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Posts Tagged ‘prosperity’

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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I am in Ughelli, a small city in Delta State of Nigeria. I’d try to google what the population is but the internet is so slow here, it would take 15 minutes just to get an answer. Probably close to 100,000. There are people crawling all over the place no matter where you look.

Nigeria is very crowded in the south, but the infrastructure is undeveloped. There’s lots of people, but not a well-developed retail environment.  All those billions upon billions pour in from the oil that is being drilled, but they can’t fix the roads, keep the electricity on, or build a modern infrastructure. I am repeatedly told that it is because of the deep level of corruption here. It’s in the air, in the way they think, and the way they act. They could be one of the most developed countries in Africa except for this cancer that has robbed them of their prosperity.

I wonder if there is a correlation with the Church in Nigeria. You see signs and banners everywhere advertising the next great miracle conference, the next Night of Miracles, or the next incredible, spectacular, fantastic, death-defying, miracle-generating, prosperity-showering, supernatural three-ring circus. Step right up folks! Get your once in a lifetime anointing to fix all your problems, solve your money worries, and generally make you feel a lot better.

And yet, sin is endemic and the corruption leaches out of these religious snake oil salesmen like the ooze of a poisonous wound. The people are so starved for the truth that they will grasp for anything, hoping that God will somehow see their plight and bestow upon them their showers of blessings. And so they flock to these false prophets that are everywhere like fleas on a dog, and end up feeding the very corruption that is destroying them.

But there are those who see and understand. They know that the Gospel is not about themselves; it is about others. This is the great challenge for Nigeria, for revival cannot take root in poisoned soil. They recognize the darkness for what it is and are determined to stand for the truth. But you rarely find them in the big churches. It always seems to be the pastors of the small congregations who recognize that this fake prosperity message is nothing more than Satan’s plan to keep the Church away from repentance, from true holiness, and from a willingness to carry the cross in sacrifice so others can escape Hell.

Hasn’t that always been the way? Throughout history, revivals have most often been birthed outside the theological established halls of religion and have been more revolution than revival.

I have visited some these churches this week. I can tell they are ready for a true Holy Ghost revival because of their overwhelming response to the message of repentance, righteousness, and revival. They get it. And they’re excited to hear it. And they want more.  They want revival and they recognize that this old-fashioned message is the way to get it.

I am looking forward to a time when not the fiscal but the spiritual prosperity will bloom and the infrastructure of the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit rises up out of the rubble of this failed religious chicanery. For that to happen, these men and women will have to challenge this endemic corruption in the Church. It will not be easy or quick, but I believe there are heroes-in-the-making here who will hold up the Blood Stained Banner over this country and declare victory.

Brother Dale — (Join our email list)

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I read a Scripture yesterday that really stopped me cold.

I am always ready to talk about the Fear of God, and how the modern church has diluted it to a more socially correct definition of “respect”. The Fear of God is rarely preached today like it was generations ago, and as a result, our whole attitude toward Judgment has deteriorated. God, who was once the holy, awesome Almighty before whom we stood with fear and trembling, (or as the old prophet said, “let Him be your dread”) has now been relegated to a God of all-embracing Love who is our “Daddy” instead of our God.

I try to be quick to explain that God’s Love is contingent upon our walk in holiness. He loves those who keep His commandments – yes, He does — but He hates the workers of iniquity. (His words, not mine.) That’s not exactly “unconditional love”. Let’s face it, God is a Jew. He makes deals, and that is the deal.

Nevertheless, when I read in 2nd Corinthians how that they had received Titus, a minister of God, with fear and trembling, I had to pause. What a different picture than what we have today!

Imagine receiving one of our popular televangelists today with fear and trembling. Or consider listening with great trepidation to one of our many prosperity preachers who expand the concept of Love into an art form for tithing. Imagine yourself hanging fearfully on every word from your Pastor. It’s just not going to happen.

Why should we? Our Pastors are all nice guys, our prophets are wrapped in garments of peace and love, and our preachers entice us with soft, unchallenging messages. There’s no room for those old Holy Ghost messages of hellfire and brimstone anymore. They’re just old-fashioned, crotchety old men whose pants are on too tight, and they just don’t get it. We’re too sophisticated these days for any such a hard-edged Gospel as that. Today, it’s all about Love.

We are missing those men of God who had real authority – the kind of authority that you can feel way down in your bones – the kind of men that, when they walk in a room, you can feel the power of God upon them, that when they speak, everybody listens. What ever happened to those guys?

Well, we’ve dismissed them. We don’t like that uncomfortable feeling we get when we listen to them, and we really don’t want to give up our ideas of personal independence and submit to reproof with abject humility. Naw, we like those other guys that tell us smooth things, that prophesy unto us deceits. They have a Gospel that goes down a lot easier.

And yet, God expects his ministers to be a flame of fire. (shudder)

Remember when the woman who had the issue of blood was cleansed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment? She fell down with fear and trembling. Why was that? Because Jesus had that powerful authority in God. And how did Jesus get that authority? The Bible says he was heard in that He feared!

It is the fear of God that gives you authority and power in God to stand as a true minister with the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit upon you. Without the fear of God, you can only get skin-deep. The fear of God is wisdom; it is strength; it is confidence; it is true happiness; and it gives you holy boldness.

When a minister of God stands with that kind of authority in God, you will feel that same fear and trembling that the Corinthians felt. There is a power in his words and an anointing in his presence that can be felt way down in your soul. It is not the man whom we fear, but the power of God that is upon him.

But our values have changed. Fear and Hell have become four-lettered words that we avoid like … well, … like what they are.

There just isn’t much of a market these days for ministers of fire, and, as they say, you get what you pay for.

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