VIDEO Will You Pay the Price for a National Awakening?

April 8, 2021  by Shane Idleman

I recently had the privilege of speaking on the theme of Paying the Price at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in California, pastored by Rob McCoy (a short clip is here.) My brief exhortation drove home the fact that America crossed a dangerous line years ago. Instead of repenting and turning back to God, we have walked further into the deep waters of ungodliness. The decadence and brutality in our streets are unparalleled in our history. Despair and depression reign in our land. But—believe it or not—I am hopeful.

Where do I find such hope? In studying various spiritual awakenings (including those in the Bible), I have found that darkness often precedes light. For instance, in his book on revival, W. T. Stead makes a stunning observation: “It is the darkest hour before the dawn. The nation always seems to be given over to the Evil One before the coming of the Son of Man [Jesus Christ]. The decay of religious faith, the deadness of the Churches, the atheism of the well-to-do, the brutality of the masses, all of these, when at their worst, herald the approach of the Revival.” He then concludes with this powerful offer of hope: “Things seem to get too bad to last. The reign of evil becomes intolerable. Then the soul of the nation awakes.” Sadly, it often takes tragedy and calamity to wake us up.

Have We Really Sought the Lord Wholeheartedly?

Decades ago, Gordon Cove challenged readers when he wrote, “You have not sought the Lord with ‘your whole heart’ until you have tried a protracted season of prayer and fasting.” Could a lack of prayer and fasting be one of the hindrances to a spiritual awakening? Absolutely! Desperate times call for desperate measures. A full stomach makes seeking God difficult, prayer hard, and worship challenging.

Cove continues, “In many cases, where fasting has been added to the prayers, along with deep consecration and weeping before God, the answer has miraculously come to hand.” Fasting doesn’t twist God’s arm, but it does bend my knee. Fasting isn’t a work; it’s exchanging one appetite for a greater one.

The Spark that Ignites the Flame

My goal isn’t to overemphasize fasting, but it’s clear that fasting has fallen by the wayside and King Stomach is still on the throne. In reading about the spiritual renewals under the preaching of John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Duncan Campbell, Evan Roberts, and the Puritans, as well as in the First and Second Great Awakenings, I have found that, along with keeping the Word of God front and center, intense prayer and vigorous fasting were the sparks that ignited the flame. God heard the cry of His children.

Could it be that we aren’t willing to pay the price through a deep season of prayer and fasting? Granted, in the same way we cannot produce a field of corn by making it rain, a spiritual awakening cannot be orchestrated. It’s God’s work alone, but we can prepare the soil of our heart by fully surrendering our lives. God revives those who submit themselves to Him with open and empty hands (Isaiah 57:15).

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility

A.W. Pink, in Gleanings from Joshua, said, “It would indeed be strange if we apprehended how that on the one hand Canaan was a free gift unto Israel, which they entered by grace alone; and on the other, that they had to fight for every inch of it!” Although we are totally dependent on God, a spiritual awakening will not come without a fight.

In the book of Joel, the people’s provisions had dried up and withered away. They were desperate and despondent, but God didn’t give up on them. To show the magnitude of their sin and the need for humility, God told Joel to consecrate a fast and cry out to Him. Crying out, fasting, and repentance were the sparks that ignited the flame (Joel 1:4-14; 2:12-17). If you’d like to join me in fasting for our nation, see the note below.

Four Essential Steps to a Spiritual Awakening

The following scriptural truths, along with prayer and fasting, can no doubt ignite the fires of another spiritual awakening.

1. Embrace godly sorrow and confess sin. Confession of sin is often a precursor to a spiritual awakening, both personally and corporately. During the 1904-1905 revivals in Wales, Evan Roberts said that four things contributed to the revival. At the top of the list was the confession of sin as well as acknowledging Jesus Christ publicly, followed by obedience to the Spirit and the removal of doubt about God’s truth. How are you doing in these areas? If we don’t make changes here, we will not experience all that God has for us.

2. Humble yourself before God does. In Isaiah 58, fasting was ineffective because the people were harsh and self-focused. Whether it’s pastors throwing tirades from the pulpit, carnal Christians mocking God, or proud believers who never look in the mirror, we have not yet humbled ourselves. We underestimate how rebellion and pride prevent spiritual awakenings: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). Pride must be crushed under the power of the cross.

3. Holiness is not a suggestion. Second Corinthians 7:1 says that we must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates our spirit. Romans 12:1 reminds us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Without holiness, no one will see revival. Perhaps it’s time to examine yourself and see how you’re doing in this area. If nothing comes to mind, ask God to show you areas of sin in your life. Spend a Sweet Hour of Prayer with God.

4. There must be continual hunger and thirst for God. On this point, I’m often reminded of the three times in Leviticus 6 where God instructs that fire should always be burning on the altar. And Jesus, in Matthew 5:6, tells us that only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.

A spiritual awakening is God’s power meeting God’s people who are hungry for more of Him. Full surrender isn’t optional; it’s essential: “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

It’s not about perfection but direction. What direction are you heading? Will He find you empty, humble, and desperate, or full, arrogant, and satisfied?

Will you pay the price for a national awakening? It’s our only hope.

Note: I recently became so broken over what we are leaving the next generation that I began a lengthy water fast, not knowing that it would be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m planning to post my experience in May 2021. You can hear about the outcome by subscribing to my YouTube channel here. Additionally, my new book, 40 Days to Reset Your Life, is scheduled to be released in June. This book demonstrates how prayer and fasting can reset your life and change your spiritual course as well as the course of the nation.

https://shaneidleman.com/2021/04/08/will-you-pay-the-price-for-a-national-awakening/

Don’t Ignore God. There is a Hell!

By Dr. Mark Creech – June 23, 2019

There is a matter that somewhat afflicts my spirit every day. It is the observation that so many of the people with whom I associate hardly ever give God a thought. When it comes to the way they live, God is not a part of the equation. Not only do they never think of him, (unless thrown into some trouble from which their abilities can’t rescue them) but they don’t fear him.

There is a final destination for people like this: hell.

Samuel Gordon once wrote:

“Philosophically there must be a hell. That is the name for the place where God is not; for the place where they will gather together who insist on leaving God out. God out! There can be no worse hell than that!”

 

The beloved Christian writer, Max Lucado, summarized the greatest horror of hell. He wrote:

“God isn’t there.”

Certainly, hell is the just deserts of those who owe God for every good thing in life but want nothing to do with him or his ways.

Hell is real. It’s not simply a state of being, the Bible describes it as a place of consciousness (Lk. 16:23, 24), a place of eternal torment (Lk. 16:23, 28), a place of darkness, (Mt. 8:12), a place of eternal separation from loved ones who believed (Lk. 13:28), a place without the slightest hope of relief or release (Mt. 25:46, Heb. 6:2), and a place of regret and torturous memory (Lk. 16:27, 28).

A few months ago, I spoke with a woman who told me her husband had a realistic and terrifying dream about crossing a river in a valley. She said he wept for a half hour afterward. In the dream, there were demon spirits that blinded and transformed people into wicked beings themselves, who consequently blinded others, all of whom were enslaved forever.

I felt the dream had spiritual significance and explained that it matched much of what the Bible says about dreams with divine messages, the devil, demonic influences, spiritual blindness, sin, and judgment. I urged both of them to act on the dream’s biblical message and be sure of a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. However, I don’t think either of them has decided anything on the matter.

Their situation reminded me of a story from the Eighteenth Century about a resident from Glasgow, Scotland, whose name was Archibald Boyle.

Boyle was a leading member of an organization called “The Hell Club.” The club was well-known in its day for its immoral excesses.

One night after much debauchery at their annual meeting, Boyle dreamed that he was riding home on his black horse, when an unknown figure appeared from nowhere, seized the reins from him, shouting:

“You must go with me.”

In an attempt to wrest back the reins, the horse reared, and Boyle fell, down, down, with ever-increasing velocity. He looked and next to him was the fearful attendant who had commandeered his horse away from him. Boyle cried out:

“Where are you taking me?”

To which the unrelenting entity replied:

“To hell.”

When they reached hell’s floor, Boyle said he immediately heard echoes from the groans and yelling of frantic revelry. He entered through a grand archway, where he saw hell’s inhabitants chasing the same sinful pleasures they had pursued in life, but were now like phantoms.

Boyle soon perceived he was surrounded by people he had known on earth. There was a woman, an acquaintance, who was absorbed in a card game of gambling. When he saw this, he relaxed and said:

“If this is hell, what a devilish pleasant place it must be.”

When he proceeded to ask the woman if she might provide a tour of hell’s pleasures, she shrieked:

“THERE IS NO REST IN HELL!!!”

The woman then unclasped the vest of her expensive robe and displayed to Boyle’s shuddering gaze a coil of living snakes, writhing, darting, and stinging her bosom – the very seat of her emotions and affections.

Others whom he knew in hell also revealed similar pangs of the soul, but worse still, he witnessed a hopeless agony of regret in everyone. They laughed, sang and spoke irreverently, just as they had on earth, but they could never rest from it – not the slightest moment of reprieve was granted. They could never do right. They could never change and experience the sweetness and the blessedness of a godly life. They could never know the tenderness of God’s grace and mercy. They could never know forgiveness nor give it. They were forever bound to each sinful way to which they had tenaciously held onto in life. Except in hell, their libertinism had turned into bitter chains of constant anguish.

“These are the pleasures of hell,” an earthly voice mockingly boomed.

Terrified at what he was seeing, Boyle begged his companion:

“Please take me from this place. By the living God whose name I have so often outraged, I beg you, let me go!”

His guide replied:

“Go then; but, in a year and a day, we meet to part no more.”

Despite his resolution to never again attend the Hell Club, Boyle was drawn back. His friends intensely pressed him, and though his conscience weighed heavily on him, he feared their sneers more than he feared God.

At the next annual meeting of Hell Club, which Boyle attended, every nerve in his body seemed to thrash him at the first sentence of the president’s opening address:

“My friends, this is leap year; therefore it is a year and a day since our last meeting.”

After the meeting, Boyle mounted his horse to ride home. The following morning, however, his horse was found quietly grazing by the roadside. Just a few yards in the distance lay the stiffened corpse of Archibald Boyle.

The Scriptures solemnly warn:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:9-11).

The list above is not meant to be an exhaustive catalog of people who will find themselves in hell one day. Revelation 21:8 includes something similar, adding:

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Rev. 21:8).

I’ve included both of these texts because much of what’s listed is celebrated and lauded today, not repudiated as it should be. Don’t be fooled! Even though some churches have hailed these behaviors in recent years, the end for those who characteristically live this way is one of eternal damnation.

Still, let me make it abundantly clear. You don’t have to be grossly wicked to go to hell. All that’s necessary is to ignore God’s claim on your life. Don’t make him a part of the equation, rarely think of him, leave him out, don’t surrender control to him as the Lord, your God, don’t fear him, and to your surprise and dismay, although you thought of yourself as a pretty good person, at the end of life, you’ll find yourself in that terrible place.

There are two lives that you can live – life your way or life God’s way.

There are two leaders that you can follow – yourself or God. There are two decisions that you can make – to receive God’s salvation through Christ or to reject him.

Every person must make a choice. Even choosing not to make a choice is a choice made against God. There is no neutrality. Either we acknowledge God’s sovereignty over us, trust his means of redemption from the penalty and power of sin, which he provides in Jesus Christ and by his Holy Spirit, or we are eternally left to our own devices and land in hell.

Admittedly, as the Great Reformer, Martin Luther said, it’s very difficult to know and understand all of what hell is;

“Only this we know, there is such a sure and certain place.”

 

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The Sovereignty of God as Seen in Seeds and Flesh

JUNE 11, 2018 by STEVE SPURLIN, PHD

 

I enjoy finding little things in Scripture and nature that, if we are not careful, get overlooked in our observations.  I think this may be one of them.

pumpkin seedsIn First Corinthians 15:35-41 Paul explains the differences in the physical makeup of different sectors of God’s creation.  First, Paul rebukes those who were denying the doctrine of the physical resurrection. The hypothetical questioner is addressed as “foolish” and Paul directs their attention to the seeds that farmers sow as a means of demonstrating how even nature demonstrates the logic of the physical resurrection (vv. 36-37).  A bare grain, “perhaps of wheat or something else,” is sown, but what it produces is much different from what went into the ground.

Here is the little tidbit that we may miss if we don’t pay close attention.  Paul says that “God gives it [whatever the it is] a body just as He wished” (v. 38).  He gives the seeds their own bodies “as He wished” (v. 38).

Furthermore, there are various types of flesh, one for men, another for beasts, another of birds, another of fish (v. 39).  Behind all of these is again that statement Paul wrote in verse 38, all of these were the product of God’s thelo, His will.

Then there are celestial bodies and earthly bodies each having their own glory that matches the body with which God endowed them (vv. 40-41). Paul even goes as far as to point out the fact that of the billions and billions of stars in our galaxy as well as those in the many other galaxies each of them is the result of His design, which reflects His desire.  In turn, His desire carried out is further evidence of His sovereignty in creation.

From my perspective it is just very interesting to see how God demonstrated so much attention to detail in His Creation and that even in the smallest things, such as the design of a seed, God’s sovereignty is there to be seen.

And we must stand in awe of His glory.

 

 

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