently, it said, ‘Sometimes God will give you exactly what you wanted just to show you it’s not all you needed.’ I think there’s an element of truth in the statement. When I read it, my mind was immediately brought to Psalm 106. Verses 12-15 say: Then they believed his words; They sang his praise. They soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel; But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. In summary we see that God had been good to the children of Israel on the heels of the miracle at the Red Sea. As long as they believed His Word, they were able to praise Him. However when they took their eyes off Him (because this is inevitably how it happens), they forgot Him and His good works, and because their focus was now on self, began to lust after evil things. They no longer sought after Him or waited to hear from Him for their life’s direction. God in turn, because they persisted in this behavior, gave them what they were asking for. This then triggered an emptiness, a scantiness and leanness in their souls. They now could no longer enjoy fellowship with the Lord. Why did this happen? It happened because what they received from the Lord was not what He wanted them to have! This is a natural consequence many times of getting what we want when what we want is outside the circle of His will.

If 1 John 5:15 is isolated it would seem as though it says that no matter what you want, just ask and receive. God is supposed to give me the desires of my heart, right? Well, when your desires line up with His will, yes, because in 1 John 5:14 it says: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. (italics mine). Remember that He is not bound by your word but by His. Our wish is not His command. I heard a pastor say just the other day that we should command our needs to God and He will answer. He cited Isaiah 45:11 which says in part: Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. The sermon was entitled ‘On Demand Prayer.’ What a horrible and despicable twisting of scripture! Trying to get people to believe that all we have to do is command the Lord and He will come through! If you tell people a good sounding lie long enough, they will believe it. No, the prayers God will answer in His time are those in accordance with His will. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Matthew 6:32b). Delighting ourselves in the Lord means submitting ourselves to His will and being satisfied with it; even if it seems not to be what I wanted.

James says that the reason we don’t get what we want when we pray is because we ask improperly and seek to consume or waste it upon our own desires. (James 4:3). The bottom line is this; we do not tell God what we want, rather we ask Him for what we need. Keeping myself firmly entrenched within the circle of His will and delighting myself in Him, will ensure that I will receive the petitions I have asked of Him. So that I do not receive leanness in my soul, dissatisfaction and wind up regretting  receiving what I thought I wanted, I need to be careful what I ask for. If I don’t do this, I may be asking for trouble.

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.