A few years ago on a radio program, I was asked if I thought God was going to bring judgment or revival to America.
I paused for a moment and replied, "Both." God is going to bring revival to His people, and it will either come by choice or by circumstance. We are at a crossroads as a nation and as the church. The choices we make today will determine our future.
We need an individual and corporate heart awakening to see a transforming revival today. It will come by choice, circumstance or consequence. It's better to have a heart awakening than a rude awakening.
In Jan. 10, 2019, during a vision-casting meeting with our staff, we had a strong sense that we would soon see an increase of shakings and even implosions of ministries where people have built on institutional structures rather than the incarnational presence of God. It's so important for us to get back to our first love so that when the church quakes and the shakings come, we can be prepared in our hearts for the harvest. We published a few articles subsequently from what we were sensing, as well as revisited teachings and articles we had published over the years.
In 1988 I wrote an article titled "The Lord's Provision During the Shaking." A couple of years later, it became the chapter of a book, Church Quake: The Lord's Provision During the Shaking in one of my books. Again, more than ever I sense an urgency to dig deeper in consecration and higher in expectation in the Lord as every institution, sacred and secular, as well as everything we have placed our hopes upon, is being shaken.
Only that which is part of the unshakable kingdom can withstand and remain.
Paul, in Hebrews 12:27-29, reminds us: "And this statement, 'Yet once more,' signifies the removal of those things that can be shaken, things that are created, so that only those things that cannot be shaken will remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us be gracious, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."
The Lord begins with His own and in the House of the Lord. Throughout Scripture, when the Lord speaks of Jerusalem, we as the church can see types and shadows that apply to us as well. Zephaniah 1:12 is a sobering reminder to the church of the Lord shedding light on any compromise or complacency:
"At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their lees, who say in their heart, 'The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.'"
The Lord is searching throughout the church with lamps of His Holy Spirit and shaking up those who are settled in compromise and complacency. By the light of the Holy Spirit, God is searching out the dross and rubbish in our lives to purge and refine us in preparation for the days ahead.
In fact, Deuteronomy 8:2-3 is a life lesson reminder to us of the wilderness years. It was a time to see what was really in the heart of God's people:
"You must remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 He humbled you and let you suffer hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord."
He has given us periods of peace and prosperity so that we can be a blessing to the nations—but many have chosen not to rely on God or rightly steward the resources He has provided. Instead of choosing God's way, they have followed the way of the lusts of the world. I've often said, "While men reach for thrones to build their own kingdoms, Jesus, reached for a towel to wash men's feet."
Revisiting the word I shared in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I realized how far more significant it is today. God wants to shift resources from the unjust and unfaithful stewards—who have become enamored with their own celebrity and popularity—and to redistribute them to those who have been faithful with the little things and are still seeking their first love.
There are many who have been faithful stewards with only the crumbs off the table for many years, and now is the time for their increase of resources to increase the borders of their tents and stewardship. Proverbs reminds us that the faithful stewardship of riches, honor and life, comes from humility and the fear (reverence) of the Lord. Too often, people forget where they've come from and circumvent humility and the fear of the Lord, for the riches, honor and life.
God humbles us in order to remind us not to rely on our own successes, strengths, abilities or wisdom. The Holy Spirit of God directs and shows us that true fulfillment and satisfaction in life only comes through our relationship with the Lord. We need a renewed desire for the manifest presence of the Lord. I'm reminded of the words of D.L Moody, "There are no limitations to those who've been in the presence of the Lord."
God had again been impressing on me the importance and urgency that the church needs to prepare the bride (the church), prepare an ark of refuge for the many who would be responding to the shakings, prepare the way for revival and prepare people for the coming of the Lord.
When the shaking happens—through moral failure or financial implosion—we are not to rejoice. As Jeremiah wept when Israel fell, we must pray that those who have fallen will repent and come back stronger.
A shaken church can also lead to scattered sheep, wandering in a desert and becoming discouraged. We must be ready to receive them with grace and compassion. It will not be a time to gloat over the fallen or to become puffed up.
For the rest of this article, please visit m.doug.stringer.com.
Dr. J. Doug Stringer is founder and president of Somebody Cares America-International, an international movement that has received recognition nationally and globally. His years of ministry have taken him to numerous communities and nations, from urban to foreign missions, from garbage dumps to the palaces and halls of government leaders. As an Asian American, Doug is considered a bridge-builder of reconciliation among various ethnic and religious groups.
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