Summary: We can make the choice to sing a new song to God; and allow the joy of the Lord to transform our thoughts, and usher in a revival of the heart.
Did you hear cannons fire on Thursday morning? I have to tell ya, the two-fold pounding of the avalanche cannon awoke me from my sleeo. I laid there in bed and thought, No! We didn’t get snow last night. Sure enough, though, God dumped nine inches of fresh snow onto the mountains above on Wednesday night.
As my morning routine ended, I stepped from the warmth of the parsonage and headed towards the church. The cold damp cut through my jacket, and strait into my bones. I strolled down Mullan Avenue, looking at the blanket of new snow upon the mountain cap.
Now, you know this: I love the snow. I think it’s absolutely wonderful skiing on fresh powder. However, I have to confess: I’m ready for spring — on the earth, and in the church.
But ya know, as I meandered down Mullan Avenue, I heard my first echo of spring.
A chorus of birds was singing a new song to the morning dawn. Their song resonated with a distant memory of springs gone by.
Then I thought, This is a day to celebrate and to be filled with God’s joy. My grieving quickly turned to joy; and there in my joy I found a newfound strength to champion the day. I again realized one of life’s simplicities: my grief was merely an attitude of the heart. There’s a lesson there for us all.
This morning, we’re going to wrap our three-part sermon series called the Road to revival by looking at Israel’s song of revival found within the book of Nehemiah. But first, let’s quickly catch up from the past few weeks.
As we’ve heard, Ezra and Esther gave their full devotion to God. They were willing vessels who sought God with fasting and continual prayer, so that God could stir the hearts of his children, and save all those who trusted in him. The same was true with Nehemiah. And this was crucial, because as we’ve also heard, Satan was on a mission to destroy lives.
The Devil knew that if he planted enough doubt, discouraged God’s children, created division, and interfered with Godly worship, then the children of God would have stopped being light of God and the salt of this earth — for all those God wanted to bring back to the Promised Land.
Folks, Satan’s doing this now within the church in America, just as he did in the times when God stirred the hearts of the people to return home, rebuild the temple and the city walls. Let’s see how this looked, and how the people also responded in the Book of Nehemiah. Please turn to the Book of Nehemiah, and earmark chapter 8.
IT TAKES THE STIRRING OF GOD TO RETURN, AND VISION TO REBUILD
Now, we’ve heard Ezra returned to Jerusalem, and within the 13 years of their return, the people had become discouraged in their rebuilding. Satan was working fulltime stirring up people groups to stop the people from rebuilding and doing God’s work to usher in revival.
Nehemiah 2:3 says that Jerusalem lied buried in ruins, and its gates had been destroyed by fire. Nehemiah was saddened because all he heard; and in his grief, he sought God in prayer. God heard Nehemiah’s heart and stirred with him a desire to return to Jerusalem.
Like then, God is stirring the hearts of thousands of Christians to rebuild our once, great, Christian nation, and to restore our dried bones back to state of renewal and revival. But we have to allow God to stir us. We have to want it. Did you get that?
We have to want to again become the salt of this earth and the light of Christ, so that God can save those needing saving. It’s an attitude of the heart; and it starts with a heart of steadfast devotion in prayer, fasting, reading of God’s word daily, and worshipping the Lord God without inhibition or qualification based on our religious tradition and comfort zone.
Thousands are dying outside our walls, and if we fail to rebuild, those who are perishing from Satan’s attacks cannot seek refuge. Here this, I cannot rebuild alone.
IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO REBUILD (NOT AN INDIVIDUAL)