FOOTSTEPS TO FOLLOW
“Revive: To activate; to set in motion; to renew; to bring back into notice; an evangelistic service for the purpose of affecting a religious awakening.”
Yes, dear ones, all of the above and much more we can look forward to with great expectation from our Lord in this New Year!
We are in need of a revival in our individual lives and corporately in our local area. The Lord desires to activate us into His service and set things in motion. He desires rejuvenation and, even in some cases, a resurrection. As we awaken to His guidance, direction and leadership, our eyes will be open and we can step into this New Year with fresh perspective and purpose.
How many times have you said to yourself or heard others say, “Time is certainly going so fast!” (Ah yes, the older we get the faster it seems to go!). When I look at this scripture in Ephesians 5:15-17, it reminds me that it is important to make the very most of our days and times: “Look carefully then how you walk (live purposefully and worthily and accurately), not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people). Making the very most of the time (buying up every opportunity) because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”
Revival doesn’t just happen, but there is work to be done. Our job is to first get the mind and heart of our Savior and then move in the direction He speaks to us. The dark areas will be filled with light and we will be revived. Let the words of this powerful hymn speak to us all, and may we be refreshed and renewed in 2014!
“We praise Thee, O God! For the Son of Thy love, For Jesus who died, and is now gone above,
We praise Thee O God! For Thy Spirit of light, Who has shown us our Savior and scattered our night.
All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain, Who has borne all our sins, and hath cleansed every stain.
Revive us again; fill each heart with Thy love, May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Revive us again.”
– Whaley is the North Central Region director of the Yokefellow Prison Ministry.
FOOTSTEPS TO FOLLOW
The sharp contrasts of recent weather have me pondering God’s hand upon our lives. Sometimes God brings careful order to our existence. For example, consider the Ten Commandments. You can’t get much more ordered than that.
The first 20 chapters of the Biblical book of Exodus tells the wild and woolly story of God’s people as they endure slavery, oppression, plagues, escape and wandering in the wilderness. Finally, God calls the people to Mount Sinai, summons Moses to the mountaintop, and through miraculous signs and wonders provides the law that will bring order to God’s people for centuries to come. Sometimes God carefully orders our lives as illustrated in the giving of the Ten Commandments.
These winter months may be the perfect time to reflect on God’s order. Maybe you’ve come through your own wild and woolly times and are just now feeling the touch of God’s steady hand restoring peace to you and those you love. Perhaps the change of transition is finally giving way to comfortable routines, familiar faces and safe places. There are times when God brings order to life, and that is good.
However, there also are times when the Spirit of God moves and the winter wind blows where it chooses. The Biblical Gospel of John tells the tale of Jesus blowing through the Jerusalem temple like a mighty wind that turns everything upside down. The temple is filled with faithful pilgrims practicing their religion. Jesus enters, but instead of praying, singing, and meditating, he starts overturning the tables. According to the story the temple has become too much like a business and too little like God’s house. So the Lord turns everything upside down.
A lot of folks are buffeted by strong winds this winter and experiencing life turned upside down. Maybe you are among the number reeling from an injury, illness, grief or catastrophe. Perhaps events in your life and events around the world have you feeling uneasy, uncertain, frightened and confused. You may even be asking, “Why has God turned my life upside down?” I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know.
I don’t know why sometimes God brings order to our lives and other times God turns our lives upside down. The composer of Psalm 147 declares that God’s “understanding is beyond measure.” I confess difficulty in understanding drastic changes in the Spiritual climate. But, there is something I do understand. That is, whether our lives are in order or upside down, God is there. Whether things are running smoothly or right into the ground, God still cares. Whether we’re living in the safety of comfortable routines or enduring frightening circumstances, God is with us and we are never alone.
Sometimes God gives us order. Sometimes God turns our lives upside down. But always God loves us, forever and forever and forever again.
– Charnock is the director of Mission Integration and Ethics at Susquehanna Health.