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This discussion is strictly for Christians. It is because Christians can be revived, whereas non-Christians must be saved. This means that even the worst Christian is better off than even the best non-Christian ─ not better, just better off. We all have sinned...Christian and non-Christian alike. And even the tiniest of sins ─ if left un-dealt with ─ will keep you out of Heaven. No amount of good we can do on our own can cover even the tiniest of sins. But...the good news, i.e., the Gospel, is that GOD, through JESUS Christ, has already dealt with even the greatest of sins and offers it as a gift to you. You can claim His gift to you right now.
Even if you go to church most Sundays but don't know for certain that you will go to Heaven when you die...or believe or know that you will not go to Heaven but wish to change that ─ you must answer the call that JESUS is right now placing to you. Just tell Him that you know you are a sinner and that you know that He died on that cross 2000 years ago to free you from the penalty for your sins...the penalty being death and Hell...which is eternal and tormenting separation from all the Goodness of GOD. Tell Him that you accept His gift to you and that you will from this moment forward submit your will to His...that He is now and forevermore your LORD and master. Ask Him to come into your heart and to start changing you to be the kind of person He wants you to be. Now...if you truly meant what you asked...then, truly believe that He's done what you've just asked Him to do and thank Him for it. Then...at your first opportunity...go and tell somebody that you just asked JESUS into your life. Welcome to the Family!!!
We begin with
David wrote these words about GOD's People...the ancient Israelites. He was lamenting that neither leader nor practitioner were adhering to their professed faith. He asked GOD to do something about it...for revival in his kingdom.
Psalm 119 126 It is time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken.
To whom does "The Law" apply today? It still applies to GOD's People...to us Christians and also to modern-day Israelis. As for America...we self-professed to be a Christian nation on Feb. 29th, 1892, in Church Of The Holy Trinity v United States. Although we are not living like it, that case-law is still in effect, i.e., it has not been nullified by a subsequent decision of The Court or an act of Congress.
Just as with ancient Israel, the fate of our country depends on us who make up The Church in America. Non-believers among us are as the foreigners who lived among GOD's People in David's time. In Revelation 2 and 3, JESUS dictated to the Apostle John letters to seven churches...to tell them of their rights and wrongs. Consider the church you attend. If you are hearing me speak and consider yourself to be a Christian, but are not going to church...well...START GOING TO CHURCH! Much of what JESUS had to say to these churches as a whole can also be applied to us as individuals...to you and to me.
Is your church (or are you) in?
The two verses which follow this familiar verse should also be quoted and memorized, for they shed light on if:
2 Chronicles 7 14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
All of verse 14 up to the final 'and' deals with GOD's People...that's you and me, fellow believer. It's our road map to revival if we have fallen by the way and are now on life support. The "heal their land" speaks of salvation and evangelism ─ of an expanding Church. And, verses 15 and 16 make it plain that GOD is looking to not only see individuals returning to Him, but also to see His People seeking after Him as the church-gathered.
2 Chronicles 7 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
I shall take a little liberty with verse 14. Let each of us do likewise:
If I ─ your servant ─ who am called by your name, will humble myself and pray and seek your face and turn from my wicked ways, then you will hear from heaven, and will forgive my sin and will heal my land.We must each first deal with that person who greets us each time we look in a mirror. Then, we'll be able to help our brothers and sisters.
I can't revive you ─ and you can't revive me. We can only help one another if we by GOD's grace decide that we need revival ourselves. We, as the church-gathered, can spur one another on to repentance.
By reading this, you are demonstrating a desire to see revival in your own life and in the life of your church and nation. You are taking a first step in humbling yourself. It takes a humble heart to admit that you have a problem and to consent to hear what GOD might have to say to you through me.
So...you need to:
Verse 22 tells us that we don't need new laws to combat evil. Verse 23 says how to combat evil. We just need to get on GOD's side. Romans 13 sets a place and function for civil authorities. But, they can't make me change that I'm "standing on the inside" while seated if I choose to be rebellious.
Ezra 8 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Are you worked-up over the state of your brothers and sisters in Christ? Does their unfaithfulness bother you? It should...we are not islands unto ourselves.
Ezra 10 6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.
Your being all worked-up over the state of your brothers and sisters in Christ is going to have people calling you "holier than thou" and pointing out all your sin to you.
Psalm 69 10 When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn.
For what are we to fast and pray? What exactly is it that we want GOD to do...for us personally? Why is it that we are seeking His glorious face? It is for Him to do item (4) for us ─ that He might show us our own wickedness and allow us to depart from it and leave it behind us. When we have turned from our wicked ways, He then promises that He will hear, forgive, and heal, i.e., He will grant us the personal, church-corporate, and national revival that we desire and seek.
Joel 1 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
If the first three Great Awakenings are any indicator of what GOD will then do around us...we will see The Church come back to a gloriously-powerful life. Tens of millions of new believers will be added to The Church. Evil will flee from our land without the need for more laws or imposition of a police state. Evil will flee when we once again have in this country the battle cry of the American Revolution, "No king but King JESUS!" We will not have as we do now...the same plague which afflicted ancient Israel as recorded for us in the book of Judges, in which the following two verses are identical in the original Hebrew, but for which I provide alternate English translations:
This is furthered in Proverbs, in which the following two verses are nearly identical in the original Hebrew:
17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (KJV) 21:25 At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing. (MSG)
Let's not even talk about how these verses apply to our country as a whole. Deplorable Court decisions, our meddling in the affairs of other nations, and political deception instead of open and honest law-making...and the resulting chaos...should suffice as proof.
14:12 Before every person lies a road that seems to be right, but the end of that road is death and destruction. (VOICE) 16:25 There’s a way that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. (MSG)
No...let's talk about what goes on with US inside The Church! WE have among us a divorce rate that has passed 50 percent. What do we have to offer to the people "on the outside"? The same broken homes as they now have...along with the "no drinking", "no carousing", "no whatever" they think comes with JESUS? Instead of insisting that we in The Church be people of our word and keep our vows to one another...we have come to sanction homosexual "marriage" because we no longer morn over divorce. Maybe your church doesn't do that...yet...but Christ's Name is on those churches, too. Why do we tolerate "irreconcilable differences" when the only two situations JESUS allows for divorce are adultery, and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse? Divorce for any other reason should be a shameful thing in which the couple is made to endure public shame for their actions. And then...we should give them all the loving help we can muster to get them back together again and living according to GOD's plan.
The scourge of divorce within The Church is but the tip of the iceberg of an underlying sin which pervades it. That sin is unforgiveness. Grudges, grudges everywhere...and not a drop of forgiveness to be found. Who among us wants their Heavenly Father's forgiveness? Do we remember what JESUS said in Matthew 6:14-15 and Mark 11:25 about our getting or being denied The Father's forgiveness? Have we forgotten the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21‑35), which ends with, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."?
Continuing with our corporate sins...we lead ourselves via self-help and a ticket into "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous" instead of into dependence on GOD through repentance from sin which leads to treasures in Heaven. Look at all the titles in any Christian bookstore and see for yourself which class of books has the most shell space.
We gather in church like the rest of the world to watch the Superbowl...worshiping the god of sports...instead of showing ourselves to be holy, i.e., set apart, to the One True GOD we profess by having our regular church meeting that Sunday evening and shaming those who regularly attend on Sunday nights but just couldn't make it this night.
Does your church even meet on Sunday evenings anymore? Sundays are GOD's days, not family-fun days.
We gladly welcome all guests on Sunday mornings..even those who profess to be fellow believers but are not new to town or here for a special occasion, like a baptism. We should be asking them why they've abandoned their previous congregation...and kindly but forcefully tell them to go be reconciled to whomever it is they're running from. We harbor gossips and tax-cheats. Swindlers and speeders.
We are infected with sin in The Church! Do we speak righteousness into our friend's lives when they tell us of their sins? Or, do we let it go and hope they'll somehow get over it? When they rebuke us for sin...do we take it as an act of love? Or, do we turn tables and name their sins? We all know the wages of sin. Is it any wonder the Church in America is on life support?
So...let us each begin to turn away from our own wicked ways. Let us each ask GOD to show us that person who we see in the mirror each morning as they really are...as GOD sees us Let us each...in fasting, prayer, and in reading of His word...ask our self:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care ─ then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.May we each now get on our knees before GOD and ask His forgiveness and strength to turn from our sin or sins. If we do...we will stand a better chance of seeing GOD bring revival into our own life, the life of our church, and to our great nation:
Proverbs 12 28 In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death. (KJV)
If we will not turn from our own sin, then what we have to look forward to appears in Jeremiah 7:15-18 (MSG):
So now, because of the way you have lived and failed to listen, even though time and again I took you aside and talked seriously with you, and because you refused to change when I called you to repent, I’m going to do to this Temple, set aside for my worship, this place you think is going to keep you safe no matter what, this place I gave as a gift to your ancestors and you, the same as I did to Shiloh. And as for you, I’m going to get rid of you, the same as I got rid of those old relatives of yours around Shiloh, your fellow Israelites in that former kingdom to the north. And you, Jeremiah, don’t waste your time praying for this people. Don’t offer to make petitions or intercessions. Don’t bother me with them. I’m not listening. Can’t you see what they’re doing in all the villages of Judah and in the Jerusalem streets? Why, they’ve got the children gathering wood while the fathers build fires and the mothers make bread to be offered to ‘the Queen of Heaven’! And as if that weren’t bad enough, they go around pouring out libations to any other gods they come across, just to hurt me.Are we so arrogant to think that America can't fall? The choice is ours, dear ones.
Scripture Copyright Information
NIV ─ THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
KJV ─ King James Version (KJV) ─ Public Domain
MSG ─ Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
VOICE ─ Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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