For Christians, if God is central in the New Year’s resolution, it has a better chance for success. God gave human beings free will, and He never oversteps that freedom to make choices. God’s Word certainly has made clear which choices are better than others, but God never forces His people to comply.
Choosing to do the will of God is always a right choice and, of course, has God’s endorsement. God’s favor and blessings should be incentive enough to pursue Godly goals. God’s Word is filled with what is right and good, therefore reading and learning the Bible is a good place to start and a good place to stay.
The Christian’s first priority should be making time or more time to read and study the Word of God. This may necessitate getting up an hour earlier, or maybe less TV time. One will always make time for whatever or whoever is loved. Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
This is a good place to start for any believer. Goals set in this light would include spending more time in personal devotion to God, Bible reading and time in prayer. This time is usually best first thing in the day, before all the demands and activities of daily life make quiet time with God impossible.
Other resolutions might include memorizing verses of Scripture, perhaps one a day or one a week. Pick positive and encouraging passages, and inspirational promises of God. Prayer time should be purposeful, perhaps with a list of people or situations that need prayer. One might even have a prayer journal, jotting down how and when God answers the prayers.
Financial giving is certainly a solid Biblical principle which includes tithing and special additional offerings for different church needs or perhaps for the support of missions work. The only way to improve on the principle of tithing is to increase the proportion of the amount. It may be that in order to give more, the resolution might include spending less on sodas, or coffees or movie rentals. These kinds of resolutions are blessed decisions. If one has more time than money to offer, perhaps volunteer in the children’s department at church, or make a plan to visit the sick or elderly. Maybe it’s time to restore a damaged relationship with a family member or an old friend.
Personal resolutions might include watching less TV, spending more time with spouse or children, such as playing games or going out to sports events or picnics in the park. Resolutions might include planning dinner parties for friends and neighbors, becoming better organized at home, in the office or garage, or maybe getting additional education on a subject by taking a community college course or online class. Better financial management is an important goal, which could include renegotiating insurance policies, utility expenses, reevaluating food costs and auto usage, and perhaps making a savings plan for a family vacation.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,” and similarly, Colossians 3:23 and 24 state, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Loving God first with heart, soul and mind includes and can be expressed in having an enthusiasm and exuberance for many things in life. God’s desire is for His people to live life to the fullest and to flourish, having good health and prosperity, among many other blessings. Resolutions and goals selected with love for God and done thoughtfully in prayer can be life enhancing and enriching.
With so many competing time demands, why should we pause to seek the Lord in prayer? Among the many reasons, here are three essential ones to make time to pray:
Prayer Honors God
It’s said that you can tell the popularity of the church by the number who show up on Sunday morning; you can tell the popularity of the church’s pastor by the number who show up on Sunday night; and you can tell the popularity of Jesus by the number who show up to the prayer meeting.
What has happened to our churches? You call a prayer meeting today and very few people show up. I know of a church of 5,000 in Denver that called a prayer meeting and only five people came.
That’s a far cry from the day a century earlier when the entire city of Denver paused for prayer — “even at the high tide of business.” The Jan. 20, 1905, Denver Post reported: “Seldom has such a remarkable sight been witnessed — an entire great city, in the middle of a busy weekday, bowing before the throne of heaven and asking and receiving the blessing of the King of the Universe.”
Oh, that believers would honor God in prayer and seek the Lord similarly today!
Prayer Teaches Us
We may earnestly desire God’s glory. We may pour our lives into serving others for His sake. Still, we have to admit that, try as we might to avoid doing so, our own agendas taint our prayers. What can we do about these mixed motives?
Let God search you. When we pray for God to cleanse our hearts and our motives as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, it is important to yield the search-and-destroy mission to Him. He will bring wrong motives to our attention and lead us into repentance.
Confess mixed motives. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. While they may always lurk, Jesus invites us to confess them and receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).
Ask God to teach you. As we surrender to His refining hand, we can ask Him to redirect our hearts and and cause pure motives to rise to the surface (as the psalmist did in Psalm 119:36).
Grow in thanksgiving. When we thank Him, we’re not looking for anything from Him. We’re focusing on Him and thanking Him out of a heart that’s full from what He’s given.
Prayer Changes Things
It’s said that Habakkuk means “wrestler,” and the prophet sure did grapple with God. He saw fellow Hebrews worshiping idols and sacrificing their children to foreign gods, and he cried out for justice. But it seemed his prayers weren’t getting through.
The short book of Habakkuk records the “wrestling match,” even when the Lord did answer and it wasn’t what the prophet had prayed for. But by the third chapter, observe and be encouraged in your own prayer life by the prophet’s new view and renewed trust.
Habakkuk stopped looking around and started seeing things from God’s perspective. He resolved to live by faith in light of who God is, what He has done and is doing, and what he has promised to do — not only in the world, but also in his own life.
Are you grappling with God? Let Jesus’ prayer be yours: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). And let Him know you agree that the Father knows best.
Article by Dean Ridings
Please join us December 24th, Christmas Eve @ 6:00 PM for a concert featuring local artist Chad Muncy. During this event, Chad will sing some of the “All-time” favorite Christmas carols and hymns as well as some of the most current Christmas songs.
Christmas Musical, Wednesday evening, December 20 at 7:00 PM by Joel Everett. During this event, Joel will play through every Christmas hymn in the church hymnal as well as take requests.
One of the most explicit Bible verses related to the matter of thanksgiving is 1 Thes. 5:18. This verses says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This verse commands believers to give thanks to the Lord, not FOR everything, but IN everything! There is a big difference there! Certainly, we ought to be thankful, not just because we are told to be thankful, but because we have much to be thankful for!
However, our thankfulness is a very fickle thing. Often, our thankfulness focuses on things that are physical in nature. We are thankful for our health. We are thankful for our families and our homes. We are thankful for our financial stability. We are thankful for the things we have. Yet, all of these things are subject to change. Think about it, health can break, families can split up and bank accounts can run dry. What do we do then? How does that affect our thankfulness?
We should remain thankful for all the physical blessings we enjoy, and learn to look beyond those changing things to some things that never change. Notice in these verses some Unchanging Reasons For Thanksgiving.
I. V. 5-6, 8 OUR SAVIOR
(Ill. These verses tells us of just a few of the unchanging glories of our Lord! The things revealed here are causes for thankfulness at all times.)
A. V. 5 His Abiding Presence – Regardless of where the path of life leads, the saint of God will never walk alone – Matt. 28:20; Isa. 41:10!
B. V. 6 His Assisting Presence – (Ill. The word “helper” comes from a word which means to “to run”. The idea is that when we are in need, the Lord runs to our aid.) He is our Comforter – John 14:16. (Ill. Paraklete – One called alongside of another to give aid and comfort!)
C. V. 8 His Anchoring Presence – One of our greatest sources of thanksgiving this evening is in the truth that Jesus never changes! What He was then is what He is now! From before creation on into eternity, Jesus has never, nor will He ever change! He is still “I AM!” He still possesses all power in heaven and earth, Matt. 28:18. We can always be thankful for our Savior!
II. V. 9-12 OUR SALVATION
A. V. 9 The Price Of It – This verse mentions grace! We can thank God that salvation is given without cost, Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17. It is purely the operation of grace! Think of how you came to know Him! Dead in sin and He sought you, He called you, He died for you, He redeemed you and He keeps you. All you did was exercise the faith that He gave you. He did it all! (Ill. Eph. 2:8-9)
B. V. 12 The Pain Of It – For us the price was low, for God, the price was unimaginable! Our salvation cost God the life of His Son, John 3:16. His death on the cross is what provided salvation for you and me! There is no way that we can adequately describe the gory details of the death of the Lord Jesus, But the prophet Isaiah tells us something about what He suffered for us, Isa. 53:4-7. We can be thankful, everyday, that even though He knew what we were and what we would be like after He saved that He still went to the cross and died for our sins!
C. V. 12 The Purpose Of It – We are told here that He suffered the death He did so that He might “sanctify the people.” The word “sanctify” means “to separate from vain things and set apart for God’s use.” This is why Jesus died! He died to take vile sinners out of their sins and set them apart from this world for the glory of God. He saved us so that we might become different and that God might be able to use us for His glory, 2 Cor. 5:17; Ill. Paul 1 Tim. 1:12-15. We can be thankful that we which were so lost and wicked have now been cleansed and set apart for God’s glory through the blood of Jesus!
III. V. 13 OUR SEPARATION
A. The call of this verse is for us to do on the outside what He has already done on the inside. That is, He has set us apart inwardly through the redemption of the blood of Jesus. He call to us is that we willingly take our stand with Jesus on the outside of society. He is calling us to pick up our cross and bear the reproach of Jesus, Matt. 16:24. He is telling us to be different – 2 Cor. 6:17.
B. We ought to thank the Lord that He has made a change in us. The very fact that we don’t live like we used to, that we don’t find enjoyment in all the things the world is running to, that we are different is a cause for rejoicing everyday of our lives!
C. We ought to stand out and we should be thankful when we do!
IV. V. 14 OUR SANCTUARY
A. Again, we are reminded that we are living in a world that is constantly changing. If all of our hopes are placed in this world and in the physical realm, then we are going to be disappointed more than we will be happy.
However, the child of God can rejoice in the fact that this world is not the end all, tell all of our Christian experience! Verse 14 tells us that there is something better just down the road!
B. We can thank the Lord this evening that when this journey is over, we have a city awaiting us were we can rest from our labors and where we can enjoy the sweet presence of the Lord. It is a place of which we know little, but we do know that none of the problems of life will be allowed there, Rev. 21:4. We do know that we will be with Jesus, John 14:1-3. We do know enough to allow us to be thankful for that blessed home that waits for every child of God.
Let us be thankful for all the things He gives us. Let us praise Him for our health, our families, our financial blessings and so on. Let us not take them for granted. But, let us learn to be more thankful for those things which we can never lose! Let’s learn to be ever thankful for those things that cannot change! When all the physical blessings have faded and we can find no reason for praise in them, let us thank the Lord that there are some things that will never change! In these things we have an unchanging reason for eternal thanksgiving!
Why not come before Him right now and just thank Him for Who He is and for what He has given you and me!
Romans 8:36 – As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (KJV)
Many years ago, a paramedic discovered a soldier’s knapsack Bible. It belonged to his uncle, who had been killed in World War I. The Bible, along with his other possessions, had been returned to his grieving family. As they looked through the Bible, they discovered these words from Romans were underlined in pencil: “For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” They seemed to describe the young man’s horrifying experiences of trench warfare.
Alec, the paramedic, felt as though his young uncle was speaking to him beyond the grave, letting him know that his death at the Somme was a sacrifice for the freedom of the people back home. But his message didn’t end there. Verses 38 to 39 were double underlined, revealing the young soldier’s faith, which death could not diminish nor destroy.
Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV)
In the midst of all our carefree leisure, happy pursuits, and personal freedom, does our faith match up to that of the young soldier?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, nothing can ever separate us from You, but sometimes we take that for granted. Remind us of Your sacrifice, Your loss, Your passion that has given us this wonderful opportunity to live beyond death, to hope above adversity, to have faith in the face of danger and trouble. In Your Holy Name we pray. Amen.
Have you taken time today to thank God for His mercy, kindness and grace? Are you thankful for all He has bestowed upon you? Here are some Bible verses about thankfulness.
Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD.
Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
Examples and Reasons to be Thankful
Daniel 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, Who hast given me wisdom and might, And hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: For thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
John 6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers
Pastors are under attack today in every denomination and in every country. They are attacked from within their own churches by disgruntled attendees, within their own spirits by our enemy the devil, and from without by those who don’t even attend or aren’t members of the churches pastors have the privilege and responsibility to lead.
It’s no wonder so many pastors are often discouraged, exhausted, frustrated, and in their minds (if not in actuality) have tendered their resignations. Pastors move from church to church or from church to another line of work at an alarming rate. Some of this could be greatly reduced if they received more affirmation and encouragement from those they lead, especially those who are younger.
Today’s pastors need to focus on developing the next generation of leaders in their respective churches because young adults are the future of the church. It is, therefore, incumbent on young adults to especially be aware of how they can help, support and encourage their pastor. Here are some ideas on how you can stand behind and alongside of the pastor God has allowed to lead the church you call home.
1. Pray for your pastor.
Undoubtedly, the most important thing you can do to help your pastor be fruitful and effective in his role is to pray for him. You can use passages such as Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-20 and Colossians 1:9-12 to pray for your pastor and other leaders.
Pray for him daily.
Pray the Lord will give him wisdom in his various responsibilities in the church he serves.
Pray for his role as both husband and father (if he is married and has children).
Pray the Lord will protect him in the area of sexual purity.
Pray he will experience courage and anointing in his preaching/teaching.
Pray he would be able to strike a good balance between his ministry, family and personal life.
2. Encourage your pastor.
Lots of people will criticize and find fault. They will both email him and talk to him (and about him) in discouraging ways. You can be one of those who look for ways, and reasons, to encourage him — to camp on the positive, not the negative.
Tell him what you appreciate about his ministry, and be specific. What has he recently done or said that you have profited from? After he preaches/teaches, go out of your way to tell him how it has blessed you. A pastor’s teaching/preaching help many, but few tell him specifically how he has been a help and blessing.
Every once in a while, write a personal note telling him you are praying for him and appreciate something he has said or done. Once again, be specific. For example, “When you said in a recent sermon that Jesus totally understands me and deeply loves me, that ministered to me because I am going through a difficult time right now and feeling lonely, and that is exactly what I needed to hear.”
3. Submit to your pastor’s leadership.
The Bible is clear on the topic of being willing to submit to the authority in the church you have chosen to be a part of. (I am not suggesting, nor does the Bible suggest, that you submit to ungodly or abusive leaders.) Here are two such passages talking about submitting, respecting and following your leaders.
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13).
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).
By being a regular attender/member at your church, you are placing yourself in a position to be taught, shepherded, led, and discipled by your church’s pastor and other leaders. It is an awesome step to accept God’s call to be a pastor and to take seriously the roles and responsibilities that such a call entails. You should be able to trust, believe in, and submit to those the Lord has placed in authority over you. If you can’t do this, you need to address this issue, and in extreme cases, leave if you can no longer respect and trust the leadership over you; more on this in point six.
4. Get to know your pastor.
A pastor, at times, has a lonely job. Many people instead of giving wind up taking from the pastor — taking his time, his energy, his resources, his wisdom and his counsel. It is refreshing and encouraging to know that people in the church family really care about him, pray for him, and really want to get to know him, not so they can take, but so that they can give.
Why not call the church office to schedule some time with your pastor and offer to take him to lunch at his favorite restaurant? Ask him to tell you his story, how God saved him, called him into ministry and is currently leading him. I can guarantee you that he will appreciate this and be a better leader as a result of your initiative.
5. Ask how you can serve your pastor/your church.
Are you currently serving at your church? If you are serving, are you able to step it up a notch? Give more time or volunteer somewhere else where needed?
I have never been in a church that had all the servants and leaders it needed and wanted. One of the best ways to grow personally, and at the same time help your church grow, is to find a place where your gifts, capacity and interests can make a unique contribution to what Jesus wants to do through you and through your church. If you are not serving in some capacity, please do so, leaving the ranks of the consumers and joining the ranks of the contributors.
6. Talk honestly to, not about your pastor.
If there is something that you honestly have a problem with — some decision he made, something he wrote or said that you disagree with — please talk to him, not about him.
This is one of the big sins in the body of Christ. We talk about people, but not to people.
Most pastors want to hear from people who have issues or questions with something at the church. Most would relish the opportunity to genuinely hear what is bothering you and to have the chance to both genuinely listen and share concerning your issue so the two of you can have mutual understanding and respect for each other.
Talking about others rather than talking to others is gossip pure and simple, and it never makes things better, only worse. The book of Proverbs is loaded with words of warning about gossip. Here are a few for starters: Proverbs 11:13, 17:9, 18:8, 20:19.
Most pastors want to be relevant to the younger generation and know that they can positively influence them for the kingdom. He needs your support, prayers, honest feedback and involvement to do this well. As you do this, you will experience more joy and personal growth in your walk with Jesus, your pastor will be more motivated and become a better leader, and Jesus will be honored.
I. Introduction (Psalm 85:6)
A. Do you wish to be an instrument in the hands of God, or a tool in the hands of the devil? There is truly, no middle ground. Do you want to see God’s power at work through you? Do you long for your prayers to be answered? If you do, then the barrier of sin between you and God must be demolished and a lifestyle of holiness and love for God renewed. Every believer had it when they were born again – that special day that Jesus became Lord and Saviour of their soul! But sin, sneaks up on us, and slays us!
B. If you are a Christian, you are pardoned, forgiven and placed eternally in Christ. But, Christians often allow sin to clutter up their lives, and block their path between them and their Lord. To be restored, something big must take place. It is called personal revival.
C. In this message, I’m going to share with you five ways to experience personal revival as we prepare for the Lord to not only move in our hearts, but thoroughly change our lives!
II. Message – Preparing for Revival
A. The Meaning of ‘Revival’:
1. The contemporary concept of revival is anything but true. In Biblical terms:
a. Revival is not a scheduled series of meetings. That is not revival.
b. It is not an evangelistic effort that a church puts out.
c. It is not securing an outside preacher to lead in the attempt to stir things up spiritually amongst the believers here.
d. It is not publicity and special events and good preaching and heart-warming singing and fervent appeals for the lost to be saved.
e. It is not decisions nor additions to the church, nor even renewed enthusiasm by cold believers.
f. No. It is much more than any of that. Those are our efforts, but they are not revival.
g. Some, or even all of the above may be present and yet true revival still be absent!
2. Revival is:
a. A sovereign work of God among His people (thus the prophet prays, “Revive Thy work,” Hab. 3:2).
b. It is an invasion of fresh spiritual life when there was only deadness (Lu. 15:24),
c. It is a turning back of God’s people unto Himself (Lam. 5:21)
d. It is an outpouring of His Spirit upon His wilting vineyard (Isa. 32:15)
e. It is an extraordinary work of God producing extraordinary results among both backslidden believers, as well as dead, careless sinners.
B. The Need for Revival – how to tell that you need a Spiritual Revival
1. Dullness and Apathy towards God and spiritual things (Mt 13:15)
2. Hardness towards authority and rebukes (Pr 6:23; 15:32)
3. Empty of God’s Power and Presence in your life (Dt 28:23)
4. Addiction to sins and an easy target for the devil – no real freedom (1Cor 3:1-3)
C. The Purpose of Revival.
1. To restore a Christian to his peak performance – like reviving a old car, or rescuing a person was drowned and reviving them
2. To replace the works of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:19-21; and Gal 5:22,23)
3. To bring true unity into a Church
4. To save our homes and our community from the judgment of God (Hab 3:2)
D. The Cost of Revival is Personal Loss.
1. Loss of time – spending it praying, instead of only playing
2. Loss of sleep – praying whenever the Lord wants you to
3. Loss of pride – spend time confessing and agreeing with God how cold you are spiritually
4. Loss of food – fasting
5. Loss of control – yielding to God’s will, no matter what it may be
6. Loss of anything that might block God’s work in your life
7. Oh the need for prayer, real prayer by God’s people!
a. Selfless prayer (no mention of what you may need, only that it is a reviving of your heart and soul)!
b. Earnest prayer – strong determination!
c. Holy prayer – the dumping and cleansing of this Temple so that true, honest, prayer can take place in a clean Temple
8. “The Bible and the record of history reveal that there has never been such a thing as a prayer-less revival.” Dr. Louis L. King
9. “The Church is dying on its feet because it is not living on its knees.” Leonard Ravenhill
10. “When God is about to do a mighty new thing He always sets His people praying.” Jonathan Edwards
E. How to Prepare for Revival
1. The first step in revival is Personal Evaluation (2Cor 13:5; Rev 2 & 3) – take Spiritual Inventory
a. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear.” God wants to save, and revive! (Isaiah 59:1)
b. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
c. Look at yourself like GOD sees you (Psalm 139:23,24)
d. Look at your sin and see it like God sees it – an abomination, filthy, wicked
e. Look at your efforts for the Lord and see them for what they really are
f. Check your attitudes and see if Christ is in your thoughts, or lust, and hatred and revenge, and pride and impatience, and bitterness, and stubbornness
2. The next step toward experiencing personal revival is to Repent of every known sin. (Revelation 2:5; Isaiah 55:6,7).
a. Revival is always the Lord’s work, but true repentance is always our duty!
b. It is necessary to fully repent of all known sin against God. Get on your knees before Him and empty yourself before Him. Pull everything out of your pockets, your sleeves, your hidden places, your secrets, your heart, and your soul!
c. Those sins that readily come to mind, repent of them, then ask God to bring to your mind sins that you commit that you may not even be aware of. Ask God to reveal any other sin you are not aware of.
d. All Scripture and Revival history shows that a true Revival begins with “Deep Repentance”. And in our personal lives, it so often begins with making a “list” – literally – of ANY sin or compromise or “cloud” that is in our life – and confessing those sins to God with real sorrow and repentance. Any person who cannot make a ‘LIST’ like that – and spend time confessing their sins before God (-And forsaking them!) – is not really serious about becoming ‘Revived’. This is the first place to start.
3. Step #3 is Grieving – start getting upset over your sins, and getting sorry to God for hurting Him most of all (Psalm 51:3,4)
a. You may not grieve over your sins at first, but the more you look at yourself, and see yourself for who and what you really are, THEN you will start to grieve… so allow it
b. If you start to cry, stay awhile and cry as long as you need
4. Step #4 on your way to personal revival is to Forsake all questionable habits and activities. “For whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
a. What kinds of habits do you have that are sin? Are you in the habit of using foul and vulgar language? Are you addicted to food, or lust, or sleep, or drugs, or drink?
b. Ask God to clean up your mouth. Ask Him to help you get free of a drug addiction. BEG Him!
c. Ask Him to help you keep food and sex in the proper perspective, and to help you stay clear of things that so easily beset you, and ruin you like the TV, and like bad friends, and like rock music!
d. Decide those sins and you are parting ways from now on!
e. It is called rooting out the roots of sin in your life
1) Of the love of anger – bitterness (Heb 12:15)
2) Of the love of flesh (Heb 12:16) – lust
3) Of the love of the world (Heb 12:16) – profane is worldliness
4) Of the love of pleasure – apathy towards spiritual things (Heb 2:1)
5) Of the love of money (1Tim 6:10) – coveteousness
5. Step #5 on your way to personal revival is to Make Right any wrongs between yourself and others (Mark 11:25)
a. This is where you replace all the things that you have rooted out with good seed
b. Do you need to apologize to someone in your family? There may be something between you and a family member that goes back many, many years. That may be the one thing, the one piece of business you need to take care of in order to experience personal revival. Seek their forgiveness. Offer your forgiveness! NEBVER hold a grudge more than 12 hours! Period!
c. After a day, it’s not even important any more who was right or who was wrong. In fact, you probably can’t even remember the details of what happened any more. So isn’t it time to make things right?
6. Step #6 involves Worship (Mt 8:2; 9:18; 15:22-25). Seal all that effort with time in prayer and praise to God
a. How long has it been since you got away from everything and everyone and spent time with God in prayer? Maybe that’s why you’re not experiencing joy and satisfaction and fulfilment in your life. You’ve gotten to the point where you don’t have a quiet time any more. You don’t spend time in prayer and you rarely ever open your Bible during the week.
b. Ask God to help you renew your commit to prayer and Bible reading.
c. Beg God to help you keep the freshness and sweetness of Christ full in your life!
d. Come away to your prayer closet every day.
1) Let all else be set aside for a season.
2) Deal with yourself for now. Think not even of the other brethren and their collective need for a fresh touch.
3) Let your appeal be built solely upon His mercy
4) Wrestle alone with God for the needed blessing. Plea back passages like these:
a) “Lord, revive Thy world in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).
b) “Revive us, and we will call upon Thy name. O Lord of hosts, restore us; cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved” (Ps. 80:18-19).
c) “Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again, that Thy people may rejoice in Thee” (Ps. 85:6).
d) “For the sake of Thy name, O Lord, revive me” (Ps. 143:10).
e) “Restore us to Thee, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old” (Lam. 5:21).
f) “Oh, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down that the mountains might quake at Thy presence” (Isa. 64: 1).
7. Final Thing – Anticipate! Believe (Mark 11:24)! Wait Expectantly like a groom does for the bride to come!
a. Revival comes – again, not when the guest preacher arrives, but when God personally shows up, and is allowed to do His work in our hearts and lives and homes, and minds!
b. I am hungry for God to work in my life – I hit a wall, and can only do so much, and find it is nothing compared to what needs to get done for Christ. I find myself struggling with sin and the devil, and I yearn to defeat Him and every stronghold he attempts to set up in my life and home!
c. I look forward to a church passionate about living for Jesus Christ, and walking faithfully with Him in prayer every day, and in His word, every day!
d. I will not see what is stopping us, but rather focus on what I must do so that God can conquer our hardest hearts, and our biggest problems!
A. Revival preparation is not a formula. I have given you seven steps, but it is more than just seven things to DO. It is an attitude! It is a looking up to God, praying to God, staying at it until revival comes!
B. Revival preparation is not a formula. It is an attitude! It is a looking up to God, praying to God, staying at it until revival comes!
C. But it won’t come until we work through the following seven steps and prepare ourselves for revival from the Lord!
D. Revival comes from God
E. Do we really want it?
F. You and I need to do our part
1. Personal Evaluation – taking Spiritual Inventory
2. Repent of every known sin. Turn away from it. Hate it, and let go of it – too much of our bondage in our life is self retained!
3. Grieve – start getting upset over your sins, and getting sorry to God for hurting Him most of all
4. Forsake all questionable habits and activities.
5. Make Right any wrongs between yourself and others.
6. Worship the Lord Jesus. Seal all that effort with time in prayer and praise to God
7. Anticipate! Believe! Wait Expectantly like a groom does for the bride to come!
G. I want to be revived! I want to be changed, made over again as I let go of every part of my life!
H. Let’s strive for that for which is most important. With brokenness, let’s take our place at His feet. Let’s let God again take His place of splendour among His people. With a zeal for His glory to be revealed, and a yearning for the gospel to advance, let’s prepare for Revival . . . starting now.
By Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland