Recipe for Revival Part Three: Seek God’s Face First
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While living in Texas, one day as I was grocery shopping, I decided I was tired of bringing the proverbial bachelor dish of canned corn to church potlucks. I wanted to actually make something. I stood there in the middle of the store, with my cart, wondering what a bachelor like me could possibly make.

Enchiladas! Those can’t be too hard.

So I set out on a hunt, looking for things that would go well in an enchilada dish. I came up with enchilada seasoning mix, refried beans, Morningstar Farm meat crumbles, onions and cheese. 1 I then found some enchilada sauce, vegetarian chili and green onions to top it off with. Oh yes, and. of course. corn tortillas.

I felt I had all the right ingredients, but I knew there had to be a process to make it all fall in place. For example, after I filled the tortillas with the mix, and then started to roll them up into an enchilada, they began to break. I found I had to dip the tortillas in hot olive oil before trying to fold them, so that they would fold right. (Now I just lay them out flat and make my enchiladas more like a lasagna.)

I used to mix the seasoning together in one pan, while mixing the beans, veggie meat crumbles, onions and cheese in another pan and then combining them. I would then add the filling in each individual tortilla. Now I just add the fillings into the pan with the seasoning mix, and I lay the tortillas out flat and pour the contents on top kind of like a lasagna, instead of filling each tortilla individually.

I have to say the enchiladas have been a hit. I have had several families with whom I do Bible studies over, and they love them. One family I have been studying with for a while especially loves them. The kids are always asking when I will make them again. I joked with the parents, that in addition to teaching them the Bible, I could also save them all from a burning building and yet at my funeral all they would be talking about would be how I made good enchiladas!

During this experiment I have learned the importance of creating a delicious meal in the proper sequence.

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

Image © Steve Creitz from GoodSalt.com

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

God also gives us a recipe for revival in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He not only gives us the ingredients for the revival, He also shares with us the process. We must humble ourselves before we can pray a prayer which leads to revival. And we must seek God before we can turn from our wicked ways.

It does not do any good to pray if we have not humbled ourselves first. Remember the publican and the Pharisee? They both prayed (Luke 18:10), but the Pharisee did not humble himself. (Luke 18:11-12) The publican humbled himself and went home justified, while the Pharisee did not. (Luke 18:13-14)

It also does no good to try to turn from our wicked ways if we do not first seek God.

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.  Jeremiah 13:23

No matter how hard we try, we just cannot change ourselves to be “good enough” to come to God.

Because they do not understand this, some confuse the teaching of “holy flesh” with righteousness by faith. They expect to come to a point where they are beyond temptation and cannot sin. Ellen White denounced this teaching in 2 Selected Messages, p. 31, just as Paul denounced it in Romans 7:18.

The doctrine of righteousness by faith does not teach that the flesh becomes holy but that the flesh must be crucified, and we must be emptied of self to allow God to fill us with His righteousness which delivers us from the power of sin. See Galatians 2:20 and Great Controversy, p. 623.  

What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. (Ellen White, The Faith I Live By, p. 111.)

Only God can change our hearts. This is why the church is a hospital for sinners instead of a country club for perfect saints.

Jesus said

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  (John 12:32)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

We must come to Jesus before we can rest from the works of the flesh. (Also see  Galatians 5:16-24)

Just as recipes have sequences to their ingredients so does a revival and reformation. First we must humble ourselves. Secondly we must pray and seek God’s face. Then and only then can we turn from our wicked ways.


  1. I have also experimented with vegan cheese, but let’s not fill the comment section with quotes about cheese. That’s just not what this post is about.
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Recipe for Revival Part Three: Seek God’s Face First — 30 Comments

  1. A very powerful reading and it is so very true that there is a sequence to revival which we must follow to reach success by God's grace.

    I had an outburst of laughter at your last comment about the cheese. You were so right to put it there for those who might get distracted from the main point of the message.

    Like(5)
  2. I keep hearing/seeing we must empty ourselves of self.
    What does that mean [in easy to understand words please] and how is it accomplished?
    I agree that everything must be done in order. Or be set up for failure.

    Like(1)
    • Empty from our goals and means give our will in service to God and He promised a new life for us that be filled with His goals and means.

      Like(1)
    • [Moderator's note: Please use your full name]

      To empty ourself of self is to put our will under God's will. It is to do what God wants us to do in all situations as the Bible commands. Like Jesus on the cross, let not our will be done but God's will. It is a choice we make to accept and place Jesus as the captain of our ship. To totally surrender ourselves to gods will. We do all to the glory of God. It is an act of faith to accept Jesus as our personal saviour.

      Like(4)
    • Good question, Gerry.

      I'm not sure we can empty ourselves of self. But self must die. It must be nailed to the cross, and the thing about crucifixion is that it's not a method of suicide. Someone else has to do it for us.

      All we can do is to be willing for Christ to do it for us. And that's why it is so important to take time with Him daily -- to focus on His Word, His Example, His power, His love, His forgiveness, etc. The more we see in Christ, the less we will see in ourselves until we realize that there is nothing good in us. All the good we can do and/or have done is all Christ's doing in us -- and that is the meaning of the heart being empty of self.

      I note that Maurice Ashton put it very succinctly: Quit thinking of yourself, and start thinking of others!

      Like(4)
      • Inge, after giving some thought...I realize this has become a popular saying, but we need to see the difference between suicide and sacrifice, and that this is not about the act of dying, but of being willing to submit. When Abraham offered Isaac, it was actually a self-sacrificing faith that God was looking for. Abraham would have gladly taken Isaac's place, but he obeyed God's command and surrendered his own will, sacrificing his desire to spare his beloved son. Notice what God said to Abraham as he took up the knife he had made as sharp as possible. It was not about Isaac living or dying, it was about Abraham's faith in God's commands and promises. We face the same issue. It's not about how we die, but that we surrender our lives wholly to accepting God's will in place of our own.

        When Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him (that is; His example), remember that He gave His life, and no one took it from Him. No power on earth could have placed the Son of God on that cross without His consent. Same with us, and no one, not even God, can consent for us.

        I understand what you mean about us needing grace to even want to submit our will to God's, and yes, Grace abounds! God's goodness leads us to repentance.

        Like(3)
    • Gerry, to be empty of self, all selfishness must be expelled from our lives. This shows in our thoughts, words and actions towards others. It requires having a different focus than self.

      How is this accomplished?...by learning of Jesus (our Example) through daily prayer and study of God's Word, then following the instructions given to us in that Word. This will bring a need to make choices throughout your day. Serve self or Serve God (by serving others).

      Now in order to actually carry this out, we must desire and pray that God's will be done (as it is found in His Word) by His grace working in us as we yield to it. Yes, a choice. You will be confronted with many choices once you expose yourself to God's Word which reveals HIS will perfectly. This process will continue daily, every day. You will grow in grace as you accept and give yourself to doing God's will more and more. Your thought patterns will transform as your mind in renewed by the Holy Spirit. It's a promise.

      To illustrate this, look at the story of Gideon found in Judges 7, particularly verse 16. The lamps were hid within empty pitchers, which were then to be broken to reveal the light of the lamp.(vs 19) You are the pitcher, God's Word through the Holy Spirit is the lamp of Truth. If the pitcher is not empty, the lamp would be extinguished.

      Self is made empty (of self-ishness) by being taught of God's word and following it in every way you understand it, whether in eating, drinking or whatever you do, it is done to glorify God (1 Cor 10:31). This can only be done if we claim God's promises to do this for us at our asking. He will not do it without our invitation, because He has given us the choice and we must make it ourselves. His Word, made more clear by the Holy Spirit, will show you the need and give you the desire. Then you make the choice, many choices...which can cause a struggle of the wills. Your will vs God's will. Choosing God's will is to be empty of self. This will require the fight of faith as our will is often tempted to assert itself.

      Believe and claim His promises.

      Like(4)
      • Robert Whiteman, You said it so well in your last 2 sentences. My attempt to explain the process that leads to walking in the spirit by using "struggling with sin" as "walking in the flesh" could be misleading. It is always good to listen to others' words so that we can see things through someone else's eyes and learn better how to explain ourselves so that we won't be misunderstood. I working on a new approach.

        As I was reading your comments, I realize that we shouldn't be letting our flesh flare up in the first place, but rather keep in mind our humble state before God with unceasing prayer.

        Jesus advice is worth following when he went to the disciples at Gethsemane and urged them to pray this prayer. Mark 14:38
        "Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak.”

        He experienced well how weak the body is!

        Like(2)
        • Celeste, you said, "He experienced well how weak the body is!" Many people have expressed similar thoughts. I knew one person that thought that it was the thought of the nails that caused Christ to sweat in Gethsemane. Others think that it was the idea that he couldn't see through the portals of the tomb and feared an eternal separation from the Father and loss of His life. Although they would have had some effect I personally don't think it was any of these that really bothered Him because all of these are a product of selfishness (sin) and we know that Jesus was sinless. Besides there have been a good number of saints that didn't shun beatings, crucifixion, and torture including people such as Paul, John, and an unnumbered group during the middle ages. No doubt some of them went down to the grave wondering about their salvation but did it anyway for their Lord and for the sake of making a stand against evil. Was Jesus any less than these?

          What I would like to propose is that what bothered Jesus was the possibility of failure, "As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness" (Desire of Ages, p 686.5). If He failed that would basically mean the end of His entire creation and that thought put a responsibility on Him no ordinary human could possibility bear. Neither do I think that He was asking to be excused from a severe trial but rather that He was asking for another way to do what needed to be done, one that didn't involve as much of a possibility of failure. He knew through prophesy the severity of the trial and knew that He would die under the wrath of God (abandonment) which meant that Satan would have full control of the situation. He knew to what extent Satan's powers could go and feared that He would give into temptation in that situation and cause Satan to win the great controversy. If failure on Christ's part didn't secure a place in Heaven for Satan then the whole controversy would have either repeated itself or God would have had to reboot His entire creation (destroy and rebuild). Minimally there would have been cast an eternal shadow over the character of God concerning His law and government. In my mind there is no wonder why Jesus sweat giant drops of blood over the whole thing.

          Here are links to some of Ellen White's thoughts on this from the Review & Herald and Signs of the Times:
          Review & Herald
          Signs of the Times

          Like(1)
        • Tyler, you need only read the rest of the paragraph you quote to realize the dread that filled the soul of Christ was that He might be forever separated from His Father.

          The choice was whether this separation was worth giving the chance of life with God to others who, without His sacrifice, would fail of it themselves. Remember, these lost souls are His creation, the seed of Adam who had been promised a redeemer for his race of lost children.

          I have no doubts that He feared His humanity might fail, as I'm sure Satan was there to press the temptation to doubt along with the temptation to fend for Himself. But it came down to faith in God's Word that foretold His death would bring Life to a dying world, and then the choice between Himself and this dying world He was about to give His life for. Possibly for eternity.

          The choice was His will or God's will. Just like you and me today.

          Jesus' will was to be with His Father always,(God must be more wonderful than we can imagine!) while drinking this cup might end their relationship for eternity. God's will was to save a world He loved so much that He offered His only begotten Son.

          Jesus as a man was tempted to believe the lies of Satan, doubt the Word of God and save himself, but His faith prevailed in the face of the greatest agony any human has ever faced, and we are saved!

          The bloody sweat proves the temptation was real.

          Like(2)
      • I would like to add to my previous comment this thought: humility before God is revealed in confessing our sin. This is where it starts, by acknowledging the truth of His word which is given for "reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness" and by the Holy Spirit's convincing every soul of "sin, of righteousness and of judgment."

        We must also look at Jesus who was "meek and lowly of heart". How did He exemplify this? He "made Himself of no reputation...became a servant...".

        We have the conviction of truth and the example of Christ, and need only respond in faith.

        Like(1)
    • Humility is a gift of God....just like faith and repentance. Want humility? Kneel down and ask God for it with sincerity. It can't get any easier. Praise God.

      Like(0)
  3. [Moderator's Note: Please use your full name as stated in the Comment Guidelines.]

    In order to humble oneself, the starting point is, in my view, that we should know who we are in comparison with God and our fellow man.

    Like(1)
  4. The big secret about humility, and revival for that matter, is to forget about yourself and start thinking of others. There is room for introspection but it should lead to a better understanding of how we interact with others. Christianity has never been about what we get out of it. Christ risked everything to save us (it was not a little play act) and in his example is the key to revival.

    It is not an accident that Jesus said, "By this shall all men know you are my disciples if you have love for one another." Expressing that love to one another should be our major response to the love of God.

    To put it in pragmatic terms, how do we treat those who feel disenfranchised by our church? Why are there people who feel that way? What is our responsibility to them? As always, I think of our young folk as they grow up and experiment with life. How often are we there to disapprove of their experiments rather than encourage them in journey? I have fond memories of the benevolent tolerance I received from a church that loved me when I was a kid growing up. A church filled with supporting caring people is a great argument for Christianity and beats doctrinal dissertation every time.

    Like(4)
    • Maurice, I agree with much of your comment, but would like to point out the impossibility of our ability to "forget yourself and start thinking of others" without Divine aid. We cannot start out doing right until given a clean heart and right spirit. The order is this: present ourselves as a living sacrifice, and then be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This is the part only God can accomplish in us. I know you understand that, but your statement overlooks it as written. The secret is not in what to do, but in how to accomplish it. That's the part that requires our entire focus, and the rest will follow naturally.

      A child cannot by any great effort grow, but if they simply eat wholesome food, growth will happen naturally without even thinking about it. In fact, if they simply focus on getting wholesome food, they will not be able to prevent proper growth and development. :-)

      Revival begins with humility towards God, and with our permission and constant choosing, He does the rest.

      Like(3)
      • You are right of course Robert. I did leave out the bit about Divine aid. The issue that I have is that so many Christians recite phrases like "Living in Christ", "Depending on Him" and the ubiquitous, "What would Jesus do?" without making the words meaningful. At the end of the day, the divine aid has to get us off our butts and out into the real world where we can be part of a revival. Revival is ultimately not about thinking but about doing, not as the root of our salvation but as the fruit.

        If you look at many of the comments I have written on this topic of revival you will see that I have continually asked respondents, What does it mean to move beyond the words?

        Like(3)
        • Perhaps we should replace "what would Jesus do?" with "what did Jesus do?" He loved every soul and gave Himself for their salvation. He met every need that desired His help and when abused, "opened not His mouth".

          He did not do any of this by His own power, but as we must, totally dependent on God's grace and gift of the Holy Spirit, for which He prayed. He demonstrated how to be "meek and lowly of heart" and invites us to yoke up with Him.

          Like(1)
  5. to humble ourself is let SELF die (ME,MYSELF&I),,, self elevation leads to pride& pride preceeds fall. The solution is in JOY,,, Jesus first; Others second& Yourself last. We can have joy, if we recognise without Christ we our nothing-we accept theen for the Saviour to help us humble ourselves,,, His will precedes our will,, we abide in Him& He abide in us,, we have unity of purpose,, then we find it easy to serve& respect others. If every person realise a fellow human needs good treatment,, chaos, wars, scrambling will not be found among us,, hence we will be happy,,, we will have JOY.

    Like(2)
  6. Good morning!

    What a humbling post William! Thank God for your words of encouragement this morning!

    In our walk with God, we aspire to walk with Him instead of the other way around. Then, He becomes the tour guide as opposed to us going around frantically while God tags along. John 3:30 (NASB) reveals "He must increase, but I must decrease." What a recipe for humility! Let His will foreshadow our daily living. Amen!

    Like(3)
  7. Humility and death to self are not something we can create ourselves. They come from a transformed heart, something only God can do (Ezek. 36:25-27). All we can do is seek a fresh view of God daily as His Spirit leads us through His word and prayer. He transforms us as we behold His goodness and greatness every day.

    Like(1)
  8. I have enjoyed the teachings on this topic.So much has been revealed to me that I can not go without comment.
    'If we confess our sins,He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'-1 John 1:9
    This is where humility begins.As we study the word of God,the true light of the Lord Jesus Christ shines on us,and our moral flaws become alarmingly visible.His pure character,genuine love and unmixed motives reveal specks of sinfulness in everything we do.Little white lies,selfish anger,small hypocrisies,and muddy motives stand out vividly.And they are in all of us to some degree.
    How perceptive was the apostle John!He wrote,'If we say that we have no sin.we deceive ourselves'(1 John 1:8).But thank God,'If anyone sins,we have an advocate..,.....'(2:1)
    When we confess our sins the revival begins with us.

    Like(1)
  9. I like all the comments but my response to this is, I will be Dear Savior wholly thine teach me how, teach me how. I will do thy will oh Lord not mine help me, help me now. E.G White says in Steps to Christ that the closer we get to Christ the clearer we see ourselves so let us by God's grace draw closer to Him moment by moment so that we will see our real selves and surrender our all to Him that He will make us what we should be.

    Like(1)
    • Cheryl, the quotation from Steps to Christ that you partially quote is this: "The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you." (Steps to Christ, p 64.2).

      In fact I would say that those who see themselves as good Christians are probably the ones that need to read and understand the Laodicean message the most. Even the 144000 who we believe is the cream of the crop within the church apparently will see themselves as sinful, unworthy servants:

      As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. (Great Controversy, p 618.3)

      Like(1)
  10. I believe true humility is shown in Jesus' example. He never considered himself as anything, even though he came down from heaven; even though he was God who became flesh. His humility was not putting himself as more important than his Father. I find pride when I think I can teach others about God. I find humility when I know that I can't teach others so I keep quiet until I find God's quickening leading me on what to say or do.

    God showed me true humility when someone came to my house to rebuke me with a false accusation. Because her countenance revealed there was something wrong, I made sure I was connected when I let her in the door. I respectfully listened to what she wanted to say. It was an unjustified rebuke. I found myself in the place of humbleness when I had no desire to correct her in her mistake. When she was finished I thanked her for caring about my soul. After all, she was a friend in Christ and was hurting because of something she believed I had done. And I love her.

    The woman knew I go to a bible study on that day, and she wanted to come to show she had forgiven me. How could I refuse her? At the study we were following the scriptures in Matthew and to my surprise, that days’ lesson happened to fall on the scripture that says not to judge lest you be judged. Everyone looked to me for a lesson, and I looked to God. I believed I was still in the Spirit; because instead of thinking that God had planned all along to rebuke her for judging me, I was focused on being very careful with this lesson so as not to hurt her. I always wondered why I didn’t think to just move on to another scripture that deals with anything but what would address that morning’s events to avoid any embarrassment on her part.

    I rarely have to prepare for the bible study because I want to exercise my faith that the Holy Spirit will reveal the lesson to one of us to teach. In this way I can give the glory to God since He never ceases to amaze me by intuitively bringing a new understanding of the scriptures during these bible studies. It is this way that I must depend on the gift God has given me, and brag about His faithfulness toward us.

    Without giving all the details, I’ll say my friend was strongly convicted, even though I painstakingly focused on not pointing a finger, and stuck with what I saw in the scriptures in a general sense. She got angry, and gravely upset the women there, as she blurted out violent, evil words against me, and I could only watch as the devil worked to destroy what we had in this study group. I didn’t sense any kind of authority to stop what was happening so I kept quiet. My friend finally left. In deep remorse over what had just taken place, I apologized to the group, taking responsibility for the disturbance, and with God’s help, suffered the consequences, which were great. I can only imagine worse things could have happened that day if God hadn’t kept me humble through it. The worst of this is that I must watch and suffer as God judges my friend on the very thing she accused me of.

    I hope my witness helps someone understand humility. I hope nothing here can be misconstrued, but if you find an error, then I alone am to blame.

    Like(2)
  11. Tyler, Jesus was the one who said, "Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak.” Doesn't this infer that He had to be speaking from experience? Wasn't that why Jesus went off to pray frequently, because He knew the body he took on was weak and constant prayer was needed to stay strong and resist temptation? Would he have needed to be in constant prayer if his flesh was strong and proposed no contest against temptation? The fact that Jesus had to resist temptation the same degree we have to (because the body is weak) makes Him all the more special to me.

    Like(1)
  12. I am thrilled! I's jumping for joy! I'm ecstatic! God is good! He is so wonderful! He never lets us down! He is truth! He leads us into righteousness! I am having a gay old time loving the Lord because He has revealed truth once again! God has shown me an important part of the process of walking in the spirit which I missed.

    I had thought, as you saw, that when we struggle, we are trying to be good in our own strength. So I have been thinking "struggling" is flesh, and “trying to be good” is flesh; but I missed the point that causes the struggle in the first place, so God put me in a trial to show me where you guys were right. Thank God I bring everything I hear to Him for clarity in case I miss something. Also, I mentioned to a friend that “trying to be good” wasn’t the answer. “Trusting in God’s strength for deliverance” was, and she, like you, brought out the advice in scripture that say we must try to be good.

    I saw “trying to be good” as an element of the flesh to get out of a struggle and inferred that “trying to be good” wasn’t the way, but a sign that we are working in the flesh; but rather turning to God for strength was. I wasn’t seeing the whole picture. Since I found I can’t “try to be good” and succeed, I decided that I should stop trying and turn to God. Then came trials to show me more. The thing is, when tempted, I was already in the desire, and although I knew to call upon the Lord, I rarely chose to call upon God. So, my mind wasn’t on the things of God after all. If it were, I would have started to try to resist, found myself in the struggle to do good, and then I would be more willing to call upon God for help. Therefore, I have concluded that we must first resolve to know God’s way and be willing to do it. Then, when tempted as our flesh comes to surface, in our minds we will want to try to do what is right, so we struggle against the sin by attempting to resist. Then we think of praying to ask God for help because we will remember we cannot do it in our own strength. ”Resist the devil and he will flee, draw nigh unto me and I will draw nigh unto you” and “I will set the captives free.” The end product is our freedom from the desire as I see the will of God.

    It is because we have repented of our sinful nature and seen our forgiving God that we suffer temptation. Sinners don't struggle with temptation because they are living in them, and their natural flesh eventually gives in because their minds aren't set on doing what's right.

    This blog is truly helping me. Thank you ssnet for providing it. I know how much work I go through to contribute to the blog, since I just spent 2 hours writing this one, so I want to thank all you who contribute for our sake. God bless us all, everyone!

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  13. Celeste We are so thankful for everyone who contributes in being a part of our online Sabbath School family. We all need each other and the Holy Spirit in order to grow and receive fresh revelations of God's love and grace just like you have shared. Thank you!

    Like(2)
  14. I would like 2 say that self-is somethng very decieving.and in order 2 do away with it, we first must accept Jesus 2 b our guide. True revival requires a clean heart n mind. Lets empty it from all self-indulgence n welcome Holy ghost 2 manifest in our life

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