February 24, 2023

Revive Me, Lord!

Do we want a revival or a Great Awakening? Then let it begin with us.

I opened my eyes, trying to focus on the nightstand. It was 2 AM. As my eyes focused, I saw my cell phone was illuminated. Most people turn their cell phones off at night, but I leave mine on with the notifications turned off. It only flashes when I receive a text message, but after unlocking the screen I had no messages — nothing new. I locked the screen and laid my head down. Two minutes later it flashed again. Same drill. The same thing had happened the previous evening and I ignored it. In my mind I was considering the possible causes for my phone to light up. There were no natural reasons for it, which started me thinking. Then I heard the Lord whisper, “Let’s talk.”

To be honest, the spiritual man was thankful; the old man (literally) not so much. I had questions, but because I was on vacation, I hadn’t taken the time to ask God for answers. He initiated the conversation. Lynne and I and my twin brother Roger and his bride Shirley were in Orlando for a week. We had been discussing the “revival” that was taking place at Asbury University. At the time, it had been going on longer than the previous revival, which, according to Google, lasted 185 hours.

To be honest, there was a sense of envy as I read the testimonies of people experiencing God’s overwhelming presence. When they began discussing moving the venue to accommodate more people, the incongruity of it all struck me, as if we could move God to a more convenient location.

Roger and I have gone back and forth in the last year or so on whether it is revival we need (my thought) or a Great Awakening (Roger’s thought). I want both. Revival implies that something is either unconscious or almost dead, which is fairly descriptive of the Church in America today. Just like the other night, I needed to be “revived” to observe that my phone light was on, but then I had a mini “Great Awakening” experience. God is not lost. He has been here all the time, waiting for His people to call upon Him.

Scripture is replete with His proclamation of His availability.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” —Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV)

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” —Isaiah 55:6

God is not the one who is lost. Most, but not all, of His children are lost. They are wandering in spiritually dry places, seeking refreshing waters. God tells us what the problem is.

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” —Jeremiah 2:13

The Church in America has hewed out broken cisterns. We want to worship at the world’s broken altar and then wonder why we are not refreshed. We want to live our lives for our own interests and our own pleasures, and we come up dry and empty. James hit the nail on the head: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

If I draw near to God, He will draw near to me, but only when I cleanse my hands and purify my heart through confession; only by leaving my double-minded ways and becoming single-minded about serving King Jesus.

This is what God has in mind for us when we call upon Him.

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” —Isaiah 58:9-12

There are some “ifs” there, but the rewards for His faithful remnant are out of this world. Do we want a revival or a Great Awakening? Then let it begin with us.

What say ye, Man of Valor?

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