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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

 “And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties.  He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. 

And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines; and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance.”    (1Ch 11:12-14)

There comes a time in your Christian life when you have had enough of good intentions, fair speeches, and repetitive platitudes.  There comes a time when you are ready to plant your feet on solid ground and are ready to fight. No more talk; it is time to DO something.

I don’t believe that David and his two companions honestly thought they were going to live through this battle.  This was way past what David faced with Goliath. After all, the enemy was so fearsome that the entire army of Israel ran in terror.  It says in 2nd Samuel 23 that they only came back after it was safe.

But while the situation had changed, the principles had not.  They gripped their swords and drew a line in the ground beyond which they would not move. Three guys standing against incredibly overwhelming odds … no let me take that back. No bookie in Las Vegas would even give you that much of a spread – there were NO odds. Not a chance. Adios, amigo!

But there comes a time when you have had enough talk. Come Hell or high water; win, lose, or draw, there comes a time when you are ready to stand and fight for the honor of God. No, I don’t believe they thought they would win – they just didn’t care. This was not their battle; it was the Lord’s.  It was not up to the circumstances, the odds, or the facts – it was up to God Almighty.  It didn’t matter what the outcome would be; what mattered was that they stood.

I have some friends like that, who yell out into the face of the enemy, “To Hell with the devil! Damn the torpedoes!  I will not back down, I will not back up, I will not compromise, and I will not run!” God often puts his servants in situations like that to give them the opportunity to trust Him no matter what.  Like Jonathon scrambling up the rocks to take on the enemy, they hang onto the promise that “there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”

Champions are forged in times of utter desperation and sharpened by absolute reliance upon the salvation of God. There are times when the only thing that is sure is the Rock upon which you stand.  Those are the times of victory.

True Holy Ghost revivals are birthed out of the same womb.  There has to be a time when the Church has had enough of “church as usual”, enough of that sing-song Pollyanna Gospel our churches are so full of. Enough of the worn-out platitudes of peace, love, blessings, and how much Jesus loves us. When will the Church fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit to repent of their Laodicean ways, their preponderance of worldly flash and glitter, and seek to the old paths, look to the old ways of old-fashioned, broken repentance at the altar for God to forgive us for having “church” instead of what He called us to?

When we reach that point, we will then have the courage to stand in that field of barley.

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“Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14, 15

In the Book of Esther, we see two pictures of the Church – the Esther church which sits under the obvious blessings of God, residing in the palace, and the Mordecai church which sits under oppression and persecution.

Esther was perfect in her natural beauty, and her refusal of worldly enhancements endeared her to the King, who loved her above all others and made her his queen.  She is the very embodiment of the Bride of Christ, beautiful in grace, entering into the blessings of God honestly and humbly.  Proverbs 22:11 says that he that loves pureness of heart, the king shall be his friend.  Esther was a perfect picture of that pureness of heart.

Mordecai, however, sat on the other side of the palace walls.  As a devout Jew, he would bow to no one other than God Almighty, so when wicked Haman rode by, whose ambitions knew no bounds, he considered Mordecai’s refusal to bow as the ultimate insult.  Haman, as with his predecessor Satan, aspired to be like the Most High, and was determined to gain that power using the same demonic methods of deceit and murder, so when he saw Mordecai the Jew refusing to give him homage, his hatred for the people of God welled up to overflowing.  He ordered Mordecai hanged on the gallows and conspired to destroy the entire race of Jews. 

So, Mordecai went to the only place of refuge he knew was sure – he sat in dust and ashes at the king’s gate.

It is not enough that we say that we know God and that we trust that God will always deliver us.  That is merely presumption.  Presumption does not seem that bad when times are good.  If it works, great; and if it doesn’t, oh well, no great loss.  But when utter destruction and severe persecution is looming over you, you have no room for chance, and all those great and swelling words of love, peace, and overflowing blessings wear a little thin. 

Mordecai knew that he needed an answer from the Throne of God, and he was willing to sit at His gate in fasting and prayer until God moved.  Even when honored by the king to be led through the town by Haman, proclaiming the honor bestowed upon Mordecai by the king, he went right back to his sackcloth and ashes.  So often, we as Christians will seek the face of God for an answer in times of trouble, but as soon as we feel the winds of victory begin to blow across our face, we quit and assume that God will take it the rest of the way.  Not so with Mordecai.  He was determined to pray it all the way through to the victory. 

As a young Christian, I was taught to pray like a warrior and stand before God in holy boldness and determination, claiming your answer before God.  “One of us is going to move”, I would cry out to God, “and it’s not going to be me!”  When you pray like that, be prepared to be tested, but like Mordecai, you are assured of the answer if you will not quit until you get it.  The definition of Faith is not believing that God CAN do something – any fool can believe that.  It’s believing that He WILL do it because you will not let go until He does!

While the people of God outside the palace were determined for destruction, Esther, at ease in the palace, was oblivious to their plight.  It was only the sight of Mordecai in sackcloth that got her to realize something was wrong.  The challenge he answered her with was severe – march into the Throne Room of the King and plead for the deliverance of her persecuted brethren.  It was an act of ultimate courage, for if the King did not accept you, your only fate was death. 

The Throne Room was not a place to wander in mindlessly.  If so on earth with earthly kings, how much more with God Almighty?  And yet, because we stand in the grace of God, we know without a doubt that God will hold out the golden scepter, but it takes a certain holy boldness to march all the way up to the Throne (we are not talking regular prayer here), and only righteousness in the fear of God will give you that kind of holy boldness and victory.

Esther could have made excuses to get around Mordecai’s request.  She could have ignored the problems her brethren would face outside the walls and gone about with her life of peace and blessings. But she didn’t.  She took upon herself the challenge that has always been placed upon those in the “Esther” church to stand in defense of her persecuted brethren and, taking her life in her hands, go in to storm the Throne of God for their deliverance.

But do we in America, as the most blessed and prosperous church that has ever been, hear the call of Mordecai?  Do we do anything more than peer over the castle walls and muse amongst ourselves at how terrible it must be for those in third-world countries who not only live in a state of poverty that we cannot imagine, but defend the Gospel with their very lives?

Sadly, the answer is no.  Oh yes, we support our missionaries who have to take months off from ministry to come and plead with us for enough finances to subsist.  We write a check and hope that all will be well, and we have a picture in our minds of a nice little missionary hut somewhere “over there”.  But do we really know and understand the intensity of the hardships they are facing?  Are we really willing to take upon us the same role that Esther did?

Mordecai’s answer to her is chilling.  He knew God was going to deliver the Jews somehow because he knew he was not going to let go of the horns of the altar until God did. But if Esther did not come to their aid in such a time, she herself would face destruction.  God had placed her in this position for just such a time as this.  She was part of the plan of salvation for God’s people.  Is America any different?

It is amazing what we can accomplish when we yield to what God has called us to do, whether inside the palace or outside the walls.  It was not the threat of destruction, but rather the brotherly love that marks us as true Christians that Esther responded to.    “If I perish, I perish”, she replied as she prepared to present herself before the king and went in to touch the golden scepter.  Touching the golden scepter is that point of prayer we come to when, having done all we can, we submit to the mercy of God and experience that breakthrough in the prayer room.  Only true prayer warriors know what that is like.  And that is the point when your deliverance begins.

God has a plan, and He calls us to answer the call.  We can busy ourselves about our own lives and never notice what happens elsewhere, feigning ignorance and the importance of those things that surround us, but the call comes to us from over the walls. 

An old man sits down there, slumped over in his cry to God, covered in garments of affliction, soiled by the dust of humility before God, and rocking back in forth in the agony of prayer.  When we look closer, we see that it is our cousin, the persecuted church, afflicted by the forces of darkness and slated for destruction.  We sigh and feel badly for him, but will we take upon ourselves the call to battle?

Esther made her choice without hesitation.

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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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“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer” (2 Thess. 1:4,5)

What is Paul saying here? That persecution and tribulation are a sign of the righteous judgment of God? Does that mean that as we declare the righteous judgment of God on a sinful people, that we will suffer persecution?

There’s another scripture that comes to mind: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

Am I hearing this right? If you are walking in the Lord the way you are supposed to and declaring the difference between sin and righteousness, then you are going to have trouble. Why? Because people do not want to be told that they have to give up their sin, their pride, and their lusts. The world does not want to hear that there is a burning Hell. They would prefer to gloss over that little detail. And if you remind them of it, they will call you a judgmental legalist who preaches hate, and will persecute you as a result.

If you persist, you will find that you won’t make many friends.
If you are a pastor, you will find that many of your congregation will leave.
If you’re a Christian, what other choice do you have?

If we are easy going Christians – we make no waves, we cause no controversy, we never rock the boat or shake up the Church, we’re just really nice guys – then of course everyone will like us. I can think of a bunch of folks I know that everybody loves. Gosh, they’re so much fun to be around and they always make you feel happy when you’re around them. They never get into arguments or heated debates. It seems they would be the epitome of what we should strive to be like. Or is it just that they never take a stand for righteousness?

Avoiding arguments is good. Doctrinal debates can go round and round and never get anywhere, but what about judgment? What about declaring the righteousness of God? Is that just supposed to be a personal matter, or are we supposed to declare that which is right and that which is sin?

This wouldn’t be a big deal except for one thing – there’s a burning Hell. It Is real, it is eternal, and once you cross into eternity, there is no coming back. That, as they say, is the game-changer. People may not want to hear you tell them about Hell, but what is your responsibility?

Proverbs 24:11,12 tells us,

“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?”

This life is not about having fun and enjoying the world, prospering and making money, or attaining to stature and fame – it’s about escaping the pits of Hell and getting into Heaven.

If that is so, why would you NOT warn people about Hell? Who cares if they don’t like it? Penn of the Penn & Teller Vegas show, a confirmed atheist, once asked, “If you truly believe the Bible, how much hate must you have for someone to not tell them about Hell?

They didn’t crucify Christ because He preached Love. They killed Him because He told them to repent.

Then, in the second chapter of 2nd Thessalonians, Paul turns his attention to the Church in the last days. He describes the Antichrist as one who would come in with all kinds of “power, signs and lying wonders” to deceive the Church. This is the same guy that Daniel says would also win the kingdom by flatteries. Which kingdom is that? Could it be the Church? Because after that, he talks about a great falling away and that many would be deceived because “they received not the love of the truth” (2nd Thess 2:10), but instead would be damned because they “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. (2nd Thess. 2:12)

It sounds like the Antichrist has the message that people want to hear in contrast to the kind of message that brings persecution. Isaiah tells us that people want to hear “smooth things” instead of the hard truth of righteousness. (Isaiah 30:10). They will believe what they want to believe in spite of the facts and use the Bible to justify themselves. They will then turn to a different gospel that is more to their liking, like that which the Antichrist will give them.

The great danger of a modern Christianity which is adverse to judgment and “legalism” but instead pursues a message of love, grace, and blessings is that it slides closer and closer to a worldly definition of truth which is much kinder and nicer than that old fashioned hard gospel of hellfire and brimstone. Feelings become more important than conviction for sin; grace becomes more important than holiness; being nice is more important than telling the truth.

And what we end up with is a church that can no longer recognize the difference between truth and deception. When people become easily swayed by signs and wonders and begin to run after false prophets to hear the latest “word of blessing from God”, they lose the strength to resist the Antichrist’s Pied Piper call to a flattering gospel with no conviction, judgment, or righteousness. “…and my people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).

As the Church wallows in a greater wealth than it has ever known, she becomes flush with the lure of prosperity and material blessings, and it becomes more and more difficult to discern a difference between the Church and the world. Leonard Ravenhill once wrote that there’s more of Hollywood than holiness in the church … and that was 20 years ago.

In Judges chapter 6, the Israelites allowed the Amalekites to come in, and in no time, they completely took over and destroyed the harvest. But because the Israelites no longer had a love for the truth, they did not recognize the danger and turned to Baal as the true god. Renegades like Gideon were therefore considered wicked and should be killed. The good becomes evil, and the evil becomes good. In like manner, today’s church is allowing the world to come in and is falling for a modern gospel and will be easily deceived by the flattery of the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

In 2002, I saw a vision of modern Christianity rushing in a stampede toward the edge of a cliff. As I yelled and tried to warn them, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Even if they could hear you, which they cannot, they will not listen.” They were too mesmerized with this new, modern gospel.

“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.” (1 John 2:15)

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The African soul is tied closely to the earth, almost as if was somehow merged with the soil from which we have all come from. It’s not the bare feet or the rural setting that you find here, but more of a huskiness and an earthy feel to everything, from their art and music, to the brightly colored primitive designs of their fabrics that they wrap themselves in that lends color and atmosphere to the air you breath. It’s as if their connection with Mother Earth inhabits their very breath.

Western sophistication seems artificial in contrast. Our high-paced electric intensity, lit in the neon lights of our digital society, may seem brighter at first glance, but somehow loses a depth of color that hints at a depth of soul that is shallow in comparison. It’s something that is hard to put in words but can be felt when you are here, immersed in their midst.

True revival is not based on money or sophistication. Actually, I believe those things actually work against a true revival. When we become set on our own artificial substance and abilities, we lose the essential reliance upon God that is an absolute requirement for God to move among us.

Not” by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

Revival will break out in Africa first because they need Him more than we do in the West. Yes, they have a long way to go in other essentials, but their hearts have a childlike reliance on God that we have lost. They can learn to do those other essentials, but it is not so easy for us to change our soul.

I don’t know what to think about all these things. I look out over the patchwork of tiny garden plots amidst the shambles of worn out shacks, poverty, and dirt and I wonder how will God do this? Is this really possible that He will raise these simple, earthy people to a place of revival that the world will envy?

But then, that would be just like Him to do that.

Me? I will just keep on hammering out this message that He has given me. It seems to be working everywhere that I have brought it. Sometimes I wonder how that is possible to go to places no one else will go, to wring out my soul to a small people in small churches in desolate places, and watch them ignite in place after place.

The Lord gave me a vision once where I could see myself taking precious seeds and sticking them deep into foot-high furrows of soft brown earth. The seed will germinate in its time and miraculously reappear as a harvest.

I don’t have to know how; I just have to keep planting that seed into those soft furrows of earth and pray that the rain will soften the hard fallow ground back home.

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[Please read the forwarded email that is underneath mine.]

Little baby Richard was buried today. He wasn’t even ten years old, thrown out into the street because the witchdoctors had told his family that the spirits demanded it or else they would kill the whole family. These demonic spirits pointed to Richard as the source of all their problems. Throw him out!  Or else!
This was a huge battle that has been fought mostly by Pastors Noah and Tom for months now.  Noah had brought me to this village to establish a foothold for the gospel a few years ago. We established a church there, but the witchdoctors tore it down. We rebuilt, but it has been a constant battle.
The witchdoctors had been snatching up street kids for their sacrifices. Then they would also tell families to throw certain of their kids out into the street or else death and curses would happen to them. The darkness is so thick there that people believed them. 120 orphans had been running around homeless. I’m guessing that the witchdoctors did this so they could have more fodder for their blood sacrifices. Many little bodies have been found out in the surrounding bush.
The Chairman of the village had already sacrificed one of his children and the witchdoctors also wanted his little girl to serve in their temple. (You know what that means.) Apparently the girl had become either sick or possessed as a result of the demonic demands on her. His wife reached out to Pastor Tom who prayed and healed the little girl. That won over the Chairman, who then went all over trying to get others to believe.
A Muslim woman was next. She also had sacrificed one of her children and now the spirits wanted the other one. She appealed to Pastor Tom, who again prayed and healed the child. That started things rolling in our favor as word spread of the power of Jesus Christ to heal and deliver. 30 of the 120 children have been taken back into their parents’ homes. A tent has been set up for the kids to live in while we are waiting for the funds to build a decent house for them, and food and clothing is collected every Sunday in Pastor Noah’s churches to feed and clothe them. The authorities, who previously resisted us in trying to establish a church here, have now gotten involved and have thrown two of the witchdoctors in jail.
And now this that you are reading below.
A brother has given $33,000 to build a house for the orphans that are left, but they still have lots of needs.  And then there is the village that needs a church built, Bibles for new believers, and how many other miscellaneous needs, I don’t know. Maybe you want to get involved. Maybe there is a golden opportunity to sow some incredible mercy here that you don’t want to miss or have the church miss. Your call. I’m always here.
Just saying’.


[I have left the grammar and spelling alone so that that you can hear this directly from Noah.]
“Dear Friends!
The war is done! Christ Has worn victory .we have finished the buriel. We are glad that finally the body was burried In the fathers home.
The mother to Richard has given her life to jesus! After and during the burial we lead 100 people to the Lord those that are  from this village and and the rest from other neibohring villages !
TEN families that  had chased away there kids due to the influence of of this evil  spirits have  understood the power and the love Jesus! Now 20 kids have gone back to there families .we have burnt idols and with the help of the police we have set ablaze 20 shrine altars .
So far the human right personal .and the police has prisioned 20 wichdoctors. And also the village has risen up to instead Chase them a way .other parents that has sent a way there kids to die has run a way they are hidding a way .and many children are saying that they are ‘ worried of being sucrifised  like other siblings that has been sucrifised .
Acording to what they have advised us .they have asked us to remove this kids and put them in a safe place. As we wait to get a nice and well secure place to.put them.
So far the .10 more have been diogonised  with  marelia fever. We are glad the 12 are healed.but because of a bad environment they are in they are likely to keep getting sick.
We have found trading homes that we can give an offer to them. and we can rent them and put this kids in this place where they can be safe and managed well.
If I could get 500$ can use this houses only a month as we finish there home.
There food is already done! And we are looking forwad for when the funds will come so that we could  start bulding as well there food.
Will keep you updated about the ten also we are among to take them to the hospital.
Very tired but very excited that the gosple has been preached and people have seen the hand of Jesus willing to love ,care,save!Am very greatful and am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
[If you would like to help, contact us at dale@revivalfire.org or call me at (972) 935-8889.]
Praise the Lord,
Brother Dale

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I love to sit on my porch in the mornings as the sun is coming up and watch the dragonflies bob and weave across the lawn, snatching up gnats like winged Pacman’s. The sun’s rays cut across the morning’s chill and catch their weaving flights like illuminated spots of light. They never seem to run out of gnats to pick up; the swarms are renewed every morning. By noon, however, they are all gone, disappearing under the heavy blanket of Texas heat as the sun asserts its dominance on the day.

In some ways, that reminds me somewhat of the Church. How many times has the exciting times that comes with the emergence of the Son in a time of spiritual refreshing slowly settle into the lethargy that comes with the afternoon’s heat. Like a heavy blanket pressing us into drowsiness, time has a way of reducing us into spiritual slumber.

As our fervor begins to wane, our prayer life becomes conversational and formal whereas it was once full of passion and fire. Services go from fiery calls for repentance and the fear of God to intellectual messages on theology and how we should live our mediocre lives. Altars for repentance, which used to be called “the Mourner’s Bench”, now have become havens for “pity lines” for the sins we never seem to overcome. We are encouraged to be nice to one another by “feel good” ministries whose reputations are bolstered by their best selling book rather than their prophetic effectiveness to call the people of God to repentance. (Jer. 23: 22)

“And my people love to have it so …” (Jer. 5:31)

Jeremiah makes the point that false prophets of peace and safety flourish in times like these. Prosperity is the ensign that our leaders wave in their pursuit of wealth so that they can show how God has “blessed” them (1 Tim. 6:5). We love the comfort of settling into a soft gospel that lulls us to sleep like the heat of a Texas afternoon. We are satisfied; we are comfortable; and we feel blessed.

Several years ago, I pleaded with God for the people in the American church. As I was wrestling in prayer, I cried out, “But God, they are really nice people!” There was that ominous pause, like what you feel before a storm breaks, and then the Lord answered me directly in words, “I will spue the lukewarm out of my mouth … and you think they’re nice?”

We are in desperate need of revival. The problem is that as the Church slides deeper into apostasy, they are less and less able to see it in themselves. There has to come a spiritual earthquake to wake them up. The deeper we fall asleep, the more we need a revival, the greater the calamity that is needed to awaken us.

“Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season:” (Jer. 5:24)

No revival comes without repentance. The harvest will not come without the former and latter rain (Joel 2:23), and they won’t come without our prayer life being gripped with the fear of the Lord to crack our knees in abject, heartfelt repentance. The kind that moves mountains.

Jonathan in 1 Sam. 14 had his earthquake after all Israel had fled because he climbed the mountain that was before him on his knees to engage the enemy and fight. We need to take on his same faith and tenacity to fight for the people of God and climb that mountain which is before us. If we won’t fight for this, who will?

It’s another hot, sultry dog day afternoon in Texas. The temperature is hitting 105 degrees and the heat smothers you. Tomorrow morning the air will be fresh and cool again and the dragonflies will be back, zooming around like dive bombers playing in the rays of morning sun, but then by noon, that oppressive heat will be back again, draining the life out of the rest of the day.

Lord, we need it to rain.

Brother Dale

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“…her candle goeth not out by night.”  Proverbs 31:18

I am struck by this passage when reading about the virtuous woman, the picture of the true Church in Proverbs 31.  Who burns their candle all night long?  And why would you do that?  I dare say that most of us turn the lights off when we go to bed.  But not the virtuous woman.  She keeps her light burning throughout the entire night.

As Christians, we rejoice in our salvation and celebrate our transformation from death, but for a truly converted Christian, it will not end there.  He will look back into the darkness and light a candle so others can see the lighthouse of safety and come out of that world of darkness.  That desire to hold up a light and to let it burn all night long so that others can see it is something that only comes from the grace of God..

Grace transforms us and changes the way we look at things. Those who have been truly transformed by grace are no longer satisfied with attending bland church services, fellowshipping with other complacent believers in ivory halls of contentment, and warming themselves by the coals of indifference. Something inside them cannot rest while others are dying. The realities of darkness become stark when seen from that place of light.  The dark seems darker and the despair seems more desperate. While others seek the calm serenity of their chapels and cathedrals, there are those who want to set up a rescue station one foot away from the very Gates of Hell.  Light the candle and let it burn all night long!

Grace is not just “undeserved mercy”. It is the fountain from which mercy flows. And mercy gives birth to charity, and charity is the very essence of the entire Gospel, the main theme of the Cross, the whole reason why Jesus died and the central reason of why we were called to salvation. Without grace, we are but tinkling bells and a sounding cymbal – plenty of noise and pretty music, but lacking substance.

Grace also produces righteousness. We assume that “works” are the antithesis of grace, but that is not so. Works are the evidence of grace. It is grace working in us that brings us to a place of righteousness before God. Grace was never meant to be a cheap and easy covering for sin, but is that which gives us the power to overcome sin. Grace produces righteousness, and righteousness establishes the promises of God and ushers us into His presence.

Grace is the river of Life that flows from the Throne of God through us so that we may be a reflection of His glory. The true purpose of grace is not to excuse sin, but so that world can see God as their savior to save them from sin. Grace is the Light of Jesus Christ burning in us to beckon those who are lost to come out of the darkness and into His glorious light.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

 

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The Inner Side of the Veil

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19,20 ESV

The King James calls it “that within the veil”. The New King James calls it “the Presence”. Holman calls it “the inner sanctuary”. The literal Greek is esothen meaning “the inner side” of the veil. What is the writer of Hebrews (let’s assume for clarity that the writer is Paul) referring to?

Chapter 6 of Hebrews is a mysterious chapter. By that, I mean that the message is not immediately obvious. What seem to be five different and separate messages is actually one message that is not stated but woven into them all. I am reminded that, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2) It is left to us to search it out.

The chapter opens with an admonition about going on to “perfection” or a higher level in our spiritual walk instead of being bogged down with basic essentials, of which he names six. But, Paul warns, don’t start seeking some deeper of more “spiritual” level unless God permits!

Why is that? What is the problem with seeking more knowledge or deeper spiritual understanding? Doesn’t Proverbs plainly tell us to do that with everything we have? And such a warning! Why?

Because, Paul warns, it is impossible, once you have crossed over the line, to come back again. I know this is anathema to who believe in Eternal Security, but it clearly describes five unmistakable marks of true salvation: enlightenment, sampling the heavenly gift, partaking of the Holy Spirit, tasting the Word of God, and tasting the powers of the age to come. And it clearly warns that if they fall away that there is a point where they cannot repent again.

In other words, be careful before you wander off into theological scholasticism or modern Christianity’s bent on deeper “spirituality”. You can wander off into dangerous theories, arguments, doctrines, and translucent ideas that will take you away from the basics of the Gospel. Jesus said to be concerned with the “weightier matters of the law”, judgment, mercy, and faith. (Mathew 23:23) It is the foolishness of preaching that God uses to save souls (1 Cor. 1:21), not the wisdom of man, as he further admonishes in that chapter.

In other words, stick to the basics; you can’t go wrong with the basics. The Bibles tells us that, “he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:30), not those with carnal intelligence, because “to be carnally minded is death” (Romans 8:6)

And then Paul turns to encourage the reader that God is not unjust to forget our works and mercies that we have done. He fortifies it with a reference to God’s promise to Abraham, which is confirmed by God’s own oath so that we would have a strong consolation to have hope in God.

That hope is not found in the pursuit of knowledge and theological strivings or of any other paths that lead around and away from the Cross. It is embedded on the inside of that veil. Not on the side of the veil that the priesthood could see and touch, but on the other side, the side that is inhabited and immersed in the Holy Spirit of God.

You see, that place of assurance cannot be reached through carnal efforts, no matter how well intentioned they are. Our works and efforts are all good things, but they won’t bring you into the Presence of God. You can’t touch the inner side of the veil by sticking your finger through the outer side.

You approach God through faith. That is what gives you hope. And hope is the anchor of the soul, hooked into the inside surface of that holy fabric which was torn open on the Cross so that we could pass through into His Presence.

 

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