SOURCE:Culled from Life in the bluffs.
SOURCE:Culled from Life in the bluffs.
SOURCE:Culled from Inspiration Ministries.
SOURCE:Culled from The Beautiful Word Devotional.
Greed and pride can turn your heart away from God today too. You may have grown up knowing the Bible, but you are living for yourself. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mrk. 8:36). The wicked boast in their desires, but the Scriptures say, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinth. 1:31).
You might assume that someone who openly rejects God would be struck down by lightning. But atheists often prosper. People who give themselves to gathering money often get rich. And because they have laughed at God and have still been successful, their arrogance grows. They assume that they must be invincible.
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them. (10:5)
Because he is affluent, he is convinced that nothing can touch him. He has the latest tech gadgets; he drives a new Aston Martin; he goes on the best vacations; he wears new clothes. Success has blinded his eyes to God’s judgment—it is too high for him.
Here is what he thinks in his heart of hearts:
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” (10:6)
The wicked man is thoroughly deceived. He thinks that the blessings God reserves for the godly belong to him! It is the blameless man who shall not be moved (Psalm 15:5; 16:8), but the wicked “are like chaff that the wind drives away” (Psalm 1:4). The wicked think they can set up their children to prosper after them. They can put them in the right schools and introduce them to the right people and leave a trust that will provide for them. But the Scriptures say that “the generation of the upright will be blessed” (Psalm 112:2). In his pride, the wicked man has believed a lie.
|The psalmist describes two sides of the character of the wicked in Psalm 10:2–11. Structurally each description is five verses long and ends with the inner thoughts of the unjust oppressor, “He says in his heart” (10:6, 11). Two words summarize these wicked oppressors: arrogant and aggressive. Their pride and violence spell disaster for anyone who stands in their way.
First, the wicked oppressors are arrogant. The trouble they cause flows out of self-importance.
In arrogance, the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. (10:2)
Where does this abusive pride come from? For one thing, they forget that the rich and poor were both created by God. We did not make ourselves. We did not choose which family we were born into and the opportunities we were given. We did not decide how intelligent we would be, how wise we would be, how self-motivated we would be. All this is from God’s hand. The writer of Proverbs says, “The rich and the poor meet; the Lord is the maker of them all” (Prov.22:2). The wicked forget this. They like to view themselves as self-made men, like sharks made to swim at the top of the food chain. This pride is Darwinian at its core—a survival of the fittest that grinds the poor into the dirt. And in their arrogance, they think God will never do anything. They have nothing but contempt for God and laugh at any idea of judgment.
In fact, they do not worship God. They worship themselves.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” (10:3, 4)
The word “for” (v. 3) tells us why the wicked pursue the poor. They turn on the poor and the helpless because they first turned against God.
What does it mean to boast in your desires? That is an unusual phrase. The wicked are proud of their desires. Their cravings are a virtue. After all, didn’t they succeed because of their will to win? Their greed got them where they are.
One of the most powerful illustrations of this came from the 1987 Oliver Stone movie Wall Street. The main character, Gordon Gekko, was modeled after high-powered traders who ran the financial markets like masters of the universe. In one famous scene Gekko delivers a speech to the nervous shareholders of Teldar Paper Corporation.
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.
This quote struck a chord because it hit so close to home. The spirit of American materialism declares that greed is a virtue, that in fact greed is the foundation of success. This is the mind-set of the man or woman who boasts of the desires of his or her soul. They boast because they believe it is a good thing never to be content, never to be satisfied, always to want more. And in their greed, they grind the poor into the ground to get what they want.
It is sobering to notice that these wicked men and women renounce God by his personal name, Yahweh (“the Lord,” v. 3). This implies that these oppressors are not foreigners; they are Israelites who knowingly reject the God of Israel. In their greed, they loved money and possessions more than God. In their pride, they did not look for him. Finally, they denied that God even exists.
SOURCE: Culled from Rejoice the Lord is King (James Johnston).
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” Psalm 85:6
Revive Thy work , O Lord
Thy mighty arm make bare:
Peak with the voice that wakes its dead.
And make Thy people hear
Revive thy work , O lord
While here to Thee we bow;
Descend O gracious Lord, Ascend
O come and Bless us now
Composer: Albert Midlane 1825-1909 (Born 192 years ago and died 108 years ago)
Many are familiar with this beautiful hymn, “Revive Thy work, Lord.” The big question however is how do we recognize God’s revival in our lives and even in the church? It is not enough to proclaim by word of mouth that we have been revived by God. People should see and experience certain qualities that sets us apart from the world as people who have been revived by God. Today I would like us to focus on the Five (5) Fruits and Five (5) Results of Revival. Before that let us briefly look at the importance of revival.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REVIVAL
Psalm 85:6 asks a powerful question: “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”
Notice that the psalmist says, “again.” This tells me that the nation of Israel was once in a state of revival, but that had waned, it had declined, and they had come again to the place where they needed to be revived. Perhaps today you are in a place where you need to be revived.
Revival has been described as the “inrush of the Spirit into the body that threatens to become a corpse”. That is a good definition. Something needs to be revived when it is dying or when it has lost its strength or momentum. Revival therefore brings new life. It brings fresh vigor. It brings renewed momentum to that which is in a weakened or dying state.
In 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul writes to Timothy, “Stir up the gift of God which is in you”. The word for stir up literally means to rekindle. In other words, a fire was there at one time, but it has begun to burn low. And now it needs to be refueled and tended to.
Maybe we have felt spiritually flat lately. Maybe the fire that once burned white hot for God is now just a glowing ember. If so, it is time to rekindle those embers and fan to flame what He has put within us. As God works in our life, we will find that once again our lives will be filled with purpose, and we will once again rejoice in God.
FRUITS AND RESULTS OF REVIVAL
Jonathan Edwards and Dave Roberts have been helpful in writing this article. Let us remember that revival means a RENEWED ZEAL TO OBEY GOD. Obedience to God is our loving response to His infinite, steadfast and unconditional love and Roman 12:2(Living Bible) reflect the fruits of revival.
“And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you”.
When we are revived we bear these fruits
When the Holy Spirit comes, the person of Jesus is esteemed by all those genuinely touched. Edwards believes that this will spill out from intellectual assent into testimony, declaration and confess in that “Christ is Lord”. It is the Spirit, he argues, if the hearers are moved to “belief in the history of Christ as He appeared in the flesh – and that He is the Son of God and was sent of God to save sinners, that He is the only Saviour and that they stand in great need of Him.” The devil does not promote counterfeit revival with this type of fruit. Edward thunders: “He mortally hates the story and doctrine of Christ’s redemption.” It is not the devil’s intention to see Christ glorified and His wisdom followed (1 Cor. 12:3).
Beloved, let us observe the fruit of changed lives, as the true means of God’s sovereign power to transform lives. As someone has rightly articulated it the fruit of a changed lifestyle outweighs “a thousand such little objections” based on oddities, irregularities, delusions and scandals. “The devil”, “may seek to, mimic visions, revelations, prophecies and miracles”, but he cannot drive people to the truth, exalt Jesus, or bring about real ethical change in people’s lives.
Warnings and Encouragement
Revival is contagious in some instances and can also break out spontaneously. As time goes by the fruit of change will emerge and many of us can attest to this in the lives of people who have come under the power of revival. The genuineness of any spiritual change, is not related to its physical impact, but its long-term effect on the life of the believer.
TO BE CONTINUED
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SOURCE: Culled from KingdomNomics.