Are you prepared for your victory?

By Pastor Bill Rowe

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

The Christian life is one of spiritual warfare, evidenced by conflict and challenges. This is hard to believe when we see the joy most Christians have, but it’s true. In fact, it’s that joy in the midst of hardship and conflict that best indicates that one is a true believer, and is prepared for the fight.

Jesus said,

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

This truth came home to me the other day at church. I shared details of a personal spiritual battle, trusting that I would not be judged by my church family. Their response was to come around me, lay hands on me, and pray. There was no judgment, simply unity in our dependence on the Lord our God.

The Revive church family understands that in times of trials, the only place to turn is to the Lord. Prayer is a cry to the Lord, a cry that admits our helplessness without the Lord to survive. Prayers rise from our hearts, up through enemy territory (the “heavenly places”),  and find their way into the presence of Lord. Our Lord awaits our prayers!

When we are engaged by the enemy in battle, the assaults come in infinite variety. The devil is endlessly creative and absolutely ruthless in his evil creativity. He tempts us where we are most vulnerable, he attacks our families, he attacks God, he accuses us, he spreads lies, he causes misfortune, he infiltrates our careers, our finances, our health, our faith, and everything we hold dear.

But we need not cower, we need not succumb to the enemy. God has provided an invitation and a promise for His children in need:

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Through Christ, we are invited before the very throne of God! We have the ear and the attention of God! When we approach Him with our prayers and our troubles God hears our prayers; God promises us that here in His presence He will grant us grace and mercy! (This is exactly what I felt when our church family gathered around to pray for me!)

Human instinct in times of trouble, our temptation, is to handle spiritual attacks on our own, to do it our way. God’s Word tells us that victory comes when we are on our knees in prayer. We are strongest from a posture of helplessness and dependence on the Lord:

“…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might… (Ephesians 6:10)

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:7-8a)

This requires an admission that we are incapable of winning the fight with our own power. It requires us to prepare for battle by falling to our knees. Our war cry is, “Lord, help me!” In our dependence on God, He provides the weapons and the armor that protect us in battle. God brings victory.

Paul wrote:

“Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through (Christ) who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

It is in the strength of the Lord and the power of His might that we are able to stand before the enemy and to fulfill God’s truth that we are “more than conquerors.”

Today is a good day to grab hold of your victories by falling to your knees and presenting your needs to God. Maybe you have unconfessed sin that God is waiting to hear and forgive:

“If you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)

Perhaps you are in the midst of fighting a battle in your own strength, and you are tired; Jesus invites you to rest in Him:

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I am struck by how consistent Scripture is in promising the Lord’s strength for the Christian who is in need. These Scriptures prove that God is very interested in your battles, desires your prayers, and is willing to bring you victory. The only way to effectively fight the battle, to be victorious, and the only way to prepare for the fight, is through humble prayer and devotion to God’s Word. Then you can assault the enemy in God’s power and God’s might with your prayers to God Almighty Himself.

Finally, cherish Christ’s victory as you rest in Him.

Pastor Bill

Love notes from God

By Pastor Bill Rowe

3The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

What would you do if God sent you a love note? I hope you’d cherish it, and experience His warmth deep in your heart.

The reality is that in today’s busy world many pressures team up to suffocate us, so many that you might not even notice God’s never-ending love directed toward you. When God spoke to the nation of Israel in her distress, His message was “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

God loves you with a never-ending love, too!

When troubles mount and it seems that attacks come at you from all sides, it’s often difficult to see through the fog of battle; it seems impossible to grasp the truth that the Lord loves you, that He remains sovereign, and that He is always present. It is in His love – His everlasting love – that the Lord draws you near Him, especially in the worst times.

God’s everlasting love for His children encouraged Israel through decades of captivity. God’s everlasting love for you can encourage you through whatever struggles you face today.

I hope the following words ring true in your life. They are from a song titled, By Your Love:

By Your love, You rescued me;
By Your love, You set me free!
By Your love, You cleansed my heart;
And by Your love, You’ve made me part…

…of Your work, of Your holy call;
You lead me, Lord, to give my all!
With fervent prayer and heartfelt tears,
Your love, my God, I welcome here!

Your love, O Lord, it reigns supreme!
Its truth, My God, to it I cling!
Your love, O Lord, shall always bear
Me up through the tests You’ll share…

…in Your work, in Your holy call;
You lead me, Lord, to give my all!
With fervent prayer and heartfelt tears,
Your love, my God, I welcome here!
Your love, my God, removes all fear!
Your love, my God, I welcome here!

Whenever your circumstances try to bury you and blind you to God’s presence in your life, I pray that you will look up, raise your hands to your Lord, and praise Him with thanksgiving for His everlasting love. Welcome His love with a grateful heart. Welcome His love with fervent prayer, with heartfelt tears.

Cling tightly to God’s love note to you. Cherish His love for you.

His everlasting love is for you!

Pastor Bill




Called to benevolence

By Pastor Bill Rowe

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)

A common thread running through society today is the placing of oneself first, above others. In contrast, historian David McCullough believes that upward of 90 percent of Americans are good people with a benevolent nature. This observation offers a reason for rejoicing and provides a glimmer of hope for each of us, even the skeptics.

What does this have to do with following God? Our Lord is a benevolent God who cares deeply for your well-being; His benevolence intends the very best for you. He loves you, and He would like You to be like Him. That’s the message of Philippians 2:3-4 above: Be like God.

His character is one of benevolence, and though He deserves all attention, honor and glory, He humbled Himself to rescue all who are eternally lost. He looked out for the interest of others, He looked out for your interest. Such is the message of the good news of Jesus Christ: He died so that you may live; He took the punishment for your sins, so that you may be forgive; He modeled humility and holiness so that you may do likewise.

Scripture calls each of us to be like Christ. Too often, Christians earn a reputation for being more unlike Christ that non-Christians. Many attribute that sad reputation to how we judge others. Charles Spurgeon said, “None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.”

My prayer today is that you will follow Paul’s sincere, Spirit-inspired guidance by looking out not only for your own interest, but also for the interest of others.

Pastor Bill

A heart that opens heaven

By Pastor Bill Rowe

“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.” (Luke 3:21)

sunrise-3-1368603 (1)

Luke’s simple picture of Jesus praying at His baptism reveals the heart of our Savior, a heart that opens heaven!

Scripture doesn’t reveal what Jesus prayed when the heavens opened. The Bible says only that, “…while He prayed the heavens opened.” Perhaps the words the Lord prayed weren’t the catalysts. What would incite such a powerful move of God? Certainly, the Father’s indescribable love for His Son was on display. Another clue might be discovered in the Old Testament where, when selecting David as king, the Lord told Samuel,

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

It is said that every heart-felt tear contains a million words. An open and humble heart laid bare before the Lord carries more weight than a million spoken words. The Lord of heaven desires your heart.

“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God.” (Psalm 14:2)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

The essence of prayer resides in the heart. Deep within the thirsty heart of man prayer is conceived; and in the benevolent heart of God prayer is received.

Pastor Bill


Before we stand, we first must bow

By Pastor Bill Rowe

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God,
You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

You might remember that Psalm 51 was penned by King David after he was convicted of and confessed his terrible moral sin. We notice many things about King David and our God in the Psalms, but four stood out in Psalm 51:

  1. Humility: First, David came humbly before the Lord with his sin and his sorrow. The king was broken and he was humbled. Humbled! The mightiest man in his kingdom was humbled by his realization of sin, and of his comprehension of the immense offense his sin inflicted on God.
  2. Brokenness: Second, David was truly broken that he confessed his sin against God. David’s brokenness reveals far more than a sadness that he had been caught. Notice that David did not run from God in his sin. Rather, he approached God humbly, with deep agony, and complete honesty, believing that God would receive him. Even as a guilty sinner, David knew that God would accept his confession. As you read the psalm, you will feel David’s sense of brokenness.
  3. Trust: Third, David boldly asked God to forgive all of his sins, to cleanse him, to wipe his slate clean. David did this because he knew and trusted God. He knew that God would not despise a truly contrite heart. He knew that God would forgive because He desires to do well by those He loves. God blesses those who love Him. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Of course, David did not have the New Testament, yet God instilled in the king’s heart the timeless truth of God’s mercy, love, and grace. And David clung to God’s truth for his very life!
  4. Confidence: Fourth, when David arose from praying to God for forgiveness, he stood with confidence in God that he was completely forgiven. Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote, “A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” David knew that he would never be holy outside of God’s merciful forgiveness.

How about you? Do you harbor a guilt? Have you taken those sins humbly before the Lord? Maybe you believe that there are sins God will not forgive, or that He cannot forgive. David knew better. We see by his response to his sin that David believed God for His mercy. Though he was imperfect, through a life of repentance, a turning to God and away from the world, David went on in God’s grace to lead the nation of Israel to incredible prosperity and victory.

Let’s take our lesson from King David and admit that, before we can stand confidently in the world, we first must bow humbly before the Lord.

Pastor Bill

When Christ is nearest

By Pastor Bill Rowe

“I know well that when Christ is nearest, Satan also is busiest.”
– Robert Murray M’Cheyne

How we should find comfort in M’Cheyne’s words here. Though Satan attacks continuously, Christ draws near strongly, perfectly, and eternally.

Jesus said,

27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. (John 14:27-28)

The Lord is at His best when we are at our worst
Your worst times may include times of doubt, fear, discouragement. Satan will use any weapon available to get to you, to distract you from the strength and the glory of the Lord. But don’t be fooled! While the enemy’s intent is to destroy you, he cannot defeat you unless you allow him to fool you into turning away from your Lord. That’s why you must remain focused.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. (Proverb 3:5-6)

Maybe you’ve experienced a particular difficulty with your faith today. Or maybe you’ve been an emotional wreck because of life’s pressures. Do you know that the Lord sees, and the Lord cares very much that you get through such trials? Turn to Him now. Seek Him now. Talk to Him now, even if you do not feel His presence, and even if you do not feel that He hears. Trust in the Lord with all your heart!

Pastor Bill

Christ’s Continuing Prayers

By Pastor Bill Rowe

person-and-crossDo you ever consider the thought of Christ’s continuing prayers for you?

“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34, NKJV).

Isn’t that beautiful?

Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”

That’s a truth I can appreciate!

Pastor Bill