Friday, May 8, 2015

A little salt for our nations wounds: our pain will bring revival.

Colossians 4:5-6King James Version (KJV)

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

I try, sometimes successfully, to live my life in obedience to this passage of scripture. It is never my intention to hurt anyone on purpose. But, sometimes, you just have to say what needs to be said and hope it will help others- at worst, maybe they will be "pricked in their hearts." (Acts 2:36-37)
So, here goes:
We live in a troubled time. The economy is floundering. Our national leaders seem clueless. Gangs and violence are on the upswing. Our schools no longer teach true science, history, and math. Entertainment is all about sex, parties, and violence. Our churches seem to be more concerned with preaching prosperity and collecting funds to fix up the bathrooms than they are with reaching and teaching the lost. On the whole, there appears to be no hope on the horizon. 
But, behind the scenes there's a fervent prayer going up from God's remnant. The ones who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And my friends, God is listening. And according to scripture, there will be a revival. 
But, as good as that sounds, lets look and see the events that lead up to revival in scripture. 

Acts 2:36-37King James Version (KJV)

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Notice here, it says the hearers were "pricked in their hearts."
The term pricked here means: "to pain the mind sharply, agitate it vehemently, especially of the emotion of sorrow." The word "heart" here means, in part, "the center of all physical and spiritual life."
My friends this is not a fun feeling. This is not a warm, fuzzy feeling. As the world's fitness freaks like to say, "No pain. No gain." 
Revival always starts with pain- a pain that gets into the deepest parts of your heart. It changes you from the inside out because it causes a total reevaluation and revamping of everything you are and believe. People never change as long as we're comfortable. Change never happens to the coddled. Today's "pat you on the back" sermons are just a modern version of what Paul says of the people "having itching ears." (2 Timothy 4:3)
Modern congregations, too many times, have no interest in truth. All they want is someone to tell them what they want to hear. And many preachers know that if they don't play the game, they will be out on their ears with no income. Yes, truly, "the love of money is the root of all evil." (1 Timothy 6:10)
Acts 5 tells the story of a couple who lied about how much money they made from the sail of a possession. They then gave part of the price to the church- claiming that they gave it all to make themselves look better in the eyes of the people. They were struck dead- BY GOD- for lying to God about what they had done. The result: revival broke out because people realized that God meant business. 
Are we ready for this type of a move of God? 
In Acts 6, revival broke out because the church was organized in a godly manner to reach out to the needs of the people and (at the same time) keep on preaching the truth. 
This is what the modern church needs to do. Reorganize in a way that fits the scriptures. This is one of the few times in scripture that revival came without the judgement of God. Why? Because the church changed! Oh, Lord Jesus, let us do the same in this day and hour! 
In Acts 8, church persecution began. This was a dark time for the early church. However, when the church was scattered into the countryside, revival broke out everywhere they landed. When God moved his mighty hand and converted Saul (later to be known as Paul), the persecution lessened. By then, many had become children of God, as a result of the great persecution and loss of life of God's people. 
In Acts 12, great persecution again began, this time at the hand of the king. Again, great revival broke out everywhere the people of God fled. This continued until God struck down the king. 
Do we see the trend? In the early church, it was pain that caused repentance, and repentance brought revival. 
We live in dark times. We are praying for revival. God wants revival. So, why should we be surprised that times are dark? Persecution of God's people is beginning anew. Followers of Jesus are being beheaded in foreign lands. Followers of Jesus are being ran out of business here in America for standing for their faith. Prayers are beginning to rise to the heavens for revival.
How bad will the times get in order to bring this revival? I don't know. How many will have to die before revival begins? I don't know. But, God allows his children to go through pain so that we remember that it is in HIM that we move and breath and have our being. And when we repent, it will effect the whole country and bring revival. 
So, as bad as things seem to be- as bad as things will get- let's keep praying and keep our eyes on Jesus. If we do, he will change us and bring the revival that he wants to bring to our currently very ungodly country and world. 
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.