Preparing our hearts for the coming Revival.
On Tuesday, May 6th of this year, I had a very impacting encounter with the Lord. For a number of hours I was so overcome by the Glory and Presence of God, all I could do was shake uncontrollably and weep as I lay in a crumpled heap on the floor.
There were three distinct phases to this encounter. At first the Lord was speaking to me about my personal devotion to Him – intimacy, my heart being totally consumed by His love and loving Him in return. Secondly, the encounter shifted into where I was crying out in intercession for the anointing to impact many to love the Lord in complete devotion and to inspire them to a lifestyle of worship and prayer. The third part of the encounter focused on revelation from the Lord regarding His intention to bring revival. Specifically, He spoke to me about Toronto. (It may be helpful to note I was not in Toronto at the time of this visitation, was not thinking about Toronto and was somewhat surprised when the Lord shifted into a revelation about my city).
Part of what the Lord spoke was, “Patricia, revival is coming to Toronto. I'm coming in great glory and power. There is a move of the Spirit about to be birthed unlike anything that has been seen previously. It will look different to other revivals and it will be marked by great signs and wonders, a massive harvest of souls (particularly young people), and by a cloud of My glory that will be tangible. It will be physically seen by some and it will cover the city of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Why? Because I have willed it and because the remnant in Toronto are contending for revival and say yes to it.”
Whilst I was amazed and encouraged by these words, I was struck by the fact that there were three distinct parts to this encounter and I immediately knew they were successive and contingent upon each other – Our personal devotion, intercession and revelation of revival.
"My glory...will be tangible."
What use is revival if our hearts have grown cold? If Jesus isn’t our first love, are we truly ready to receive His Spirit in greater measure?
Learning to Lean
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
The Holy Spirit’s foremost priority is to establish the Great Commandment as first on the agenda in the Church. We must not settle only for the early stages of experiencing the love of Jesus, in which He reveals Himself to us as ‘Savior’ (who freely forgives us), as ‘Provider’ (who blesses our circumstances), and the ‘Lord of Hosts’ or Captain of the armies of heaven (who uses us in ministry in His war against darkness). He also wants us to know Him as the ‘Bridegroom King,’ who loves us with all of His heart and mind.
Song of Songs provides the blueprint for this ‘Bridegroom’ revelation. In this book, examples of testing and trial are revealed as invitations to draw closer to the Beloved.
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved.” (Song of Solomon 8:5)
Wilderness experiences are an opportunity for us to learn to rely on Jesus. May the times when we are misunderstood, maligned, or tested cause us only to love more, surrender more, press in more. Only then will the church be victorious in love – our greatest goal and privilege.
"Union with Jesus must be our life goal."
To do this, we must cultivate a “leaning heart”, one which abides in Christ. “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NIV). Union with Jesus must be our life goal. To lean on Him includes talking with, looking to, and trusting His loving leadership over our lives. Leaning involves looking to the indwelling Spirit for our source of power as we feed on God’s Word. We must not trust our self-discipline, our past victories or failures, we must trust only in the Holy Spirit as our strength. We have a natural resistance to leaning on Him and, one by one, the Lord will knock away the props that we lean on for false comfort, success, and significance so that we may be totally dependent on Him.
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” (Jeremiah. 9:23-24 NIV)
As we really give ourselves over to the Lord in love, we no longer have the primary ownership of our lives because Jesus bought us with His blood. I Corinthians 6:19-20 says it well: “...you are not your own for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” (NKJV) Therefore, for any who diligently seek to obey His leadership, He takes responsibility to intervene when they are mistreated in ways that affect their reputation, honor, money, possessions, or position of influence and impact. King David is a premier example of how to respond rightly to God in adversity. In Psalm 31, we see how David interacted with the Lord when he was being severely mistreated. By trusting God to intervene, and by refusing to retaliate, he brought God into the conflict. This was often how David engaged in spiritual warfare in personal conflicts.
"Into Your hand I commit my spirit...My times are in Your hand." (Psalm 31:5, 15 NIV)
When David “committed his spirit” into God’s hands, he was committing to God everything that deeply touched his spirit—his reputation, money, possessions, and position. He was entrusting the outcome of the most important issues in his life to God’s leadership. To commit “our times” to God is to trust His timing in answering us.
When we commit ourselves into God’s hands in times of mistreatment, we make a transaction with God to trust Him to intervene and establish His will in our lives, in His way and in His timing. This involves transferring our personal rights into His hands and, thus, transferring responsibility to Him. For example, because all our money has been committed to Him, if someone steals it, they are stealing from Him. He is responsible to intervene to get the money back in His time and His way.
The Seal of God’s Love
In Song of Solomon the Lord tells us, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel (demanding) as the grave. t's flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.” (Chapter 8: 6-7 NKJV)
"This seal is our inheritance and destiny."
God is asking us to set Him as a seal on our hearts (mind and emotions), and on our arm (ministry). In the ancient world, kings put a seal of wax on important documents. They poured melted wax, then stamped it with the king’s signet ring. The royal seal spoke of the king’s ownership, protection, and guarantee, which was backed up by the power of his kingdom. This seal is our inheritance and destiny. We must determine that this is ours to walk in. The Bride’s desire to follow after her Beloved (Song of Solomon 1:4) is fulfilled as the King seals her heart with His fiery love (Song of Solomon 8:5-7). The Song is an eight-chapter love story showing how love develops between the Bride and King. The passage consists of a command, a description, a promise, and an encouragement:
1. The command: to set Jesus as a seal of fire upon our heart and arm.
2. The description of the seal: strong or comprehensive as death.
3. The promise: nothing can quench this fiery seal of love if we yield to it.
4. The encouragement: this quality of wholehearted dedication will exhilarate our heart in love, leaving us with no regrets for giving so much of ourselves to God.
To set Jesus on our heart is to intentionally ask Him to strengthen us by His Spirit until the influences of His love are progressively imparted more to our mind, emotions, and ministry. We must invite Him. He will not force us into a relationship of voluntary love. He waits until we invite Him in the matters of our heart.
What Enhances Our Devotion?
We put Jesus as the seal on our heart by seeking Him earnestly in various ways, including: prayer, fasting, meditation on the Word, and obedience. These activities, when done in faith and with confidence in grace, position our hearts before God to freely receive more of the Spirit’s work in us. We put our cold heart before the bonfire of God’s presence by seeking Him in the Word in spirit and truth. However, it is important to stress that these activities do not earn us God’s favor. Prayer and fasting are not our seal. The power of God tenderizes and changes us, not spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines only position us to receive. They do not earn us God’s power.
The Spirit and the Bride say Come
Revelation 22:17, 20 is one of the most significant prophecies describing the end-time church,"The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”...Surely I [Jesus] am coming quickly." (NKJV) The prayer “Come, Lord Jesus!” has at least three applications:
1. Come near to us in intimacy: an individual breakthrough of my heart in God
2. Come to us in revival: a regional breakthrough of healing, revival, justice, and transformation
3. Come for us in the sky: a historic breakthrough at the second coming of Jesus
Come, Lord Jesus, come! ... And let us be ready!