I wasn’t sure what revival was supposed to feel like. I had been dry and thirsty for a while, but why? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I knew I needed something, but I was embarrassed to admit it out loud because I am a committed Christ follower – at least that is the desire of my heart. If I was active in the church, reading my Bible and praying faithfully, shouldn’t I be bathed in daily spiritual contentment?
I am so thankful for the 30-day fasting and prayer focus Berean recently completed and for Dr. James MacDonald’s truly inspired book, “Downpour: He Will Come to Us Like the Rain.” He speaks about the fact that we repent and receive Jesus Christ during a crisis point in our lives. It might be an illness, the death of a loved one, loss of a job, addiction, divorce, fear of death… We realize how insufficient we are in our strength alone. We need Him. So we repent of our sin and turn to Jesus. As we turned to Him in that moment, so we need to periodically re-turn to Him as we journey through life. “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Col.2:6).
As Dr. MacDonald says, “[Revival] is a thousand refinements, each of which takes us deeper and further into all that knowing the Lord is…” A regular returning or reviving. One baptism, many fillings. “[It’s] more of the Holy Spirit actively working, stirring and moving in you.” What an encouragement those words were to me that day! It’s not only okay to be dry and thirsty at times when one is a committed Christian; it is necessary in order to remind us that we must be regularly revived.
As I read through each of the following five chapters, I was deftly guided into heartrending word pictures of the absolute holiness of God; the brokenness and repulsion of myself in sin; my humility and sorrow in repentance; the glorious grace of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death; and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit living in me! Sometimes we just need a fresh reminder of what we have believed for so long.
I think we often have the belief that revival always starts in a grand way; that we don’t have anything to do with it. One of the most powerful stories in the book of personal revival from history was that of Nicholas von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Revival of 1727. Zinzendorf had been a passionate believer since childhood but was unprepared for the emotion he felt when he visited an art gallery in Dusseldorf and came upon a painting of Christ on the cross. Above were the words, “This have I done for thee; what doest thou for Me?”
Zinzendorf was so challenged by this sight that he went home and shared the message with two hundred religious refugees from Moravia for whom he had provided shelter. This started a chain of events that led a number of those men to eventually travel around the world as missionaries. Most of them worked to earn a living so they could preach the gospel free of charge. One group met John Wesley on a boat headed for America. Wesley was so impacted by their living faith in Christ that he eventually was converted to Christianity. He went to Germany to meet Zinzendorf and from there he led the Evangelical Revival in England and the First Great Awakening in America!
God had used one man in a quiet moment in an art gallery and a picture of grace to spark a wildfire of revived hearts that spread around the world; to convert another man into a great evangelist; to impact thousands in England and the American colonies and then to reach millions of believers today. What quiet moment in our lives could spark a wildfire of revived hearts in our homes, families, church and city here in Mansfield?
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