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Archive for October, 2009

While in the midst of a prayer meeting for revival last night, the Lord showed me something so disturbing that I hesitated to share it with the others there.  While I am sure that all would have agreed with the vision, I fear that few would have been cut deeply enough in their hearts to make a permanent difference.

I saw a large wharf set out over the ocean.  It was long and wide and filled with a crowd of people on a bright and sunny day.  I remember feeling how pleasant the weather was.  What a wonderful day for a stroll along the pier in your Sunday’s finest, meeting and greeting all your friends!

As I looked closer, I realized that these were all Christians. You could see in their bright and smiling faces the joy of being saved and how much they enjoyed being there on that wharf with everyone else.  They would gather in little clumps and pray with each other, raising hands and proclaiming blessings upon everyone.  Several would drift from group to group edifying others and speaking a word of faith into each other’s lives.  Often I would hear groups lift up praises to God, glorifying His name.  Others would be praying for a greater passion to serve Him and a deeper sense of holiness. Still others would be praying for their pastors, their churches and anyone else they could think of that needed prayer.

In all cases, I noticed that everyone was happy, good-looking and well dressed.  What a wonderful time everyone was having in the Lord!  It seemed to be part of their Christian make up, almost as if it identified them as Christians.  That made sense to me because of the transforming difference that salvation has upon those who get saved.  I’ve seen hardened faces melt at the altar during Sinner’s Prayers every night for years, and I can tell you that the difference that a born again experience makes on someone affects more than a their soul – you can see it all over them.  These people on the wharf had that same appearance of joy and peace that only Salvation brings.

As I looked around at the ocean, however, I could see that the sea had a very different look to it than the wharf.  The sea was the color of a gun-metal grey and looked very cold and dismal.  The waves were choppy and tumultuous, almost tempestuous in nature.  What a different picture this was from what I had seen on the wharf!  One was bathed in a warm glow of brightness while the other was overcast in a chilly shadow.  The contrast was so stark that it seemed as if it had been determined that way, as if this sharp difference was made to be that way on purpose.

As I looked out into the sea, I could see masses of people drowning, crying out for help.  Their cries would often be choked as another wave splashed over them, and then they would pop up again, waving their hands and crying to the people on the wharf to help them.  It was a desperate scene.  Masses of people were in the sea scrambling over each other in a desperate attempt to escape drowning.  I could hear the voices of the screaming and hollering as they mingled together into a chorus of misery and desperation.

But no one on the wharf paid any attention.

I was shocked.  These were real Christians. I could tell they were.  They not only looked like Christians, I could hear them praying over each other, praising God, and admonishing one another to a walk of godliness.  But why didn’t they help these drowning people?  Why didn’t they stop praying and throw out some life lines or dive into the water and pull them to safety?  Why didn’t they do something?  Why were they just completely ignoring these desperate cries for help?

And then I realized why.  It wasn’t because they didn’t want to.

It was because they couldn’t even hear them.

Brother Dale

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“ And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.   And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Mark 10:46-49

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“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering…” Genesis 4:3,4

I used to think that the one big difference between Cain and Abel’s offerings was the blood of the lamb – and that is still true – but there is another pointed difference that is brought out more in the original Hebrew than in the English and that is the difference between the two men themselves.

Cain brought forth an offering which in itself was not intrinsically wrong; it was the manner in which he offered it. An offering, true, and a bit of a sacrifice, also true, but there was no great emotional cost, no great cutting to the depths of his soul. Those fruits that he offered could be regenerated so the cost to Cain was minimal. Nice gesture, but just an offering. No big deal.

But Abel brought forth a firstling lamb . Not only would there be no regeneration from this lamb, it was a firstborn lamb, making it the first and strongest from that sheep, and therefore the most valuable. He could have offered an older sheep that he had already gotten wool from or one that had already given birth to other sheep, but he purposely chose a lamb from which there was only cost, no profit. It was a total sacrifice. His heart cried out to offer a true sacrifice that would cut into his soul in order to reach out to God. His was the cost of blood. That was the real difference between Cain and Abel.

And so we see that same difference in the natures of two kinds of Christianity today. One is content with church on Sunday and prayer meetings on Wednesday, while the other is broken at the altar of prayer seeking the face of God for something more than just “church as usual”. Don’t get me wrong, church is good, but if that is all you want, then that is all you will get. A faith that is without cost, blood, or tears is anemic and superficial at best and non-existent at worst.

Abel’s faith was one that went beyond the boundaries of duty and obligation to actually seek for a offering that had meaning, and so does the faith of those who strive to seek the face of God for more than a perpetuity of a church membership or the prolongation of a denominational order. They want God in person, the presence of His holiness in power, and His glory revealed in them. They want the real thing, and nothing else will do.

Like Cain, the church of complacency does not see herself the way that God sees her. She is the Church of Laodicea, content in the fullness of her sufficiency but blind to the realities of her spiritual bankruptcy, and refuses to be ashamed. She sees her own accomplishments as being substantial, but is quick to accuse her brother Abel for his purity and zeal.

It is established religion that always persecutes true Christianity. It has always been this way. It was the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, not the Romans, who delivered Jesus to be crucified. It was the Roman Catholic Church, not the pagans, which slew millions of born again Christians for their faith. The religious offspring of Cain has killed the prophets, burned Christians at the stake, imprisoned them and tortured them all in the name of God. And they have done this, not to correct errant heresy, but to establish their own righteousness in a vain attempt to circumvent and escape repentance.

And so it is in these last days. We have great big churches filled with lights and music, celebration and praise. We praise our wonderful loving pastors and the soft, unobtrusive welcoming we have for everyone. But there is no repentance, and, as Leonard Ravenhill once wrote, we have more of Hollywood than holiness.

I have been asked what kind of church I am looking for — one where God shows up at. Great music, emotional highs, charismatic oratory, fancy trappings, and smiling people do not constitute the presence of God. That’s all nice, but it’s all the result of human endeavors, not the results of the presence of the Holy Ghost.

Where are the souls getting saved? Where are the healing miracles? Where is the outpouring of the supernatural power of God? Where are the thundering messages of Holy Ghost conviction? Where can I find broken hearts of repentance in the presence of the absolute holiness of God? Where is the real thing?

When God is present, these things accompany Him. When these things are not present, neither is the Holy Spirit which brings them. But will the church of Cain acknowledge this? Have they ever?

God will give the churches a certain space of time to repent … and they will not repent. And then He will raise up stones in their place. Revival is coming, but only to those who like Abel offer the firstling of the flock.

Brother Dale

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