“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59: 1-2)
…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn away from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land. (II Chron. 7:14)
Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble. We are no longer, “the land of the free and home of the brave”, but we have become instead, the land of deceit and home of depraved. Just as Israel of old, we too, have forgotten God and replaced Him with our own golden calf. We have bowed down to the idols of humanism, secularism, and government control, and we have reaped the rewards of our actions.
We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security. We’ve given up the security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes. We’ve traded the value honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience. Pornography has been piped into our homes for us and our children to view at the push of a button on the remote control. Those who were designed and appointed to help us and be examples for us– from the local pastor on up to the President, have fallen and have led us to the brink of destruction.
In his article “Today’s Sleeping Giant” Leonard Ravenhill writes:
“Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.
Today Lucifer is probably surveying the church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?
Consider Samson’s fall. He didn’t get drunk; he didn’t commit murder; he didn’t steal. Samson fell simply because he succumbed to the natural, and fell asleep. That one small act put him into captivity, made a false god popular, and scattered the forces of the true and living God.”
God has called us to arise from our slumber! To return to him! To repent of our wicked ways so that He can heal our land! As believers in God and his son, Jesus the Messiah, it is the responsibility of us who have been justified by his death and resurrection to seek God’s face, repent of our apathy and pray earnestly for revival! Revival in our own heart first– as well as for those in our homes, our community, and our nation.
America was once a great nation because it was founded on absolute principles based on God’s Word, the Bible. We, a nation that is sick, near to death, is in need of intensive spiritual attention that will only come by returning to God, our Creator. We need a spiritual awakening! A spiritual revival! More than that, we are in need of spiritual C.P.R. (Commitment, Prayer, and Repentance!)
Commitment first and foremost to God and to Jesus, his son. This will involve a total daily surrender of your own desires, will, and selfish nature to God. Surrender to God simply means acknowledging to Him that all things you desire; personal as well as spiritual, good as well as bad, by his grace and by the power of his spirit, you agree to give up in order that He might be glorified. You also have to acknowledge that in your flesh, (that is, in your own strength) this is impossible to accomplish.
The reason is that Self is an impossible force to deal with on our own. It is the foundation of all sin and all the problems that have plagued societies and civilizations since the fall of man. Everything from lust, to murder, to war are all sins derived from Self. Wars are being waged simply because someone has something that the other wants and cannot have. Neither side will compromise, so they go to war.
If only people could realize that by surrendering Self to God and living by principles taught through the Holy Scriptures, wars would cease, crime rates would go down and divorce would be all but non-existent. But since Self is a big part of our sin nature all of these things will continue to plague the world and will increase in its intensity over time. That’s why we must rely on God to give us the grace we need that will allow us to surrender Self to him. God promises in his Word that if we’re honest, admit that we’re powerless in our own nature to surrender, and humble ourselves before him, He’ll give us the grace we need to do it. (James 4:5-6)
After commitment to God, there is commitment to others. (Which is a result of true commitment to God) When most people think of being committed to others they may think of the obvious: Their spouse, their children, their family members, or close friends. All of these people we should be committed to, but Jesus has a gift for pointing us to the “not so obvious” as he did with the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37. This lawyer, or teacher of the Law, first tested the Messiah, (Maybe to find out how much Jesus really knew about the Law) and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus then asked this lawyer a question. “What is written in the Law?” The lawyer answered, (No doubt with an air of pride) “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (v.27) Jesus commended the lawyer and told him that if he did these things he would live. Now this prideful, arrogant lawyer wanting to puff himself up even more and justify his selfishness asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (v.29) Jesus went on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan, which today could be called the good bag lady or the good pan handler. Isn’t it amazing that the homeless and the beggar haven’t been affected by political correctness?
But that was the main point of the Lord’s parable. Our neighbor is anyone who is in need regardless of race, religion, financial standing, intellect, or spiritual level. And….we are to think of them as better than ourselves! (Phil. 2:3) These are the ones we are to be committed to as well as our families and friends. “For if you love them which love you, what reward will you have? Don’t the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:46) The Lord commands us not only to love and be committed to those whom we love and who love us, but to those we don’t find attractive, or don’t dress the way we like, or aren’t in the proper financial, intellectual, or spiritual class as we think we are.
The Messiah commands us to love and be committed to not only to those who are unlovable by our standards, but also to those who don’t love us. In fact, to those who don’t even like us– Those we consider to be our enemies! (Matt. 5:43-45) This may seem like a hard thing to do. Believe me; it’s not hard at all– It’s completely impossible! (If you try to do it in your own strength)
Just like surrender, commitment to anyone on a consistent level will only be accomplished by God’s grace and by the power of His spirit. But it can be done! And once you commit yourself to someone by the power and grace of God you may find that those you thought were unlovable really aren’t so bad after all. Those you considered your enemies may actually be won to you by your sincere willingness to treat them better than yourself, and in the process may even win some of them to the Lord and have the opportunity to disciple them.
You see, the reason that the Church has not grown spiritually over the years is that we have become too selective in who we should associate with because of our social standing in our church, our community, among our friends, and our family. The Lord said, “It’s not the healthy person who needs a physician, but the sick.” (Matt 9:12) As long as we pick and choose those whom we think have the proper background or financial status before we “feel led” to share God’s love with them, we not only won’t grow as a Church but will actually stagnate, dwindle in power as well as in numbers, and eventually dry up and die!
Commitment to others, as defined by the Scriptures, is a positive preventative for stagnant growth which leads to apathy. As believers, we must be committed to one another in order to stay alive. Non-commitment to others is forged by the red hot coals of Self. Commitment to God and others is not self- satisfying, self- centered, or self- reliant. To be truly committed to someone you must put their needs before your own. You must put them on a higher level than yourself. That is an impossible task for anyone who is selfish. We must die to Self! Crucify it! Hang it on a cross! Drive nails through it! And leave it there to die a slow and painful death!
One of the great preachers of our time, Sam Shoemaker, once said, “What we need today more than anything else, more than victory in the war against aggression is weapons, manpower, and strategy to win the war against selfishness.”
And the only way to defeat Self is through Jesus the Messiah and by the power of God’s spirit. As we surrender ourselves to God, commit ourselves to Him, acknowledging that we can do nothing in ourselves, the Lord, in turn, will come and abide in us and take control of our lives by the power of His spirit and give us the grace we need not only to be truly committed to Him, but also to those He commands us to love and be committed to; and in so doing, fulfill the Lord’s commandment to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) for the glory of God forever. Amen!
More to come…