Well, it’s the first Sunday of Lent and it’s also my first Sunday back in Africa. How cool is that?! And on top of that, I got to preach today for the first time since I’ve been back. The Lord was gracious in letting me worship with a CEC church here in Kampala. It was my first time to be at this church and I had a blast! Being in the city, everyone could understand English (That doesn’t mean that they understood my redneck-southern English but they did tried.) so that helped.
As I was praying about what to share with them from Psalm 51, the Lord began to show me that verses 1-13 are keys to sustainable revival.
If we look at verses 1-9, they are all about repentance, our need for God’s grace, and our need for Him to restore us.
Psalm 51 (NASB)
1Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
In verses 10-11, we face the fact that only He can create a clean heart in us and only He can renew an upright or steadfast spirit in us.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Here’s the sustainable part.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
We experience joy in some of life’s simple things like the wind in our face, playing in the rain, or a new born baby looking up at us with such wonder in their eyes, but the greatest joy of all is looking into His face and knowing to the depths of our being that, while we were yet sinners, He died for us and that His Love and Grace are new every morning and never ending. When we really get that He has set us free from the law of keeping rules and doing things because we are supposed to, which we always fail at anyway, we are overwhelmed by His love and grace. This is the joy of His salvation. Now we are getting somewhere!
Then in verse 13 there is a promise for us.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
I hope you can see it. “And sinners will be converted [or turned back] to you.” Now that’s revival!
I don’t know how many could understand what I was trying to say this morning or if it makes sense to you now, after all, I’m still trying to understand it myself. What I do know is this is shaping up to be a really good Lent. My question now is how can I have a proper Lenten attitude of sorrow when I keep getting run over by His grace?!