Joining Hearts and Hands In Mission with Christ

Calling Upon The Name of The Lord

“. . . and he called his name Enos: then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Genesis 4:26

Do you have any earthly idea what a mouthful is said in that little piece of a verse of scripture, I’ve quoted above? Even though I have done an exhaustive study and teaching of the book of Genesis, in years past, I somehow let the importance of that short phrase slip by me unnoticed until just the other day. Let me see if I can share with you just how truly important and revealing the last half of that verse actually is.

Verse 25 shares how God gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth. He was “to take the place of,” “to be the substitute for,” their son Abel who was killed by his brother Cain. “Seth” literally means “to put another,” “to replace,” “to substitute.” Eve, herself, says in that verse, “For God ‘hath appointed me another’ seed instead of Abel.” Verse 26 then begins to share how Seth had a son he named Enos, and (in what seems like a somewhat strangely unnessary inclusion of information) the verse concludes, “then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

In my study of scripture over the years I have learned that when information is given in the scripture that seems to be strangely out of place or unnecessary, it generally has a very significant or important reason for being there. Thus I decided I better look a little closer. So I took a look at what Enos’ name means. It comes from a root that means “frail, feeble, desperate, incurable.” But the literal meaning is “mortal.” We as mere mortals are frail, feeble, desperate, and incurable. And when we finally begin to realize that, we should indeed call upon the name of the Lord! Isn’t God’s word rich?

Now, let me begin to get to the meat of what I want to say in the light of this passage. I was reading Daniel Henderson’s book, Transforming Prayer, the other day when a quote in it from George Barna’s book, Revolution, struck me right between the eyes. It said:

Eight out of ten believers do not feel they have entered
into the presence of God or experienced a connection
with Him during the worship service. Half of all believers
say they do not feel they have entered the presence of
God or experienced a genuine connection with God in
the past year.

That statement nearly tore my heart in two. Can it be so? Has our worship indeed become that routine, that superficial, that inept, that boring, that powerless? If it has then I believe it is about time, we learned as God’s children did when Enos was born, to begin to call upon the name of the Lord. In our frail, feeble, desperate, incurable mortal-ness, we need to begin crying out once more to God, just like some believers in North Georgia did over one hundred years ago.

The year was 1886. The place was Pine Log. Georgia–just a few short miles from here. The occasion was a revival campaign. The physical temperature was sweltering. After all it was August in North Georgia. But the spiritual temperature was frigid. It was colder than a three-dog night in Alaska’s harshest winter. It was the last day of a ten-day meeting and to that point not a soul had made any sort of move. Not a single soul had been saved. Not a one had come in re-commitment. About the only good thing you could say about the situation was that at least the people weren’t lukewarm. J. N. Sullivan, the visiting evangelist, had just finished fervently preaching his final message, offered an invitation, but once more to no avail. It appeared as if those folks couldn’t be budged with a stick of dynamite.

In feeble desperation and frail frustration, pastor Sullivan dropped to his knees in the altar and began to pray aloud. “Lord, I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say! Lord, if it takes it to move the hearts of these people, then shake the very ground upon which this old building sits!” Before he had even completed that last sentence, nearly 400 miles away, a barely perceptible tremor, then a sound like that of a heavy body rolling along, began in Charleston, S.C. Within seconds the sound became a deafening roar and the tremor swelled to a rude, rapid quiver. Moveable objects began to shake and rattle. Buildings began to collapse. The quake lasted 35 to 40 seconds taking the lives of approximately 60 residents of Charleston, but bringing life eternal to not only ones sitting in the revival service, but many throughout the community, of Pine Log. No sooner had pastor Sullivan finished his prayer for a shaking than the church there at Pine Log began to tremble. Immediately members of the congregation made their way to the altar area. A few of the others rushed out of the building to share with family and friends what was happening and their need to come to church. Revival erupted! Lives were changed not just temporarily but for decades to come here on earth and for eternity in the life beyond. Pine Log was powerfully impacted by the presence of the living Lord!

Desperation: suffering unbearable need and/or anxiety. Desperation: reaching a point of reckless abandon brought on by an overwhelming sense of futility. Desperation: the point of near hopelessness that sends one seeking a last resort. How long will it take before we will realize how feeble, frail and incurable we are? How desperate will we have to get here in America—here in North Georgia–before we will begin to call upon the name of the Lord? To turn this world around we need something far more than mere mortals can muster. We need the earth-shaking power of our awesomely mighty God! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it could be said of us, “In the year, 2012, they began to call upon the name of the Lord!”

Dry Land or Freedom & Unity?

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound in chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalm 68: 6

As I sit down to write, March is almost upon us and so is our set aside time for seeking reviving from the Lord. My mind races as I struggle and ask God to help me share with you what he has so filled my heart with from the scripture quoted above and the passage surrounding it. Knowing how desperately we need revival, I have been soberly contemplating our responsibility as we are march forward in faith seeking to see it happen. But I have also pondered what we might expect to occur if God truly comes marching through. From just that one verse above, I believe we can see both a responsibility on our part and a couple of expectations on God’s part.

Let’s first consider the two things we can expect to be a part of any real revival movement from God. According to the verse quoted above, two very real results of God marching through in real revival will be unity and freedom. Let’s address the more obvious one first. God will set people free that have been bound with chains for years. The truth is that even God’s own children get chain bound with sins. Even his own get caught up in a harsh and critical spirit, trapped by an inability to silence our own wagging tongue, bound by jealous rivalry, hooked by a lustful look or an illicit liaison, addicted by a drug or drink, hog-tied by apathy and doubt, chained by all sorts of things that steal our love, allegiance and very lives for God. But mark it down if God marches through in real revival those ugly sins that have so bound us will be brought out and–chains will fall! I believe first from the saints and then the miraculous difference God makes in us will draw the lost. After all God does say “if my people. . . I will forgive and heal.” There will be a marvelous, new-found freedom in Jesus Christ.

But let’s look at that less obvious result of God’s marching in our midst in real revival–unity. The verse says: “God setteth the solitary in families. . .” The first time I read that, I wondered what in the world is God talking about there? But a little closer inspection of the Hebrew word translated “solitary” along with putting the verse in context with the rest of the passage made God’s promise become much clearer. The word translated “solitary” can also mean “unity/united” or “lonely”. Substitute those other two meanings in that phrase and I believe you’ll begin to get a picture of what God is trying to convey. When God comes in his realness to usher in revival the lonely will find themselves placed in families. After all verse five indicates God is a father to the fatherless. There’s many times in this old world today we feel like we are battling it all by ourselves. We feel so isolated and alone. But God will bring back a real sense of belonging and acceptance . He will set the lonely in families. And he’ll also set unity in families. Family members (both physical as well as spiritual) that have been butting heads and battling it for ages will finally find unity of spirit and purpose.

But there is also a real word of warning here! There is a responsibility you and I must shoulder if we are to see that unity and freedom. The last part of that verse says, “but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Those who fail to listen, those who fail to seek, those who fail to repent, those who refuse to heed will continue to dwell in the desert. We must repent!

Are you tired of things like they are? Are you thirsting for a true movement of God? Is your spirit parched? Do you feel bound? Are you lonely and lacking unity? Would you really like to experience God’s unity and freedom? Then get ready to respond as God begins to march! The next few verses say that when God passes among his people, when he marches through, the earth trembles, heaven itself bows in his presence, mountains move, and God blesses. He sends his blessed rain to the weary.

It’s beginning to rain, hear the voice of the Father, saying “Whosoever will come drink of this water. I’ve promised to pour my Spirit out on your sons and your daughters. If you’re thirsty and dry look up to the sky. It’s beginning to rain.”

Would you really like to experience God’s unity and freedom? Then get ready to respond as God begins to march!

The past few days I have been singing (under my breath–to Ann’s and Nan’s benefit) that wonderful old hymn “We’re Marching to Zion” and thinking about revival as I have sung, I’ve wanted to shout at the top of my lungs: “Come ye that love the Lord and let your joys be known. Join in a song of sweet accord. Join in a song of sweet accord. And thus surround the throne and thus surround the throne.” Won’t you come march in faith to revival with me?

Lion’s Lunch

Be sober, be vigilant; for your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion. walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:18

Have you ever felt like you have just been the lion’s lunch? Have you ever discovered yourself chewed up and spit out or totally devoured before you even knew what was going on? Or maybe if you haven’t felt like you been eaten perhaps you’ve felt as if you were at least on the menu?

The reason I ask, is because I feel as if we as an entire association have just entered a very precarious time for being devoured. We have just committed ourselves to diligently seek the Lord and revival and I already see the stalking signs of a consuming lion circling the camp.

Let me share with you a few (perhaps surprising) habits of how the lion hunts and how those facts relate to how the devil is stalking in our midst seeking to devour us.

First of all did you know that the majority of attacks a lion makes is upon the healthy and fit–not the sick and the dying. Likewise, the devil loves to attack those who think they are so vibrant and healthy in the Lord that there is just no way they’ll be caught off guard or fall victim to him.

Along with that fact, let’s tie together a couple of other facts. Fact number two: a lion’s victim is generally the one that is closest. Now before you get too self-assured and confident in your distance from the devil, let me tie a third fact to this second one and then make a practical spiritual application. Fact three: during a dry season, a lion generally lies in wait near a watering hole.

Now let those two facts soak in for a minute. Are we not indeed living in a dry season spiritually? Are you not growing thirsty for God and a fresh anointing of His power and presence? Are you not longing for the watering hole? Are you not seeking to draw near? Don’t you imagine that if the devil operates like a lion (as this Scripture says he does) he’ll be lingering somewhere near that watering hole? Does that not mean that those who are most vibrantly alive in the Lord and truly seeking revival the most likely ones to be attacked?

Now for a fourth fact about the lion’s hunting habits. A lion is successful in only one out of every five attacks. Do you know why that is so? The lion’s success rate is limited by two factors–the individual alertness as well as the watchfulness of the entire flock that might fall victim.

Now give great heed to God’s two commands in relation to all of this! Number one God says, “be sober!” It’s “nephrate” in the Greek. It literally has to do with not becoming intoxicated. Now in this case I don’t believe God is referring to alcoholic intoxication but rather an inebriation in self. You know what I’m talking about! I call it the “big I syndrome”. God sets himself against the proud. We need to be humbled under the mighty hand of God and place our cares upon him. This is not a battle we’ll be able to fight in and of ourselves. We need to sober up enough to realize that. It’s not big “I” that will keep us from falling victim–it is the very grace of God’s own hand. Be sober!

“Be vigilant!” “Gregoresate!” “Rouse yourself from complacency.” “Collect your faculties.” “Be on the alert!” While there is a God who cares for you, there is an adversary who seeks to do your harm! During this time of revival if we don’t abandon self to the mighty hand of God being vigilantly alert that there is a devil who is seeking otherwise we’ll find the devil not just eating our lunch but swallowing us up into his scheme of things.

Still praying for revival!

My New Year Prayer

Dear Lord, for this coming year one simple prayer I bring.
I will not ask for happiness or any earthly thing.
For all the things that come my way, I’ll not ask to understand,
But simply trust that troubles met, are part of your own plan.
Whatever you may ask of me, in faith I want to do
My goal, my aim, my heart, my prayer is simply to please you.

A simple lot in life I seek, so thankful for small things.
I want to serve and learn and grow from the lessons each day brings.
Though lowly tasks may come my way, I’ll not ask for man’s applause,
But a faithful worker I desire to be, for you and for your cause.
From day to day the things you want, is what I long to do
My goal, my aim, my heart, my prayer is simply to please you.

With my mouth throughout this year I want to speak your blessings.
So seal my lips from angry words and foolish talk, or rumors so distressing.
But help me share the “good news” fast, with everyone I see.
A faithful witness for my Lord, I truly want to be.
From day to day I long to share your Word forever true,
My goal, my aim, my heart, my prayer is simply to please you.

And yet I know my actions, Lord, speak louder than my words.
A sharing mouth without the life is strickly for the birds.
So all the things I ought to do, may I willingly be taught,
And daily let you cleanse my heart and purify each thought?
From my example may they see, Christ come shining through?
My goal, my aim, my heart, my prayer is simply to please you.

I want to hear your guiding voice and walk with you each day.
So help me, Lord, be swift to hear and ready to obey.
And may your Word, which promises a good work you’ll complete,
Take such a hold upon my life and work its work so sweet.
That when this year draws to a close, we’ll both see how I grew,
For my goal, my aim, my heart, my prayer is simply to please you.

Said In His Heart

And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape his hand.”
1 Samuel 27: 1

The story began with what biologist would refer to as a symbiotic relationship. In such relationships both parties benefit from living and working together in close correlation with one another. It’s like birds that you see sitting on cows’ heads or backs. By doing such the bird is fed as he relieves the cow from being aggravated by pesky flies or other pests.

This symbiotic relationship between David and King Achish came about because Saul was in hot pursuit of David and David was getting tired of running. Having to constantly be on the move and on the look out was taking its toll. Life on the run was getting old. So David came up with a plan.

Look again there in chapter 27 at verse one. “And David . . .” did what? He “said in his heart.” Though he’d been taught practically from birth not to fraternize with the enemy (and as a young boy had actually been a living example to King Saul and his army as they had faced the giant Goliath) David ignored everything he’d ever been taught as he came up with his own plan. Instead of leaning not on his own understanding and in all his ways acknowledging God, so that the Lord could direct his paths, David decided he had a better idea.

His life was too stressed and he knew it. He decided something had to be done about it and since God seemed to be slow in making it happen maybe he ought to do something to relieve the situation himself. He said in his heart. He came up with his own personal plan. He’d seek asylum in the land of the Philistines. Saul would never think of following him there.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever gotten tired of waiting on God and just decided in your own heart to do something? It’s bad enough if the only life it is affecting is yours, but that’s really never the case, is it? In David’s situation there were 600 men and their wives and children. In all likelihood there were over 3000 lives changed by this one man’s decision. It ought to be a solemn reminder to you and me. No man or woman is an island. You never know how far your realm of influence and testimony are reaching. When you lose your head and decide to go it without God you never know how many other lives you are dragging with you.

Now let me give you a very practical application of this principle in our lives today. During lunch at the pastor’s meeting last week the question was raised about what do you think has happened to our churches? Why do we think we have to be so “user friendly,” and “specialty-oriented,” and such? I am afraid it is because many of us “have said in our hearts.” Somewhere along the way we have replaced God’s power and presence, and prayer with programs, promotions and procedures. That is not to say that programs, promos, and procedures are not needful, useful tools; but they can never replace God and His guidance and His glory.

As we plan for the future as individuals, as churches, and as an association, let’s make an extra special effort not to say in our own hearts. Let’s seek HIS heart.
1 Samuel 27 :1

Associational News

New Town Baptist will be sponsoring a Women's Conference on Saturday, May 4, 2019, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm. Cost $10, lunch provided. Frances Worthington will be the speaker ...
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