Sunday, January 19, 2020

Our Capacity To Do Battle

God is increasing your capacity for spiritual warfare. What worked in the past will not be sufficient to engage the battles in your future. This increased capacity is a work of God, not a capacity you can produce.

When I was a cop, one of my fellow officers got in a shootout with an armed robbery suspect. It was a hot July night, almost 100 degrees. My friend saw a man dressed in a heavy wool coat and a watch cap driving through town casing stores. The unusual attire caught the officer’s attention so he followed the vehicle. Like many criminals, the suspect provided a minor equipment violation that allowed the officer to legally make a car stop. 

When the officer approached the vehicle, the suspect bailed out of the car with a semi-auto 30-06 rifle and began shooting. The officer returned fire with his revolver as he ran backward, attempting to find cover behind his patrol unit. One of the suspect’s rounds hit the doorframe of the police vehicle fragmenting and wounding my friend. At that point in the gunfight, the officer had fired the last round in his six-shot revolver.  That last round hit the suspect in the upper thigh, and the gunfight was over. 

I was a department training officer so I grabbed some time to debrief my friend on the shooting. I asked him what he would do differently. His immediate response was, “I would want more bullets.” Back in those days, cops carried six-shot revolvers, not autoloading pistols that officers carry today with magazines holding almost three times the number of rounds as a revolver. The higher capacity of modern handguns is a far superior fighting weapon compared to the limited capacity of the revolvers we carried back in the day.

Having enough capacity to stay in the fight is critical, not just on the streets, but in our spiritual lives. When we put on our spiritual armor, we are actually putting on the Person of Jesus Christ, not a skill we learned at a workshop on spiritual warfare. When God increases our ability to fight the good fight, He is increasing our capacity to know and reveal Him in the challenging situations of life. He is our capacity.

The next time hell opens fire on you and those you love, ask the Lord to increase your understanding of His power and presence in your struggle. That is your most trustworthy battle weapon and defines your capacity to do battle. What God reveals to you at that moment will never run dry, leaving you facing the enemy alone and outgunned. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Pleasure of God

We will never be able to learn enough or work hard enough to please God. His pleasure is not sourced in our doing, but in our being.  At the end of all our striving and repeated failure, we will eventually meet the mercy of God. Knowing God is merciful beyond our wildest imagination is what will release joy, hope, and peace in our restless hearts.  

Friday, January 17, 2020

Navigating the Unexpected

Something unexpected is about to visit. This unexpected visitation will catch some unaware and off-balance, but only if they are focused on the wrong things. 

“Unexpected” is a word consisting of two parts. The first part, “un,” denotes the reversal or cancellation of an action or state, and the second part, “expected,” refers to something regarded as likely or anticipated.

This is not a time to assume anything, especially outcomes in the arena of politics and government. Our assumptions are polluted with our biases and personal preferences. Only the wisdom of God matters. Lay down everything you hold dear in hopes of an assumed outcome. Wait for the Lord to reveal what matters to Him. He will be faithful to let you know what you are supposed to pick up. Some of what you may be asked to put your hand to will come as an unexpected surprise. 

Beyond All We Can Imagine

Exploring the expanding edge of revelation is accomplished through imagination and faithful obedience, not by our preferred theology, the most advanced forms of scholarship, or a developed intellect. As valuable as those three things can be, it is faith and faith alone that places us on the leading edge of God’s ever-expanding revelation. It is there we get a glimpse of the substance of things only visible by faith.

Those who formally examine these acts of faith will create a theology for the experience, expand the resource base of scholarship and come to realize, once again, the earthbound limitations of human intellect. All of these studies happen after an event of faith takes place. 

C.S. Lewis defined this journey of discovery as the result of a “baptized imagination.” Albert Einstein noted, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand." The Apostle Paul shared about the journey beyond his knowledge-based reality, “I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell” (II Corinthians 12:4).

All Kingdom advancement takes place beyond what we currently know and define as reality. That is the nature of something that expands. It is always moving and cannot be nailed down and controlled. 

God is preparing to invite some of you to travel with Him to the expanding edge of His revelation. There you will see and hear things that will become needed course-correcting revelations for the Church as we enter this new decade. Your act faith will be studied and researched, and in that study, a new level of refreshing hope will be released to those of us who follow your path of faith.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Unfrozen Promises

When I walked along this wire fence that surrounds a meadow and saw the frozen water droplets hanging from the wire, the Lord spoke. 

You received a word from God and surrounded that word with acts of obedience. Everything the Lord asked you to do you have faithfully accomplished. But now, its fulfillment seems to have been frozen in place. You do not see the freedom of motion you imagined when you first received and obeyed the word. 

Your situation is about to change. The presence of God will begin to manifest and heat the circumstance surrounding the promise. Just like it is when water transforms from a frozen state to a liquid state under the influence of heat and melts to form a flowing river, so it will be with you and the promise you carry.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Premature Labels

I once knew a young man who was trying to find his voice in the faith community. He was sharp and possessed great potential. I believe he had and still does have a calling on his life. Then he made a turn. He turned toward judgment, the premature kind that immaturity is drawn toward. The young man discovered an affinity with those who create labels of judgment and feel it’s their mission to label people and churches with whom they disagree. It was sad to see. He did find his voice, but the sound he was making did not represent the heart of God.

It is too easy to prematurely define people and their motives before we fully understand their reasoning or life-experience. We use our current understanding of truth and reality to craft our premature labels. We have seen this take place in the history of science, medicine, and health habits. The Earth was once considered to be flat. Germs were an unseen and unknown threat, and the benefits of healthy eating and exercise were not yet understood. Those premature positions created labels crafted from premature judgments made before a fuller understanding was realized. 

The most dangerous labeling of all takes place in the area of faith. Be careful with labels. Only God knows how to properly label an individual or group who live outside the context of our current experience or level of comfort.  God’s labels always have a redemptive element. Most of the time, ours do not. When we become a self-appointed label maker, we step into the dangerous territory of accusation.  That is the devil’s favorite playground.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Hope of Resurrection

One thing I hate about this life is death - the death of a family member, a faithful friend or pet. Death in any form is the enemy of life. This is why the hope of resurrection is so critical to living a life of joy amidst sorrow and loss. Without the hope of resurrection life can offer us no joy only the fearful dread of ending.  

"Moreover, if the dead are not raised, that would mean that we are false witnesses who are misrepresenting God. And that would mean that we have preached a lie, stating that God raised him from the dead if, in reality, he didn’t. If the dead aren’t raised up, that would mean that Christ has not been raised up either. And if Christ is not alive, you are still lost in your sins and your faith is a fantasy" (I Corinthians 15:15-17).