Reading about revival, before all this started at Asbury, I came across a definition that a revival was where nothing else mattered but Jesus. This was a mark in the Welsh revival where bars turned into prayer halls. In America in the early 1800s when revival was spreading, there are stories of men coming to church for a prayer meeting in the evening dressed for work for the next day with their lunch packed.

One way to think about living in a revived state is “All Jesus All the Time.” He’s your all and everything. That’s how you can (and should!) live now and always. You don’t have to wait for something to happen. You can give your life to Jesus today and let go of everything that is keeping you from living in His constant loving, full-of-joy presence.

The world today talks about living in the present. That’s not the key. It’s living in His Presence. That’s the goal, knowing Jesus is with you always, just like He said! It’s keeping your eyes on Jesus, just like the Bible says. It’s setting Him always before you, just like the Bible says. It’s abiding in His love, just like the Bible says.

You were created in God’s image. You were created to love and be loved. To enter into revival you just need to receive and give His love, let it flow in and out of you. How can you do that? First, you can let go of every other love. He needs to be your one and only. The greatest commandments are to love God and love others. All of God’s laws are summed up in those commands to love. Jesus was the fulfillment of the law because He is love. We are able to be forgiven because of Jesus’ love sacrifice to take our punishment for our sins, but we continue in that blameless state before Him as we receive that law fulfillment, the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and let Christ live that love out through us.

You can be revived by giving up all other loves so that your life is consumed with the only love that matters. Yes, there will still be work to do, but you do it with God’s love present in you and loving through you. I fellowship with Jesus when I wash the dishes. It’s a sweet time instead of a chore.

Ask the Lord to shine His light on your life and reveal where you’ve given yourself to other loves. Give them up. If you feel like you can’t or don’t want to, then ask God for help. Ask Him to change your heart so that you love Him alone. Walk in His light, as 1 John 1:7 says, and you will have love for others and He will be removing all that’s not from Him. It’s a continual state, not of perfection, but of blamelessness because you are ever giving yourself over to His purifying process, walking in the light of His love.  

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14 NKJV)

God’s Got the Plan

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 

Genesis 16:1-2

This isn’t spelled out in Scripture; I’m just speaking from my own understanding of human nature. I know the temptation to look to the right or to the left when things aren’t going as planned, as imagined. We need to be careful about day dreaming about how things could be. We need to not imagine how things could play out. We can come up with our great plan for how things should go, even if based on a true promise of God.

Abraham could have daydreamed about having tons of kids. It didn’t happen. Nothing was happening, so it seemed.

That’s when we’re in danger of trying our own thing. “Well, maybe God wants me to…” and coming up with your own plan to get the thing you wanted, that you had dreamed about. Instead, we’re to wait on God and let Him do the planning and the carrying out. We need to trust Him to move, to be able to move through us, and to speak to us if we need to hear something from Him.

We need to be careful in tribulation not to imagine how things should go. We need to let Him deliver us and not plot our way of escape.

The “mark” may be nothing like we have imagined. The antichrist may be nothing like we imagined. The persecution, the arrests, the deaths may be nothing like we imagined. It doesn’t have to. It is not our job to know exactly what will happen. Our job is to look to Jesus and walk with Him. He’s all we ever need to know.

The Best in the Midst of Famine

Genesis 45:20b (ESV) – The best of all the land of Egypt is yours.

The whole land was in the middle of a terrible famine. It was going to continue for a handful more of years. While the land was starving, God’s children were living in the best of all the land of Egypt.

It was a seven-year famine. This just serves as a reminder that a seven-year period of severe troubles on the whole land, doesn’t at all mean that God’s children suffer. God can provide for His children in the midst of famine. God knows how to separate out His own. We suffer as is needful for our own good and God’s glory, but we don’t have to suffer just because the world around us is suffering. We can live in the light when the world around us is in darkness.

Here’s another verse that could make a similar point. Psalm 68:8a (ESV) The earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain. The whole earth may be quaking, but it can send the rain on God’s people. The next verse is: Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished. Others may be experiencing a major shaking, what they need to fear God and turn to Him, but for you it can be a time of abundance, refreshing, restoring.

God’s out for our good, in every way.

A famine can look like many things. There is a famine in the land right now when it comes to teaching and the word of God. People have multiplied for themselves teachers who say what they want to hear instead of teachers who preach the word of God. But we don’t have to languish in the famine. He Himself is our teacher and can feed us richly right our of His hand. He will provide for us if we seek from Him. He loves to bless His children. He loves to give Himself to those who seek Him and ask. There’s an abundance for the child of God. There’s a table for feasting in the wilderness, in the valley, in the shadow. He’s prepared the table for you, offering you the best of the land. Join Him at the table!

We Resist the Devil with Humility

1 Peter 5:6-10

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Peter is writing to Christians who are suffering. They are being persecuted.

Peter tells them how to face their suffering, with humility.

They aren’t to fight what’s happening to them. They are to trust in the mighty hand of God.

Is God not powerful enough to stop what was happening? Of course, He is.

Does God not know what’s happening to them? Of course, He does.

Does God not care? Of course, He cares.

Does God not have the authority to intervene? Of course, He does.

God rules supreme and is all-knowing and all-powerful, not to mention is love itself. They are to trust the God of grace.

When we are suffering, we are under the mighty hand of God.

We’re not to wrestle out from under it.

The command to be alert and resist the devil does not mean that we are to fight him off in order to get out of our suffering.

James 4:7 complements these verses in affirming its message. We resist the devil by submitting to God.

The devil isn’t after us so much as he’s after our faith.

When we fight against our suffering, we’re working with the devil, not resisting him.

Submitting to and trusting the God of grace is how we resist the devil’s attempts to knock us off our firm foundation of faith in the Word, in the goodness and love and perfection of Christ.

We are told in God’s word, which is as good as any unbreakable promise, that our deliverance date is marked on the calendar.

It will come at the proper time.

God won’t leave us in suffering for a moment longer than needed.

He will HIMSELF perfect us, confirm us as His own, strengthen us for His work, and establish us as saints in His kingdom.

A temporary time of suffering in exchange for God Himself perfecting us. How could we not see that as worth it?

Caught Awares

But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware.

Luke 12: 45-46  (NKJV)

It’s the evil servant who is doing the things he shouldn’t be doing that will have the master come when he’s not looking for him, who will catch him unaware.

The servant the master finds alert and watching for His master is the one who is blessed.

We’re the blessed servants who are doing the things we should be doing when the master comes, and we will be invited to recline at the table.

The thief comes at an unknown hour. The thief doesn’t come for the righteous. The thief doesn’t steal from those whose treasures are in heaven. They can’t. Heaven treasures can’t be stolen from you. The thief comes for those whose treasures are on earth. Paul warns that their end is destruction, those who have their minds on the things of earth. 

Believers, the righteous, don’t have to be afraid of the thief. They fear the Lord and He keeps them. They fix their eyes on Jesus, so they are always watching Him. They aren’t caught unawares. They are caught up in a blessing.

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. 

Luke 12:37

I Shall Not Want

I shall not want. I have no desire for anything.

My desires have been satisfied. I want for nothing.

It’s not just a provision of need, but a restful contentedness in my loving Father’s perfect care of me.

It may be a long, craggy walk to the higher ground, but lush green pastures and still, clear waters wait for me with those same hills providing shelter and safety.

God only takes good care of me. He only loves.

I never need to worry about finding the green grass and still waters.

He leads me there. I never have to worry about how long it will take or losing my way because He is my Shepherd.

He tenderly and expertly cares for His sheep and causes them to know His voice and follow Him.

I have surrendered myself to His care; I have chosen to be one of His flock.

I don’t have to see above the crowd to know which way we are going.

I just have to follow His voice which He makes me to know and follow because I am His.

He has marked me as one of His own. He defends me from one who might try to steal me away because I am marked for Him; He knows me as His own.

I have no need to desire and long after what I do not have because it’s my Shepherd’s good pleasure to give me all I desire.

He taught me what to desire. He put His desire in me, so He’s always pleased to fulfill my desires and always keen to meet my needs without me even making them known.

I don’t have to ask my Shepherd for the green grass and still waters.

He chooses them for me and takes me there without me asking or planning. I just walk with Him.

It’s my joy to walk with Him because He knows my name and calls to me so that I am listening to His voice and keeping close to Him.

I like to stay close so that when He reaches out a hand, I get a warm pat or embrace from Him. The Shepherd loves me.

For what shall I want? Nothing.

Check out my new book, The Loved Lamb. You can listen to the whole thing here. It’s an allegorical storybook about the love of the Father for His children, how we can live with no want. It’s available on Amazon.

Keep Us from the Evil One

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

John 17:15 ESV

Here’s Jesus’ prayer for us in tribulation. It’s not that we would be taken out of the world, but that we would be kept from the evil one. Remember that the word kept means guarded. He is a shield about us. He will guard our hearts and minds.

We want to be miracled out of our trials and troubles, but Jesus wants to guard us through them. God is in control; He is the sovereign God. He allowed this for His good reasons. They are good reasons. He is completing that good work in you that He began, that you asked Him to complete. He’s loving you to the fullest. Jumping over the transformative work of tribulation is cheating yourself out of God’s good purposes for you! God’s preparing you for His work He’s created you for.

What work could He be preparing you for during an end times tribulation? He’s preparing you for eternity. He’s preparing you to reign with Him! There is much still to be done.

Humble yourself under God’s hand and allow Him to do His good work in you.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you.

1 Peter 5:6 BSB

The Pure in Heart Shall See God

Matthew 5:8  The Pure in Heart Shall See God

Psalm 24:3b-4a  Who is about to stand in the holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

If you want to be in God’s presence, if you want to see Him, if you want to stand before Him, there is a requirement. Only the pure in heart shall see God.

What is a pure heart? What makes something pure? It’s unmixed. Pure olive oil is only olive oil. Pure water is supposed to only be water. Pure fruit juice has only the fruit in it. It’s not mixed. A pure heart is only made up of one thing. What’s that?

The only ones with a pure heart are those who have received God’s gift of His perfect, pure love poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

If our hearts are full of the love of God, then our hearts are pure. They become impure when we mix something else in there and love something else. If we do that, we’re disobeying the greatest commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength. Then, we no longer have a pure heart. Then we are in trouble.

We can’t fellowship with someone if we can’t be with them. If we have no fellowship with God and can’t be in His presence, then we are in danger.

When the Lord shows you that you are loving something other than Him, fall on your face before Him and ask for mercy. Ask for forgiveness and ask Him to cleanse you from the sin. Hate whatever it is because you were having an affair. You were loving something other than your one true love. Ask Him to free you from it. He can and will. Jesus died to free us from sin, not just to forgive us our sins. Our salvation lies in our pure hearts. With man, it is impossible to have a pure heart, but with God, all things are possible.

Jude 1:24   [Jesus] is able to keep you from stumbling and [able] to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.

He is able to do the blameless part. You do your part and just choose to love Him!

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Prepare The Way of the Lord

Malachi chapter three starts with a promise that God will send His messenger to prepare the way before Him. We know the messenger as John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus by teaching people repentance. However, this chapter and what follows doesn’t seem to be about Christ’s first coming — not that God can’t fulfill the same Scripture in more than one way. This chapter is about the end. The following chapter, chapter four, speaks of the end judgment, the fearful great day of the Lord. That chapter ends with a promise that God will send His messenger beforehand, saying He will send Elijah to prepare the way so that God won’t utterly destroy them.

That’s the state Israel is in, in danger of utter destruction. And remember, you are Israel. There is a nation Israel, but we are of the people Israel, God’s chosen children. You are grafted in when adopted into God’s family.

Back to chapter three, though. Verse five says, “Then I will draw near to you for judgment.” THEN. What comes first? Verse three: He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. (Malachi 3:3 ESV)

Before judgment, God will refine and purify His children so that their offerings will be righteous. And once our offerings are pleasing to Him, then He will come for judgment. He will prepare the way. He will prepare His people for His coming, for His judgment, by refining us. That’s what trials and troubles are for, what Tribulation is for, to prepare the way of the Lord, to bring down the mountains, lift up the valleys, make straight the crooked paths, and smooth out the rough parts.

It won’t be easy, though. Verse two: But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. (Malachi 3:2 ESV)

Yet, we must endure. It is he who endures to the end that will be saved. But since He is doing the work of preparing us for His determined purposes, we can trust Him to sustain us through and only refine us as we need refining. God does not afflict willingly (Lamentations 3:33). He doesn’t want to harm anyone.  But because He loves us, He will give us what we need.

When God judges the earth, He will give people what they deserve. We want to be safely at His side at that point. We don’t want to get what we deserve. His mercy and grace says that by the blood of Jesus we don’t have to get what we deserve, hell, but we can live in His glorious presence forever. However, that glorious presence is HOLY and we must be holy and set apart to Him to dwell in His presence. That’s where the refiner’s fire comes in. We submit ourselves to God’s altar of Holy Fire to consecrate us, burn away the dross, what’s not of Him, until our hearts are pure before Him. It’s the pure in heart that shall see God.

But there’s another good promise apart from just surviving judgment and the great day of the Lord. When the way is prepared, the Lord whom we seek “will suddenly come to His temple.” It comes with the additional reassurance, “Behold, He is coming.”

We are God’s temple. I pray that He will come in His temple, His people, before He comes for them. We need the fullness of His life and all His promises being fulfilled in us to stand through the tribulation, to go through as overcomers, for our lives to be the righteous pleasing offerings that He desires.

Are You Friend of Foe?

You need to know if you are a friend of God or a foe.

Have you ever read the Psalms? Who is our God?

He forgives sin, yes.

He also delivers, provides abundantly, makes our hearts glad, defeats our enemies.

He rescues. He does it by sending His arrows and lightning and hailstones and coals of fire to vanquish the enemies.

He saves us from our strong enemy. He leads us and shows us the way to go.

He makes the wine to increase. He comforts. He bows the heavens to come down to us.

He blesses and gives us righteousness. He plucks us out of the net that’s trapped us. He lifts our heads and puts our feet on the rock, high above our enemies. He subdues them under our feet.

How far does God go for His children, for His friends?

What about Hezekiah’s story? The Assyrians are attacking. Hezekiah prays. Because he turned to God and prayed, God wipes out 180,000 Assyrian troops while the Israelites sleep.

That’s what He’ll do for His child who asks for help. It’s also what He’ll do to an enemy. He had 180,000 Assyrians killed.

It would be really good to know if you were a friend or foe.

Are you a friend of God? Do you believe you can ask for help and He’ll get angry enough with those coming against you that He’d wipe out an army for your sake?

The Bible says we’re enemies of God if we are sinners, if we are in the world.

What does the Bible say?

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Philippians 3:18-19 NASB 1995

That’s a stark description of those who set their minds on the things of the flesh instead of on the things of the Spirit. Is your mind set on earthly things – job, money, entertainment, social media, sports, activities, food or other fleshly lusts, hobbies, books, knowledge, fashion, gossip, politics, dieting, health, exercise? It’s death.

Is your god your appetite? Can your appetite control you? Do you have a craving to do this or that, and then you do it? Your appetite is controlling you. It’s your god. You are submitting to it.

What’s your mind on when you wake up in the morning? What’s the first thing on your mind? If it’s not the Lord, something else has your heart. What do you talk about throughout the day? If it’s not the Lord, something else has your heart. What do you gravitate to when you are tired and worn or stressed? If it’s not the Lord, something else has become your god.

If you can’t get out of bed to pray, but can get up in the cold, dark morning to exercise, something else has your heart.

If you can’t find the time to read your Bible but can stream shows and movies, then something else has your heart.

Your thoughts are on the world.

Their end is destruction because they are enemies of the cross of Christ.

You may say you love God, but so did the Pharisees. God says, “Their lips praise me, but their hearts are far from me.”

You turn your heart to God by forsaking your sin. He will help you get it out of your life. You have to hate it and want it out. You have to choose to love God. Choose to love God.

This cuts off before his wife walks in. There are flowers where the computer was with a note that says, “Love you more.”

That’s what we need to say to God, not just with our Sunday praise songs, but with our daily choices. When that temptation looks you in the eye, you say back, “I love God, not you.” If it’s true, you’ll be able to walk away. It won’t have power over you. And God will smile at His friend.