Friday, June 29, 2012
“Clouds without rain” Jude 1:12. When Jude, a brother of James and Jesus, wrote these words, he was referring to so-called teachers who were secretly slipping into the early church. Yes, even at the get-go, these self-proclaimed experts were spreading a gangrenous doctrine which gave license to immorality; denying Christ as the only Sovereign and Lord. How could this happen, you might ask. The same way it does today, by men appearing to be full of God on the outside, like a dark grey cloud promising rain, but in actuality they are empty. Jesus himself said that we were to be on guard against false teachers when he said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15. He knew that people would be led astray, by those who deceive us by their outward appearances, but lack godly substance. As I write this, our world is desperately in need of God’s rain, both the parched land and its inhabitants. Are you feeling spiritually dry today? Is there only a rainless cloud in your pulpit? I pray that God develops a thirst in you that can only be quenched, and drenched, by God’s precious, life-giving rain.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” Romans 1:28. This has to be one of the saddest Bible verses I know. Why, because there comes a point when God, after years of “wooing” an individual, will finally turn them over to their own foolish, sinful ways. Basically he’s saying, “Well fine, if that’s what you want, go for it”, knowing full well what will ensue. Why would anybody not want to know God? A friend of mine, Matt Taylor, addressed it this way: “The problem is as ancient as the serpent himself who convinced a couple in a garden that: 1) God's promises were not reliable and He himself was not to be trusted, and 2) they were better off seizing power according to the snake's alternatives (becoming god-like as was the suggestion). Ever since we've tended to call upon our own resources first only appealing to God for His resources as a last resort.” Keeping the knowledge of God was just not worthwhile in comparison to following “The Gospel According to Me”. Is it possible to ever escape from ones own depravity, after God has seemingly moved on? It isn’t easy breaking through the hard shell of self-reliance, but I don’t think it’s impossible. God never gives up on us, and is always waiting to welcome us into his kingdom. “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3:9.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Are you outside or inside of God’s will? I’ve always thought of that expression as meaning whether we were leading a lifestyle either pleasing or displeasing to God. Recently God had me put the emphasis on the word Will. This time “will” meant the legal document that describes how a person wants his estate divided after his death. Who will inherit, and who will be left out? Interestingly, the word inherit is found 62 times in scripture, and inheritance 229. While it didn’t always presuppose a death, it did imply something to be gained or lost. We’ve all seen movies where unscrupulous types try to endear themselves to rich, old Uncle Fred in an attempt to get into his will. If Fred is still in possession of his marbles, he will see through the sham, and keep them out. How similar those characters are to some people today. They assume that as long as they visit dear old God once a week or so, without really knowing him, they can be in his will. Wrong! To inherit the Kingdom involves, most importantly, a personal relationship with God. And by that I mean, not a Sunday only, or Christmas/Easter visitor, but a daily communication, and reliance on him. If those aforementioned folks had really known Uncle Fred, they would have been aware of what pleased him, and what things were big no-nos. Same thing with God, he lovingly informs us of those details so we don’t fall out of the will. “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not INHERIT the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:16-21. Are you sure you’re in His will???
Monday, June 25, 2012
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17. Who do you count as a friend, and why? We all have acquaintances, and of course there are all those “friends” on FB, but who is that someone, or “someones“, who sharpen you? I am blessed to have several Christian friends I can confidently share my deepest thoughts and needs with. Friends who will pray with me, encourage me, and yes, when necessary lovingly guide me back to God’s path. These folks know that they can depend on me as well, and thus we “sharpen” one another as together we grow in God‘s grace. The question then arises, what is your friendship made of? The word doesn’t say, wood sharpens wood, or clay sharpens clay, no it refers to iron, a hard metal, a substance that won’t rust or crumble under adverse conditions. We all know that life dishes out hardships, like Grandma doles out mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, so being and having an ironclad pal is vital. Does that mean we should chuck out all our plastic, glass and pottery friends? Of course not, and who knows, hanging around you may alter their composition. Are you feeling a bit rusty? Need some iron supplement? It’s as close as your Bible!! ***6/25/12
Friday, June 22, 2012
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Philippians 1:21-26. You all know how much I love to travel. I can go for weeks and weeks on the road, but there always comes a time when I long to hug my grandkids, to sleep in my own bed, or eat a tomato fresh from the garden. Paul wrote about a similar situation. He was torn between continuing life, as a preacher on earth, or dying, to be home with God. That homecoming is approaching for all of us, in due time, and how I look forward to that day, but until then we must joyfully be about our Father’s work. It’s truly a win/win situation…that’s why I can confidently say….For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain!!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
People often ask me what the best part about running is. Is it the endorphin release, the health benefits or just the quiet time alone with God? Yes to all of those, but if you want to know the very best thing it’s the elation I feel when I STOP!! Every runner will tell you that the physical activity is wonderful, but finishing is sublime. The Apostle Paul understood this feeling. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Tim 4:7-8. He was willing to “run” the race everyday, no matter how weary he was, and to keep true to God, but he also was looking forward to the day he could stop, and be with God eternally. Life can feel like a “rat race”, as my Mom likes to say, but run we must. So keep your eye on the finish line, the stopping point, and one day we will be resting our weary dogs in Heaven!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
“It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.” Psalm 74:17. Today is the first day of Summer, or the Summer solstice. I could tell you about the tilt of the earth on its axis, etc., but suffice it to say it the day of the year with the longest period of daylight. After today, the daylight will diminish by 1 minute daily until fall. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most have held a recognition of sign of the fertility, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. The Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, explains this verse by saying, “The God of Israel is the God of nature. He that is faithful to his covenant about the day and the night, will never cast off those whom he has chosen. We have as much reason to expect affliction, as to expect night and winter. But we have no more reason to despair of the return of comfort, than to despair of day and summer. And in the world above we shall have no more changes.” In other words, God is still in control! That’s always good to remember, especially in this sometimes out-of-control world!! Yes, we have to endure winter nights, but the warm, wonderful days of summer are in his plan as well! Let’s Celebrate!!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
While eating lunch with some people, one of the men jokingly mentioned that he had been invited to a men’s prayer group. He laughed and commented, “Can you imagine me being a part of a prayer group?” The tone of his voice let everyone know how completely absurd he thought the notion was, and the others seemed to agree. My mind flashed back to Paul and Cyrus holding their own prayer meeting behind prison bars. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.” Acts 16:24-26. With sold out conviction, and absolute faith that God would not only hear them, but answer, those mighty men of faith stormed heaven’s gate, and changed the natural direction of their circumstance. Were they embarrassed or self-conscious, was their masculinity in peril? Perish the thought!! These guys were “REAL MEN”. Men not afraid to say, “I depend on God to strengthen, empower, inspire and guide me in all my endeavors.“ It’s a sad, but true, commentary on the spiritual condition of the church that the idea of men praying has become a laughing matter. Many feel that praying is best left to clergy members, or ladies who gather for tea and cookies. Balderdash!! That’s exactly what our enemy wants us to think, and we’re falling right into his trap. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have, and to think that many men are dropping the baton, is frightening. If you haven’t been in scripture recently, check it out, men prayed, and because of that, God accomplished amazing things. He still needs praying men to carry out the mighty deeds he has planned. Let’s put an end to the notion that praying is “woman’s work”, and get some fellow believers together in prayer. Then stand back and watch what God does…hey, I’ll even bake you some cookies!!!
Monday, June 18, 2012
I’m not the gardener in the family, but one thing I know is, if you plant zinnia seeds you won’t harvest carrots. Sadly, there are Christians who are under the assumption that they can sow “wild oats“, and still reap God‘s grace. Sorry to be the bubble-burster, but it has never worked that way, and since God hasn’t changed the rules, it never will be. People like to think that in this modern, enlightened age, what God used to count as sin is now acceptable behavior. After all, TV and entertainment are full of it, everyone does it, and God loves everyone, hey, some churches even preach it, so He surely doesn’t apply those archaic dictates anymore. Times may have changed, but God remains consistent. I like knowing that what is coming up in “my garden“, pleases God. Don’t be fooled by the “weeds” that our highly intelligent, contemporary culture sows; He may let the weeds grow, but a time is coming when they will be separated from the crop. Take a look at your own garden, keep it watered and nourished by God‘s word, and keep those weeds out!! “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Wherever I‘ve traveled, around the world, the raising of a nation‘s flag is a rallying point for patriotism and pride. For instance, in a monarchy, such as the United Kingdom, a special flag flies over the palace when the Queen is in residence. Throughout recorded time, when armies marched out to battle, their banner proudly went before them. The sight of our own Stars and Stripes, always make me pause and remember the wonderful nation we call home, America…”One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” While we have our share of flaws, I‘m still proud to call myself an American. As a Christian we too have a banner, one representing the indwelling spirit of God, that the whole world should see. Today we honor our nation’s flag, and everyday be sure to let God’s flag fly free from the castle of your heart. “In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.” Isaiah 11:10.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If it will brighten someone’s day, say it.
If it will tarnish someone’s reputation, keep it to yourself.
Every home has its own unique set of rules. When I was growing up, my parents had certain rules or standards they wanted us to abide by. I’m sure your parents did too. While the rules may have varied a bit, from home to home, the reasons behind them were always for our well being. Now that I’m a grown up I can say that, although it wasn’t the case then. It always seemed that there was one kid whose parents had few or no rules. I envied them. If said kid happened to come to my house, where they supposed to abide by our house rules? Obviously, some short term, general behavior standards applied, but my parent’s authority was only applicable, long-term, to those living within our household, even if they cared about them. In a bigger sense we can apply this same thinking to those who live outside God’s “household“. As a Christian, I am fully aware of what my father expects of me; His rules, meant for me, his kid. Now suppose, similar to when I was a child, I come in contact with a person whose lifestyle goes against my father’s rules? Just like my earthly parent’s authority extended solely to me, so too does mine to Non-Christians. Even if I know that their behavior is harmful, both physically and spiritually, authentic change will never take place by me judging anyone based on my Christian values/rules. It’s not the way Jesus operated, and it’s certainly not the way we should. Instead, ours lives should be so appealing that people will long to know more, and ultimately join the family of their own free will. God draws people to himself by demonstrating his love, never a critical spirit. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
100% chance of rain, that’s what the weather report was calling for recently. I don’t claim to be a meteorologist, but couldn’t they just say, “It’s going to rain, no doubt about it!”? That simple sentence got me thinking about how we humans love to rate things. Contestants on “Dancing With the Stars” receive scores based on performance; I love to get 5star ratings on my photos; and Drs give patients cure percentages when they deliver a diagnosis. That led me to wonder how we would rate the truth of scripture, and in turn, our belief in God. In a Gallup poll taken in May 2011, more than 9 in 10 Americans still say "yes" when asked the basic question "Do you believe in God?"; this is down only slightly from the 1940s, when Gallup first asked this question. God’s popularity suffered a bit, down to 80%, when they added the options of ; Universal Spirit 12%; Don’t Believe in Either 6%; Other 1%; and No Opinion 1%. As a Christian, there can be nothing less than 100% belief. You can’t be a small percentage Christian any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. You are, or you aren’t! It’s not a pick and chose what you like, and ignore the rest deal. To treat God, and his word as if it where a gigantic, ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT buffet that you pick at, is an abomination. We either accept the fact that God is the Creator, and the Bible is true, or we don’t. I am always learning more about my faith, but I’m 100% convinced that becoming a Christian was the best decision I’ve ever made…no doubt about it!! “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.” Romans 8:38. Are you 100% convinced?
Monday, June 11, 2012
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2Tim. 3:1-5. This sounds like the basis for a new reality show, “Last Days: The Reality“. Yes, Virginia, there is a real Last Days coming, and I suppose you could safely say that every generation of Christians was/is looking forward to it. You heard me right, LOOKING FORWARD to it!! When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, the collective thinking of the church was that Christ’s return was imminent, and that‘s what they taught. Even though we are still in the anticipating mode, we can learn a lot from what Paul had to share. Primarily, time is precious, and we need to surround ourselves with those who are either equipping, evangelizing or edifying believers. Stay clear of the aforementioned people, especially the ones who try to act religious. Jesus himself acknowledged that not everyone will accept him, and we need to move on to help those whose hearts have not become hardened. As the Nicene Creed emphasizes: Christ has died, Christ has risen, CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN. That’s a promise, so make this time count!!
Friday, June 8, 2012
Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. Ah yes, the Seven Deadly Sins. Since early Christian times, the church, (read men), decided it would be a good idea to classify sin into two major categories. 1. Venial; relatively minor infractions, which didn’t jeopardize personal salvation, and 2. Mortal or Deadly; which were believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person and thus created the threat of eternal damnation. With this list in place the church was able to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity's tendency to sin. Obviously, everyone sins, it comes pre-installed in our flesh uniforms. Step back for a second from the ugly term, sin, and look at the origin of each of these. Wrath, anger or rage, however you choose to label it, stems from a basic, non-sinful emotion. Someone ticks us off, we get annoyed. We get into trouble, and ultimately sin, when we allow it to control our emotions letting them become acts of violence, or self-destruction. Now think about greed, it too begins with the human need for possessions or money, items we must have to live our lives. Do you see the same trend that I see? God knows we have needs and desires, so when he sets his standards, the goal is to keep us safe, content and fulfilled. Enter Original Sin, and goodbye contentment. It amazes me that each and every sin is the result of our humanness wanting more from a basic need, overstepping the loving boundaries that God engineered for our protection and benefit. Believe it or not, He always has our best interests at heart. As a parent, I know that my kids didn’t always like my rules, but I continually explained why I had set them. God, as our loving father, wants us to know his reasons too. Ask him, then rest in His contentment. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I think it’s interesting that many people want to be “spiritual”, but are hostile towards Christianity. I asked a friend of mine why he was enthralled with Deepak Chopra, and not the Bible. His answer didn’t surprise me, but it made me sad. He emphatically stated that he couldn’t stand the hypocrisy, greed and general condemnation that was rampant in the church. It seemed to him that, “so called” Christians were following individual preachers whose doctrines vowed hell and damnation to anyone who thought other than they did. Their battle cry is; “Let’s round up all the sinners, humiliate, threaten, or frighten them into Heaven! Whatever it takes, in love, to clean up this world for Jesus!” I asked him to stop and think about Jesus for a moment. Could he remember any scripture that showed Jesus acting in such a radical way? His answer was no.
No indeed, Christ presented to us a life lived in obedience to God which included loving, healing and serving the unlovable, and yes, the sinners. How did we get so far from that original model? Why are we not portraying him correctly to the world? Acts 2: 42-47 gives us this snapshot of what the church was, and should be now. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
The churches that “man has created” are not, for the most part, in alignment with that picture. We have decided to not only redefine Christ’s mission, but his entire character as well. No longer are we “enjoying the favor of all the people”, instead we are alienating them. Shame on the church! It breaks my heart, and it should break yours too. It’s not the easiest thing to love on people who stand for lifestyles contrary to our own beliefs, but please pray, asking God to give you that kind of heart…the heart of compassion that Jesus has! Let’s resolve to love, not demean people into His Kingdom!!
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Who’s in your posse? We all have certain people we enjoy hanging out with. Usually we share similar interests and backgrounds, or they are just easy to get along with. I’d like to add to that group three Biblically referenced personalities who would benefit us greatly. 1. It would behoove us all to have a pal like St. Paul. A Paul is the type of friend we can learn from. Perhaps they have a strong marriage, or they demonstrate sincere devotion to their job, church or family, whatever that positive quality is, sidle up next to them and learn. 2. Barnabas is next in line. Barney is the guy we all want to be around. He is an encourager, in fact the Barnabas we meet in scripture was nicknamed the “Son of Encouragement”. It was this same man who smoothed the way for Paul to meet the other Apostles, even though they were all apprehensive and fearful of him. Barney also builds you up, but not in a phony way, no, this guy always tells you the truth in love. Who doesn’t need a friend like that? 3. Lastly, after we have been educated and encouraged, we could use a Timothy. Timothy was the young man who traveled and learned from Paul, then later went out preaching on his own. We need to share our knowledge, and love for God, by reinvesting into that kind of person. It is our honor and responsibility to pass along all that we have garnered from others to the waiting world. Ask God to send you a Paul, a Barney and a Tim, you know he has them waiting for you! “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
In reference to “getting into” Heaven, how good does one have to be? I have a friend who has asked me this question many times. My answer is always the same; goodness has nothing to do with it. Surprisingly, Hell has lots of good people in its ranks. We all want to believe that our “unsaved” loved ones, those who do not profess or acknowledge Christ as their Savior, will make it to Heaven based on personal performance, or by merely being good people. As much as we’d like to think that’s true, it isn’t. In fact, scripture states that our goodness, apart from Him, is like filthy rags, and to be blunt, the literal translation is menstrual cloths. In his book, How Good is Good Enough?, Andy Stanley addresses this very subject. It’s a short, yet Biblically accurate, restating of the only path to eternity with God; Grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”—Ephesians 2:8. I think many folks, and at one time, even I, thought that God had this giant ledger book that he was constantly entering my actions into. There was the good column and the bad, not unlike Santa Claus, and everything I did was recorded. My belief was that if the good outweighed the bad, I could bypass Hell and go directly to Heaven, when the time came. Did you ever feel that way? Do you still? Well, I have good news for you; you can’t “good deed” your way into Heaven. The ONLY way is through a life changing, totally committed, personal relationship with Christ. If you’ve never studied the Bible, and you have questions or doubts about your own salvation, pick up a copy of this book. I think it will help lead you in the direction God wants you, or a loved one, to go….the only direction, His!
Monday, June 4, 2012
I’m doing an experiment on my husband’s tomato plants. In years past, the bushes have gotten big, leafy and green, but the actual fruit was scarce. Joe was always watering and fertilizing, that wasn’t the issue, so what was the problem? While visiting with my sister, she mentioned that the plants would be more prolific if the “suckers” were pulled off. As is my habit, I Googled it. Sure enough, a youtube video on pruning tomatoes came up on the screen, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I left some plants with their suckers intact, just to see what the difference will be….time will tell. It’s difficult to cut off anything that looks lush and alive, Joe is dubious, but any gardener will tell you that it must be done to increase productivity. A sucker, while it looks nice, will not bear fruit, it only sucks the precious moisture and nutrients that rightly belong to the tomato. In my own life, and yours, there are suckers too. These seemingly innocuous hanger-onners sap our strength, and keeps our spiritual fruit from developing. What are these useless sappers anyway? I’ll explain it as; any thing, person or activity that keeps us from being productive for God’s kingdom. Think of all those pursuits that keep you from finishing any task. They may not be bad, but after you get sidetracked by messing with them, you’re pooped out, with no energy left for the truly important work. You know the things I mean, now apply that thinking to doing God’s tasks. Who doesn’t love to see, and savor, big juicy tomatoes, and full clusters of grapes. With a bit of pruning, that will be the kind of fruit we will bear. So pick off those suckers, and let God do the same with you!! I can’t wait to see those overflowing bushel baskets! “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2
Friday, June 1, 2012
It’s Spring, a time when people spruce up around their homes and property. Outside they plant flowers, trim unruly bushes, and generally perk things up. Same thing inside, we box up unwanted clothes, and knick knacks, put up new curtains, anything that makes the place look revived. When you hear the word revive/revival, what does it bring to mind? Sans dictionary, I broke it down into two parts, “re”, to do something over or return to a previous state, and “vive”, meaning life, living or alive. So, the verb revive is defined as returning something to its former, “alive” self. A plant, after a long winter, needs pruning, mulching, fertilizing and water to allow it to bloom and grow again. A grand old house can be revived to its former glory, with plenty of remodeling, and a cold drink hydrates a long distance runner. From a Christian perspective, a revival (noun) brings to mind a huge white tent, reverberating with the roar of a swoopy-haired evangelist preaching fire and brimstone to starched ladies and gents, fanning themselves on a humid July evening. The more I thought about it, the more clarity I received. In either scenario the thing, be it flora, fauna or otherwise, to be revived must have been alive at some point. Many people and church revivals, entreat God to send renewal, but my question is, where they ever really alive in Christ? By that phrase I mean, as an individual, have you, not your parents or church, ever made the decision to be reborn and serve Christ? To willingly die to the old, carnal self and be made a new creation in Him? If you have never done so, you can never say you have ever been spiritually alive, and true revival is impossible. Yes, we live and breathe, but the only genuine life is the one lived through Jesus. Even to those who choose to serve him, “life” can get buried beneath our cares, that’s when he comes to revive us, returning to us the original joy of our salvation. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.