Tuesday, 18 September 2018

O On the edge of revival

The latter rain is already available

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Now that the last Pre-Revival Night ended, at the end of December, 2016, we have a new challenge ahead. This message was not preached during one of those nights, but is exclusively for those who are reading this. In our messages, we’ve always aimed at our own nation, The Netherlands, where the fire has been gone for so long. But do keep in mind that God’s principles are universal. All the messages that were shared can be applied to any other nation, area, city or church.

I’ve not been much of a ‘revival man’ in my life. At least not in the way I’m preaching now. In fact, that is just something from the last eight years. But I’ve always hated superficiality. Just ten years ago I was just like the majority, thinking that revival was a great hype and an awesome event. An explosion of happiness, signs and miracles. I still believe that, but I no longer see it as the aim of a revival. Now I see that the aim is change. Real change. Hearts that are completely surrendered. Lives that are completely restored. All the signs and miracles are just tools to get us there. But as soon as we’re making this the aim, we’re missing the point and the fire will go away. Basically a revival is how God presents us with the great challenge to be more like Jesus than ever before. Not only that, He also wants to be a part of that change, by offering us all the help we need to achieve that goal. 

Ten years ago I was a different person. I already was a totally different person then I was before I became a Christian, but I was just like the majority. I wanted it easy. I just wanted the blessings, even though I did not realize it at that point. By the grace of God, He allowed me to see. He challenged me to go further. He even challenged me to do one of the things I have been afraid of for so long: speaking in public. Ten years ago I wasn’t a preacher. More like a ‘seemingly happy church member’. Now I can testify that change is possible. I can also testify that change is a process that keeps going on. But when we start to think, speak and act according to the Word of God, the Word of Jesus, everything becomes possible. And the beautiful thing of it all? God doesn’t look at where we come from, He looks at where we’re going. You may have messed up big time. Maybe even time after time. But when we confess our sins, from a sincere desire in our hearts to follow Jesus, no matter what, that is what matters to Him. When you have fallen for sin, don’t run away from God. Don’t hide in your shame and guild. Run towards Him instead. You’re not telling Him something He doesn’t already know. You’re not presenting Him with something He cannot deal with. He truly loves you and wants to help you to get rid of every sin. You’re not in this fight alone. He who took your sin and paid for all of it, by His sacrifice at the cross, is on your side. The only question that really matters is: “Do you still want to follow Him?”  If you can answer this question with a sincere “Yes”, then run towards Him and face your challenges, together with Jesus. Especially in times like these, the body of Christ needs all the help available. Including yours. So rise, mighty warrior.

Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 40:4-5

This ancient promise of God hasn’t lost its value. When we’re talking about revival, what is it we’re talking about? You have just read the studies about what God will do and why He will do it, when He gives a revival. But I also saw a very clear picture, while talking about revival. Instead of the ‘happy event’ many are expecting, I saw the image of body, laying on a bed. The heart had just stopped and I saw the doctors doing everything they could to revive that body. Like they do at the intensive care unit in the hospital. First the body was resuscitated, then CPR was continued with the administration of electric shocks. Until the body came back to life again. I believe that is God’s view of what revival is. Instead of the ‘happy event’, it is more like a last resort. Listen, when the heart fails, everything else fails as well! So when we want the real thing, we need to take care of the heart first. I can’t emphasize enough how extremely important the condition of our heart is. When it fails, everything else fails and dies. God wants nothing less than all of our hearts. Nothing less. If our hearts are not in it, everything you do will be in vain. 

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’
Ezekiel 22:23-24

What does that mean? The rain is an image of the Holy Spirit. So is the CPR from the image I saw. The Bible verse makes very clear that when the rain doesn’t come, the land is NOT cleansed. When the land is not cleansed, God’s judgment will be the only alternative left. When the CPR is not applied, the heart will fail and stop. We need the Holy Spirit more than ever before. Now let me share a revelation with you. This rain we’re waiting for, it’s already available. This latter rain we’re waiting for, it’s already available. Are you shocked yet? The season is already here. Now you probably start to wonder if you’ve missed it. The full measure of the former rain (or literally: “the usual rain”) is waiting for us in the store rooms of heaven. The full measure of the latter rain (or literally: “the extra measure of rain”) is waiting for us in the store rooms of heaven. But who goes after it? Who is going to get it? Those are a lot of questions, but it is not my task to present you with the spiritual “ready to go food”, like many are accustomed to. Especially in the western world, like Europe and America. It is my task to wake you up and to make you think on your own, instead of blindly depending on spiritual leaders. Where has that got you thus far? Is the fire already ablaze in your church, city, region or nation? The majority of the Church has nothing. No fire. No power. No authority. I don’t listen to empty words, for words are meaningless when it involves no action. I look at fruits. It is unbelievable that in these days you can spend 20, 30, 40, 50 years in church, while you’re staying exactly the same as you were before, or where only minor changes have taken place. What about your heart? Listen, I am not judging you. I know that this is a learning process and that you can only learn when you have someone to teach you about it. I am trying to wake you up, so that you start thinking on your own so that you start searching for answers, so that you start asking God for more. We need people who will stand up in unity, asking God to restore all the ruins that are left. We need the fire. We need the power. We need the authority. We need to grow from an easy prey for the enemy, to a position where these roles are reversed, by the victorious power of Jesus Christ. 

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Many Christians are presented with this well-known Bible verse. With the message that we should just wait. Then how can the former and latter rain already be available? If that is true, then why does this verse tells us to wait? This verse was never meant to teach you that you should just wait. What I mean by that is that this verse is robbed from its true meaning. The majority of the Church gave this verse the following meaning: “Those who passively wait on the Lord…”. And that’s why nothing ever happens. That’s why there is such a major loss of strength. That’s why no one mounts up with wings like eagles. That’s why everyone does get weary and does faint. Because we have become passive. The waiting that this verse is talking about is an active form of waiting. It is a waiting with expectation. It is waiting to step out, until you have received the rain. But meanwhile, while we’re waiting, we’re not just going to sit down, while doing nothing. In fact, the Bible gives us clear direction on how we can receive the rain. 

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 
2 Chronicles 7:14

That is not sitting around and doing nothing. It is far from that. That means that we have to start with the first step, before God is willing to take over. We have to humble ourselves. We have to pray and seek His face. We have to turn from our wicked ways. Then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land. More than that! The promise that follows is just as impressive. 

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.
2 Chronicles 7:15

This shows us that God is shutting His eyes and that He is not attentive to prayer, until we are willing to reach that point, where we go from passively waiting to actively waiting, while doing as He instructed. The default response to that is normally: “Yes, but Jesus already dealt with sin.” He sure did. But only for those who admit it. Not for those who justify their sins. The Word says that if we confess our sins, that is if we admit it and acknowledge it as sin, then He will forgive our sins (Read: 1 John 1:8-10). Otherwise, your sins will be held against you, just like with most of the Scribes and Pharisees. God also addressed this issue through the mouth of the prophet Hosea. 

I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.
Hosea 5:14b-15

God makes it very clear that He will turn away from us when we deny our sins, when we justify ourselves. He also makes it clear that there will be no one to rescue us, not even Jesus. Then His judgment will come upon us. To what aim? To wake us up for the reality we’re in. To make us see that His hand is no longer with us. To make us seek His face again. To bring us to the point where we are willing to confess and acknowledge our sins until our attitude has changed from self-justification, to this…

Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
Hosea 6:1-3

Are we in bad shape? Is the Church in a bad shape? Look around you and see. Where is the power? Where is the fire? Do you think that those few miracles, that are happening now and then, are the power that God means? It’s just a fraction. Just a crumb from the table. The rain and the latter rain are available. Now. Who is going after it? Who is willing to do what needs to be done? It would only take a few people. Even if one person would stand up, it would make a difference. In some places of the world it is already happening. Is our nation next? That is entirely up to us. Through all of His Word, we can see the heart’s cry and desire of God to restore His people. To revive His Church. It is crystal clear what His intentions are. 

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.
Ezekiel 22:30

In the verses after this one, we can read how God pours out His judgment. All it took was just one person. Just one. We always look at the revivals from the past and at the great things that happened there. There is nothing wrong with that, because they still are great testimonies. But each and every one of those revivals started with praying people. With people who were willing to stand in the gap before God, on behalf of their nation. None of those revivals would have ever happened if there weren’t praying people to be found. 

How about the situation in your church? In your city? In your area? In your nation? Can the Lord find a praying person? Or does it end the same way as Ezekiel 22 describes? It’s up to us. The next move is ours. The rain and the latter rain are available now. So let’s change our passive waiting to active waiting, while confessing the sins of the nation, while humbling ourselves and while seeking His face. In this matter, the keys are endurance and perseverance. Those who will endure and persevere shall see the promise. How do we hold on to our faith while going after this? By simply asking ourselves one question: “Is God faithful?” If you can answer that question with “Yes”, then you simply remind yourself of that, each and every moment it becomes hard to move on. You simply don’t give up. You never give up. It will take more than just one simple prayer. It will take dedication and devotion. You need to set your heart on it. It needs to become a real desire. God wants to see if you’re for real. You may face resistance on all sorts of areas, but a true warrior will never stop. At some point, and that may be sooner than you expect, it will come. In full power. From that moment, nothing will ever be the same again.

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