Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘apostasy’

Since so many people have responded favorably about these Nigerian chapters, here’s one more – 


I haven’t been sending much out in the way of reports on this trip to Nigeria because it’s as if I have been in a cloud.  I feel like I am walking under some kind of spiritual oppression and I just can’t seem to get a grip on what to tell folks back home.

The first two weeks here have been good. My messages were breaking ground with a lot of pastors because they remember that 40 years ago when the old powerhouses were here preaching and revival was burning, this very same message that I am preaching was alive in the churches here. As one pastor put it, they used to be so desperate to win souls that they would go out into the streets to take the Gospel to the lost, but now they have retreated back into their churches, waiting for the sinners to come to them instead.  Something died in the Church when that happened, and they want it back.

My core message is that the Gospel is not about you, but is about others, and this resonates loudly with many of these pastors.  They get it.  But there are some who do not. The prevalent message of blessings, prosperity, and a more abundant life in Jesus always has more appeal than a message of blood, sacrifice and death.

Most of the people out in the congregations get it also, but sometimes it is only for the moment. Put one of these prosperity preachers up behind me that will proclaim showers of blessings and that this is your day of victory and deliverance, and the people jump to their feet cheering, forgetting everything that I just told them. Like any good con artists, these charlatans know exactly which buttons to push to get people on their feet. I watched in aghast after one of my messages when, as the bishop was dismissing the crowd, gave one more prosperity call to give him money – the obvious promise, of course, being that if you want God to bless you, you have to bless the bishop.  He stood there with his hand out taking money like a man selling raffle tickets.  At least with raffle tickets you stand a chance of winning something.

After so many years of being fed this American version of the Prosperity Gospel, it is going to take patience to turn this ship around. Many have itching ears and are more willing to heap to themselves teachers that will tell them what their ears itch to hear than to offer their lives as a holy sacrifice.

But not everybody.  Many have come back to me to tell me that the message has transformed their outlook and that they will take the message and carry the torch to others.  God will raise up those whom He will use to change the world. There may not be many. Jesus only had eleven men to entrust the entire world to and look what they did.

All we can do is cast our bread upon the waters and let God do what only He can do.

Read Full Post »

Another post from the Nigeria-2012 booklet.


Nigeria has been hard. I knew there would be a battle, but I didn’t expect the intensity of what we have faced here. But it is in the thick smoke of battle that warriors are forged, and I expect we will see God raise up a crop of serious Christians who, because they were born in adversity, will rise to the challenge He has placed before them.  I just hope I’m not one of them, because I’m getting tired in my old age.

Beyond the accompanying physical troubles and afflictions that I and those who are with me have faced here, the greatest challenge Nigeria faces is to be able to pierce through the smoke of satanic deception. The real enemy to be concerned with is not the Muslims extremists or any of the sinners – it is the Church.

What’s new?  Christianity’s perpetual enemy has always been the organized “ecclesiastical powers that be”. Who sold Joseph into slavery? Who chased David in the wilderness? Who delivered Jesus to be crucified? Who slaughtered millions of Christians throughout the Middle Ages?  What is this deep animosity that possesses the soul of the Church once it becomes entrenched into society? Within a few generations, a moment that was once birthed in blood and persecution often becomes the persecutor.

As you walk down any street in Nigeria, even out in the rural villages, you can count the churches lining up every few hundred yards or so.  You may have three and four of them in the same building! Posters are everywhere proclaiming the showers of blessings, a night of miracles, and your time of deliverance if you will just come to their meeting.

If you rise up to expose these lies, you are threatening the very existence of these preachers who have sucked the fat out of these poor people, and they will work tirelessly to stop you. In the same way, Jesus threatened the power of the Pharisees when He preached about repentance and took away their power of Levitical judgment. And they killed Him for it.

Satan knows that no revival will come without repentance, and that is where he must draw his battle lines.  He is armed with a myriad of lies that have worked for 6,000 years and his polished talents as the world’s smoothest liar. We, on the other hand, are armed with the Word of God, but we need courage to swing that sword in battle. Sounds easy, but come to Nigeria and start exposing these lies of prosperity and false blessings and you will see your stamina, your courage, and even your faith challenged like you have not experienced anywhere else.

Revival is coming, but it will not come without a fight. This will be a fight, not of physical challenges, but of the ethereal issues of spiritual deception – a much more difficult and insidious struggle than we face in the flesh. This is not for the faint-hearted. Only those who have the wisdom and spiritual discernment that comes from the fear of God need apply.  All others would fall into the delusion of Satan’s hypnotic sway.

And that is what has happened to so many in the Church who, at one time, launched into the Gospel with all fire and zeal, only to become sophisticated and succumb to the Sirens of Prosperity and a Worldly Gospel.

[the complete booklet, Nigeria-2012, and other booklets like that are available at: revivalfire.org/booklets.htm ]

 

Read Full Post »

Another article from the booklet, Nigeria-2012


Nigeria is a very different place. I’m not sure how different it is from the surrounding countries in West Africa, but it sure is a lot different than any of the other places in East Africa that I’ve been to.

Your first impression when you get off the plane feels slightly out of focus. On the surface, everything seems the same as other African countries, and yet there something that lies just beneath it that you can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s just different somehow.  A somber blanket lies in the air that lends a subdued feeling to everything. There isn’t that feeling of color and laughter in the air.  It’s as if Nigeria has stepped out of Technicolor into a world that is colored in shades of grey. Life is a serious undertaking here.

Is it the culture? Is it just the way it is?  Or is it something deeper than that makes everything seem so drab – something deeply spiritual in nature?

I have spent the last two weeks bringing a message of revival to several churches whose hearts are turned to God for something other than the same old stuff that they have been hearing.  Something different has to happen. Their desperation for a true move of God is rising and pushing past the ineffective platitudes of blessings and good things that have been promised to them free of charge. It’s not working and they know it.  I am embarrassed to say that these messages of false prosperity and unmerited blessings have poured forth from America, and so many innocent people have believed that, because America has been so blessed, this message must be true.

By now, however, they are beginning to realize that it’s not working.  Something is missing.  This is not the same gospel that our grandfathers preached and they are not getting the same results.  We have forgotten something along the way as we followed the Pied Pipers of Prosperity and Blessings off into a modern Gospel that is softer and more “loving” than that old message of repentance and the fear of God. Our Bible colleges churned out a new generation of pastors and taught them to discard the old God of Judgment for a new God of Love.  And in the process, we lost something so vital in the Church that we don’t know how to find our way back.

Satan has done such a complete job of turning our focus onto ourselves that we don’t even realize how far we have turned from the Cross.  The message that I bring is predicated upon the concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about you – it is about others – and revival will not come until we turn our focus to the lost that are dying in sin.   But no matter how hard I drive this message home, I will often hear another preacher get up right after me an promise the same people all kinds of new blessings, new deliverances, new miracles in their lives … all for free!  And the crowd that just bowed their heads in recognition of their own self-serving ways will jump to their feet and cheer as this new preacher promises them all kinds of blessings and negates everything that I just preached.  Just human nature, I guess.

Revival is not free — neither is it cheap — and breaking through this cloud that covers their Pollyanna Gospel mindset, not only in Nigeria but all across Africa, is essential before any move of God will come. Is this the spiritual cloud I feel here that sucks the life and joy out of the very air? Could it be that Satan has entrenched himself here in Nigeria as his last stand of resistance to stop revival at any cost? Is Nigeria the last bastion of darkness that must be conquered to allow the Great African Revival to break forth?

Many here believe that Nigeria is highly chosen for this great move of God and that is why Satan has concentrated his darkness to destroy this nation.  It is not the sinners he must control; it’s the Christians.  And what better way than to lull them into a false sense of security with a “love gospel” that has worked since he first used it in the Garden of Eden.  It’s all about you. Don’t worry.  Hakuna Matata. Thou shalt not surely die because God loves you. Here, take a bite.

There are heroes here in Nigeria. Men and women who are willing to take a stand that will invoke the ire of the Church in an attempt to wake them up.  Many will hear the call of the trumpet and rise to the challenge.  Many will not, but will resist and attack those who will. Battle lines are forming, choices are being made, and destinies are being decided.  It is a time for war, and Nigeria is the battleground.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;”  (Joel 2:1)

Read Full Post »

[Here’s another post from the Nigeria-2012 booklet that I thought I’d pass on. There’s a couple more that I’ll send later. — Dale ]


It’s the eyes that get you.

All the shouting and the praising is great, but it is when you look into their eyes and see the sincerity of their heart that you really know that God is doing something special here. It’s not just another meeting to sing some songs and hear about how much God wants to bless you and bring you into some vaunted abundant life.  The stuff we saw tonight is down to the roots of the soul – serious dedication to do whatever it takes to have revival.

Nigeria is very different from East Africa in that this is a serious people. You do not see the color and gaiety here that you find in Kenya, but neither do you see the lackadaisical attitude that you find in East Africa. Nigerians work hard and have a more serious outlook on life.  Their approach to the Gospel reflects that same attitude.  Whereas in Kenya, the shouting and singing may be louder initially, their ardor begins to wane when it comes time to dig in and do the work of the Gospel. Nigerians, on the other hand, may not be so open and emotional, but they seem to have a more serious fixation on the hard facts of the price that must be paid to have a true revival.

A prominent pastor here told me that they have been fasting and praying for revival but God is not answering.  Something is wrong, and they want to know what it is.  Now that is a serious cry for revival!  This is past the singing and dancing and enters into the serious reality of what God requires. The Altar of God is not a place of singing and dancing, but of blood and sacrifice and death.

One of the biggest lies that Satan has sold the Church is that we can just sit in our little pews and God will have mercy on us and send us revival.  Sorry, but if you do nothing, nothing will happen.  Mercy is not handed out free – it must be paid for.  Mercy begets mercy, unto the merciful He will show Himself merciful, and as James tells us, judgment shall be without mercy on those who have shown no mercy.  What a trip the devil has put us on!  And we believed him!  Or should that be in the present tense?

But these guys know differently.  They know there is a price to pay for everything in God – everything. And the price for a full Holy Ghost revival is extremely high.  That’s why they are so rare – nobody wants to pay that price.  That is precisely why you have to be desperate in order to see revival come.  So desperate that you are like Rachael in Genesis 30:1, “Give me souls or else I will die!”  So desperate that you are willing to give your life so that souls can be saved.  If you are not, you will not see a real Holy Ghost revival because you won’t do what it takes to get one.  You’ll just have some really good “church”.

But these people tonight have had enough of “church”.  They are ready for whatever God has placed before them and are ready to answer the call of the trumpet that is blowing in Zion – the call to the last battle between God and Satan for the souls of Man.

You could see it in their eyes as they came in droves to kneel at the altar.  The entire church came down — even the ushers!  They emptied themselves of their self-interest and pride as they ripped their hearts wide open to repent and surrender all to Jesus.  The passion at the altar was only surpassed by the cries of “hallelujah” that were so loud that my ears over-amped!  There was victory in the church tonight.

When you see a serious dedication like that, you can expect serious results.  I have no doubt that their passion will carry them into the Word of God to give them the power to fast and pray for God to build a fire in their church.  And then watch as that fire spills out into the streets to bring in the lost and dying into that same Holy Ghost blaze.

Just as in childbirth, revivals are birthed in pain and labor and travail. They also end up with the same kind of rejoicing.

Read Full Post »

I have a dozen or so booklets from different trips that I had taken in Africa.I was reading  the booklet I had written from the trip to Nigeria in 2012 and thought it would be good to pass along the first chapter. I think I will also send the other chapters in the next few days.


“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27)

Nigeria is like no other place I have been. As the most populous country in Africa, the pressure of their dense population tends to make them a stronger, more aggressive culture.  That is both good and bad – that which is bad is really bad, but that which is good is really good. I saw some of the really good this evening.

The church where I am preaching at for three days is on a campaign to start a true Holy Ghost revival.  As the revivalist guest speaker, I am a major part of that plan.  I tell them what to do to have revival, and they go out and put it into practice.  My goal is that they will grab hold of a vision that will claim their entire community for Christ, and have the faith to believe that they can change the world.  And they can … they just have to have to want it bad enough.

It has to start somewhere, and tonight they started with an open air crusade.  Outdoor crusades do not work well in America – at least as far as I have seen – but they sure work well here in Africa.  At the end of the service tonight, at least 50-60 souls came to the altar to get saved, got plugged into one of the local churches here, and were instructed on what to do next in their Christian walk.  This is pure religion.  It does not get any better, deeper, heavier, or more important than this.

In contrast, our churches have developed a more layered and sophisticated way of operating.  I guess it is only natural given that the Church today has become very much like a corporate business.  Aspiring pastors apply for positions at various churches just like a job applicant fresh out of business school. Once hired, salaries are set, job descriptions and responsibilities are defined, and positions are secured. They start at Youth Pastor (why do we put our most inexperienced clergy In the most sensitive position?) and move on up through the different departments until they arrive at the pinnacle of Senior Pastor.  Programs are instituted, goals are voted on, methods are applied, and the whole machinery of church is organized.

This is denominational religion.  Like it or not, complain, criticize, or praise it, this is how it is done — and I suppose it works well enough for what it is supposed to accomplish — but what I experienced this evening was pure religion. This was raw “go out and get ‘em” Christianity — out in the street, face to face where they live.  Nothing complicated.  Just do it.

I tell the churches I preach at that if they are sitting in church waiting for souls to come, they will wait forever.  They’re not coming.  You know why?  Because they are afraid they will become just like us.  (You can always hear everyone groan when I say that). “Go ask them”, I tell them, “They will tell you.”

What they want is the real thing. They’ve already heard the message – probably know it better than most “church people” – but they’re not interested in what you believe, what you say, or what new fancy programs you got going.  They want the real thing – they want to see the power.  They don’t want the Gospel that is the philosophy of God – defined, analyzed, organized, packaged, and digested in your theological books and scholastic dissertations.  They want the Gospel that is the power of God unto Salvation. Raw power; raw truth.  And if they don’t see it in your church, is it a small wonder why they are not coming?

Proverbs tells us that he that winneth souls is wise.  This evening, over fifty people out here changed their eternal destination and escaped burning in Hell for Eternity.  I saw more wisdom in the simple zeal and faith of these people to go out and do this one thing than in all the sophisticated Bible College programs that our modern religions can muster.

I’m sure the scribes will object … but then, they always have, haven’t they?

“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

(Luke 14:34-35)

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 »

One of the messages that I have brought many times is the story in chapter 14 of 1st Samuel about Jonathan, the son of King Saul. It was one of the very first messages that the Lord brought to me about revival. Over time, it has grown to encompass messages about the necessity of the Word of God and prayer in bringing revival and the need for a vision for God.

King Saul had mustered 330,000 men of war to defeat the Philistines, but then sent them all home after the victory except for 3,000 men. But guess what happens when you lay down your defenses. The enemy will attack. And that is what happened to Saul.

The Philistines came with more than a hundred thousand men, and the men of Israel fled to the caves and dens of the rocks. Only 600 men remained, but none of them had a sword. Only Saul and Jonathan had swords. What happened to all the swords? When we do not maintain our grasp of our sword, the Word of God, we lose our defense against the enemy.

But Jonathan was not like his father. He was a man of vision for God. The circumstances around him did not matter. It was not how big the enemy was that he saw, but how big his God was. Jonathan turned to his armor bearer and said, “…There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)

And up the mountain he went.

Jonathan climbed up that hill on his hands and knees, just as we must do battle on our knees with our hands clasped in prayer. At the top of that hill, as Jonathan wielded his sword, twenty men fell before him. That is the power of the Word of God when it is joined with prayer that contends all the way to the top of the mountain.

But that was not what made the revival break out. What did twenty men matter in the face of 100,000? What good would such a small effort do to bring down such overwhelming odds? Why bother with those little out-of-the-way churches with small congregations? How can God possibly use such puny things to spark a worldwide revival? I don’t know. I just know He is God, and that’s what He does.

God saw the faithfulness of a man who simply believed God and took hold of a vision for God that spurred him to action. Jonathan never looked at the situation around him, but he looked beyond the horizon to a God that was bigger than any problem and any army of the enemy. He had the courage to believe God. That courage drove him up that hill. Had he stayed at the bottom, nothing would have happened and Israel would have been destroyed.

But when God saw that faithfulness, the earth began to quake and the rocks began to fall and the entire Philistine army began to run for their lives. They went down killing each other in their panic to flee.

And the Israelites that had run to hide in the caves? They came out and began to chase the enemy. In like manner, when real revival breaks out, all those Christians that have run to the caves and dens to hide because of their discouragement with a dead religion, will suddenly see what they had been looking for in a new revived outpouring of the Holy Ghost, and will come forth.

This is the picture of revival that I see. It is not by might or by power but by the Spirit of God that revival will come. It is the little people of the Faith, not the big shots, which God will used to bring this great, end-time move of God just before Jesus comes back.

Revival is coming. But it is not coming to everybody. Only to those who answer the call and are willing to climb up that mountain, armed with the Word of God and the power of prayer. We need Jonathans with vision to lead the way up that mountain so that God will shake the earth once more.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Read Full Post »

We are on the road to Tsavo, the area where man-eating lions once terrorized the railway workers many years ago. Richie is driving while I am writing this because I am way too tired by the time I get back to the hotel to write down our experiences. I have to do it on the road.

We just finished two days out in the bush country outside the town of Kibwezi. There is not much rain out here. A dry and gritty red dirt is everywhere, as are the big, fat Baba trees that have trunks that are ten feet wide with little stubby branches. There’s not much water out here, so the roots of these trees are unbelievably expansive and wide, searching for water in a dry and thirsty land.

The church here is a small mud building about 15×30. The walls are red mud packed into a lattice of sticks with the ever-present corrugated iron roof. Dirt floor, no windows, and a makeshift door – this is not your standard, everyday church like we would expect in America. This is the evidence of desperate faith and a desire to worship God where it is not convenient.

I was here with my two girls 10 years ago, and they still remember. They tell me that I am the only white guy who has ever come out here to bring the gospel. (I have heard that more than a few times before.) So yeah, naturally they remember me, but they also remember the Bibles I gave them and the Four Steps to Revival booklets. Some of them still have a copy after 10 years!

And they remember the message I gave. The pastor tells me that the church has grown and they have come from far to see me. He leans over and says, “They are so thirsty!”

I get choked up at that. All the big evangelists can keep the large auditoriums and huge church services. Let me have these little people out here who are so thirsty that they will walk 10 to 13 hours just to come hear the Word of God because “they are so thirsty”. Are they not the ones that the Lord told us to come to when He said, “Inasmuch as you have done this to the least of these, you have done it unto me”? (Matt. 25:40)

Sometimes I wonder how the Lord is going to turn this into a worldwide revival, but He quickly reminds me that He is God, and that’s what He does! Not my problem. My job is to show up; His job is to take it from there. All I can do is plant the seed in the dirt; He is the one that brings it to life. “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

Read Full Post »

“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” Acts 19:13

It always sounds so easy. Just say the words, clap your hands twice, click your heels, and kazaam!

I am so tired of hearing that all we have to do is speak positive words and it will bring life or blessings or healing or whatever we are trying so desperately to believe. But that isn’t faith talking; that’s presumption. Motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar may sound inspiring and fill you with neat sayings that make you feel good, but that doesn’t make them prophets of God. The power of positive thinking does not equate to the power of the blood of Jesus.

Those sons of Sceva in the above chapter of Acts saw all the miracles that Paul did and naturally figured that if they did the same things and said the words that they would get the same results. Except they were missing the one thing that made all the difference – the power that only comes through a crucified walk before God in deep, broken subjection to the Spirit of God. Everyone wants to be a prophet, but no one wants to pay the price.

Instead we grasp for shortcuts in our lives. We hypothesize. Just say the words, and it will come to pass. “This will be your year of blessings and prosperity …” Oh, wait a minute. Didn’t we hear that last year? And the year before?

Or how about this? “Call those things which be not as though they were …” And so we run around speaking things into the air to make them happen. But that’s not faith either; that is sorcery. You go to Hogsworth to learn that.

Faith has to be built (Jude 1:20); it is not wished into being. And there is a price for it, just as there is a price for everything in God. Anything other than that is just wishful thinking and will not produce lasting and full results. Every great man or woman of God had their 40 years in the backside of a desert before they were ever brought forth by God to exercise His power.

Ah, but that’s not what we want to hear, is it? We want everything to be quick ‘n’ easy in our microwave society. Snap your fingers and be healed!

And the demon taunted back to the sons of Sceva, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

He knew who Paul was. I’m sure Paul was famous in hell. Why? Because Paul, unlike Sceva’s lightweight sons, had paid the price in blood, tears, and prayer. He had stormed the gates of hell armed with a faith that had been built one block at a time, and he had declared victory in the blood of Jesus Christ over everything Satan had thrown at him. Oh yes, that demon knew who Paul was … and he feared.

But empty words of presumption based on a theological faith without any suffering, blood, or effort will not turn back the tides of darkness. Faith is built one precept at a time, and power in God is brought forth out of the crucified depths of prayer. There is a price for power in God, and it is not cheap or easy.

That is why we see so many false prophets running around the church today, like Pied Pipers declaring all the things that our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). Our church world has become little more than a revolving social circuit of entertaining speakers speaking great swelling words of encouragement to a church that instead is in desperate need of repentance. Instead of bringing us into the fear of the Lord, they are leading us in the power of positive thinking. In doing so, are leading us away from the altar of repentance which is the one place we need to be in order to see revival.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

 

Subscribe!

 

 

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 »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »