THE WELSH REVIVAL

Ps.40:3 – He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD

I love reading about the glorious visitations of God from the past. I know that we can never reproduce what happened in another time and other cultures but the similarities in the outpouring of the Spirit throughout history produces an expectancy in my heart for God’s “new thing” for this generation. There is something very special and unique about the Welsh Revival that began in 1904. As a student in Bible School I heard about Wales and the young revival leader, Evan Roberts, and I longed to be part of a great move of God in our generation. As of this writing I am grateful to have participated in two such outpourings of the Spirit. I was born again and filled with the Spirit in the Charismatic Renewal and was also swept up in the outpouring I call “The River” in 1994. I am in full expectancy mode for another outpouring to effect our world. Check this testimony from the book “THE WELSH REVIVAL” for a glimpse into that great outpouring.

“It was a meeting characterized by a perpetual series of interruptions and disorderliness. It was a meeting characterized by a great continuity and an absolute order. You say, “How do you reconcile these things?” I do not reconcile them. They are both there. If you put a man into the midst of one of these meetings who knows nothing of the language of the Spirit, and nothing of the life of the Spirit, one of two things will happen to him. He will either pass out saying, “These men are drunk,” or he himself will be swept up by the fire into the kingdom of God. If you put a man down who knows the language of the Spirit, he will be struck by this most peculiar thing. I have never seen anything like it in my life; while a man praying is disturbed by the breaking out of song, there is no sense of disorder, and the prayer merges into song, and back into testimony, and back again into song for hour after hour, without guidance. These are the three occupations—singing, prayer, testimony.”

I love this description of God’s outpouring. To the casual observer the meetings seemed disorderly. To those awakened by the Spirit, a supernatural heavenly order was on full display. Once you taste this “heavenly order” church as usual will just never do.

HEALING LOVE

Matt.14:14 – So when Jesus landed he had a huge crowd waiting for him. Seeing so many people, his heart was deeply moved with compassion toward them, so he healed all the sick who were in the crowd.

This phrase, moved with compassion, is often used in the gospels when referring to Christ observing and ministering to hurting people. The phrase means to be moved in your inner organs. In other words, it is the strongest possible description of feeling the pain someone else was going through. Jesus felt the pain of human suffering in the depths of His being. As a man Jesus understood what suffering felt like. He became one of us in order to effectively help us. In this instance the Lord is moved with compassion for those who were physically sick in the crowd. The word sick in this passage is quite descriptive. It is the Greek word arrostos. It means weak, sick, invalid, or having a lingering ailment: really sick and worn out. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this scene.

“The sight of a great multitude may justly move compassion. To see a great multitude, and to think how many precious, immortal souls here are, the greatest part of which, we have reason to fear, are neglected and ready to perish, would grieve one to the heart. None like Christ for pity to souls; his compassions fails not. He did not only pity them, but he helped them; many of them were sick, and he, in compassion to them, healed them; for he came into the world to be the great Healer. After awhile, they were all hungry, and he, in compassion to them, fed them.”

His compassion could not stay bottled up, it was released in a flood of healing. The power of God flowing through the Lord is the anointing which is the love of God which heals the sick.

But what about today? Maybe you or someone you know is suffering today. Maybe you can identify with the people in the crowd that day. Maybe you are weak, sick, invalid, or have a lingering ailment. The good news is this; Jesus is still a man. Today, He sits at the Father’s right hand as our Heavenly High Priest. He is touched deeply by the feeling of your sickness and suffering. His compassion cannot stay bottled up. Look to Him for healing. Before you know it you too will be wrapped in His healing arms of love.

SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF YOUR TEARS

Lk.18:7 – Don’t you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all of his chosen ones who cry out to him night and day? He will pour out his Spirit upon them. He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask fo.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER STOP PRAYING. There is something about persistence in prayer that guarantees an answer. Every time I hear about persistent prayer I think about Augustine’s mom and her incessant prayers for her son. She harassed the the Lord with prayer and tormented her pastor to also pray for her rebellious son Augustine. Her pastor gave her the famous reply, “It is impossible for the son of your tears to be lost”. There is power in persistent prayer, that is the message of the story Jesus told. If the widow came to the judge again and again she finally got her request. How much more will our Father in heaven respond to our prayers. Here is a quote from John Piper on the prayers of Augustine’s mom.

“So it would prove to be with her son. She “shed more tears [over] my spiritual death,” Augustine said, “than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son.” When her son was a Manichaean heretic, Monica sought help from an old bishop. His counsel was not what she wanted to hear: He too had been a Manichee once, but had seen his folly. “Leave him alone,” he said. “Just pray to God for him. From his own reading he will discover his mistakes and the depth of his profanity. . . . Leave me and go in peace. It cannot be that the son of these tears should be lost.”

I love that, it is impossible for someone to be lost who has the persistent prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit continually going up before the Lord. The prayers of that mom were answered, Augustine became a historic church leader effecting people’s lives for centuries. The power of prayer is unlimited.

Prayer is all about the heart. It begins with a heart that’s is passionately calling out for the Lord. It changes over to love prayers of intercession, longing to see God’s kingdom come on this earth. So let’s learn the lesson from Augustine’s mom, pray persistent prayers with compassion for lost souls in your world. It is impossible for the sons and daughters of your tears to not come in.

PICK UP THE CROSS

Matt.16:24 – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me”.

Jesus had just begun to tell them about His imminent death, that was disturbing enough for the disciples. They couldn’t begin to imagine life without Jesus present, let alone continuing in ministry. Then He hits them with something more radical than anything they could think of; they were to pick up their own cross and follow Jesus. This was so different from all their preconceived messianic hopes; they were going to be part of the great renaissance of the Davidic kingdom. Now they are being told of a coming crucifixion and personal crosses? Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this verse.

“He had told them of his cross ; now he tells them of their own crosses.

They might now choose again whether they could and would follow him.

With their increased information as to his destiny, the question was again set before them, whether they would follow or forsake him. If they did continue to be his followers, it must be as cross-bearers and self-deniers.

Nor are the terms altered in these days. Do we accept them? Can we keep step in the long procession of cross-carriers, or will we fall in with the spirit of the age, and say fine things about Jesus, while we deny his substitutionary sacrifice, and shirk the personal self – denial which he demands? Our own wisdom, if it leads us to think lightly of “the precious blood”, must be utterly denied and even abhorred.”

The spirit of the age always resists the cross of Jesus. It has happened in every century for the last two thousand years. Still, the heart of the gospel is this; Christ came to save sinners. Without the blood of the cross there is no remission of sin. But now the disciples are being asked to go out even farther. “Leave your own life and take up Mine”, Jesus was asking them. It’s in the letting go of and forsaking of this life that freedom and real life finally begins.

So what exactly is Jesus getting at? He is calling His sons and daughters to forsake the system of this world and to follow Jesus. He knew that that kind of decision always leads to the cross. We aren’t carrying the cross just as a project of self denial, we are embracing Christ and His life that is far more precious than anything we leave behind.

FORETASTE

Eph.1:14 – TPT – He is given to us like an engagement ring is given to a bride, as the first installment of what’s coming! He is our hope-promise of a future inheritance which seals us until we have all of redemption’s promises and experience complete freedom—all for the supreme glory and honor of God!

It’s amazing to me how wrong the world paints true Christianity. Take the Puritans for example, they are painted as an austere bunch doting on rules and making life miserable for themselves and for everyone else. That is quite far from the truth. Puritans were actually what you could call Christian hedonists. In case you didn’t know, hedonism is a practice or belief that living your life in pursuit of pleasure is your purpose in life. Christian hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure in God as the purpose in life. True Puritans found their greatest pleasure in God and spent their life in the pursuit of that pleasure. Here is how the great Puritan pastor Jonathan Edwards describes it.

“If it be so, that ’tis worth the while to be religious if it were only for the pleasantness of it, then how exceeding great is the reward of the godly. What a reward have they in the world to come; what joys {in another life}. But yet this is not all; no, they have a reward in this life. In the very keeping of God’s commands, there is great reward (Ps. 19:11). The reward they have in hand, besides that which is promised, is well worth all the pains they take, all the troubles they endure. God has not only promised them a great reward, and exceeding great beyond conception; but he has given them a foretaste in this world of the world to come…”

Let me break down what Edwards said in everyday English; he says that the pleasure found in our Christianity alone in this life is worth it even if there was no heavenly reward. He also says that our life of faith even helps us enjoy the non sinful pleasures of this life more than the lost do. To top it off, the joy we receive from the Lord is a foretaste of the pleasures of heaven as well as a promise that heaven is our inheritance. So I think I will follow the example of the Puritans, I will pursue pleasure in God alone as the ultimate goal of my life.

WORSHIP YOUR WAY INTO BREAKTHROUGH

Isa.54:1-3 “Rejoice with singing, you barren one!

You who have never given birth,

burst into a song of joy and shout,

you who have never been in labor!

For the deserted wife will have more children

than the married one,” says Yahweh.

“Increase is coming, so enlarge your tent

and add extensions to your dwelling.

Hold nothing back! Make the tent ropes longer and the pegs stronger.

You will increase and spread out in every direction.

Your sons and daughters will conquer nations

and revitalize desolate cities.”

At the risk of sounding like I am spitting out a formula for Christian success and breakthrough I want to acknowledge the connection between worship and spiritual enlargement and breakthrough. This passage is a prophetic promise describing a supernatural enlargement to the body of Christ in the last days and it is obvious in this passage that worship is closely associated with this season of expansion. Obviously people will shout for joy and sing after breakthrough but if you look in this passage the worship and joyful shouting comes first. We don’t worship and shout because we think that will bring breakthrough, we worship and shout because His promises are sure and because He is good. Dick Mills gives us some insight into joyful singing in his comments on this passage.

“joy, rinnah (ree-nah): A shout of rejoicing; shouting; loud cheering in triumph; singing. Rinnah describes the kind of joyful shouting at the time of a great victory. In Prov. 11:10, rinnah describes the jubilation of the righteous when the wicked are eliminated. Zeph. 3:17 literally says that God will dance over His beloved people with singing or a shout of joy. Rinnah may best be illustrated by the testimony of the redeemed, returning to Zion from captivity. Rinnah is the word for both singing and joy.”

Maybe you feel like you are stuck in the same spot and maybe treading water, in other words, going nowhere fast. It just may be time for a radical divine intervention in your life. Get your eyes on Jesus and not on the blockages. Sing and shout for joy (maybe a little dancing too) and you will soon find yourself spreading out in every direction because of the blessing of the Lord. Increase is coming in your world, its time to shout for joy to the Lord.

HE SPOKE AND I WAS STRENGTHENED

Dan.10:19 – And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

This verse always reminds me of my good friend and mentor Dick Mills. His love for the word of God, word study books, and old commentaries was contagious and permanently infected my life. Brother Mills loved to study God’s word. When he ministered in our church in New Orleans he would always stay an extra day and insist on a trip to all of the Christian book stores in the area. One of his great joys was when a new translation of the Bible would be released. He started me on building a library and I actually acquired his 6000 book library shortly before he went to his reward. Today’s verse was one that Brother Mills referred to on a regular basis. He would take the word he had studied for years and speak it out in faith as a prophetic word. As he did this, today’s word would be fulfilled, “He spoke and I was strengthened”. Brother Mills would speak God’s word and his hearers would be strengthened. Here is a definition from the KM Hebrew Dictionary on the word strengthened.

strengthened

to be strong… to give strength, repair, encourage; to grasp, seize, hold; to make repairs; to establish oneself firmly; to encourage, to rally strength: physical and internal strength of character –

Learning to hear God’s word as a living, prophetic word is a critical tool in the Christian’s arsenal. It is often the very vessel the Lord uses to bring breakthrough into our lives. There were several seasons in my life that I needed to breakthrough when a word spoken in season brought breakthrough into my life. One such word came in the beginning of 1999. The Lord spoke a word to me from Luke 5, “Launch out into the deep and let your nets down for a catch”. At first I didn’t really know how to apply this verse in my circumstances. By the end of the year it became surprisingly obvious. The Lord gave us an idea for a production called Beyond the Grave in October of that year. At this writing we have been having BTG productions at our church for over twenty years. Approximately 75,000 people have made decisions for Christ at the BTG altar calls. The Lord spoke His word out of Luke in 1999 and we were strengthened.

APPETITE FOR PLEASURE

Isa.54:2

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

Have you ever wondered about man’s huge appetite for pleasure? Sometimes it seems like it has no limits. No matter how much money a person makes, how great their possessions are, or how many pleasurable experiences they have, it can never be enough. Actually that is the way we were created by God. We were created to need Him and nothing less will satisfy our hungry soul. A human being without Christ is in a perilous state, they have this unquenchable thirst for pleasure that can never be quenched until they drink of Christ and His living water. This is the result of being created in the image of God. God Himself was intended to be our pleasure. Created things can never replace the infinite pleasure found only in Christ. Jonathan Edwards spoke often of the pleasures of God and how only they could satisfy our thirsty souls. Listen to his observations about the abundant nature of the Lord.

“God being an infinite fountain of good is as it were infinitely communicative, or infinitely overflowing, and therefore the communication of how great abundance soever. “God is love”. His essence being love, He is as it were an infinite ocean of love without shores and bottom, yea, and without a surface. Noah’s deluge overflowed the mountains, but the deluge of God’s mercy is above the heavens. “Thy goodness is above the heavens”. And wherever there is that seems to be any obstacle, any meanness, any unworthiness, all is overtopped, overwhelmed, and swallowed up in the infinite deluge.”

You were created with a God sized capacity for pleasure, focusing our pursuits on the creation rather than the Creator only leads to incredible frustration. You will only be satisfied with the pleasures found in Christ Himself. There is no person, no job, no sporting event, no possession that can ever satisfy our appetites for pleasure, only God will do. Many Christians are frustrated trying to shut down the longing for pleasure in their hearts, instead we should stretch out our tents and expand ourselves for God. Open wide your hearts, let the King of Glory come in. This is what Jesus meant when He said He had water to drink that you know nothing about. This water is the overwhelming, infinite deluge found in Christ alone.

WHO DO YOU LOVE

Col. 3:1-3 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

This scripture has been one of my favorites since my earliest days as a Christian. My days of pushing chicken manure at B and C Egg Ranch and planting trees in the mountains of Oregon and Washington often brought me right to the edge of the breaking point. This scripture was one of the ones the Lord used to strengthen me in my most difficult days. The KJV used the word affections rather than mind in this verse Actually the word for mind or affections is the greek word phroneo. That word encompasses the concept of mind and affections. Here is Zodhiates definition of this word.

“Phroneo” – implying not only thought but also the affections, will, or moral consideration. Related to phrénes as contrasted with noús, mind. In the Scripture it is most commonly applied to the actions of the will and affections.”

Adam Clarke brings out the idea of our affections and the part they play in our Christian walk. Our affections are the very source all of our actions. Here are some of Clarke’s thoughts.

“Set your affections on things above – Love heavenly things; study them; let your hearts be entirely engrossed by them. Now, that ye are converted to God, act in reference to heavenly things as ye did formerly in reference to those of earth; and vice versa. This is a very good general rule: ” Be as much in earnest for heavenly and eternal things, as ye formerly were for those that are earthly and perishing.”

Now its time to act on this word. Maybe you have been struggling with your thoughts and maybe even slipping into compromising situations. As Jonathan Edwards said, “Put yourself in the place of spiritual allurement”. Put on some intimate worship music. Spend some time reading the Psalms or maybe the book of John. Go on a walk and sing to The Lord. If you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, sing to The Lord with your heavenly language. Before you know it you will be caught up in the great heavenly romance. Your thoughts and actions will no longer be a problem.

BREAKER

Mic.2:12,13 – Amp. – I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely collect the remnant of Israel. I will bring them [Israel] together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture. They [the fold and the pasture] shall swarm with men and hum with much noise. The Breaker [the Messiah] will go up before them. They will break through, pass in through the gate and go out through it, and their King will pass on before them, the Lord at their head.

Breakthrough, who doesn’t need a breakthrough. Everything from finance to health issues, work drama, to family emergencies; breakthrough is something all of us look for. What does breakthrough actually mean to you? For me it is a sudden, dramatic change in circumstances. It awakens visions of David killing Goliath and setting the Philistine army on the run, or maybe 185,000 Assyrian troops being killed when laying siege to Jerusalem. All of us pray for those sudden changes in our circumstances but it seems like real breakthrough is more like an elusive pipe dream. That’s why today’s verse is so critical. Did you read it? Did you catch the source of all breakthrough seen in this passage? Breakthrough does not come from some extra human effort, it is the work of the One Micah calls the Breaker. Jesus is the author of all breakthrough and I think He is preparing for a major breakthrough in our world today. Here is how the Expositor’s Commentary describes this verse.

“Suddenly a figure, called “the Breaker” (NIV, “One who breaks open the way”), appears in the narrative and goes up before the multitude. Led by the Breaker, the people burst through the gate of the enclosure to form a procession with their King at their head. Micah envisions a time when the kingdom of God will burst forth into sudden reality and the people of God will be manifested. He affirms that the strictures that now prevent the visible realization of the power and glory of God’s kingdom and that blur the identity of God’s people in the world will be shattered and the Breaker will lead his people to glory.”

I like that. Breakthrough is a corporate thing as well as a personal thing. How can I be sure that the needed Breakthgrough will happen in my life? It is really quite simple, get as close to the Breaker as possible and you will follow Him as He breaks down every wall of resistance in your world.