DEARTH before AWAKENING

The following is an interesting article from Christian History magazine:

“Spiritual awakenings manifest patterns that are similar, often
strikingly so. While all of the following elements may be present
in each instance, for the most part, awakenings progress through
a cycle whose phases include these various aspects of God’s working.

1).  Awakenings are usually preceded by a time of spiritual
depression, apathy, and gross sin, in which a majority of Christians
are hardly different from secular society, and the churches seem
to be asleep.  The  causes of each decline differ widely, but when
the prophetic voice and moral  leadership of the Church has been
stilled for some time, social evils are usually rampant.

2). An individual or small groups of God’s people become conscious
of their sins and backslidden condition, and vow to forsake all that
is displeasing to God.  Christians recall past outpourings of God’s
grace and power, and long to see them again.  When histories of
awakenings have been written in later years, it has been occasionally
discovered that individuals at  great distances and completely
unknown to each other had, prior to the  awakening, been praying
simultaneously to the same end!

3).  As some Christians begin to yearn for a manifestation of  God’s
power, a leader or leaders arise with prophetic insights into the
causes and remedies of the problems, and a new awareness of the
holy and pure character of the Lord is present.  This standard of
holiness exposes the degeneracy of the age and stimulates a striving
after holiness by God’s people. The leaders find that their eagerness
for God’s moving is shared by many who have been waiting for God
to act, and who will rise to follow.

4).  The awakening of Christians occurs: many understand and take
part in higher spiritual life.  Evangelism of the unsaved may or may
not accompany this renewal of Christians.  (Salvation of the lost
occurs when Christians are restored to the image of Christ and holiness.
This great transformation in Christians leads to a stirring in the
community.  God “comes down” into the lives of Christians and then
“moves out” into the community).

5). An awakening may be God’s means of preparing and strengthening
His people for future challenges or trials. Throughout history, renewal
has often come before persecutions and severe trials.   (The First
Great Awakening came prior to the American Revolution.  The  Third
Great Awakening occurred a few years before the Civil War. Azusa
Street occurred before a great earthquake in California and before
World War I).”

Do we see these patterns at work among God’s people today?
The answer is YES!

“When You Face Opposition”

When You Face Opposition

“Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?”  —Exodus 5:22

Moses knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I think he was a little shocked by how unresponsive Pharaoh was. Despite the many miracles that God did through Moses, Pharaoh’s heart became hard.

So what did Moses do? Disappointed and disillusioned, he called on the Lord. He said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on these people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all” (Exodus 5:22–23 NKJV).

That’s a pretty honest prayer. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with complaining or lamenting in your prayers, as long you’re crying out to God and not against Him. It’s okay to say, “Lord, I don’t get this. I don’t know why You’ve allowed this to happen to me.” That’s exactly what Moses did.

Moses discovered for himself that being in the will of God doesn’t mean you’ll be free from opposition.

Sometimes we think that once we commit our lives to Christ and choose to follow Him that we’ll have green lights and smooth sailing. Instead, we find ourselves facing opposition. We experience pushback from unexpected places. It may be from our families, our friends, and certainly from nonbelievers.

That’s called spiritual warfare. It’s been said that conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. The moment you become a Christian, you enter into a spiritual battle. Either you will choose to fight and win, or you will choose not to fight and ultimately lose. Either you will gain ground in this battle, or you will lose ground. There are no other options.

So when you face opposition, it doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong thing. It probably means you’re doing the right thing.

Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie