ISAIAH 58:11-12: “And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.  And your ancient ruins will be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of [buildings that have laid waste for] many generations; and you shall be called Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell in.”
Acts 3:19-21: “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord.  And that He may send [to you] the Christ (the Messiah), Who before was designated and appointed for you–even Jesus.  Who heaven must receive [and retain] until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past [from the most ancient time in the memory of man].”
“The American Church Today is not Healthy”–
Many people have agreed with this statement and other concepts such as: “Too many churches imitate the trends of secular society.” One respected researcher said, “Christians in America are hardly distinguishable from unbelievers.” And on many occasions in the past, I have agreed with the consensus.
But when I was reading the two referenced verses in Isaiah and the Book of Acts, God spoke to my heart saying, Have HOPE, for Springtime is Coming even thought it looks like Winter. His Word reveals His plans for the spiritual restoration of the Church as we know it today.
“Springtime IS Coming”–God’s Heart for His Church and His People–
NOTICE the key words that God uses:
*…the ancient ruins
* raising up…
*…the age-old foundations
* repairing that which is broken
If you have fallen into the same trap I’ve found myself in, seeking a bleak future for the Lord’s Church, I want to bring the relief I found from God’s Word in this wrong thinking.
A Heart That Has Found Optimism–A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places.
I want to fill your hearts, as mine was filled by the Holy Spirit–in what you might now be experiencing in your Christian church life.
The 7- Ways the Lord wants to guide us in:
Smith Wigglesworth once said, “The heritage of the Church is to be so equipped with (the Holy Spirit’s) power that God can lay His hand upon any member, at any time to do His perfect will.” Now that is OPTIMISM!
1. The Lord wants to satisfy your soul.
2. The Lord strengthens you = ‘make fat your bones’
3. Like a well-watered garden…
4. Rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities…
5. Lay foundations for future generations…
6. A Rebuild er of walls…
7. Restorer of homes…
Spring-water in a place where the waters of the Lord flow:
To make fat your bones and strengthen you for the work ahead!
TIMES OF REFRESHING:
The verses quoted in Acts 3:19-21 clearly show God’s heart for His people and for His Church with spiritual restoration. Notice the key words and similarities God uses in Isaiah 58 and Acts 3:
* rebuilding...the ancient ruins.
* raising up…the age-old foundations.
* repairing that which is broken.
HEART-FELT OPTIMISM IN EMPTY PLACES:
If you have fallen into the trap in seeking a bleak future for God’s Church in our time, I want to bring the same relief I experienced from ‘wrong thinking’ in what you might be seeing–to a full life in the emptiest of places.
God intends that His people participate (that’s us!)– in His plans for our lives in rebuilding and raising up age-old foundations; repairing the things that are broken down
“Your people will rebuild…and will raise up…” (Isaiah 58:12).
“You will be called a Repairer…Restorer (vs. 12).
If you think that the Church in materialistic America lies in ruins today, then know this–GOD intends to “rebuild the ancient ruins and …raise up the age-old foundations (vs. 12).
I believe , as perhaps I’ve never before pondered, spiritual restoration is coming to the Church today! Let’s look together at some Biblical teaching likely to be seen in God’s time of refreshing and restoration.
–Widespread, heartfelt repentance and a hungering and thirsting for righteousness and personal holiness.
“Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter replied, “Repent”… (Acts 2:37-38).
“Blessed and fortunate and spiritually prosperous are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied” (Matthew 5:6 AMP).
EXPECT TO SEE THINGS IN OUR DAY!
–A renewed, mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
Multitudes being baptized in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, moving mightily in God’s power.
“And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]” (Acts 2:4 AMP).
Don’t let the Church be robbed of this blessing. Contrary to what some might have been told, this is for the Church today just as it was in the first century. Jesus Christ, the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), is “the same yesterday and today and forever.”
“Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages)” (Hebrews 13:8).
EXPECT IT, BELIEVE IT, AND LOOK FOR IT!
Expect to see the manifestation of the glory of God in the Church–“To Him be glory in the church…” (Ephesians 3:21). Expect and believe God for dramatic manifestations and supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit which is the real sense of God’s presence in our midst.
You might be thinking right now, you just can’t believe, to grab hold of and expect that type of manifestation. And that’s okay. I once felt and believed in the same way. And then one day in 2005, I was given a choice by God: ‘Take the “Red Pill” or take the “Blue Pill” [CHOICE: I Choose “The Red Pill” –The WORD DETECTIVE blog of 05/09/11].
The early church of the Book of Acts was indeed a glorious church. Believe along with me for the same in our day–(Habakkuk 3:2).
The gifts of the Holy spirit are for today! Don’t relegate them to “time has past” or only to the Pentecost recording in Acts 2.
–Anticipate a renewed hunger for the word of God, the Bible!
“Now the brethren at once sent Paul and Silas away…to Beroea… Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble…they were entirely ready and accepted and welcomed the message...with inclination of mind and eagerness, searching and examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:10-11).
In the remarkable charismatic move peaking in the 1970s, millions of young people carried their Bibles with them–to church, to coffeehouses (no Starbucks back then), wherever they went. They joined Bible studies, many attended Bible schools and they hungered and thirsted for God’s Word.
I expect to see in our current day a restoration, a spiritual hunger renewed for God’s holy word among the youth, the elderly, in every segment of society. Expect a new generation of “Bereans”, ‘receiving the word with ALL readiness of mind and searching the Scriptures daily.’
VISUALIZE A GENERATION ARISING:
Colossians 1:18 says in the NIV translation, “…so in everything He might have the supremacy”.
Picture a nation where JESUS is honored and His name is heard in reverence rather than in cursing and the Church bought by His blood is once again the most influential institution [“organism”, not “organization”] in the land. “Organism” is a living and breathing thing, where as an “organization” is an “arrangement”; “make-up“; “texture”. These things have happened in time past. Can you and I believe God to see these transpire once again in the land, our communities?
Expect to See…
Widespread acceptance of, and many moving into the full “fivefold” ministry, as well as biblically qualified elders and deacon. God has prepared His people:
“And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church)” (Ephesians 4:11-12 AMP).
The Church has been handicapped for too long in rejection of contemporary apostles and prophets. I know this personally, since this is what I had been taught by well-meaning men and had accepted the information given as fact rather than the Berean Approach: “searching and examining the Scriptures”.
It will take all five of the listed ministries to “prepare God’s people for works of service” He desires that we do. Now are there false apostles and prophets today? Certainly. There were such in the early church. But don’t let that discourage you from embracing ALL these needed ministries JESUS placed in His church and the duration of the Church Age!
ANTICIPATE A RESTORATION OF TOTALLY “SELLING OUT” TO THE LORD:
[Peter to Jesus] “Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee, what shall we have therefore?” (Matthew 19:27 KJV).
“And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42 NAS).
Christian researchers today–George Barna–in seeing the emergence of a growing body of Christian believers, compared to the complacent with the tabbed “revolutionaries”– who are no more satisfied with the “status quo”; they want A Full Life in Christ. They have a passion for JESUS; a determination to serve Him fully, no matter the cost.
May a renewed passion for the Lord sweep through ALL our hearts and across this land–our cities, our communities, our churches.
AS IN THE TEMPLE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
May it be said of the New Testament “temple” (that is, the church), that “the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…” ~ Haggai 2:9.
Be looking for; be on watch for; expect the spiritual restoration of bringing the Church of our day back to even surpassing the glory we read of in the first century church. Springtime is coming! Let this be our prayer:
“O Lord, I have heard the report of You and was afraid, O Lord,
revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst
of the years make [Yourself ] known!”