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Archive for April, 2018

Well today the blind man got healed. Along with about 100 others. No, really. It was somewhere around that many. Including the blind man who came up to me after services to tell me that he had received his sight.

It didn’t start out with that many. The pastor called for anyone who needed healing to come up and about 25 or so came. But, oh boy, once people saw that everybody was getting healed, the crowd started growing. And kept growing. They were multiplying like rabbits out there. It took almost another two hours to finally get through the line.

Why is it that the healing miracles always seems to take center stage when telling these stories? I guess hearing about something supernatural that is so far outside our normal scope of life is exciting. It’s certainly exciting to be a part of, and its exciting to tell. And, if you’re the one getting healed, it can be pretty exciting also. But the miracles are not the important part of the service. The message is what is important. The central point to this whole thing is to see souls won. Healing is great, but what good would it be to be made whole again, only to wind up burning in Hell for eternity?

And we did win souls at this service. Besides the hundred or so that got healed, fifty souls got saved. I didn’t count them; the pastor’s wife did. For the hundred souls that got healed, life has become better, for some of them immeasurably so. For the fifty who got saved, however, their entire lives have just changed, and they will never be the same. And yet, it is the healing miracles that get the headlines.

For me, I can only say that it is exciting to see the hand of God work right in front of your eyes. Maybe because healings are more visible, they seem to capture our attention more. But I don’t always feel the anointing pass through me when they get healed. Sometimes I do. It can be like electricity shooting through you, and sometimes there is a sensation of oil flowing through you, but most of the time it is just pure faith. Sometimes I sense a deeper presence of faith when I pray than at other times, and I have to believe that is the Spirit of God that I am sensing, but the truth is, most of the time I don’t feel anything. The real blessing, however, is when they tell you that the disease/pain/ailment is gone. It’s gone. It was there and now it is gone. That’s what wows me every time.

Now, I’m telling you, I love preaching revival messages and watching churches catch the fire. It’s like flipping a switch of understanding and turning on the furnace. To hear that a church that I just preached to has been set on fire, has started putting the principles I’ve told them to work, and has multiplied the size of the congregation several times over is a tremendous gratification for me. It is the main purpose I have come. It is what we have sacrificed so much for. There’s nothing better than to hear the grand vision we have had is being fulfilled and birthed in church after church.

But then, there’s that blind man that got healed.

Why does that capture the headline for me? I guess for me it is because it is the embodiment of the entire mission of revival distilled down to a deeply personal level right before my eyes. This morning he was blind, in darkness, and without hope, but now he can see and everything has changed.

“… one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25)

Brother Dale

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With Such People

Wow, what a service. This is the kind of thing that makes it all worthwhile.

We are in Abbi, Nigeria, a small town buried deep in the delta country around the Niger River. Driving through the lush countryside to get here, you pass scenes of deep poverty everywhere. There is little to sustain an economy here other than subsistence farming, and it is reflected in the shambles of wooden shacks and unfinished buildings.

You feel rather than see the absence of wealth, but there is also a feeling that, even here, life is not that bad. The kids are running around having fun, adults are working at peeling cassava or other agrarian tasks to provide dinner. There isn’t a feeling of stress or anxiety at not having all the luxuries of modern society. Maybe our idea of what to strive for in life is inflated. Maybe they are on to something deeper.

Heading into services, I am pressed with what message to present these people. This is not a big, powerful church with a thousand members. This is the same kind of small, personal congregation like I am used to ministering to. They are just little people, but I have to somehow convince these people that they can change the world.

Sometimes I have to look up and double-check with Him, “Are You sure this is where I am supposed to be?” The answer is always, “Yes, this is how I show my glory.” He uses small things. Broken things. Things that others discard for being too weak, too small, too poor, too useless, because He will not share His glory with man.

I fit right in there with them. Who am I really? I’m a nobody. I have no credentials, degrees, no church or even a small organization. I have no money of my own to speak of, and back in America, no one knows who I am, neither do they care.

But here, I fit in like a hand in a glove. They know who I am. And they have a long list of titles for me: Doctor, prophet, bishop, pastor, apostle, father, and now just recently, International Mentor. But its not me they honor. I am a nobody who is bringing the anointing and presence of God to them, and that’s what their hearts rejoice in.

I am very much aware of the fact that I can’t do that – only God can do that – but God will use anyone who is willing to humble themselves, throw away the pride and positions of ecclesiastical authority and just show up crucified, broken, and poor. Since I possess so little anyway, that is not hard for me. I just show up; God does the rest.

Last night, the entire congregation was on it’s knees before God in sincere repentance for not winning souls. Try that back in America. Have we become so enamored with ourselves and our prosperity that we have become the Church of Laodicea? Jonah said, “They that observe lying vanities, forsake their own mercy.” (Jonah 2:8)

I may be a nobody ministering to small seemingly inconsequential churches in a poor land beleaguered by satanic forces, fake preachers, and false prophets, but it is with such people that God uses to build His kingdom.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

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The Bishop’s wife got healed last night, but the blind lady didn’t get healed today. Don’t know why.

Yesterday was the first day of a 3-day session in Ashaka, Nigeria. My main objective is to somehow inspire the people here to not just hear and believe the message, but to be driven to the point that they will go out into the streets to bring in the lost and start the process for a true revival. Healing the Bishop’s wife wasn’t part of it.

It was a great service, but as I was heading out the door after the service, this skinny, little old lady stopped me and asked me to pray over her. I wasn’t sure what was wrong or who she was, but she didn’t look too good. We prayed and her face lit up. She was healed! I didn’t know what to do at that point other than get in the car and collapse in the seat for the ride back to the hotel.

Well, it turns out she was the Bishop’s wife and she was sick with Malaria and some other nasty diseases. And she really did get healed. As you might guess, she told everybody. So today we had a healing line after the message. Some got healed; some did not. There was a blind lady that I just could not lift the covering of faith on. Sometimes you will pray over someone and you can just feel that resistance hampering the prayer of faith. Getting past that barrier is nigh unto impossible, at least as far as I have experienced. If you can break that barrier and release their faith to believe that God sees you, He hears you, He cares about you, and yes, He will heal you is the key to releasing their faith to believe and be healed. Sometimes that is so hard that you just can’t pray through it.

I prayed twice over her and it just did not happen. But next to her was someone with a sickness who got healed.. Several others came up with pains, headaches, stomach things, and a couple of weird things that I have no idea what I was laying my hands on — they all got healed except the blind lady.

I have absolutely no idea why that happens like that. I have experienced this hundreds of times and still have no idea. It just does. Period. Was it my faith, their faith, sin, doubt, or just plain “that’s the way it is”? I’m going to go with the last one. Somebody who has never healed anyone in their life will probably write a book and explain it all to us, but in the meantime, I’ve done this hundreds of times and I know less than I did when I started.

I believe that healing miracles are not the prime focus of ministry, but are God’s seal of approval. The focus of our ministry should be to save the lost. What good would it be to have someone healed and wind up in Hell? The Lord once told me that miracles take away from the message. Once you start the stampede for the miracles, they no longer are listening. I have found that to be true, which is why I try to wait for the end before we have healing lines. But tonight, everybody wanted what the Bishop’s wife got.

My great concern is that after all that is preached, prayed, and repented, I would be little more than a temporary entertainment and the fire that I had kindled would be allowed to slowly die out. I want them to do more than just cheer and shout; I want them to do. I would love to see everybody get healed, but, more than that, I want to see them start a fire of revival so that everybody got saved.

I have had great successes in East Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and the Congo, but Nigeria is a tough venue. We are being told everywhere we go that this message is what Nigeria needs and pastors are excited to get the book and spread the message further. But we are up against an incredibly strong Prosperity and money movement in the Nigerian Church that is diametrically opposed to the doctrine of repentance, holiness, and the fear of God. It will be a long and hard battle to crack the wall of this corrupt established Church, but these are strong and hard men and women, so when this message of revival does get a foothold, I believe it will explode.

The odds do not favor us. They are the same odds that were against the children of Israel in Egypt, of David with King Saul, of John the Baptist with King Herod, and of Jesus with the Sanhedrin. Paul faced the challenge of converting the entire known world all the while being attacked by the Circumcision heretics, but it was said that he and Silas had turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).

We are facing the same odds. May the best man win.

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Well, I’m already off to a rough start. I don’t know if this is a harbinger of what is to come or if we are just getting all the trouble out of the way now so I can finish this mission in peace.

First, I’m in a hotel in Lagos, Nigeria and the elevator got stuck. I don’t know if that has ever happened to you, but it is disconcerting to say the least. At first, it wasn’t too bad; I was just stuck. I picked up the phone that was by the sign that read, “If the elevator stops, have patience.” That should have given me a clue, like maybe this is something that happens on a regular basis? Like, if you find yourself falling off a cliff, don’t worry, have patience, you’ll stop falling after a little while.

The lady on the phone says they are working on it. Oh good. Then the lights went out. Total pitch darkness, no sounds, no response from the outside world. And we’re in Nigeria, where things get fixed when they absolutely have to.

As usual, everything worked out, the lights came on, and the elevator started working again. On to the next adventure.

Which was the airport.

Navigating through the Domestic Terminal in Lagos is like working your way through a madhouse of noise, dust, and confusion. There is the low bass rumbling of a few hundred insistent voices shouting for dominance in a hall that echoes everything off the walls and ceiling, immersing you in a cloud of audio confusion,

If you’re a white guy, you will immediately get accosted by a score of different “helpers” that never learned manners. Instead, they insistently ask you where you are going, pull the ticket out of your hands, grab your suitcase and start running off into the terminal. As you swat them off you like flies, you have to somehow find out where to go without encouraging them to sweep you up to “help” you. I actually had to start yelling at them to “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

As it was, I got so confused that I thought I had paid for my extra luggage fee and accused one of the workers of taking my money for the extra baggage and not giving me a receipt. By now, patience has become a distant faded memory of something that someone else possesses.

This is a part of ministry in foreign lands that is not often shared or understood by those who have never been here. You may have a sharp focus on what your mission is, but getting to that place of ministry is fraught with difficulties, obstacles, and road blocks that are designed to simply drive you mad. Yes, everything almost always works out, but the journey there can wear you out. The trick is in realizing that the satanic purpose is not to stop you – he knows he can’t do that – but to wear you out, pull you out of the Spirit, try to ruin your testimony to those around you, and ultimately steal your victory so that your effectiveness in the pulpit will be at least somewhat blunted.

But “in your patience, possess ye your souls.”

That scripture is making more and more sense to me as time goes on. Believing that the grace of God is on you and will steer you through the brambles and barbed wire that Satan has thrown before you requires faith. But when the storm is blowing around you and grace seems far away, it is patience that allows faith to operate until grace takes control.

Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD

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I’m sitting in the airport surrounded by Nigerians on their way home. This will make the 5th or 6th trip to Nigeria for me, but unlike the crowd of Africans around me that returning to familiar homes, I feel like an invader coming into a foreign land. Nigeria has never been comfortable for me.

There are two reasons: one is cultural; the other is prophetic.

I have found Nigeria to be a hard place. This is a strong people in a difficult country.Whether that is because of the over-population, the incredible amount of corruption that comes as a result of huge amounts of oil money, or something in their blood, Nigerians are a strong people in the midst of a social conflict in a hard land.

The other reason may be considered debatable depending on what your end-time view are. I believe that Nigeria is key to the rest of the sub-Saharan continent. In order for revival to fully sweep across Africa, Nigeria must fall to the dominion of Jesus Christ. There is just something about these people that strike me as a cornerstone for Africa. I believe that Satan knows that also, and for that very reason he has entrenched himself deeply into the Church.

It’s not the Muslims that are the biggest threat, or even the criminal element. Even the wickedness in the political leadership is being driven by, not driving, this darkness. It is the wickedness that is found in the depths of the established Nigerian Church that is the fountain that contaminates the society.

On the surface, it would seem that Lagos is the most religious city in the world, but underlying that are deep pools of wickedness. No matter where you go, you will see posters and signs declaring the next Night of Miracles at one meeting or the Showers of Blessings at another. Religious names are everywhere as if it is a lucky charm for retail businesses to be called the Glory to God Cafe or the Heavenly Blessings Gas station.

And yet, Lagos remains one of the most corrupt cities in the world. Why is that? Reinhard Bonke can have his million person crusades, but the next day nothing has changed. There is something endemic that Satan has buried deeply in the Nigerian culture that resists true holiness in God. The signs are there; the talk is there, even the outward show is there; but something is missing.

I am here to preach revival and to plant a seed of resistance to the debilitating messages of corrupt prosperity and the weakening influence of their false prophets. I am not the usual evangelist with the usual message of peace and love and grace. I have a truly Biblical prophetic message: repentance, righteousness, and the fear of God. Real peace and love and mercy grows out of righteousness into true charity and a deep, driving burden to win the lost. There is a huge difference between the two.

And I think that is what is missing here – true holiness and unselfish charity. It is the message I have brought across Africa for 15 years and has worked everywhere I have preached it. I pray God it will work here.

The world is waiting for this last, great revival to start, and this is the last obstacle to be removed.

 

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Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” (John 12:3)

Praise contradicts pride. If you are praising God, He becomes your focus, not yourself. The fragrance fills the room and the presence of this world and its hold on you is squeezed out. Pride melts away along with your attention on self. You – your position, your title, your benefit and welfare, your prosperity and blessings, even your place in God – dissolves in the cloud of unfettered praise carried in the beauty of holiness.

Pride is really nothing more than putting yourself above everyone else, including God. It has a ravenous appetite and will take over every place it enters. Just as the flesh wars against the Spirit, so pride is the antithesis of praise., and just as sin separates us from God, so also is grace unable to function in the presence of pride.

If you do not let go of your pride, your praises to God will ring hollow, and it will not be long before you are bored with repeating the meaningless phrases of “praise you Jesus, thank you Jesus”. The flesh takes precedent over lifeless words and renders your praises impotent. Your connection to the Holy Spirit is then broken and your feet remain planted in this world.

How then do we anchor our praises in the Spirit, break the stranglehold of the flesh, and release true praise and worship? The answer, as always, is to immerse yourself in the Word. All power comes from the Word of God. The Word of God created the universe. It cleanses you, gives you light and understanding, and because it is the source of faith, it gives you the power to pray. And prayer is the key that opens the door to praise.

There is one more step, however, in releasing the full power of praise. You have to break your heart. Mary broke the alabaster box that held the ointment. In so doing, you break open the bars that hold praise captive, and liberate it to fill the room.

The power of praise is one of the secrets to answered prayer. You “enter His courts with praise” (Psalms 100:4). Praise opens the door to the Throne Room of God. When you are totally immersed in praise and worship, the Holy Spirit will cover you and carry you into the presence of God. Once you are standing before Him in all His glory, nothing else matters.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
(Helen H. Lemel)

 

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“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?”(Matthew 5:13)

Whenever I have a get-together, I always invite Barry.  Yeah, things can go just fine without him, but when he’s there, he adds an extra spice to the party. I guess he’s sort of half nuts, but the half of him that’s nuts is a real fun nuts. He’s kind of like the sweet and sour sauce that goes with your egg rolls … that is, if you like egg rolls. You can eat them dry, but without the sauce, it tastes like something is missing.

Church is a lot like that.  Oh sure, we have wonderful churches, with great pastors and real nice people. And I’m sure you all love your church services. But something just seems to be missing.

Ever wonder why so many folks out there are not flocking to your church? And I’m not talking about sinners – I’m talking about Christians!  Ask them sometime. You’ll find (if you can get around their initial polite responses) that they need something more than what they are finding at church. Something is missing and they are left still hungry when they leave. What is that thing?

It’s not the setting or the message or the music or the people. It’s something that is difficult to put your finger on, but whatever it is, it isn’t satisfying that hunger that so many people have in the depths of their souls.

I brought my family just recently to a service where someone was preaching that I knew was a real servant of the Lord. And it was good … sort of. All the right theological elements were in place, the preachers said a lot of great stuff, and it was good to be there.  But something was missing.

As we drove home, my wife pointed right to it – there was no anointing.  Great message, wonderful preachers, nice place … but no anointing.  Egg rolls without sauce.

Now I’m sure that a whole bunch of you are going to say, “But oh, we have the anointing in our services!”  Then why are hundreds of souls not flocking to your altar to get saved every week?

Think I’m being excessive? Back in the 1970’s, we had 30 to 50 souls at the altar every night and twice on Sunday! And it was because the power of the Holy Spirit was literally pouring out on us every night. Three hundred souls a week … for years.

If you haven’t been saved long enough to have experienced the revivals in the early 70’s, then really, you have no idea what you’re missing. If you weren’t there for the old Brush Arbor revivals then all you have to compare your services to are the narratives that were written by those who were there. We have not seen anything like it for 40 to 50 years. The Brownsville revival is the closest we’ve had and that was twenty years ago.

Once you have tasted of a Holy Ghost anointing, you will never be the same and you will never again be satisfied with “church as usual”. It is the sweet and sour sauce to your egg roll services; it’s the salt that flavors the meal that you are serving to saved and unsaved alike.  It’s the thing that draws souls to the altar in droves. It’s the very essence of the Spirit of God.

And it’s missing.

So what do we need to do to get it back?  I’m sure that everybody’s loaded up on volumes of Christian self-help books written by every pseudo-expert who has a new word from God to tell the rest of us … for $19.95 of course.

And maybe that’s the problem.  We’re so busy trying to figure it out that we’re not letting God take control. Maybe if we threw out our prepared messages and burned our theological books, we could be free to follow the leading of the Holy Ghost. But no, we’re afraid to do that. We have to do our Christianity according to the way we’ve been taught to do it. We have designed our System, and by God, we’re going to carry it out! God brought us to the dance, but we want to lead the way we learned at Arthur Murray’s Dance Class, so instead of waltzing with grace, we end up stepping on His toes.

When we are ready to admit our failure, God will be more than ready to pour out His anointing on us again, even more than what we have experienced in the past.  I have always said that the way to victory is through surrender; the way to wholeness is through brokenness; the way to God is through repentance.

Let’s start there and see where it leads.

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