2 (6)

Update on the October 28 Woman
For many Muslims, it is a long journey to faith with many ups and downs along the way.  On October 28, we shared about a local woman who is a victim of black magic and who also saw a vision of a red cross on the wall of her bedroom.  Praise God that Christian women continue to meet with her and minister to her needs.  This woman, whom we will call "Jennifer" from now on, is currently suffering from much fear and anxiety due to the black magic in her life.  She is calling upon God in the name of Jesus but also continues to read the Quran to find any relief from its power.  The core problem is that her family practices black magic in the home.  Strange things happen.  For example, last week, she found her maid completely naked and dazed in her home.  Needless to say, this shocked Jennifer.   She also suffers from physical ailments which she believes come from this evil.  She lives in fear and paranoia believing that people and demons are after her.  She is desperate and needs our prayers.  Ultimately, she needs Jesus Christ to save her from her sins and regenerate her in the Holy Spirit.  Then and only then, will the demons leave her forever.  So please continue to pray with us for her and her family's salvation.  Pray that Jesus would free all of them from the tyranny of this evil.  Pray that the Son of God would destroy the works of the devil in their lives (1 John 3:8) and pray that she would read the Bible and be released and have no more fear but only the love and peace of God in her heart. 
Praise Reports
Praise God for saving two, Muslim South Asian men recently!  There are millions of South Asians in the Arabian Peninsula and God is moving among them as well. 

The first one is from Bangladesh.  He has been attending an expat church for three to four months now.  He has made a profession of faith, but is afraid of what his mother and father will say when they find out.  Please pray for him and his parents.  Pray that he will be strong in the faith and will love his parents into the Kingdom despite any opposition. 

The second man is from India.  He has been a seeker and has had ties with members of an expat church who have been sharing with him.  He has also made a profession of faith and immediately asked these believers to share with his father and three brothers.  His father is an imam (an Islamic leader).  The believers traveled a long distance to meet his family and in due time, the father and three brothers came to faith too!  So praise God that He is working through entire families.  Because the father is an imam, there will certainly be challenges ahead (2 Timothy 3:12).

Pray that the Lord would keep these new believers strong and vitally connected with Him and other believers so that they do not revert back to Islam.  Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.  Pray that they would continue in what they have learned and be discipled well in a community of believers that love and support them (2 Timothy 3:14).
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Where Revival Begins

The Scottish poet Robert Burns said it this way: 

“Would some power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!”


It’s a gift most of us need to receive more often. We all want to believe the best about ourselves. That’s natural, and it’s even healthy. But it’s also healthy to have someone hold the mirror in front of your face and say, “This is what you really look like.” It can be a very instructive experience.


Spiritual progress begins when we see ourselves as God sees us. It’s one thing when a friend says, “This is what you look like.” It’s another thing for God to utter those words. We can sometimes fool even our closest friends, but it’s impossible to fool the Lord. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” He knows what we say behind closed doors, the secret thoughts no one else can hear, the hidden motives, the buried ambition, and all the twists and turns of our sinful nature. He doesn’t have to uncover our thoughts; he already knows them.


This is a sermon about revival. Let’s start with the word itself. You revive something when you bring it back to life. You can’t revive something that has never been alive in the first place. That’s why revival is different from evangelism. Evangelism is preaching the gospel to the lost that they might be saved. Revival awakens the saved from a state of spiritual slumber. When God sends revival, the church wakes up. Or to give a more formal definition, revival is the sovereign act of God, whereby he calls his backsliding people to repentance, faith, and new obedience to him.


I grew up in a church tradition that emphasized “revival meetings,” usually week-long gatherings where a visiting minister would challenge us spiritually. I can remember sitting with rapt attention as Angel Martinez preached night after night at the church where I grew up. That was at least 50 years ago. Probably the greatest move of God I’ve been part of happened during a youth revival in May 1970. Lives were changed forever by the decisions made that weekend. I say that so you’ll know I’m not speaking against “revival meetings.” Not at all. They can be greatly used of God. I simply point out that revival is a sovereign move of God that can’t be scheduled in advance.


Our text comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14, which is perhaps the most famous verse on revival in the Bible:


“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”


In the preceding verses the Lord lays out certain hard times that might come to the people of God. There might be a drought or a plague of locusts or an outbreak of disease in the land. 1 Kings 8 adds other times, such a crushing military defeat, or famine or blight or cities under siege by the enemy, or being sent into captivity. This verse is meant for God’s people whenever there is trouble in the land. The promise always applies, but in desperate times we need to pay close attention to verses like this.


2 Chronicles 7:14 was written for such a time as this. Let’s consider what it says under three headings.


I. The Subjects of Revival


“If my people, who are called by my name” (v. 14a).


These two phrases tell us this verse is limited to those who know the Lord. In this political season, when clergy of all stripes rush to support their preferred candidates, it’s important to remember 2 Chronicles 7:14 was not written to the Democrats or the Republicans. This is not a blanket invitation that applies to anyone, anywhere, at any time. God limits this invitation to those who are “his people.” This is not, for instance, a verse that applies to the Hindus. Nor does it apply to mankind in general. This promise applies to those who know Jesus and to no one else. To be called by the name of the Lord means you have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13).


II. The Conditions for Revival


“Will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” (v. 14b).


Here are the four conditions for revival:


#1: Humility


What exactly is humility? Although many answers might be given, perhaps the simplest is that humility means seeing my true condition before God. After all, pride is simply taking credit for things that I’m not really responsible for. When we start feeling too puffed up about ourselves, we need to remember 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?” The answer is nothing. Not even Bill Gates can say, “I did this by myself.” To be sure, it took courage and ingenuity and commitment and perseverance to build Microsoft. Mr. Gates sits atop a multi-billion-dollar empire that didn’t happen by chance. Give that man all the credit he deserves. The same applies to every other successful man or woman in any field of endeavor. Kudos to anyone who has “made it” to the top. But just remember this. The strength to do the task, the intelligence to put together the plan, the skill to bring all the parts together, the courage to make it happen—all of it comes directly from God. It is true that between the richest man and the poorest man there is a great gulf in terms of worldly possessions. But on one point—the only one that counts—there is no difference. Both are alike the recipients of the grace of God. Neither man has anything to boast about. When we understand that, it changes the way we look at life, it changes the way we evaluate ourselves, and it changes the way we treat other people. If we are wise, it also changes our view of worldly success. We won’t base our self-image on our net worth when we believe God isn’t impressed with our bank account. We’ll have time for people because we understand we are all created by the same God.


#2: Prayer


What sort of prayer is the Lord talking about? It is the sincere prayer of a person who realizes his true condition. When I understand everything I have comes as a gift from God, my prayers will be filled with gratitude, love and praise. I will cry out to God, confessing how far short I fall of his divine standards. And every day I will remember the words of Jesus, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).


# 3: Seeking God’s Face


The phrase “seek my face” is a familiar one in the Old Testament. It has to do with the direction of my life. It is very similar to the fourth beatitude: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). To seek God’s face is to hunger for a closer walk with him. Many of us know little of this because we fill our stomachs with spiritual junk food that never satisfies but keeps us from seeking nutritious food. The question is, what are you hungry for right now? Those who are hungry to know God seek one thing; those who are hungry for a career seek something else. What you are hungry for determines what you seek.


# 4: Turning from our Wicked Ways


At some point things have to change. We must repent. To repent means you turn from your wicked ways. You used to cheat on your wife, but now you don’t. You used to be lazy, but now you aren’t. You used to fill your mind with bitterness, but now you don’t. Once you were angry most of the day, but now you have turned away from anger. Once you were sloppy on the job when the boss wasn’t watching, but not anymore. Once you lived in lust for that which God has forbidden you to have, but not anymore. Once you lived to party on the weekends, but that life is part of your past. Whatever your wicked ways are, revival means turning from those ways to the ways that Please God. It means a definite break with the past and a deliberate change of direction.


If you think about it, these four conditions form a kind of progression:


You will never pray with any fervency until you see your true condition before God.
You will never seek God’s face until you begin to get serious about prayer.
You will never turn from your wicked ways until God becomes all-important in your life.


Humility leads to prayer. Prayer leads to seeking God’s face. Seeking God’s face leads to turning from our wicked ways.


III. The Results of Revival


“Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (v. 14c).


We need to think carefully about this because it’s easy to turn 2 Chronicles 7:14 into a formula for revival. Certainly the verse lays out a plan for us to follow. The word “then” encourages us to believe our crying to God will never be in vain.


Our tears are not in vain.
Our prayers are not in vain.
Our burden is not in vain.
|Our sadness is not in vain.
Our desperation is not in vain.


Perhaps we can say it this way. When we are so dissatisfied with the status quo that we cry out to God for help, the answer will indeed come from heaven and things will begin to change. We must not limit God as to the how and the when. He is still the sovereign God who does whatever pleases him (Psalm 115:3). We must not dictate to the Lord about how the answer from heaven will come. He will answer in his own time, in his own way, according to his own will. But we have this assurance:

He will hear.
He will forgive.
He will heal.


If we do our part, though it will seem very incomplete, God will certainly do his. If we humble ourselves, and if we pray, and if we seek his face, and if we turn from our wicked ways, knowing all the while that we still fall short, God will move from heaven to come to our aid.


Politics is Not the Answer


This verse gives me hope because we seem to be in a bad state today. I cannot remember a time when America was more divided than we are at this moment. As a nation, we have turned away from the Lord. How will we ever find our way back to God?


The answer won’t come from the White House.
Politics will not save us.
Putting another justice on the Supreme Court won’t heal our land.


I say that in full recognition that it matters greatly how we vote because it matters who sits in the White House and makes those judicial appointments. We have to vote. I’m all for speaking out and taking a stand.


But when all is said and done, our greatest need is not political; our greatest need is spiritual. We need another great awakening in our land. Perhaps it will come in our day. I certainly hope so. Perhaps we will see another Layman’s Prayer Movement sweep our nation. I’m certainly encouraged by the thousands who have come to the various state capitals to pray with Franklin Graham. I’m very glad about the hundreds of thousands who came to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the “Together 2016” event. Later this year a number of ministries are planning different events to call the church to prayer. I urge you to get involved in praying with others for revival. Across the nation churches have come together to pray in response to the shootings that have taken place. This is all to the good.


Praying in the Last Days

Let me add one final thought. I believe we are living in the last days before the coming of the Lord. It certainly seems like the “terrible times” of 2 Timothy 3:1 have come true in our generation. I don’t have any secret information about the date of the Lord’s return. I’m simply giving my observation on the basis of what the Bible says about the last days.


What if Jesus is coming soon? What difference should that make to us? Can we still expect a move of God in the last days of human history? With all my heart, I believe the answer is yes. Take a quick look at Luke 18:1-8, which we call the Parable of the Persistent Widow. Most of us know the story about the judge who gave the widow what she wanted because she wore him out by coming back again and again. It’s an easy-to-grasp lesson on the importance of persistence when we pray. That much is obvious. But here’s the kicker. Jesus ends the story this way: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Where did that come from? This isn’t a parable about the second coming. It’s about prayer. But Jesus applies it to the situation on the earth when he returns.

What’s up with that?


We need to read this against the larger New Testament teaching that in the last days there will be a huge turning away from the Lord. It is sometimes called the “apostasy” or the “falling away.” You can read about it in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and 2 Thessalonians 2. As we rush headlong toward the return of Christ, we should expect to see exactly what is happening today:

False Christs.
Spiritual counterfeits.
Christians compromising their faith.
Pastors turning away from the truth.
Spiritual leaders who mislead the flock of God.


As the foundations of society crumble beneath us, we will see this happening more and more. All these things are just the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).


We ought to read Luke 18:9 in light of those passages. In a world where truth has become entirely subjective, where feelings trump biblical commands, where we reinterpret the Bible to justify our sin, Jesus’ poignant question takes on a deeper meaning:

When the Son of Man comes…

Will he find faith in your church?
Will he find faith in your family?
Will he find faith in your heart?


While going through my files, I found the notes from the final sermon I preached at the first church I pastored after seminary. On that parting Sunday I told the people, “I have some prayers I have prayed for a long time.” I listed a number of requests I had brought before the Lord. My notes say I had just talked with someone whose marriage was in trouble because of an enslaving habit. They were in despair and needed a place to live. No name is written down, and I can honestly say that 33 years later, I have no idea who I was praying for back then. But I added this…


“Not all my prayers have been answered… yet!!!”


As we journey along through life, there will always be some prayers that haven’t been answered yet. Will we give up or will we keep praying? That’s what Jesus means when he asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”


Will he find anyone still believing or will everyone turn away?
Will he find faithful believers who still pray as the world self-destructs?


We can make sure the answer is yes. We can do our part by praying persistently, unitedly, fervently, joyfully, and faithfully. I believe those end-time prayers will have great power with the Lord because they are offered in the face of persecution, ridicule, and rising unbelief.


God will not let those prayers go to waste.


Start by Looking in the Mirror


So where does revival begin? The answer is always the same. It begins with you and it begins with me. It’s one thing to talk about what stands between our nation and revival or between my church and revival. It’s always easier to confess someone else’s sins. Ask God what stands between you and a new experience of his power and blessing. If you ask in sincerity, God will surely answer.


Do we have to stay the way we are? The answer is, “No, but." We have to start by understanding “the way we are.” Once we see that, the possibility of genuine change and real spiritual growth is open to us. So I end where I began. Revival is not far away when we see ourselves as God sees us. It’s easy to say, “America needs to get right with God” or “My neighbor needs changing” or “My church needs revival.” Those statements can become excuses for evading our own responsibility.


The call of Christ is always personal. He calls us one by one to follow him. Perhaps we should repeat the Chinese prayer that goes this way: “O Lord, change the world. Begin, I pray thee, with me.” Revival begins with the person you see when you look in the mirror. Start there and by God’s grace revival will begin inside your own heart. 

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PTAP: United Prayer

Prayer is communicating with God, hearing from Him, and gaining His perspective on things. In prayer we seek to hear His voice and learn His heart for the people, lands, and situations for which we are interceding. Prayer is one of the ways in which God invites us into what He is doing in the world. Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:9-10).

Please pray that the believers all over the AP will rise up in prayer, unite, inquire of God, and seek to come alongside His heart for the people of the region. Pray that believers will be willing to be God's hands and feet; to be His ambassador's wherever they are placed (2 Cor. 5:20). In the turmoil that surrounds the region, many people are unsettled and questioning their faith, thus providing opportunities to share the Good News.  Pray for these connections.
Pray for unity over the body of believers in this area of the world. John 17:20-21 says, "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." Unity in the body is one of the greatest witnesses to the world that the Father sent the Son and speaks volumes to those of other faiths looking on.
Pray for opportunities for spiritual conversations in all walks of life and that these connections will bear fruit. Pray for protection over each opening for the believer and the non-believer.  Pray that the believers in the region would realize the incredible opportunity they have for Kingdom purposes and be intentional.
For those places where the Son is not known, prayer needs to be a large part of releasing the Gospel into hearts. Prayer makes a Kingdom difference.
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PTAP: Fasting

Yesterday, I did a water only fast most of the day, as planned. The Lord opened up numerous opportunities to serve others and share the good news of Jesus and that Jesus is the way. At the end of the day, I had the opportunity to share a teaching with a friend via phone about what fasting is all about. (2 Chronicles 7:14).


This morning as I left the house, I observed that it had rained after a season of drought. Lesson: God still answers prayer and is still a miracle working God, like He always has been. He is waiting for us to pray.


Please consider praying for the reign of God and agricultural abundance for the sake of the poor in the Arabian Peninsula as people turn to the Lord Jesus.

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"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."....2 Timothy 1:7

(Against Anxiety, Day 6)
Father God we are so grateful that You have removed all obstacles that stand in the way of our reconciling with You, to remove the guilt and stand from the Fall of Adam, in the Garden. We are so grateful that through the Precious Shed Blood of the Ancient of Days, the ONLY perfect and acceptable Sacrifice for sin, that we are able to even stand in Your Holy Presence and not be cast aside into outer darkness, where doth lieth weeping and gnashing of teeth. All You ask in return for this Mighty Grace and Favor is our obedience to You, oh Most High, and surrender to All Your have in store for us. And Lord what You have and plan for those who love You, is so much better if the rest of us would just stop, listen and learn!

Who is like You, and who can out-give, out-love, out-grace You, oh Sovereign One? No one! You take away our fear and anxious moments by the strong whisper of Your Voice, as You direct us back to Your Written Word where You said "fear not" so many times, it is the most powerful exhortation in the Scripture! In our troubles and weakness, we overlook these things and subjugate our faith into second place, choosing to be like the lost of humanity and operate in the paradigm of fear. While, oh God, this may a natural human reaction, You did not call us or expect Your elect to do this sort of thing, but to trust and believe.
For that reason, You emphasized again that You did NOT give us a spirit, bent, inclination, heart and the ability to focus just so we would cower in spiritual and natural fear, when You - the Lord of Heaven's Armies Who can destroy every evil thing with one Word, one Command, is for us! We know this, we know You have us covered by the Blood and by the Angels, so help us to have the triple portion of Faith necessary to operate in this way every single moment of every day of every week and forever more, until You call us home.
You called us 'sons of God' and gave us Power (John 1:12) and thus, we already are embedded with Your dynamic, fluid Kingdom authority to beat back the enemy with the same word - Prayer! We must take authority over our situation, in Jesus' Name and then that authority will be thus be our connection to the Source, so You can then execute the result You desired in any particular situation. And we do this in Love oh God, the same love, agape, unconditional and forgiving love You showed us as we wallowed in our sin before Christ rescued us. None of this is possible - operating out of AND under the Authority of Christ in love, power and boldness if we are not under control, in sound mind and full conscious, aware, obedient and knowledgeable to the Who You are and what You are accomplishing in our lives.  Father God, give us the soundness and clarity of mind, that we, Your people, keep our collective heads on in cool calmness, being vigilant and alert so that when everything starts falling down around us, we can be under the unction of the Holy Spirit, in full control to lead others to You Way - the Perfect Way. We ask this through the Mighty Undefeated Name of our Lord and Commander of the Universe - Jesus, our Soon Coming King. AMEN
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Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come....2 Corinthians 5:17 
Most Holy and Gracious God, You are a good of new things. In the beginning You created something out of nothing and You made all things new. Most Holy Father in Heaven, You molded man out of the dust, breathed life into Him and gave Adamah his own work to do and food to eat in the Garden.  Since the corruption and the Fall of Genesis 3, You gave Your prophets and Your Word for 3500 years, very specifically of when Maschiach would be born, live, minister and cut off and Jesus paid it all on the instrument of death almost 2000 years ago.

Because of that historic act, ordained in the Heavens and flawlessly executed by the Only One Who is flawless as both man and the Son of God, we can now be new creations, remade even while we are standing in perishing mortal flesh and be made new by simply seeking His Forgiveness and repenting of our sins, crying out to Him to save us because we understand His sacrifice and the amazing thing is He sees our heart longing for transformation and accepts us so that we can be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and made new, born again and saved as a new adopted child of God!

Father, we know You have absolutely no grandchildren but call all women and men to repentance to become adopted daughters and sons, that we may not be thrown into outer darkness with unforgiven sin, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. But because You are such a God and Creator of Love, as the Scriptures testifies from cover to cover, as You are such the Supreme mechanical engineer of all time, as You are such the most amazing Architect ever, You take our foul Adamic nature, corrupted as it is and use the same process You used to make Adamah in the Garden, at the dawn of time! You take the spiritual dust and clay we are, You morphe us into the image of Christ at the point of Salvation where we immediately turn from a confirmed resident of Hell, breathe Your Spirit into us, exactly as You did in the beginning and flip our spirit man around in an instant into a whole new creature! This salvific process will never be appreciated and understood by even those who come to Faith until we see His nailed-pierced Hands in Glory, heavenly Father, but oh what an amazing RE-CREATION You have made!

Now, the old man is gone, the old man is dead and the new man lives. You have no just taken our sins and removed them, to forget them from Your Sight, but going one step amazingly better, You destroyed the work of Satan in our lives, and renew everything to such an extent, if we just stay in, abide in, walk in Your Ways and live daily in Your Presence as you want us to, You will reveal more and more new things which we could never imagine in our puny little minds! So, Father and Maker of All Things, thank You for that. Thank You for returning us to the old paradigm of Creation at the Point of Salvation, which sets us on the road to return to the Glory of the Garden one day in Paradise, when You have restored all, defeated all evil and brought back Your Intended and Your Anointed to rule forever more, and it is in His Name - YaHWeH - Commander in Chief all all Heaven - Jesus I pray, amen. 

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