DebAuthor.com - Reflections
Story by Debra K. Matthews
Welcome! Here's an amazing story about something the Lord promised to do soon, in sending revival and a spiritual awakening not only to America, but all over the whole world.
God's Revival Fires Are Ready To Burst Forth
Copyright © 2018 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved
I was reading a book last year about an amazing series of miracles that happened in something called The Azusa Revival, from 1906 to 1909. The first thing that amazed me was that the miracles were just like the amazing ones Jesus performed in his own ministry almost two thousand years ago. That thrilled me because even though Jesus had prophesied that his followers would do the same works he did and even greater works, it was something we weren't seeing in modern times, except occasionally.
The second thing that amazed me was that the person who had recommended the book said that whenever she read chapters of it to her congregation, people started getting healed just hearing about the miracles. From a Biblical standpoint, that's actually perfectly scriptural. In the healing parable in the Bible, Jesus said if people did certain things, he would heal them instantly as well, and he went on to tell them how to avoid the things that hinder such healing.
As I read through the Azusa Revival stories, thrilling at some of the amazing miracles, and especially how in the Azusa Revival services God used anyone whose heart was open, from the very young to the older folks praying for individuals and seeing the amazing healings, my heart was especially moved. Among other things I'm a team builder at heart, and any time I see people working together it thrills my heart greatly.
As I read the first of the books, I had a picture keep popping into my mind, like a daydream. That may sound odd to you, but it's scriptural for God to sometimes give a person a picture, and as someone once said, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I thought it was sort of odd that this particular picture came to my mind. It was something I learned back in the seventies, from a search and rescue class. I thought my mind was wandering, so I dismissed it. It came to me a number of times as I read or thought about the Azusa Revival miracles, and then this year when I got the books out again, it kept coming to me again -- and again I dismissed it.
One of the troubling things I read was how the fellow who wrote the book got his stories. It wasn't about how he 'sat at the feet of the old Azusa saints' and listened to their stories. As a teacher, I love to tell Bible stories to my students, and I also like to keep a child-like faith and joy in hearing the stories in God's Word. What troubled me most was how often he talked about how the old saints bemoaned the end of the miracles.
You might think, "Debra, why is that troubling to you?" It's because when I was very young in the ministry, God gave me a vision of His heart, and His deep longing to do amazing things in the lives of all people, all over the world. I didn't know at the time of reading the Azusa Street stories why the revival had stopped, and especially why the fire from heaven had stopped (yes, literal fire that neighbors, police and the fire department saw with their physical eyes coming from heaven onto the building that housed the revival when the greatest miracles were happening).
It troubled me because I know God wants the same awesome miracles to happen today. In fact, He is literally calling the churches to come back to being that place where the lost and hurting can find his love and healing touch.
At first I kept thinking, "Why did it end, Lord?" Then I started hearing about different people prophesying that it would start again in about a hundred years, and this time it would continue until Jesus comes to take the church out of the world before the seven year tribulation period foretold in the book of Revelation.
Then, the picture came to my mind, and I dismissed it again.
As I thought about the revival, I began to think about the fact that many great ministries that exist today actually began during the Azusa Revival. Their founders came to Azusa and learned how to walk in the power of God, so in that sense, the miracles haven't stopped. We just don't hear about them as big as they were then.
Having experienced the heart of God in my youth, it still troubled me thinking about the revival's not continuing on, and I wondered why the hundred year prophecy. I had the thought come to me about the Bible saying that one day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. I did the math and, even though there isn't really 'time' in heaven, the 108 years since the Azusa revival ended is barely 2.59 hours in the eyes of heaven! So, in heaven's eyes, it has just been a blink in time since Azusa ended.
Then the picture came to me again.
Imagine a very large open field and a group of students in fatigue uniforms breaking camp. All the campfires were put out within the last few hours, but one is still 'hot' -- one that hadn't been built properly to start with. It has a bit of smoke still coming from it because that particular cadet didn't drown it with enough water to be sure it was completely out.
About a hundred yards away is a single very tall evergreen tree. Far beyond that, all around the large field is a massive forest of evergreen trees. It looks a little odd to have just this one tree in the center, all by itself.
The cadets and their officers are busy taking down their tents and packing up their gear, loading it in the assembled trucks. It has probably been a couple hours since they first started breaking down camp. Without any warning whatsoever, the entire lone tree -- a football field away from camp -- suddenly bursts into flames. The entire tree, from bottom to top, and all the branches are completely engulfed in flames.
This is the story that was told to me in my first search and rescue training class in Civil Air Patrol. I don't know how they got the fire out, but they did. The point of the class was to tell us about the particular forest we would be training in.
Centuries of giant old trees, dying and falling crisscross on top of each other over hundreds or thousands of years, had created a very dangerous forest floor. Once, while searching for a missing plane, we actually found one that had gone down years before. It had hit the ground and buried itself in the unsteady rotting ground. It was only because the ground had been settling that the plane could eventually be seen again. Hikers in parts of the deeper forest have to be careful to stay on built up paths. If you took even one step off the path, you could drop through and be lost way below.
So, why did the tree suddenly burst into flames? It turns out there is plenty of oxygen in the unstable earth in this region, as well as lots of old sap roots in the ground. You may have heard that you don't want to burn Christmas trees, because their sap can explode. During the couple hours since the cadet had failed to put out his poorly built campfire, the fire had smoldered underground traveling slowly along a 'trail' of enough old pitchy stuff to reach the distant tree. The heat had traveled up the tree and when the conditions were right, with plenty of surrounding air, it had burst into flames.
You may ask, "What does that have to do with the Azusa Revival fire? Big deal, it was just another fire."
Well, I know the Lord and the 'picture is worth a thousand words' thing. This time I pondered the picture that kept coming up whenever I thought about the Azusa Revival ending.
Remember in the book of Jeremiah in the Bible when God asked the prophet a couple times what he saw and Jeremiah answered? Once Jeremiah answered, God began to talk to him. I asked the Lord what he was trying to show me. This time, the picture 'pulled back' and I saw not just the forest that surrounded the original field, but it was as if God was showing me the forest throughout the whole globe.
"I see it, Lord! I see it", I said in amazement.
I had felt bad that the Azusa fire had supposedly ended. Instead, the Lord showed me a sort of 'spiritual' web of fires traveling underground like a massive web of roots glowing like hot lava, fanning out to places all over the entire world. God showed me that in a spiritual sense, the Azusa fire has NOT died out after all.
The Bible compares our hearts to soil. Like the tree in the picture in my mind that had burst into flames under the right conditions, all over the world today -- RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT -- are hundreds of thousands of underground 'trails of fire' that have grown in hearts everywhere as we've been reading about the Azusa stories. These spiritual 'trails' being awakened and lit in our hearts as we've read the Azusa stories are building in churches and individuals whose hearts are opening, longing and praying for the fire of God's power.
God Himself is waiting for the conditions in hearts to be ready and then the revival flames will burst forth again -- all over the world -- this time in the greater works Jesus said will happen.
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Moved from DebraMatthews.com to DebAuthor.com March 15, 2018