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Saturday, July 06 2024

Note: We have not received the new Upper Room devotionals yet. I will try include them at the bottom until we get them or if, like today, they tie to this blog.

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Good Morning God's Revival Vessels! Pronounce that over you and us right now and join in prayer...Oh Please Lord! We cry out for revival and may it begin in me and us and through us! Raise up a longing remnant that cries out, releases your power over our neighborhoods, communities and nation. COME King of the Revival! We humble ourselves before you. We repent of our wicked ways and cry out in prayer for You to come and heal our land. COME JESUS! Amen!

I think we are all yearning for revival and for our nation to come back to God and His ways. We are His faithful remnant working for revival. But we are not seeing a lot of fruit. We are working towards becoming a dynamic movement of God but to do so need to move from adding a few members here and there to multiplying disciples and to work on becoming a House of Prayer for the Nations. That's revival as many people come back to God or realize their need for God and the folly of their ways and are drawn to His people who can teach them and help them to become more like Jesus. Please meditate on Dave Butts blog today and the Upper Room too (below). God is calling us to prayer and to be His vessels of revival.

I've been crying out for God to lead us to what our part is right now as we cry out and prepare for revival. And He said, "That's it!" PRAY! PREPARE! Watch what I am about to do and be ready to join me. Release my will in heaven and on earth through powerful praying. Could adding AC to the FH be part of His plans for us? I believe so as we prepare a space to continue ministry to our neighbors year round. For sure praying, preparing, planning and reaching out to those He is drawing from the fires of Hell is all part of our call! And then preparing disciple making disciples is our on-going part. What's your part and easy yoke? We will discuss some of this Sunday and begin to earnestly cry out for revival. Yes Come Lord! Revive us! Amen!

In another devo I read today I asked this question of God last year: "What if the desire of our hearts was God and for His things instead of for our perceived needs and wants and even sinful things? What if we lived as if Christ is all that matters and that He wanted to live and love through me? What if we embraced Jireh (God is all we need)?" He is more than enough and has plans for us that are more than we could dream or imagine! PTL! Daylight is burning BUT GOD! He is lighting the fires of revival and wanting to use His longing, praying, preparing remnant! May we be found faithful and ready and responding well! Amen!

Dave Butts:

When God Shows Up in Church

By Dave Butts

Christians around the world are praying for revival. What are they praying for and do they have good reason to expect revival? Is revival something God wants to do for His people today? To answer these questions, we need to understand that God has always worked in the area of revival with His people. From the earliest days of Israel, on through the history of the Church, God’s method of dealing with His people has been to grant periodic times of special blessing in which His presence is made manifest and His people are drawn back to Him. The result of that is a changed society.

Perhaps the clearest view of revival can be seen by looking back at Israel in the Old Testament. Historians tell us that there are seven major revivals in the Old Testament. I would suggest that if you take away the word “major” there are somewhere between fifteen and sixteen revivals. Very clear, distinct times, in which the people of God were restored to a time of religious excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment with a resultant change in society.

You typically see something like this: Israel, as a people, called by God to make a difference…called to be a light to the Gentiles. You see them under a leader such as Moses or David, people who are living a life that causes them to be set apart from the people around them. They are worshipping God, they’re holding on to His Word, they are doing what God wants them to do. Then, typically, after a generation or so when a leader has died you see Israel begin to slide. You begin to see them move farther and farther away from obedience to the Word of God. They begin to accept idolatry from the tribes around them. Pagan practices begin to come in, with acts of immorality and all the problems associated with that – eventually times of war and even slavery.

 Typically at this point of decline there arises a remnant of people who begin to pray. They begin to cry out to God asking the Lord to save them. Then, in His own timing, God sends a leader and there comes a time of revival when they begin to throw off their idolatry and paganism and restore once again the true worship of Jehovah. They begin to again hold on to the Word of God. The nation experiences a time of national prosperity, spiritual excitement and religious significance that lasts for about a generation. Then you see the cycle begin to happen again. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament: revival and decline, revival and decline.

As you move into the New Testament you see a group of people who were born in a time of revival. But we know historically that it did not last. Through the history of the Church you once again see the exact same pattern of revival and decline. It seems to be the way God deals with His people. Down through the years many countries have experienced periodic times of revival. Within the United States we have experienced three times of national revival, known as the Great Awakenings. During these times, God moved and changed the course of our nation. Many of us believe that God is getting ready to do it again in our day, in our age.

What is this thing called revival? I believe that revival is the Church waking up to the presence of Jesus in her midst. It is nothing more and nothing less than you and I beginning to experience what we already know theologically and intellectually. You believe that Jesus is with you. Why? Because He said He would be. You don’t necessarily believe it because you feel Him, but just because Jesus said it. He said that where two or three are gathered together there am I in your midst. You also have to believe Colossians 1:27: “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

We believe that Jesus is present when we gather as the Church. But we don’t act that way. That is not the way things happen on Sunday. You know why I know your church needs revival? The reason I know your church needs revival is when church services ended last Sunday, you went home. What would happen if Jesus was there? Let’s just suppose Jesus was there. Would you be looking at your watch? Would you be eager to leave? One of the characteristics of the great revivals was extended times of worship. They never wanted to end the service. Now obviously people had to leave, they had to take care of physical things, they had jobs that they had to go to, but as soon as they were done they were back, because that was where God was. They wanted to be in on the action. They wanted to be where God was. They wanted to experience His presence.

I want to suggest to you that revival is not strange or mystical. It is simply the Church waking up to the presence of Christ in her midst. It is almost as though God reaches out and slaps us and we wake up and we realize God is there. That is what revival is. It is God shaking us. It is God waking us up. And we recognize that Jesus really is here.

We are desperate for that in our nation today. I am not in any way a critic of the Church. The more I travel the more I fall in love with the Church of Jesus Christ. I am seeing so many wonderful things happen. Christians are doing wonderful things in the name of Jesus, acts of love, mercy and self-sacrifice. It is amazing what is happening today, and has been happening for years. We are doing all we know to do. But it isn’t working.

Most of the churches have all kinds of activities. They’ve tried all kinds of programs. They’ve given and done everything they know how to do to get the Church going and to impact society. But in all that has happened in the last fifty years in the Church in the US, are we a more moral and ethical nation because of what we have been doing as a Church? It is unbelievable when we consider the tremendous acts of sacrifice, service and ministry in the last fifty years in the Church, and yet it is apparent that the Church is going one way and our nation is moving the opposite way as fast as it can.

In a very real sense, we are at this wonderful point of despair. We are at a wonderful point of hopelessness in which the Church is beginning to recognize that we have been doing everything we know how to do and it is not working. It is time for revival. It is time to humble ourselves before God in prayer and ask Him to make Himself known in the midst of His people so that our nation can be saved and our world impacted for Christ.

How does revival come? Any student of revival will tell you that there has never been a revival without a movement of prayer. God always calls His people to prayer in anticipation of revival. I would ask you today to get serious about praying for revival. We need to shift our prayer focus to the issues that are close to God’s heart, especially that His people, His Church, would wake up and discover the presence of Jesus in our midst.

When that happens, our lives become different. When Jesus is there, suddenly things that we accepted before, are no longer acceptable. Some of the things that go on in our church and in our society are changed because it is the Lord who is present. That is why in those great revivals in the past, there was a bit of emotionalism. Suddenly they came into a church service and there was Jesus. Now they did not see Him in the flesh, but there was a powerful sense of the presence of Jesus. What do you suppose happens if you come into a church service during a revival and there is a strong sense of the presence of Jesus and you’ve been sinning all week? When you come into the presence of the awesome holiness of God suddenly there is weeping, crying out, and sometimes even falling down before God in repentance.

Heaven-sent revival is our only hope. We don’t have answers. We don’t know what to do. We don’t have any programs in our churches that are changing whole communities and our society. It’s just not happening. What we need is God.

 How do you pray for revival? Psalm 85 is a good place to begin: “You showed favor to Your land, O Lord. You restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of Your people and covered all their sins. You set aside all Your wrath and turned from Your fierce anger. Restore us again, O Lord our Savior, and put away Your displeasure toward us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger through all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”

Based on that passage we will find ourselves praying, “Lord, revive us again, do it again in our day.” We will come before God saying, “Lord, this is what you have done and this is what we want you to do in our life and in our nation.

Dave Butts (1953-2022) was the co-founder and president of Harvest Prayer Ministries. His popular prayer guide, Asleep in the Land of Nod has been used by hundreds of churches to help their congregations pray for revival.

Upper Room: Lost and Found

Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep. - Luke 15:6 (NRSVUE)

Many years ago on a beautiful fall afternoon, I was on a walk with my dad and our dog. The dirt road was bordered by woods on both sides. As the sun set and the temperature dropped, it was time to go home. But our dog suddenly wasn’t with us. She had followed the scent of a wild animal, and no amount of calling brought her back.

As my tears started flowing, Dad told me to take off my jacket and put it on the ground. We had to go home, but he promised to return to look for her. Later, he found her in the dark, curled up on my jacket. After all these years, I still vividly recall my joy at seeing her bound into the house.

When we have wandered away from God, where do we look for God’s love and grace? Maybe we have a special place of comfort and safety to which we can retreat and get back in touch with God, who constantly searches for us. Just as our dog found safety in the scent of my jacket, we can return to a place and time when we experienced God’s love for us and find peace.

TODAY'S PRAYER

Dear Lord, may we always remember the words of the psalmist who proclaimed, “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore” (Ps. 121:8). Amen.

Harvest blogs:

July 2 - A Calling

Although all of us are called to intercede, many people have a specific “calling” to give themselves to intercession. What do I mean by that? There are certain people who God seems to specially grace with the desire to pray for hours a day on behalf of others. While we may struggle to stay focused in prayer for ten to fifteen minutes, these choice pray-ers seem to effortlessly spend hours at a time pleading cases before the throne.

If you begin to sense God calling you to this ministry, here are some tips:

Find another intercessor to mentor you. Make sure it is someone who has a good relationship with his or her pastor and church. Sometimes intercessors can become withdrawn and even critical of their church. That is not healthy; and you do not want to be mentored by someone like that.

Make sure you spend time in the Word. As you begin to spend long times in prayer, reading and meditating on God’s Word will help you stay balanced. Intercessors who are not grounded in God’s Word quickly become targets that Satan can manipulate for his purposes. Never pray at length without an open Bible. Pray the Word.

Guard against a prideful spirit. One of Satan’s best tactics for destroying intercessors is to fill them with pride. You may start to feel more spiritual than others. You may start to get annoyed that your church “isn’t doing things right.” These are signs of pride creeping in. Pride will totally invalidate your ministry!

Develop your calling. Spend even more time in prayer. Read books about intercessors and intercession. Fill your prayer closet with things that stimulate your prayer life: maps, photographs, powerful quotes, and the like.

Lord Jesus, You are even now interceding for Your people! Give me a deep desire to grow in the “gift” of intercession so that I can devote more of my time and attention to the needs of others and the purposes of Your kingdom. Draw me to Yourself. Protect me from the attacks of the enemy who wants me to become prideful. Keep me grounded in Your word and help me to develop a richer and more powerful prayer life day by day!

--Adapted from The Power of Personal Prayer (Learning to Pray with Faith and Purpose) by Jonathan Graf. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.

Prayer Points

  • Praise God as the one worthy of the worship of our entire lives (Rom. 12:1-2).
  • Give thanks for God’s mercy shown to you personally.
  • Confess times of conforming to the pattern of this world.
  • Commit yourself to the continual renewing of your mind.
  • Ask God to be true to his promise that you will be able to test and approve what is his will.
  • Pray that each of God’s people will be reminded of the different gifts he or she possesses, according to the grace of God (12:6). Ask that they be further equipped through worship to use those gifts for God’s kingdom (12:7ff.).
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
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St. Matthew's EC Church

5th & Ridge Streets
P.O. Box 433
Emmaus, PA 18049
Telephone 610.965.5570
Email: stmattsecemmaus@gmail.com

ABOUT US

We are learning to live and love like Jesus. 

We are working on becoming who we were created to be and doing our custom made purposes well. 

We are part of the Evangelical Congregational Church http://www.eccenter.com/

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