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Revive Us Lord

In the early 1970’s revival broke out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and from there spread to many parts in Western Canada. It was characterized by people getting right with God, agreeing with Him in regard to their sin and passionately repenting before Him. It was humbling to confess sin but oh so freeing and God came down in power and love like I’d never experienced before.

All over the church people were personally meeting with the God of the Bible…Sovereign, righteous and holy….and lives were transformed, families restored and people healed! Oh how my heart aches to see that again! But revival didn’t just happen. For five years prior to that Pastor Bill McLeod met with the deacons of his church every week to pray for personal and corporate revival.

It was a time of seeking God, studying the Word, repenting of sin and asking Him to visit His people again. The way was paved with prayer and although it started out small at first, it very quickly spread like wildfire and fanned out across the country.

Revival can be defined in many ways but Bill McLeod explained it this way, “it has to do with Christians, who are perhaps truly saved and walking with God to some extent but who are more or less dead. In the time of revival when God pours His spirit out upon His people, they come alive. They begin witnessing, living holy lives, become excited about God in a good way again.” As the Holy Spirit convicts people of their spiritual apathy and sin, and if they choose to agree with Him, respond and repent, renewal and an invigorated spiritual life are the rewards.

The cry of my heart for 2017 is that this might be the year that God once again powerfully visits His people both personally and corporately and we come alive in such a way that we are forever changed and significantly impact the world around us for Christ. In Psalm 80:18-19 David called out to the Lord, “Revive us so we can call on your name once more. Turn us to Yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.”  Oh, that we too would see God’s mighty hand rest upon us and save us from ourselves! Oh, that this would be the year where our hearts are revived and churches across our city our and land would be forever changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  As we begin this New Year, would you join me in earnestly praying that God would turn us to Himself and away from our sin? Would we together welcome the Spirit’s conviction, repent and pave the way for God to graciously visit us and revive His people yet once again?

~ Shirley Johnson

Advent Fixes What Is Broken

Could you get any more graphic, more specific, more all-inclusive words than these?

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5, ESV).

It’s clear from Genesis 6:5, and it’s clear if you watch the news today, that something is deeply broken with the human race. Even people who don’t believe in the Bible would agree that something is wrong, and that people need help.
But what’s the problem? And how do we fix it? There are two commons lies that we all believe.
The first is this: “I’m one of the good guys.” It’s easy to read Genesis 6:5, and it’s easy to watch the news, and remove ourselves from the problem. “I’m not as wicked as those other people. Look at my track record – I have a long list of helping people and doing good!”

For the Christian, there is some truth to that logic. Because of the sacrifice of Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the power of sin in our life has been broken. That means we now have the ability to reject wickedness. We do have pure thoughts, pure motives, and pure intentions. In some ways, we are exempt from the diagnosis of Genesis 6:5.

But at the same time, we must always remember that our purity is the result of grace, not the natural condition of our own heart. We must also remember that while the power of sin has been broken, the presence of sin remains.
And so, while we are positionally righteous before God, our corrupt hearts still commit sinful deeds, and our intentions are certainly not pure all the time.
We still are part of the problem.

There’s a second lie we believe: behaviour reform will fix what is broken. We tend to think that all our world needs is a harsher justice system, a little faster police response, and a new election to replace corrupt politicians. Yes, God established law and order for the benefit of society, but the Bible never once proposes that the lasting solution for the human condition is more law.

On the contrary, the Bible teaches that what humanity needs is radical heart change. Genesis 6:5 and the rest of Scripture teaches that “the heart” is inherently evil and needs replacing. You and I can’t change our own heart, nor can any law or institution put in place by man.

The only way you and I will be rescued is by a transformed heart, created in us by God (Psalm 51:10). This is why we celebrate Advent. Jesus Christ came to earth to fix what is broken: the human heart. This December, celebrate the work of the Messiah and the new heart you have because of his birth, death, and resurrection.

A church in love with the WORD