Recipe for Revival Part 3: Seek God

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

While living in Texas, one day as I was grocery shopping, I decided I was tired of bringing the proverbial bachelor dish of canned corn to church potlucks. I wanted to actually make something. I stood there in the middle of the store, with my cart, wondering what a bachelor like me could possibly make.

Enchiladas! Those can’t be too hard.

So I set out on a hunt, looking for things that would go well in an enchilada dish. I came up with enchilada seasoning mix, refried beans, Morningstar Farm meat crumbles, onions and cheese. 1 I then found some enchilada sauce, vegetarian chili and green onions to top it off with. Oh yes, and. of course. corn tortillas.

I felt I had all the right ingredients, but I knew there had to be a process to make it all fall in place. For example, after I filled the tortillas with the mix, and then started to roll them up into an enchilada, they began to break. I found I had to dip the tortillas in hot olive oil before trying to fold them, so that they would fold right. (Now I just lay them out flat and make my enchiladas more like a lasagna.)

I used to mix the seasoning together in one pan, while mixing the beans, veggie meat crumbles, onions and cheese in another pan and then combining them. I would then add the filling in each individual tortilla. Now I just add the fillings into the pan with the seasoning mix, and I lay the tortillas out flat and pour the contents on top kind of like a lasagna, instead of filling each tortilla individually.

I have to say the enchiladas have been a hit. I have had several families with whom I do Bible studies over, and they love them. One family I have been studying with for a while especially loves them. The kids are always asking when I will make them again. I joked with the parents, that in addition to teaching them the Bible, I could also save them all from a burning building and yet at my funeral all they would be talking about would be how I made good enchiladas!

During this experiment I have learned the importance of creating a delicious meal in the proper sequence.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

God also gives us a recipe for revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He not only gives us the ingredients for the revival, He also shares with us the process. We must humble ourselves before we can pray a prayer which leads to revival. And we must seek God before we can turn from our wicked ways.

It does not do any good to pray if we have not humbled ourselves first. Remember the publican and the Pharisee? They both prayed (Luke 18:10), but the Pharisee did not humble himself. (Luke 18:11-12) The publican humbled himself and went home justified, while the Pharisee did not. (Luke 18:13-14)

It also does no good to try to turn from our wicked ways if we do not first seek God.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.  Jeremiah 13:23

No matter how hard we try, we just cannot change ourselves to be “good enough” to come to God.

Because they do not understand this, some confuse the teaching of “holy flesh” with righteousness by faith. They expect to come to a point where they are beyond temptation and cannot sin. Ellen White denounced this teaching in 2 Selected Messages, p. 31, just as Paul denounced it in Romans 7:18.

The doctrine of righteousness by faith does not teach that the flesh becomes holy but that the flesh must be crucified, and we must be emptied of self to allow God to fill us with His righteousness which delivers us from the power of sin. See Galatians 2:20 and Great Controversy, p. 623.  

What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. (Ellen White, The Faith I Live By, p. 111.)

Only God can change our hearts. This is why the church is a hospital for sinners instead of a country club for perfect saints.

Jesus said

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  (John 12:32)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

We must come to Jesus before we can rest from the works of the flesh. (Also see  Galatians 5:16-24)

Just as recipes have sequences to their ingredients so does a revival and reformation. First we must humble ourselves. Secondly we must pray and seek God’s face. Then and only then can we turn from our wicked ways.

 

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.
  1. I have also experimented with vegan cheese, but let’s not fill the comment section with quotes about cheese. That’s just not what this post is about.

Stewardship In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides-NLT here.

Stewardship

 

Brief overview: God tells us to be good stewards of our time, money and talents that He has given to us. They are to be used to help spread the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30Numbers 18:24-28Malachi 3:8-101 Corinthians 9:13-14

Why it is important to understand the truth about stewardship:

 

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

Why it is important to understand stewardship in light of the cross:

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

Pastor Wurmrband and his friends practiced “tithing” even in prison not because God needed their bread and soap, but because they needed a way to express their love for God. That is what stewardship is all about; using our time, money and talents to say, “thank you God for loving me and giving us your Son.” Just like a little boy who takes his allowance money to buy a Father’s Day gift, in reality the boy is only returning what the father has already given. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s take a look at how we can thank God for “His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).”

In my home I had a plaque with a picture of the Cross, and the words, “I asked Jesus how much do you love me, this much he said, and then he spread out his arms and died.” Jesus does not need our money, that really is not what the tithe and offering system is all about. He has given us the tithing and offering system so when He asks us, “How much do you love me” we will have a way to answer.

 

Further Study on Stewardship

 

What belongs to God?

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Psalms 50:10-12 NLT

What besides the earth is His?

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him. Psalms 24:1 NLT

 

Aside from creation why are we God’s?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT

 

What is required of a steward?

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2 NLT

What will a faithful steward always remember?

One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. Levitcus 27:30 NLT

What was this tenth to be used for?

As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel. Numbers 18:21 NLT

 

What is it used for today?

 Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.1 Corinthians 9:13-14 NLT

Which tenth is God’s?

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Proverbs 3:9 NLT

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  Proverbs 3:9 KJV

Note: We are to give God the best of what we have, as well as returning our offerings first, instead of just waiting to see what is left over after all our other expenses.

What do we do if we withhold tithe and offering?                                               

 Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you? “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Malachi 3:8- 9 NLT

What does God want us to prove Him about?

 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Malachi 3:10 NLT

Does he promise to care for us?                                                                                  

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Matthew 6:26-32 NLT

What should be placed first in our lives?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33 NLT

 

How much above the tithe is the offering to be?

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”  2 Corinthians 9:6- 7 NLT

 

What besides our possessions should we be good stewards of?

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:16 NLT

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:16 KJV

Note: God has given us time and talents to be used for Him as well. God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Rom. 12:4-81 Cor. 12:9-112728Eph. 4:811-16Acts 6:1-71 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter

Do you want to hear Jesus say this to you?

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21 NLT