Posts Tagged ‘Leonard Ravenhill’

Why America is no longer great

Last year I posted a blog titled, “An Open Appeal For Revival”. It was copied from a letter that I had sent many years ago (before the popularity of the internet) to almost every pastor in my town with the hope that they would begin preaching on the subject. I also mailed copies to several famous radio evangelists.

Sadly, I received no response.

Since then I have often wondered, “Why is there no revival today?”

Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble.

We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security; We’ve given up the security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes; We’ve traded the value of honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief; Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against; Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience; And those who were designed to help us, protect us and be examples for us—from parents and teachers to the local minister on up to the President, have instead led us to the brink of destruction.

And yet, people still believe that if we just elect the right person, he or she will make our country great again.  But Psalm 146:3 states: “Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” (NAS) I like how this verse translated in the New Living Translation: “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

For decades, instead of putting their trust in God, people have put their confidence in powerful people—and discover that there is no help from them. Consider who the candidates for the next presidential election are. One of them who is leading in the polls is a man who is narcissistic, brash, insulting and often goes into obscenity laced tirades against anyone who disagrees with him. Another one is promising a political nirvana where the government will take care of everyone—from education, to healthcare, to job equality. Many of the other candidates have been so busy attacking each other that the real issues get lost in the shuffle.

In his book, “Why Revival Tarries” Leonard Ravenhill writes:

“Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. ‘There,’ he growled, ‘is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.’ That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, ‘Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.’ Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?”

Years ago Keith Green recorded his song, “Asleep In The Light” about how the Church has become so comfortable in their salvation that we have become oblivious of the suffering and danger all around us. It is as pertinent now as it was then.

America cannot be great again without repentance! 

Year after year we have all heard the sound bites of presidential candidates promising to make America great again. But without repentance, all they are are useless sound bites.

Repentance means more than just being sorry. Someone once said that the road to destruction will be paved with the souls of the sorrowful. I’m sure that all of the fallen angels are sorry now that they followed Satan in his failed revolt against God.

There are two types of sorrow. There is worldly sorrow—like when someone is sorry they got caught, but not for their actions. We have seen this time and time again with political leaders. They tend to speak about the consequences of their sin but never take responsibility for the sin itself. Godly sorrow is when someone is truly sorry for their actions and the nature of their sin; and also take responsibility for it. (See 2nd Corinthians 7:10)

Results of true repentance will be a new life washed clean by the spirit of God. The person repentant of sin will no longer be pleasing themselves but will strive to please God and others. Those things that were once important to the flesh will no longer matter as much. Those who truly repent will work at making a better home, a better workplace, a better community, and a better world.

All of the reasons why America is not experiencing power and greatness today can be explained with one word: REPENT!

Consider the prayer of the prophet Daniel:

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (Daniel 9: 3-10)

Notice that Daniel confessed the sins of his kings and princes as if they were his own! We must come to God now and acknowledge our sin to him—And the sins of our leaders, past and present as if they were our own!

We are in critical condition and are in need of true revival by the spirit of God! We need to stop relying on political leaders and surrender ourselves to God and receive His forgiveness and mercy. Only then will America be great gain.

Until the Church repents of her sins and turns from her wickedness, we will never witness the healing of our land:

“Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward…Come now, let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land, but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”  (Isaiah 1:4, 18-20)

I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is at this moment. I don’t think our nation has. All the blasphemy, all the unbelief, all the dirty stories, all the lying, all the deception, all the sexual perversion, and all the drunkenness—this tremendous iniquity goes up in the sight of God. The shadow of darkness and death is over this generation like nothing we’ve ever had before. And yet, the greatest tragedy of all is this: We have neither the vision nor the passion, nor at this moment, the intention of setting our house in order.

We need to learn from history what happens when people forsake God.

When Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and surveyed all that he had successfully accomplished, Solomon celebrated by throwing a gigantic party and feast for eight days!

Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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. But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’  (See 2 Chronicles 7:14:11-22)

Could it be that the reason America is no longer great, that our leaders have become weak and scorned by other nations is because we, like Israel of old have forsaken the one true God and held onto other worldly gods?

Remember God’s warning to His people through the prophet Isaiah:

“Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the LORD; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him. Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness—only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil. Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers…Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice…If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (See Isaiah 1:2-20)

It is my hope and prayer that America, just like Nineveh of old, will repent of its sins—from the president on down to the youngest child. And we will be saved from God’s wrath. (Jonah 3:1-10)

Advertisements

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

As Christians we are quick to laud the accomplishments of revivalists, evangelists and Christian musicians—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the great innovators of the gospel; from Charles Finney to Billy Graham to Keith Green and Rich Mullins—viewing their work for the Lord as an asset to Christendom. We speak highly of these innovators who spoke the raw truth from the Bible and we say that we would love to follow in their footsteps.

But it’s all a lie. This is the thing about speaking God’s truth; no matter how creative or innovative you may be in presenting it, it is rarely acknowledged. Most people don’t actually like it. People are biased against boldness and creative thinking—despite all of their insistence otherwise.

The internet is filled with biographies of great men and women of God who thought outside of the box in order to bring the gospel to their generation and how God rewarded them for their faithfulness. We think of these people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but when confronted with the opportunity to do the same, we shrink away in fear.

That’s because most people are risk-adverse. As much as we celebrate those who boldly speak the truth in love, most Christians avoid stirring things up—especially if it means the possibility of being rejected by fellow Christians. (Or their worldly friends)

Take Keith Green for example: At the height of his career many Christians looked to Keith as a type of prophet. Many would symbolically pat him on the back and admire him for his boldness, but could never imagine themselves doing the same thing for fear of rejection. But to Keith rejection actually facilitated his creative process—and drew him even closer to God.

Rejection is a common and often infuriating experience for a person who is completely sold out to God. I have watched people with the most interesting and “out of the box” ideas get ignored or ridiculed by the Church in favor of those who repeat an established tradition.

“Everybody hates it when something’s really great,” says essayist and art critic Dave Hickey. He is famous for his scathing critiques against the art world, particularly against art education, which he believes institutionalizes mediocrity through its systematic rejection of good ideas. Art is going through what Hickey calls a “stupid phase.”

This is also true within the Church. We tend to find the easy way out—either by not engaging in boldly speaking the truth or by completely conforming to those who we believe will be evaluating us.

Unfortunately, the place where our boldness goes to die is the place that should be most open to it—the Church. Historically, pastors overwhelmingly discriminate against those in their flock who are knowledgeable in Scripture and desire to boldly speak God’s truth, favoring instead those who more readily follow directions and do what they’re told.

All of this negativity isn’t easy to digest, and rejection can be painful in some of the same ways physical pain hurts. But there is a glimmer of hope in all of this. Rejection is not actually bad—and can even facilitate even more boldness. Godly men in the Bible, from the prophets of the Old Testament, to Jesus and the apostles, were constantly rejected by their own people. So if you are boldly speaking God’s truth from Scripture and feel that you might not belong, the act of being rejected confirms that you’re doing what’s right in the sight of God. Rejection can liberate you from the need to fit in and allow you to pursue God’s interests rather than man’s.

Perhaps for some, the pain of rejection is like the pain of training for a marathon. Believe me; you’re going to need it! A marathon runner trains their body and mind for endurance by constantly pushing themselves beyond their limits.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

God’s truths sometimes take a very long time to be accepted. The more God’s truth contradicts Church tradition, the longer it might take. Even the work of Nobel Prize winners was commonly rejected by their peers for an extended period of time.

To live boldly for God is a choice. You must make a commitment in your own mind and with the possibility that you will not be accepted. You have to let go of satisfying other people—often even yourself.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Leonard Ravenhill Biography:

Many have been complaining about the recent scandals from Benghazi, to the I.R.S., to the overreach of the N.S.A. But in reality, much of the problem is the unrepentant Church.

Do not misunderstand. I am not saying that our government entities should not be held accountable for its actions. But WE are the ones who willingly gave the government its power that it now holds us in its grip.

Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble. Just as Israel of old, we too, have forgotten God and replaced Him with our own golden calf. We have bowed down to the idols of humanism, secularism, and government control, and we have reaped the rewards of our actions.

We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security. We’ve given up our security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes. We’ve traded the value honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience. Pornography has been piped into our homes for us and our children to view at the push of a button on the remote control. Those who were designed and appointed to help us and be examples for us– from the local pastor on up to the President, have fallen and have led us to the brink of destruction.

In Galatians 6:7 we read: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Welcome to the harvest!

In his book, “Why Revival Tarries” Leonard Ravenhill writes:

“Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense. Today Lucifer is probably surveying the Church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today? Consider Samson’s fall. He didn’t get drunk; he didn’t commit murder; he didn’t steal. Samson fell simply because he succumbed to the natural, and fell asleep. That one small act put him into captivity, made a false god popular, and scattered the forces of the true and living God.”

I can’t remember any true outpouring of God’s spirit on His people in America since the 1970s. And I am not speaking of the emotional frenzies that occur in some Pentecostal-type meeting; but a TRUE spiritual awakening.

God has called us to arise from our slumber! To return to him! To repent of our wicked ways so that He can heal our land! (II Chron. 7:14) As believers in God and his son, Jesus the Messiah, it is the responsibility of us who have been justified by his death and resurrection to seek God’s face, repent of our apathy and pray earnestly for revival! Revival in our own heart first–as well as for those in our homes, our community, and our nation.

“I can give you one simple reason why we don’t have revival in America– Because we’re content to live without it. We’re not seeking God we’re seeking miracles, we’re seeking big crusades; we’re seeking blessings. In Numbers 11, Moses said to God, ‘You’re asking me to carry a burden I can’t handle. Do something or kill me!’ Do you love America enough to say, ‘God, send revival or kill me?’ Do you think it’s time we changed Patrick Henry’s prayer from, Give me liberty or give me death, to Give me revival or let me die?” -Leonard Ravenhill-

Read more about revival at:

http://www.ravenhill.org/index.htm

http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Voice/Revival.Lectures.html

“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear, but your sins have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59: 1-2)

…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn away from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their land. (II Chron. 7:14)

Anyone who reads a local newspaper or watches the evening news will have to admit to the fact that America is in deep trouble. We are no longer, “the land of the free and home of the brave”, but we have become instead, the land of deceit and home of depraved. Just as Israel of old, we too, have forgotten God and replaced Him with our own golden calf. We have bowed down to the idols of humanism, secularism, and government control, and we have reaped the rewards of our actions.

We’ve replaced the Bible and prayer in our public schools with metal detectors and police security. We’ve given up the security of family values and replaced them with immoral ideas and attitudes. We’ve traded the value honest work for enslavery to a bureaucratic government system of relief. Sanctity of life is no longer fought for, and more often is legislated against. Our children have become uncontrollable beasts who murder without conscience. Pornography has been piped into our homes for us and our children to view at the push of a button on the remote control. Those who were designed and appointed to help us and be examples for us– from the local pastor on up to the President, have fallen and have led us to the brink of destruction.

In his article “Today’s Sleeping Giant” Leonard Ravenhill writes:

“Solemnly and slowly, with his index finger extended, Napoleon Bonaparte outlined a great stretch of country on a map of the world. “There,” he growled, “is a sleeping giant. Let him sleep! If he wakes, he will shake the world.” That sleeping giant was China. Today, Bonaparte’s prophecy of some one hundred and fifty years ago makes sense.

Today Lucifer is probably surveying the church just as Bonaparte did China. One can almost behold the fear in his eyes as he thinks of the Church’s unmeasured potential and growls, “Let the Church sleep! If she wakes, she will shake the world.” Is not the Church the sleeping giant of today?

Consider Samson’s fall. He didn’t get drunk; he didn’t commit murder; he didn’t steal. Samson fell simply because he succumbed to the natural, and fell asleep. That one small act put him into captivity, made a false god popular, and scattered the forces of the true and living God.”

God has called us to arise from our slumber! To return to him! To repent of our wicked ways so that He can heal our land! As believers in God and his son, Jesus the Messiah, it is the responsibility of us who have been justified by his death and resurrection to seek God’s face, repent of our apathy and pray earnestly for revival! Revival in our own heart first– as well as for those in our homes, our community, and our nation.

America was once a great nation because it was founded on absolute principles based on God’s Word, the Bible. We, a nation that is sick, near to death, is in need of intensive spiritual attention that will only come by returning to God, our Creator. We need a spiritual awakening! A spiritual revival! More than that, we are in need of spiritual C.P.R. (Commitment, Prayer, and Repentance!)

Commitment

Commitment first and foremost to God and to Jesus, his son. This will involve a total daily surrender of your own desires, will, and selfish nature to God. Surrender to God simply means acknowledging to Him that all things you desire; personal as well as spiritual, good as well as bad, by his grace and by the power of his spirit, you agree to give up in order that He might be glorified. You also have to acknowledge that in your flesh, (that is, in your own strength) this is impossible to accomplish.

The reason is that Self is an impossible force to deal with on our own. It is the foundation of all sin and all the problems that have plagued societies and civilizations since the fall of man. Everything from lust, to murder, to war are all sins derived from Self. Wars are being waged simply because someone has something that the other wants and cannot have. Neither side will compromise, so they go to war.

If only people could realize that by surrendering Self to God and living by principles taught through the Holy Scriptures, wars would cease, crime rates would go down and divorce would be all but non-existent. But since Self is a big part of our sin nature all of these things will continue to plague the world and will increase in its intensity over time. That’s why we must rely on God to give us the grace we need that will allow us to surrender Self to him. God promises in his Word that if we’re honest, admit that we’re powerless in our own nature to surrender, and humble ourselves before him, He’ll give us the grace we need to do it. (James 4:5-6)

After commitment to God, there is commitment to others. (Which is a result of true commitment to God) When most people think of being committed to others they may think of the obvious: Their spouse, their children, their family members, or close friends. All of these people we should be committed to, but Jesus has a gift for pointing us to the “not so obvious” as he did with the lawyer in Luke 10:25-37. This lawyer, or teacher of the Law, first tested the Messiah, (Maybe to find out how much Jesus really knew about the Law) and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus then asked this lawyer a question. “What is written in the Law?” The lawyer answered, (No doubt with an air of pride) “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (v.27) Jesus commended the lawyer and told him that if he did these things he would live. Now this prideful, arrogant lawyer wanting to puff himself up even more and justify his selfishness asked, “And who is my neighbor?” (v.29) Jesus went on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan, which today could be called the good bag lady or the good pan handler. Isn’t it amazing that the homeless and the beggar haven’t been affected by political correctness?

But that was the main point of the Lord’s parable. Our neighbor is anyone who is in need regardless of race, religion, financial standing, intellect, or spiritual level. And….we are to think of them as better than ourselves! (Phil. 2:3) These are the ones we are to be committed to as well as our families and friends. “For if you love them which love you, what reward will you have? Don’t the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:46) The Lord commands us not only to love and be committed to those whom we love and who love us, but to those we don’t find attractive, or don’t dress the way we like, or aren’t in the proper financial, intellectual, or spiritual class as we think we are.

The Messiah commands us to love and be committed to not only to those who are unlovable by our standards, but also to those who don’t love us. In fact, to those who don’t even like us– Those we consider to be our enemies! (Matt. 5:43-45) This may seem like a hard thing to do. Believe me; it’s not hard at all– It’s completely impossible! (If you try to do it in your own strength)

Just like surrender, commitment to anyone on a consistent level will only be accomplished by God’s grace and by the power of His spirit. But it can be done! And once you commit yourself to someone by the power and grace of God you may find that those you thought were unlovable really aren’t so bad after all. Those you considered your enemies may actually be won to you by your sincere willingness to treat them better than yourself, and in the process may even win some of them to the Lord and have the opportunity to disciple them.

You see, the reason that the Church has not grown spiritually over the years is that we have become too selective in who we should associate with because of our social standing in our church, our community, among our friends, and our family. The Lord said, “It’s not the healthy person who needs a physician, but the sick.” (Matt 9:12) As long as we pick and choose those whom we think have the proper background or financial status before we “feel led” to share God’s love with them, we not only won’t grow as a Church but will actually stagnate, dwindle in power as well as in numbers, and eventually dry up and die!

Commitment to others, as defined by the Scriptures, is a positive preventative for stagnant growth which leads to apathy. As believers, we must be committed to one another in order to stay alive. Non-commitment to others is forged by the red hot coals of Self. Commitment to God and others is not self- satisfying, self- centered, or self- reliant. To be truly committed to someone you must put their needs before your own. You must put them on a higher level than yourself. That is an impossible task for anyone who is selfish. We must die to Self! Crucify it! Hang it on a cross! Drive nails through it! And leave it there to die a slow and painful death!

One of the great preachers of our time, Sam Shoemaker, once said, “What we need today more than anything else, more than victory in the war against aggression is weapons, manpower, and strategy to win the war against selfishness.”

And the only way to defeat Self is through Jesus the Messiah and by the power of God’s spirit. As we surrender ourselves to God, commit ourselves to Him, acknowledging that we can do nothing in ourselves, the Lord, in turn, will come and abide in us and take control of our lives by the power of His spirit and give us the grace we need not only to be truly committed to Him, but also to those He commands us to love and be committed to; and in so doing, fulfill the Lord’s commandment to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15) for the glory of God forever. Amen!

More to come…

re·viv·al  noun /riˈvīvəl/

1. An improvement in the condition or strength of something

2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.

3. A reawakening of religious fervor, esp. by means of a series of evangelistic meetings

4. A time of reawakened interest in religion.

One only needs to read the headlines in local newspapers or on the internet to know that our world is in serious trouble:

Social Security disability on verge of insolvency; Two shot, one attacked, at NFL pre-season game; Egypt, Israel tries to defuse tension over killings; London riots: police lose battle as lawlessness erupts; Chicago Police Brace for ‘Flash Mob’ Attacks; Gunman opens fire at Philadelphia basketball game…. And on and on it goes.

Throughout history God has called for people to repent and turn away from their ungodliness and every time they could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as a result, God had to discipline his people with judgment. It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and instead continue to sin and listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

Many of God’s prophets in the Old Testament delivered God’s message of impending judgment but time and time again the people would not listen because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same as it is today. The message of repentance!

I believe that the time for revival is now! Not the revival that is planned with big tents and special ‘Revival Evangelists’ but a true Holy Spirit revival that changes the lives of believers.

Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new compassion, zeal, and new life. And what a great responsibility this lays on the Church of God! Because if you hinder the work of God’s spirit by your unrepentant hearts, then the people who are perishing in the world are the ones who really suffer! Revival is not excitement, or emotionalism. It is not even evangelism! Revival is the moving of God’s Spirit, through the power of His Word, to the hearts of His children, that resurrects new life in those areas which have been lying stagnant, dormant, or out of balance, and that results in a new love and obedience to Jesus Christ.

The captives in Babylon missed revival because they placed their idols above their one true God. And if revival is being withheld from us today it is because some idol remains still enthroned in our hearts; because we still insist in placing our reliance on human schemes; and because we still refuse to face the unchangeable truth that, “It is not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)  Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow to yourself in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and reign righteousness upon you.”

What is fallow ground? Fallow ground is ground that was once fruitful, but then it has been unplowed and left alone. After a time, it becomes so hard that no seed can be sown in it and it becomes unproductive. In order to plant again this ground must first be plowed up and turned over to kill the weeds that would crowd out the crop or compete with it for water and nutrients. Notice that the scripture says that we are to break up our fallow ground. Psalm 85:6 states: “Would Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee.” So, without revival, without breaking up the fallow ground in our hearts, there is an absence of joy and our lives become unproductive.

I have read of the revivals of the past, great sweeping revivals where thousands of men were brought into the Kingdom of God. I read about Charles Finney winning his thousands and his hundreds of thousands of souls to Christ. When you read the messages of Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgen you can feel their desperation for sinners falling into the hands of a just God, and understand why men and women trembled and fell down at the altars and cried out in repentance and sobbed their way to the throne of grace!

Where are the men and women of desperation today? Why do we not care if our loved ones depart this world without salvation? Why are we satisfied with a dull watered down Gospel in exchange for the fire of the Holy Spirit? If you are waiting for a pastor or Bible teacher to lead the world to revival you will have a long wait; because religious leaders seldom welcome revival.

Leonard Ravenhill, one of the greatest revival preachers of our time said, “I don’t think the world has ever been in a greater sense of turmoil than it is in this moment. I don’t think our nation has. Whatever we shall say about revival we have to recognize this: There are three things about natural life: conception, gestation, and birth. You can’t alter the program. There has never been revival, that I can trace, that has not been preceded by agonizing prayer. You might say, “I haven’t got to that stage yet of agonizing prayer. How does is come?” Well, it comes through vision. If we are really going to get a concept of revival we have to get a vision of God’s sorrow over sin. We have to get a concept of how, day by day, we offend God. As a nation we offend God in millions of ways. If we are going to realize how much we need revival we need to recognize the dimension of sin. We have to recognize that sin offends God.”

This is the one thing that Israel and Judah did not recognize. Even though God sent prophets to warn them, they refused to repent. And because they refused to listen, they were taken captive into Babylon. And this is the one thing that God’s people today fail to recognize.

Characteristics of Revivals of the past

During revivals of the past, people were making money hand over fist. (Due to the railroad and the industrial revolution) because of the economic bubble, there was also a very serious spiritual decline. But at the same time, many were speaking out against the social injustices of the time, such as slavery. Some abolitionists felt so strongly against slavery that they felt justified in the killing of slave owners. Then as the economic bubble began to burst many people found themselves in a sudden economic downturn. Revival started as the result of intense prayer and God seemed to answer prayer in places that they least expected it and the power of God seemed to fall spontaneously in many different places. Soon afterward the Lord breathed new life into the Church where there was widespread repentance and brokenness of Christians and backsliders alike. There were also conversions of ministers during these revivals.

Why America is ready for revival

In the past decades Americans have experienced an economic boom. The 2007 World Wealth Report, issued by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini, showed a record number of millionaires in North America and abroad. The survey said there were 9.5 million millionaires in the world at the end of 2006. The millionaire population increased 8.3% between 2005 and 2006. And these millionaires controlled $37.2 trillion in wealth. By 2011, that wealth is expected to grow to $51.6 trillion. In North America, the number of financial millionaires grew 9.2% to 3.2 million. Their total wealth grew by 10% to $11.3 trillion.

In recent years some of those opposed to abortion, (The social injustice of our time) have sometimes resorted to very public demonstrations of violence in an effort to achieve their objective of curbing the termination of pregnancy. Those who engage in or support such actions defend the use of force—as justifiable homicide or defense of others—in the interest of protecting the life of the fetus.

The financial crisis in the late-2000s is considered by many economists to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market has also suffered, resulting in numerous evictions, foreclosures and prolonged vacancies. It also contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth, which lead to a severe global economic recession in 2008. Due to the foreclosures and evictions the homeless population continues to increase and currently the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old!

The characteristics for revivals have not changed; and the Satan’s tactics to keep people from God has not changed either. Unfortunately, people tend to fall for his same old tricks. Mankind continues to put its confidence in ourselves instead of God; all the while expecting God to bless and prosper us as a nation. And then we question why He has not! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results!

Real revival is taking place, but not in America. It is occurring in Korea, where the Church has grown from less than one million 25 years ago, to over 12 million today. And it is occurring in Africa, where the Church is growing so fast that Muslims attack preachers and disrupt meetings to try to stop its progress. It is taking place in Central and South America, in China and Malaysia, but in America? No! We are so smug in our presumed spiritual superiority, so at ease in our comfortable buildings, so fat in our land of plenty that we have no need of God. That may be why God has allowed the current financial crises to occur.

Just like the ancient people of God, we have not realized our sin, and we have failed to acknowledge the holy God that we were called to serve. Why is it only when we feel threatened that we turn to God? When our money can’t help us, we may cry out to Him. When the doctors can’t save us, we may pray for a healing. When we feel we might not be quite as good as we should be, we might respond to an invitation and let the preacher massage our conscience by telling us that now that we have accepted Jesus we’re alright. We might come to God to be “blessed”, we might go to meetings to hear how God wants to “prosper” us and make us wealthy – but surrender to God? Devote our whole lives, hearts, minds, souls and strength, to His cause? Never! We have become a nation of jail house converts!

America will only see true revival if we begin to pay more than lip service to God and His Word. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states “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.” We have heard it preached many times but we must believe it and obey it if we are to see God move in our land. Our church leaders must obey the admonition of Joel, who declares, “Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.” (Joel 2:17) In Habakkuk 3:2 the prophet prays, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” This must become the believer’s heart cry! Elisha exclaimed, “Where is the God of Elijah?” But God is now crying out, “Where are the Elijahs of God?” America can have true Holy Spirit revival if the Church recognizes the need for it and does what it takes to bring it about.

                           Oh Lord! Send revival to your Church now!

“And God has appointed these in the Church: First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” (1Corinthians 12:7-11, 28-31)

Note that the above Scripture specifies that such Spiritual gifts, if genuine, are appointed by God. In spite of the growing number of false teachers and false prophets in the church today, doesn’t this scripture passage imply that these spiritual gifts are real? Let’s look at what scripture teaches about true and false prophets:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:15-18)

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Paul says we should test all things. So we can discern the difference between true and false prophets by testing what they say with scripture.

So are there true prophets of God today? In Acts 2:17-18, the Apostle Peter quoting Joel 2:28-29 states, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”

Now there is a big difference between someone who prophecies and a true prophet of God. It’s been my experience that 99% of all so called ‘prophetic ministries’ are in fact, managed and controlled by false prophets. These ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing that the Lord warned us about are the ones who have made it difficult for God’s true prophets. Prophetic words are to be judged and should never be used to rule your life. We are held responsible to test all things. I have seen numerous people led astray by so called prophetic ministries. Many people have followed them from meeting to meeting much like worldly people follow fortune tellers.

I believe that true prophets of God exist today.

Leonard Ravenhill, Keith Green, and David Wilkerson are men that I would consider to be true prophets of God. Leonard Ravenhill was labeled a radical and considered to be legalistic by some. Keith Green was criticized by some in the Christian Music Industry for his stand on not selling his music for the sake of the gospel. David Wilkerson was mocked by the media and scorned by some Christian circles. It was only after their deaths that some began to acknowledge their godly work.

But how many of us listened to their messages? How many today would pat them on the back and tell them how much they were admired but would think to themselves, “Just don’t expect me to do what you ask!”

Leonard Ravenhill was a British Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church through his books and sermons. His most notable book is ‘Why Revival Tarries’ which has sold over a million copies worldwide. In the 1980s, Ravenhill moved from England to a home near Lindale, Texas, a short distance from Last Days Ministries Ranch. He regularly taught classes at LDM and was a mentor to Keith Green. David Wilkerson, Ray Comfort, Tommy Tenney, Charles Stanley, Paul Washer and many others were also influenced by him.

Leonard Ravenhill was a man sent from God and like Elijah, was sent to battle the priests of Baal on their own mountain top and to shame the careless priests at the altar! He fearlessly stood against sin in the church and pastors who watered down the gospel of Christ. And he warned people who were being led astray by them. He was not an easy companion to the complacent. He insisted on being a Christian all the time and everywhere he went. He was sick inside when he saw the children of God acting like the sons of the devil. That marked him as being hard headed and at times, legalistic. Where have men of such fiery zeal as Ravenhill gone? Click here: Leonard Ravenhill

Keith Green was also recognized as a prophetic voice, crying out to us like John the Baptist, and cutting like a two-edged sword. On one hand, his words offered hope and joy — the Lord is coming! On the other hand, they required us to change our lives. Because of his love for Jesus and for the Word of God, Keith’s zeal drew thousands to his message during his few short years of public ministry before his untimely death. His sole desire was to see men, women and young people become free from spiritual darkness, confusion, and lukewarm Christianity. Keith’s boldness unsettled the more complacent Christians, as he pressed into the life of a true disciple, sometimes risking a successful career, his reputation, and personal finances — all to discover how to overcome worldliness and sin, and the surest road to God’s heart. Because Keith spoke for God and Him alone, his was one of the clearest, truest voices of our time. Click here: Keith Green Story

David Wilkerson was probably one of our greatest prophets of the 20th century. He served as a pastor in small churches in Pennsylvania, until he saw a photograph in Life Magazine in 1958 of seven New York City teenagers charged with murder. He later wrote that as he felt the Holy Spirit move him with compassion, he was drawn to go to New York in February 1958. It was then that he began a street ministry to young drug addicts and gang members, which he continued into the 1960s. He also founded Teen Challenge, an evangelical Christian addiction recovery program, with a network of Christian social and evangelizing work centers.

He gained national recognition after he co-authored the book ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’ in 1963 with John and Elizabeth Sherrill about his street ministry. In the book, he tells of the conversion of gang member Nicky Cruz, who later became an evangelist himself and wrote the autobiographical ‘Run Baby Run’. In 1967, David Wilkerson began Youth Crusades, an evangelistic ministry aimed at middle-class youth who were restless and bored. His goal was to prevent them from becoming heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, or violence.

In 1986, while walking down 42nd Street in New York City at midnight, David Wilkerson felt God calling him to start a ministry in Times Square. There he founded and became the pastor of Times Square Church, which opened its doors in October 1987. The church first occupied rented auditoriums in Times Square and later moved to the historic Mark Hellinger Theatre, which the ministry purchased in 1989 and in which it has operated ever since.

On April 27, 2011, while driving east on US Route 175 in Texas, David collided head-on with a tractor trailer and was pronounced dead on the scene. His last blog post stated, “To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.”  Click here: A Call to Anguish – David Wilkerson

Ezekiel was one of God’s greatest prophets recorded in the Old Testament. He brought God’s message of impending judgment to the Israelite people held captive in Babylon. God told Ezekiel that the people would not listen to him because of their unrepentant hearts. The message of the Old Testament prophets is the same message as the prophets today. The message of repentance!

That is what Israel failed to recognize about their God. They could not bring themselves to recognize their own sin. In failing to recognize their sin, they failed to recognize the holy God that they were called to serve. And as they continued to sin, they assumed that God’s blessings would always be upon them no matter what they did because they were God’s people and  they were in the covenant of promise. Because God had blessed them in the past, they felt that they were secure, that they couldn’t be moved from the firm foundation of Zion. That false assurance was further cemented in their mind by the false prophets who came along and preached: ‘Peace, peace’, when there was no peace. And when they could no longer ignore God’s prophet they humiliated and ridiculed him. This true prophet of God called them to repent but they refused to listen and ended up paying the price.

It is no different today. For decades God has been sending his prophets to warn us of His impending judgment, but we refuse to listen to them and continue to sin and instead listen to the false prophets who preach, “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace.

In 1973 David Wilkerson received a vision regarding the future of the United States and subsequently published a book called ‘The Vision’.  Below are some excerpts from this book. Keep in mind that he received this vision in 1973!

Economic Crash Coming

“There is worldwide economic confusion just ahead. In my vision this is the clearest thing I have seen… Not only is the American dollar headed for deep trouble, but so are all other world currencies. I see total economic confusion striking Europe first and then affecting Japan, the United States, Canada and all other nations shortly thereafter.” (P13:p1-2)

Everyone Will Be Affected

“…A recession of such magnitude that it will affect the lifestyle of nearly every wage earner in America and around the world. Countries that now control huge amounts of Western currency are going to be in very deep trouble also. Arab countries will be especially hurt.” (P13: p3)

Economists Confused

“The world’s greatest economists will be at a loss to explain the confusion and an international crisis of fear will develop. *(The economics profession has been unprepared and helpless to deal with the calamity has recently come upon the world.)

False Boom

“A false economic boom will precede the recession – but it will be short lived.” (P13-14: p4)

Uncontrolled Credit Debt

“Credit debt will become nearly uncontrollable. I see, very clearly, just a few years of tremendous affluence and continued economic prosperity. Inflation, costs and wages will spiral higher and higher. ” (P14: p1-3)

Bankruptcies of Major Corporations

“I believe we are going to witness the bankruptcies of some of this nation’s major and most popular corporations. I see tremendous difficulty arising for credit corporations. There are going to be many people unable to pay off their heavy obligations to major credit card companies, causing near chaos. Thousands of small businesses will also be forced into bankruptcies.”

Government Panic

“The United States government is going to “overreact” to the confused economic developments…. I see a flurry of near-panic decisions being made by various government agencies – but these hasty efforts to shore up the economy will backfire.

Building Industry Setbacks

“The building industry is going to face many setbacks. Housing starts will level off. There is a terrible squeeze coming to the building industry.”

Social Aid Programs Will Be Cut

“Social aid programs are going to be cut back and curtailed and minority groups are going to be affected the most. These cutbacks, along with the curtailment of many government projects, will cause widespread unemployment among these groups.”

DRASTIC WEATHER & EARTHQUAKES

“The world is about to witness the beginnings of great sorrows brought about by history’s most drastic weather changes, earthquakes, floods terrible calamities – far surpassing anything ever yet witnessed.”

Outbreaks of Epidemics

“In the aftermath of famine, floods and earthquakes, mankind faces the threat of new epidemics. There will a major cholera epidemic sweeping through various underdeveloped countries. “

FLOOD OF FILTH: MORAL DECLINE

“Be warned – in the not too distant future X-rated porno movies will be show on select cable networks after midnight…  Also available will be the same triple x rated video tapes for private home use. These videotapes can be played on any TV set with an electronic attachment.”  *(Remember; this was written in 1973. This was before cable TV and VCRs became popular!)

Teenage alcoholism

“Teenage alcoholism will increase. We are going to face a critical drinking problem with teenagers between thirteen and sixteen years of age.”

For decades God has sent his prophets to warn us to repent! But we refuse. Even when we have proof that a prophet was among us, we still refuse to repent. But desiring to have our ears tickled we follow the false prophets who preach, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace.  To those of you who do not believe that God brings judgment but only wants to bless, remember what Isaiah 45:7 says: “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity. I am the Lord who does all these things.”

The hour is late! And God’s judgment on an unrepentant church is eminent! “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17 NIV) It is time for the church to repent of its worldliness and wickedness; fall on our face before God in tears and anguish, and allow Him to fill us with His fire so that we can become a light in a darkened world.

Click here: Keith Green – Asleep In The Light (live)