Being rocked by Jimmy Needham’s “Clear the Stage.” Makes my heart yearn for revival in Chicago…yes, revival must begin in my heart first. This is the essence of White Flag Worship!
Return to Me
Our hearts are deceptive and prone to rebel against God, His standard, His truth. Because He is loving God faithfully disciplines His wayward children and then follows with these words,
“‘Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster” (Joel 2:12-13).
Wherever you’re at in life, hear God’s call to you, “Return to me.”
Don’t overlook the power and hope found in the theology of Christ’s ascension: “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” -Acts 5:31
Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Drink from the fountain of living water while walking in the fear of the Lord and turning from broken cisterns that can’t satisfy.
I hear so many Christians murmuring about their imperfections and their failures and their addictions and their shortcomings and I see so little war! “Murmur, murmur, murmur, why am I this way?” MAKE WAR! If you wonder how to make war go to the manual. Don’t just bellyache about your failures. Make war!
Hindering the Spirit’s Working in Your Life
John 14-16 and Acts 1-2 are passages that provide us with a rich description of the Holy Spirit’s working in the life of the believer. Three particular aspects of His work stand out:
- The Holy Spirit has a permanent intimate presence in our lives
- The Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish God’s kingdom advancing agenda for our lives
- The Holy Spirit ultimately wants to Exalt Christ through us
We also see at least Five Hindrances to the Spirit-filled Life that are either explicit or implicit in those passages:
1. Unrepentant Heart – Sin skews our perspective and hinders the Spirit’s working in our lives. In particular, an unrepentant heart. When the Holy Spirit reveals sin in our lives and we do not take action against that sin, we are hindering the work of the Spirit in our lives. This is not a call to living lives of sinless perfection, but living lives in continual reliance upon God as we walk the walk of repentance. Do not quench the Spirit’s working in your life through an unrepentant heart. (John 16:8…convict the world of sin)
2. Pride – The Spirit’s aim is to exalt Christ in the preaching of the gospel in order that sinners would repent and turn to Christ therefore advancing God’s kingdom. The awful nature of pride is that it is concerned about me, myself, and I. It is derails any attempt of exalting Christ and, in its ugliness, exalts ourselves. (Acts 1:8, be my witnesses; John 15:26-27 he will bear witness about me, and you also will bear witness about me; John 16:14 he will glorify me).
3. Prayerlessness – When we see the role prayer played in the life of the believers as they waited for the arrival of the Holy Spirit and in their community after the Spirit had arrived, we see God’s mighty working in the power through prayer. Prayer is a posture of heart in which declares, “I need you, Oh Lord.” Prayer submits ourselves to God’s will…to be used by God for His purposes. (Acts 1:14, devoting themselves to prayer; Acts 2:42, devoted themselves to…prayers)
4. Apathetic mindset toward the lostness of people – When our hearts grow cold and apathetic and are no longer moved by the helpless condition of people who are walking in the path of destruction-the path to eternal separation from God-we are not living as Spirit-empowered witnesses. When we are no longer concerned about the advancement of God’s kingdom through declaration of the Gospel, we are hindering the Spirit’s working in us to accomplish that purpose. (Acts 1:8, be my witness in Jerusalem, etc.; Acts 2:36, let all the house of Israel know…)
5. Wordless Living: Failure to let the Word dwell in you richly – The Word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth (John 14:7, 16:13) he will teach us and remind us of Jesus’ teaching (John 14:26). We see this at play in Peter’s message in Acts 2 where he quotes three different OT passages in declaring Jesus is the savior of the world (Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11, Psalm 110:1). We thus need to be people of the Word!
At the end of the day, God has provided His Holy Spirit to intimately and permanently dwell in us and powerfully work through us to advance his Kingdom and see Christ exalted.
Oh that we would be used as vessels to glorify our great God!
Prayer of Repentance
O God of grace,
You have imputed my sin to my substitute,
and have imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righeousness;
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for you do always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and you are always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions