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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.

False Revival

“So, he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”  I Kings 22:15

Sometimes I feel like I have more questions than answers, and sometimes I am left wondering why the things I see do not line up with the things I feel. I guess that’s where the proverb comes in that it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. 

Often, something sounds so good on the surface, but doesn’t feel right in your guts, and you wonder why. 

For instance, I keep hearing about the coming “breakthrough” revival that is just about to hit this area in which I live, specifically through Assemblies of God.  Many Christians are excited about the coming prospects, and you can hear it in their voices as they tell you about all the prophesies that have been spoken over them, and the visitations from other revivalists who just feel like this area is a “magnet”. 

They will tell you that they have even gone on a 40-day fast for this revival. Of course, they didn’t really fast for 40 days; they just had a lot of people go on a lot of tiny fasts for a period of 40 days.  They talk about the all-night prayer meetings they’ve had for revival.  They don’t tell you that they didn’t actually pray all night – they just had a bunch of people take a lot of little time slots throughout the night.

They talk about getting right with God and getting “realigned” or “shifting to correction”, but nothing is mentioned about broken-hearted repentance and weeping before God.  Instead, we hear about the wonderful party they had at the revival meeting.

Gee, it all sounds so good, and who would dare to say anything disparaging about it?  But you know, the more I hear about it, the more that something seems missing. 

So I back up a bit and give the same sarcastic answer as Micaiah did, “Go and prosper.”

“Hope everything is beautiful.”
“You go, girl!” 
“Good luck.”
“Hope you make it!”

In my heart, however, what they are spilling out just doesn’t feel the same as what they try to make it sound like.  What these people are calling for is a party with all the balloons, but I hear nothing about the desperation that the Word of God requires for revival. 

If they are afraid to even speak the severe words that call for deep, broken repentance, then do they really think that their churchy, substitute phrases will pierce through to people’s hearts?

If all they will fast is for a day or so, and all they will pray is an hour or so, then it doesn’t sound to me like they are serious.  You can quote all the so-called “fair-haired boy” prophesies that you want, but I don’t see that kind of “pretty prophesies” in the Bible without a price being paid somewhere by somebody.

Any revival that comes without a crucified price from the people of God is superficial at best and will not come with any substance.  Lest we forget, the altar of God is not a place of singing and dancing, but of blood, sacrifice, and death.

I do not see broken hearts that are desperate for a return to righteousness so they can have an outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  Neither do I see people that are cut to the heart for lost souls that are on their way to an everlasting Hell.

Until I see that, then, like Micaiah, I remain unimpressed.

Draw Me

[Excerpt from The Sound of an Abundance of Rain, a new book by Dalen Garris scheduled to come out this December]

“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.” Song of Solomon 1:4

What was the real difference between David and Saul?   What did the disciples have that the Pharisees could never grasp?  Why is it that some churches are alive with the Spirit of God, while others only have religion?  What is the difference between those who claim to believe God and those who are filled with His Spirit?

It has to do with how they define the love of God.

Anyone can say they love God, raise their hands and sway back and forth to the Praise & Worship songs, but that does not constitute the real love of God — that is emotional display.

Proclaiming zeal for God isn’t the principle thing either.  Saul claimed to be zealous for God but was drowned out by the bleating of sheep.  Instead of complete obedience to God’s command to slay all that the enemy possessed, his focus remained centered on himself.  David, on the other hand, worshipped God.

Religious knowledge doesn’t constitute the love of God, either.  The Pharisees had devoted their entire existence to the study of the Torah and built layers of rules to keep themselves from crossing any scriptural lines, but the Bible says that their mistake was in that they tried to establish their own righteousness rather than submitting to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3). 

The disciples of Jesus were not so self-possessed, not so sophisticated in their carnal religiousness, and not so intent on the fruit that is desired to make one wise — they just loved Jesus Christ.

Throughout time, you can see the difference between those who seek to be religious and those who seek for that secret place of the Most High God.  Each claims to love God, but have very different approaches.  With one, it is all about themselves, while with the other, it is all about God.

The true love of God does not lie in carnal adherence to tenets of doctrine or traditions, in pursuit of knowledge or power, in the segregation of denominational thinking, or even in gushing displays of emotional affection.  The essence of the love of God lies in surrender.

To surrender means to give up your ways, your ideas, and your perception of life and religion.  You have to love God so much that you choose to give up — completely give up — and empty all the “you” out of you so it can be completely filled with Him, and render yourself invisible so that the glory of God can shine out of you.  You choose to die for Him, just as He died for you.  You love God that much.

Dive into the Spirit of God, and let God lead you into all righteousness and true wisdom instead of trying to figure it out for yourself.  Let His Spirit overwhelm you and cover you with His feathers.  Surrender.  Your reward is not in what you can be in Him, but what He can be in you.

When you do that, the glory of God will fill your soul and will fill your church.  You will not be seen as a church where people meet, but as a place where the Spirit of God blazes with His Glory.  It will be a place where you can feel the glow on those who have been drawn by Him, and Him alone, and have run after God to be brought into His secret chambers.

Surrender.  That is the place where you fall into the love of God with great abandon.

Brother Dale

See other books available by Dalen Garris at: Revivalfire.org/books

Subscribe to our Newsletter at: Revivalfire.org/subscribe

[Excerpt from soon to be published A Voice in the Wilderness, Volume 5]

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.”  I Kings 18:41

Last night, as we were in a prayer meeting of saints crying out for a fresh new move of God, the Lord opened my ears to hear what Elijah heard.

The events concerning Elijah’s ministry have deep significance for these last days.  From the time when he first presents himself to Ahab and declares a drought unto the time when he is chased into the desert by Jezebel’s persecution, we see a picture of how end-time events will unfold.

In a time of seeming great prosperity for backslidden Israel, Elijah’s prophetic word of a coming drought seemed absurd.  The judgments of God seemed far away from the lush green fields and prosperity that was all around.  Life was good, and no one expected it to change.

And out of nowhere, comes this hairy man that no one has heard of and stands right in the face of the king to declare something that on the surface seems laughable.  Who was this unknown peasant with an outrageous attitude to rebuke the king himself right in the middle of the king’s court?

But three years later, no one was laughing. 

We have gone through several years of spiritual drought.  Prophets of God – real prophets of God – have warned us, but no one was listening.  On the contrary, we have been inundated with hordes of preachers declaring peace, prosperity and blessings upon the people of God.  We have flocked to their seminars, bought their books and videos, and paid them money to hear more.  For a season, it seemed so prophetic — we have found a new path into God’s prosperity that all the old-timers from the brush arbor revival days were never aware of.

They preached the Fear of the Lord and a crucified walk of sacrifice, but we have heaped up to us teachers that have illuminated a new, better way of “love” that is so much more enlightening.

But now, like Gideon, we wonder where are all the miracles that we used to see?  Where are the piles of discarded crutches, the packed altars with broken hearts, the supernatural outpourings on our services and all-night prayer meetings – for that matter, where are our prayer meetings?  We are in the midst of the drought, and we are just now noticing our dry throats and cracked lips that once were anointed with the Spirit of God.

After 3 years of drought when there was no moving of the Spirit of God in Israel, Elijah called forth a final showdown with Baal.  Judgment was set upon a mountaintop where the fire of God fell and devoured the priests and prophets of the established churches of the land.  And still, there was no revival – just a mumbled acknowledgment of what was obvious, but no heartfelt repentance.  After all, not only had the people just witnessed the death of their beloved local pastors and prophets, but with them, the demise of their hopes for prosperity and a life of religious ease.

But then Elijah turns to Ahab and tells him that he hears the sound of an abundance of a rain. 

I heard that sound last night. 

It was the sound of desperate hearts crying out to God to please forgive us for our idolatry, to have mercy on us and send a revival, not just for us, but for all those souls out there who have been lost because of our apostate ways.  I could hear the echoes of Nehemiah and of Daniel when they too had cried out in repentance for God to have mercy on His people and restore us once again.

There was a melding of voices as I could feel them funneling straight up to the Throne of God, driven by the sorrow of tears that flowed from broken hearts.  And then, intermingled with them, was the drip, drip, drip of the tears of God falling to the Earth for His people.

It was the sound of abundance of rain.

Finally!

Finally! Voice in the Wilderness, vol.4: Revival in the Wings is now published and ready to be ordered:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734221348

100 pages of insightful articles based on revival in the Church for today.

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.]