This week someone made a special point to come to talk to me. They said, “I believe the Lord spoke to my heart saying that a new revival is coming to Bethel. I believe He wanted me to come and encourage you with these words.”
How do you respond to this story? My guess is that:
· Some of you will find this very exciting.
· Some of you will say, “I don’t get it. I don’t feel like I, or other Bethel Church members, need reviving.”
· Still others will wonder: “Can we really trust these kinds of ‘words from God’?”
Before I describe how I responded to it, let me explain the word “revival.” “Revival” describes God working in such a way that His people in a particular location come to feel a deep sense of conviction about God’s holiness, their sins, and the truth of God’s Word. They repent from wrong thoughts and actions, find inner refreshment and renewal, experience new enthusiasm for serving God, and gain a new boldness for declaring the Gospel.
Revival often leads to reformation. This means that more and more people coming to Christ because of the revival live out their discipleship where they live, study, work, and play. As a result, society itself starts to change for the better.
Now that sounds pretty good to me. What follower of Jesus would not welcome an experience of inner refreshment and a new vibrancy in the church that makes the world a better place?
Do I believe a revival is coming to Bethel? Well, I do trust the character of the person who shared this word. I am mindful of Paul’s words, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt,” (1 Thessalonians 5:20), and I believe that “nothing is impossible with God.” At the same time I know that God is sovereign with respect to when, and how things happen in the world. With all these things in mind I am taking the approach of Mary the mother of our Lord. Whenever she heard prophecies spoken about her Son, we are told that she “treasured up all these things.” (Luke 2:19). So I will treasure this promise, pray for revival, and hope expectantly that God will be gracious to us.
(If you want to read some of the Bible’s accounts of revival, check out the following verses: Genesis 35:1-15; Exodus 32 & 33; 1 Samuel 7:1-13; 1 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 14-16; 2 Chronicles 20; 2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 34-35; Haggai 1 & Zechariah 1:1-6; Nehemiah 8; Acts 2; Acts 8:1-25; Acts 10 & 11:1-18; Acts 19)
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