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Posts Tagged ‘theology’

You know what the difference is between Fairy Tales and Heaven?  The Fairy Tales happened once upon a time.  Heaven is yet to come…at least for some of us.

In Fairy Tales, all your dreams come true.  You might have to kiss a toad, or take care of evil stepsisters while you play with little mice, but somewhere, sometime, somehow, your Prince will always come.  Heaven is not quite the same thing.  While we all would love the idea of living in a fairy tale existence where everything will be wonderful, reality paints a different picture — not everything works out according to Walt Disney’s script.  Life can be tough and you don’t always get to live in a castle, but there is a promise that there really is a place called Heaven.  There’s only one problem:  not everybody is going there.  The Prince is coming all right, but He’s not taking everybody with Him.

In Fairy Tales, the most wonderful magical things happen for free.  Make a wish, and Poof!, in pops your Fairy Godmother.  Sprinkle a little dust, wave a wand, say a few magic words, and presto, you are a princess. Heaven, however, requires a price that must be paid to enter in.  It is reserved only for those who have labored to enter into that place of rest, who have repented of their sins and asked Jesus Christ to save their souls, and who have then gone on to serve the Lord.  Not everybody wants to do all that.

One other thing. Fairy Tales are just that – nice stories that sound good. Heaven is real and it is good.  Unfortunately, Hell is real also, and it isn’t good.  Don’t get Fairy Tales and Heaven mixed up.  We aren’t going to get carried away to Heaven just by wishful thinking, it isn’t going to happen just because we believe in magic, and it sure isn’t going to happen for us unless we prepare for it.   If we don’t get right with God, it won’t be the wicked witch that does us in; it will be the Devil that sinks his claws in us and drags us down to Hell.

Don’t live your life in a fairy tale.  If you want to walk on streets of gold someday, you have to travel the path of a Christian.  That may not be as easy as making a wish, but it is the only way to make your dreams come true.

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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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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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It was snowing as I left Germany, but it was sultry and hot as I arrived in Lagos. Three days of traveling across who knows how many miles have left me ready to get it over with. But it’s not done. Because of flight delays, I have lost my seat on the plane to Warri, Nigeria. Instead I have to wrangle a ticket re-issue at the Lagos airport. Seems simple, right? Oh, but then you haven’t been to Lagos!

At 5:30 in the morning, the domestic terminal is a madhouse. I was hoping that there wouldn’t be many people here and I would be able to get a new ticket easily and simply, but the opposite is the case.  Immediately on getting out of the cab, I am scooped up by a couple of guys that quickly throw my luggage on a cart and start wheeling me into the terminal. This is normal here. They’re just trying to make a few bucks by carrying your bags.

When I try to beg off, I find out that they are some kind of official Porters that are informing me that their job is to do all the paperwork for me. Just sit down and relax. “Doan warry!” (Whenever I hear that, I start worrying.)

At this point, I am so worn out from what I’d been through the last couple days that I don’t care if they are scamming me or not. Take the money; just get me on the plane. Two hundred bucks later, I have a new ticket, my excess baggage is paid and loaded, and I am actually able to get on the plane.

Except that I can’t go to Warri. The flight is full, so I have to go to Benin, which is a couple hours away from where my first conference meeting is about to start.

What a great start to this trip!  Boy, I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

Despite everything, however, everyone was waiting for me and I just rolled on up to the pulpit soon after we walked in as if nothing was wrong.

Service was great. At least they said so. I’m not sure what I said. The inertia from travelling was still carrying me along and I was operating on automatic pilot. Pastors were excited and vowed to take this message to the streets, while others were saying that they had never heard these things before. Which is kind of surprising to me because it’s just stuff out of the Bible. Don’t they read?

The evening service was even better. I was still pretty tired, but at least I had caught a nap before getting up behind the pulpit again. We are at a church that I was at five years ago when it was only four months old. They keep calling me Papa because they say that I started the fire back then that launched their church.

That’s not the first time I’ve heard something like that. I believe that most of the places I have been to want revival and are willing to do what the Lord requires — they just don’t know what to do. But when they hear it broken down into a step-by-step manner, the light comes on and the belief is planted in them that they can actually do this. They just have to start.

Over the years, we have heard hundreds of reports of how these little churches will catch the fire and grow. Sometimes it’s just doubling or quadrupling the size of the church; sometimes it’s planting new churches; sometimes it is heading off into the bush to bring this message to other churches just like I am doing. It’s as if they have been waiting for someone to come along and tell them what to do and then get out of the way and watch them go.

There’s a hunger here that must be fed. I see that same hunger in every place throughout history wherever revival has broken out. We have planted the idea in their hearts that, yes, they can do this. And while it may not be easy, it is simple. They just need someone to point out the direction.

I don’t know when or how this last Great African Revival will start, but it will start. I believe that we will hit a flash point and it will all rise up together in a might conflagration. We just have to keep sowing the seed of that idea into them.

 

Brother  Dale

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The air settles heavily on you like a moist blanket, weighing you down and tiring you out when you shouldn’t be tired at all. It’s no wonder this world travels at a much slower speed than America. There is a saying here, “There is no ‘hurry’ in Africa”, and I can see why. Hakuna Matata. How insane our high speed intensity must seem to them!

The heavy pace of two services a day like I did in Buchanan City is over. Tomorrow we hope to meet with the Vice President of Liberia and perhaps the Speaker of the House. Our hope of meeting the President seems slim, but we should be addressing their congress later on this week.

I’m not sure that it matters that much to me. After all, they are just people like anyone else, and as politicians, I would imagine they are more interested in what American money and resources I can bring to Liberia, rather than what they can do to help promote a Holy Ghost revival here. The goal for me would be rather to touch something in them personally that would spark a revival in their hearts.

The pastors that came to the Buchanan meetings are still energized. I heard one pastor excitedly relate how people were instantly healed, and another about the clear revelation of how to bring revival to their country. Unlike in other countries, they are taking action by establishing the Revivalfire Movement of Liberia organization. I suppose that makes me a bishop over 20+ churches here. Not what I was expecting, but in Africa, you gotta go with the flow. It’s too hot to do otherwise.

Liberia is the only other country besides the United States that has been founded on the Gospel. You can see the effects of that, not only in the names of the stores and the signs and references to Christianity, but in the theological fabric of the churches themselves. There has been a strong foundation here, but as in everywhere else, they have slid into a mediocrity of “church as usual”.

But they are not happy with that. They know what real revival is, and they know what it is not. They recognize that the bland messages coming out of America of an all-embracive grace is powerless without righteousness. They believe in the fear of God and understand what the lack of that does to erode the strength of their foundations. They want change, and change does not come without repentance.

I am assuming that the two churches that I will be visiting this week are of the same spirit as the pastors in Buchanan. If so, we should have another exciting week. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a new phase in my life, and maybe, just maybe, the ignition of a fire that will burn across Africa.

Great moves of God are born out of great faith, and great faith is born out of great hope. I believe they have both.

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Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.”   (Isaiah 8:7-8)

 Hezekiah was one of Judah’s best kings. 2nd Kings says that there was none like him amongst all the kings of Judah. Then why did this happen to him? Sennacherib, the king of Assyria swallowed up the entire breadth of Judah, reaching all the way up to the neck, even the very gates of Jerusalem. That was good news for the folks shuttered up in Jerusalem, but it must have been hell for everyone out in the countryside and all the other cities. If Hezekiah was so righteous, then why did God allow this to happen to the rest of Judah?

The answer goes back to his father Ahaz, the wicked king who ruled before him. Ahaz was facing sure destruction from Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, the king of Israel, but instead of calling upon the Lord for help, he hired the king of Assyria to pull them off him. In gratitude, Ahaz took a trip to Damascus to meet him and, I guess, to thank him for his help.

While he was there, he saw a pagan altar that impressed him so much that he sent the design back to Uzziah the high priest to have one made just like it. It must have been real nice and shiny because he set aside the Brazen Altar that was before the House of the Lord and replaced it with this new modern version. He instructed the High Priest that all the offerings and sacrifices would now be done on this shiny, new modern altar, but had the audacity to say that when he wanted to inquire of the Lord, he would go over and use the old Brazen Altar that now sat on the north side of the Temple. He discarded the established way the Lord had set down to initiate a new, modern way that was based on agan worship.

Sounds crazy, right? But have we not done the same thing in dismissing that old-fashioned Gospel of the fear of the Lord for a new and gentler modern Gospel of peace, love and prosperity?

I heard one of today’s modern preachers declare himself as “grace oriented” and not as judgmental as his father was. His father and the preachers from a couple generations ago preached a message of righteousness and holiness in the fear of God. There is quite a difference in those two definitions of grace – one is used as a covering for sin, while the other is defined as the power God to overcome it. We have put aside the old in favor of a new modern gospel that our fathers did not recognize. Did not Jeremiah cry out, … ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, we will not walk therein.” (Jer 6:16)

I’m sure Ahaz had plenty of justifications. After all, the Brazen Altar was an old design, wasn’t it? So what’s the harm in upgrading it a little bit? Besides, it was getting old and burnt around the edges and probably needed some touch ups and a new paint job. This new altar was bright and shiny. And yeah, it was patterned after a pagan altar, but it’s not like he was going to offer up his children on it as a burnt sacrifice. So what was the problem?

When we operate outside the fear of the Lord, we set the stage for our own judgment.

Isaiah’s resulting pronouncement against Judah came to fruition, not in Ahaz’s generation, but in his son’s. Hezekiah felt the full impact of Ahaz’s foolishness and had it not been for his extraordinary righteousness before God, Jerusalem would have no doubt been overwhelmed.

Many times in the Bible when the great stone wheel of judgment would begin to roll because of their sins, God would raise up a solitary man to stand in the gap for His people — Noah, Joseph, Elijah, Gideon, and many of the judges. Hezekiah was just such a man to stop the full brunt of his father’s sins so that the seed would be preserved to bring humanity to the ultimate of saviors, God Himself in the form of His Son Jesus Christ.

Mercy is not free; neither is it cheap. And although God delights in mercy, He is first and foremost a righteous God and there is a price to pay for sin in the form of judgment. If we, as a people, ignore the warnings against a lighter more modern version of the Gospel, all the while making excuses and justifications for our shiny new altar, we will face the same results our fathers have faced. Let us pray that God will raise up unto us a way for repentance to stave off the results that our lack of the fear of God will most surely bring to us.

“O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.”  (Ezekiel 13:4-6)

 

 

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“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.” Acts 3:2.3

What a surprise this guy ended up getting!

This guy had been lame all his life and knew the best place to set himself up to get a few shekels out somebody was as they were entering church. He had a regular spot there, and everybody knew who he was, so he must have been doing okay for himself – maybe not great, but at least he knew how to work the crowd.

Then along come Peter and John.  The only problem was that they were broke.

This guy had no idea what was coming.  He didn’t even know enough to ask for healing, never mind expect one. He was just trying to scrape together enough pennies to eat.  But God healed him anyway.  I think that was pretty cool.

But the thing that has always stood out to me was how amazed everyone was at this healing. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that all Israel was buzzing with all the miracles that Jesus had done?  So why were they so surprised?  Did they not believe the stories they had heard?

Or maybe they didn’t want to believe them.

You see, if they believed in those miracles, then Jesus had to be the Messiah, and if that was true, that means they killed the Son of God, and if THAT was true, they were in a hell of a lot of trouble!  It would be a whole lot easier to just turn off the switch, ignore the stories, and make believe it never happened.

After all, where was Jesus now?  Dead gods never impress anybody, miracles or no miracles, and Jesus was dead (wasn’t He?).

It’s the same today.  Yeah, we remember the stories about the Brush Arbor revivals, the Faith Healers like Aimee Semple McPherson, Katherine Khulman, Smith Wigglesworth, and so many others, but where are they today?  They’re all dead!  When is the last time you saw the blind to see, lame to walk, and deaf to hear?  Been a while, has it?

We pray, we “speak the word of faith into existence” (like that’s really supposed to do something), we make a profession of faith in God’s healing power … and then, as soon as we’re done praying, we make an appointment with the doctor.

We don’t believe it anymore because we have not seen a flowing of the miraculous working power of God in years. There’s a reason why that is — we’re not hungry enough.  Until we become desperate, we will remain in the belly of the apostate slump that the church is in.  As long as we’re satisfied with our complacency, and are not cut to the heart for what we are missing in God, then we will sit right there waiting for a revival that will never come, because God will not set His seal of approval on an apostate church that doesn’t care.

Want to know how to get God to move?  Simple. God hears desperate prayer, and He feeds desperate hunger –we’re just not desperate enough. The blueprint for revival is in chapter 2 of the Book of Joel. (No, I’m not going to quote it. If you won’t read it yourself, then what difference would it make?)

Ask any fisherman – you can take your very best rod and reel with the most expensive bait out to the ol’ fishing hole, position yourself perfectly and fish there all day long … but if the fish ain’t hungry, they ain’t taking the bait.

And we ain’t hungry.

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