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Revival Ministry Network
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.
Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.
Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
Daughter Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a cucumber field,
like a city under siege.
Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.
There are those who do not believe in God. Then there are those who may believe in God but do not fear God. They do not reverence Him or take His Word seriously. They are hastening their own judgement:
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit,
and wickedness as with cart ropes,
to those who say, “Let God hurry;
let him hasten his work
so we may see it.
The plan of the Holy One of Israel—
let it approach, let it come into view,
so we may know it.”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight. (Isaiah 5:18-21)
Does the news media in this country seek after the truth? Or do they wish to hide or obscure truth? They have done so in the past and must believe that they will continue to get away with it. They are clever and wise in their own eyes. But the day of their judgement is coming. We must stand apart from them and tell the truth while we still can do so.
But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.
But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:9-12)
Is there a coming financial collapse? Certain financial advisors will attempt to use a looming financial crisis to scare us into buying their products. The only product worth pursuing is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let us compare the scare tactics of the advisors with the message of Jesus:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:24-34)
Tthis life is difficult at best. We all need a shepherd to guide us through it. Whom should we choose to be that shepherd? There are no shortages of gurus and guides. Even some churches today are selling a worldly success message. This message often denies that there will be difficulties in life that are not caused by a lack of faith. In fact, the difficulties are there to challenge our faith.
These things Ihave spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In theworld ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; Ihaveovercometheworld. (John 16:33)
Who will help us overcome the world? Who has the proven track record? Who has risen from the dead? Who can guide us through this transitory life and prepare us for life to come? His name is Jesus.
n truth, this life is difficult at best. It could be described as an ordeal. We all need a shepherd to guide us through it. Whom should we choose to be that shepherd? There are no shortages of gurus and guides. Even some churches today are selling a worldly success message. This message often denies that there will be difficulties in life that are not caused by a lack of faith. In fact, the difficulties are there to challenge our faith.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Bible thumping is a derogatory term at best. It refers to those who may use the Bible as their authority in an effort to explain moral and spiritual values — and may be a little heavy-handed in so doing. The expression casts an image of someone who is being hit on the head by a large Bible in a series of blows.
Should the Bible be used in any way as a moral compass? Perhaps it is too restrictive? Perhaps the Bible is outdated? Perhaps it limits the sharing of ideas and open dialogue? These notions beg the question: “What should be used in place of the Bible as our guide to moral and spiritual values?” What would be more appropriate source? What would be more up to date?
Let us explore. Is human wisdom better than God’s wisdom. It is to those who believe that God does not exist. But if God does exist then His Word deals with human wisdom:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Of course, this is only God’s opinion. Perhaps we have evolved in out thinking and God has remained static. Even some of today’s church leaders suggest the same. But how does Jesus look at God’s Word?
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)
If we can remove Jesus from the scene then this apparent conflick in understanding can be resolved. In fact, that is what human wisdom has attempted to do:
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)
The best human wisdom could do was to crucify Jesus. If Jesus has not risen from the dead then human wisdom will prevail. Upon which wisdom do we want to rely?
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6)
God has joined male and female in marriage. The married couple is bonded into one flesh. This is an act of God. Whoever attempts to separate the marriage of man and woman is going against the purpose of God.
There is a price to pay for subverting God’s will:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry[a] his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:1-26)
God speaks through the prophet Isaiah:
“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more. (Isaiah 65:17-19)
This does not sound like the Jerusalem we know. People are fighting over Jerusalem and not rejoicing over her. The sound of weeping and crying are being heard today. There have been any number of “peace plans” to pacify Jerusalem but they have not worked. But these plans were man’s plans. They were not the plan of God.
God has a plan for Jerusalem. He has a plan for all humankind. The Apostle Paul wrote:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:20-26)
Jesus will reign over Jerusalem. He will reign over our lives as well if we will believe and receive his victory. Some have not believed. Even Jesus’ disciples had difficulty believing at first:
On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:1-7)
The psalmist wrote:
Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the LORD.
“This is the gate of the LORD;
he who is righteous may enter.”
I will give thanks to you, for you answered me
and have become my salvation. (Psalm 118:19-21)
Jesus has opened the gates of heaven. Who will enter? Jesus has defeated sin, Hell, and death by his victory on the cross. He has established a new creation. Are we desiring to enter into His new world order? Man’s “new” world order is more of the same: disorder, destruction, and death. The order that Jesus has established is life eternal with God. Let us make this our testimony:
Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away. (Hosea 4:2-3)
Ash Wednesday is traditionally a day of fasting and repentance. In many liturgical churches ashes are placed on the foreheads of each participant. Ashes were a sign of penitence in the Ancient Near East, particularly in Judaism. Recall this example from the Old Testament. Jonah preached to Nineveh that God was going to destroy the city and the people listened:
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. (Jonah 3:5-8)
Notice that the King of Nineveh decreed that the people must turn from evil. God is never impressed with meaningless rituals.
Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
Our nation need a real time of fasting and repentance:
Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17)