Psalms 85:4-9 NIV
Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away Your displeasure toward us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger through all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us Your salvation. I will listen to what God the Lord says; He promises peace to His people, His faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly. Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land.
Sunday in our service I couldn't help but look around and see how different things were from when we started coming to the Gathering House. It used to be such a peaceful place to come into but now because of how we are limited by how we can gather it seemed cold and empty. Even though we may have God's peace inside each of us, this building just didn't have the same feel it once had. Not only is this true for our own local congregation but the church as a whole around the country and perhaps the world. It's so hard to know exactly the right thing to do at this time.
Verses 4-6 talk about being restored and revived. We pray for revival because we remember what great things God has done for us in the past and long to see it happening again. Seems here in this country, especially, we need revival more than at anytime since I've been alive.
Verses 8 and 9 talk about listening to what God will say in response to our prayer for revival. Here is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I thought was good. "He that will not hear the gospel of peace, shall never know the peace of the gospel. If you will not hear the Holy Spirit when He warns you of your sin, neither shall you hear Him revealing peace through pardon."
The great news is that Jesus came into this world to bring peace. Today we can once again have that peace, but first we need God to restore and revive us. This season I am going to commit to praying often for God to do that in me and in His church as I celebrate His coming into the world. I am praying that our pastor will be restored to health and that if there is any spirit of discouragement upon him, it will be bound up and cast away from him and also that he will be filled with peace. Then I pray for the leaders and the elders, for wisdom, especially as they decided the best way to stay safe and yet be together in order to worship the King of Kings. Then for the congregation as a whole that we would all be restored to the life He planned for us to have and to be revived or have hearts that burn to be alive for Him. After that I will spend time listening for the Holy Spirit's voice, hearing what actions and attitudes I need changed in my own life and listen for any conviction of sin and then repent of these things. Will you join me?
May we, this Advent Season, keep our focus on Christ, the real reason for Christmas and sense his peace.
by Ken Edgerly
Picture: Description of the different layers in the Walls of Jerusalem and when the walls had been restored.