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[It is difficult to write a short, one-page description of what a true prophet is in contrast to the swarm of false prophets that have infiltrated the Church. Nevertheless, in an attempt for brevity and clarity, I have listed a few characteristics without padding it with too many examples and scriptures. I hope this is easy, clear, and concise.]

1) A true prophet is determined first of all by his message.

It is what he says that sets him apart from false prophets. A true prophet is called to preach against sin and call the people of God to repentance. His voice is always aimed at the false religion that is infiltrated into the true religion.

“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.“(Micah 3:8)

A false prophet, on the other hand, never preaches about repentance (Jer.23:14, 17), but his message is always targeted on the “smooth things” that people want to hear.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”  2 Timothy 4:3

2) A true prophet is also known by his attitude – how he says it.

A true prophet is never part of the crowd and does not care what anyone thinks. He is not like everyone else and cannot “fit in”. He walks to a different rhythm and hears a different melody. In order to deliver the message that God has given him, he cannot be affected in any way by the opinions of others or what the crowd believes is right.  As a result, true prophets rarely care about softening their message to accommodate their listeners. They simply do not care what others think of them.

3) A true prophet has a solitary walk.

He walks alone with God. He hears only God; no one else.  A.W. Tozer wrote, “In order for God to use a man, he has to be separated so that God can speak to him in such a way that the man can hear God. Only the man who can hear God can speak for God.” It is part of his consecrated walk. In order to clearly hear the true voice of God, there must be silence so that he may abide in that “secret place of the Most High”. Elijah had his cave on Mount Horeb, Joseph had his prison, Jacob his 21 years under Laban, and Jesus his 40 days in the wilderness. These are places you can only go through alone, but it is in those valleys that true prophets find the depth of their calling and the deep fellowship with the Cross. It is a filter that false prophets cannot pass.

4) A true prophet is known by his personality and perspective on life.

Prophets are not celebrities. God calls them out of obscurity so that it is the message that gets the attention, not the messenger. Jesus said that no prophet receives honor in their own country. When you find a so-called prophet who is greatly honored and celebrated, and whose books are on the Best Seller list, check on his message. More often than not, the reason everyone likes him is because he is telling them what they want to hear.

“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” (1 John 4:5)

5) A true prophet is known by his purpose – what his job is.

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  Ezekiel 22:30

Prophets are called to stand in the gaps of the walls that are broken down to hold back the judgments of God. (Eze. 22:30). Those walls are the defenses surrounding the Church that are supposed to hold back the enemy. When they are broken down through sin, the church is left defenseless against the destruction of Satan.

Prophets are not called to be Gypsies or horoscope fortune tellers. Their job is to stand in the gaps and rebuild the wall so they can bring the people back to righteousness and renew their proper relationship with God.

6) A true prophet cannot be cultivated or taught; he has to be called by God.

A.W.Tozer said, “Only God can prepare a prophet to do the ministry of a prophet. The schools of the prophet never produced an Elijah or an Elisha.” That’s because they weren’t schools. The Hebrew word used in Kings and Chronicles means an organization or group, as in a school of fish, not an educational institution. You can’t teach someone how to be a prophet. A true prophet is called by God. He does not call himself.

7) A true prophet is always aware of the presence of God and must walk a consecrated walk without sin.

Elijah had a sense that God was standing right behind him (“…the Lord God, before whom I stand…”), watching everything he did. He didn’t dare cross the line into worldliness and sin. Because of the intense degree with which God must operate through His prophets, He cannot work through a vessel that is disobedient. Sin separates you from God (Isa.59:2).

8) A true prophet must be crucified.

He must be a man of deep, prevailing prayer and ready to pay a heavy price of a deeply crucified walk, broken and surrendered to everything around him. Paul said he was crucified unto the world and the world was crucified unto him (Gal 6:14). There has to be a complete rejection of the world and everything in the world. (1John 2:15) His whole cognizance must be immersed in the Spirit of God, not in this world. That makes him different – he is not of this world.

9) A true prophet is humble and walks in a deeper fear of God than others.

He understands that he is nothing without God and is able to give God all the glory. He desires nothing for himself. Let others keep their riches. The prophet of God is sustained by God, not man. Neither does he need or seek glory for himself. Just as John the Baptist handed over his ministry to Jesus upon his arrival at Jordan, so a true prophet gives all the glory to God.

10) To get a better understanding and a clearer picture of what a prophet is, read the Prophets.

Listen to their hearts, feel the cries of their hearts when they cry out to a rebellious people. Feel the rejection and loneliness that they are left with. But also feel the strength of righteousness in their voice and the power of authority in their stand against a church that has fallen away from God and is now walking in darkness and do not know at what they stumble. (Prov. 4:19)

The Lord showed me that His Bride is becoming invisible. She has put on garments that are full of golden jewels, pearls, and beautiful costly array. She is beginning to look just like the world and is fading away. God is losing His Bride. We need a true prophet to bring Her back.

Brother Dale,  http://revivalfire.org

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Do You Get an Answering Machine When You Pray?

Ever wonder how in the world the Lord can really hear and pay attention to you when you pray?  Let’s face it.  He has got to be pretty busy. He has to pay attention to billions of people, what they do, what they saying, even what they’re thinking.  On top of that, He writes all this stuff down in a Book, and He can’t make any mistakes– people’s souls depend on its absolute accuracy!  If that’s not enough, He has to be mindful of the entire universe.  The rivers, the seasons, the wind and the weather, the animals and plant life, even the stars and galaxies are dependant upon His Word to be held together in order.  And you mean to tell me that He not only knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, but He actually numbers the hairs of your head?  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…  We’re talking busy here!

Is it a small wonder, then, that so many of us don’t expect a personal answer each and every time we go to pray?  When you pray, do you get a personal response, or do you get an answering machine?  “Thank you for praying.  I’m away from the prayer line right now and am either answering another prayer, or not at home right now.  Please leave your prayer at the sound of the beep, or press 0 to talk with one of the angels … Oh, and have a nice day!”

Do you pray with the attitude that you will just leave a message, and somehow, when God gets around to checking His messages, He’ll handle your request?  After all, He is pretty busy and we do have to cut Him a little slack.

Or do you pray expecting an answer?  When you call, do you ring the phone until you get an answer?  When you go to visit, do you hang on that doorbell until He answers the door?  You know He’s at home.  Answer the phone!  Open the door!  You didn’t come just to hear the cute little sound of the bell.  You need an answer!  Right here, right now!

We’ve got a contract with God that is written in Blood, and sealed with the Holy Ghost. That contract gives us rights to the Throne of God.  God is a Jew; He makes deals; and that’s part of the deal!  I’ve got it in writing.  I am not going to be satisfied with some dumb answering machine, or some angel for a secretary, or some saint.  I want the real thing, and I’m stubborn enough to hang in there until I get it.  So was the guy in Luke 11 who harangued his neighbor with his importunity until he got what he wanted.

We need powerful prayer warriors who know how to get answers from God. If there was ever a time the people of God need to stand strong, it is now in these last days. Each and every one of us needs to believe God for a personal answer when we contend before God with effective, prevailing prayers. That’s where you get your strength.  If we don’t learn to pray like that, our souls will become weak and insipid with a lack of faith and will eventually fall prey to the storms of Satan.

Elias was a man of like passions as we, and he stopped up the heavens from rain through prayer, and then he prayed again and it rained.  That’s what I call knowing how to get an answer from God!

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

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I love mornings. I usually sit outside and pray on my porch at sunrise. As the rays of morning sunlight begin to peek over the trees, they cast a golden sheen across the lawn that glistens across the lingering evening’s dew. As the morning sunlight starts pouring over the trees, it highlights the little gnats that are swarming around over the grass like a cloud of tiny pinpoints of light tumbling around in the beams of sunshine. There’s thousands of them over the whole property, but they can only be seen where the sunlight hits them and lights them up like sparkles against the dark contrast of the tress that are still hanging on to their early morning shadows.

It doesn’t take long before the dragonflies come. First one, then another, and soon the whole gang arrives for the feast, twisting, turning and dive bombing like tiny fighter planes in dogfights scooping up the little gnats, extinguishing the little sparkles one at a time.

This morning, however, the dragonflies had not shown up. There were gnats everywhere, but no dragonflies. I waited for the word to get out that the buffet was spread out and it was time to come and get it, but there was no response. So I prayed.

I was having one of the quiet, intimate prayer hours with the Lord. We were so close that our hearts were touching each other. I love prayer hours like that. It is not a time for contending in battle or laboring in agonizing prayer, but it is a time of quiet fellowship with your Heavenly Father. He’s right there, sitting next to you, listening to you pour out your heart in secret communion.

Since I was so close to Him at this moment, I thought I’d just ask for a little answer to prayer, “Lord, send the dragonflies.”  No big deal; just kinda for kicks, I thought it would be a neat thing to have Him answer such a small thing right while He was sitting there with me.

I waited. And waited some more.  No dragonflies.

“Lord, You there?”

Still none.  I went back to praying for a while, wondering if I did something stupid. Again.

After a while, lo and behold, what shows up but a single dragonfly. And then after 10 minutes, another one. By that time the morning mists were lifting and the day had begun. Soon they’d all be gone.

I wondered what the lesson was here. One was that, yes, God can and will answer even dumb requests like sending the dragonflies, but He doesn’t always answer right away. Sometimes the answer has to come through a process before you are ready for the answer. And sometimes it is you that needs to go through that process. He will send it when it is time. We have to wait.

But the other lesson I came away with was that God is sovereign. He is not at our command to jump through hoops and roll over for us when we call. He is God and we are at His command, not the other way around. There are rock solid promises in the Word of God, but every promise of God has conditions – nothing is free, and rarely cheap – but in the end, God is sovereign and will do as He pleases.

He did send two dragonflies, though. But he sent them in His own time, just to give me a lesson of faith and patience on a misty morning.

 

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I’m sitting in the Brussels airport on my way home. This has been a hard trip. I’m not entirely sure why, but the two weeks I have spent here have felt like two months. True, the pace was intense, but it was more than that. There was an oppression in the air that weighed heavily on us that made everything harder.  I was so exhausted most of the time that I could barely manage.

But it didn’t affect the services. They were great. Each place we went to lit up like they were on fire. I would step into each meeting with a bit of apprehension because I never seemed to know what the message was going to be, and each time in less than a minute, the Holy Ghost would click on like flipping a switch, and away we would go.

Even though I was bound up in exhaustion, there was a complete freedom for the Spirit to move throughout the messages. Most of the time, I felt like I was riding a wave as the Lord shaped, molded, and turned the message in the direction He wanted it to go.

And the response was great. The pastors were rejoicing for the tangible hope for a real revival from God. They now had the blueprint for revival in their hands and they were excited. I watched as they sat on the edge of their chairs with eyes wide open, shouting their “Amen’s” every time something new was revealed to them.

It’s funny, but after having preached over a thousand messages over the last 16 years, I still feel apprehensive going into each service. It’s as if, even though God has been there every single time for me, I am still afraid that this time I will fall flat on my face.  God and I have a little running joke between us, like a little dance that we do. He will remind me as I am sitting there, that the deal we have with each other is, “You lead, and I’ll follow.”

“Yes, Lord. I know. I’m just a little scared that I’m not enough in the Spirit.

“Have I ever failed you?”

“No. I’m just afraid I’m not good enough.”

“You aren’t; I am.  I’ll lead; you follow.”

And every time, He does. He goes right around me and deals personally with the hearts of His people.

I really believe this is the way it is supposed to be done. Let God do the work. He does a much better job than we can. My job, oppression or not, is to show up

… and then get out of the way.

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“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17, 18)

I’d like to clarify one of the things I wrote about yesterday.

I have started doing something new in my revival meetings. I used to have healing lines where almost the whole church would line up to get prayed over. I’m not sure about the early years, but for the last 10 years, everybody that would get in line would get healed. Sometimes, they would get healed while still standing in line before I got to them. Sometimes they would get healed when they stepped inside the door of the church or under the canopy. I know because I ask them.

When I pray over someone, I first ask where the problem is, and then we pray over that spot. If it is a woman, I ask her to place her hand where the pain is and I place my hand on top of hers. If she does not get healed, we pray again. Either you believe or you don’t. If she doesn’t get healed the 2nd time, we pray again. Rarely have I ever had to go more than three times.

Once the people in the meeting see others getting healed, guess what happens. The line goes out the door, and it usually takes over an hour before we get to the end. Everybody has something they need prayed for.

All that is great, but what happens when I leave? Do the promises leave with me? I believe that it is important for these people to realize that they have the same access to the Throne of God that I do, and that if they begin to take hold of the promises God has given them, they can start performing miracles. When that happens, what do you think the unsaved community around them will do? They will come. When they see that the power of God is real, that it can deliver them, it can heal them, and it can save them, then the wheels of revival will begin to turn.

So I am doing a new thing. I am making them pray over the sick themselves. I start by getting someone that has a pain or a headache to stand up. Then I look for an unlikely candidate to pray over that person. At first, many of them are looking away, or down, or hiding their eyes, hoping that I don’t call on them. But those are the ones that I’m looking for. I bring them forward and tell them to pray with authority to cast out the sickness and take power and dominion over all sickness, pain, and weakness. Pray like Elijah! And they do!

Guess what happens. That’s right. The sick are healed! And THEY did it, not the white guy from America. Then I do it again with another set of candidates. And again. You can watch the realization dawn across their faces that this power is not reserved for special people or big shots, but it is for them. God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty.

There are two things that I want them to understand. One is that once the miracles start flowing, the unsaved will begin to believe in the gospel once again. Right now, they have dismissed church as something good people do, but that it has no power and is not for them. All that will change when they see and hear the power and glory restored to the church.

The other thing is even more important than that. I want them to fully realize that they can change the world. Not somebody else. Not some well-heeled preacher from the West. Not the apostle or the bishop or the big-time VIP, but them. The little people. The foolish things of the world. The fishermen at the Sea of Galilee. The little shepherd boy. The widow with two mites or an alabaster box.

Once this concept awakens in their heads and they rise to the challenge that God has placed upon them, they will be the stones that God will raise up to change, not just their community around them, but the entire world.

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dead-tree

This morning, I looked out over my yard and considered the great big Weeping Willow out there.  It had suffered terribly from last summer. It reminded me of the 1st chapter in the Book of Joel.  What the drought didn’t wither, the grasshoppers had finished off. Whole limbs stood out from the ground up to 30 feet high that were just about dead, brown, and dry.  Here and there were a few new outcroppings of growth.  A few leaves here; a few leaves there.

I stood looking at the mass of dead branches, figuring out which limbs I was going to have to cut down, and which could be spared.  I’m told that you should cut major limbs only at certain times; otherwise you’ll hurt the whole tree.  But they’ve got to come down eventually. If they don’t, they will sap the tree of its strength and potency.  All that dead weight will keep the tree from the beauty and health of vibrant growth.

How much like the Lord with His church.  The dead branches are allowed to hang in there for a while in hopes that they will sprout some new life and bear fruit. However, if they do not come back to life, they’ve got to be cut down or they will sap the entire Body of its strength.

Souls are not drawn to dead churches any more than we are drawn to dead trees.  The husbandman would not be worthy of his hire if he allowed them to remain unpruned.  No matter how nice or how easy it would be to just leave them alone, the axe has to be laid to the root of the tree if it does not bear forth good fruit.  And where do they throw the dead branches?  Into the fire.

The Lord always raises up vinekeepers to work His garden, and they are responsible to make sure the vines produce good fruit.  Theirs is a thankless job – nobody enjoys being told that they are dead – but in the end, the plant will prosper and grow.  To not proclaim the call to righteousness and Holy Ghost conviction would make them derelict in their duty, and allow the tree to die.  There are those who are dying to see a Holy Ghost revival that will set the church on fire, and there are those who are content with the status quo and would rather be left alone with their comfortable churches.  We choose our own destiny.

Jesus told his disciples that they were ordained and chosen that they should go and bring forth fruit, and that their fruit should remain (John 15:16).  In other words, the whole reason you got saved was to go and tell others the Truth so that they could have Life.

But there has to be an excitement alive in the church to produce new growth and vibrancy.  The church has to be on fire! You know you’re growing, not when you feel good at church, but when there is a constant flow of brand-new lost souls coming in to get saved. But if there’s no moving of the Spirit to bring in new souls to Life, then the sap is not flowing. And if the sap is not flowing through you, then you’re just a dead branch waving in the wind.  And a branch that doesn’t bring forth good fruit is…well…, it’s dead.

And you know what happens to dead branches.

Brother Dale,  dale@revivalfire.org

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“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”

“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander…” 1stTimothy 1:5-7,20

I don’t ever want be one of those guys that your pastor warns you about. They’re right there in church in the midst of everyone, and they think they are so right that they have to make sure everyone knows it. But they’re not. But they don’t know it.

Imagine being someone that like. You know that there is a separation between you and everyone else, especially the leadership of the church, and yet you excuse it away by thinking that it is because you are just a little bit better than them. After all, you know you’re right, but most people just don’t understand. After all, the Bible does say in Proverbs that they that seek the Lord understand all things. That must explain why others just don’t get it and you do. What a trap of delusion, and how easy it is to fall into!

What a surprise awaits them! All the way up to their last breath they think they are so right with God, and then in an instant, their reality crashes down on them. The sad thing is that their time of boasting is so fleeting, but their judgment is forever.

I don’t want to be one of those guys, so how do I make sure that I do not fall into that trap? I can only think of three things:

  1. Focus on others.
    One of the principles of revival that I preach is that the Gospel is not about you; it is about others. Throughout the Bible, the Lord directs our focus to others, others, others. I always say that if you don’t get this, you will never understand the Cross, because that is the central reason why He came, and He tells us to do the same. (Matt. 16:24)
    Forget about yourself and focus on others. It will dissolve your pride and arrogance like hot water on butter.
  2. You don’t always have to be right.
    Let others have their opinion and perspective. It’s okay. You don’t have to take on the role of the Lord High Executioner or the Holy and Exalted Fruit Inspector. For crying out loud, let it go! Relax. You don’t have to correct all the world’s mistakes.
  3. You aren’t always right.
    Yeah, this goes with #2. Maybe, just maybe, you ain’t always right. That ever occur to you? You might even learn something if you kept your mouth shut. Maybe you’d learn that not only you are not what you think you are, but that it doesn’t matter anyway. This is not a matter of who gets the highest score at the Judgment Bar, or of how much “stuff” you know. Let me tell you, nobody cares. Especially not God. So whom are you trying to impress?

And that is probably the heart of the issue. People like that have a weakness somewhere inside them that Satan has exploited and that they are trying to compensate for. What is it that they are trying to prove? Maybe they don’t really think they’re better; maybe they’re just afraid they’re not.

The heart of this issue, however, is not just about us not falling into that trap, but of us having mercy by praying for those who have. (See #1).

After all, that is the whole point, isn’t it?

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