Archive for May, 2020

Pentecost 2020: Prelude to the Revival of Revivals

May 31, 2020

The Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, was an unprecedented move of God of global proportions:

Acts 2:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

5 At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.
7 They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, 8 and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!

The fire of Pentecost fell and ultimately transformed the lives of those present, and they in turn transformed the world with their witness of the saving grace and power of the Holy Spirit. Since that time, revival fires have burned brilliantly for a season and then subsided and lay smoldering in the frigid dark nights of those who have lost their way.

Paul R. Dienstberger describes the circumstances out of which revivals have been birthed. “…[T]here appeared to be cycles like the book of Judges. First a period of spiritual fervor and blessing, then a falling away, then a revival of spiritual activity, then religious regression, and the cycles continued to repeat the pattern.” In their desperation, while at what the Psalmist declares is “their wit’s end,” the people cry out to God. Such heartfelt cries have gone out at various times for God to “send another Pentecost.” As fervent prayers arise God responds and sends forth times of revival or refreshing.

Elmer L Towns and Douglas Porter in their well-researched work, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, offer this definition of the term: “. . . God pouring Himself out on His people.” Revivals are characterized as a “visitations from God,” breaking out in many places around the world, not just in one place. The authors explain these powerful phenomena are not just isolated events but “moves of God” or “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”

Towns and Porter cite the late Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who believes history’s greatest revival took place in the early years of the Twentieth Century, including the Welsh Revival, affecting Great Britain and Europe; the Asuza Street Revival, with its earth-shaking change upon America’s religious landscape, and the Korean Pentecost, the Manchurian Revival, and the Mizo Outpouring, impacting nations of the Far East.

This outpouring occurred in the first part of the Twentieth Century, leading up to what Towns and Porter describe as The Baby Boomer Revival—1965-1975. Also known as the Jesus Movement, this revival started primarily among young people in California and along the East Coast. This period also included the Asbury College Revival, sparking similar revivals in colleges across America and in other parts of the globe. Since that time, believers have been seeking to catch the wave of the next approaching revival movement. As the Twentieth Century drew to a close, various prophetic voices spoke of another move of God, a coming “spiritual tsunami” that would dwarf all preceding movements.

“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer,” A.T. Pierson

The present conditions with the COVID-19 global pandemic serve as sparks to ignite a mammoth revival fire of unprecedented magnitude. In light of Pierson’s statement, not only America, but the entire world has been calling out for strength and wisdom to deal with the devastating consequences of the current viral outbreak. One of the global prayer initiatives, UNITE714, focuses on calling out to God and praying 2 Chronicles 7:14 at 7:14 a.m. and 7:14 p.m. daily:

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The prayer movement which brought together churches, pastors, leaders, and individuals across the globe to pray for a miraculous healing of our lands from the coronavirus and a spiritual awakening among the nations, culminated on Pentecost Sunday 2020.

Reflecting on the Day on the Pentecost and its significance to the world inspired this original psalm of praise.

The Song of Pentecost
Acts 2:1-4

Those with ears to hear seek your song of grace.
With no song to soothe the soul, all is lost.
Your melody makes life a quiet place
When the heart sings the song of Pentecost.

There in Eden’s garden fell the first frost
Where stillborn silence chilled the human race.
The purest harmony with God was lost.
Those with ears to hear seek your song of grace.

Voices of patriarchs could not replace
The inner melody from God. At most
Their sound was an echo, only a trace.
With no song to soothe the soul, all is lost.

With the sign of blood upon the doorpost
Moses led Israel toward the promised place.
The lyrics of the Law were their guidepost.
Your melody makes life a quiet place.

Man hears life’s sublime music in the grace
By Jesus Christ, who died and rose to post
A higher law that death cannot erase
When the heart sings the song of Pentecost.

Sound of rushing mighty wind: the signpost,
The prelude to the promised song of grace.
With the outpouring of the Holy Ghost,
The song of Pentecost can now embrace
Those with ears to hear.

One of the songs by Elevation Worship heard during the UNITE714 prayer event reminds us of the transforming power of God: Graves into Gardens:

Protection, Provision, & Perception: Three prayer points

May 25, 2020
Psalm 91:1 expresses the deepest yearning of our hearts at this time.

Recently, Pastor Jim Critcher, one of the ministers at Grace Covenant Church, Chantilly, VA, offered words of exhortation and prayer points as we press into God during the current COVID-19 pandemic. He encouraged us to apply these focal points: Protection, Provision, Perspective and Perception.


We are to pray Psalm 91 over ourselves, our families and our friends. This Psalm of David provides great comfort and strength in the midst of the chaotic times in which we presently live.

Psalm 91 (NKJV):

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”


We are to pray for God’s provision to be made known around the world.

Psalm 23 (NKJV) reinforces this message:

The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Perspective & Perception

We are to ask God for an understanding of His perspective in this moment and a perception that would be tied to heaven and not to earth, as we ask God for that which He desires for us, expressed in Ephesians 1:15-17 (NKJV):

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your [c]understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

The email message from Pastor Jim inspired this response:

Three Ps to Ponder in these Stressful Times

When we dwell in the secret place of the Most-High,
We abide in the shade of the Almighty’s wings
In praise for His protection, our joyful heart sings
To Jehovah, the creator and Earth and sky.
In times of famine or fulness, God meets each need
With His generous provision for daily life.
The love of God sustains, His peace dispels all strife.
Despite countless failures, He helps us to succeed.
Once again, we pray: Open the eyes of our heart
That we might view life from a higher perspective
As we look to your Word with hearts more reflective
Of your unfailing promise never to depart.
We know you protect and provide but help us see
Your hand in making us all you designed us to be.

We close with Esther Mui offering a moving rendition of Psalm 91: My God, In Him I Will Trust:

Happy Mother’s Day–Queen of My Heart

May 10, 2020

For my beloved Brenda,
Not just on Mother’s Day
But every day,
You are Queen of my Heart

One of the joys of my life is preparing exquisite meals for people I love. As an expression of my love for my beautiful wife, here is the menu for our dinner, fit for a queen, which we will share with out daughter and son-in-law and grandson on this special Mother’s Day. I thank God that we are able to do this.

Mediterranean Dinner Extraordinaire

Greek Salad

Assorted Shishkabobs


Savory Quinoa w/ Vegetable Medley

Selected Riesling

Mini-Hollywood-Two-tone Cheesecakes


Perilous times: Time to sing the blues

May 2, 2020

In thinking about the times in which we live when so many are experiencing deepest sorrow and sense of loss, I recall words from poet Robert Bly: “It is easier to go through suffering if you have a name for it.” We have all learned the reality that suffering is a part of life; indeed, “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” As the old folks used to say, “Ain’t no harm to moan. . . sometime.” During these dark times, the blues, an African American musical form, seems ideally suited to express the anguish and inner turmoil confronting the whole world.

Although this unique African American musical and poetic expression rooted in the oral tradition is often somber in tone, evoking a “soulful melancholody”, there can be brighter more vibrant qualities beneath the surface, expressing a wide range of emotions. Jan Farrington in a review of the musical, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, comments:

“Though we think of “the blues” as an endless song of sadness, . . . remember that blues music can sound every note of human life, from despair to joy. There’s anger, mourning and protest — but life and happiness break through even in the hardest times.”

Lines from an original poem, “All Blues,” raise a thought-provoking question and bring closure to our discussion of this evocative musical form:

just what is the blues?

is it somethin you get
a show nuff dis ease
like de rheumatiz
or de rockin pneumonia
and de boogie-woogie flu
or is it like Lightnin said
somethin you just borned with
whatsonever it is
somethin gets a holt of you
dis mornin dis evenin soooo blue
just what is the blues?
maybe Lady Day summed it up
when she said,
“The blues is everything.”
the sea,
the sky,
the blues and I
know all colors;
sea and sky,
the blues and I
know all colors:
all shades all hues all blues

Musically speaking, the blues emerged as amazing by-products of slavery, blending vestiges of spirituals with traditional West African musical and narrative forms to produce a new expression with a range of emotions. These songs called the blues, follow a 12-bar musical pattern, one long line of four bars, with repeated words and music in the next line, then a third line of four bars to rhyme lyrically with the first two lines that are always the same.

One of the distinctly American poetic forms that uses blues stanzas is the “Blues Sonnet” consisting of four blues stanzas followed by a heroic couplet to complete the variation of the classic 14-line sonnet, so widely recognized and celebrated. Here is an original psalm inspired by the current circumstances that have gripped the world to remind us how to view these adverse conditions:

Greater than Corona

A blues sonnet for these perilous times

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Isaiah 61:3

Without warning, the deadly virus came on the scene.
Without warning, the deadly virus came on the scene:
A new global pandemic sparked by COVID-19.

This tool of the enemy comes to grip us in fear.
This tool of the enemy comes to grip us in fear,
But we cry out to the Lord, who is always near.

We know nothing low down on earth, nothing high above.
We know nothing low down on earth, nothing high above.
Not even death can separate us from God’s love.

So, get out our face, Coronavirus–don’t you see?
So, get out our face, Coronavirus–don’t you see?
In the name of Jesus Christ, we have the victory!

God of grace, God of the living and not the dead,
Gives joy for sorrow, beauty for ashes instead.

Recently I came across a magnificent musical illustration of what I am trying to say about Abba, Father’s sense of identification with those who sing the blues. Listen to Kevin Levar along with One Voice singing “Jesus Blues.”