Journey to Revival Week 9

REVIVAL FREEDOM

1 Thessalonians 5:23 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

We are on week 9 of a 12 week time of prayer and study for revival and awakening.

This week, our topic focuses on the freedom God has given us to be able to choose his power, his love his grace when we are seeking and experiencing revival.

Below the video link is a historical example of revival.

You are invited to go through this time of study and prayer either individually (i.e. journal), or gather a group together to pray and discuss each week’s topic. Our guide for this time will be the scriptures, prayer, and the book “Revival Rising.” You can get this book at http://www.seedbed.com

Feel free to share this video study with your friends.

Revival Experience from the book Revival Rising:

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Can’t Be Contained!

Read Acts 12 here.

Being told to keep quiet when you know the truth should be spoken is challenging. Being told not to do anything you think is right is challenging. For some, it is more important not to ruffle feathers or to disturb the status quo or cause a disturbance in the force. But always remember the truth and grace of God will continue to prevail and will not be held back.

In Acts 12, we read about Herod trying to please the crowd. He was violent with anyone who was affiliated with the church (those who followed Jesus Christ). In fact, he had the Apostle James killed by the sword. Herold saw how much this pleased the Jews, so he had Peter arrested too.

Why would Herod be so angry with followers of Christ and do what he could to please the Jews? His control over the region would be lost and severely threatened if more of the citizens believed in and followed Jesus Christ. This is a scary place to be whenever you are used to having control. Isn’t it amazing how much emphasis on our identity is based upon what we do and what we can control?

To keep his sense of running the region, Herod was doing everything he could to stop the people from following another. His actions would have instilled fear in the people who witnessed his actions. It is human nature to go into a mindset of self-preservation. So, acting pleased, even if you weren’t would have been the thing to do. Also, there would have been religious authorities, of the day, most likely pressuring people to not go against Herod.

The citizens saw that Peter was arrested. In the community, he would have been the one seen as the leader, so some may have thought this business of following Jesus was over. But…You cannot contain nor stop what God is doing.

Peter was released, at night, by an angel of the Lord. No one saw him leave. What Herod tried to contain and squish, God released. Is there anything inside you that is “imprisoned” that needs to be released? I am talking about having fear of talking to others about Jesus, going on the “bad/rough” side of town to spread the love and grace of God through Jesus Christ, being the person willing to stand up for those who have no one?

The power of God’s grace can open up doors and cross boundaries we may feel it’s difficult to cross. When we recognize that God is the Creator and is already present, we also should understand there is nothing that humans can do to stop the power of grace.

Yes, fear does keep people laying low and not doing anything; but if we allow ourselves to live into the joy, hope, love, peace, power that God has given us, there is nothing anyone can do.

1 Timothy 2:7 “God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.”

Romans 8:26-39 “26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will. 28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified. 31 So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them.34 Who is going to convict them? It is Christ Jesus who died, even more, who was raised, and who also is at God’s right side. It is Christ Jesus who also pleads our case for us. 35 Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, We are being put to death all day long for your sake. We are treated like sheep for slaughter. 37 But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us.38 I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers 39 or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

People Pleasing?

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Galatians 1:10-12: 10 Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave.11 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the gospel I preached isn’t human in origin. 12 I didn’t receive it or learn it from a human. It came through a revelation from Jesus Christ.

Who is easier to please: people or God? This is a good question for us to think about because it shows us our view of God and if we place people above God.

Why do you do the things you do? Remember yesterday, we talked about another group of people going behind Paul to add restrictions and new rules to the newly formed Christians. I imagine they would also tell the people that Paul was only traveling around for fame and money and not really believing in the gospel or caring about the people. So at the beginning of this letter, Paul has to set the record straight.

If you were Paul, what would you do? How would you feel? Since we are human, it is possible our reaction would be anger and become very defensive and revengeful. We could also just slip away and not say anything. Which reaction would you have?

Tomorrow we’ll look at Paul’s defense of his motives and what’s really in his heart. Today I invite us to think about what is more important: to please people or to please God? And who are you more likely to listen to?

We all want to be loved and noticed by other people. Some so that they would have prestige and fame. Some so they would have friends. Some even want to know their lives matter to others.

The entire letter to the Galatians reinforces the idea that we are free in Christ. We do not have to focus our lives on how others view us. We are children of the promise. We are set free, and free people demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. People pleasing means we may have to compromise on these qualities, these “fruits of the Spirit.” But God pleasing means that we will live a life that points people to God, even if it cuts to the other person’s soul because they know something is off.

This should also help us think about what we say and what message we are giving. People pleasing will mostly tell people what they want to hear, making it more palatable and non-offensive. If, however, we are speaking the gospel truth (out of true love) then God will speak through us and say what the person(s) need to hear to guide them to a life with God as a focus and central point.

We all have our personal preferences; but we should be careful when we place these preferences in the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Just because we like something doesn’t mean it’s true. Also, just because we know something doesn’t mean we have to tell every person to show them how they are wrong (which really comes off to them that I am right, and then they can get defensive). Instead we speak the truth God reveals and then allow God to work in the life of the person (maybe through you).

So, who is more important to please: God or people? I believe God is easier to “please” because we know where he stands. People change and flow with opinions, circumstances, and knowledge. God never changes. His character is unchanging.

Today, I invite you and I to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider who we are more likely to try to make happy: God or people (even if the person is us). Then ask how we can shift toward and attitude and a lifestyle of pleasing God instead.

#LiveFreeInChrist