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Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

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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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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Another post from the Nigeria-2012 booklet.


Nigeria has been hard. I knew there would be a battle, but I didn’t expect the intensity of what we have faced here. But it is in the thick smoke of battle that warriors are forged, and I expect we will see God raise up a crop of serious Christians who, because they were born in adversity, will rise to the challenge He has placed before them.  I just hope I’m not one of them, because I’m getting tired in my old age.

Beyond the accompanying physical troubles and afflictions that I and those who are with me have faced here, the greatest challenge Nigeria faces is to be able to pierce through the smoke of satanic deception. The real enemy to be concerned with is not the Muslims extremists or any of the sinners – it is the Church.

What’s new?  Christianity’s perpetual enemy has always been the organized “ecclesiastical powers that be”. Who sold Joseph into slavery? Who chased David in the wilderness? Who delivered Jesus to be crucified? Who slaughtered millions of Christians throughout the Middle Ages?  What is this deep animosity that possesses the soul of the Church once it becomes entrenched into society? Within a few generations, a moment that was once birthed in blood and persecution often becomes the persecutor.

As you walk down any street in Nigeria, even out in the rural villages, you can count the churches lining up every few hundred yards or so.  You may have three and four of them in the same building! Posters are everywhere proclaiming the showers of blessings, a night of miracles, and your time of deliverance if you will just come to their meeting.

If you rise up to expose these lies, you are threatening the very existence of these preachers who have sucked the fat out of these poor people, and they will work tirelessly to stop you. In the same way, Jesus threatened the power of the Pharisees when He preached about repentance and took away their power of Levitical judgment. And they killed Him for it.

Satan knows that no revival will come without repentance, and that is where he must draw his battle lines.  He is armed with a myriad of lies that have worked for 6,000 years and his polished talents as the world’s smoothest liar. We, on the other hand, are armed with the Word of God, but we need courage to swing that sword in battle. Sounds easy, but come to Nigeria and start exposing these lies of prosperity and false blessings and you will see your stamina, your courage, and even your faith challenged like you have not experienced anywhere else.

Revival is coming, but it will not come without a fight. This will be a fight, not of physical challenges, but of the ethereal issues of spiritual deception – a much more difficult and insidious struggle than we face in the flesh. This is not for the faint-hearted. Only those who have the wisdom and spiritual discernment that comes from the fear of God need apply.  All others would fall into the delusion of Satan’s hypnotic sway.

And that is what has happened to so many in the Church who, at one time, launched into the Gospel with all fire and zeal, only to become sophisticated and succumb to the Sirens of Prosperity and a Worldly Gospel.

[the complete booklet, Nigeria-2012, and other booklets like that are available at: revivalfire.org/booklets.htm ]

 

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Another article from the booklet, Nigeria-2012


Nigeria is a very different place. I’m not sure how different it is from the surrounding countries in West Africa, but it sure is a lot different than any of the other places in East Africa that I’ve been to.

Your first impression when you get off the plane feels slightly out of focus. On the surface, everything seems the same as other African countries, and yet there something that lies just beneath it that you can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s just different somehow.  A somber blanket lies in the air that lends a subdued feeling to everything. There isn’t that feeling of color and laughter in the air.  It’s as if Nigeria has stepped out of Technicolor into a world that is colored in shades of grey. Life is a serious undertaking here.

Is it the culture? Is it just the way it is?  Or is it something deeper than that makes everything seem so drab – something deeply spiritual in nature?

I have spent the last two weeks bringing a message of revival to several churches whose hearts are turned to God for something other than the same old stuff that they have been hearing.  Something different has to happen. Their desperation for a true move of God is rising and pushing past the ineffective platitudes of blessings and good things that have been promised to them free of charge. It’s not working and they know it.  I am embarrassed to say that these messages of false prosperity and unmerited blessings have poured forth from America, and so many innocent people have believed that, because America has been so blessed, this message must be true.

By now, however, they are beginning to realize that it’s not working.  Something is missing.  This is not the same gospel that our grandfathers preached and they are not getting the same results.  We have forgotten something along the way as we followed the Pied Pipers of Prosperity and Blessings off into a modern Gospel that is softer and more “loving” than that old message of repentance and the fear of God. Our Bible colleges churned out a new generation of pastors and taught them to discard the old God of Judgment for a new God of Love.  And in the process, we lost something so vital in the Church that we don’t know how to find our way back.

Satan has done such a complete job of turning our focus onto ourselves that we don’t even realize how far we have turned from the Cross.  The message that I bring is predicated upon the concept that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about you – it is about others – and revival will not come until we turn our focus to the lost that are dying in sin.   But no matter how hard I drive this message home, I will often hear another preacher get up right after me an promise the same people all kinds of new blessings, new deliverances, new miracles in their lives … all for free!  And the crowd that just bowed their heads in recognition of their own self-serving ways will jump to their feet and cheer as this new preacher promises them all kinds of blessings and negates everything that I just preached.  Just human nature, I guess.

Revival is not free — neither is it cheap — and breaking through this cloud that covers their Pollyanna Gospel mindset, not only in Nigeria but all across Africa, is essential before any move of God will come. Is this the spiritual cloud I feel here that sucks the life and joy out of the very air? Could it be that Satan has entrenched himself here in Nigeria as his last stand of resistance to stop revival at any cost? Is Nigeria the last bastion of darkness that must be conquered to allow the Great African Revival to break forth?

Many here believe that Nigeria is highly chosen for this great move of God and that is why Satan has concentrated his darkness to destroy this nation.  It is not the sinners he must control; it’s the Christians.  And what better way than to lull them into a false sense of security with a “love gospel” that has worked since he first used it in the Garden of Eden.  It’s all about you. Don’t worry.  Hakuna Matata. Thou shalt not surely die because God loves you. Here, take a bite.

There are heroes here in Nigeria. Men and women who are willing to take a stand that will invoke the ire of the Church in an attempt to wake them up.  Many will hear the call of the trumpet and rise to the challenge.  Many will not, but will resist and attack those who will. Battle lines are forming, choices are being made, and destinies are being decided.  It is a time for war, and Nigeria is the battleground.

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;”  (Joel 2:1)

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[Here’s another post from the Nigeria-2012 booklet that I thought I’d pass on. There’s a couple more that I’ll send later. — Dale ]


It’s the eyes that get you.

All the shouting and the praising is great, but it is when you look into their eyes and see the sincerity of their heart that you really know that God is doing something special here. It’s not just another meeting to sing some songs and hear about how much God wants to bless you and bring you into some vaunted abundant life.  The stuff we saw tonight is down to the roots of the soul – serious dedication to do whatever it takes to have revival.

Nigeria is very different from East Africa in that this is a serious people. You do not see the color and gaiety here that you find in Kenya, but neither do you see the lackadaisical attitude that you find in East Africa. Nigerians work hard and have a more serious outlook on life.  Their approach to the Gospel reflects that same attitude.  Whereas in Kenya, the shouting and singing may be louder initially, their ardor begins to wane when it comes time to dig in and do the work of the Gospel. Nigerians, on the other hand, may not be so open and emotional, but they seem to have a more serious fixation on the hard facts of the price that must be paid to have a true revival.

A prominent pastor here told me that they have been fasting and praying for revival but God is not answering.  Something is wrong, and they want to know what it is.  Now that is a serious cry for revival!  This is past the singing and dancing and enters into the serious reality of what God requires. The Altar of God is not a place of singing and dancing, but of blood and sacrifice and death.

One of the biggest lies that Satan has sold the Church is that we can just sit in our little pews and God will have mercy on us and send us revival.  Sorry, but if you do nothing, nothing will happen.  Mercy is not handed out free – it must be paid for.  Mercy begets mercy, unto the merciful He will show Himself merciful, and as James tells us, judgment shall be without mercy on those who have shown no mercy.  What a trip the devil has put us on!  And we believed him!  Or should that be in the present tense?

But these guys know differently.  They know there is a price to pay for everything in God – everything. And the price for a full Holy Ghost revival is extremely high.  That’s why they are so rare – nobody wants to pay that price.  That is precisely why you have to be desperate in order to see revival come.  So desperate that you are like Rachael in Genesis 30:1, “Give me souls or else I will die!”  So desperate that you are willing to give your life so that souls can be saved.  If you are not, you will not see a real Holy Ghost revival because you won’t do what it takes to get one.  You’ll just have some really good “church”.

But these people tonight have had enough of “church”.  They are ready for whatever God has placed before them and are ready to answer the call of the trumpet that is blowing in Zion – the call to the last battle between God and Satan for the souls of Man.

You could see it in their eyes as they came in droves to kneel at the altar.  The entire church came down — even the ushers!  They emptied themselves of their self-interest and pride as they ripped their hearts wide open to repent and surrender all to Jesus.  The passion at the altar was only surpassed by the cries of “hallelujah” that were so loud that my ears over-amped!  There was victory in the church tonight.

When you see a serious dedication like that, you can expect serious results.  I have no doubt that their passion will carry them into the Word of God to give them the power to fast and pray for God to build a fire in their church.  And then watch as that fire spills out into the streets to bring in the lost and dying into that same Holy Ghost blaze.

Just as in childbirth, revivals are birthed in pain and labor and travail. They also end up with the same kind of rejoicing.

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The Plague Has Begun

“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.” (Numbers 16:46-47)

Like so many others, I believe we crossed a line when the Supreme Court legalized Gay Marriage. And I don’t believe we are ever coming back. We are rolling toward judgment like a great stone wheel.

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had risen up against Moses and had been judged. Korah was from the priesthood and the other two were from one of the other tribes – this was a rebellion that came out of both church and congregation. The judgment that had come upon them had been dramatic and sure — there was no wondering who was right and who was wrong – and yet it had not satisfied the people. They wanted out from the strict religion of Jehovah, and Moses was the obvious target.

The very next day, the whole congregation rose up against Moses and Aaron and kindled the wrath of God. There would be no sweet-talking God out of this one. The pleas that Moses had used the last time were not going to work this time. God was mad.

There was only one hope. Send Aaron into the midst of them holding up the incense of prayer. It is the only thing that can stop the judgment of God once it has been determined. Prayer moves God.

I have never gotten much traction on the evangelistic circuits in America. I guess I don’t have the message that they are looking for. Repeatedly, the Lord has counseled me to stay separate and keep my edge sharpened. Let others travel those circuits.

A cutting message of holiness and the fear of God is not a “feel good” message. It calls for brokenness, repentance, and a crucified walk in God, the Cross instead of the Crown, tears instead of blessings, and repentance instead of rejoicing. It calls for judgment in the earth.

Instead I hear, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” Excuse me, but can you tell me where that is at, because I’m reading in Psalms 5 that He hates the workers of iniquity and despises them. True, He loved the whole world so much that He gave His Son, not that we would not perish, but that we should not.  But He says in Proverbs 1 that if we refuse the fear of God and the way of righteousness, that He will laugh and mock at us when our destruction comes. I do understand that the Lord does not wish for any to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance, including homosexuals, but there is also a limit to His mercy.

I have to wonder about homosexuals when they say they were created that way because the Bible clearly states that it is God who has turned them over to a reprobate mind, not some genetic flaw. They were not born that way. He did that to them because they rejected the mercy and love of God that would have drawn them to salvation. Homosexuality is also the only sin in the New Testament that the Bible says is worthy of death. Romans chapter 1. Read it for yourself.

When we say that God loves the sinner, are we hinting at a more permissive Gospel than the old judgmental one that our forefathers believed in? Have we made our own golden calves like the Israelites made at the foot of Mount Sinai? Are we dumbing down the Gospel so that we can sound nice? Are we so worried about offending someone that we take no care about offending God by changing His Word and the very core meaning of righteousness?

Doesn’t God love the homosexual? It’s all about love, isn’t it? Does that include homosexual love? But the Word of God clearly says that God loves those who love Him, and that the love of God is determined by the keeping of His commandments. Over and over again, God tells us in His Word what He says love is — the keeping of His commandments. He implores us in Jude to “keep yourselves in the love of God”. How? By keeping His commandments.

God loved the whole world so much that He paid the ultimate price to give us the chance at salvation, paid for by the most precious substance in the Universe, His Son’s blood. He had to sit and endure all those long hours as He watched His only begotten Son be tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and brutally nailed naked to a wooden cross … for you. If you reject that after knowing the price that paid for your soul, is it any wonder that you stand in jeopardy of damnation and eternal fire? You can maintain that God still loves you if you’d like, but I would imagine it would be small consolation as you are plunging into the fires of Hell.

What are we afraid of? Why don’t we call sin what it is? Why mollify judgment? Tell them the truth, for heaven’s sake, and let them know they are headed to Hell. That is what love is.

To smooth down the message with sweet-sounding slogans is not love, but is the very hate that you are so afraid of and keeps them from the repentance that would have saved them.

May we answer the call to stand boldly between the dead and the living, to proclaim the truth of God’s righteousness.

“And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Numbers 16:48

 

Brother Dale, dale@revivalfire.org

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I have a friend that I love hanging around. His main desire in life is to serve the Lord. He doesn’t care if he is rich or poor — he just wants to seek the face of the Lord.

Now, when you have that kind of desire, you’re always faced with the shortcomings of your flesh that keeps you from getting to that place in God that you’re striving for. That’s just the way it is. The Apostle Paul referred to it as struggling with his “vile flesh” that was always trying to hold him back. You want to get to a consecrated walk with God and be totally in the Spirit, but your flesh, of course, has other ideas. It’s a struggle that never ends.

This friend of mine was praying the other day and out of frustration with himself and his constant shortcomings, he asked God, “Why don’t you just break me?”

The Lord answered him on the spot, “Because you don’t trust Me enough.”

Whoa. That’s a mouthful! But in that answer lies the essence of the Cross.

Now, my first thought would have been, “Lord, I’m not 100% sure I want to trust you that much.” But I also know that if I ever want to be anything in God, I have to be willing to let Him take me through those valleys to break me and empty me out so that He can fashion me into a vessel that is “meet for the Master’s use”.

All the ego and pride and all the desires for self and what we want in life has to go. In it’s place there has to be a willingness to humble ourselves in total surrender. Until we are emptied out and broken, God can’t use us in any great and mighty way. How could He? Our egos would be trying to share the glory with God.

But in order to allow God to break you, you have to trust Him, and in order to trust Him that much, you have to know that you are right with Him. There are those who will tell you that your faith and trust are based upon the Blood of Jesus and faith in God – and they are correct and that all sounds so very good and “spiritual”, but the truth is that peace will never come as long as there is sin in your life. You are in a covenant relationship with Him. That means that you have made a deal with God that you will keep His commandments just as He has promised to keep His promisies to you. Only when you have the kind of deep solid confidence that comes from knowing you are right with God will you be able to completely surrender and allow Him to be in total control of your life so that, no matter what happens, you will be willing to go through whatever comes your way for the glory of God.

That can be tough sometimes. Are you sick and afflicted? Are you broke and oppressed? Does everyone else seem to be cruising along in Life while you’re trudging along in the mud? Has Life dealt you a crummy hand and you seem to have ended up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop?

Do you trust God?

The Prosperity Prophets out there tell us that God is supposed to pour out blessings on us no matter what, but this isn’t about us – this is about others. We are called to the Cross, not the Crown, and that crucified walk in God to give up the things that we want in life takes a brokenness in your spirit that doesn’t come easy. It takes a deep, surrendered trust in God to be able to allow Him to take us there – a trust so deep that, as Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”.

God has a Plan, and if you want to be part of it, you have to yield and let Him take control of your life. It’s only when we surrender to it and trust Him completely that we will find that place of perfect peace that passes all understanding.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:6,7

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“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

One Sunday morning, my two girls wanted to read about Noah. It’s a cute story with lots of animals and rainbows. They’ve seen all the pictures of a chubby old Noah in his brown robe and sandals looking over the side of the boat with all the friendly animals crowded around him. Such a fun story!

Of course, the reality of it all was much different. It was a severe time of trials, persecution, hardship, and death. I’m sure Noah would never want to go through it again.

One passage stood out to us as we were reading. Noah and his family were in that boat for seven days before the first drop of water fell. I wouldn’t be surprised if that seven days wasn’t the hardest time of all for them out of the whole trial.

Noah had been a preacher of righteousness to a world of scorners, and must have been the most unpopular man on the face of the Earth. Nobody likes to hear that they are going to Hell, and I’m sure his generation was no different. It wasn’t that they didn’t know about God – they were only a handful of generations away from Adam and Eve. It’s just that they did not want to give up sin, and figured that, somehow, they would be able to get away with it.

We’ve all heard the Cosby-type jokes of how much jeering Noah must have suffered. After all, for 100 years all he had to show for his faith was a boat in the backyard, and to the rest of the world, that was a huge monument to folly. But Noah believed God, and moved with fear to construct that Ark of Safety.

And then came the word to enter in the Ark. Seven long days, cooped up with all those animals. No ventilation, no sunlight, … and no rain.

I can just imagine the echo of the howls of laughter coming from outside the boat. The old fool had cooped up his family inside that smelly monstrosity, and now he was locked in. But inside, the feeling of anticipation was thick and heavy.

Tell me you wouldn’t have been wondering during those seven days.  Why wait another week? Why couldn’t God have just flipped the switch as soon as they got inside? Why this final test of faith? Hadn’t they endured enough?

We see this same pattern with God several times throughout the Bible. After all you’ve gone through, there is often one more final challenge of faith to overcome before you get the final victory.

Faith in God is not determined by what you know or what you have seen. It is never a matter of how many miracles or personal experiences you have had with God. You cannot count on past victories or things that you have done in the past. Your faith is measured by where you are in God today.

Faith is built in your heart by a continuous determination to seek the face of God each and every day, and like a flame in your heart, it goes out when it runs out of fuel.

How many times I have heard people say that they believe in God, and even bolster it by pointing to their church attendance. But when times of severe tribulation and testing come, how often we fail. When you dig down into it, you find that it was a faith in name only.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and immersing yourself in the Word of God gives you the power to pray – not just muttering a bunch empty words, but real, heart-wrenching prayer. That, in turn, brings you deeper into the Spirit of the Lord to absorb more of the Word of God. And that builds your faith – one step at a time.

Do you think you can accomplish the same things by skimming the Bible in a year? Or throwing God some casual requests when you’ve got the time?

No, only a driven heart will seek the face of God and be able to receive the faith to stand in the times that you will need it the most.

Noah had that kind of faith because he relentlessly sought the face of God. And it carried him and his family like a solid rock through those final seven days.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1

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