Prime the Revival Pump

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. Psalm 42:5

If you haven’t used a spray bottle of liquid for a while, you have to squeeze the trigger a few times to expel the air. That’s priming the pump. A primer is something that makes something else work: a primer coat makes the finish coat of paint stick better; an infusion of capital can prime the economic engine of a company; a squirt of gasoline can prime an engine that has sat idle too long.

What is the primer for revival? In most of the verses on revival in Scripture, God sends the revival. But does man play no part at all? Or can we “prime” the revival pump? When the psalmist was discouraged and in need of revival, he took the initiative. He confronted his condition and reminded himself: “Hope in God.” If he did, he knew he would “yet praise [God] for the help of His countenance.” The famous verse on revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14 begins with God’s people humbling themselves, praying, and repenting. Only then would God “forgive their sin and heal their land.”

If you are in need of revival, prime the revival pump by humbling yourself before God and asking Him to revive your heart and soul.

Revival is the exchange of the form of godliness for its living power. John Bonar

Understanding Your Call

Mark 8:34-35

I like to use the word believer when talking about God’s children, as it specifically refers to those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. That is a much smaller population than those who label themselves “Christian.” But did you know that even fewer people could rightly be called “followers”? These are the people who passionately pursue the Lord’s will in all things.

Are you a believer or a follower? Trusting in Jesus Christ is fundamental, but doing so is the first step, not the culmination, of a person’s faith. Our primary purpose is to take a life-long journey following in the Lord’s footsteps, honoring Him with our actions and speech, and always increasing in biblical wisdom.

A follower’s life is summed up in the phrase complete obedience. In fact, Jesus defined true Christians as those who prove their love for Him by keeping His word (John 14:23). When it comes to obeying God, there are really only two responses—“I will” or “I won’t.” It’s tempting to say, “I will, but …” as some of Jesus’ would-be disciples did, but that’s a roundabout way of saying no. Followers remain faithful to the Lord’s plan whether doing so is easy or hard. Not only that, but they proclaim Him in both blessing and calamity, and go even when they don’t like where He leads.

Followers pursue the Lord because they know that the reward is a deeper, more passionate relationship with Him. They are not just waiting to spend eternity with God in heaven. They realize that eternity begins now, as they accompany Him on the righteous path He has set before them.

Perfect Minded

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” (Philippians 3:15-16)

Earlier, Paul had noted that he was not “already perfect” (Philippians 3:12), using a form of the Greek verb teleioo. In today’s verse, Paul uses the adjective form teleios. Although the root of the word is the same, this particular usage is significant.

In verse 12, the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to use the past perfect tense of teleioo, rendering the translation “not having been perfected” and thereby recognizing that the end product of God’s salvation has not yet been completed. The adjective form, teleios, denotes the sense of maturity, both in our text and the other 18 instances in the New Testament.

Those of the family of God who are “mature,” even if we might be “otherwise minded,” are to expect that our Lord Jesus will reveal “even this,” or the prize that we are to focus on in Philippians 3:14. The “one thing” of Philippians 3:13 is so important that we must “walk by the same rule” and “mind the same thing” (today’s verse).

The Greek word for “walk” is only used four other times in the New Testament, and it describes marching in a row and following a prescribed order. We are to “walk in the steps” that Abraham exemplified (Romans 4:12), just as we are to “also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).

Finally, we are exhorted to “mind” the same thing. Our thought processes are to be focused on that one thing that is most important—seeking the Kingdom first. May these clear commands find their way into our hearts. HMM III

The Work of the Hammer

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!… Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? —Isaiah 45:9

It was the enraptured Rutherford who could shout in the midst of serious and painful trials, “Praise God for the hammer, the file and the furnace.”

The hammer is a useful tool, but the nail, if it had feeling and intelligence, could present another side of the story. For the nail knows the hammer only as an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to pound it into submission, to beat it down out of sight and clinch it into place. That is the nail’s view of the hammer, and it is accurate except for one thing: The nail forgets that both it and the hammer are servants of the same workman. Let the nail but remember that the hammer is held by the workman and all resentment toward it will disappear. The carpenter decides whose head shall be beaten next and what hammer shall be used in the beating. That is his sovereign right. When the nail has surrendered to the will of the workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his benign plans for its future it will yield to the hammer without complaint.

Lord, You are indeed sovereign and have every right to hammer me and shape me and mold me and use me any way You want. I yield today to Your plans for my life. Amen.

Is God at Your Center

He built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him. (Genesis 35:7)

After Jacob’s first memorable encounter with God in the wilderness, he called the place Bethel, which means “the house of God.” Many years later, after he had suffered and sinned and repented, and discovered the worthlessness of all earthly things, he renamed the place, El-beth-el; literally “the God of the house of God.”

Thus Jacob had shifted his emphasis from the sacred place to the God he had met there. God Himself now took the center of his interest.

We need to consider that many Christians never get beyond Beth-el. God is in their thoughts but He has not been given first place. Faithfulness to the local church is a good thing; but when the church becomes so large and important that it hides God from our eyes, it may become a good thing wrongly used.

Always God must be first—and we ought never forget that the church was never intended to substitute for God! What is our primary interest? Is it Beth-el or El-beth-el? Is it my church or my Lord? Is it my creed or my Christ?

No human mind can adequately estimate the infinite value of the divine sacrifice

No human mind can adequately estimate the infinite value of the divine sacrifice, for great as is the sin of God’s people, the atonement which takes it away is immeasurably greater. Therefor the believer, even when sin rolls like a black flood, and the remembrance of the past is bitter, can yet stand before the blazing throne of the great and holy God, and cry, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that hath risen again.” While the recollection of his sin fills him with shame and sorrow, he at the same time makes it a foil to show the brightness of mercy—guilt is the dark night in which the fair star of divine love shines with serene splendor.