by 鍾卓權牧師 (Rev. Bernie Chung)
不可否認，我們大家都知道我們各人都有改進的空間。諸如我們應更親密地與神交往，更融洽地與家人相處，更積極地參與教會的事奉，更努力地工作和讀書，更廣泛地擴展 神國的事工等。 上帝對教會有祂的計劃與期望，期望祂的兒女與祂同工，體會祂的同在，讓願意參與神國事工者能夠明白並甘之如飴地去實踐祂的旨意，如此教會和個人就會得到復興，換一句話說上帝的恩典與祂的憐憫就會彰顯在教會和會眾之中。
約珥書 2:12-18 節記載，耶和華對南國猶大的以色列民說 : 強敵人進攻耶路撒冷即將成為事實，要他們聚集在一起，年輕到年長的都要參加，各人先「禁食、哭泣、悲哀」一心歸向祂，「耶和華就為自己的地發熱心、憐恤祂的百姓」。意思是說，耶和華因為愛祂的百姓，憐憫他們為他們感到悲傷。請注意這裡的先後次序，其重要性是子民蒙憐憫之先他們必須先知道自己的需要，因而決定是否要上帝的憐憫，一旦知道了自己內心的需要，就應當向上帝祈求，祈求上帝復興他們。那時就是上帝應許開始的時候，祂就為自己的地發熱心、憐恤衪的百姓。
It is undeniable that we all have room for improvement. For instance, our relationship with God could be more intimate. We could also get along more harmoniously with our families. Our participation in church ministry could be more active, and we could expand the Kingdom of God more broadly. We could also work harder and study harder. God has His plans and expectations for all His churches, and He expects us, His children, to work with Him and to experience His presence. God enables those who are willing to participate in His ministry to understand what it takes, and to do what is necessary to carry out His will. In doing God’s work, all the churches and individuals will experience revival, and God’s grace and mercy will be manifested among them.
Joel 2:12-18 records that the Lord warned the Israelites in Judah, the Southern Kingdom, that mighty enemies will attack Jerusalem. The Lord told them to bring everyone, young and old, together to show their sorrow by fasting, crying, and mourning. “The Lord was deeply concerned about his land and had pity on his people” (Joel 2:18). This means that God loves His people and has pity on their sorrows. Please pay attention to the order of progression. Before the people receive God’s mercy, they must identify their needs and determine if these needs require God’s mercy. Once they know their inner needs, they should then pray to God to give them revival. God’s promise hence begins with showing His deep concern for the land and pity for His people.
Since we know our own deficiencies, we should yearn for God’s revival to come to us. Whether it is the revival of the individual or of the church, we must first pray to God for mercy. Just as it is written in Joel—"don’t rip your clothes, but turn to God with broken hearts” should be the basis of our inner pleading. Rejuvenation is not just about increasing the gatherings in the church, nor by attending a series of workshops and forums. The church's revival aims to rekindle the fear and love of God, to let us experience His grace and mercy, and to bring the lost and confused souls back to God. Let’s pray and eagerly wait for God’s true revival of the individual and the church. May God’s mercy be upon us.