Tuesday, October 24, 2023


     Chapter 2 of the book “Floods Upon Dry Ground", is titled “Dynamics of Spiritual Decline”. Pastors Bobby Duncan and James Jones state that history shows that spiritual decline is usually a gradual happening and not just a sudden event. They used what happened to Peter and the disciples when they turned their backs on Jesus just before His crucifixion, as what can also happen to us.
     The authors cited six examples of Peter and the disciples heading toward spiritual decline, that could have led them to departing the faith if they hadn't repented. Here they are:
  1. Satan Seeks to Deceive: Peter declared repeatedly to Jesus how firm he was in following Him, and that he would never turn his back on Jesus. Jesus said, however, in Luke 22:31-32 that Satan “asked” for Peter, to “sift” him “as wheat”. Satan also repeatedly wants to sift us.
  2. Called to Watch: Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to go with Him up to the Mount of Olives to "watch" with Him before his crucifixion. They, however, fell asleep. We also sometimes fall asleep literally and figuratively when Jesus asks us to watch with Him.
  3. Weariness of Spirit: Like the disciples who became weary and fell asleep, we too can easily become weary and slip into “religious formality” as the authors stated, instead of having “an intense focus on our relationship with Jesus Christ.”
  4. Reliance on the Arm of the Flesh: In other words, we can have a growing dependence on our own “individual ability” to make it through the tough times in life.
  5. Following Jesus Afar Off: We can be like the disciples, who when the going got tough followed Jesus from a distance instead of close up and personal.
  6. Denying Jesus: Peter ended up three times denying that he even knew Jesus. We also can end up denying Jesus after a time of weariness, carelessness, and fear.
     The authors of the book asked the following question: “How will we respond” in the face of spiritual decline? I think we can respond in one of two ways:
  1. We can grow apathetic, full of doubt, and eventually deny the importance of having a relationship with Jesus.
  2. We can repent quickly, and encourage others also to do so.
     Then together we can continue to have an intense and vital relationship with our wonderful Savior and Lord!

Saturday, October 14, 2023


     In Luke 11:23 Jesus made two very direct black-and-white statements that I’m sure I read before, but I never fully absorbed the implication of the statements. Following are the statements Jesus made. I'm using the Christian Standard Bible translation. Here they are:
  1. “Anyone who is not with me is against me.” And if that isn't radical enough, Jesus then says the following:
  2. “Anyone who does not gather with me scatters.”
     Jesus was addressing the crowd after he cast out a demon from a mute person, and some in the crowd questioned whether he cast out the demon using Satan’s power, instead of God’s power.
     Jesus then went on to contrast Satan’s power, who would not have cast out his own demon, and God’s very much superior power in bringing about good for the demon-possessed person.
     So what was Jesus trying to get across to his listeners with his very direct black-and-white, sobering statements?
     First of all, about the fact that anyone who isn’t “with” Him is “against” Him? And then comes the clincher for me, with my interest in evangelism, but who feels very inadequate at best to gather souls toward Jesus. It’s the statement Jesus makes that anyone who isn’t “gathering” followers to Him, is indeed “scattering” them.
     So let me reiterate by paraphrasing. Here it is: "If I'm not actively spreading the gospel in an attempt at gathering people toward Jesus, then Jesus said that I am actively scattering people away from Him."


     In the book "Floods Upon Dry Ground", Chapter 1 entitled "Spiritual Awakenings", Bobby Duncan talks about visiting Scotland and learning of some of the rich history of revivals, or "spiritual awakenings" there.
     Two noteworthy characteristics” of spiritual awakenings in Scotland were the following:
  1. A renewed consciousness of the Person and presence of Jesus Christ.
  2. A recognition of the authority of God’s Word.
     Pastor Duncan indicated other features of spiritual awakenings were times of intense praying, long hours spent in worship gatherings and Bible studies, increased sharing of the Gospel with unbelievers, and a sharp drop in local customers attending bars and houses of entertainment.
     Pastor Duncan wrote that people often were seen spontaneously praying together alongside roadways and in open fields. They were crying out to God for His mercy and forgiveness.
     Lastly, Pastor Duncan lamented the fact that beginning in the 1950s started many years of spiritual decline lasting until today. He said that the spiritual decline must be reversed. He wrote, “God is still a merciful God who desires to pour water upon thirsty soil.” In other words, God strongly desires for us to have another great spiritual awakening in today’s world.