MINI-DESPATCH. February 25, 2000.

 From Wendy Howard, Editor of Despatch magazine.

This Mini-Despatch is perhaps a call for personal revival! No, nothing to do with the laughing “revivals” and the emotional experiences. It has to do with reality before God, and the need for Christians to be renewed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you jaded, sick of so many things, wanting to be open and alive again in the Lord’s Presence?  This message will help you. Are you just wanting to be reminded of what real revival is? Then you will be refreshed by this message.
The Mini-Despatch is an excerpt from the latest “Beauty for Ashes” handbook, which will all be on line soon. Take a look at the whole handbook.

We are now IN the new millennium with the 20th century behind us. One of the Images things that will occupy our minds will be “what now, what is my guidance from God on my path?” If we are to live abiding in Christ, in holiness of living walking with God, we must do God’s will not our own. It is no good at all to do what you think is right in your own eyes, and every now and then saying to yourself, “I must ask God about what He wants me to do in this situation.” No, you must do GOD’S will, and be abandoned to His will alone all of your days (and your hours and minutes for that matter). We must get our facts straight about God once and for all. His will is the best, most wonderful, delightful and lovely thing that can ever happen to any of us.  Get rid of any ideas that make you think of God’s will as being hard, a kill-joy experience, or inhibiting and dull.
He is altogether lovely, and so is His will for your life and mine:
 “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste.” (Song of Solomon 2:3b).

We must grow in Grace, in God’s will, by Christ’s Life, not by our own works.
Let us look at the classic Christian handbook on the inner life, abiding in Christ, “A Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” by Hannah Whitall Smith, page 113:

“For grace is a most fruitful soil, and the plants that grow therein are plants of
a marvellous growth. They are tended by a Divine Husbandman, and are warmed by the Sun of Righteousness, and watered by the dew from Heaven. Surely it is no wonder that they bring forth fruit, "some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold."

But, it will be asked, what is meant by growing in grace? It is difficult to answer this question, because so few people have any conception of what the grace of God really is. To say that it is free unmerited favour only expresses a little of its meaning. It is the unhindered, wondrous, boundless love of God, poured out upon us in an infinite variety of ways, without stint or measure, not according to our deserving, but according to His measureless heart of love, which passeth knowledge, so unfathomable are its heights and depths. I sometimes think a totally different meaning is given to the word "love" when it is associated with God from that which we so well understand in its human application. We seem to consider that Divine love is hard and self-seeking and distant, concerned about its own glory, and indifferent to the fate of others. But if ever human love was tender and self-sacrificing and devoted, if ever it could bear and forbear, it was willing to pour itself out in a lavish abandonment for the comfort or pleasure of its objects, then infinitely more is Divine love tender and self-sacrificing and devoted, and glad to bear and forbear, and suffer, and eager to lavish its best of gifts and blessings upon the objects of its love. Put together all the tenderest love you know of, dear reader, the deepest you have ever felt, and the strongest that has ever been poured out upon you, and heap upon it all the love of all the loving human hearts in the world, and then multiply it by infinity, and you will begin perhaps to have some faint glimpses of the love and grace of God!” (End of quote).

When we grow in Grace, abiding in Christ, sharing His Life, abandoning ourselves to His will and His work in us, then God takes us on and handles all responsibility for our lives. This means the whole life being surrendered to Him to work in and do His good pleasure and will in. This means that no one and nothing can stop God’s will being done in and for us. Finally, this means that NO SECOND CAUSE can spoil the Lord’s plans for us. He is the FIRST CAUSE of all that happens to us. Nothing can happen by accident WHEN WE ARE ABANDONED to the Maker of the Universe. He will allow some suffering into our lives, but only if it is His Plan for us, in order to conform us to the image of His dear Son. You must surrender to His will, trust Him with all of your life, accept His will in and through His dealings with you. And give thanks in everything, knowing that He is the FIRST CAUSE and nothing and no one can interfere with His will for you.

We are foolish children often, we hanker after fairy floss, cotton candy, and starve for lack of a nourishing meal. We imagine if we could only have this or that, or maybe go back to our youth, or have that certain person back in our lives - then we would enjoy life again. We want our wounded pride to be mended , our wealth to be given back or that lovely church fellowship miraculously restored. Anything, but seeing the real reason for our unrest, lack of peace and sad hearts. What we really need and want, if we could only see it in our darkness, is GOD’s closeness back. When we lose our joy and the beauty of living, we have lost GOD’s fellowship and awareness of Him. Even if we had the whole earth and all its inhabitants we would not be happy, you know. Things and people DO NOT give us the God kind of life which we long and yearn for. Only the Lord does. You can ignore what I saying if you want to, but what I am writing here is the truth.

Let me bring before you a humiliating, painful experience I had only last week-end.
For weeks I had been walking with the Lord Jesus in sweet joy. There had been such a peace in my heart, every day it was the same. He was giving me victory over sin, the wonder of it was that I was no more under its horrible dominion. If I slipped a bit, I asked for instant forgiveness and cleansing. Then, on the Saturday morning, I rang various members of my family to try to arrange a family picnic, such as we had not enjoyed since I can’t remember when! I found that each one I rang was very reluctant to attend, they did not want to be with me or each other at all. This was not unusual, but it nearly broke my heart [ again]. Before I knew it I had plunged into despair. It was as though I was in a dark pit of grief, my whole day stretched before me as an unbearable burden and trial. I felt hopelessness, discouragement and  rejection, also resentment against my family. I crept onto my bed, although it was only mid-morning, and cried out my broken heart to the Lord. The result was astonishing to say the least!

“ Please, Lord, I cannot bear the burden of my children’s selfishness and lack of love! You will have to carry it all for me, I am going under!” I cried to Him in my heart. Then it seemed as though I was remembering events and places that I had not thought of for years and years. I “saw” myself with my own parents when I was young, the selfishness, the pride of youth, the neglect at times, the lack of interest and sensitiveness to their loneliness . I “saw” myself in various situations with my children then, in days long gone. God brought to mind the amazingly selfish things I had done, the self-centred concern for ME, the things left undone that should have been done. I found myself with eyes filled with tears crying, “oh Lord, how could have I been so selfish. Please forgive me, please forgive me!”

Then the Lord Jesus impressed upon me this, “You have lived so selfishly a lot of your life, do you want to continue with this? You can choose to. You are thinking of self, self, self in this incident with the family picnic. Do you want to continue with living for self? Or do you want to have done with it all now!”  I said through my tears, “I want to have done with it now.” I asked God to cleanse me from all sin that I might walk in fellowship again with Him ( I John 1:9). I confessed hopelessness and discouragement, resentment as the sins they really are - the essence of lack of trust and faith in God’s power and love for me, and unforgiveness. When I got up from my bed, after about fifteen minutes with God, my heart with filled again with joy and peace unspeakable, and the rest of the day was blessed in Him. I went to bed at night and hardly slept, so delightful was the Presence of God. I was in paradise on earth. Can you see what I saying here? I was back with GOD, and my life was happy and I was at peace.

Here I would stress that emotion is NOT an important ingredient in knowing whether one is walking with God in the light. But, the Lord can give us beautiful indications that we are indeed on the “right track” by filling our hearts with deep joy in Him. The thing is, it is not that people have injured us, been sinful and selfish, and we are the innocent victims who have always been loving, kind and devoted to God. The real situation is that we ALL are sinners, we ALL have sinned horribly throughout our lives. We are part of a human race that has become fallen in sin.  God was not taking me back in time to “Heal the Memories” by the way! Nothing could be further from the truth. He was bringing me to remembrance of my own sin and selfish lack of love. Healing of the Memories is a process where practitioners of this counterfeit belief lead people back to the past to show them the sin of other people, and then they lead them to put the blame on others in their past. The person is led to believe that they are victims of the sinners in their past, and that their own sin has extenuating circumstances - that other people in their past made them what they am today, it is not their own fault or failing. God never does that. He wants us to be aware of ourselves as sinners, to be responsible for our own sin, not to show His anger with us but to SAVE US from bondage to the power of sin.

Someone once said that revival on a personal level is a series of new beginnings. I like that. We must interact with the Lord every day anew, and repent of sin and selfish attitudes continually as we go. This quote from Roy Hession,  who preached revival back in the 1950s -60s, is revealing:
“My experience in Christ had once been so fresh and I had known fruitful years as an evangelist; but something had gone wrong and I was in the midst of a sad decline, having lost the power of the Spirit - until God caused the bottom to fall out and self to be revealed for what it was. But when He ‘did me up’ again in Christ, all that I had lost was restored and more than restored.

It is characteristic of God that when He restores, He restores more that we have lost. It is rather like us inadvertently taking a diversion from the Images road. When at last we find our way back to the highway, what a joy to discover that we have returned to it further on than where we left it. To would be good to return just to the place where we departed, but to return to a place further on, that is grace indeed!...revival is nothing more than a series of new beginnings. True, but to that I would add, such beginnings for the pertinent man are not merely in the same place, but on each occasion in a better place than where he was when he got away. This is my testimony.”   (My Calvary Road, p. 13).

From Roy Hession again:
“The most unrevived Christian could easily agree that the Christian life was just walking with Jesus and would claim he was doing so. We saw, however, that is a Christian is supposedly walking with Him and yet is playing with sin, out of fellowship with others, always regarding himself as right, never repenting and never sharing his heart with others, then the Jesus he thinks he is a walking with is a false Jesus. The real Jesus is full not only of grace but of truth, too: ‘His eyes are as a flame of fire, and His feet like unto fine brass...and His voice as the sound of many waters.’

When we put Him in the center and allow Him really to ‘walk in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,’ He cannot but say sometimes, ‘I have somewhat against thee ...be zealous therefore and repent.’ He cannot but call upon us to get right with our brother and love Him as we have been loved, and we in our turn want to share with others the new experience of His forgiveness and cleansing. He is the First Cause. We walk in the light only because He ‘ is in light and in Him is no darkness at all.’ We are broken only because the One we are walking with is the Broken One, meek and lowly in heart. We get right with our brother and love him only because He the infinite loving One is in the center and shows us when our attitudes are those of love.”  (End of quote, ibid p 128-129).

A formula can never give us deeper Life in Christ, Only Jesus Himself can do that, and He is all. But a general outline of what I have learnt in my life, and what I have seen in others, can be a open-ended guide here. Don’t rely on a formula though, rely only on your Saviour and Lord. The Christian Life is LIFE, Christ is Living, you need to be filled with Life not formulas.

1. Personal revival begins with a aching desire to be pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is about prayer that is dissatisfied with our own low spiritual life. We look at the Word of God and know that the expression of life in Christ as shown in us, and around us in the churches, in no way measures up to the New Life in Christ Jesus as promised by God. The believer cries out to the Lord to be saved to the uttermost!

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”
( John 10:10).

“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
( I John 1:3,4).

2. The one living in revival makes a continuous personal and moral decision and choice that God will be allowed to break the proud, unyielding, over-bearing “I” - the ME which is in every one of us. This “I” must not continue to dominate our lives. We must yield up our rights to God in every thing that pertains to us. Continuously the revived one sees that he must respond humbly to the conviction of God in regard to sin. He/she will be willing to accept the humbling that REAL repentance and confession of sin involves.  It is no good to confess those sins which you are willing to admit, but refuse to let God reveal the costly sins which are your own REAL blocks. Those sins which you cling to and even embraced must be acknowledged as God shows you them. The proud and arrogant man must confess and repent; the one who is always sorry for themselves and is filled with resentment must let God show them their sin and repent etc. Painful stuff, very costly to our hard hearts. A hard, unyielding spirit makes true revival impossible!

3. Lives overflowing with the Holy Spirit are lives which are revived in God! Now this is not in any way the same as the fake revivals we are seeing hitting the churches with such counterfeit experiences and ungodly phenomena - such as the “laughing” demons. “My cup runneth over” is the phrase in Psalm 23. God wants to fill us with the fullness of Christ’s Life, and when we are filled others around us get the blessing from the Lord. But dirty cups cannot be filled. We can be very dirty indeed with the “little foxes” or “little” sins - Song of Solomon 2:15. ALL our sin must be confessed to Him and cleansed in the Blood so that the “cup” may be a clean vessel. No unconfessed complaining, bitterness, doubting, gossiping, jealousy, discouragement, moaning and such sins can be just left to dirty our lives.

4. if we are to have revival in our hearts, and if the blessing is to spread to others, we must truly, honestly walk in the light with God ( I John 1:7). We must be abandoned to His search:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
( Psalm 139:23,24).
No more must we live a lie! We must never again be closed to others by pretence. We must be willing to be known as the real person by others. No religious facades to cover up our true need and our true state. Light and darkness in this instance do not mean good and evil.  In John’s epistle light is what reveals and darkness is what is hidden.

5. We must be willing always to deal with every sin in our relationships to others. Their sin must not take our full attention, but our sin. Our relationships in human respects can be no better than our relationship with the Lord. We cannot be filled with the Spirit when we harbour coldness towards those who truly belong to God, and long to please Him. We must forgive and forget, and have no broken relationships on our own part.
(Acknowledgement given to Dr Joe Church’s summary of revival).

I deliberately wrote “you” in the above sentence, not “us.” I want YOU to come out of any denial you might have, and for you to move into fullness of Life in Christ. If you are not filled with God’s deep joy right now, if you are not having victory over sin in your life right now, then right now enter into a revival in Christ Jesus.  Jesus Christ saves us from the POWER OF SIN in our lives, as well as from the punishment of sin. Don’t stop there, keep on in the same revival anew every day. Hannah Whitall Smith wrote this in her handbook on revival, “ The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life” (p 28):

“Perhaps no four words in the language have more meaning in them than the following, which I would have you repeat over and over with your voice and with your soul, emphasising each time a different word:

Jesus save me now - It is He.
Jesus saves me now - It is His work to save.
Jesus saves me now - I am the one to be saved.
Jesus  saves me now - He is doing it every moment.”

“ Lord Jesus, I believe that Thou art able and willing to deliver me from all the care and unrest and bondage of my Christian life. I believe Thou didst die to set me free, not only in the future, but now and here. I believe Thou art stronger than sin, and that Thou canst keep me, even me, in my extreme of weakness, from falling into its snares or yielding to its command. And, Lord, I am going to trust Thee to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed, and failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless. So now I will trust Thee. I give myself to Thee, as a piece of clay, to be fashioned into anything Thy love and wisdom shall choose. And now I am  Thine. I believe Thou dost accept that which I present to Thee; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by Thee, and that Thou hast even at this very moment begun to work in me to will and to do of Thy good pleasure. I trust Thee utterly, and I trust Thee now.” (Quote ends, from ibid p.29).

             Jesus Christ is made to me
               All I need, all I need;
             He alone is all my plea,
               He is all I need;
              Wisdom, righteousness, and power,
               Holiness this very hour,
              My redemption full and sure
                He is all I need.
         (From a revival gospel song).

“The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”
( Hannah Whitall Smith’s books online

W. B. Howard ...Editor of Despatch

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Editor of Despatch W. B. Howard