REVIVING THE RUBBISH OF LIFE
Nehemiah 4:2 (KJV)
2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?
The Jewish nation had been in slavery to Babylon and to Persia. Having returned, they began to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The inhabitants of the land began to mock them, for how could they do such, for the walls were flattened. The rubbish, the overgrowth of plants, had over the years made it look like an impossible task. How could they take the garbage from stones broken and crumbled, and rebuild walls and a city?
We too have had losses in life, troubles have brought deprivation to us in many ways. God wants to heal in our lives, restore unto us His blessings.
Joel 2:25 (KJV)
25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,
God does want to restore unto us all the devil has stolen from us. We can depend on His desire to restore to His children, so they are no longer in loss of blessings, but are blessed beyond measure.
Yet, the stones of old destroyed Jerusalem were ‘revived’, were made useful again. The rubbish was removed, the trash of the years was taken off, and beneath that were the stones with which they could build the walls.
The plan of the Lord is to rebuild, to bring back, to give us victory. We do need to rebuild the walls spiritually. The trash may be upon what the Lord wants for us, but it can all be removed.
Psalm 138:6-7 (KJV)
6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me.
Troubles have come to most all of us. Our enemy, the devil, has tried to hinder us with attack, with temptations to sin, and we are in need of ‘reviving’ again.
OUR ATTENTION SHOULD BE ON SPIRITUAL RICHES, NOT THE CARNAL, EARTHLY RICHES
The Lord told us to not be concerned with treasures on this earth. Our whole concept must be on heavenly reward, not earthly reward.
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness... No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (riches). ...Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
We are commanded to seek heavenly treasures. We are likewise commanded to not, definitely not, be concerned with gaining earthly treasures. Then why are many ministries trying to tell the saints how to gain in earthly riches? Why all the emphasis on 100 fold returns? How did we get so far from the message of the Lord?
"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The church of Smyrna, spoken to by our Lord Jesus in the book of Revelation, is told:
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou are rich..."
This shows that the Lord may allow us at times to be poor in the carnal things of this world, but His real interest is to have us rich in spiritual things, and in the realm of heaven to have great treasures laid up.
The Lord has promised to reward us greatly for our labor for Him. He gives us treasures and payment for every Christian act. When we labor, we receive a great reward.
I Corinthians 3:8
"...every man shall receive his own reward according to his labor."
I Corinthians 3:11-15
"...every man's work shall be made manifest... if any man's work abide (the fiery test)... he shall receive reward."
II Corinthians 5:10
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
WHAT POSSESSIONS SHOULD WE HAVE HAD?
We are to desire spiritual REVIVAL. Yet, we cannot have revival while sins, and other pursuits are in our lives. To what have you been clinging?
The church at Ephesus lost its ‘first love’. Even though that congregation had been born within the fires of Pentecostal revival, within a few years, it had lost its first love.
The congregation at Sardis had a reputation for being a live church, but it became spiritually dead. Sardis lost the spiritual life and exuberance of their faith.
The congregation at Laodicea became spiritually bankrupt, and Jesus stood outside that church waiting for an invitation. They had desired and gained earthly riches, and had lost the close presence of Jesus. He stood outside the door knocking.
The same can happen today. We can become so accustomed to blessings that we cease to value them. The blessings can become commonplace. As the people who live within sight of the Statue of Liberty, that they finally neglect to even notice it.
Substitutes for revival can creep in upon a congregation. We must beware of substituting the natural for the spiritual. Some get their eyes only on carnal things, money in the bank account. Yet, if we want spiritual blessings, we need to let go of other things.
Paul asked the Galatians:
"Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?"
Substitutes for revival are like substituting pictures of a sunset for the real thing. There is no comparison. Some try to substitute a form for the real move of God. Some try impressive ceremonies, uplifting music, eloquent preaching, modern techniques, etc. for the real moving of the Holy Spirit. Nothing can replace the Spirit-filled moves of God in a congregation.
Spiritual liberty, as we now know it, means responsibility to properly use the liberty that we have been given. So many avoid the possibility of real liberty in a worship service. The form of "three songs, announcements, offering and finally a sermon" can be followed by almost anyone. However, to let the Spirit move, and to allow spontaneous change and freedom of the Spirit to change our plans, takes more prayer, more Bible study, and more faith. If we want to be revived, we need to let go of our grasp of the form, of the substitutes of the devil. Grasp the revival, but first, let go of your grasp of form and tradition. God may speak in many ways, and if we try to limit His move, by grasping form, tradition, and the ‘way we always do it’, we will be unable to grasp His real desires for us.
It is easy to slack in prayer, Bible study, and faith, and then to try to follow a form. The moving of the Spirit cannot be created by any form, or emotional ranting. We cannot force the Spirit to move, and singing the same verse over 100 times will not create a real move of the Spirit. If we accept only the form, the tradition, we will be unable to receive a real move of the Lord. The form and tradition are not even close in glory to the what we should have.
An enemy of revival is the willingness to accept form. The concept that we can live off the blessings of others, or the blessings of a past move of God, destroys real revival. Some want to be spectators, and come to watch others go through a form. They want to observe the move of the Spirit come. They criticize the pastor, if the Spirit does not move, but they claim spiritual greatness if they can soak up a few blessings of another who truly has revival.
Revival is not a permanent blessing. It can be lost. It does not happen in a vacuum, but it occurs in an atmosphere of faith and eagerness. When a congregation consents to listlessness, boredom, apathy, and are non-expectant, the real blessings of God are lost.
HEALING FROM LOSS OF BLESSINGS REQUIRES HELP FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT
When we seek revival, we are utterly dependent upon the Spirit. We may have education, a fantastic building of worship, money, programs, talents, and enthusiasm, but without the power of the Spirit -- we are helpless.
"...they continued steadfastly."
Unless we "continue steadfastly" in the Spirit, we should write "ICHABOD" over the door and go home. "ICHABOD" means "the glory has departed." In too many revivals, the glory of God has departed, and only a form, a substitute of the real thing, remains. They may try to sing with the same enthusiasm, preach with the same thunder, and shout, clap, and wave arms as they did when the revival was real, but there is something missing.
The revival needs restored, other things needs released. Release the things, forms, traditions, sins, and seek instead the blessing of God.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SPIRITUAL LOSS?
1. Ingratitude for God's blessings
Like the nine lepers who did not return to thank Jesus for their healing, many today treat the blessings of God as deserved, and therefore not grace, unmerited favors, that demand gratefulness. Having ingratitude to God for what He has done for you, keeps one unable to have revival.
What has God done for us? Have we complained about it, that it was not enough? Have we ‘gloried’ in everything, as Paul said he did? If we learn to glory in what God is doing, and let go of ingratitude, the revival of God’s plan for us will happen.
2. Study and attention to other things rather than the Word of God
The neglect of the Bible quenches the fires of revival. We are commanded to "study to shew" ourselves "approved". And yet many think revival will continue without obedience to that command. Some think now that they are in revival, they can depend totally on what the Lord speaks to their hearts, and neglect what He has already spoken within the Word of God. This is foolish, and has often proven deadly to revival fires.
Famine of the Word of God is a dreadful catastrophe. The Bible predicts that in the last days, many will have a famine for "hearing the Word of God."
"...send a famine... not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord... shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it..."
Many today are "running to and fro" seeking for real revival, and are not finding it anywhere. It is not because revival does not exist, but because they are not "hearing". They are deaf to true revival blessings. God is speaking and moving, but they are totally unaware of it. The silence from heaven is in their ears only. True revival is occurring in these same last days.
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the water cover the sea."
Unbelief will dampen the fires of revival. We are commanded in James 1:6-7 to not waver as "a wave of the sea". Yet, many want to have revival on Sundays, and live as before on Monday to Saturday. This wavering in unbelief will kill real revival. We are told in that passage in James to "let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." That would include "revival".
We need to want revival, not our ‘unbelief’. Yet, I often find people who have unbelief, and they cling to it, refuse to let it out of their grasp. If they just would exercise their faith, like they exercise their unbelief, there would be mountains moved spiritually.
4. Neglecting prayer and intercession, and clinging to all the other pursuits the devil offers in substitute
We are commanded to "Pray without ceasing." And to think that we can periodically come into the presence of God with great power, and not have spent time in intercessory prayer, repentant cries for mercy, and incessant asking for God's moving is utterly foolish. Those other things held to oneself, instead of a consistent and meaningful prayer life, will bring loss of revival. Get that prayer and intercession into your life again.
Disunity is often enjoyed. It is practiced by many to show they have power, to infer they have superior intelligence. They start debates over minor issues. They attack anyone with a minor doctrinal difference. They love disunity.
Lack of unity among the congregation will extinguish revival fires. Revival cannot be had, while disunity is present. Grudges, hard feelings, superior attitudes are often found in Christian circles.
We are told to allow "brotherly love continue." When brotherly love ceases, so will the moving of the Spirit.
Self centered living can replace evangelism. This lack of love and concern for others, for the unsaved, will destroy revival. Many a revival congregation has decided to close the doors and simply enjoy the move of God by themselves. They want to shut out the others and act especially blessed of God. They can feel a superiority to the others who are outside the doors, and do not have the same "revival." Revival is given to fill us with the power of God so we may win the world. If we neglect evangelism, if we feel we deserve salvation, and others do not, God will drain out from us the joy of our own, and we will stagnate within those closed doors of exclusiveness.
7. Unchristian behavior before the world
Un-Christ-like behavior will grieve the Spirit's moving. The Spirit will withdraw until we repent and achieve harmony once again. Revival cannot be real, if we are in misbehavior. We cannot be berate the youth, physically abuse the children in Sunday School, lie one to another about our faults, cover up sins of a relative or friend, attack others for petty differences, argue over carpet color, judge others for things done or not done, etc. and still expect revival to continue. Slander, lying, cheating, etc., within a congregation, destroys revival. The hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira not only destroyed their revival, but in order to continue the revival within the congregation, the Spirit had to strike them dead.
Worldliness will destroy revival. Some in our day have thought of revival as a time when God will give all of us financial prosperity. They have ceased to seek God, and began to seek money, possessions, and financial gain. This prosperity movement that takes the eyes of the recipients of revival off God, and onto a checking account balance is grieving to the Holy Spirit. The early church experienced poverty more and more as the revival continued. They went from comfort to poverty in Jerusalem. In Rome, they went from "financially secure" to the lion's, or to the beheading block. Revival is not measured by the financial security of its recipients. Seek Jesus, and His approval, don’t seek to fame, carnal prosperity, and possessions. Seek the Lord, He is our Inheritance.
Pride is often allowed, in replacement for the humility that we should have. Pride will remove revival. The Holy Spirit is the most humble and self-effacing of personalities. He speaks of God and of Jesus, but never draws attention to Himself. Yet, so many who experience His power try to build themselves up in pride, and boast of their own gifts, blessings, and power. The evangelist or preacher who tries to bring attention to "his or her gift" of power will soon find the humble Holy Spirit withdrawing from them.
10. Censoriousness, criticism of other saints, or spiritual leaders who may differ in some insignificant aspect
This will grieve the love of the Holy Spirit, and cause Him to remove His powerful blessings.
Diotrephes sought to hinder John the apostle from attending "his" church. What he lost was the power of the Spirit, not the presence of John. Diotrephes allowed envy to destroy revival in his soul.
Those are the ‘wrong’ things to allow into our lives. We need to seek what God wants for us.
He gave Solomon a choice of many things, and Solomon wisely chose wisdom and knowledge. That was wise, and we need to turn from the ‘things’ to the spiritual revival and blessing that God wants for us.
Peter said to Jesus, ‘we have forsaken all and followed You.” The disciples followed Jesus, but could have had successful fishing businesses. Instead they chose to walk with the Messiah.
Anna and Simeon could have been resting with the family in the comforts of home, but knew the Messiah would soon be carried in as a babe to the Temple. They waited in discomfort, they trusted the vision rather than desiring only comfort and rest. They were blessed for that decision with a chance to see and hold the Messiah while He was just a newborn.
What do you want? Will you seek true revival, - or will the cares of life; the demands for financial, rather than spiritual blessings; the attempts to make revival a form, rather than spontaneous moving of the Spirit, the pride of life and its comforts be what you have?
TO EXCHANGE THOSE WRONG THINGS, FOR WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US, WE MUST:
We must face our loss of spiritual revival, honestly. We are told in the observance of the Lord's supper to "Let a man examine himself." As we remove the "pretty" names of our sins that have extinguished the fires of revival, we will see afresh the ugliness of those sins.
Then, we must humble ourselves before the Lord. In II Chronicles 7:14, we are told "If My people will humble themselves." The humbling before the Lord will bring back His miraculous intervention in our lives.
We must recognize God as the Source of all things we should have. God has a plan for us to have great blessings. He has much for us to receive and to replace the loss we have suffered spiritually.
Then we must consciously separate ourselves from anything that tries to break the seeking of spiritual revival. We must reprove things that have come into our lives and have come between us and God.
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
OUR POSSESSIONS OF VALUE MAKE US SEEM PECULIAR.
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself."
Obedience to the Word, following the leading of the Lord, and shunning all that would come between us and God, ignites revival afresh. Forget then, the idea that an "overflow" of another's revival is enough. We must get revival flowing from within our own being. We can never have enough revival. When real revival comes, it will be flowing from within your being to the others about you. When you are only experiencing the overflow of others, you will find yourself to be dry far too soon. Some "ecclesiastical- transmandicant - mendicants" go from church to church to soak up the revival flowing of others. Don't be satisfied with that! Get your own revival flowing. Have the spiritual determination to keep revival, and not to simply periodically receive. We should receive daily from the Spirit.
Socrates was asked by a student when he would be as brilliant as Socrates. Socrates took the boy to the stream, and pushed the boy's head under the water. He held it there as the young boy struggled to get free from his grasp. Finally, as the boy pushed to the surface, he demanded to know why Socrates had done that. Socrates told him, that when he determined to learn, as much as he determined to save his life from drowning there in the stream, he would achieve it.
We need spiritual determination to have revival. We need to seek what God wants to bestow upon us, with a desperate, sincere, enthusiastic desire.
RECLAIM REAL REVIVAL
"Ask ye of the Lord rain, in the time of the latter rain."
"Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?"
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me."
"Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years..."
There are too many "frozen" Christians. They have not been warmed with the revival fires, and have not stirred from their frozen position for years.
Over a century ago, a vessel was discovered among the icebergs of the Arctic ocean. The Captain was frozen as he was making an entry in a log book. The crew was frozen, some in hammocks, some in their cabin. The last entry in the log showed that the crew had been frozen for thirteen years. For that long the crew had been a drifting sepulchre.
There are many in congregations today, who have been long without the revival that God wants them to have. They are like that ‘frozen’ crew of the vessel, drifting along, without the warm blessings of God.
Yad Mala, THE HANDS FULL LIFE
Mala, is the Hebrew word H4390 meaning ‘full’, replenished satisfied.’ Yad is the Hebrew H3027, meaning ‘hand’. It is often translated ‘consecrated’. When we get our grasp on what all God wants us to have, we are consecrated, and in the work God wants us to be
Fill your hands with what God wants for you. Revival is one thing He wants for you, and as you seek revival, you will find many other things that will fill your hands, they will be hands full of the blessings of God.
The result of the filling of the hands with what God wants for you, will be a consecrated life.
There will be a restoration of what you have lost, and it will be greater than you have ever imagined.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (KJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.