But whenever a missionary came to speak I was all ears.
There was just something different. Something real. Something alive in them.
Now I know, it was Jesus.
Brother Yun is one of those missionaries (from China) that, as soon as I started his book, I saw Jesus.
This was an amazing book. One I will be going back to for encouragement.
"On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive."
This book will convict you and encourage you all at the same time. If you are a Christian it will challenge you and make you examine yourself.
"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." Revelation 3:19
I thought I'd just share a few thought-provoking quotes.
Ok maybe a bit more then a few. : )
"You see, I believe Jesus Christ alone is the answer for the ills of the whole world. Communism is not the answer, but neither is democracy. It is God's will that must rule, and His kingdom that must reign on earth as it is in heaven.
Democracy may be good in many ways, but it is a concept not supported in Scripture.
If democracy was the rule of law in God's kingdom, then Moses would never have led Israel out of Egypt, for the majority of Israelites grumbled against Moses and even wanted him put to death.
If they had listened to the voice of democracy, Caleb and Joshua would have been overruled, for those two men went against the advice of all the other spies who returned from the Promised Land.
When God commanded me to stand up and walk out of prison in 1997, there was no need to hold a meeting to discuss it with the other believers. When the Almighty speaks, all other voices fall silent."
On the Western Church:
""I believe the Western church is generally in the same condition as Martha. You know the truths about God's Word in your head, but you still like to run your own lives. Like Martha, many Christians cry out, 'Lord, if you had just done things according to our plans, we would never have ended up is such a mess.'
Friend, you need to realize that God is not at all interested in your plans. He is only interested in His plans! So many churches and individual believers think they should make their own plans and strategies, then ask (or in some cases, command) God to bless them.
The almighty God is not our servant! He does not do what we tell Him to do. Many Christians need to climb down from the throne they have built for themselves, fall on their faces before God and do whatever the Master tells them to do....
Many churches are spiritually dead today because they keep Jesus at a 'safe distance' while they control their own lives and make their own plans. Until you realize that the living Jesus Christ wants to be the major part of everything you do, you will not see revival."
I just got chills reading this again. Do you desire real revival in your church? The kind that puts God above all things in our lives. The kind that gets us on our faces before Almighty God. Let's start praying for God to revive our hearts. Hearts that will completely trust in Him.
Brother Yun later says here:
"My friend, are you tired from years of living your Christian life in your own strength? Do you make plans and ask God to bless them, rather than seeking out His plans and obeying them?
Jesus desires to set you free.
He wants you to take off your old grave clothes and exchange them for robes of righteousness.
Your faith may have grown stale and dry, but God wants streams of living water to flow from within you! He wants you to renew your first love and to walk in obedience to Him, realizing He is not only the God of the past and future, but the God of today."
On Being Reluctant:
"If we belong to God, we must learn to put our own schedules away. We must bundle up all of our hopes, dreams and future plans and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
Now you may be reading this and your mind is recoiling at the thought of making such a radical commitment and abandonment to God's will. Somehow we deceive ourselves into thinking that if we retain control of our lives to God, we will regret it. This thinking is completely false. Nobody who has ever given control of their life to Jesus has regretted it."
He later encourages with this:
"When the Holy Spirit enters your heart and takes over, you will not be afraid, for a holy fire of God's love will consume you. You will not be the same person as before, and fear will vanish, for 'there is no fear in love. but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us' (1 John 4:18-19)."
On Being Bold:
"Are you afraid to tell others about Jesus Christ and the transformation He can bring to their lives? Or are you worried those people might embarrass and ridicule you for your faith? You see...
true boldness can never come to those who have not yet died to self.
People who have already died don't care what others think or say about them. Dead people don't worry about their reputation or whether people will look down on them.
If you want to make a difference for God's kingdom, you first must learn to die to yourself.
This is not just a onetime experience, but a daily necessity. Jesus said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it' (Luke 9:23-24). Paul told the Corinthians, 'I die every day - I mean that, brothers - just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our lord' (1Cor. 15:31)."
I find this so encouraging. Dying to self is not a one time experience. It's a daily necessity. And because His mercies are new every morning, we can do this!
On Experiencing God's Living Water:
"The answer to experiencing God's living water is not to seek more and more Bible teaching. The answer is not to attend more Christian conferences or seek new ministers with new messages.
Please listen carefully. The key for experiencing the flow of God's living water in your life is...
I felt this was the most powerful quote in the book.
Though he explains the importance of reading and studying Scripture and how those in China hold the few pages they may have precious, it's more important to obey God. Without obedience all the rest means nothing.
"You can never really know the Scriptures until you're willing to be changed by them."
"The first thing needed for revival to return to your churches is the Word of the Lord. God's Word is missing. Sure, there are many preachers and thousands of tapes and videos of Bible teaching, but so little contains the sharp truth of the Bible, 'for the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart' (Heb. 4:12). God's Word is the truth that will set you free."
He also writes:
"As I have traveled around the world, I have met many wonderful brothers and sisters. They listen intently to every word that is spoken, but there is one major thing missing on their spiritual lives.
They need to start obeying the Word of God.
They need to step out and start being doers of the Word instead of just listeners. James said, 'do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says' (James 1:22)."
On Suffering and Prayer for Those in Prison:
"When a child of God suffers, you need to understand it is only because the Lord has allowed it. He has not forgotten you!
When I hear a house church Christian has been imprisoned for Christ in China, I don't advise people to pray for his or her release unless the Lord clearly reveals we should pray this way....
There is always a purpose to why God allows His children to go to prison. Perhaps it's so they can witness to the other prisoners, or perhaps God wants to develop more character in their lives. But if we use our own efforts to get people out of prison earlier than God intended, we can thwart His plans, and the believer may come out not as fully formed as God wanted them to be.
The Lord told the apostle Paul, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Cor. 12:9). This led Paul to declare, 'Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (12:9-10).
The kingdom of God advances through suffering."
This blew me away. I often pray for believers in prison, but never thought of it this way before. It brought 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 to life.
On Living in Christ's Strength:
"Freedom is the main subject of Paul's letter to the Galatians.
The church there had been birthed in great power. Men and women were set free from the prisons of their sin and disobedience, and great joy and peace were experienced. Over the course of time, however, the Galatians allowed themselves to be dominated by legalism. Satan deceived them into thinking that although their initial salvation was totally dependent upon God's grace and mercy, now their Christian lives had to be lived out in their own strength.
The great apostle wrote to them in a very direct manner:
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human efforts? Have you suffered so much for nothing - if it really was for nothing? Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Galatians 3:1-5
How about you, my beloved friend?
Have you started your Christian life with the Spirit but are now trying to live for Christ through your own efforts?...
The good news is that Jesus loves His bride, and He will come to the rescue! If your Christian life has been disconnected from the living water that flows from close communion with the Father, there is hope for you.
There is always hope for the person who repents and starts walking in the direction ordained by the Lord. If you have experienced Christ's salvation, then it is time to 'set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory' (Col. 3:1-4)."
Oh how often we go back to legalism! How many preachers and teachers today teach us to live in our own power by positive thinking, health and wealth prosperity and taking care of ourselves before others...foolishness!
We need to be led by His Spirit and His Spirit alone.
I love how direct Paul is to the Galatians and to us. He doesn't mess with words and is not afraid to call us foolish! How great it is to be loved and corrected by almighty God! He never leaves His children in their wrongs. He continually and lovingly calls us out.
There is so much more to this book and I highly recommend it!
I'll leave you with this great quote that encouraged me greatly:
"Don't try to be someone God didn't make you. It will just be awkward and diminish your effectiveness for the Lord."
Buy it HERE on Amazon