“His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.”
(Acts 28: 8-9)
From year to year, my life has been filled with life-changing revival testimonies. Quite contrary to a popular belief that revivals have to stop—at some point. I’m convinced that, unless we allow them to end, God would never stop working and the Holy Spirit’s fire never should die down! Therefore, let’s have an ever-increasing faith for a far greater revival which is always before us because God is not yet finished with this world. Recently, God brought my ministry to a new height when, with my own eyes, I witnessed how His power fell upon the American believers in such a glorious way that none of them could stand on their own two feet in my meetings. Ranging from innocent children to tough U.S. soldiers, they were all crying out so loudly for their nation’s salvation that, I felt, as if the ground was shaking! I had never seen or heard anything like that before—a holy consequence of waking up a slumbering gospel-giant like the United States of America!
The Holy Spirit’s work has truly been incredible; His move is unstoppable! Even the most unlikely of all places, a country ruled by dictators and deprived of her religious freedom called Burma or Myanmar, has also been on heaven’s agenda. I was completely dumbfounded before the thousands of Burmese who fell simultaneously, yet peacefully, unto the floor under God’s anointing when no one physically touched them. It was sovereignly the finger of God! I could just go on and on, endlessly, telling you of all the wonderful things He has done. However, they are all but a glimpse of a greater revival that is still yet to come. Indeed, His tsunami is near!
Still, some of us might be skeptical about revivals. We doubt their outcomes as well as the imperfect “jars of clay”—the revivalists—that carry the flames. Does God only work through a small-band of heaven’s avengers—a league of specially-gifted and charismatic fire-brands—or does He choose to use everybody? Do not be misled, it is not a “who”, but a “why” in this matter. The ultimate purpose of any genuine revival is to save souls through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and God is more than willing to use anybody, however imperfect he/she is, given that he/she catches His passion wholeheartedly. Speaking of this Holy passion, we can learn better from no one other than this murderer-turned preacher, the apostle Paul whom I really admire.
Acts 28: 1-9 tells about the final years of the life of Paul, the revivalist. He was one of the greatest apostles who was born in the middle of the flame of the early church, and died with that fire still burning in his chest. For that reason alone, we need to imitate his life, catch his vision, desire his gifts, and envy his intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Then, one day he suffered a shipwreck and, as a result, drifted on broken pieces of the ship to an island called Malta. Even though it was far from being a planned nor voluntary transit, somehow he could turn his calamity into opportunity for a greater revival when ALL of the sick of the remote island were healed! Never a dull moment with Paul; and these are what we can pick up from his Malta’s experience:
- Create a good crisis and focus on His purpose!
We stop evangelizing and desiring because we feel self-content in our own rights and comfort zones. Now, His purpose is no longer our priority, and without realizing it, the Holy Spirit is quenched within us. Considering this, I have to admit that real-life crisis could be good sometimes—a blessing in disguise. Like Paul who turned his into a divine opportunity, we could be used by God to fulfill His plan in any situation we might face if we just focus on a higher purpose and trust God! However, if we enjoy the blessings of comfort for the time-being, give thanks to God for a rare privilege but be careful not to slow down. Press on to pray for the lost souls in your community and purposely create opportunities to preach the gospel to them. Do not stop before you see results; do not let your heart be at rest—be at crisis—until you see the fruits of your labor!
- Expect miraculous confirmations!
Every day, I pray that God will increase me in the miraculous. Particularly, when other people’s well-being and salvation are at stake when I need God the most. Consider Paul’s life, supernatural things happened. The people of Malta thought that Paul would be swollen in no time and drop dead. They were right—and wrong! Paul was supposed to die of that lethal snake-bite because he was human, but he didn’t because God was with him to confirm his calling and the message he bore. Confirmations are favors from God; and that one that day was for the entire island and the shipwrecked voyage. Today, God still answers His servants and He will confirm the revival that you and I carry with signs and wonders!
- Act boldly!
As we become sensitive to other people’s needs, our hearts will be stirred to answer them. Between a need and an answer is, often, simply an act of faith! If we don’t step up, we will inevitably step down on the ladder of faith. Faith spells ACTION; Faith spells RISK. We have no option but to act, not hide; to advance, not retreat! The great healing movement on the island of Malta was founded on a simple act of boldly entering a room and praying for a sick, elderly man. Thus, do not decline a need. Answer them with your faith, and show your faith with an action!
Now is the time for us to stop belittling ourselves and our professions. Believe that God doesn’t “accidentally” put you where you are in life. Like me, He wants to fill your days, months and years with life-changing revival testimonies from the moment you finish reading this letter I wrote to you. Don’t fall asleep in the middle of a great harvest; don’t slumber in a revival. What time is it? It is time to be used by God!
Yours for a greater revival,
Ps. Philip Mantofa