While I firmly believe in revivals and they are in great need both today and will be needed until Christ's return, as they have been in the past, I'm not sure the church, of today, fully understands the meaning of the word “revival.” Why do I say this? Whenever I hear of a revival, I hear Christians encouraged to invite the lost to hear the messages of the revivalist. However this is not technically possible! Don't get me wrong, God can use any source to save the lost, He is not limited, yet in order for someone to be revived, they MUST be alive! Do doctors use a defibrillator on a dead person? No! They are dead and the doctor has no machine to bring them back to life! That takes an act of God (Mar 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible).
Revivals are NOT for he lost, they are for those of us, in Christ, that are in danger of dying! Just as a doctor will use a defibrillator on those who are dying! The doctor jump starts a dying person's heart so they will not die. He does not use the machine on the dead! Sometimes the doctor is successful and saves a life, sometimes he's not and the patience does not revive, rather dies. To some I am splitting hairs, to others, they understand the truth of my words.
The lost are not in need of a revival, they are in need of being born again (Joh 3:3, 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.... (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.). Those in Christ are in need of the revivals, when they are struggling, beaten down and about to die; when they are either in the depths of sin or overwhelmed by the events of this world we live in! I've been in both places and understand them well.
As stated, revivals are needed. Maybe now more then ever! We, in the church, have become so much like the world, the world no longer sees a reason to accept Christ! This is to our shame! No doubt there are logical reasons for the world to see no difference, many who claim to be Christians, are not! They may even think they are because they said a prayer at one time in their life, but words alone do not save you!
When I was eight, I had an emotional experience in church I went down and talked to the pastor and asked Jesus to be my Savior. Was I saved? NO! How do I know? The Bible tells us what will happen to someone if they are saved and this did not happen to me! Salvation is surrendering one's life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believing God raised Him from the dead (Rom 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.). Understand, Satan believes in Jesus Christ, yet he is not saved! (Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.). Later in high school while studying through the book of 1 John, God convicted me of my lost state. I was ruler of my life, not Christ! I then surrendered my life to the Lordship of Christ and was saved! Do you hear me? Do you understand my words? I BELIEVED Christ had died for me, a sinner; I BELIEVED Christ had raised from the dead! Yet I was NOT saved! As a child of eight, I understood who Christ is, but I had not SURRENDERED to Christ! There is a BIG difference! In words I said He was my Lord, but in my heart He was not! God judges us by what is hidden in our heart, the real us (1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.), not our words or outward deeds!
Have you confessed Christ as Lord from your heart? Are you in need of a second birth? Do you believe who Christ is, but have not surrendered to His Lordship? You may even be serving in church, yet you do not have salvation! (Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.). Examine yourselves: (2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?). Know if you are saved! (Rom 8:9-14 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (10) And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (12) Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.). The Scripture was written that we may know we are saved (1Jn 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.). Compare your life to the Scripture, do you have a religion or a relationship? Examine yourselves!
To the saved, are you living for Christ or self? Are you on the edge of death so to speak and in need of revival? Let the Word of God revive you and live your life for the one you have SURRENDERED to: Christ Jesus!!!
This then is revival: (2Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land).
God PROMISES to heal (mend) our land! This can have multiple applications: He can mend our nation and/or our home! What Christian does not want this? How can this promise happen? Let's pick the verse apart and enjoy the message God has for us! What does God say we are to do to heal our nation and/or home? He is talking to us, His people, not the lost of this world! The lost do only what they know to do: wickedness! The promise is for the saved, not the lost! The condition of a nation or home is the direct result of the saved, not the lost around us. While the lost can influence us wrongly, it is our pride that causes us to blame them for the immoral condition of our nation. God says to His people do these four things and I will hear you, forgive you and heal your land!
When we do these four things, God PROMISES to heal us! That is to heal our land. Many in America know of our godly beginnings (Pro 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.). Many of us long for America to return to her roots of Christianity. This is only possible if it is God's will AND we, God's people, do that which God has asked of us in this revival passage. Let's look at each of the four things God has asked us to do:
We are to become humble. This is the Hebrew word “kana`” (kaw-nah', which has two meanings: 1) bow to our knees, to be in subjection to; 2) to subdued, that is to vanquish, which is to conquer or overcome. What does this mean in practical terms? We are to go before the Lord our God and bow down to Him. I'm not speaking of a physical action of being on our knees, although there is nothing wrong with that. I'm speaking of bowing down in our hearts (Psa 44:21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.). Also as the second meaning states, we are to conquer, what is to be conquered? Our flesh! If Christ lives within you, this is possible as we go before God and admit we cannot do it apart from Him doing it in us! We have no power, but Christ, who lives in all those who are saved, has the power to overcome as we yield to Him and His ways! We need to STOP offering our excuses and man-up, if you will, and admit we cannot do it, only Christ in us can and yield to His power to do so!
Take a moment, go to God, ask Him for His power, admit your powerlessness, cry out to Him, if need be, and plead for Him to change you. If we do not do so willingly, God will do it for us (1Pe 5:5c for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.). I've been there, it's not fun! Thankfully we don't have to do it that way. We can go willingly to God. Praying for ourselves before God is a natural outcome of humbling ourselves before God. When we see our state before God, we will pray!
Secondly, the Hebrew word for pray in this verse is “palal” (paw-lal'), which also has two meanings: 1) to judge; 2) interceding prayer. After we've prayed for ourselves, we are to intercede for the saints. If we are honest we know others are not living as they should, just as we have not been. Therefore we pray for them to do the revival process in their heart too! Plead for saints to humble themselves and for the lost to have their eyes opened to God.
After humbling ourselves and interceding for others before God (Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.), not being their Holy Spirit, then we are to seek God's face! The word seek is “baqash” (baw-kash'), means: 1) search after; 2) strive for; AND face, “paniym” (paw-neem'), means: 1) the face; 2) being before. Therefore we are to search after God and strive to know Him and His ways by getting into the Word and being before Him in prayer. God has given us His Word that we my seek after Him and be like Him. The same God who is in us was in the man Christ while He was on earth (Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.). When we come to God in prayer, we can enter with boldness before His throne of grace (Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.) and when we open our Bible, guess what? We are getting before God! The Scripture is His thoughts, His ways, in a sense, it's Him. While the Word is and was God and became flesh for us (Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.), the Word is God and is living and active before us today! (Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.). When we need to and want to spend time with God, all we have to do is open His book! This is AWESOME! When we need direction, open His book! When we need to come before Him, open His book! When we want to know His will and His principles for living life, open His book! In doing so we are seeking the face of God! I don't know about you, but this is convicting me as I write!
Lastly, we MUST turn from our wicked ways! This part of the verse is often not quoted. Maybe it's that we do not want to look into the mirror of self examination, asking God to clean us (Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.), but for God to mend our nation and home, we MUST!
What wicked ways I'm I speaking of, after all we are saved, right? God sees us as righteous in Christ, right? Yes He does, however practical holiness and sanctification requires us to put off the old self and God does not ask us to do what He has not empowered us, in Christ, to do!
The word turn, shuwb (shoob), means: 1) turn back; 2) retreat; 3) again. Wicked, ra` (rah), means: 1) bad or evil. Ways, derek (deh'-rek), means: 1) road; 2) course of life or action. God is asking us to turn away and retreat from the evil road or course of action this life offers us. God knows we will struggle as we renew our minds (Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.), therefore He says, repeat as needed, which for each of us, will be countless times before His return or our death on earth, whichever comes first!
How is this done in practical terms? Relying on Christ and step three: seeking God's face by going into Scripture to know how He wants us to live our life! What area do you need to know about? Who to marry? Getting a divorce? What to do with the money God allows you to earn or gives you as a gift? How to love? Who to love? The list can go on and on. What is your current situation? Have you look up the subject in the Bible? Look them up in Scripture and OBEY what God says to do!
How does one find out what Scripture says about a subject? Get tools to help you! For non-computer users, get a concordance and look up the words related to your subject, then the read the related verses. For computer users it's even easier! There are FREE Bible software programs online: Bible Explorer 4, eSword and TheWord. They are all easy to use. They are listed from basic features to more advanced. They are all good, TheWord has AMAZING features you'd find in software you'd have to pay for!
We live in an age and a country where seeking God has never been easier, yet we allow ourselves to be so easily distracted. It is my hope, we will be less distracted and seek time with our God! Remember what His promise is concerning this matter: God will forgive us and heal our home and nation! Even if it is too late for our nation, it's not to late for each of us to get before our God and let Him clean us, heal us and forgive us!
God is our Father. As such, He is obligated to teach and train us as sons and daughters and He is equally obligated to discipline us (Heb 12:5-7 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?). I don't know about you, but I'm tried of the woodshed. Father forgive me! (1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,