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Renew Your Devotion Today

(Deut. 29:10-15; 30:1-3, 6, 11-14, 19-20)

God has given us all a choice

“I had no choice.” Cho Seung Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter felt trapped and cornered.
He felt driven to do a terrible thing. In his mind, every victim was to blame, they were
rich kids, achievers, representing everything he thought he could never be.

George Jones is a country music icon from the old school. A lot of his songs are the
stereotypical country "cheat’n & drink’n" songs. And the fact that George Jones had a
drinking problem was no secret. But on March 6, 1999 country music fans were horrified
to hear that Jones was critically injured when he crashed his Lexus into a bridge in
Nashville. The investigation showed that George had been drunk at the wheel. Thankfully
he recovered, and two months later his new album called "Cold Hard Truth" came out
and on it was a hit song titled "Choices", and ironically the hook line says, "I’m Living
And Dying With The Choices I Made".

This choice is within our power to make

This choice carries with it consequences, a blessing or a curse (Deut. 30:19)

These consequences affect both us and our descendents (Deut. 30:19)

Some bad choices:

Sam Philips sold a small recording company to RCA in 1955 for $35,000.
It included an exclusive contract with a young man called Elvis Presley.
Unknowingly he forfeited millions of dollars in royalties.

Tom Sellick turned down the lead role for Indiana Jones.

A thief in America tried to steal 2 live lobsters and he decided to stick


them down his pants.

What criteria should we use when making a choice?

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of
death” (Proverbs 16:25)

Some factors affecting decision-making (from Integrity Management, by


D. T. LeClair et al, Univ. of Tampa Press, 1998):
– Issue Intensity: (i.e. how important does the decision-maker
perceive the issue to be?)
– Decision-Maker’s Personal Moral Philosophy
– Decision-Maker’s Stage of Moral Development
– Organizational Culture
Ethical decision-making involves the ability to discern right from wrong
along with the commitment to do what is right.

8 Steps to Sound, Ethical Decision-Making


• 1. Gather as many relevant & material facts as circumstances permit.
• 2. Identify the relevant ethical issues (consider alt. viewpoints)
• 3. Identify, weigh & prioritize all the affected parties (i.e. stakeholders)
• 4. Identify your existing commitments/obligations.
• 5. Identify various courses of action (dare to think creatively)
• 6. Identify the possible/probable consequences of same (both short &
long-term)
• 7. Consider the practicality of same.
• 8. Consider the dictates and impacts upon your character & integrity.

Disclosure/Integrity Test: How comfortable would I feel if others, whose opinion


of me I value, knew I was making this decision?

Impact Test: Will the choice likely have a positive impact upon others (in
particular others that I particularly care about)?

The Improvement Test: Will it make me a better Christian?

Scripture Test: Is the choice consistent with God’s direction to us through His
Word?

Independence/Reliance Test: Is the choice one that involves reliance on God or


reliance upon myself?

Honor & Glory Test: Will this choice bring honor & glory to God?

God responds to obedience with provision

Do you believe this, or do you trust in yourself? Have you neglected


spiritual matters in order to spend your time and energy on temporal
pursuits? (see Haggai 1:5-11)

Others, both on earth, and in heaven, are witnesses to the choice we make (Deut. 29: 10-
11; 30:19)

That phrase "take them to heart" is more literally translated "call them to mind" or
remember.

What should we remember?

God’s covenant with our forefathers

God’s love and faithfulness

We all need to be spiritually “revived” at times. (Ps. 85:6)


When is a Revival Needed?

1. When there is a lack of spiritual power.


2. When the church members have lost their “concern for souls.”
3. When members can easily break church engagements and God’s appointments.
4. When they prefer and rally to social gatherings and parties rather than a prayer meeting
or church service.
5. When they are lovers of money or pleasures more than lovers of God.
6. When bickering, strife’s, criticisms and divisions are prevalent in the church.
7. When it is easier to criticize and condemn the faithful then pray for and work with
them.
8. When hypocrisy can flourish in the church without rebuke or sense of shame.
9. When Christians neglect the privileges of worship and only attend the services of their
church when they feel like it.
10. When conversions are seldom and backslidings are evident.
11. When church people can cancel their obligations to the cause of Christ without reason
and fear of judgment.

In what could be called the first Christian Revival, on the Day of Pentecost after Peter
had preached to the assembled crowd, 3,000 put their trust in Christ and were baptized.

In the “Great Awakening” of the mid-1700’s, revival spread like wildfire through England
and then to the United States, resulting in thousands of souls turning to Christ.

In the late Fall of 1863 through the Spring and Summer of 1864, the "Great Revival"
occurred. Although this event is best documented for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, it
actually took place in both northern and southern armies in both the Virginia and the
Tennessee theaters of the war. According to Confederate Chaplain J. William Jones,
virtually every Confederate brigade was affected--and approximately ten percent of the
soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia accepted Christ. Night after night troops
participated in worship & prayer meetings. Virtually every gathering ended with soldiers
coming forward to accept Christ or receive prayer. When a pond or river was nearby, the
soldiers would frequently step forward for baptisms--regardless of how cold the weather
was. U. S. Christian Commission records show that similar events were happening in the
North’s principle eastern army, the Army of the Potomac, at the same time. Brigade
chapels were so full that many men were frequently turned away. It is estimated that over
100,000 Confederate and somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 Union troops
accepted Christ during the Civil War--roughly ten percent of the men engaged. There are
many accounts of the change that took place in the men, both during the war and
afterwards, as a result of the many revivals and movement of the Holy Spirit.

In 1904 perhaps the greatest of the modern revivals began in Wales, where over 100,000
were radically converted, transforming society and literally shaking the world with shock
waves of revival. In 1904 a young ministerial student named Evan Roberts, began to feel
that God was sending an urgent message that He was going to pour out a mighty spirit of
revival on Wales, which is now a part of Great Britain. Roberts began attending various
revival meetings and during one he was deeply moved by the Spirit. As he prayed at the
altar he cried out to God, “Bend me o Lord!” This was a complete and total surrender of
his will to God’s will. Roberts soon returned to his home church to preach the message of
revival but his pastor was reluctant to allow him to speak. In a compromise, the pastor
announced that Roberts would be speaking following the regular prayer meeting and any
who wished to stay were welcome. Only 17 people stayed to hear Evan speak and most
of them were teenagers and young adults.

Evan Roberts spoke in that church for nearly two hours with a simple 4 point message
that he was convinced could help God bring revival.

1. Confess all known sin to God


2. Deal with and get rid of any “doubtful” area of your life
3. Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly
4. Confess Christ publicly

When Roberts was finished speaking all 17 young people were at the altar on their knees
crying out to God. They prayed until 2am that night and it was the beginning of one of
the greatest movements of God in all history. By the end of the week, over 60 people
were won to Christ and over the course of the next year and a half revival swept through
the nation of Wales. Over 1,000,000 people were led to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
The revival was so great that the national culture changed dramatically. • A rage of
bankruptcies took place - All of the taverns and liquor stores went out of business
• Work at the coal mines was brought to a near standstill - The mules who pulled the
wagons were so accustomed to hearing foul language from the workers that after the men
were saved the mules no longer recognized their voices or commands • The entire police
force was dismissed for almost 18 months due to a complete lack of crime. • One of the
few court cases that was actually brought before a judge was unusual. The defendant
came into the court and admitted his guilt, the judge led the man to Christ and the jury
closed the case by singing a hymn. The revival eventually made its way across the
Atlantic and swept through parts of New York and New Jersey.

Even today we hear of God’s Spirit moving in revival power, in South America, in Cuba
and even in China, literally millions of souls are being won for Christ every year

“wherever the doctrine of God’s sovereignty with regard to salvation of sinners were
preached, there with it God sent revival.” – Jonathan Edwards

God’s Prescription for revival (2 Chron. 7:14)

1) Humble yourself
2) Pray

While kayaking in southern England off the Isle of Wight, Mark Ashton-
Smith, a 33-year-old lecturer at Cambridge University, capsized in treacherous
waters. Clinging to his craft and reaching for his cell phone, Ashton-Smith’s
first inclination was to call his father. It didn’t matter to the desperate son that
his dad, Alan Pimm-Smith, was at work training British troops in Dubai 3,500
miles away. Without delay, the father relayed his son’s mayday to the Coast
Guard installation nearest to his son’s location. Ironically, it was less than a
mile away. Within 12 minutes, a helicopter retrieved the grateful Ashton-
Smith. Like this kayaker, when we are in peril, our first impulse should be to
call our Father--the one we trust to help us.

3) /Seek His face

What does this mean?

4) Turn from wrong ways