Monday, May 26, 2014

Revive Us, Oh Lord

Psa 80:14 Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see,And visit this vine. Psalm 80:18 Then we will not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.

I don't know about you, but I think we need revival in this land. Studying the lives of many people who walked with the Lord for my non-fiction book Sure Mercies: Hope for the Suffering (under contract with 4RV Publishing), it really impressed me how much work was done for the Kingdom in the 1800s and early 1900s with men and women like George Mueller, Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, and Amy Carmichael, to name a few. What was different then than it is now? One thing I noticed is there were revivals back then. It stirred my heart to think, maybe God would grant us a revival again today.

We certainly don't deserve one. Look how far we have slipped from God since 1962, the year we took prayer out of public school. God has been so patient with us, but He cannot wink at our gross immorality and godlessness. He will bring justice. In the meantime, though couldn't we cry out to Him to revive us?

I was talking to a friend of mine, and she told me she believed there had been a revival in this country in the 60s and 70s among the hippies of that time. But I have heard of none lately, at least not in America. Just that our freedoms to believe and share our faith are slowly being eroded until one day, they will be gone and it will be too late.

Today is Memorial Day and I think of the thousands and thousands who shed their bled across the centuries for the sake of this nation. They died for our freedom's sake. I wonder what they would think of what is happening today. For their sakes' we should pray. I also think of the future generations that are just starting out. We want to give them freedom. For their sakes' we must pray also. And what about us? Do we still want the freedom to read our Bibles, attend our choice of choice, to vote and enjoy the blessings we have taken for granted? For our own sakes, we must pray.

But before I even ask another to pray, I need to look to myself. I think of Daniel in the Old Testament and how he wept and pled for his nation before the Lord before God in Daniel 9:5-10, saying:

“we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him.We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets."

Daniel continues on with his prayer for his people in following verses. I noticed though, that Daniel seems not to have any noticeable character flaws in the Bible, yet he takes responsibility for the sins of his people.

Isaiah also takes on the sins of his people when he receives the vision of the throne of the Lord in Isaiah 6:5, saying:

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”

Neither man was afraid to identify with his people as they cried out before the Lord. We need to realize that if we the church in America had been acting as salt and light, we would have shown forth to the unbelievers in our nation as a city on a hill. We would have been a preservative for our country. (Matthew 5:13-14)

But it is not too late. We can start praying today for revival. Consider a few other verses on this subject:

'Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your anger toward us to cease.

Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?" Psalm 85:4-6

"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 will forgive their sin and heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14

"Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way." Psalm 119:37

"Come, and let us return to the LORD;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth." Hosea 6:1-3

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Mother's Musing...

"Oh fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 34:9-11

This is my first mother's day as both a mother and grandmother. It is precious to visit with my new little grandsons. As I think about my own years as a mother, I did not realize then how quickly they would pass. Even though I am still in middle age, it seems each year passes by faster than the one before. I bumped into an old neighbor of mine at the store today. It seemed like just yesterday they moved, but it was thirteen years already.

I had the blessing of going for a mother's day brunch a day early today with my son and his family. It makes my eyes well up with tears at times, for when I do pay a visit, it reminds me that already so much of life has passed. I remember my son as a little boy, but now a man. I remember with joy my happy times as a mother, but I do have regrets too.

If only I would have realized how short a time I really would have my kids, I would have done things differently. Most importantly, I would have liked to show them a mother that did not waver in her faith. I wasted a lot of time fretting, time that could have been spent showing them how great God was, and how much He could be trusted.

Reading God's Word every day for myself has bolstered my faith.I wish I would have done it back then. I wish I would have read it to them every day. It is the only reliable thing we have in the universe. Just today I read an incredible verse about the Truth of His Word:

"The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of your righteous judgments endures forever." Ps. 119:160

That Word alone could have saved me so much grief, just to believe it and demonstrate it before their little watching eyes.The years are gone now, and I won't live in regrets, but hopefully maybe someone who reads this may learn from my mistake.

In years past, I disliked the book of Ecclesiastes because it seemed depressing, but now it makes such good sense. Solomon had everything he could possibly want from this world, but he realized at the end of his life it was all vanity and chasing after wind. All the accolades of men, all the accomplishments, all the pride of life really meant nothing in the big picture.

As Solomon comes to the end of the book, he gives some great advice to the young, something I tried to teach my children. He says in Eccles. 12:1: "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come..."

I always took that to mean that if one is receptive and open to the LORD as a child, it is easier for them to stay on the path of faith, while if you harden your heart, it only becomes more and more difficult to believe when you get older.

At the end of the book, and at the end of Solomon's life, he concludes by saying this:

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all." (Eccles. 12: 13)

So,how does this all have to do with being a mother? Well, I guess what I am trying to say is I would not have fretted so much about the little details of life, but focused more on showing faith and teaching my children the only thing that will outlast this universe, God's Word.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." Matthew 24:35

"...All flesh is as grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Is.40:6-8

I would have focused on what David said: "Come you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD." (Ps. 34:11) I especially would have emphasized how much the Heavenly Father loved them and cared for them.

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12