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Posts Tagged ‘revival’

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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Well, I have been told that I was going to Hell again.

This time from someone that had read the Statement of Faith on my website, www.revivalfire.org and decided that, because I do not believe as she does, I was not saved. She was also quick to point out that you can’t go by feelings.  I beg your pardon, but I don’t see how you can go without feelings.

Yes, we walk by Faith and we must go by the Word of God, but doesn’t the Spirit and the Word agree?  And isn’t faith the substance of things hoped for?  And if it is a substance, can you not feel it?  Faith opens the door to walk into the presence of God, but believe me, when you are in the presence of God, you can feel it!

I don’t want to just believe I’m saved or think I’m saved –I want to know it!  I want to feel it!  I love that rush that comes down from the Throne of God when I pray.  When I raise my hands and lift up my heart in praise and feel the Heavens open up – wow, there is no feeling in the world like that!

When you lead someone through the Sinner’s Prayer and you feel the Spirit of God come down and flow through them – how can you not feel that?

When you lay hands on someone that is sick and feel the Blood of Jesus Christ wash over them and heal them right in front of you; when the preacher is under the Anointing and you feel the power of God flowing through whole church; when you are deep in prayer and the Lord speaks to you or shows you a vision – tell me, how can you not go by feelings?

Perhaps that woman has never felt the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost in her life.  If she did, maybe she’d have a different opinion.

I’ll tell you what, if I were in a church or a denomination or a doctrine (or whatever you want to call it), and I couldn’t feel the Spirit of God, then something is missing.  (Like maybe God?)

If you can’t feel the Spirit of God, then something is standing between you and Him.  Maybe that something is your religion.

I don’t want a cold, dead faith.  I don’t want to guess or try to theologically convince myself that I’m saved.  My faith isn’t cerebral; it’s deep in my heart.  I want a relationship with the Lord that is so personal and so powerful that all the devils in Hell cannot convince me that I am not right with God.  Not even some zealot that doesn’t happen to agree with me.

In order to be led by the Spirit of God and keep heading down the right path with Him, you’ve got to be able to feel His leading and His correction.  This is not something you can guess on, or gamble your soul on the throw of a dice – you have to be sure.  Hell burns for a long, long time.

Jesus said that as many as are led of the Spirit, they are the Sons of God.

And if you’re not led of the Spirit … well, good luck trying to figure it out.

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There is one question that I have never been asked:  “How do you know you are saved?”  Really, in 47 years, no one has ever asked me that.  That amazes me.

I’ve been challenged why I believed certain things, and, as the Bible commands us, I have studied so I can give a good answer for them.  I certainly don’t want to believe something just because somebody told me so.  I did that when I was a kid, but I learned quickly that grown-ups aren’t always right – and, surprisingly, even teen-agers aren’t always right.  No, you have to let God reveal His Truth to you through His Word so you know for sure what is right.

I’ve also been told that I’m a lot of things – some not so good.  Well that kind of goes with the territory when you take a stand for what you know is right (see the paragraph above) — that is, if you’ve got the guts to make that stand

But nobody has ever asked how I knew that I was really saved.  Why is that?

Maybe it’s because the proof of my salvation does not lie in religious expositions of theological nonsense, or a piece of paper that says I have been “confirmed”, or an adherence to a tradition of showing up for church every week, or even that I said a prayer once upon a time at the altar.  To me, that’s not proof of anything.

I know I’m saved because I can feel the Spirit of God.

That’s it.  It’s just that simple.  I can actually feel the Spirit.

I may not be floating around on some ethereal cloud all the time, but when I go to the Throne of God in prayer, the Spirit of God responds.  Jesus said the Spirit was like the wind, and that makes sense to me – you can’t see it, but you sure can feel it.

When I read the Word of God, there are times when He will open up a scripture with what you can only call a supernatural revelation.  Is that so hard to believe?  Paul talks about it happening in his churches all the time.  Boy, when that happens, you know you just heard from the Lord!

There are other times when the Lord has literally spoken to me.  I’ll tell you what, when that happens to you, ain’t nobody can tell you that you ain’t saved!  Now, I realize that’s a hard nut for some people to swallow, but what do you want me to say?  That it didn’t happen?  It’s not like I’m the only one that the Lord has spoken to or shown a vision to.  Lot’s of folks have that happen to them.

I know some people will immediately say that you can’t go by “feelings”, but that you have to base your faith on the Bible because it is the ultimate authority.  True, but the Bible plainly says that the Spirit and the Word agree.  If you’re in the Spirit, you will line up with the Word, and if you’re in the Word, you’ll be in the Spirit.  What’s so hard about that?  Maybe if you don’t feel the Spirit then you need to read and pray more – and try your hand at some fasting while you’re at it.

I’ll tell you how important I think this is – if I did not feel the Spirit of God, I’d be scared to death.  Although there are times when you have to go through “faith walks”, you always come out of those valleys with increased faith, and the Spirit of God is always right there to pour out on you when you come out.  But, if I didn’t feel the Holy Ghost, I would feel like I was cut off, and that’s worse than scary.

I’ve got something real to base my faith on.  I know I’m right with God because He is right there with me and I can feel His Holy Spirit, and that is enough to sustain me through anything.  It is the Shekinah Glory that makes me know that I am in the Spirit of God.

If you know what it is like to actually feel the Holy Ghost, then you know what it is like to have that communion with God and know that you know that you know that you are right with God. But If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out on the most wonderful thing in Life, and you need to find out soon.

The Spirit of God gives you a life and an excitement that actually makes you glow from the inside out.  Without it, though, all you’ve got is religion — and religion can’t save your soul.  There is a difference that can be felt.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never been asked that question.  It must show on my face.

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Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

(Jonah 2:1-4)

He could hear the waves crashing behind him, sweeping the water up the sand, never quite coming close to his feet. The whale lay there half in and half out of the water, its life running out of it with every last wheezing breath. Jonah was alone on the beach. He was alive, but more than that, God had heard him down in the whale’s belly and had brought him forth into the daylight that he had almost despaired of seeing again.

But here he was, standing alone on the beach on dry land, next to this great dying body of a fish that had committed suicide to bring him here. God had delivered him so completely that he hadn’t even gotten his feet wet. And now it was time for the mission that he had run away from not even a week ago.

Jonah is not a classic example of gratitude. Jonah cared more about himself than the salvation of 120,000 people. He went ahead and prophesied to the Ninevites as he was commanded to do, but his heart wasn’t in it. He was actually more grateful for a tree that gave him shade than the great deliverance God had done for him.

Why is that? As a young Christian, I was taught that if you had a thankful heart, you would never backslide, and I have seen the truth of that over the years, but how does one develop a thankful heart?

I don’t believe gratitude comes from circumstances or things that have happened to you as much as it does from a thankful heart that has already been planted within you. Gratitude is more the blossoming of an attitude you already have rather than the genesis of a new one.  And I believe it is tied to charity.

One of the six principles of revival that I preach about is that the gospel is not about you; it is about others. This is the central message of the Cross; it is the essence of who and what Christ was. Charity is the essential element, not only to entering into a vibrant and deep walk in God, but to seeing the power of God work in your life. Charity is Jesus Christ working in you.

You would think that gratitude would be about what happens to us rather than to others, but the seeds of gratitude cannot find a place to grow in the stony rock of a cold heart. They can only find purchase in the cultivated soil of a heart that is not only thankful, but is softened with that thing about charity that turns our focus to others, dismisses our own situation, and rejoices in what God has done for all.

Gratitude is tied to the Cross.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8Charity never faileth …” (1 Cor. 13: 4-8)

 

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One more week to go. Well, almost. (Can you tell that I’m ready to come home?) Whenever I get to this point, I start reaching out to the finish line and try to think of it in bite-sized pieces. One more week sounds better than 10 more days.

This whole mission has not been bad at all. The schedule has been easy – mostly just one service a day – and the congregations that I’ve preached to have been wildly enthusiastic.  That always makes you feel good when the people get that excited when you preach. We’ve had one healing line so far and, as usual, everyone who came to get prayed over got healed. Nothing serious, but hey, a miracle is a miracle. What a great thing it is when miracles become routine!

Even though everything is going well, I am still ready to come home. It’s not the food or the room or the people. It’s just time to go home. Something inside me is just plain bone tired. This is the part of the mission field that you don’t often hear about. We talk about the altar calls, the presence of the Spirit of God in services, and the miracle healings that take place. Or we tell the stories of how the devil pulled some crazy stunt to either stop, hinder, or kill us. It’s fun to tell these “war stories” about the grand adventure we are on, but what we don’t share is the slowing down of time until the tick-tocks of the clock, like the dripping of water, slows to a crawl. That’s the part that is difficult to relate.

And why would we? It certainly isn’t any more fun to hear than it is to tell. And honestly, it’s just part of the journey. Our focus should stay riveted on the vision, the reason why we are here. That is the thing that drives us forward to get past the obstacles and hardships in the path. This is war, and we are the soldiers. We have come to fight and to claim victory, not complain and glorify the devil.

Things are a bit different here in Nigeria, though, than in other places. In East Africa, we usually see instant victories of deliverance, salvation, and rejoicing. You can feel the reality of a coming move of God there because the message is so liberating that it spreads like wildfire. Those people embrace the promise so much that you can hear the echo across churches everywhere. They not only believe it; they expect it.

But in Nigeria, the feeling is different. I’m not sure if it is something in their culture that gives them that taciturn sternness in their demeanor or is it the enormity of the corruption and greed that you find here. Everybody is friendly, but smiles are not as easy or as readily seen as in East Africa. There is a lack of color here that reflects the feeling in the air. Whereas in Kenya, you see lots of bright yellows, reds, and greens, here everything is painted in the pallor of more somber tones and shades of grey and brown.  They are a serious people. They want God, and they are excited about the message, and they believe it, but there just seems to be a lack of real joy.

The other thing that dampens the spirit in Nigeria is the degree of corruption and greed. Corruption is endemic here – and I’m talking about in the Church, not just the rest of the society. It not only colors their attitudes but, like a thick blanket of smog, it chokes their spirits. The government officials are pocketing billions of oil money, so that the revenue never reaches down to the population. And then the Church leaders and religious charlatans rob the people of what they have left with false promises of prosperity. And the people are so desperate for hope and for God to bless them that they keep on getting suckered every time someone promises them free money and blessings. Even when they know it’s a lie.

Why are they so easily swayed? I believe it is because their souls are in such need. They want a way out of this financial, social, and spiritual oppression so badly that they will grasp at even a faint whisper of hope, no matter how wrong it is.

This oppression in Nigeria is an enormous mountain that must be moved before revival can sweep across Africa, but the magnitude of the task is so large that it seems impossible. The victory looks like it is miles and miles down the road. How will we ever be able to break through this mountain and turn Nigeria around? It seems like it would take a hundred Elijah’s to make a difference here. What can one guy do, one service at a time, one small church at a time, as we compete with Satan for the soul of Nigeria.

I don’t know. All I know is to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. The message is the same, the Spirit of God is the same, and the vision has not changed. We keep moving forward because the world is depending on revival to start here in Africa. Even when time slows down to a crawl, we cannot quit.

I know that if you want to move a mountain, you have to exercise faith. It is the very substance of things hoped for and is what drives you on past the things that would discourage you. Your faith has to be bigger than the task before you.

Faith is birthed from hope and is the thing forges your vision.  And a vision is what enables you to grab hold of the victory that can move any mountain. A vision is blind to the facts and details that stand before you, but sees over the horizon with eyes of faith to see what God sees and what is possible with only Him. That is why Satan fears a man or a woman with a vision for God because he can’t reach where that vision goes.

But the secret element for a vision is that it is never about you. A vision pulls you out of yourself and is focused on the commission that Jesus Christ gave us when He left – others.

Time then becomes, not the slow drag of weariness, but a cadence to inevitable victory.

Tick Tock.

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Well, I am at the halfway point for this mission in Nigeria. One more week and a half of rice and chicken and I will be ready for a Big Mac … or two. Just about the time my body’s time schedule gets adjusted to Nigerian time, I will be back in the U.S. and have to do it all in reverse.

I have nothing supernatural to report today. No miracle healings, huge altar calls, or shattering breakthroughs. Each day another visit to another small church to deliver another message about revival. While I am not the jump-up-and-down excitable showman like some of these guys are here in Africa, I do catch their interest. For me, it’s not about how emotional a response I can get, but if they understand the message or not.

I believe they do, but they are often so easily swayed back to that excitable prosperity, riches-and-blessings-for-free message that so many of these false prophets here will feed them. The corruption in the Church here is beyond anything that I have seen anywhere else. They know intrinsically that it is wrong, but Oh my gosh, it feels so good! It will take a while to turn this ship around.

I think the thing that amazes me the most in this struggle for truth is that so many pastors, bishops and leaders all tell me the same thing – they recognize that what I am saying is the truth, and they have never heard anyone preach it. Huh?

Okay, I get that you recognize the truth of what I am saying because I’m just pulling it out of the Bible. There isn’t any analytical, theological, super-spiritual twist to my messages – just tell them the truth! They’ve read that book before, I’m sure. Maybe not a lot, but they have read it, so they must recognize the passages I’m pulling everything from. And their hearts are bearing witness to this message of righteousness, repentance and responsibility. They know I’m right.

But why have they not heard this before? Is it not a popular message like the ones that promise free riches and blessings?  Is there such a reluctance to tell people the truth that they would rather go along with a “feel good” ministry so that they can continue to get paid? Or has it been so long since old fashioned warriors like T.L. Osborne have preached this message here that they no longer know how to do it? Or is it simply about the stinking money?

I have heard of several instances where local pastors will harangue a host to force him to share the money they insist has been given him by their American guests, even to the point of threatening them with physical violence. I guess I am too big, ugly, and mean-looking for them to threaten me, so they come against my hosts. These are men of God?  The consuming lust of greed has taken such a hold of them that many not only cannot deliver themselves from its grasp, but are no longer able to even see how wicked they have become.

And every Sunday, they lead their congregations deeper into darkness.  So when a message of Light comes along, it is blinding.

It’s not that they haven’t heard it before — they know the truth; they’ve read the Bible; they’ve been told.

They’re just not listening.

“For everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 8:10-11

Brother Dale
RevivalFire.org

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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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