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Where I grew up as a kid back East, everyone lived in neighborhoods.  The people who lived on your street were part of the neighborhood, almost like an extended family.  In a strange way, we were all connected by our neighborhood – it defined us, shaped us, and supported us in ways that exceeded even our families.

I see Life in a similar way.  We all live in a City of Life, and we have chosen to reside in certain social neighborhoods within that City.  These neighborhoods are defined by their jobs and careers, their moral or immoral values, or by their hobbies and pastimes.  Whatever it is in Life that drives our hearts is what determines our social neighborhood.  It is not the physical streets of brick and pavement, but the avenues of the heart where we really reside, and our neighborhoods are populated by those whose life’s pursuits are the same as ours.

Just as in the physical world, there are a lot of reasons why we choose our spiritual neighborhoods.  Some of us just settle for wherever we live, while most of us move around the City of Life until we find the group that we feel most comfortable in.  And, of course, there are always the homeless that wander around with no home at all.

Throughout the City are many different precincts that overlap and share streets with other groups, some crisscrossing each other, some running parallel, and others merging for a short distance before diverging from one another.  We see each other in the marketplace, waving hello to friends from the Political neighborhood, the Military compound, the Business precinct, and others, but at the end of the day, we always come home to the street that we live on.

The Spiritual neighborhood that I moved to many years ago is unique in that all the streets here point to the ocean. While other neighborhoods are focused on the present, the Spiritual neighborhood looks to an eternal land that lies over the Sea of Death. There are a few distinct major areas in this neighborhood each with their own main thoroughfares heading to the coast – Christian Blvd, Islam Blvd, Hindu Ave. and a few other less broad streets – but since the seacoast is very irregular, they all point in different directions.

If one was to look at the ocean to which these streets lead, you would see many bridges leading out to sea.  Almost all of them extend over the horizon, but there is only one that that makes it all the way across to the land on other side of the ocean.  From where you stand on the seashore, you can’t see the other side of this great ocean, so it is hard to see which one of these bridges is the true Bridge.  Some people believe that all the bridges will join together somewhere out there over the ocean, so it really doesn’t matter which one you travel on, but most folks believe that there is only one that makes it all the way across.  All the others fall short.  Of course, everyone believes that their bridges is the only one that makes it all the way to the eternal life that awaits them on the other side.

Each of these neighborhoods have a myriad of side streets, all claiming to be the best street to lead directly to the true Bridge.  Some people have spent a lot of time figuring out why their street is the correct one and offer reams of analytical scholasticisms to prove their point.  Others just assume that theirs is the best and could care less why.

That would be fine if it wasn’t for all the friction that this causes.  I have watched a lot of neighborhood rumbles take place, not only between the main Spiritual sections of town, but also between the smaller neighborhoods within each section.  Turf wars can be bloody, or they can be calm dissertations of futility, but they all serve one purpose to identify which street you belong to.

Why are they so contentious?  Well, one could say that it is because they don’t want the others to ignorantly fall off into the ocean by taking a long walk off a short pier.  But then why do they get so angry and adamant?  Maybe they are really just trying to prove to themselves that their neighborhood is the right neighborhood, and their street really is the best street – or at least it seems that way, especially to folks from other parts of the City who, from a distance, watch these skirmishes (or crusades, depending upon which side you are on).

I saw myself standing under a streetlamp looking at my roadmap.  There are several Maps, one for each neighborhood with several different versions, each claiming to be better than the others.  The funny thing is that, even with the same version of the same map, people from different streets see different directions.  I’m not sure if that is a matter of perspective or choice, but it sure can seem confusing if you don’t know where you are going. 

I’m not sure why they like those other streets.  Some of them are very dark like Wicca St., some have artificial fluorescent lighting like Mormon Ave., and others are broad and easy streets that were built a long time ago like Presbyterian Blvd.  I suppose that they like the look and feel of their own street because it appeals to the desires of their hearts.  Some like dark streets so they can hide in the nooks and crannies there, others like to have their own lighting systems that they have made up themselves, while others could care less how bright it is as long as they don’t have to change the light bulbs.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I chose to live on my particular street in the Christian neighborhood because the streetlights are brighter here, and I can see better on this street than some of the dark alleyways chosen by some of my neighbors.  Mine isn’t a broad avenue like some of the others – it is strait and narrow – but it is brightly lit.

There is no doubt in my mind that this street leads directly to that Bridge over the Sea of Death and will ultimately take me to my eternal home.  The map I am holding points me in a simple and clear direction, so I don’t have to guess as long as I keep that map before me.  I can feel the ocean breeze coming down the street and can hear the sounds of the seagulls, and down at the end of the street, I can see a faint glow that filters through the haze on the horizon.  As I walk the length of this street, I can smell the scent of Beulah Land that lies over the ocean. 

This is the way, not because I think so, or because my parents settled on this street, or because of my friends and neighbors live here, but because I can hear the sound that calls me over the sea to a land that is fairer than day.

… And that’s what leads me on.

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I have just finished the latest revision to the book, Four Steps to Revival. A week ago, I sent out the Introduction to the book. Today, I am sending the Conclusion. The rest of the book is available on Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999469401

Conclusion

The things I have related to you in this book are all written in the Word of God, and they shall come to pass. There have been great revivals in times past, but the great revival that is promised in Joel 2:23 and Isaiah 32 has yet to be fulfilled. Six times the prophet Joel identified the time for this revival would be just before the Day of the Lord.

This timing makes perfect sense, because the spiritual conditions just before the time of His second coming will be the same as they were just before His first coming. The prophet Isaiah said that Jesus was a root out of dry ground (Isaiah 53:2). A spiritual drought left all of Israel dying of thirst for a new move from God just before Jesus’ first coming. There were synagogues and Pharisees in every town, but just the rumor of this prophet rising out of Israel caused thousands of simple farmers to drop their plows and walk long distances to the Jordan River to hear Him speak. It will be even drier just before He returns, the perfect setting for revival. I don’t know how long it will last or when it will break forth, but I do know it is coming.

But it is not coming to the church world as we know it today. God will give the churches a certain space of time to repent, and they will not repent. Why should they? They do not feel they have to. Revival would be nice, but they don’t feel the desperate need to have one at any cost. The sad thing about apostasy is that the same blankets of comfort and ease that the church covers herself with are the same blankets that cover her ability to see. She is the last to realize how dead she is, even though it is blatantly clear to everyone around her.

The church of Laodicea, as Jesus described in Revelation, is alive in our churches today. She thinks she is rich and increased with the blessings of God, but she is blinded by her comfort and cannot see how far she has fallen from where she once was. Denominations that were once forged in the fires of revival have now become social organizations—sophisticated, rich, organized, theologically correct, and proud of a heritage they no longer possess. Their pride will not allow them to repent, and so the flames on their candlesticks slowly fade away as they sit complacently in the increasing shadows that grow around them. The fire that once burned so hot has simmered down to coals and ashes that are now only lukewarm (Revelation 3:16).

God will raise up stones in their place. Spread across the land is a Gideon generation that wants something more than just “church as usual.” These are the people God will call out of those dead institutions to forge Joel’s army for this last great battle between God and Satan for the souls of man.

There is no question that this last great revival will come. It will come. The Holy Spirit is sounding the trumpet. The question is, will you answer the call? If you do not, then you will end up standing on the sidelines watching as the fire of God falls on some other church that was willing to do what you were not. The choice is yours.

Friend, we are living in the most exciting time of all history. A terrible spiritual war is coming, and it is for such a time as this that we are called to stand in this final battle. This is the final culmination of the conflict that has gone on since the beginning of time. Heroes will be forged during this final battle that will shine throughout eternity. I pray that you will be one of them.

Answer the call, rise to the challenge, and have the courage to believe God for the greatest revival of all time.

Brother Dale

www.Revivalfire.org

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We have just republished a new edition of Four Steps to Revival. Besides some editing and rearranging, there had not been enough focus on how to witness and win souls. There will never be enough that can be said on that topic, but at least we have given it some more focus in this edition.  Here is the Introduction to the book. The rest of the book is available on Amazon:

“The word revival is, in most cases, a misnomer because it suggests bringing a dead body back to life again. But throughout history, the great moves of God have been more of a rebellion against an established religious system that had grown cold and secular. Once a body is dead, resuscitation will not bring it back to life. A new life springing up in a new body is needed, not the resurrection of the old apostate system that has died.

I believe that revival is the best hope for a solution to the deep spiritual problems that face our world today. As do many other Christians who have been watching biblical prophecy unfold in the news, I strongly believe that we are living in the last days. While many believe we have little cause to worry because they expect to be raptured out of the troubles that are coming upon the face of the earth, I believe that the church will not only face them but will go through them until Jesus’ second coming occurs.

Shakespeare wrote, “All the world is a stage.” That is truer than what he might have suspected. All the politics, business, careers, and hobbies of our lives are merely the things in life that we go through that ultimately determine our eternal destiny. The church is supposed to be the landmark and lighthouse that points the way to heaven to a society that is often forgetful of the dual realities of the natural and the spiritual world we live in.

When the church loses its vibrancy and its light grows dim, however, we find ourselves easily enamored with the other things that make up our lives. Our focus shifts from our eternal destiny to our present world, and the urgency of eternal judgment takes a backseat to the more immediate sensory inputs from the world around us. We soon lose our way, forget that this stage we are on is only a test, and lose our edge on what is really important. Life becomes complicated with thorns and snares that pull us with an ever-increasing compulsion further away from true salvation in Jesus Christ.

The only solution for this is a heaven-sent Holy Ghost revival, the kind that breaks out of the sky, filled with power from the throne of God. True revival is a supernatural move of God that grips the church and spreads across the surrounding community with a penetrating conviction of sin and a palpable presence of His power. You feel it more than know it, but it is more real than anything else you ever experienced. The gap between Earth and eternity collapses and nothing else matters.

Without a bright, shining light to point us in the true direction of life, we can only stumble around in darkness. Only a true Holy Ghost revival can light those fires again and make our lighthouses illuminate the path to salvation. Jesus said that if He were lifted up, He would draw all men to Him. That, more than anything, is what revival is all about.

There is time for one more revival. Jesus Christ is coming back to earth soon, but before He comes, the Bible tells us there will be one more last great revival, the greatest revival of all time. Revival does not come without a price, however, and it is that price that this book is about.

All fires must have a match to start them. My prayer is that this book will be a match to help ignite a blaze of revival that will burn around the world.

[Available on Amazon at: https://amazon.com/gp/product/0999469401

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[Excerpt from Watchman, What of the Night, volume 6 of Voice in the Wilderness]

Sunshine and dirt … with maybe a little bit of water thrown in.  That’s all!  Everything comes from sunshine and dirt.  And scientists are spending billions on trying to figure out how He did it.

From grass to milk and ice cream; computers and rocket ships to wood and sand and sea; from steel to human flesh – it’s all made from some simple basic things that come out of the ground.  And if you really want to get amazed, those things can be broken down into even simpler elements.

Have you ever wondered what God was thinking when He created the giraffe?  Was He just having fun?  “Let’s see, if I take this nucleotide and switch it with that one over there in the DNA, what will I get?  Oops, a platypus!”  There’s a lot of crazy looking animals out there, especially insects, that are far beyond what any of our feeble imaginations could dream up.  I wonder what He has in store for us in the next world.

I think one of the greatest proofs of Creation is Music.  Now how did God come up with that?  It ranks right up there with Love and Color.  What an imagination!  How did God dream up even the very idea of those concepts? And please don’t brush it away with convoluted referrals to the magic of evolution as if Music just popped out of a Pre-Cambrian cloud.

I’ve read some idiotic scientific dissertations that attempt to explain Love, how color works, and why music affects our souls, but they end up sounding more like desperate attempts to discount the existence of God at all costs.  You see, if they can’t disprove God’s existence, then they must acknowledge sin … and that means there is a Hell, and that means you can’t get away with sin.  Uh-oh.

So, they keep trying in their attempts to exalt Science over Faith.

God made everything so simple that it is astounding, including Life itself, but the Intelligentsia of modern society looks down on the simplicity of Faith as if it were the uneducated realm of the uninitiated and naïve. In their concept of the progress of evolution, Christians are placed somewhere between the ape and the scientist.  They disdain Faith, but it takes a lot more blind faith to accept their theories about the origin of the Universe than it does to recognize the supreme omnipotence of an Almighty God.

Still, they keep trying. In their pomposity, they think can create life in a test tube — just give ‘em enough time, they say.  (While you’re at it, can you manufacture a Universe? Or how about the dirt to make it out of?)

The deeper physicists delve into reality, however, the spookier things become.  The string theory says there are 11 dimensions (that’s down from the 17 they thought there were), but of course that doesn’t sync up with their other conflicting theories.  If you want to watch them get really tongue-tied, try asking them to explain how Entangled Particles work.  The more we discover, it seems, the more it points to God.

Nevertheless, instead of acknowledging the Creator, they want us to trust their superior intellect and believe them instead, and we’ll call it Science.

At least Faith makes sense.

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”     1Corinthians 3:18-20

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Be Still

There is a depth to silence that the carnal mind is not able to comprehend. 

We often feel more secure when a cloud of noise surrounds us in our daily lives, as if it was a buffer to cover us from issues of life that we either do not understand or would rather not face. 

But there are times when we are faced with a spiritual silence, and when we are, we scramble for the reassuring feel of that gravel beneath our feet of the daily issues of life that we know how to deal with.  It is times like these that we are forced to reflect on the stark reality of Eternity and our tiny place in the eternal scheme of God.

Prayer times are good weathervanes.  It’s great when my prayer time is filled up with all sorts of things, and I can jump off from one thing to the next and feel like I’m actually getting right up to the Throne of God and accomplishing something.  It is a great feeling when it feels like God can not only can hear you, but is also paying attention to what you are praying about.  You walk out of the prayer room with a sense of accomplishment, and you are ready to face the day with a confidence that you have won in prayer.

But sometimes it isn’t like that.

Have you ever had prayer hours when you feel like you have been dumbed down and can only sit there mumbling about some mindless thing?  There may be a million issues to pray about, but you can’t think of any at the moment. You’re flapping your wings, but you just can’t seem to get off the ground.  You repeat your prayers like a monotone tape recorder, but it doesn’t come from your heart.  So, you stand up and walk back and forth to get some juice going in your prayers, but you only feel like a tin soldier marching back and forth.

You know God can hear, but is He listening? 

Where are all the fireworks?  What happened to that vibrant flow of excitement that comes when you can feel yourself reaching Heaven?  Did I do something wrong, or am I running down a wrong direction?  Or is God just tired of me, and is paying attention to someone else right now?

And the answer comes back in a reassuring, quiet voice,

“Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalms 46:10

Brother Dale
dale@revivalfire.org
www.RevivalFire.org

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Quietness

Have you ever been out in the middle of a calm sea with no wind or waves to break the monotony?  The circle of the horizon offers no points of distinction, and the calm, still air smothers any sense of direction.  You sit still in a boat without oars as you feel time dissolve around you.  With no place to go, and no way to get there, you find yourself in a situation where you have to yield to the suppression of your spirit as even the air itself smothers you into silence.

There are times in your Christian walk that God will bring you into such a solitary place.  It is not only a time for reflection, but also for the quieting of your own spirit.  It is one of the toughest experiences that you ever have to go through in God, but when He places you there, you have no choice but to sit still and wait.

All the great personalities in the Word of God went through times like that before they were called into the thick of what would become the real essence of their ministry.  Abraham had his walk through the land of Canaan, never understanding where he was going or why.  Moses had his 40 years on the backside of the desert.  Joseph cooled his heels in prison, forgotten by everyone for years.  Elijah did his time in the desert, as did Paul and Jesus.  Jonah only spent 3 days in the belly of a whale, but I’m sure he would have traded that with Moses’ 40 years in a heartbeat.

When we begin our journey in life to serve the Lord, we often rush headlong in zeal and excitement to accomplish the great things that we feel are set before us.  We charge off on our white stallion to conquer the forces of darkness and set the captives free.  The rush of the wind blowing through our hair as we hold up the Blood-Stained Banner in a galloping charge is exhilarating.  The thrill of victory runs through us as we battle through one enemy after another.

But then the time comes when we find ourselves in that quiet place, and the adrenaline that was pumping through our veins drains out of us, leaving us frantic in the midst of the calm.  While we fret about being abandoned and left out to fallow, we wonder what did we do wrong?  

Has God forsaken us for someone else?  It feels like being left by a faithless lover for someone who is younger and better looking.  Satan is right there at our shoulder to confirm all this.  He whispers to us that we’re finished, washed up, and God is done with us.  It is hard not to despair when all around you, others are charging off into their own victories with that same look of conquest on their faces that you had at one time.

If God would just set us down and explain to us what is going on, this would be easy.  But then, that’s the whole point – it isn’t supposed to be easy.  Battles are easy because at least you know what is going on, but sitting in the midst of this barren desert is killing you.  Common sense and carnal reasoning cries that this is a mistake – God should be using you in some strong way, especially since you have proven yourself so faithful in all that you have fought for.  You have done everything He has asked of you, so why has He dropped you off into a cloud of nothingness?

These are the times that break your spirit and take the “you” out of “you”.  You are left with nothing that remains of the great Christian warrior you saw yourself as.  Your strength is drained, and you are left with only one thing – hope.  Not hope in your victories or your accomplishments, but with a hope in that faint glimmer that leads to the mercy of God.  Nothing else matters.

No matter how many miracles Jesus did, no matter how many dead He raised, no matter how many sermons He delivered, it was not until He was completely broken on that old rugged Cross, and had surrendered His life to death, that the greatest victory of all time was won.

Only when you have reached that same broken, crucified rest on the Cross, will your victory also be complete. 

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Boy Scouts

For as the body without the spirit is dead ….”  James 2:26

When I was a punk kid on the streets of Jersey, I joined the Boy Scouts with several of the other kids off the streets.  We had a great time playing basketball and fooling around.  Every once in a while, they would send us to camp just to get us off the streets. We had no interest in the Boy Scouts motto or doing good deeds; we just wanted to have fun.

One day they brought an official to visit us who asked us why we had joined the Scouts.  Thinking I was supposed to give some kind of proper response, I spouted off a phony high-sounding answer that I thought was pretty intelligent. 

“Very nice”, the official answered.  “Anyone else?”

One of the guys quipped in response, “Yeah, we just want to go camping and have fun.”

Forty-five years later, I am still struck with the honesty of that kid’s answer.  We weren’t there to become model citizens – we were just there to have fun. 

When someone asks me today why I have chosen to serve the Lord in spite of all the challenges it brings, I think back to that kid’s answer. 

I could give you all sorts of correct answers.  I could quote a long list of Bible proofs; I can enumerate intricacies of prophetic fulfillments; I can list all the consequences of sin and the wonderful rewards for righteousness; and I can fill an evening with high-sounding theology; but none of those are right.

The truth is, I just want to have fun.

I would have never become a Christian if it were simply a matter of right and wrong.  I didn’t want to be good – there didn’t seem to be much point in it – and I didn’t care that somebody had died for me.  Besides, I didn’t believe in God anyway, so why would I even entertain the idea of becoming some sour-pussed “goody-two-shoes”.  Sin didn’t seem so bad to me, and the world offered so many enticing opportunities that serious Christianity shunned.  I honestly could not figure out why anyone would want to be a Christian.

But then I got saved. 

I didn’t know what “saved” was, and had never heard of being “born-again”, but something drew me down to the altar that night to give my life to Christ.   I had no idea there was a Spirit of God, never mind being able to feel it, but when I went through that old-fashioned prayer of repentance and the heavens opened up, I actually felt the Spirit of God come down and save my soul.  I tasted of the glory of God in that moment on my knees, and nothing was ever the same again!

So why do I serve the Lord?  Because it feels so good!  Why do I read and pray so much? So I can walk in His Spirit and feel the Holy Ghost.  Nothing fancy; nothing high-falutin’; nothing sophisticated and proper – I just love that feeling!   There is Life in the presence of the Spirit of God that cannot be duplicated by anything in this world, and I, for one, am hopelessly addicted to it.

When I walk into a church that is not alive with the Spirit of God, there is a deadness in the air. It’s almost as if they are going through the motions, but don’t know why. If there is no Spirit of God, then there is no Life, and if there is no Life, then why bother?  They have a body, but no spirit; it looks like the real thing, but it is dead; they go to church and call themselves Christians, but they just go through the motions and are missing out on the whole reason they got saved in the first place.

 … and I think back to that kid’s answer so many years ago. 

I want to be in a church that is alive with the Spirit of God; not some tomb that has all the right answers, all the proper theologies, and all the correct traditions, but no life. I want to taste the Glory of God. 

Nothing else will do.


[This article is an excerpt from
“Revival in the Wings”, vol. 4 of the Voice in the Wilderness series –

Available on Amazon: 
https://www.amazon.com/Voice-Wilderness-Revival-Wings/dp/1734221348]

All our books can be found on Amazon at:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Dalen+Garris&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

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“So, he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”  I Kings 22:15

Sometimes I feel like I have more questions than answers, and sometimes I am left wondering why the things I see do not line up with the things I feel. I guess that’s where the proverb comes in that it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. 

Often, something sounds so good on the surface, but doesn’t feel right in your guts, and you wonder why. 

For instance, I keep hearing about the coming “breakthrough” revival that is just about to hit this area in which I live, specifically through Assemblies of God.  Many Christians are excited about the coming prospects, and you can hear it in their voices as they tell you about all the prophesies that have been spoken over them, and the visitations from other revivalists who just feel like this area is a “magnet”. 

They will tell you that they have even gone on a 40-day fast for this revival. Of course, they didn’t really fast for 40 days; they just had a lot of people go on a lot of tiny fasts for a period of 40 days.  They talk about the all-night prayer meetings they’ve had for revival.  They don’t tell you that they didn’t actually pray all night – they just had a bunch of people take a lot of little time slots throughout the night.

They talk about getting right with God and getting “realigned” or “shifting to correction”, but nothing is mentioned about broken-hearted repentance and weeping before God.  Instead, we hear about the wonderful party they had at the revival meeting.

Gee, it all sounds so good, and who would dare to say anything disparaging about it?  But you know, the more I hear about it, the more that something seems missing. 

So I back up a bit and give the same sarcastic answer as Micaiah did, “Go and prosper.”

“Hope everything is beautiful.”
“You go, girl!” 
“Good luck.”
“Hope you make it!”

In my heart, however, what they are spilling out just doesn’t feel the same as what they try to make it sound like.  What these people are calling for is a party with all the balloons, but I hear nothing about the desperation that the Word of God requires for revival. 

If they are afraid to even speak the severe words that call for deep, broken repentance, then do they really think that their churchy, substitute phrases will pierce through to people’s hearts?

If all they will fast is for a day or so, and all they will pray is an hour or so, then it doesn’t sound to me like they are serious.  You can quote all the so-called “fair-haired boy” prophesies that you want, but I don’t see that kind of “pretty prophesies” in the Bible without a price being paid somewhere by somebody.

Any revival that comes without a crucified price from the people of God is superficial at best and will not come with any substance.  Lest we forget, the altar of God is not a place of singing and dancing, but of blood, sacrifice, and death.

I do not see broken hearts that are desperate for a return to righteousness so they can have an outpouring of the Holy Ghost.  Neither do I see people that are cut to the heart for lost souls that are on their way to an everlasting Hell.

Until I see that, then, like Micaiah, I remain unimpressed.

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Invisible

They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity. (Ezekiel 7:19)

This curse from the Lord was directed at Jerusalem and Israel because she, like the church today, was the espoused bride of God. She was His – He had put His mark on her, had bestowed great promises on her because she was His chosen people, had blessed her more than any other nation, and had lifted her up above all.  Just like He has done with America.

But Israel fell in love with the world. Just like America has.

One morning, the Lord woke me up and let me feel how broken His heart was for His Bride. She was fading away and becoming invisible.  She was adorned in gorgeous apparel, jewels, coifed hair, and makeup – beautiful! – but she became immersed in worldly ways and began to look more and more like the world. Her music, her doctrines, her focus, her services, and even the way she talked was becoming more and more like the world around her. Her lavish, carnal ways were causing her to become invisible. She was fading away and turning away from the Lord to another lover.

I could feel His heart breaking as His bride fell in love with a stranger and turned to commit adultery. As Jeremiah wrote of Israel, she had a “whore’s forehead” that refused to be ashamed, neither was concerned that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the latter rain, had been withheld from the Church because of her adultery. (Jeremiah 3:3)  Just like America.

I believe that it is our prosperity that has been the cause of our falling away from God. The spirit of Mammon has ridden on the back of our prosperity and has drawn us into an addiction for wealth, blessings, and entertainment. It is all about us – the message of the Cross has been pushed aside to make room for the Gospel of Me.

Since it was money that has taken the Church away from the Lord, then I believe that He will take away money to bring Her back.  Think you’ll escape the coming crash by investing in gold and silver?  You will not escape judgment by hiding yourself even deeper into the world. If anything, that may serve to make it worse.

If these judgments fell upon Israel, the chosen people of God, the apple of His eye, then how much more will it fall upon us who have followed the same path into a carnal religion, wallowing in the lavish ways of prosperity? We don’t see it in ourselves because we have become invisible, even to ourselves.

Neither did the Israelites.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
” (1st John 2:15)

Brother Dale
dale@dalegarris.com

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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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