DO YOU WANT REVIVAL?
By John Miller
Revival is really born to start off with, in the heart of God-
Jesus said: "Without me, you can do nothing"
God has everything sorted out, everything planned, and when the time comes to carry out
His plan, He will awaken your heart. He is going to do the work and He is going to place
the burden on you (even before hand). That's the reason why I trust very little in myself
and very much in God.
When we talk about revival, sometimes we should examine our reasons. Why do we want revival?
Occasionally, we ask for revival but it is not actually a burden from God.
Why is it you really want it? Do you want your name published in the Charisma Magazine, do you want the Megan church of your nation or city? What is it you are after when you pray for revival? Is it a desire of God to awaken your heart; awaken your people?
A Sure-fire Recipe for Revival
I can give you the formula of eleven different revivals but I must add this, it will do
you no good because the formula changes every revival. Every move of God is different as
it has a different beginning and a different end. Therefore, the most important thing we
need is to be "flexible" and that is something very hard to accomplish. We think
we know how due to our past experience, but a past experience is no good for the future
because the Lord does everything new and He always acts that way. He almost seems like a
different God but it isn't so. He is the same. So the formula changes all the time; each
revival is unique and there are many levels of revival: individually speaking, you can
have revivals all the time, if you want. If you seek Him, you will find Him, that is His
promise. Then comes the Church; as pastors maybe God can give you in your churches not a
river but at least a well. That well is actually yourselves. Consequently, you can have
God's Presence in the Church ~ one can. ~ You can also have a revival in a nation. That is
something different. Revival in a nation is ordained by God, in the timing of God and in
His way and when it starts, probably, you may not like it.
God does things in such a way that every single move has a stumbling block, purposely to give an excuse to those that want to reject it. When a revival comes, you will seemingly be the first to say: "This is not God". Perhaps, the Holy Spirit will remind you of that as we generally need a change of wine skin before we can receive a new wine. Yes, He can give us the wine, notwithstanding, we have to be very flexible because, as Jesus said, those who taste the new wine will say that the old wine was better ~ and I don't like it. ~
If Jesus had come floating down from heaven, He descended as He ascended; Had He descended in the middle of the temple on the high day of the feast, it would have been a completely different thing. But instead, the Messiah spent thirty years in a carpenter's shop so they would say: Come on! What do you mean the Messiah? Come on, we know this man, he is the son of Joseph, the carpenter! This was a stumbling block.
There will always be stumbling blocks. The way God does things will not fit the way we think things should be done. Whatever revival you are expecting, it will not be that way. God always does things that surprise us. Things that need much "flexibility" .
When He brings revival into our churches, it must begin in our hearts. When we are the pastors of such and such a church, we are its windows, we are its doors, therefore, we can open or close God to our people. Truly speaking, revival must come first in our hearts and then we can have it and convey it to our people. We must surrender to what the Holy Spirit wants and follow Him instead of trying to lead.
John the Baptist
That was the revival of God at that time; baptism for forgiveness of sin ~ that was
where revival was. There were people streaming to the Jordan river while John was
proclaiming that there was something else on the way ... "I baptise in water but
there is "One" coming that baptises in fire; The Lamb of God takes away the sins
of the world." Immediately, two of his disciples left him to follow Jesus Christ.
John knew there was a change in the dispensation. Yes, after following John the Baptist
for who knows how many years and being involved in that ministry, they immediately
recognised that change had come. Yes, there has to be flexibility in our hearts.
A Price to Pay
Revivals are born in deserts. Matthew 20:22... Jesus said: "Can you drink the cup
of suffering I am about to drink?" And their answer was affirmative. It's so easy to
answer that, but when the baptism comes and when you have to drink that bitter cup, it
tests you to the middle of your joints.
Are you ready to pay the price for revival in your nation? Can you? Are you actually ready to drink that bitter cup for your people? Can you walk by yourselves? Can you walk in the midst of despising? Can you walk through being despised by your friends, by your colleagues? Can you walk while being betrayed by your closest associates? Can you walk through being humbled and naked as Jesus was and hung on the Cross like a common thief? Are you willing to drink that bitter cup?
A Bitter Cup?
People say ... Jesus was sacrificed for serving humanity. Are you still willing to
drink that cup? Because there is a death. That's the cup that has to be drunk. Can you go
through all those things and still hold the faith, still maintain your eyes on Jesus and
love Him, in spite of all the things that are happening, with the world crashing around
you? As I said, I can tell you about several experiences. We choose our goals. We want
revival but God chooses the way. The Hebrews did not expect to take forty years to get
from Egypt to the promised land. So we choose our destination and say: "Oh, God I
want that and please do that in my life!" Be careful in your prayers ~ As for myself,
I do not pray any more the way I used to when I was young. You ought to surrender your
life and let Him do whatever He wants. The process to bringing forth certain things is
unquestionably not as we think and every way God ordains for every man to be tested is
different. The Lord said to His disciples... "You shall drink my cup and you shall be
baptized with the baptism that I was baptized with." And they were baptized; they did
drink that cup. Peter died crucified head down, most of the other disciples except John,
died violent deaths. John for instance, was cast out of his country and put on the isle of
Patmos. Yes, they did drink that cup... they were baptized with that baptism.
The Moves of God
Each revival is unique and the way that God uses to work in our hearts is unique, and
also to do His work in a nation. The Argentine revival up to 1956, XXth Century, is a
vivid example. He worked through my father's life - probably you read His book
"Secret of the Argentine Revival". Each revival and each thing God did in each
one of them has been very different.
Argentina had the second revival in 1968-1969, when I was just a student in the Bible Institute, ready to be married, and as such I had the best classes on preparation for revival at the feet of the Holy Spirit.
During 1971-1972 the third revival that took place was pure "warfare", but not the way today you can hear teaching around the world. Oh, no...no! Completely different! It was a preparation for terrible days ahead in our country.
In 1976 another move flowed in our church, it was not just sitting down and praying for God to send revival. In 1974, during those days the Word God gave was that the light of God was going away from Argentina and that people were going into terrible times which occurred: times of the military, people disappeared, people were taken out from their homes, killed and tortured, thrown out of airplanes. Thousands died. There was a bloodbath because terrorist groups from Russia and Cuba came into the country at that time.
We went through a war and dark times. I remember when my father said: "Well, John, you are now in charge of the church, in charge of the Bible school, in charge of the children's home ~ it's all yours, we are leaving the country." My father, my mother, my brother and my sister left the country. Yes, I remembered when God told me on my 16th birthday I would receive it, but I did not want it that way... to be named by the captain of the Titanic two hours before it sank, "You are now in charge!" "Congratulations son, it's a beautiful boat and it's all yours now!" Yes, I remember also that I complained to God; I said: "God, I don't want to be blamed for all this! If darkness is to come upon the country and everything will go badly, was I to be the one who sank it? And I argued with God for a few days until I finally said, "Well God, if that is what You want, I'll be the captain of the Titanic, I will. If You want to make a fool of me, O.K. I gave my life to You so that is alright with me."
But then, something totally different from what I expected happened. The Presence of God remained and He was with us in a very lovely way. He kept us during that time of horror. It was such a difficult time!
A short time after this hard time started, one of our very close associates, who had been with my father being trained, moved to a neighboring country. Letters started coming, then the people in charge started writing letters to our main people, saying: "this is where the glory of God is, why are you going to stay there, what are you going to do there? His judgment is there now." So I had to make a decision. What was I going to do? It took a while until I finally made a decision. I thought: "Is this from God?" Finally, I got up in one service and said as did my wife: "Lord, if my wife and me are the only ones left in all this pile of rubble, we will still follow You!" It is one thing to say it and another thing to live it, another thing to experience it. The sad thing about this case was that those who went did not have a good experience, most of them came back and had to be healed in their hearts ~ they were very hurt and came to me for healing. For me it was hard; it had to be like Abraham just walking by faith in the middle of the desert alone with my wife and a few others that were just rubble, nothing more than that, just a pile of rubble. For a young man it's hard but I had to go through that way and then God began to move in intercession. His Presence came in 1976 and we had the next move but it was born in the desert, born in the depths of a heart that was broken, that believed anyway. It was: hope against hope.
Many times revival would come by seeking. The revival that occurred in 1988 was preceded with much seeking of God. God began to move in a few other places: in the United States of America, a little bit in England and also in Netherlands.
I remember that for about six months the whole church and those who could come, a large group, would get up at 5:30 - 6:30 am and pray for an hour-and-a-half or two hours before they went to work. For months and months nothing happened, and then I continued digging in the desert, until one day, all heaven broke loose. I have never, up to this date, never seen things like that ~ so precious, so deep, as the Spirit of God moved. I can tell you now how that revival was born . . . with deep cries in the heart. Every single move is so unique!
In the 1994 move, which had an element of power, much joy, laughing and visions, began more than anything else with our young people. It started when our young people were getting cold, teenagers especially; they began to go into the world. As soon as their parents started praising the Lord, they would skip out the door, meet at the corner to drink a soda or something, or just to play around. They were just like a mass of blob of gelatin in the church. So, their parents got together and prayed for months; they cried out... "God, save our children!" "God, save our young people!" Then, the Holy Spirit began to move. It was so wonderful to see those young people filled with the Holy Spirit; some of them were speaking in languages, some of them were having visions and God was telling each one of them what their future life in the church was going to be... He was going to send one here, to send another there, and He did such a precious work! There was mostly laughter, joy and rejoicing and they were born again in Jesus.
Consequently, most of them entered the Bible school following year and that left a seal on their lives and then they began to develop their leadership skills and are now married, bringing up their families, really committed with our church as leaders, musicians and teachers. They have all been rescued because their parents had begun to cry out: "Lord, save our young people!" And the Lord came to their rescue. Every single move has had in that same way a peculiarity in the preparation and also in the way the Holy Spirit had moved.
The last move started in October 1999. It was so different from the previous ones. It came after two or maybe three years of the most difficult times that we had experienced in all our shepherding. Physically speaking, my wife was in intensive care and close to dying several times. So many, many things that I do not know if I could make a list of them.
When the devil breaks down your defenses, most of the time the Lord gives protection but at times, like Job, He lifts those protections and when He does so, your faith is not enough. No matter what you read when you open your Bible, it is dry, there is nothing there for you; it's just one thing after another while the enemy tries to bring you down, to bring your heart down, using all the memories of the past.
One of my closest friends in the Ministry and who for many years worked with me, turned an divided one of our churches. It was so hard to be kind with him when as a director of the organization I could have just cut him off. But no, I had to say: "Not only can you go in peace, you can take the church building, you can take the people with you." But that brought such a testimony to that city, that the pastors from other organizations commented... "this was a lesson for us."
Shortly afterwards, I learned that my father had a terminal disease and I said: "Lord, after all those years serving you in a wonderful deep ministry, it cannot be cancer!" I so fought against that in the middle of all this. Surprisingly and suddenly, my brother abandoned his ministry. As far as I can remember, those were the two or three most evil years of my life. My wife could not even walk half a block because of her heart condition.
Revival! I was not thinking about revival but about survival. Sometimes God is working inside and that is what it is all about. Sometimes, I even think that He is using the church to form me; God is more interested in what He does in my life and no holds are barred. As Paul said in Galatians, chapter 4. . . "we are no more than servants" although we might be kings, the sons of kings or princes. You can say: "I'm a king and I claim this and that and all you want!" But He treats us just like servants until the time comes and we arise. Yes, we will be kings, I thought once. . . but that is going to be on the other side, when we go up. I am afraid we are just inheritors until the time comes. God puts us in the hands of teachers and they teach us so many things. And as I mentioned before, sometimes He uses life and the things and dealings of life to work deeply in our hearts.
The revival in 1999 was born that way. It was not born because I sat down and prayed: "Oh God, send another mighty revival!" That revival was born in pain, in the midst of a battle of faith. Paul also said: "I have gotten to the end and I have kept the faith." So I just want to keep the faith, that is all; just keep the faith, in spite of everything.
Then, something began to change. I insisted for two years that my father come to Argentina and prayed continually. "God, not that way, not that way!" To saw him board the plane, a man totally consumed by cancer and I brought all his things. I packed as much as I could into the 20 ft container as he just shook his head at me and, I said: "Do not worry father, I will do all the work; you will have house in Argentina". So we brought the container down. When I took him to the doctor, he examined my father and told me: "I have never seen someone in such a bad condition, it is just a matter of a couple of weeks, just take him home." And then, he started to recuperate. We all know there is remission. We kept fighting in the church, everyone was praying. Then, the doctor entirely amazed, admitted: "everything is normal again."
God actually told my father one morning ~ that was why he decided to come ~ (not because I had been picking on him for two years). . . "Put your house in order and go to the land I have given you as an inheritance with urgency." So he called me and I went up to the States and packed everything and within just a couple of weeks he put his house in order and came to Argentina. Then, my father shared the Word he was given, with me. "God has one more work for me to do in Argentina and He said that before I leave, I will see the new things He is going to do on Earth; the new move of His Holy Spirit on Earth."
In the month of October, the River of God started flowing in our Peniel Seminar in the city of González Catán, province of Buenos Aires. People came from Spain, China, France, Germany, Orient, Netherlands, the States; some carried the river of healing waters to other places; to other churches. And the blessing from the Throne of God will continue. . . it will go through the deserts, to the Arab nations, to the east, that is the well-known 10-40 window. (see Ezekiel, chapter 47.)
You cannot stop circumstances. God will have them happen to you, whether you ask for
them or not, whether you want them or not. Jesus could have gotten off the Cross but He
The devil will get to you. The devil used to tell me every day: "Leave the ministry, leave the ministry, your brother did, your father's disease, your wife is seek. Why keep on fighting?
But I have gotten a little wiser. I held onto the faith because I learned that if the devil is allowed to come to you very strongly, there will be many spoils. The greater the battle, the greater the stakes and that I have learned and that kept me going through those years. I know that this is going to end sometime and when it ends, there will be spoils because the more the enemy comes to you, the more he has to put stakes on the table. Jesus said: "I have prayed that your faith fail not." During those three deepest years of emptiness inside, the things that came from outside were, I am sure, because of my faith. I am sure the Lord prayed that my faith fail not. How do I know it? Because it did not fail and I also know that had it been mine, it would have failed but He kept that faith inside. It has to end sometime and when it ends there will be spoils. There were spoils when the Holy Spirit started moving in 1999: there were spoils of war everywhere.
You will drink the cup. I really do not know what cup. I just know my little part of the corner of the vineyard but I do know that God works in one way or another deeply in our hearts. I will know the whys when the time comes. Meanwhile I just trust.
So revival is born in so many different ways but none of them are easy. And life goes on, it is that difficult! Meanwhile the Lord keeps us. God certainly loves His people and He will revive them!
*Given in pastor's meetings in Australia, Launceston 2000
RETURN TO ARTICLE INDEX
RETURN TO MAIN MENU