Revival . . .

I love the fragrance and beauty of certain flowers such as peonies, lilies, roses and hydrangeas; however, I have to purchase them as I never acquired the patience or “green thumb” it takes to nurture and grow them. So, as I sit here typing, I’m taking inventory of the actual “living” plants I have in my home — two peace lily plants and one ivy. First question, is that by accident or design?

As a child, one thing I noticed about my mother was she had that knack for growing plants. I can recall one of the first times I observed her going into a place and, when the opportunity presented itself, tore off a piece of someone’s plant, wrapped it in tissue and stored it in her purse. Once she returned home, she immediately got a mason jar or any old glass, put water it in, placed the piece of plant that she acquired in it and sat the jar on the kitchen window-sill to bask in the sun. Periodically, she would change the water as needed. Eventually, the stem would begin to produce roots. The plant stem would remain in the container — for a time she seemed to know best — and then would then be transplanted to a flower pot to allow the roots to come into deeper union with what will now help sustain it — the soil. Oh, but let me not forget to mention another part of her process. There was this old plastic gallon milk jug that she kept underneath the cabinet filled with crushed egg shells. She would make sure she kept water added to that jug of egg shells from which she would “feed” the plants. Once she had a mature plant, she would then repeat this process of tearing, rooting and transplanting and eventually plants were all over the house!

So, back to the state of my three plants. It takes a considerable amount of care and time to grow and sustain plants. You begin to know when it needs water or has had too much water. You determine the best location in the house that’s most advantageous for it getting the proper amount of light. You periodically observe the soil levels and determine if it’s best to add more or whether it’s time to transplant it to a larger container allowing it more room to thrive and grow. My first plant is a small ivy in a large container. The planter actually contained a large palm plant and the ivy was meant to be a filler plant at the base, purely for decoration. However, I have to admit, palm trees and I don’t fare so well. So, when the palm tree died, I removed almost all evidence that it was ever in the planter and the plant that was meant to act as decoration only, the ivy, now remains. My second plant is a mid-sized lily that’s been in my daughter’s room for over 8 years. Instead of taking the risk and shocking the plant, or worse killing it, I’ve allowed it to remain in the same planter for years, and will prune it — which means I cut it back to keep it from growing beyond its present container. My third plant, a luscious, vibrantly green large peace lily sits so lovely in my family room. I’m amazed at how beautiful this plant yet is. You see, I didn’t grow it to its current state, I purchased it that way and hope to prune it as I do the mid-size to keep it from growing beyond its present container (wish me luck). If you’re reading spiritually, as I trust you are, I’ve said some very important things here. The three plants I have are not by accident, but by design. You see, ivy plants are one of the best plants to have for someone who lacks that proverbial “green thumb” — you can neglect them with a lack of water and/or inappropriate sunlight and still it can be brought back to life no matter how badly you’ve cared for it. As for my peace lilies, I’ve learned that if I go too long and forget when I’ve watered it, I can wait until I see signs of the leaves drooping to know it’s time to revive them with appropriate watering.

Revive: to impart new health or vigor or spirit to, to restore the effectiveness of, to renew in the mind, to bring back to consciousness. What good is the salt if it has lost its usefulness or the light if it’s not being turned on? When we see the state of our world — our homes, churches, schools, our cities and states — it makes one wonder, just how concerned are we? The signs of complacency in the church have been evident for quite some time. In some cases the soil is being allowed to harden. In others, the plants have been intentionally cut back so much so that their growth has been stunted. In other cases, the plants have been neglected altogether; they have dried out and died, or where plucked from their place of origin as if they were never there — as if it’s all by design; but whose? The current state of the church is not by accident.

Why aren’t we seeing a revival in the land? Simple, because it’s not wanted. Not that the plants aren’t showing visible signs — they’re thirsty, malnourished, they need appropriate lighting and right conditions to grow and thrive. It reads in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV), But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (ESV) says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

Revival will happen when the people of God earnestly pray for it, not because pastors bring in evangelists for a week. True revival is a sovereign work of God. Christ so loved the church and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. So, “revival” means “to bring to life again.” You can’t bring those to life again who have never been alive before. To be revived, you must have been alive once before. The enemy has sowed weeds among the wheat. Let the church’s prayer be thus today: “Lord, wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:2).” Once the Holy Spirit cleans up the Body of Christ, then He will start drawing the unsaved in.

James 4:8-10: Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up. Romans 12 exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let’s pray for revival and come back to consciousness!

Belinda Powell, ©February 2014