The Arrival of Christ

November 2013 pic“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

Steve Hawthorne suggests revival might be renamed arrival. It’s as if Christ “shows up” in His Church afresh to recapture us and reconquer us.

Isaiah 60 suggests God’s glory was already breaking over Israel like a sunrise, exposing many dimensions of His Kingdom purposes to them. What they needed to do was “rise and shine” and seize the day.

That’s why biblical texts frequently use the motif of encounter to describe spiritual renewal. We find this in Isaiah’s picture of a future when God would rend the heavens like a garment, visibly descending like a fire upon saints and nations alike (Isa. 64).

The Puritans coined a great phrase to define the “arrival” experience. They called such seasons “the manifest presence of Christ.” Here is how they reasoned: First, they said, there is Christ’s essential presence. That is, Christ is everywhere present all the time. He is unavoidable.

Second, they also talked about Christ’s cultivated presence. Christians can enrich their sense of fellowship with Him as they abide in Him day by day, faithfully obeying Him. We can cultivate a deeper knowledge of the Lord through Bible study and prayer, for example. As we do, Christ shows Himself to be much more present in our lives than we had realized.

The manifest presence of Christ, however, was something else altogether. This was the Puritans’ third term for those times when God reveals His Son to a new generation of His people. He does so in such dramatic fashion that it almost seems as if Christ has been hiding from us until that moment. Then suddenly He reinserts Himself among us. He arrives, in other words.

Or, as I define it, revival is a “Christ-awakening movement.” It is God’s people waking up to God’s Son for all He is, not only individually but also corporately; not only in a moment but for a season. Revival ultimately becomes a movement with wide-reaching impact on society as well as among the nations.

—Adapted from the article: Fully Alive to the Glory of Christ: An Exceptional Season of God’s Extraordinary Work by David Bryant; published in Issue 2 of Prayer Connect Magazine. Click here to read the entire article.

Light of the World, how I long for a “Christ-awakening moment” in my life! May Your “unavoidable presence” transform my life and propel me into Your kingdom purposes. May Your glory appear over Your people in the midst of our darkened culture as we cultivate Your presence in our lives. Draw near Lord Christ, and change us forever.

Prayer Points

Praise God for all his mighty works (Ps. 46:8-10), for his power, his majesty, his magnificent splendor over all the earth. Thank God for this psalm’s very clear and uplifting picture of God’s grandeur. Confess that you sometimes live as if God were small, powerless, and expendable. Commit yourself to serving this grand and glorious God with humility and reverence. Ask God to reveal something of his splendor in your life this week.

Pray that “the works of the Lord” might be so evident as to draw unbelievers to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Ask for spiritual blinders to be removed.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend

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