Tuesday, March 31, 2020

THIS!

My wife, Jan, just wrote and released this powerful blessing.

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Blessing of Suddenlies

Isaiah 29:1-8

Isaiah prophesies sudden deliverance, which is fulfilled and recorded in chapter 37:36-38. He is not only speaking about a specific time in history, but a truth about what God is like for His people and towards their enemies. 

In the name of Jesus Christ,
      I bless your spirit with the wonder
      of living in His presence,
      in His preserving favor.
Whether experiencing great blessing
      or distress, you are always directly
      face to face with Him.

When trouble hems you in on all sides,
      keep looking to God—persevere in hope.
If you are humbled by adversity
      and under great stress and duress,
      if you are filled with sorrow and fear—
      your voice reduced to a whispered prayer—
      believe deeper still in God’s word to you.
He has already spoken a word of deliverance!

Your enemy considers himself powerful,
      yet that is how completely he is deceived:
      he is culpable and he will be humbled;
      his power doesn’t compare
      to the awesome ease of divine action.

This is what God is like:
      He will dispatch the threat,
      completely removing it—
      forgotten as though just a dream.
Divine deliverance will happen suddenly;
      in a dramatic, last-minute instant—
      it will happen!

I bless you with new faith,
      refusing to live by working the system
      and by practicing religion,
      yet not believing God’s word.

Without minimizing human culpability
      and the reality of evil in the world,
      may you no longer be run around
      by the noisy sounds of discord:
      no longer live as though you
      are at the mercy of earthly forces;
      no longer live as though you are dealing
      with secondary causes.

You are blessed with a direct face to face
      relationship with the Lord Almighty
      in every circumstance.
Though His mercies may seem delayed,
      He will not delay—
      He will never fail you:
      He is sovereign in history,
      He is your Higher Reality,
      He will preserve you,
      He will have the last word—
      and it is a word of deliverance.

Fighting in a Dark Place

When I was a cop, I was so familiar with each weapon at my disposal, I could run the weapon, break it down and reassemble it in a dark room and not miss a beat. I didn’t need natural light to know the feel and function of what I carried.

In times of personal or cultural darkness, a similar principle is present. If we become familiar and regularly train with our spiritual weapons in times of light when life seems to be prospering, then when things get dark, we will still be able to function while others stumble in the darkness. We will not become dysfunctional based on what we cannot see or understand.

Some of the social angst taking place in the community of faith in this dark moment is because many did not make themselves familiar with their spiritual weaponry while it was still light.  The spiritual weapons God gave us to fight off the assault of fear and faithlessness do not depend on the natural light of human understanding to function. They work anywhere and all the time, no matter what is taking place.


Monday, March 30, 2020

Prophesying Hope to the Seed

“Israel will remain a stump, like a tree that is cut down, but the stump will be a holy seed that will grow again.”
—Isaiah 6:13b

When I was a boy, I watched my father trim the mulberry trees that lined our driveway. When these trees were in full bloom, they provided a wonderful place of shade during the hot summer days. The first time my father trimmed these trees, I thought he had killed them. He literally cut them back to a stump and a few branches. But each year the trees grew back healthier and larger than before because within the DNA of the tree was a life and a structure that no amount of trimming could destroy. Life is like the mulberry trees of my youth; there are times when we get so trimmed, we wonder if we will ever grow back, and then life happens again.
Once, when I read this verse from Isaiah 6, the words seemed to hang in the air. The Lord spoke to me, saying:

I am raising up a host of prophets who will prophesy hope to the seed that remains in the stump. I never leave a stump without a seed. This seed contains the DNA of My life. It is activated and brought to life by hope. Raise your voice and speak hope to the seed that remains. The seed is waiting for the sound of hope. Do not focus on the stump. The stump only carries the seed. This present devastation is temporary. Words of hope are anchored in eternity. Rise up and stand before the stump just as My servant Noah did when I asked him to build the Ark. You will look foolish to those who only see the stump, but I will grow the seed and the tree will stand again. Prophesy to My seed.


(excerpt from Prayers from the Throne of God)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Challenge of Reduction

Recently, I was asked to write a magazine article from the content of my new book, BEYOND. When you have written tens of thousands of words and framed them within the pages of a book, reducing the critical elements down to just a couple of thousand words can be a challenge. Everything of value and worth can and must be able to be reduced to a simple thesis statement, or we haven’t done our homework.  

Some of us are in a season of reduction. In the process of that reduction, the thesis of our life is uncovered, good or bad, as the accumulated clutter of life is stripped away. We will discover what is at our core motivating our choices. We will also find out what we have allowed, remaining unchecked, that has determined the range of our emotional response to unexpected change. As painful as reduction can be, it is really a needed exercise. Without an occasional reductive reset, we will continue on with the status quo of our recent history and miss the new thing God wants to do in and through our lives.

If you are in a moment of personal reduction, don’t fight it, go with it. It is part of a journey to return you to what is most important in life. The process will become a reminder that you need less than you have been led to believe. Reduction is not less. It is more. More of what truly matters.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Have You Noticed?

Have you noticed arguments about the non-essential issues of life and the theological arguments over personal preferences have left the online conversations? When a globally fearful presence is prowling the streets of our cities, we rise to something better in our soul, something God put there when He created us, something that remained hidden in times of self-reliance. Don't waste this time. Something beautiful is taking place.

Increase in Decrease


The Lord is doing a work of increase in this time of decrease. While the garment of your patience has become frayed and threadbare, and you feel naked and exposed, the Lord has been crafting something new to clothe your thoughts and emotions. He will not waste your sorrow. As you come to Him in this strange and unfamiliar time and cry out in your pain and confusion, the Lord will create a new and stronger garment from the sacrifice of your praise and worship. It will become an insulating shield between your vulnerability and the raw elements of this exposed and separated time. He promised to never leave you or forsake you. The Lord is about to confirm that truth to you in a very personal way. What God has promised will not return empty of fulfillment. 



Thursday, March 26, 2020

Sheltering in Place with God Almighty

For the last 40 years, whenever my life entered a confusing and challenging time, I went to the Psalms. This morning the Lord invited me back to the Psalms into a quiet place with Him. I am sheltering in place with the peace of God.

Historians tell us that in times of great social upheaval and revolution, the voices that brought the most comfort were the musicians, poets, and prophets. There are books in Scripture called the books of poetry and wisdom. Among those books are Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. This where I will park my heart and mind until this global crisis passes.

People are trying to find answers when no answer is yet available.  They want to feel peace when peace is only possible in the presence of God, not in solutions or outcomes offered by human intellect and understanding. This lack of clarity and its resulting futility will create more fear, dread, and anger-fueled violence in the coming days. Only peace can offer us safe passage into the future.

I invite you to step into the peace of God. His peace is the only sane place in this uneasy time in our history.

“Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4: 6-8 NLT).