Brokenness and Revival: The Perfect Blend of Heat and Sweet

Are brokenness and revival new to you? If so, taste the perfecting blend God brings of heat and sweet through these life-changing Truths. Jean Wilund via Revive Our Hearts ministry.


This post first appeared on Revive Our Hearts.


Introducing someone to brokenness and revival can be like introducing them to sushi.

“Here, eat this seaweed-wrapped raw fish draped over gummy rice with a swipe of green mustard so hot it will clear the nostrils of your descendants. You’re gonna love it.”

“Hmmm . . . Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take the chicken.”

As unappealing as sushi looked and sounded, I tried it. The wasabi lit up the lining of my nasal passages, but once my senses returned, I loved it. Now I long for sushi, but I’m wise to the heat of wasabi.

Likewise, once I tasted the lingering sweetness of revival, despite the fire of brokenness, I loved it. Now I long for continuous./revival. But I’m wise to the heat of brokenness.

I first learned about these two biblical truths at a women’s conference where Nancy Wolgemuth was speaking. Before that weekend, I thought brokenness was only the tragic condition of the world—a bunch of broken people in need of prayer and therapy.

I thought revival involved shouting preachers under tents in summertime and crowds of people cooling themselves with paper fans adorned with funeral home advertisements. But Nancy explained what the Bible teaches, which changed my perspective on these two powerful truths.

Bring on the Heat: Brokenness

  • Brokenness isn’t about living in a world of broken people who are to be pitied and added to our prayer lists. It’s about recognizing that we’re more wretched than we realized and ruled by more pride than we imagined (Jer. 17:9Ps. 10:4Eph. 2:1–3).
  • Brokenness isn’t a state of hopeless despair. It’s the path out of despair and through the grace and forgiveness of Christ into an unhindered relationship with God (Ps. 51:771:20).
  • Brokenness isn’t something that involuntarily happens to us. It’s an intentional choice we make to die to our persistent sins and stubborn pride and to surrender it all to the will of God (Ps. 139:23–24Eph. 4:22–24).
  • Brokenness isn’t a one-and-done moment. It’s a moment-by-moment choice to repent and live in a manner worthy of our calling in Christ (Matt. 3:8Eph. 5:8–9).
  • Brokenness is the painful, but faithful path to true joy and peace (Acts 3:19–202 Cor. 7:10).

Bring on the Sweet: Revival

  • Revival isn’t something we can do to ourselves. It’s a supernatural work of God’s Spirit within a heart that’s chosen to embrace brokenness before Him (Ps. 119:2569:32Isa. 57:15).
  • Revival isn’t a step or a process. It’s the divine flow of mercy and blessings into a heart that’s free to live transparent before the Lord and others (Ps. 24:3–532:1–2).
  • Revival is the Holy Spirit raising your heart out of the grave of unrepentance and releasing it into the joy and peace of resurrection life (Rom. 6:4John 11:25–26).

I Once Was Blind but Now I See

The more I learned, the more I began to see the layers of insidious pride tucked into every corner of my heart. It burned my conscience with enough heat to make wasabi jealous. I longed for the cool of revival. My pride longed for Nancy to stop exposing it and go home. But it was too late. I’d heard too much. I once was blind to the breadth and depth of my pride, but now I saw it—in blinding Technicolor.

  • I saw how my disappointment over letting my friends down wasn’t actually based on a holy desire to be faithful but on a determination to appear perfect. Ouch.
  • I recognized my eagerness to share my thoughts during Bible study was less about wanting to impart helpful truths and more about wanting to display my newfound biblical knowledge and correcting others’ errors. Gulp.
  • I realized my unforgiveness toward my ex-friend wasn’t an inability to forgive, but a lack of desire to. I could forgive. I just didn’t want to—at least not until after she’d earned my forgiveness by throwing herself at my feet and experiencing as much pain as she’d caused me. Ugh.

Open Heart Surgery

With the gentle hands of a skilled surgeon, God’s Spirit pierced my heart and exposed my inner thoughts and true intentions. My heart lay open before me, and it reeked. Pride had spread like a cancer and produced a heart more set against God than I’d ever imagined. Hadn’t I devoted myself to knowing and loving God? Hadn’t I studied the Bible to be a faithful Christian?

And yet . . .

  • All the times I went my own way, I declared that I knew better than God how to run my life, that I could be a better God than He.
  • All the times I couldn’t live without my children’s love, a perfect marriage, or the fulfillment of my dreams, I made idols out of them and worshipped them rather than the One who’d saved my soul and given me life.
  • All the times I complained about my circumstances and my heart shook its fist at God, I told Him He had failed me and hadn’t been good to me.
  • All the times I kept silent about the Lord when I knew I should speak, I declared that my personal comfort mattered more than God and His glory or other people’s needs and souls.

I saw myself as if for the first time in a mirror—my true self, and it testified to the Truth.

  • Our hearts are more deceitful and evil than we can imagine (Jer. 17:9).
  • None of us does good (Rom. 3:10–12).
  • Even our best deeds are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).

Without Christ ruling my heart, I would move from one prideful decision to the next. We all would. We’d all remain deluded and ruled by our pride, convinced we’re not that bad—we’re not like her. Game. Set. Match.

Joy Comes in the Mourning

The putridness of my pride and sin knocked me to my knees. I cried out to God like King David. 

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Ps. 51:4)

As I bowed my head in humbled mourning, the comfort of God’s Word lifted me out of my despair.

  • The Lord will never reject a repentant heart (Ps. 51:17).
  • His mighty hand lifts up the humbled soul at the proper time (1 Peter 5:6).
  • Our weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning (Ps. 30:5).

Yes, God promises that joy comes with the morning, but I have also found that in the case of brokenness, it comes with mourning—and repentance.

With a heart fully broken before the Lord, I confessed and repented of my sins and surrendered all to Him and His perfect will. Even before Amen crossed my lips, revival flooded into my heart. Freedom and joy washed over me.

I desired to walk this path forever. I wish I could say the same for my pride. It continues its lifelong quest to stage a comeback. And because it’s a tricky fellow and I’m a justified but unglorified sinner, it’s been hugely successful at times. But I’m determined to choose brokenness every day. Every moment. The surpassing peace and joy of revival tastes too sweet, and pride too bitter, to do otherwise. But above that, my God—the God of all grace and righteousness—deserves nothing less.

Go Ahead. Taste It. You’re Gonna Love it.

Are brokenness and revival new to you? If so, I encourage you to taste the perfecting blend God brings of heat and sweet through these life-changing Truths.

Perhaps you’ve embraced brokenness before but are now realizing you’ve become blind to or apathetic toward the depth of hidden pride and sin in your life. Or maybe you’re painfully aware but afraid to fully surrender because you know it will require drastic changes you don’t want to make.

Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you’ll welcome the Holy Spirit’s work in your heart and respond to whatever conviction He brings. Brokenness truly is a step of faith, but it’s a faithful step. Pray. God will not fail you. He’ll introduce you to the sweetness of revival when you surrender to the heat of brokenness. Go ahead. Taste it. You’re gonna love it.


The teaching God used to change my life 20+ years ago at the Women to Women conference where Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth spoke was later published as a Bible study called Seeking Him. This important 12-week study of the essentials of the Christian life has now been refreshed and re-released. Check out the sneak peek: Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.




There’ s Always Hope Because There’s Always God

There' s Always Hope Because There's Always God by Jean Wilund via InspireAFire.com (Romans 15:13)Hope

We all want it.

No, we all need it.

Without it, we die.

Suicide victims have one thing in common. They lost all hope.

The unspeakable tragedy is there was always hope because there’s always God. The God of hope.

CONTINUE READING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There's always hope because there's always God. #TheGodofHope #hope Click To Tweet




Jesus’ Last Seven Words On the Cross & What They Mean For Us Today

Jesus' Last Seven Words On the Cross and What They Mean For Us Today (via www.jeanwilund.com) #Easter #GoodFriday

________†________

If you could control the moment you died, what would your last words be?  

Jesus controlled His. 

Let’s look at what He chose to say.

Let’s look at His last seven words on the cross and what they mean to us today.


1. Forgiveness

“Father, forgive them;
for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34 NASB)

Christ’s first recorded words on the cross were a prayer. But not for Himself. 

“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

Really? They didn’t know what they were doing?

It took awhile for Christ to stumble up to Calvary in His tortured state. They had plenty of time to realize where this would end.

They drove nails through His hands and feet.

How could they not know what they were doing?

And yet . . .“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

They didn’t know because sin blinded them.

The Jewish leaders, the crowd who cried out for His crucifixion, Governor Pilate who gave the order for His death, and the Roman guards who carried out their evil desires were all blinded by sin.

If they’d truly understood what they were doing, they wouldn’t have done it.

They would’ve been too horrified.

Instead, they would’ve bowed before Jesus, not mocked, denied, and crucified Him.

What this means for us:

Like those who crucified Christ, we deny, excuse, and wink at sin. 

And just like them, we’re blind to the depths and seriousness of it.

If we saw our sin as it actually is — as God sees it — it would revolt us. We’d stay far from it. 

But we’re just as easily blinded by sin. 

Unless God opens our eyes to it, we’ll stay blind.

Ask God to help you see sin for what it is so you’ll want to stay far from its destructiveness.

Sort of like most of us wouldn’t be tempted to eat roach-filled brownies. 

Then remember how sin blinds. That way when others sin against you, even those who surely know what they’re doing, your heart will be able to forgive. Like Christ’s.

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

Because none of us truly do.


2. Salvation

“And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you,
today you shall be with Me in Paradise.’”
~ Luke 23:43

Two criminals hung on the cross next to Christ. One spewed hate. The other admitted his guilt and asked Christ for mercy.  

Salvation only came to one that day.

The thief, who believed Jesus is exactly who He said He was, joined Christ in heaven that day. The other one doomed himself to hell by his unbelief. He had the same opportunity to believe but refused.

What this means for us:

As long as there is breath in our lungs, it’s not too late for us to choose to believe.

But we won’t have forever to make that choice.

Time ran out on the other criminal.

Don’t let time run out on you. Choose today while there’s still today. 


3. Compassion

“Dear woman, here is your son.”
John 19:26

The first three of Jesus’ last words were for other people. 

His concern, as He hung in agony, was for the forgiveness, salvation, and needs of others. 

Specifically the needs of His mother. Mary. 

We don’t know what happened to Joseph by this point. Most believe he must have died as he’s not mentioned in the Bible after Jesus was grown. 

As Jesus hung on the cross, and pain pierced His body, He focused on His mother and passed the responsibility of caring for her to His beloved disciple, John. 

What this means for us today:

Jesus showed us that much can be accomplished no matter our circumstances through great, selfless love for God and others.

It’s natural when we’re in pain to turn our thoughts inward. But studies have shown that when we turn our thoughts and actions toward serving others instead, our pain tolerance increases.

Jesus wasn’t trying to reduce His stress by His actions, but it’s not a bad benefit. 

Jesus also demonstrated the importance of always showing love to your mother.

Did you hear that, kids? Jesus said so.  


4. Anguish

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
~ Mark 15:34

When Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsake Me?” did He not understand what God was doing? 

Was He suddenly confused in His anguish? 

Absolutely not.

In all of Christ’s humanity, He never lost His deity.

When He humbled Himself and took on the physical form of man, He laid aside His rights, not His divinity.

He submitted His rights even to death on a cross, but He never lost sight of His purpose or God’s plan.

Yes, He suffered terrible anguish in His body from the agony of the cross and the flogging He endured beforehand.

He also suffered in His soul, as He carried the crushing weight of our despised sin.

But Jesus wasn’t confused. He was quoting the first verse in Psalm 22.

Psalm 22 is filled with prophecies about Him, the Messiah, the Promised Savior. Every Jewish leader listening to Him knew that psalm.

By quoting that verse, Jesus declared that Psalm 22 spoke of Him. 

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had told the Jewish leaders that Moses wrote about Him. (John 5:46) In this one prayer, He revealed the Psalmists did as well. 

What this means for us today:

In these words, Christ settles forever the question, “Does God really love me? Do I really matter?” 

The answer is a resounding, “Yes.”

Which of us would hand over our own beloved son to be tortured and forsaken for our friends, much less our enemies?

Who among us would pour out their own fierce wrath upon their beloved only son for the sin of those who spit on him and mocked him? 

God did. (Romans 5:10)

And which of us would be willing to endure such torment for those who don’t deserve it?

Jesus was. (Hebrews 12:2)

Yes, God really loves you. 

And, yes, you really matter to Christ.


5. Suffering

“I am thirsty.”
~ John 19:28

In Christ’s humanity, His body was ready to give out. It suffered intense physical thirst.

In Psalm 22, God pointed to this moment.

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.”
~ Psalm 22:15

Through King David, God prophecized that Jesus would drink bitterness.

“…for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.”
~ Psalm 69:21

What this means for us today:

Man can live a long time without food, although it wouldn’t be fun. But man cannot live long without water. 

Jesus suffered agonizing physical thirst that spoke to our spiritual thirst. 

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus spoke of spiritual thirst to the Samaritan woman at the well.

He said to her, “Give Me a drink.” (John 4:7)

She was surprised by this for many reasons and was drawn into a conversation with Christ. In a way that only Jesus can do, He told her about Himself. 

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
John 4:13-14

We’re all created as spiritual beings. And without Christ–the Living Water–our spiritual thirst can never be quenched. And we can never truly live.

Without Him, we’ll merely survive until we die. Eternally.

With Him, rivers of living water spring up from us to eternal life, and we will never thirst again. 


6. Victory

“It is finished!”
~ John 19:30

What God begins, He finishes. Period. 

Christ accomplished our salvation. The terrible price had been paid on the cross. 

From that moment in the Garden of Eden when the crunch of rebellion was heard ‘round the world, all of heaven and earth longed to hear these three words spoken.

“It is finished!” 

Through these three final words uttered on the cross, Christ expressed what every person longs to hear.

“I love you!” 

What this means for us today:

Everything you need for salvation has already been accomplished.

All you need to do is accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. You need to do anything to earn it. No good deeds or special works.

You can’t earn it. You don’t have it in you because you’ve got sin in you instead.

Simply:

Admit you’re a natural born sinner with no hope of ever being free of your sin apart from Christ,

Believe in your heart that Jesus paid for all your sin on the cross, and

Confess Him as your Lord,

You will be saved. 

Jesus finished the work of salvation on the cross. Accept it. Receive it. Enjoy it.

“It is finished!”  


7. Joy

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!”
~ Luke 23:46
 

Just like Christ’s first words on the cross, His last words were a prayer to God.

In His words, we see the beauty of the perfect relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus' Last Seven Words On the Cross and What They Mean For Us Today (via www.jeanwilund.com) #Easter #GoodFridayWe also see the proof that Jesus truly gave His life. No one took it. 

His disciple Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders. 

The leaders demanded Pilate crucify Him. 

Pilate handed Jesus over to the Roman guards. 

The Roman guards nailed Jesus to the cross. 

But no one took His life. 

Jesus chose the exact moment when He would die. 

After declaring, “It is finished,” Jesus prayed, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” 

Then He bowed His head and gave up His life. 

Scripture doesn’t say He passed away, thus His head fell forward. 

It says, “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” ~ John 19:30

What a powerful display of Christ’s divinity. Even as He suffered the deepest agony possible, He remained sovereign over all, perfect in all His ways.

The agony was behind Him. The joy before Him. Jesus said His last words and then entered into His joy.

What this means for us today:

The Bible says it best.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

These were Jesus’ Last Seven Words before He gave His life on the cross.
But this is not the end of the story.

Today is Friday, but Sunday’s coming!


If you could control the moment you died, what would your last words be? #Jesus #Easter Click To Tweet


NOTE: Just to be clear, Jesus’ last seven words on the cross weren’t actually His “last words” because He’s never going to have “last words.” He rose from the dead and lives — and speaks — forevermore.





Now That’s Funny! Plug Your Leak with a Laugh (Michael Jr. Comedy)

Now That's Funny! If you have no joy, there's a leak in your Christianity somewhere. Plug your leak with a laugh: Michael Jr. Comedy in "Growing Up Poor"

Now That’s Funny!

If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere. ~ Billy Sunday

I agree! 

It’s time to plug up that leak with some good comedy — Michael Jr comedy. 

Now that’s funny!

Each day needs at least 1 good laugh. Here's today's: @Michaeljrcomedy #NowThatsFunny #FridayFunny Click To Tweet




Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting (While My Child is Away ~ Part 4)

Laughter Through the Hard Times of Parenting. Learn how best to pray while your child is away in While My Child is Away (a book by Edie Melson) Interview by Jean Wilund

Parenting Will Make You Cry

Parenting will make you cry — tears of sorrow and tears of laughter.

Edie Melson, author of While My Child is Away: Prayers for When We Are Apart, and her husband try to look at life through the lens of laughter.

This mindset made a big impact on one of their boys late, late one night.

As teenage boys will do, one of their sons got into trouble in the middle of the night. When he realized he’d been seen, he ran away in the snow. Much to his surprise, they caught him.

The boy ran away in the snow and couldn’t figure out how they tracked him down?

When Edie and Kirk picked their son up around 3:00 AM, they could’ve been irate. But the humor of his shock over having been caught so easily was just too funny. They burst out laughing.

Their son later told them that was the day they became “the best parents ever.”

“I’m not suggesting we become our kids’ best friends,” Edie said, “but enjoying life together is important. Our kids need to see us relax.”

Laughter Produced by Joy

During a time when depression had snuffed out my joy, I still laughed from time to time. It felt great. But it never lasted.

Eventually, God taught me the comfort and power of His sovereignty even in the midst of deep sorrow. And that gave birth to more than laughter. It gave birth to joy.

With joy squishing out my anxiety, laughter came much easier–even in the hardest times.

Joy is Titanium Tough

Joy is titanium tough and enables us to laugh even when we’re picking up our son at 3:00 AM in the morning.

Worry weighs down our spirits. It can’t fix our problems or improve anything, but it’s great at making us miserable. Worry draws our attention away from God’s voice and opens the way to depression.

Joy lightens our spirits and helps keep our minds clear to hear from God. It strengthens us to face the challenges ahead with laughter rather than anxiety.

Joy is a Choice

Joy and worry are a choice we make. Which will we choose?

Edie encourages us to pray for God to teach our children how to choose joy.


Choose Joy

by Edie Melson

Your success and happiness lies in you.
Resolved to keep happy,
and your joy and you
shall form an invincible host
against difficulties.

~ Helen Keller

Dear Lord, as my child grows he’s going to go through times of hopelessness. When those struggles come, don’t let him get so bogged down in circumstances it affects his attitude. Show him how to hold onto his joy in spite of difficulties.

Draw him even closer to You when these times come. Make him hungry for you and for reading the Bible. I know how spending time reading Your Word makes such a difference in my life. Give him the same experience. So often we look for complicated answers when the truth is as simple as opening a book.

Use these times to teach him that joy isn’t dependent on circumstances. Our joy comes from You, and there are no circumstances too big for You. Help him learn this lesson early.

Surround him with others who can share this truth. Give them insight about what he needs to hear from them, and how they can help him adjust his attitude. Remind him that nothing is too big or too small for You. Amen.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
~ Romans 15:13 NASB


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.


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