~ Today’s Book Review of Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire is designed to help you receive a heart-changing fresh wind from the Lord. Read on for 5 ways … ~
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Acts 3:19-20 (ESV): Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
When a friend asked me for the third time if I’d read the book she had recommended, I finally got the message and ordered Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. The subject matter of this classic book kept coming up in our conversations, and my friend always had the perfect thing to share from the book.
Now it’s my turn to share wonderful things from this book with you.
And just so you know, I had an incredibly hard time narrowing down which quotes to share. This book was overflowing with amazing points.
They don’t call it a classic for nothing.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire may have been first published in 1979, but wow, does it still apply today! Maybe even more so now.
Spoiler Alert: I read the updated 2018 version and as you are getting ready to see, I highly recommend this book.
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire Book Review
Let’s start with the publisher’s description because they summed it up nicely …
A classic must-read for readers looking for hope and transformation in the church today, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire shows what the Holy Spirit can do when believers get serious about prayer and the gospel. As this compelling book reveals, God moves in life-changing ways – calling us back from spiritual dead ends, apathy, and lukewarm religion – when we set aside our own agendas, take Him at His word, and listen for His voice.
Notice how it said, “God moves in life-changing ways” when believers “get serious.”
Since our website focuses on changing our hearts to be more like Jesus, I decided to pull out a few quotes about that subject specifically.
You’ll just have to read the whole book to enjoy all the gazillion other quotes I could have talked about!
By the way, this book would make a great book club choice because there are so many things we could discuss – like prayer (or the lack thereof) in our local churches.
Anyway, back to life-changing.
Are you in need of a fresh wind and fresh fire in your life?
And would you like it to be a permanent change?
Okay then, (borrowing from the publisher’s description above) let’s get serious.
5 Ways to Receive a Heart-Changing Fresh Wind
1} Seriously Admit Weakness
Jim Cymbala begins his book with the story of how he discovered an astonishing truth: that God is actually attracted to weakness.
“He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him. Our weakness, in fact, makes room for His power.”
“Anything and everything is possible with God if we approach Him with a broken spirit. We must humble ourselves, get rid of the debris in our lives, and keep leaning on Him instead of our own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Did you see that? Refreshment to our bones!
Note that it starts with not being wise in our own eyes.
Admitting our weakness makes room for God’s power and His power is always linked to communing with Him, which brings us to …
2} Seriously Call Upon the Lord
Cymbala explains, “If we call upon the Lord, He has promised in His Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to Himself, to pour out His Spirit among us. If we don’t call upon the Lord, He has promised nothing – nothing at all. It’s as simple as that.”
And here’s an interesting insight:
“Have you ever noticed that Jesus launched the Christian church, not while someone was preaching, but while people were praying? In the first two chapters of Acts, the disciples were doing nothing but waiting on God. As they were just sitting there – worshiping, communing with God, letting God shape them and cleanse their spirits and do those heart operations that only the Holy Spirit can do – the church was born. The Holy Spirit was poured out. What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?”
We, like the disciples, can have those “heart operations” too – as we call and wait upon the Lord.
Psalm 50:15 (ESV): and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
The reason God desires that we keep coming to Him in times of need and difficulty is so He can show Himself strong on our behalf, and we will know that He alone has done it.
That realization changes a heart.
3} Seriously Go Deep
Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire contains many personal stories and examples like the time Warren Wiersbe made an interesting observation about the following verses to Cymbala’s church staff …
1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (ESV): For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Wiersbe asked them, “What’s the difference between these materials, besides the obvious – that one group is fireproof while the other isn’t? I think it’s significant that wood, hay, and straw are abundant … right outside your door, or only a few miles away at most. Any forest, any farmer’s field has an abundance of these. But if you want gold, silver, and costly stones, you have to dig for them. You have to pursue with great effort. They’re not just lying around everywhere. You have to go deep into the earth.”
When we go deep into the Scriptures we find an arrow that points us to the life-changing Christ.
John 5:39 (ESV): You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
4} Seriously Depend on God’s Power For a Change
Cymbala laments how there is less and less dependence on God’s power to make an ongoing difference; how there is little calling upon the Lord to revolutionize us in a supernatural way.
He says, “I am not advocating melodrama or theatrics that work up emotion. But I am in favor, as were the apostles, of asking God to stretch out His hand and manifest Himself. People pay attention when they see that God actually changes persons and sets them free. When a new Christian stands up and tells how God has revolutionized his or her life, no one dozes off. When someone is healed or released from a life-controlling bondage, everyone takes notice. These things bear witness to a God who is strong and alive.”
Exodus 14:31 (CSB): When Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in him and in his servant Moses.
Jim Cymbala implores us to yearn and pray together, and to ask and expect God to stretch out His hand to do the supernatural.
“Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until He opens the heavens and shows Himself powerful.”
Ephesians 6:10 (NLT): A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
5} Seriously Seek God
Jim Cymbala notes, “Today God’s eyes are still running all across America, Canada, Mexico, the islands of the sea, the world … looking for someone – anyone – who will totally and passionately seek Him, who is determined that every thought and action will be pleasing in His sight. For such a person or group, God will prove Himself mighty. His power will explode on their behalf.”
2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV): For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
Seriously seeking Him has wonderful results!
Can you think of anything better than the Lord’s strong support?
Just in case you are thinking that this all sounds great but change probably won’t happen for you because of fill-in-the-blank, Mr. Cymbala says …
“Finally, let us never accept the excuse that God cannot work in our situation. This kind of thinking is never found in the Word of God. No matter what, we can see God do things just as He did in the book of Acts, since He has never changed. The only changing that can occur is within us. Let us purpose in our hearts to change in His direction and see Him do incredible things to the praise of the glory of His grace.”
Hebrews 4:16 (ESV): Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Let’s take Jim Cymbala’s advice and purpose our hearts to change in God’s direction by …
- Admitting our weakness
- Calling upon the Lord
- Going deeper into His Word
- Depending on God’s power for a change
- Seriously seeking Him
I hope you noticed that all 5 things fall under the category of communing with God and they all involve prayer.
With that thought, I will close with one more inspirational quote.
Here’s how God feels about our prayers:
“The book of Revelation says that when the 24 elders eventually fall at the feet of Jesus, each one will have a golden bowl – and you know what’s in the bowls? What is this incense that is so fragrant to Christ? “The prayers of God’s people” (Rev. 5:8). Just imagine … you and I kneel or stand or sit down to pray, really opening our hearts to God – and what we say is so precious to Him that He keeps it like a treasure.”
He keeps it like a treasure!
To expand that treasure, go order Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire because I think it will breathe a fresh wind into your prayer life as well as inspire a fresh fire into your desire to abide with the Lord.
This timeless, classic book did that for me!
One last note: If your local church has (or wants to have) a prayer ministry, this book is a must-read for those involved. Seriously.
*My prayer for you is … that this blog will inspire you to open your Bible every single day to seek God’s face and write His Word on your heart – because HE’S the key to lasting heart change!
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