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Archive for the ‘prophets’ Category

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”   (1st Kings 19:4)

What is it that a real servant of the Lord wants?  What is his heart’s desire before the Lord?  Is it comfort, or fame, or prosperity?  Is it a bigger church, or a more expansive ministry?  What is it that burns down in the depths of his soul as a seed of hope?

In a day and age where we find huge international ministries and mega-churches, have we somehow lost something in the establishment of our churches?  What is it that we are really looking for?

The most obvious answer is that we want to see souls get saved.  And just how do we go about getting that?  Building a bigger church is the usual answer.  But will that really accomplish what we are looking for?  Or is that just the establishment of a bigger church?

Elijah was faced with that very same issue.  All Israel had gone after a carnal religion that probably sounded pretty good to the regular guy.  There were plenty of priests around, the whole kingdom supported it, and it seemed like the thing to do.  But they had long ago left the true worship of God, and no longer recognized the difference.

Elijah was one solitary voice of repentance against a whole nation of Baal worshippers.  No one dared side themselves with him, and yet when he stood against the entire religious order on Mount Carmel, the incredible demonstration of the power of God in the form of fire from Heaven validated his righteousness.  Did all Israel repent?  Not hardly.

And now, here he was in the desert, a hunted man, alone with nowhere else to go.  What else could he have done to bring the people to their knees in heart-felt conviction?  How do you top something like calling down fire from Heaven?

Elijah’s heart cried out for revival, but there was no revival.  Not even in the ministry of Elisha, the one who followed him and inherited his ministry.  Although the testimony of the Lord stood strong, people’s hearts have a way of following their own lusts.

I have learned one thing in the last 33 years of ministry, and that is that people are going to believe what they want to believe – no matter what.  And they will use the Bible to justify it.  No supernatural miracles, no great works, no inspiring messages will bring about a real change when people have decided to follow the yearnings of their own heart’s desires.

Only the Spirit of the Lord can turn a people around to begin to seek His face.  Nothing else will work.

Building bigger churches is oftentimes the result of a very subtle lust for more spiritual power, when all the while the Lord is leading in another direction.  It is so easy to think we are pursuing great things in God when we are actually getting out in front of Him in building our own works.  It all sounds so good on the surface but is that what the Lord is really looking for.

Perhaps, instead of building up huge ministries, we should be heading down on our faces before God.  It takes intense prayer and deep repentance to turn a society around, because only the Spirit of God can change hearts.  And that takes a people whose heart’s desire for revival is stronger than their desire for a bigger church.

Elijah couldn’t do it, even with the mighty work that was accomplished on Mount Carmel.  But he was a man of effectual, fervent prayer, and left in a chariot of fire leaving the work to God.

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I’m sitting here in the cold early morning of the day after Christmas. Everyone is still sleeping; it’s quiet, dark and cold. The sugar plums have all been eaten, so I hope there is something pleasant dancing in their dreams.  But I am here alone and wanted to send out this belated greeting to everyone.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  Christmas is always magical for children and sometimes tiring for us old folks, but it has always been a special time set apart to honor the Savior.  Now, I know that Jesus was not born on Christmas. He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles.  ( In a Stable).  Nevertheless, this is the season we have chosen for Christmas and all its trappings, and regardless of how you feel about celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, I hope it has been good for you.

And I really do hope this New Year will be something momentous in your life.

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I don’t subscribe to the false prophets who run around proclaiming to you that this will be “your year of victory”, or blessings, or prosperity, or deliverance, or whatever nonsense they think will get a rise out of you.  Your year will be what you make it – either in the Lord or in the flesh.  I don’t believe that God is running a lottery for those who do not seek His face.  It is not a matter of luck, misdirected hope, cheap grace, or empty faith.  The Lord will direct and open paths and opportunities to those who seek Him and choose to bury themselves in His Word and in prayer.  You reap what you sow.

On that note, I hope you sow as much as you can this year.  If it is true that we are fast approaching a culmination of things for this old world, then we need to consider a New Year’s resolution that spurs us to do things this year that we have been only thinking about up until now. Whether that means something for your family or breaking the constraining bonds of inaction to go out and do something for the Lord, this year may your best and possibly only chance.  If not now, when? New Year’s resolutions only work when you actually act on them.

Do something different this year, something outrageous, something so far out of the box that it breaks all the restraints that are holding you back.  Do something dangerous!  Do something that requires you to bury yourself in God for your absolute safety and support. Cut everything that is holding you back into the dark folds of mediocrity.

If you don’t step off the ledge, you will never learn how to fly.

 

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[It is difficult to write a short, one-page description of what a true prophet is in contrast to the swarm of false prophets that have infiltrated the Church. Nevertheless, in an attempt for brevity and clarity, I have listed a few characteristics without padding it with too many examples and scriptures. I hope this is easy, clear, and concise.]

1) A true prophet is determined first of all by his message.

It is what he says that sets him apart from false prophets. A true prophet is called to preach against sin and call the people of God to repentance. His voice is always aimed at the false religion that is infiltrated into the true religion.

“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.“(Micah 3:8)

A false prophet, on the other hand, never preaches about repentance (Jer.23:14, 17), but his message is always targeted on the “smooth things” that people want to hear.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”  2 Timothy 4:3

2) A true prophet is also known by his attitude – how he says it.

A true prophet is never part of the crowd and does not care what anyone thinks. He is not like everyone else and cannot “fit in”. He walks to a different rhythm and hears a different melody. In order to deliver the message that God has given him, he cannot be affected in any way by the opinions of others or what the crowd believes is right.  As a result, true prophets rarely care about softening their message to accommodate their listeners. They simply do not care what others think of them.

3) A true prophet has a solitary walk.

He walks alone with God. He hears only God; no one else.  A.W. Tozer wrote, “In order for God to use a man, he has to be separated so that God can speak to him in such a way that the man can hear God. Only the man who can hear God can speak for God.” It is part of his consecrated walk. In order to clearly hear the true voice of God, there must be silence so that he may abide in that “secret place of the Most High”. Elijah had his cave on Mount Horeb, Joseph had his prison, Jacob his 21 years under Laban, and Jesus his 40 days in the wilderness. These are places you can only go through alone, but it is in those valleys that true prophets find the depth of their calling and the deep fellowship with the Cross. It is a filter that false prophets cannot pass.

4) A true prophet is known by his personality and perspective on life.

Prophets are not celebrities. God calls them out of obscurity so that it is the message that gets the attention, not the messenger. Jesus said that no prophet receives honor in their own country. When you find a so-called prophet who is greatly honored and celebrated, and whose books are on the Best Seller list, check on his message. More often than not, the reason everyone likes him is because he is telling them what they want to hear.

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” (1 John 4:5)

5) A true prophet is known by his purpose – what his job is.

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  Ezekiel 22:30

Prophets are called to stand in the gaps of the walls that are broken down to hold back the judgments of God. (Eze. 22:30). Those walls are the defenses surrounding the Church that are supposed to hold back the enemy. When they are broken down through sin, the church is left defenseless against the destruction of Satan.

Prophets are not called to be Gypsies or horoscope fortune tellers. Their job is to stand in the gaps and rebuild the wall so they can bring the people back to righteousness and renew their proper relationship with God.

6) A true prophet cannot be cultivated or taught; he has to be called by God.

A.W.Tozer said, “Only God can prepare a prophet to do the ministry of a prophet. The schools of the prophet never produced an Elijah or an Elisha.” That’s because they weren’t schools. The Hebrew word used in Kings and Chronicles means an organization or group, as in a school of fish, not an educational institution. You can’t teach someone how to be a prophet. A true prophet is called by God. He does not call himself.

7) A true prophet is always aware of the presence of God and must walk a consecrated walk without sin.

Elijah had a sense that God was standing right behind him (“…the Lord God, before whom I stand…”), watching everything he did. He didn’t dare cross the line into worldliness and sin. Because of the intense degree with which God must operate through His prophets, He cannot work through a vessel that is disobedient. Sin separates you from God (Isa.59:2).

8) A true prophet must be crucified.

He must be a man of deep, prevailing prayer and ready to pay a heavy price of a deeply crucified walk, broken and surrendered to everything around him. Paul said he was crucified unto the world and the world was crucified unto him (Gal 6:14). There has to be a complete rejection of the world and everything in the world. (1John 2:15) His whole cognizance must be immersed in the Spirit of God, not in this world. That makes him different – he is not of this world.

9) A true prophet is humble and walks in a deeper fear of God than others.

He understands that he is nothing without God and is able to give God all the glory. He desires nothing for himself. Let others keep their riches. The prophet of God is sustained by God, not man. Neither does he need or seek glory for himself. Just as John the Baptist handed over his ministry to Jesus upon his arrival at Jordan, so a true prophet gives all the glory to God.

10) To get a better understanding and a clearer picture of what a prophet is, read the Prophets.

Listen to their hearts, feel the cries of their hearts when they cry out to a rebellious people. Feel the rejection and loneliness that they are left with. But also feel the strength of righteousness in their voice and the power of authority in their stand against a church that has fallen away from God and is now walking in darkness and do not know at what they stumble. (Prov. 4:19)

The Lord showed me that His Bride is becoming invisible. She has put on garments that are full of golden jewels, pearls, and beautiful costly array. She is beginning to look just like the world and is fading away. God is losing His Bride. We need a true prophet to bring Her back.

Brother Dale,  http://revivalfire.org

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