By Heart Awakening or By Rude Awakening?
A few years ago on a radio program, I was asked if I thought God was going to bring judgment or revival to America. I paused for a moment and replied, “Both.” God is going to bring revival to His people, and it will either come by choice or by circumstance. We are at a crossroads as a nation and as the church. The choices we make today will determine our future.
We need an Individual and Corporate Heart Awakening to see a Transforming Revival today. It will come by Choice, Circumstance or Consequence. Better to have a Heart Awakening than a Rude Awakening.
In January 10, 2019, during a vision-casting meeting with our staff, we had a strong sense that we would soon see an increase of shakings and even implosions of ministries where people have built on institutional structures rather than the incarnational presence of God. It’s so important for us to get back to our First Love so that when the Church quakes and the shakings come, we can be prepared in our hearts for the harvest. We published a few articles subsequently from what we were sensing, as well as revisiting teachings and articles we had published over the years.
In 1988 I wrote an article entitled “The Lord’s Provision During the Shaking” and a couple years later became the chapter “Church Quake: The Lord’s Provision During the Shaking” in one of my books. Again, more than ever I sense an urgency to dig deeper in consecration and higher in expectation in the Lord as every institution sacred and secular, as well as everything we have placed our hopes upon is being shaken. Only that which is part of the Unshakable Kingdom can withstand and remain.
Paul, in Hebrews 12:27-29 reminds us, “Now this, “Yet once more, indicates the removal of those things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”
The Lord begins with His own and in the House of the Lord. Throughout scripture, when the Lord speaks of Jerusalem, we as the Church can see types and shadows that apply to us as well. Zephaniah 1:12 is a sobering reminder to the Church of the Lord shedding light on any compromise or complacency.
“And it shall come to pass at the time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, “The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.”
The Lord is searching throughout the Church with lamps of His Holy Spirit and shaking up those who are settled in compromise and complacency. By the light of the Holy Spirit, God is searching out the dross and rubbish in our lives to purge and refine us in preparation for the days ahead.
In fact, Deuteronomy 8:2-3 is a life lesson reminder to us of the wilderness years. It was a time to see what was really in the heart of God’s people.
“…the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
He has given us periods of peace and prosperity so that we can be a blessing to the nations—but many have chosen not to rely on God or rightly steward the resources He has provided. Instead of choosing God’s way, they have followed the way of the lusts of the world. I’ve often said, “While men reach for thrones to build their own kingdoms, Jesus, reached for a towel to wash men’s feet.”
Revisiting the word I shared in the late ’80s and early ’90s I realized how far more significant it is today. God wants to shift resources from the unjust and unfaithful stewards—who have become enamored with their own celebrity and popularity—and to re-distribute them to those who have been faithful with the little things and are still seeking their First Love.
There are many that have been faithful stewards with only the crumbs off the table for many years, and now is the time for their increase of resources to increase the borders of their tents and stewardship. Proverbs reminds us that the faithful stewardship of riches, honor and life, comes from humility and the fear (reverence) of the Lord. Too often, people forget where they’ve come from and circumvent humility and the fear of the Lord, for the riches, honor and life.
God humbles us in order to remind us not to rely on our own successes, strengths, abilities, or wisdom. The Holy Spirit of God directs and shows us that true fulfillment and satisfaction in life only comes through our relationship with the Lord. We need a renewed desire for the manifest Presence of the Lord. I’m reminded of the words of D.L Moody, “There are no limitations to those who’ve been in the Presence of the Lord.”
God had again been impressing on me the importance and urgency that the Church needs to Prepare the bride (the Church), Prepare an Ark of Refuge for the many that would be responding to the shakings, and Prepare the way for Revival, and Prepare a people for the coming of the Lord.
When the shaking happens—through moral failure or financial implosion—we are not to rejoice. As Jeremiah wept when Israel fell, we must pray that those who have fallen will repent and come back stronger.
A shaken church can also lead to scattered sheep, wandering in a desert and becoming discouraged. We must be ready to receive them with grace and compassion. It will not be a time to gloat over the fallen or to become puffed up.
KNOWING GOD & PLEASING GOD – YADA & GINOSKO:
When we look again at Daniel 11:32, it’s important to remember that the Hebrew word for “knowing” God is “yada,” which means an intimate, interactive, and submissive relationship with God. This is similar to “ginosko” in the New Testament: “… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” (Philippians 3:10). Another word for “sufferings” here is “passion.” When we truly know God, we are passionate about the same things He is passionate about.
It’s easy to become skewed in our walk because we become skewed in our thinking. This is something I battle every time I want to compromise. If Lucifer, in his position and with his giftings, rebelled because of pride, who’s to say that you and I aren’t capable of falling as well?
God wants to bring us successes and victories, but we cannot compromise and do things the world’s way. We cannot build our own kingdoms based on concept vs. character. We must do things in a way that pleases Him.
How do I please God? By loving people and showing them Jesus. By embracing those who fail, who truly have a heart of brokenness. By gathering scattered sheep and pointing them to the Great Shepherd who never fails.
We must speak truth, using love and discernment. Instead of being critical and heaping on condemnation, we must ask ourselves what we are doing to be part of the solution.
The Bible is very clear that we are not to give place to the devil—we have the Good News! Keep focused on what God has called you to do to bring positive change. Lasting transformation comes only through Christ.
The shakings are coming! And revival will come, by choice or by circumstance. Throughout history, the Church has grown through times of challenge. May we keep our focus on the Lord —because coming with the shakings will also be a great harvest!
AT A CROSSROADS:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
—Isaiah 2:2–4 (see also Micah 4:1–3)
I’ve taught over the years that true revival will first be a revival of holiness and consecration in us.
I often pray, “Lord, how are You going to set Your church ablaze with a hunger for Your holiness?” We say we want revival and we want the church to work together to be part of a harvest, yet at times, our actions speak a contrary message. What will it take to bring a lasting revival to our land?
There is nothing wrong with going to services and having the Lord minister to us in a way that makes us feel good, but there is more to revival than that. In fact, there are times when our need is not for something to make us feel good. Before there can be genuine times of refreshing, there must be times of honest reflection and repentance.
Have we been broken before the Lord over our own sin, including sins of omission? Our sin doesn’t have to be something we’ve done; sometimes, it is something we have left undone. We must ask ourselves whether we are truly concerned for the welfare of others. A move of God that does not lead to changed lives and lost souls coming to Christ falls short of being a true revival. A genuine revival is not a matter of hoopla or emotion or even spiritual refreshing; it is a matter of transforming individuals and then entire communities.
The late Dr. Richard Halverson, chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1994 and author of several books, has been credited with saying:
“In the beginning the church was a fellowship of men and women centering on the living Christ. Then the church moved to Greece, where it became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where it became an institution. Next it moved to Europe where it became a culture, and, finally, it moved to America where it became an enterprise.”
I’ve also seen it quoted slightly differently, “Christianity began with the person of Jesus, went to Greece and became a philosophy, went to Rome and became an institution, went to Europe where it became a culture, and the went to America where it became an enterprise.”
Although I’ve read variations of the quote, I think you get the gist of it’s meaning. For me it is also an important and regular reminder of the importance of a relationship with the Lord.
The Lord will not force us to consecrate our lives, but He can surely allow pressure on us to seek Him. He desires our attention.
Therefore, we must lay aside anything that hinders us, individually or corporately. We cannot give in to fears and insecurities or engage in blame. This is not a time to play games with God. His Word states that everything that can be shaken will be shaken until only that which cannot be shaken remains. (See Hebrews 12:26–27.)
Although it is never God’s desire to bring destruction, He wants our total devotion. He desires to possess the thrones of our hearts. When the Lord breathes His life in us and through us, nothing can stop His impact on our lives and communities. How will we withstand the wind and the shaking? It all depends on the condition of our hearts.
Three things will take place during shaking. For one, those who have left their first-love relationship with the Lord will be shaken until they return to God’s stern but merciful, loving hand.
Obstacles in the way of the gospel will also be removed, such as people or ministries that are cosmetic only. Jesus told a parable about a landowner who came seeking fruit on his fig tree but found none. From a distance, the fig tree probably had plenty of leaves and must have appeared capable of bearing figs. But as the owner approached, he was disappointed that there were no figs. (See Luke 13:6–9.) If those who produce only leaves but no fruit refuse to repent, God will replace them with those who are preaching the pure gospel and bearing genuine fruit.
During the shaking, God will also restore those who feel forsaken—those who have served the Lord with sincerity and integrity, fighting the good fight and loving the sheep, yet have become “weary while doing good” (Galatians 6:9). Those who have been faithful through all the trials and have kept their stand for God’s righteousness will receive blessings in order to perpetuate the gospel and experience a great outpouring of God’s Spirit.
Beyond the shaking is the promise and the hope set before us. We must pray for our ministers and leaders as they undergo relentless attacks during shaking. We must pray for the body of Christ as well. This is not a day to give up on the church, or on yourself, and certainly not on the Lord. Instead, it is a day for us to get on our knees and seek the Lord for His grace.
He is raising up people who want to see a true outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It will not be limited to any one crusade or meeting, but the Holy Spirit will move through individuals, ministries, and churches that are prepared. God is looking for a people who are hungry for His character and a deeper relationship with Him—a people who pursue holiness over happiness. He will shake anything in our lives that distracts us from Him, so we must seek Him with all our hearts and press in to Him as never before.
LETTING OUR LIGHT SHINE:
Isaiah wrote, “Arise, shine; for your light has come!” (Isaiah 60:1) Though we know the light of the Lord is going to get brighter, the following verse reads, “Darkness shall cover the earth.” As God’s light gets brighter, darkness will get darker, yet God will pour out great wonders:
“I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:30–31)
As God pours out His Spirit, we are also going to see an onslaught of the enemy. We must prepare, let go of old ways, and become lovers of truth, so we will not be deceived by the schemes and temptations of the evil one.
Scripture warns of false prophets in the last days and predicts that many people will reject the truth because they want their ears tickled—they want to hear only what makes them feel good. No matter how uncomfortable the truth makes us feel, we must love it more than life itself, for it is the truth that sets us free. (See John 8:32.)
We also need to be planted in the household of faith when the dark gets darker. We are instructed in Scripture not to forsake the fellowship of the saints, and this will be all the more crucial in the days preceding the return of Christ. (See Hebrews 10:25). We must care for one another, helping our brothers and sisters in their maturing process as believers, who will find shelter under the wings of the Almighty.
The prophet Joel said, “It shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:32) Peter quotes this verse (see Acts 2:21), as does Paul. (see Romans 10:13.) Joel continues, “For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance.” Deliverance can only come as an outcome of the salvation of the Lord. God wants to bring salvation, healing, and deliverance to our lives and to the lives of those He will redeem during this great outpouring.
We cannot separate the terms salvation and deliverance, for with salvation comes deliverance. That is the hope for our lives and for the multitudes still in the valley of decision. The Lord is calling people to Himself.
BETWEEN THE PORCH AND THE ALTAR:
We love to hear about revival happening to others, but we also long to see a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit in our own lives, as on the day of Pentecost. Scripture says, “Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar.” (Joel 2:17) Who are the priests referred to here? That’s us—because we are “a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” (1 Peter 2:9) We must repent and weep between the porch and the altar. We must stand between the living and the dead and stop the plague of sin. (See Numbers 16:48.) How is the plague stopped? By personal repentance and revival, which brings personal refreshing. At that place of brokenness in our lives, the plague of sin will be stopped in their lives.
Any of us who are leaders, or want to be considered as such, must weep between the porch and the altar. The apostle Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) We must set an example that Jesus would want the sheep to follow.
Joel issued a charge to ministers to cry out to the Lord, saying, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:17)
The world is desperate to see that what Christians have is the real deal. As tragedies are reported on the nightly news all over the world, people are awaiting the church’s response. Faced with fires, riots, murders, economic crashes, pandemics, and more, people wonder, Where is God? We must show them by manifesting His glory and power in the midst of tragedy.
I believe we are living on borrowed time. Those who are producing fruit will be pruned so they will produce even more or better fruit. Those who are not producing fruit will be moved aside to make room for those who will. God will show us both His goodness and His severity. (See Romans 11:22.) It begins with us. In other words, those outside the church must see the love and power of God in action through living, breathing temples of the Holy Spirit. That’s you and me. Our preaching will have more impact when our message is something we actually live. When we go forth as witnesses for Christ, walking in the love of God, then God will begin to manifest His presence, and signs, wonders, and miracles will follow.
It’s Time for a Soul Searching and a Corporate Heart Awakening for Revival in the Nation. It will come by Choice, Circumstance or Consequence. Better to have a Heart Awakening than a Rude Awakening.
This generation is at a critical juncture and crossroads on many fronts. If our nation’s broken cisterns and foundations are to be fixed, then we, the Church must awaken our hearts and get back to our spiritual moorings and biblical principles. Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”