Making Our Calling Sure

2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

My husband Rick and I just spent the weekend in Akron, Ohio (USA), celebrating 125 years of ministry with our home church congregation. My mother’s mother, at least (not sure about her dad), and my father’s parents began with this church congregation back in the late 1800’s or very early 1900’s. My parents were both born in 1914. And, they gathered together with this church congregation for 86 years before their deaths in 2000.

The church began in 1894 as a mission by a woman who owned a brothel. She was told by her doctors that she was dying, so she asked for her Bible. She read the Bible, and the Holy Spirit convicted her heart of her need for Jesus. She, thus, repented of her sins and she believed in Jesus Christ to be her Lord and Savior. And, the Lord healed her of her illness, too. Then, she gave up the prostitution business and dedicated her life to Jesus Christ and to his service. And, she donated her property to begin a Christian mission.

And, from that the church was born. Many people were coming to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of this woman’s testimony and her dedication to Jesus Christ and to getting his gospel message out to the people in her city. And, many people who had been in slavery to sin were being transformed of the Spirit of God away from living for sin to living for Jesus Christ. Amen!

Cottage prayer meetings and evangelistic street meetings were central to the success of this ministry in those early days of this church, and in seeing many people come to faith in Jesus Christ and to dedicate their lives to having a close walk of fellowship with Jesus Christ. And, this led to the beginning of other church congregations in the city, as well. All glory to God for the great things he did in the beginnings of this Akron church.

And, this encourages my heart, and it should encourage yours, as well, how the Lord can take a sinful woman such as this and turn her life around, and how he could use her to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ and to leave their sinful lifestyles behind them, and how from her faithfulness to the Lord many church congregations could be birthed for the glory of God.

The Celebration

I gathered together with this church congregation from birth on up, too. [I was born physically 12/31/1949 and spiritually perhaps around the age of 7.] But in 1977, after I gave birth to our second child, my husband felt God was calling him to full-time ministry, and so we left Akron for Ft. Wayne, IN, where he attended Ft. Wayne Bible College for one year (now Taylor University in Upland, IN).

After one year at Bible college, since he already had a bachelor’s degree, he decided to go to seminary. But, we became pregnant with child #3, and our finances prevented us from doing so.

Thus, back to Akron we went. However, the church congregation had grown so large by that time that they sold their building on Brown Street and they moved out to a property on South Main Street on the far south end of town. And, we bought a house on the extreme north end of town. So, the church’s new location was far from where we lived, and we had learned at Bible college the importance of church gatherings in community, so we felt God was leading us to another congregation much closer to where we lived.

By 1982, though, my husband Rick was transferred by his employer to Raleigh, NC, and we have been pretty much living in the south (USA) ever since then, with the exception of one year (2016-2017) when we moved back to Akron so my husband could spend time with his dad before he died. But, we are now back in South Carolina where we lived for 27 years prior to moving back to Akron for that one year.

Anyway, since 1977 we have not been a part of that congregation, although we did go back and visit periodically over the years, especially when my parents were still alive. Yet, that church has always remained in my heart. They have always been family to me. So, it was wonderful having this time with them over the weekend. It was more like a family reunion to me.

There are many new faces, but there are still many people who I knew who are still there. So, we had a couple of days of seeing our old church family and getting caught up on one another’s lives, and hugging each other and just enjoying the fellowship together with them once again. Praise Jesus!

Many of those I loved have gone on to be with the Lord. And, some of those who are still there are not far from being with the Lord, too. It was a joy to be with our home church family once again, and to meet new people, too. And, the Lord used that time with them to encourage my heart.

2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

My pastor (from 1968 to 1977) left the church in 1977 to join a revival ministry in Canada and to pastor a church there. He lived there a very long time, but several years ago he moved back to Akron. Not long after he moved back, his wife died, and he has been a widower since then. He is in his early 90’s, and he is very homesick for heaven, and he is missing his wife greatly, and he can’t understand why God is keeping him here. His hope, though, is that before he dies he will see revival in the USA once more.

For, back in 1972, the year my husband and I were married, our home church experienced revival big time, and it spread throughout the city and beyond. I believe it lasted for months. And, it had lasting impacts on many people’s lives, some of whom were saved from their sins during revival, some of whom experienced miraculous healings, and many of whom repented of sins, got their hearts right with God, and went on to serve him.

Pastor Sipley spoke Friday night at this celebration about revival, and fire was burning within me to see revival take place again in my lifetime. I almost felt like revival was going to break out soon there in Akron, so as I sat and listened to my former pastor, I could not help but wonder why the Lord did not leave us there, and why he brought us back to South Carolina.

But, I don’t know God’s plans, and I don’t know when revival is going to break out in the USA once more, and in other nations, and I don’t know where it will begin, either, but I hunger for it to take place. I see so much apathy in the church, so much worldliness, so much complacency and taking God and his grace for granted. I see so much lasciviousness going on within the church, too, and even being smoothed over, and not being brought to repentance. And, it breaks my heart.

So, I long to see so many within our lukewarm churches brought to repentance and to be revived in their spirits in their walks of faith with Jesus Christ. But, I realized this weekend that I need that Holy Spirit fire rekindled in my heart, too.

2 Peter 1:10-11 ESV

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So, the hope that I hold on to is that one day revival will break out in the USA and that the church will forsake her idols and her worldliness, and that she will repent of her sins and get on fire for God instead of so many being lukewarm and casual about their relationships with Jesus Christ.

But, I was also moved within myself that I need to be more on fire for the Lord than I have been lately, and that I need that fire burning in my belly to see revival take place, and that I need to get more serious about prayer, ministry, and seeing people come to faith in Jesus Christ and to walk in fellowship with him, too.

Are you where I am in this? Do you need your fire rekindled? Will you join me in seeking God’s face for revival in our own hearts and in the church in America and in other nations? I believe we Christians need to take our calling more seriously. Do you agree? We need to be dedicated to seeing people come to faith in Jesus Christ and to walk daily in his holiness.

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

 

9 thoughts on “Making Our Calling Sure

  1. Hi Sue, I’m kinda thinking that we’re currently in the great falling away but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be revival pockets. I’m so glad you got to see and enjoy the company of your old brothers and sisters in your original church. What an amazing history it has and such a testimony to God’s mercy and grace. You did get me thinking about revival, and you’re right of course, we all should be praying more for that. It seems as of late that my wife and I are just barely keeping our heads afloat, what with all the demands that are coming our way from our own children and our grandchildren, so I’m probably gonna have to ask God to do a work on my heart to get into His will for that. Sometimes it scares me how isolated we can get. Please keep us in your prayers. God’s grace, peace and blessings to you and yours as always. – Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, thank you. Actually, the scriptures do prophesy a last days revival, if understood in light of a post-trib rapture rather than a pre-trib rapture. But, according to scripture, it will come as a result of some hard times, some judgments of God on his people for their apathy and lukewarmness, and via severe persecution of followers of Jesus Christ.

      This, I believe, is already taking place in other nations in the world, just not to that extent yet in the USA, but it is coming. I know you live in Canada, but I don’t really know the church climate there.

      Yes, I believe we are in that era of a great falling away from the faith, yet I believe that God is going to revive his wayward people, again through persecution and trials and tribulations. The book of Isaiah talks about this as does the book of Revelation.

      I think a lot of people overlook the fact that the book of Revelation was written to the church, and that it begins with letters to 7 (meaning complete) churches, although they were real church congregations at that time. And, it is the church he warns that they need to repent of their sins, and that he says if they don’t that he will visit them in judgment. And, following that are declarations of the judgments on the earth. And, there is much talk of severe persecution of the saints of God and of the bride making herself holy (revival) and of multitudes being added to the family of God at that time.

      So, if understood in this context, we can see that revival is being promised in these last days after the great falling away, and that the Lord is going to make his bride ready for his return, and the gospel is going to go out to the ends of the earth, and that many will be saved before our Lord returns to take us to be with him forever.

      I know you may not agree with this, so all I can ask is that you seek the Lord in this matter and see what he shows you. Thanks for listening. Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you need your fire rekindled?

    Yes!! And I feel like we’re approaching the time of revival. A young follower told me about a revival her church was having and it just seems like a breath on a smoldering that is going to eventually ignite.

    Let’s pray it and pray that we’ll be ready for it when it ignites.

    Liked by 1 person

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