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For these men a smoothly operating system has no interest. They are specialists concerned with trouble and how to find and correct it. In the Kingdom of God things are not too different. God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown, the decline in the spiritual health of the nation or the Church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness. A thousand or ten thousand ordinary priests or pastors or teachers could labor quietly on, almost unnoticed, while the spiritual life of Israel or the Church was normal.

But let the people of God go astray from the paths of truth, and immediately the specialist appeared almost out of nowhere. His instinct for trouble brought him to the help of the Lord and of Israel. Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right.

He was single-minded, severe, fearless, as these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others, and alienated not a few, but he knew Who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man apart.

To such men as this the Church owes a debt too heavy to pay. The curious thing is that She seldom tries to pay him while he lives, but the next generation builds his sepulcher and writes his biography, as if instinctively and awkwardly to discharge an obligation the previous generation to a large extent ignored.

Such a man as this is not an easy companion. The professional evangelist who leaves the wrought-up meeting as soon as it ends to hurry over to the most expensive restaurant to feast and crack jokes with his sponsors will find this man something of an embarrassment, for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost as one would turn off a faucet. He insists upon being a Christian all the time, everywhere; and again, that marks him out as different.

Toward him it is impossible to be neutral. His acquaintances are divided pretty neatly into two classes, those who love him with all admiration, and those who hate him with perfect hatred! We know Elijah was "a man of like passions as we are," but alas! One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men - not because they are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient. Brethren, our abilities are our handicaps, and our talents our stumbling blocks!

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Out of obscurity, Elijah came on to the Old Testament stage, a full-grown man. Queen Jezebel, that daughter of hell, had routed the priests of God and replaced them with groves to false deities. Darkness covered the land and gross darkness the people, and they were drinking iniquity like water.

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Every day the land, fouled with heathen temples and idolatrous rites, saw smoke curling from a thousand cruel altars. Elijah lived with God. He thought about the nation's sin like God; he grieved over sin like God; he spoke against sin like God. He was all passion in his prayers and passionate in his denunciation of evil in the land. He had no smooth preaching. Passion fired his preaching, and his words were on the hearts of men as molten metal on their flesh.

Brethren, if we will do God's work in God's way, at God's time, with God's power, we shall have God's blessing and the devil's curses. When God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil will open the doors of hell to blast us.

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  5. God's smile means the devil's frown! Mere preachers may help anybody and hurt nobody; but prophets will stir everybody and madden somebody. The preacher may go with the crowd; the prophet goes against it. A man freed, fired, and filled with God will be branded unpatriotic because he speaks against his nation's sins; unkind because his tongue is a two-edged sword; unbalanced because the weight of preaching opinion is against him.

    Preachers make pulpits famous; prophets make prisons famous. The preacher will be heralded; the prophet hounded. We will write their biographies, reverence their memories, frame their epitaphs, and build their monuments. We will do anything except imitate them. We cherish the last drop of their blood, but watch carefully the first drop of our own! We try to help God out of difficulties.

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    Remember how Abraham tried to do this, and to this day the earth is cursed with his folly because of Ishmael. On the other hand, Elijah made it as difficult as he could for the Lord. He wanted fire, but yet he soaked the sacrifice with water! God loves such holy boldness in our prayers.

    Much of our praying is but giving God advice. We could not take that kind of a laying of the heart of God over our heart. You need to go to a passage that speaks from the heart of God, and then to ask the question, "O God, is there anything in this passage that speaks to me? Is there anything that Your Spirit is translating into my setting, our nation, the people of God, the covenant people of God in our own day?

    How many would be included in "all the families"? Does that include yours? Does that include your whole family or just you? When God talks this way, you need to make sure that "all your family" hears a word from the Lord. You are to take it to every one of them. Some of you may say, "I have a rebellious child, and he will not hear. My wife and I have fourteen grandchildren. Of the oldest two boys, the older has already preached his first sermon, and the second oldest grandson told us last week, "I think the Lord wants me to be a pastor. Neither did they say, "Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?

    But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, "Where is the Lord? For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing.

    Last Days Ministries : Where Are the Elijahs Of God

    Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their glory for what does not profit. One thing God often does when He is bringing an indictment or charge: He calls all the created universe to be His witness. And He says here that all the heavens and all the earth was a witness when He made a covenant.

    Why Revival Tarries - and why we can't wait another day

    Now He says to them, "I want you to be a witness when I stand and make a charge against My people. He is not talking to Hollywood, nor to the homosexuals, nor to the feminists, nor to Washington. He is talking to "My people. When I say that, I get an indictment in every possible direction. This whole generation says that no matter what happens, it is not their problem. The heartbeat of this chapter is a simple phrase: "My people have forsaken Me. Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered? The young lions roared at him, and growled; they made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant.

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    Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Have you not brought this on yourself in that you have forsaken the Lord your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt? I ask here, "Why do pastors of mega churches make a trek to Disney World to find out the latest methods of marketing? We are a generation that believes that the end justifies the use of any means. That is almost blasphemy.

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    The means that God uses must be kingdom means. You have to do kingdom work with kingdom methods. But there is a whole generation that believes you can use all the methods of the world. You may get a crowd, but you may not have a church that Jesus built. You can get a crowd, but please do not equate getting a larger gathering with the blessing of God. The two are not connected. Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? Why do you go anywhere else for water? God says in the beginning of Isaiah, chapters 30 and 31, "I am going to make sure that all the help you seek from Egypt and Assyria fails you.

    But they did not ask why God did not choose to cause it to work. They did not go to Him, but went to a program that someone else used. They went to success instead of to Him, and He shut it down. They shifted from the living water to the waters that cannot profit. Certainly one characteristic of this generation is that we have lost the fear of God.

    You have to cancel Acts where He says, "The fear [of God] came over every soul. Acts In that early church on several occasions it says, "The fear of the Lord came over all the people. There is no such thing as a "white lie. He took their lives. The Scripture says, "Great fear [of God] came upon all the Church and upon all who heard these things" Acts Oh, that such a fear of God would return to the people of God!

    If you are praying for revival, you are praying that God will return in all of His fullness to the people of God. Do you want to know what it looks like? It looks like Acts 2 and following: "And fear came upon everybody. Edwin Orr, that godly man of revival, in his last sermon preached at Ridgecrest before he died, said: "Revival is like judgment day.

    If I would use the first part of that sentence and say, "Revival is like…" many of us would say, "praise and thanksgiving and joy and salvation! But Dr. Orr was right. Revival is what God does when He comes in utter judgment on His people. Because as goes the people of God, so goes the redemption of the rest of the world. Where He does get our attention there is no limit to what He can do next. God is often asking us to "remember. You will not repent in such a way that God can bring His mighty presence. So what does God say to the people here in Jeremiah?

    He says, "I remember your first love. And He said, "I remember how you responded. There is never a way under heaven by which I could forget my wedding day.

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    One of the joys of our marriage, coming up now to forty-four years, is to remember the first love. My wife will say, "Henry, I remember my first love — the joy, the excitement, the thrill of my first love. Every once in a while I will tell my eldest son, whom I preached with in Memphis this past week, "Son, you have no idea of my love when I first held you, my first born, and I held you as a gift of God.

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    There are not many days go by but that I pray, "God, keep my first love for my oldest son in place. What God is saying in Jeremiah is, "I remember the first love. I remember the kindness of your youth and the love of your betrothal, when we went to the wilderness together…" Our Lord sometimes brings to our remembrance the first love, that first response to Him, when He showed us His hands and His side and His feet and how it overwhelmed us. And it is an astonishment to God that He would need to say, "You have forsaken Me. Our problem is that we get so caught up in activities and so caught up in doing things for God that we forget that He is looking for the relationship.

    The first-hand glory is when you let Me do what I want to do through you. Then I get first-hand glory. Someone said to me once, "Henry, do you ever have dry spells in your walk with God? The Lord tells me that inside me is a fountain of living water and out from me will come rivers of living water John ; How can you have a dry spell when that is going on? If you have a dry spell, you have departed from Him. Admit it. You say, "Oh, no. So God says first, " I remember the first love" Jer.

    And He comes back to ask, "Do you remember? Then second comes this statement with which I am astounded. I believe the one thing that causes revival to tarry is our separating from Him. We turn aside. The intimacy of the relationship is absolutely crucial for revival. Richard Owen Roberts worked for years and years for a definition of revival, and he brought it down to one word — "Revival is God! It is God in all of His fullness.