By Pr Ay Nee Ng
In our camp this year, Ps. Jeremy Hodson said: “To build, you will need INFORMATION (LOGOS) + REVELATION (RHEMA) + APPLICATION = TRANSFORMATION”.You can’t build without information. The Word of God (logos) is also information. Then with the information gathered, you need revelation of the Word of God (rhema), more than just understanding. It is the revelation that stays with you at hard times. Finally when you have gathered information and had a special revelation, you apply it. When you apply it, it brings transformation in our lives.
I remember a conversation I had with the Lord. He asked me: “What are you building?” I said, “Lives, Lord”. Then He asked: “Can you see any transformation, any fruit, in their lives?” I remember saying “Some, Lord”. Then the word came: “Build, my child, so that there is transformation–a value added, life in each life” This is our vision. The ultimate goal is he transformation work of God completed in each of us.
When the Israelites rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they were satisfied but not content, and there was an awakening to realize that what they had done was miraculous. Thus, they turned their attention to God. God was moving in their midst! Their attention turned from their physical needs to their spiritual needs.
Revival: Rebuilding Our Faith and Hope in the Midst of Opposition
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!” (Ps. 80:19; ESV) “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?” (Ps. 85:6; ESV) “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isa. 57:15; ESV)
God ignited a spark of revival in his servant Nehemiah. When he heard distressing news of his fellowmen in Jerusalem, he sat down and wept (Neh. 1:3). Then Nehemiah stokes the fire of revival with prayer and a willing heart. “For days he mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4). After that, hope and passion stirred in the hearts of the Israelites, and revival broke out for a cause. Nehemiah gathered men and women with likeminded passion and purpose. God’s power worked through this caring and capable man to spread the revival fire over 500 miles to Jerusalem (Neh. 1:8; 8:1-12).
Revival is not just repentance; it is also rebuilding. Revival comes after the storms that have ravaged one’s life, and it allows us to stand for righteousness! Revival normally strats with a person or a group of people crying for the cause and plight of something. The areas in our life need revival are our spiritual condition (Neh. 8:1-5), our heart condition (Neh. 8:1-9, 9:1-5), our purpose & direction (Neh. 8:10-12), and our commitment to God (Neh. 9:2-5).
1. Our spiritual condition (Neh. 8:1-5)
a. Revival. Normally to be revived, one has to either be dead, one has to be in stagnant situations, or one’s emotions have to be dried up. Revivals start when the signs of life and morality are all gone, when we are in a dire situation, or when things are dried up in our lives. In fact, the word ‘re-vive’ means bring back to life. When all hope is gone and when the scene cannot be any darker, then it seems it might be time for a sovereign work of God to start up something.
Just as in 1905 Welsh Revival, the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles 1906-1915, and the revivals in Argentina led by Claudio Freidzen, there were revivals in South Africa. Randy Clark of St. Louis, Missouri, was invited to minister at the church in January 1994. Randy Clark had been influenced by the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne, a South African preacher, founder of the Rodney Howard-Browne Evangelistic Association in Louisville, Kentucky, and the earliest known proponent of the “holy laughter” revival phenomenon the Toronto Blessing. They all started with a cry for God to do something in their grave situation.
At one sovereign move of God, the 1905 Welsh Revival, women took an active role in the ministry. The 1905 Welsh Revival, a Revival of Righteousness from Men for Nations:
It was in 1904. All Wales was aflame. The nation had drifted far from God. Spiritual conditions were low indeed. Church attendance was poor, and sin abounded on every side…. Suddenly, like an unexpected tornado, the Spirit of God swept over the land. The churches were filled to capacity; the meetings ran day and night…. Prayer, testimony, and singing would sweep over the congregation in torrents, and hundreds of souls would surrender to God indescribable scenes took place; nothing had ever come to Wales with such far-reaching results. Everywhere the Spirit of the Lord was felt: in the street, in the stores, in the trains. Infidels were converted, drunkards, thieves, and gamblers were saved, and thousands were reclaimed to respectability. Confessions of awful sins were heard on every side. Old debts were paid. Theatres and 3 saloons closed for lack of patronage. Police courts were idle. In five weeks twenty thousand conversions were recorded.
Another writer states that within ninety days there were 150,000 people converted and added to churches and chapels in Wales. Lives were transformed! Lifestyles were changed! Homes and families were healed! Churches were packed and on fire with fervour and zeal! All this happened when young people began to experience the reality of God’s divine power, and teams of young people, such as the one led by the most noted of the revivalist Evan Roberts and his revival party, travelled around the country revolutionising the churches. The Welsh revival was a divine visitation where God said, “See what I can do without the things you are depending on? See what I can do with the simplest who are ready to fall in line and depend wholly upon Me? See what I can do in answer to praying people?”
b. Turning back to Jesus (A desire for God)
Revival refers to a spiritual awakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. It is about the resurfacing of our love for God, an appreciation of God’s holiness, a passion for His Word and His church, a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival is not evangelism, but rather it is the stirring the coals and the rekindling of our passion for God.
In Nehemiah 8:1-18, the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to cleanse and to revive the hearts of the people, and touched by the Spirit of God, they had a great longing for God’s Word. Nehemiah 8:1-12 describes how the revival influenced the people’s life in Nehemiah’s time. One of the most important messages of Nehemiah is that we are not to be content to have a good working facility or well-functioning church administration. We must press on to have a soul or life that projects an organization. Of course, we are not starting from scratch. The new work is built on the foundation of what was left, but the key is to discover the heartbeat of the life that is supposed to fill the structures.
Rebuilding the walls was fine, but the spiritual vacuum of the people wrote hypocrisy on the very walls they had rebuilt. That is why when the walls were completed and the people realized that they had participated in a wonderful miraculous event, they responded by revealing their desire to know more of God and what God wanted of them. They asked Ezra to read God’s Law publicly–something never heard off before or done before (Neh. 8:3).
When Ezra stood on the platform and opened the Book, the people were so moved that they stood up too. As Ezra praised God, all the people responded by lifting their hands and shouting out, “Amen. Amen”. They were so moved and touched by the Spirit of the living God that they bowed down and worshipped the Lord with their 4 faces to the ground (Neh. 8:5). The beauty is that we are placed in our local church and God raises men and women in His Church to teach, to equip, and to instruct us in the Word as He did to the people in Nehemiah’s time. Levites were chosen to help Ezra to explain the Law to the people. “They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so the people could understand what was being read” (Neh. 8:80).
Church, just as they needed to hear and understand God’s Word so that it could penetrate deep into their hearts and make a difference in the way they lived, acted, loved, and served, so we need that transformation. If we take in the Word of God (logos) and the revelation (rhema) which comes from the Spirit of the living God and apply them in our lives, our lives will be transformed. We will be different from before. Praise God! What a transformation!