Friday, January 30, 2015

Revealing Submerged Promises

In the past year the Lord has given me several images of waves and shorelines.  Today, I had another maritime image.  I saw someone writing a word of promise in the sand between sets of incoming waves. What was written was a deep and personal desire – the kind that is first shared with God before it is shared with other people.

As this person stood looking at the word they had written and then out onto the expansive ocean, they saw another wave coming.  From past experience every time they sought to have this particular promise fulfilled the circumstances of life would come and erase what they had written.  As I watched the unfolding imagery, I knew something different was about to take place.

This approaching wave will not have the ability to wash away the desires of your heart.  This time, when you declared this promise yet again, you aligned your life with divine timing and prophetic fulfillment. Before, when this promise seemed to disappear, God was working on the condition of your heart and the strength of your faith. He was making you ready to carry the coming fulfillment of the promise.

As these familiar and overwhelming circumstances approach your life their impending arrival will try to create a fear in your heart of yet another erasure of the promise.  God is asking you to stand and watch in faith – one more time. When this current wave recedes you will see that your words of hope were not erased, but have become permanently imprinted on the shoreline of your life. This promise will remain intact because God has declared this is the time and this is the place for the desires of your heart to be established.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Letting Go Of "The Good Old Days"

If you are longing for a return to the "good old days" and your mind is preoccupied with that thinking, you will miss the goodness of God that is being poured out in this season of human history.

Only God is good - not our seasons of life. Ask a person of color if the 1950's were good for them.  Ask a woman who had others define for her how her life should be lived if those really were the good old days.  The past is typically defined as "good" by those who were in power at the time the definition was crafted. We assign our limited definition of goodness to what we can understand and control. This puts God in the box of human reasoning and imprisons our thinking. We become suspicious of anything new because our understanding is anchored in the past.  Those who live in this intellectual and spiritual enclosure can spend the rest of their lives mourning for a return of something that no longer exists. For those held in this way of thinking opportunity and possibilities will pass them by because they are no longer reaching for anything new.

The writer of Proverbs said, "the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that grows brighter and brighter until the full day." This Kingdom principle, of increasing light and revelation, is why we need to be reminded that each new season of life carries with it something fresh and good that God is doing in the earth.  This understanding will free us from living in the past and allow us to embrace our developing future.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Your Journey Of Faith

When you began your journey of faith in Christ you were given everything up front.  You were given a full measure of the Holy Spirit.  You were given all the gifts of the Spirit and all the authority needed to establish God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Along with these spiritual possessions you were also positioned in Christ in a place of supreme spiritual authority at the right hand of the Father with all things contrary to the will of God in submission under your feet. This is how grace works – you were given possession and position before your journey began. Once you realize this reality you have a decision to make on how you will live the rest of your life either affirming or denying the reality of your possession and position.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Return To Passion

Recently, I spent time with a young man who had been promoted to a primary leadership role within his technology company.   His 30th birthday is still a few years off. This is a heady position for a young man to assume.  In our conversation he asked how to create a healthy work environment for his employees.  I told him that all businesses and organizations do their best work when they periodically revisit their roots and recall why they began the journey in the first place.  I told the young man it is a passion for their product that starts all successful businesses.  It will be the rediscovery of that original passion that will help them push through the stale and challenging seasons they will encounter as they move forward into the future.  I have found this to be true in our personal lives and ministries as well.

As an example, I told him that some of the greatest entrepreneurs and musicians that got their start in a garage. The garage is where they were free to experiment and not be hampered by the number crunchers or by the fear of failure. I offered Steve Jobs and Eric Clapton as two examples. They both started out in a garage.  Jobs started Apple computers from the humble beginnings of his father’s garage. Eric Clapton, who played with the Yardbirds and Cream, also started out in a garage and he went on to be the only person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times.  Clapton is considered to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

Our original source of passion must be revisited and rediscovered from time to time in order to ensure that our future creativity is not stifled.  Creativity flows from passion. People who are creative over the long term, like Jobs and Clapton, never forgot the original passionate environment that sparked their calling in the first place.  They never lost the memory of their creative garage environment.

At some point, when we lose our way in a business, a ministry or a marriage, we need to find a way to return to our beginning and rediscover what birthed our original passion and then deal with the reasons why we tried to live life without it. Jesus told the church in Ephesus, “You have forsaken the love you had at first”. (Revelation 2:4) In the next verse He tells the Ephesians, “Repent, and do the things you did at first”. Even the great and historic Ephesian church needed to be reminded of this principle.

Going forward into new seasons of life and creativity will require that we go back and rediscover the passion we felt in the beginning. We do this so we can recapture the power of that original creative momentum and move forward with it into the future where new sounds, new products and new callings are waiting to be discovered.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Bookends Of Your Affliction

There are some of you who have experienced yet another affliction in your life. You can’t believe this is happening to you - again.  You want to run, but you can’t escape what is unfolding.

When this started all over again you asked the question, “When will this ever end?”  You need to know that something has shifted.  God is about to bring closure to your season of affliction. Don’t view this current situation as just another sorrow in what seems to be a never-ending cycle of problems lining up to pay another unwelcomed visit. Like a group of books on a shelf supported by bookends, so it is with this current affliction.  Its resolution will become a bookend placed by God that will mark the closure to the season of pain and sorrow you have endured.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Your Goliath Has Relatives

Most people are familiar with the epic battle between David the young shepherd and Goliath the Philistine giant. What many don’t realize is that Goliath had relatives just as big and just a bad as him. I Chronicles 20 describes these other giants: 
4 “After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of the giants, and so the Philistines were subdued. 5 During another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of Lahmi’s spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! 6 In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. 7 But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. 8 These Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.”
If you were to also read the story of David’s epic confrontation with Goliath in I Samuel 17 you would notice similar words used to describe how these giants operate when they come up against God’s people. In I Samuel 17, Goliath taunted and defied God. The “huge man” in I Chronicles – another giant – also defied and taunted Israel. The size of a giant was not the issue. What needed to be confronted was the message of the giant - the taunting and defiance they delivered. This is what angered David and Shimea’s son, Jonathan. 
You may have already dealt with something big in your life, but like Goliath, you need to understand these big things have relatives. These other giants will also come with their lies packaged in their scary size in an attempt to defy and taunt you because you carry the One the giant hates. It is never the size of the issue that you face that is the primary issue. It is the message these giants carry and try to deliver that is the real battle. Never be intimated by the size of the giants in your life. Do not allow a giant to defy or taunt the work God is doing in your life, even when you fail. You may have killed one giant in your past, but others will come. Be ready for their arrival by knowing your unchanging identity in Christ. When they come stand up to their lies and let the righteous anger of God that rose up in David and Jonathan rise up in you because hell dared to speak a lie about you and the God you represent.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Watch The Mouth!

Years ago, when I was a police Field Training Officer (FTO), the first week having an inexperienced rookie riding with you in a squad car was an interesting experience, both for you as the FTO and for the trainee. Each night during that first week I would begin the shift by saying, “I intend on going home alive tonight and I won’t let you or the bad guys interrupt my plans.”  I gave that nightly speech to my rookies because a few years prior my FTO spoke the same words to me.

One of the cardinal rules of survival that accompanied that admonition was, “Watch the hands!”  Hands hold the weapons.  Hands can strike you.  Hands can try to take away your weapon and kill you.  It was so drilled into me that to this day, thirty-five years later, when I enter a room I inventory where people have placed their hands. Translating this into our spiritual lives, I have learned that prior to entering into fellowship with someone it is wise take a moment and listen to their conversation.  In other words, “Watch their mouth!”

The words we speak carry great power.  They can kill. They can give life.  They can create new realities.  Watch the words of those you choose to align with in life and ministry.  Take the time to find people who have learned how to speak as someone indwelled with God’s Spirit.  Just as we learn a new foreign language there is a spiritual language we need to learn.  Be wise in your selection of a spiritual language instructor.

The world is watching the mouth of the Church.  If from our lips come words that sound no different than the world around us we will not survive to the end of our spiritual shift of duty. Someone or something will always die from the assault of a language that lacks life and hope.  If you desire to grow in your relationship with God surround yourself with people who have chosen to watch their words.  Once you learn how to speak the language of God’s Kingdom, the Lord will bring others for you to train up in the language of life and hope.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Changing Props On The World Stage

The Changing Props On The World Stage

I remember being part of a stage production in high school.  I had a small acting part.  I played a police detective.  That acting role was prophetic of what I would do as a profession later in my life.  The stage set was designed and constructed by some very gifted people.  I remember the hectic nature of what took place behind the lowered curtain as new stage props were positioned for the next act. Throughout the play the only thing that remained constant was the physical stage.  Each new set of props changed the landscape of the stage for the coming scene.  Life is like the set of a stage production – it is always changing.

Some of you are seeking to understand the events that have been played out on the stage of your life and on the larger stage of world events. God has lowered the curtain to create an intermission.  You are expecting to see familiar faces and events once the curtain rises again, but God has brought about a divine shift behind the scenes. A new set of props with new actors is about to emerge.

The Church has been repositioned into a new place unlike any we have known in the past.  We have been placed in new cultural territory.  When the curtain of fresh revelation rises and reveals this new place don’t be thrown by what you see or by what you no longer see.  God has refined and redefined some things that we have assumed would remain forever. These things need to be transformed in order to make way for something new. 

We are living in a moment of history when events are about to transpire that will not align with the playbill of what has been known in the past.  Those who will accurately interpret these unfolding events are those who have deepened their intimacy with God.  From this intimacy will flow the revelation that will keep you secure and unwavering in the face of the new and unfamiliar props being positioned on the stage of world events.