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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

“He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  John 9:7

What a moment!  What an incredible moment!

Here is this guy who had been blind all his life, and Jesus passes by and changes his entire life in one moment.

Now, why did this blind man let someone just come along out of nowhere, plaster spit and mud on his eyes, and tell him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam?  Jesus could have just been some “would-be wanna-be” who was promising all kinds of stuff that he would not be able to deliver on.  Hadn’t this guy had a tough enough time sitting on the side of road all his life begging for scraps to survive on without being mocked on top of it?  He might have just blown off this Jesus, but he didn’t.

He had hope.

Hope is something that reaches past all reason, past all common sense, past everything that the world would condemn us to, and grasps for that slender thread that says that there is something more to this life that what you see around you.  There has to be something more than this temporal existence that gives meaning to the essence of life.

You hope because you can feel it in your soul.

And then there’s that incredible moment when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior – you wash the spit and mud off your eyes and all of a sudden, you can see! You can see! This man didn’t just come back … he came back seeing!

All the colors!  All the things that were just sounds before!  People’s faces!  Rocks and trees!  Oh, and look at the sky!  He didn’t just come back – he came back seeing!

The neighbors stood looking in amazement.  Was this the same guy?  Some said yes, but others said, “I don’t know.  He looks like him, but he’s not the same beggar we used to know.  Something has changed about him!”

They didn’t get it, did they?  Nobody seemed to understand.  Even his parents were taken aback.  They were so afraid of getting kicked out of the church that they sidestepped the whole issue.

But he didn’t care.  He was saved!  He could see!  He was alive for the very first time!  Really alive!  If others didn’t understand, it was only because they hadn’t tried.

Those who should have known couldn’t see what he saw. They couldn’t feel what he felt, and since he didn’t go to church, then they figured it must not be of God.

Why, herein is a marvelous thing that they couldn’t figure it out with all their theological expertise, and yet he had been touched by the power of God.  But he didn’t have to figure it out – he could see! — And that’s all he needed to know.

If you have never experienced that incredible moment of Salvation, it may look strange to you.  It doesn’t follow any set formula that you know about, and you can’t see the invisible Spirit of God, but if you have hope, if you just have hope, then reach out anyway.

And when you do, you will touch the face of God, and you will see like you’ve never seen before.  The Spirit of Life will raise you up from death; it will open your eyes,

… and you will come seeing.

 

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org 

 

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 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

Remember the woman of Canaan in Matthew 15 who cried to Jesus to heal her daughter?  She cried and cried unto him until the disciples begged Him to send her away.  His answer was that He was not sent to the Gentiles, and her desperate answer was that the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.  That got His attention, and He proclaimed how great her faith was.

Another story:  A brother I know, while traveling on an airplane, was subjected to one of the other passengers continually taking the Lord’s name in vain.  When he had finally had enough, he approached the man and said, “Praise the Lord!  I am so glad to hear that you’re saved!”  To which the puzzled man replied that he wasn’t a Christian at all.  The brother responded with, “Oh, but yes.  The Bible says that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  And you’ve been calling on His name this whole flight!”

It’s so easy to say that we’re a Christian and our spiritual life is covered.  Everything is going just fine.  We have some kind of a measure of faith in God, and, as long as we maintain that status quo, life is good.  We are saturated with messages of prosperity, peace, and good things to those who profess Jesus Christ.  But what happens when the sky blackens, the storms come, and your tranquil life is blown away?  How do you come to grips with the adversity that life sometimes hands us?  Does your faith still apply?  Did God just dump you?  What happened to all the messages you heard that told you that all you had to do was call, and He would answer with a snap of His fingers?

Life is good, but there comes a time when we are brought to the reality of the fact that we are still just flesh.  You cry out, but there’s no answer.  You cry out some more, but nothing but stillness.  Where’s God?  And why doesn’t He jump to our plight?  What’s going on?

As easy as it is to proclaim the goodness of God when all is well, we have a tendency to forget that this life is not reality, and that God is not something to store away in a box until Sunday. Sometimes prayer is easy.  But there are those times when you absolutely have to have an answer from God.  One fellow told me that if God answered our prayers right away, then we wouldn’t realize how much we need Him. We can send up token prayers and tell ourselves that we’ve done what the Bible says to do.  There is a depth of soul, however, that He wants to bring us into where our spirits are broken and our bones are dried out.  A place where we finally give up and surrender to Him.  It’s a place of desperate, broken prayer.

There is a point when a desperate heart will reach beyond everything seen, push through the crowd like the woman with the issue of blood, and grasp hold of the hem His garment for a miracle.  That’s the point that He was trying to get you to all along.

That’s when faith takes hold, and great and mighty moves of God are birthed.

 

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org

 

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“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly …” (Jonah 2:1)

I imagine it was a bright sunny day – blue skies, birds singing, gentle breeze blowing in from the sea. It must have been a beautiful day. At least it was for Jonah. After three days of hell, he had finally been delivered out of the belly of that whale.  He might have been slimy and acid-eaten, but he was standing on dry ground … alive!  Yes, it must have been a beautiful day.

But this ordeal wasn’t about Jonah. The survival of 120,000 people was depending on this. I’m not sure if Jonah did not want God to deliver the Assyrians, or if he was just plain scared to walk into the midst of this fierce, merciless people and tell them they were going to hell. The point is, he didn’t want to go.

But God did.

Acts of mercy that we perform are generated, not from our own wells of charity, but from the heart of God. He just allows us to participate. And it is prayer that unlocks the door to that mercy.

It may be hard for us to believe that our little tiny prayers could move continents and drop mountains into the sea, but are we limiting God or ourselves?  James 5:16 says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Much – as in, a lot, because prayer unties the hands of God so that our works of faith become His works of action. True, there are conditions that God requires for effective prayer, but there are no limitations. If you can imagine it, God can do it.

Prayer is an act of mercy.  Mercy, even unintended, is still mercy. We may be praying for something entirely different – Jonah was certainly not praying for the Ninevites – but the effects of prayer, like the random twists and turns of a stream on its way to the sea, can often take circuitous routes to reach God’s intended purpose. We are just required to pray. And prayer moves God. And it may not be in the way you intended.

The works of faith can move mountains. They may not be the mountains you were concerned about, but sometimes God puts you into a situation where you have to pray your heart out, often for your own deliverance, just so He can work through your prayers to bring about unintended consequences and move in ways that you could not have imagined.

Including saving 120,000 people who you never intended to save.

 

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“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly …” (Jonah 2:1)

I imagine it was a bright sunny day – blue skies, birds singing, gentle breeze blowing in from the sea. It must have been a beautiful day. At least it was for Jonah.  He might have been slimy and acid-eaten, but at least it wasn’t raining because the whale had spit him out onto dry land. That whale had beached itself just so Jonah wouldn’t get his feet wet. Yeah, it must have been a beautiful day.

The survival of 120,000 people was depending on it. I’m not sure if Jonah actually knew that God would deliver the Assyrians and did not want them to be delivered or if he was just plain scared to death to walk into the midst of this fierce, merciless people and tell them they were going to hell. The point is, he didn’t want to go.

But God did.

Acts of mercy that we perform are generated, not from our own wells of charity, but from the heart of God. He just allows us to participate.

And most often it is prayer that unlocks the door to that mercy. We may be praying for something entirely different – Jonah was certainly not praying for the Ninevites – but the effects of prayer, like the random twists and turns that a stream takes on its way to the sea, can often take circuitous routes to reach God’s intended consequence. We are just required to pray. And prayer moves God.

We may scoff that our little tiny prayers could move continents and drop mountains into the sea, but are we limiting God or ourselves?  James 5:16 says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. While there are conditions for prayer to be effective, there are no limitations.

Everything in your Christian walk distills down into two things: reading and prayer. The Word of God gives us the power to pray, and prayer unties the hands of God to move in ways that we cannot imagine.

Including saving 120,000 people who you never intended to save.

 

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Brother Dale

 

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I love to sit on my porch in the mornings as the sun is coming up and watch the dragonflies bob and weave across the lawn, snatching up gnats like winged Pacman’s. The sun’s rays cut across the morning’s chill and catch their weaving flights like illuminated spots of light. They never seem to run out of gnats to pick up; the swarms are renewed every morning. By noon, however, they are all gone, disappearing under the heavy blanket of Texas heat as the sun asserts its dominance on the day.

In some ways, that reminds me somewhat of the Church. How many times has the exciting times that comes with the emergence of the Son in a time of spiritual refreshing slowly settle into the lethargy that comes with the afternoon’s heat. Like a heavy blanket pressing us into drowsiness, time has a way of reducing us into spiritual slumber.

As our fervor begins to wane, our prayer life becomes conversational, formal, and polite whereas it was once full of outrageous passion and fire.  Services go from fiery calls for repentance and the fear of God to intellectual messages on theology and how we should live our mediocre lives. Altars for repentance, which used to be called “the Mourner’s Bench”, now have become havens for “pity lines” for the sins we never seem to overcome. We are encouraged to be nice to one another by “feel good” ministries whose reputations are bolstered by their best selling book rather than their prophetic effectiveness to call the people of God to repentance. (Jer. 23: 22)

“And my people love to have it so …” (Jer. 5:31)

Jeremiah makes the point that false prophets of peace and safety flourish in times like these. Prosperity is the ensign that our leaders wave in their pursuit of wealth so that they can show how God has “blessed” them (1 Tim. 6:5). We love the comfort of settling into a soft gospel that lulls us to sleep like the heat of a Texas afternoon. We are satisfied; we are comfortable; and we feel blessed.

Several years ago, I pleaded with God for the people in the American church. As I was wrestling in prayer, I cried out, “But God, they are really nice people!”  There was that ominous pause like what you feel before a storm breaks, and then the Lord answered me directly in words, “I will spue the lukewarm out of my mouth … and you think they’re nice?”  Ouch.

We are in desperate need of revival. The problem is that as the Church slides deeper into apostasy, they are less and less able to see it in themselves. There has to come a spiritual earthquake to wake them up. The deeper we fall asleep, the more we need a revival, the greater the calamity that is needed to awaken us.

“Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season:” (Jer. 5:24)

No revival comes without repentance. The harvest will not come without the former and latter rain (Joel 2:23), and they won’t come without our prayer life being gripped with the fear of the Lord to crack our knees in abject, heartfelt repentance. The kind that moves mountains.

Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14 had his earthquake after all Israel had fled because he climbed the mountain that was before him on his knees to engage the enemy and fight. We need to take on his same faith and tenacity to fight for the people of God and climb that mountain which is before us. If we won’t fight, who will?

It’s another hot, sultry dog day afternoon in Texas. The temperature is hitting 100 degrees and the heat smothers you. Tomorrow morning the air will be fresh and cool again and the dragonflies will be back, zooming around like dive bombers playing in the rays of morning sun, but then by noon, that oppressive heat will be back again, draining the life out of the rest of the day.

Lord, we need it to rain.

Brother Dale

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