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“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing:
but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”  (Proverbs 25:2)

Everybody has those times when you just don’t know what to do.

It’s easy for someone to just tell us to simply seek the Lord for your answers, but oftentimes that means entering into a very misty arena where there are few clear-cut signposts to show you the way.

You want an answer?  Oh, well praise the Lord! Just pray!  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  But you and I both know it isn’t always that simple.

Sometimes the right answers are elusive and are found hiding behind shadowy rocks and nebulous shapes in a misty landscape.

“He does want me to do the right thing, doesn’t He?  Why doesn’t the Lord make things more obvious?  Can’t He just tell me what I’m supposed to do and leave it at that?  Wouldn’t that make things so much simpler?”

Well, yes and no.

Sometimes He just wants to see how much you really want that answer and how many obstacles you are willing to overcome to get it.  Remember now, it is not to those who try, but to those who overcome that will eat of the Tree of Life.  It really strikes at the heart of our willingness to carry the Cross.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting us to realize how much we need Him.  If everything were easy, there would be no reason to seek His face.  After a while, the price that was paid on the Cross wouldn’t seem as big of a deal anymore.  Why, we could just snap our fingers and God would spring into action!  God loves us, doesn’t He?

Everyone would like a Gospel without a Cross — that’s why there are so many Prosperity preachers out there – but there is no such Gospel.  We are thrust into a war where the combatants are invisible, our choice of paths are often dictated by desires instead of sight, and the ultimate ends for our souls can only be taken by faith.

To negotiate the way before us requires a determination to resist the obvious comforts that our flesh pulls us toward, and reach through to the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, fueled by the hope of righteousness above all things.

That’s tough sometimes.  And that’s why the Lord puts us through those dark valleys that we must go through.

No, I don’t like it either.  But you know what?  Above all things, I want to go to Heaven.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  (Matt. 7:13,14)

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“And his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (Judges 6:11)

What makes the difference between a nominal Christian and an on-fire one? Are they both variations on the same theme or are they on two very different trajectories heading for two very different destinations?

A mountain stream splits when it encounters an obstacle that divides it. One part of the stream goes one way; the other goes the other way. They both will tumble down the mountain for miles, twisting and turning back and forth. They do not run in parallel, but each takes its own unique path as it heads to its final destination. Those destinations can be very different. One can end up in the Atlantic Ocean while the other tumbles down to the Pacific.

Our lives run in much the same way.  When we encounter that fork in the road or the boulder in the stream, we make a choice as to which road we will go down. What is it that determines that decision? Very simply, we choose the path that appeals to us the most.

What happens when that choice is between an easy-going Christian walk with all the amenities of the world or a walk of holiness and hardship in the fear of God? The worldly path is a wide path that offers comfort, prosperity, blessings, and all the good things we would like to pad our lives with. It’s easy, wealthy, and fun. We celebrate Jesus as if we were at a party with balloons and streamers. If that is what appeals to our hearts, then we will follow our hearts.

I can look down the easy path and see many Christians sitting on their pews every Sunday assuming that they are at rest with God. The reality is, however, that while their motors are idling they are stuck in neutral and are not going anywhere. They think this Pollyanna Gospel they adhere to will usher them in past the gates of Judgment while they sail off on the Good Ship Lollipop.

The other path leads to a rough and narrow path. There are no promises of some easy lark as we saunter down the road of Life. Conversely, there are plenty of promises of hardships, suffering, persecution, and a crucified walk that is designed to strip away all the trappings of the easy path. The joy here is not of the flesh or what we find in the world, but a joy that is found deep in the Spirit of God. The flesh here is called to pay a price, and sometimes a very heavy price.

I do not want to walk this entire journey of Life only to find out at the end that I came up just a little short of goal. Jesus said that many would come to him in that day expecting to be ushered into glory but would hear Him say, “I never knew you”. Can there be anything more horrible than that?

What is it that will make us want to choose the hard path over the easy one? What forges our desires for righteousness over apostasy?  2nd Thessalonians 2:10-12 tells us that God would cause those who did not have a love for the truth to believe a lie. He would damn them because they loved unrighteousness.  That’s pretty terse. How do I shear away from being someone who has lost his love for truth and righteousness?  There is no switch that I can turn on; no button to push; no mouse to click. How do I make sure I make the right choices? When I stand at that split in the stream, how do I make sure my heart will choose the beauty of holiness over the appeal of flesh?

Philippians 2:13 says that God will work in us to give us both the will and the power to do His pleasure. In other words, God will put the desire in our hearts to do His will and serve Him. Sounds simple, right? But there is one question: how do I get God to work in me?

Again, the answer is simple, as most things in God are.  If you want God in you, you have to read His Word. But the Word alone is not enough. It must be anointed by the Spirit of God to have life. Paul said the “letter” kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). You must have both, and you must have them in a sufficient depth to make enough of a difference to break up your stony heart and transform it into a soft and open heart that can receive the Spirit of God.

In Judges 6, we see that Gideon saw the apostasy and sin that the church had fallen into and he made a decision to separate himself from them. He threshed his wheat by the winepress in secret. Wheat stands for the Word of God, the Bread of Life. The winepress is the place of prayer. So Gideon did not warm the proverbial church pew like the others. He sought the face of God in that secret place of the Most High (Psalms 91:1) through reading and prayer.

Remember, you get what you pay for. How bad do you want God? That is reflected on how much you give yourself to seeking Him through His Word and serious, prevailing prayer. That is what gave Elijah the power to call down fire. That is what gave Paul the drive to push through the persecution to establish the Gospel with the Gentiles. That is what made the difference for Gideon and is why he was chosen by God to bring in a revival.

So in the final analysis, the choice is not whether you want to go to Heaven or not, or whether you want to be a strong Christian or not. It is the little choices you make everyday on whether or not you will read His Word and pray.  Everything in Christianity – everything – comes down to those two things – read and pray.

Brother Dale

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“And his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (Judges 6:11)

What makes the difference between a nominal Christian and an on-fire one? Are they both variations on the same theme or are they on two very different trajectories heading for two very different destinations?

A mountain stream splits when it encounters an obstacle that divides it. One part of the stream goes one way; the other goes the other way. They both will tumble down the mountain for miles, twisting and turning back and forth. Thtwo streamsey do not run in parallel, but each takes its own unique path as it heads to its final destination. Those destinations can be very different. One can end up in the Atlantic Ocean while the other tumbles down to the Pacific.

Our lives run in much the same way.  When we encounter that fork in the road or the boulder in the stream, we make a choice as to which road we will go down. What is it that determines that decision? Very simply, we choose the path that appeals to us the most.

What happens when that choice is between an easy-going Christian walk with all the amenities of the world or a walk of holiness and hardship in the fear of God? The worldly path is a wide path that offers comfort, prosperity, blessings, and all the good things we would like to pad our lives with. It’s easy, wealthy, and fun. We celebrate Jesus as if we were at a party with balloons and streamers. If that is what appeals to our hearts, then we will follow our hearts.

I can look down the easy path and see many Christians sitting on their pews every Sunday assuming that they are at rest with God. The reality is, however, that while their motors are idling they are stuck in neutral and are not going anywhere. They think this Pollyanna Gospel they adhere to will usher them in past the gates of Judgment while they sail off on the Good Ship Lollipop.

The other path leads to a rough and narrow path. There are no promises of some easy lark as we saunter down the road of Life. Conversely, there are plenty of promises of hardships, suffering, persecution, and a crucified walk that is designed to strip away all the trappings of the easy path. The joy here is not of the flesh or what we find in the world, but a joy that is found deep in the Spirit of God. The flesh here is called to pay a price, and sometimes a very heavy price.

I do not want to walk this entire journey of Life only to find out at the end that I came up just a little short of goal. Jesus said that many would come to him in that day expecting to be ushered into glory but would hear Him say, “I never knew you”. Can there be anything more horrible than that?

What is it that will make us want to choose the hard path over the easy one? What forges our desires for righteousness over apostasy?  2nd Thessalonians 2:10-12 tells us that God would cause those who did not have a love for the truth to believe a lie. He would damn them because they loved unrighteousness.  That’s pretty terse. How do I shear away from being someone who has lost his love for truth and righteousness?  There is no switch that I can turn on; no button to push; no mouse to click. How do I make sure I make the right choices? When I stand at that split in the stream, how do I make sure my heart will choose the beauty of holiness over the appeal of flesh?

Philippians 2:13 says that God will work in us to give us both the will and the power to do His pleasure. In other words, God will put the desire in our hearts to do His will and serve Him. Sounds simple, right? But there is one question: how do I get God to work in me?

Again, the answer is simple, as most things in God are.  If you want God in you, you have to read His Word. But the Word alone is not enough. It must be anointed by the Spirit of God to have life. Paul said the “letter” kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6). You must have both, and you must have them in a sufficient depth to make enough of a difference to break up your stony heart and transform it into a soft and open heart that can receive the Spirit of God.

In Judges 6, we see that Gideon saw the apostasy and sin that the church had fallen into and he made a decision to separate himself from them. He threshed his wheat by the winepress in secret. Wheat stands for the Word of God, the Bread of Life. The winepress is the place of prayer. So Gideon did not warm the proverbial church pew like the others. He sought the face of God in that secret place of the Most High (Psalms 91:1) through reading and prayer.

Remember, you get what you pay for. How bad do you want God? That is reflected on how much you give yourself to seeking Him through His Word and serious, prevailing prayer. That is what gave Elijah the power to call down fire. That is what gave Paul the drive to push through the persecution to establish the Gospel with the Gentiles. That is what made the difference for Gideon and is why he was chosen by God to bring in a revival.

So in the final analysis, the choice is not whether you want to go to Heaven or not, or whether you want to be a strong Christian or not. It is the little choices you make everyday on whether or not you will read His Word and pray.  Everything in Christianity – everything – comes down to those two things – read and pray.

Brother Dale

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Conspiracy

Image result for conspiracy

There are more views of world history than the average guy can keep up with.  It seems like everyone has a different perspective. Alongside traditional historical viewpoints, is the conspiracy theory of world history. This viewpoint, in essence, states that there is a long-running plan devised by a power elite to bring the entire world into the unified submission of a feudal type of society.  The power elite, of course, will be the Lords, Captains, and Kings.  This fascinating topic has been the subject of numerous books, political groups, talk-show radio, and uncounted grass-roots organizations.

Unfortunately, there is a certain amount of disagreement on the particulars of how, why, and when the world will succumb to this New World Order.  After a while, you hear so many different takes on the subject that the average American doesn’t know what to believe.  Or whether to believe anything at all.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just roll over and all this stuff would just go away?  Let everybody else get all excited.  Please, just let me go to work, raise my family, go to church on Sunday, and live a normal decent life.  What’s wrong with that?  Does everybody have to march down Main St. waving the flag and shouting slogans?

And what if it is all true? Just what is the average guy supposed to do?  Do we all jump into political action groups?  Or, do we start the 2nd American Revolution?  Are we really going to lose all our freedoms?  Or is that just a bunch of babble from some frustrated armchair warriors who read Tom Clancy books?

Have I struck a chord with most of you out there?

About now, you’re probably wondering which side I’m on.  Let me give you a hint.  Skip to the verse at the bottom.

Regardless of how you stand on political issues, only the Word of God is sure.  The Bible shows that we are most definitely moving into a one-world government and religion, but the Bible shows the source as being different than the political/financial entities that are usually cited.  The Mother of every abomination on earth, and the source of all this wickedness, is spiritual in nature.

You may resist, and you should, but you will never win spiritual warfare with carnal weapons. What we need is a Holy Ghost Revival to bring people into a walk in the Spirit of the Lord.  Only then will we be able to resist and withstand the demonic onslaught that is about to sweep the world.

It’s more than just going to church on Sunday, or just living a good life.  Our very survival depends on it.

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Eph. 6:11-13

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Here in the Congo, the older established churches have hung onto a form of legalistic practices that I believe are strangling the growth of the church and stand, maybe not as roadblocks, but certainly as obstacles in the path toward revival.  One of the most dangerous is the treatment of women.
Women here are treated as little more than servants, almost as sub-human to the dominance of the man. For instance, if a woman walks in front of some men, she must bow before them and stay bowed until she passes them. Where in God’s name did they get that idea from?
Another is the issues of being covered in the church. Because of the passages in 1st Corinthians 11 about the customs of being covered and the confusion between the two opposing cultures, the Greeks and the Jews, they have taken this to an extreme. If a woman does not have a hat, she will open up a handkerchief and lay it on top of her head. She is now covered by a rag that you blow your nose in, and that is supposed to ensure her righteousness.  It is astounding to me that they cannot perceive the absurdity of this custom.
There are several such issues, but there is one warning that looms over it all. It starts with the description of the image of God. Men like to point out that they are the image of God and women are taken from them. But are they? Isn’t God a trinity? The image of God, then, is of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  If we look at the Holy Spirit as the “maternal” side of God — and I am NOT saying God is a woman, but He is the Comforter, the reprover, and the One that Jesus said would be with the Church after He left to take care of us and guide us into all righteousness — then we can see this in a very different light. Man alone does not look like this image, neither does adding Jesus to the picture. It is only when we add the woman  do we see a match the the image of God.
Let me add to this revelation a severe warning. You can blaspheme the name of the Father and curse the name of the Son, but if you dare speak against the Holy Spirit you are inciting the fierce wrath of God such that He will throw you in Hell and never allow you to repent. That’s pretty serious, if you ask me. Is that how we treat our women? Perhaps we should match our response with God’s.

“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”  Mark 7:9

Brother Dale

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Shifting Ground

It’s been a few days since we had the 3-day seminar, and there is a certain level of expectation in many of the churches here that revival could really come to Bukavu. There has been so much pain and suffering here that has largely gone on unnoticed by the outside world, that many feel they have been ignored. I heard someone say that the only white people who come here are UN soldiers and a few aid workers.

Not even missionaries and evangelists? I guess not many. I haven’t seen any. They all go to places like Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda because it is safe there and they have a fairly good infrastructure. But here in the grit and mud of a land tortured by lawlesness and desperate poverty, it becomes much more difficult. But in Luke 14:13, that is precisely where Jesus sends us. And of course, that is where you see great things happen.

I preached at one church which seemed like it was more enamoured with praise, worship, singing and dancing than the seriousness of entering into a crucified walk of sacrifice to win souls. I almost can’t blame them. Life is hard here in the Congo … real hard. Americans have no idea what it’s like here in the private lives of these people. To come to church for two or three hours of singing and dancing (yes, that‘s two or three hours before the preaching!) must be such an incredible relief to them. I get it. I really do. But the principles of revival remain in place and will not change.

But then, they brought me to another church for a one-time service and it was a completely different experience. I couldn’t preach it hard enough. (And I can preach it pretty hard.) They understood the vital importance of what winning souls meant to ushering in a revival. They knew the price because they were already doing it. The pastor told me that just a week or so, the Lord had revealed this same message to him about the utter importance of winning souls. He knew that any move of God was predicated upon their obedience to His Great Commission to go out to the streets and bring in the lost, and that revival will not come without it. You can imagine their excitement when they heard me bring the same message.

Are these two churches in contrast? Maybe. But maybe not. I can feel the movement down deep in the ground as God is turning His people back to Him. There is a feeling of flux within the foundations of these churches. They know they need more than “church as usual”, and their desperation drives them for more from God. They, of all people, know there is a price, but they need God more than any other people I have preached to, and I believe that’s what is driving them and is slowly shifting the ground under the church.

I have a couple more churches to go to before heading home. We’ll see how things develop as we bring this message of revival to them also.

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Mud and Vision

A heavy blanket lies over the city of Bukavu.

I read that at one time this was a popular tourist attraction and thousands of people flocked here for vacation. That was some time ago. There isn’t a trace of that left today. Today, you have a depressed city, coated with a layer of mud, broken roads, and crumbling buildings, teeming with too many people crawling around a cacophony of confused traffic. Everyone seems to be pushing against each other to get where they are going. Joy is notably missing from the streets, and it’s absence filters into everything around it. This is a difficult place, and yet there is hope.

After our pastor’s conference, I was brought to one of the churches for 3 days of messages. The intensity of the praise and worship was more intense than anything I have seen in a long time — and I have seen a lot of praise and worship across Africa the last 15 years. It was as if the joy that was suppressed on the outside had burst it’s bonds here in the church. The praises from 200 people packed into a small church at the top of their lungs was so loud that it actually shut my hearing off. That was the praising. Then came the dancing! The dancing that followed was so intense that I had to wonder if it was a a cultural holdover from pagan worship or just the intensity of a much needed release from the hard life outside. Whatever it was, they certainly made themselves heard in Heaven.

And then came my message of repentance.

Many have an idea in their head that revival is about wonderful times of worship when the Spirit comes down and overwhelms us and when the glory of God is so intense that you can see and feel the very air glisten from the Schekinah glory. We see it as a time of great rejoicing and glory. And it is. But revival is not about singing and dancing – it is about winning souls. That is why God sends revival to the Church – so that we will be a light to the world that the unsaved can see and know that there is power in the Blood of Jesus and life in the church. But that’s not what comes first.

No revival comes without repentance. None. Search history and you will see. Repentance, not only for our own secret sins and little gods, but also for the sins of our people, our country, and most especially, the Church. We have not fulfilled the one thing that Jesus asked us to do. We have been too focused on ourselves and what God can do for us. Instead of denying ourselves, picking up the Cross and following Jesus out to the streets to proclaim liberty to the Lost, we have settled into our complacency on our little wooden pews and plastic chairs, waiting for God to send us revival. And God tells us to be ashamed because we have let the harvest of souls perish (Joel 1:11).

All of a sudden, as soon as the message turned to repentance, this church quieted down into a muffled deadness. Everything was great while we talked about how wonderful everything was, but as soon as I turned to the subject of paying a price, of sacrifice and repentance, and the burden of the Cross, everything died.

My translator thinks otherwise. He thinks they just feel guilty. I hope so. That was the point.

But it may be that life is so hard for these people, that putting one more burden on them just snuffs the happiness out of them. And yet, no revival comes without repentance. The path to real joy and happiness goes through the Cross. Everything else is an artificial gospel that uses an cheap grace to lead the simple away from the Cross.

Tough message. And sometimes hard to receive. But the principles of revival do not change.

It is here that we need a vision. There has to be something to inspire the people. They have to believe in it, feel it, and clutch it tightly to their hearts to push through every obstacle, hardness and challenge that they will face in the pursuit of a true revival. This is war, and the spiritual battles leading to revival can be fierce.

I tell people that a true vision is not one that you can see with your eyes, but one that lies over the horizon that you can only see with your heart through faith. But you also have to be able to see the path that will take you there. No matter how steep or long the path, you have to see the way to get there, otherwise your vision becomes unobtainable and is nothing more than wishful thinking.

This is where we need anointed preachers who can plant that inspiration in our hearts and pull back the curtains so we can see the vision that is before us. We need men and women who have chosen a crucified walk so that they can bear the Anointing oil and touch a light to our souls. Then people will see past the mud, depression, and hardship to see the glory of God.

Lord, send them now and revive us again.

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