Compassion And Restoration

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 7:37 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Full Release” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Zechariah 10 (NIV):

The Idols

Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;
it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
and plants of the field to everyone.
The idols speak deceitfully,
diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

We just had all our weeds killed in our yard, our yard tilled, and new grass seed planted, so I do pray for rain and for the grass and the new tree to grow and to live and to thrive. Yet, as I go out each day to water the lawn, I am reminded that this is a picture of salvation and of revival. The weeds are symbols of sin and rebellion against God. They must be brought to death so that we can live. Then, our hearts need to be transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit within us (the tilling); the new life of the Spirit of God planted within us; and then daily we must drink in the living water of the Spirit of God through time spent with him in his word and in prayer so that this new seed of righteousness can be sown in our hearts, so it can grow, and so it can produce a harvest of righteousness in and through our lives.

Yet, there are shepherds of the sheep in today’s church who are not teaching this gospel. They speak deceitfully to the people. They tell them lies, i.e. what their itching ears want to hear. They say “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace, and they put Band-Aids over serious sin, treating the sin as though it is not all that serious. They water down the gospel of Jesus Christ, making it more palatable to the listener so that it does not offend anyone. They make coming to Christ like going through a drive-in at McDonald’s to get a quick hamburger (a quick salvation), so they can be on their way. They promise them eternity with God in heaven, but they don’t tell them that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin, and transformation of heart and mind (and actions), and a completely new and radical life in Jesus Christ created to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness (see Luke 9:23-25; Ephesians 4:17-24) – all because of God’s grace in sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins so we could go free of slavery to and eternal punishment for sin.

These false teachers of the people are like diviners in that they get their messages from sources other than God himself. They read books written by men about mankind’s philosophies for how to grow churches, utilizing mankind’s business marketing schemes in order to draw in large crowds of people, and they even listen to mankind over and above scripture and God, because it suits their “dreams” that they have for building their earthly kingdoms of men. So, the people do wander (continue in sin) like sheep without a shepherd because so many of the shepherds are spiritually absent, and they are not leading their flocks to walk in righteousness and holiness and to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience. So many of them are, in fact, telling their people that they don’t have to die to their sin and they don’t have to obey Christ for salvation, but that is a BIG FAT LIE!

God’s Anger

“My anger burns against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord Almighty will care
for his flock, the people of Judah,
and make them like a proud horse in battle.
From Judah will come the cornerstone,
from him the tent peg,
from him the battle bow,
from him every ruler.
Together they will be like warriors in battle
trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the Lord is with them,
and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

Even though our human shepherds may fail us, God will never fail us. Jesus Christ is our Good Shepherd, and he looks after the sheep. He will give us all we need to live for Him and to bear spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God. He strengthens, empowers, emboldens, nourishes, and encourages us in our daily walks with him. He gives us all we need (the spiritual armor of Eph. 6) to fight off the attacks of our enemy against us and to keep persevering in our walks of faith with him. And, one day God will judge these false shepherds of the people who deceive the people, lie to them, and who give them false hope. And, he will deliver his people out of their grasp and influence. Then the blinded eyes will be opened, and the church revived, and the true gospel will go forth, and people from all nations will flock to faith in Jesus Christ, to the gospel, and to salvation (see Isaiah).


“I will strengthen Judah
and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them
because I have compassion on them.”

“They will pass through the sea of trouble;
the surging sea will be subdued… (NIV)

“And I will strengthen them in the Lord,
And in His name they will walk,” declares the Lord.” (NASB)

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ it does not mean we are now puppets on a string and that we no longer have free will. Although I believe there are many false confessions of faith based in a lie that says we don’t have to die to sin and we don’t have to obey Christ, I believe it is possible for true followers of Christ to, at some point, drift away (see Rev. 2-3), and to need to be brought back into a right relationship with God through repentance and a renewed commitment to walk in faithful obedience to Christ once more. Revival, just like salvation, involves killing the weeds of sin in our hearts, tilling up the unplowed ground of our hardened or stagnant lives, and planting new seeds of faith within us that need daily nurturing through time in the word, in prayer, and in walking in faithful obedience.

Sometimes, though, the people of God as a whole, or a vast majority of God’s people are led astray by false shepherds and/or by their own selfish desires to live for themselves again, which is why they embrace the lies of the false shepherds. I believe that is the condition, overall, of today’s church here in America, though it certainly does not apply to every congregation or to every believer in Jesus Christ. Throughout Biblical history, when God’s people would get to that point of complacency, rebellion and idolatry, he would send out his messengers to the people to call them to repentance and to warn of judgment. I believe God has been doing that for some time with his church. And, when his people fail to heed the warnings, and they do not turn from their wicked ways, then he must do as he promised (see Rev. 2-3), and he must judge them as a people, and he must judge their leaders. And, I believe that is where we are in time right now, and that it is coming to America very soon.

When it comes, I believe the church will be revived and that they will go forth with the true gospel, and that many will be saved (see the book of Isaiah). But, the church will also suffer great persecution at the hands of God’s chosen instruments of divine judgment (see Rev. 13) during that time, yet we are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power, and we are to put on the full armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s attacks, and we are to walk in the Spirit and to not give in to the desires of the flesh. Oh, how sweet it is to walk daily with our Lord Jesus in his love, compassion, kindness and mercy. Oh, what joy!

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence, oh, what peace.
From my self-life He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort, peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully, oh, what love
That He gives me through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus, He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.