After posting yesterday about the weaknesses of polls, look at what comes across the news-

Pollsters Struggle to Handicap Presidential Race

Barack Obama’s leading in virtually every national poll, but his margin fluctuates wildly — suggesting that in some cases, the numbers do in fact lie.

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/27/dont-like-polls-wait-minutes/

The only thing that really counts is your VOTE!

Advertisements

As I write this there are just a few days before the presidential election. Polls seem to indicate that Senator Obama holds a lead over Senator McCain. Political commentators are saying that it is all over for McCain and that Obama will be our next president.

I personally have never placed much faith in polls. When I was in college, I took a class on Statistics. We learned how poll questions can be “loaded” in such a way as to produce a desired result. Also how the numbers can be “interpreted” by statisticans to show a desired result. There is an old joke- An engineer, a physicist, and a statistician were moose hunting. After a short walk through the marshes they spotted a HUGE moose 150 yards away. The engineer raised his gun and fired at the moose. A puff of dust showed that the bullet landed 3 yards to the right of the moose. The physicist, realizing that there was a substantial breeze that the engineer did not account for, aimed to the left of the moose and fired. The bullet landed 3 yards to the left of the moose. The statistician jumped up and down and screamed “We got him! We got him!”

Let me leave you with seven things that should NOT determine who you vote for as President:

1. Don’t vote for them based on the color of their skin. Vote for them based on the color of their character.

2. Don’t vote for them just because the promise “change”. Politicians have been promising “change” since day one. Most politicians put YOUR “change” in THEIR pockets.

3. Don’t vote for them based on how the economy is doing. Presidents actually have almost NO influence on the economy. The Congress really passes the laws, or fails to pass the laws, that will determine how our economy does.

4. Don’t vote on them based on what they promise to do with Medicare or Social Security. Let’s be honest- and face the fact that taking from the “rich” to give to the “poor” only makes politicians rich.

5. Don”t vote for them just because they do well in debates. “Debates” are nothing more than political “Beauty Contests”.

6. Don’t vote for them based on their political affiliation. No political party has all the answers.

7. Don’t vote for them because they have the most money to spend. Investigate for yourself where their money is coming from!

Three more things-

1. If you are a Christian, you should remember that you will give an answer to God someday for how you vote- or even IF you vote. To vote is a right- but it comes with the responsibility to vote wisely and in a God-honoring way.

2. Christians are COMMANDED to pray for their governmental leaders- whether they like them or not (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We must pray for our next president whether we like him or not.

3. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, God is still on the throne!

“If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”

God gives us an awesome promise here! If his people (Christians) will humble themselves (accept themselves as they really are before God), seek God’s face (confess our sin), and turn from their wicked ways (repent), then God WILL:

1. Hear from heaven- that means that God will hear our prayers and answer them. There are time when God chooses NOT to hear the prayers of His children!

Isaiah 59:1,2– “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

But, thank God, when we confess our sins and turn from them, God promises that he WILL hear us.

2. Forgive their (our) sin- What a wonderful thing that God forgives our sin! God forgives PERFECTLY- not like people do! How many times have you told someone, “I forgive you” but the next time that you saw that person you immediately thought of the wrong thing that they did to you? God is not like that!

Isaiah 38:17- “In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” God not only forgives sins, he FORGETS them.

3. Heal their land- you remember when Adam and Eve sinned, the ground was ‘cursed’ because of their sin. God told Adam that he would have to sweat and work to bring food from the ground. Our sins do affect the world we live in- physically, politically, and in every other way.

Some people look to the preacher for help. Many people are looking to John McCain or Barak Obama for the answers, but the truth is that NO man can help us out of the mess we are in- only GOD can do that.

Psalm 103:1-5- “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

God is waiting to hear from us. God is willing to change us.

But- are we willing to spend time with Him and let Him change us?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”

We have already seen that revival is for Christians and that we must humble ourselves and seek God’s face to experience revival. But there is one more step- God says, “Turn from your wicked ways.”

What does that mean? Well, there is another word that is used in the Bible that means the same thing. That word is repentance.

Let me tell you what repentance does not mean- repentance is not just being sorry for our sin. Rather true sorrow LEADS to repentance- “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

‘Worldly sorrow’ is “I am sorry because I got caught” sorry. That is ‘jailhouse conversion’ sorrow. It does not produce a changed life!

Genuine repentance is what David expressed in Psalm 51 after his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband-

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.”(v. 1-4)

1. First, there is personal responsibility for sin. David did not blame Bathsheba for his sin, he blamed HIMSELF. There cannot be real repentance until we take a good, hard look in the mirror and say, “That is the person that is responsible for my sin!”

2. There is a recognition that all sin is an offense against God. We take sin too easily- “Oops, I did it again, Lord- sorry!” Your ( and my) sin is a HORRIBLE thing. God HATES sin. It is so horrible that Jesus died for it!

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (v. 6)

3. A third part of genuine repentance is honesty with God and ourselves. When we truly repent, we “lay it all out”. That means that there is nothing held back, no hidden plans- we just come to God as we are and confess what we are.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.(v. 13-15)

4. The final evidence of genuine repentance is a changed life. When we repent in truth, we will show it by our new actions. Look at Luke 19:1-9, the story of a man named Zacchaeus-

“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ ”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.””

A changed life involves restitution. ‘Restitution’ means ‘to pay back’. When we have truly repented, we will want to go to people that we have done wrong to and make things right. It is NOT enough to just go and say “I am sorry” to God. He demands that we go and make it right with those people that we have done wrong to. Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23,24

I pray that each of us will spend some time with God today, asking Him to search our hearts and show us any sin that is in our lives. And that when He does show us the sin, that we will genuinely repent.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will 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)

For revival to come, there must be prayer- not just our regular, “Dear God, please bless me and my family and keep us safe today” prayers, but prayers that seek the face of God.

What does it mean to “seek God’s face”? Let me give you an example from when I was a little boy. I remember that sometimes, when I disobeyed my mother, she would refuse to look at me. I remember one specific time when I did something that embarrassed her in front of a crowd of other people and she pretended that she did not know me. When my mother did that I knew that I was in trouble!

God also turns his face away from us sometimes- when God turns His face from us, we are in trouble!

Look at Ezekiel 39:23,24– “And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.”

David says in Psalm 27:7-9- “Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When you said, Seek my face; my heart said unto thee, Your face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not your face far from me; put not your servant away in anger: you have been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

When my mom was mad at me, I knew the only way to get her to look at me again was to say, “I’m sorry” and MEAN IT. (Moms are kind of hard to fool!)

In the same way, when God has turned his face away from us, the only way to see his face again is to go to him humbly and say, “I’m sorry.” And mean it, because God is even harder to fool than mom- as a matter of fact it is IMPOSSIBLE to fool God.

As a Christian, do you humbly desire personal revival?

Seek the face of God today.

Again, our verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14- God says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”

Yesterday, we saw that revival is for Christians. As a child of God, do you desire to be closer to your heavenly Father?

Today, we see that revival requires humility. What is humility? Here are a couple of good definitions:
(Definitions from http://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/Topics/Humility/Humility00.html)

1. Humility is accepting our selves as we really are before God.

2. Freedom from a sense of one’s own importance, with total dependence on God and honest concern for others.

The Bible is very clear that God rejects the proud and accepts the humble- remember the story that Jesus told about the self-righteous (another word for ‘proud’) Pharisee (read Luke 18:9-14)? Remember also what Peter said- “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5,6)

God is looking for people who are broken-hearted- another word for humble. King David said, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Will you take some time today to humble yourself before God? Confess to him your failures, your faults, your sins, your bad attitudes, your pride, and your weaknesses. God KNOWS us- we cannot fool Him. He knows that we need Him and he asks us to come humbly.

Are you a Christian? Revival is for YOU!

And revival is for those who will come and HUMBLE themselves.

(Hope you get a blessing from this series on revival that I wrote for our deaf church a few weeks ago.)

The thoughts that I would like to share with you this week will come from 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is God’s response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.”

This morning I would like to focus on the first part of that statement- “If my people, who are called by my name…”

Revival is for God’s people– that is, for Christians. God reserves the promises in this verse for HIS people, they are not promises made to everyone. What does this teach us?

1. We should desire revival. Revival is a renewal of our walk with God. It is a new surrender to God’s desire for our lives. It is a renewing of our commitment to Him.

2. God desires for us to experience revival. The Bible says that God knows our weaknesses, he knows our temptations, he knows that life in this world is not easy. He wants us to come to him and confess our sins and failures so he can fill us with himself.

King David said, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng” (Psalm 42:1-4)

To ‘pant’ means ‘ to desire deeply’- it is like a thirsty man wandering in a desert place- he doesn’t want anything but water. When we get to the place where we desire nothing but God, we will have revival.

Let us each ask ourselves, “Do I desire God more than anything else in my life?” If the true answer is no, then we need revival.