Speak Up for Revival
You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse. Ezekiel 2:7
After one hundred years of Protestantism and in the wake of the Thirty Years’ War, Philipp Jakob Spener, a German pastor, called people back to regular Bible study, prayer, and piety. The Church had grown cold, and many Christians had become indifferent. Spener exhorted people to trust God completely and to produce good works. He felt pastors should rededicate themselves to ministering the Word of God to their people, and that youth should be well-instructed in Scripture.
For all this, Spener was frequently attacked, yet the revival begun under his ministry—called Pietism—touched Christianity in a way felt to this day.
It seems odd we’d be attacked for calling people back to God, back to Bible study, prayer, faith, and good works. Yet we live in a culture increasingly opposed to spiritual revival. Don’t be intimidated. God is able to protect us when we take a stand for Him. We need revival in our lands, and it won’t come unless it begins in us.
If we succeed in getting the people to seek eagerly and diligently in the book of life for their joy, their spiritual life will be wonderfully strengthened and they will become altogether different people. Philipp Spener
“Ezekiel: Speaking God’s Truth” (Ezekiel 2:1-10)
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:18
Whenever she was unable to take my phone call, my friend’s voicemail recording invited me to leave her a message. The recording cheerfully concluded, “Make it a great day!” As I reflected on her words, I realized that it’s not within our power to make every day “great”—some circumstances truly are devastating. But a closer look might reveal something redeeming and beautiful in my day, whether things are going well or poorly.
Habakkuk wasn’t experiencing easy circumstances. As a prophet, God had shown him coming days when none of the crops or livestock—on which God’s people depended—would be fruitful (3:17). It would take more than mere optimism to endure the coming hardships. As a people group, Israel would be in extreme poverty. Habakkuk experienced heart-pounding, lip-quivering, leg-trembling fear (v. 16).
Yet despite that, Habakkuk said he would “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful” (v. 18). He proclaimed His hope in the God who provides the strength to walk in difficult places (v. 19).
Sometimes we go through seasons of deep pain and hardship. But no matter what we’ve lost, or wanted but never had, we can, like Habakkuk, rejoice in our relationship with a loving God. Even when it feels like we have nothing else, He will never fail or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). He, the One who “provide[s] for those who grieve,” is our ultimate reason for joy (Isaiah 61:3).
What about your relationship with Jesus brings you the greatest joy? How has He met you recently in a time of hardship or grief?
Betrayal is one of the most painful experiences in life. Although strangers may reject, mock, or ridicule us, only those we love or trust can betray us, and that’s what makes it so painful. This is exactly what David felt when he wrote Psalm 41. His enemies spoke evil and falsehood against him, but worse still, a friend turned on him (Psalm 41:9).
When friends gossip about us, make insinuations of wrongdoing, or tell outright lies, what can we do? A good reputation is very hard to recover after it has been ruined. And it’s devastating if one friend after another believes the gossip and turns away.
Something we must keep in the forefront of our mind is that our friends and family are imperfect and sinful and are therefore prone to making mistakes, believing lies, and hurting one another. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit the same is true of us. However, this doesn’t negate the pain we feel or the wrong done to us.
So how can we handle rejection and betrayal in a godly fashion? First of all, we should not deny the pain, nor should we let it dominate and ruin our life with anxiety, bitterness, anger, or a desire for revenge. Second, we can take it to God and ask Him to protect, sustain, and heal us (Psalm 41:2-4).
Although we may not know exactly why the Lord allowed betrayal, going through it teaches us to seek God’s approval rather than man’s. Vindication may not come in this life, but it will be revealed in eternity, when each one’s praise will come from God.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Intercessory prayer in church must not be for other believers only, but also for unbelievers. Many attendees mistakenly consider themselves true Christians, and others are merely curious. Both are doomed for a Christless and hopeless eternity. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). There is still an opportunity to reach them, as the hymn “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” reminds us.
Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb‘ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
Our hearts should especially be broken for loved ones who face eternity without Christ as Savior. What can be done? Pray. God answers the prayer of His children. We are assured that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
What would this serving of manna be worth to you to see a wayward family member or neighbor repent of their sin and come back to fellowship with God? To see your fractured church healed of the disunity caused by wolves disguised as sheep? Surely this manna would be sweet indeed. Surely it is worth an hour of intercessory prayer. JDM
For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.
The life ideal was described by the apostle in the Book of Acts: “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep” (Acts 13:36).
We submit that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to improve upon this. It embraces the whole sphere of religion, appearing as it does in its three directions: God, the individual, society. Within that simple triangle all possible human activities are carried on. To each of us there can be but these three dimensions: God, myself, others. Beyond this we cannot go, nor should we even attempt to go. If we serve God according to His own will, and in doing so serve our generation, we shall have accomplished all that is possible for any human being.
David was smart enough to serve God and his generation before he fell asleep. To fall asleep before we have served our generation is nothing short of tragic. It is good to sleep at last, as all our honored fathers have done, but it is a moral calamity to sleep without having first labored to bless the world. No man has any right to die until he has put mankind in debt to him. NCA067
Lord, keep me faithful. Let me serve my present generation well, for Your glory, before You take me home. Amen.
Ye that love the Lord hate evil.—Psalm 97:10.
There is a general stock of evil in the world to which we all contribute, or which, by God’s grace, some may diminish; a vast and fertile tract of ungodliness, of low motives, of low aims, of low desires, of low sense of duty or no sense at all. It is the creation of ages, that tradition; but each age does something for it, and each individual in each age does, if he does not advisedly refuse to do, his share in augmenting it, just as the chimney of every small house does something to thicken and darken the air of London. And this general fund or stock of evil touches us all like the common atmosphere which we breathe. And thus it is that when you or I, even in lesser matters, do or say what our conscience condemns, we do really make a contribution to that general fund of wickedness which, in other circumstances and social conditions than ours, produces flagrant crime. Especially if it should happen that we defend what we do, or make light of it, or make a joke of the misdeeds of others, we do most actively and seriously augment this common fund or tradition of wickedness.
Henry Parry Liddon.
“The prayer of the upright is his delight.” Prov. 15:8
This is as good as a promise, for it declares a present fact, which will be the same throughout all ages. God takes great pleasure in the prayers of upright men; He even calls them His delight. Our first concern is to be upright. Neither bending this way nor that, continue upright: not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be you upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to shuffle and shift, we shall be left to shift for ourselves. If we try crooked ways, we shall find that we cannot pray, and if we pretend to do so, we shall find our prayers shut out of Heaven.
Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord’s revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God’s delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure. He does not consider the grammar of it, nor the metaphysics of it, nor the rhetoric of it; in all these men might despise it. He, as a Father, takes pleasure in the lispings of His own babes, the stammerings of His new-born sons and daughters. Should we not delight in prayer since the Lord delights in it? Let us make errands to the throne. The Lord finds us enough reasons for prayer, and we ought to thank Him that it is so.