Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘theology’ 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

Read Full Post »

It was snowing as I left Germany, but it was sultry and hot as I arrived in Lagos. Three days of traveling across who knows how many miles have left me ready to get it over with. But it’s not done. Because of flight delays, I have lost my seat on the plane to Warri, Nigeria. Instead I have to wrangle a ticket re-issue at the Lagos airport. Seems simple, right? Oh, but then you haven’t been to Lagos!

At 5:30 in the morning, the domestic terminal is a madhouse. I was hoping that there wouldn’t be many people here and I would be able to get a new ticket easily and simply, but the opposite is the case.  Immediately on getting out of the cab, I am scooped up by a couple of guys that quickly throw my luggage on a cart and start wheeling me into the terminal. This is normal here. They’re just trying to make a few bucks by carrying your bags.

When I try to beg off, I find out that they are some kind of official Porters that are informing me that their job is to do all the paperwork for me. Just sit down and relax. “Doan warry!” (Whenever I hear that, I start worrying.)

At this point, I am so worn out from what I’d been through the last couple days that I don’t care if they are scamming me or not. Take the money; just get me on the plane. Two hundred bucks later, I have a new ticket, my excess baggage is paid and loaded, and I am actually able to get on the plane.

Except that I can’t go to Warri. The flight is full, so I have to go to Benin, which is a couple hours away from where my first conference meeting is about to start.

What a great start to this trip!  Boy, I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

Despite everything, however, everyone was waiting for me and I just rolled on up to the pulpit soon after we walked in as if nothing was wrong.

Service was great. At least they said so. I’m not sure what I said. The inertia from travelling was still carrying me along and I was operating on automatic pilot. Pastors were excited and vowed to take this message to the streets, while others were saying that they had never heard these things before. Which is kind of surprising to me because it’s just stuff out of the Bible. Don’t they read?

The evening service was even better. I was still pretty tired, but at least I had caught a nap before getting up behind the pulpit again. We are at a church that I was at five years ago when it was only four months old. They keep calling me Papa because they say that I started the fire back then that launched their church.

That’s not the first time I’ve heard something like that. I believe that most of the places I have been to want revival and are willing to do what the Lord requires — they just don’t know what to do. But when they hear it broken down into a step-by-step manner, the light comes on and the belief is planted in them that they can actually do this. They just have to start.

Over the years, we have heard hundreds of reports of how these little churches will catch the fire and grow. Sometimes it’s just doubling or quadrupling the size of the church; sometimes it’s planting new churches; sometimes it is heading off into the bush to bring this message to other churches just like I am doing. It’s as if they have been waiting for someone to come along and tell them what to do and then get out of the way and watch them go.

There’s a hunger here that must be fed. I see that same hunger in every place throughout history wherever revival has broken out. We have planted the idea in their hearts that, yes, they can do this. And while it may not be easy, it is simple. They just need someone to point out the direction.

I don’t know when or how this last Great African Revival will start, but it will start. I believe that we will hit a flash point and it will all rise up together in a might conflagration. We just have to keep sowing the seed of that idea into them.

 

Brother  Dale

Sign up to get our articles

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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)

Read Full Post »

“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

Subscribe!

 

Read Full Post »

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:” (Isaiah 9:6)

It has been said that, if the three wise men at the Nativity had been three wise women, they would have asked directions, arrived on time, cleaned the stable, helped deliver the baby, and given practical gifts.

Of course, had it been one of us men, we would have probably booked a room in the King David Hotel, hired a doctor to be at the bedside, and ordered something for the baby and the mother off Amazon.com.

I reckon so.  But the Lord didn’t do it that way, did He?

Why did God decide to bring forth His Savior through common childbirth?  Why couldn’t He have just stood up in the sky and expose His Glory for all to see, and just tell us what to do?  That would have dissolved all doubts.  That’s how we would have done it, wouldn’t we?

When the Lord does something, He often moves in ways that the carnal mind would never have chosen.  We purchase programs with sets of instructions, plan out campaigns, take surveys, place ads, and pursue anything else that we think will bring about the desired responses.  Too often we end up with something that may look good, but which does not carry the same eternal weight that it would have had if we had allowed God to do it.

God, on the other hand, chooses foolish things to confound the wise.  He calls His prophets out of nowhere, raises up preachers with unpopular messages, and relies on the prayers of people simple enough to believe Him.  To bring about His purposes, He uses yielded vessels to carry out His work, not sophisticated intelligent men.

But if it’s going to work, it has to be God who does it.

Funny how He works in ways we would never have figured, but you know what?  He always gets incredible results.

He chose the most humble of births, and died the most desecrating of deaths so that we would have the opportunity to choose Him and walk in glory.

Unto us a child is born.  But who would have ever thought that He would have chosen a stable for his birth?  But the world has never forgotten it.

And 2,000 years later, wise men still seek Him.

 

Brother Dale

Subscribe to our column

.

Read Full Post »

I would just like to make a point that there some very real differences between Bible translations and that in some cases, these differences are something that we should at least be aware of.

There are different methods of translation as well as different source texts that different translations use. I don’t want to launch off into an intricate discussion of all the different variants, but let’s just say it seems that different perspectives reflect different approaches and attitudes toward God’s holy book.

There is a good example of these discrepancies that is brought up in Gary Zeolla’s book, “Differences Between Bible Versions.”

In 1Corinthians 7:1, Paul writes, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” This is a good example of a verse that can dictate some very different behavior depending on how you look at it. What does Paul mean by, “it is good for a man not to touch a woman?”

Here are the responses from the different translations:

  • ESV: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
  • NIV: “It is good for a man not to marry.”
  • NIV footnote: “It is not to have sexual relations with a woman”
  • NLT (New Living Translation): “Yes, it is good to live a celibate life.”
  • NET (New English Translation): “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
  • God’s Word: “It’s good for men not to marry.”
  • HCSB (Holman Christian Standard): “It is good for a man not to have relations with a woman.”
  • CEV (Contemporary English Version): “You asked, ‘Is it best for people not to marry?’”
  • GNB (Good News): “ A man does well not to marry.
  • LB (Living Bible): “If you do not marry, it is good.”

Which of these is correct? Is Paul talking about sex, cohabitation, or merely holding hands? The actual literal words used is to “not physically touch.” That an unmarried man is “not to have sexual relations with a woman” is most definitely true, but does this only include intercourse? There are a lot of things an unmarried couple can do without “going all the way.” How you interpret this passage can have eternal consequences.

Personally, I believe this verse is Paul’s admonition to couples against becoming so intimate that it lights a sexual fire that will pull them deeper and deeper into sin. But that is not the point – the point is that this is not about interpretation. It is about translation! Anytime you add or detract from the original “God-breathed” words, you run the risk of incurring serious consequences.

In Revelations 22:18-19, God says that if you add to the words of this book, He will add to you the plagues that are written therein. (Have you ever read some of the curses written in Deuteronomy?) If you take away from the words of this book, He will take away your part in the Book of Life. Even worse.

My point is that there is a raging controversy over the validity of Bible translations. It is one thing to learn the facts and the issues that are at stake and make your choice based on what you believe to be the best resolution to the different arguments. It is an entirely different thing to ignore the whole issue because, for one reason or another, you don’t care.

You are what you eat. Choose wisely.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »