Archive for the ‘56391’ Category

I have been to a lot of Revival prayer meetings lately.  They seem to be springing up more in these last 5 years than in the previous 20.  Perhaps that’s because the need is increasing as the church world seems to be drifting more and more toward a social Gospel that is more consumer-friendly than abrasive.  The harshness of messages of repentance have not only become rare in this new modern Churchianity, but is becoming more and more frowned upon as unnecessarily judgmental, critical, and ungodly.  My, how things have changed!

Sin, however, cannot be scrubbed away so easily.  It takes soap to clean dirty clothes, and soap’s active ingredient is lye.  God is a holy God, and cannot, will not, fellowship with sin.  If you want an outpouring of the Holy Ghost, sin has to be scrubbed away.  This Emperor does not wear dirty clothes.

Is it a small wonder that so many souls are left hungry, searching for a church where they can experience the real power of God and the real meat of the Word, rather than an anemic, social version of it?  Their choice seems to be either go naked or wear dirty clothes.

The prophet Joel wrote that, in the last days, people would be groaning like beasts for pasture, but would not be able to find it.  We have arrived at those days.  I am told repeatedly from real, sincere, passionate Christians that they have given up in their search for a real church that is full of the power of God.  Some compromise by going to a church just to go to church; others have just quit looking.

But oh, how I hear of people praying for revival for their church!  I hear it all the time, “God send revival to our church and pour out the power like You have in times past!  Revive us, O God!”

Excuse me, but haven’t you missed the focus?  The true purpose of revival is not to pump up your church or to energize your services and make you feel so much more excited.  The purpose of revival, true revival, is to win souls – first, foremost, and final.  Energizing your church is only a by-product, not the real focus.

When we forget that, we shift our focus onto ourselves and away from the mass of humanity that are flowing like a great river into the pits of Hell.  We are willing to do all sorts of stuff for our church, but how many are willing to go to the streets and witness to the lost and dying?  Listen to what we ask for when we are asked for prayer requests.  It is always about us, never about the lost.  And yet, was that not the last request that Jesus left us with just before He ascended into Heaven?  Have we forgotten? Or are we so wrapped up in our Church that we no longer care?

Throughout Africa, wherever I would preach, I always emphasized this one point: the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about you.  It will never be about you.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about others, others, others.  If you do not grasp this principal, you will never understand the Cross.

Revival is about winning souls, not pumping up church services.  It is the flowing of Blood to wash away sins.  It is the pumping of the very heart of God from which the Blood flows.

When you forget the true purpose of revival, you lose your mandate from God.

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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


“ 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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We’re heading home tonight.  I’m sitting here at my hotel in Nairobi, looking out the window and wondering if I will ever be back again.

I go through this almost every time.  It’s a bittersweet feeling leaving this place.  I am worn out and spent after dozens of services in a score of little churches throughout Kenya, but exhilarated from watching the power of God work in the hearts of these people.  I can’t wait to get home, but I can’t wait to get back.

The challenges that face my returning to Africa are more than financial.  The hardest challenges have to do with slogging through spiritual battles, the blanket of spiritual resistance that Satan throws at me, and the weariness of this old flesh that has to be continually shoved aside.  But oh, the excitement to see the power of God at work through this little ministry, and to hear and see the transformation that takes place in these little churches where I have been!  This is more than just having some good church services – these are bursts of spiritual breakthroughs and transformations for these churches.  Several places would cry out at the end of the service that they would never be the same again.  When is the last time you heard that?

These people in Africa are torn wide open to the real Gospel, not the one of blessings, prosperity, and sweet love—they’ve had enough of that – but the Gospel of righteousness, power, and true revival.  Services here are electrifying, not only during the singing that raises the rooftops with praises and shouting, but the poignant soul-searching at the Altar Call.  This is a land whose fallow ground has been broken up and is ready for the seed to be planted deep in its soil.

They are desperate for revival – not just for the blessings of Spirit-filled services and an outpouring that fills the room, not just for the miracles and supernatural healings that happen, but for the close presence and holiness of the Lord.  They are hungry for His presence.

How can I not be desperate to return?  Africa is like vivid Technicolor in comparison to the spiritual shades of grey in America.  There is a sound in the air of the abundance of rain.  I can hear the thunder coming and see the clouds forming on the horizon.  It is about to rain – no, pour! – in this dry and thirsty land.

And yet, I fear God and dare not go beyond the leading of His Spirit.  I know that it is not I that will spread the fires revival here – I am just striking matches – but those whose torches that I have lit. God will raise up His ministers, stones that He has raised, to spread that fire and carry revival to the rest of the world while I will be sitting on my porch in Texas hearing about the wonderful works of God that have sprung out of this ground.

Fire and rain.  Two seemingly opposite images that God uses for revival.  I am striking matches and planting seeds, but the rain will come and bring forth the harvest, and the fire will fall and spread throughout the world.  Then the vision will be complete.

As for me, my heart longs for home and family, a comfortable bed and a Big Mac … and a REAL cup of coffee!  Tomorrow the call may come again to finish the planting and prepare the ground.  Whether it be in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, or wherever the Spirit of the Lord leads only God knows.

All I ask is send me, oh God, send me.

Brother Dale

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It’s been three years since it has rained in Namanga, and it is so dry that the air is full of dust.  We are in the south of Kenya with the Masaai, a tribe of strange dress and stranger customs.  They are known for the way they mutilate their ear lobes and for their fearlessness in fighting lions.  They are also very clannish, and rarely get saved.

But here we are ministering in a Masaai church, to which they have walked for hours to come to.  Some of the Masaai that are here walked almost 30 miles from Tanzania just to hear the Gospel delivered in the power of the Holy Spirit. These are serious people with a serious desire for Truth.

The Maasai are one of the most despised people in Africa.  Because of their uncivilized customs, other tribes look upon them as slightly sub-human, little better than animals.  Their lives are buried in darkness.  Generation upon generation of curses have been heaped upon this people to the extent that they cannot deliver themselves from them.  They cut their bodies, wear bizarre decorations, inflict intense personal pain and mutilations in their initiation rites, and give themselves over to a demonic blood lust and satanic worship.  These are not cute tourist attractions – these are the curses of God.  The demonic hold upon these people is so strong that few Maasai ever become Christians.

Last year, however, the Lord gave me a word of hope for the Maasai people.  Coming out of Isaiah chapter 40 was a promise of hope that their curses had been broken as they sought God through His Word.  The Lord was very specific – they must seek Him through His Word.  Well, guess what?  If you try and find some Bibles in the Maasai language, even in Kenya, they cannot be found.  Backordered for months.  Nice trick.  Reminds me of Balaam.  If the devil can cut them off from Bibles, he can cut off the deliverance.  But God always makes a way, even in the storm, and we have seen the beginning flickerings of a move of God amongst the Maasai.

This year, the Lord gave me a word concerning the drought.  It hasn’t rained in their area for 3 years, and you can imagine how dry it is.  The morning I was about to leave, the Lord revealed to me that the physical conditions of the drought only reflected their spiritual drought.  They are so dry that they are languishing spiritually and slowly dying, hoping for something from God to deliver them.

Three years is the same amount of time that Elijah had called for a drought upon Israel.  Now was time to build the altar, stack the wood, and place the sacrifice upon the altar.  But before the fire of God was ever going to fall from Heaven, the sacrifice had to be drenched with water.

Water is a picture of the cleansing power of the Word, not only in Ephesians 5:26, but in several other places.  The most notable one is the Laver of Brass in the Tabernacle.  Before going in to minister, the priests had to wash in that laver of brass or they would die on the way in.  The brass for the laver was made from the lookinglasses of the women (Exodus 38:8).  In other words, you would look into the Word of God and see a reflection of your heart and wash with the water of the Word before going into minister unto God.  God is holy, and without holiness, no man shall see the Lord, and it is the Word that cleanses you.

The barrels of water that Elijah poured upon the sacrifice on top of Mt. Carmel were also a picture of the Word of God.  No revival will come without the people drenched in the Word of God.  Prayer, deep prevailing prayer, will not come without it.  Repentance and broken hearts will not come without it.  Desire for holiness and a love of God will not come without it.  A burden for lost souls, the driving engine for revival, will not come without it.  The fire of God will not fall unless the sacrifice is drenched with the Word of God.

This lines up with the word that I had gotten the year before that the curses would be broken as they sought Him “…through His Word.”

If that applies to the Maasai, does it not also apply to us?  And yet we snack on a few verses here and there, follow some lame excuse to read the Bible in a year, lean upon the pastor to tell us what the Word says, and spend all our time and money on stupid Christian self-help books.  And we expect God to pour out a revival upon us?  You have got to be kidding!

When we begin to cry out to God like Rachael, “Give me souls lest I die!”, when we break upon that cornerstone and seek Him with all our strength and yield to the brokenness of the Cross, when we are so desperate for revival that we are willing to die, then perhaps God will hear.

Until then, we are just a tinkling cymbal.

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Revival is coming to Kenya.  It isn’t just something that’s in the air; it’s in their hearts.

I listened to a lady from the U.S. as she told me how great the praise and worship services were in Kenya.  It’s not the praise and worship that gets me excited — it’s the altar calls.

In church after church, I have presented a message of revival that begins with an acknowledgement that they don’t have a revival right now.  It’s not about how exciting your singing is, how loving your church is, or what a great preacher your pastor is.  It’s about how many souls are getting saved.

When the church is not winning souls, she bears the shame of a barren woman.  Rachael cried, “Give me children lest I die!”  So should we grab hold of our husband, Jesus, and shake Heaven with, “Give me souls lest I die!”  We have to want it bad enough to die for it, to give our lives for souls.  This is the very definition of Charity … and without Charity, we are nothing but tinkling bells.

Paul wrote that “she shall be saved in childbearing”.  He was not saying that women who have no children are going to Hell.  He was talking about the Church.  If it is through bearing forth souls that the Church is saved, then we are in serious trouble.

Everyone thinks that revival is when the Holy Ghost is pouring out so hard that everyone is swimming in the Spirit and overwhelmed with the power of God.  No, the heartbeat of revival is winning souls, and when we forget that because we are so enamored with how good the outpouring feels, God turns off the faucet.  Slowly the electricity begins to fade away until all we are left with is church — and church can never save us.

The difference between the U.S. and Africa is, when I bring this message in America, I get dismissed.  When I bring it in Africa, they repent.

Maybe that’s why the Spirit of God flows so heavily here.  In service after service, when they com e up for prayer, God takes over and heals every one of them, delivers them from demonic powers, and releases their faith and revitalizes their vision.  There are times when you can actually feel the oil flowing through your fingers as you lay hands on these people.

But in America, they are hardly able to believe this is really happening, never mind drop to their knees for forgiveness so that God can move here as well.

Jonah said it well:  “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

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“I will therefore that men pray every where…”  1 Timothy 2:8

It has been said that preaching moves men, but prayer moves God.  If that is the case, then it seems to me that we should do a lot more praying than preaching and a lot more time on our knees listening to God than sitting on our butts reading books.  Why is it that prayer seems to be the most neglected of all Christian duties?

The secret art of prayer intercession has become rare because it taxes the depths of your soul to contend before the Throne of God for hours in an all-out struggle to wage war. Few Christians care that much to pray that much. It is much easier to fellowship with other Christians than to lock oneself in that solitary closet for hours in travail with God.  That secret place of the Most High is not for the light and easy Christian who is content with Sunday services and professes a relatively clean life, but shrinks from crossing over to a crucified, broken walk of sacrifice.  They nibble at the Word of God and sip at the fountain of prayer, so they never receive the strength to break through to a deeper level in God.  They “have a little talk with Jesus” but never grapple with contending prayer.  Is it a small wonder that we have more faith in our carnal efforts than in a supernatural answer to prayer?

The prayer room is the battleground of Eternity.  It is there that all battles are fought and won … or lost through the weakness of flesh. This is where we serve the Lord. Before anything can be accomplished on the streets, in the pulpit, or in any human endeavor, the victory must first be established in prayer.  Anything short of that would be stealing the glory from God, because if we accomplish it, then we can take the credit, but prayer – deep prevailing prayer – hands the victory over to God.  Attempting to serve God without being saturated with prayer until we have the victory in hand leads to spiritual pride and a holiness of the flesh.  We think we are doing great things by serving the Lord in the flesh, but all we are accomplishing is bolstering our own self-righteousness.

There are two things this generation seems to have lost.  One is the ability to pray something all the way through until we receive an answer from God — not a wisp of our imagination, but a real supernatural breakthrough.  Instead, we have convinced ourselves that we can make do with a time limit for our requests.  As a result, we resort to wishful thinking instead of faith to guide our Christian lives.

The other thing we seem to have forgotten is the ability to pray like a warrior.  I hear people proudly mention their “quiet time” with God each morning. I believe them.  Nobody’s talking, and nobody’s answering. Is this how Elijah stopped the rain? Could it be that this is the reason our generation has no miracles, not outpouring in our services, no supernatural moves of God, and no souls at the altar getting saved?

Maybe God isn’t answering us because He can’t hear us.

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Services in Mwala

It’s Day One of my 7th trip to Kenya.

Just as each person you meet has a different personality, so does each trip I make here.  Unlike other trips to Africa, I have not had a lot of excitement or drive this time.  I actually wondered if I was going flat like a Coke that has been left out too long – still tastes like Coke, but have I lost my fizz?  Would I be an effective witness to the churches that I would visit?  Would the Lord be with me as in times past when the power of the Holy Ghost would crash down from Heaven?  Was anything going to happen that was truly supernatural, or would this just be a nice little trip to go talk about Jesus?

These are vital questions.  If you are not ministering under the anointing of the Spirit of God, then what is the point?  Your good works and fine efforts are great, but they won’t spark a true revival – at least not one that will have any real substance.  If God is not going before you to prepare the way, if He is not pouring out His anointing on the people to prepare their hearts to receive His Word, if He is not speaking through your mouth, then all your fine intentions will be fruitless.  Either God is doing the work, or you are – pick one.

Personally, I want to be at a place of faith that waits upon God to move, a place of brokenness that can yield to His slightest leading, and a point of death that does not care about anything else.  What’s that scripture, if the lord does not build the house, they labor in vain that build it?  I want my ministry built through the Spirit of God, not my own efforts.

My first services were yesterday at a church far out in the country.  It was as dry as could be – both spiritually and physically.  It had not rained there for so long that no crops were being harvested, all the rivers had dried up, and the dust on the road was like talcum powder.  It was dry.

The church was just as dry.  They were all believers, and they really wanted something special from God, but they just didn’t have any life in them to reach up and get it.  The witchcraft in the area, on the other hand, was alive and doing well, and the spiritual darkness was draining the vibrancy from the church.  They really needed a breakthrough from God.

As I was about to get up to deliver the 2nd message of the day, I could sense that cloud of darkness over the land.  It was like a cloudy, grey day with none of the bright sunshine that makes a clear and joyous day in the Lord.  When I started to read from the Scriptures, I noticed no one had any Bibles … and then I knew why they were so dry and helpless to combat the darkness.  They needed the Bread of Life to strengthen them, but all they had was the preacher’s words and a blind faith in God.

You need more than a great need to see a move of God.  It’s not need that God responds to – it’s faith.  If it was need that God responded to, there would be no widows, no poor, no sick, and no need.  God responds to faith, and without the Word of God to feed your faith, you will find little traction to get to the Throne of God.  These people needed Bibles badly.

If the Word of God is our sword, then they had no weapon to fight the enemy with.  If the Word of God is the Bread of Life, they were weak from starvation.  If the Word of God is the Light, they were stumbling around in a spiritual twilight.  If the Bible is the way of Life, they were wandering around searching for the path.  The sad thing is that they had no idea how bad their condition is, because the farther away from the Light you get, the less you are able to see.  They probably could have found some money somewhere to buy a Bible if they really wanted to – they just didn’t understand how badly they needed it.

In contrast, the service we had at the church I went to the next day was exciting.  The Spirit of the Lord was flowing so much during the 1st service that everyone couldn’t wait to start the 2nd service.  We’re talking on-your-feet-, hands-in-the-air, shouting-and-praising-God, life-changing, church-altering, Holy Ghost and Fire!  At the close of the last service, the pastor stood up and said that this church would never be the same ever again.

Yeah, it was that good.

What was the difference?  I have to believe that it had to do with how much they read the Word of God.  As we read the Bible, we not only feed ourselves the Bread of Life and strengthen our spiritual health, but we also rip off layer after layer of carnality, and we begin to see more clearly in the spiritual.  We can see how thin the veil of flesh is, how close to Eternity we are, and how dead the things of this world are.  Light and glory and power shine from the other side of that veil, and we can see it more and more clearly as we look through the lens of the Word of God.

As we dive deeper into His Word, the gap between these two realities becomes wider and wider, and the stark difference between them becomes more clear.  We begin to see the outlines of a place called Beulah Land, and our hearts yearn for that home beyond the sky.  We feel more and more like pilgrims going through a land in which we are a stranger, waiting for that day when our Savior finally calls us home.

But when we forsake our reading and prayer, we lose our power in God.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalms 37:4

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Humility is not something that can be earned, learned, or absorbed.  You have to be broken to obtain it.

I’ve listened to many who try to wear some ill-fitting garments of humility, but they just don’t seem to fit right on them.  Oh, they sound like they are so humble, but it almost comes across like an excuse rather than something real.  While they deprecate themselves to others, it sounds more like an attachment to cover up something that is trying to stick up through their clothing.   The garment of humility is made from the same cloth as the mantle of authority in God.

    Fake humility, on the other hand, has to refuse the mantle of true authority because it is not the same garment that they are trying to fit into.  If one professes to be “oh so humble”, where will he get the holy boldness to stand up to take power and dominion over the works of darkness?  They don’t fit together.

    Pride, whether it manifests itself in arrogance or in a fake humility, is a result of measuring oneself up against those around you.  When Saul was little in his own eyes, he hid in “the stuff” because he was afraid to become king.  Two years later, he disdained the commandments of the Lord’s prophet to offer his own sacrifice to God.

    Humility, however, does not measure itself against others, but against the Almighty God.  With David, it was never about himself – it was always about God.  That enabled him to slay Goliath in his youth and rule as king in his old age.

    When God calls a servant to manifest His power, there is a cycle that he must go through.  When the first miracles begin to flow through a person, it feels like the coolest thing that has ever happened to you.  You are so excited that you can’t wait to tell others of the wonderful works of God.  As you go on, however, a little voice starts to whisper in your ear which suggests that, yes, God did this miracle, but He chose you to do it.  Sure, God could have chosen anyone, but hey, He chose you.  That must mean you’re just a little bit special, doesn’t it?  And then it stops — What happened? — and the soul-searching begins.

    When you allow God to sand you back down to bare metal and let you see your own foolish pride, you make it possible for Him to take you to the next level.  And so goes the building process: paint a layer, sand it down, paint a layer, sand it down.  There is no one so holy and great that does not have to go through this process.  You must be broken to go to the next level, because God will not share His glory with anyone.

    Only after you have been broken so many times that your ego has been completely burned out of you, and your soul has surrendered and yielded to total subjection, can you ever be allowed to walk in real power.  It is in the luster of that many-layered finish that true humility begins to shine with a light that does not come from you, but is reflected from the glory of God.

    It is at this point that warriors are brought forth shouldering the mantle of God’s anointing and His authority – a mantle, not resplendent with glory of shining armor, but with the dull luster of sackcloth and ashes.

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    What the Hell?

    What is the deal with Hell?  Is it really there or not?  And if it is there, is it really as bad as we have been led to believe?  And (here’s the real question) if it is as bad as they say, why are we not more terrified?

    I came to Christ as a non-believer – I didn’t believe in God, didn’t believe in Jesus, I didn’t believe in Heaven, and I sure didn’t believe in Hell.  And I didn’t want to, either.  But when I got saved and felt the Spirit of God transform my soul, I accepted the whole deal.  I didn’t need to see it; it was part of the whole package.

    But the rational, analytical part of me has always looked curiously at the whole idea of Heaven and Hell.  It just doesn’t make sense.  While I accept it wholeheartedly, it sure would be nice if I could get a glimpse (just to make sure).  Now, I’ve listened to some people who have seen either Heaven or Hell, and when listening to them tell the vision, I can see in their intensity and depth that they really did see these things.  But I’d just like to see if for myself.

    But that’s not how it works, does it?  God doesn’t offer us great embellishments in vivid details about these two places.  If God was a real estate agent for a vacation resort in Heaven, He’d probably go broke.  But instead of focusing on the destination, God is more concerned with the journey. 

    Sure, everybody wants to go to Heaven, so we focus on that, all the while convincing ourselves that we’re going there someday.  I’ve even heard that dogs go to Heaven. 

    How?  Well, that really doesn’t matter as much to us as the self-assurance that we will most certainly go there.  All our friends will be there.  You never hear someone proclaim at a funeral that their deceased friend is most assuredly burning in Hell right now.  No, we all believe we are going to Heaven merely because we have focused on the destination and have dismissed what it takes to get there.  The stark reality of Hell has become a faded concept, not to be mentioned in polite society … especially church.  Just believe in God, relax, sing a few songs about Jesus, and voila, your ticket is stamped!

    Perhaps if we put the whole idea behind us, maybe the stark reality of Hell would just go away.  We can worry about it later.  In the meantime, we all have our lives before us, and that looms more in our consciousness than some ethereal specter of a place of torment that we really haven’t seen with our eyes or measured with our scientific instruments.  Preachers that attempt to burst our rosy bubble with a message about Hell are derided as hateful and critical, and who do not understand the love of God, but instead, try to force us into an ascetic lifestyle by using fear tactics.  Shame on them!

    Now, I’m not sure what preachers they are referring to, because in 40 years of ministry, I haven’t found very many of them.  Where are all these hellfire and brimstone preachers that they are talking about?  Or is this just an excuse we use to dismiss what we do not want to face?

    I have learned that people will believe what they want to believe in spite of the facts.  As an old friend once said, “People will follow their hearts.”  How true.  A Gospel message of the “Good Ship Lollipop” is much more appealing than the stark realities of Eternal Judgment, and with a quick sweep to push those realities behind us, sin appears less sinful and holiness less compulsory.

    And yet, Hell is the most prevalent reality there is – much more so than anything else.  Why?  Because most people are going to end up there.  Our preachers don’t have the guts to warn us about it, so we remain blissfully naive. Certainly, if God dug a hole just outside our city limits where we could see all the way down to the pits of Hell, there would be many of us standing on the edge of that chasm with a much different perspective on life. But He has not.  He has left it up to us to choose – not the destination, but the path.

    But what if? 

    If Heaven is supposed to be so much better than we can imagine, what if Hell is far worse than what we can fear? 

    What if it really is there, and the countless souls who ignored it are now screaming in agony down there right now? 

    What if God really meant exactly what He said? 

    What if He has used our vanities as the filter to separate the wheat from the chaff? 

    What if our choice of destination isn’t what determines our fate, but our choice of the path that leads there?

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.          Matthew 7:13,14

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