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Nehemiah: Setting Straight the Relapse

The Backstory:

If the book of Nehemiah had ended at Chapter 12, it would have had a happy ending. At this point in the story, the city had been rebuilt and the people celebrated with a grand dedication service. In fact, their celebration and praise could be heard beyond Jerusalem. The priests and Levites had been reinstated into serving the Lord in the Temple and the people willingly brought their tithes and offerings. As a result the Temple chambers are well stocked and ready to meet the needs of those who served in the temple.

After the Jews were sent into captivity for 70 years because of their rebelliousness against God, God graciously allowed them to return to Jerusalem. They returned in three phases with Nehemiah bringing the last group back. Upon his 1st arrival to Jerusalem, he inspected the wall that surrounded the city. The wall had been destroyed when the city was invaded 70 years earlier. But as they returned, Nehemiah led the people to rebuild it. Once it was rebuilt, they dedicated the wall and set up the temple responsibilities. Then they gathered all the people together for the reading of the law that God gave to Moses. They made promises to keep the law, but then Nehemiah returned to Babylon and while he was away, the people relapsed into their old sins.

And so, rather than a happy ending, we find Chapter 13. And in this chapter, the people failed to keep their promises and they were not faithful to God – the very reason they had been conquered and sent into exile in the first place.

A Relapse

We don’t know how much time lapsed between chapter 12 and 13, but given how far the people had strayed from God, it was probably a long time. So what happened? We find the answer in Nehemiah 13:6-7: “But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem.”

What he saw upon his return, was that the people had fallen back to their old ways. He tells us there were four problems that had cropped back up among the people: 1) the priests had become corrupt, 2) the tithes were not brought in, 3) the Sabbath rest was ignored, and 4) the people had intermarried with foreigners and started following their religious practices.

A relapse of this magnitude does not happen overnight. They are not even new sins that the people fell into. These are old habits resurfacing once Nehemiah had left the city.

Unkept Promises

It wasn’t that they people did not understand what God expected of them. They had heard the Law of Moses read to them back in Chapter 8. In Chapter 9, the people are reminded of their sin and confessed them. Then in Chapter 10, they renewed their vows before God. They promised to obey God’s commands, not to intermarry with foreigners, observe the Sabbath rest, and to not neglect the needs of the house of God. But in Chapter 13, we see every one of these promises broken. It’s easy to say we will do something, but it can be much harder to keep our promise.

Complacency leads to compromise

It’s easy to sing and worship God on Sunday when we are in God’s house and fellowshipping with other believers, but much harder to remain faithful and obedient to God Monday – Saturday. It only takes a few minutes to say your wedding vows, but a lifetime to keep them. And whenever we let our guard down and complacency sets in, compromises are sure to happen.

Problem #1: Corrupted Priesthood

In verses 4-9, Nehemiah found that the high priest, Eliashib (the same priest that had worked with Nehemiah in rebuilding the wall in chapter 3) had been influenced by Tobiah who was Nehemiah’s old enemy. Eliashib provided Tobiah with a large room in the Temple that was supposed to be used to store the offerings of the people and the items needed for worship. Verse 4 tells us that Eliashib “was closely associated with Tobiah.” In other words, they were friends and Tobiah had great influence, status and connections.

Nehemiah’s response

Verses 7-9 tells us how Nehemiah responded when he learned about Eliashib providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. Verse 9 tells us that Nehemiah was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room. He then gave the orders, in verse 9, to purify the rooms and to return the items that belongs there – the grain offerings and the incense.

Nehemiah didn’t stop to ask questions or consult with the leaders. He didn’t negotiate or compromise. He just threw Tobiah’s stuff out, re-consecrated the rooms and restored everything back to the temple that belonged there. Whatever length of time Nehemiah had been gone, he did not change. The same zeal and passion he had for God in Chapter 1 is evident in chapter 13. The people and priests may have drifted away from God, but Nehemiah’s commitment to please God remained the same.

It’s a matter of choice

What made Nehemiah different from the people and priests? Nehemiah and the people faced the same challenges, temptations, problems, and enemies, but Nehemiah chose to honor God and obey Him.

He made a choice.

Joshua had once told the people, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Being faithful to God is always a choice that each one of us must make.

Problem #2: Tithes and Offerings were being brought to the temple

Why was there a room in the temple that was empty enough that Eliashib could provide Tobiah with a room? The answer is simple. The people had stopped brining their tithes and offerings to the Temple, which meant there were not enough grains for the Levites and singers, forcing them to look for their own fields to support themselves. Likewise, since the Levites didn’t have enough, the priests likely did not either because they survived on the tithes from the Levites. As a result, all those responsible for temple worship left their posts to earn a living in the fields. Even if they did not totally abandon their temple duties, they were certainly compromised.

Nehemiah’s Response

Once again, Nehemiah restores everything back to follow God’s commandments. He got the people to once again bring their tithes and offerings to the temple. With the offerings coming in again, the Levites and singers could return to their duties in the temple and worship was restored without interruption.

Nehemiah also made some changes. He appointed new gatekeepers or treasurers over the storehouses – four of them. A priest, a scribe, a Levite, and an assistant. Why these four? Verse 13 tells us they were considered trustworthy and reliable. It would be their responsibility to distribute the supplies to their brothers.

By appointing a team, Nehemiah established accountability and ensured that both the tithes and offering coming in and the distribution of them going out were handled appropriately.

Problem #3: Sabbath rest was ignored

In verses 16-17, we find that Nehemiah discovered the “people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food. Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself!”

The 4th Commandment given to Moses was to “keep the Sabbath day holy.” God intended for the people to work six days and on the 7th day they were worship Him and rest. God set the example for this in the creation of the world. For six days he created and on the 7th day He rested – not because he was tired, but to give us the example of what he expected from us. But the people of Nehemiah’s day were not resting or worshiping. They were working.

Nehemiah’s response

We find the action Nehemiah took against the people profaning the Sabbath in verses 19-22. About sunset before the Sabbath, he commanded that the gates of Jerusalem be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened again until after the Sabbath. He also stationed some of his servants at the gates so no one coming with their wares to sell would be let in. As a result the merchants and sellers camped outside the city walls. So Nehemiah warned them that if they came again on the Sabbath, he would “lay hands on them.” After that, they did not come on the sabbath again. Finally, he commanded the Levites to purify themselves and guard the gates to keep the Sabbath day holy as God commanded.

Problem #4: The people had intermarried with foreigners

In 1 Kings 11:1-8, we find:

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” …For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.  And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.”

God had called the nation of Israel to be different, set apart from the world, but Israel wanted to be just like the world. It would seem that this was still true in Nehemiah’s day for he found that the men in Jerusalem had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Many of their children couldn’t even speak the language of Judah. As a result the people had allowed idolatry back into the nation again – the very reason that God had sent the Babylonians in to conquer them and sent them into exile. They had paid a high price for their idolatry and refusal to repent and turn back to God and now they were allowing it all back into the nation again.

Nehemiah’s Response:

Once again we see Nehemiah’s passion and zeal for God overtake him. What does he do? Verse 25 tells us that he confronted them, cursed them, beat some of them, and pulled out their hair. Then he made them take an oath in the name of God saying, “You shall not give your daughter to their sons, or take their daughter for your sons or for yourselves.” Then in verse 26, Nehemiah reminds them of King Solomon’s sin because of the man wives he had taken and who were the cause of him falling into sin.

Nehemiah’s Cleansing and Restoring

Nehemiah identified the problems and quickly cleansed the sin and restored the commandments of God among the people. He removed everything foreign and established the duties of the priests and Levites. He re-established the tithes and offerings and the keeping of the Sabbath. Chapter 13 closes out with Nehemiah, saying, “Remember me, O my God, for good.”

If God sent Nehemiah into your life today, what problems would he identify in your life and how would his passion and zeal for God set things straight? Would he find complacency and compromise? Would he find you in church, worshiping God and brining your tithes and offerings on Sundays? And would he find you being a good steward of what God has given you? Would Nehemiah find in you the same zeal and passion for God? What would he cleanse and restore in your life?


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A Word to Christians in Response to the Storming of the Nation’s Capital: Pride Goes Before the Fall

A good beginning

Last week, we watched as protestors stormed the capital. If you’re like me, you probably thought, “This doesn’t happen in America. We’re not a third-world country. We’re the United State of America.” As a nation, our founding fathers built America on Christian principles and the Word of God. It was a good beginning. But arrogance and pride is an infecting stench in our nation that is tearing us apart.

The founding fathers were mostly men with Christian backgrounds who had studied the Word of God and incorporated the truths of the Bible into the very fibers that wove our country together. You will find those fibers in our Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the laws that govern our nation. Those fibers were strong, sturdy, a sure foundation. A rock-solid foundation to withstand the test of time and the storms of life. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25 that “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

The problem is that for years we’ve heard the words of God, but we’ve not done them. We’ve become complacent and comfortable within the walls of our churches. It’s past time for Christians to wake up and take action!

A not so good beginning

We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve withstood wars, the Great Depression, scandals and all the “storms” of our history. The one thing that got us through it all was that humble foundation our founding fathers gifted to us: a nation built on God.  They built this nation on the Rock of Jesus and His eternal Word.

However, unfortunately, there is one thing we’ve never learned – unity. Today, we are as far away from united as we can be. We’re divided by race, religion, politics, and class and that has been true from the beginning. It makes you wonder why we’re called the “United States of America,” doesn’t it?

Division within the Church

Even among Christians, we’re divided by denominations and religious beliefs. To this, the words of Paul stretch down through time to say, “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

We may worship the same God and read the same Bible, but we — mere humans – attempt to interpret the words and meanings of the Sovereign, Almighty God and have the audacity to believe that we are the only ones who’ve interpreted it correctly. Satan has us so busy drawing lines in the sand and picking sides while arguing with those on the other side that it is impossible for us to carry out the mission Jesus gave to the church – to be “salt” and “light”, to be “fishers of men,” to disciple the saints and evangelize the lost. We can be guilty of being more concerned with who is correct in doctrine than who is lost and on their way to hell. All while the rest of the world is watching. What testimony do we give to the world if this is their view of us?

The result

The result is what we are seeing unfolding in our nation now. Racism. Protesting. Rioting. Anger. Hatred. Murder. Division.  Jesus said in Mark 3:25, “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” These words are true for our individual homes, the House of Representatives, the Senate, Congress, the White House and our nation as a whole. And the division we see in all of these is great indeed. You see, Satan wants nothing more than to stir up divisions so that we fall. And if we are so busy picking our battles, drawing lines in the sand, refusing to work together – this nation built on God will cease to be blessed by God.

The foundation our founding fathers established for our nation has been traded out for the sinking sands of political gain, financial gain, fame, and success. Our leaders have tossed out the Word of God. Demolished the Biblical foundation. And we – the Christians – in our complacency, have sat back and allowed it to happen. We’ve kept our voice quiet. We didn’t go out to vote. We’ve neglected our prayer closets. We’ve not raised up spiritual leaders. And now, our children, marriages, homes, and government are suffering.

In fact, if we take an honest look, the division in our nation has become a gaping, infected wound, and the life of our nation is pouring out of it. As with every wound, something has to be responsible for inflicting the wound. We need to identify the knife that created the wound.

PRIDE: The Knife that Divides

Division doesn’t just happen – something has to be cut in order to be divided. The same is true when we look at the division tearing our nation apart. It goes by several names. Ego. Self-centered. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (yes! It’s so prevalent that the DSM has a diagnosis for it!). And, as it is more commonly known: PRIDE.

The problem with pride is that pride is unbending. It is only concerned with my wants, my needs, my desires. It thinks that I know better than anyone else. That I am the only one that is right. I am all that matters. It refuses to see a point from someone else’s perspective. It is demanding, controlling, unyielding, and it rips apart relationships, homes, governments, and countries.

At the center of the word, “pride” is the letter “I” and when our focus is on “I” we cease to care about others. We become the knife that divides this nation.

Pride refuses to “Love Your Neighbor?”

No matter how we might try to get around it, Jesus expects us to love each other. In Mark 12:31, Jesus said we are love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In Mark 5:44, He said we are to even love our enemies. So, there’s no way around it. We are supposed to love others. All others. Not just those who look like me, think like me, dress like me, or vote the same way I do. But everyone.

Love your neighbors. Love your enemies. Not just tolerate or accept each other. Not pretend on the outside that we love them and then stab them in the back when no one is looking. Love doesn’t run their name through the mud on national television just to win a vote. It doesn’t cut them off in rush hour traffic because you’re the only one on the planet with a long list to get done today. It doesn’t turn away the vulnerable and hurting for materialistic gain or personal recognition or professional advancement. Nor does it slant the news story to make your favored candidate look good. Love does not raise your hands in worship at church then go home and bash the pastor over lunch. That’s not love.

How are we to love others? We can find at least three ways in the Bible that can be a healing salve:

1. Love fervently with a pure heart.

1 Peter 1:22 tells us, “See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” A pure heart does not seek the harm of others. It doesn’t dig up dirt on others, sling it over national television without any thought to the opponent’s family members or their children who have to go to school the next day with all their classmates who heard the trash (true or false) about their parent.

A pure heart also doesn’t participate in such actions by reporting it or talking about it with others. Rather it recognizes that doing so stirs up strife.  

A pure heart means no guilt can be found in how we love others.

This verse also says we are to love others fervently. Not just a little bit – but intensely with a whole lot of pure love.

2. Love in truth

1 John 3:18 says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” In other words, you don’t go around saying you love someone, but then your actions speak differently. Your deeds should match your words if there is any truth to them. It’s the old saying of “actions speak louder than words.”

Loving in truth also means that we can’t veil our true thoughts and motives behind false words of love. In other words, statements such as, “I’m only telling you this because I love you, but….” and then your words are anything but loving and the motivation behind them isn’t love.

Sometimes it is necessary to confront others, but that should also be done in love and only truth should be spoken. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. Therefore, this verse tells us that bashing others with our words in wrong. We can’t speak the truth in love when we’re slinging their name and character through the mud. Instead, we point out the truth of what’s wrong, point them to God’s Word, and lead them to Jesus where they can discover His grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. We have a responsibility to speak the truth of God’s Word, but we are just as responsible for doing so in love.

3. Love like Christ

Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I gave unto you, That ye love one another; as I have love you, that ye also love one another.” Jesus also said, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) It is easy to love those who love us – but what about those who are different than us? What about those who think different than us? We don’t get to choose who we will love. We are called to love everyone the way that Jesus loves them. What about it Christian? Do you love others as Christ has loved you – unconditionally, sacrificially? If love were measured on a meter, would your meter register in the “Christ-like love” category for both your neighbor and your enemy?

Let all that you do be done in love

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 tells us, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” We must be watchful because Satan, the father of lies, will deceive us so that we stumble and fall into sin.

We counter his attack the same way Jesus did – by standing firm in the faith. You can’t stand firm in the faith if you don’t have a clue what the Bible says. So, you need to be in the Word of God every day, treasuring it and hiding it in your heart so that it will be a light unto your path and to keep you from sinning against God.

Paul also said, “act like men” [or women]. We aren’t to act like spoiled brats demanding our own way, but mature children of God who reflect His character wherever we may go and to whomever we may encounter.

We also must be strong because the battle we fight is a spiritual battle so we must go to God who is our strength and our refuge. Only then can we overcome pride so that we are able to do everything in love.

Pride has made America “the all about me” society

We sing “America the beautiful” but the reality is more like “America: the all about me society”. Put that way, it doesn’t sound very beautiful. Proverbs 16:18 warns us that, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In Psalm 10:4, the psalmist wrote, “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” The problem with saying “There is no God” is that you will also believe God’s Word is irrelevant. Therefore, loving your neighbor can just be thrown out and you just simply love yourself. No one else matters but you.

Pride says “There is no God

Doesn’t that seem like the cry of our world today: “There is no God.” Why? Because if there is no God people can go on living anyway they want and not worry about retribution and judgement from God. However, Proverbs 16:5 warns us that, “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” And so, people do not acknowledge the existence of God. If we did, then we just might have to also acknowledge the possibility that COVID is a punishment for our arrogance and pride that believes we don’t need God.

Is COVID God’s punishment?

Is COVID a punishment? Only God can truly answer that question. But over and over again in the Bible God punishes nations for their wickedness, pride and refusal to turn back to him. We find in the Bible where the world became so full of sin that God regretted creating people. Only Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and God saved him and his family from the flood.  From Sodom and Gomorrah, to Nineveh, to even his own chosen nation of Israel. Assyria, Babylon…and on down the pages of history.

Nations have come and gone when their sin became so great that God said, “Enough!” But we also know that Nineveh experienced a revival when Jonah went to preach to them, and God relented in His decision to destroy them. So, we know that when nations turn back to God, He does stop his judgement. But when they refuse to repent, the nation is destroyed.

Pride demands Independence and Control

There’s another reason people do not acknowledge the existence of God. Pride says, “I don’t need anyone or anything. I can do it my way.” But if we acknowledge God, then we know that we are dependent upon him for every single thing we have in life.

Pride also wants to be in control. We do not like it when we feel like we can’t control what’s happening around us. It stresses us out, makes us afraid. When a pandemic happens and our entire lives are changed all at once, it’s scary. Acknowledging God means that I have to accept that even with COVID, God is in control. This world is His creation and nothing happens without Him knowing it. He’s never caught by surprise at what happens on earth. We may not understand why some people – good people, pastors, children, and Christians — die from COVID and some do not. But if COVID is God’s judgment on the world, it will not end until God’s judgment is completed. We don’t like that. It’s out of our control.

God exists whether we acknowledge Him or not.

Choosing to say “there is no God” doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. God is real whether a person chooses to acknowledge him or not. Quoting Isaiah 45:23, Paul wrote in Romans 14:11, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God.” You can choose to say there is no God today – but one day you will stand before Him and confess that He is God. And if you deny Him in this life, you will reap His judgement of eternity in hell.

Pride is determined to Stamp out God

Not only do people choose to not acknowledge His existence, but people have been trying to stamp God out of this nation, little by little, for generations. Prayer was removed from schools. Abortions became legalized murder, wiping away an innocent’s child’s right to life and discrediting God as the creator of life. The Ten Commandments were removed from government buildings. Some would have us remove the motto “In God we Trust” from our money and any other thing it is stamped on. Marriage was “re-defined” and same-sex marriages became legal. In a nation that claims freedom of speech and freedom of religion, we’ve seen Christian business owners receive retribution from the government for denying services to homosexual couples.

Yes – our world today wants to cry out, “There is no God.” Because they believe if we can stamp out God, then they are safe from God’s judgements. Do we need to even ask, “Is there just cause for God to judge America?”

A Putrefying Stench

Because people continue in their stubbornness and pride, the division of our nation has become a gaping wound with a putrefying stench. When left untreated a wound develops bacteria that causes an infection. Infections often stink and the greater the infection, the greater the stench. If left ignored and untreated the wound turns to gangrene and the only way to save the life is amputation.

Our nation has a bacteria infecting it. We don’t like to call it by its name because it both convicts us and condemns us. It’s a tiny, little word but holds our nation in its grips. Like the word, “pride”, it also has the letter “I” at the center. It is this one little word that is the whole crux of the problem. The bacteria infecting us is…Sin. Proverbs 21:4 tells us, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. And wherever you find pride you will find sin. And wherever you find sin, you find the work of Satan.

Be Vigilant

1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Right now, he is trying to devour our nation – and we Christians are sitting back within the walls of our pretty churches and allowing it to happen. Our complacency is our sin. We’ve been complacent as the world attempted to stamp God out of our nation and we’ve been complacent in acknowledging the true state of this nation. As long as what happens in the world doesn’t reach within the bubble of our homes and families, we’ve looked the other way as we shake our heads and regretfully say, “Well, bless their hearts.” Then we go on with our lives. We have failed to be vigilant. We’ve allowed Satan to sneak in and steal away the firm foundation of this nation.

The Problem with Complacency

The problem with complacency in Christianity is it destroys the effects of being “salt and light” to the world that Jesus commanded us to be. In Mark 16:15, Jesus told his disciples to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. But after he ascended into heaven, we find in Acts 1 that the disciples stood around staring up into the sky. Two angels had to come to them and say, “Why are you all standing around here gazing up into heaven?” (My paraphrase). They could not both “go into all the world” and stay there staring into heaven at the same time. God had to send the angels to say, “Get to work!” (Again, my paraphrase) Likewise, we can’t stay within the walls of our church and effectively be salt and light to the world.

It’s time we wake up from our complacency and get out of our churches and go into all the world and bring the love of God to a world who so desperately needs Him.

The Second Problem with Complacency

There is a second problem with complacency. It nauseates Christ. We find in Revelation 3 that the church at Laodicea had a complacency problem. Jesus told them they were “lukewarm” – neither hot nor cold. In verse 17, Jesus said, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” As a result, Jesus says that he will spew them out of his mouth.

It comes back to pride again. Pride fools us into believing we are better than we are and keeps us from realizing just how wretched we are. Isaiah 64:6 says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” We have to stop comparing ourselves to the next person and saying, “I’m not as bad as them.” When we do, we fool ourselves into thinking we’re okay and we can’t see that even our best righteous deeds are just filthy rags.

How then do we heal the wound of division caused by the sin of pride?

If we are to rebuild the biblical foundation of this nation, it starts with the church. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.” If we want to see our nation healed, we must wake up out of our complacency. It is up to the people who are called by God’s name – that’s the Christians. The children of God. Those who have acknowledged God and accepted Jesus as their Savior. It’s the Church’s responsibility – our God-given assignment.

We need a revival!

What is wrong in our nation is not going to be fixed by politicians. A stimulus check won’t fix it. COVID vaccines won’t heal it. What our nation needs is revival. Christians need to return to our prayer closets with fasting and prayer. We need to get rid of pride and humble ourselves before God. We need to seek His presence. And we need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the wicked ways within us (not in our spouse, children, co-worker, boss, neighbor or enemy) and seek God’s forgiveness. Will you be the wise person that hears and does the words of God? In Matthew 7, Jesus says this kind of person builds his house upon the rock so that when the storms come, the house will stand.

It is time for the people of God to cry out the words of the Psalmist, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Psalm 85:6) We invite you to join us in praying for revival. Start by memorizing 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray,
and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways,
 then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.”

A Call to Action

Choose a set time this week to set yourself apart from the world to fast and pray. Get alone with God and His Word. Then commit to praying daily with an attitude of humility and repentance. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any sin in your own life and seek God’s forgiveness. Pray for God to send a revival, to forgive the sins of this nation and to heal our land. Then go out and invite others to pray and fast with you. If within every Christian church in America the people of God joined together to pray, fast, and on call on the Name of God with humble hearts of repentance – we will experience revival. Will you be the one in your church?

Lord, send a revival to America, and let it begin in me.


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Revive Us Again, Lord

Our nation and our world need to experience a revival. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land.” Revival begins with the people of God. We invite you to join us in praying for revival for America and our world.

Revive Us Again, Lord
Revive us again, Lord

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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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  • Conversation Starters.
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  • Date ideas.
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Fasting & Prayer for Revival: Complacency

Today we invite the people of God to join us in fasting and prayer for a revival in America. Beginning at 6 am we will be giving a focus area of prayer for each hour until 10 pm. Please join us each hour in prayer. We are continuing with a heart of repentance and this hour we are focusing on our complacency.

1 pm Revival prayer focus:

This hour pray that God will reveal to His people their attitude of complacency that has contributed to the state of our nation.

Revival begins with God’s people.

In the last hour we identified that apathy and complacency are two contributing factors for how our nation has been on a spiral decline of sin over the last several generations. We looked at the role our apathy has played and confessed it to God. In this hour we want to focus on our complacency.

What exactly is complacency?

Complacency is defined as a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements. It is one of Satan’s biggest tools to use in the lives of God’s people. Because when we become complacent, we become ineffective in God’s work. When we are complacent, we are not even aware of our own deficiencies. We live smugly with our entrance ticket into heaven and ignore the areas of sin in our lives. We can become complacent in our jobs, relationships, ambitions, and in our spiritual lives and never see the danger signs that destruction lies ahead.

How has complacency contributed to the state of America?

The danger of complacency is in how easy it is. Complacency doesn’t require discipline. It doesn’t require accountability. It doesn’t require action. When we are complacent, we just sit back, go with the flow and never stir up any waves. But that isn’t what Jesus called us to do. We are supposed to stir up the waves so that people will recognize their need for Christ and then we are to bring them to Christ. This is the idea behind Jesus telling the disciples he would make them “fishers of men.” We draw them into Christ by helping them understand their lostness and brokenness then Christ cleans them up through His shed blood and sets them free to reel in more lost and broken people. We are all called to be fishers of men.

Stirring up waves means conflict

We don’t like stirring up waves because it means conflict and we don’t like conflict. As long as we can be Christian and the world can live their way, then we don’t have to get involved. We don’t have to step on any toes. Complacency in the church then, means we avoid teaching about sin, eternal death, God’s judgement on the world, and hell. Instead, we teach that God is love and He is full of grace and forgiveness. Thankfully these are true, but by neglecting to also teach about sin and its consequences, we’ve allowed complacency to prevail.

Stirring up waves takes work

If we are going to stir up waves, then we have to be deep in Bible study. 2 Timothy 2:15 says we are study to show ourselves approved. a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. You can’t rightly divide what you don’t know.

Bible study is much more than simply reading God’s Word. We need to meditate on it, ask the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom into what we are reading. And we need to know we understand what we reading within the context of what was written. To do so, we need to understand the culture of the day. We need to know how to use Bible study tools such as commentaries, concordances, and Bible dictionaries. Studying God’s word is work, but it equips us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

In the early church, the majority of the disciples were killed for their faith. In America, we are still able to express our faith without fear of death. But as a melting pot of culture, there are some who are kicked out of their families for becoming a Christian. Some of us experience jeering and being made fun of. Some of us experience family and friends who turn their back on us for standing up for what we believe in. Whatever the cost may look like, you can bet that when we start stirring up spiritual waves for God’s Kingdom, Satan will counter attack. So you can be sure there will be a cost.

No room for complacency in God’s Kingdom

As people of God, we are servants of God. And servants have work to do. Each one of us are gifted and empowered to do the task that God has for us. All of us are commanded to make disciples and develop disciples. We’ve been given our marching orders and we’ve been called up to active duty. What is the task God is calling you to do?

Complacency is a Personal Problem

Everyone of us is either growing in Christ and becoming mature believers or we are drifting away. If you are not growing and maturing, then you’ve become complacent. Growing into spiritually mature believers requires a strong habit of Bible study and prayer and then applying the truths of God’s Word to our lives. We can’t be content with just enough of God’s Word that is preached to us on Sundays. If your pastor preached something that was not Biblical, how would you know it? You should be examining the scriptures for yourself. We also need to approach our Bible study with prayer first, asking the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom as we read the Bible, to speak to us through it, and help us apply what we read.

The Non-Complacent Christian

A Christian who has kicked complacency to the curb is one who hungers and thirsts for God. They are being conformed into the image of Christ. We are to press on towards God’s calling in our lives. We are called to fall on our knees in prayer every day. Our Bibles should be worn out from all the use it gets. It is a life that mirrors Christ so the world will see Him in us. We are to finish the race well. And then when our work on earth is done and we enter heaven, the non-complacent Christian will hear, “Well done! My good and faithful servant.”

“The coming revival must begin with a great prayer revival. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundant revival will be first heard. An increase in the secret prayer of ministers and members will be the sure herald of blessing.” 

Andrew Murray

Join us in prayer:

Father, I confess to you my own complacency. For not stirring up waves and being content to sit on the side lines just enjoying my fellowship with you. In my complacency, I’m guilty, in part, of the state of our nation. As laws have been passed that moved our nation away from you, I sat on the sidelines. Even though I went out to vote and cast by vote against such ungodly ideas, I did not speak up and allowed my voice to be heard. I did not call my senator, congress person, mayor to task and say, “we the people do not support this course.” As a result, Satan won that round and America declined a little more.

Father, forgive me of my complacency. Empower me to be the Your voice. Empower me with the ability to do the task you’ve sat before me and to finish the race well.

Father, we are here. The people called by your name. Today, we come to you brokenhearted, acknowledging how we, your people, have allowed this nation to turn so far away from you. And today, we ask you to revive our hearts. Revive your Church. Revive our homes, families, and marriages. Move among us. We invite you to be Lord in each one of us.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

#revival #America #repentance #prayandfast

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What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

This book 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:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
  • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
  • Romance Builders
  • Relationship Builders
  • Personal reflections
  • Date ideas
  • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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