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Archive for July, 2020

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]

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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

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