The universal Church of Jesus Christ undoubtedly lives in a seemingly difficult time of unprecedented crisis, plagues, calamities, uprisings and wars. Looking with physical eyes, it is easy to fear and be anxious about the future. In fact, in ignorance, some may reminisce the good old days and wish that they never lived at such a time.
Countries that for many years knew financial freedom today grapple with decline in economic growth, non-performing financial markets, high inflation, deteriorating currency value, unmanageable debt and heightened levels of unemployment. Humanly speaking, life is difficult. According to a study done by Princeton University in 2015, there is an epidemic of hopelessness in the globe. Among the countries examined (Australia, Canada, Sweden, UK, Sweden and France), increased deaths are not as a result of lifestyle diseases but rather as a result of suicide and drug/ alcohol overdoses.
Though there has been commendable breakthroughs in medicine, people’s physical and emotional health is wanting. Ruthless claws of viral/ bacterial outbreaks and cancer have devoured man and left many families in agony. Health care has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and in many countries, it is only concerned with the rich and has lost its humane face. The vulnerable in the society, orphans, widows, strangers, physically challenged and the poor are unable to raise often exhorbitant prices quoted for their treatment.
Wars and civil strife have befallen many nations, and the number of refugees globally are at the highest record in history. According to UNHCR report 2019, 70.8 million people have been displaced from their homes, and 25.9 million of them are refugees. Sadly, one (1) person is forcibly displaced in the world every two seconds, due to conflict or persecution. Consider the children born in countries that have been in war for more than a decade. Consider the trauma they have experienced by seeing dead bodies and hearing the sounds of explosions and guns, day in and day out. Consider the emotional wounds and pain borne by women for loss of husbands to war, and sufferings of rape and other forms of sexual defilement. Consider the groaning and agony of a husband separated from his wife and children, never to see them again.
Increased Islamic extremism has enslaved many and caused a great shedding of blood globally. Consider the 7,328 people who died in Afghanistan as a result of terrorism activities, in year 2018. Consider the over 10,000 people killed by Taliban and ISIL (only two terror groups) in year 2018. Consider the people maimed and under-age girls betrothed in marriage to rebels in Northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad by Boko Haram. Countries re-known for advanced security systems have also not been spared by the scourge of terrorism. Far-right terrorism has increased in the West especially in Western Europe, North America and Oceania cumulatively recording a 320 percentage rise (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2019).
According to Open Doors USA, in year 2019, 260 million Christians lived in places where they experienced high levels of persecution. 2,983 Christians were killed for their faith (this captures only the recorded incidences so the actual number is likely to be higher). 3,711 believers were arrested, detained and sentenced in prison without trial. These are not mere figures, they are children of God, dyeing, often for their faith.
The comfort however is that these occurrences have not caught God by surprise. In fact, these occurrences are foretold in Scripture and are birth pains for the end of time.
Matthew 24:6-8 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
In spite of the darkness that has filled the earth, looking with spiritual eyes, it is an exciting time for believers to be alive. It is a great moment for the manifestation of God’s glory in the earth. The solution of earth’s turmoils does not lie in a world leader who will unify humanity; it is not in better economic management (as important as this may be); it is not in any human intervention. The solution of our time lies in God and God alone. The manifestation of God’s glory in the earth in tangible, unprecedented measures is what the nations and the kings of the earth need.
Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Revival is when God comes in manifest glory and inhabits the earth. Revival is when great fear of God captures the hearts of men, and great conviction by the Spirit makes even the hardest of hearts to break down before God in repentance. Revival is when the Spirit of the Lord is released upon the earth like a pent-flood and raises a standard against the devil. Revival is when God comes.
Isaiah 59:19-20 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. (King James Version) Isaiah 59: 19-20 From the west, men will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-flood that the breath of the Lord drives along. The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins, …. (NIV Version)
Looking at past revivals, I can only anticipate what God has in store for the End-time revival, considering that the glory of the latter church is foretold to be greater than that of the former. Revival is not an out of this world phenomena that happens without man’s involvement. On the contrary, revival begins with and flows through men and women set apart for God. God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11) thus God uses the vessels available to be carriers of revival, irrespective of their social status, level of learning, denomination, tribe or race.
In the Welsh revival that started in 1904, God used coblers (e.g. Smith Wigglesworth), coal miners (e.g. Stephen Jeffreys) and gifted writers (e.g. Donald Gee). People from all walks of life, surrendered to God and hungry for Him, were used as carriers of revival. Smith Wigglesworth (1859- 1947), a man who was taught by his wife how to read and write is referred to as an apostle of faith, because he positioned himself as a carrier of revival in his generation. Stephen Jeffreys, a man who started working at the mines at the age of 12 years became one of the greatest evangelists of the 20th century and is quoted saying, “I want to go all the way with the Lord and He will make me a flame of fire.”
Donald Gee (1891-1966), serving as a principal of a bible college left an indelible imprint on the lives of young men and women, and authored a globally read book, “Wind and Flame”. Howard Carter (1891- 1971) a man imprisoned for eight years for being a conscientious objector during the World War I, became a great prophetic teacher and dedicated his life to one mission- the will of God. Harold Horton (1881- 1969), a song writer, was baptized in the Spirit and his talent reached new heights to impact the nations with anointed hymns and praises.
Similarly, the Azusa Street revival started by a meeting held in 1906 in Los Angeles, California. William J. Seymour, an African American preacher led the revival. William, born to liberated slave parents, was a man raised in abject poverty in Louisiana. Since God knows no human limitations, He chose to use this man with no glamorous background and no impressive profile in religious circles to be the carrier of revival in his generation.
Think also of Lester Frank Sumrall (1913- 1996), a Louisiana “bad boy” who encountered Christ in his death bed and was transformed to a carrier of good news to the nations. God used him to impact the nations with his evangelism, healing and deliverance ministry. With no theology training, Lester was ordained a minister of the gospel when spiritual leaders in his church saw how God was using him to bring many lost people to the Lord.
These men, ordinary from a human assessment, were greatly used of God. However, the revival story is not merely about them for they were only conduits through which the revival floods flowed. The revival story is about the glory of God that became manifest in an unprecedented manner as these ordinary men availed themselves to be carriers of revival. This glory resulted to hundred upon hundreds of men coming to the Lord within a few months of preaching the gospel in a region. This glory led to the sick being healed; signs and wonders confirmed the preaching of the Word. This glory led to such great conviction upon men and women that pubs closed and prisons recorded a decline in convicts. This glory led to the church walking in the apostolic and prophetic grace, influencing governments and taking over territories for Christ. This glory, is the glory of the Risen Christ!
The fruitfulness of their ministries was not attributed to much study or natural giftedness; it was purely attributed to the anointing. This is similar to the impact of encountering Christ that the apostles of Christ experienced. John describes the encounter this way: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
It is with no doubt that the apostles were transformed to their core by the glory of Christ that they beheld for the three years that they related with Him closely. This transformation is evident in the fruitfulness of their ministries and in the spirit of their minds. Additionally, they became dynamites for Christ when on the day of Pentecost, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. The fulfillment of Joel 2:28-29 had come, which is the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon all flesh. Consequently, the world was turned up side down!
Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:47b And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. Acts 5:11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Acts 14:3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord; who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.
One of the greatest blessings for today’s believers is that we live at the appointed time when God is planning to open the flood gates of heaven and pour upon hearts of men and women His Spirit in a new measure, for End-time revival. You and I have an invaluable opportunity to be carriers of revival. I am overjoyed by the prophetic word for the East Africa region and particularly the nation of Kenya, which God intends to honor with the blessing of revival. These revival floods shall flow from the East of Africa to the nations of the world.
What must you and I do to be carriers of revival? Firstly, we must position ourselves in righteousness (be in right standing with God). We must hate sin and love holiness. We must not waver between two opinions. The times we live in are such that they demand that you and I decide on whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Those who sit on the fence will ultimately suffer in the hands of the devil, for compromised living. You and I can no longer be double minded and survive the perilous times. It is either you are for God or against God. It is either you are on the Lord’s side or not. The battle lines have been drawn in the spiritual realm. The forces of darkness against the angels of God. Victory belongs to The Risen Christ!
Isaiah 59:20 The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins
Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord
Secondly, revival is ushered in through prayer because spiritual things are first birthed in the spirit before they are manifested in the flesh. God is looking for men and women who will labour in the Spirit until they birth forth end-time revival. Such labouring in prayer requires separation; it requires an adjustment of priorities; it requires a mind set on Jesus. Sadly, some believers are so obsessed by worldly affairs that they can hardly perceive of the times and understand what they ought to do.
1 Chronicles 12:32 From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do ….
Isaiah 62:6-7 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.
If you have ears to hear, you will hear what God is saying to the Church in this season. The message is important and central in God’s agenda for the church that He is using various people and occurrences to communicate the message of revival and the need for consecration of the church. The Spirit is bidding us to non-casual seeking of God’s face.
If you are keen, you will perceive a beckoning to the secret place, for Christ desires to reveal His glory to you. The Father is ready! Jesus is ready! The Spirit is ready! You and I need to prepare to usher in revival. It is at the place of prayer that this preparation takes place; this is where a divine surgery is undertaken on my heart to give me a new heart, broken and contrite before God. It is at the place of prayer that the fire of God burns away the chaff and makes me a flame of fire for God.
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Thirdly, we must wait in faith for revival as watchmen appointed by God over our nations. We must believe that God is willing and able to revive us, for without faith it is impossible to please God. We must believe that God is a Rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). He is a Good Father. He will release the floods of revival to flow through those who ask.
Luke 11:11-13 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
As Simeon and Anna received a revelation about the birth of the Messiah and prayerfully waited for its fulfillment (Luke 2:21-38), so God requires that we wait in faith for the coming revival revealed to us through His Spirit. I am availing my self to be used in the End-time revival. I want to be a part of what God is doing. I want to partner with God for fulfillment of His Word in our times. I dare not insist on my agenda. I dare not superimpose my plans to His. I submit to Him and position my self in the righteousness that is mine in Christ Jesus; I choose to pray and wait in faith until revival is birthed forth in my nation. To God be all glory, forever and ever, Amen!