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Archive for April, 2014

Confirmation bias:

“The tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations).”   – Wikipedia definition

In other words, people are going to believe what they want to believe in spite of the facts. While atheists love this kind of gobbledygook to try and explain away the Christian’s belief in God, I lean on this more as a signpost directing us to a true and serious belief in Him. I need to know that what I believe in is really real, not something that is projected from my wishful thinking or imagination.

As a young college student, I prided myself on my stone cold atheism. I felt as if I was much more enlightened than the poor slobs who hung onto the Cross as a crutch. Why they would grasp so desperately for something they could not see, feel, or touch was always beyond my comprehension. Any time that I challenged even the most prodigious of them, including the local pastors, their retorts were anemic and without substance. Leaning on the old, “There must be a God because look at the world around you”, was an invalid argument based on a negative, with which you can make a proof of anything.

So why did they hang on to their beliefs so desperately?   True, Faith is invisible, but they made is seem nebulous, wispy, and illusory. The only answer I could come up with was that it was a result of social conditioning, an inherent need to believe in something, anything to answer the unanswerable questions of Life. As far as I was concerned, it was good for old ladies and little kids, but was far beneath the respect of a responsible adult.

That is, until God decided to change my mind …

Without getting into a long rendition of the things that have happened to me, suffice it to say that I have been blessed with a lot of supernatural experiences. I really don’t know why. I guess I just would not have believed otherwise. Who knows? The point is not about the experiences; it is about the fact that He is really, really there.

It is as if you have a room in your house where you can go to meet God. He is sitting right inside there and anytime you go in that room, you can meet with him. It’s as real as real can be. But when your friends come over, they don’t believe you. You offer to take them into the room, but they refuse, thinking that you are putting them on a trip. So they never see what you have seen and as a result, they look at you as a nice guy, but a little off balance at best – or stupid at worst.

Your friends can quote all the high-sounding science-babble that they want to prove that God does not exist, but you have been in there and you have been in His presence and you KNOW.

The problem lies with the lack of power in the Church today. When the Church has no power, it is no better than the world. The Gospel is the “power of God unto Salvation”. So what do you have if you have no power?

Our downhill slide began when we wanted to be like the world. Like the Israelites that wanted Saul as a king, we have chosen a worldly rendition of the Gospel which disdained any manifestations of the Spirit that were considered crazy or extreme. I still hear objections about Pentecostals barking like dogs.   Excuse me? After 45 years, I have yet to see or hear anything even hinting at stuff like that, nevertheless, there are good seemingly intelligent church people who believe that.

Our irrational fears of being abnormal have neutered us.

Our fear of not being “nice”, has stripped us of our holy boldness.

Our preoccupation with “Love”, has repelled us from the fear of God.

Our lust for blessings and prosperity has turned us away from a desire for righteousness.

I don’t believe because I want to or because I am biased. I believe because I have come face to face with the power of God throughout my 45 years in the Gospel. I refuse to be embarrassed by the working of His power; I refuse to deny the incredible healing miracles I have witnessed; and I make no excuses for the voice of the Lord that has spoken to me on several occasions. Call me crazy, but I believe in the power of God manifested through a Church that rejects the vagaries of the world in favor of a faith that is the very substance of a real living God that you can actually reach out and touch.

If you do not have that, then you need to find a place that does.

No excuses; no apologies; no compromise.

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1Corinthians 2:4)

 

 

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And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

Yesterday, I was asked how many Prayer Intercessors I had backing me up. They were shocked to hear that I only had one, a lady down in Pensacola Florida. How do we manage without backup, they asked? Not sure. We just do. I have lots of folks praying for us – lots of them – but when you’re talking about Prayer Intercessors, you are talking about an entirely different breed. I know several in Africa, but I only have one here in the U.S. who is actively interceding for me.

These are people who know what it means to be prayer warriors, to contend in battle on their knees for hours at a time, to fast for days, even weeks, at the slightest call. When I talk about “storming the gates of Heaven”, that is what they do on a daily basis. They don’t just pray; they conquer. They don’t send up polite requests to a God that they assume is listening because the Bible says so; they crash the gates, shake the foundations, tear down strongholds, and move mountains.

It seems that the Prayer Intercessors that I have met were all women. But make no mistake, this is not for the faint-hearted, the polite, or the weak. This is war, and these women are the heavy artillery, the special commandos, the elite of the elite. There is no quarter shown to the enemy in this war. Satan knows it and he fears them far more than whole denominations of preachers, evangelists, and big shot apostles.

These are people who dwell in that secret place of the Most High, that secret garden of God that most Christians know nothing of. It is a place that is most holy and sacred and is reserved for only those who dwell in the depths of a crucified walk in God – a place of total immersion, total yielding, and total release. It is a place of death, and a place of holy communion with God on a deeply personal basis. Ordinary Christians do not enter this holy place – only those who have submerged themselves in the depths of broken-hearted passion and desperate prayer.

These are the real heroes in Eternity. Guys like me, the Lord sends out to go do the work, but ladies like these, He keeps in close to Him and covers them under the shadow of His wings because He loves to spend that close and personal time with them. They are the ones that make it possible for guys like me to do what we do. There is no victory accomplished out in the mission field that has not first been won in the prayer room, and these prayer intercessors are the ones winning those battles.

Thank you, ladies, wherever you are. I would never be able to weather this storm without you praying like you do.

Brother Dale, www.Revivalfire.org

 

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I just want to send out a thanksgiving/praise report concerning the Home of Hope Orphanage in Uganda that we are supporting.

This has been a difficult 6 months in that we were faced with a series of enormous unexpected challenges. We lost some of the Ladies of Hope, former prostitutes that the church rescued from the streets, leaving us with several orphans that had no place to go. Then as we were trying to figure out what to do with them, the church lost its lease. Now we not only had a score of unwanted children with no place to put them, but we had no place for the entire church and everything that depended upon it. It was going to get much worse before it got better.

Somehow, through the generosity of a young, 29-year-old businessman, we built a church and then acquired a set of buildings for the orphanage. Without any resources to speak of, the church begged and borrowed enough to get some more land and build a school. Somehow, the school is operating at a loss of a couple thousand dollars a month, but is still running. I guess we’ll tackle that problem later.

How we accomplished all this in a matter of a few months is beyond my limitations of faith. It is easy to say that you should believe God for everything, but it is entirely another thing to be faced with the huge challenges that kept falling on top of us. I thank God that He has enough faith for all of us if we just let Him be in control.

We were still faced with a large monthly expense to keep the orphanage running. The cost to support each child for food, clothing, medical expenses, school fees, and the whole gambit of everyday expenses for a bunch of little kids is over $100 per month. And there are now 26 children. Add to that a meager salary of $900/month for the Director and his wife, and you have $3,500/month to raise.

We had $1,500 coming in every month — $500 from the Maypearl Baptist Church, $500 from the young businessman who had already given so much, and $500 from all the individual sponsors of the children. We were $2,000 short. Every month. So they scrimped, and cut and did without. Meals now became one small portion of food per day. Clothing would have to wait. School fees were postponed. Toys were non-existent. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow they squeezed through, all the time believing that God would come through for them. Me? I didn’t know what God would do. I am not good at begging for money. I’d rather just forget it than ask someone for money for something so obviously in desperate need. I just figured I’d work like the devil and pray like a saint and somehow something would happen.

It did. Wow. A young man heard of what we were trying to do and donated a large sum of money to make up for the shortfall in monthly expenses until we can get established with more sponsorships and be able to stand on our own feet. I don’t know what to say. I’m all choked up. He is not on my Facebook so he won’t get this message, but I pray that somehow God will make him to know just how great this thing that he did was to a bunch of discarded orphans that were considered expendable and a group of desperate, broken women who had been rescued from the life of shame that had been thrust upon them.

We’re still not out of the woods. We will have to figure out a way to get more sponsors – a lot more sponsors. I’m not good at that stuff, but God is. I’m sure He’ll figure something out. I’m content to savor this one victory for right now. This is enough for today; tomorrow will come tomorrow, filled with fresh challenges, new opportunities, and more victories.

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Since Palm Sunday is coming up, the traditional day that the Church celebrates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem the week before he was crucified, I thought I’d share the incredible prophesy that is behind this important event. The prophesy in Daniel 9:24-27 has to be one of the most amazing proofs in the Bible of the absolute inerrancy of the Word of God and the absolute proof that Jesus is really the Christ. If you’ve not heard this before, you will be amazed. You can also find it in a bit more depth at www.revivalfire.org/tracts/Danielsprophesy.htm.

Jesus Christ was the Passover Lamb and was crucified on the Feast of Passover, the 14th day of the month Nissan. It is interesting that God required the Passover Lamb to be brought in and presented on the 10th day but not killed until the 14th. There can be no other reason than that this was to mirror what Jesus actually did when he was presented to Israel as the Son of David, Messiah, as he entered Jerusalem on the 10th and was later crucified on the 14th. This day of Presentation of the Lamb on Nissan 10 is what Palm Sunday celebrates.

Here’s the prophesy: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.  (Daniel 9:25)

There are few dates where a king had given a word about Jerusalem, but the only edict that gives any mention of the walls (and gates) of Jerusalem being allowed to be restored was the edict of Artaxerxes given to Nehemiah in chapter 2. This was given in the 20th year of Artaxerxes Longimanus in the month of Nisan of 445 B.C. Using this as a starting date, we should be able to predict the date when the Messiah would be presented to Israel. Since Jesus was the Passover for us, and the Passover lamb was to be presented on Nissan 10th, then the date of His entrance into Jerusalem on Nissan 10th, 32 AD should be the date that we are looking to match with Daniel’s prophesy.

“Weeks” is translated from the word that means “sevens”, or in other words, seven years. The first seven weeks, or 49 years, is what it took to build the Temple. The next 62 weeks plus that 7 equals 69 weeks, or 483 years. Because the Jewish calendar is lunar based, not solar based like our Gregorian calendar, it is generally accepted that the prophetic year in Scripture is 360 days (30 days x 12). Using that for our calculation, we come up with 483 x 360 = 173,880 days. Okay, remember that number!

Now for the next part. From 445 B.C. to 32 A.D. is 476 years (don’t count the year 0). 476 X 365 is 173,740 days. Add 116 days for leap years and you get 173,856 days. (Hang on. We’re almost there)
Finally, we now add the 24 days (both inclusive) from March 14 to April 6, the day of Christ’s triumphal entry, and you get a total of 173,880 days!

Amazing. Is there any doubt that God wrote this Bible? Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for us? Is there any doubt that not only is He in charge of the affairs of men, but that He will fulfill every promise He has made to us, including His soon-coming return?

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“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”
(Jonah 2:10)

Comfort is one of the worst enemies of the Church. It detracts from our original commission by refocusing our attention onto ourselves and our own blessings and prosperity. Proverbs says that the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. And so it is with the Church.
Passion is learned through hardship, trials and tribulations, and the sufferings of the Cross. There is no Gethsemane experience without blood; no passion without pain; no victory without battle. We were not called to the comfort of the Cross but to the sufferings, so that the great deliverance from sin and Hell would be manifest to the world, for as Jesus said, if he be lifted up, he will draw all men unto him. And He was lifted up on that Cross.
The Greek word that Paul uses again and again in this context is “agonizomai”, which means to struggle, contend, and fight with passion for the victory in the public games where only one contender will win. There is no 2nd place in this contest, no consolation prize, no Purgatory or Limbo to fall back into, no “Ataboy, nice try”. We battle in prayer to win. Failure is fatal.
In the parable of the Unjust Judge, the words used to describe the prayer of the widow is translated in the King James as “her continual coming”. The actual Greek words mean to push forward until a complete and full end is reached. Our grandfathers in the faith called it “praying it through, all the way through”. You prayed, not until you got tired, but until you got an answer.
But in our comfort, our need for that kind of prayer has dissolved. We no longer have the drive and passion that our forefathers had when they fought against all odds to establish the Faith. We don’t fight because we don’t need to. As a result, our churches are anemic, our pastors compromising, and our religion a “kinder, gentler” version of the old fashioned Holy Ghost and fire that our fathers knew.
Jonah knew if he prayed like we do, that he would never get out of that whale’s belly. He also knew that if he would just contend all the way through to grab hold of the Throne of God, that God would answer. He knew that although he was cast out, if his repentance was deep enough and his prayer strong enough, that he would once again look to God’s Temple. His faith was coupled with the passion of desperation.
It was enough to cause the whale to commit suicide just so Jonah wouldn’t get his feet wet.
We have traded our former hunger and desperate prayer for a theological sophistication today that has blinded the Church. We have programs for everything, and books for all sorts of instruction. We know more about human character than ever before, and we have figured out every kind of spiritual program the mind of man can conceive of. We have figured it all out. We have finally arrived.
Leonard Ravenhill once said that the Church has advisors by the carload, but where are the agonizers? Are we so wise and knowledgeable that we no longer have to depend on God?
Our comfort and prosperity has blinded us and led us down a path that leads away from the Cross and straight into the belly of a whale. Perhaps that is what we need so that we can once again look to God’s holy Temple.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” (Jonah 2:8)

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