Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5
Every spring our church has revival meetings, every year people are challenged, and every year some people are afraid that they might discover a hidden sin and need to make that long, humiliating trek up to the altar. I'm not exempt from these feelings and have had enough of these experiences in times past to warrant the question that I've been pondering. Why do we fear revival? Why do we make excuses and skip out on something that's so important to our soul? Why do we let what other people think of us get in the way of our salvation, our Christian walk of life, and worst of all keep us silent when people are dying in sin?
Jesus Please Use Me...
Lord, there's so many souls that are
lost in this world.
Why should I be silent as Satan's lies
Lord, I'm only a human, simply saved by
I deserve the fires of hell, with my
pride, my sin, deceit.
Oh God, I tremble at my heart's wrong
I stumble and fall down, in selfishness
In my heart I doubt Your mercy,
strength to stand for You is gone,
On my own, I am but nothing, pure love comes
from You alone.
But Jesus, if only one soul could be
saved through me,
I pray that you would open me, fill me,
and use me.
So, as promised, I will try presenting the insights and inspiration we gathered during the Gospel Express Prison Crusade this past month... For some reason, I had always had this little-girl version of a prison stuffed in the back of my mind... A building lined with heavy iron gates, linked by long, eerie, hallways coloured in a dull, formidable egg-shell paint, and most importantly big, scary, men, latched in handcuffs, who would hold clerks at gun-point, break into parked vehicles, and nab precious stones from the front counter at a jewellery store. A jail, to me, was a place where society's monsters were stuffed away and banished so the rest of us could live in peace and safety.
On the crusade we went to minister to "the monsters"..... But as I witnessed these men crying brokenly in repentance, wishing desperately for a chance to start over, pain vivid in their eyes, they were no longer monsters... They became individual souls.... Broken, hurting people who have scars deep down inside. As one volunteer stated, "The only prison anyone is in is the prison of their mind." And as I witnessed the broken, hopeless state of these men in prison, I began to realize how similar our lives really were.
All of us have a past, all of us have sinned, all of us have had times when we've desperately wanted to start over. Sometimes the scars of the past are so subtle we barely notice them. Some have hung on for so long we've re-adjusted and nearly forgotten how life was without something between us and God. The Christians behind bars have ugly, sinful histories.... They're lives were filled with humiliation, shame, and defeat... But they've been set free... They can live with joy because they've let Jesus have everything they've ever done and watched the guilt dissolve in His blood.
Maybe you're one of those people who appears to be free on the outside, but inside your heart is being strangled... Weighted down and defeated by the guilt of sins you've committed, things you know were wrong, words you wish were never spoken... Let Jesus have everything. Talk to Him and tell Him you can't take it anymore... Ask Him to help you let go, to resolve the bitterness, take care of the grudges, and to flood your life with His joy... He is the only One who can truly set you free!
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." ~ John 8:36