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By Jill Austin (Master Potter Ministries)
2 Chronicles 16:9 – For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
Revival is not born out of mass movements but out of a series of solitary decisions.
Over the last several years, I have traveled to more churches and nations than I can count. Many have gathered together and called others to pray, fast and walk in unity. First, the meetings are packed by the mounting momentum of trying out new ideas. Then, slowly, the meetings dwindle down; one or two intercessors are the sole watchmen left on the wall. The faithful few glumly look around at the empty rows of chairs.
We get discouraged when we don’t see others manifesting the same enthusiasm for revival that we have. We worry, “How can our city be transformed unless the pastor of that major church is involved and all the meetings are filled?” But I tell you, beloved, God is not focused on the empty chairs!
Rather, He is focused on the chairs that are filled! You are there. He has drawn you there. He is going to begin His work with you. Revival starts today. Revival starts with you.
He has hand-chosen you, before the foundations of the world, to embark on a journey into the fullness of your destiny. Do you want to be His voice rather than man’s echo?
If so, will you return to Him as your first love? Remember, God must first set our hearts ablaze with radical passion for Jesus. Intimacy is what ignites revolution.
Is the presence of the living God fully taking up residence in your heart? If that has not happened, then why are you expecting that to happen in some kind of public meeting? Revival starts with you! Personal transformation must precede city transformation. Let a revolution begin today-and may it begin with you!
Prayer: Oh Lord, I ask that You would radically revolutionize me. Cause revival to burn so deeply in my heart that others can’t help but be changed! Oh Lord, You are truly all I want! I love You and I want to know You more. Tenderize my heart again. I want to return to You as my first love. Where my heart has drifted and gotten lukewarm, return me back to You. God, I give you permission to do whatever it takes to make me wholly Yours. Set me on fire!
Duncan Campbell experienced genuine revival on the Isle of Lewis in the late 1940’s. His simple definition of revival is:
Revival is a people saturated with God.
When I think of being “saturated”, I think of being soaked with water. I also think about the ground feeling like a sponge because it is filled with water. If we (our church, our small group, our campus, our youth group, etc.) are saturated with God, then we are filled with his presence and power and fruitfulness. And they only thing that matters is His Glory!
May we be a people saturated with God!
by Louis Bartet
Because I haven’t found a better definition, I’m still holding on to the one given by Vance Havner: ” Revival is the saints getting back to normal.” Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, Brooklyn, New York, had the following to say about revival:
- “Revival is where you see multitudes getting saved, not coming over from another church because there’s a better program…a church loving each other and coming together to pray and call out to the Lord…a return to the Book of Acts.” (Enrichment, Fall 1996:23)
All of us are in agreement that the time for revival is now, but do we realize that the way to revival is prayer. English preacher Sidlow Baxter, when he was eighty-five years of age, said:
- “I have pastored only three churches in my more than sixty years of ministry. We had revival in every one. And not one of them came as a result of my preaching. They came as a result of the membership entering into a covenant to pray until revival come. And it did come, every time.” (Wilhite 1988:111)
Prayer is the fountain from which revival springs. The key to revival in every age is prayer. In 1904, Frank Beardsley wrote:
- “It is possible to have revivals without preaching, without churches, and without ministers, but without prayer a genuine revival is impossible.” (Beardsley, 1904:309)
Concerning what has come to be known as the Brownsville Revival, John Kilpatrick wrote:
- “There is no question in my mind that prayer was as central to the revival itself as it was to the preparation of it.” (Kilpatrick, 1995:72)
Dr A. T. Pierson once said, ‘There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” (Orr, 199)
Revival won’t come by teaching, great worship music or beautiful buildings. It is scripturally and experientially linked to prayer.
- Isaiah 64:1 (NKJV) Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence– 2 As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil–To make Your name known to Your adversaries, [That] the nations may tremble at Your presence!2Chr 7:14 (NKJV) “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The term “pray” in the preceding verse comes from the same Hebrew root that describes the position of a woman in labor—the position Elijah assumed when he prayed for rain (1 Kings 18:42). This is not dealing with the posture of the body, but that of the soul. It is a picture of deep intercession and travail until revival is birthed.
It doesn’t matter if we examine the revival that occurred under the leadership of Nehemiah, Daniel or Finney, every revival can be traced back to prayer. The question one must ask is “what kind of prayer”?
- Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV) “And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart”James 5:16 (NKJV) “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Revival praying involves heart engaged prayer. It is prayer carried aloft by inflamed desires and impassioned hope. Our whole being must be involved. We must say what we feel and feel what we say. It is anything but casual. It bears the marks of an aggressive life and death struggle. It is seen in the tears of Nehemiah (Neh. 1:4). It is felt in the cry of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus was a desperate man. He was aware that Jesus was passing by and that the answer to his need was within reach. Though his cry was met with a reprimand, “he cried out all the more.”
How desperate are you? What would it take to silence your cry? Is the desire for revival a nice thought or is it the passionate cry of your heart? How desperate are you for the presence of God in your life? How hungry are you for intimacy with God? The Psalmist wrote:
1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where [is] your God?”
4 When I remember these [things],
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
Psalm 42:1 (NKJV)
PERSISTENT PRAYER (Luke 18:1-8; 11:5-8)
There is something in the heart of God that, like the unjust judge, is moved by persistent prayer. If an unrighteous judge will arise and vindicate the persistence of the widow, surely a righteous God will vindicate His own, who cry to Him day and night.
Here is a test whereby God separates the casual seeker from the serious seeker. Will we persist in prayer or grow weary and give up without an answer from God.
According the second passage (Luke 11:5-8), it is prayer which stems from an honest awareness of ones weakness and helplessness apart from God’s intervention. The widow does not regard the lateness of the hour, the locked door, that fact that he was already in bed and that she was asking him to disturb the entire family to comply with her request.
Jesus taught His disciples to “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). A literal translation of this might read as follows: “Ask and keep on asking and you will receive; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and it will be opened to you.”
John Kilpatrick said this about himself, “I was a thirsty man in a desert who could not get enough to drink.” (Kilpatrick, 1995:70) On Father’s Day of 1995, God poured out a mighty revival upon the impassioned seekers at Brownsville. How serious are you about revival? Do you believe that God is responsible for the hunger we are now experiencing? If yes, then are you willing to pray until heaven is opened and revival is poured out upon our world and then to pray some more? 1
- Frank Grenville Beardsley (1904), A History of American Revivals, Mass, Boston: American Tract Society.
- John Kilpatrick (1995), Feast of Fire, Pensacola, Florida.
- J. Edwin Orr (1993), Prayer and Revival, Renewal Journal #1, Brisbane, Australia.
- Bob J. Wilhite (1988), Why Pray?, Altamonte Springs, Florida: Creation House.
- Revival Begins With Prayer (1996), Enrichment, Fall 1996, Springfield, Missouri: The General Council of The Assemblies of God.
I snagged this article from the website Monogerism. It is helpful because it reminds us that God looks for brokenness in our prayers.
The Broken and Contrite Heart
“The Penitence and Prayer of the Inner Life”
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” -Psalm 51:17.
It has been the lowly but the earnest attempt of the preceding pages to stir up the grace of God in the living, believing soul. There is not a moment in the history of the child of God- even those moments that would appear the most favorable to the progress of the Divine life- but there is a tendency in that grace to descend. We have seen how affluent the Word of God is in its metaphorical elucidation of this important subject. And if the figure of ‘gray hairs’ -of ‘wells without water’ -of the ‘salt that has lost its savor,’ can at all depict this melancholy condition of the soul’s spiritual deterioration, then is the sad portrait presented to our view in its most vivid coloring, as drawn by the hand of a Divine master.
Although we might have dwelt much longer on this part of our general subject- for we have by no means exhausted all the metaphors of the Bible illustrative of a relapsed state of the spiritual life- but anxious to apply to the disease we have been probing- we hope with not too rude a hand- the Divine balm which the Great Healer has mercifully provided, we leave at this stage of our work the consideration of the relapse, and pass on to that of the recovery- praying, that if to the mind of the reader there is any real discovery of the low state of his soul, if any true and powerful concern as to that state, if any secret contrition, any lowly repentance, and any breathing after a better and a revived condition of the inner life, the words of the royal penitent, which we are about to open up, may fall upon his wounded spirit like balsam from the bleeding tree- with an influence soothing, cheering, and healing.
How sweet and expressive are the words- “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise!” In further prosecution of our design, let us direct our attention to this broken heart, as unfolding the certain evidence of a recovered state of spiritual relapse- and then, to God’s especial regard for it, as constituting the great encouragement to our return.
THE BROKEN HEART.
The subject enters deeply into the very soul of real, vital religion. All other religion that excludes as its basis the state of mind portrayed in these words, is as the shell without the pearl, the body without the spirit. It has ever been a leading and favorite scheme of Satan to persuade men to substitute the ‘religion of man’ for the ‘religion of God’. The religion of man has assumed various forms and modifications, always accommodating itself to the peculiar age and history of the world. Sometimes it has been the religion of intellect- and men have prostrated themselves before the goddess of reason. Sometimes it has been the religion of creeds- and men have prided themselves upon the bulwarks of a well-balanced and accurate orthodoxy. At other times it has been the religion of the ascetic and the recluse- and men have fled from the dwellings, of the living, and have entombed themselves in caves and dungeons of the earth. Yet again, it has been the religion of forms and ceremonies- and men have strutted forth in the fancied apparel of superior sanctity. And thus we might proceed almost ad infinitum. All these are human religions, invented by Satan, and palmed upon the world as the religion of God.
We have observed that the religion of man- be its form what it may- has ever kept at the remotest distance from the spiritual; every thing that brought the mind in contact with truth, and the conscience and the heart into close converse with itself and with God, it has studiously and carefully avoided- and thus it has evaded that state and condition of the moral man which constitutes the very soul of the religion of God- “the broken and contrite heart.”
There is a sense in which the history of the world is the history of broken hearts. Were the epitaph of many over whose graves- those “mountain-peaks of a new and distant world” we thoughtlessly pass, faithfully inscribed upon the marble tablet that rears above them so proudly its beautifully chiseled form, it would be this- “Died of a Broken Heart.” Worldly adversity, blighted hope, the iron heel of oppression, or the keen tongue of slander, crushed the sensitive spirit, and it fled where the rude winds blow not, and “where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” Passing beyond the limit of time, we visit in imagination the gloomy precincts of the lost, and lo! we find that the abodes of the finally impenitent are crowded with weeping, mourning, despairing souls. Yes! there are broken hearts there- and there are tears there- and there is repentance there, such as the betrayer of his Lord felt, before he “went to his own place,” -but, alas! it is the “sorrow of the world, which works death.”
In all this worldly grief, there enters nothing of that element which gives its character and complexion to the sorrow of David- the broken and contrite heart, the sacrifice of God which he despises not. A man may weep, and a lost soul may despair, from the consequences of sin; but in that sorrow and in that despair there shall be no real heartfelt grief for sin itself, as a thing against a holy and a righteous God. But we are now to contemplate, not the broken spirit merely, but the contrite heart also- the sorrow of sincere repentance and deep contrition springing up in the soul for sin- its exceeding sinfulness and abomination in the sight of God.
The state which we have now in contemplation defines the first stage in conversion. The repentance which is enkindled in the heart at the commencement of the Divine life, may be legal and tending to bondage; nevertheless it is a spiritual, godly sorrow for sin, and is ‘unto life.’ The newly awakened and aroused sinner may at first see nothing of Christ, he may see nothing of the blood of atonement, and of God’s great method of reconciliation with him, he may know nothing of faith in Jesus as the way of peace to his soul- yet, he is a true and sincere spiritual penitent. The tear of holy grief is in his eye- ah! we forget not with what ease some can weep; there are those the fountain of whose sensibility lies near the surface- an arousing discourse, an affecting book, a thrilling story, will quickly moisten the eye,but still we must acknowledge that the religion of Jesus is the religion of sensibility; that there is no godly repentance without feeling, and no spiritual contrition apart from deep emotion.
Yes! the tear of holy grief is in his eye; and if ever it is manly to weep, surely it is now, when for the first time the soul that had long resisted every appeal to its moral consciousness, is now smitten to the dust, the heart of adamant broken, and the lofty spirit laid low before the cross of Jesus. O it is a holy and a lovely spectacle, upon which angels, and the Lord of angels himself, must look with ineffable delight. Reader, have you reached this the primary stage in the great change of conversion? Have you taken this the first step in the soul’s travel towards heaven? It is the knowledge of the disease which precedes the application to the remedy; it is the consciousness of the wound which brings you into contact with the Healer and the healing. O who, once having experienced the truth, would wish to escape this painful and humiliating process? who would refuse to drink the wormwood and the gall, if only along this path he could reach the sunlight spot where the smiles of a sin-pardoning God fall in focal glory and power? Who would not bare his bosom to the stroke, when the hand that plucks the dart and heals the wound, is the hand through whose palm the rough nail was driven- “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities?” Who would not endure the uneasiness of sin, but to feel the rest that Jesus gives to the weary? and who would not experience the mourning for transgression, but to know the comfort which flows from the loving heart of Christ?
Again the question is put- has the Spirit of God revealed to you the inward plague, has he brought you just as you are to Jesus, to take your stand upon the doctrine of his unmerited, unpurchased mercy- asking for pardon as a beggar, praying for your discharge as a bankrupt, and beseeching him to take you as a homeless wanderer into the refuge of his loving and parental heart?
THE DIVINE RESTORING.
But the state of holy contrition which we are describing marks also a more advanced stage in the experience of the spiritual man; a stage which defines one of the most interesting periods of the Christian’s life- the Divine restoring. David was a backslider. Deeply and grievously had he departed from God. But he was a restored backslider, and, in the portion we are now considering, we have the unfoldings of his sorrow-stricken, penitent, and broken heart, forming, perhaps, to some who read this page, the sweetest portion of God’s word. But of the truth of this we are quite assured, that in proportion as we are brought into the condition of godly sorrow for sin, deep humiliation for our backslidings from God, our relapses, and declensions in grace, there is no portion of the sacred word that will so truly express the deep emotions of our hearts, no language so fitted to clothe the feelings of our souls, as this psalm of the royal penitent: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight: that you might be justified when you speak, and be clear when you judge.”
Thus upon the altar of God he lays the sacrifice of a broken heart, and seems to exclaim, “Wretch that I am to have forsaken such a God, to have left such a Father, Savior and Friend. Has he ever been unto me a wilderness, a barren land? Never! Have I ever found him a broken cistern? Never! Has he ever proved to me unkind, unfaithful, untrue? Never! What! did not God satisfy me, had not Jesus enough for me, did not a throne of grace make me happy, that I should have turned my back upon such a God, should have forsaken such a bosom as Christ’s, and slighted the spot where my heavenly Father had been so often wont to meet and commune with me? Lord! great has been my departure, grievous my sin, and now most bitter is my sorrow; here at your feet, upon your altar, red with the blood of your own sin-atoning sacrifice, I lay my poor, broken, contrite heart, and beseech you to accept and heal it.”
“Behold, I fall before your face;
My only refuge is your grace.
No outward forms can make me clean,
The leprosy lies deep within.”
Such is the holy contrition which the Spirit of God works in the heart of the restored believer. Such is the recovery of the soul from its spiritual and mournful relapse. Brought beneath the cross and in the sight of the crucified Savior, the heart is broken, the spirit is melted, the eye weeps, the tongue confesses, the bones that were broken rejoice, and the contrite child is once more clasped in his Father’s forgiving, reconciled embrace. “He restores my soul,” is his grateful and adoring exclamation. O what a glorious God is ours, and what vile wretches are we!
But there is one declaration of the royal penitent which enunciates a most precious truth- the Lord’s especial regard for the broken and the contrite heart. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” There are those by whom it is despised. Satan despises it- though he trembles at it. The world despises it- though it stands in awe of it. The Pharisee despises it- though he attempts its counterfeit. But there is one who despises it not. “YOU will not despise it,” exclaims this penitent child, with his eye upon the loving heart of his God and Father. But why does God not only not despise it, but delights in and accepts it? Because he sees in it a holy and a fragrant sacrifice. It is a sacrifice, because it is offered to God, and not to man.
It is an oblation laid upon his altar. Moses never presented such an oblation- Aaron never offered such a sacrifice in all the gifts which he offered, in all the victims which he slew. And while some have cast their rich and splendid gifts into the treasury, or have laid them ostentatiously upon the altar of Christian benevolence, God has stood by the spot to which some poor penitent has brought his broken heart for sin, the incense of which has gone up before Him as a most precious and fragrant sacrifice. Upon that oblation, upon that gift, his eye has been fixed, as if one object, and one only, had arrested and absorbed his gaze- it was a poor, broken heart that lay bleeding and quivering upon His altar.
It is a sacrifice, too, offered upon the basis of the atoning sacrifice of his dear Son- the only sacrifice that satisfies Divine justice- and this makes it precious to God. So infinitely glorious is the atonement of Jesus, so divine, so complete, and so honoring to every claim of his moral government, that he accepts each sacrifice of prayer, of praise, of penitence, and of personal consecration, laid in faith by the side and upon that one infinite Sacrifice for sin.
He recognizes in it, too, the work of his own Spirit. When the Spirit of God moved upon the face of unformed nature, and a new world sprang into life, light, and beauty, he pronounced it very good. But what must be his estimate of that new creation which his Spirit has wrought in the soul, whose moral chaos he has reduced to life, light, and order! If God so delighted in the material and the perishable creation, how deep and ineffable must be his delight in the spiritual and the imperishable creation! If such his satisfaction at a new-born world, destined so soon to be marred by sin, and smitten by the curse, and consumed by the flames- what do you think must be his satisfaction in beholding a world springing from its ruins, whose purity sin shall never deface, whose loveliness no curse shall ever blight, and whose duration shall survive in ever-growing and imperishable beauty and grandeur the destruction of all worlds!
But in what way does God evince his satisfaction with, and his delight in, the broken and contrite heart? We answer- first, by the manifestation of his power in healing it. There are two portions of God’s word in which this truth is strikingly brought out. “He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” The office of Jesus as a Divine healer is with signal beauty set forth- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.” Never did a physician more delight to display his skill, or exercise the benevolent feelings of his nature in the alleviation of suffering, than does Jesus in his work of binding up, soothing and healing the heart broken for sin, by speaking a sense of pardon, and applying to it the balsam of his own most precious blood. But our Lord not only heals the contrite heart, but as if heaven had not sufficient attraction as his dwelling-place, he comes down to earth and makes that heart his abode: “Thus says the Lord, To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.” And again, “Thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
What, dear, humble penitent, could give you such a view of the interest which Christ takes in your case- the delight with which he contemplates your contrition, and the welcome and the blessing which he is prepared to bestow upon you, on your casting yourself down at his feet, no, in throwing yourself in his very arms, wide expanded to receive you, than this fact, that he waits to make that sorrow-stricken heart of yours his chief and loved abode- reviving it, healing it, and enshrining himself forever within its renewed and sanctified affections.
Thus we have attempted to describe the twofold process by which the lapsed state of the inner life is arrested and restored- this process, as we have shown, consisting in the knowledge which the believer entertains of the real state of the spiritual life in his soul, and then in the godly sorrow, the holy contrition, which that discovery produces. What more shall we say? One thing only. Be your state what it may, seek, cherish, and cultivate constantly and habitually, a broken heart for sin. Think not that it is a work which once done is to be done no more. Deem it not a primary stage in your spiritual journey, which once reached, never again occurs in your celestial progress. O no! As in the natural life we enter the world weeping and leave it weeping, so in the spiritual life- we begin it in tears of godly sorrow for sin, and we terminate it in tears of godly sorrow for sin- passing away to that blessed state of sinlessness where God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.
The indwelling of all evil- the polluting nature of the world along which we journey- our constant exposure to temptations of every kind- the many occasions on which we yield to those temptations- the perpetual developments of sin unseen, unknown, even unsuspected by others- the defilement which attaches itself to all that we put our hands to, even the most spiritual and holy and heavenly- the consciousness of what a holy God must every moment see in us- all, all these considerations should lead us to cherish that spirit of lowliness and contrition, self-abhorrence and self-renunciation, inward mortification and outward humility of deportment, which belong to, and which truly prove the existence of, the life of God in our souls.
And what, too, prompts a constant traveling to the atoning blood- what endears the Savior who shed that blood? What is it that makes his flesh food indeed, and his blood drink indeed? What is it that keeps the conscience tender and clean? What enables the believer to walk with God as a dear child? O it is the secret contrition of the lowly spirit, springing from a view of the cross of Jesus, and through the cross leading to the heart of God.
Your religion, dear reader, is a vain religion, if there enters not into it the essential element of a broken and a contrite heart for sin. With Job you may have heard of Jesus, “with the hearing of the ear,” but not with him, have “abhorred yourself, and repented in dust and in ashes.” Oh! with all your gettings, get, I beseech you, a broken heart for sin. God can have no transactions with you in the great matter of your soul’s salvation, but as he sees you prostrate at his feet in repentance, humiliation, and confession. He will only deal with you for the stupendous blessings of pardon, justification, and adoption, in the character and posture of a broken-hearted sinner, urging your suit through the mediation of a broken-hearted Savior. He can negotiate only on those terms which justify and magnify the stupendous sacrifice of his only-begotten and well-beloved Son.
If, then, you value your eternal interests, if you cherish any proper regard for the final happiness of your soul- if you wish to escape the wrath to come- the undying worm, the quenchless flame, the unutterable, interminable torments of the lost- if you shrink from the risk, the almost certain risk, involved in the circumstances of your final sickness, and a dying hour- then repent, repent sincerely, repent deeply, repent evangelically, repent- NOW! For, “God NOW commands all men everywhere to REPENT, because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness.”
Backsliding Christian! Do you feel within your heart the kindlings of godly sorrow? Are you mourning over your wandering, loathing the sin that drew you from Christ, that grieved his Spirit, and wounded your own peace? Are you longing to feed again in the green pastures of the flock, and by the side of the Shepherd of the flock, assured once more that you are a true sheep, belonging to the one fold, known by, and precious to, the heart of Him who laid down his life for the sheep? Then approach the altar of Calvary, and upon it lay the sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart, and your God will accept it. The door of your return stands open- the pierced heart of Jesus. The golden scepter that bids you approach is extended- the outstretched hand of a pacified Father. The banquet is ready, and the minstrels are tuning their harps to celebrate the return from your wanderings to your Father’s heart and home, with the gladness of feasting, and with the voice of thanksgiving and of melody!
“Return, O wanderer, return!
And seek an injured Father’s face;
Those warm desires that in you burn
Were kindled by recovering grace.
“Return, O wanderer, return!
Your Savior bids your spirit live;
Go to his bleeding side, and learn
How freely Jesus can forgive.
“Return, O wanderer, return!
Regain your lost lamented rest;
Jehovah’s melting affections yearn
To clasp his Ephraim to his breast.”
The prayer below reminds us that of our continue need to seek personal holiness.
O GOD OF GRACE,
Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute,and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;
I am always standing in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bring forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.
Well, D.M. McIntyre gives a historical example…
“Before the great revival in Gallneukirchen broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass.”
How much prayer is needed?
Africa’s Great Missionary and Explorer
by Galen B. Royer
Born at Blantyre, Scotland, March 19, 1813.
Died at Ilala, Africa, May 1, 1873.
1. Parents. Niel Livingstone, whose ancestry came from Ulfa Island, of the Staffa group of Great Britain, first as a tailor and then as a tea merchant, made a moderate living in Blantyre. Quick temper, warm and tender heart, deep and noble convictions; a great reader of good books, a member of the Congregational Church; family worship morning and evening, regular attendance at church and strict observance of the Sabbath, were marked characteristics of his life and home. His wife, Agnes Hunter, to whom he was married in 1810, shared fully in the high ideals of her husband. To them were born five sons and two daughters, two sons dying in infancy.
David Livingstone2. Early Life. David, the second son, was born on March 19, 1813. From childhood he showed unusual love for nature, and through great perseverance, which always characterized his life, gained prizes and excelled his playmates in many ways. At ten he made his own living in the cotton mills while spending his evenings in night school. Through reading Dick’s “Philosophy of the Future State” he was led to confess Christ; the life of Henry Martyn, first modern missionary to Mohammedans, and Charles Gutslaff, medical missionary to China, fixed his life purpose. “It is my desire to show my attachment to the cause of Him Who died for me by devoting my life to His service.” Contact with Robert Moffat, pioneer missionary to Africa, prompted Livingstone to offer his services to this needy field. Ordained as a missionary in Albion Street Chapel, London, on November 8, 1840; only one night’s visit home and that an all night’s conference about missions, closed in the morning by David reading Psalms 121 and 135 at family worship, and this future missionary and explorer was walking towards Glasgow on his way to Africa. He was accompanied by his father to Broomiclaw, where they parted; never to meet again.
3. First Experiences in Africa. On December 8, 1840, Livingstone sailed for Africa. Going by Cape Town and Algoa Bay he was soon in the interior where Moffat was at work in the Bechuana territory. On the way thither he was incensed at the unkind treatment of the natives by Europeans. Mingling freely among them, healing their diseases, disarming their hostilities by interesting them in something unusual, he soon reached the conclusion that a noble and true heart was a better mainspring to overcome and direct raw natives than the abuse heretofore given them. His intense desire that all natives should have an opportunity to embrace Christianity, and his decided preference to labor where no white man had worked, led him to locate at Mabotsa, northward in the interior. This locality was infested by lions; and one day one which the natives had wounded sprang out of the bushes, seized Livingstone at the shoulder, tore his flesh and broke his arm. Ever after he could not raise his gun to shoot without great pain.
4. Marriage. In 1844 he was united in marriage to Mary Moffat, oldest daughter of Robert and Mary Moffat. To them six children were born, one dying in infancy. Few couples enjoyed living together better than this one; but for the sake of Africa they deprived each other of association a great part of their lives. Thoughtless and unfriendly remarks about their separation caused them much heartache.
5. First Explorations. In 1845 the Livingstones moved to Chonuane, and later to Kolebeng, where Sechele, the chief of the tribes, became his first convert. These moves were but the first steps of this daring man’s life. Each letter home ended with the words, “Who will penetrate the heart of Africa?” He sickened at heart when he heard of well-fed Christians at home engaged in hair-splitting discussions over doctrinal themes when millions were dying without the Gospel where he was. At last he began a tour, passed over Kalahari Desert, where for days no water could be found, and overcoming almost insurmountable difficulties, discovered Lake ‘Ngami. The chief, Sevituane, welcomed him, but on account of the unhealthy conditions the country thus found did not prove suitable for a mission station.
6. Self-Denial and Losses. Livingstone conceived the idea that, if a way were opened from the interior to the coast, Christianity, civilization and commerce would move freely to these benighted people. But the undertaking involved fearful hardships and much self-denial. It was about this time that he wrote, “I place no value on anything I have or possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” Taking his wife and children to Cape Town, where amidst many tears and heart struggles he saw them sail for England on April 23, 1852, he set his face to this new purpose. But he found many obstacles. The Dutch Boers, who had robbed and subjected the natives to the worst slavery, opposed his efforts to the extent of destroying his home and carrying away his household goods. Undaunted, however, by any opposition, exploring the regions round about preparatory to the greater task of reaching the coast, preaching, teaching and healing, — making notes and observations of a geographical and scientific nature and forwarding the same to England, — thus he sought to do the Father’s will as he wrote, “As for me, I am determined to open up Africa or perish.”
7. The Horrors of the Interior. About the middle of 1853 Livingstone reached Linyanti, on the Zambesi. Here Chief Sekeletu rendered him all the aid he had for the journey, and the missionary explorer, with a few tusks, coffee, beads, etc., and accompanied with twenty-seven Barotse men and some oxen, threw himself into the heart of Africa on November 11, 1853, and after seven months of untold hardship, reached St. Paul de Loanda, on the west coast. During the journey he had thirty-one attacks of intermittent fever; towards its close these were accompanied by dysentery of the most painful type. Often he was destitute of food and especially of the kind needed for his condition. The horrors of polygamy, incest and cannibalism were appalling. The cruelties of slavery, seen in families broken up, gangs chained, bodies of those that perished from indescribable brutalities, lying by the wayside or their skeletons hanging from trees, while others were floating in the river until at night they interfered with the paddles of his boat,–such manifestations of the infamous slave trade constantly drew mightily on the tender heart of the noble missionary.
8. An Heroic Return. At St. Paul de Loanda, because no one expected him to arrive, there was no mail. A boat offered him passage to England; but though needing to rest and regain his health he started for the interior with his men after a short rest, because he had promised to return them to their chief, Sekeletu. When the news that he was alive reached England, astonishment and admiration filled the minds of the people. The Royal Geographical Society awarded him its highest honors, a gold medal.
9. New Discoveries. A journey of two thousand miles was before Livingstone as he began his return trip from the west coast eastward on September 24, 1854. Many hostile tribes had to be met and tactfully handled; many dangers were found in the way. After arriving at Linyanti on September 11, 1855, he went down the Zambesi River and discovered the famous, beautiful Victoria Falls and two longitudinal elevations where Europeans could live free from fever and the fly. His map and observations were of greatest value to the Royal Geographical Society. On May 20, 1856, he reached Quilimane on the east coast and thus covered a territory never before traversed by a white man.
10. First Visit Home. After sixteen years of absence Livingstone made his first visit to England, arriving December 9, 1856. Had he risen from the grave he could not have been looked upon with more interest or loaded with more honors. Societies, colleges and others vied with each other in doing him honor. Mrs. Livingstone, who had heard the unfriendly criticism about their prolonged separation and her husband’s exploring instead of doing regular missionary work, and who had endured the long, lonely months of waiting, stood by his side through all this flood of honor. Lord Shaftesbury on one occasion “paid her equal tribute with her husband and all England said ‘Amen.'”
11. Results in England. While at home, Livingstone wrote his first book, “Missionary Travels,” a great success in sales and awakening interest in Africa. On this trip a very serious matter, which had absorbed the attention of those interested, was settled. The London Missionary Society which sent him out felt that it was not right to use his time in exploring the country. Livingstone had a strong conviction that “the end of the exploration is the beginning of the enterprise.” At last, because so many looked upon his work as not missionary, he withdrew from the Board and engaged with the Royal Geographical Society and went out as the Queen’s consul.
12. Extensive Explorations. On March 10, 1858, Dr. and Mrs. Livingstone, with their son Oswell, sailed from England. At Cape Town Mrs. Livingstone became so ill that she had to remain behind, and did not rejoin her husband till several years after. He explored the mouth of the Zambesi, made three trips on the Shire River and at last discovered Lake Nyassa. In 1860 he visited his old friend, Sekeletu; in 1861 he explored the river Rovuma and assisted in establishing the Universities Mission. Through all these years he was establishing sites for missions, preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, and contributing religious and scientific articles to periodicals in England. His accounts of the atrocities of the slave-trade stirred the whole world.
13. Mrs. Livingstone Dies. After spending a year at the Cape, Mrs. Livingstone returned to England and placed her children in school. In 1862 she joined her husband in Africa, but was not with him over three months when, from the banks of the Shire, she went to be with her Lord. In all of life’s hardships and trials nothing called forth words from our hero like these, — “For the first time in my life I want to die.”
14. Last Visit to England. The following year, while exploring the region about Lake Nyassa, he was asked home by the government. He returned with the purpose of exposing the slave-trade and to obtain means to open a mission north of the Portuguese territory. His new book, “The Zambesi and Its Tributaries,” 4,800 copies of which sold the first evening it was on the market, awakened deep interest in Africa and stirred up great indignation against the Portuguese because of its revelations of their treatment of the natives.
While at home, Livingstone with his aged mother and his children, save one, had a family reunion. Robert, the absent one, had first gone to Africa to find his father. Failing, he sailed for America, enlisted in the Federal army, was wounded, taken prisoner, died in a hospital, and was buried in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Thus, while the father was giving his life for the liberty of the black man in Africa, the son gave his life for the freedom of the same race in America.
Livingstone declined to return to Africa at the direction of the Royal Geographical Society simply to determine the watershed of the continent, though every inducement was offered him, and to accomplish this would have been the crowning achievement of his explorations. To preach, heal and help the African, and not to give up his missionary purposes, was still the impelling motive of all his efforts.
15. Reverses. His equipment upon his return to Africa by way of Bombay was not as good as it should have been. Many reverses met him. His helpers proved of little help; some of his people were ill behaved, and had to be dismissed; old scenes about Lake Nyassa haunted him and disappointed hopes preyed on his mind; the inhuman cruelties of the slave trade were a constant nightmare to him. For a time he turned his attention to the watershed question, but found many hindrances. It was at this time that Musa, with some followers, forsook him and reported the explorer dead. In spite of all this he pressed forward. His medicine chest, so essential to him, disappeared; he reached Lake Tanganyika; discovered Lake Moero; afterwards Lake Bangweolo; suffered greatly from sickness, and returned to Ujiji to find his goods all gone.
16. Hardships Indeed. The next two years, July, 1869, to October, 1871, were spent in a journey from Ujiji to the river Lealaba and return, and were perhaps the saddest years of his life. He beheld the thousand villages about which Moffat told, and which caused him to give his life to Africa. He, himself, preached to thousands and tens of thousands of natives. But his strength failed him in 1871. Feet sore from ulcers; teeth falling out through sickness; weary of body and sick of heart, he lay in his hut for eighty days, longing for home, now far beyond his reach. His sole comfort and help was his Bible, which he read through four times during this period, and upon the flyleaf of which he wrote these significant words: “No letters for three years. I have a sore longing to finish and go home, if God wills.” Supplies and letters had been sent, but were intercepted by the Portuguese. The Royal Geographical Society had sent out a search, but found him not.
17. The Discoverer Discovered. Just at this moment of mystery about Livingstone’s whereabouts, James Gordon Bennett, of the New York Herald, sent Henry M. Stanley to locate the explorer “at any cost.” Almost marvelous was Stanley’s effort. Once he wrote, “No living man shall stop me. Only death can prevent me; but death, — not even this. I shall not die; I will not die; I cannot die. Something tells me that I shall find him. And I write it larger, find him, FIND HIM.” At last after forced marches he met Susi, who came to meet Stanley, and then soon the explorer himself. “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” said Stanley, as he lifted his hat. “Yes,” replied the pale, weary, grey-haired missionary. “I thank my God I am permitted to see you,” said Stanley; and to this came the reply, “I feel thankful that I am here to welcome you.”
18. Overjoy. It was a glad day for Livingstone. Letters and supplies were abundant and appreciated. He forgot his ailments and became overjoyed in this Good Samaritan act. Together the men spent four months exploring Lake Tanganyika. Stanley became a hero worshipper of his companion. Once he wrote, “I challenge any man to find a fault in his character… The secret is that his religion is a constant, earnest and sincere practice.”
19. “Forward.” Once in his early life Livingstone said, “Anywhere, providing it is forward.” Thus he was impelled even in old age. For, instead of returning with Stanley, as he well might have done and was urged to do, he made new resolve to locate the watersheds, secured new men and pressed into the interior. On March 19, 1872, when fifty-nine years old he wrote, “My birthday! My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All. I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.” But the grey-haired, footsore explorer and missionary this time went forward thru swollen rivers and dismal swamps, every day of the march being marked with dysentery and most excruciating pains. At every convenient place he would have his carriers stop and let him rest. April 29 was his last day of travel. He had reached the village of Chitambo, in Ilala, on Lake Bangweolo. Here, sick unto death, he made observations, carefully brought his journal up to date, drew maps and gave orders. How heroic was the spirit in him to the last!
20. Victory. He rested quietly on the 30th; but at four on the morning of May 1,1873, the boy who slept at Livingstone’s door wakened, beheld his master, and fearing death, called Susi. “By the candle still burning they saw him, not in bed; but kneeling at the bedside, with his head buried in his hands upon the pillow. The sad, yet not unexpected truth soon became evident; he had passed away on the furthest of all his journeys, and without a single attendant. But he had died in the act of prayer, — prayer offered in that reverent attitude about which he was always so particular; commending his own spirit, with all his dear ones as he was wont, into the hands of his Savior; and commending Africa, his own dear Africa, with all her woes and sins and wrongs, to the Avenger of the oppressed and the Redeemer of the lost.”
Words can never do justice to the noble course which his faithful servants, led by Susi, now took. They removed the heart from the body of their dead leader and buried it under a tree near where he died. They dried the body in the sun, tied it to a pole and after nine months’ march reached the coast and shipped it to England. On April 18, 1874, the remains were laid to rest, amidst greatest honors, in Westminster Abbey, London.
21. Some Results. The news of Livingstone’s death quickened the pulse-beat of the world and roused many thousands to accept his interpretation of his own efforts, “the end of the exploration is the beginning of the enterprise.” Africa became at once the favored field for missionary enterprise of almost every denomination. The Congo Free State, through the efforts of Stanley, upon whom Livingstone’s mantle fell, was agreed to by hundreds of native chiefs, and the “Great Powers at Berlin framed and ratified a constitution for the Free State, carrying out almost every principle for which Livingstone had contended.”
Chronology of Events in Livingstone’s Life
1813 Born at Blantyre, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, March 19.
1833 Real conversion took place in his life.
1836 Entered school in Glasgow.
1838 Accepted by London Missionary Society, September.
1840 Ordained missionary in Albion St. Chapel, November 20
Sailed on H.M. Ship “George” for Africa, December 8.
1841 Arrived at Kuruman, July 31.
1842 Extended tour of Bechuana country begun February 10.
1843 Located at Mabotsa, August.
1844 Marriage to Mary Moffat of Kuruman.
1846 Located at Chonuane with Chief Sechele.
1847 Moved to Kolobeng.
1848 Sechele, first convert, baptized, October 1.
1849 Lake ‘Ngami discovered, August 1.
1850 Royal Geographical Society awarded royal donation, 25 guineas.
1851 Discovered the upper Zambesi August 3.
1852 Mrs. Livingstone and four children sailed from Cape Town April 23.
1853 Journey from Linyanti to west coast, November 11 to May 31, 1854.
1854 French Geographical Society awarded silver medal;
University of Glasgow conferred degree LL.D.;
Journey from west coast back to Linyanti, September 24 to September 11, 1855.
1855 Journey from Linyanti to Quilimane on east coast, November 3 to May 20, 1856;
Royal Geographical Society awarded Patron’s Gold Medal.
1856 Arrived in London on first visit home, December 9.
1857 Freedom of cities of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and many other towns; Corresponding Member of American Geographical and Statistical Society, New York; Royal Geographical Society, London; Geographical Society of Paris; K.K. Geographical Society of Vienna; Honorary Fellow of Faculty and Physicians of Glasgow; Degree of D.C.L. by University of Oxford; elected F.H.S.; appointed Commander of Zambesi Expedition and her Majesty’s Consul at Tette, Quilimane, Senna
1858 Returned with Mrs. Livingstone to Africa, March 10.
1859 River Shire explored and Lake Nyassa discovered, September 16.
1862 Mrs. Livingstone died at Shupanga, April 27;
Explored the Yovuma River.
1864 Arrived in Bombay, June 13; London, July 23.
1866 Arrived at Zanzibar, January 28.
1867 Discovered Lake Tanganyika April.
1868 Discovered Lake Bangweolo, July 18.
1869 Arrived at Ujiji, March 14.
1871 Reached Nyangwe, March 29; returned to Ujiji a “living skeleton,” October 23.
Henry M. Stanley found him October 28.
1872 Gold Medal by Italian Geographical Society.
1873 Died in his tent at Ilala, May 1.
1874 Body buried with honors in Westminster Abbey, London, April 18.
Copied by Stephen Ross for WholesomeWords.org from Christian Heroism in Heathen Lands by Galen B. Royer. Elgin, Ill.: Brethren Publishing House, 1915.
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Desiring God Blog
God’s Word, Good Exposition, Great Joy, Much Strength
(Author: John Piper)
Here’s another reason I am joyfully committed to expository exultation, that is, preaching.
Look at this amazing statement of what biblical exposition is like when it’s done well—in the power of God’s Spirit and riveted on biblical texts.
Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people…. [T]he Levites helped the people to understand the Law…. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading…. And all the people went their way…to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Nehemiah 8:5-8,12)
First, there was a reader of the word of God. Then there were those who explained the words. Then there was true understanding in the minds of the people. Then there was great rejoicing “because they hand understood the words.”
It is astonishing to me how many pastors apparently don’t believe in pursuing the joy of their people in this way. Evidently they think it doesn’t work. I’m sure there are many reasons for this abandonment of biblical exposition.
But I simply want to wave the flag and say: There was joy then. And there is joy today when God’s people see real, divine meaning in texts that they had not seen before.
If you want to see a strong church, keep in mind that it is no accident that in this very context the writer says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
What joy? The joy of verse 12: “All the people went their way…to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.”
God’s truth followed by faithful, Spirit-anointed exposition, leads to great joy, which is the strength of God’s people. So give the sense, brothers. Give the sense!
I have been hunting the last few days. I had plenty of time outside to pray. I often prayed that God will renew me and His people!
Praying for Revival!