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Archive for the ‘repentance’ Category

Well, I am at the halfway point for this mission in Nigeria. One more week and a half of rice and chicken and I will be ready for a Big Mac … or two. Just about the time my body’s time schedule gets adjusted to Nigerian time, I will be back in the U.S. and have to do it all in reverse.

I have nothing supernatural to report today. No miracle healings, huge altar calls, or shattering breakthroughs. Each day another visit to another small church to deliver another message about revival. While I am not the jump-up-and-down excitable showman like some of these guys are here in Africa, I do catch their interest. For me, it’s not about how emotional a response I can get, but if they understand the message or not.

I believe they do, but they are often so easily swayed back to that excitable prosperity, riches-and-blessings-for-free message that so many of these false prophets here will feed them. The corruption in the Church here is beyond anything that I have seen anywhere else. They know intrinsically that it is wrong, but Oh my gosh, it feels so good! It will take a while to turn this ship around.

I think the thing that amazes me the most in this struggle for truth is that so many pastors, bishops and leaders all tell me the same thing – they recognize that what I am saying is the truth, and they have never heard anyone preach it. Huh?

Okay, I get that you recognize the truth of what I am saying because I’m just pulling it out of the Bible. There isn’t any analytical, theological, super-spiritual twist to my messages – just tell them the truth! They’ve read that book before, I’m sure. Maybe not a lot, but they have read it, so they must recognize the passages I’m pulling everything from. And their hearts are bearing witness to this message of righteousness, repentance and responsibility. They know I’m right.

But why have they not heard this before? Is it not a popular message like the ones that promise free riches and blessings?  Is there such a reluctance to tell people the truth that they would rather go along with a “feel good” ministry so that they can continue to get paid? Or has it been so long since old fashioned warriors like T.L. Osborne have preached this message here that they no longer know how to do it? Or is it simply about the stinking money?

I have heard of several instances where local pastors will harangue a host to force him to share the money they insist has been given him by their American guests, even to the point of threatening them with physical violence. I guess I am too big, ugly, and mean-looking for them to threaten me, so they come against my hosts. These are men of God?  The consuming lust of greed has taken such a hold of them that many not only cannot deliver themselves from its grasp, but are no longer able to even see how wicked they have become.

And every Sunday, they lead their congregations deeper into darkness.  So when a message of Light comes along, it is blinding.

It’s not that they haven’t heard it before — they know the truth; they’ve read the Bible; they’ve been told.

They’re just not listening.

“For everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 8:10-11

Brother Dale
RevivalFire.org

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The call to bring revival to a nation is not something that can be accomplished through any strength or wisdom that we possess in ourselves. No matter how badly you want to plunge into the fray and proclaim liberty in the land, the power to bring the presence and power of God that will ignite the Church is not something that can be flippantly learned in Seminary or produced with any carnally designed program. Only God can do that, and only in complete surrender are we able to lend ourselves as crucified vessels that He can work through.  Frank Bartleman, in recounting an encounter he had with the Lord, wrote that the Lord told him after he had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, “If you were only small enough, I could do anything with you.”

Ah, here’s lies the crux, almost a Catch-22 if you would.  How does one maintain, or better put, achieve that place of true humility so that God can use you to do His mighty works?  On the one hand, we strive to get to that place of righteousness to have power in God while at the same time, try to be stay in that broken, crucified walk in God so we can be yielded to His power.  How does one strike that perfect balance?  Sounds simple … or is it?

David had it; Saul did not.  Perhaps that was because, for Saul, it was always about Saul. When he was little in his own eyes, he was found hiding amongst the stuff, but a couple years later, he was such a big shot that he didn’t think he had to wait on God’s prophet.  For David, on the other hand, it was never about David; it was always about God. Because of that, he was able to take on Goliath as a kid, and later as an adult with just a couple other guys, the entire Philistine army.  (2Samuel 23:9)

Any man of God who has had the power of God work through him will immediately be attacked by the enemy. Whether it is miracle healings, dynamic preaching, or supernatural revelation, no sooner does one experience the touch of God’s hand than that little wisp will pass through the back of his mind that, yes it was God’s power, but … ahem … He did choose to use you!  Satan will lightly sneak those thoughts in as subtly as he can. Obviously, if you think about it hard enough, you will recognize the devil’s handiwork, so he keeps as light a touch as he can … and then another … and then another, merging them ever so slightly into the several streams of your thoughts until he can find an anchor somewhere in your heart to attach his lines of vanity and plant his seeds of pride.

The challenge that faces a man of God who desires to be used in a supernatural way, therefore, lies in how to be “meet for the Master’s use” (2 Timothy 2:21) and yet keep his ego and self completely invisible.  God does not bestow His power on just anybody.  He may work through anybody, but He is careful to whom He entrusts His power. We must be careful that our desire to be used by God is not rooted in our own self-image or desire for position in God, but entirely upon the promotion of the kingdom of God.  As I Corinthians 13 tells us, you can all the faith to move mountains, but if you do not have charity, it is worth nothing.

Easily said; not so easily achieved.  Any fool can spout off religious platitudes that boast of unearned righteousness and spirituality, but it is an entirely different matter to fight your way through the spiritual swamp of fleshly ego and pride that you have to negotiate through to arrive at that place where God can use you.

I often hear young Christians naively spout off that they have been called to be a prophet. My first response is to tell them to pray and beg God to change His mind and please choose someone else because you will die a thousand deaths before you enter into that calling.

Ego, pride, and self-awareness must be burned out of you before you are ready to enter into that place of real power.  God will give it to you in pieces – just enough to lift you up so He can break you down again.  Line upon line, one step at a time, until you gradually become empty of self.  Jacob had his Laban, Joseph his prison, and Moses his desert, and you will have your desert place of cauterizing fire to take the “you” out of you so God can fill you up with Himself.  His goal is not to change you, but to kill you.  You are to be purified into transparent glass so that when people look at you, it is not you that they see, but the fire of God that is in you.

And so with the power that works through you, there is a deep innate understanding that it is not you but God who is working through you to do these miracles. You are nothing but dust and ashes; you don’t even own the breath in your body. You are dead in Christ, crucified to the world, numb to pride and arrogance. Any place that Satan could have gotten hold of has been broken away. You have finally surrendered to God.

When you are no longer mindful about yourself or your spiritual place in God – when you just simply do not care anymore – then you are finally “meet for the Master’s use” and ready to wield the power of God so that He, and He alone, will get the glory.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:20-21)

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Mornings are gorgeous out here in Namanga. There’s a cool, refreshing tropical feeling in the air every morning. And each morning, little spider monkeys come out to entertain us for food. Almost like street kids who dance on street corners for change. They will come and take a banana right out of your hand.

But by mid-morning, they are gone. Back up into the mountain that is right behind us. It makes you wonder what other animals are up there. The whole area looks exactly like west Texas – arid scrub brush littered with short hardy trees – but instead of mesquite, these are acacia trees. And instead of Armadillos, they have monkeys; instead of deer, lions.

We had two more services here today. The afternoon service was full, but the evening service was packed again. These people are serious. Both services lasted around 3 hours, but no one wanted to leave. Not even close. They are determined to have what I have promised them is in the Word of God.

The Massai are a very different kind of people. They live secluded lives very close to the land and the animals. Lions fear them and will leave whenever a Massai is near, but the other tribes in Kenya look down on them as almost sub-human and uncivilized. They are almost correct. The Massai are very different, their culture is very dark, and the Massai religion is very demonic. Nevertheless, when they get saved, they get saved hard. Their transformation from darkness to Light is no little thing and they take it much more seriously than most others.

You can tell. These revival meetings have brought people in from the bush because they have seen what this message has done from when I have been here before, and they are desperate to get more.

It’s not the excitement or the fervor that makes me feel a difference here amongst the Massai. It is a very different anointing from God that I feel. It is hard to describe on paper, but it is almost as if God is a co-conspirator with me, secretly whispering in my ear to not worry, He’s got this. He has brought me here to speak to His people. He has the message and the anointing. All I have to do is show up and open my mouth. He will take it from there.

And He does.

What a service! This is just like last night. Something broke open in the heavenlies. I have no idea what, but everyone here can feel it. God has brought them hope. A real vision for God always has to be planted with a hope in your heart before it can ever be established by your faith.

That’s what He has done. He has given them a Light in the darkness.

Brother Dale (dale@revivalfire.org)

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Well, we are two days down, and a whole bunch yet to go. So far so good.

Services both yesterday and today were … um … I’m trying to choose between “electrifying” and “wild”. It depends on which side of the Atlantic you are from.

Richie, the young man who is traveling with me, is looking wild-eyed at what he is seeing. He expected the song service to be lively. He has come from a Pentecostal background, his family being intimately involved in the Brownsville revival, so he knows what it is to have the Spirit of God fall on a service. This was much more than he had ever experienced, but he was at least prepared for it.

To the folks here in Africa, it was simply an anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is Africa, and they know how to praise the Lord here with everything they have. And everything they have, they give to their worship in singing, dancing, and praise. To many of us sedate Americans, it would seem wild, but them it is just God.

But it was the closing prayer that Richie was really not prepared for.

After the message was done, instead of praying with the congregation, I handed it over to Pastor Kibedi. (Actually it is now, Archbishop Kibedi. He has grown immensely in God during the last 12 years that I have known him.)

Kibedi started praying … and praying … and praying. As the intensity grew the passion started to rise and spread throughout the entire church. The closing prayer became 45 minutes of fire. People were praying at the top of their lungs, crying and calling out to God with everything in them.

For them, this was transforming; for Richie this was wild! You just don’t see anything like this in America. Too bad for us.

It would be easy to think that this was just “wild fire” – all emotion and bluster – but after 12 years out here, I have learned that while this might be too much for our polished services in America, this is very real for Africans. They deal with God on a very different level than we do.

As the service ended, several answered the call, crying and weeping for individual repentance, rededication, and healing. Their hearts had been deeply broken and affected. God is their Father and they are so softhearted toward God that they cling desperately to their deep, personal relationship with Him.

This is the stuff that I live for. This is the real Gospel at work. Call it crazy; I call it God.

We have a ways to go. Richie will see this many times before we board the plane for home. It may seem wild to him now, but I have a feeling he will look at it more as the supernatural anointing of the Holy Spirit by the time we are done.

And then, like myself, he will have to figure out how to explain what this is like to the folks back home. Good luck on that one, Richie.

Brother Dale

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“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” Acts 19:13

It always sounds so easy. Just say the words, clap your hands twice, click your heels, and kazaam!

I am so tired of hearing that all we have to do is speak positive words and it will bring life or blessings or healing or whatever we are trying so desperately to believe. But that isn’t faith talking; that’s presumption. Motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar may sound inspiring and fill you with neat sayings that make you feel good, but that doesn’t make them prophets of God. The power of positive thinking does not equate to the power of the blood of Jesus.

Those sons of Sceva in the above chapter of Acts saw all the miracles that Paul did and naturally figured that if they did the same things and said the words that they would get the same results. Except they were missing the one thing that made all the difference – the power that only comes through a crucified walk before God in deep, broken subjection to the Spirit of God. Everyone wants to be a prophet, but no one wants to pay the price.

Instead we grasp for shortcuts in our lives. We hypothesize. Just say the words, and it will come to pass. “This will be your year of blessings and prosperity …” Oh, wait a minute. Didn’t we hear that last year? And the year before?

Or how about this? “Call those things which be not as though they were …” And so we run around speaking things into the air to make them happen. But that’s not faith either; that is sorcery. You go to Hogsworth to learn that.

Faith has to be built (Jude 1:20); it is not wished into being. And there is a price for it, just as there is a price for everything in God. Anything other than that is just wishful thinking and will not produce lasting and full results. Every great man or woman of God had their 40 years in the backside of a desert before they were ever brought forth by God to exercise His power.

Ah, but that’s not what we want to hear, is it? We want everything to be quick ‘n’ easy in our microwave society. Snap your fingers and be healed!

And the demon taunted back to the sons of Sceva, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

He knew who Paul was. I’m sure Paul was famous in hell. Why? Because Paul, unlike Sceva’s lightweight sons, had paid the price in blood, tears, and prayer. He had stormed the gates of hell armed with a faith that had been built one block at a time, and he had declared victory in the blood of Jesus Christ over everything Satan had thrown at him. Oh yes, that demon knew who Paul was … and he feared.

But empty words of presumption based on a theological faith without any suffering, blood, or effort will not turn back the tides of darkness. Faith is built one precept at a time, and power in God is brought forth out of the crucified depths of prayer. There is a price for power in God, and it is not cheap or easy.

That is why we see so many false prophets running around the church today, like Pied Pipers declaring all the things that our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). Our church world has become little more than a revolving social circuit of entertaining speakers speaking great swelling words of encouragement to a church that instead is in desperate need of repentance. Instead of bringing us into the fear of the Lord, they are leading us in the power of positive thinking. In doing so, are leading us away from the altar of repentance which is the one place we need to be in order to see revival.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

 

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“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she broke the box, and poured it on his head…” (Mark 14:3)
“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)

Simon the leper was probably the same Simon in Luke chapter seven who was also a Pharisee.  He must have been healed of his leprosy by Jesus otherwise no one would have been allowed to enter his house – hence the party that he threw for Jesus and his disciples. How exciting to be washed clean of that awful disease and to be free again! No longer did he have to suffer the loneliness, pain, and suffering of being leprous. He had been cleansed from his sin.

Into the midst of this party comes a woman who is known throughout the community as a prostitute. She is probably the same woman that Jesus delivered from being stoned by these same Pharisees in John chapter 8. While the disciples surrounding Jesus probably had no idea of what was going on with this woman, the religious attending the party must have been aghast at this her audacious entrance. Without so much as a nod to the host, she breaks an expensive alabaster box and anoints Jesus with a precious ointment. She then washes His feet with her tears and wipes them with the hairs of her head.

The alabaster box that she broke was her heart, and the costly spikenard she anointed Him with was her ointment of praise … and the odor filled the room!

What a different response than Simon’s! One in a celebratory dinner party hadn’t even washed Jesus’ feet; the other in broken-hearted humility of praise washed His feet with tears. There is a difference between thankfulness and praise.

Whenever there is a new beginning, there is an ending of something old. The depth of our reaction to that change sets the pace and intensity of our new beginning.

When we step into a new beginning with Jesus Christ, do we look back at the pit of sin that we were dragged out of with overwhelming thanksgiving and humble ourselves before our Savior in abject praise? Does the odor of your praise fill the room? Are you broken in humility before Him for what God has done for you?  Or do we consider our salvation merely a change in religious status?

Simon was thankful, but Mary was transformed. Simon’s new beginning lasted until dinner was over.  Mary’s will last into eternity.

“Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” (Mark 14:9)

Brother Dale

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