John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins (Mark 1:4-5 NASB).
We are such finite creatures. We think of everything in terms of time and space.
But God is not so limited. He sees all at a glance. Time is immaterial to Him. And, He is always way ahead of us.
Consider John the Baptist, born many years before coming on the scene. He played a vital role, preaching to the people about two things:
- the need to turn from their sins
- the soon coming of Someone, the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world
The popularity of his message is interesting: “All of the country of Judea” and “all the people of Jerusalem” were going out to hear him in the Jordan valley … and they were responding.
His message was being heard and causing men and women to see their desperate need for forgiveness and cleansing. It was making them turn their hearts to look for a Savior. John’s work was preparing for the coming of the Christ.
The Constant Activity of God
When we read the accounts of the Welsh revival, we often focus on Evan Roberts in the town of Loughor as the catalyst or ignition point that began an opening of the heavens, resulting in 100,000 people coming to Christ in Wales in nine months. This movement spread around the world, and millions were saved in one of the greatest revivals in human history.
But if we look further into the records, we discover that God was stirring hearts prior to this all over Wales. Conferences and prayer meetings were being held, calling people to repent and return to the Lord.
The Keswick Conventions had started to emphasize a forgotten truth of the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual life. Men like Seth Joshua were calling people to turn back to God.
The Current Activity of God
Right now there is a tremendous surge in church planting across America. Two years ago, one denomination’s church planting meeting drew 4,000 attendees. Last year, the same conference had over 13,000 attendees!
All around the nation, prayer meetings and calls for repentance are being issued. The head of the National Prayer Committee, Dave Butts, says he is getting so many calls to help support new initiatives for revival and spiritual awakening that their office can hardly keep up with them.
Are these two emerging movements connected? Is God preparing fresh wineskins (new church plants) to receive the new wine of a fresh outpouring of His Spirit across America?
Already in the beginning days of 2016 we are seeing unprecedented plans for prayer rallies and unusual moments of extraordinary prayer. All of these are focused on revival and spiritual awakening.
Just days ago, some of us attended a national two-day gathering of 200 leaders that represented over one third of all the churches in America. The sole purpose was to pray for an awakening in America!
We can be assured of one thing: God knows. He has a plan. If we will cooperate, we will later see and understand the merciful, wise, perfect preparation of God for the coming of His Son in fresh ways.
This is because God loves people. He is gathering them from every tongue and tribe and nation and people. And He is always previous.