Tuesday, July 7, 2009

if

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

why would the people of God need to humble ourselves? why do we need to pray? if our sins are already paid for in full by the blood of Jesus, why should we still repent? what does it mean to seek His face? this passage is the key for the one thing the church talks the most about and sees the littlest of - revival. it is a call to relationship. it is a call to a time when the presence of the Lord will come and never again leave, not even for a moment. i heard two amazing sermons sunday out of what i consider to be two of the most influential churches in the nation, ihop in kansas city and bethel in redding, and both were on this passage in the Bible. i do not think it was an accident at all.


God isn't meant to be a part or my life or an addition to my life. He is my life. in a relationship, there are things that we sacrifice in order to make time to pursue the deepening of the relationship. when i was dating bill, i was working in the days, taking teaching credentialing classes at night, doing homework somewhere in between, and i was exhausted. yet, i was in love with this man and i made sacrifices of time to be with him. it didn't feel like a sacrifice for what i was getting in return. there is so much to know of God, so much beyond what we could ever know of another person, that the knowledge of Him is inexhaustible. just like in any relationship we desire to pursue growth in, we must exchange the things that gave us pleasure at one time in order to get pleasure that is so much sweeter. it seems pretty silly that i would rather spend time watching a tv show or eating chocolate than with my husband who wants to be with me and loves me more than anyone else i know, but that is exactly what we all do when it comes to the Lord. i have even been known to find things i don't enjoy doing, like laundry, cleaning, paying bills, and even cutting my toe nails, to avoid spending time with the One who loves me more than any man possibly could. how crazy does it sound even though we all know we do it!

humanism. i will write more on this another time, but let me just say that it is more dangerous to the reality of knowing the Lord than any of the major religions of the world. the basis of humanism is simply living for myself and my desires first. the deep root of it, that no one would probably admit they believe about themselves, though they live like it, is the belief that man is God. the world revolves around us, the point of life is to satisfy all our desires and cravings, and even God lives only to please our wants and needs. what a sneaky lie that has not only convinced so many that they have no need for God, but has even lulled those of us who love Him to sleep instead of really pursuing knowing Him. it is so difficult to guard ourselves against it when it permeates most of our entertainment and life all around us. i believe this is the major roadblock to revival. this is what the people of God need to repent from in order to be able to really seek His face like 2 chronicles describes.


what is revival? is it many people who have never known God coming to experience Him, encounter Him, and follow Him? is it healings and miracles? signs and wonders? i believe these above things really do accompany true revival, but the word revival can only apply to bringing life to something that once had life and doesn't any more. i believe this word revival is really about awakening the hearts of believers that have been lulled to sleep by the cares and lusts of this world, humanism, and reviving that fiery passion for God that is willing to lay aside anything, even the neutral or good things of this life, to make the time to really know Him and experience Him. when the world sees a people who would give up anything to experience more of this God and His love, they will come to taste and see that God is good. who is this that is so amazing that He makes the pleasures of this life not worth the time they take? when we are letting go of all the other legitimate pleasures because of the single focus of obtaining more of Him, He will release such a power that has never been seen before, signs and wonders like in the days of moses, and that will get the attention of those who didn't think they needed a relationship with God. then there will be the ultimate fulfilment of the
greater works than these promise because we will be made into a people that look just like His Son.

seriously i know it is offensive when it pushed the buttons of our own favorite pleasures, but we spend more time, and by we i am including myself, in front of the tv watching entertainment, surfing the internet and checking our facebook accounts, eating food, socializing and networking, and so many other things that are even considered very godly things like pursuing careers, developing our talents, ministering for God, than pursuing the Lord Himself. we dull the ache in our hearts that would push us into Him with all this other stuff and we quiet the voice of the Holy Spirit which says, "seek my face, seek His face..." i alone know how many times i have felt the pull inside to spend time seeking the Lord, reading the Word, praying, worshipping and how many times i have turned to something easier that never really brought the fulfillment i was wanting. so many times! even as this is burning in my heart, i know that i will do it again this week! it pushes my buttons too.

are all these other things really worth it? i am not talking about sin lifestyles, though it is sad that many in the church are not willing to give those up either, but about just the things that take up so much time and energy. is this what He has given us freedom for? do we have freedom so we can pursue the pleasures of this world that never really satisfy, but leave a dull empty feeling when it is all said and done? i hear so much talk about the freedom we have as believers and i believe in this freedom. i know without this freedom the Lord gives i would not even be alive today. what i often question is why did He give us this freedom and what do we do with it?

i have the same temptations as everyone else, and i know how painful it is when i decide to spend my time and energies seeking the Lord rather than i usually do just trying to entertain myself. feeling the ache inside of not being entertained and seeking Him instead is the whole reason for a regular lifestyle of fasting and fasting in secret. let me suggest that we are not grouchy when we fast because we are hungry. we are grouchy because of the ache inside that we finally allow ourselves to feel for just a moment. the ache was always there, we just dulled it with other pleasures... many times very legitimate pleasures that were put here by God for us to enjoy. however, there is the invitation to have a greater pleasure in Him and that is where we have to decide if experiencing the pain of changing the way we spend our time is worth the reward of knowing Him deeper than we could have ever known any other way.

this is what He gave us freedom for - so we could have the ability to choose Him first when there are so many other options that are legitimate and many times even put there by Him. all the way back in the garden of eden He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, never intending for man to partake in it. it was always meant to be our choice. He will not make us love Him or choose Him.
i want so badly to see a move of God like i have never seen but always longed for to come to, not only the world but to the country i live in. we so badly need a move of God now unlike ever before. so many people i know and i care about do not see their need for God. so often we have turned to politicians to fix our problems and blame everyone around us except ourselves for the state of our lives. we blame "the world," instead of looking at ourselves.

He is longing for us to come to Him to fix our problems. He is waiting for us to desire growing in humility like His Son. He longs for us to turn to Him and learn how to pray. He is the good Father who longs to unleash His love on us if we would just turn to Him in repentance and say we need Him. He is calling for us to seek His face so that we may find Him and know Him and experience His love. He is a good God who cares for us and will forgive us when we come to Him and He desires to heal our land. revival is His plan and His desire. it is our choice when.

charis

1 comments:

Bill Scofield said...

ok, now this one is my favorite! REALLY!...at least until the next one.

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