Advent Devotionals - December 8th

Offertory
Wilt not thou turn again, O God, and quicken us; that thy people may rejoice in thee:  Show us thy mercy O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

Growing up as a So. Baptist, I remember each year my Church dedicating one weekend or even a full week out of the year to “Revival” services.  For those of you who have never had the opportunity to experience a typical “Revival” service, they could be quite an experience.  

The norm would be to invite a traveling Evangelist and Music Individual to conduct the services.  The Evangelist would preach his heart out about hell and sin and the dangers of ignoring the call to salvation.  Unfortunately, while there was talk about sin, I don’t ever remember hearing one important word, repentance.

In our reading for today, which comes from Psalm 85, the writer pleads with God to quicken or revive the people.  In Psalm 85:2, the Psalmist recalls how God “forgave the iniquity of his people; and covered all their sin.”  Now he is calling on God to do so again.

God’s people had fallen into sin yet again and were now looking to God for forgiveness.  They were ready to repent.  But repentance is often a misunderstood thing.  We often equate repentance with a feeling or the ability to temporarily give up a bad habit.  But the kind of repentance that leads to true revival or quickening, is the type that is evidenced in the life of the believer on a daily basis.  A Preacher friend of mine once said, “It doesn’t matter how high you jump on Sunday.  It’s how you walk with Jesus Monday through Saturday.”

As believers, you and I struggle with temptation and sin.  If God is to revive our hearts, we must truly 
repent and be prepared to do the work it will take to destroy the works of the devil in our lives.

Notice too the reason the Psalmist gives for repenting and turning to the Lord, “that thy people  may rejoice in thee.”  I know of no greater joy than when I know that I have been forgiven by the one who made me and saved me.  To know that I am at peace with God.  And we can know this because God has promised this hope in his word.

Psalm 136 we find this phrase repeated at the end of all twenty-six verses, “for his mercy endures forever.”  Psalm 103:8 we read, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  Now if this doesn't give you a reason to rejoice in the LORD, then I’m not sure what would.  

However; repentance can often be painful.  Giving up the sin we have come to rely on and that has been a part of our lives.  God must cleanse us and create in us clean hearts.  When He does, we are restored and forgiven.  Our salvation is assured.

I want to close with a stanza from one of my favorite hymns.

Revive us O Lord.  Fill each heart with thy love.
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above
Hallelujah thine the glory!
Hallelujah!  Amen!
Hallelujah! Thine the Glory!
Revive us again!

Dcn. Ron Christolear

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