Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jim and Elizabeth Elliot

JIM ELLIOT

Missionary and Martyr to Ecuador

1927-1956



What unbelievable inspiration I've been fed with this week as I've looked at the lives of this very special couple who committed themselves to serving God by seeking to reach out an unreached tribe of Ecuador. I've wept, I've laughed, I've soul searched and prayed, and more than anything I have been stilled with awe at God's grace and the wisdom of His plan. 

Much loved and highly academic, Jim Elliot arrived in Ecuador in 1952, aged 24 with linguistic skills taught by a former missionary to the Quechua people. His aim, along with a team of 4 other bright missionaries (and their wives) of his own age, was to continue evangelising amongst the Quechua people, and in 1953 he married the woman he had agonised in prayer over for 5 years, fellow missionary Elisabeth. Between them, they translated the New Testament into the Quechua language.


In 1955, Valerie was born in the Ecuador jungle......


But family life didn't stop the next step of the mission. Their growing desire was to reach out to a tribe that was notorious for it's barbarism. Any outsiders that entered their territory were never seen again. This tribe was called the Aucas, the Quechua word for savage. They lived and died by the spear, killing many of the Quechus tribes folk, and causing the closure of an oil drilling company through killing several of the workers. They had no justice structure, and 6 in 10 amongst the tribe itself were killed from their own people by spear.

After being in Ecuador now for four years, they had been praying for an opportunity, and for God's leading to make contact with the Aucas, wanting to reach them with the Light if the Gospel. The Lord made a way, but it was not to come cheap. After spotting some Auca houses when out flying in their plane, a plan was made by the five brothers in Christ to fly over the Auca village and lower gifts from the plane to show friendship and peace. This went on for 13 weeks, with the gifts being received, and the Aucas in return fastening a baskets of their offerings to the rope dangling from the yellow plane. There was a small stretch of sandy beach near the savage tribes village, and the men were able to land there one day, and made contact in person.


The exchange was friendly, confidence increased, and as the men returned back home that night in their plane and return trips were being planned. After one particular trip, however, the men were not to come back. After no radio contact for a night and a morning, alerts were sent out from the wives and news soon hit America; broadcasts were swiftly on air with calls for prayer over these five missing men who had entered savage territory. Searches were made, and the men were found floating in the river after being speared to death. The Aucas had been led to believe by one of their fellows that the 'Foreigners' were going to kill them.



The wives and their children decided to stay to continue the work



Valerie was just 10 months old




ELISABETH ELLIOT



1926-2015


Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:43-48

They continued to live and work among the Quechua's, when one day, by God's incredible working, two women from the Auca tribe came to live with Elisabeth. They learned the ways of God, and Elisabeth was able to start learning the Auca language. These two ladies were to provide a link to the Aucas, and by God's grace Elisabeth was invited to live amongst the very tribe that had killed her husband just 2 years before. In 1958, along with Rachel Saint, Elisabeth and 3 year old Valerie moved into a traditional house with the Aucas. 




And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Revelation 5:9

After just 2 years, the homicide rate decreased by 90% as the tribe were taught that there is a trail that leads to life, with an eternal home at the end, but those who would walk on it cannot murder. This destructive people confessed that had the missionaries not arrived, they would have killed each other off. Now they remain as a jungle tribe, but no longer living in darkness. The very men who killed the five young Christian men grew to be elders of faith in Jesus; hard men became tender, and learned the ways of peace. The village was won over to Christ, a people group taken from the clutches of satan and into the everlasting arms. 

To watch a documentary about this whole story, please see Beyond the Gates of Splendour

Elisabeth went on beyond Jungle life and returned to America where she had a very full life writing over twenty books, and hosting a daily radio programme called Gateway to Joy for twelve years, that can still be heard on demand on....the Bible Broadcasting Website.  A woman of the Word and prayer, she learned great wisdom and trust as she stayed stedfast in her commitment to bring the love of God and the message of hope to those in darkness.  
She gave her life to encouraging others of the faithfulness of God, One who can be trusted in the midst of seeming chaos, Who is worth both living and dying for. 

I hope you have been blessed by this very brief introduction to these remarkable people, and I pray that you will be tempted to pick up one or two of her books, and perhaps listen to some of her many messages available of youtube. Though she went to be with the Lord in 2015, she still has plenty to say to you that will strengthen your faith and help you to keep your eyes on Jesus.









Monday, 5 June 2017

James Renwick, a Covenanter


A few years ago, I was blessed to receive a packet of blessings in the post from my dear sister in Christ. In it was a booklet called "Covenanters Call Back", a glimpse into the lives of the saints who died for their faith in Christ, in Scotland during the 17th century, 


Here is a tiny taster of the book, and a solemn reminder of the price that was paid by the courageous ones who were not ashamed to call Christ their own in a less comfortable and "tolerant" era.

David Hackston
From Rathillet in the parish of Kilmany in Fife, came David Hackston, a stranger to grace and to God, until in his youth he went up into the hills to hear the homeless, wandering preachers tell forth the good news of the blessed gospel.
Not long after, he experienced forgiveness through the Blood of His cross and took his place among the persecuted people of God.


James Renwick

Although poor, his parents succeeded in providing him with an education, both at school and at university in Edinburgh. 
Chosen to go abroad to study for the ministry, his life made a great impression on those who knew him, and after ordination, he went back to the homeland he loved.
Never strong in body, he laboured incessantly in the work of his Master.
His life was constantly in danger, with government troops pursuing him all over southern Scotland, forcing him to hide in caves, huts and wherever he could find shelter.
On 17th February, 1688 at 26 years of age, this trustworthy and true servant of Christ sealed his testimony and his ministry with his blood. He was among the Christians executed publicly for their faith, and the struggle for religious freedom.



There are many short accounts in this little booklet by M McBride, if anyone is interested, please leave a comment and I will give the address where a copy can be requested.

I was very interested in these individuals as I read the brief accounts in this great little booklet, so I looked further into this faithful characters. 

James was born in 1662 in Dumfriesshire, and went on to religious studies at the University of Edinburgh. Aged 21 he witnessed the martyr of several Covenanters, including that of Donald Cargill, who was a Minister to the Covenanters movement. Leaving a huge impression on young James, he joined the society and traveled to the Netherlands with four others to further study the scriptures and receive his ordination. 

Aged 23, he was back in Scotland preaching his first sermon, and spent the next five years travelling and ministering in his native land, trying not to get caught. The persecution grew worse and worse, with many Covenanters being executed, both young and old between 1685 and 1688. This time is know as the Killing Times. 

Renwick kept on preaching but was finally caught in January 1688. When the captain of the troops that caught him saw how young he was, he said “What! Is this the boy Renwick that the nation has been so much troubled with?” On the day of his execution, some people tried to get Renwick to pray for the king. But he replied, “I am within a little while to appear before Him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords, who shall pour shame, contempt, and confusion upon all the kings of the earth who have not ruled for him”. 

His last words were, “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of truth.” He was then hanged in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh – the last Covenanter martyr to be publicly executed. The date was 17 February 1688 – 3 days after his twenty-sixth birthday.


Grass Market today, with memorial stone marking the gallows where over 100 Covenanters resisted not death by public hanging.


  

Saturday, 27 May 2017

John and Batty Stam

John And Betty Stam:  Martyred Missionaries To
 China
1934




    “God can use us if only we are empty, broken vessels in 

His hand.” – John Stam


God's Work in John's Life



     It was in a splendid Christian environment that John C. Stam entered the world on January 8, 1907, at Paterson, New Jersey, the seventh of nine children.  John and his brothers and sisters were early taught the things of God.  They took part in the family devotions and were present each morning at the family altar.  Christ truly was the head of the Stam home.  John’s father, Peter Stam, was a stalwart Christian and an earnest worker in the church.  A contractor by trade to support his family, he also started Star of Hope Mission.  At first his outreach was to Jews in the city of Paterson, but later the work was extended to jails, poorhouses, hospitals, factories and street preaching.

     John’s mother, a wonderful Christian character, was both a Mary, ready to sit at the Lord’s feet, and a Martha, who was willing to serve.  Each of the children was dedicated to the Lord for His service at his birth. 

     Although John was brought up in this fine Christian atmosphere and was taught the way of salvation by praying parents, he was not converted until he was fifteen years of age.  The whole family was engaged in the evangelistic work of the Mission.  He was accustomed to seeing the transformation that took place when a heart opens to receive Christ in all His saving power, but he did not see himself like the drunkards, down-and-outs and those who did not know the Gospel who were saved at the Mission.  He had grown up hearing the Gospel and believed it, yet he was all the more in danger because of his self-righteousness. 

     One week a blind evangelist, a man who really knew God, came to the Mission.  The evangelist’s message seemed directed right at young John.  It was during this series of meetings that John gave his heart to the Lord and was very definitely born again.  The Lord got hold of him in a real way.  From that time on John knew that he was no longer his own and rejoiced more and more to be at the service of his Master.

     For two years John attended business school and was employed as a stenographer and clerk in various business houses.  He was also an active worker and an invaluable assistant to his father at the Mission.  As often as five or six times a week, John went with his friends to the slums and on street corners of Paterson to hold open-air meetings.  Many were the times that the Lord richly blessed as the Gospel was proclaimed.  During all this, John felt the call of God in his life and was anxious to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Work in Betty’s Life

     On February 22, 1906, Elizabeth Alden Scott was born at Albion, Michigan, where her father, Charles Ernest Scott, was pastor of the Presbyterian Church.  Betty was the first of five children.  Six months after Betty was born, Dr. and Mrs. Scott accepted a call to the Shantung Province in China.  This was the start of the Scott’s long and illustrious missionary career.  For twelve years Betty lived with her parents in Tsiangtao, China.  Early in life she developed a deep and lasting love for the Chinese people.  She was anxious to see these benighted Chinese come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. 

The Scotts in China, Helen standing at the back

     Betty returned to the United States, her parents remaining in China, to study at Wilson College in Pennsylvania.  It was after her freshman year, at a summer Bible Conference in Keswick, New Jersey, that she gave her life to Christ in full surrender.  She shared with her parents:  

“I don’t know what God has in store for me.  ...It’s as clear as daylight to me that the only worthwhile life is one of unconditional surrender to God’s will, and of living in His way, trusting His love and guidance.”  

At the conference she took as her life motto:  “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  It was not long thereafter that her call to China became predominant in her life.  She had always planned for missionary work in China, but now she felt certain that it was God’s plan for her life to bring the message of salvation to these people she so dearly loved.

     Following her graduation from Wilson College, Betty attended the Moody Bible Institute in order that she might be better equipped for her life’s work.  It was here that she and John Stam first met. 



Training at Moody Bible Institute

     In September 1929, after a long period of serious and prayerful consideration, the way opened for John to enter Moody Bible Institute.  He took part in many of the student activities and in much of the Christian work of the school.  He served on the executive committee of the Missionary Union, on which Betty also served.  Here the two young students first realized that both were interested in missionary work in China.  

        Some time previous to this, at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Isaac Page of the China Inland Mission (CIM), John had set his face toward China, believing that God wanted him there to spread the Gospel and tell of Christ’s power to save.  The weekly prayer meeting of the CIM that met in the Page’s home was partly responsible for the deepening of the friendship between John and Betty. 

     From the time that CIM sent out its call for “The Two Hundred,” Betty volunteered for the un evangelised sections of China and was accepted.  She sailed for China alone in the autumn of 1931, yet not alone, for she and John had an understanding that they would be united in marriage when John came to China a short time later, if it were God’s will.

       John graduated from Moody in the spring of 1932, a year later than Betty.  He was speaker of his class and at his graduation expressed his quiet trust in God by using the verses from Lamentations, 

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning:  great is Thy faithfulness” (3:22-23).

     It was difficult for John and Betty to separate when she went ahead to China, but both of them knew that the will of the Lord came first and that their lives were His. They had surrendered themselves wholly to the Lord, knowing that if He wanted them to be together, it would come to pass.  They had the assurance that this was best left in His hands.

     In September 1932, John sailed for Shanghai under CIM. After a brief unexpected reunion with Betty (she had been detained in Shanghai for medical reasons when the new missionary party, including John, arrived), they were again separated for another year during John’s language study at Anking.  But on October 25, 1933, John and Betty were united in marriage. Little did they know on that blissful day that soon they would give their lives in China for the furtherance of the Gospel and for Christ’s sake.



  John and Betty Stam were first stationed in Suancheng, Anhwei Province (1933) where they continued language study, held Bible classes and did evangelistic work.  In the summer of 1934 the Stams were designated to fill the place of the local secretary at the Mission at Wuhu.  It was here in September that their baby daughter, Helen Priscilla, was born.


      John and Betty made ideal missionaries.  They had an ardent love for the Chinese people.  They worked hard and soon won their way into the hearts of those to whom they ministered.  They had an honest zeal for God’s cause and both were able to adapt themselves remarkably well to their new work and surroundings.

    John was over six feet tall, with a cheerful disposition and a winning smile.  His conversation with everyone, of whatever nationality, was soon turned to the things of God.  His letters home were deeply religious and seemed to bubble over with warmth and zeal.  He feared nothing, neither travel, rain, mud, cold or heat.  The women and children were especially attracted to Betty, and many were the visitors at the Mission house.  John and Betty traveled a great deal about the province, Mr. Stam usually walking and Mrs. Stam in a sedan chair carried by Chinese footmen.

    On November 12, 1934, the Stams left Wuhu with baby Helen Priscilla to begin a new work in Tsingteh.  They made the trip in short segments, preaching the Gospel while traveling from town to town, giving out copies of God’s Word.  They arrived in Tsingteh at the end of November and moved into a large old Chinese house that had been adapted for a missionary family. 

Imminent Danger

    They had been in their new home less than two weeks when they began to hear persistent rumors of the Communists in that territory.  This did not, however, prevent John from beginning his evangelistic work.  At their first Sunday service four outsiders were present besides the family and the servants.  At the second service only the family and servants were in attendance.  However, during the weekdays the street chapel was open five different times with good attendance and attentive listeners.  

      John wrote home, “The people here seem quite friendly, and several men have been in with whom I have been able to have a good talk.  God help us to open the Scriptures to them.

    At eight o’clock on the morning of December 6, the City Magistrate warned John of the coming of the Communists.  A second message was received 9:30 a.m. saying the Communists were within four miles of the city. 

    The attack of the Communists came so suddenly that before the Stams could get away the enemy was at the gate.  The servants fled.  The Stams knelt in prayer knowing the only way to turn was to God.  The bandits broke open the lock on the gate and rushed to the house door.  John met them fearlessly and let four of the soldiers in.  He spoke to them very kindly and asked them if they were hungry.  

      Betty very graciously served them tea and food.  The soldiers demanded all the money that John had, which he surrendered to them.  The soldiers then tied John, while he asked for safety for Betty and the baby.  Sometime later Betty and the baby were also taken.  All were put in the city prison for the day. 

    While in the prison, John wrote Mr. Gibbs of the China Inland Mission Headquarters at Shanghai:  

“My wife, baby and myself are today in the hands of the Communists in the city of Tsingteh.  Their demand is twenty thousand dollars for our release.  All our possessions and stores are in their hands, but we praise God for peace in our hearts and a meal tonight.  God grant you wisdom in what you do.  ...The Lord bless and guide you – and as for us – may God be glorified whether by life or by death.”  

     The letter was slipped to a fellow Christian and was smuggled from one Christian to another until it reached Shanghai.

    The next day the Communists carried away what booty they could, and with the Stams, marched quickly to Miaosheo some 17 miles away.  John and Betty were shoved into a post office and left under guard.  The postmaster recognized them and asked where they were going.  “We are on our way to heaven,” John answered simply.  The postmaster gave Betty some fruit and slipped paper and pencil to John who quickly wrote a second note to headquarters letting them know the circumstances. 

    The Stams were taken to a large, vacated house where John was tied in a standing position to a bedpost.  Betty was allowed to tend to the baby through the night.  When she arose the next morning, Betty tucked Helen Priscilla inside her sleeping bag and hid some money among the baby’s things before zipping the bag closed over the sleeping baby. 

One in Life and One in Death

    The Stams, with their hands behind their backs and their outer clothing removed, were led through the main street of Miaosheo to a little hill just outside the village limits.  Helen Priscilla was left behind in the house.  The poor people of the town who had not fled to the mountains were called to witness the execution of the “foreign devils.”
  
    John was ordered to kneel.  The brave young missionary spoke a few words as he knelt on one knee.  While he was talking, the executioner struck him to the ground.  Betty, bound as she was, fell on her knees beside him.  A quick command, the flash of a sword and the two were reunited.  One in life and one in death, they were now one in a martyr’s testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.

    And what about little Helen Priscilla who was left behind tucked away in secret?  Early the next day a Chinese pastor friend of the Stams sought out and found the baby safe where her parents had left her, warm in her sleeping bag and none the worse from her day without food and care.  


Pastor Lo Ke-chou and his wife made the journey to Wuhu where the baby was delivered to the anxiously awaiting missionary group and from there Helen Priscilla was taken to her grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Scott in Tsinan.

Helen with her Grandparents

    Some time later, Dr. Scott came into possession of Betty’s Bible found in the loot taken by the Communists.  In it Betty had written:  

“Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions, and accept Thy will for my life.  I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever.  …Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.  Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost, now and forever.  ‘To me to live is Christ and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1:21).”

    Early in life John and Betty had settled it in their hearts that they were willing to die for the cause of proclaiming Christ.  Following their martyrdom, hundreds of young people joined the ranks willing to go to the far ends of the world to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

    Adapted from An Hour With John And Betty Stam:  Martyred Missionaries To China by T. W. Engstrom and supplemented from other sources.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Norah Freed

Norah Freed(101!!)



1906-2007


I can't remember how I came across this old book, but it has been a great blessing packed with short bite size nuggets of encouragement taken from every day things. 

The author, Norah Freed, was born in Surrey into a large family (7 siblings!). She came to faith in Christ after she moved to Belfast aged 16, and in 1928, after completing a course at a Bible school in Birkenhead she sailed off to Morocco to serve in Tangier as a midwife missionary. She ministered to the Arabic speaking people until 1960, in which time she had become a scholar in Arabic and put those skills to great use by translating a whole Christian hymnbook. 

At the age of 54, life completely changed as she married Ralph Freed, who was the general of Trans World Radio, his son was the founder. TWR was still developing in those early days, and it was 'All hands on deck' as different family members pulled together to make the project work, Norah include! She went from midwife to radio broadcaster, as she became responsible for presenting a new programme that was to be hit, with 1,682 'episodes' of 'Woman to Woman' running from 1964 to 1995. She personally replied to the thousands of letters she received over the 31 years of the show, and wrote 3 books in between.



Be blessed and encouraged by this lovely short reading from Mrs Norah Freed out of one of her three books, Bible Calling



                                  

BUT GOD.......(Genesis 50:20)

It was a letter that took my mind off the job that I was doing and made me think of the story of Joseph. The writer was a mother who suddenly found herself plunged into one of those dark tunnels through which Christians sometimes pass. Until that day, hers had been a happy home with the Lord at its head. But that cruel blow struck without warning and she was engulfed in great sorrow. It has been a long tunnel for her, and the end is not yet in sight. But, oh, how struck I was by her undaunted trust and faith in God in the midst of such trying circumstances. She commits each day to the Lord and has proved that He never fails her and He enables her to face life with Him. Looking to the future, she said, "I dreaded....but God..." That is what made the difference. "But God...." Even with a sore heart she is learning to live in the realm of the supernatural.

There was another who found great comfort in those two words and was able to use them as he looked back on a difficult way. In the book of Genesis, chapter 50 and verse 20, you find Joseph facing those of his own family who had been the cause of all his trouble and saying to them, "As for you, Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good."

What a triumph that was. Joseph, the owner of the coat of many colours, the loved son of his parents, sent of an errand to his brothers, never returned, but at their cruel hands was thrown into a pit. Afterwards he was sold to some passing traders and later unjustly accused and cast into prison and forgotten of men. Surely that was enough to make anyone feel there was no hope of deliverance.

In most people it would have stirred up a desire for revenge and vindication, but Joseph committed it all to God and was prepared to wait His time. Faithful even in prison, his attitude brought him some recognition and he was given the custody of two prisoners whom Pharoah had put there. He cared for them, and just there he was used of God to interpret their dreams which eventually were used towards his release. There was God using circumstances that seemed so trivial. Just a dream that bothered these men. Ah, but the Lord was with Joseph and was causing all things to work together for good. God had other plans for him and here they were being fulfilled through a stay in prison!

What a tremendous vindication God gave to him. He was ultimately freed, given a place of honour and trust, and became a succourer of many, even of those who had treated him so badly. Yes, he looks back and with love in his heart for those brothers he says, "Don't be afraid. You thought evil against me, BUT GOD deemed otherwise, He meant it unto good."

Is there a sorely tried woman reading just now? You are puzzled by the things that have been happening to you? You have felt the lash of a cruel tongue opened against you unjustly? You have known the feeling of utter helplessness when others have turned against you out of sheer jealousy? Your heart is sore because it has been let down by those you loved and trusted? Maybe the language of your heart just now as you sit and survey your life is "All these things are against me". There seems to be no answer and no end in sight and you long for understanding. Everything has got on top of you and you feel you cannot stand any longer being shunned and misjudged.

Is it possible that you have wrapped yourself up in a garment of self-pity because you have been so hurt; that you have missed the greatest blessing the Lord wanted to bring into your life through these very circumstances? Look how fruitful Joseph became because he let God engineer his circumstances for him, and gave the reply to those who had hurt him. All the way along it was, "But God."

Why don't you today commit your cause to Him and let Him bring blessing out of adversity for you? You know when we tough things ourselves and try to work out a solution that will justify us, we make a mess of it, but Gods vindications are worth waiting for. He will do the exceeding abundant for you and those things that are pricks and thorns today cannot harm you if you will hand them over to the Lord. Instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle! 

Here's a great reading (from today..) out of Spurgeon's daily devotional that ties in perfectly with this message.....


 
"He led them forth by the right way."—Psalm 107:7.
Changeful experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved. 

Lord, thou dost hide Thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. 

Is this part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. 

These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "so He bringeth them to their desired haven." By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way.

Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."


"O let my trembling soul be still,
And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will!
I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see,
Yet all is well since ruled by Thee."

Charles Spurgeon's Daily Devotional


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Understanding the Times


Article taken from 



Do You Understand The Time In Which You Live?
  By Henry Blackaby

    The following edited message was given at Heart-Cry Southeast in March 2010 in Tennessee U.S.A. Used by permission (www.heartcrysoutheast.com).

UK bus advert

    These are very crucial days. There is an element in this nation that is seeking to remove Christ from everything about the nation and to remove any mention of a Christian God. That places your life and mine in a very significant moment in history. This is a time for us to speak up and not let the world around us remove everything that this nation was founded on.

    In the Book of Acts we read about the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples so that they were immersed in the power and presence and activity of God. Out of that moment of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the life of the disciples, it was not long before it was said, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (Acts 17:6). It would be wonderful if our nation began to say, "There are some Christian folk who have had an encounter with the risen, living Christ, and the Holy Spirit has filled their life and they are now being used of God to turn our nation and our world upside down!"

    Does our nation need a deep touch of God? The only means that God has for turning the world upside down is you and me. But so often we have moved away from the intimate relationship with God and we are simply practicing religious activity. Are you going to say, "Lord, I do not want to think only about the death and resurrection of Christ, but I want to be involved in Your eternal purpose, and Your eternal purpose included Pentecost."

    Jesus told His disciples to "…tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). They did, and they were endued with power from on high and they turned their world upside down. The same Lord who said that is the same Lord who today is speaking to your life and mine. Would it not be a tragedy for you and me to know the truth of God and then ignore it and our lives be just the same as they have always been, not making a bit of difference in the world in which we live?

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Jesus’ Way of Revival

    There are two major Scriptures I want to use to show how Jesus describes revival. The first is from Matthew 4:17-25. Verse 17 is very crucial: "From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’" Next He gave an invitation to four fishermen: "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." If they would follow Him they would experience what He was preaching. He said in effect, "If your life is not at this moment experiencing the full presence and power and activity of God, you are going in the wrong direction."

    I would say that to you. If you are a child of God, a believer, it is God’s anticipation that you should be experiencing day after day the mighty presence and power and activity of God. It may be in your own personal life where He can turn things upside down and rearrange everything about your life. Or maybe it will be in your family when suddenly God encounters your children. But you ought to be able to see the activity of Almighty God expressing Himself in and through your life.

    So Jesus looked at the people and said they needed to repent. That is, they were going in the wrong direction. Repent means to turn around and go in a new direction. Jesus was standing right there and He basically said to these men, "You need to repent. You need to turn around and follow Me, and the reason you need to do that is because the kingdom of heaven is at hand – the whole rule and activity of God is right next to you."


    These fishermen immediately left their nets and began to follow Jesus. If you read the rest of Matthew chapter 4 you will discover that the fishermen could have never experienced how near God was and how near the activity of God was if they had stayed at their fishnets. They had to leave their fishnets and follow Jesus. Then you will notice that as soon as they began to follow Jesus they saw what it is like for all of heaven’s resources to rest on the life of Jesus. Jesus also became the pattern for you and me of the activity of God. What does God want to do in your life and mine? Look at the life of Jesus and you will see the pattern in Him.

    As these fishermen began to follow Jesus, for the first time they saw the blind receive sight, the deaf hear, the lame leap, the dead raised back to life, storms stilled and multitudes fed. They were experiencing what it is like for heaven to release all the resources of God into the life of any child of His. So Jesus said to the fishermen in essence, "You are going in the wrong direction because it is obvious you are not experiencing the fullness of God’s presence. Follow Me and you will experience how near the kingdom of heaven is."

    Now, that is true for your life as well. Do you know that the kingdom of heaven is right next to you, the rule of God is right near you? God wants to express all the resources of heaven into your life and through your life. If you are not experiencing the nearness of heaven, you need to repent. That is, you need to say to God, "I realize I am going in the wrong direction. I need to turn around and walk in an intimate relationship with my living Lord." That is not just a theological statement. It is a practical invitation from God.

    Every great revival in history has brought people to their knees in repentance, and it has also brought near to them all the resources of God. One of the great movements of God is what He did through Evan Roberts, a young man in Wales. He was in a Bible college and he heard a visiting preacher say, "What is needed in the church today is for God to bend the church back to His will." Evan Roberts fell on his face before God and cried out, "O Lord, would You bend me?" God saw his heart and did. History records that in the next six to eight months a hundred thousand people came to faith in Christ through Evan Roberts and those who joined with him.


    What would happen if God did that kind of a thing in every life reading this? What impact would it have on the nation(s)? We read the record but have no intention of letting God do anything like that for us. We are in a comfort zone. Revival always moves us out of the comfort zone. We want to say, "Lord, I want You to bless me where I am, but do not change anything in my life." But God cannot bring revival that way. He will say to you, "Repent!" That is, turn around and find out where Christ is going.

    God is always at work around you and He is seeking to draw you into an intimate relationship with Himself. When God begins to do that it will create a crisis of belief in you. But He will let you know clearly what He is saying. What you do next will indicate what you believe about God. If He is speaking to you and He clearly opens your mind to the Scriptures, He then watches to see how you are going to respond to Him. We love to say, "Lord, I am Your servant." And He may say, "I have not noticed it yet because when I speak there is no response from you. You like to hear Me speak but you do not connect it to your life. When I speak you ought to tremble and then immediately respond." When He spoke to the disciples they left everything immediately and began to follow Him, and they had an experience with the kingdom of God like they had never known.

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