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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.

Dying

“God is not trying to change you.  He’s trying to kill you!”

I read this today and it rang a bell in me.  It isn’t change that I need to worry about.  I’ve worked against myself for 42 years trying to change myself into the man of God that I have pictured before me as my goal in life.  No, I just gotta die.

This is not about being a better Christian or volunteering more at church.  It’s not even about reading more Bible or fasting and praying more so that you will become a stronger man of God.  It is not about you.  It’s about others.  It’s about surrender.  It’s about giving up your vision of yourself and giving in to Him.

A lot of folks look at me and think I’ve got this whole thing all wrapped up in a neat package, but I’m as scared as the next guy about letting go and stepping into the unknown.  How do you just drop all the stabilizing things in your life and step off the edge of the cliff?  Is that what it means to die? Do I just have to shut off the switch that is labeled “Me”?

No one realizes how scared every time I am called to stand up before even the smallest groups of people in the remotest of villages. Every time.  No matter how many hundreds of messages I have preached or how many churches have been ignited or how many hundreds of people have been saved and healed, “Lord, will I be able to deliver your Word with the Anointing that will change their lives this next time?  When they ask me to pray for them, will they actually get healed? Are you gonna show up?  Cause, honestly Lord, I don’t know how to do this.”

No, this is about dying, not growing.

When I look at myself, I can see with a sharp clarity all the warts I have and all the pimples that are on my butt.  I struggle with all kinds of stuff that I’d rather not tell anyone about. I don’t have enough faith. I don’t pray hard enough. I hate fasting. I catch myself thinking about the wrong stuff, saying the wrong things, leaning in the wrong directions.  Lord, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but I ain’t the guy you think I am.  I can point to the guys who really are better than me, who could do a much better job than me.  I honestly have no idea what I’m doing.

But those prayers are all answered the same way.  I hear that pregnant silence, punctuated with the sound of Him patiently drumming His fingers, waiting for me while I’m looking around asking if He can find somebody else.

So I swallow (gulp), take a deep breath, and say, I know I am not worthy – and will never be worthy.  I don’t know how to be some righteous Holy Joe, some great supernatural powerhouse in God, or how to lead your people.  I don’t know how to organize a deeply theological sermon, don’t know how to do miracles, don’t know how to deal with people’s emotions, how to preach, how to pastor, or even be a great Christian … I don’t know anything. 

But here am I, Lord.   

Send me.

Fables

“A religion of mere emotion and sensationalism is the most terrible of all curses that can come upon any people.  The absence of reality is sad enough, but the aggravation of pretense is a deadly sin.”  – Samuel Chadwick

Sound like any of the churches you’ve been to lately? Or like some of the televangelists that swarm the airwaves with their sensationalism? Or like our new wave of “revivalists” who lead us like Pied Pipers to emotional displays of excitement rather than bringing us to the altar of repentance where true revival can only be found?

Somewhere in our pursuit of religious goals, bigger churches, and more prosperous ministries, we compared price tags and chose the one that promised the biggest bang for the cheapest price.  It was a simple decision. Why labor and agonize for long lonely nights in secret with God for intangible results claimed by an invisible faith, when for the cheap price of a superficial show of faith mixed with instant sensationalism, we can have the proven attraction of a Hollywood extravaganza?

  • We have traded the agony of deep travail in prayer for a cheap and easy “name it and claim it”. We “speak the word” like sorcerers expecting God to jump at the snap of our fingers to bring us blessings, but for the things that God cries for, our hearts are strangely silent.
  • All night prayer meetings these days mean a half hour for each of us shared for a few hours or so, not the desperate cries for lost souls that rang out until the dawn broke.
  • Contending before God and storming the Throne of Grace in spiritual warfare is now a lost art (at which we breathe a sigh of relief for its loss).  Our revival prayer meetings today are merely a subdued time of murmured prayers and shared insights with a backdrop of praise music instead of the times of intense warfare that used to crash the gates of Heaven for revival in times past.
  • We have left the secret place of the Most High for a more “professional” production with lights, glitter, and smoke.
  • The altars of repentance that once beckoned to lost souls desperate for Salvation have now become magnets for “pity” lines to assuage our weakened church members that they are “loved”.
  • Our focus has turned away from the desperate masses of the lost and has been redirected to a self-oriented doctrine of prosperity, blessings, and wealth…for ourselves.
  • We have broken the constrictions of old-fashioned strong doctrine for the warm and friendly openness of ecumenism, not only with the harlot church, but even with Hindus and Muslims.
  • We have turned Hell from an everlasting furnace of torment that awaits the multitudes into a place of discomfort that only a very few will ever go to…and certainly not anyone we know.
  • We have dismissed the fearlessness of holy boldness as rude and unbecoming because it is too unsettling to our comfortable ways.  Instead, we have trained our pastors to be nice, warm, and accommodating so that they won’t offend anyone.
  • We are more concerned with being conciliatory than a lightning rod of God’s judgments, and so we swarm to those who claim to have a “prophetic spirit” and will tell us what we want to hear but we are repulsed by brash prophets who carry forth a word of rebuke.
  • The Love of God is no longer the keeping of God’s commandments but is pictured as a warm, fuzzy emotion that, along with a cheap Grace, is waltzing the Church into a lukewarm apostasy.
  • The Fear of God is no longer the fear and trembling and dread of the Almighty, but is now “awesome respect”.

In short, we have become sophisticated. And this is what is found in the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostals, the Baptists, and the new rash of evangelical and charismatic churches – the ones who are supposed to be alive!

Does anyone realize how desperate we are for a revival? Not a churchy imitation of fake sensationalism like we see in today’s “revivalists”, but a God-fearing, Heaven-sent, flesh-crucifying broken cry for the holiness of God?  But who do we have that is desperate enough to drop to their knees and pour their hearts out at the altar of repentance for God to have mercy on us? Who among us will contend before God in secret travail until God answers? Has our desperate passion for the lost died?

We have forgotten how to pray. And our revivalists are more interested in a show of emotion, pressing people to the floor so they will be “slain in the Spirit”. Instead of yelling “Repent! Repent! Repent!”, they holler out “Fire! Fire! Fire!” as if they were magicians calling down the fire of God.  That’s not how Elijah did it.

Are there any of us who realize how far we have drifted?  We depend upon a carnal production rather than the unction of the Spirit, and our preachers cover up the loss with manufactured speeches that are passed off for sermons which are forgotten five minutes after the congregation has passed through the doors. They depend more upon their scholastic abilities than a crucified dependence on the anointing of the Holy Ghost, and as a result, have lost the power that once thundered over their pulpits. Were there any lives that were changed, any hearts broken, any sin exposed and cleansed, any souls saved? Did the Blood flow?

Does anyone care?

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

It is not a question of whether we agree or not, whether we will utter our “Amens” or bob our heads up and down – it is a matter of what you will do about it.

The Esther Church

“Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14, 15

In the Book of Esther, we see two pictures of the Church – the Esther church which sits under the obvious blessings of God, residing in the palace, and the Mordecai church which sits under oppression and persecution.

Esther was perfect in her natural beauty, and her refusal of worldly enhancements endeared her to the King, who loved her above all others and made her his queen.  She is the very embodiment of the Bride of Christ, beautiful in grace, entering into the blessings of God honestly and humbly.  Proverbs 22:11 says that he that loves pureness of heart, the king shall be his friend.  Esther was a perfect picture of that pureness of heart.

Mordecai, however, sat on the other side of the palace walls.  As a devout Jew, he would bow to no one other than God Almighty, so when wicked Haman rode by, whose ambitions knew no bounds, he considered Mordecai’s refusal to bow as the ultimate insult.  Haman, as with his predecessor Satan, aspired to be like the Most High, and was determined to gain that power using the same demonic methods of deceit and murder, so when he saw Mordecai the Jew refusing to give him homage, his hatred for the people of God welled up to overflowing.  He ordered Mordecai hanged on the gallows and conspired to destroy the entire race of Jews. 

So, Mordecai went to the only place of refuge he knew was sure – he sat in dust and ashes at the king’s gate.

It is not enough that we say that we know God and that we trust that God will always deliver us.  That is merely presumption.  Presumption does not seem that bad when times are good.  If it works, great; and if it doesn’t, oh well, no great loss.  But when utter destruction and severe persecution is looming over you, you have no room for chance, and all those great and swelling words of love, peace, and overflowing blessings wear a little thin. 

Mordecai knew that he needed an answer from the Throne of God, and he was willing to sit at His gate in fasting and prayer until God moved.  Even when honored by the king to be led through the town by Haman, proclaiming the honor bestowed upon Mordecai by the king, he went right back to his sackcloth and ashes.  So often, we as Christians will seek the face of God for an answer in times of trouble, but as soon as we feel the winds of victory begin to blow across our face, we quit and assume that God will take it the rest of the way.  Not so with Mordecai.  He was determined to pray it all the way through to the victory. 

As a young Christian, I was taught to pray like a warrior and stand before God in holy boldness and determination, claiming your answer before God.  “One of us is going to move”, I would cry out to God, “and it’s not going to be me!”  When you pray like that, be prepared to be tested, but like Mordecai, you are assured of the answer if you will not quit until you get it.  The definition of Faith is not believing that God CAN do something – any fool can believe that.  It’s believing that He WILL do it because you will not let go until He does!

While the people of God outside the palace were determined for destruction, Esther, at ease in the palace, was oblivious to their plight.  It was only the sight of Mordecai in sackcloth that got her to realize something was wrong.  The challenge he answered her with was severe – march into the Throne Room of the King and plead for the deliverance of her persecuted brethren.  It was an act of ultimate courage, for if the King did not accept you, your only fate was death. 

The Throne Room was not a place to wander in mindlessly.  If so on earth with earthly kings, how much more with God Almighty?  And yet, because we stand in the grace of God, we know without a doubt that God will hold out the golden scepter, but it takes a certain holy boldness to march all the way up to the Throne (we are not talking regular prayer here), and only righteousness in the fear of God will give you that kind of holy boldness and victory.

Esther could have made excuses to get around Mordecai’s request.  She could have ignored the problems her brethren would face outside the walls and gone about with her life of peace and blessings. But she didn’t.  She took upon herself the challenge that has always been placed upon those in the “Esther” church to stand in defense of her persecuted brethren and, taking her life in her hands, go in to storm the Throne of God for their deliverance.

But do we in America, as the most blessed and prosperous church that has ever been, hear the call of Mordecai?  Do we do anything more than peer over the castle walls and muse amongst ourselves at how terrible it must be for those in third-world countries who not only live in a state of poverty that we cannot imagine, but defend the Gospel with their very lives?

Sadly, the answer is no.  Oh yes, we support our missionaries who have to take months off from ministry to come and plead with us for enough finances to subsist.  We write a check and hope that all will be well, and we have a picture in our minds of a nice little missionary hut somewhere “over there”.  But do we really know and understand the intensity of the hardships they are facing?  Are we really willing to take upon us the same role that Esther did?

Mordecai’s answer to her is chilling.  He knew God was going to deliver the Jews somehow because he knew he was not going to let go of the horns of the altar until God did. But if Esther did not come to their aid in such a time, she herself would face destruction.  God had placed her in this position for just such a time as this.  She was part of the plan of salvation for God’s people.  Is America any different?

It is amazing what we can accomplish when we yield to what God has called us to do, whether inside the palace or outside the walls.  It was not the threat of destruction, but rather the brotherly love that marks us as true Christians that Esther responded to.    “If I perish, I perish”, she replied as she prepared to present herself before the king and went in to touch the golden scepter.  Touching the golden scepter is that point of prayer we come to when, having done all we can, we submit to the mercy of God and experience that breakthrough in the prayer room.  Only true prayer warriors know what that is like.  And that is the point when your deliverance begins.

God has a plan, and He calls us to answer the call.  We can busy ourselves about our own lives and never notice what happens elsewhere, feigning ignorance and the importance of those things that surround us, but the call comes to us from over the walls. 

An old man sits down there, slumped over in his cry to God, covered in garments of affliction, soiled by the dust of humility before God, and rocking back in forth in the agony of prayer.  When we look closer, we see that it is our cousin, the persecuted church, afflicted by the forces of darkness and slated for destruction.  We sigh and feel badly for him, but will we take upon ourselves the call to battle?

Esther made her choice without hesitation.

Neighborhoods

Where I grew up as a kid back East, everyone lived in neighborhoods.  The people who lived on your street were part of the neighborhood, almost like an extended family.  In a strange way, we were all connected by our neighborhood – it defined us, shaped us, and supported us in ways that exceeded even our families.

I see Life in a similar way.  We all live in a City of Life, and we have chosen to reside in certain social neighborhoods within that City.  These neighborhoods are defined by their jobs and careers, their moral or immoral values, or by their hobbies and pastimes.  Whatever it is in Life that drives our hearts is what determines our social neighborhood.  It is not the physical streets of brick and pavement, but the avenues of the heart where we really reside, and our neighborhoods are populated by those whose life’s pursuits are the same as ours.

Just as in the physical world, there are a lot of reasons why we choose our spiritual neighborhoods.  Some of us just settle for wherever we live, while most of us move around the City of Life until we find the group that we feel most comfortable in.  And, of course, there are always the homeless that wander around with no home at all.

Throughout the City are many different precincts that overlap and share streets with other groups, some crisscrossing each other, some running parallel, and others merging for a short distance before diverging from one another.  We see each other in the marketplace, waving hello to friends from the Political neighborhood, the Military compound, the Business precinct, and others, but at the end of the day, we always come home to the street that we live on.

The Spiritual neighborhood that I moved to many years ago is unique in that all the streets here point to the ocean. While other neighborhoods are focused on the present, the Spiritual neighborhood looks to an eternal land that lies over the Sea of Death. There are a few distinct major areas in this neighborhood each with their own main thoroughfares heading to the coast – Christian Blvd, Islam Blvd, Hindu Ave. and a few other less broad streets – but since the seacoast is very irregular, they all point in different directions.

If one was to look at the ocean to which these streets lead, you would see many bridges leading out to sea.  Almost all of them extend over the horizon, but there is only one that that makes it all the way across to the land on other side of the ocean.  From where you stand on the seashore, you can’t see the other side of this great ocean, so it is hard to see which one of these bridges is the true Bridge.  Some people believe that all the bridges will join together somewhere out there over the ocean, so it really doesn’t matter which one you travel on, but most folks believe that there is only one that makes it all the way across.  All the others fall short.  Of course, everyone believes that their bridges is the only one that makes it all the way to the eternal life that awaits them on the other side.

Each of these neighborhoods have a myriad of side streets, all claiming to be the best street to lead directly to the true Bridge.  Some people have spent a lot of time figuring out why their street is the correct one and offer reams of analytical scholasticisms to prove their point.  Others just assume that theirs is the best and could care less why.

That would be fine if it wasn’t for all the friction that this causes.  I have watched a lot of neighborhood rumbles take place, not only between the main Spiritual sections of town, but also between the smaller neighborhoods within each section.  Turf wars can be bloody, or they can be calm dissertations of futility, but they all serve one purpose to identify which street you belong to.

Why are they so contentious?  Well, one could say that it is because they don’t want the others to ignorantly fall off into the ocean by taking a long walk off a short pier.  But then why do they get so angry and adamant?  Maybe they are really just trying to prove to themselves that their neighborhood is the right neighborhood, and their street really is the best street – or at least it seems that way, especially to folks from other parts of the City who, from a distance, watch these skirmishes (or crusades, depending upon which side you are on).

I saw myself standing under a streetlamp looking at my roadmap.  There are several Maps, one for each neighborhood with several different versions, each claiming to be better than the others.  The funny thing is that, even with the same version of the same map, people from different streets see different directions.  I’m not sure if that is a matter of perspective or choice, but it sure can seem confusing if you don’t know where you are going. 

I’m not sure why they like those other streets.  Some of them are very dark like Wicca St., some have artificial fluorescent lighting like Mormon Ave., and others are broad and easy streets that were built a long time ago like Presbyterian Blvd.  I suppose that they like the look and feel of their own street because it appeals to the desires of their hearts.  Some like dark streets so they can hide in the nooks and crannies there, others like to have their own lighting systems that they have made up themselves, while others could care less how bright it is as long as they don’t have to change the light bulbs.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I chose to live on my particular street in the Christian neighborhood because the streetlights are brighter here, and I can see better on this street than some of the dark alleyways chosen by some of my neighbors.  Mine isn’t a broad avenue like some of the others – it is strait and narrow – but it is brightly lit.

There is no doubt in my mind that this street leads directly to that Bridge over the Sea of Death and will ultimately take me to my eternal home.  The map I am holding points me in a simple and clear direction, so I don’t have to guess as long as I keep that map before me.  I can feel the ocean breeze coming down the street and can hear the sounds of the seagulls, and down at the end of the street, I can see a faint glow that filters through the haze on the horizon.  As I walk the length of this street, I can smell the scent of Beulah Land that lies over the ocean. 

This is the way, not because I think so, or because my parents settled on this street, or because of my friends and neighbors live here, but because I can hear the sound that calls me over the sea to a land that is fairer than day.

… And that’s what leads me on.

EULA

Do you know what a EULA agreement is? Have you ever read one?

I have no idea what the E.U.L.A. stands for, but I’m sure I could come up with something appropriate. A EULA is that long multiple-page legal agreement in tiny print that you see whenever you install new software.  Remember checking YES and clicking on to the next page?

I never read those things.  I can’t.  And I have tried hard. I always used to blow past them in my rush to get finished with whatever installation I was doing.  I mean, how bad could it be?  What are they going to do?  Take my kids?  Throw me in jail?  I don’t have any money, so they can’t get that.

And then I began to wonder, just what exactly am I agreeing to?  So I tried reading one.  (Yeah, you know what that was like.)  You can’t do it – you physically can’t do it.  Round about the 3rd or 4th paragraph, your mind begins to get weary.  You have no idea what you’ve just read, and you have 90% more to go.  You struggle on in a half-hearted attempt to force your way through, but you already know it’s hopeless.

It makes me wonder – are lawyers really that smart?  Or are they operating in some other dark and diabolical extreme?  (Hey, I don’t blame the lawyers.  They’re just circling around like any good predator that smells food.)

So what is the point of these EULA’s?  I not sure anybody knows, but it seems that it is nothing more than, “Don’t blame us if anything goes wrong.”  If you install their software and it fries your computer, tough — don’t blame them.

What if God was like that? 

What if God just tossed us out on the Earth and said, “If you want to breathe, then check the Yes box … and don’t blame Me if your life turns out rotten!”  In others words, “Good luck. Hope you make it.  Don’t call Me if you don’t.” 

But, thank God, He hasn’t done that.

Oh sure, God has a EULA, but it is the opposite of what we would come up with.  True, there are some conditions and it is not a free ticket to ride.  God is a God of judgment as much as He is a God of mercy.  You can’t just check the Yes box and keep blowing on by with life.  You’d better read the EULA to find out what you’re agreeing to.  But if you check the No box, you already know what you’re in for.

But when the hard drive of your life has crashed, when the software that runs your life is corrupted, when there’s not enough memory or computing power to go on, then God’s EULA says, “Blame Me.  Let Me take your sins, your problems, your hard drive failures, and all your corrupted files, and I will make you whole again.”

What an incredible deal!  God is willing to take our miserable rotten sins, our misery and pain, all our failures and defeats, and trade them for the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.  There is no greater deal than that.

Some of us will check the Yes box without ever realizing what the EULA says.  Others will refuse the offer, thinking they don’t need it, and they will check the No box. 

And then there are those who come with broken hearts, corrupted and failed lives, who have given up on the hope of ever being restored in life.  It is to those souls who are ready to commit themselves to the mercy of God that His EULA is written to.  In checking the Yes box, they give it all to Jesus and agree to the terms of His contract.

The contract and terms of God’s agreement are in the Word of God.  It is legal and binding, and whether we agree to it or not, Jesus did.  He signed it on the bottom line in His own blood and checked the Yes box when He gave His life for us on the Cross.

There is no greater deal written in Eternity.

Elections

— I am starting work on Volume 7 of the “Voice in the Wilderness” series and here is an excerpt from that coming book:

Ahh, Election time!  The time when the worst and the best of us is brought out.

More than any other event in our society, Presidential elections expose our souls and illuminate who we are as Americans.  For the rest of the time, we cover ourselves with a blanket of geniality and blunted purpose, but every four years, we rip off that covering and rise to the righteous fury of our beliefs.

It’s the American way.  Been that way for over a couple hundred years.

It’s more than a function of organizing our government and choosing a political direction.  It is the call to stand up in a holy cause.  Hearts are pumping, blood is flowing, and our souls awaken to battle. 

Democrats rise to the challenge to fight against the beast of social ills brought on by the Republicans, and the Republicans rise up to fight the ugly monster of liberal government and social immorality brought on by the Democrats.  The Libertarian and the Constitution parties struggle to fight against the moral decay of the Democrats and Republicans.

Oh yes, it is a wonderful fracas of debate with each of us on the side of the “good guys”, and none of us understanding how in God’s green Earth our opponents could possibly believe the things they believe.

In a funny way, it is our salvation.  Our answer to the call is what defines our humanity.

Nowhere in nature can we find such a thing as this.  Queen bees are not elected; they just are.  Birds and lions could care less; chipmunks and seals haven’t got a clue; fish don’t even know where they are going; and ants don’t think about anything other than work.  We are alone in this crazy, emotional drive for righteousness.

And then, after an evening of election results, the waving of victorious banners and the licking of wounds, we again settle down to life as usual. The fury of battle and the storm of emotions fade to the background of our lives, and we leave the arena to the politicians.  We, on the other hand, return to our workplaces and social lives right next to our former enemy combatants.  And life goes on until the next 4-year cycle brings us to the forefront of battle again.

This call to war somehow defines our American soul.  It brings definition to who we are and what we believe.  It is the humanizing element for us as Americans, without which we would be very much like the ants.

But it is the ensuing four years of community in between that redeems us.  Our ability to share the product of our election as fellow countrymen is a unique American trait and is what makes us most proud to be Americans.

That is, until the next election when we once again raise our swords to rush forth and slay the dragon.

Brother Dale

dale@revivalfire.org

Hope you enjoy our 2-1/2 minute cartoon. I certainly enjoyed creating it.

If you want to know more about the 4 Steps to Revival, please contact us at: dale@revivalfire.org

Praise the Lord,

Brother Dale

I have just finished the latest revision to the book, Four Steps to Revival. A week ago, I sent out the Introduction to the book. Today, I am sending the Conclusion. The rest of the book is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999469401

Conclusion

The things I have related to you in this book are all written in the Word of God, and they shall come to pass. There have been great revivals in times past, but the great revival that is promised in Joel 2:23 and Isaiah 32 has yet to be fulfilled. Six times the prophet Joel identified the time for this revival would be just before the Day of the Lord.

This timing makes perfect sense, because the spiritual conditions just before the time of His second coming will be the same as they were just before His first coming. The prophet Isaiah said that Jesus was a root out of dry ground (Isaiah 53:2). A spiritual drought left all of Israel dying of thirst for a new move from God just before Jesus’ first coming. There were synagogues and Pharisees in every town, but just the rumor of this prophet rising out of Israel caused thousands of simple farmers to drop their plows and walk long distances to the Jordan River to hear Him speak. It will be even drier just before He returns, the perfect setting for revival. I don’t know how long it will last or when it will break forth, but I do know it is coming.

But it is not coming to the church world as we know it today. God will give the churches a certain space of time to repent, and they will not repent. Why should they? They do not feel they have to. Revival would be nice, but they don’t feel the desperate need to have one at any cost. The sad thing about apostasy is that the same blankets of comfort and ease that the church covers herself with are the same blankets that cover her ability to see. She is the last to realize how dead she is, even though it is blatantly clear to everyone around her.

The church of Laodicea, as Jesus described in Revelation, is alive in our churches today. She thinks she is rich and increased with the blessings of God, but she is blinded by her comfort and cannot see how far she has fallen from where she once was. Denominations that were once forged in the fires of revival have now become social organizations—sophisticated, rich, organized, theologically correct, and proud of a heritage they no longer possess. Their pride will not allow them to repent, and so the flames on their candlesticks slowly fade away as they sit complacently in the increasing shadows that grow around them. The fire that once burned so hot has simmered down to coals and ashes that are now only lukewarm (Revelation 3:16).

God will raise up stones in their place. Spread across the land is a Gideon generation that wants something more than just “church as usual.” These are the people God will call out of those dead institutions to forge Joel’s army for this last great battle between God and Satan for the souls of man.

There is no question that this last great revival will come. It will come. The Holy Spirit is sounding the trumpet. The question is, will you answer the call? If you do not, then you will end up standing on the sidelines watching as the fire of God falls on some other church that was willing to do what you were not. The choice is yours.

Friend, we are living in the most exciting time of all history. A terrible spiritual war is coming, and it is for such a time as this that we are called to stand in this final battle. This is the final culmination of the conflict that has gone on since the beginning of time. Heroes will be forged during this final battle that will shine throughout eternity. I pray that you will be one of them.

Answer the call, rise to the challenge, and have the courage to believe God for the greatest revival of all time.

Brother Dale

www.Revivalfire.org

We have just republished a new edition of Four Steps to Revival. Besides some editing and rearranging, there had not been enough focus on how to witness and win souls. There will never be enough that can be said on that topic, but at least we have given it some more focus in this edition.  Here is the Introduction to the book. The rest of the book is available on Amazon:

“The word revival is, in most cases, a misnomer because it suggests bringing a dead body back to life again. But throughout history, the great moves of God have been more of a rebellion against an established religious system that had grown cold and secular. Once a body is dead, resuscitation will not bring it back to life. A new life springing up in a new body is needed, not the resurrection of the old apostate system that has died.

I believe that revival is the best hope for a solution to the deep spiritual problems that face our world today. As do many other Christians who have been watching biblical prophecy unfold in the news, I strongly believe that we are living in the last days. While many believe we have little cause to worry because they expect to be raptured out of the troubles that are coming upon the face of the earth, I believe that the church will not only face them but will go through them until Jesus’ second coming occurs.

Shakespeare wrote, “All the world is a stage.” That is truer than what he might have suspected. All the politics, business, careers, and hobbies of our lives are merely the things in life that we go through that ultimately determine our eternal destiny. The church is supposed to be the landmark and lighthouse that points the way to heaven to a society that is often forgetful of the dual realities of the natural and the spiritual world we live in.

When the church loses its vibrancy and its light grows dim, however, we find ourselves easily enamored with the other things that make up our lives. Our focus shifts from our eternal destiny to our present world, and the urgency of eternal judgment takes a backseat to the more immediate sensory inputs from the world around us. We soon lose our way, forget that this stage we are on is only a test, and lose our edge on what is really important. Life becomes complicated with thorns and snares that pull us with an ever-increasing compulsion further away from true salvation in Jesus Christ.

The only solution for this is a heaven-sent Holy Ghost revival, the kind that breaks out of the sky, filled with power from the throne of God. True revival is a supernatural move of God that grips the church and spreads across the surrounding community with a penetrating conviction of sin and a palpable presence of His power. You feel it more than know it, but it is more real than anything else you ever experienced. The gap between Earth and eternity collapses and nothing else matters.

Without a bright, shining light to point us in the true direction of life, we can only stumble around in darkness. Only a true Holy Ghost revival can light those fires again and make our lighthouses illuminate the path to salvation. Jesus said that if He were lifted up, He would draw all men to Him. That, more than anything, is what revival is all about.

There is time for one more revival. Jesus Christ is coming back to earth soon, but before He comes, the Bible tells us there will be one more last great revival, the greatest revival of all time. Revival does not come without a price, however, and it is that price that this book is about.

All fires must have a match to start them. My prayer is that this book will be a match to help ignite a blaze of revival that will burn around the world.

[Available on Amazon at: https://amazon.com/gp/product/0999469401

Sunshine and Dirt

[Excerpt from Watchman, What of the Night, volume 6 of Voice in the Wilderness]

Sunshine and dirt … with maybe a little bit of water thrown in.  That’s all!  Everything comes from sunshine and dirt.  And scientists are spending billions on trying to figure out how He did it.

From grass to milk and ice cream; computers and rocket ships to wood and sand and sea; from steel to human flesh – it’s all made from some simple basic things that come out of the ground.  And if you really want to get amazed, those things can be broken down into even simpler elements.

Have you ever wondered what God was thinking when He created the giraffe?  Was He just having fun?  “Let’s see, if I take this nucleotide and switch it with that one over there in the DNA, what will I get?  Oops, a platypus!”  There’s a lot of crazy looking animals out there, especially insects, that are far beyond what any of our feeble imaginations could dream up.  I wonder what He has in store for us in the next world.

I think one of the greatest proofs of Creation is Music.  Now how did God come up with that?  It ranks right up there with Love and Color.  What an imagination!  How did God dream up even the very idea of those concepts? And please don’t brush it away with convoluted referrals to the magic of evolution as if Music just popped out of a Pre-Cambrian cloud.

I’ve read some idiotic scientific dissertations that attempt to explain Love, how color works, and why music affects our souls, but they end up sounding more like desperate attempts to discount the existence of God at all costs.  You see, if they can’t disprove God’s existence, then they must acknowledge sin … and that means there is a Hell, and that means you can’t get away with sin.  Uh-oh.

So, they keep trying in their attempts to exalt Science over Faith.

God made everything so simple that it is astounding, including Life itself, but the Intelligentsia of modern society looks down on the simplicity of Faith as if it were the uneducated realm of the uninitiated and naïve. In their concept of the progress of evolution, Christians are placed somewhere between the ape and the scientist.  They disdain Faith, but it takes a lot more blind faith to accept their theories about the origin of the Universe than it does to recognize the supreme omnipotence of an Almighty God.

Still, they keep trying. In their pomposity, they think can create life in a test tube — just give ‘em enough time, they say.  (While you’re at it, can you manufacture a Universe? Or how about the dirt to make it out of?)

The deeper physicists delve into reality, however, the spookier things become.  The string theory says there are 11 dimensions (that’s down from the 17 they thought there were), but of course that doesn’t sync up with their other conflicting theories.  If you want to watch them get really tongue-tied, try asking them to explain how Entangled Particles work.  The more we discover, it seems, the more it points to God.

Nevertheless, instead of acknowledging the Creator, they want us to trust their superior intellect and believe them instead, and we’ll call it Science.

At least Faith makes sense.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”     1Corinthians 3:18-20