A week or so ago I woke up hearing the old hymn “Revive Us Again” being sung by a church congregation in my mind. I had not heard it sung or even thought about it in many, many years. And so I went to the computer and looked it up on YouTube. Memories came trickling, then flooding back.
In the late 1950’s and early 60’s, I played for several small tent revivals in my area of South Carolina. The man who owned the tent invited various pastors and evangelists to come for a few days or a week or so and preach. Posters would go up around town, and when the meetings began the tent was usually full.
Although I didn’t play regularly for church as I did in later years, simply because I could play the piano and already knew most of the old hymns, I was asked to play for those services.
It was a little nerve-wracking and exciting, but I did it.
I don’t remember the people, the speakers or the sermons, but I remember the music. Those wonderful old hymns! “Revive Us Again” was certainly one of them.
This past month several “revivals” have sprung up at colleges in the United States, with thousands of people driving many long hours to attend. They are nothing like those tent revivals, however. These are not orchestrated by a man with a tent – although I see nothing wrong with that if the Lord has inspired it, and I believe he did and still does – these seem to have been orchestrated by God alone. Do an online search for Asbury 2023 and you’ll see what I mean. Here’s one report: Asbury 2023
The reports in the media have been met with enthusiasm by many, and criticism by many others. Are they real? Really real? Personally I believe they are.
While the English word “revival” (and the common concept that word brings to mind) doesn’t appear in the KJV of the Bible, the English word “revive” does. The Hebrew and Greek definitions are simple; basically to restore life.
The events of the past several hundred years (and longer) that various people term “revivals” or “outpourings” of God’s presence, certainly do that. Life — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically also — has been restored. Many miracles have accompanied revival events over the years, and still do.
Here are several Bible verses to consider:
Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalm 85:6 KJV)
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. (Psalm 138:7)
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
O LORD, I have heard thy speech, [and] was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)
Father God has answered those prayers on multiple occasions, as Christian history attests. While teaching on the Principles of Intercessory Prayer several years ago, I did hours of research on historical revivals. I soon discovered, no two have been alike.
Every time such an occurrence takes place, the cultural circumstances beforehand including the condition of the world at large, and the appearance of the events as they happened, have been quite different.
But the results for many of those affected have been remarkable, long-lasting and permanent, whether the people were already Christians or became new believers.
Those people who have appointed themselves to judge the authenticity of 2023 current events should judge the long-term fruit, if they can. Revitalized lives, proven over time.
To read certain online comments these days, you’d wonder if the commenter believes that God himself is uninvolved in the process of these “revivals.” Perhaps He is ignorant and unaware, or maybe he’s just uninterested. How sad.
I believe their concept of the goodness, the bigness, the mercy, grace and forgiveness, the very person of God himself, needs re-thinking.
All the Bible college classes I’ve taught. All the Sunday School classes. The public addresses (teaching, preaching, or speaking on a variety of subjects) to small and large crowds, even whole congregations (GOP, Christian Coalition).
The personal interviews I’ve done with new business clients (Executive Services and S.C. Family Memories), civic group and club addresses to talk about the need to preserve family histories for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Television interviews given for the same reason, with a host I’d never met before.
I thought about all the on-air interviews I’d done with guests from every aspect of the business, social and political world here in South Carolina…
Host Gene Bailey: Let’s go back, Dutch, to September 11th that week, 2001. What happened?
Dutch Sheets: Well, I was scheduled to go speak at a conference in Boise, Idaho, and as most of the people watching us will remember, everything shut down. The nation was in shock, just fear and dread. It was just a surreal time, and throughout the week we didn’t know really what was happening. The airlines shut down so I could not get to the conference that I was supposed to speak at until Friday. You know that 911 was a Monday.
I didn’t know if it would even take place, but it did, and it’s one of the only times in my life I’ve ever been scheduled to do something as far as speaking and dreaded it. I didn’t want to go. I thought, I have no answers, I don’t know what to say. No one knows what to say right now. And I did not have a word from the Lord.
But I went in obedience and and honoring my commitment, and when I got up to speak that night, I don’t know what I was saying, I don’t remember what I was saying. I don’t think it was all that significant or important, but I had an experience that I’ve only had twice in my life. This was what I would call an open vision.
While I was speaking, with my eyes wide open, I began to see not what was natural, but I began to see things in the spirit. And what took me back so much was that it was with my eyes wide open. I saw as though it were an invisible hand.
This was a large room, 1500 people perhaps. I saw like a hand begin to write on the back wall, the far back wall of the auditorium and it looked like a neon light as it was writing. And it wrote Acts 3:19. I mentioned it a while ago. I knew what the verse said. I was obviously distracted by this. I didn’t stop and tell them what I was seeing yet but I was having trouble speaking because this was so distracting, and I knew it was God.
I knew what the verse said but I didn’t know what to do with it, so in my mind I just sort of told the Lord or said to myself, as soon as I finish this point I’m going to Acts 3:19, he obviously wants to say something from this passage.
When I had the thought, I will finish this point that I’m sharing now, the sign began to flash, on and off, on and off, on and off blinking. And I knew God was saying, I don’t want you to finish your point, I want you to go there now!
It’s really encouraging when you’re up speaking and you realize God’s not interested in what you’re saying, obviously he had something else he wanted to say.
And I went to the verse and told them what it said. It’s after the lame man had been healed and a crowd gathered, Peter began to preach. This is shortly after Pentecost. He seizes the moment and he says, If you will repent and turn to him, times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord.
Times is (the Greek word) kairos, opportune, strategic times, not just general time. Very significant, very strategic. Peter was saying, this is a special moment, this is a very strategic time.
Refreshing is a weak translation, it’s okay, but the word there is anapsyxis, and psyxis which means to blow or breathe, that’s the root word, ana gives it repetition and intensity. So a really good amplified definition of this word is the blowing of the breath again intensely.
Peter said, it’s a strategic time. What happened to us in that Upper Room on the day of Pentecost — he’s not finished, there’s a wind for you too, and if you respond right now as you should, that wind will blow again intensely.
And as I shared this word, just the spirit of God filled this room and the presence was so strong, and duddenly I saw not just the sign flashing on the back wall, I began to see like a movie, it was like the entire back wall of the church became a movie screen, like I was in a movie theater.
And I told the people, I said I’m having a vision and I started narrating what I was seeing. I expected this to last for a minute or two but it lasted for probably 30 minutes, maybe 40 minutes, and I just — this was obviously supernatural and different. I’ve never had anything else like this. I just began to narrate what I was seeing for this 40-45 minutes.
You could hear a pin drop in the room. People were just captivated, their eyes closed, listening, and I was relating what I was seeing. And what he showed me was what this revival would look like, this blowing of the breath again intensely. I saw the fire of God coming to America. It wasn’t the fire of judgment, it was the fire of Revival. But what he highlighted and showed me specifically, was this fire coming to the Youth of our nation, the young people. Campuses, college campuses, high school campuses.
The fires of Revival began to burn and he literally showed me campuses where this was happening, and I said I see it on such and such and I named the university and I would talk about what I was seeing. And then I said I see it on this campus and I talked about what I was seeing, and then I realized — this is going to the nation, I don’t want to keep mentioning one or two and people think it’s only that one, because what I saw was this was springing up everywhere and what what I saw was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
I described it at one point in this vision as a violent love, it was coming with such intensity. God said, I am coming to save this generation and nothing is going to stop me.
It was so much passion from God, so much intensity that I turned to the speakers and I turned to those in the room at one point, and I said, nothing is going to stop this. Nothing can stop it.
And so as this broke out, obviously signs and wonders began to take place, and the students would gather into rooms and they would begin to talk about what happened, and it grew in its intensity. And the next thing that was happening was the size of the groups gathering grew, and there were thousands of kids, young people all across America gathering, talking about Jesus. Completely grassroots, completely spontaneous, led by no person, controlled by no person, planned by no person. God just began to hover over these universities.
There would be a room of a thousand of these young people in an auditorium and God would start moving. There was no one in charge, there was no one up preaching. Someone would begin to scream in the back that they were healed of this disease or that disease or their eyes were healed, and over here someone else would do it, and someone else would do it over here, and kids would begin to get saved. They would just — they they didn’t know much, they would just start crying out to Jesus and Jesus was saving them. I saw this moving across the country.
I saw people trying to stop it, some of the administrators in the universities. I saw gatherings of leaders and those in charge, saying we have to get these kids to go back to class, because they didn’t want to go to class.
Sporting events were canceled,classes were canceled, not because the sport events are bad, but because they didn’t want to do anything else. This was so powerful they wanted to get together and talk about what was happening.
And as the administrators would walk into these auditoriums to try and stop them, the power of God would be so strong they would just fall under the power of God and they couldn’t do anything. They couldn’t stop it. And so this just began to take place. I saw mass deliverances. I’ve never seen anything like this – yet.
It rocked my theology, because no no one was speaking. They were just singing maybe a chorus or a song that they knew — they didn’t know a lot, Amazing Grace, perhaps, and the spirit of God would begin to hover in the room and students would begin to be delivered from addictions, bondages, demonic strongholds in their life. No one touching them, no one’s saying this is about to happen.
It was like when Jesus would go into the synagogue and the demons could not stand his presence and they would begin to scream and shout, leave us alone, leave us alone. Well, the presence of God came into these rooms with such intensity that the demons simply could not stay.
I saw these kids being interviewed and they were asked, What is happening, what? Explain this to us? They had no answer. They stopped doing drugs, they stopped some of the perverted or sinful lifestyles that they were involved in. I saw them being interviewed saying, Why did you stop this? Why aren’t you doing these things anymore?
And the student simply said, I don’t know. I just don’t want to do it. I love Jesus. I want to please him. Something in me tells me it’s wrong. I don’t want to do this.
It became a Holiness movement but it was not like any Holiness movement we’ve ever seen in a Revival. No one was preaching it to them. No one was telling them how to live, their hearts were simply changing and they wanted to please him. I saw this go across the nation. It was intense, it was powerful, it was unstoppable. And the other thing I saw was, it was so raw.
These kids, you know it’s not like they changed the way they looked, dressed or acted, they didn’t look like they were going to church, they didn’t change their attire, they just showed up as they were, and God began to move and then they wanted more of him.
And what I saw also was they really didn’t want religion. They really didn’t want our forms. They didn’t want somebody to to preach at them, they wanted to know about Jesus. They wanted a relationship with him, but they didn’t want religious form. They wanted something different.
And they came with their problems, they came with their past, they came with with their — frankly, they came with mates and people that they they shouldn’t have been with, but they wanted this Jesus.
And I found myself looking at all of this, thinking because of the sheer volume, because this was thousands, tens of thousands of young people were being saved around the nation, I found myself thinking, what do we do with this? How do we steward this? It was coming so quickly, how do we teach them?
They want to know God but they don’t want our religion, and they’ve been taught that they can do this they can do that, how do we teach them without trying to put them in a form and a mold that they know nothing about and don’t want? How do we teach them relationship without religion?
And finally as I was watching this, 20-30 minutes into it, just relating what I was seeing, I turned to the leaders on the platform, and I was so serious when I said this, I said, this is going to be incredibly difficult to steward. It will be like the book of Acts. They just had to learn on the fly. It would be like Joshua who was told, you’ve never been this way before, the only way you can do this is to follow the cloud, follow me, follow the ark, because you’ve not been this way before.
And what we’re about to experience, we don’t have a formula for. We don’t have a pattern for thousands upon thousands, tens of thousands, I believe eventually hundreds of thousands and millions of young people in America coming to Jesus. We’re going to need to be ready to take them into his presence and allow Holy Spirit to shape them, allow Holy Spirit to teach them, to show them what he wants, who he is.
And so just to summarize it, I saw incredible power, incredible fire, the fire of Revival. Incredible signs and wonders, incredible passion, love for God, worship, spontaneous out-breakings of Holy Spirit, until the entire nation was on fire with the fires of Revival.
Gene Bailey: Wow. Dutch, those of us that are old enough to have lived through the Jesus movement, it’s like you’re describing that again, except all at a different level, a higher level.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV]
I keep going back to these two verses, no matter what other scripture verses or books I’ve been trying to read the last couple of days. Here are some of my thoughts and questions:
“We also.” Who else is surrounded by those witnesses? I went back and read Chapters 11 and 10, but witnesses is not mentioned. I then reconsidered; perhaps it means that in addition to something else we are surrounded by, we are ALSO surrounded by witnesses. So, what else might WE be surrounded by? Hmmm. I kept reading.
“Surrounded.”They are all around us, not just in front or in back, or occasionally watching. We are, present tense, surrounded by people and/or angels and/or Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We don’t see them, but apparently they are there, nevertheless.
“So great a cloud (i.e. large crowd.)”Not just a dozen or so, how ever many it would take to surround a person. A great crowd, not a mediocre group, but lots, and lots.
“Witnesses.”These are people who actually saw something. They could legally testify to it in court, they didn’t just happen to see it in the corner of their eye in passing. They witnessed, observed, truly saw it. But saw what? A crowd has gathered to watch something take place. A football game or a Nascar race draws a crowd. Is this more than just watching and seeing? Witnessing indicates a more serious behavior than that. And why were they there? Were they invited? Or commanded to be there, like a jury or witnesses in a court case? (Further on we are told, it’s a race!) These witnesses are those described in the previous chapter, those who have already run their race and successfully completed it. They are the crowd who is cheering us on!
“Let us lay aside every weight.”Well, if we are in a race, we wear appropriate clothes. Wear no heavy jackets or coats, wear running shoes, not heavy boots (or sandals or flip-flops). Carry no briefcases or handbags, books to read or files to work on, no laptops, no cell phones, nothing that could distract or hinder movement.
“Sin which so easily ensnares us.” I looked up the word ensnares in the Greek. It refers to something “standing all around on every side,” something like tall weeds you could trip over, briars that could entangle in your clothes, even overgrown or weedy shrubs you might have to slog to get through. Easily! Oh, so so true. Opportunities are indeed standing all around us, on every side. We have to deal with it, lay it aside, get rid of it. We have to do this — not the next runner, or the coach, or one of the witnesses. We ourselves.
“Let us run.” Let us — us plural, not just one person, but all of us, the believers, the body of Christ. We are in this race together! It’s not just for one individual, no matter how many times you feel like you’re alone or deserted. And, run, not walk or saunter, not skip or meander. Run. Take no detours, no pausing to look at someone else, or at the sky, grass, trees, or animals. No turning the head to see what’s going on in the crowd up in the stands, not glancing backward or up ahead. Don’t take a break for a nap or a meal. Don’t mark your place, leave the track and come back later to take up where you left off. Running takes focus. It also takes training and practice.
“With endurance.”If you don’t have practice and/or training, you won’t develop endurance. Endurance indicates this isn’t a sprint. It’s not just a fast, short dash to the finish line. Not just circling around, and around, and around on a track, either. This is like a cross country event, where you might encounter weeds, briars and shrubs. Long distance.
“The race that is set before us.”A race. A race set before us. Set. Planned and conducted at a specific place and time. Set races have rules and officials. This one is set before us, not some other person or group.
“Looking unto Jesus.” Observing, focusing on him, not on someone else, while running. Ignoring the distractions, deliberately looking at Jesus. To do this, we must be close to him. Nothing and nobody can be in the way, between us and him. He has run this race before, he is doing it now with us. Beside us, ahead of us, behind us, and inside of us.
“The author and finisher of our faith.” Jesus authored faith and gave it to us in the first place, making his faith also our faith, complete, mature and perfect from inside us. The life we now live in the flesh we live by the faith of the son of God. It’s not a natural, human belief that may come with education and experience, it is completely supernatural and comes to us from the one who created the universe. Receiving it is voluntary on our part. (Gal. 2:20)
“Who for the joy that was set before Him.” It wasn’t some gigantic pile of riches or power like superman, although Jesus had access to any and every thing that ever existed. He created it all in the first place. No, it was joy, fullness of joy in pleasing the Father, having successfully finished this assignment regardless of all the many obstacles along the way.
“Endured the cross.”His greatest obstacle was knowing that he could have avoided the cross, it was his own choice. Temptation to avoid the pain and the agonizing separation from the Father, facing and overcoming that temptation took an endurance we will never face!
“Despising the shame.” It wasn’t just the pain and the separation from the Father, it was so horribly shameful to be put to death as a criminal, by the very people he had come to rescue. The Jews and the Gentiles conspired to kill him — and he had to actually help them accomplish it. If it had only been the Jews, the Gentiles would not have been included in that spiritual rescue from the power of the enemy and sin. But although he hated the crushing disappointment and shame it caused in those closest to him, his family, the apostles and other disciples, he did it. He finished it. He knew that cross wasn’t the end.
“And has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” That race had a glorious ending, a victor’s ending! A seat on the throne with Father God. So will ours.
By the way, notice something missing in that passage? There is no mention of the resurrection. I am curious about that omission here, but other scripture passages certainly cover it.
These have been fascinating verses, read and meditated on with the author’s own comments, the voice of the Holy Spirit in my spirit. I will read them again and again, I expect.
How is your faith today brethren? Is it a mild belief or an active lifelong source of hope in the Triune God? Yesterday I came across a familiar Irish Celtic Blessing which says this:
“May the road rise up to meet you.May the wind be always at your back.May the sun shine warm upon your face;The rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,May God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
I remember it from my early years when I was learning about Celtic Christianity. What I love about Celtic belief is the simplicity of it; often using God’s Creation symbolically in prayers to illustrate the…
“You shall receive power…” Jesus said (Acts 1:8). When the Holy Spirit was poured out onto the disciples, they were already born again; they already had eternal life.
What they didn’t yet have was power. Ability. God’s creative energy and strength, on the inside of them. Now they did.
They now had the power Jesus promised, and not just the power to go and preach and do greater works (John 14:12) than Jesus did, but power to be, and to be not! To be of the same character as Jesus, only truly possible as we let the Fruit of the Holy Spirit grow and develop in us.
But to be what, specifically? To be not what? Let’s see…
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Josh. 1:9)
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Ps. 46:10)
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matt. 5:48)
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. (Matt. 10:16)
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (Matt. 24:44)
Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor. 15:58)
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Eph. 4:26)
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Eph. 4:32)
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. (Eph. 5:1)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Eph. 5:18)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph. 6:10)
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Eph. 6:11)
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph. 6:13)
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Eph. 6:16)
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Col. 3:15)
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men]. (I Thess. 5:14)
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2 Tim. 2:24)
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (James 5:8)
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Pet. 1:16)
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (1 Pet. 3:8)
But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Pet. 4:7)
Be NOT ….
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them. (Deut. 11:16)
Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. (Deut. 12:30)
When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, [and] a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (Deut. 20:1)
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Josh. 1:9)
And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses, and burn their chariots with fire. (Josh. 11:6)
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle [is] not yours, but God’s. (2 Chron. 20:15)
My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense. (2 Chron. 29:11)
And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, [who] therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. (2 Chron. 30:7)
And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, [which is] great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. (Neh. 4:14)
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Prov. 3:7)
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. (Prov. 3:25)
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. (Prov. 24:1)
Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter [any] thing before God: for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. (Ecc. 5:2)
Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. (Ecc. 7:9)
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isa. 41:10)
Be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. (Jer. 1:8)
Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. (Jer. 13:15)
Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matt. 7:1)
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Matt. 24:6)
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. (Luke 12:4)
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end [is] not by and by. (Luke 21:9)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:2)
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Rom. 12:16)
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (I Cor. 14:20)
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (I Cor. 15:33)
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal. 6:7)
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is]. (Eph. 5:17)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Eph. 5:18)
But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. (2 Thess. 3:13)
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (I Tim. 6:17)
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb. 6:12)
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb. 13:2)
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (Heb. 13:9)
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (James 3:1)
But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (I Pet. 3:14)
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Pet. 3:8)
(Note how many times we are told to not be afraid. There’s a sermon in that… )
They are carrying out the designated work begun by the intercessory prayers of God’s prayer warriors in recent weeks, months and years, he said… Why are you telling us this? I wondered. His answer should have been obvious — it’s so we don’t quit. So we don’t get tired or discouraged or distracted by the stuff of living and just quit.
As I was praying tonight, the Lord began describing his angels on assignment in America right now.
If you could see them in the spirit, he said, they would look like soldiers – marines, infantry, seals, paratroopers, etc., fully armed and armored.
But if you see them in the natural, you will think they are ordinary tourists, visitors, workers, men and women of all ages, youngsters and teenagers, all races, all economic backgrounds and ethnic groups.
They are walking around NYC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, San Diego, Los Vegas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit and many other major cities. You’d never know they were angels, to look at them. They have specific assignments to do and they are busy doing it.
In Washington, DC, they are visiting every national monument, the Supreme Court, and getting in lines at every bus stop and…
Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6:24 (NASB)
Today sees us looking at another name of God, one that many of us are familar with: Jehovah Shalom. In our world we see peace as a time without war between nations, or as a time of rest during or after a busy time in life. We all love some peace in our personal life occasionally. There is personal peace for Gideon with God, having feared for his life; and there is peace with God for Israel with who they call upon in their opression under the Midianites.
After forty years without a Godly leader Israel sinned against God (Judges 6:1). They were far from God…
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
A 24-hour prayer time was recently called for my church where people signed up for specific times to come and pray. Some of us were asked to write a prayer on a specific subject as a guideline. The following is based on what I submitted that day.
Prayers for Local, State and Federal Government
In Jesus’s prayer in John 17, he did not pray for the world. He prayed for the believers who existed at that time, and those that would exist in the future:
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine… Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” (John 17:9; 29)
I believe we should pray for all those who work in government, the elected and the non-elected (staff or volunteers) ones; the Christians and the non-Christians who have been elected, appointed or hired to government positions, in federal, state, regional, county and city governments. That includes all the court systems as well on each level.
These are the people who run the governments of America, many of them behind-the-scenes, invisible people. They pull the strings, make the decisions, even write the legislative bills voted on. Every one of them is vulnerable to make bad decisions, because of the sheer numbers of opportunities and temptations to compromise their principles that they face on a regular basis.
Most of us pray at election time for the people running for office, don’t we? But too often we don’t pray for them afterward. Or we don’t think to pray for the non-elected people who work in government, and there are a great number of them. We need to pray for the lost to get saved, certainly, but also for the faith of the saved ones to be protected.
Below are prayers found in the writings of Paul and others. I believe It would be good for us to use these prayers now for those who work in the various governments and agencies across America.
• “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what [is] the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” (Ephesians 1:15-19)
• “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and [in] all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
• “For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” (Colossians 1:9-12)
• “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
• “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, 5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; 6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:4-6)
• “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)
How did the original disciples / apostles understand that commission?
First, what was that commission? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe (watch, keep, obey) all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-19 KJV)
Second, what were the all things Jesus had commanded them?
And as ye go,
preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick,
cleanse the lepers,
raise the dead,
cast out demons.
Freely you have received, freely give.
The original disciples were already quite familiar with that commission. They had observed it while following Jesus, and then had experience in it themselves. It was always more than just preaching. It was much, much more.
The 11 apostles: “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:20)
The 70 disciples: “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20)
Peter (apostle): “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” (Acts 3:6-7)
Stephen (disciple/deacon): “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” (Acts 6:8)
Philip (disciple/deacon): “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” (Acts 8:6)
Paul (former enemy, a new apostle): “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)
Paul’s own testimony: “Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:19) “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.” (2 Corinthians 12:12)
Barnabas: “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” (Acts 15:12)
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Baptism in the Holy Spirit) as recorded in Acts 2 gave them — and us today — the power, the ability to perform the ministries included in the Great Commission.
Church history records that this commission was carried out with miracle signs and wonders from the beginning of the church, although over time for many people it became only the “going” and the “preaching,” not the power of the gospel.
Today the Great Commission is again being fulfilled by believers who know who they are, fulfilled the way it was intended, illustrated by Jesus and carried out by the original church.