[anzac] EXCELLENT REVIVAL ARTICLE

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 13:34:16 -0700
"The Womb of Revival: Whom Does God Use to Birth Revival?"        
 -by David Smithers     


Is a genuine widespread revival really coming? Some claim that 
the Church is already enjoying a mighty end-time revival. Others 
argue that the Church doesn't even need revival, only better Bible 
teaching or political reform. What does true revival really look like? 
These kinds of questions and many others are increasingly being 
debated within the Church today. Even some of our noted Church 
leaders seem quite confused when trying to define the realities of 
revival. Like many others, I strongly believe that a genuine revival is 
coming. Yet with all this debate and growing confusion, I can't help 
but question how prepared the Church at large is for such a 
visitation. I am very aware that there will always be those who will 
oppose the move of the Spirit, but how can we as the Church 
prepare and pray for a revival that we can't even agree about? Our 
call for revival must be clear and well defined if the people of God 
are to correctly respond in faith and fervent prayer. It is my hope 
that the following material will eliminate some of the present 
confusion over revival and thus help many of us to be better 
prepared for what still awaits us. 

In spite of all this confusion, many within the Church are still very 
HUNGRY for a supernatural move of God. Nevertheless, hunger 
alone is never a sure guarantee for future blessing. Our hunger for 
revival must be directed by the Holy Spirit, according to God's 
biblical principles. Intense spiritual hunger, though invaluable and 
a much needed quality, has its occasional draw backs. There is 
such a thing as a kind of spiritual malnutrition that makes a 
believer less discriminate and careful about what he consumes. 
We must be aware of this and take care that our desperate hunger 
for revival doesn't diminish our spiritual vision and discernment. I 
believe that many today have wanted revival so badly that they are 
now being tempted to settle for a mixed or incomplete work of the 
Spirit. "To the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet" (Prov 27:7 & 
Luke 15:15-17). Misguided spiritual hunger, if left unchecked, will 
ultimately leave us unprepared and disqualified for the revival that 
is still yet to come! This is a critical time in the Church, and we 
can not afford to become prematurely satisfied with spiritual 
foothills, while the mountain peaks of GLORY still await us! We 
must give ourselves no rest, until we see the complete fulfillment 
of all of God's revival purposes and promises for our generation.

Are we Looking for Revival in the Wrong Places? 

The question is no longer if revival will come, but rather through 
whom will revival come? Not only is it necessary for us to discern 
the seasons of revival, we must also learn how to discern God's 
appointed servants of revival. What kind of people does God use 
to bring a genuine move of the Spirit? Some would lead us to 
believe that revivals come somewhat randomly through anyone 
who happens to be available. Don't you believe it. God is not going 
to haphazardly entrust the next move of the Holy Spirit to a bunch 
of careless and uncooperative people! The conditions and principles 
of revival don't just conveniently change for the whims and 
preferences of each new generation. God brings revival only 
through those who humbly cooperate with His eternal values. If we 
want to be prepared for the coming revival, we must learn how to 
cooperate with God on His terms.

Absalom, the son of King David, was once presumed to be God's 
chosen vessel simply because he was attractive and charming. 
However, like a beautiful flower, he soon faded away and proved 
not to be what he first appeared (2 Sam. 14:25, James 1:9-11). 
God's revivalists are not selected on the basis of beauty and ability, 
but rather brokenness and humility! The Father has always 
preferred the humble for His revival purposes. Rarely have God's 
revivalists been found among the polished and esteemed 
churchmen of their day. Therefore, it would be a serious mistake 
for us to expect to find the next move of God on some glamorous 
stage bathed in glitter and bright lights. The birthplace of revival is 
usually discovered in despised and lowly mangers, not elegant mansions!

Nevertheless, many Christians still refuse to accept this vital 
spiritual lesson. Like the religious leaders in Jesus time, they 
presume to find the glory of God carried by a beautiful white 
stallion, not a homely little donkey! (Matt. 21:5). Most of Israel 
missed the day of their visitation merely because they were 
looking for the promised visitation of God in the wrong places. 
While they were busy searching for some regal king or political 
savior, Jesus was walking among them as a common carpenter 
(Isa. 53:2). God's revival methods have never changed, it still 
pleases Him to come through humble and lowly servants. How 
many of us are in danger of missing the day of our own visitation, 
simply because we are still thinking like mere carnal men? If we 
like it or not God prefers the company of broken and lowly people. 
God is no respecter of persons, but He is definitely a respecter of 
CHILDLIKE FAITH and HUMILITY (Acts 10:34). As the old Puritan, 
Robert Leighton, once said,  "God's choice acquaintances are 
humble men."

Where Can We Expect to Find Revival? 

When the Father first chose Israel out of all the nations of the 
world, it was not because Israel was superior in size and strength, 
but because they were weak and small (Deut. 7:6-7). The Father 
promises revival not to the strong and self-reliant but to the 
HUMBLE!  "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is 
of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, 
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15). God is 
looking for a people who are lowly and broken. The scriptures are 
quite clear about this. "For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for 
man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh 
on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). "For that which is highly esteemed 
among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).

Again in 1Cor. 1:27-29, Paul plainly tells us where we should look 
to find God's chosen instruments of revival: "But God chose the 
foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak 
things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things 
of this world and the despised things and the things that are not, 
to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." 
The most powerful revivals throughout the history of the Church 
have always been nurtured by obscure and unlikely people. The 
kingdom of God has the greatest impact when carried in the hands 
of the HUMBLE.

Mary & God's Revival Grace 

The Bible is full of examples of God giving abundant grace to the 
humble for His revival purposes. Yet the most striking example of 
them all is found in the gospel account of Mary, the mother of 
Jesus. Mary typifies the kind of hidden and obscure people that 
God delights to use in bringing revival. God, in His perfect wisdom, 
chose an unknown virgin to be the channel for His ultimate visitation.

Though this was very difficult for Mary to comprehend at first, she 
soon grasped the wisdom of God's decision. She boldly testifies to 
this fact in Luke 1:46-53: "And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the 
Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded 
the LOWLY and HUMBLE state of His bondslave. From now on all 
generations will call me blessed, for the mighty One has done 
great things for me, holy is His name. His mercy extends to those 
who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed 
mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who with 
CONTEMPT and PRIDE hold themselves above others in the 
intellectual insight and moral understanding of their heart. He has 
brought down the mighty from their thrones but has lifted up the 
HUMBLE. He has FILLED and SATISFIED the HUNGRY with good 
things but has sent the RICH away EMPTY-HANDED without a 
gift." The strong and self-reliant are disqualified as the candidates 
for true revival. They are full of their own success, talents and 
intelligence. They are quite confident that they can handle 
whatever comes their way. Therefore they are sent away empty 
and dry because there is no vacuum within their lives for the glory 
of Jesus to fill.

Obscurity & Revival 

Lowly and humble people don't usually come from prestigious 
places. Mary was certainly no exception. Luke 1:26 reveals that 
Mary lived on the wrong side of the tracks in the infamous city of 
Nazareth of Galilee. This city had a terrible reputation for being 
one of the most irreligious places in all of Israel. It was considered 
to be a ghetto or slum among most Israelites. Thus the saying: 
"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). This 
expression seems to accurately reflect the general attitude that 
most people had about Nazareth at this time. Nazareth was the 
last place you would expect to find one of God's special 
instruments of revival.

Jesus is the Focus of True Revival 

You may still be asking, "How was Mary an instrument of revival 
and awakening?" "What did she do to help bring revival?" Matthew 
1:23 reads, "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring 
forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being 
interpreted is, God with us." What is true revival, but God being 
manifest with us. Through Mary's humble cooperation, Christ came 
down and personally dwelt among us (John 1:14). She nurtured 
within her own womb the tangible presence of Jesus, until the 
appointed time of His delivery. Mary pushed and travailed until 
Jesus Christ broke forth into a lost and dying world. Heaven came 
down to earth through her obscure and humble life. Likewise, 
Jesus longs to manifest Himself today through some humble 
remnant of His virgin Bride and Church.

Revival is not just a series of good church meetings or a successful
evangelistic crusade. Nor is revival merely some inanimate spiritual 
force or experience. True revival is much more than just a means 
by which Christians get their spiritual needs met. Revival is not an 
IT; revival is a visitation of HIM. Consequently, Christians quickly 
forsake their sins and realign their lives with heaven. Soon their 
hearts begin to burn and ache for the salvation of all men 
everywhere, that they too might know the joy of worshiping and 
obeying Jesus Christ. In true revival, Jesus Christ and His worship 
is the beginning and the end of everything that happens. James A. 
Stewart wrote, "The chief characteristic of true revival is that the 
Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the center of the attraction: 'It was 
heard that He was in the house and immediately many gathered 
together. . .'" (Mark 2:1,2).

Holiness & Revival 

In Luke 1:27 we can learn something else from Mary about the 
character of God's revival instruments. In this verse, Mary is 
identified first and foremost as a chaste and pure virgin. As far as 
the scripture is concerned, this was her most defining 
characteristic. In faith, she had reserved her heart and body 
exclusively for the love and affections of her coming bridegroom. 
She was not available for common or worldly use. She refused to 
allow herself to be touched or handled by the enticements of this 
world. Mary was a "fragrant garden enclosed, a spring shut up 
and a fountain sealed" (SOS 4:12).

Likewise the Church is also called to be a chaste virgin, betrothed 
and reserved for her Husband, Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:25-32 & 2 Cor 
11:2). If we truly want to be used in the coming revival, we too 
must surrender to a deep work of consecration and holiness. God 
will not bring revival through a proud and unrepentant people (2 
Chronicles 7:14). Faith-filled repentance and humility are always 
the nursemaid and cradle for every young and growing move of the 
Holy Spirit. The coming river of God is waiting to be set into 
motion by our tears of brokenness and repentance! By FAITH in 
Christ, we can be prepared and purified for God's coming visitation.

Because Mary had reserved herself in holiness and purity, she was 
rewarded with some very special privileges. Have you ever 
considered that it was Mary who first touched the precious face of 
our Lord Jesus? She was the first to embrace Him, and it was she 
who first looked into His gentle yet searching eyes. Mary was the 
very first one to intimately embrace the tangible presence of God. 
She was truly blessed above all other women. The promises of 
God are true: "Blessed are the pure in heart: FOR THEY SHALL 
SEE GOD" (Matt. 5:8).

God's Methods for Revival 

In Luke 1:34 we find another lesson on revival. Here Mary asks the 
angel Gabriel, "How can these things be, since I do not know a 
man?" How can an inexperienced young girl bring forth the 
visitation of God without the help of man? To the natural mind, 
such things seem completely impossible. Nevertheless, Zech. 4:6 
reminds us that the works of God are not born by might, nor by 
power, but by the Spirit. True revival is not the product of human 
planning and creative fund raising. Revival is never dependent upon 
our temporal holdings and material assets. The only assets the 
Church of Acts had on the day of Pentecost was a 120 humble 
intercessors. Still, there are those who claim that if they just had 
enough money and manpower, they could revive America and save 
the world. All such boasting is complete nonsense! 

For too long the Church has been victimized by ambitious men 
who cut corners by leaning on the arm of the flesh. No amount of 
promotion and clever scheming will ever make God's Kingdom 
come to earth. E. M. Bounds plainly states it this way, "It is much 
easier to engineer a great religious movement by human forces 
than it is to break our hearts and humble ourselves in the dust 
before God." In Luke 1:35 Gabriel answers Mary's question in the 
following way, "And the angel answered and said unto her, 'The 
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest 
shall overshadow thee.'" In other words, stop looking to MAN and 
start seeking God alone as your Provider and strength. Revival 
power is born of the Spirit through faith and humility, not by the 
power of fleshly methods. Are we planning and pleading with 
fickle men, when we should be fervently praying to a faithful God?

The Reproach of Revival 

In Luke 1:38 we observe Mary's final response to the Lord's revival 
commission. Though shaken by Gabriel's remarkable message, 
Mary confidently replies, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let 
it be done unto me according to your word." With those simple 
faith-filled words, Mary surrendered complete control of her life 
and reputation to the sovereign Spirit of revival. She accepted all 
the potential risks and consequences that so often come with 
believing and obeying the promises of God.

Because Mary chose to do things God's way instead of man's way, 
she no doubt suffered severe reproach and rejection from her family 
and neighbors. She willingly bore the shame and misunderstanding 
of becoming mysteriously pregnant before her marriage. For Jesus' 
sake she was willing to sacrifice her family, friends and reputation. 
If we choose to participate with God's ordained revival process, we 
too will be painfully misunderstood and cut-off by some within the 
religious community. Church history teaches us that with the 
seeds of revival come the fiery darts of slander and false 
accusations. Revival participants have always had to be willing to 
be misunderstood and accused of being unorthodox and 
illegitimate. Carnal men cannot understand or appreciate the 
things of the Spirit. Therefore, it should not surprise us to find 
God's revival instruments surrounded by ridicule and bitter 
controversy (Rom. 8:7 & 1 Cor. 2:14).

God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility in Revival 

What other effects did this birthing process have upon Mary's life? 
Was she an active participant in the process or merely the idle 
pawn of God? Mary's pregnancy beautifully illustrates for us 
something of the mysterious union between God's sovereignty 
and man's responsibility in revival. God the Holy Spirit miraculously 
placed the seed of Christ within Mary's womb, independent of any 
outside influence or help. Mary did not seek or initiate this 
incredible miracle, nor could she have even dreamed of it. It was 
totally a sovereign act of God. God alone exercised the power to 
open Mary's virgin womb.

However, after that supernatural conception, it was Mary who then 
had to make a conscious choice to participate with the pregnancy 
and birth. Mary's involvement with God's prophetic plan was not 
the actions of some mindless machine, but the willing expression 
of love and humble submission. Norman Grubb explains this 
principle in the following way, "Revival is not an act of divine 
sovereignty apart from human cooperation, but the legitimate 
outcome of man's compliance with divine conditions for revival." 
Duncan Campbell of the Hebrides Revival wrote something similar, 
"We do not believe in any conception of sovereignty that nullifies 
my responsibility. . . We are the human agents through which 
revival is possible." When Mary surrendered to God's calling on 
her life, she knew that it would mean sleepless nights and months 
of discomfort and pain. Yet she willingly chose to be stretched 
and burdened, as the life of God grew within her.

The Birth Pains of Revival 

Mary not only had to learn how to patiently endure a long and 
painful pregnancy, but also the tears and travail of child birth. 
Natural births are either helped or hindered by the actions of the 
expectant mother. It all depends upon the mother's willingness to 
push and travail, as each pain or wave of contractions comes upon 
her. The timing of these pains is not something that the mother 
can control or postpone for a more convenient time. If the baby is 
to be delivered quickly and safely, she MUST push with each birth 
pain as it comes. 

As the Bride of Jesus Christ, we are called to participate with the 
birth pains of revival. We all love to recall the thrilling stories of 
past revival power and glory, but are we willing to labor and push in 
our pursuit of revival? Are we willing to give ourselves to sleepless 
nights of fasting and travailing prayer? There is no such thing as 
giving birth without travail and violent pushing. "The kingdom of 
heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 
11:12). Fervent prayers and rivers of tears are always the 
forerunners of genuine revival. Remember, the prayer room is 
God's delivery room for revival. If we are neglecting prayer, we are 
neglecting revival, regardless of how many famous renewal 
meetings we may have attended! 

There will be no mighty visitation of God without the travail and 
fervent prayers of the Church. As Brother Ravenhill use to say, 
"We need a revival of weeping to precede a revival of reaping!" Are 
you willing to weep and travail until a heaven sent harvest comes? 
When God's house is once again filled with the bitter-sweet tears 
of travail, then we can know with certainty that revival is truly 
imminent. "For as soon as Zion TRAVAILED, she brought forth 
her children" (Isaiah 66:8).

The Birthplace of Revival 

It was at Bethlehem that Mary first realized that she was going 
into labor. Evening was fast approaching, and Joseph had to 
quickly find an appropriate place for Mary to give birth. He was 
turned away at one inn after another, as Mary's birth pains grew 
stronger and closer together. Luke 2:6-7 says, "The time came for 
the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She 
wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn." Remember, there 
was nothing extraordinary about Joseph and Mary to warrant them 
any special consideration from Bethlehem's inn keepers. They 
were just humble and unassuming strangers without wealth or
influence.

They were finally forced to bed down in a damp and musty cave or 
stable where the livestock were fed. It was here that Mary was 
hidden away to bravely push and travail until the presence of Jesus 
broke forth into the world. Have you ever noticed how most babies 
seem to be born in the middle of the night? This was the case with 
Mary. While others were comfortably sleeping, she was pushing 
and crying out in pain in obedience to her God! The final fruits of 
revival shine brightly, while the pains of travailing prayer usually go
unnoticed in obscure and hidden places. In John 16:21, Jesus 
Himself said, "A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because 
her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she 
remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the 
world." There are many who want the joy of revival without the 
sorrow of travail. God's chosen revival instruments have always 
embraced both.

Who are the First to Witness Revival? 

Who was the FIRST to hear of this glorious visitation? Was it the 
high priest, the king or some other prominent person? Luke 2:8-11 
tells us that it was the lowly shepherds: "And there were 
shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their 
flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the 
glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But 
the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of 
great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David 
a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'" Like Joseph 
and Mary, these shepherds were humble and lowly people. This is 
why they were the first to be chosen to witness the birth and 
visitation of God. Contrary to our modern nativity scenes, the wise 
men from the east did not visit the manger that first night with the 
humble shepherds. They found Jesus much later in a house (Matt. 2:1-11). 

The shepherds had been given a specific sign to help them know 
exactly where to find the presence of God. Luke 2:12 reads, "This 
will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling 
cloths and lying in a manger." Being local shepherds, they were 
very familiar with all of the nearby stables and knew right where to 
look. Others might have been offended and stumbled by such a 
sign, but to these humble men this was a word of welcome and 
encouragement to their hungry hearts. The scriptures say that, 
"They made haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby 
lying in a manger." They had found the promised Glory of God, 
not in some beautiful temple but resting in a despised and lowly 
manger in the form of a helpless child. This is still God's sign for 
us today who are looking for the birthplace of true revival.

Revival History is the History of Humility & Brokenness 

All the great revivals of the past have been birthed in much the 
same way. The First Great Awakening was powerfully birthed in 
the open fields of England, as Whitefield and Wesley preached to 
the lowly coal miners. The Second Great Awakening started in a 
simple country church and went on to have its most powerful 
effects among the common frontier people who gathered in the 
woods of Kentucky. Of the Third Great Awakening, J. Edwin Orr 
wrote, "It was no man's monument." This Awakening could not be 
traced to the influence of any one particular evangelist or 
organization. The revival was miraculously born in the hungry 
hearts of thousands of humble and praying people. 

The Welsh revival of 1904 began in a small young people's 
meeting, under the direction of an unknown and half-educated 
twenty-six year old coal miner named Evan Roberts. The Azusa 
Street revival was born in a simple cottage prayer meeting. As the 
revival grew, the meetings were moved to an old run down church 
building that had once served as a livery stable. The revival 
flourished from 1906-1909 under William J. Seymour, a humble 
one-eyed black preacher from Texas. The history of revival will 
forever be associated with extended seasons of deep brokenness 
and humility.

Are You Willing to Embrace the Burden of Revival? 

As I said before, the question is no longer if revival will come, but 
rather through whom will revival come? Where are the humble and 
broken people who will allow God to birth a mighty visitation 
through them? Where are the ones who are willing to empty 
themselves of their own agendas and plans in order to become 
pregnant with God's vision for revival? Will YOU allow Jesus to 
break you and use you in the coming revival? Invite the Holy Spirit 
even now to fill you with that kind of all-consuming vision and 
calling. Yield to the Spirit and give Him permission to ache, weep 
and pray through you! Humble yourself and repent of ANYTHING 
that would hinder or quench the Spirit of revival! Ask the Lord to 
let you feel what He feels about the state of the Church and the 
world. This is the season and time for us to fast, weep and pray 
for a true visitation of God. In fact, it could be our last opportunity 
to cooperate with God's revival purposes. Most believers never get 
more than one chance in a lifetime to be involved in a true move 
of God. Will you humble yourself and pray, or must the Lord look 
elsewhere to find a willing and humble virgin? "Ask the LORD for 
rain in the time of the latter rain" (Zech 10:1).  

~SOURCE:  http://www.watchword.org