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Friday, April 14, 2017

Christ is Risen—Happy Easter!


 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
 (Matthew 28:5-7 KJV)

This is a slightly edited version of the Easter post I shared the last two years. Please enjoy and take some time to meditate on the significance of this special day for Christians.  What a joyful day this should be for all us who have Jesus as our Savior and Lord!

“Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!” Listen here: 



These majestic opening words to the wonderful Easter hymn by Charles Wesley captures the essence of Easter for Christians.  If it was not for Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we would be in utter deep darkness—spiritual darkness.   



Image from Pixabay


The somber mood and darkness of Good Friday gives way to joy—great joy—when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus three days later.  A tragedy turns to triumph. Darkness turns to light. Death turns to life—ever lasting life.  Consider this:  Good Friday would not be good if Sunday had never happened.   

Reflect on this:

Grief turns to joy…

Darkness turns to light…

Death gives way to life…



Empty Tomb--image from Pixabay


What do you suppose it would have been like to have seen the empty tomb? Would we have understood any better than Jesus’ followers, what He told them about His coming death and resurrection?  How would we have reacted to the empty tomb in our grief?  Would we have recognized Jesus?



Image from Pixabay

 
Like Mary and the other women and the disciples who grieved the death of their Teacher and Friend; our grief can turn to joy, when we fully realize that we serve a risen Savior and what it means.  This is good news, indeed; news that we should share!  The world needs to hear what we have to share.  Yes, not everyone will want to hear—and yes we will face rejection and ridicule.  However, if we keep in mind that it is Jesus who is being ridiculed and rejected, not us; our perspective can change.



Image from Pixabay

It is not too late to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord!  He is ready and waiting for you to turn to Him with open arms!  Be assured there are no age limits for salvation—a person cannot be too young or old.  For more information, please refer to my previous posts: Salvation; A New Creation; Counting the Cost.

Take time this week to reflect on the hymn He Lives.  



Remember, we can face many things because He lives!  If Jesus is not alive our faith and hope would be in vain!  Jesus gave us victory over death and the grave!  For those of us in Christ Jesus, we have a future to look forward to with great excitement!
 
Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your only Son to die in our place—to redeem us from our sins—even though we did not deserve it.  With great joy, we exclaim, on Easter and every day, “HE IS RISEN”!!  He is risen, indeed!  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Happy Easter! May God Bless you richly today and everyday!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Revive Us Again! Part 2


Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 
(Psalm 51:10-12 KJV)

Note:  On March 12, 2017, I was blessed to lead worship at my church—the title of my sermon was Revive Us Again! 

This is the second post in a short series sharing a heavily edited version of my sermon by the same title.  In the future, there may be an audio or video of this sermon which will enhance what I will be sharing in writing.  To enhance your understanding I recommend you read the first post here:  Revive Us Again!



Psalms 51:10 Inspirational Image
From  https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-51-10_Inspirational_Image/


Starting with our own sinful nature, crying out to God in humility, as David did in Psalm 51 is a great place to start.  Revival starts with individuals and spreads.  In Psalm 51 David cries out for mercy, for forgiveness, asking God to cleanse his iniquity—God is the only one who can do this.  In confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness from God, our hearts are purged (cleaned, emptied out—complete thorough cleaning process), we are washed in the blood of the Lamb—the blood of Jesus and made whiter than snow.  A clean, renewed heart wholly devoted to God alone. 




Psalms 51:11 Inspirational Image
From  https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-51-11_Inspirational_Image/


In revival, we are restored to a right relationship with God.  This causes us to rejoice!  Revival is a blessing from God—it is not a given in every generation, nor is it a cure-all for all that ails us.  Revival—true revival changes us and shakes things up.  Revival should fill us with a passion to share the gospel with everyone!  Revival without obedience to God is a mockery, a disservice to God—honestly, I am not sure how that can even be called a revival!



Psalms 51:12 Inspirational Image
From https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-51-12_Inspirational_Image/

For several suggestions on praying for revival, I offer to you the following links that contain solid information on praying for revival:



In summary, all our prayers for revival should start with our own hearts and lives—seeking God for a renewed sensitivity to sin and deepening of love for God.  It is from there the biggest changes occur and we are changed, as well as those around us.

If you decide to pray for revival, be prepared for change—change in how we worship and do what we do--music; for example, changes through revivals.  Consider the music Charles Wesley wrote—he used contemporary tunes to turn his poetry into hymns, many of which are still sung today…or consider the contemporary worship music influenced by the Jesus People/Charismatic Movement of the late 1960s/1970s.  Expecting revival without change will not work.  In revival the church is changed; then society changes.  Sadly, this did not happen in the Charismatic/Jesus People Movement—while many people came to faith, society grew more and more liberal (this was the time of prayer being removed from schools and the legalization of abortion).

Where do we start?  We start with our own heart—searching it and confessing our sins, seeking forgiveness from God.  Then we can pray for those around us and the rampant sin in our society.  Ask God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out His Spirit.  O that God might have mercy on us and send revival before things get really bad!


Nevertheless, may the cry of all our hearts echo the cry in a contemporary worship song from the early 1990s, Cry of My Heart:  






The hymn I selected to close the service, Revive Us Again, comes from a renewed, revived heart—from one who was a prodigal but returned home to the Lord.  May the words ring true for us as we live each day for the Lord.






Amen!

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, through Your Holy Spirit stir-up in us the embers of faith that are beginning to die, so that we may see our hearts as You see them.  As we cry out to You, in faith, realizing the depth of our how lost we are, we know that You will be faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us anew.  Cause us to be sensitive to the sin in our lives and to confess and receive forgiveness, moving on in faith to all that You have for us.  Open us to the variety of changes revival will bring our way—changes within us and within our churches.  Empower us to change our society through a revival of Your work within and around us.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim


Friday, March 31, 2017

Revive Us Again!


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.  
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)


2 Chronicles 7:14 Inspirational Image
From https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Chronicles-7-14_Inspirational_Image/
Note:  On March 12, 2017, I was blessed to lead worship at my church—the title of my sermon was Revive Us Again!

This is the first post in a short series sharing a heavily edited version of my sermon by the same title.  In the future, there may be an audio or video of this sermon which will enhance what I will be sharing in writing. 


Personal photo


What is revival?  As expected there are a variety of definitions.  For the purposes of this post, I am sharing only two:  Pastor Greg Laurie, who was saved during one of the more recent revivals—the Charismatic/Jesus People Movement defines revival in this way:  “…revival is nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to God.  It’s a church word…  It is not for the nonbeliever.  Revival starts with the church and then affects the world.  The world does not need revival; the church does. The world needs evangelism.”[1]

As C. H. Spurgeon stated:  “To be revived is a blessing which can only be enjoyed by those who have some degree of life.  Those who have no spiritual life are not, and cannot be, in the strictest sense of the term, subjects of revival.”[2]

With these definitions and understanding in mind let us consider revival more fully from the Word of God and from history.  This is a sizable undertaking and cannot be covered in great depth in one short sermon.  However, I believe, it is important to learn about it and to pray for it, if we feel God placing it on our heart.

Beloved, we are not alone in seeing the need for an awakening, a revival from God.  Not only do we see this in our country’s history; we can also see it throughout the whole of history.  In reading through the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, we read about the following revivals:  there were revivals under the leadership of King Jehoash (2 Kings 11-12), King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18), King Asa (2Chronicles 15), King Josiah (2 Kings 22-23), Zerubbabel (Ezra 5-6), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8-9, 13).  In the New Testament we read about the revival of Pentecost in Acts 2-3.[3] 

One of the greatest revivals in human history occurred when Jonah, God’s “prodigal” and reluctant prophet ultimately obeyed God and went to Nineveh proclaiming God’s message of destruction if they did not repent.  This was a nation-wide revival from the king down to the lowest—repenting and turning to God happened and the society was changed, if for a time.[4]

God’s faithful people throughout the ages have cried out for mercy, for revival.  Sometimes these prayer warriors lived to see their prayers answered, other times their prayers came to fruition only after their death.  Therefore, it is proper for us to seek it, to pray for it.  However, we do need to be aware of what we are getting ourselves into when we pray for revival.

Revival is a completely God-given time of refreshing and renewing—a sovereign act of God.  IT IS NOT something we can work up in our flesh.  Revivals are not manufactured or generated through human efforts.  All the programming, the special services—sometimes termed “revival services” are not the true revivals that are God-sent from Heaven.  Revival gives life to dry, dead spiritual bones—through the breath of the Holy Spirit—like Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 37.  It is all God and God alone!

Revival starts with God’s people—being convicted of their sins and of the sin around them—causing them to fall on their faces—literally and metaphorically before God, repenting of their sins.  In revival our lukewarmness is revealed for what it is—lukewarm faith is revived, becoming hot once again.



Personal photo


And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
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.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  
(Revelation 3:14-20 KJV)


Personal photo


Like the church in Laodicea, we have left our first love—the result is a weakening faith—a faith where we are rather content to go through the motions, instead of being willing to risk the cost and the change necessary when God shows up.  We would be wise to heed Jesus’ warning to this church.  

 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.  
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

What would happen IF we follow 2 Chronicles 7:14?  If my people… Notice the if …then construction:  if this happens; then this will happen.  If my people (that is us!) humble themselves (rend hearts and not our garments, see themselves as they really are—crying out for a clean heart), pray, seek God’s face (desiring God above all else), and turn from their sins (confess sins with a contrite or repentant heart).  Then God will hear His people’s (that is us!); He will forgive their sins (If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9); and He will heal their land. 

There is a diligence, a dedication for God’s people in what they need to do, turning the focus back to God and His righteous standards.  It is important for us to be genuine in our behavior—we may be able to fool others or even ourselves, however, we cannot fool God.  This Scripture is one of many revival oriented Scriptures we can pray.  I encourage you to search the whole of God’s Word for other Scriptures to pray regarding revival.

I invite you to return next week for the second part of this series.  Until then consider the thoughts and Scriptures on revival shared above.  Remember, above all else, revival is a sovereign act of God—God alone brings about revival—it is not something that He is obligated to do.  Nevertheless, we can pray for and seek it with every fiber of our being.

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, Enhance our spiritual vision to see our own sin and need for personal revival.  Move us to cry out to You and to seek You for the renewal our spirits need.  We see how we have grown lukewarm in our worship and service to You.  Please send refreshment through the winds and fire of the Holy Spirit.  Many of us have grown tired and perhaps even bored with the emptiness of our worship services and have started to simply go through the motions.  Remind us that worship really is all about You and not about anyone else.  Rekindle our faith, so we can once again be hot, on fire for You, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim



[3] From Preacher’s Sourcebook of Creative Sermon Illustrations by Robert J. Morgan (2007), Thomas Nelson Pub. Pg. 673
[4] A very short summary of Greg Laurie’s sermon series on Jonah (revival)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Worship Time!


Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  (Psalm 29:2 KJV)


Psalms 29:2 Inspirational Image
From https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-29-2_Inspirational_Image/ 


O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. 
(Psalm 95:6 KJV)


Psalms 95:6 Inspirational Image
From https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-95-6_Inspirational_Image/


 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. 
(Psalm 96:9 KJV)


Psalms 96:9 Inspirational Image
From https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-96-9_Inspirational_Image/


In considering all that is going on in our society and world, my hunch is that many of us are feeling rather depleted and overwhelmed—not to mention that rather drained feeling on a spiritual level, not physical.  Therefore, in an effort to recharge spiritual “batteries”, as we journey towards Easter, I offer you a time of worship through music. 

What is it about music that speaks to us in a way that nothing else can—bringing healing, comfort, and refreshing?

Let the following songs minister to your entire being.

Come Now is the Time to Worship






Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)





Christ is Risen




My prayer is these worship songs will minster to you in a way that refreshes you for the journey ahead.  No matter how bad things seem to get, those of us with Jesus as our Savior have an absolutely amazing eternity that lies ahead!

What type of Christian music helps recharge your spiritual “batteries”?

Please join with me in prayer:

Precious Lord, thank You for drawing us to You and giving us a heart-felt desire to worship You.  Many times, Lord, our hearts and bodies grow so weary we wonder how we can continue walking the path before us.  Yet, we are reminded in Your Word that we are to worship You.  It is in worshiping You that we find the energy to keep on going, not giving up until we are with You in Heaven.  Thank You for the gift of music that helps us worship You and for those You have gifted with the ability to compose and play music.  As we journey ever closer to Easter, draw our focus to the costly gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection and its amazing beauty.  May our worship be about You and You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Friday, March 17, 2017

Scriptures and Quotes on Revival



After taking last week off from blogging; I am back with a new post.  At this point last week I was at work on a sermon for Sunday.  Revival was the topic the Lord led me to study; the title of my sermon was Revive Us Again!  Therefore, I thought it might be interesting to consider some Scriptures, as well as some quotes on revival (which may or may not have appeared in my sermon text).  In the future, I may share my sermon; for now, I offer these thoughts.  Many of us are praying for and longing to be revived and refreshed.  Revival starts on the individual level and then spreads.  I encourage you to prayerfully read through this post. 



Image from Pixabay



Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
  (Psalm 51:10-12 KJV)

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?  Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. 
(Psalm 85:6-7 KJV)

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. 
(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. 
(Habakkuk 3:2 KJV)

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you… 
(Acts 3:19-20 KJV)



Image from Pixabay


They tell me a revival is only temporary; so is a bath, but it does you good. 
~Billy Sunday[1]

A revival does two things. First, it returns the Church from her backsliding and second, it causes the conversion of men and women; and it always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church. What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today! 
~Billy Sunday[2]

I believe there is no doctrine more dangerous to the Church today than to convey the impression that a revival is something peculiar in itself and cannot be judged by the same rules of causes and effect as other things. 
~Billy Sunday[3]

When is a revival needed?  When carelessness and unconcern keep the people asleep. 
~Billy Sunday[4]

When may a revival be expected? When the wickedness of the wicked grieves and distresses the Christian. 
~Billy Sunday[5]


Personal Photo


“…revival is nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to God.  It’s a church word…  It is not for the nonbeliever.  Revival starts with the church and then affects the world.  The world does not need revival; the church does. The world needs evangelism.”[6] 
~Greg Laurie


Personal Photo



With these Scriptures and quotes in mind, I invite you to pray with me and others for revival—personal and within our churches.  America is clearly in need of a revival before things get worse.  God may bring us a revival or He may choose to not bring revival.  Nevertheless, revival is a sovereign act of God. Many have written a great deal on the topic of revival.  Reading has its place; however, it is in experiencing revival that we are changed, renewed, refreshed, and made clean. 

What Scriptures would you add to this list?  

What is your favorite quote on revival listed above or one that you have read elsewhere?

Please join with me in prayer:

Loving Father, Thank You for the gift of spiritual hunger and desire for more of You.  Encourage us to fan the flame of Your light within us, so that we will continue to burn and shine brightly for You.  We cry out for revival, our dry spiritual bones need reviving; just as those old, dry bones in Ezekiel’s vision came to life through the breath of the Spirit—we seek fresh wind and fresh fire of the Holy Spirit.  Please be gracious to us and revive us once again.  Thank You for the desire You have planted within the hearts of Your children to seek revival from You.  We understand this is a special gift from You for us, Your people.  Prompt us to take what we receive from You and share with those around us—first with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ and then with those around us in evangelism.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

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