Break up the fallow ground
How to prepare your heart for revival
Revival is when eternity invades time 
Revival is God’s radical treatment for a sick and lukewarm church
Revival starts with me
Revival starts with you
God is calling me into personal revival
God is calling me to break up the fallow ground in my heart
God is calling you into personal revival
God is calling you to break up the fallow ground in your heart
The fallow ground is the soil of your heart that used to produce fruit
The fallow ground in our hearts is overgrown with weeds and thistles and thorns
God is calling us into revival through Hosea 10:12
Sow for yourselves in righteousness
Reap in mercy
Break up the fallow ground
For it is time to seek the Lord
Until he comes and rains righteousness on you
Context: Hosea chapters 1-3 tell Hosea’s personal story
God told him to marry Gomer a promiscuous woman and raise children
Hosea had even to buy her back from her lover
Their third child a boy had a name something like ‘my daddy is not my daddy’
Hosea keenly felt the pain and rejection of loving an unfaithful covenant breaking wife
God keenly felt the pain and rejection of loving an unfaithful covenant breaking people
Hosea identified with God’s breaking heart over the sin of his people
Our sin breaks God’s heart
God’s tender love and mercy towards his people pours out of the book
Hosea chapters 4-14 give the prophetic message of Hosea to Israel
The land was filled with corruption amongst its rulers
Families were unstable and immorality was widely accepted
Society was divided and poverty was rife
Idolatry was on the rise and the religious leaders had no answers
Sound familiar? Could this be Scotland today?
Here is God’s solution for a backslidden and lukewarm church
Sow for yourselves in righteousness –Sowing; –live right before God-
Believe and practice God’s word- let it dwell in your heart richly- Ask the Holy Spirit to water the seed of the word-Pray fervently-share the gospel
Sow only good seeds Do only good deeds
Reap in mercy; Reaping; when we sowed in righteousness we reaped a harvest of the Lord’s loving-kindness (chesed)
Our God is Chasidic-full of loving kindness
Our God multiplies the righteous seed we have sown way beyond the measure we sowed
Our first cycles of sowing and reaping produced a good harvest
But something crept up on us- perhaps the sin crouching at the door?
Or the worries and cares of this life? The pursuit of wealth?
And now whatever has happened, the soil of our hearts has become fallow ground.
Examine your heart...take the Tozer  test
The fallow heart is smug and can’t be taught much
The fallow heart is self contented
The fallow heart is protected from the shock of the plow
The fallow heart
Some hearts have lain fallow year by year, safe and undisturbed
The fallow heart focuses on past fruit
The fallow heart has a two signs on it; ‘Do not disturb’ and ‘Past-master’ .
The fear of the plough means there can be no present fruit
The spirit of adventure is dead .
The fallow heart is fenced in and God is fenced out
The fallow heart smiles indulgently at fasting, revivals, self searching and the need to move on in God.
The fallow soil has been hardened and can only support weeds and thorns and thistles
The very seeds sown by the world , the flesh and the devil
The soil of our hearts lies fallow to varying degrees-what state is your heart in tonight?
Examine your heart… and take the Plough  test
The ploughed heart
The ploughed heart practices confession and repentance
We need to keep short accounts with God and each other
The ploughed heart has a sign ‘not safety first’
The ploughed heart is discontent in God
The ploughed heart is yearning and full of godly sorrow
The ploughed heart is courageously obedient and ready to bear fruit.
Break up the fallow ground; Breaking- humble yourself before the Lord
Confess that your heart has become hard, fallow and shallow
Acknowledge it is your own responsibility to break up the fallow ground
Ask for his help and guidance in the breaking – the Holy Spirit will assist us
Confess all known sin, all the usual suspects found in the Ten Commandments
Include unforgiveness, bitterness, grudges and resentment- then forsake them
Examine your heart…
Examine your heart for unbelief
Examine your heart for prayerlessness
A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning .
Examine your heart for the lost
Examine the priorities of your heart
Is your first priority in the material world?
Is your first priority in human relationships?
Is your first real priority to get money, power or possessions?
Is your heart, seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness knowing that all these things shall be added unto you?
What are you living for? Who are you living for?
Next, deal also with the questionable things in your life. It might not be outright sin but does it glorify God?
Examine your friendships and associations –do they please God?
Develop convictions to protect yourself from falling into sin
Convictions help integrate our hearts (inward) with our actions (outward)
Job made a covenant with his eyes .
For it is time to seek the Lord; Seeking – the time to seek God is now –the time to seek his face is now- the time to seek his face in faith is now- believing he wants you to find him now
It is God’s will for you to find him- when you seek him with all your heart
Until he comes and rains righteousness on you, persist- how long O Lord?
Persist until he comes – he will certainly come if we persist
If we focus on the persisting –He will focus on his coming-
Yes the very presence of the living God will come down on you- History testifies to this in the Lewis revival
Prepare ye the way of the Lord in your own heart- remove every obstacle – and bring the presence of the living God in a new way into your heart
God wants to do a new thing in your heart right now.
Raining- Until the Spirit is poured on us from on high 
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field
And the fruitful field is counted as a forest
God wants your heart to be an orchard.
God promised to pour out his Spirit on the dry and thirsty ground 
He promised that the crocus and the rose would bloom in the desert place
Imagine fragrant flowers and sweet fruit trees in planted in the soil of your heart
God desires to breathe in your fragrance
God desires to taste the sweet fruit of your character
Jeremiah says ‘break up your fallow ground and don’t sow amongst thorns’ .
The reason we don’t have revival is that we are willing to live without it 
The alternative to revival is progressive decline into barrenness
Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Let’s bring the plough of God’s word into the fallow grounds of our hearts tonight asking God to empower the plough by his Holy Spirit and that he shows us exactly what needs to be removed.
Are you willing to break the fallow ground in your heart? , are you willing to be made willing?
God is willing and God is able to help each one of us break up our fallow ground. Amen.
 Unknown author quoted by Clayton Dougan  Clayton Dougan in the podcast The breaking heart of God, Sermon Index.com  A.W. Tozer  Michael Catt The power of surrender; breaking through to the ploughed life  Leonard Ravenhill  Job 31 1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman.  Isaiah 32 15  Isaiah 44 3-4  Jeremiah 4 3  Leonard Ravenhill