“Revival is delayed because prayer decays.”
Revival: Sunday Musings - It is difficult to find the proper words to describe the totality of what took place yesterday at Tucson Baptist Temple. Our church prayed fervently, fasted, prepared and arrived with an expectancy that was unmistakable yesterday morning. Eleven souls saved in the morning service and three saved in children’s church almost seemed surreal. We “expected” the Lord to do something and when He did we were like, “WOW!”
Upon our return Sunday evening, I stood in amazement as I watched our members (and many visitors) file into our auditorium. Our attendance was nothing short of spectacular. The “air of expectancy” came with you and was realized as each handshake, comment, hug, and conversation took place prior to the service. And then, in walks Derek and his family. Of course, those who were in the morning service remember that Derek walked the aisle and trusted Christ. His glorious conversion was readily apparent! Now he was back with his family. As soon as the first chord was played and you began to sing we immediately knew that it was going to be a special service. The choir (completely packed with no empty spots), quartet, and solo by Shelby were dynamic!
As Evangelist Samms graced the pulpit and began to preach to us regarding the story of the prodigal son from Luke 15 we soon realized that this message was not the typical version we have heard all of our lives. We soon learned that the elder son had some real issues: The older brother was unforgiving, unbroken, and unthankful. Evangelist Samms direct correlation to our own lives was astounding! We can stop revival when we are unforgiving, unbroken, and unthankful. Invitation time brought another flood of people (much, much larger than the AM Worship Service) to the altar. Families praying together, friends praying with friends, pastors praying with those with heavy burdens, rededications, people getting right with each other, and even candidates for baptism, all melded together as a collective family, was something to behold. God is so awesome and He is reviving His church!
Following the service, a beautiful young couple, Jesus and Cynthia asked to talk with Evangelist Samms. This couple had been invited to our service by one of our newer families. After several minutes, Evangelist Samms had the glorious privilege of leading both Jesus and Cynthia to the Lord. It was fabulous to speak to this couple following their conversion.
Folks, the buzz in the lobby and hallways following the service does not lie… if you were present last night it was something you will remember. If you were unable to be at church last night you need to talk with someone that was present to hear of what our great God is doing at your church.
Tonight… what will God do? Will more be saved tonight? What will he preach on? Who will bring the most visitors? How many will pack their pew? How many Bibles will we give out tonight?
I can hardly wait!
Revival: Don’t be one of the “Strange” People – Have you ever met someone that left you scratching your head. Consider these strange people:
People who talk about prayer, but never pray.
People who say tithing is right, but never tithe.
People who wish to belong to the church, but never attend or support the church program.
People who say the Bible is God’s word to man, but never read it.
People who say eternity is more important than time, but who live for the present life.
People who criticize others for things they do themselves.
People who stay from church for trivial reasons, and then sing, “O How I Love Jesus.”
People who follow the Devil all their lives, but expect to go to heaven.
Solomon wrote, “The way of man is froward and strange.” Proverbs 21:8 Lord, we stand in need of complete revival of soul, mind, and spirit!
Revival: The Tongue Loosed – “And the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. ” Mark 7:35 Being revived in soul, spirit, and mind has a way of loosing our tongues in a holy manner. Consider this prayer:
Loose thou my tongue, so silent have I been, Lord,
In telling others of Thy love divine;
Loose thou my tongue, and use it for Thy glory,
That straying lambs, back to Thy fold may come.
Loose thou my tongue, that Thou canst always help me.
To strengthen those by storm and tempest tossed;
Loose thou my tongue, to guide the sad and lonely,
To find in Thee, their refuge and their rock.
Loose thou my tongue, for Thee, O blessed Master,
That I may speak Thy words of truth divine;
Loose thou my tongue, that I may tell the story,
Of all the wondrous things that Thou hast done.
Loose thou my tongue, baptize with love and fire, Lord,
To teach Thy Cross and resurrection power;
Loose thou my tongue, and fill me with Thy fullness,
Till others, too, shall crown Thee Lord of all.
This prayer, if prayed from clean hearts and lives submissive to God’s will, would put tongues of fire where there are now tongues draped in icicles. Our revived tongues of fire would melt the frozen foundations of testimony and start refreshing streams in dry gardens. Our revived tongues would give us the plain language of truth where there is now evasive stammering or slowness of speech.
Revival: Death Notice - Sister Old Time Prayer Meeting died recently at the First Neglected Church on Worldly Avenue. Born many years ago in the midst of great revivals, she was a strong healthy child, fed largely on testimony and scriptural holiness, soon growing into world-wide prominence. She was one of the most influential members of the famous Church family. She was a great influence for good, gathering the multitude of mankind to her bosom to hear the story of Him who wore the seamless garment; a story of never failing interest to all.
For the past several years Sister Prayer Meeting has been failing in health, gradually wasting away until rendered helpless by stiffness of knees, coldness of heart, inactivity, and weakness of purpose and will power. At the last she was but a shadow of her former self. Her last whispered words were inquiries concerning the strange absence of her loved ones, now absent from her presence, busy in the ply of trade and places of worldly amusements. Her older brother, Sunday School, has been dead for many years.
Experts, including Dr. Works, Dr. Reform, and Dr. Joiner, disagreed as to the cause of her illness, administering large doses of organization, socials, contests, drives, and religious education; but to no avail. A post mortem showed a deficiency of spiritual food coupled with a lack of fasting, faith, prayer, and change of heart. Shameless desertion and non-support were contributing causes.
Only a few were present at her death, sobbing over memories of her past beauty and power. Carefully selected pallbearers were urged to tenderly bear her remains away but failed to appear. There were no flowers. Her favorite hymns, “Amazing Grace” and “Rock of Ages” were not sung. Miss Ima Modern rendered “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere,” but none had any idea where this fancied isle might be. The body rests in the beautiful cemetery of Bygone Glories, awaiting the summons from above which shall bring her, with her blood-washed garments, into the presence of the God of Glory.
In honor of her going, the church doors will be closed on Wednesday evenings, save on the third Wednesday of each month, when the Ladies’ Pink Lemonade Society serves refreshments to the members of the men’s softball team.
I remind of all us of the words of our Lord Jesus… “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth… As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:15-16, 19
Revival: A Component Necessary = Forgetting – The landlord of a block of rental flats called on one of his tenants, a young artist.
“The rent of your rooms is six months behind,” he commenced; “but times being what they are, I don’t want to be hard on you. I’ll tell you what I propose to do. I’ll meet you halfway – forget half the debt. How about that?”
The tenant smiled gratefully, “That’s fine!” he said, “and I’ll forget the other half.”
“Both halves forgotten! Any two halves make a whole. And the whole of what some people owe me has been forgotten. And what I say, others can say, too.” the landlord.
As we have been instructed, “… forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before.” The power of forgiveness and then the ability to forget is necessary to achieve personal revival.
Revival: Praying through the “If:”
- If you are not saved, you are lost.
- If you do not pray, you have no power.
- If you are not meek, you are haughty.
- If you are not humble, you are proud.
- If you have no peace, you have no rest.
- If you have no rest, you have worries.
- If you have no joy, you get despondent.
- If you have no hope, you are discouraged.
- If you are not honest, you are deceitful.
- If you lose your temper, you commit sin.
- If you are not merciful, you are hard-hearted.
- If you have no forbearance, you lack patience.
- If you are discourteous, you are inconsiderate.
- If you use profanity, Satan has your tongue.
- If you have hate in your heart, you are a murderer.
- If you do not love the brethren, you do not love God.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:8-9
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” I John 5:14
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I John 2:15
If we could just take care of the “ifs” in our lives; then, we could experience personal revival.
Revival: You cast the deciding vote – An old black preacher once told his congregation, “Folks, when something hard to handle hits you, the Lord votes for you, the Devil votes against you, and you cast the deciding vote.” The simple fact is that the Lord desperately desires to send revival; the Devil will do whatever possible to discourage, distract, and defeat revival; and yes, we cast the deciding vote.
That deciding vote often determines the well-being not only of an individual but often an entire church or even a community. It is eloquently expressive of the man or woman who feels his or her direct responsibility for the good of others. We elect our pastor and give him the authority to administer. But we cannot delegate to him our responsibility as a Christian church member. Authority can be committed to others, but not responsibility. The elected must have the backing of the electing. No matter how much the pastor desires to experience revival, it will take the personal, individual church member casting their vote for revival.
The casting of that vote entails careful preparation of the heart, soul, and mind. Prayer is the engine that will take us to that throne that can bend the ear of our Heavenly Father to once again rain down on us His convicting and life-changing power. Lord Josiah Stamp once stated, “It is easy to dodge our responsibility but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”
What will your vote be this coming Sunday? Will you pray, plead, and pour out your heart before the Lord prior to Sunday? Will you be present for every service? Will you invite, invite, and invite? Yes, you carry much weight; in fact, the deciding vote!
Revival: Christians have become “Faded Flags” – On August 17, 1905 two train passenger cars from Kinston, North Carolina, plunged into an open draw bridge on the Elizabeth River. Eighteen of the passengers were either drowned or killed upon impact. The mystery of the accident was increased by the assertion of the signal man that he had displayed his red flag in time for the engineer to stop the train before entering the open draw. Other employees corroborated his assertion.
The engineer contended that it was a white flag that was shown; thus, he took it as a signal that the tracks were clear. The flag was produced and the mystery solved. The flag had become so faded that from a distance it could easily have been mistaken for a white flag. Many Christians have become like a faded flag that fails to convey God’s message of warning to a lost, dying, and condemned mankind.
Oh, the wrecks of souls that have resulted from the unfaithfulness of those whose Christianity is a faded flag. Solemn are these Bible words:
“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” Proverbs 25:19
How sad the indictment God made of His own people after He made “his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock,” casting out the heathen before them… and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
“Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies: but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers.” Psalm 78:56-57.
A revived soul will “fix” the faded flag. As a watchman, what color is the flag that the unsaved world sees you waving? Is our flag brilliant red warning the lost world of impending doom and peril or a faded red flag that has lost is brilliance? We need revival!
Revival: Our Nation is Beset by Chaos – “Go through the midst of the city, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Ezekiel 9:4
What God is seeking today, as in Bible days, is not a people with an outward sign of respectability and church attendance, nor even scholastic preachers whose names are known nationwide; but God is seeking those whose hearts are burdened and broken, and whose eyes are red with weeping before Him due to our sin and abominations in our cities. Weeping in the pulpit and weeping in the pew are the Divine price for visitations from on high.
Today, America stands at the crossroads of destiny, faced with an unavoidable choice: the mark of the man with the inkhorn (Ezekiel 9:3) or the mark of the Beast! Unless there are tears from the pulpit and tears in our pews, there will be tears in our streets and homes. For already this great nation staggers beneath its gigantic burdens of spiritual depravity, moral deterioration, and material corruptness.
In view of these tremendous facts, what is the verdict of the “man with the inkhorn” as he passes our way? Is the “mark” upon our foreheads? The price is heavy, but as former President Eisenhower once declared, “A soldier’s pack may be heavy, but it is lighter than a prisoner’s chains.” Far better to pay the price for revival than to wear the shackles of a godless regime!
Abraham stood before the Lord and interceded for godless Sodom until even Divine Grace was exhausted; Elijah stood before God for backslidden Israel until fire fell from heaven and the altars of Baal were broken down with a nation returning to God; and down through the centuries men have dared to stand before God in holy desperation for the sins of their generation, until God moved out of His Holy Temple in nation-shaking revival.
The half-hearted prayer meetings of today are a mockery in comparison to the depth of spiritual travail of the men who, in yesteryear, caused nations to be swept by the power of God. The price for heaven-sent revival has never changed. Before the floods of Holy Ghost conviction could sweep across cities, towns, churches, states, and nations, strong men must be broken before God. Upon their faces before God, strong men and women must travail in agony of prayer through long hours.
Outpourings from on high must be preceded by a willingness to make time to wait upon God. This is perhaps the greatest problem besetting us today. We have all the modern luxuries of life to make work easier and yet we cannot make time to pray! What a tragic paradox. Dr. Wilbur Smith was quoted as saying, “I never get time to pray; I’ve always had to make it.”
I still believe the floodtides of revival are waiting to be released upon the face of this earth. Dare we spend 24 hours a day for seven days in prayer and fasting?
Revival: A Call to Separate from Satan and Sin – When you say you believe in Jesus, do you only believe in those things which make you feel good? Do you reject those things about Jesus which make you feel uncomfortable? We should accept what Jesus taught and do those things which Jesus himself would want us to do. We must not take part in things which Jesus would not like. So you ask, what are those things that Jesus would not like? They are, simply, Satan and sin.
We are to separate ourselves from Satan and sin and believe in Jesus from that position, rather than from a position in which sin, Satan, and Jesus are all mixed together in our lives. The greatest problem that besets our churches today is not Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, or Secularism; the problem in our churches are the people that have a love “affair” with Satan and sin.
We need a heaven-sent visitation from God, accompanied by the sin-convicting power of the Holy Spirit that will revitalize the pulpit and pew causing multitudes of sinners to turn from Satan and sin to Christ. We NEED revival!
The church, like a mammoth organization, has everything BUT the mighty moving of God. As someone has said, “We have equipment but not enduement; commotion but not creation; action but not unction; rattle but not revival.” Spirituality is buried in activity! If, then, we really desire revival we must get down to doing business with our God. We must be prepared to accept the burden for revival as our own personal responsibility (II Chronicles 7:14).
This will demand a confession of every sin, a turning away from all wickedness, a forsaking of every doubtful habit, and an utter surrender to Christ. To separate from Satan and sin will mean the giving up of “idols” that have been cherished for years. For others, it may mean a visit to the “tents” as in the days of Achan to unearth some of the things hidden there. It may be a “wedge of gold” or a “Babylonian garment” or some of the “spoils of battle” have to go before the blessings of the Lord can be realized and personally experienced.
One thing is very certain, to whatever the Finger of God points in condemnation, that thing must GO!
Preparing for Revival – Part 5: Number 21: HEBREWS 10:25 Do you stay away from preaching services or are irregular at prayer services? Do you whisper or think about things while God’s Word is being read or preached? Do you neglect or slight private prayer and Bible study? Do you find prayer and Bible study uninteresting? Have you neglected thanksgiving at meals or family devotions?
Number 22: JAMES 4:6 Do you feel that you are a good enough Christian? Are you stubborn? Do you insist on having your own way? Do you insist on your rights?
Number 23: JAMES 4:11 Have you dishonored God or hindered His work by criticizing His servants? Have you failed to pray regularly for your Pastor, teachers, or other spiritual leaders? Do you find it hard to be corrected? Is there rebellion toward one who wants to restore you? Are you concerned about what other people will think than what will be pleasing to God?
If you have been honest and true in the matter of admitting your sins, then you are ready for God’s cleansing. Sins that are admitted to God are sins that are confessed and sins that are confessed are sins that are forgiven. I John 1:9
REMEMBER THREE THINGS:
- If the sin is against God, confess it to God and make things right with Him.
- If the sin is against another person, confess it to God and make things right with the other person
- If the sin is against a group, confess it to God and make things right with the group.
If there is full confession, there will be full cleansing. The joy of the Lord will follow. Then there can be testimony and prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 19:12; Psalms 51:2-4:10
Preparing for Revival – Part 4: Number 16: PHILIPPIANS 4:4 Have you neglected to please God in ALL things? Are you bitter or have you complained against God in any way? Is there in your heart any unwillingness to obey God fully? Have you disobeyed some direct leading from God?
Number 17: COLOSSIANS 3:9 Do you ever engage in empty or unprofitable conversations? Do you ever lie? Cheat? Steal (time from your employer)?
Number 18: II TIMOTHY 2:22 Do you have any personal habits that are not pure? Do you allow impure thoughts to stay in your mind? Do you read anything, which is impure or suggests unholy things? Do you engage in any unclean entertainment? Are you guilty of the lustful look?
Number 19: JAMES 1:27 Have you allowed yourself to become spotted by the world? Do you dress to please God? Do you overspend or neglect to pray about things to buy?
Number 20: HEBREWS 13:17 Do you hesitate to submit to leaders in the church? Are you lazy? Do you rebel at requests to help in God’s work? Do you have a stubborn or unteachable spirit?
Preparing for Revival – Part 3: Number 11: EPHESIANS 4:31 Do you complain? Do you find fault? Do you have a critical attitude toward others? Are you consistently irritable and cranky? Do you get angry or carry hidden anger? Do you become impatient with others easily? Are you ever harsh/unkind with your words?
Number 12: EPHESIANS 5:16 Do you Iisten to unedifying radio or TV programs? Do you read unworthy magazines? Do you partake in worldly amusements? Do you find it necessary to seek satisfaction from a questionable source? Do you look at inappropriate Internet sites? Are you doing certain things that show that you are not satisfied in the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you tell or listen to any unclean stories or jokes?
Number 13: EPHESIANS 5:20 Have you neglected to thank God for all things? Have you virtually called God a liar by doubting His Word? Do you worry? Is your spiritual temperature based on your feelings instead of the facts of God’s Word?
Number 14: PHILIPPIANS 1:21 Are you consumed with the cares of this life? Is your conversation or happiness based on “things” rather than the Lord? Does anything or anyone mean more to you than living for and pleasing Christ?
Number 15: PHILIPPIANS 2:14 Do you ever by word or deed seek to hurt someone? Do you gossip? Do you speak unkindly about someone when they are not present? Are you prejudiced against other Christians because they are in another church or because they do not see everything like you?
Preparing for Revival – Part 2: Number 6: I CORINTHIANS 4:2 Are you dependable so that you can be trusted with responsibilities in the Lord’s work? Are you allowing your emotions to be stirred for things of the Lord but do nothing?
Number 7: I CORINTHIANS 6:19-20 Are you in any way careless with your body? Do you fail to care for it as the temple of the Holy Spirit? Do you overeat or do anything that is defiling to the body?
Number 8: I CORINTHIANS 10:31 Do you take the slightest credit for anything good about you instead of giving all the glory to God? Do you brag about what you have done rather than what Christ has done for you? Is your conversation mostly about “you”? Are your feelings easily hurt? Have you pretended to be something you are not?
Number 9: EPHESIANS 3:20 Are you self-conscience rather that Christ-conscience? Do you allow feelings of inferiority to keep you from attempting things you should be doing for God?
Number 10: EPHESIANS 4:28 Do you underpay? Do you do very little in your work? Have you been careless in the payment of your debts? Have you tried to evade payment of your debts? Do you waste time? Do you waste time for others?