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Archive for August, 2014

“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Psalms 96:5

When I look back on the revivals that have happened throughout history, I see certain elements that have always been evident. I’ve put many of them in my book, “Four Steps to Revival”, but there are a couple that I don’t think I have emphasized enough – holiness and prayer.

Today’s messages are all about grace and love and mercy, not holiness. And who could argue against that? What wonderful things they are! How great and wonderful is our Salvations that rely upon the grace, love and mercy of God. We would be so lost without them? But is that all there is? Or are we using Grace to minimize the effect of sin, and thereby turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, like it says in Jude 1:4? Have we been so focused on receiving blessings that we have ignored the call to a crucified walk in the sufferings of the Body of Christ? Has this loving modern gospel offered us so much comfort that we have refused the Cross in our pursuit of the Crown?

Every revival in history has been preceded by a time of deep, broken-hearted repentance and remorse for our worldly sinful ways. Desperation, weeping and howling at the altar as it is described in Joel chapter 2, is what brings God’s attention to our cry for revival, not the singing and dancing of a superficial worship that bears no marks of the Cross. The Church is complacent in her mediocrity and feels no shame or remorse. She has a “whore’s forehead”. She refuses to be ashamed (Jeremiah 3:3), and therefore the harvest has been witholden and the revival has not come. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.

The other thing missing is prayer. Revivals are birthed in the labor room of deep, prevailing prayer. The men and women of God that brought forth great moves of God would contend and wrestle in brokenness before God for hours and hours. Four and five hours every day, crying out to God relentlessly was not uncommon. Four or five hours every day! I know of no one in 45 years of ministry that has prayed like that, and yet you will see it in the early labor pains of every revival. How is it that we can be so foolish and cavalier to think that we can just snap our fingers and bring forth a microwave revival – no price, no pain, no tears, no ripping and tearing of our souls. Just waggle our finger in the air with a Howdy Dowdy wooden grin and say “Praise Jesus”.

That kind of prayer brought forth men and women of great power and authority. Know anyone like that today? Me neither. The ones I knew are all dead. All we have left are some nice pastors with nice messages for nice people. There are no John the Baptists left to challenge us, no Elijah’s to call down fire, no Martin Luther’s, Billy Sundays, Wigglesworth’s, or any of those who walked with true God-given authority to call us to our knees in broken repentance and crushing prayer. And yet Jeremiah cried out that the effectiveness of a true prophet of God was seen in his ability to bring the people of God to a place of true repentance (Jeremiah 23:22), not in their ability to entertain us with message of peace and love.

But what difference will this article make? People will read this and bob their heads up and down like apples in a barrel of water, and then go on the same ways they have been accustomed to. Same ol’, same ol’. Like water, we always seek that level that we are comfortable with … until something terrible comes along to rattle us out of our apostasy.

Something terrible is coming that will shake to the roots our modern Christianity with its Pollyanna attitude of personal blessings, sweet Jesus and a love and mercy that excuses sin and dismisses the fear of the Lord. But we don’t believe that because we don’t want to. And so we will not listen. And as a result, we are destined to face it.

The Lord once told me as I was watching this modern Christianity run in their hypnotic trance straight for the edge of a cliff, that even if they could hear me – which they could not – they will not listen. They are too set in a doctrine that they want to believe and like the children of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they are given over to the golden calves that they have created for themselves.

“And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:3-4

 

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I’ve been sitting in a resort hotel for the last four days waiting for a flight home. Tomorrow I will finally board a plane for the US. What a relief! This has been a long couple of weeks.
Some kind of a very big disturbance is going on in the invisible world in Liberia. I could feel it in the air when I arrived. The Ebola outbreak was only part of it – a large part of it, perhaps, but still only a part of it.
We started experiencing trouble as soon as we started trying to print the booklets. Then, the day I arrived, the pastors house was broken into, and again three days later. It continued even up to the last day. The pastor who drove me to the airport got involved in an accident on his way home. Then the airport security was not going to allow me to board the plane because of visa problems. It seemed like it would never end.
And then I got sick. My first day at the resort was spent in bed sleeping it off trying to shush off those wispy fears that after everything else I had been through, I had contracted Ebola and would never see my family again.
What was the big deal with Liberia? Why did we go through so much trouble? I can only surmise that an intense battle for the soul of that country is going on. Liberia is like the United States in that it was founded with a strong Christian foundation, and like us, the churches have degenerated into a mediocre “church as usual” existence and have lost their fire. Perhaps this is either an attack, a judgment, or a warning … or all three.
A couple of days before I was scheduled to leave, the Lord began to deal with me about staying in Liberia. I was jolted by the very idea. What? Stay here with this disease raging through the area? Isn’t that tempting the Lord? No, not if He is the one asking you to stay.
He reminded me that I had made a promise to do whatever He asked, to go wherever He sent me, and preach whatever He told me to preach. I literally hung my head down in defeat. What could I say? I made a promise; I would have to keep my Word. I imagined that this is what many missionaries must have gone though when being sent into dangerous lands.
And then a brother told Cindy that when he was praying for protection for me, the Lord kept leading him to pray for strength for me. What’s that supposed to mean? Now I fully expected to have to stay, and I was fully resigned to my fate when they told me that they would not allow me to board my flight because I didn’t have a visa.
I had a couple of things going in my favor. One was a promise He made to me back in 2003 when I was heading into the island of Mindanao that was in the midst of a war with Muslim rebels. He literally spoke to me when the issue of safety came up, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” Well, I guess that settles that! If you’re going to pick on someone, you’d better pick on someone else. I took that promise into all kinds of dangerous places over the next 10 years, walking into areas that even the local natives would not go. No one ever touched me. As a matter of fact, the Grace of God always seemed to go before me brought peace wherever I went.
I had another advantage. Years of subjection, not unlike the 21 years that Jacob spent under Laban, had trained me, toughened me, and broke my spirit into yielding to His. This was not Christianity Lite. I operated on a much deeper level. As a result, it didn’t matter what valley I was asked to go down; I had been down enough of them that it became just another valley – not pleasant, but neither was it a sentence of final doom. There is always another open end to every valley. You just have to walk it out.
There are some jewels and riches of God that are so precious that many of us are not even aware that they exist. They are not found in the usual places. They rarely make any appearance at all during our mountaintop experiences or in fancy churches or glitzy televangelist programs. They do not give off a shine and luster during our times of peace and blessings. They are rough cut, sometimes unpolished and seemingly dull in comparison. They are only found in one place – on the valley floor when you are down on your hands and knees crawling though those hard places. When it seems that the only Light you can see is a desperate hope of faith in a God that seems a million miles away, it is then that you find them while you are on your hands and knees in broken, desperate prayer.
I can’t say that I have traveled down the deeper valleys that many of the brothers and sisters who have gone on before me have, but I’ve traveled down my share. Whenever I start to descend into another valley, I can see that there are other footprints heading down before me into the valley. And I’ve noticed that there is always one set of footprints from some really big shoes. Those belong to our Savior.
There is no valley that you go down that He has not gone down before you. There is no pain or suffering you will go through that He has not gone through first. And there is no challenge that He will ask you to face that He will not face it right by your side.
I was fully prepared and resigned to stay for the next month or two in a place that looked like it was going to become a hellhole. Hey, somebody has to do it. It might as well be me.

And then I felt that little nudge to go ask again, and lo and behold, for some reason Security changed their mind and let me on the plane.

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The question has come up about why in the world did I go to Liberia, especially now when this Ebola outbreak has happened.  Would God really send you into such an obviously bad situation like that?  Or is it just a case of well-meaning presumption and maybe you should have had a bit more common sense than that?

I had an special service last night and a special prayer hour this morning about that.  As I sat there in church getting ready to give the message, I wondered why the Lord had sent me to this little church in the outskirts of this little city in this little country, especially at a time like this.  What on earth was I going to accomplish here?  And at such a great price!  Was I crazy? Did I really think something great would come of this?  Had I gambled my life on something stupid?

The scripture passed across my mind from Nehemiah when Sanbalat said, “what will these feeble Jews do?”  they’ll never be able to build this wall, and even if they do, even a fox would be able to break it down.  I remember that there are 9 different attacks from the devil in Nehemiah to stop him from building the wall.  Those are the same tactics he uses on us to stop us from bringing revival.  His first one is that we’re too small and weak to accomplish anything big for God.

Immediately, I up and running.  Wow.  This is just like Nehemiah!  The same thing happened in Acts chapter 10 with Cornelius when God sent Peter, His number one guy to a Roman and a small group of people – a tiny meeting smaller than this one, but that was the meeting that opened up the Dispensation to the Gentiles!  No small meeting in the eyes of God.

And the same was true of Jonathan.  His father Saul was a picture of the established Church, but had lost his anointing.  He had sent all his men home after his victory and when the enemy saw that, he attacked.  Now his 3,000 men had fled leaving 600 men with no swords to fight with.  It struck me that if 6 is the number that represents man, then this was representative of man’s best effort – 600 against 30,000+ – and man’s best efforts would not work.

But Jonathan was of a different cloth than his father.  “God can save by many or few” he declared and they scrambled up those rocks on their hands and knees.  And they fell before Jonathan.  But get this- killing 20 men was not going to bring a victory over 30,000 warriors.  It wasn’t Jonathan’s efforts that brought revival; it was his faith and trust in God.  And God took the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty and broke the enemy with a great earthquake so that even the Jews who had backslidden returned to chase the Philistines.

You and I knew I was supposed to go, not because we assumed so, but because we prayed and received an answer.  God led us to that, not our presumption.  And now I am here.  This is like David at Pasdammim in 1 Chron. 11:13 and 2Sam. 23:9 when David and two other guys stood in a field of barley against so many Philistines that the entire army of Israel fled.  Did they think they would somehow live through that day?  I doubt it.  But they stood their ground and live or die, they refused to run and stood their ground to fight for the honor of God.  And God wrought a great victory that day.  How?  I have no idea. I just know that is how God operates, and that is what I am doing here.

I don’t know what will become of the seed I have planted here. That’s not my job. My job is to show up.  Years ago, I made a promise to God that whatever, whenever, and wherever He sent me I would go.  I have kept my word.  And He has reminded me in times and places that were difficult and dangerous that that is why He sent me to those places.  More than that was not promised.

I have kept the commission of God, I have worn the mantle He placed upon me, and I have stood up in the face of all adversity to declare the message He gave me.  It is remarkable the things I have seen and experienced, many that are even Biblical in nature.  Remember when the Bishop called you from Uganda to tell you how the glow from the Shekinah glory surrounded me as I preached?  I have walked in the glory of God.  Whatever happens is in His hands and as I have trusted Him all these 45 years, I know I can trust Him now.  I am here because God has a plan.   He needed somebody to go, and I was the guy He sent.

It is entirely possible that I could die – it would be foolish to ignore that – but that just wouldn’t make sense.  If I’m dead, who is He going to get to go to these insane places?  Like the good Jewish businessman that He is, He will protect His assets.  I walk under the Anointing of the Most High God, I operate in the power of the Holy Ghost and I stand in that secret place of the Most High under the shadow of the Almighty.  What could I possibly be worried about?

Others may wonder why God would send me here at such a time.  I will not.  It is enough that He sent me, and He will send me home.

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org

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In Liberia

I am traveling on an empty plane to a place that many people think I should not be going to. Apparently, most of the would-be passengers have thought the same. I counted only 9 passengers on a jet that usually holds well over 200. Oh well, that just gives me room to stretch out and take a nap.

I have not been to Liberia so I am not sure what to expect, neither am I sure that they really need me to risk of entering into an area plagued with this Ebola virus. Why not go sometime later? Why persist in keeping my schedule now? I promised the Lord many years ago that I would go wherever He wanted me to go. I didn’t say anything about time when I made that promise, but implicit in the promise was a surrender that was total in order to seal the deal. I meant it then, and He has called me on it now.

Perhaps I will never know what was so important to send me into the middle of an outbreak like this. Perhaps it will be a testimony to someone there that this American left his comfort and safety to come into this situation just to assure him that this Gospel is real, and maybe that person will turn into another John the Baptist and take it the rest of the way. Or maybe it will be a testimony to someone back home that there is another level to serving the Lord besides riding in comfort to church on Sunday and dropping a hundred dollar check in the plate and maybe that will turn him into a firebrand that goes out to win souls. I may never know. I was just told to come. Period.

I will be here for three weeks of conferences and a smattering of church services. I have not even begun to think about what I am going to preach about or what I will tell them, but I have a strange sense of tranquility over me that just says, “Trust me. Just as you trust me to come into this place, trust me that I will speak through your mouth and work My works through your hands.” And I do. I don’t know any other way to do it.

God works when we let Him have control. When we attempt to direct, organize, and control everything, we tie His hands. We think we are just being diligent and accomplished, but if we really want Him to take over, we have to learn how to completely surrender. God uses broken, crucified vessels that have emptied themselves out so that He can fill them up. While we are crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s, He is waiting for us to quit trying to do it ourselves and learn to trust Him.

Trust only comes through subjection, something that is rarely taught in the Church today. When we release God to be God, we open up our lives to experience the true power of God. But that takes subjection, brokenness, humility … and trust.

 

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