Look for a Royal Visit from Heaven
by Ken Shaddox (Pastor, Park Hill Baptist, North Little Rock, AR)
Revival is that strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people – restoring, reanimating, and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.”
– Stephen Olford
Have you ever looked forward to special visitors coming to see you? At times we anticipate the visit of old friends we haven’t seen in years. The expectancy of a special guest is something that brings excitement to our lives.
David expressed a spiritual thirst for God. This man after God’s own heart earnestly wanted to know and experience God. His heart cry for revival is seen in these words:
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
As Arkansas Baptists, we are longing for God to bring a fresh work of revival across our state. In churches across Arkansas, God wants to restore, reanimate and release His blessings.
If we are to see real simultaneous revivals across Arkansas – God coming among His people – it will require opening the door of our lives in order to host a royal visitor!
Father, I long for you to visit our churches – I am thirsty. Only You can satisfy the longings of my soul and the souls of countless others across our state.
Don’t Miss the Meetings
by Larry White
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Human nature is not naturally bent toward God and His righteousness. We must remain committed to continually renewing our dedications and devotions to Jesus. One of the most effective tools for renewal is a revival meeting.
The spiritual preparation and process of conducting a revival meeting encourages a deep and broad work of God in our hearts. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, need times of revival.
Our devotions to Christ are always under attack. Our spiritual growth and achievement of yesterday is not designed to sustain spiritual vigor for today.
Make a heart commitment to attend every service of the revival meetings or harvest events being held by your church. The particular service that may be the most difficult to attend might be the experience of God’s Word that you need the most.
God examines our hearts as He evaluates us. Who and what we are in daily life are products of our hearts. Revival meetings are times to be challenged and encouraged through fellowship, songs, prayers and the Word of God.
Father, please draw the people to my church that need to be there. Prepare each heart, including mine, to be completely transformed in Your presence.
Follow Him in Every Decision
by Don Pucik
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth…
John 16:12-13 (NKJV)
Some time ago, my wife and I drove separately to a retreat center in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Because I was preaching a Sunday night service 200 miles away, my wife decided to leave home early and make her way to the hotel. She had some difficulty finding her way, but eventually she made it there safely.
Several hours later, I drove into town and experienced the same difficulties she had in finding the hotel. I called her on my cell phone and she guided me through town, directing me at each turn and intersection. Step-by-step, she helped me find my way to the hotel. She was my guide.
In verse 13 of this passage, the Holy Spirit is called our guide. The Holy Spirit is assigned the task of communicating truth and insight that we need from Jesus every day – but not all at once.
Jesus understands that we are weak and limited in our ability to process and apply truth. As the Holy Spirit continues the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, He guides us incrementally – step by step. The Apostle Paul would later caution us to walk with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) in this way: by keeping in step with Him on a moment-by-moment basis (Galatians 5:25).
Father, I want to be conformed to Your will in every decision. Enable me to be sensitive to the leading of Your Spirit.
by Bill Bullington (Missionary, retired, International Mission Board, SBC)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
How are you doing on your daily spiritual exam?
Is Christ still on the throne in your heart? Are there any parts not yielded to him unconditionally?
Do you have anxious thoughts? Prayer is laying everything out before God. Peter tells us to cast all of our anxiety on the Lord.
… casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I Pet. 5:7 NKJV
Ask yourself, “How am I dealing with my anxieties?” We have to give up our self-sufficiency to experience God’s sufficiency. This is where Satan can tempt us. In living the anxious life, we impact negatively all those around us.
I think you get the idea – you and I need to get before the Lord in prayer.
Go through Psalm 139:23-24, pausing over each part to let God speak to you. Respond obediently in prayer and live the everlasting way. Soar on strong, healthy wings. May your walk and witness lead many others to join you.
Father, thoroughly sift my heart and expose everything that offends you in my heart and in my life, so that I will not hinder what You want me to do in my church – be useful to the Master.
Grieve Over Sin
by Ricky Lee (Pastor, First Baptist, Sherwood, AR)
Many years ago, my family made a trip to Mexico. We entered an ornately decorated cathedral. As we came out, we saw a young man sitting in the center of the walkway. He was blind. He had no shirt or shoes. He simply sat in the open sun, holding a tin cup and mumbling for help. It was a terrible sight that stuck vividly in my mind. He was totally dependent on what others did for him.
One of the basic meanings of the word “prayer” is to beg. To pray, we must understand that, in a real sense, we are just as helpless before God as the beggar is before men.
We must come before God’s throne as a humble beggar, pleading for His help. To be humble is to recognize our unworthiness before a holy God. The humble servant seeks forgiveness.
For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 57:15 (NIV)
Who does the Lord promise to revive? The humble one filled with sorrow for sin. Prayer begins with humble confession.
Father, only You can search me. Show me every hindrance to intimacy with You. I want to come to you with honest lips and a broken heart – cleanse me and renew me for Your service.
Expect Answers from Your Father
by Mark Thornbrugh
On a pond bank in the woods, I found myself at a loss for words. The prayer time had been especially sweet and personal, but I realized I was out of prayer topics. Unwilling for the fellowship to end, I admitted to the Lord that I had nothing left to say. In my heart I immediately knew that He was telling me, “It’s okay, son, I’m just glad you came.”
Nothing is more humbling than answered prayer. To consider that the God of the universe has heard us and answered our petition is the sweetest of life’s pleasures. After all, who are we that God should take time for our concerns? Even when the answer is no, we somehow realize the perfection of His plan for our lives did not permit a different answer.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Father. That’s the word we have the privilege to use. He is our heavenly Father with all of the prerogatives and privileges parenthood entails. God loves us, comforts us, encourages us, teaches us – and, yes – hears us.
He takes our lives and every aspect of them personally.
Every prayer we pray is weighed against God’s plan for us. He is such a good Father, how could we ever neglect the privileges of prayer?
Father, create in me a passion for Your answers to prayer – to be alone with You each day.
Depend on Him
by David James
…when they had prayed…
Acts 4:31 (NASB)
What happens when we pray? What difference does it make when we come together for a collective time of intimate and glorious intercession with our Father “who art in heaven?” What do we desire when we come together to pray?
The early church in Acts 4 had a divine encounter when they prayed. The place where they had gathered together was shaken. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak the Word of God with confidence – what they had prayed for earlier in the chapter.
It is not strange that we receive what we pray for.
When will we utterly, exclusively and powerlessly trust Him and Him alone for direction, power, and results that expose the awesome God of the universe?
Our actions reveal the depth of our prayers. So let us approach prayer with caution, sincerity and a deep desire to worship and honor the living God. How? Pray with complete dependence on Him to respond to the desperation of His children crying out before Him. Let’s pray!
Father, would you shake the place when my church prays together and seeks You? I want to see Your mighty hand at work all around!
Do Church with No Limits
by Sam Roberts (pastor First Baptist, Stuttgart, AR)
Recently, I was visiting with a friend, a farmer who was studying data retrieved from the recent harvest. He was able to compare the yield to the pH level of the soil and determine the performance of the various varieties of rice planted.
“The main question I want to ask at this point of the study phase is,” he said, “did the variety meet its potential and, if not, what was the limiting factor?”
That’s an interesting phrase – the limiting factor! Jesus identified a limiting factor to the growth of the Kingdom.
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)
Asking questions to identify and address limiting factors is an essential step for the church that desires to join God on His mission. Questions such as:
- What can we do better to reach more people for God’s Kingdom?
- What do we need to begin?
- What do we need to bury?
- What do I need to change?
When it comes to experiencing a harvest, are you willing to ask the tough question, “What is the limiting factor?”
Father, we want to be ready for the harvest in our community. Reveal to us our limiting factors. Grant us the faith and courage to follow you in making changes necessary for the harvest.
Pray to the Father as a friend. He will hear your laughter and your sadness. Tell it to Him, He is listening!
Sit Before the Lord
by Linda Thornbrugh
In my office sits a blue chair. This is where patients sit to be interviewed prior to their appointments. They share their various ailments and stories. Some stories are humorous and some are sad – but we see them all.
What makes this blue chair so interesting?
It moves around – depending on who is seated in it. Some move it very close to me, as though we were great buddies. Others push it back until it is right up against the wall. I have even seen a few turn it slightly away from me, as if making eye contact would result in some mysterious calamity.
As I thought about the blue chair, I was reminded that many of us approach the Lord in odd and various ways. Some approach Him very timidly while others approach with boldness. Some of us just sit and wait to see what’s next.
John 15:15 tells me that Jesus calls me His friend. I can come and sit quietly, I can come in confidence or I can come in repentance, not really wanting to make eye contact until He says all is forgiven.
I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
John 15:15 NLT
How wonderful is the idea that there might be a blue chair where I can sit and talk with my Savior! No matter whether my time with Him is filled with laughter or with sadness, He still sees me and takes care of me.
Father, teach me how to sit before You. I want to develop a sensitive ear to Your voice. Teach me to live within earshot of Your voice.
Pray today for a deeper reverence for the cost of our salvation, the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Meditate on His Sacrifice
by Linda Thornbrugh
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
I Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV)
The church has lost its awe of the blood of Christ – we should be deeply grieved. This loss of respect for the blood by which we are saved has cost us the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:29 warns that the blood of Christ must never be treated with disrespect – it is precious because of the Son who willingly laid down His life.
Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.
Hebrews 10:29 NLT
What can we expect if we treat the sacrifice with respect.
Revival fires are born in the blood of Jesus.
A young mother in our congregation gives the testimony that, before conversion, she really did not understand Christians.
They seemed like such bloody people. They were always talking about the blood. I did not understand until I came to Christ why some Christians were so focused on the blood. I finally understand what the blood of Jesus has done for me.
“Oh, precious is the flow” describes the blood that flows with all the hopes and dreams of our Mighty God through His Son for His church – a church on fire.
Father, deepen my understanding of the cross and the incredible price paid to secure my salvation.