17 January, 2011

"Seeking Him" - Lesson One: Revival (What is it and Who needs it?)

"Seeking Him" - Lesson One: Revival (What is it and Who needs it?)
Submitted by Leah Page on Mon, 01/17/2011 - 9:24pm RevivalSH011Sovereignty


Key Verse(s): Hosea 10:12-13
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you. You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men."

The bulk of our discussion, last week, as we reviewed our study time in lesson one, focused on the questions laid out on pages 16-17 in our book. Based on that discussion, these were some of the main themes we discovered and/or traced throughout:

•Revival is for the BELIEVER ~ We must first have life from God to be able to experience life afresh. This isn't to say that the Lord doesn't newly save individuals in the context of, for example, a "revival meeting," but rather it is to emphasize that "Revival" is not some external activity or event (or something we ourselves can "drum up"). Rather, it is description of a work that takes place from within, and can only be brought about by God, who in Christ Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith.
•Revival is God's gift for his children, to give grace so that we have both the desire and the power to return to him. It's ultimately about our intimacy with our heavenly Father, and how that intimacy changes us from the inside out.
•As Nancy pointed out in the video segment of our study, the first step in the process is to "break up the fallow ground" ~ For us to have hearts that are soft and made ready to receive the good seed so that we may yield a harvest of righteouness, we must first have hearts that have been broken, tilled, plowed. And the plow needs to dig DEEP so that the soft soil underneath can be turned up, and the hard soil on the top can be broken up and made soft. It was by means of this analogy that Nancy warned us that these first few weeks of this study will be the most difficult, perhaps the most painful part. The Lord will begin exposing the soft undersides of our heart, and we will no doubt be disgusted by what he finds there. It makes us unconfortable, but we must be willing to submit to the process if we want to experience revival ~ Lord, we want you to search us and know us and see if there be any wicked way in us and lead us in the way everlasting. (see prayer at end of Ps. 139)
•One of the tools in our lesson, this first week, was a kind of heart "inventory" we took on day 5 ~ examining our own hearts, looking at our lives in light of Scripture, being honest about whatever sin we might be seeing there. Several of us found this very helpful!
•Questions 4 and 5 on pages 16-17 were especially revealing. Both touched on the issue of what other things - often even GOOD things! - in our lives to we hold on to for security, or do we turn to in place of God? And as we discussed, we are quick to depend on our money, our health, our intelligence, our family relationships or friendships, or any number of other GOOD things that can very easily become idols of our hearts. We cling tightly to our expectations (demands?)!, rather than "holding all things," as Pastor Krogh has said, "with an open hand." We become distracted from loving the Lord, deceived even by our own hearts, so we go about "trusting in our own way" rather than fully following after the Lord.
•It was a point of conviction - in keeping with the hard and painful work of "plowing" our hearts - but there is a sweetness to it! We must remember that it is the KINDNESS of the Lord that leads us to repentance! It is for our GOOD that the Lord exposes the uglinesses of our hearts to ourselves, so that these sinful motives, these sinful desires, these self-preserving actions can be seen for how ugly they really are - and WHY are they ugly? Because they keep up from the love of our Father, they keep us from living righteous lives as God desires - and God's desire FOR us in this regard is not only for his glory, but for our JOY.
•Let us keep that JOY before our eyes, even as we humble ourselves to the Spirit's examination of our hearts! Let us, like King Josiah (see "going deeper" corner on p. 1, and text in 2 Kings 22:8-13, 18-20), weep over our sin, to the degree that we would "rend our garments" in mourning over how we have failed to obey the word of the Lord. And let us truly invite the Lord's life-giving work, trusting that he is GOOD, and that he changes us from the inside out because of his great LOVE for us.

Book Recommendation: "The Valley of Vision" compiled/edited by Arthur Bennett

This is a collection of prayers from several writings from many "Puritan" Christians from the past several hundred years. This collection has been SUCH a blessing in my own life, and as I said in class, if I could own only one other book besides the Bible, it would probably be this book.

Like nothing else I've read, I feel this book has taught and is still teaching me how to pray, and the poetic phrases - aside from just being beautiful and worshipful in their expression - contain some of the richest theological truths that in themselves are teachers. These heart-felt prayers encourage us to give our all, and to willingly invite the Lord to do the work that only he can....

This next Wednesday, we will start class with a time of prayer, using p. 18-19 in our book as a guideline.


12 January, 2011

New Study for GCC Women - "Seeking Him" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

New Study - "Seeking Him: Experiencing the JOY of Personal Revivial" (Nancy Leigh DeMoss)
Submitted by Leah Page on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 3:28pm


Greetings, Ladies! Last week, we met together by way of introduction to our new topical study, "Seeking Him," which is focused on the who/what/when/where/why/how's of experiencing "REVIVAL" in our hearts and lives.

This past week, we started our journey together, working through the first lesson, and tonight we will begin discussion in earnest. It is my prayer that the Lord is already working in our hearts and minds, to search us, to know our hearts, to see if there be any wicked way in us, and to lead us in the way everlasting. And I hope, particularly, that this small group of women will become for you a "safe place" to share and fellowship and encourage one another as we grow in our intimacy with our Savior!

Over the past couple years, I have led what we have affectionately termed as one of the "non-precepts" studies offered for women at GCC. But even though we haven't worked through the sometimes more labor-intensive process of inductive study as laid out in the Precepts studies, we have nevertheless taken a more "inductive" approach. Working through "Before His Throne" (Malachi), "Lord, only you can change me" (Sermon on the Mount), and an 8-week Lifeway study on "Covenant" (various texts tracing the doctrine of Covenant from Genesis through Revelation), we have investigated texts for meaning, and I think it would be fair to say we have been learning much ABOUT God and his word, and thus also about ourselves.

"Seeking Him" is a different kind of study ~ more "topical" and introspective. And I think the Lord's timing is perfect! I am persuaded that he has already been "making ready a people prepared for the Lord," so that seeds of "revival" may already have been planted in your soul. I hope that this study will give us the opportunity to APPLY much of our knowledge (both new and old) about God to our own, everyday lives - Even as we are seeking to gaze more deeply into the face of our Savior, the fruit of that is the sharpening of our focus as we do serious heart-examination on ourselves, and labor to bring every area of our external and internal worlds under the headship of Christ. And I pray that the fellowship and exhortation we share, over these next 12 weeks, will be as water and nourishment for these seeds of the work God is doing!

God willing, it is my intention to update this blog, weekly, with a summary of our classtime together so that this might be a useful tool in review, and also for those who might have to miss class for any reason.

And there is more information to come, especially concerning reviewing videos for nights missed.

Thank you for giving yourself to the Lord's leading, these weeks! I pray we are able to regard our time in preparation each week, NOT as part of our "busyness" but rather, as part of our REST and restoration as the Lord meets us in these carved out quiet times!