Tuesday, December 19, 2006
This is one of my first writings. I wrote this April 12th, 2000. Since this time I have written several devotionsthat I plan to post as time permits. I enjoy writing and sharing, but most of all I enjoy seeing God at work. When I write or journal I can see where I used to be and where God has taken me. Sadly though, I have to say it hasn't always been forward progress. I guess like most all people, life gets me down sometimes and I lose focus. I guess that's what this message is all about.... How do we get revived again? How do we stay connected?
I recently experienced a revival like none other at my church this last February. We had as a guest at our church Dr. Harold Hunter. He preached four nights of revival and I experienced a revival of the Holy Spirit within me and our church during these four nights. During this week I was praying that God would use me. I didn't care how I just prayed that I would be willing and obedient to His will. God had revealed to me many sins in my life that I needed to repent from, and during an alter call I went forward and knelt and prayed asking for forgiveness and I left those sins there at the alter that night during revival.
The next day after Revival, I received a call from a friend of mine while I was at work. He asked me if I could preach at a men's breakfast at his church this coming Saturday. I only had to think about it for a second, then I immediately said, "Sure, I'd be glad to." After hanging up the phone I was amazed at how quickly God had gone to work at answering my prayer from last nights revival! After all, I had asked God to use me, and that I would be obedient. I imagine that my friend had no idea he was being used by God to fulfill a prayer of mine when he asked me to speak at his men's breakfast.
Now the time came to sit down and ask God what it is that He wants me to tell these men. What is the message God has for them? As I prayed and looked over the scriptures God revealed to me that if I was going to share with these men, I would have to share what God has been doing in my life. To share how God has touched me during this week of revival and some of the experiences I have had because of my intimate relationship with Jesus. I began to think back over the week and all the emotions, frustrations, and convictions that I had felt during those four days of revival and it became clear to me. A way to describe what revival is like so that everyone can relate to the experience that I had. So I titled it Revival Fire.
I want you to picture a camp fire. Imagine how it looks as it's burning. Can you see the flames reaching for the sky? Can you see the hot bed of coals under the pile of wood. You can see the flames wrap themselves around the shape of the logs and flicker and jump up towards the sky. Now I want you to think back to the day that you asked Jesus into your heart. Remember the day you got Saved! What a wonderful experience that was. You were on fire for the Lord, just like the fire I just described. Burning with passion for Christ, telling anyone that would listen about your experience with Jesus. You have a strong desire to drink in more of God's word. You hunger or thirst for more knowledge of Christ. You know in your heart that you are a different person. As the bible says, you are a new creation! The Holy Spirit has moved into your heart and you can feel the change. You know your life is going to be different from this day forward and you have a peace and joy that you really just can't explain, except that you have Jesus in your heart. You are on fire for Christ!
As days go by though you start to realize that although you have been saved and the Holy Spirit now lives in your heart, you find yourself still doing some of the sinful things you used to do before you accepted Jesus as your Lord. You're confused and deeply convicted. Why is this happening? You start to doubt yourself. Was I really saved? Was I just caught up in the emotion of it all? If I was really saved I wouldn't be having these thoughts, I wouldn't be doing these things. I should be brand new, yet I do all the old things I've always done. Well you need to realize what's happening here. The day you became saved the Holy Spirit moved into your heart, but also the old you... your old nature never moved out. Now you have a choice to make every minute of every day. Which Master will I serve? The Holy Spirit within me or the flesh (old nature) within me? Yes, it's a daily choice. The good news is that as long as your fire (Holy Spirit) is burning within you it's easy to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you. What is happening now though is you are seeing your fire going out. You are not as on fire as you were the day you got saved and you see now only a bed of coals and a smoldering log on the camp fire now.
Good news here! Even if your fire goes out and all that's left is a few flickering coals, you need to know that those coals will never go out... never! Those coals represent the Holy Spirit within you. You may squelch the Spirit but it never leaves you. Once you give your heart and life to Jesus, He promises that nothing can snatch you away from Him. You belong to Him for eternity. Once saved... always saved.
Now let's look at how we build this fire again. As you know a few coals can start a huge fire, but it takes a little work. As you start to blow on those goals, what happens? The coals glow brighter, the smoldering log starts to put off more and more smoke. Maybe you stoke those coals and they glow even brighter, get even hotter! Now the log is putting off a lot of smoke. Let me describe what is happening here.
If your fire has gone out within you, well as you study God's word, as you go to Worship, as you go to Sunday school and learn more about God's word, and as you begin to pray more and more you start to see the Holy Spirit revive within you again. Do you notice all the smoke? This smoke represents the things you do to try and hide, pretend or fake. As Christians, sometimes when we go through these times when our fire is out, we don't want others to know. So we pretend or fake that we are still on fire for Christ as we were days ago. But really we're miserable. I call it "blowing smoke" because that's exactly what we're doing. We're pretending to be someone we're not. You still have sins in your life, yet you're getting closer to God, so you try to hide the sin from others. But Jesus knows the truth, we can't hide or fake anything from Him.
Now as you continue to pray, meditate or study God's word, Worship, fellowship with other believers, serve in the church, you are actually putting wood on the fire! All these things you are doing is drawing you closer and closer to God and as you get closer and closer to god you begin to heat up. The coals get even brighter, even hotter. Then what happens?
Suddenly the wood BURST into flames! Wow! It's instant and immediate. Another thing happens... there is no more smoke! the smoke is gone, your eyes no longer burn, you can breathe freely. Another thing happens... there is light! Suddenly you can see clearly all around you, the light even lights the way for others to see. Another thing happens... there is incredible warmth and heat that is so comforting. Another thing happens... people are drawn to the fire. They want to be near it and feel the warmth and see the light. One more thing happens... as people sit and watch the fire have you ever noticed the peace and serenity on their faces. They can watch the fire and soak up the warmth and security of it. There is contentment on their faces that you rarely see anywhere else.
You see as log as the fire is burning all these things are happening. But as soon as the fire goes out you can't see clearly anymore. You start to feel the chill in the air. You again begin to choke on the smoke and your eyes begin to burn. People leave. They are no longer attracted. And so goes the life of another backsliden Christian. So what can we learn from this?
It takes work to keep the fire going doesn't it? If we don't keep putting wood on the fire it will go out! Prayer and time alone with God is like stoking the coals of your Spirit. Serving in your church and doing your daily bible study or quiet times alone with God is like cutting the wood you need for the fire. You have to cut it, haul it, stack it, and split it before you can ever build a fire with it. as you Worship and give praise and honor to your Lord this is the same as piling the wood onto the coals.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit within you burst into flames! You Worship freely! You don't care who is watching. You no longer have to pretend! You are as intimate with God at this point as you have ever been and you are truly experiencing God! The fire within you is burning clean and pure. You are REVIVED! God is alive in you and now you become a source of light to others, a source of comfort to others. God is working through you to touch the lives of others. God gets the glory and you get the blessings for allowing Him to use you for His glory.
Remember only the fire can go out... the coal are always there, but the fire will never go out as long as you feed it fuel. As soon as you stop feeding the fire fuel, the fire begins to dwindle. Stay focused on Christ! Do your daily bible readings and quiet times, pray continuously and get to know God. Worship and praise the Lord of your life and thank Him for all the blessings you have been given. serve in your church, use the spiritual gifts that God has given you to bring Him glory and honor. Fellowship with other believers. If you do these things the fire of the Holy Spirit will burn within you and God will use you in a powerful and mighty way.
To revive means to bring back something that once was. STAY ON FIRE!