Decline and Holy Discontent

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August 9, 2020

Renewal
  • Daily Devotional
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    Day 1: Decline 

    Throughout Scripture we read about spiritual renewal and revival. As you study these different revivals there seems to be recurring themes or a pattern established for God’s Spirit to awaken the people of God. 

    In many cases, the starting point for revival begins with a moral, spiritual, or cultural decline.  

    In the Old Testament, we read about a spiritual revival during the reign of King Hezekiah. King Hezekiah is known as “one of the good ones” when it comes to kings in the Old Testament. However, Ahaz (Hezekiah’s father) was the previous king and did not trust God, obey his commands, or lead his people in the worship of God. Instead, he worshipped the pagan gods. 

    Historians and Scripture reveal that his government was considered spiritually disastrous.  

    2 Chronicles 28:24 

    Then Ahaz gathered up the articles of the house of God, cut them into pieces, shut the doors of the house of the LORD, and set up altars of his own on every street corner in Jerusalem. 

    King Ahaz destroyed and closed down houses of worship so that no instruction in the ways of God would be possible, while setting up his own altars to false gods. 

    Things were in DECLINE. The king’s heart was far from God. The people’s hearts were far from God. 

    Heart Check 

    • How sensitive is your heart to the things of God?  
    • Have you become a little spiritually numb during this season?  
    • What is the spiritual climate of your community/city/nation?  

    If your answers weren’t too positive, be encouraged that God typically allows things to get worse before they get better. God has given us free willthe ability to choose his way or your own way. I believe he allows you to choose your own way to reveal how destructive life can be without him.  

    Take time to identify the areas in your life where you are seeing decline. Admit those to God. Confess the times you have chosen your own way over his. Speak to God about the decline you see in your city or nation. Take time to agree with God over the brokenness you see around you. 

     

    Day 2: Holy Discontent 

    What do you think about when you hear the word contentment? Some examples might include: at peace, comfortable, happy, satisfied, etc. 

    You’ve probably heard messages about learning to be content or having “godly contentment.  

    Discontent would be the opposite of all those words that describe contentment, but what about holy discontent? 

    Holy discontent would mean that you feel unsettled, unsatisfied, uncomfortable, or disturbed for a godly, holy reason. This is usually the second component of God’s pattern for revival as we see it unfold in the Bible. There is a person or group of people who experience a Holy Discontent.  

    Read Nehemiah chapter 1 and pay attention to the language of holy discontent in Nehemiah’s prayer.  

    Heart Check  

    • What are the areas in your life or your community that cause holy discontentment? 
    • Ask God to align your heart with his. 
    • Ask God to break your heart for the things that break his heart. 
    • Allow your heart to move to the place of discontentment for the things you want to see God do in your life and community.  
    • Use Nehemiah’s prayer as a template for your own prayer. 

     

    Day 3 Renewed Desire 

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  

    There was a time when King David’s heart had strayed from obeying God. Most people are familiar with David and his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. I believe David knew God’s law and was aware that adultery was wrong, but his desires had shifted over the years. David had become numb to God’s ways and was following his own desires. King David needed to be confronted in order for his desires for God’s ways to be renewed.  

    God sent a prophet named Nathan to confront David. In the process, David humbled himself and prayed for renewed desire to seek God’s presence and follow God’s ways.  

    Read Psalm 51 and pay attention to the renewed desire David has and continues to ask God to give him.  

    Heart Check 

    • What’s the orientation of your desires? Are they directed toward self or toward God?  
    • Use Psalm 51 as a guide for your own prayer for God to renew your desires. 

     

    Day 4Calling on Your Community 

    “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa…” (Esther 4:16) 

    During times of spiritual revival and liberation, God usually moves in the hearts of one or a few, who then gather the greater community together for local or national revival.  

    Esther was an orphaned Jewish girl living in exile when she became queen. (I know, pretty amazing right?!) During this time the Jewish people were being persecuted by the government. Esther didn’t have much faith in her role as queen to do much about it. But her cousin, Mordecai, knew the power of God and had convinced Esther that God could use her to bring freedom and renewal to their people.  

    So, what did Esther do? She called on the entire Jewish community to join her in the spiritual practice of fasting.  

    Fasting can be described as giving up something physical to gain something spiritual. In Esther’s case, their community gave up food and water to seek God’s favor in her conversation with the king to put an end to their persecution. 

     Read Esther 4:6-16. 

    Heart Check 

    • What is something physical you could give up to remind you to ask God for spiritual renewal in your life or your community?  
    • Who are the people in your community that you can call on to participate with you?  
    • Reach out to one or two friends today and invite them to pray with you for God’s spiritual renewal.  

    Day 5: The Timing of Revival 

    “When the day of Pentecost came…” (Acts 2:1) 

    In John 14:16, Jesus tells his disciples that the Father will give them the Holy Spirit. Jesus had told his disciples in John 16:7 that the Holy Spirit will come to them when Jesus goes away.  

    When did this actually happenNot until the day of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2. There were certainly other times the disciples could have benefited from the power, comfort, and wisdom of God’s Spirit, but God sent his Spirit in his own (perfect) timing.  

    So it is with spiritual revival. Some of you would like to see revival break out in your city and nation right NOW. In fact, I hope all of us would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. But God is in control of the timing. 

    There are components and a pattern of revival that we observe in Scripture, and we can certainly do those things, but ultimately, we submit to God’s Spirit and God’s timing.  

    Read Acts 16:6-10. 

    This is a mysterious passage of Scripture. Paul knew God had called him to be a light to the Gentilesto bring them spiritual awakening! So, Paul went to the cities where he knew the Gentiles would bebut the Holy Spirit kept saying “no” until finally Paul received clarity on where to go.  

    We should follow Paul’s example of doing the right things and taking steps of obedience, but always waiting and relying on God’s Spirit for his timing. I don’t know why God didn’t just tell Paul to go to Macedonia right away, instead, he allowed Paul to travel several hundred miles before getting clarity. 

    Heart Check 

    • Are you scheduling regular times for studying God’s word and praying? 
    • Do you regularly connect with other believers for prayer and worship?  
    • Write out your own prayer asking God to move quickly, but communicate your trust in his timing.  
    • Ask God if there’s anything else you should be doing while you wait for his revival.   
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