The Key to Revival

key to revival

Our greatest enemy as Christ followers is our pride and our self-sufficiency. As we follow Christ we are to follow His example of humility. We are also to follow His example in laying our lives down in exchange for His. As we follow Christ we trade a life of pride for a lifestyle of lowliness and humility.

“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.” Isaiah 57:15

The word contrite in the verse above comes from the hebrew word “daka” which means to be crushed. Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us in this verse about how He not only is in a high and exalted place (heaven) but that He is also drawn to those who are “daka” or crushed. In talking about Christ Isaiah also says in an earlier passage, “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). We see that Jesus chose to allow himself to be crushed for us. I believe that we are also called to lay down our own lives and allow our pride to be crushed before Him.

What I find so cool about this verse is that it comes with a really powerful promise about God’s nature. He tells us at the end of this verse that He will revive those who are humble and have allowed themselves to be crushed (those who are contrite). We have a promise in this verse of revival. The only condition of this promise is that we humble ourselves and crush our pride. As we do this in faith then God promises that our hearts and lives will be forever changed.

Revival comes in response to humble saints. Revival comes as God draws near to those who have crushed their pride and have come to Him in humility and brokenness. God longs to send revival and He is simply waiting for us to crush our pride and humble ourselves before Him!

The word revive in the verse above is used over 250 times in the old testament. It is the hebrew word “chayah” which means: to live, restored, revived, to be restored to life and to live prosperously. When God promised to revive us in response to our brokenness then He promised to bring us into a life where our soul is prosperous. This same hebrew word is used over and over again in the OT when talking about genealogies. For examples it is used a lot of times when talking about how someone “begot” another in a list of family lineages. It is a word that ultimately means to create life. When we pick up our cross and lay down our lives then God promises to birth something new inside of us. 

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.” 2 Cor 5:14-15

God is looking for a generation who will humble themselves, seek His face, turn from their sin so that He can bring healing and restoration. He is looking for a generation who will become broken and humble sot hat He can birth something new inside of them. He longs for a humble church whom He can use to birth revival. If we want revival then we need to ask God for humility and brokenness. Revival is coming but only in response to our humility. Revival is coming as we crush our pride and choose to totally depend on our God. Humility is the KEY to revival in the Church. 

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Matthew 5:3 – Being Poor in Spirit

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“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:3

A truly humble person is so poor in spirit that they trust God for everything and know that apart from Him they can do nothing.(Jn 15:5) Humility enables them to achieve greater things because they know God can achieve great things through them.  They trust God so much that God can use them to do things that defy common sense and display the mighty power of God for all the world to see.  When Christ called us to live a life being “poor in the spirit” he was not talking  about us being self-condeming or depressed but to realize our own spiritual poverty apart from Him. God wants us to see the infinite abundance that is available to those who seize the Kingdom of Heaven through a life of humility. (Matt 11:12)

The key to accessing the kingdom of heaven on earth is realizing our own deficiency and need for God. When we live a life of total dependence on the Lord then a door of infinite supply is opened up as we access heaven’s resources. When we access the abundance of heaven then God can allow our life to become a miracle, sign and wonder. He can do things through us that otherwise would be utterly impossible. A life totally yielded to God and walking in true humility becomes an ocean wave of heaven crashing into earth.

False humility tries to masquerade itself as a person that is “poor in spirit” but is actually blatantly prideful and independent from God. False humility breeds a fear to step out and do anything that requires great faith and courage. It can also help steward a persons apathy and laziness that can sometimes appear as humility.  Jesus is not calling us to beat ourselves up on a daily basis but to simply see that we really are bankrupt apart from him. False humility is rooted in pride and is focused on self. Someone who is poor in spirit is focused on God and the abundance of heavenly provision.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph 2:10

God wants to shift our perspective and help see that he truly desires to establish his kingdom through our lives. He wants us to become aware of the amazing destiny that he has for each one of us. Each one of us was designed for a life of good works that would be even greater than what we read in the gospel accounts of Jesus. In Christ, he is calling us to do even greater works. (Jn 14:12) As we live a life of total dependence on God we can begin to step out in faith and take risk. The greatest risk takers in the Kingdom of God are those who are the most poor in spirit. People with true humility realize that God can do great things through them, not because of who they are but because they know how great He is.

Is there something God has called you to do that will require you to be totally dependent on him if you were to step out in faith and pursue it?

Urgency in How We Walk

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…

Ephesians 4:1-2

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It’s urgent that as believers in Jesus Christ that we take our calling very seriously. We must live our lives with such passionate dedication that we are willing to risk everything. We have a high calling and high are the standards that we must live by. These standards are not written laws but are conditions of the heart that we should live by through the Holy Spirit. I believe that in these two verses the Lord is showing us four primary points to living a life worthy of the calling we have received in Christ Jesus.

#1 – Humility

Our calling is to follow Him and to acknowledge Him as our provider and our God. Humility is the mark of a follower of Christ that is wholly abandoned to Him. We need to seek humility each day as we walk in our great calling to love God and to extend His love to others. Humility is not common in our society and is contrary to our own human nature. Our natural response is self-preservation and pride. When we practice humility it forces us to place our dependence on God rather than ourselves. To walk worthy of our calling we MUST depend on Him and not ourselves.

“They knew that apart from the presence and power of the Holy Spirit they would accomplish nothing.”

Rick Joyner – of those leading the Welsh Revival in 1904

#2 – Gentleness
Our actions towards others should always be done with a gentle manner. Humility shows our heart position towards God and others but gentleness is how we are to actually act towards them. Rather than being rash, abrupt and forceful we should be gentle and kind. When we display gentleness we leave no room to control or manipulate others. We can only do this when we really place our trust in the Lord. When we display gentleness we display our trust in God. Our calling is one that must be marked by a gentle spirit and carefull actions. We learn to be slow to speak and even slower to react in anger. Our live must be connected to God’s Spirit in order to display true gentleness towards others.

#3 – Patience
Humility is our heart position, gentleness is to be the mark of our actions towards others and patience shows how we react to others and to circumstances outside of our control. We must have a life marked by patience in this fallen world because not only will many people harm us and let us down unintentionally but some will also do so intentionally. In light of the cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood we realize that we have no place in our lives to be impatient or harbor any bitterness. A patient life is one that is quick to forgive. When we display patience as the Holy Spirit lives through us we can live a life truly worthy of the calling of Christ. Patience is a must-have virtue for any true Christ follower.

#4 – LOVE
With all of the humility, gentleness and patience we are to bear with one another in love. Humility is our heart position, gentleness is the way we treat others, patience is how we respond and love is that package that all of these are wrapped up into. Each of these stem from a life filled with God’s love and His presence. These things are only possible through a life filled with God’s love. We must commune with our father in unceasing prayer and adoration if we want to truly walk in a way that is worthy of His calling on our lives. It all must be our of an overflow of Christ in us, who is love and is the hope of glory.

Of the 4 Characteristics which one are you strongest in? Which are you weakest in?

Strengthen your Net

God has given each of us passions and desires for bigger and greater things so that we never remain stagnant or feel like our lives are without purpose. He has placed things inside each of us that are much bigger than any of us could accomplish without His help. There is an amazing story from the book of John that teaches us a bit about being prepared for those dreams that he has given us. God does give us great vision but only wants us to step into that when we are actually ready.

In Matthew 4 Jesus begins to call the disciples. In return for laying down their fishing nets He told them that they could come with him to fish for people. After his resurrection there is also another amazing story centered on fishing that is recorded in John 21. In this story the disciples are found fishing after Jesus has risen from the dead. They did not recognize him at first but after following his instructions their nets began to fill with probably more fish than they had ever caught at one time in their entire lives. When they obeyed Jesus they experienced a supernatural favor and blessing.

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When they return to the shore (John 21:10-11) the Disciples were asked by Jesus to bring their fish to Him. We are always meant to bring the things that Jesus blesses us with, whether resources or people, to Him. All of it is meant for HIS glory and never for our own. We get to partake and enjoy of this amazing abundance but we need to remember its always intended to be handed right back to him.

When they got back to the shore their nets were completely filled with fish but for some reason the nets did not break. The verse mentions an exact number, 153, that they caught. I believe the number was mentioned because had there been 154 the nets would have broken. The number is significant because Jesus only allowed them to catch what they could handle. What would have been the value of this blessing had they gotten to shore and as they pulled the net out of the water it busted and all the fish just swam back into the sea? He never intends for us to catch more than our nets can handle.

The number of fish in this story can represent each of our dreams and passions. They represent what God may entrust us with whether it may be people, possessions or some great position.  God may have given us vision for a huge ministry, or a thriving business but what I believe he wants us to focus on is the NET and not the quantity of fish. He wants us to be sure we have the capacity for the vision that he has placed in our hearts.

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The disciples were called in an instant to follow Christ and become fishers of men. But before they could catch the fish they had to make their nets. They had to take their time sitting and sewing each piece together and tying different places together. They had to invest time day after day to ensure that when the time came they would be able to handle whatever catch God had planned for them. Most people want to focus on their huge ambitions and make a nice looking plan of bullet points of how to get there but few want to go through the grueling work of preparing their character to be in that position one day.  Radical encounters with the Spirit of God can propel us into our destiny but only intentional effort to grow can give us the discipline that will ensure we are capable of withstanding the pressure of all that God wants to place in our nets.

Some people feel like their grand visions are vain or are something that they should not express so they choose to never talk about them or focus on them. This can sometimes be a person practicing false humility. The enemy wants to pervert our dreams and make it all about us. He wants us to forget that the whole reason we catch the fish is so that we can pull them out with our nets and take them to Jesus. We need to embrace our grand visions with great humility and set our hearts to let the Holy Spirit give us the character we need to achieve them.  In the same way that God gave all of creation natural sexual desires to ensure pro-creation, so did He give us these dreams to expand and grow His Kingdom. We have the ideas because God has placed them in each of our hearts so that we will pursue them with great passion!

Instead of asking Jesus for more fish, we really need to be asking him for a stronger net. We need to ask him for more patience, more character, more holiness, more desire to fast and pray and for more integrity. When we ask God for these things then we don’t have to worry about working to achieve a greater anointing or to grow our ministries. The growth will come quite naturally as we sit and sew our nets. The increase will always come as we abide (John 15) in the love of Jesus and allow him to mold us and shape us. We don’t have to strive or try to force it to happen.

Then one day Jesus will look at each of us, when he knows our nets are ready, and ask us to throw the net in one more time. We may have tried already many times with not much success but at this moment we will step into His shalom. We will enter into His peace and prosperity as we walk in maturity and obedience. One of my greatest fears is that I will walk through life with such a weak net that God never sees that I have the capacity to handle anything greater. Let us all be sure that we will have our nets strong and ready so that we can handle the amazing plans that He has for each of us.

Keep the Unity

I have such a burden on my heart to see the whole Body of Christ come together in perfect love and unity. I believe that Jesus is going to come back for a pure, spotless and undivided Bride. I believe that upon His return the Church will be at its greatest moment in history in the areas of purity, love and unity. It seems so clear that Jesus saw all of the impending confusion and division and that is why he prayed so earnestly in John 17 for God to place His love in us so that we can love each other.

In May of this year we had a the first of a now monthly city-wide prayer gathering for the area that I live in. Towards the end of the night as people were praying the Lord showed me a powerful vision that took me by surprise. In the vision I saw  a woman, like a doll, scattered in pieces all over the floor. The image was sickening. As I looked at this horrible image I felt the Holy Spirit say so clearly to me, “This is what my Bride looks like.” He showed me that this is how we are as the church. We are scattered, torn and separated by misunderstandings, fear, bitterness, jealousy, self-righteousness, prejudice and many other things. My heart broke as I began to feel the heart of God on the issue. I could see how earnestly He desired that we as the Body of Christ would come together as the beautiful, unified Bride the Jesus deserves.

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There is so much I could say in my own opinions on this subject but that would probably be more of a book rather than a short blog post. My hope is that we can somehow come together and agree that we agree on the important things and that its okay that we disagree on the lesser details. I hope that as we learn to love one another in spite of our differences that more people would be attracted to coming to Jesus as well.

Here are just a few things I found in the Scriptures to help us all in this area…

  • We need to earn to earnestly pray and make every effort to keep unity within the Church (Eph 4:2).
  • We need honor one other and esteem others higher than ourselves (Phil 2:1-4, Rom 12:10).
  • We need to practice humility and attempt to be like minded (Col 3:12)
  • We need to avoid provoking one another and becoming conceited (Gal 5:2)
  • Go to to a brother/ sister privately and in love whenever you have a conflict with them. (Matt 18)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing,  that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phillipians 2:14-15)