Monday, January 21, 2019

God is Removing the Scales of Our Unbelief

The eyes of people with whom we hold deep disagreement over social and spiritual issues are about to be opened. When their eyes open, they will be able to see what was not previously seen due to the obstructions of prejudice, misinformation, and unhealthy religious tradition. These people are being set up by God to have a Damascus Road-like experience similar to that of Paul when he was set free from the effects of his religious bigotry. These encounters will not be the result of the person’s faith, but an intervening work of God.

In Acts 9, Paul, who at the time was known as Saul, was in route to arrest, imprison and in some cases, put to death, the followers of Jesus. Up to the Damascus Road encounter, Paul was convinced he was right and the Christians were wrong. It would take a supernatural event with an accompanying personal word from Jesus to deliver Paul from his deception.

Shortly after Paul's encounter with Jesus, a man named Ananias went to a house on Straight Street under an assignment from Jesus to lay hands on Paul so he could receive his sight. When Ananias laid his hands on Paul the text tells us, “Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight” (Acts 9:17). As soon as the scales fell off, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. God had to blind Paul with the brilliance of His revelation on the road to Damascus so he could be healed and receive a new kind of sight only available after an encounter with the risen Lord.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were not actual scales, they were “something like scales.” The word “scales” is translated to mean, “to peel off the rind or husk from something.” A scale is anything that hardens our heart to seeing and believing the truth. Until those scales are removed we are not able to move in concert with God to accomplish the goals of His Kingdom.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were those things that blinded him from seeing the heart of God for those he was persecuting. Scales of unbelief, dishonor, and division fell onto the floor of the house on Straight Street. Until those scales were removed from Paul’s eyes his true calling could not begin.

Many of us have been asked to take positions of division against those with whom we hold deep disagreement over the issues of faith and culture. When we assume those postures, we become blinded by the scales of a religious spirit and are separated from the very people whom God desires us to co-labor with in the future. In the coming days, expect to see scales fall from the eyes of our greatest opponents.  We will be able to see that transformation only after we have allowed God to remove similar scales from our eyes. 

We are in a season of miraculous personal transformation on both sides of what appears to be impossibly entrenched social, political and spiritual issues. Jesus is interrupting ungodly missions of division, malice, and hatred with heavenly encounters. These interruptions will create new alliances for future Kingdom advancement not thought possible until the scales fall from our eyes. Only God has the power to intervene in these cases and bring this kind of change. These transformations are not possible by human effort.  It will be God, not our arguments or organized opposition, that will bring about this kind of sight.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Grasping

Without a transition plan, you will be found grasping the doorframe of your current life assignment, afraid to let go and move into the new season God has for you. 
Fear can cause us to freeze and become immobile. When faced with a transition, we can sometimes find ourselves holding on to our current assignment in fear of what might not come. 

This kind of fear can paralyze us. Instead of believing for more, we settle for less. We grasp onto only what we know, not what we have been asked to believe. Our fear becomes a limiting testimony of how we see God. 
In these situations, we stand in the doorway of something new without ever actually stepping across the threshold. God already has your new place prepared. He is simply asking you to let go and trust him. When you let go, God is free to lead you toward your new and unexplored future.

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Place-Walking-Transitions-Ministry/dp/0615947573/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1545056288&sr=8-6&keywords=garris+elkins)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Copy That

When I was a cop on patrol and received an assignment via my radio, I affirmed the message was received by giving my call sign and speaking the word “copy.” My response let the dispatcher know I understood my assignment. When on the move as a SWAT team member and I received a verbal command from the team leader I would say back to him “copy that.” It meant I heard and affirm the instructions given. 

I did something similar as an instrument pilot waiting for an IFR clearance to fly into the clouds and navigate safely through inclement weather. I would file an instrument flight plan before my departure and then when I taxied out and during my preflight check, a radio call would come with my clearance. I would write down the instructions then be asked read them back verbatim to verify I understood my assignment and direction of flight. Whether as a patrol cop, on a SWAT mission or flying through the clouds, people’s lives were at stake regarding the clarity of the information I received. I needed to make sure I heard correctly before I moved forward with any fatal assumptions.

A lot of us are moving through life at warp speed. We can find ourselves living this life on the run. In this blurring occupation of our time, we rarely stop to verify anything we hear assuming we heard the information correctly the first time around. Our assumptions filter what we thought we heard and then we move forward with partial information and eventually collide with a mountain of misinformation hidden in a cloud of assumption or fire a fatal comment at the wrong person.

We owe it to everyone to get our facts straight before we do or say anything. Some friendships would still be alive today if a friend confirmed the intent behind an offhanded comment made without taking offense. Business ventures have failed because a vital part of a plan’s execution was not read back correctly and an error of judgment was executed. Someone sitting in a church pew thought they heard a pastor’s remark accurately in a sermon, but instead, they took offense and quietly left a church without honoring the relationship and taking the time to personally approach the pastor and ask for clarification.

We owe it to each other and to God, to make sure we hear things accurately. Relationships and our mission can be negatively impacted by misinformation. Take time to get the facts straight before you speak or act on what you think you heard or read correctly. Lies are looking for a place to germinate. We do not want to give them any possibility for life through our undisciplined communication. The devil is the father of all lies and miscommunication. None of us want to partner with him to produce the offspring of separation that can lead to the spiritual death of a relationship. Be careful out there. It is a dangerous spiritual environment and we need to walk in wisdom and compassion before we act prematurely on our assumptions.



Friday, January 18, 2019

You Will See Hidden Things

In the coming days, some of you will walk into familiar settings and God will open your eyes to see what was previously hidden. When this revelation takes place, give God a moment of pause so He can unpack clearly the reality of what you are seeing. This will not be a time to become aghast or sidetracked by your emotions. What you are about to see will carry a prophetic assignment. You will need to keep your spiritual cool and not let your emotions take over or succumb to the fear of what other people think. God will empower your faith with the courage required to announce what you have seen.

The announcement will set in motion a chain reaction of events. You are not responsible for what takes place after the announcement is made. Your assignment is to pray, stay humble, and faithfully reveal what you saw. God will assign the timing of your response. Obey His direction.

Ask God for a higher level of discernment. You will need this new level of discernment to know how to properly steward what you are about to be shown.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Prophetic Food Chain

The most significant prophetic voices are not always those who capture the most social media attention or get invited to speak at conferences advertised with garish slick-page ads or who sell the most “product.” That is a narrow arena of Kingdom influence many times over-inflated in its effect. 

The most significant prophetic voices can be the unrecognized ones who live at lower levels on the advertised and promoted ministerial food chain. They live in the invisible and neglected trenches of life where pain and suffering are unvarnished and raw and where a prophetic word of hope helps a person choose to live another day. God has the uncanny ability to place these people next to individuals who carry cultural influence. These encounters appear to be coincidental but they are strategic placements by the hand of God.

These unrecognized voices speak prophecies of hope setting in motion a chain reaction of cultural breakthrough that will end up on the news announced as a major development. As the effect of these words become evident, their source can become lost in the shuffle. They may be lost to undisciplined eyes and ears, but not to God. God remembers His obedient ones and He will reward their faithfulness.

Someday, the Lord will retrace the prophetic steps that led to solutions and innovation that became prominent on the world stage. At that moment, we will see it was not the most visible and dramatic ministries whom the Lord will choose to honor, but the unknown ones who took the first step of obedience and spoke a simple word that set in motion a supernatural work of God. 




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Landing in Unexpected Places

On my drive home, I noticed that a paraglider had landed in a vacant lot in town. It was obvious this was not his intended landing spot. As I drove past the pilot, he was gathering up his fabric wing and harness and walking toward the street. He looked fine and uninjured. I assumed he would soon make a phone call to have a friend come and pick him up.

As soon as I passed the man, the Spirit nudged me to gain my attention and shared an interesting word.

Some of you set out on your flight of faith following the wind of the Spirit. You had a destination in mind, but then the wind shifted and you now find yourself landing in an unplanned destination. This is not a mistake or an error in judgment. God will use this unlikely landing zone to reveal the next stage of your calling. Repositioning you has a larger Kingdom purpose that will be revealed in the coming days.

The Lord is changing the wind currents of His Spirit. He is moving some of you to places you did not plan to land or even knew existed when you first launched. If you could see what is taking place outside your context you would see other people touching down in equally unusual landing zones. This is happening because God is divinely repositioning His people for the next expression of His will on Earth.

A fresh wind is blowing and its direction is not predictable. You have not wandered off course. You have been in the flow of the Spirit and God is repositioning your life for greater effectiveness. If you are still airborne expect a safe landing. Enjoy the flight. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Invisible Armor of Love

Yesterday, while scanning a few Facebook posts, I came across two profound comments. Both comments were about two long-time friends of mine. These are real friends I have processed the challenges of life with face-to-face.

One friend, David, was being honored by his daughter on his birthday. His daughter said his presence in her life was “like wearing invisible armor your whole life, knowing that you are protected and loved no matter where life takes you.” When I read those tender words of honor from a daughter about her father, I realized my friend did a good job as a dad. I also saw the protective power of love expressed by a daughter who knew her father was always with her no matter where life took her.

My other friend, Stan, was speaking to a group of leaders from across America who were assembled in Los Angeles to choose the next leader of the Foursquare Church. One sentence spoken by Stan was recorded by someone in the meeting and posted on Facebook. In the meeting, Stan said, “Anything minus love equals nothing.”

Those two comments struck a deep chord within me. I began to see the power of love in a new way. When we love people our love becomes an invisible armor that covers them when they are away from our presence. It is also the single ingredient in life that takes our relationships and our life-investments from nothing to something. Love is not ethereal and untouchable. It is tangible like a garment or an investment commodity. Love has substance.

If we have experienced love we will never stand naked before the challenges of life if we know we are loved by someone. We will always feel clothed even when life strips us bare and leaves us alone. If we have experienced love we will never be tempted to make life-altering decisions without the presence of love to determine the quality of the choices we make. Love has the power to transform the nothings of life into something of value under its guiding influence. 

Love is the most powerful armor we can wear and it is the most valuable investment we can make in this life. I am grateful for two friends who helped me see love in a new way.