And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord. Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Acts 11:21-23
I have begun the day praying for my country, a nation economically and morally bankrupt. America has been quietly taken by Marxist ideals of entitlement that have left us slaves to the corruption and greed of the powerful. And the greatest danger of all that we face is the anti-God spirit that wars against every doctrine and creed that founded our One Nation under God, whose national motto is In God we trust.
I believe that God desires to turn the nation back to Himself, and it gives me great hope that what God wills, He is sure to accomplish. So once again, I asked Him to show me my part in His plan to save the nation. I found an answer in Antioch, a city lesser known for its spices and silk luxury, and greater known as the place where believers were first called Christians. Barnabas was sent to Antioch where a great revival occurred, and anytime there is revival, I am listening and looking for details that would signal a similar experience here in our city and our nation.
When Barnabas arrived in Antioch, the first thing he saw was the grace of God. Grace is evidence that God is at work, He is present, and He is doing supernatural work among us. When revival comes to our city, people will look at Christians and immediately see grace. What does it look like? On God’s part, it is lavish love, forgiveness, provision, and moment by moment communion. But revival comes when people see grace in me. Single moms should be able to look at me and say, “God will help me raise my children when I don’t know what to do.” Business people should be able to look at me and say, “God will show favor to me if I am honest, generous, and diligent.” Those who are anxious about the future should be able to look at me and say, “If I pray and listen and trust in God, He will take care of all my needs.” The world does not understand the grace of God, because they often look at Christians and see conflict, anxiety, and striving. These sins hide the evidence of God’s grace from a world desperate for revival.
What is the remedy? Barnabas exhorted the people “that with purpose of heart they would cleave to the Lord.” I pray that my heart would long for God. I pray that the cares of life would never crowd out the Kingdom of God within me. I pray that my thoughts would yearn for closeness of soul with my Savior. I purpose to hunger after God alone. Give me a new heart that will cleave to the Lord. This is the exhortation that brought so many to the Lord in Antioch.
I am waiting. I will live out God’s grace giving testimony to the fact that His love and forgiveness, His favor and blessing are constantly overshadowing me. I will purpose in my heart to cleave to the Lord. And suddenly…. He shall appear…. His promise is true…. His plan is unstoppable…. He is showing Himself in great grace. And like Barnabas, we will be glad!