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Posts Tagged ‘christian’

It feels like I’ve been in a whirlwind here in Liberia. After a quick introduction on Sunday, I was launched into a fierce set of meetings, morning and night, for three days.

I am not a calm and casual preacher. I pour my heart and soul into the message the entire time I am on my feet. Actually, it is more a matter of allowing the Holy Spirit to pour like a river through me. When I am done an hour later, I am completely drained, soaked in sweat, and barely able to stand. This is how it always is for me.

After the morning service, my driver takes me back to the hotel where I collapse for a couple hours, shower, and head back for the evening session. Then back to the hotel when we are done and repeat. I’m okay, but I’m getting a little fuzzy.

But the response is great! The Spirit of the Lord connects with everyone immediately. It’s as if they are already prepped and ready with open hearts to receive everything God has for them, and He rejoices in giving to them. I rarely know what I am going to say before I get up, but as soon as I do, I can feel the Lord turn me into His message for the service. Then it is a matter of just hanging on and following the flow of the river that He pours out. For the next hour, I am in that flow and am barely aware of anything else. And then when it is done, it is done.

I am told that this is the way preachers in America used to preach back a generation or so ago. It was never a matter of preparing your message, but more a matter of preparing yourself to yield unto the leading of the Holy Ghost. Open your mouth and He will fill it. But now, Bible colleges teach our young all the methods of outline and organization to fully prepare your speech or lecture to the congregation. And if you feel lost, that’s okay because you can simply purchase your message off the internet for a small sum, complete with video, outline and bulleted points. How convenient! Maybe they also have the canned applause.

But stale bread and sour wine will never inspire hungry souls.

There’s no faking it here. The Spirit of God is moving too strongly with these people. I am continually told that they don’t like American preachers because we do not preach the same message we did 50 years ago. I have literally heard that hundreds of times. They like our money and will come to the great mega crusades because we pay their pastors to bring their churches, but the next day after they are gone, everything goes back to the way it was.

Is it a small wonder that we are seeing so many miracles here and so few in America? Yesterday, just to make a point, I had one person who was in pain stand up and another person come over to pray over her. Healed! Then I did it again. And again. Each time the healing was immediate. I can do this all across Africa, from Kenya to Liberia any day of the week.

Why is that? Maybe they just expect a miracle. Maybe they just need God more than we do. Maybe a lot of things. I honestly don’t know. I will leave it to the smart theologians to write a book on how to do healings – they’ve never done it themselves, but I’m sure they can tell us all about how its supposed to be done.

What is my point? Theology and modern religion has lost it’s heart. We’ve become institutional and programmed to the point that we have lost the art of surrender. We know too much. The Bread we bring forth is no longer fresh from the oven of the Altar. It’s stale, hard, dry and tasteless. Our wine has gone sour and is more like vinegar than the wine of the Holy Spirit. We need revival so bad that it hurts.

But we are the last to realize it.

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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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“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”

“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander…” 1stTimothy 1:5-7,20

I don’t ever want be one of those guys that your pastor warns you about. They’re right there in church in the midst of everyone, and they think they are so right that they have to make sure everyone knows it. But they’re not. But they don’t know it.

Imagine being someone that like. You know that there is a separation between you and everyone else, especially the leadership of the church, and yet you excuse it away by thinking that it is because you are just a little bit better than them. After all, you know you’re right, but most people just don’t understand. After all, the Bible does say in Proverbs that they that seek the Lord understand all things. That must explain why others just don’t get it and you do. What a trap of delusion, and how easy it is to fall into!

What a surprise awaits them! All the way up to their last breath they think they are so right with God, and then in an instant, their reality crashes down on them. The sad thing is that their time of boasting is so fleeting, but their judgment is forever.

I don’t want to be one of those guys, so how do I make sure that I do not fall into that trap? I can only think of three things:

  1. Focus on others.
    One of the principles of revival that I preach is that the Gospel is not about you; it is about others. Throughout the Bible, the Lord directs our focus to others, others, others. I always say that if you don’t get this, you will never understand the Cross, because that is the central reason why He came, and He tells us to do the same. (Matt. 16:24)
    Forget about yourself and focus on others. It will dissolve your pride and arrogance like hot water on butter.
  2. You don’t always have to be right.
    Let others have their opinion and perspective. It’s okay. You don’t have to take on the role of the Lord High Executioner or the Holy and Exalted Fruit Inspector. For crying out loud, let it go! Relax. You don’t have to correct all the world’s mistakes.
  3. You aren’t always right.
    Yeah, this goes with #2. Maybe, just maybe, you ain’t always right. That ever occur to you? You might even learn something if you kept your mouth shut. Maybe you’d learn that not only you are not what you think you are, but that it doesn’t matter anyway. This is not a matter of who gets the highest score at the Judgment Bar, or of how much “stuff” you know. Let me tell you, nobody cares. Especially not God. So whom are you trying to impress?

And that is probably the heart of the issue. People like that have a weakness somewhere inside them that Satan has exploited and that they are trying to compensate for. What is it that they are trying to prove? Maybe they don’t really think they’re better; maybe they’re just afraid they’re not.

The heart of this issue, however, is not just about us not falling into that trap, but of us having mercy by praying for those who have. (See #1).

After all, that is the whole point, isn’t it?

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“And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”  Isaiah 25:7

Jesus looking over world

Picture this for a moment.  World opinion has moved against Israel to the point that she has become a burdensome stone for the entire world.  The only hope that world leaders have for a lasting peace is to subjugate Israel and force her to bend to their decrees of submission.

Israel doesn’t want to do that.  They flat out refuse.  So the world press paints a picture of Israel as a rebellious, renegade nation that, in the eyes of the world, makes Israel look like such a serious threat to world peace that she must be forcibly crushed.

The armies of the world join to surround and destroy her.  Crowds cheer as they read that half of Jerusalem has been taken in ferocious fighting.  The Jews’ back is against the wall, the Death Knell has begun to ring, and victory is at hand.

And then, surprise, surprise!  Jesus Christ splits the skies and descends to fight for His people in a fury that the world has never known and will never forget.

Oops!

Now they know.  But how had they become so blinded?

According to the Scriptures, it is because they listened to their prophets.  They had been convinced that they were executing a righteous cause in the name of Peace.  They had chased all the old-fashioned preachers from the pulpits because they didn’t bring messages of peace and love, and the prophets that had called for the righteous indignation of the Lord were considered mean, divisive, and judgmental.

Didn’t those hellfire and brimstone preachers understand that the only way to peace was to accept all religions into an ecumenical World Religion?  Didn’t those hateful prophets understand that God was Love and all those divergent lifestyles were just a different way of approaching God?  Why were they preaching Hate?

Well, I guess the only real answer I can give is because it was the Truth.

Real prophets of God are not nice guys – they aren’t supposed to be.  And if my Bible is correct, they never appeared to be real high on whatever the religious order of the day was.  And some of them were pretty nasty about it.  But Preachers of courage divide between sin and righteousness, and will suffer persecution as a result of it.
(“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2Timothy 3:12)

Just in case you’re wondering which side God is on – He hates sin … and He hates the workers of iniquity (Psalms 5:5).  Pick your side … but choose wisely.

One only has to read the newspapers to see the march of radical individualism and humanism along with unrestrained Liberalism moving us into the free licentiousness of Sodom and Gomorrah. And it’s considered a godly and loving thing!  Boy, are we suckers.

But it’s all because we have chosen our own delusions, and we have allowed our prophets of peace and love to sell us a candy-coated gospel that seems so …um … nice.  This is the hour of temptation that will come to try the whole world.

It would be so easy to say that the way to see through this deception is to simply read and pray.  However, if that is not mixed with the fear of God, your understanding will be superficial at best.  Unfortunately, the fear of God is gradually being relegated to a four-lettered word and translated to the more acceptable “reverence” and “respect” instead of that “trembling” stuff or that “dread” that is written in the old King James.

But when that covering is cast away, we will see Him as He really is.

And then we will know.


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Trust in God is dependent upon your prayer life.

In today’s religious environment, we hear all about how we should trust God. Don’t worry about anything because God will take care of you. He loves you and will not let anything bad happen to you.  I’m sorry, but that is neither faith nor trust. That’s presumption.

Just because you say something or make some “prophetic” proclamation does not necessarily mean that it is true or will happen. But I often hear supposedly real Christians quote the passage in Romans 4:17, “…before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were”, and use it to claim that we can call things into creation or that just because we proclaim it, it has to happen.

Where did we get that from? That statement applies to God and God only. That does not give you power to “name it, and claim it”. Neither does it bequeath unto you power to make anything happen. To access power through the words you speak is sorcery, not faith.

1st Corinthians 4:20 tells us that the kingdom of God is NOT in word, but in power. Power in God – real power – does not come with the snap of your fingers. It is earned slowly the hard way. It comes from hours on your knees in deep, prevailing prayer. Your little “quiet time with Jesus” will not break through the holy of holies to pierce the heavens. Matthew 11:12 says that the violent take the kingdom of heaven by violence. Is that how you pray? Is your prayer room a place of battle, a contending before the Throne of God, and a place of violent spiritual warfare?

Crucifying your flesh through fasting and prayer breaks your fleshly desires and paves the way into the presence of God. The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. (Gal. 5:17)  We cannot get to a place of real power in God if we are still walking in uncrucified flesh. We have to break through ourselves first before we can see breakthroughs in our walk in God.

Everybody wants to be a prophet, but nobody wants to pay the price. They think it’s as easy as “speaking the word”.  Just click your heels together three times, hold a good thought, speak a word of prophesy, and BINGO! Just like that, we are in the Land of Oz!

We have lost the fear of God that should have kept us back from such foolish sin. Prophets of peace and prosperity abound because we love to hear fake prophesies about our prosperity and blessings, but real prophets of God who are called to bring us to repentance, (Jer. 23:22) are rejected as being too judgmental, hard, caustic, and legalistic. So we heap up to ourselves teachers that tell us what our itching ears want to hear (2Tim. 4:3). But God says that because we did not love the truth, He would turn us over to believe a lie (2Thess. 2:10-12)

To fully trust God, you must find your place in Him – that secret place of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) – and when you have touched the Throne of God, you know that you know that you know that you have solid confidence that your trust in God is not based on wishful thinking or presumptuous flesh, but upon your communion with God Himself.

You get your trust in Him when you touch the Throne of God,

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[This is a re-post from 2015]

Touch the Cross

Jesus on the Cross“If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.”  
– Bildad the Shuhite, (Job 8:6).

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” 
– Paul, (Philippians 1:29)

There has been a shift in our view of the personality of God.  I noticed it taking hold of the evangelical church world about 30 years ago, and it has established itself more firmly ever since.

The old fashioned view of a God of judgment has been mollified to one of a kinder, gentler God who was more attuned to a loving relationship with His children.  The old brush arbor revivalists are considered too hard in their outlook, mocked in Hollywood films, and are brushed aside as narrow-minded zealots who did not understand the mercy of God.  We have assumed that we have a better understanding of God because we are somehow more enlightened.

We have shifted our focus to the blessings, the love and mercy, and the goodness of God.  Yes, judgment is still there, but has been relegated more to the shadows off-stage than out in the spotlight.  The Fear of God, although undeniably written throughout the Word of God, has been analytically digested and presented as being more by the precept of men (Isaiah 29:13) than the emotionally charged issue of actual dread and fear (Isaiah 8:13).  God is now our Daddy.

Because there has been no momentous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in recent memory, we, like the Israelites of Sinai, feel that Moses had taken too long to come down from the mountain, so we’ve fashioned our own gods that have supposedly delivered us out of Egypt.

Seems to work pretty well.  It certainly feels much better, and is much more palatable than walking around under the cloud of intense holiness like our forefathers did.  It makes much more sense to the carnal mind.  After all, if you get saved, God will love you and pour out His unconditional Love all over you, right?.  No more dark valleys to walk through, no more refining fire to strip away your flesh, and no more sufferings of the Cross to bear.

It made sense to Bildad the Shuhite.

But not to Paul.

We are inundated with an easy Gospel that promises a wonderful time in Jesus.  We proclaim that there will be a great revival soon, and we sing and dance to the rhythm of the message, but we have not considered the price.  Our pastors who have taken over the pulpits in the last 20-some-odd years have regurgitated the message they heard in Bible College and are not even aware that something is missing.  But hey, it sure feels good, doesn’t it?

So we continue to sing and dance and line up for someone can touch us so we can fall down on the floor in euphoria, but we never notice our lack of depth and brokenness, nor do we consider that old crucified walk that our fathers trod to establish the Church.

We want to touch the Cross; but not bear it.

 

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When I think of the two gospels that I see in America, I sometimes think of that Robert Frost poem, “two paths diverged in a yellow wood …”. One gospel is so well accepted that not many people today even know that there is another one. Sure, they’ve heard of it, but often with criticism and distain. They are much more enamored with a kinder, gentler gospel that has been tailored for this generation. It is almost universally accepted today as a much more enlightened view of the love of God than those old fashioned folks that used to preach about fear and hell. They don’t even remember anyone who has preached that old gospel.

I must be older than I thought. I’ll be 70 in a few weeks, so I guess I am. I still remember that old-time gospel. It was what I got saved with. And it was the message that we saw thousands of others get saved with. Our altars were full every single night and twice on Sundays. People were repenting on their knees in the church, on the phone, on the streets, and over the radio. In the course of ten years, we saw close to 100,000 souls get saved, and it was with that old fashioned gospel of hell, fire, brimstone, and the fear of God.

It sure seemed like it was working to me, but then, hey, what do I know? Nowadays, these kids have titles and degrees and fancy diplomas to hang on the wall that certify that they know stuff. All kinds of stuff.  And lots of it too.  I guess eating off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil can really fill you up because the Bible says that “knowledge puffeth up”.

Leonard Ravenhill once said that we used to have preachers with no degrees but lots of heat, but now we have preachers with lots of degrees and no heat. I wonder if there is a connection.

Those who pursue ecclesiastical paths rarely see their divergence from the message that their forefathers preached, and when they do, they dismiss that old fashioned gospel as old, caustic, and unnecessarily hard. And yet, you would think that the vast difference in results would give them a clue. The altars of those old-timers were hot and on fire. They won thousands of souls on a continual, daily basis, whereas the altars of this generation are bare and cold with mere handfuls of repentant souls. When we need it the most, we have the least response.

Perhaps our ears are so full of “church” that we can’t hear.

“… and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”. (Revelations 3:17)

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