GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni
- 17th June, 2013
- 3rd June, 2013
- 27th May, 2013
A Cry for Personal Revival - 3
- Restoration of God's Hand.
In the continuation of the prayer, the Psalmist appealed to the Lord's work over the time upon this vineyard. Though it would mean nothing to The Lord to look away from any work no matter its size once the leaders are no more in tune with Him, yet much investment of God over a man's life is not a mean consideration in our cry for restoration.
And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
This vineyard is the one thy right hand has planted. It is the branch that thou made strong for thyself. This is your personal investment O Lord and whatever credit we accrue to this vine now was all by your hand. Remember the work of your hand O Lord and return in mercy to visit this vine again. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. This is the real issue I must watch in my walk with God. The rebuke of God's countenance is more than several barrels of guns shot at me. Legions of demons will not achieve what the rebuke of His countenance will pull down in all I have been labouring upon for several years.
The cry for divine visitation is what I must not play with. O Lord, do not look away from me and from this work. The refrain of this prayer came at this last part again and it is worthy of note.
Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
This is the prayer I cannot ever pray too much. The need for God's hand upon me continually is a daily need. It is not a prayer for some occasion. It is the need of my life. Let thy hand O Lord be upon me.... To be a man of His right hand, is to be highly favoured by Him. It is to be in His love circle. It is to be accepted of Him. Father, I know you have shown me your favour over the years and I have no doubt in my heart that I have experienced the years of thy right hand. You have made me a man of your right hand. I have seen so much favour from your hand over the years. You have taken me from nothingness and brought me up and set my feet upon the Rock. O Lord, withdraw not your hand from me. Withdraw not your favour from me dear Father. Let me not fall into your disfavour. It will not be well with me that way.
It is The Lord Himself that has made me strong for Himself over the past years. It is not in me to be strong. It is not that I am sufficient of myself as to think anything of myself or coming from myself. My sufficiency has been from God and God Himself is my sufficiency. He is the one who makes me an able minister of the word of God. I cannot boast in anything. I have not preached any message for these many years without Him. I have crawled all the time to the pulpit not knowing what to say or do. I have been in the tension of uncertainty each time I am called upon to bring the word of God. I know you are the one who has made me strong for thyself and I would not take that for granted. It will be a disaster if you withdraw your hand from underneath my life. I will immediately collapse without any remedy. O Lord, let your hand be upon me and underneath me. Fold me in the hollow of your hands today and evermore in Jesus name.
So will not we go back from thee
What a matter I am seeing today! It is indeed your hand upon me that has kept me steadily following you. Without you I can do nothing indeed. That I am standing today has been purely by your mercy and by your outstretched hands upon me. The Psalmist recognised this and declared "Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand and upon the son of man you have made strong for yourself, so will not we go back from thee.". It is your hand upon us that will keep us and stabilise us in following you. This is the secret of a growing intimacy with God. It does not even originate from me or from any effort I could make. It is your hand upon me that keeps me from going back from thee. Father, I have come to hang my hope in you alone. I have come today again to cleave unto you and to your loving hand lest I stray from thee.
It is your strong hand upon me that will keep me from going back from thee. It will not let me stray from the narrow path. It will keep me fascinated and captivated with you. The gainsayer from afar off may think I am trapped within your firm hand, but it is my protection from the evil one. It is my shield from the scorching heat of the sun. It is in this hollow of His hand that I am safe and secured. O Lord, I cherish the hollow of your hand and there I long to remain all of my days in this pilgrimage. Fold me in that hollow of your hand keep me there. All the tempests of life may blow so strong and the billows may roll but in the hollow of your hand, I am safe.
quicken us, and we will call upon thy name
It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profiteth nothing. Human energy does not give life, it only exhausts. It is as The Lord revives our souls that we can call upon His name with faith and with any genuine zeal. Revival only comes from The Lord and it is when men can call upon Him name.
As I study this masterpiece of revival praying, it is clear to me that though there are things we must need do in preparing for divine visitation, it is The Lord that will give both the desire, the burden and the life that makes men call upon Him for a divine visitation. It is the Lord's work and the Lord at work in the hearts of men that can bring the zeal, the zest and steam in the place of prayer. It is not human determination at praying that brings revival. It is the quicken power of the Holy Spirit that begins every motion in the hearts of men for revival. It is the spark of revival in the heart of a man kindled by the Spirit of God that begets the bigger flame of revival. While prayer is very prominent in revival labours, it is revival kindled by God that causes men to pray for more revival. O Lord, help me to see this and to rest in your grace to visit your people as you begin with my own heart again today.
It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. This is the truth I must learn so firmly from now on. Unless the Spirit quickens men's heart, in vain do I arouse them with strong preaching. It is fire that begets fire. It His fire that will kindle the fire of the Spirit in the hearts of men. I must wait for this kindling fire from His hand. I cannot bypass this and hope to do any useful and enduring work. I cannot shout on men as if to start a revival. Men will not call on the name of The Lord for their salvation until they have been quickened by the Spirit.
Quicken us and we will call on your name. Quicken our hearts and we shall break into prayer and supplication. You are the starter of every genuine fire. You are the giver of every life.
"To all life thou givest, to both great and small. In all life, thou livest the true life of all. We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree; and wither and perish but naught changeth thee"
This is the truth and I long to know this more and more. Let me not put confidence in anything else until you have quickened our hearts. O Lord, even to lead a prayer meeting, I need this quickening of your Spirit otherwise it will be a mere troubling of the conscience of men as to their sluggishness towards prayer. O Lord, teach me to seek this quickening with all my heart and even this is only possible if you have quickened my heart afresh.
Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts,
cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
This is the recurrent refrain for this prayer and it is the worthy ending of it. Every genuine cry for revival begins with this and it ends on the same note. O Lord, turn me again; cause your face to shine and we shall be saved.
A Cry for Personal Revival - 2
The burden and cry for revival and for restoration becomes so acute when you know what God has done in the past. The prayer burden in this Psalm is revival and how I need to hold God's hands for my life and for all that God has started to do with me and in me.
Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
The question "Why has thou then broken down her hedges? Why will you allow all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood does come to waste this vine and the wild beast of the field does devour it... Why will God who took this vine out of Egypt and prepared a room for it to take a deep root also allow it to be so destroyed? This is what sin in the heart can do. Sin destroys and reduces a man to a piece of bread. Sin breaks down the hedges and makes a man vulnerable to the passers by. Sin in the heart exposes a man to the danger of the boar and the wild beast of the field. Sin takes away the canopy of grace from over a man's head and exposes him to the scotching heat of the sun and the striking of the moon by night. Sin turns the eyes of The Lord away from a man, no matter the divine investment God has made in his life. Sin is one thing I must dread and not play around with.
Sin will pluck a man from its deep roots and cause him to wither in a short time. Sin ridicules a man who has been in honour with God's covering. Sin most importantly cuts a man off from God and isolates him for slaughter. It throws him out in the open for any beast of the field to devour him and trample upon him as salt that has lost its savour. O Lord, this is the dread of my heart today. Sin will bring any man down no matter the height he has climbed with God. Sin reduces him to a piece of bread, a mere shadow of his past and a piece of exhibit of defeat. Those who pass by will then begin to say " This vine used to be so blessed, see how dry it has become now"
As I look at this Psalm of prayer again, I can see the issue and the crux of every decay. It has always been the departure of a man from his own source of life. It is the withdrawal of the presence of God from a man. It is the gradual loss of communion with God that culminates into this kind of dryness. The only way out is to return to The Lord and for God to turn His eyes again to this vine of His. All the boars of the wood and the wild beasts of the field only take the advantage of divine withdrawal to inflict their own damage. 'If God be for us and if God be with us, who can be against us and succeed?' but the converse is very true and more sobering. "If God be against us, where shall we find refuge. Who can be for us as a succour from His fierce wrath. If God looks away from us, whose countenance will bring us warmth of life. If the way of a man displeases The Lord, He will cause all his enemies to be in conflict and in battle with him" This is the more fearful aspect of letting anything come between me and my Lord.
Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
This is the cry and this is the solution to the matter of this spiritual decay. It is not first a combat with the boars of the woods and the wild beasts of the field that came to devour... it is to beseech The Lord of hosts to return and to look down from heaven and cast His loving eyes again upon this vine. It is His visitation that will bring the restoration. Visit this vine is my cry. Your visitation is what I need every time. If you visit this your vine, it will blossom again and sprout and bud and bring forth fruits to the praise of your glory.
The bane of a man's life is when God looks away from him. A work withers immediately as soon as God turns His face away. The challenge is not the devil, he only comes to exploit a bad situation of a broken communion with God. My walk with God must be kept in top form and I will be assured of His eye upon me and all the work I am involved in.
A Cry for Personal Revival
Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
This is indeed the crux of every revival and in it I find the quiet causes of spiritual decay in anyone's life. Spiritual decay in a soul is imminent when he turns away from the Lord. Spiritual decline sets in whenever a man turns to the things of the world. Even if I should get so occupied with the things of God rather than God Himself, I will still experience the same decline. This last one is even more deceptive. It will bring me into imperceptible decay in the inner man. Every decay is a turning away from The Lord and from His communion. When a man turns his back to the Light of life, he will surely walk in darkness.
Turn us again, O God of hosts...
This is important for me to know again today. Unless God turns our eyes and our hearts again to Himself, vain is the effort of a backslider to turn himself again to The Lord. He would rather descend so fast into carelessness and into the dungeon of sin and darkness. It is easier to descend, to decline and to decay than to ascend, climb and grow in the inner man. Descending and decaying is the way of the earth and the force of gravity only pulls downward and not upward. To turn again upward to God, there is a downward force of gravity, the force of my personal dead weight that I must overcome and yet have an extra energy to ascend up on high to be with the Lord. The power of resurrection must be at work again to turn me again and bring me out of the chain of death and decay.
Every reviving of a soul is the action of God in releasing the resurrection power to bring up that soul from the valley and from the dungeon, where it is being chained with addictions of all kinds. The miry clay in the valley is so stuck to the feet of a fallen saint that each step out only sinks him deeper and deeper into the mud. The cry is "Turn us again, O God of hosts". Yet it must be a cry from the heart. Jonah could not have come out of the belly of the fish by himself. He has sunk so deep into the bottom of the ship and into the belly of hell. At the bottom of the bottomless pit, his cry to the Lord was similar to this cry...
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
Jonah had known the blessed presence of The Lord over the years. He knew the beauty of God's shining face on a life and he has experienced the sweet voice of God speaking to him severally to give him direction and instructions for living. Unless you know what you have lost, you would not cry for it with any serious earnestness. The greatest affliction Jonah had was being cast out of the "thy sight into the deep, in the midst of the seas. He was in a horror of darkness. He went down to the bottoms of the mountains and was behind the bars of the earth. Unless The Lord turned His face towards Jonah, who would have released him from behind the bars of the earth? It was God that can bring a life out of that depth of corruption. Jonah turned to The Lord and looked again towards the temple. This was God at work. He used all the billows of the sea and the weeds in the belly of the fish which to Jonah was the belly of hell to turn him again.
I know what it means to lose the presence of God even for a day and all the can of worms the devil releases to overwhelm me in a moment is unimaginable. He sees it as an opportune time to strike with a deadly blow, from which my soul may not recover if God would not intervene. God may use anything to turn us again to cry to Him for mercy but it is His love that would turn my heart again and again to Him lest I continue to descend into the bottomless pit. Father, do not let me grow cold in my love for you. Don't let me go away from your presence for whatever reason. Let not the subtle ministry activities take me away from your bosom. Turn me again O God of hosts. Turn my heart again to the fountain of living water. Create a thirst within my heart that nothing in this world would quench until I run back to the River of living water. Let me lose every comfort and peace anywhere else until I have relocated myself in you and in your bosom.
For Jonah, it was by the instrumentality of his afflictions that he now cried to The Lord and turned his face towards the Holy temple. He would rather go down the deck and sleep a strange sleep. God had to stir up a boisterous wind to trouble the ship just to wake him up to call on God. All others turned to their gods but he would not. When the wind and the storm could not turn the heart and the eyes of Jonah to God, He had to use the belly of the fish to do the job. Jonah thought it was death at once, he did not know that even death would not come to a man whom God wants to deal with. He thought he would just close his eyes and find himself on the other side where there is no knowledge of pains... He was mistaken. God kept death away and provided the belly of the fish with its heat in the midst of water. Everywhere went dark, with inky blackness. He knew what hell the whole world would be when God casts a man out of His presence. O Lord, help me and draw me back to thy bosom and never let me go in Jesus name.
Turn us again O God of hosts is a great cry and The Lord has the right and means to do so in His love. Unless He does turn my heart again, I have no power to turn the steering upward. Every revival comes from God and Him alone.
"…and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."
This is the strange thing I must learn in every restoration. It is the face of The Lord shining on me that brings life. Just as the sunshine is what every plant needs to grow their leaves and to bring forth their fruits, so will my soul not grow and blossom unless The Lord shines the light of His face upon me. Cause thy face to shine and we shall be saved. O Lord, this is the reality of restoration. It is as you cause your face to shine upon me that I shall be saved from every calamity and every decay.
The Lord's face shining upon me is indeed the source of the spiritual life I can grow into. And it is as I behold His face, with unveiled face that I am being changed into His own likeness from one degree of glory to another. If His face does not shine upon me, I will be stagnant in life and will lose every luster in life. O Lord, cause thy face to shine upon me continually in Jesus name.
- Calvary Arrow College Interview! -
The names of short-listed candidates for interview into Calvary Arrows College, Gboko for 2013/2014 session is out,
please check here to see if your child is among those that are successful.
God bless you.
- National Christian Men's Convocation 2013 -
Theme: " The Man That Executed My Purpose!"
Date: Thur.July 11th - Sun. 14th, 2013
Venue: Bethany Resort, Peace House Camp,
Km 21 Gboko/Aliade Rd., Mbahande-Mbayion, Gboko, Benue State.
- South-West Regional Students' Congress -
A regional students' congress for all students in tertiary institutions in South Western states in Nigeria.
Venue: Foursqaure Gospel Camp, Off Lagos Ibadan Express Way, Ajebo.
Theme: "Maximizing Your Youthful Years" (Lam 3:27-31.)
Date: 4th - 7th July, 2013.
NOTE: Exco & Leaders summit 6am Friday & Saturday.
For Further information call Bro. Jare on 08033305541, or Bro. Dele on 08037139774, or Bro. Tope on 08034705409.
- Peace House Publications releases new books -
1. Pathway to Leadership
2. God's Commitment to you
3. Atsam A Mtseeshima (Revival Hymns)
- New editions of our Journals -
"Livingseed" and "More than Rubbies" are out. Copies available at Peace House Bookshops nationwide.
- Retreat Atmosphere -
Bethany Resort (Peace House Camp) offers you the serene Retreat ATMOSPHERE for Refreshing, Rekindling and personal Revival You can book for group as well as personal usage.