The Anvil and Quill
In this present age, technology and innovation move forward very quickly. This is illustrated by a product like the iPad. Within months of its introduction, other companies introduced products that mirrored the iPad. Presently there are now several versions of the same type of product from various manufactures. It has spawned an entire new category called a tablet. There are a multitude of accessories to accompany these products. As many new versions of the tablet hit the market, Apple introduced the iPad 2. Now the mini, third, and fourth generation iPads have also hit the market, along with an assortment of “bigger, better, smaller, faster, sleeker, and more competent and colorful” products [so they say]. The point being, we have little time to adjust to new technology before the conversation turns toward even newer technology.
It is interesting to note that when computers were first introduced to the public, by way of the personal computer, or the PC as it is now known, only major companies were in need of computers. Before there were marketable computers, the government was the only one who had this technology. Presently, incredible information, knowledge, capability, and technology is in the hands of the average company, the common man, and even in the possession of little children. It is amazing just how far advanced technology is, and how dependent on it we are. It has greatly changed our culture and our lives. It has become the way to link us, connect us, and better monitor what we do. Companies monitor our use of the internet to discover and study our likes and dislikes. This helps them learn how to market to the consumer. It is as if man now feels he can do anything he imagines to do.
As technology continues to expand, we are left to wonder where it is going to take us. We certainly can see the value of technology. We can see good that has come by way of technology. It is a resource to us. It appears to have made our lives better in many ways. However, we also must realize that with the good, there will always be the not-so-good. This technology has put the sin of every secret, dark, and seedy place in the world at the fingertips of the common man, woman, boy, and girl. The world of sin is available before the eyes of every one; yet, it has come so quickly that when the most corruptive effects of technology are fully realized, it will be too late to do anything to stop its destruction. The ride might be fun as we race across the plain, gaining speed, and enjoying the thrill, but by the time we realize the unseen drop off, it will be much too late for the brakes to have time to stop our deadly plunge over the cliff. Many miles below, we will come to a dead stop. Is that statement morbid, bleak, conspiratorial, or simple reality which we care not to know or seriously consider?
Once upon a time, archaic, antique, antiquated, and ancient technology was simpler and sufficient. It always is, when you do not know any better. Once you have it, you might wonder how you got along without it. We did. Now we cannot wait to see what is next, because what we have is a year old. Think about the issue of the phone. Life was sufficient, and there was no need for communication via a phone. In the early days, messengers were dispatched with urgent messages by running, or on horseback. As America spread from East to West, the Pony Express carried mail from one place to another by horseback, helping to close the gap between relatives. Once the idea of long-distance communication was determined to be helpful, men began to improve on the idea. The idea was conceived, the possibility was realized, and the telegraph was developed. Then came the thought of the personal telegraph, or telephone, which would give people the opportunity to talk to one another without waiting for the Pony Express. The idea certainly must have seemed marvelous. Then one day, it was introduced. Alexander Graham Bell gave average persons the opportunity to own their own rotary phone, with which they could call practically anywhere in the world. Assuming the recipient of said call possessed a telephone as well.
The technology of the telephone became more advanced with its use. New possibilities were considered and then realized. Different companies began to develop new and better phones. Engineers, inventors, innovation, capitalism, and competition caused a flood of phones to enter the marketplace. It took many years from the time of Alexander Graham Bell’s phone till the birth of Motorola, SamSung, LG, Apple, and many others, who now develop the latest technology. What took several years to develop, now only takes months. The same is true with cell phones, as it is with laptops and tablets. The new phones are better computers than the computers companies owned in the 1980s. It is an amazing thing indeed. Not even Mr. Bell could have imagined the present-day progress of the phone when he first started.
What if you were a rotary phone repairman? Can you imagine advertising in the paper, on radio, or on TV? What could you possibly say to produce enough customers to stay in business? Who in the world is looking for a rotary phone repairman? Most young people and children would not know about, or have seen a rotary phone? “What is it?” they would ask. It is no longer part of the conversation because it is no longer needed. Its usefulness has been replaced with something better, more effective, and efficient. It simply is no longer needed; therefore, no one is needed to repair it.
As an evangelist, revival is very much on my mind. I contemplate it. I think about it. I study it. I pray for it. I see it as a great need; yet, it is unrealized by most people. It seems unrealistic to most. It might even seem inferior and irrelevant in its truest form. As I discuss the subject with most people, I find myself trying to explain what it is with persons who think they know. As the conversation progresses, I realize they think revival is one thing, as I am talking about something different.
As I have expressed the great need of revival with most people, it is as if I find myself trying to explain what a rotary phone is to my six-year-old daughter. She is a bright little girl, gets good grades in school, but she has absolutely no idea what a rotary phone is. I believe her intelligence will allow her to grasp the concept without fully being able to appreciate a rotary phone. She surely does not need one. Its use is too far away from where we are today. That is the same way I feel when I am talking to most pastors or people about revival.
As I speak to them about revival, the calling upon my life, and my God-given burden for revival, many pastors to whom I have spoken feel I am trying to convince them that they need a rotary phone repairman to come to their church and repair their phones. That might have been how Jeremiah and John the Baptist felt in their day.
There have always been substitutes to call for an opposing view on the subject of revival. There are always alternative placebo methods and manners to experiment with in order to get, or accomplish, the revival effect. Sober, somber brokenness accompanies revival, not shouting and cheer. Men have gone wrong in their effort to fabricate or manufacture a revival.
I believe it is true to say that people are not looking for what they do not feel they need.
“Revival” in most churches is now a calendar event like Christmas. They drag out all the Christmas boxes. They decorate the house. They sing the songs. They send the cards. They have the parties. They exchange gifts. Then they take down the decorations, repack the boxes, and the duty of Christmas is complete for another year. Revival has become a similar scheduled event in most churches. They have become entertaining events. If we like the preacher, we will attend a conference, or revival meeting. When deciding to have a conference, revival, or special meeting, a likable preacher is booked who can draw a crowd. We devote a day, two, maybe even three, and on a rare occasion, possibly five to have “revival,” as though we can schedule it and it will happen. True revival is not, and cannot be, scheduled. It must be sought, until it is found. It is not like the lotto where you play revival for a day or two, and if you get lucky, and your numbers are called, God will spontaneously send you revival. Revival is not a spontaneous event; it must be sought until it is found.
I believe it is true to say that people are not looking for what they do not feel they need.
It seems we have found an acceptable comfort zone. The Devil does not use the lions’ den in present-day America to scare the Christians into hiding. [In Syria, or India, yes, but not here in America.] He does not burn people at the stake to try and scare us away from the Christian life. It seems that plan did not work. The more he afflicted them, the more they multiplied. Maybe he just enjoyed hearing Christians scream. He certainly has a sadistic personality. Well, in this modern time he seems to have changed tactics. He must have had a conversation with Balaam. Balaam must have told the Devil that he would never be able to curse Christians. He must have told the Devil of the tactic to get them to sin. Then, they would by all means curse themselves.
In order to get us to sin, we would have to be separated from God. To accomplish this, the first step would be for us to stop talking to God and acknowledging Him in all things. Once the lines of communication are broken, sinfulness will follow. Sinfulness follows prayerlessness. How could he get mass amounts of Believers to sin and turn away from God? If he could just get us to love this present world we will sin. If so, then the love of the Father would not be in us. Which is to say, a love for the Father would not be in us.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
If Christians or Believers could develop an appetite for this world, they would love it more than God. In the absence of prayerfulness, it would be easy to accomplish. Believers could become distracted by the cares of this world without prayer as their daily essential. They would become so involved with what they were doing and enjoying, that the plight of the hell-bound world would matter little to them. They would be so preoccupied, and so in debt, they would not care, or participate in getting the Gospel to the world. They would be in bondage; paralyzed by the cares of this world. This is more easily accomplish if the believer has little to no prayer life.
It would have to be slowly done. No Christian in his or her right mind one hundred years ago would have watched, done, or participated in many of the activities that Believers do today. Not in two thousand years would a Christian have done such things. Sin had to slowly become accessible, affordable, acceptable, and achievable. Prayer time was replaced with leisure time. Closet time with God was exchanged for hobbies, entertainments, and television time. It had to be done so slowly, deliberately, and subtly, so that it would not be detected. Sins had to be renamed. Laziness is reclassified as leisure.
lei·sureˈlē-zhər, ˈle-, ˈlā- noun
1 : freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially: time free from work or duties
Sin would have to be redefined. Sinful activities could be made more acceptable by calling them by a different name. That way Believers would participate and would not be scared away from sin. Each new generation would first tolerate, then laugh at, and finally accept what Christians a generation ago would have rejected as sin. What the grandparents would not have done, their children tolerate, and will give the next generation their endorsement to do it in the name of modernism. Substitutes and varieties offered on such medias, such as television and music, have made worldliness more attractive to the Believer. The Believer might say, No, to one leisure or pastime, and yes to another. Most Believers would not waste their time watching CNN, but would diligently watch FOX news, without considering that one activity will keep you out of the prayer closet just as well as the other. Watching television does not change the world, prayer does. Watching liberalism, worldliness, Godlessness, and humanism does no more than frustrate us, whereas prayer will bring us peace. Instead of watching the world’s fire burn, we could be in the closet praying for rain.
The Devil has done it! He got us out of the prayer closet, and made us spectators and gawkers of worldliness. We have accepted his terms without realizing it. The holy has become profane, and the profane, holy. The good is called evil, and the evil, good. Old-fashion today is not what Biblical old-fashion once was. [The Biblical definition of old-fashion is found in Hebrews 11:32-40]. There has been a change in the culture of the world which has greatly influenced so many so-called Christians, so that sin is not sin, and sanctification is not sanctification. Popular Christian or Believer thought seems to be, that when compared to the world, we do not even need revival, since we are more holy than they are. We watch FOX news instead of CNN. Is the world our gauge of spirituality?
Sinfulness follows prayerlessness
Find someone to talk with about revival and see what it means to them. Ask them how revival happens. Ask them who is in need of revival. Many will say America needs it. The truth is that America needs to be evangelized. Churches need revival; yet, America will not properly be evangelized until churches first realize they need revival and pursue it. Once churches are revived, then the world, not just America, can properly be evangelized.
“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14 [also reference Jeremiah 8:11]
The false prophets say, “Peace, Peace” when there is no peace. These false prophets are like a false weather man who says, “The forecast calls for a peaceful day,” when there is a storm on the horizon. Such was the case in Jeremiah’s day. In Noah’s day, he preached for one hundred years about the coming storm. The people believed all was well when it was not.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17: 26-30
As it was in Noah’s day, it is now. In his day, no one, except Noah, felt they needed a boat. No one was seeking a boat. Boat makers were not in business, but there was certainly a great need for the boat. No one is looking up rotary phone repairmen in the yellow pages. They just are not needed any more. Rotary phones are in museums or antique shops. We have better technology today. We do not need rotary phones. Revival is causally and occasionally talked about, but it is not seen as it should be. It is the need, which is not seen as needed. It is not sought as it should be sought. For to seek revival is to seek the face of God. Where is the church that will invest the time in seeking God for revival? Where is the church that will gather and continue till it comes? Where is the church that makes time for revival? I have been told, “We cannot meet day after day seeking revival. The people will not come.” Saul blamed the people too, when it was Saul who was unwilling to obey. The attitude seems to be that we have better technology, sin is not the sin it once was, we are doing fine as we are, and we do not need a rotary phone, or a man to repair it.
The introduction of the phone helped to close the gap between long-distance relatives and friends. In the same manner, prayer closes the long-distance gap between us and our Heavenly Father. If every Christian would use the archaic, antique, antiquated, and ancient technology of prayer as God intended, talk of revival would not even be necessary. As the gap between the child of God and the Heavenly Father widens, revival is extremely necessary. It could, would, and should all be resolved by fervent, constant, and steadfast prayer that never ceases. This is my desire for me.