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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I’m sitting here in the cold early morning of the day after Christmas. Everyone is still sleeping; it’s quiet, dark and cold. The sugar plums have all been eaten, so I hope there is something pleasant dancing in their dreams.  But I am here alone and wanted to send out this belated greeting to everyone.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  Christmas is always magical for children and sometimes tiring for us old folks, but it has always been a special time set apart to honor the Savior.  Now, I know that Jesus was not born on Christmas. He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles.  ( In a Stable).  Nevertheless, this is the season we have chosen for Christmas and all its trappings, and regardless of how you feel about celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25th, I hope it has been good for you.

And I really do hope this New Year will be something momentous in your life.

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I don’t subscribe to the false prophets who run around proclaiming to you that this will be “your year of victory”, or blessings, or prosperity, or deliverance, or whatever nonsense they think will get a rise out of you.  Your year will be what you make it – either in the Lord or in the flesh.  I don’t believe that God is running a lottery for those who do not seek His face.  It is not a matter of luck, misdirected hope, cheap grace, or empty faith.  The Lord will direct and open paths and opportunities to those who seek Him and choose to bury themselves in His Word and in prayer.  You reap what you sow.

On that note, I hope you sow as much as you can this year.  If it is true that we are fast approaching a culmination of things for this old world, then we need to consider a New Year’s resolution that spurs us to do things this year that we have been only thinking about up until now. Whether that means something for your family or breaking the constraining bonds of inaction to go out and do something for the Lord, this year may your best and possibly only chance.  If not now, when? New Year’s resolutions only work when you actually act on them.

Do something different this year, something outrageous, something so far out of the box that it breaks all the restraints that are holding you back.  Do something dangerous!  Do something that requires you to bury yourself in God for your absolute safety and support. Cut everything that is holding you back into the dark folds of mediocrity.

If you don’t step off the ledge, you will never learn how to fly.

 

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

Luke 2:25,26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas,

Dale & Cindy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Just a heads-up to everyone,

I just published three new books and they are on Amazon ready to ship. I thought some of you might want to get some copies in printed form instead of the intermittent email.

1.     Revival Campaigns in Africa – 2019

Revival Campaign 2019-front coverThis is about the four mission trips I took this year – Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, and the Congo. I wrote several articles while I was in each country I put this book together primarily for the sponsors who had supported our work so that they could see what they had paid for. It is, however, a great book for anyone who would like to know what it is like when you are in the midst of a revival campaign.

It’s a little expensive, $12.95, but that is because it is loaded with color photographs which effectively doubles the cost.

Link on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1701909855

2.     Standing in the Gap: the Difference Between True and False Prophets

Gap-front coverI was asked by a friend who was meeting with many top leaders in the Church about what the difference was between real prophets of God and swarms of false prophets we see in today’s church. This is a favorite topic of mine. After sending him some preliminary articles, I decided to make a book about it. I believe this is an extremely important topic for the church today. There are two gospels out there today. False prophets, like Pied Pipers, lead us into a false sense of grace, while true prophets of God herald the way to holiness. They lead in two different directions, and whichever one we follow will determine where we end up.

Price: $4.95

Lin on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734221305

3.     A Voice in the Wilderness – The Journey Begins

A Voice in Wilderness -front coverI have a lot of articles written – about 750. I was thinking the other day that’s twenty years worth of paper sitting in a file drawer. I decided that I needed to put it in print so I would have a legacy for my kids to know me by. This is the first installment. These are the newspaper columns from 1999. The rest will follow. There are some really great articles in there, as there will also be in the books that follow.

Price: 7.95

Link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999469495

Here is a link to see the whole catalog of 13 books: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Dalen+Garris&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Or just search Amazon under books for “Dalen Garris”.

 

Thanks for listening to me all these years. I believe we are coming to troublesome times and we will need all the exhortation and fellowship we can get.

 

Praise the Lord,

Brother Dale

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I read this passage today as if it was the first time that I had seen it:Yellow candle

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. (Luke 8:16)

Obviously this is talking about being a witness to the world. When you are saved, you receive the Light of the World and you want to shine that Light in the darkness so that everyone can see the truth about salvation. You don’t cover it up inside your vessel to hide it. Neither do you put it under your bed because you are too lazy to get up and shine the Light. You put it on a candlestick or lampstand so everyone can see.

But then He follows up with this next verse:

For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. (Luke 8:17)

What is the connection here? Could it be that the Lord is warning us that when we refuse to obey His commands to be a witness to the world that our sin will not be hidden. God sees and will make it manifest on the Day of Judgment.

And then He follows up with something very chilling:

Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Luke 8:18)

Just before Jesus left to ascend into the heavens, He had one last request. It wasn’t to build ministries, hand out canned goods, be nice to everyone, or get wrapped up in a myriad of “church” things.  It was simple: go win souls. Make disciples. Go into the entire world and preach the Gospel. All those other things may be good, but that’s not what He told us to do. We seem to be doing everything else except what He asked us to do.

Could it be that the Lord is warning us that unto those who faithfully follow His command to win souls, will be given blessings, but those who do not will lose what they seem to have? What is it that they “seem” to have that they can so easily lose?

When we look at the parables of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25, the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, the Church of Ephesus in Revelations 2, the True Vine in John 15, and many other places, we see a severe warning that we will be judged, not according to our “church” works, but according to whether we had mercy on the lost or not. That was the only difference separating the sheep and the goats. It was the difference between the Good Samaritan and the priest and Levite. It was the one thing that kept your branch from drying up and being broken off to throw in the fire.

Could it be that, like those in Amos 6 who are at ease in Zion, if we settle back and rest in our salvation, thinking that we do not have to worry about facing a reckoning for our lack of mercy, that the salvation that we “seem” to have is a lukewarm and has no real substance to it?

I know everyone wants to think that everyone is going to Heaven, and that because we believe in Jesus and go to church that we will escape Hell. But read carefully, my friend. The warnings are all through the Bible … if you take time to see them.

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? (Proverbs 24:11-12)

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezekiel 33:6)

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)

Something to think about …

 

Brother Dale, Subscribe 

 

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“We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done…That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Psalm 78

Oh, the Glory!  Can any of you out there remember what it was like to feel the outpouring of the Holy Ghost filling up services with His Shekinah Glory?  Do you remember when God came down, and hearts were overwhelmed, and praises poured out from hearts that were open?  When souls were filled to overflowing and the Spirit of God flowed like anointing oil through our streets?  Souls were saved, people were healed, and multitudes were drawn to the fountain of life pouring out from the Throne.

Those who remember, they know what I’m talking about.

Where has it gone?  What happened to the great moves of God in our churches?  Those who should have passed on the glory have instead given us over to man-made doctrines, to secular preaching, and to churches that have lost their vibrancy.  Depths in God have been turned over to educated preachers who know so much theology about God that they no longer know what it’s like to be led of the Spirit. If that is not so, then where is the manifestation of the Power of God?

The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.  But our churches have turned the Gospel of Jesus Christ into just another religion.  Lost souls that are desperate for God have looked upon us as another philosophy; another dead religion with no power, no Spirit, and no glory.

Their cry is “Sir, we would see Jesus!”  Give us the demonstration of the Spirit and power.  Let Holy Ghost conviction open our hearts to return to that place in God that we once had.  Church “as usual” is death.  We need Life!  And that can only come from men of God who are not afraid to take a stand for righteousness and for the fear of God. Men that are willing to walk the walk of the lowly Nazarene and allow their lives to be filled with the power of God instead of theology.

The indictment stands against those who remember, and who did not pass it on.

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“When we become too glib in prayer we are most surely talking to ourselves.” – A. W. Tozer

Passionless prayer is not what Paul referred to when he wrote about striving in prayer. The word he used was “agonizomai“, which means to struggle in a wrestling match, not to just finish, but to win against all odds.

Is your prayer hour like that, or is it just “a little talk with Jesus”? Is your prayer time described as contending with God like Jacob or Elijah, or is it your “quiet time with Jesus”?

A.W. Tozer knew what he was saying would ruffle some feathers because people without passion will almost always choose comfort over contending. But he said it anyway because it is true.

There is no substitute for contending prayer. I was taught early on that when you have a problem, to take it to the prayer room and seek the face of God. Keep praying until you get an answer – fast if you have to — but get your answers from God. If you don’t understand something, give it to God, and when you are ready to receive the answer, He will give it to you.

But this generation has instead made a habit of seeking to Christian self-help books for answers to their spiritual problems. They read book after book seeking answers, and then they will check with the Bible to see if it lines up with what they have chosen to believe. They are substituting reading books for prayer.

I can hear all the voices rising up to tell me about all the wonderful things they’ve learned from books. I would answer that, besides missing a personal experience from your Father, the real problem is that you don’t know if they are right or wrong. Maybe they’re mostly right … like 99% right. And we all know that that 1% is the pebble in the stream that nudges your direction just a little bit off the true course, setting you up for the next pebble, and the next, until the stream ends up in a very different destination.

Am I too old-fashioned? Maybe. But I’d rather get my answers from God because He is always right.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

 

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