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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day After Christmas

I’m sitting here in the cold early morning of the day after Christmas. Everyone is still sleeping; it’s quiet, dark and cold. The sugar plums have all been eaten, so I hope there is something pleasant dancing in their dreams.  But I am here alone and wanted to send out this belated greeting to everyone.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  Christmas is always magical for children and sometimes tiring for us old folks, but it has always been a special time set apart to honor the Savior.  Now, I know that Jesus was not born on Christmas. He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles.  ( In a Stable).  Nevertheless, this is the season we have chosen for Christmas and all its trappings, and regardless of how you feel about celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, I hope it has been good for you.

And I really do hope this New Year will be something momentous in your life.

joshua-earle-tUb9a0RB04k-unsplash

I don’t subscribe to the false prophets who run around proclaiming to you that this will be “your year of victory”, or blessings, or prosperity, or deliverance, or whatever nonsense they think will get a rise out of you.  Your year will be what you make it – either in the Lord or in the flesh.  I don’t believe that God is running a lottery for those who do not seek His face.  It is not a matter of luck, misdirected hope, cheap grace, or empty faith.  The Lord will direct and open paths and opportunities to those who seek Him and choose to bury themselves in His Word and in prayer.  You reap what you sow.

On that note, I hope you sow as much as you can this year.  If it is true that we are fast approaching a culmination of things for this old world, then we need to consider a New Year’s resolution that spurs us to do things this year that we have been only thinking about up until now. Whether that means something for your family or breaking the constraining bonds of inaction to go out and do something for the Lord, this year may your best and possibly only chance.  If not now, when? New Year’s resolutions only work when you actually act on them.

Do something different this year, something outrageous, something so far out of the box that it breaks all the restraints that are holding you back.  Do something dangerous!  Do something that requires you to bury yourself in God for your absolute safety and support. Cut everything that is holding you back into the dark folds of mediocrity.

If you don’t step off the ledge, you will never learn how to fly.

 

Mary at Christmas

 

“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” 

Luke 2:25,26

Thirty-three years later, old man Simeon was gone, and Mary was the sole survivor of all the witnesses of the birth of God’s Messiah.  This great event of the birth of Christ was the advent of a plan that had its beginning before Creation, and that had been spoken of by the prophets and dreamed of by all Israel for thousands of years.

The Savior of the world had finally arrived, but who was there to witness this greatest of all events?  Three wise men, a handful of shepherds (and maybe a drummer boy), an old woman prophetess, and Simeon.  Besides Joseph and Mary, very few people knew what had just happened, and fewer still understood the magnitude of it.

As Simeon returned the baby back to Mary, he must have looked deeply in her eyes as he realized that she alone of all these witnesses would remain at the end.  He and the prophetess Anna were old, the shepherds were scattered, and the wise men would have returned to their homes.  Even Joseph would be gone.  Only Mary would be left.

Thirty-three years later, as she knelt at the foot of a cross on Golgotha and gazed up at her son, did her heart go back to those few precious moments so many years before when she held the promise of all mankind in her arms, and a cloud of witnesses surrounded her to testify that this indeed was the Son of God?  Now they were all gone, and she alone was left as the sole witness that His was truly a virgin birth, that this really was God in Man who had come to save the world.

But now, he hung upon a rough wooden cross, rejected by the church, the government, and the people.  Only a handful of outcasts clung to Him in the last dying moments, while all the crowds who had witnessed His mighty works had fled.  How many who had once believed but had now become troubled with doubt, had turned away, leaving her to weep for Him on top of that lonely hill?

Did she ever complain?  Did she ever once deny that His birth was truly the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit?  Never.  Her silence was her strongest witness, for she of all people knew who He really was and that the mission He came to accomplish could only end this way.  He had come to die.

As we gather round the Christmas tree and recite to our children the meaning of Christmas, let us never forget the young Jewish girl who once held God’s gift to mankind in her arms and, through her suffering at the foot of the Cross, gave the world an enduring witness that truly He was the Son of God.

Thank God for His wonderful gift and the price that was paid to give it to us.

Merry Christmas,

Dale & Cindy

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Christmas Gifts

Christmas red background.Ah, it’s Christmas again! There’s no snowflakes or frosty air down here in Texas, so that old-fashioned Christmas feeling is not quite the same as it was as a kid in New England, but then Christmas isn’t about snow or Santa and Christmas trees either.  We may have over-commercialized Christmas so that it doesn’t have that same old feeling it used to, but it’s still Christmas.

I have always believed that God honors this time with that certain feeling in the air that is different from the rest of the year. True, Jesus was not born in December. I believe the Bible points to the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles as the day he was born, and the Festival of Lights or Hanauka for when he was conceived (see http://www.revivalfire.org/articles/ ), but I’m not so sure that celebrating the exact day is all that important to God. If it was, wouldn’t He have told us?

Neither am I worried about Christmas trees being a form of idolatry.  Or Santa and the elves, or tinsel, or Grandma’s fruitcake from last year. This is Christmas. Do we have to make an intense, super-spiritual controversy over it? Can we just enjoy it for what it is and celebrate the birth and advent of our Savior?

Since we’re talking about getting in the Christmas spirit of things, how about giving and receiving gifts? I have some gift requests from God that I would like for Christmas. He may not be able to fit them under the tree, and He may have trouble trying to gift wrap them, but here is my list:

Lord, I would like wisdom, understanding, and knowledge – the knowledge of Your Word so that I can believe the right things and know the truths that are buried in it, the understanding to be able to know how that knowledge fits into everything, and the wisdom to know how to use it to win souls.

Of course, that comes from reading the Bible every day, so Lord, along with that, I need an intense hunger to read the Bible like a starving man eating the Bread of Life. And while you’re at it, could you also make me so thirsty for intense, prevailing prayer that I can’t breathe without it?

That’s just my Christmas stocking-stuffers. I have some other requests for the big presents under the tree.  Let me start with the Anointing. I need that Presence on me so that it is dripping off me wherever I go. I want to be immersed in it, saturated, swimming in it. So much so that when I pray with or over anyone, they will feel the tingling of your touch when I pray. I want them to know you are not only real, but that they can have a real and immediate access to you on a deeply personal level.

And for my next present (can I have another one, Lord?), I want power. I mean real, Holy Ghost power – unprecedented power – power to raise the dead and heal the sick on whomsoever I lay hands on. But most of all, I want the power to preach your Word under the anointing of the Holy Ghost so that it will pierce hearts, set them on fire, and inspire a generation to rise up and shine a Light in this world.

I also want authority to cast out devils with one word. I don’t want to argue with them. When I say, “Get out!”, I want them to get out! Authority like that only comes from the fear of the Lord, so please heap that on me also. Since the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and James says that if we ask for wisdom, You’ll give it liberally, then pour it out on me also, Lord!

(Do we have room for one more? This is the most important one, Lord, so we have to make room for this one.)

In return, I don’t have much to offer. All I can give is myself, weak and faulty as I am. I give you my pride and desire for recognition, my gluttony and lusts, my fears and darkness, my suspicions, accusations, and hatreds – all the ugly stuff that I can dredge up from the dark recesses of my heart. Lord I give you what I am and all that I have. I will do whatsoever you ask and go wherever you send me – I just have one final request:

Dear God, please, in the name of Jesus and everything that is holy and good, please, please, please … send revival.

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