“Blessed are the poor in spirit…
…for theirs is the Kingdom (Matt. 5.3).”
“Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”
Turning in the core of my heart is a fire, not a fire for “power” or “passion,” but for the restoration of internal poverty in the Christian life. I extend to you the case of internal poverty; without which a man is locked away in the cell of self. He is chained in the irons of worth. He is fixed progressing in the wrong direction. As Dietrich Bonheoffer said, “if you board the wrong train, it makes no sense to sprint down the corridor in the right direction.” Internal poverty is the dethroning of self that clears the throne of our lives for the King to have His rightful place. Have you wondered why the Kingdom is given to the poor? The rule of God, the King’s domain and the power of Kingdom life is ignited by poverty alone. The spiritual man is bound to internal poverty. He has fastened himself to poverty by his own will, having learned its attractiveness to God. He is gripped by the total freedom of bondage to Jesus Christ. Without internal poverty a man rejects such binding, attractiveness and consequently forfeits true liberty.
Poverty is greater than power. A man may posses miracles and healing, yet be disconnected from the disposition that draws God’s heart to Him; “I am poor and needy (Psalm 86.1;40.17;70.5;109.22).” The poor man understands that he doesn’t have what he most severely needs and without aid from the outside he will most definitely perish. Are you as poor today, as that day you first called upon His name to save you from your sins?
Poverty is greater than prayer. A man may pray hours upon hours and yet posses not that quality that bestows Grace on his being. “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4.6; 1 Peter 5.5).” Once, two men came to the same place to pray. Oh how two individuals can perform the same actions from widely different motives! One man came to boast of his right living and the other to cry out for mercy (Luke 18.13). Hearts are seen by the King (1 Samuel 16.7;Prov. 16.2). Internal poverty is His delight.
Poverty is greater than passion. A man may impress many in the assembly with volume and fervor, yet be inwardly bankrupt, because he finds great value in himself. He far removed from the riches of the Kingdom being bestowed in his soul through poverty alone. For the Kingdom is the possession of the poor. Francis De Sales said, “Nothing can so effectually humble us as the consideration of what He has done for us and what we have done against Him.” Oh brothers, poverty is that for which their exists no substitute.
Poverty is that ingredient without which there exists no potential for rise in God. Poverty is the daily and constant reaching for mercy by revelation of our inability and nothingness without His presence. Poverty is united with dependency. We are never exempt from poverty’s dependency. As David Ravenhill Said, “we never graduate from dependency.”
Lust we for GLORY? “That faculty of the soul that pants for glory is implanted of God (R. Govet).” Have you an inward burning attraction to be absorbed up into your God? Poverty is the only route, dependency the only way and humility the only foundation. For this trinity there exists no substitute. Poverty is the recognition of our wicked state without God’s presence, which thrusts us into dependency on His presence and manifests itself in humble hearts and lives. David Popovici said to me on the phone the other day, “the day we wake up without a casting of ourselves upon His mercy, we are finished.” I would add, the moment that we cease to cast ourselves upon His mercy we are finished. Temptation is a reminder of what we are apart from His presence in our lives. How many times have we all failed in some way and disappointed ourselves and God? After 14 years of following JESUS, I see more than ever, that every failure in my life was first a failure to depend upon Him.
As the rain rests upon the ground after the storm, it yearns to return back to the high place from which it has fallen. It can only long for such a return, till the sun shines down upon its humble state causing it to rise again through evaporation into its desired residence. So we as men, have fallen from a height of glory. “For all…fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).” We all, as redeemed men, long to live in the heights from which we have fallen. Man is burning internally for Glory to be restored. I submit to you today, that without internal poverty there is no identification with the positional restored glory now and no promise of its fullness in the age to come. And most certainly, there is no connection with its transforming reality in our daily life. For His humble dying must be met by the sinner humbling himself to ever produce a humble life.
Cerebral arguments and superstar – superhero preaching all stem from a lack of poverty. Poverty alone ensures the Glory to God. A value in ourselves robs Him. He takes the beggar from the dunghill. Not the prince from the palace or the theologian from the seminary. All we see as holy acts and ways in men are empty without poverty as its heart beat.
I am well aware of the fact that I as one man do not posses a full picture of God and my heart is longing for the church to take her fullness again. And though there are many camps that have different emphasis in God, in receiving as much as I can from each camp, I believe that arrogance is heightened when a man claims now that which God has set for the future. There is no fullness now. There exists no sinless perfection now. There is no full seeing now. Just as much as there exists no reigning King JESUS in Jerusalem now. And anyone who wishes to preach “fullness now” or boasts in their intellectualism is missing the heart of a risen life, namely, poverty. Anyone finding the slightest satisfaction or interest in the failures and judgment of others knows nothing of poverty. For the value of themselves has blinded them to nakedness of their own soul.
We do not posses independently anything of value and that which we do posses in Him is a deposit of a fullness to come. And that which is possessed is penetrated into us by humility alone. “Beloved, if you have ever seen yourself, you will know that you are never going to be anything other than what you were (Paris R.).” Paul the apostle, who was closer than anyone alive today to a fullness of the image of Christ released in a human life said, “…as for me and my flesh there is no good thing (Romans 7).” He understood His nothingness as God’s power. Seeing strength perfected in weakness. Seeing a treasure in an earthen vessel, so that, the greatness of God’s power would be of Himself and not from us (2 Cor 4). This is in no way an advocating of sin, but rather, the way to true holiness of heart. Poverty blesses man with the riches of God’s grace that makes men truly holy from the inside out. For in the poor soul alone does the Holy Spirit find a resting place. The otherwise man is occupying the whole of the throne himself.
Listen, I fear that educated Christians in America like us will educate ourselves out of poverty and into a delusion of “fullness now,” intellectual know-it-all-ness and deceive ourselves into a mindset that is far from the current divine situation concerning God, man, mercy, power and redemption. Our power is not found in the cerebral realm. It is found in death. It is not found in a new vision of ourselves or in a puffed up identity that changes the way we carry ourselves. It is found in His mercy. It is His mercy that works everyday in us; His mercy that quickens us back to life from the death of truly understanding that we cannot ever in own ourselves please Him or move toward Him. If we know anything, let it be our continual sins forgiven and our personal poverty coming face to face with His boundless love and His timeless mercy, restoring and keeping us in the power of His presence.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, Paul is thanking God for the Church’s “labor of love, works of faith and steadfastness of hope…in the presence of God.” The presence of God is the ground for faith that works, love that labors and hope that is steadfast. I can’t help but see it as a scene from an old UFO movie where the powerful UFO activates and charges all the power tools, lights, cars and everything electric as it flies over the old Farmer’s house in the middle of Nebraska fields. That is the activation of the presence of God. As He draws near, our love, which was otherwise frozen, comes alive. Our faith, which was otherwise dead, is working and our hope, which was otherwise forgotten, is realized. Internal poverty is the landing pad for the kingdom, which is to say the King. Dependency sustains the kingdoms rule in which a humble character is the inevitable product. And such a way to such a presence is the activation of a Christ like life. Poverty gives the kingdom, humility receives exaltation and dependency bears forth fruit which glorifies the Father.
Finally, I encourage a meditation upon Luke chapter 21 vs 1-4. This simple, yet moving, short story reveals the severity of poverty like none other. Without poverty there is no totality. Without poverty there is only partiality. The reason that most Christians in the West do not give all that they are over to God is due to the missing element of poverty of soul. The reason why most Christians in the West give partially to God is because they give out of their surplus. God return us to the poverty that brings totality and save us from giving to you partially!
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism. Visit his website at agonypress.podbean.com
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: David Popovici, david ravenhill, evangelism, poverty, prayer, presence of god, the Holy Spirit
“Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.”
The word “preserve” here has to do with “keeping something in its original state.” The fact that David is reaching out for another to preserve him implies that he recognizes that he cannot preserve himself. Our original state in God is purity, holy and undefiled from this world. God has taken us out of the mud and washed us as squeaky clean as His very own Son by the blood of His very own Son. David is acknowledging his inability and helplessness to stay clean, remain undefiled or be preserved in purity. The Psalmist often cried, “save me” (Psalm 3.7;6.4;7.1;22.21;31.2). But this cry is different. It is not a cry to be rescued; it is a cry to remain in the rescued state. Not to be made pure, but to remain pure.
I extend to you the God revealed route to a sustained purity and preserving in God, “…for in thee do I put my trust.” All victory begins with this heart, “I can’t do it!” When man reaches the end of himself, there and nowhere else, does he find the beginning of God. Our hearts must cry, “I cannot preserve myself, so I look to you.” A.W. Tozer in the famous book, “The Pursuit of God” said, “faith is the inward gaze of the soul unto God.” Jesus, talking of the salvation that is impossible with men and only possible with God (Matt.19.26), made a parallel with the serpent lifted up in Old Testament (John 3.14). The only path of salvation from the snake poison in the body of the Israelites was to lift their eyes to the golden serpent to be healed. So, when a man simply looks in surrender to Jesus, not only once to be saved, but consistently to be preserved, he finds his glorious rescue and union with God (John 15.5).
None of us did anything to attain our salvation (Eph. 2.8,9). We simply recognized that we could not save ourselves and we cried from a dark pit, the helpless cry of a condemned sinner, “God save me!” God in His mercy reached down and saved us from such a state and doom (John 3.16-17; Romans 8.1; Ephesians 2.1-2). God is not waiting for you to reach a certain point of desperation before He rushes in to preserve or save, He is waiting for you to empty your inward poison by looking away from yourself and unto Him. It is not that He refuses to come to man until, but that man will not respond to His having come to us. Jesus simply summed up all of Christianity in one phrase, “Come to me…(Matt. 11.28).” That isn’t when He saves you, that coming to Him IS your saving.
I submit to you today, that the same utter dependency, total reliance and absolute surrender to God that your soul reached to God with to be born again, is the same cry that must be lived in for the sustained victorious spiritual life. David Ravenhill said, “we never graduate from dependency.” That is the secret. That is the most mature perspective in God that there is. I CANNOT DO IT! I need you, oh, I need you, every hour, I need you.
Jesus said, “the son can do nothing of Himself; I do nothing on my own initiative (John 5.19;8.28).” Oh struggling brother, tired Christian and weak-willed complacent distant follower of Christ, you cannot maintain yourself. As long as you try to maintain yourself, you are already in failure. For no amount of Adamic resolve could ever enter a man into the Spiritual power released only by dependency. Resolve will always dissolve. But by surrender we will never cease to enter. Why is it this way? It is because God Himself is our Salvation (Psalm 38.22). He saved us from a life that doesn’t look to Him. Have you a sensitivity to see that our own life is something so evil, no matter how “good” it seems, that we must be saved from it? A life without the Lordship of Christ requires saving! Leonard Ravenhill said, “the greatest sin in the world…is ‘I can manage my life without God.'” A life still in our own hands is dead. Paul talked about people being, “dead even while they live.”
Jesus told us that only the children enter the Kingdom (Mark 10.14), the poor posses the Kingdom (Matt. 5.3) and the infants have revelation of the Kingdom (Matt. 11.25). Everything in God must hinge upon God. This is why Paul said so boldly, that to lean on any addition to dependency severs you from Christ (Galatians 5.4). There is no other way to have the rule of God truly ruling our lives than for us to declare “my soul says, ‘You are my Lord.'” If He is to be Lord, He can only ascend to the throne in your life by the bankrupt recognition and surrender of total reliance… utter dependency and absolute surrender is required.
Eric Gilmour is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Revival & Evangelism.
Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer Tagged with: A.W. Tozer, children, david ravenhill, dependency, Kingdom, Leonard Ravenhill, lord, poison, prayer, Psalmist, purity, pursuit of god, reliance, Revival, self, snake, spiritual
Editor’s Note: A guest article from David Ravenhill
HELPING TO SHAPE A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
‘You put to the test those who call themselves apostle and they are not, and you found them to be false.’ Revelation 2:2
23 ‘Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty- nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
26 I have been in frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.
27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
30 If I have to boast I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.’
2 Corinthians 11:23-30 NASB.
|The New Apostles
23 ‘Are they Apostles of Christ? (I speak the truth) I more so; in far more luxuries, in far more resorts, never beaten in golf, often in danger from overeating.
24 Fifty times I received massages at the Country Club where I play.
25 Three times I suffered heartburn, once I suffered sunstroke, three times I had to fly coach, a night and a day I have spent without my bodyguards.
26 I have been on frequent cruises, in dangers from jetlag, dangers from the Stock Market, dangers in my private jet, dangers from the IRS, dangers in my limo, dangers on my Harley, dangers on my yacht, dangers from rival televangelists.
27 I have been in spas and hot-tubs, through many six star nights, in buffets and steakhouses, often without my Perrier, or without ice in my Coke.
28 Apart from all these carnal pleasures, there is the daily pressure of counting my seed faith contributions.
29 Who is rich without me being rich? Who is led to give to my ministry without my intense joy?
30 If I have to boast I’ll gladly boast about myself and my mailing list.
New Apostolic Version
Posted in Scripture Tagged with: apostles, Apostolic Church, biblical christianity, carnal pleasure, compassion, david ravenhill, godliness, gospel, Guest Writer: David Ravenhill, New apostles, prosperity gospel, suffering, televangelists
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” -Jn. 6.63
In comparison with the nature of preaching in centuries past, I would say that truly anointed proclamation is at an all-time low. Many fellowships have little value for true preaching and teaching, and the saints as a whole have mostly lost touch with the preciousness of speech to one another. New movements arise, encouraging more entertaining modes of proclamation, and the Church is inundated with programs, pre-packaged sermon illustrations, and a host of mere opinions. Scarcely do we hear a true voice which quickens the heart of the Church, creating and effecting, through grace-charged proclamation, a fuller vision of Jesus Christ.
Consider this story from David Ravenhill:
“Some of you are familiar with one of the great revivals: the revival in the Hebrides. Back in the late 1940s-early 1950s, this little group of islands experienced a powerful move of the Spirit of God, one of the purest revivals that we have seen, at least in my generation. Seventy-five percent of the people who were saved were converted outside the walls of the church.
In other words, God came down and saturated the community with His presence. People were up all night getting right with God. People would walk on the road and come under conviction of sin and fall down at the side of the road, repenting of their sin. They weren’t exposed to any preaching, just the Spirit of God that suddenly invaded the area. The revival was preceded by the earnest praying of several young men as well as two elderly women. Their cry was that God ‘would rend the heavens and come down.’
The people reported that five years after that revival you could count on one hand the number of people who had drifted away from God. Bars closed down; saloons closed down; dance halls closed down. The entire community was changed as a result of that revival.
One man whom God greatly used was a Presbyterian minister by the name of Duncan Campbell. Duncan Campbell was the key figure really. One night he had a dream, and in this dream he was walking into one of the small towns on the islands. As he approached the town, he noticed that there was a large crowd of people listening to somebody preaching the Word of God. As he got closer, he could hear the Word of God being proclaimed, but he didn’t recognize the preacher. After a while it dawned on him that this was no ordinary preacher; this was the devil.
Finally the crowd dispersed, and in his dream he went up to the devil and said, ‘You’re the devil, aren’t you?’
‘Yes I am,’ he replied.
Duncan Campbell then asked, ‘Why are you preaching the gospel? Why are you preaching the Word of God?’
And the devil responded, saying, ‘Duncan Campbell, don’t you know that the greatest weapon I have is the preaching of the Word of God without the anointing of the Spirit? You see, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.’ (Surviving the Anointing, pp.70-71; Destiny Image, 2007)
In the first months of the Hebrides Revival there was little preaching, but the Lord eventually raised Campbell up (among others) to proclaim the Word with a true anointing, and many communities were transformed by the power of the Gospel.
The gift of proclamation has been given to every saint on one level or another, for we all have the capacity to speak. Some will preach in larger settings, some will not. But we all have a calling to bear witness to the lost, and to speak the truth to one another in love. The question is not, “Where shall I speak,” or “What shall I speak,” but “How shall I speak?” We need a recovery of a true value for the gift of speech. Jesus’ words were spirit and life, which is something far beyond soulish talk or religious opinion. Dear saint, what is the substance of your speaking? I’m not asking if all of your conversation is religious or biblical. I’m asking what your source is. Is it you? your spiritual opinions? your personal paradigms?
Or is it “spirit and life?” The future of those listening to you may well depend on the answer to these questions.
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God…” -1 Pet. 4.11a
Posted in The Kingdom of God Tagged with: Church, david ravenhill, Duncan Campbell, hebrides revival, Jesus, preaching, proclamation, Revival, the Gospel