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Friday, July 3, 2009
A well-watered garden in Perry County, PA.
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"People of Conviction"
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them" (Deuteronomy 32:28).
Tomorrow is Independence Day here in America with many beginning to celebrate today and throughout the extended weekend. I realize many readers live outside of the USA but you can also apply today's brief challenge to the nation in which you live. In fact. in one way or another there's nowhere on earth this message would not apply.
Proverbs 14:34 describes two contrasting outlooks concerning the state of a nation in God's reckoning:
1) "Righteousness exalts a nation." Righteousness in this case refers to people seeking to live according to God's holy standards as expressed in His Word. As people seek to live this way a nation is exalted or elevated; it is upright. By "nation" we may think of a present day political subdivision but the sense here is a people group.
2) "But sin is a disgrace to any people." A great definition of sin is from the Westminster Catechism, a helpful learning tool developed during the Reformation which taught the faith with questions followed by brief answers. What is sin? "Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God." Sin is a disgrace or, as translated in many versions, a "reproach". It stains, separates, and brings shame to the transgressor.
Consider the disgrace of rampant sexual immorality, violence, idolatry, dishonesty, greed and so many other evidences of sin in our land. It seems day by day this disgrace increases and the pace has certainly accelerated here in the USA in recent years, and is even more visible in recent months. A depraved entertainer dies and the media and masses practically deify him. June was declared by our president a month to celebrate sexual perversions. Here in my state (Pennsylvania) our governor is an ardent gambling proponent and in the last several years casino gambling has been approved as a means of urban renewal and tax relief! A state-sponsored ad promoting gambling speaks of the players as "investing". What a sad, pathetic condition this land is in.
Deuteronomy 32:28 is taken from the context of a nation experiencing God's judgment; summed up with this description, "without sense, no discernment".
Today I write to the people of God scattered throughout the world and encourage you to pray and live out a godly life against the grain of popular culture. In this great spiritual darkness Jesus continues to call His followers to "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Calvin Coolidge observed that "the strength of a country is the strength of its religious convictions." It is obvious by the sin that abounds in our land that our spiritual convictions are very weak in our present day.
Let us, as Christ's true disciples, be people of conviction who will stand up for righteousness. May we be counted among those who exercise spiritual sense and discernment. By doing so our righteousness will have a part in exalting this nation and help to bring about spiritual change in the lives of those living within our nation!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, we want to live above the fray of this world as a people of righteousness set apart for Your purpose. We forsake the things of this world that bring disgrace to Your holy name and live for the purpose of bringing glory, honor and praise to You, our Father. We pray for our nation, for the turning away from our sins and turning toward the abundant life we find in Christ our Lord. You've called us to repentance and to share the good news of salvation to all who are lost. Help us to seek a fresh calling upon our lives to be obedient in this commission from Scripture. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
To all of God's people who are interested in the study of His Word, in the development of their own Christian lives, in a revival of the spiritual life of the Church, in the conversion of sinners, and in the evangelization of the world:
Many thoughtful people have come to feel strongly that the hope of the church today is in a deep and widespread revival. We are confronted with difficulties that can be met in no other way. The enemy has come in like a flood - it is time for those who believe in a supernatural religion to look to God to lift up a standard against him. Oh, for a revival of such power that the tide of unbelief and worldliness that is sweeping in upon us shall be beaten back; that every Christian shall be lifted to a higher level of life and power, and multitudes of perishing souls be converted to God! Why not? God's arm is not shortened, nor His ear heavy.
The history of revivals proves that such a work must begin at the house of God. Who can doubt that if somehow the Church could be thoroughly aroused – not a mere scratching of the surface of our emotions, but a deep heart-work that shall make us right with God and clothe us with power in prayer and service – this century would witness the mightiest movements of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost!
Let us break up our fallow ground, seek a fresh anointing of the Spirit, and then move forward, expecting great things of God.
(D.L. Moody wrote the above message about Spiritual Revival to Christian workers, inviting them to attend a Conference at Northfield, MA, in August of 1899 (four months before his death at 62 years.) We include this message today because, though it was penned 110 years ago, its message is timely for our nation and our world.)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"If My People Pray" Video Avalon
"Purify My heart" Video Brian Doerkson
"Restore My Soul" Audio
"Give Us Clean Hands" Video Chris Tomlin
The Westminster Shorter Catechism Here is a complete online version. I regret that a teaching method like this is not used more today, including in my own ministry.
Regardless of what country you may live in we all sure need a heaven-sent revival! This Sunday morning July 5 our church will join many others in participating in "Call2Fall", a nationwide prayer meeting. We encourage others to look into this, especially pastors here in America. Essentially this is a definite time during worship on Sunday, July 5th when we get on our knees before the Lord in repentant prayer, pleading with God to reshape our lives, renew our land, and send times of refreshing (See 2 Chronicles 7:14; Acts 3:19)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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