Smoke Screens (revisited)

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”           Ephesians 6:12

Greetings fellow sojourners loved by the Most High God!

Satan is deceptive and most likely savors it when we mistakingly turn our authentic spiritual battles towards flesh and blood.  Think of it as a smoke screen created to confuse us regarding the authentic reason why our situations are occurring.

According to the US Department of Defense, a smoke screen is “a cloud of smoke used to conceal ground maneuver, obstacle breaching, recovery operations, and amphibious assault operations as well as key assembly areas, supply routes, and logistic facilities.”  It is a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.

This definition also interestingly describes many tactics our enemy employs in his spiritual warfare. Can you think how the enemy uses smoke screens in your circumstances to confuse you?  Can you imagine since he desires to conceal his maneuvers from your line of sight he could also vary the denseness of the smoke screen?   Satan is incredibly adept at employing the smoke screen of deceit, hoping for our destruction.  Sometimes his smoke screen is not so obvious but seems to be more of a general haze meant to cause us to question ourselves or be confused.  Sweet things, if you find yourself repeatedly confused about a situation your first thought ought to be, “Is this a spiritual warfare issue?”  Know that Satan’s smoke screens are always intended to confuse you, belittle you, minimize you, and conceal God’s truth.  KNOW the tactics of your adversary.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth dissipated Satan’s smoke screen with the Word when Satan tried to twist the truth of God (Luke 4:1-13).  Allow the Spirit of Truth to guide you (John 16:13), and the truth of the Word to sanctify you (John 17:17) in order to dissipate Satan’s smoke screens.

We are deceived if we think our real battle is maintaining ourselves, our status quo, or manipulating situations in order to achieve OUR desired outcome.  It is only a smoke screen.  If we think it is an impossible relationship we are battling when really it is our lack of forgiveness, pride, jealousy, or sloppy appraisal of self-worth, it is only a smoke screen created by the enemy to confuse us.  Clarity comes when we maintain a tenacity towards trusting Jesus as well as maintaining an unrelenting faithfulness in Him.

Are there any smoke screens in your life you have been putting up with far too long?  Allow the brilliant light of God to break through the smoke screen of lies that seep up through the pit of hell and tolerate it no longer.

In His grace,

Amanda

Jesus Christ And A Borrowed Donkey

“Look, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”  Matthew 21:5

Yes, our King Himself came into Jerusalem riding on the back of a borrowed donkey.  Truth be told the donkey was His anyway by the very fact that He was conspicuously involved in the creation of all things and all things belong to Him.  Thank you, Jesus.  The NLT’s wording describes it this way, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey.”  Yes, he came into Jerusalem and as sure as the sun rises He is coming back again but this time riding on a horse and to retrieve His own.

Zion’s King had a meekness and outward poverty when he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He, who owns all things shunned covetousness and ambition and even the pride of life to demonstrate, “One’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions”  (Luke 12:15).  Instead, we find the abundant life IN HIM (John 10:10).  I saw a sticker on a car the other day that intrigued me.   It said, “You are not what you own.”  Greed motivating us to seek after things to own in this life will end up owning us in one way or another.  But if we seek to own the truths of the excellencies of Christ in our heart we will have owned love, the greatest of things that will remain forever.

The disciples borrowed the donkey with the owner’s consent and brought it to Jesus.  Are you willing to allow your possessions to be used for the cause of Christ?  Let’s not cling to the things of this world and be unwilling to part with them if they serve Christ.  The only thing we should be clinging to with the tight fist of hope is the love of the Lord for there we will surely find the Greatest of treasures.

In His grace,

Amanda

Jesus Is Our Hope

“Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him — if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.”  Colossians 1:21-23a

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Do you know Jesus to be your only hope?  Yes, we casually speak of putting our hope in less significant things such as hoping for a phone call or hoping for a sunny day but any kind of significant hope we hold that is placed in anything other than Jesus is misplaced hope.

We have known the Lord as both helper and deliverer.  When we place our hope in Him we are expecting to see the Lord’s magnificent power surface yet again in our hour of great need.   Our hope is rooted in Him because we know His character is THE reason we have hope.  There is a great chasm that exists between optimism that instructs us that our circumstances will surely improve with the passage of time and possessing hope that convinces us that the character of God alone gives us reason to place our hope in His covenant faithfulness.

It is interesting to see the Hebrew word translated ‘hope’ is at times translated ‘wait’.  As we know, if we are hoping for something it is because God’s promised outcome has not yet arrived and there apparently will be some passage of time before it does arrive.  Here is the key.  While we place our hope in the Lord during our waiting, it is Him we are waiting on and not the actual outcome itself.  Hope in an outcome becomes misplaced hope.  Always during the waiting, we wait on the Lord, look for Him, and place our hope only in Him.  Indeed, we may be relieved when we observe the outcome with our eyes of flesh but our hope never shifts from the Lord.

Highly regarded ones, Jesus is our hope when we are burdened.  He is our hope in our weaknesses. He is our hope when our senses attempt to reveal there is no hope.  He is our hope in our strained relationships.  He is our hope in our conflicts.  He is our hope for new opportunities.  He is our hope in all seasons!  We have courage in Him to do anything we are called to do because He IS our hope.

Rise up friends and rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12a)!  Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are the God of Hope and you fill us with all joy and peace as we believe in You!  Fill us to overflowing with Your hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (based on Romans 15:13)

Happy Easter!

“Make mute the stones this day, Church! Shout hosannas and wave palm branches. Let there be no doubt to all who hear, we have a King. One crucified for our sins, raised from the dead, triumphant over hell and grave, seated at God’s own right hand. And He will again come riding in.” Beth Moore

Friends I love, love, love this comment. NOW is the time to lay aside our petty disagreements, our disappointments, our frustrations, our fears, our strivings, our surging emotions, and our misplaced hopes and instead open our mouths and raise our hands in praise and rejoicing!  

In His grace,

Amanda

Take Responsibility for Your Sin and Embrace Your Acceptance

“The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but He did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”  Genesis 4:4b-7

The Lord asked Cain why he was furious.  And why did he look despondent?  He asked not because He was unaware of Cain’s wrath and resentment but because the question posed was intended to stir Cain’s awareness of his sin (which was the cause of God’s rejection of the sacrifice) and to stir his desire for repentance.  No one else was to blame for Cain’s conduct.  It was Cain’s responsibility alone for regulating his own demeanor.  In neglecting to do so, he not only missed the opportunity for his sacrifice to be accepted by God but his untamed wrath and the resentment in his heart led to the physical act of murder.

Cain expected God to accept his sacrifice because pride was at full work in him.   When God did not regard his sacrifice, the initial response in Cain was not to question himself but to be furious with God.  The condition of the heart is of paramount importance to God and still holds true today.  Jesus tells us the stirrings of our heart toward others must be in line with the Word before we offer our sacrifice to Him (Matthew 5:24).

When Cain’s offering was not accepted he became full of intense anger which fueled the brutality in his heart.  The Lord warned Cain of sin’s presence which bides its time waiting for an opportunity. Therefore, we must ‘rule over’ sin by doing what we know to be right or evil passions will take advantage of our slack.  We are obligated to take authority over our thoughts and emotions and resist the lies of the enemy (John 8:44) as sin always begins with a lie.

Cain had the opportunity, as we do daily, to resist sin and receive the blessing, or give in to sin and be devoured.   We have no need for despondency in life as our hope is in the Lord.  If we do what is right we will be accepted.  Let’s keep in mind that doing what is right does not mean being perfect.  Just like God gave Cain an opportunity to repent when we make an error we also are given the opportunity to repent.  The problem arises when we know the right thing to do but refuse to do it.

We must realize we are deeply loved by God and He knows our frailties.  He knows what tempts us as He is the God who sees (Genesis 16:13).  Allow this truth to flood your heart, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7)  Even though he sees our trespasses the richness of His forgiving grace is lavished upon us.  What an amazing demonstration of love towards us.

Thank you, Lord, for Your Spirit that guides and counsels me in the truth.  Thank you for your gift of love and repentance that allows restored fellowship.  Help me Lord to see my sin and take responsibility for it so that I may receive your full acceptance and lavishing grace.

In His grace,

Amanda

Satan’s Tactics

Greetings fellow sojourners!

Let’s consider this quote, “One of the most sobering facts about life is that all humans have a supernatural enemy whose aim is to use pain and pleasure to make us blind, stupid, and miserable.”  (Piper)  Below are some scriptural examples of this statement.  If you look closely at the Scripture, you will even find the remedy.

Blind ~ “The god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

Stupid ~ “But a stupid man will gain understanding as soon as a wild donkey is born a man!”  Job 11:12.  Well, that is direct.  But here is the rest.  “As for you, if you redirect your heart and lift up your hands to Him in prayer — if there is iniquity in your hand, remove it, and don’t allow injustice to dwell in your tents — then you will hold your head high, free from fault. You will be firmly established and unafraid.”  Job 11:13-15

Miserable ~ “All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.”  Proverbs 15:15

Here’s the good news.  None of Satan’s tactics are hidden from God; he is not that clever.  As a matter of fact, the Bible warns us of Satan’s tactics so that we will know his playbook in advance; therefore, they are also exposed to us.  Shame on us if we do not get into the Word so his tactics are made clear to us!  We have no excuse.

Secondly, James 4:7 tell us if we “Resist the devil, he will flee from you”.  It is conditional.  You resist…he flees.  God backs up His word.  If you resist the devil, he WILL flee from you.  Are you resisting his tactics?

Thirdly, prayer is vital.  Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”  Prayer will put us on the offense.  It will strengthen and refresh our mind and heart.  If during prayer you are prompted to repent take the opportunity God is giving you.  It is a powerful tool.

You are a blessing.

In His grace,

Amanda

Guard Your Heart

“Listen closely to my sayings.  Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.”  Proverbs 4:20b-22

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Before we get started let’s recall, “no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus”  (Romans 8:1) but an opportunity for change!  It is easy to judge a sin by what we observe with our fleshly eyes and then apply our own weights and measures.  However, Jesus says he looks at what is in the heart and judges there.  We have no idea what goes on in someone else’s heart and if truth be told we rarely admit and face what is going on in our own.  Let’s also recall, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but you don’t notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Someone who corrects the minor faults of others without attending to his own more serious fault is a hypocrite.  Interestingly, a hypocrite originally referred to actors who performed in Greek or Roman theaters.  Hypocrites are spiritual actors who pretend to have piety in order to win human approval.  Yuck.

We must guard our heart.  What stirs in our heart is just the beginning of a future action.  When the action is birthed we view it and are shocked, yet it has already been stirring in the heart for some time.  And, the Lord has already seen it.  Are we allowing thoughts that are out of line with the word of God to take up residence in the same temple as the Holy Spirit?  We think all manner of things in our mind without saying it out loud.  We also pray quietly in our mind without saying it out loud.  Do we seriously think The Lord hears only the prayer?

We each must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).  God works in us, enabling us both to desire and work out His good purpose (v13).  Let’s take a look at some verses from Matthew 5:21-44, keeping in mind the importance of guarding our heart.  We have heard we should not manifest certain behaviors but Jesus says it is a matter of the heart.  The following are generally known as the “Six Antitheses.”  Jesus always upheld the Old Testament authority but opposed the misguided interpretations of the scribes and Pharisees.

~ You have heard do not murder, whoever murders will be subject to judgment.  But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.  (v 21-22)

~ You have heard do not commit adultery.  But I tell you, everyone who looks in order to lust has already committed adultery in the heart.  (v27-28)

~  It was said whoever divorces his wife must give her a written notice of divorce.  But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery.  And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.  (v 31-32)

~ You have heard you must not break your oath, but you must keep your oaths to the Lord.  But I tell you, don’t take an oath at all.  Let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. (v33-34a, 37a)

~ You have heard an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.  But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer.  (v 38-39a)

~ You have heard love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  (v 43-44) (Interesting that ‘hate your enemy’ does not appear anywhere in the OT.)

I want to go further with God, don’t you?  We have been in the shallow water long enough, let’s go to the deep places with Him.  Let’s give the Lord full access to the attitudes in our heart.  He loves you.  You can trust Him completely, even in the hidden places.

In His grace,

Amanda

Quench Your Thirst

“But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again–ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”    John 4:14

Ever had a physical thirst that was tough to quench?  We all have had a dryness which at best has only been temporarily quenched.  In contrast, how about the thirst of your soul?  This thirst can only be quenched by Jesus, through His Spirit.  Remember the woman at the well?  After she received from Jesus she left her water jar at the well (John 4:28) because it could not contain what she sought.  Jesus had filled her even to overflowing so that she was compelled to share what she found with others (John 4:29-30).

Jesus does not give a simple drink of water but causes a spring, a never-ending fountain, flowing from the inward satisfaction of the reception of His gifts.  This well of water is so abundant that it is enough for our everlasting needs.  Drinking from this well not only gives abundant water but has the ability to deeply satisfy your thirsty soul.  You will never have to search to find what satisfies again ~ when you turn to Him you get Him.

This water Jesus provides is described as a ‘springing up.’  This is the description of the activity of a fountain.  A fountain represents water in motion and not something at rest.  Can you imagine being gifted by Jesus Himself, a very fountain in your innermost being that wells up by its own inherent ability and does not cease to satisfy?

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast,  Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”  (John 7:37-38)
 If anyone is THIRSTY.  Do you thirst for God?  If you physically thirst for water you know what is necessary to satisfy your thirst.  When your soul thirst, do you know it is God it thirsts for?  That it is Him you were created to thirst for?  Yes, when we thirst for water we can satisfy it temporarily with a substitute but the thirst will not be quenched.  Soon it will thirst again because what it really needed was pure water.  The thirst in our soul is the same.  When we thirst for God we may satisfy that need with a shabby temporary distraction but we will soon thirst again because we have not quenched our need.  We will always be left wanting until we receive the longing of our soul.
Don’t be stubborn and don’t be afraid.  We are told to just “open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”  (Psalm 81:10b).  Come to Him and ask Him to quench your thirst forever.  You are the cup, He is the living water.  You were created to not only be filled with Him but to be filled to overflow.  Let’s stop putting things in our cup that do not satisfy what it is we are truly thirsting for.  
In His grace,
Amanda

Courage Under Pressure

Greetings fellow sojourners!  I have included a particularly long segment of Scripture today.  In order to receive the fullness of the en-courage-ment it offers I believe the entire piece must be read to garner the benefit.  You can do it!

Attempts to Discourage the Builders

“When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that no gap was left in it — though at that time I had not installed the doors in the gates — Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message: “Come, let’s meet together in the villages of the Ono Valley.” But they were planning to harm me.  So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.  Sanballat sent me this same message a fifth time by his aide, who had an open letter in his hand. In it was written:
It is reported among the nations — and Geshem agrees — that you and the Jews plan to rebel. This is the reason you are building the wall. According to these reports, you are to become their king and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem to proclaim on your behalf: “There is a king in Judah.” These rumors will be heard by the king. So come, let’s confer together. Then I replied to him, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.” For they were all trying to intimidate us, saying, “They will become discouraged in the work, and it will never be finished.”  But now, my God, strengthen me.

Attempts to Intimidate Nehemiah

I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was restricted to his house. He said:  Let us meet at the house of God inside the temple. Let us shut the temple doors because they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you tonight!  But I said, “Should a man like me run away? How can I enter the temple and live? I will not go.” I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophecy he spoke against me. Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.  My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.

The Wall Completed

The wall was completed in 52 days, on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul. When all our enemies heard this, all the surrounding nations were intimidated and lost their confidence, for they realized that this task had been accomplished by our God.”  (Nehemiah 6:1-16)

~~~~~~                          ~~~~~~                       ~~~~~~                    ~~~~~~                    ~~~~~~

Let’s take a look at the first paragraph.  Nehemiah’s “enemies heard” that he was doing a mighty work of God.  They absolutely were under no inclination for him to finish the work so they attempted to discourage him by ‘planning him harm’.  Confident only in God, Nehemiah responded to the enemy’s taunts resolutely with, “I am doing a great work”  and he did not allow himself to be discouraged.  The text tells us the enemy tried four times and each time Nehemiah responded back with the same confidence.  Seeing that the first four attempts did not provoke Nehemiah to discouragement, the enemy attempted to send the same message again but this time bolstered with additional fear by suggesting an individual with position and influence agreed that Nehemiah had a personal ambition in mind.  The enemy also engaged more of Nehemiah’s senses ~ a written message hand delivered by the enemy’s aid.

The enemy will probe for our self-serving interests and if nothing surfaces, will attempt to convince us we have some anyway.  Don’t get discouraged when this happens in your life.  View it as an opportunity to reaffirm the truth of the reason for your work.  If a circumstance does reveal a self-serving motive, have the courage to extinguish it and thank the Lord for the cleansing!  God is for us and will help us repent as well as help us with our heart.

In this example, the enemy gave Nehemiah the suggestion, “You are to become their king” and have even set up the prophets in Jerusalem, “on your behalf” to proclaim yourself as king.  He told Nehemiah to, “Come, let’s confer together”  in an attempt to persuade him to appear before him and receive counsel by appealing to any self-interest Nehemiah might have.  When we take the enemy’s bait and maintain any self-interest all he will do is attempt to prop self up even more.

Did you notice that when the enemy upped his technique so did Nehemiah?  Nehemiah rebuked the enemy head-on, “There is nothing to these rumors you are spreading; you are inventing them in your own mind.”  He recognized the enemy’s attempt to “intimidate” and “discourage” so that Nehemiah would never finish what he started.  Afterwards, Nehemiah asked God to strengthen him.  Don’t you know He did!  The enemy may or may not be aware of all your efforts but don’t think for a minute God does not see.  He sees and will strengthen you with courage when you are under pressure so that you will not fail!  Allow Him to minister to your heart and mind like Nehemiah did.

Nehemiah proved his courage in God which allowed him to withstand the external pressure.  When Nehemiah’s enemies heard he had completed the task, they knew it had been accomplished by God which not only intimated them but all the surrounding nations.  That, beloved, is how big our God is.  When you feel the mounting of any internal or external pressure, put your confidence in God.  He has proven Himself faithful and will never be found to be anything less.  You are much loved.

In His grace,

Amanda

 

God Provides Profound Wisdom Not Crippling Condemnation

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5

Greetings all.  I pray you are finding your delight in Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

I have a hunch most everyone is familiar with the beginning portion of this verse but I wonder if everyone is as equally familiar with the second portion that says He will give without criticizing?  God lovingly gives to his children to commend us in our faith walk; not to criticize our shortcomings or even or failures.  If we ask for wisdom and instead feel a criticism emerge regarding our problems or faults we can rest assured that is not from God. This is not to say we should not be striving to have HIS truth in us and faithfully walk it out in our daily life, but He does not give His wisdom peppered with condemnation.  (Merriam-webster.com defines criticism as the act of expressing disapproval and of noting the problems or faults of a person or thing.)

God IS perfect wisdom and in that wisdom, He knows exactly how to best supply us with that wisdom.  On the other hand, this is an area in which the enemy is skillfully clever.  The point is, we must learn to discern the difference between a prompting requiring repentance and an incitement that brings a crippling.

Here are some places in Scripture that describe God’s wisdom.

God’s Wisdom is Profound

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth.  He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding.”  Isaiah 40:28

“God is wise and all-powerful.  Who has opposed Him and come out unharmed?”  Job 9:4

“But where can wisdom be found, and where is understanding located? No man can know its value, since it cannot be found in the land of the living.  The ocean depths say, “It’s not in me,” while the sea declares, “I don’t have it.”  Gold cannot be exchanged for it, and silver cannot be weighed out for its price.  Wisdom cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.  Gold and glass do not compare with it, and articles of fine gold cannot be exchanged for it.  Coral and quartz are not worth mentioning.  The price of wisdom is beyond pearls.  Topaz from Cush cannot compare with it, and it cannot be valued in pure gold. Where then does wisdom come from, and where is understanding located? It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing and concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon and Death say,  “We have heard news of it with our ears.”  But God understands the way to wisdom, and He knows its location. For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.”  Job 28:12-24

“How magnificent are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts!”  Psalm 92:5

“I observed all the work of God and concluded that man is unable to discover the work that is done under the sun. Even though a man labors hard to explore it, he cannot find it; even if the wise man claims to know it, he is unable to discover it.”  Ecc 8:17

We are instructed to “not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.   When someone asks us for our Christian perspective on an issue that is troubling them lets give from the best of our Christian experience; without a crippling critique tied to it.  Help me Lord to be more like you.  I love your Word and I desire it to take priority position in my life.  Help me Lord to love your Word even in the places where it might be the hardest to accept.  In the powerful name of Jesus, I ask and believe.

In His grace,

Amanda

R E V I V E Me!

Revive us, Lord!  Have you found your heart has grown cold or even calloused regarding certain circumstances, people, or aspects of your life?  Perhaps the indifference of your heart has stretched further than you have even allowed yourself to realize.  If the glorious joy of your salvation has faded to the background of your thoughts, if your heart equates your circumstances to be bigger than your God, if indifference, bitterness, and anger fills your heart, and if your pride has kept you from daily repentance then it is likely you need R E V I V I N G.

Being revived by God’s Spirit breaks the allure of the world system, complacency with self, and indifference with the status quo.  Our pride will steer us away from a realization that our deepest need is an extraordinary, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Search your heart and determine if there are parts of you that have become distant or cut-off from God.  Allow Him access to your entire being.  The Christian walk is not a rote, boring, fit-it-into-your-schedule walk.  It is a joyful skip with a heart ablaze for Jesus and dynamically living in His grace!  It is not about living as a ‘good’ person.  It is a supernatural event.  Pray and ask the Lord, ” R E V I V E me!”  I desire to not live as one who is smoldering but to live as a rekindled flame for You in every area of my life.

Scripture indicates a number of characteristics that precede revival, including repentance, humility, and obedience.  Let’s search the Scripture and allow our heart to be splayed wide open to the truth.

God’s people long for renewal of their lives

“Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your name.”  Psalm 80:18

“Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?”  Psalm 85:6

God’s people need to be humble

“For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:  “I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.”  Isaiah 57:15

“For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.”  Psalm 149:4

“My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being.  This is the Lord’s declaration.  I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word.”  Isaiah 66:2

“Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  Micah 6:8

God’s people must repent

“My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  Acts 3:19

God’s people are revived through His initiative

“He saw that there was no man — He was amazed that there was no one interceding, so His own arm brought salvation, and His own righteousness supported Him.”  Isa 59:16

“I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am Yahweh. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart.”  Jeremiah 24:7

“I will restore the fortunes of Judah and of Israel and will rebuild them as in former times. I will purify them from all the wrongs they have committed against Me, and I will forgive all the wrongs they have committed against Me, rebelling against Me. This city will bear on My behalf a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, who will hear of all the good I will do for them. They will tremble with awe because of all the good and all the peace I will bring about for them.”  Jeremiah 33:6-9

“He saved us — not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  Titus 3:5

People experience inward change as a characteristic result of revival

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be My people.  And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.”  Hebrews 8:10-12

“Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” — the Lord’s declaration. “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.” Jeremiah 31:33-34

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.  Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.”  Act 2:42-47

People live obedient lives

“And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so they may follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God.”  Ezekiel 11:19-20

“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting, one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.”  Ephesians 4:1-3

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord when, in spite of severe persecution, you welcomed the message with joy from the Holy Spirit. As a result, you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. For the Lord’s message rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place that your faith, in God has gone out.” 1 Th 1:6-8

People are joyful

“Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.”  Acts 8:5-8

“And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 13:52

also see Isaiah 35:1-10

Crowds turn to the Lord

“The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.”  Mark 1:5

“So they came to John and told him, “Rabbi, the One you testified about, and who was with you across the Jordan, is baptizing — and everyone is flocking to Him.”  John 3:26

“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.”  John 4:39

“…praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.”  Acts 2:47

“But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.”  Acts 4:4

“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”  Acts 11:21

The Holy Spirit Is Active In The Revival of Believers

“When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.”  Acts 4:31

“Then Saul — also called Paul — filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at the sorcerer…” Acts 13:9

“Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”  2 Corinthians 4:16

“And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit:  speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.”  Ephesians 5:18-21

The Response of the Believer in Revival

“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:1-2

“You are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on, the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.”  Ephesians 4:23-24

“Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”  Phillippians 3:13-14

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self, with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision, and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.  Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love — the perfect bond of unity.”  Colossians 3:9-14

“In Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures”! (Psalm 16:11)  Revive me Lord to the absolute depths of my heart, soul, and spirit!  I long for your presence!  I turn my will, my heart, my thoughts, my days over to you Lord to do with them what only YOU can do.  I repent of my sin and humble my heart.  Revive me Lord so that I may clearly behold your beauty and truth.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation.  Brind me into Your presence, as in that place I will find joy unending!   R E V I V E me!  Thank you as I know You are faithful.  In the mighty name of Jesus, I ask and believe.

In His grace,

Amanda