“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the LORD was jealous for his land and took pity on his people. The LORD replied to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations. “I will drive the northern horde far from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land; its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea. And its stench will go up; its smell will rise. ”Surely he has done great things! Do not be afraid, land of Judah; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things! Do not be afraid, you wild animals, for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit; the fig tree and the vine yield their riches. Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:12-32)
We need to develop a prayerful life and develop the desire to pray daily. God reads our hearts. If we do not receive an answer to prayer, we should check our hearts to make sure we have not placed any idols above God. These could take the shape of materialism, television, a spouse or loved one, work, or anything else that you esteem above the Lord.
We must consecrate ourselves as holy unto God. We need to connect with Him and enter into His presence through prayer. We should also intercede for the nation in which God has placed us.
We must ask God for forgiveness, for revival comes only after repentance. We need to be sanctified and refined in Christ and pray without ceasing that God will fulfill His promise to pour out His Spirit on the young and old.
Through a lifestyle of prayer, God will activate your gifting, and you will live supernaturally with miracle-working power, healing and saving everyone you encounter in the name of the Lord.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 11:36)
From the day we are born, everything in our lives is about our Lord. From Him we come, for He is our Creator. Through Him, by His grace we live every day, and for Him we do all things. God is calling every individual as well as the corporate Church, and we have a choice whether or not to respond to Him. Billy Graham said we can miss the kingdom by a foot, meaning that our heads are with God, but our hearts are far from Him. When our hearts are with God, we will offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, and we will experience His power at work in our daily lives.
There are four powerful reasons to respond to God’s call:
- Dedicate and consecrate your body.
It is common sense that we dedicate our bodies to God because Christ did the same for us when He died on the cross. If God has your heart, He also has your body, for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)
Let your body be an instrument of righteousness rather than wickedness. The world will know your God through your actions.
- It is a place of confession and declaration.
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:8-10)
If you believe with your heart, then you will confess your belief with your mouth. There must be evidence of God in our lives. There is no such thing as a closet Christian.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
We are called to be the light and salt of the earth. How can a light be hidden?
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
(2 Corinthians 4:3)
We have life, and that life is everlasting.
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. (Psalm 45:1-2)
The psalmist compared his tongue to the pen of a skillful writer. When we are guided by the Spirit of God, He anoints our tongues to confess and declare His goodness to the world, and we are blessed forever.
- It is a place for spiritual impartation.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. (Acts 13:1-3, 9-12)
When God is lifted up, you will experience the impartation of His blessing. As we focus on lifting the Lord higher, He will draw all men to Himself. When we minister unto the Lord rather than to ourselves, His gifts begin to flow. The verses above are clear examples of how the Lord moves when He is lifted up.
- It is a place of total surrender.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19)
When you surrender everything to God, you activate His blessing. Abraham did exactly that when he stood, dagger in hand, ready to sacrifice Isaac. As a result, everything changed.
When you are willing to totally surrender to God’s instruction, you will activate His miracles. You have to lay everything on the altar in order to see how He will multiply it. As a result of Abraham’s heart of surrender, his descendants were blessed and a nation was born, the only nation God chose to call His own.