Revival, Restoration and Remembering in a Storm

31199Are you discouraged?  Do you remember the last time you were discouraged? But you were not experiencing “the joy of the Lord” as your strength.  Perhaps your confidence and faith in God was being tested.

Psalm 85 teaches us how to reflect, remember and pray in a time like this.
“Heavenly Father, thank-you for your gift of eternal life to all who place their faith in you.  Thank-you in Christ you have covered our sins and turned back from your anger towards our sin.  Fill us today with renewed gratitude for your great love and forgiveness.  Help us to walk with an ever increasing joy in you and your plans for us.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”
First the Psalmist, thanked God for forgiving their sins and bringing them to a place of new blessings.

Lord, you poured out blessings on your land! You restored the fortunes of Israel. You forgave the guilt of your people— yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude You held back your fury. You kept back your blazing anger.” (Psalm 85:1–3, NLT)

In the circumstances that were the fruit of their sin. God’s people confessed and turned from their sins.  Never run from the cross and try to hide your sin, but always run to the cross and confess and ask for forgiveness when you sin.  
Next, remember what it means to be forgiven. To be forgiven of sin is the greatest of all the good gifts we receive from God.  I’m thankful for my marriage, family, friends, ministry, home and good health,  But to have all of that and die without Christ, I would be eternally lost.  Too often, people have only wanted God’s blessings of hearth and home, but failed to truly place their faith in Christ.
Third, pray for revival and restoration!  “Now restore us again, O God of our salvation. Put aside your anger against us once more. Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85:4–7, NLT)  It’s no secret that the Church is in need of revival and refreshing.
Sin robs us the blessings of God.  Sin will rob us blind.  Sin will take from us blessings forever.  Sin divides, devours and will conquer unless a person casts themselves upon God’s mercies.
When God restores us, he gives to us new opportunities, new blessings, a second chance.  Far too often, I’ve seen a marriage lost, a pulpit lost, a church fail, a career or business fade away because of sin.  God in his mercy, will give us a new blessings, but in the wake of sin, lies so much human tragedy and reproach brought upon the name of the Lord.  Hate sin!
Some of my close friends with a highly successful business in Georgia, over dinner opened up about how God restored their lives.  One night, over dinner in their lovely home, they told of Becky and me about God’s mercy to them.  As professing Christians, in their past, they had hurt their families and others.  For both of them, the pain and the hurt that their sin had inflicted upon others and themselves had brought them great loss.  Unfortunately, marriages, children, relationships were lost and scarred.  In God’s grace they sought and found forgiveness from the Lord.  Later, they met, and from the beginning they committed to doing things according to the counsel of God’s Word.  
They told me, “don’t let our love, happiness, and prosperity mislead you Pastor.  God has blessed us with a second chance despite our sin.  We have personal pain over lost relationships that will never be the same.”
Thank God for his blessings and for second chances.  But never be foolish and throw away the blessings of God you have today!
Pray for revival.  Pray for your pastor and pastors in your community to preach lovingly, boldly, and faithfully the Bible.
Pray that through the bold preaching of the Word of God, that those who are dead in their trespasses and sin will be born again.
Pray that those who are backslidden and think they are alive will be convicted and return to their first love in Christ.
Pray that God’s church will radically live out our faith in Christ expressing boldly the love of God.  That we will become Christlike so that world will see Jesus in us and follow after Him.
Fourth, be patient, pray and listen; God’s timing is always right!

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.” (Psalm 85:8–9, NLT)

Personal pain has taught me the value of waiting upon the Lord.  He is never late.  
Are you praying about the problems and issues in your life?  Your family?  Our community?  Our nation?  Our world?  When you read the newspaper or watch the news do you, pause to pray about the government shut down, the war on terror, the persecution of Christians?
Finally, reflect upon God’s great faithfulness!

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.” (Psalm 85:10–13, NLT)

God bless you!  Your family!  His Church!  America!  Again!

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