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Posts Tagged ‘elijah’

[Excerpt from soon to be published A Voice in the Wilderness, Volume 5]

“And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.”  I Kings 18:41

Last night, as we were in a prayer meeting of saints crying out for a fresh new move of God, the Lord opened my ears to hear what Elijah heard.

The events concerning Elijah’s ministry have deep significance for these last days.  From the time when he first presents himself to Ahab and declares a drought unto the time when he is chased into the desert by Jezebel’s persecution, we see a picture of how end-time events will unfold.

In a time of seeming great prosperity for backslidden Israel, Elijah’s prophetic word of a coming drought seemed absurd.  The judgments of God seemed far away from the lush green fields and prosperity that was all around.  Life was good, and no one expected it to change.

And out of nowhere, comes this hairy man that no one has heard of and stands right in the face of the king to declare something that on the surface seems laughable.  Who was this unknown peasant with an outrageous attitude to rebuke the king himself right in the middle of the king’s court?

But three years later, no one was laughing. 

We have gone through several years of spiritual drought.  Prophets of God – real prophets of God – have warned us, but no one was listening.  On the contrary, we have been inundated with hordes of preachers declaring peace, prosperity and blessings upon the people of God.  We have flocked to their seminars, bought their books and videos, and paid them money to hear more.  For a season, it seemed so prophetic — we have found a new path into God’s prosperity that all the old-timers from the brush arbor revival days were never aware of.

They preached the Fear of the Lord and a crucified walk of sacrifice, but we have heaped up to us teachers that have illuminated a new, better way of “love” that is so much more enlightening.

But now, like Gideon, we wonder where are all the miracles that we used to see?  Where are the piles of discarded crutches, the packed altars with broken hearts, the supernatural outpourings on our services and all-night prayer meetings – for that matter, where are our prayer meetings?  We are in the midst of the drought, and we are just now noticing our dry throats and cracked lips that once were anointed with the Spirit of God.

After 3 years of drought when there was no moving of the Spirit of God in Israel, Elijah called forth a final showdown with Baal.  Judgment was set upon a mountaintop where the fire of God fell and devoured the priests and prophets of the established churches of the land.  And still, there was no revival – just a mumbled acknowledgment of what was obvious, but no heartfelt repentance.  After all, not only had the people just witnessed the death of their beloved local pastors and prophets, but with them, the demise of their hopes for prosperity and a life of religious ease.

But then Elijah turns to Ahab and tells him that he hears the sound of an abundance of a rain. 

I heard that sound last night. 

It was the sound of desperate hearts crying out to God to please forgive us for our idolatry, to have mercy on us and send a revival, not just for us, but for all those souls out there who have been lost because of our apostate ways.  I could hear the echoes of Nehemiah and of Daniel when they too had cried out in repentance for God to have mercy on His people and restore us once again.

There was a melding of voices as I could feel them funneling straight up to the Throne of God, driven by the sorrow of tears that flowed from broken hearts.  And then, intermingled with them, was the drip, drip, drip of the tears of God falling to the Earth for His people.

It was the sound of abundance of rain.

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“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”   (1st Kings 19:4)

What is it that a real servant of the Lord wants?  What is his heart’s desire before the Lord?  Is it comfort, or fame, or prosperity?  Is it a bigger church, or a more expansive ministry?  What is it that burns down in the depths of his soul as a seed of hope?

In a day and age where we find huge international ministries and mega-churches, have we somehow lost something in the establishment of our churches?  What is it that we are really looking for?

The most obvious answer is that we want to see souls get saved.  And just how do we go about getting that?  Building a bigger church is the usual answer.  But will that really accomplish what we are looking for?  Or is that just the establishment of a bigger church?

Elijah was faced with that very same issue.  All Israel had gone after a carnal religion that probably sounded pretty good to the regular guy.  There were plenty of priests around, the whole kingdom supported it, and it seemed like the thing to do.  But they had long ago left the true worship of God, and no longer recognized the difference.

Elijah was one solitary voice of repentance against a whole nation of Baal worshippers.  No one dared side themselves with him, and yet when he stood against the entire religious order on Mount Carmel, the incredible demonstration of the power of God in the form of fire from Heaven validated his righteousness.  Did all Israel repent?  Not hardly.

And now, here he was in the desert, a hunted man, alone with nowhere else to go.  What else could he have done to bring the people to their knees in heart-felt conviction?  How do you top something like calling down fire from Heaven?

Elijah’s heart cried out for revival, but there was no revival.  Not even in the ministry of Elisha, the one who followed him and inherited his ministry.  Although the testimony of the Lord stood strong, people’s hearts have a way of following their own lusts.

I have learned one thing in the last 33 years of ministry, and that is that people are going to believe what they want to believe – no matter what.  And they will use the Bible to justify it.  No supernatural miracles, no great works, no inspiring messages will bring about a real change when people have decided to follow the yearnings of their own heart’s desires.

Only the Spirit of the Lord can turn a people around to begin to seek His face.  Nothing else will work.

Building bigger churches is oftentimes the result of a very subtle lust for more spiritual power, when all the while the Lord is leading in another direction.  It is so easy to think we are pursuing great things in God when we are actually getting out in front of Him in building our own works.  It all sounds so good on the surface but is that what the Lord is really looking for.

Perhaps, instead of building up huge ministries, we should be heading down on our faces before God.  It takes intense prayer and deep repentance to turn a society around, because only the Spirit of God can change hearts.  And that takes a people whose heart’s desire for revival is stronger than their desire for a bigger church.

Elijah couldn’t do it, even with the mighty work that was accomplished on Mount Carmel.  But he was a man of effectual, fervent prayer, and left in a chariot of fire leaving the work to God.

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Elijah’s Walk in the Desert

”But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” (1Kings 18:5,6)

Three hundred miles, maybe more, depending on how circuitous a route he took and where Mt. Horeb was. Forty days walking. That’s a long, lonely walk.

Although prophets of God do not lead normal lives like most people, there can be seen glimpses of our own walks with God in them. You may not have called fire down from Heaven, but every time you stood up against the normal conventions of worldliness to declare the truth of God, you do pretty much the same thing. The world by nature does not like holiness, and it will resist anyone who steps out of the crowd to call it to change. And prophets are considered the worst.

But somebody has to do it, and that’s why God calls prophets. They do not possess pleasant personalities and are not the “life of the party”. They are not swayed by others’ opinions, nor would they be considered “nice guys”. Nor do they care.

Everything is black or white to them; there are no shades of grey. It is either righteous or it is sin. And for some reason, they feel compelled to tell you so.

Even if you are the king.

You will not find them in the spotlight of a big ministry receiving the accolades of the crowd. They just don’t fit in. The corporate ministries of today are foreign soil to them. They are more suited to wearing camel’s hair in the middle of a river than the Brooks Brothers suits and coifed hairdos of this generation’s spiritual leaders. And as a result, they walk a lonely path.

Few understand, and fewer appreciate them, and none realize the price.

We think they are made of some kind of steel that doesn’t feel the loneliness or the pain of rejection. Since they don’t bend to popular attention, we think their hearts are like stones that feel no affinity for others, but the truth is, they are people just like everyone else. They love, they hate, they need, and they feel just like us. They just have to walk a different path and keep on going.

Sometimes it is for three hundred miles with no food or water just to hear the voice of God.

I had a dream many years ago of myself walking in a desert of soft sand, much like the Sahara. Each footstep was difficult as it pushed through the sand. No water, a hot sun, and nothing but sand made it a weariness just to get to the top of the next sand dune and see if the city that I was trying to get to was there. But all there ever appeared was more sand.

I didn’t know where I was or if I was heading in the right direction, but I just kept walking, hoping that I wasn’t walking in circles. And then I heard a vehicle coming from behind me. A young man with blond hair and a bronze tan drove by in a Dune Buggy, waving to me as he passed by, “Hey, Mr. Garris. I’m off to my ministry! Praise the Lord!”. And off he drove over the horizon.

You have to wonder at times like that, what is wrong with me? Why am I here trudging along in this loose desert sand heading seemingly to nowhere, while this young kid is zooming along so effortlessly to his ministry? What did I do wrong? Will I ever reach that city that I am trying so desperately to find?

Do you ever feel like that? Does it seem so simple for others, when everything seems to be a battle for you?

Forty days trudging through the wilderness just to wait in a cave. Make sense to you? I doubt if it did to Elijah either. All that way, then up a mountain to sit in a cave to wait.

First the storm, then the earthquake, and then the fire. But still Elijah waited. And then the still, small voice.

Had Elijah not allowed God to take him through that crucified walk that strips the flesh and breaks the spirit, I don’t believe he would have recognized that voice like he did. It would have been just noise, indistinguishable from all the noise of the world.

You may not have to go for three hundred miles without food and water, or stand up against a king to declare a spiritual famine upon the land. You may not call down fire from heaven or raise a woman’s dead son, but you possess in your soul the ability to declare the righteousness of God to a worldly church that is mesmerized with an easier, worldly doctrine that mistakes grace for sin and covetousness for prosperity.

You will get the same results as Elijah did and you will go through the same lonely walk as he walked. But know that you are not alone – there are 7,000 that God had reserved – and you are not walking aimlessly. You will finally step over the hill of that last sand dune and see the City that you’ve been searching for and you will recognize the still, small voice of God as He speaks to you.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

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Everybody needs something from God – some more desperately than others.  The question that begs to be asked is, how do we get God to answer our prayers?

There are those who believe that you can just “name it, and claim it”.  Poof!  Bingo-bango!  It’s a done deal.  You find them running around, laying hands on everybody, and claiming all sorts of things in the name of Jesus, but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Belief does not constitute Faith. There’s more to it than that.

Others believe in a doctrine of works, but that can get real tiring after a while.  You can count beads, light candles, say what amounts to “magic words”, do good works, and walk little old ladies across the street, but does that amount to winning clout with God to get some answers?  You might end up feeling good about yourself, but how does that add up when you are desperate for a move from God?

We know that the Book of James tells us that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  He speaks of Elijah as a prime example of a man who could get answers from God, but isn’t Elijah the same guy who laughed all day long at the Priests of Baal who were jumping around, screaming and yelling for answers from a deaf god?  No, there’s got to be something more to it than making an outward show of religion.

There is a crucified, broken walk in God that speaks loudly to Him of a heart that is more yielded to His eternal will than anything else.  He searches hearts, not heads.  There is a depth of poignancy in our hearts that He looks for that goes past everything that is seen on the outside.  He looks past our desires to see needs that are colored with a willingness to yield to the will of God in our lives.  He looks for hearts that are broken for Him.

Some may say that the Sabbath has to do with the observance of a day of the week.  I say that the Sabbath is a place of rest from our own works that can only be attained through a crucified walk in the depth of the Spirit of God.  Total subjection; unquestioned yielding; complete trust in God. There is a high price to pay to get to that place.

Creation was not a finished work after seven days — it was finished on the Cross.  As Jesus rested on the Cross, so also does God labor to bring us to that same place in Him – a broken, yielded spirit that is completely given over to the will of God.

Then when we call, He will answer.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”   Psalms 91

 

 

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I got a letter from a pastor in Nigeria that I thought I’d share with you. When I read these letters, it really brings home some themes that are important in snapping us back to the reality of the spiritual war we face – even if we don’t see it here in America.

“Brother dale,

         No doubt we have our problems out here in Nigeria, I believe that this is a good platform for the power of the cross to crush the satanic stronghold over our land.
         As for me and some of my colleagues out here we have made a covenant with God to wait on Him in the revival labour room of prayer until Nigeria be made a praise in our generation.
         As for the newsletter I will be so glad to receive it regularly. I pray that the Lord of harvest will make your ministry fruitful in the field of souls. Shalom.

                               Pastor Kayode”

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t grab you!  They made a covenant – a promise, a vow unto God. These guys are so determined that they have sworn that they will overcome, no matter what. They will stay the course through whatever storms or tribulations come their way. They have claimed Victory and believe that God will honor His Word unto them.

And they are willing to wait for it.

Where will they wait for it? In Sunday services where they wave their hands in Praise & Worship songs? In church basket socials? In fellowship ministries where they hug each other? In theological discussions of doctrine? In wearing “Jesus T-Shirts” or putting a fish on their bumper? Or in being nice guys?

No. In the revival labor room of prayer.

They will claim victory by waging war. They will storm the Throne of God until they break through and force the Almighty God to move. They will wait in the intensity of battle. They will not be denied; they will not give in; they will not give up; they will never surrender. They will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.

And how much will they believe God for? How big is their Faith?

Is it for a job, or a new house, or more finances? Are they praying for Aunt Mary to feel better? Or even for God to “enlarge our tent stakes”?

No. They believe that God is able to turn one of the most wicked countries on Earth into a “praise in our generation”. And they don’t think that’s too much to ask for — not if they are willing to pick up the Blood-Stained Banner and fight for it. They don’t see a problem – they see an opportunity!

They have Rachael’s Cry – “Give me children, or else I die!

When is the last time you have heard a message like this over the pulpit that inspired you to pick up your weapons of war and charge into the battle for lost souls?   Have we become so sedate in our prosperity that we no longer feel the need for sacrifice? Are we no longer cut to the heart for lost souls so that we are willing to prevail in prayer?

Whatever happened to our all-night Prayer Meetings? When is the last time we fasted for days for revival? Where is the focus of our hearts?  Has our Faith diminished to a level of profane dimensions where we only believe God for what is before us in our daily lives? … Or do we no longer care?

If you want it to rain, you gotta pray like Elijah.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18

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I’m writing this to update everyone on where we are and how things are going.
It struck me as interesting that I have done so many revival meetings in these last ten years that they are beginning to seem mundane – nothing out of the ordinary, just the same old stuff. But to the people who experience these services, it is anything but mundane. It’s not the excitement that is generated because you can get that kind of excitement anywhere. It’s something that runs beneath the surface. It’s a whisper of revival that you can sense in your heart, a whisper in the wind, so to speak, of hope. Revival is really coming.
I forget sometimes … well, most of the time. I have preached this message so many times that I’ve forgotten what it is like to hear for the first time a God-written promise of a revival to this generation that will be far greater than even Pentecost. What exciting news when the reality hits you that this is not some ethereal promise based on a nebulous timeframe of something that might happen but most often does not. No, this is real and written!
The real gauge of the effectiveness of these services is not in the excitement we see during the service, but the light in the eyes of the pastors and ministers who come up later, beaming with hope and a vision. They are ready to light the torch and send out the word that not only is Jesus coming, but that He also has promised to send the greatest revival of all time. They have heard that whisper in the wind, Elijah’s little cloud on the horizon, and they hear the sound of an abundance of rain.
We are in Bukavu, Congo, meeting with 100 pastors and leaders of the churches here. They have come because they recognize that they have lost that revival power they once had a generation ago. The power is missing, the miracles are no longer evident, and the excitement and draw for people to come to the Lord has vanished. They remember what it was like and they want it back.
We did two services today and will do four more tomorrow and the next day. That feeling of anticipation, hope, and a reestablishment of the dream is rising. They can hear the whisper. Revival is coming.

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The woman of Zidon is a picture of the true church of Jesus Christ – , waiting in the gate, outside the established apostate church in times of drought for revival, while the apostate Church refuses to repent at the word of the prophet because they just don’t want to let go of their comfortable established ways even in the face of famine. And even after being faced with fire from Heaven, there is still no true heartfelt repentance, but merely an acknowledgement of their mistake.

We fit the same conditions; we will experience the same results.

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Brother Dale

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