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I love mornings. I usually sit outside and pray on my porch at sunrise. As the rays of morning sunlight begin to peek over the trees, they cast a golden sheen across the lawn that glistens across the lingering evening’s dew. As the morning sunlight starts pouring over the trees, it highlights the little gnats that are swarming around over the grass like a cloud of tiny pinpoints of light tumbling around in the beams of sunshine. There’s thousands of them over the whole property, but they can only be seen where the sunlight hits them and lights them up like sparkles against the dark contrast of the tress that are still hanging on to their early morning shadows.

It doesn’t take long before the dragonflies come. First one, then another, and soon the whole gang arrives for the feast, twisting, turning and dive bombing like tiny fighter planes in dogfights scooping up the little gnats, extinguishing the little sparkles one at a time.

This morning, however, the dragonflies had not shown up. There were gnats everywhere, but no dragonflies. I waited for the word to get out that the buffet was spread out and it was time to come and get it, but there was no response. So I prayed.

I was having one of the quiet, intimate prayer hours with the Lord. We were so close that our hearts were touching each other. I love prayer hours like that. It is not a time for contending in battle or laboring in agonizing prayer, but it is a time of quiet fellowship with your Heavenly Father. He’s right there, sitting next to you, listening to you pour out your heart in secret communion.

Since I was so close to Him at this moment, I thought I’d just ask for a little answer to prayer, “Lord, send the dragonflies.”  No big deal; just kinda for kicks, I thought it would be a neat thing to have Him answer such a small thing right while He was sitting there with me.

I waited. And waited some more.  No dragonflies.

“Lord, You there?”

Still none.  I went back to praying for a while, wondering if I did something stupid. Again.

After a while, lo and behold, what shows up but a single dragonfly. And then after 10 minutes, another one. By that time the morning mists were lifting and the day had begun. Soon they’d all be gone.

I wondered what the lesson was here. One was that, yes, God can and will answer even dumb requests like sending the dragonflies, but He doesn’t always answer right away. Sometimes the answer has to come through a process before you are ready for the answer. And sometimes it is you that needs to go through that process. He will send it when it is time. We have to wait.

But the other lesson I came away with was that God is sovereign. He is not at our command to jump through hoops and roll over for us when we call. He is God and we are at His command, not the other way around. There are rock solid promises in the Word of God, but every promise of God has conditions – nothing is free, and rarely cheap – but in the end, God is sovereign and will do as He pleases.

He did send two dragonflies, though. But he sent them in His own time, just to give me a lesson of faith and patience on a misty morning.

 

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I’m sitting in the Brussels airport on my way home. This has been a hard trip. I’m not entirely sure why, but the two weeks I have spent here have felt like two months. True, the pace was intense, but it was more than that. There was an oppression in the air that weighed heavily on us that made everything harder.  I was so exhausted most of the time that I could barely manage.

But it didn’t affect the services. They were great. Each place we went to lit up like they were on fire. I would step into each meeting with a bit of apprehension because I never seemed to know what the message was going to be, and each time in less than a minute, the Holy Ghost would click on like flipping a switch, and away we would go.

Even though I was bound up in exhaustion, there was a complete freedom for the Spirit to move throughout the messages. Most of the time, I felt like I was riding a wave as the Lord shaped, molded, and turned the message in the direction He wanted it to go.

And the response was great. The pastors were rejoicing for the tangible hope for a real revival from God. They now had the blueprint for revival in their hands and they were excited. I watched as they sat on the edge of their chairs with eyes wide open, shouting their “Amen’s” every time something new was revealed to them.

It’s funny, but after having preached over a thousand messages over the last 16 years, I still feel apprehensive going into each service. It’s as if, even though God has been there every single time for me, I am still afraid that this time I will fall flat on my face.  God and I have a little running joke between us, like a little dance that we do. He will remind me as I am sitting there, that the deal we have with each other is, “You lead, and I’ll follow.”

“Yes, Lord. I know. I’m just a little scared that I’m not enough in the Spirit.

“Have I ever failed you?”

“No. I’m just afraid I’m not good enough.”

“You aren’t; I am.  I’ll lead; you follow.”

And every time, He does. He goes right around me and deals personally with the hearts of His people.

I really believe this is the way it is supposed to be done. Let God do the work. He does a much better job than we can. My job, oppression or not, is to show up

… and then get out of the way.

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Fourteen Souls

There’s not much to write about so far. We had a rush of an airplane ride, hopping from one plane to another, almost missing our flight in Chicago, but we are here in one piece. With our luggage! That’s a nice relief.

Our first service is on Sunday at a little church nestled in the back dirt pathways just outside Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. To get to this tiny church, we have to drive through some enormous puddles — no, they’re not puddles. They’re great big mud craters 10 feet across, filled with a foot or two of water. This is the rainy season, and let me tell you, it rains buckets every day, so these mini lakes will not dry out for a couple months.

After we have successfully negotiated the mud waterways, we are led down some dirt pathways through the neighborhood to a colorfully painted church. Some folks are outside waiting for our arrival and we are greeted with huge smiles, waving hands, and gushing displays of greeting. The first thing I’m wondering is, do these people even know who I am? What are they expecting to initiate such an overwhelming response? Just exactly what did my host and friend tell them about me?

I have been through this before. You just smile, wave, and keep going. I have a message that I have to deliver. Whether it is to a mighty church of thousands or some tiny congregation nestled in the back pathways of a slum in Liberia, it does not matter and neither does it change the focus of this message. I have found that God can save by many or by few (1st Samuel 14:6). As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure He favors the few.

As you can expect, services were great. They were on top everything that I had to say. The “amen’s” were loud and clear. This was not the seminar where I would lay out the plan of revival that is in the Bible, but was just supposed to be a normal Sunday service. But I touched on different points of the seminar just to whet their appetite. And they were hungry. This should be a really good seminar. How we will fit the expected150 people into a church that only holds 70 will be quite a trick.

I almost always end my messages with a call to corporate prayer. I try not to lead them in prayer, but I try to encourage them to do the praying. It’s too easy to hide in the crowd and just let the pastor do the praying while you skate in the background, so I make them do the praying. And they did. Loud and intense. These people were serious. If God really does have a revival for them, then they want it and are ready to go up and take it off the Altar of God.

Before closing, I had a quick altar call. This was not an evangelistic crusade, so I did not expect a crowd of sinners coming down. This was to the church. I have found that in too many of our churches, both in America and across Africa, sin has a way of hiding in the shadows,lurking in the recesses of the souls of the Christians who come every week, struggling to get free from their sin.

All it takes is a call to come down. As soon as I called for them to come, they were already scrambling out of their chairs. Fourteen people came to the altar to free themselves from whatever was weighing them down. As they closed, they started praising and thanking the Lord, and didn’t stop. They just kept going and going. They were changed. They were set free. They were alive again. What a wonderful gift is Salvation!

I sometimes read about objections that some Christians and would-be theologians have about the Sinners Prayer. Let me tell you without hesitation that in 50 years I have seen countless thousands set free by that little prayer of repentance to God. I’ve seen the overwhelming changes across their faces as they receive new life at the altar.

As usual, theological scholasticism would eliminate this wonderful experience because it doesn’t fit their intelligent carnal reasonings. Eating off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has not made them wise like they thought it would, but rather has allowed spiritual pride to make them stupid.

The proof is in the pudding. Fourteen people were set free today.

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“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”  Acts 8:1

I threatened them today.

Well, actually the Lord threatened them. Acts 8:1-4 talks of the persecution that came upon the early church at Jerusalem. God had commissioned them to go into all the world and make disciples, but they were comfortable right where they were at and were not in any rush to leave. Life was good. Thousands were getting saved. Miracles were happening daily, there was joy in the streets and real love amongst the brethren. Why would anyone want to head off into the world of the Gentiles?

Because they wouldn’t go forth out of Jerusalem to preach the Gospel, God used persecution to chase them out. Don’t believe God would do that? Compare that to Egypt. They were there in slavery for 430 years, but when they finally cried out to God, He sent the Deliverer. Why did it take so long for them to cry out to God? I don’t know, maybe they just got used to the way things were. Maybe the slavery you are used to is better than taking a chance on a liberty that you don’t know. But when their babies began to be murdered, they started crying out to God. And when they did, God sent Moses. I gave them a chilling prophesy of what is coming to them if they don’t get out of their lazy white plastic chairs and go make disciples. You could feel the cold seriousness in the room as they sat on the edge of their chairs staring at me. It happened then; it could happen now.

Yesterday was also question and answer time. Boy, they came up with some sharp questions — they always do— and kept me on my toes. But I answered everyone one of their questions, even the tough ones. I will be first to admit that I don’t know everything. One of the most important lessons I ever learned was that is it okay to say you don’t know. But I have one advantage in these sessions — I got God. I’m not just saying this cause it makes a good sound byte. No, it is true — He gives me the answers. I might stumble around for a minute or so, but it always comes. And when it comes, it is always perfect. That’s how I know its not from me.

One of the questions was about how to tell when the Spirit that leading you and when it’s your own spirit.  They are very aware of the dangers of the false prophets that plague their churches as well as ours. Just like us, they have a whole raft of well-known personalities posing as “God’s Generals” to hand down meaningless prophesies of peace, prosperity, wealth, and blessings. Never about repentance or about holiness. How is it that they are so much more aware of this than we are? I can only guess it is because they are more spiritually sensitive than we are in the West. So this was a big question for them. And yes, God gave me the answer.

I can’t remember the other questions. Maybe in the next couple days, I’ll write them down in another column. And maybe not. I’m so tired, I don’t think I can remember them anymore and, anyway, I’m not sure I care.

We’re almost done, and I am tired. (Can you tell?) My voice is so hoarse that I can barely speak, but somehow, I keep punching out one more service. You’ve seen how it works – when there is no strength, the Anointing carries you. They have seen that and they realize what it is.

It just makes for the message so much more important to them. God is talking to them. And they are listening.

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First Couple Days of Excitement

Services have been electrifying here. We’ve been having one service in the morning and another in the evening, which, considering the intensity that I preach with, makes this very exhausting. I end each service soaked with sweat and limp as a wet dishrag. And yet, I have been at my best and in my prime, which is saying something because it has been months since I have been in the saddle.

Each message has had a brand new element added to it. One such message added how tithing your first fruits was tied to revival. Giving your firsts, not only money, but time, heart, and soul, to the cause of winning the lost releases you by breaking that spirit of selfishness and greed. The 2nd Principle of Revival is that the Gospel is not about you; it is about others, and tithing breaks that hold that “self” has on you. You cannot serve God and Mammon. If you are really committed to revival, then for Heaven’s sale, invest in it! Where your treasure is …

At another service, I read out of James about being doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. The deception is that you can languish in your apostasy without ever doing anything but sitting in that same pew for years, and still believe that you will still go to Heaven. Maybe you will, but I’m not laying odds on it. But one thing’s for certain – you will not see revival burst out over you.

My business cards have my ministry information on one side and a 6-point Plan of Salvation on the back. This morning, I handed every person two of my cards – one to keep (otherwise they’d never give the other one away) and one to pass out to a complete stranger. The idea was to kick-start the idea of witnessing. Guess what?  They did it! I really thought I was going to catch them in this, but instead they were on their feet excited because they had actually done it – they had overcome their fears and handed a Gospel tract to a total stranger. Revival is on the way.

Something else happened yesterday morning that I felt pretty good about. I could feel that there was someone that needed prayer, whether for sin or some demonic stranglehold and that they should come up at some point in time. This is one of those things that many preachers understand. You just get this chilling feeling and you know there is somebody out there who has to come to the altar today. At the end of the service, a small woman pastor came up who was in bondage to a spirit of fear. (Don’t ask me. This is another one of those invisible things I don’t understand). I laid hands on her and it was like a bolt of lightening shot through me. Bam! Down she went, and that spirit of fear was broken. She was so happy she was jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear. And she was like that the next day also!

Today, however, I got to do something really cool. I wanted to demonstrate the power of healing that is given to all of us to exercise. Mark 16 says so. So I asked if anyone had a headache, and some lady stood up. I laid hands on her and, bingo! she was healed. Just like always. I have yet to meet a headache that I couldn’t cast out. But then, I asked for another person with a headache and another lady stood up. This time I took a guy at random out of the congregation and made him pray over her.  Yup, you guessed it – she was healed. Can you imagine the excitement that went through the room? Wow. Nobody had ever done that with them. Just the idea that they could do this – not somebody else – them!

The idea of healing is more than God’s mercy to us in our infirmities. It is a sign or a seal of approval that God is truly with us. And if He can heal, He can deliver. And if He can deliver, He can save us. I sincerely believe that once you start healing people out there, they will start coming. But the people of God have to believe that God has really given us this promise and that if we will just exercise our faith, what wonders we will see happen.

That’s enough for today. I’ll try and fill you in later with what happens during the last couple days. I’m pretty jazzed (did you notice?), and I can see that these people are too. Good things, — BIG things— are bound come out of these meetings. And that’s why it doesn’t matter what it costs, how hard it is, or what I have to sacrifice to be here, I have got to take this message of revival to as many places as I can. Before my knees buckle, my back gives in, and my voice goes hoarse, Lord, let me see this fire explode around the world.

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalms 71:18)

Brother Dale

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“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3)

I have finished the 2nd day of conferences. We have one in the morning and one in the evening, and they have been on fire!

I have a long list of messages that are connected together for the seminars that I hold. Normally the messages may switch around or meld into each other as the Spirit leads. They don’t follow the chapters in the book, but they generally get the message out. I never know where we are going to preach from until I am sitting in the church praying for God to tell me what to do. He always does, even though I am always scared that I will fall flat. I never do.

But it has been different on this trip. Maybe because I’ve been here before and these people know who I am, or maybe the times are changing, but the Lord just inserted two completely brand new messages to sew into the fabric of the campaign. One has to do with tithing your first fruits and how that affects opening the way for revival. The other has to do with loving the brethren so much that you are willing to lay down your life for them and how that affects not only our love for lost souls, but for God Himself. Without a genuine love for your brothers, the lost, and for God, you won’t see a genuine revival.

Yeah, I’d try to explain it all, but I don’t have enough paper and I am way too tired to type it out. You just had to be there. Sorry you missed it.

What was more exciting than the messages, however, was the services themselves. In each service, I could tell they were going to be good because I’d get that same old fear that I was going to fail because I didn’t know what to preach, along with that little puff of the Spirit that always reassures me not to worry because He’s got this. I remember one time in Nigeria, the Lord actually spoke to me, “Do you trust Me?”, and my answer was, “Yes, Lord. You lead, and I’ll follow.”

I told them today that my job is to 1) first show up, and then 2) get out of the way. I showed up all three days and I will show up the rest of the week. I also got out of the way, and when I did, He took over the message.

I can’t explain to you what it’s like to have God take over the message. Today’s ministers do not allow for that because they’ve been trained to prepare their messages long before they come to the pulpit. I was taught to prepare yourself in the Spirit, surrender your control, and open your mouth, and He will fill it. It’s like He is riding on top of you, leaning you into every direction that He wants you to do in. All you gotta do is let it go and hang on for the ride.

When the Spirit of God is giving the message, it is always filled with fire. And that’s what these messages have been like. And that’s coming from the pastors that are experiencing these services.

When I was coming to Nigeria last week, I was dealing with the question of how to create inspiration and desire in the hearts of people for revival, for serving the Lord, and for going out to win souls. Once again, I got my answer – Show up, and get out of the way! This is not your battle, they are not your people, and it is not your message – it all belongs to God. You just have to prepare the way before Him.

That’s what John the Baptist did, and it worked pretty good for him.

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dead-tree

This morning, I looked out over my yard and considered the great big Weeping Willow out there.  It had suffered terribly from last summer. It reminded me of the 1st chapter in the Book of Joel.  What the drought didn’t wither, the grasshoppers had finished off. Whole limbs stood out from the ground up to 30 feet high that were just about dead, brown, and dry.  Here and there were a few new outcroppings of growth.  A few leaves here; a few leaves there.

I stood looking at the mass of dead branches, figuring out which limbs I was going to have to cut down, and which could be spared.  I’m told that you should cut major limbs only at certain times; otherwise you’ll hurt the whole tree.  But they’ve got to come down eventually. If they don’t, they will sap the tree of its strength and potency.  All that dead weight will keep the tree from the beauty and health of vibrant growth.

How much like the Lord with His church.  The dead branches are allowed to hang in there for a while in hopes that they will sprout some new life and bear fruit. However, if they do not come back to life, they’ve got to be cut down or they will sap the entire Body of its strength.

Souls are not drawn to dead churches any more than we are drawn to dead trees.  The husbandman would not be worthy of his hire if he allowed them to remain unpruned.  No matter how nice or how easy it would be to just leave them alone, the axe has to be laid to the root of the tree if it does not bear forth good fruit.  And where do they throw the dead branches?  Into the fire.

The Lord always raises up vinekeepers to work His garden, and they are responsible to make sure the vines produce good fruit.  Theirs is a thankless job – nobody enjoys being told that they are dead – but in the end, the plant will prosper and grow.  To not proclaim the call to righteousness and Holy Ghost conviction would make them derelict in their duty, and allow the tree to die.  There are those who are dying to see a Holy Ghost revival that will set the church on fire, and there are those who are content with the status quo and would rather be left alone with their comfortable churches.  We choose our own destiny.

Jesus told his disciples that they were ordained and chosen that they should go and bring forth fruit, and that their fruit should remain (John 15:16).  In other words, the whole reason you got saved was to go and tell others the Truth so that they could have Life.

But there has to be an excitement alive in the church to produce new growth and vibrancy.  The church has to be on fire! You know you’re growing, not when you feel good at church, but when there is a constant flow of brand-new lost souls coming in to get saved. But if there’s no moving of the Spirit to bring in new souls to Life, then the sap is not flowing. And if the sap is not flowing through you, then you’re just a dead branch waving in the wind.  And a branch that doesn’t bring forth good fruit is…well…, it’s dead.

And you know what happens to dead branches.

Brother Dale,  dale@revivalfire.org

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