October 15

Today's Bible Reading:
     Kings 18
     I Thessalonians 1
     Ezekiel 48
     Psalm 104
            “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The Lord, He is God'!” (I Kings 18:38-39)
            The only hope for a nation or a culture that has turned away from God is a genuine, old-fashioned revival. Revival has been defined in many ways, but history has been filled with occasions when the sovereign power of God moved upon a people, a church, a nation, or a culture in unexplained and phenomenal expressions of the power and holiness of God.  One of the greatest revivals of history was recorded in the Old Testament of God's Word in I Kings 18. It was the time when the prophet Elijah called for a God contest.  He stood on Mt. Carmel and defied the false gods. We all know the story.  The prophets of the false gods had no fire to come, but the God of Elijah sent the fire and consumed the altar and even licked up the water in the trenches. In the powerful passage of l Kings 18, are the steps that are essential for revival to come, whether to a nation, a church, or an individual believer.
            We must repairthealtar(vs. 30).  Most of us have already made commitments in our Christian life.  Now is the time to return to them and repair the altar.  An altar represents worship, sacrifice, and giving.  In these areas, we need renewal today.
            We must restorerelationships(vs. 31). The twelve stones of verse 31 represent the 12 tribes of the Children of Israel. Whether it requires confession, forgiveness, or whatever steps of restoration are necessary, God is revealing to us here that there needs to be unity and harmony among the people of God if revival is to come.
            We must renouncesin. Someone may ask, “Where do you see that in this passage?” Any time there was a bloody sacrifice, it was a sacrifice for sin. In this case, they took the bullock to sacrifice. This was always a time when sin was acknowledged and confessed. We must remembertheoffering.  Now you are really confused, and you ask, “Where is an offering in this passage?”
            Elijah could have chosen the gift -a lamb, a goat, a turtledove, or some other lesser sacrifice. Instead, he chose the bullock, which was the most expensive, lavish, and extravagant sacrifice that could be made.
            I am convinced that if revival comes to a person's life, it will include his lavish and magnanimous giving to the cause of Christ. We must relinquish our most prized possession (vs. 33).  If they had had 12 barrels of gold that day, it would not have been as valuable as the 12 barrels of water that Elijah poured on the altar. There had been a 3 1/2 year drought and famine. He was showing them that they had to relinquishtheirmostprizedpossessionfor revival to come.
            We must relytotallyon God. Elijah was revealing to these people that this was not his doing, nor was it some kind of hocus pocus, but it indeed was the hand of God that was moving that day.  He was relying totally in God.  He soaked the wood. We must recognize God's glory. Elijah took none of the credit for himself, but gave all the glory to God.  The people reflected that.  When they saw what God had done, they said, “TheLord, He is God.  The Lord, He is God!”  We desperately need revival today in the nation and in the church. That revival must begin in our individual lives. These are the steps you must take to experience personal revival.  Then it will become contagious and spread across the church into the culture. May it be so in your life today!
            One of the most damaging counter groups to genuine Christianity is Jehovah's Witnesses. They have grown worldwide from 916,000 members in 1960 to more than 6 million at the beginning of the new century. There are over 14.5 million affiliates today.  Many give sacrificial hours in door-to- door work to proclaim a false message in almost every nation and in 300 languages. Christian s need to learn from them as to the commitment of paying the price of time and money to reach a world. We have the truth and they have cultic propaganda. Certainly the truth deserves our best. In some nations, such as Austria, Poland, and Spain, Jehovah's Witnesses outnumber evangelicals.