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Where is Wisdom Found?

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. (1st John 4:13)

Sounds simple to me.  You know you’re really saved when you can feel the Spirit of God.

Maybe because I had to learn the hard way that all the complicated stuff serves only to get you all twisted up in knots.  God had to take me to the ol’ woodshed quite a few times to knock the stupid notion out of me that somehow I was smart because I had learned a few things. 

Well, maybe it was more than just a few times.

The reason it took me so long was because I didn’t want to give up the idea that if I just read a few more books, or listened to a few more seminars by other guys that thought they were so smart, that I would become wise.  It seemed like a good plan at the time, but it sure didn’t hold any water with God.

Pride has got to be the most invisible sin there is because you can see it in everybody else but yourself.  It is also the most painful one to get rid of – or shall I say, it is the most painful one to have the Lord rip out of you.  He has to run you through a threshing floor where you are trampled, beaten, knocked around, and crushed under a great stone wheel that runs over you until the chaff in your heart is loosened up so it can be blown away.

I did not go willing to that threshing floor – or so I thought.  I do remember, however, praying for God to give me wisdom and to take the pride out of me, and a few other things.  Had I known what I was really praying for, I might have been a little less zealous.

I can just picture God hearing those prayers, and with a beaming grin saying, “OK.  You asked for it!”, as He commences to roll up His sleeves and start to work on me.  It’s funny now, but it’s not all that funny when you’re going through the fire that you just called down on yourself.

But if you really want to serve the Lord, you have to be willing to go through the fire.

After a while, it seemed like the more I learned, the less I understood.  While that may seem like a contradiction, it is actually the first requirement to getting wisdom.  When you get to the point where you realize that you don’t know anything, then you’re entering into an level that boasts of some world-class heavyweights in God.

But it takes time.  It took Moses 40 years in the backside of the desert.  I can remember an old warrior in God telling me that when you reach 10 years in the Lord how you begin to think that you’ve arrived – and then it takes another 10 or 20 years to realize how stupid you are. And then another 10 years or so until you no longer care … and that is when God can finally use you.

There’s a price to pay for it also.  It cost Paul all his years of theological education, followed by years of persecution to reach the place where he stated that he knew nothing but Christ Jesus, and him crucified. The road to wisdom leads downward first to the valley floor before it ever leads to the mountaintop.

Salvation is not predicated on religious status, knowledge, or position.  Neither is wisdom determined by how much you have obtained or learned.  Rather they are determined by how much of your ego that you have allowed to be stripped away until you have nothing to rely upon but God. 

We know we are saved because we can feel His Spirit dwelling in us.  It is not what we have made of ourselves, but what He has taken out of us so that He can refashion us in the image of His Son.  It is not how we view ourselves, but how we see Him.

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? … Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”  Job 28:12, 28

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I prayed through my 9-year-old daughter yesterday.

Talk about a thrill!  There is nothing like seeing a little girl’s heart open up wide with tears because she wants to be close to Jesus and walk hand-in-hand with Him. 

I just have to tell you how it happened.  As we always do on Sunday morning, we were reading Bible – this time we were going through Psalm 147 a verse at a time.  As she started asking questions, one right after the other, I could sense the Lord tugging on her little heart in a particular direction, so I just let it flow along, watching to see which direction the questions would take. 

Her heart was emptying out on the table with things that must have been lying in there for a while.  It is always amazing to me how the Lord deals with little children.  You may think that they aren’t aware of a lot of deep spiritual issues, but never underestimate how much God loves these precious little souls.  Some of her questions had me up against the ropes, but I answered them as honestly as I could, just as I would have explained them to an adult.  (I just figured that if the Lord put the question in her heart, then He must have put the ability to understand the answer in there also.)  She understood each one.

Little kids really love Jesus, not like you would love someone on earth, but with something very different and very special.  She not only wanted to go to Heaven, she wanted that special relationship with God that can only be realized through Salvation.

She also understood the concept of Hell.  Don’t let anyone tell you that they are too young to understand the severity of Judgment.  They can understand it as well as anyone, probably better than most because they haven’t complicated it with psycho-theories and the intelligent complacencies we listen to.

What about Grandpa and Nana?  Will they go to Heaven too?  Understanding how the promises of God work was simple once it was explained.  I was amazed at her ability to grasp that, if we gave ourselves to serving the Lord, how He would work for us toward our family.  It was simple stuff to a 9-year-old!

When she was ready, we prayed.  At the end of the prayer, when I was praising and thanking the Lord, she went silent.  Immediately, I started wondering if it had really worked. 

Stupid me.

Her hands went up, almost to touch the sky, and you could feel the Spirit of the Lord floating down like fresh falling snow.  I didn’t dare disturb her, even though I was dying to ask her, “Did you feel it?  Did you feel the Spirit of God wash you clean?  Did you touch the Throne of God?”

I just waited as the tears flowed, her hands went higher, and her little face lit up with the glory of God.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14)

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If you had a chance to meet Jesus and He offered you three wishes, what would you ask for? I suppose our choices would tell a lot about us.

Here’ my three:
Three Wishes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=8Ao6Qiklgws

Brother Dale

www.Revivalfire.org

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The Silent Bell

There are times when I see myself standing in an empty church courtyard, looking up at a tall, silent bell tower.  High up inside the white stone spire that points up to God, hangs a huge, silent bronze bell.  It’s been silent for years now. The silence is heavy, and the solitude hangs around me like a thick wool blanket.

Where is everyone, I wonder? 

The courtyard used to be full of activity and noise, the doors to the church were opened wide, and people with bright faces came in and out.  And the bell that rang out its call from God could be heard for miles.

But now, I only see an abandoned structure; a shell of what once was.

There was a time when you could hear the thundering echoes of the saints of God, filling the air with the excitement of the power of the Holy Ghost.  Souls stirred in response, and multitudes responded to the call.  But now, I stand in the silence and peer into the shadows of a ghostly cathedral.

I realized something the other day.  All those old giants in the faith that once stood in the incredible power and authority of God are now dead, and they have taken their vibrancy with them.

There is a more modern church down the street now.  It’s a beautiful building, and hundreds of cars are parked outside.  I hear songs and laughter and see pleasant faces with complacent smiles on everyone there.  Everything seems so nice, but somehow, it’s just not the same.

The sharp edges have been smoothed over, and in their place is a sheen of appeasement.  The bell no longer rings out the alarm of war, but in its place, I hear the mindless, repetitive 8 bar phrases of Maranatha music.  No more blood-washed songs of that raw, old-time Gospel music that called us to repentance.  No sirree!  We are in a new age now, and everything oozes of peace and love. 

There are no more warriors anymore.  We don’t need them.  Everyone here is so nice and pleasant.  Even our modern-day prophets are bringing forth a new kind of message that promises us of blessings and love, peace and prosperity.  There’s no more war, and we are at peace with everyone.

Maybe it’s just me.  As I turn into the late afternoon sun, I feel like an old veteran who has lived long past the time of the old glory days and is somehow out of place in this new pastoral setting. 

I turn to walk out of the parking lot, and as I look up, I see a darkness setting in just over the horizon.  It will soon be night, but not the night of a warm, summer evening.  It is the darkness of an impending storm on its way that I see.

I turn my collar up against the chill breeze that comes gusting through, and I wonder if anyone can see the storm that is coming.  It will be a big one.  The worst we’ve ever seen. 

And there is no bell to sound the alarm.

[Excerpt from our book, A Voice in the Wilderness, vol. 3 – available on Amazon in August]

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Every real Christian goes through desert walks from time to time.  It’s all part of growing in the Lord.  Some times are worse than others, some are longer than others, but you always come out of them eventually.

Occasionally, however, you will go through one that takes you past the edge of your endurance.  It’s times like that when your faith really gets stretched to its limit.

Tell me if this sounds familiar –

You’ve been trudging along in the desert for quite a while now, but it sure seems like you should’ve come out of this by now.  You’re dried out, thirsty, and tired and there doesn’t look like there’s any relief in sight.  You don’t even see any mirages, much less an oasis.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you knew where you were going, but when you look up at the horizon, all you see is a flat landscape of more and more sand, and you begin to wonder if somehow you lost your direction and are now going around in circles.  If you could just see a sign pointing to your destination somewhere, but all you see is sand.  No gas stations; no rest areas; not even any 7/11 stores.  Just sand.

Did you do something wrong?  Did you lose your way? Were you not reading and praying enough? Was it something you said?  Where did God go?

To make matters worse, every once in a while, some young kid zooms by you in a Dune Buggy with a grin on his face as he waves in passing.  His ministry is running along at 60 mph while you’re stuck trudging along one slow step at a time.

Your feet are getting heavy, your get-up-and-go is gone, and you would so love to just toss in the towel.  But you can’t.  You’re stuck out here in nowhere land, and if you stop, you’ll end up like those bleached bones over there.

It’s small consolation that this is supposed to make you grow into your calling in God.  About now, you’d just as soon let God give it to somebody else, but He didn’t ask you for your opinion, and He didn’t give you any choices.

Then again, maybe this isn’t really some fire that you’re going through or some test.  Maybe you’re just finished.  It’s over and this is all there is. 

Is it ever going to rain again?  Will you ever feel the outpouring of the Holy Ghost once more?  You can remember soaking up that Living Water when you prayed, but now it’s just a dry well.

Noah spent 100 years building a boat in this desert.  Moses tended sheep out here for 40 years.  Abraham left everything and came through here not knowing where he was going, either.  Paul was out here for 13 years before he ever came into his ministry. Joseph spent his entire teen-aged youth here.  But none of that means anything to you because all you see is sand, and you don’t know if you’re even heading anywhere at all.

But then the answer comes down from the Lord — if you’re ever going to be able to tell someone to trust in God, you will first have to learn to trust Him yourself.

And then, over the next hilltop comes the scent of rain.

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

[Excerpt from Voice in the Wilderness, vol. 3, coming out in August.]

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Hey friends,Potsand pans

I just posted another video broadcast on YouTube – Potscrubber for the Lord

You can view this video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSaez0X3b1o

On our youTube channel for Revivalfire Ministries, we have several videos there, including the series on Four Steps to Revival, several of the music videos from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanazania and much more. You can visit the Revivalfire channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ3_yzMLlWxTMkZhzTYrR1g

If you like what you see, please Subscribe.

 

Praise the Lord,

Brother Dale

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Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.

Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

(Haggai 1:7-11)

I am an old-fashioned revivalist, so several years ago, when I was invited to a Revival Prayer Meeting, I was pretty excited. The pastor who was hosting this meeting in his home was a friend of mine, and I knew what a Prayer Warrior he was. Plus, there were several pastors, professors, and other important church personalities that would be there, so I expected that this would be a powerful prayer meeting.

How wrong I was!

We started praying for the pastors, then the church, on to the people, and so forth.  But when we got to praying for the parking lot, I had to stop them. Now remember, I was just a nobody in a room full of big shots, so I didn’t know what their reaction would be, but I challenged them anyway. “This is supposed to be a prayer meeting for revival, but instead of praying for lost souls, you are praying for everything else but!”

And right at that point, the Lord gave me a vision.

I saw a wide pier jutting out into the ocean. It was much wider than a normal dock, and it was crowded with people. It was a very bright day. The sun was shining and the air was clear and warm.  The people were all wearing very bright colors – reds, yellows, greens, etc. – and they were all smiling, laughing, and having a great time. I could see them prophesying over each other and pronouncing some “word from God” that they had for each other.  It looked just like Church.

And then the vision expanded out into the ocean, but it was in dark muted colors of greys and dark blues. The waters were rough with waves breaking all over. Around the dock as far as I could see were hundreds of people drowning in the ocean, waving their arms and crying for help.

I called to the church people on the dock to throw some life preservers out there, or better yet, jump in and save these people, but everyone just kept smiling and ministering to each other, laughing, and having a wonderful time. They totally ignored the calls for help from those around them that were drowning.

I couldn’t believe it! How could they be so heartless?  Didn’t they care? These were supposed to be Christians!

And then I realized the problem. It wasn’t that they didn’t care – oh, they cared alright – they just couldn’t hear them. Their ears were so plugged up with church and religion and they were so fully absorbed with their own ministries that they could not hear the cries of the lost.

I see this same thing in the ministries of this generation. We seem to be absorbed with edifying the church and ministering to each other, but how few of us turn around and set our focus and attention to those who are lost and dying in sin? And yet, that was the one thing that the Lord commissioned us to do. As He was ascending to Heaven, He had one last request, but we have done everything except what He asked us to do.

Like the Israelites that Haggai was calling to, when we get so absorbed with our own lives that we forget the original call to win souls, we stand the risk of entering into a spiritual famine.  The imagery of the drought and the dearth of harvest are pictures of spiritual famine. The wheat represents the depths of God’s Word (Bread of Life), the new wine is the spirit of prayer, and the oil is the anointing of the Holy Spirit . We see this same imagery in Joel chapter 1 where the prophet is describing the apostasy of the church in the last days and the subsequent spiritual famine that God would bring because of it.

Joel 1:11 gives us the reason why:

“Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.”

In other words, the world is going to Hell, and God blames us. We have been so absorbed with ourselves, our friends, and ministering to ourselves that we have ignored those who are perishing and have allowed the harvest of lost souls to perish in Hell.

God will not bless us until we repent.   If we will not do what He wants us to do, then He will not do what we want Him to do.  He will not restore the grain, the wine, and the oil until we finally repent and do what He has asked.

And if we will not, He will find someone else who will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

joshua-earle-tUb9a0RB04k-unsplash

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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“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” 

Luke 2:25,26

Thirty-three years later, old man Simeon was gone, and Mary was the sole survivor of all the witnesses of the birth of God’s Messiah.  This great event of the birth of Christ was the advent of a plan that had its beginning before Creation, and that had been spoken of by the prophets and dreamed of by all Israel for thousands of years.

The Savior of the world had finally arrived, but who was there to witness this greatest of all events?  Three wise men, a handful of shepherds (and maybe a drummer boy), an old woman prophetess, and Simeon.  Besides Joseph and Mary, very few people knew what had just happened, and fewer still understood the magnitude of it.

As Simeon returned the baby back to Mary, he must have looked deeply in her eyes as he realized that she alone of all these witnesses would remain at the end.  He and the prophetess Anna were old, the shepherds were scattered, and the wise men would have returned to their homes.  Even Joseph would be gone.  Only Mary would be left.

Thirty-three years later, as she knelt at the foot of a cross on Golgotha and gazed up at her son, did her heart go back to those few precious moments so many years before when she held the promise of all mankind in her arms, and a cloud of witnesses surrounded her to testify that this indeed was the Son of God?  Now they were all gone, and she alone was left as the sole witness that His was truly a virgin birth, that this really was God in Man who had come to save the world.

But now, he hung upon a rough wooden cross, rejected by the church, the government, and the people.  Only a handful of outcasts clung to Him in the last dying moments, while all the crowds who had witnessed His mighty works had fled.  How many who had once believed but had now become troubled with doubt, had turned away, leaving her to weep for Him on top of that lonely hill?

Did she ever complain?  Did she ever once deny that His birth was truly the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit?  Never.  Her silence was her strongest witness, for she of all people knew who He really was and that the mission He came to accomplish could only end this way.  He had come to die.

As we gather round the Christmas tree and recite to our children the meaning of Christmas, let us never forget the young Jewish girl who once held God’s gift to mankind in her arms and, through her suffering at the foot of the Cross, gave the world an enduring witness that truly He was the Son of God.

Thank God for His wonderful gift and the price that was paid to give it to us.

Merry Christmas,

Dale & Cindy

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Christmas red background.Ah, it’s Christmas again! There’s no snowflakes or frosty air down here in Texas, so that old-fashioned Christmas feeling is not quite the same as it was as a kid in New England, but then Christmas isn’t about snow or Santa and Christmas trees either.  We may have over-commercialized Christmas so that it doesn’t have that same old feeling it used to, but it’s still Christmas.

I have always believed that God honors this time with that certain feeling in the air that is different from the rest of the year. True, Jesus was not born in December. I believe the Bible points to the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles as the day he was born, and the Festival of Lights or Hanauka for when he was conceived (see http://www.revivalfire.org/articles/ ), but I’m not so sure that celebrating the exact day is all that important to God. If it was, wouldn’t He have told us?

Neither am I worried about Christmas trees being a form of idolatry.  Or Santa and the elves, or tinsel, or Grandma’s fruitcake from last year. This is Christmas. Do we have to make an intense, super-spiritual controversy over it? Can we just enjoy it for what it is and celebrate the birth and advent of our Savior?

Since we’re talking about getting in the Christmas spirit of things, how about giving and receiving gifts? I have some gift requests from God that I would like for Christmas. He may not be able to fit them under the tree, and He may have trouble trying to gift wrap them, but here is my list:

Lord, I would like wisdom, understanding, and knowledge – the knowledge of Your Word so that I can believe the right things and know the truths that are buried in it, the understanding to be able to know how that knowledge fits into everything, and the wisdom to know how to use it to win souls.

Of course, that comes from reading the Bible every day, so Lord, along with that, I need an intense hunger to read the Bible like a starving man eating the Bread of Life. And while you’re at it, could you also make me so thirsty for intense, prevailing prayer that I can’t breathe without it?

That’s just my Christmas stocking-stuffers. I have some other requests for the big presents under the tree.  Let me start with the Anointing. I need that Presence on me so that it is dripping off me wherever I go. I want to be immersed in it, saturated, swimming in it. So much so that when I pray with or over anyone, they will feel the tingling of your touch when I pray. I want them to know you are not only real, but that they can have a real and immediate access to you on a deeply personal level.

And for my next present (can I have another one, Lord?), I want power. I mean real, Holy Ghost power – unprecedented power – power to raise the dead and heal the sick on whomsoever I lay hands on. But most of all, I want the power to preach your Word under the anointing of the Holy Ghost so that it will pierce hearts, set them on fire, and inspire a generation to rise up and shine a Light in this world.

I also want authority to cast out devils with one word. I don’t want to argue with them. When I say, “Get out!”, I want them to get out! Authority like that only comes from the fear of the Lord, so please heap that on me also. Since the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and James says that if we ask for wisdom, You’ll give it liberally, then pour it out on me also, Lord!

(Do we have room for one more? This is the most important one, Lord, so we have to make room for this one.)

In return, I don’t have much to offer. All I can give is myself, weak and faulty as I am. I give you my pride and desire for recognition, my gluttony and lusts, my fears and darkness, my suspicions, accusations, and hatreds – all the ugly stuff that I can dredge up from the dark recesses of my heart. Lord I give you what I am and all that I have. I will do whatsoever you ask and go wherever you send me – I just have one final request:

Dear God, please, in the name of Jesus and everything that is holy and good, please, please, please … send revival.

crossfire35

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