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Posts Tagged ‘lukewarm’

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, formal, and polite whereas it was once full of outrageous 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?”  Ouch.

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, who will?

It’s another hot, sultry dog day afternoon in Texas. The temperature is hitting 100 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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“… I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing …” (Rev 3:17)

I was at a High School baseball game not long ago, and as I was looking around at the crowd, I noticed how many people were fat. Not just “beefy” or “heavy”, but plain ol’ fat!

This is not an isolated scene, but is endemic across America. How’d we get so fat? I don’t remember it being like this when I was growing up, or even as recently as 20 years ago. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but regardless, Americans have lost that image of being lean, mean, tough, and hard-working. At some point we were paying attention to something else that captured our attentions, and we became soft and fat.

Our physical condition is a perfect reflection of our spiritual condition. A generation or so ago, our pastors preached a different message and our congregations were much more vibrant with a solid spirit to them. But now, our preachers have turned into nice guys and our churches have turned to mush. We’ve become soft and fat and lazy.

I’m sure lots of church-oriented people will object to that, just as those who have given up looking for a good church will probably agree with it.

I spend a lot of time in Africa where the people are desperately hungry to see the power of God working in their church – so much so that they will walk for up to 10 to 12 hours, sleep on the floor of the church, and be content with rice and beans just so they can hear the Word of God preached under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Americans are not that hungry, neither are they willing to pay that kind of price for anything.

As a result, in Africa, souls are getting saved, getting supernaturally healed, and getting ignited with the Fire of God. Churches there are being transformed from sleepy little country churches to on-fire Spirit-ignited soul winners. Revival is beginning to break out in Africa … but not in America.

I’ve noticed that almost everyone in Africa is skinny. Hmmm.

We used to be just like them once upon a time. What happened? Did we get so comfortable that we no longer needed God? Did our blessings kill us?

Did our fat plug up our ears so that we can no longer hear the reproof of the Word of God, and so instead of snapping out of it, we justify our religious institutions, our spiritual slackness, and our decided lack of the Fear of God. We have plenty of alternate theologies to explain away our spiritual laziness and justify our apostasy. Our leaders are all graduates of theologically correct institutions and are armed with libraries of scholastic credentials, so they must be right … aren’t they?

But our ears are plugged with our fat, and we can no longer hear the searing reproof of the Word of God. We have become scorners who are deaf and can no longer repent.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.”  (Isaiah 6:9,10)

 

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“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Psalms 96:5

When I look back on the revivals that have happened throughout history, I see certain elements that have always been evident. I’ve put many of them in my book, “Four Steps to Revival”, but there are a couple that I don’t think I have emphasized enough – holiness and prayer.

Today’s messages are all about grace and love and mercy, not holiness. And who could argue against that? What wonderful things they are! How great and wonderful is our Salvations that rely upon the grace, love and mercy of God. We would be so lost without them? But is that all there is? Or are we using Grace to minimize the effect of sin, and thereby turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, like it says in Jude 1:4? Have we been so focused on receiving blessings that we have ignored the call to a crucified walk in the sufferings of the Body of Christ? Has this loving modern gospel offered us so much comfort that we have refused the Cross in our pursuit of the Crown?

Every revival in history has been preceded by a time of deep, broken-hearted repentance and remorse for our worldly sinful ways. Desperation, weeping and howling at the altar as it is described in Joel chapter 2, is what brings God’s attention to our cry for revival, not the singing and dancing of a superficial worship that bears no marks of the Cross. The Church is complacent in her mediocrity and feels no shame or remorse. She has a “whore’s forehead”. She refuses to be ashamed (Jeremiah 3:3), and therefore the harvest has been witholden and the revival has not come. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.

The other thing missing is prayer. Revivals are birthed in the labor room of deep, prevailing prayer. The men and women of God that brought forth great moves of God would contend and wrestle in brokenness before God for hours and hours. Four and five hours every day, crying out to God relentlessly was not uncommon. Four or five hours every day! I know of no one in 45 years of ministry that has prayed like that, and yet you will see it in the early labor pains of every revival. How is it that we can be so foolish and cavalier to think that we can just snap our fingers and bring forth a microwave revival – no price, no pain, no tears, no ripping and tearing of our souls. Just waggle our finger in the air with a Howdy Dowdy wooden grin and say “Praise Jesus”.

That kind of prayer brought forth men and women of great power and authority. Know anyone like that today? Me neither. The ones I knew are all dead. All we have left are some nice pastors with nice messages for nice people. There are no John the Baptists left to challenge us, no Elijah’s to call down fire, no Martin Luther’s, Billy Sundays, Wigglesworth’s, or any of those who walked with true God-given authority to call us to our knees in broken repentance and crushing prayer. And yet Jeremiah cried out that the effectiveness of a true prophet of God was seen in his ability to bring the people of God to a place of true repentance (Jeremiah 23:22), not in their ability to entertain us with message of peace and love.

But what difference will this article make? People will read this and bob their heads up and down like apples in a barrel of water, and then go on the same ways they have been accustomed to. Same ol’, same ol’. Like water, we always seek that level that we are comfortable with … until something terrible comes along to rattle us out of our apostasy.

Something terrible is coming that will shake to the roots our modern Christianity with its Pollyanna attitude of personal blessings, sweet Jesus and a love and mercy that excuses sin and dismisses the fear of the Lord. But we don’t believe that because we don’t want to. And so we will not listen. And as a result, we are destined to face it.

The Lord once told me as I was watching this modern Christianity run in their hypnotic trance straight for the edge of a cliff, that even if they could hear me – which they could not – they will not listen. They are too set in a doctrine that they want to believe and like the children of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they are given over to the golden calves that they have created for themselves.

“And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:3-4

 

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