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Archive for the ‘Salvation’ Category

You know what the difference is between Fairy Tales and Heaven?  The Fairy Tales happened once upon a time.  Heaven is yet to come…at least for some of us.

In Fairy Tales, all your dreams come true.  You might have to kiss a toad, or take care of evil stepsisters while you play with little mice, but somewhere, sometime, somehow, your Prince will always come.  Heaven is not quite the same thing.  While we all would love the idea of living in a fairy tale existence where everything will be wonderful, reality paints a different picture — not everything works out according to Walt Disney’s script.  Life can be tough and you don’t always get to live in a castle, but there is a promise that there really is a place called Heaven.  There’s only one problem:  not everybody is going there.  The Prince is coming all right, but He’s not taking everybody with Him.

In Fairy Tales, the most wonderful magical things happen for free.  Make a wish, and Poof!, in pops your Fairy Godmother.  Sprinkle a little dust, wave a wand, say a few magic words, and presto, you are a princess. Heaven, however, requires a price that must be paid to enter in.  It is reserved only for those who have labored to enter into that place of rest, who have repented of their sins and asked Jesus Christ to save their souls, and who have then gone on to serve the Lord.  Not everybody wants to do all that.

One other thing. Fairy Tales are just that – nice stories that sound good. Heaven is real and it is good.  Unfortunately, Hell is real also, and it isn’t good.  Don’t get Fairy Tales and Heaven mixed up.  We aren’t going to get carried away to Heaven just by wishful thinking, it isn’t going to happen just because we believe in magic, and it sure isn’t going to happen for us unless we prepare for it.   If we don’t get right with God, it won’t be the wicked witch that does us in; it will be the Devil that sinks his claws in us and drags us down to Hell.

Don’t live your life in a fairy tale.  If you want to walk on streets of gold someday, you have to travel the path of a Christian.  That may not be as easy as making a wish, but it is the only way to make your dreams come true.

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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 Inner Side of the Veil

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19,20 ESV

The King James calls it “that within the veil”. The New King James calls it “the Presence”. Holman calls it “the inner sanctuary”. The literal Greek is esothen meaning “the inner side” of the veil. What is the writer of Hebrews (let’s assume for clarity that the writer is Paul) referring to?

Chapter 6 of Hebrews is a mysterious chapter. By that, I mean that the message is not immediately obvious. What seem to be five different and separate messages is actually one message that is not stated but woven into them all. I am reminded that, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2) It is left to us to search it out.

The chapter opens with an admonition about going on to “perfection” or a higher level in our spiritual walk instead of being bogged down with basic essentials, of which he names six. But, Paul warns, don’t start seeking some deeper of more “spiritual” level unless God permits!

Why is that? What is the problem with seeking more knowledge or deeper spiritual understanding? Doesn’t Proverbs plainly tell us to do that with everything we have? And such a warning! Why?

Because, Paul warns, it is impossible, once you have crossed over the line, to come back again. I know this is anathema to who believe in Eternal Security, but it clearly describes five unmistakable marks of true salvation: enlightenment, sampling the heavenly gift, partaking of the Holy Spirit, tasting the Word of God, and tasting the powers of the age to come. And it clearly warns that if they fall away that there is a point where they cannot repent again.

In other words, be careful before you wander off into theological scholasticism or modern Christianity’s bent on deeper “spirituality”. You can wander off into dangerous theories, arguments, doctrines, and translucent ideas that will take you away from the basics of the Gospel. Jesus said to be concerned with the “weightier matters of the law”, judgment, mercy, and faith. (Mathew 23:23) It is the foolishness of preaching that God uses to save souls (1 Cor. 1:21), not the wisdom of man, as he further admonishes in that chapter.

In other words, stick to the basics; you can’t go wrong with the basics. The Bibles tells us that, “he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30), not those with carnal intelligence, because “to be carnally minded is death” (Romans 8:6)

And then Paul turns to encourage the reader that God is not unjust to forget our works and mercies that we have done. He fortifies it with a reference to God’s promise to Abraham, which is confirmed by God’s own oath so that we would have a strong consolation to have hope in God.

That hope is not found in the pursuit of knowledge and theological strivings or of any other paths that lead around and away from the Cross. It is embedded on the inside of that veil. Not on the side of the veil that the priesthood could see and touch, but on the other side, the side that is inhabited and immersed in the Holy Spirit of God.

You see, that place of assurance cannot be reached through carnal efforts, no matter how well intentioned they are. Our works and efforts are all good things, but they won’t bring you into the Presence of God. You can’t touch the inner side of the veil by sticking your finger through the outer side.

You approach God through faith. That is what gives you hope. And hope is the anchor of the soul, hooked into the inside surface of that holy fabric which was torn open on the Cross so that we could pass through into His Presence.

 

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

What a moment!  What an incredible moment!

Here this guy had been blind all his life, and Jesus had passed by and had changed his entire life in one moment.

Now, why did this guy let someone just come along and plaster spit and mud on his eyes and tell him to go wash in the Pool of Siloam?  He could have just been some would-be wanna-be who was promising all kinds of stuff that he couldn’t 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 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 out past all reason, past all common sense, past everything that the world would condemn us to, and reaches for that slender thread that tells you that there is something more to this life that what you see around you.  There has to be something more to life than this temporal existence.

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 and all of a sudden, 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 ain’t 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 question.

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.

But 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 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 so strange to you.  It doesn’t follow any set formula that you know about, and you can’t feel that Spirit, but if you have hope, if you just have hope, 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.

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