WHAT IS REVIVAL?

Isa 57 :14 And it will be said:

“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
15 For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.

     Revival is about many things. First and foremost, it is about an unusual Presence of God:

Isaiah 64 [a]Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
We can expect God to do the unexpected when He comes bringing Revival!
     The Presence of God in Revival will be in accord with His character in the Word:
Isa 63:7-10 I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord,
the deeds for which he is to be praised,
according to all the Lord has done for us—
yes, the many good things
he has done for Israel,
according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
8 He said, “Surely they are my people,
children who will be true to me”;
and so he became their Savior.
9 In all their distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.[a]
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.
10 Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.
Isa 61:1a,2-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
(see also Isa 35:1-2ac, 3,4a,5,6)
The Spirit of the Father comes in kindness, mercy and compassion bringing comfort,

praise, peace, healing, deliverance (Isa 49:8-9) prosperity (see Ps 85 below) and guidance.

All of these should be evident in a genuine Revival.
      Many believe large numbers of salvations would be expected:
Psalm 85[a]
1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
and covered all their sins.[b]
3 You set aside all your wrath
and turned from your fierce anger.
4 Restore us again, God our Savior,
and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what God the Lord says;
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—
but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
(see also Isa 51 :4-6).

     Revival is clearly a Sovereign move of God:
Isa 51: 5 My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
     But His people have a part in preparing for it:
Isa 40:3bc …prepare
the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.[b]

     The highway that the Spirit of God comes on is mentioned many times either explicitly

or implicitly. A highway is a road free of obstacles.
Isa 57:14…“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”  
Sin is the primary obstacle to experiencing the Lord’s Presence (in Isa 35:8 the Highway  is called the Way of Holiness):
Ps 5:4-7 4For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
5The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
6you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, Lord, detest.
7But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.
     Heartfelt repentance leading to Forgiveness is key:
Hos 6:1-3 “Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
3 Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
(also see again Ps 85 )
     One of the obstacles to Revival is not responding rightly to the Lord’s discipline. When

we come under His judgement, we need to press on to acknowledge His character and

nature in our lives.
     The ultimate goal of Revival is for the Lord’s Glory to dwell in our land (Ps 85:9)

resulting in all the wonderful blessings mentioned above.
     Perhaps the most amazing promise of Revival is the Transformation of the Church

which it will bring:
Ps 80:14-18 Return to us, God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15 the root your right hand has planted,
the son[e] you have raised up for yourself.
16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

     When I first read these vv, I thought they were a prophecy of the Messiah (see vv15, 17).

But the NIVSB notes that this is directed to Israel (and by extension the Church, see v16).

In fact, when the Church is transformed by Revival, we will start to truly have the

Character and Characteristics of the “son…raised up for ” God Himself!

(All references to New International Version (NIV))

Healing the Will

Psalm 23:2 speaks of the restoration of our souls. The famous passage in James (5:14-6) on healing, while covering the need for the restoration of our bodies, also, I believe, refers to the healing of the soul (while it can be argued that physical illness stems, in some way or other, from sin, clearly our souls are affected (injured) when we or someone else sins. Hence the reference to confessing our sins…).

Our soul is made up of our minds (as distinct from our brains), our wills and our emotions. Much has been written about the healing of the emotions (see the work of Dr. Francis MacNutt of Christian Healing Ministries and John and Paula Sandford of Elijah House). Less so of the will.

The Life Model clearly teaches the efficacy of inner healing for the soul (see “A Six Step Process for Resolving Traumas” in Bringing the Life Model to Life­, 6th ed.) I am finding that when one becomes aware of an area of the will where you are “stuck”, seek out and meditate on Scriptures in that area to receive instruction and develop faith (Pro 2:1-7, Rom 10:17). For example, if you have difficulty enjoying work, look at the many verses in Proverbs extolling the moral (yes, I said moral) obligation of being diligent in our labors (See especially 15:19, 18:9,and 27:23-27, where the blessings of wealth for ourselves and others are noted. BTW, ladies, you are included as well: 31:13-19). Also, note the many passages in Ecclesiastes that extol enjoying our labor (2:10,24; 3:12-13,22; 5:18, 8:15; 9:7).

Then, allow the Lord to show you when you willed wrongly in the past (specific instances). Repent from those decisions and healing and restoration will follow.

God Gives Us Honor

In the Word we are commanded to honor. Children must honor their parents (Eph 6:1-3). We are to honor those in authority over us (Romans 13:1-8). And, of course, we are to honor God (Dan 5:23, Mal 1:6, 1 Tim 1:17)

But did you know that God honors you?! God never asks us to give something without first giving it to us (Rom 11:35, Mk 10:28-30, Heb 6:10)*. God honors us for a number of reasons:

>Because we are human! This is perhaps the most surprising of the reasons for His honor of us. He created His Creation good and worthy of being honored:

Psa 8:3-5

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

* for a fuller treatment of this subject see: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/gods-compensation–god-is-not-a-debtor-to-any-man-dr-stanley-vasu-sermon-on-gods-provision-37170.asp

>Because we are believers.

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Isaiah 43:4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.

This passage is directed toward Israel; believers receive the promises given to Abraham, which Israel inherited (Gal 3:14).

>Those who are following after God and dwelling with Him

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.[
c]

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

Psa 84:4,5,10,11

When we test what we hear by the Word

Acts 17:11New International Version (NIV)

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

>When we call on God to set us free from negative words that have been spoken over us.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10Amplified Bible (AMP)

9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

Jabez mother gave him a name which sounds like the Hebrew word for pain. He didn’t want his life to be full of pain, so he asked the Lord and God set him free from that curse.

I believe there are levels of honor God bestows, based on our walk with Him. But every human being has been given honor. And so we are able to give it to others.

Secret, Secret, I’ve Got a Secret

When you were a kid, did you like to tell or hear secrets? Everyone loves to learn something that (they think) no one else knows. It makes us feel special.
Did you know God has secrets (treasures and mysteries)? The great thing about God is, he’s willing to share them! He is like a best friend, eager to share some of what He knows with us.
1 Cor 2:9-10a
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[a]—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit..
Like a good friend, though, he has certain conditions for sharing. In God’s case, those conditions have to do with who we are. He cannot share His secrets with everyone. But only those with the right hearts….
The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you,… the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.Luke 8:10, 15
Our heart is our spirit within us. Heart and Spirit our used interchangeably in the Word. Our heart is the spirit that is within us:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezek 36:26
How does God reveal Spiritual things to us? He reveals them by His Spirit in our spirits.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
That is why unbelievers cannot understand the Bible (except to realize they need God). It is foolishness to them
This is crucial for all believers for a number of reasons:
Firstly, for assurance of Salvation and for Edification ( to know we are God’s children and to understand the Word of God):
Romans 8:16
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
To know that we are a Child of God we need to listen to God’s Spirit speaking within our spirits.
faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Rom 10:17
Notice it doesn’t say the message is the Word about Christ. The message is hear through the word. We receive and discern the message through our hearts or spirits.
Messages are heard in our hearts. For ex: the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:15
.
Secondly, for Sanctification ( to discern our sins). We never want to become sin-conscious, focusing on our sins more than the power of God to deliver us from sin. But we need spiritual discernment to recognize our errors so we can ask the Lord to help us correct them:
Psalm 19:12
12 But who can discern their own errors?…
Psalm 90:8
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence
Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
In Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. and 1 Cor 2:11, 1 Corinthians 2:11
11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
we have a Spirit which God’s Spirit uses to bring light into who we really are so that we can change to become like Him. The Lamp of God (God’s Spirit) needs to shine in our hearts, because everything that comes into the light becomes light!:
2 Samuel 22:29 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
Job 12:22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light.
Eph 5:13 CJB But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is,
Thirdly, for Revelation (the Spirit reveals the thoughts of God to us).
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
If God’s thoughts are so high, do we have any hope of knowing them? Yes! By the Spirit–
1 Cor 2:10b-11 The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God
Hearing the message of God, discerning our faults and knowing God’s thoughts, all wonderful reasons to be Spiritually Discerning. It’s how we find out God’s Secrets!

THE WAY IS OPEN–WILL YOU WALK IN?

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
Psa 68:1a ESV

21 “But Jesus must stay in heaven until the time when all things will be made right again.
Acts 3:21 ERV

in this final “shaking” all that is impermanent will be removed, …only the unshakeable things will remain
Hebrews 12:27 PHILLIPS

God is arising. He is arising in the nations. He is arising in many hearts. He is coming back for His bride. He is at the threshold….

What is the evidence…? It is all around us! It is just before the dawn that the night is darkest. When the birth pangs come, the baby is on the way!

2 Peter 1:19 says,

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

The Lord commands,

15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matt 11:15 NKJV)

and in Revelation 2, we are told over and over:

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Voice of the Lord is thundering! He is roaring over the sound of the waters, the outcry of the peoples against Him and against His Anointed! (Psa 29:3, Psa 2) He will be vindicated and His Son will rule them with a rod of iron (Rev 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). None shall escape the Dreadful Day of the Lord that is to come (1 Thess 5:2-3, Amos 5:18, Acts 2:20)

Our only Hope is in the Lamb of God! He is the only refuge that can save us from the fate of the wicked, who will burn in the Lake of Fire forever. (Psa 62:7, Acts 4:12, Titus 2:13, Rev 20:15)

Have you trusted your very life to Him?! The time is short. The darkness is deepening. He stands at the Door of your Heart. Open! Open! Open to the Lover of your soul. (Rev 3:20, Then we may sing, with the hymn writer:

Jesus lover of my soul, Let me to thy bosom fly
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me O my Savior hide, Till the storm of life is past,
Safe into thy harbor guide, oh receive my soul at last.

MEDITATIONS ON EVERYTHING*

I was disturbed after watching the film, The Theory of Everything. As a believer, the fact that Mr. Hawking allowed his marriage to be torn apart, by not protecting his wife from the influence of another man, provoked me to anger. As an unbeliever, I should not have expected more from him.

My thoughts then turned to the flip side of their story—the extraordinary love that brought a young couple together, despite the Scientific near-certainty that their marriage would come to a tragic end (Mr. Hawkins was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Finally, I moved on to the Church (God’s ultimate Love Story). We, too, struggle with a horrific disease, one that threatens (but for the Lord) to destroy our ability to overcome the World, which so hates His working in us. What is the nature of such a disease? It is the same as that which brought about the dissolution of the Hawking’s marriage. It can be called by many names: lack of support, overcommitment, monopolization of power and many others.

What I am referring to is the failure of the Church (almost universally) to adopt the one model the Word gives for its structure and function. As soon as I write these words, I can hear the outrage on the lips of a thousand theologians. There IS no model. Ah, but there is!

Firstly, Structure. The Church is (to be) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets…. Yet that is seldom what is seen today. Churches are begun by leaders called Pastors (though not everyone with that title actually has the Ministry gift of pastorship. It is simply the only title accepted in most of Protestantism. If you are a church leader, you are by default a pastor, no matter what your true calling and anointing.)

The lifespan of the average church in North America is 7 years. 7 years! What a sad testimony to the failure of the current system. I say current because the system followed by the vast majority of congregations and denominations today is not the original one. It was developed, as most of us know, during the Reformation. As such, it was an improvement over that followed by the (now called) Catholic Church from whence it came. No longer was there a priest to stand between God and man (there is one mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ).

However, the Reformation, like so many revivals before it, was meant to be just the first step in God’s plan. In the Word, Manasseh turned back to the Lord and made good progress in restoring true worship. Unfortunately, the people continued to sacrifice on the high places, though only to the Lord.

Pastoral leadership is much to be preferred to leadership by a priest. But both fall short of the Biblical Standard; a Church in which the 5-fold ministries are all in operation. Why is that so important, you ask? Because only when all 5 are operating can the Church reach the maturity of Christ. (to be continued…)

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*Inspired by the film, The Theory of Everything

ACCEPTED!

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Rom 15:7 NIV

Accepted! The word itself brings peace and joy. There is such power in feeling accepted and part of a group.

In a small group recently, we discussed the blessings and challenges in being and feeling accepted, and accepting others, even when they may not seem to accept us in return.

Acceptance is a universal human need; we all are designed to be part of a group. When that group is a healthy element of the Family of God, meeting that desire brings great good, both to us and to others in the group. If the group is dysfunctional or “off” in one way or another, then our being part of it may be harmful to us in various degrees.

But no matter how good or bad the groups available to us may be, a deisre to be a part of some sort of fellowship is there.

Every relationship involves give and take; we all have needs as well as talents/giftings to share. Leadership entails giving more than we receive, an oxymoron that can only hold true if we have a different source of supply (more on this later). For believers (and really, everyone, whether they acknowledge Him or not) , that Source is the Lord. That is why it is essential for every believer who aspires to or is in leadership in whatever capacity to have a vibrant relationship with God. Without Him we truly can do nothing.

God accepts us without condition, with the only basis being our acceptance of His Son. We are accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6 KJ21). What a joy to know that He loves us no matter what we do or don’t do! What peace and comfort such Love brings, enabling us to pass some of that loving acceptance on to those around us. We comfort others with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor 1:4.NIV*).

It hurts to feel rejected. But the fact that we have and will continue to experience God’s acceptance through His Son helps us extend acceptance to others.

How can we do this practically? The ways are probably as diverse as the types of possible relationships in the world. But it can be as simple as smiling at someone who isn’t. Or choosing to listen to someone who may have difficulty speaking with people. An affirming word (you are really good at…, I really appreciate it when you…) may also work. Touch, such as on the shoulder or an appropriate hug is a powerful way of communicating loving acceptance that is often not practiced due to fear of being misconstrued. ( I remember as a young believer living far from home how much it meant to me to receive a hug at the end of the service by one of the strong sisters-in-the-Lord.)

The various renderings of the word translated “accept” in Romans 15:7 bring out some of these practical ways of making others feel loved in this way: “receive”, “welcome”, “befriend”.#

However we express it, acceptance is something that needs to be consciously (at least at first) shown; unfortunately, because of past experiences by default most people assume that you do not accept them until they experience otherwise.

At Thanksgiving this year, we invited a group of friends over for a holiday meal. Afterwards, one of them wrote that the gathering felt like a “real Thanksgiving”. As I ponder that statement in this context I would say that the key to making a people feel at home in any gathering is making them feel welcome and accepted. Only then are people free to be the way God made them to be without fear of ostracism or judgement.

Accept one another….

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*It is worth noting that Paul is writing this to disciples, followers of the Lord that are undergoing persecution in various forms just as he did. Recently, I heard part of a radio interview with an apostle (church planter) in an underground church network in Asia. When asked if he saw the message of the Cross (i.e. of suffering) as a positive one, he laughed, and then answered “yes!”. This from a believer who has been imprisoned, beaten and tortured multiple times for his faith. Testimonies such as these and those of other heroes of the faith thtrough the ages lead us to believe that God gives a special revelation and level of grace to those who truly risk all for Him. As they were about to stone Stephen, he had a vision of Christ standing at the the Father’s right hand, in honor, as many have said, of the world’s first martyr for the Lord. This sustained him through the painful trial that soon followed. God will sustain us as well through any suffering the world may have in store. He is able and will do it.

#I especially like the Complete Jewish Bible’s rendering of this verse:

“So welcome each other, just as the Messiah has welcomed you into God’s glory.”, which points to the fact that it is our participation in the glory of God that enables us to extend love and acceptance to others.