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« Who Is This King of Glory? | Main | In the Presence of Jehovah »

I Hear the Rain

God will not permit human history to blot out the mention of his name. He will not suffer his eternal truths to be savaged and buried by despots or tyrants, by kingdoms or empires, by philosophers or intellectuals, by artists or militants, by princes, presidents or prime ministers, or by atheists or misguided theologians. God wants his redeemed people to worship and love him forever.

Does it seem as though the work of God has entered into long and terminal decline? Do not fear. At some point, through some era, by some means, he will revive the mention of his name and kindle the fires of revival The work of God is both sovereign and universal. He exercises complete and total authority over his creation, and he coordinates and orchestrates his work everywhere at the same time.

There is no question that America wallows in the depths of sin and infidelity. It is not escaping the attention of scholars either.

Atheism and its Link to Bad Dads

How long was it after you started college that you heard that first attack on your faith? Unless you attend a religiously-oriented school, it probably didn’t take long.  Maybe it happened in your Freshman English Lit class, where the professor—so careful to respect the beliefs of every other student (including the one who thinks he’s Elvis reincarnated)—made a point of ridiculing belief in the Christian God.  Or maybe it happened in Biology 101, where the professor contemptuously dismissed anyone stupid enough to believe a bunch of creationist myths.  If you took a class in women’s studies, you likely heard that Christianity is a patriarchal religion designed to oppress any woman fool enough to join it.

Of course, not all attacks on faith come from professors. You might have tried to witness to your new roommate—only to have him dismiss your faith as a “crutch” for the weak. Or you may have opened the school newspaper, only to see a letter viciously attacking the school for allowing a theologian to speak on campus.

If you think these attacks appear to be more common on campus than off, you’re right. Atheists do tend to congregate there. And the reason they reject the Judeo-Christian God with such passion is the subject of a fascinating new book by Paul Vitz.

Vitz is a psychologist, and until he was in his late thirties, he was an atheist himself (He’s now a Roman Catholic). In his book, Faith of the Fatherless (Spence, 1999) Vitz says he began to wonder why America—a country that was essentially an atheist-free zone until the late nineteenth century—has become one in which “the presumption of atheism” defines public life. “The rejection of God in our schools is just one small example of the triumph of atheism,” Vitz notes. Atheists have been wildly successful in promoting the assumption “that belief in God is based on all kinds of irrational, immature needs and wishes, whereas atheism or skepticism flows from a rational, grown-up, no-nonsense view of things as they really are.”

Even though well over 90 percent of us tell the pollsters we believe in God, “references to God in public discourse have become extremely uncommon; we have become a nation of public and practical atheists,” Vitz says. “This social condition has been well described by Richard John Neuhaus as the ‘naked public square.’”

Well, if the public square is naked, then the average college campus is a veritable nudist colony. Serious references to God in scholarly writing is considered “taboo,” Vitz says. In fact, he adds, bringing God up in any way “would bring the legitimacy of one’s scholarship into question.”

How did this state of affairs come about? Until just a few decades ago, America ‘s public square was on the best-dressed list, religiously speaking. As Vitz observes, no other culture in history has manifested such a widespread public rejection of the divine—while at the same time boasting a citizenry that stubbornly persists in clinging to private belief in the Almightly.

“That such a rejection of God should have triumphed is quite remarkable—even bizarre” in a country that is seriously religious,” Vitz says. How did atheists become so good at controlling publicly “acceptable” views about God—especially on college campuses? That’s what Vitz wanted to know. He began his study in the same place atheists began: by examining the psychology of belief.

Atheists, of course, have long considered belief in God nothing more than infantile wish fulfillment. They disdain religion as an illusion we poor schmucks made up to satisfy unconscious needs.

But, Vitz wondered, what if the shoe’s on the other foot? Suppose it’s the atheists who are engaging in unconscious wish fulfillment? (Anna Morse in Boundless Magazine, January 2000.)

As we study the scriptures, we cannot escape the conclusion that God has a plan for revival.

Habakkuk 3:2-4 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.

Isaiah 64:1-2 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

This coming of God takes on more specific dimensions in Joel.

Joel 2:28-29 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

God uses metaphors that we can all understand that shed light on the nature and effects of a heaven-sent revival:

Acts 3:19-20 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

Evidently, God wants us to see revival as a long-awaited rain that comes at the end of a drought. Every face is turned toward heaven, every eye searches the sky, every heart jumps at the feintest cloud formation in hopes of a few drops of water to refresh the ground.

Jesus kept hinting and forecasting a greater outpouring of power.

John 1:50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

The prophets not only encouraged the people to ask for revival rain, they commanded them to pray for it.

Zechariah 10:1. Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

Whenever revival did not visit the people of God, there were tragic consequences. Almost every time the knowledge of God fell off to nothing in the history of Israel, a corresponding influx of idolatry and paganism took place.

Judges 2:7-13 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. 11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

There comes a time when revival, as a sovereign act of God breaks forth and nothing can stop it. We soon find out that we have been sitting next to or on top of a mighty and forceful move of God.

“A reservoir in the hills supplied a village community with water. It was fed by a mountain stream, and the overflow from the reservoir continued down the stream-bed to the valley below. This stream never attracted any attention or gave the villagers any trouble. One day, however, some large cracks appeared in one of the walls of the old reservoir. Soon afterwards, the wall collapsed, and the water came cascading down the hillside. Great trees were rooted up, boulders tossed about like playthings, houses and bridges destroyed. What had before been taken for granted now became an object of awe, wonder and fear. From far and near, people came to see what had happened.” Arthur Wallis

Isaiah 59:19 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.

What can we determine about the initial outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost and the subsequent revival that caught fire among the Jewish people of Jerusalem and Judea?

1. There was a certain time in which God ordained it to happen.
2. The people of God were with one accord and in one place.
3. It was a sudden event.
4. There were sounds from heaven.
5. It was likened to wind.
6. It was likened to fire.
7. It touched every person present.
8. The people were filled (turned over the control of the Spirit)
9. There were tongues and other manifestations of spiritual power.
10. It drew a curious crowd.
11. The truth was preached to the people.
12. There was great conviction.
13. People repented.
14. People were baptized in the name of Jesus.
15. People were filled with the Holy Ghost.
16. There were many souls added to the church. (Added means that they entered into a relationship with each other after they experienced their personal Pentecost.)
17. They were discipled.
18. They began to live differently.
19. They exalted Jesus Christ as Lord.
20. They went everywhere as witnesses of the gospel.

Is there a revival in the making today? (Read growth statistics of the UPCI presented at the General Board meeting in January of 2000.)
We have every right to expect God to continue his revival ways!
Revival will not come at the expense of true holiness, doctrinal purity or Apostolic spirituality.

Sister Tenney attended a Prayer Coordinators Convention of denominational leaders. Peter Wagner was there. (Probably the most influential person in denominational circles today in the matters of church growth and prayer.) Sis. Tenney was sitting at a round table talking with people. Peter Wagner came over and introduced her to those sitting there. He cited the facts about the UPCI, and praised it to the people. He told of the oneness, baptism in Jesus name, tongues, holiness. Sis. Tenney was asked what she believed …

At another conference…Dutch Sheets. Man came over and said the Lord told him to do this. He took Sis. Tenney’s hair clip out and her hair fell to her waist. Everyone in the room caught their breath. Said, Look at this beautiful woman and she doesn’t have an ounce of makeup on.”  He said Sis. Tenney was pure seed and ssked her to tell of old-time pentecost.  They can sense a difference and there is a hunger for the real thing! 


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