Canada Day is our celebration as Canadians of our great country. This year we are 151 years old as a nation and lot has happened in those years. Today this vast country spreads from Newfoundland and Labrador on the Atlantic Coast to the waves of the Pacific Ocean off British Columbia. There is so much to enjoy in our country today and yet Canada is much more that its collective physical beauty. Today, we are Canadians who are diverse in so many ways; languages, religions, cultures and climates. Time does not permit us to consider the full extent of historical Canadian facts. Here are just a few thoughts with Jesus in the picture. Both Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain acknowledged God in prayer as they came to Canada. From these explorers we have politicians, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers and the church who sought to fulfill God’s purposes for the land. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, Premier of New Brunswick was one of the Fathers of Confederation. He rose daily with prayer and Scripture reading. As the 33 founding fathers gathered in Charlottetown to discuss the British North American Act, there are were many suggestions on what to call this new “United Canada.” That morning, as Tilley read from Psalm 72:8, he became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God that he presented the inspired “Dominion of Canada.” The other Fathers responded with a hearty yes and in 1867 the Dominion of Canada was born - “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” and can be found engraved on the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. It is interesting to note that the first official use of this motto came in 1906 when it was engraved on the head of the mace of the Legislative Assembly of the new Province of Saskatchewan.
As with any country on earth, there are aspects of history that are very good and some note so good. This is true of the nation of Israel as we look at the Scriptures. The same is true for the many countries formed out of colonialization. The were some positive aspects of modernization but also some very negative affects, especially to the First Nations people of North America. The original desire to see God’s Kingdom established on earth as it is in heaven became perverted as politics, greed and religion joined together to distort true Biblical Christianity. Great abuse and injustices were committed against First Nations peoples in the name of Jesus all the while being backed by the government. We are still suffering the effects of this in Canada today, and there is much that needs to be made right.
There are numerous verses in the Bible that speak of the importance of foundations. These verses have both a spiritual and practical application. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11). This is a solid spiritual reality for Christianity, Jesus Christ is our foundation upon which we ultimately stand, even as Christians in this country. In other words, I am Christian before I am Canadian, American, Filipino, or Nigerian, and by my choice to follow Jesus Christ I accept a Kingdom Culture and Citizenship. Practically speaking, this Judeo-Christian heritage is the foundation of Canadian values and vision and Law. However, over the years, the vision that God shall have dominion from sea to sea has been lost. What has happened? “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). We have seen the rise of greed in society and in the church. We have seen absolute truths and the value of Scripture eroded into the idea of relative thinking and demanding one’s rights. We have seen the voice of the church lessen as society states that Christianity is flawed. We have liberal thinking and a powerless church. Suffice it to say, there is a clash of kingdoms and values facing our society today. We live in a day where revival in the Body of Christ is needed for the sake of souls and eternity.
Revival – personal and corporate
One of my desires over the years has be to engage in a genuine and growing relationship with God. There are highpoints at times and other times I feel like I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death. In this journey of faith, I believe that God has a purpose and destiny for my life. In the same way I know this to be true for each of us here today. In the pursuit of my destiny there are key life verse that God has used to encourage me in my faith and recently Psalm 86 has been key. My devotion and prayer has been filled with emotion and tears, prayers and praise. I have recognized my need for mercy in my life as well as situations where I need to overcome fears. I have been encouraged in that God hears and answers prayer, fills me with joy, and teaches me life lessons that I need to learn. This has been my prayer – “Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:17).
One of the questions I have asked in pursuit of God is this, if an individual can a destiny, what about a nation? In light of the Scriptures we see God calling and loving and discipling the nation of Israel. As well, we understand that there are other nations that God has destiny and purpose for; Egypt, Assyria and Babylon are examples. In the New Testament, we see further evidence of this unique relationship between God and nations. “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth: and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live” (Acts 17:26-27). The Scriptures reveal that nations can change for better or worse. They also reveal that when someone stands in the gap things can change for the better.
History Makers -> Revivalists
Here is a quote by Pastor Francis Anfuso, a pastor in the United States entitled PRE-REVIVAL MALAISE- “Throughout the history of the Church, prior to a mighty move of God, the Church and (secular) culture were invariably at a low-tide moment. Without exception, a seismic shift in spiritual temperature was desperately needed! So too in our day! Champions are needed to awaken God’s people to their true identity and purpose. We need David’s to lead God’s people into battle; Esther’s who’ll intercede before the King for the life of others; and Daniels to fearlessly face deception and intimidation. Where are the men and women of conviction, who will stand alone in the gap by faith, and refuse to bow to the fear of man? God, revive Your Church! Awaken the lost! Shake us out of our complacency! We want more! We were made for more!” In light of these champions there are a few lessons we can learn:
1. Passion for God: Acts 13:22 tells us – “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” What does this mean? It does not mean that David was perfect but that he was humble, reverent, respectful, trusting, loving, devoted, obedient but also repentant when needed. Which of these areas need your greatest attention for improvement?
2. Resolve: Courage and determination and a heart attitude that says, “No matter how long it takes, or what it takes, I am in this until we see change.” Queen Esther saved a nation when all odds were against her. She did not give up… “If you don’t quit you win.”
3. Strategy: I love the book of Daniel as God’s strategy is given to Daniel and his friends. God is committed to leading his people strategically as we genuinely inquire of him. When the Kings inquired before going into battle not only did God give them assurance of victory but He gave them detailed instructions on how to secure the victory.
4. Attendance: What do I mean by this? I have said at times that God’s Presence changes everything. I think God is saying the same to us, our presence matters too. Ezek 22:30 - “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none”. God is looking for people who show up, who are committed to God’s purpose. It is not the most gifted or charismatic that have the most influence in nations over time. It is the faithful.
5. Prayer: The inquiring of the Lord is another way of identifying prayer. “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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14). Prayer and fasting are essential. Eph 6:18 – “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
It is my prayer for us all to know God personally. There are times in our walks with Jesus when there is a sense in the Spirit that God is doing something special. Last Sunday Pastor Becky spoke from Psalm 24. I came away encouraged in the Lord believing that God wants to touch our lives individually and our church corporately. If we want to change and discover the Jesus in fresh ways, we need to press into the Lord passionately, be courageous, be intentional, be committed and prayer like your life depends on it. We are exhorted in the Scriptures not to lean on our own understanding but to lean of God for his wisdom and understanding. God loves to renew and restore and revive his children…
Is changing a nation for God possible? Yes, we see this in the Scriptures and in church history. What does this look like? In the weeks ahead, we will look at the characteristics of revival and how people and nations were changed. There are Biblical revivals that we can learn from as well as revivals from church history.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.