Scripture Focus: Matthew 18.3-7, 10, 18-20
3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Reflection: What We Loose On Earth
By John Tillman
I grew up in churches that didn’t just pray for revival but planned them. A joke I often heard from preachers at revivals was that “Like taking a bath every day, we have a revival every year, whether we need it or not.”
This joke acknowledges the awkwardness that an event on the calendar can be called a revival, but that doesn’t make it so. Calling these meetings “revivals” was aspirational. Revival was what we hoped for.
The term “revival” has often been tainted by unscrupulous, charlatan preachers of the past. Today politicians co-opt the term for political fundraisers which have little to do with the Spirit of God.
Though we can’t put revival on a calendar and we can’t remove the stain of past abuses of the term, it doesn’t mean the genuine article doesn’t exist. A revival movement with all the marks of being genuine sparked at Asbury University in Kentucky on February 8th.
After that day’s chapel service, a spontaneous, round-the-clock time of prayer, singing, and testimony began. This was led and continued not by plans or schedules but by the hearts of students who were moved to do so. As I write this on Tuesday evening, the continuous service on campus is scheduled to end on Friday, the day this devotional will post. Services are currently being planned to continue in other locations and “The Outpouring,” as it was called, has inspired similar events at churches and other college campuses across the United States.
Many people hearing of this responded with hope but many responded with cynicism. Cynicism is just as lazy as naïveté. Neither requires thoughtful evaluation.
We would be wise not to do anything to make these young followers of Christ stumble. Revival often begins among young people and Jesus has a special place in his heart for young believers. (Matthew 18.6, 10) Instead of doubting these young people and quenching their spirits, (1 Thessalonians 5.19-22) perhaps we should become like them. Instead of sniping from the sidelines, “Nothing will come of this.” We should pray fervently, “God, use this for your glory!”
Many great movements of God can be traced back to experiences such as the one at Asbury. We should not seek to copy-paste the Asbury experience into our communities. But we should seek God’s face, asking him to loose his Spirit on earth in our community in his own unique fashion. (Matthew 18.18)
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. — Psalm 66.7-8
Exodus 7 (Listen 3:29)
Matthew 18 (Listen 3:46)
This Weekend’s Readings
Exodus 8 (Listen 5:07) Matthew 19 (Listen 4:04)
Exodus 9 (Listen 5:31) Matthew 20 (Listen 4:22)
Read more about Josiahs Need Zephaniahs
Josiah implemented…the most complete and remarkable revival in Judah’s history.
Read more about A Responsive Heart
Josiah’s revival was unlike anything seen before. No king ever repented and turned back to God like Josiah.