Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Dent in My Finger

Forty-four years ago, as a young couple in love, Jan and I went to a mall in San Jose, California and bought our engagement and wedding rings. We couldn’t afford the $400.00 price tag so we put the rings on credit. We took the next four years to pay it off.

Tonight, I removed my wedding ring to wash my hands. I don’t normally take my ring off, but tonight I did. Without it I felt naked. Its absence left a strange impression on my finger. My flesh had submitted over time to the presence of the ring.  It had become an inseparable part of my life. I will wear the ring to my grave. Over the years the ring has worn thin. The design marks originally on the ring finally wore off about ten years ago. Today, it is a shiny band.

When I took the ring off, I noticed a dent in my finger. After all these years the ring has changed the physical structure of my ring finger. My finger looks incomplete without the ring. Its absence leaves a strange looking impression that would cause someone to ask, “What belongs there?”

As I contemplated the dent on my finger it reminded me of our commitments in life. Their presence will leave an impression. Without the evidence of our commitments our lives look strangely dented and incomplete. Without my wedding band in place, I felt incomplete and vulnerable. I quickly returned my ring to its assigned dent of love. All is good. Jan will be home soon and everything will be in its place.

It is Time to Choose

You are standing at an intersection trying to choose which way to go. You have reduced your life down to this single decision. It has stalled your forward progress. The stalling reveals a flaw in your understanding of God’s heart. This is not a decision about you following Jesus. You have already made that decision. You are on His right path. This is a lesser decision you should not give equal importance to like the decision you made to follow Jesus.

This decision is intended to be a learning experience. You are about to learn something profound about God’s heart for you. God is not nervous about the choice you will eventually make. He wants to use that decision to draw out your untapped courage and deepen your trust in Him.

As this word came to me, the Lord took me higher like I was gaining altitude in a helicopter. I flew over the place of your decision. Where you now stand it does look like a fork in the road with two distinctly different paths. From Heaven’s perspective it looks very different. Viewing from above, I was able to see off in the distance. In the future those two paths actually come back together to form a single path.  No matter which way you go with this choice, God will bring it all back together again. Both decisions have His goodness waiting for you. God wants to give you the desires of your heart. That will only happen if you first trust His heart. Regarding which path to take, God said, “Choose one. I will make it work.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

Praying for January 20, 2017

I have been asking God to show me the spiritual aspect of what has taken place during the election cycle of 2016. It is clear to all that our nation is in the throes of painful and hurtful expressions of separation, disconnection, abandonment, anger and sorrow akin to an ugly divorce.

We all have beliefs and personal opinions - the good, the bad, and in some cases, the ugly—as to why a national divorce has taken place. Millions of people also know that God’s love, truth, justice, and mercy contain the only power able to draw us out from our positions of separation and entrenchment. As a Father, God gives identity and destiny to every son and daughter from every race and tribe. This is one essence of what it means to experience on Earth what is the reality of Heaven. God is able to use imperfect people as the place where He will manifest that heavenly essence if we are at least willing to participate in the healing process with honor and dignity.

I have been pondering this thought; Donald Trump is like a father who has married into a divorced family. He has shown with his own children that he has the heart of a father. His love for his natural family could be the model God will use to help President-elect Trump lead our nation. To some that seems impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

I am praying for this possibility to become a reality as our next President chooses to embrace and affirm each member of our divorced national family. I am also praying that he will grow in the wisdom needed to implement the change required to ensure the future health of our nation. If a father’s heart becomes the guiding principle for the administration of Donald Trump we could have a presidency that will astound the historians. To that end, I invite the Church to pray.

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” I Timothy 2:2

Hung Out To Dry

You were hung on a relational clothesline and dismissed. You were literally hung out to dry. Those who did this to you thought by hanging you in this isolated place they would never see you again. But God had another outcome in mind. While you were hanging in isolation He began to work on our heart. You could go nowhere. You could do nothing. You were isolated with your thoughts and emotions and made the decision to let God have His way with your pain.

Just like a garment that is hung out to dry after the rough and tumble experience in a washing machine, this experience has cleansed you. In the washing cycle the deep-seated grit of resentment was finally dislodged. After a season of being hung in the drying wind of the Spirit, you are now ready for God to take you down from your place of vulnerability. He will gather you and begin iron out the wrinkles of the past and present you as a prepared garment ready to wear in the new season that has just arrived.

With God you are never hung out to dry without the hope of something better. God will use this experience for His glory and for your betterment. With God being hung out to dry is not the end. Sometimes it is the very beginning you always wanted, but never knew was possible.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Apostolic Motherhood

Family is listed as one of the 7 mountains of cultural influence. If that is correct, maybe its time to rethink the role of motherhood. Just for context, the other 6 mountains are Government, Religion, Economy, Education, Media and Arts/Entertainment. Those six mountains seem powerful and more culture altering than…Family, but that is mistake in discernment.

I was recently teaching on the subject of the 7 mountains of culture when the Lord dropped an unscripted revelation into my teaching about the role of mothers in the mountain of Family. I am a father. Much of what I am writing will also apply to fathers, but the Lord wanted me to specifically highlight mothers.

Many have relegated motherhood to a quaint, tuck the kids into bed, bake the pie and clean a kid’s snotty nose kind of job. For sure a loving mother will do all of those things. But there is more – significantly more to that role.

If you are a mom, I want to challenge you to see yourself in a different context. You have the potential to become a one-woman apostolic sending agency. Every child you raise has a Kingdom assignment in one of the 7 mountains of culture. I write this to wake up that calling in you. From your child’s first breath begin to cultivate the unique gifts they carry. Speak prophetically into their developing mind to displace the lies they will hear each day.  Help them see who they are in Christ. Cultivate their identity with your words. Sacrifice for their education and training to prepare them to release the passion in their heart. You have been called to raise children with a Kingdom mindset and send them out to influence the mountains of culture. 

Moms who are able to understand this unique assignment are dangerous and hell knows it. You will take hits from people who see you only as the soccer team chauffeur, your family’s domestic arm or a women who left her dreams at the wedding altar, but you are not any of that  - you are more! We honor your vital role in developing those who will climb the 7 mountains of culture.