by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
Before America will see revival, there has to be repentance.
We know that America needs a revival, but before there can be revival, there must be repentance. It’s interesting that in Ezekiel 14:6 God tells Israel they must repent and turn. We often define repentance as “a turning away from sin.” But God calls Israel to repent and turn. Two actions. Certainly turning away from sin is a part of repentance, just as regretting sin is part of it. The Greek word for repentance is metanoeo, a verb meaning, “to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge.” The knowledge that occurs before repentance is an awareness of sin and our hopelessness to do anything about it on our own. The spark that bring revival is the knowledge and admittance of sin that leads to true repentance.
Steps to True Repentance that leads to revival
For repentance to occur, one must first have a true sense of their own guilt and sinfulness. When we understand just how sinful we are, we also become aware of our helplessness to do anything on our own about it. Then there must be an acknowledgement of God’s mercy available through Christ. As we recognize the price our sin cost our Savior, there should be a hatred for sin that makes us turn away from it and toward God. Then the evidence of repentance is seen when we persistently strive to live a life that honors God by walking in obedience with Him and surrendering our lives to His will.
True repentance results in a change of action. If you tell God you’re sorry about a sin, but keep doing it, then repentance hasn’t occurred. In Acts 26:20, Paul wrote: “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”
If we want to see revival in America, it starts with each one of us spending time with God alone, allowing him to reveal unconfessed sins and understanding how that sin grieves God. But knowledge alone isn’t enough. We must confess our sins to him and ask him to forgive us. Then we must turn away from them and follow God’s plans and His commandments. Only then has true repentance occurred.
What did Israel need to repent from in order to experience revival?
Israel’s main sin was turning their back on God and choosing to worship idols. In doing so, they practiced many abominations as part of their idolatry rituals, including temple prostitution and child sacrifice. God sent prophet after prophet to warn the nation, but they refused to listen. They wanted to live the way they wanted, not the way God instructed. They wanted to live just like the rest of the world.
The only problem with living like the rest of the world is that God had called them out and set them apart from the rest of the world. Israel was His chosen people and through them His plan for the redemption of all mankind would occur. They were supposed to be different. They were supposed to show the rest of the world who God was.
Why are we to be different than the world?
Likewise, Christians have been set apart from the world. We are not supposed to conform to the world’s way of living. In Romans 12:2, Paul teaches, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:16 that we are to be holy because God is holy. We are to be different than the world. Why? Because Jesus told us in Matthew 5:14 that we are the light of the world. A light that brings revival to the world.
To understand what it means to be the light of the world, we turn to John 8:12, where Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” At the moment we ask Jesus to save us from our sins and to be our Savior, Jesus moved in and took up residence within us through the person of the Holy Spirit. So, we have the light of the world living inside of us.
We have been set apart from the world with the purpose of being different than the world so that the light of Jesus shines through us, making us the light of the world. As the world sees the light of Jesus in us, they too can experience repentance from the darkness of their sins and live in the eternal light of Jesus. As a result, they too experience revival.
What does America need to repent from in order to experience revival?
Do you see any similarities between Israel’s sin and America’s? America – once known for “In God We Trust” – has turned it’s back on God and is swiftly trying to wipe out the existence of God so that we too can live just like the rest of the world. We’ve created idols out of money, careers, possession, relationship, and hobbies. Since it’s beginning as a nation, America has been the nation that showed the world who God is, — but now, we look just like the rest of the world.
Israel did not experience revival, so, what happened to Israel?
After generations of prophets warned Israel to repent and they refused, God sent the Assyrians and Babylonians who conquered Israel and Judah and carried them away into captivity. History has shown us time and time again that when a nation refused to acknowledge God as Lord, that nation lost its greatness. And that is exactly what happened to Israel. During the reign of King David, then nation prospered. His son Solomon brought the nation to its height of glory and prosperity – but Solomon had over 700 wives from many different nations and in attempting to please them, he allowed each of them to bring in their own gods and build shrines to them. And it was all downhill from there.
What Can America Learn from Israel’s Refusal to Repent?
Can we honestly say that American is “one nation under God” anymore? Not at all. We too have allowed religions of all kinds into our nation under the right of freedom of religion. The result is the same as Israel – there are now many gods in America.
We can’t even honestly say we are “one nation.” We’ve allow division to rip us apart at the seems. Division in religion, race, class, and culture. There is even division within our churches over traditional worship or contemporary.
What Can America Expect if We Do Not Repent?
If God would allow His chosen people to be conquered and carried away out of the Promised Land, do you think America can keep on in it’s pride, arrogance, and unrepentant heart and escape God’s judgement? Through every prophet in the Bible, God speaks to us to day with the same warning He gave to Israel. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says, “Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”
It’s time for Christians in America to repent and turn away from our idols. We need to turn our faces away from sin and seek God with all our heart, mind, and strength. We need to return to God. As Christians, we too are set apart from the world. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to bring the world to God. Christians are in the world, not to conform to the world, but so the world will see and know God through us. We need to revive our love for God and our passion to live for Him. We need a revival, but only after repentance of God’s people will revival occur.
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Joy To The World: A 25-Day Advent Bible Reading Plan
Advent is the time where we anticipate with great joy the coming of our Savior. Before Jesus’ birth, people anticipated his arrival as the Messiah. Today, we anticipate His coming again as our victorious, risen, Sovereign, King of kings! In this 25-day Advent Bible reading plan, you get 13 pages with Scripture from the Holman Christian Standard Bible included. The Reading Plan includes four themes as you focus on preparing for the Christmas holiday celebration: Christ is Coming, Christ is Here, Christ will Give, Christ will Come Again. Each day between December 1-25, start your day with the Scripture provided and spend time meditating on what God will say to you through His Word and allow Him to fill your heart with joy this season.[Download not found]
Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template
Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.[Download not found]
What Satan Does Not Want You To know
This trifold document includes Scripture verses that Satan does not want you to know about. As you hide these verses in your heart, you’ll be able to defeat the lies of Satan when he tries his wiles and schemes on you.[Download not found]
We all face stress. How we handle stress, however, has many variables. Learning how to recognize stress, coping with stress, and creating a self-care plan during times of stress can begin by journaling. Taken from our series on Biblical self-care for people in ministry, we’ve created this free download to help you through the things that cause you stress.[Download not found]
2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan
We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.[Download not found]
The Path to Sin
Satan is constantly trying to trip us up and he doesn’t even play fair because he uses our own desires as bait to get us to sin. James tells us the five steps that lead us down the path to sin in James 1:14-15, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” This download helps you identify your desires so that you can better recognize when Satan is baiting you and you can avoid falling into sin. When used along with prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to identify the desires that Satan baits you with, you can then ask the Holy Spirit to help you not become a victim to the bait of your desires. Download the worksheet today.[Download not found]
One Year Bible Reading Plan
With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out![Download not found]
The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.
Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position (paid staff or volunteer) and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.[Download not found]
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
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