The 85th Psalm contains this precious prayer, Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? The Psalmist has asked God to turn us (v. 4), to shew us thy mercy (v. 7) and to grant us thy salvation (v. 7). While he awaits the revival for which he prays, he determines what he will do. Beginning with the words I will (v. 8), he declares that he will hear what God the Lord will speak (v. 8). He will fear him (v.9) by obedience to God's word. He will agree with the Lord regarding mercy, truth, righteousness and peace (vv. 10-11). He will give thanks by acknowledging that God shall give that which is good (v. 12). Finally, he will follow God in the way of his steps (v. 13). Waiting on revival? Follow the Psamist's pattern.
Four passages of the New Testament use the word willing in relation to God's willingness, or the lack thereof: Luke 22:42, Romans 9:22-24, Hebrews 6:17 and 2 Peter 3:9. The first reference is in Luke. The scene is the garden, the night of Christ's arrest. Our Savior is praying, and he asks of the Father, If thou be willing, remove this cup... (the cup of his death as the sacrifice for our sin). Praise God, he was not willing to do so. Isaiah 53:10 declares, Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, and shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)! The last reference is made by Peter. He reveals that God is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Hebrews clarifies that this repentance is repentance from dead works, and faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1). Reformation has never saved any soul! The Lord Jesus Christ saves! As the Apostle Paul testifies, ...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). In Hebrews, God willingly confirmed the immutability of his counsel by an oath. What God promised Adam and Eve, Moses and Israel, Jew and Gentile, in saving our souls - He has and will fulfill! God promised Adam and Eve the Seed of the woman as a Saviour. He promised Moses and Israel the Passover Lamb as protection from the Death Angel. And God has promised us, Jew and Gentile alike, the forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The last of the four passages to mention is Romans 9, where God reveals his charity toward man. Three things are revealed here that God is willing to do while He endures the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction (which we also were before we found mercy through Jesus Christ, for we were dead in trespasses and in sins). God is willing to show his wrath (Romans 9:22). He is willing to cast the unrepentant into hell. He is willing to gather the vine of the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:19). God is also willing o make his power known (Romans 9:22). Men mock their Creator, they mock God's holy Word. God is willing to reveal his power as he did to Pharaoh. But he is enduring the wickedness of men because the Lord is willing to do something more: God is willing that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory (Romans 9:23). Who are the vessels of mercy? All those who seek the Lord by faith (Romans 9:30-33). God declared to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (Romans 9:15). So, who does that include? Does it include you and me? Yes! For God hath concluded them all (both Jew and Gentile) in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all (Romans 11:32). What must I believe? That you are a sinner (Romans 3:9-11), that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10). Why die in your sins, when you can die in the Lord, who paid for our sins?
Pastor Shane Hull has extended to me the privilege of preaching the Sunday services at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Greer, SC, on May 7th. Sunday school at 10 am, preaching at 11 and again at 6 pm. It is always a delight to visit with this dear man of God and with his church family.
Shirley has the privilege of speaking at a Ladies' Luncheon hosted by Emmanuel Baptist Church, Greer, SC, on May 6th. It will begin between 11 and 12. She looks forward to seeing Mrs. Tanya Hull, the pastor's wife, and all of the wonderful ladies of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
Shirley will be one of four speakers for a two-day Ladies' Mother/Daughter Meeting hosted by Highland Baptist Church, Vass, NC. The meal will be served on Friday evening, May 12th, followed by two speakers and resume on Saturday morning, with two other speakers. She is looking forward to seeing Mrs. Vaughn, the pastor's wife, and the other dear women of the church, along with the many ladies who will be coming in for the meeting.
We look forward to being with Pastor Tom Brookshire and the Orangeburg Baptist Tabernacle, Orangeburg, SC, on Sunday, June 4th. I will be preaching both the morning and evening services. These are very special folk to our hearts.
Wayside Baptist Tabernacle, Pelion, SC, will hold an Old Fashion Sunday on March 26th. Sunday School at 10 am, preaching at 11 am and again at 6 pm. We are looking forward to being with Pastor Williams and his dear folk. Shirley is doing better. Her cancer is at its lowest activity since it was discovered in July of 2015. We are thankful to the Lord.
We have the privilege of traveling today to Moncure, NC, and having fellowship with Pastor Ronald Humphries, his family and his church family on Sunday, March 19th. Dr. Humphries has asked me to preach for him, both services, and to teach the adult Sunday school class. I am thankful to the Lord for his friendship over the years. He and his church have been a great blessing to us. We are looking forward to Sunday. Shirley's next cancer treatment is this coming Wednesday. She is being treated through the Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC. On the weeks she has an infusion (which is every other week) our travels are limited. We are grateful to the Lord for the pastors who are willing to have us on a week-end, especially during the treatment weeks. Her gospel tract, CANCER - What it cannot do, is available, free of charge, upon request. Her colon cancer, which also touches her liver and lungs, was discovered July, 2015. We praise the Lord for each and every day; and, we praise Him for our eternal salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Pastor Leon Porter has always been a great friend over the years. I thank him for opening his pulpit to me on Wednesday evening and letting me preach. Oak Grove Baptist Church has a great choir. They love the old songs, and they sing them with the Lord in their hearts.
Tabernacle Baptist College, a ministry of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenville, SC, will host their Alumni Days on Tuesday, March the 14th and Wednesday the 15th. The banquet will be at 5 pm on Tuesday. Tabernacle Baptist Church will host a Bible Conference, with services each night, during the week of May 12th. Last year, we were only able to be in a portion of the Tuesday meeting, due to Shirley's cancer treatments. We look forward to being able to spend the day there on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
We praise the Lord for our dear friends who have us in their prayers. One such pastor and congregation is Pastor Terry McMillian and his church, Harvest Baptist Church, Spartanburg, SC. I thank them for their love and fellowship, and for the privilege of preaching there. We give the Lord thanks for their faithfulness to Christ.
The Sunday services at Friendship Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach, SC, were wonderful. I thank Pastor Will George for the opportunity to be with them and to preach the services. Shirley was able to attend the Sunday School and the morning worship service. Her meeting with the ladies on Monday and Tuesday has been very special. She speaks again today, March 2nd, from 10 am to noon. We praise the Lord for the strength she has felt and for the remainder of each day wherein she can rest. I will preach again tonight, the Lord willing, as the Church meets for prayer. Our thanks and appreciation for the kindness and understanding shown us by Pastor George and his dear folk.