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Inspiration

Inspiration

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”   (Psalms 42:1)

Great deeds are done by men with great desires, and the heart of man is the furnace that forges those desires.

Knowledge won’t drive you that far – it just makes you accountable.
Wisdom may enlighten you and make you aware, but it is not the driving force of your heart.
Obediently doing good deeds will make a fair show of going through the motions, but it is not inspired with the flame of passion.

We sit and listen to passionate preachers pointing us in the direction we should go, we read the books that are meant to get us moving down the right path, and we sing the songs that lift our souls, but those are only tools to help, not the actual driving force itself.

As human beings, we need inspiration to lift us up over mediocrity.  Something must drive us, or we will not be driven; something has to draw us, or we will not be drawn.  It is not in the heart of man to inspire himself to great things in God; it has to come from God.

We know what to do – we just need the desire to do it.

I have preached a lot of messages, and have had a lot messages preached to me, but as the congregation files out the back door, you have to wonder how far the word that was just preached to them will go.  We need more than that little bit of gas that the preacher put in our tanks to go much farther than the church door.

We can edify one another and hold each other up, but inspiration must come from the Throne of God.  He is the only one that can light that fire in your heart with the spark that comes from the Holy Ghost.  Now true, you have to bring fuel for the fire, and you have to continue to feed that fire, but the first spark comes from the Spirit of God.

It happens when you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.  A fire is lit in your heart that you never had before.  You can actually feel the warmth!  But it is up to you to keep the fire going.

All the preachers in the world, all the edifying stories from other Christians, and all the self-help books written cannot replace the wood for that fire.  That wood comes from the Word of God and nothing else.  There is no substitute.  The Word of God was written in the Spirit, and that is what you need to pierce through the layers of flesh and mind to touch the innermost part of your heart.

Reading and prayer will draw you to God and builds the fire in your heart, but when you forget your reading and prayer, however, you forget your power in God, and eventually the fire goes out. 

God will put the desire in our hearts if we go up to Him and get it; it doesn’t just fall out of Heaven into our lap.  And once we have it, we must continue to seek the face of the Lord to keep it.

So, life is a test: 

Some people care, and some people don’t. 

Some will seek the face of God, and some won’t. 

Some will overcome everything in their way to serve the Lord, and some will choose the easy way out. 

Some will cry out to God for the drive and desire to serve Him, and some will just wait for it to happen to them. 

Some will depend on others to serve the Lord, and some will push their way through the crowd to touch the Throne of God for themselves.

Some will cause their lights to shine and their fires to blaze, while others allow their embers to grow cold.

Some will do great deeds in God, while others sit and watch.

Where is Wisdom Found?

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (1st John 4:13)

Sounds simple to me.  You know you’re really saved when you can feel the Spirit of God.

Maybe because I had to learn the hard way that all the complicated stuff serves only to get you all twisted up in knots.  God had to take me to the ol’ woodshed quite a few times to knock the stupid notion out of me that somehow I was smart because I had learned a few things. 

Well, maybe it was more than just a few times.

The reason it took me so long was because I didn’t want to give up the idea that if I just read a few more books, or listened to a few more seminars by other guys that thought they were so smart, that I would become wise.  It seemed like a good plan at the time, but it sure didn’t hold any water with God.

Pride has got to be the most invisible sin there is because you can see it in everybody else but yourself.  It is also the most painful one to get rid of – or shall I say, it is the most painful one to have the Lord rip out of you.  He has to run you through a threshing floor where you are trampled, beaten, knocked around, and crushed under a great stone wheel that runs over you until the chaff in your heart is loosened up so it can be blown away.

I did not go willing to that threshing floor – or so I thought.  I do remember, however, praying for God to give me wisdom and to take the pride out of me, and a few other things.  Had I known what I was really praying for, I might have been a little less zealous.

I can just picture God hearing those prayers, and with a beaming grin saying, “OK.  You asked for it!”, as He commences to roll up His sleeves and start to work on me.  It’s funny now, but it’s not all that funny when you’re going through the fire that you just called down on yourself.

But if you really want to serve the Lord, you have to be willing to go through the fire.

After a while, it seemed like the more I learned, the less I understood.  While that may seem like a contradiction, it is actually the first requirement to getting wisdom.  When you get to the point where you realize that you don’t know anything, then you’re entering into an level that boasts of some world-class heavyweights in God.

But it takes time.  It took Moses 40 years in the backside of the desert.  I can remember an old warrior in God telling me that when you reach 10 years in the Lord how you begin to think that you’ve arrived – and then it takes another 10 or 20 years to realize how stupid you are. And then another 10 years or so until you no longer care … and that is when God can finally use you.

There’s a price to pay for it also.  It cost Paul all his years of theological education, followed by years of persecution to reach the place where he stated that he knew nothing but Christ Jesus, and him crucified. The road to wisdom leads downward first to the valley floor before it ever leads to the mountaintop.

Salvation is not predicated on religious status, knowledge, or position.  Neither is wisdom determined by how much you have obtained or learned.  Rather they are determined by how much of your ego that you have allowed to be stripped away until you have nothing to rely upon but God. 

We know we are saved because we can feel His Spirit dwelling in us.  It is not what we have made of ourselves, but what He has taken out of us so that He can refashion us in the image of His Son.  It is not how we view ourselves, but how we see Him.

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? … Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”  Job 28:12, 28

Little Children

I prayed through my 9-year-old daughter yesterday.

Talk about a thrill!  There is nothing like seeing a little girl’s heart open up wide with tears because she wants to be close to Jesus and walk hand-in-hand with Him. 

I just have to tell you how it happened.  As we always do on Sunday morning, we were reading Bible – this time we were going through Psalm 147 a verse at a time.  As she started asking questions, one right after the other, I could sense the Lord tugging on her little heart in a particular direction, so I just let it flow along, watching to see which direction the questions would take. 

Her heart was emptying out on the table with things that must have been lying in there for a while.  It is always amazing to me how the Lord deals with little children.  You may think that they aren’t aware of a lot of deep spiritual issues, but never underestimate how much God loves these precious little souls.  Some of her questions had me up against the ropes, but I answered them as honestly as I could, just as I would have explained them to an adult.  (I just figured that if the Lord put the question in her heart, then He must have put the ability to understand the answer in there also.)  She understood each one.

Little kids really love Jesus, not like you would love someone on earth, but with something very different and very special.  She not only wanted to go to Heaven, she wanted that special relationship with God that can only be realized through Salvation.

She also understood the concept of Hell.  Don’t let anyone tell you that they are too young to understand the severity of Judgment.  They can understand it as well as anyone, probably better than most because they haven’t complicated it with psycho-theories and the intelligent complacencies we listen to.

What about Grandpa and Nana?  Will they go to Heaven too?  Understanding how the promises of God work was simple once it was explained.  I was amazed at her ability to grasp that, if we gave ourselves to serving the Lord, how He would work for us toward our family.  It was simple stuff to a 9-year-old!

When she was ready, we prayed.  At the end of the prayer, when I was praising and thanking the Lord, she went silent.  Immediately, I started wondering if it had really worked. 

Stupid me.

Her hands went up, almost to touch the sky, and you could feel the Spirit of the Lord floating down like fresh falling snow.  I didn’t dare disturb her, even though I was dying to ask her, “Did you feel it?  Did you feel the Spirit of God wash you clean?  Did you touch the Throne of God?”

I just waited as the tears flowed, her hands went higher, and her little face lit up with the glory of God.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14)

Three Wishes

If you had a chance to meet Jesus and He offered you three wishes, what would you ask for? I suppose our choices would tell a lot about us.

Here’ my three:
Three Wishes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=8Ao6Qiklgws

Brother Dale

www.Revivalfire.org

The Silent Bell

There are times when I see myself standing in an empty church courtyard, looking up at a tall, silent bell tower.  High up inside the white stone spire that points up to God, hangs a huge, silent bronze bell.  It’s been silent for years now. The silence is heavy, and the solitude hangs around me like a thick wool blanket.

Where is everyone, I wonder? 

The courtyard used to be full of activity and noise, the doors to the church were opened wide, and people with bright faces came in and out.  And the bell that rang out its call from God could be heard for miles.

But now, I only see an abandoned structure; a shell of what once was.

There was a time when you could hear the thundering echoes of the saints of God, filling the air with the excitement of the power of the Holy Ghost.  Souls stirred in response, and multitudes responded to the call.  But now, I stand in the silence and peer into the shadows of a ghostly cathedral.

I realized something the other day.  All those old giants in the faith that once stood in the incredible power and authority of God are now dead, and they have taken their vibrancy with them.

There is a more modern church down the street now.  It’s a beautiful building, and hundreds of cars are parked outside.  I hear songs and laughter and see pleasant faces with complacent smiles on everyone there.  Everything seems so nice, but somehow, it’s just not the same.

The sharp edges have been smoothed over, and in their place is a sheen of appeasement.  The bell no longer rings out the alarm of war, but in its place, I hear the mindless, repetitive 8 bar phrases of Maranatha music.  No more blood-washed songs of that raw, old-time Gospel music that called us to repentance.  No sirree!  We are in a new age now, and everything oozes of peace and love. 

There are no more warriors anymore.  We don’t need them.  Everyone here is so nice and pleasant.  Even our modern-day prophets are bringing forth a new kind of message that promises us of blessings and love, peace and prosperity.  There’s no more war, and we are at peace with everyone.

Maybe it’s just me.  As I turn into the late afternoon sun, I feel like an old veteran who has lived long past the time of the old glory days and is somehow out of place in this new pastoral setting. 

I turn to walk out of the parking lot, and as I look up, I see a darkness setting in just over the horizon.  It will soon be night, but not the night of a warm, summer evening.  It is the darkness of an impending storm on its way that I see.

I turn my collar up against the chill breeze that comes gusting through, and I wonder if anyone can see the storm that is coming.  It will be a big one.  The worst we’ve ever seen. 

And there is no bell to sound the alarm.

[Excerpt from our book, A Voice in the Wilderness, vol. 3 – available on Amazon in August]

Invisible

They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity. (Ezekiel 7:19)

This curse from the Lord was directed at Jerusalem and Israel because she, like the church today, was the espoused bride of God. She was His – He had put His mark on her, had bestowed great promises on her because she was His chosen people, had blessed her more than any other nation, and had lifted her up above all.  Just like He has done with America.

But Israel fell in love with the world. Just like America has.

One morning, the Lord woke me up and let me feel how broken His heart was for His Bride. She was fading away and becoming invisible.  She was adorned in gorgeous apparel, jewels, coifed hair, and makeup – beautiful! – but she became immersed in worldly ways and began to look more and more like the world. Her music, her doctrines, her focus, her services, and even the way she talked was becoming more and more like the world around her. Her lavish, carnal ways were causing her to become invisible. She was fading away and turning away from the Lord to another lover.

I could feel His heart breaking as His bride fell in love with a stranger and turned to commit adultery. As Jeremiah wrote of Israel, she had a “whore’s forehead” that refused to be ashamed, neither was concerned that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the latter rain, had been withheld from the Church because of her adultery. (Jeremiah 3:3)  Just like America.

I believe that it is our prosperity that has been the cause of our falling away from God. The spirit of Mammon has ridden on the back of our prosperity and has drawn us into an addiction for wealth, blessings, and entertainment. It is all about us – the message of the Cross has been pushed aside to make room for the Gospel of Me.

Since it was money that has taken the Church away from the Lord, then I believe that He will take away money to bring Her back.  Think you’ll escape the coming crash by investing in gold and silver?  You will not escape judgment by hiding yourself even deeper into the world. If anything, that may serve to make it worse.

If these judgments fell upon Israel, the chosen people of God, the apple of His eye, then how much more will it fall upon us who have followed the same path into a carnal religion, wallowing in the lavish ways of prosperity? We don’t see it in ourselves because we have become invisible, even to ourselves.

Neither did the Israelites.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
” (1st John 2:15)

Brother Dale
dale@dalegarris.com

Desert Walks

Every real Christian goes through desert walks from time to time.  It’s all part of growing in the Lord.  Some times are worse than others, some are longer than others, but you always come out of them eventually.

Occasionally, however, you will go through one that takes you past the edge of your endurance.  It’s times like that when your faith really gets stretched to its limit.

Tell me if this sounds familiar –

You’ve been trudging along in the desert for quite a while now, but it sure seems like you should’ve come out of this by now.  You’re dried out, thirsty, and tired and there doesn’t look like there’s any relief in sight.  You don’t even see any mirages, much less an oasis.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you knew where you were going, but when you look up at the horizon, all you see is a flat landscape of more and more sand, and you begin to wonder if somehow you lost your direction and are now going around in circles.  If you could just see a sign pointing to your destination somewhere, but all you see is sand.  No gas stations; no rest areas; not even any 7/11 stores.  Just sand.

Did you do something wrong?  Did you lose your way? Were you not reading and praying enough? Was it something you said?  Where did God go?

To make matters worse, every once in a while, some young kid zooms by you in a Dune Buggy with a grin on his face as he waves in passing.  His ministry is running along at 60 mph while you’re stuck trudging along one slow step at a time.

Your feet are getting heavy, your get-up-and-go is gone, and you would so love to just toss in the towel.  But you can’t.  You’re stuck out here in nowhere land, and if you stop, you’ll end up like those bleached bones over there.

It’s small consolation that this is supposed to make you grow into your calling in God.  About now, you’d just as soon let God give it to somebody else, but He didn’t ask you for your opinion, and He didn’t give you any choices.

Then again, maybe this isn’t really some fire that you’re going through or some test.  Maybe you’re just finished.  It’s over and this is all there is. 

Is it ever going to rain again?  Will you ever feel the outpouring of the Holy Ghost once more?  You can remember soaking up that Living Water when you prayed, but now it’s just a dry well.

Noah spent 100 years building a boat in this desert.  Moses tended sheep out here for 40 years.  Abraham left everything and came through here not knowing where he was going, either.  Paul was out here for 13 years before he ever came into his ministry. Joseph spent his entire teen-aged youth here.  But none of that means anything to you because all you see is sand, and you don’t know if you’re even heading anywhere at all.

But then the answer comes down from the Lord — if you’re ever going to be able to tell someone to trust in God, you will first have to learn to trust Him yourself.

And then, over the next hilltop comes the scent of rain.

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

[Excerpt from Voice in the Wilderness, vol. 3, coming out in August.]

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”   (1st Kings 19:4)

What is it that a real servant of the Lord wants?  What is his heart’s desire before the Lord?  Is it comfort, or fame, or prosperity?  Is it a bigger church, or a more expansive ministry?  What is it that burns down in the depths of his soul as a seed of hope?

In a day and age where we find huge international ministries and mega-churches, have we somehow lost something in the establishment of our churches?  What is it that we are really looking for?

The most obvious answer is that we want to see souls get saved.  And just how do we go about getting that?  Building a bigger church is the usual answer.  But will that really accomplish what we are looking for?  Or is that just the establishment of a bigger church?

Elijah was faced with that very same issue.  All Israel had gone after a carnal religion that probably sounded pretty good to the regular guy.  There were plenty of priests around, the whole kingdom supported it, and it seemed like the thing to do.  But they had long ago left the true worship of God, and no longer recognized the difference.

Elijah was one solitary voice of repentance against a whole nation of Baal worshippers.  No one dared side themselves with him, and yet when he stood against the entire religious order on Mount Carmel, the incredible demonstration of the power of God in the form of fire from Heaven validated his righteousness.  Did all Israel repent?  Not hardly.

And now, here he was in the desert, a hunted man, alone with nowhere else to go.  What else could he have done to bring the people to their knees in heart-felt conviction?  How do you top something like calling down fire from Heaven?

Elijah’s heart cried out for revival, but there was no revival.  Not even in the ministry of Elisha, the one who followed him and inherited his ministry.  Although the testimony of the Lord stood strong, people’s hearts have a way of following their own lusts.

I have learned one thing in the last 33 years of ministry, and that is that people are going to believe what they want to believe – no matter what.  And they will use the Bible to justify it.  No supernatural miracles, no great works, no inspiring messages will bring about a real change when people have decided to follow the yearnings of their own heart’s desires.

Only the Spirit of the Lord can turn a people around to begin to seek His face.  Nothing else will work.

Building bigger churches is oftentimes the result of a very subtle lust for more spiritual power, when all the while the Lord is leading in another direction.  It is so easy to think we are pursuing great things in God when we are actually getting out in front of Him in building our own works.  It all sounds so good on the surface but is that what the Lord is really looking for.

Perhaps, instead of building up huge ministries, we should be heading down on our faces before God.  It takes intense prayer and deep repentance to turn a society around, because only the Spirit of God can change hearts.  And that takes a people whose heart’s desire for revival is stronger than their desire for a bigger church.

Elijah couldn’t do it, even with the mighty work that was accomplished on Mount Carmel.  But he was a man of effectual, fervent prayer, and left in a chariot of fire leaving the work to God.

Hey friends,Potsand pans

I just posted another video broadcast on YouTube – Potscrubber for the Lord

You can view this video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSaez0X3b1o

On our youTube channel for Revivalfire Ministries, we have several videos there, including the series on Four Steps to Revival, several of the music videos from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanazania and much more. You can visit the Revivalfire channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ3_yzMLlWxTMkZhzTYrR1g

If you like what you see, please Subscribe.

 

Praise the Lord,

Brother Dale

The Dock

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

(Haggai 1:7-11)

I am an old-fashioned revivalist, so several years ago, when I was invited to a Revival Prayer Meeting, I was pretty excited. The pastor who was hosting this meeting in his home was a friend of mine, and I knew what a Prayer Warrior he was. Plus, there were several pastors, professors, and other important church personalities that would be there, so I expected that this would be a powerful prayer meeting.

How wrong I was!

We started praying for the pastors, then the church, on to the people, and so forth.  But when we got to praying for the parking lot, I had to stop them. Now remember, I was just a nobody in a room full of big shots, so I didn’t know what their reaction would be, but I challenged them anyway. “This is supposed to be a prayer meeting for revival, but instead of praying for lost souls, you are praying for everything else but!”

And right at that point, the Lord gave me a vision.

I saw a wide pier jutting out into the ocean. It was much wider than a normal dock, and it was crowded with people. It was a very bright day. The sun was shining and the air was clear and warm.  The people were all wearing very bright colors – reds, yellows, greens, etc. – and they were all smiling, laughing, and having a great time. I could see them prophesying over each other and pronouncing some “word from God” that they had for each other.  It looked just like Church.

And then the vision expanded out into the ocean, but it was in dark muted colors of greys and dark blues. The waters were rough with waves breaking all over. Around the dock as far as I could see were hundreds of people drowning in the ocean, waving their arms and crying for help.

I called to the church people on the dock to throw some life preservers out there, or better yet, jump in and save these people, but everyone just kept smiling and ministering to each other, laughing, and having a wonderful time. They totally ignored the calls for help from those around them that were drowning.

I couldn’t believe it! How could they be so heartless?  Didn’t they care? These were supposed to be Christians!

And then I realized the problem. It wasn’t that they didn’t care – oh, they cared alright – they just couldn’t hear them. Their ears were so plugged up with church and religion and they were so fully absorbed with their own ministries that they could not hear the cries of the lost.

I see this same thing in the ministries of this generation. We seem to be absorbed with edifying the church and ministering to each other, but how few of us turn around and set our focus and attention to those who are lost and dying in sin? And yet, that was the one thing that the Lord commissioned us to do. As He was ascending to Heaven, He had one last request, but we have done everything except what He asked us to do.

Like the Israelites that Haggai was calling to, when we get so absorbed with our own lives that we forget the original call to win souls, we stand the risk of entering into a spiritual famine.  The imagery of the drought and the dearth of harvest are pictures of spiritual famine. The wheat represents the depths of God’s Word (Bread of Life), the new wine is the spirit of prayer, and the oil is the anointing of the Holy Spirit . We see this same imagery in Joel chapter 1 where the prophet is describing the apostasy of the church in the last days and the subsequent spiritual famine that God would bring because of it.

Joel 1:11 gives us the reason why:

“Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.”

In other words, the world is going to Hell, and God blames us. We have been so absorbed with ourselves, our friends, and ministering to ourselves that we have ignored those who are perishing and have allowed the harvest of lost souls to perish in Hell.

God will not bless us until we repent.   If we will not do what He wants us to do, then He will not do what we want Him to do.  He will not restore the grain, the wine, and the oil until we finally repent and do what He has asked.

And if we will not, He will find someone else who will.