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Picture of A Prophet

-by Leonard Ravenhill.

 

The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men.

Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said, “No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are his “brand name.”

The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan!

The prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always been that of recovery.”

The prophet is God’s detective seeking for a lost treasure. The degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him.

 

He has no price tags.

He is totally ‘otherworldly.’

He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile.

He marches to another drummer!

He breathes the rarefied air of inspiration.

He is a “seer” who comes to lead the blind.

He lives in the heights of God and comes into the valley with a”thus saith the Lord.”

He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware ofimpending judgment.

He lives in ‘splendid isolation.’

He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.

His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else…!”

His prophecies are parried.

His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.

He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.

He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!

He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with epitaphs when dead.

He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, but few ‘make the grade’in his class.

He is friendless while living and famous when dead.

He is against the establishment in ministry; then he is established as a saint by posterity.

He eats daily the bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life to those who listen.

He walks before men for days but has walked before God for years.

He is a scourge to the nation before he is scourged by the nation.

He announces, pronounces, and denounces!

He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.

He talks to men about God.

He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned by men.

He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.

He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hidein the marketplace.

He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual.

He has passion, purpose and pugnacity.

He is ordained of God but disdained by men.

Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent prophet!

I am bombarded with talk or letters about the coming shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that the “seven years of plenty” are over for us. The “seven years of famine” are ahead.But the greatest famine of all in this nation at this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).

Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years.Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made a vital contribution. “Come-outers” have “come out” and settled, too,without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?

 

GOD’S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWING FORTH.

They will come.

The prophet is violated during his ministry, but he is vindicated by history.

There is a terrible vacuum in evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men, because they consider him too austere, too severely committed, too negative and unsociable.

Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.

Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern theology and stagnant “churchianity.”

Let him be as selfless as Paul the apostle.

Let him, too, say and live, “This ONE thing I do.”

Let him reject ecclesiastical favors.

Let him be self-abasing, non self-seeking, non self-projecting,non self-righteous, non self-glorying, non self-promoting.

Let him say nothing that will draw men to himself but only that which will move men to God.

Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place where he has received the order of the day. Let him, under God,unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism.

Let him cry with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism,where the rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men,totally blind spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon.———————————————————God have mercy! Send us PROPHETS!

“When a prophet is accepted and deified, his message is lost. The prophet is only useful so long as he is stoned as a public nuisance calling us to repentance, disturbing our comfortable routines,breaking our respectable idols, shattering our sacred conventions.”-A. G. Gardiner.

“The function of the Prophet has almost invariably been that of recovery. That implies that his business is related to something lost. That something being absolutely essential to God’s full satisfaction, the dominant note of the Prophet was one of dissatisfaction. And, there being the additional factor that, for obvious reasons, the people were not disposed to go the costly way of God’s full purpose, the Prophet was usually an unpopular person.”-T. Austin Sparks.

“Those whom God calls to such a ministry – and a call is essential -must be prepared for a pathway of unpopularity and misunderstanding.”You troubler of Israel” was the way Ahab addressed Elijah.”-Arthur Wallis.

 

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Fourth Man

Saturday I was at the radio station to hear a friend of mine who is the pastor of a church in Belmont. I have always looked at this sister and been fascinated by her walk with the Lord and how He speaks to and through her. Sometimes I will go on a Sunday night to hear her preach and no matter if there are 50 people there or 10 people there and she still preaches her heart out like there were thousands. Like she was back on the mission field or in the crusades of past days. She does a weekly program on this AM station.

Most of those that come to help her do the show from her own congregation were not there because of Easter so when I walked in she asked me if I was ready to preach. I laughed and said NO! Later she asked me if I wanted to testify. I am ashamed to say that even to this I said no – maybe next time!

Saying no to open doors that you should have said yes to will bring major conviction. I sat there in my conviction with no acceptable justification wondering how in the world the Lord would ever use me if I dismissed His opportunities so quickly. It created quite a conversation between me and the Lord. Ever wonder if everyone in the room can see your inadequacies and your sin?

About half way through the program I was looking around at this old dingy radio station as the sister was talking about Shadrach, Meshach and Abendigo being in the fiery furnace and more specifically about the fourth man. She was speaking about God and how He is there in times of trouble…and I had this thought – Lord, how does all of this apply today? This radio station? This Word that she is sharing? It is a good Word but I know the Bible is relevant for today so how does it apply? The Bible is not just stories but it is for NOW! This generation! Who is out there listening, Lord?

Just then the Holy Spirit said to me very clearly. “See, she puts herself out there!” At that moment the phone rang and the girl from outside on the phones brought in a prayer request from a listener. A lady whose son was on drugs. This sister started praying for this need like she herself was going through it. Like her own life depended on it. True intercession.  and the Holy Spirit said – Listen because I am going to tell you how all of this applies. You have My Spirit in you. I have put you in this generation for this time to be the “fourth man in the fire” to those of this world. They may come to you, some will. You will however have to GO out and make a decision to get into the furnace with many more. If you reach one, if you reach millions…allow me to be the 4th man through you. You will be the 4th man and shine with my light into a dark, dark hellbound world. You will be the 4th man to the poor and the poor in spirit. You will come in the fire with the drug addict, the homeless, the prostitute, the abused, the accused, the hungry, the hurting, the hopeless. You will walk alongside those living the aftermath of their abortions. You will visit with those jailed and given up on. You will walk alongside them as though your very own life depended on it and one day you will understand even as Frankie does that your life really does depend on it. You will walk alongside and then they will walk out of that fire (out of hell itself) and into my salvation. Then He said again – See, she puts herself out there.

Afterward this sister came to me to discuss something. See I believe she knows that I really do want to be able to testify and maybe even give a Word every now and then as the Lord allows but I keep passing on my open doors. I won’t step out because I lack confidence or I don’t feel fully prepared or my mind goes blank or I think what I have isn’t good enough. Man pleasing? Anyway, she said this – ” I am going to tell you like I used to tell my kids, be prepared! I don’t care if it is a Word, a scripture verse, a song, always be prepared with something to share when you walk out of your door. Fruit doesn’t always come from a 30 minute sermon…many, many more times it is comes from a 30 second praise or a prayer.”

I got into my car and left and the Lord burned into my heart the following:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

I have to remember the Word of our Lord and the words of my sister – BE PREPARED!