123 days until the Lilburn, GA, USA Revival Conference
Danger of Hardening the Heart
Could I suggest that if you have an encounter with God and do not let God tell you what it means and move you to make changes in your life, your heart will harden? You cannot have an encounter with God and ignore it without it affecting your heart. A hardened heart has a great deal of difficulty with the next encounter with God. Could He not say to you: "Why are you asking Me to come and make Myself real to you? I am always with you. It is just that you do not recognize that it is Me. It is not that you have to ask Me to come and do something; you need to ask Me to open your eyes to see what I am doing."
It is amazing that much of our prayer is based on unbelief, because we are always asking God to do something He has already done. "O Lord, be with us today."
"Why are you asking Me to do something I have already done? I told you I would always be with you."
"O Lord, would You bless us?" I say, "Lord, I thank You that You are in the midst of blessing me. Help me to appropriate it. Help me to see it and help me receive what I know You are doing." Thank God that He is here and ask Him to help you to respond to His presence. Our prayer needs to be mostly focused on God enabling us to do something rather than trying to beg God to do something He has already done. There is no question in my mind as we have been together in this conference, that God has visited His people. The presence of the Lord has been among us, opening our minds, and touching our hearts and guiding us to make our way to the altar and there to settle some things with God. Each session God has been powerfully working among us.
There may be one or two of you who have not seen that or responded to that as you ought to. For you and for all of us, my life included, I share a verse from Isaiah 55, a very powerful verse: "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near" (v. 6). If there was ever a time when you ought to call on Him, it is while He can be found. The implication is that He may not always be found just because you are seeking Him. He may not always be near though you want Him to be. It is a choice God makes. When He does, how you respond will reveal the intensity of your relationship to God. Did you know it was God? How did you respond?
It would be helpful for me to read on, for He then talks about His Word. He says in summary: You need to know that My thoughts and My ways are not like yours. If My thoughts and ways were like yours, you would have been making changes long before this. But in this moment My thoughts and ways were suddenly made known to you and it wasnt anything like what you had thought. As high as the heaven is above the earth, so far removed are My thoughts and My ways to yours.
Dont try to bring the Word down to your experience. Dont tell God what you are willing to do. Dont instruct God and limit God as to what He has the right to do. His ways are not your ways; His thoughts are not your thoughts. But then He has an incredible word of encouragement. He says in effect, you need to know that wherever His word goes out, it always produces that for which He sent it. He says that when we receive His word, then we can go out with joy, with singing. A word from Him can radically affect the way you respond. So He said:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
"For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (vv. 8-13).
Whenever God speaks He is announcing what He is about to do in your life. It is like the vine and the branch. The branch doesnt have to make an effort to produce fruit. The branch has to abide in the vine, and it will produce fruit. And you have to abide in the Word of God and He will do what His Word has said. Some of you have commented about a phrase I have used about prayer in my life. When I pray, I then get up off my knees expecting to see God do what He said He would do. When I finish praying, I look to see what happens next in the activity of God. It never crosses my mind that He will postpone it or that He will delay it or that He will cancel it. Whatever God has said, He will do. Isaiah 55:11 says that whatever word goes forth from God will not return empty. It will produce that for which He sent it. It is critically important that you allow the activity of God to come to completion in your life and begin to set in motion some things that God said. -Henry Blackaby
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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon