What is Missing?

As I have been reading about the great revivals of God in the earlier days of this country and around the world. I hear many say, oh how we need revival! We need a mighty move of God across this land. The world and our nation are morally decaying. I would like to share in part a few stories that I have read from, “Revival Fires” by Wesley Duewel. What is different today than in those days of Spiritual Awakenings? What is missing today?

Charles Finney was greatly used of God in 1825 to spread the fires of revival to central New York. On a Thursday night the Lord brought much brokenness in the leadership of the church where he was preaching. It was on Sunday that God gave Finney a “burden of prayer.” The power of the Holy Spirit was so powerful that the people were gripped with conviction that they could not contain their emotions. Everyone that came into that town felt the overwhelming sense of God’s presence. The town was FULL of praying. As one would walk around town the sound of praying was everywhere. Finney lists the striking characteristics of the great moving of God and number one on his list was prevailing prayer. According to the Boston Recorder in the 4 months of 1831, 362 places experienced revivals. It was a day of prevailing prayer.

In 1898 while visiting the Keswick convention a Hindu woman named Pandita Ramabai, who had been converted pled with the 4,000 that attended to pray for a Spiritual movement in India like in America. She was at the time caring for some 2,000 girls in Bombay. For several months’ “prayer continued,” and 1200 girls accepted Christ as their Savior. Later another 600 were saved. Pandita started a prayer circle of 10 girls to pray for the salvation of others. That began to spread and encompass many other groups, and many were saved.

A man called, Rev. John Hyde in 1852 began to pray for revival. It was 12 years before he was granted his prayers. He would spend whole nights praying. Hyde became known as the “wrestler with God, a prince prevailing.”

As I read these and other accounts of the great awakenings of old, a couple of things stand out to me about them. God had given them the “burden of prayer.” It seems to me that we are asking for revival without asking for the “burden” (carrying a load, heavy laden, burdensome) to pray. God is the initiator. We cannot even pray without God impowering us. The second thing I noticed, it was months and even many years before God chose to answer their requests. We live in such a microwave society, our expectations are, “I want it yesterday.” We need to ask ourselves, are we willing to ask for the “burden” (carry the heavy load that will cost us time and energy). Are we willing to continue until God chooses to pour out His power on this land and receive the glory that is due Him. Each one must answer that question for themselves.

Joy

Phyllis

 

THE DRY BONES! Part 2

To continue with Ezekiel 37, I will do a very short review of the devotional I shared in DRY BONES part 1. You can scroll to the July devotional and read it to get the full context of the passage.

In the book of Ezekiel, we read that the children of Israel had been taken into Babylonian captivity. God had chosen Ezekiel as a prophet to call the nation to repentance, and that judgement had come upon the nation due to the sinfulness prevailing in Jerusalem. The first half of the book is pronouncing judgement. However, after the word reached Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed, Ezekiel began to proclaim a new message from the Lord, a message of hope and restoration!

Ezekiel 37:1-6 The Lord has Ezekiel sit down in the middle of a valley filled with DRY SUNBLEACHED HUMAN BONES. The Lord asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” “Oh Lord You know.” Let’s be real, how many times we are faced with that same question about our loved ones, our country, or even our own lives. Will things get any different? Can these bones live? God says, “I WILL,” three different times in verses 1-6 to remind Ezekiel and the dry bones that He is the Lord (the Sovereign Ruler). A good reminder to us as well.

As we continue in the passage for today’s devotional. In verse 7, we see the power of God to do what He says He will do. So, Ezekiel prophesied and there was a great thundering and behold a shaking, a trembling, and a rattling as the bones came together. Oh my, what it must have been like seeing and hearing that happen!

Verse 8… I looked, and behold, it was done, but no breath or spirit was in them, however. They had form, but no LIFE.

Verse 9…Prophesy to the breath and spirit and say, Thus, says the Lord “come from the 4 winds, Oh Spirit and breathe, and these bones will live.”

This is what the bones said, “We are all dried up and all hope is lost.” Once again, how many times have we been guilty of saying that about unanswered prayers?

Verse 10…So I prophesied as God commanded me, and THE BREATH AND THE SPIRIT CAME INTO THESE BONES, AND THEY LIVED, and stood up upon their feet, a great army.

That says to me that our Heavenly Father has the POWER and PROVISION that is needed in every situation in our lives and our loved ones. We are also reminded in this passage that we all must have the breath and the Spirit to truly have LIFE.

Isaiah 46:11 “Yes, I have spoken, I have planned it, and I will bring it to pass.”

Joy

Phyllis

THE DRY BONES! ( Part 1 )

Have you ever asked yourself, “will things ever change in that person’s life?  I have prayed and prayed, but I never see any difference.”  Have you ever said that? Of course, we all have, or if we have not said as much, surely thought those concerns. Maybe it is not others that concern us, but it’s our own lives that are all dried up. Can things ever change for them or for me?

In the book of Ezekiel, we read that the children of Israel had been taken into Babylonian captivity. God had chosen Ezekiel as a prophet to call the nation to repentance and that judgement had come upon the nation due to the sinfulness prevailing in Jerusalem.  The first half of the book is pronouncing judgement, however after the word reached Babylon that Jerusalem had been destroyed, Ezekiel began to proclaim a new message from the Lord. A message of hope and restoration!

Ezekiel 37:1-14 The Lord has Ezekiel sit down in the middle of a valley filled with DRY SUNBLEACHED HUMAN BONES. The Lord asks him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” “Oh Lord You know.” Let’s be real, how many times we are faced with that same question about our loved ones, our country, or even our own lives. Can these bones live?

Verse 4: Ezekiel prophesy to the dry bones, “Oh you, dry bones, hear the WORD of the Lord.”

Verse 5: Thus says the Lord God to the dry bones, “I WILL cause breath and spirit to enter you and you shall live.”

Verse 6: “And I WILL lay sinews upon you and bring up flesh up on you and cover you with skin.   I WILL put breath and spirit in you, and you, dry bones will live. I AM THE LORD SOVEREIGN RULER.”

Verse 7: So, Ezekiel prophesied and there was a thundering noise and behold, a shaking, a trembling and a rattling as the bones came together. Wow! (That would scare the bejabbers out of me, how about you?) Be real now.

The thing that spoke to me in these first few verses of chapter 37 is how many times God said, “I WILL!” Many times, we feel the need to manipulate the situation or try again to change others, or even we try in our own strength to change ourselves.  If we would remember only the Lord can make DRY BONES live!

 We will end part 1 of this devotional with the challenge to read over and over the “I WILL” that God speaks in His Word. It is surely a message of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT to us. Look for Ezekiel 37 part 2 of THE DRY BONES in September.

JOY

Phyllis

The Red Robins

“Consider the birds – do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Are you not more valuable than they?”

Mathew 6:26

On this beautiful spring evening, as I was sitting on our patio, I noticed two Red Robin hopping in the grass.  They began to peck at the ground and started eating a worm.  After they finished eating, they both flew up onto the bird bath to flutter their wings and have a bath.  It so reminded me of the Bible scripture already quoted.  I love watching how carefree they seem to be. 

Seems that our world has been turned upside down. So many distractions that grab our attention and cause us to be anxious and worried.  At times it is so difficult to keep our mind and heart on the blessed promises of God. Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are going to experience the peace that the Lord Jesus promises. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 states, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at ALL times in every way.”

“Why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers in the fields. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like these! So, forsake your worries! Why would you say? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?  Doesn’t your Father in heaven already know the things you need?” Matthew 6:28 & 31-33.

We must learn to live out of every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God! He has given to us His love letter, the Bible, read it, obey it, but even more, draw close to the Lord and He WILL draw close to you. Commit yourself unto the Lord, trust in Him, yield to Him all that you are and all that you have. Spend time just loving on the Lord and let Him love on you. Be filled with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience the peace that He promised.  It is your birthright as His precious child.

Joy

Phyllis

Courage

Bible definition of Courage:   The Hebrew word meaning, is to show oneself as strong.  We do not have to have a grin and bear it attitude.  Those that are God’s should fear not! The ideal for the Christian is based on the presence of Christ in our life.

Truly, today we can name many things in our life that can cause us to be fearful instead of being courageous.! Some 114 times the word COURAGE, COURAGOUS, OR COURAGOUSLY is used in the Bible.  It is meaningful when the Bible states something one time, but when it says something that many time the Lord is trying to get our attention.  Do you think the Lord would have told us to do something and not empower His precious children to do what He said?   OF COURSE NOT! The point of the Father sending His only Son to come to earth and die on a cruel cross was not only to get us to heaven when we die, but for us to have His resurrected Life to live in us and though us on this earth.

In the past few days, I have watched the news on TV and seen courage displayed in the face of overwhelming odds. Fighting against fear for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the world’s unstable condition, I once again went to the Bible scriptures for reminders of my Sovereign Father, God. READ aloud just a few of the 114 verses and BE REMINDED!

Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God goes with you, and will never leave you or forsake you.”

1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be on your guard; stand firm in your faith; be courageous; be strong.”

Psalm 31:24: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear. For I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”

Joy,

Phyllis

 

TRUST and THE LORD WILL GUIDE

“Trust in the Lord completely and do not rely upon your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you and He will lead you in every decision you make.  Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all.” Proverbs 3:5-7 PTB

A new year is upon us, and so many things are happening in the world that seemingly overwhelm us.  What will 2022 hold for us as a nation, and more importantly, for us and our families personally? Bad news! Bad News! Lots of FEAR!! All we hear.

I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken. As one that has become old, and looking back on my life, I can testify that the Lord has always been there for me and my family in the good times and the seemingly bad times. 

Trusting in the Lord is a choice of the will.  One can get caught up in fear of what might happen in 2022, or take God at His Word. Stay close in the presence of the Lord, and He will guide you.

In World War 2 an American plane was flying a mission in Africa. Under the cloak of darkness they flew toward their destination of Benghazi in North Africa.  A strong tail wind pushed the plane much faster than expected.  When the instruments revealed they had reached their destination, the crew members kept flying in disbelief of what the gauges said.  They “felt” the instruments were wrong. They eventually ran out of gas; the plane crashed and all the crew were killed. 

We as God’s children need to stop trusting in our own judgements and feelings about the future.    Trust in the Lord and His Word!! He has given us His Word, the Holy Spirit and His promises. Surely that is ENOUGH!

 

Joy

Phyllis

Thanksgiving!

In 1621 America celebrated the harvest and other blessings of the past year.  The holiday was believed to be modeled by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln and then later presidents supported the event.  In 1941 Congress made it an official National holiday. 

I can remember when the children in school would dress up as Pilgrims and Indians having a play to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Have you ever helped your children make the turkey drawing using their hands as the pattern?  Those were such fun filled day for the children in our schools. Some might call them the “good old days.”

Long before America decided to declare to be thankful on a certain National Holiday, the God of the universe stated over 70 times in the KJ version of the Bible to give thanks. Our Lord knew that having a thankful heart was the key to having a contented life. I am afraid that we have forgotten this truth as we are so tuned into this world and all the problems that we have forgotten to give thanks in “all” things.1 Thes.5:18

 Colossians 3:17… And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 1 Chronicles 16:34… Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast love endures forever.

Psalms 118:24…This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 Colossians 3:15… Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.

 Psalms 107:1…Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Just a few verses to remind us that no matter how bad things are in this world, in Jesus Christ our Lord we have been blessed beyond measure.

Joy,

Phyllis

Looking for Fruit… Part 2

I want to continue sharing this month about my adventure in gardening.  As I mentioned last month, I have been gardening in my City Picker’s Gardening wagon for 2 years now.  I have been very excited almost every day as I am able to harvest vegetables. As I told you last month, I couldn’t help but believe that our Lord is pleased when He sees His children producing the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control.

As Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.  I bought a hot pepper plant at the same time as my City Picker’s plants, however I decided to plant it in a different container.  I was careful to use the wonderful Miracle Grow Mix with the great nutrients.  After a few weeks I went out each day to check my hot pepper plant. To my surprise, I noticed that it had no peppers, not even a hint of a pepper.  I decided that the greenery was getting so big that I should transplant it into a larger container. Once again expecting some sign of the fruit it should be producing, not a trace.  I fertilized it just like Neal Sperry (our Texas authority on all gardening) said to do.  I watered, I pampered, NO PEPPERS. The green plant now is huge, but still no sign of anything resembling a pepper to harvest. Just a big fat green plant. Can you feel my frustration and disappointment?

I now want to share of another fruit of the Spirit found in John 4:35, “Behold I say unto you, lift up your eyes and behold the fields that are white unto harvest.”  Matthew 28:19a, “Therefore go and make disciples!” I can’t help but wonder if our Father in heaven might be saddened and disappointed in our lives when His blood bought children just sit in our comfortable churches getting fatter and fatter as we learn more information and enjoy our many, many activities, while our neighbors, community, state, and the world are going to hell in a hand basket.  Just a thought!!

“People need the Lord! Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes, empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On, they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be so great a cost for sharing Life with one who is lost?

Part of the Lyrics to “People need the Lord,” by Steve Green

Joy,

Phyllis

 

Looking for Fruit!

Last year during the Covid shut down, my son, knowing how bored I would be isolated at home, bought me for Mother’s Day a City Pickers Garden container.  It is about 24” X 20” container with wheels.  It was perfect after filling with all the growing ingredients to make my 2 okra plants, 2 bell pepper plants and 2 squash plants grow and produce vegetables. It was fun. This year I decided again to grow vegetables in my City Picker’s Garden.  Each morning I go to the patio to water my little garden.  It brings a smile and excitement to my heart when I see the fruits of my labor ready to harvest.

This morning as I went to check the plants, I was reminded of Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible that states: “The Fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” I think we can certainly say, that is Jesus personified.  We know, this heavenly fruit is only produced in and threw a believer by the power of the Holy Spirit. That life that is totally surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

I cannot help but let my imagination wonder if each day our Heavenly Father might be looking for that Heavenly Fruit in His beloved children.  You see, Jesus labored much on that old, rugged cross for you and me. Our Heavenly Father has watered us with His Word, filled our hearts with faith to believe, and has empowered us with His eternal power.

Oh, how wonderful it is to bring joy to our Heavenly Father’s heart when He sees love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control being lived out by His children.

Joy

Phyllis

BE A BIRD WATCHER!

Every where we turn there is bad and worrisome news. At times I confess, I get caught up in all the worries that the world news is telling me!  Yesterday as I was sitting on my patio watching the birds flying and landing in the yard, seemingly without a care in the world, I was reminded of what my heavenly Father tells me in His Word about His care for His children!

Matthew 6 tells us God’s perspective on WORRY. (I have taken part from verses due to space)

Verse 25: I tell you, STOP being uneasy, anxious, and worried about your life.

Verse 26: Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them.  Are you not worth more than they?

Verse 27: And who of you by worrying can add one unit of measure to your stature or span of your life.

Verse 28: Why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies (bluebonnets in Texas), they neither toil nor spin.

Verse 31: Therefore, do not worry!

Verse 32 Your heavenly Father knows well what you need.

Verse 33: Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you.

Why should I be discouraged,

Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely,

 And long for heaven, heaven and home,

 When Jesus is my portion, My constant Friend is He,

Oh, oh, oh His eye is on the sparrow  and I know he watches over me.

Let not your heart be troubled, His tender Word I hear

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fear;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, AND I KNOW HE WATCHES OVER ME! By Civilla Martin & Charles Gabriel

Joy,

Phyllis