Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Door of Trust

Protecting a place of personal brokenness at the expense of healing exposure will put the things you fear losing in a place of even greater jeopardy. Honorable people are able to handle your disclosure more than your fear would lead you to believe. Look for these trustworthy fellow travelers and open your life to them. Trust is the hinge upon which your breakthrough swings. Reach for the knob of this door and you will be amazed at what God opens up before you.

Framing the Revelation of God

God is adjusting our frame of reference for the release of increased levels of impact for prophetic ministry. Like a frame that surrounds and enhances a piece of historic artwork, the Lord has always desired to have us frame His revealed word with the unique wisdom and creativity of the Spirit. The result will be a delivery that is pleasing to the eye and a blessing to engage.

Most of us have written something in the margin of a book or a Bible. As we read along, we jot down thoughts and observations in the margins of the text that defines the text in a personal way. There is actually a term for this: marginalia. 

Marginalia originally described the intentional designs in the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts. The margins of these manuscripts were filled with beautiful patterns and images in gold and silver that helped illuminate the text. The text would not be complete without the framework of the marginalia.

We can attempt to deliver a prophetic word prematurely and toss it out without the framework of the Spirit preparing its delivery. This framework was described by Paul when he defined the fruit of the Spirit to the Galatians.

But the fruitproduced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:
joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patiencethat endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.” (
Galatians 5:22-23 TPT).

While the gifts of the Spirit may expand the Kingdom, it is the fruit of the Spirit that governs the Kingdom. We may release a prophetic word and the message of the word is true, yet its intended impact can be diminished because we did not allow the fruit of the Spirit to frame and govern its presentation. 

People are watching and listening to the words we deliver. They are walking through the gallery of prophecy discerning the verbal and visual artwork being presented. What hangs on the wall of these galleries is intended to be a blessing and carry greater authority when the message is surrounded by divine love. 

Before you release a word for public display, pause to allow the Spirit to give you the framework required to enhance the message of the word. Just as it can be in a high-end art auction where a work of art created by a master starts a bidding war, so it will be with a prophetic word framed by the heart of God and the fruit of His Spirit. People will be drawn to the beauty of a wisely framed message.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Returning Fire-Starters

People are leaving certain expressions of the Church. Depending on how you see this exit, it can create concern or expectation. 

On the different summits of culture where God is doing His work of reformation are embedded some of those who had previously walked away. They are waiting. Many do not know they are candidates and untapped participants in the reformation that is unfolding in this moment of our history. God is about to issue a call to those who walked away. 

This call will deliver a reminder of God's love and an invitation. When heard, the call will ignite their hearts once again creating a fire of passion for what they thought was lost when they departed. This personal ignition will set a fire of reformation where they currently stand on one of the 7 summits of culture - Government, Religion, Education, Economy, Arts and Entertainment, Media and Family. 

This will not be a move of God like those in the past. To many, it will be unfamiliar because it will not look churchy or sound religious. Systems of culture will experience a Heaven-directed shift outside the sanctuary walls and the existing culture of the Church. The 7 mountains of culture will become a new sanctuary for the Spirit. 

This reformation is setting a fire in the hearts of people and systems that now seem to be burning alone and isolated, but over time they will join together in a conflagration that will produce sweeping reform, both within the Church and culture. 

Those who walked away will return with the fire of God in their hearts and the new thinking needed to reform our concept of a faith community and its role in the world. These returning ones will evangelize the minds of those still within the old structure and mindsets of the Church. That evangelization of thinking will ignite a fire that will begin to burn the underbrush and debris from within the current manifestation of the Church creating a new vision and a greater mobility of our mission.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

In the Blink of an Eye

In the last month, some of my friends have experienced the suddenness of life and death. One friend was on a flight with his wife when a woman sitting behind them died. They had to finish the long flight knowing the dead woman’s body would accompany them to their destination. Just last night, Jan and I found out the husband of a couple we were getting to know passed away on Memorial Day unexpectedly. We met them for dinner just a few months ago and listened to all the plans they had for their future. I could tell similar stories of when unanticipated and deeply painful experiences suddenly take place in the blink of an eye.

I felt it was important to encourage some of you with the promise that God has a plan for these moments in your life. We can’t really plan for the sense of loss and separation we will feel in those overwhelming experiences. God knows what we will come up against when we receive the news we never wanted to hear. That is why He has a plan. Our plan is to make sure we have adequate insurance and that the affairs of our lives are in order. That is part of being a wise, loving and forward-thinking person. 

God’s plan really simple. It is trust. Trust must be developed. It can’t be purchased from an insurance agent or promised as a financial return on an investment. It is developed and matured each time we think of the unthinkable. The thoughts that take our breath away when we consider their harsh possibilities must be addressed and told where to park in our thinking. Trust will reformulate our concept of future loss.

God the Father is intimately acquainted with grief. He knows just what you will need when you face your last moment on Earth or when a loved one breathes their last and you stare death in the face and feel its cold and granite-like finality. As Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father to release resurrection life in His dead body, so it needs to be for each of us who follow Jesus Christ. We must trust that somewhere in the very real pain of a future loss, a resurrection will be the ultimate reality. That is our only real hope in this life. It is the only place where trust can be experienced.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Fool's Errand

If someone continues to run with a fool they will spend their life running a fool’s errands. It takes courage to discern and eventually back out of these relationships. Many have learned this important lesson the hard and painful way. It is a lesson worth learning.

It is important to know what a foolish person is to avoid the sad experience of the life they offer to those who follow their example. A fool is someone who does not see the beginning and the end of all things. In their decision-making, they do not recognize the reality that they will stand before God someday to answer for the choices they made. A fool lives a reckless life without boundaries. They can even try to associate that recklessness and lack of boundary with faith deceiving the spiritually naïve.

Fools live an uninformed and undisciplined life. Uniformed about the ways of God and undisciplined by any outside source apart from their own vision of life. Scripture uses the word “fool” to describe someone who is “senseless” or “without reason.” There is no filter for their response to life. A fool’s foolish thinking will eventually lead to foolish conclusions that will deposit foolish people in foolish destinations.

It takes courage to disengage from a fool and the foolish errands they ask you to run for them. This is especially challenging if that fool is embedded in a community of faith.  This kind of Spirit-empowered courage gives you the freedom to become your own man or woman who stands before God and answers only to Him. It is a courage that will at times upset the course of your life, especially if the foolish person with whom you are associated is unaware of the error of their ways. They will announce your departure as an act of betrayal.  If this happens, stay strong. When you walk away from fools and their foolishness errands, Wisdom will be waiting to embrace you and walk with you into your place of destiny.

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20).

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Power of Revelation

The farther we move away from the historical details of an event the more some people will take license to create a new and false narrative of that history. This is where the presentation of fact, while still true, will not steer the debate and bring about a correction of the error. In times of deep and entrenched disagreement, only a revelation of the Spirit has the power to steer the human heart toward truth. 

Don’t spend your time trying to argue with detractors of truth. Ask God to increase your ability to receive and transmit His revelation. When these revelations come and you faithfully deliver their content you will become someone God will use to help steer individuals and culture toward a place of spiritual, intellectual and emotional health. That is the power of revelation.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Disaster Thinking

I just returned from a ministry trip along the northern coast of California. I was driving through Eureka and stopped at a supermarket to buy some food when something strange took place. Before I share the story, I need to give you some background.

While driving along the coast, I noticed tsunami-warning signs were posted everywhere. I was advised when I was entering a low area susceptible to a tsunami and when I was leaving. These coastal communities are aware of a tsunami threat and have made appropriate preparations. 

I did some research on the subject and the warning is a real deal. A 700-mile long fault line called the Cascadia Subduction Zone is about 50 miles offshore and runs north from Eureka, California along the coastline of northern California, Oregon, and Washington and into parts of southern Canada. When the Cascadia Subduction Zone ruptures, as it has done many times in history, it will produce a 9.0+ earthquake that will shake the Pacific Northwest with devastating results and produce a tsunami that will decimate the coastal communities.

Back to the supermarket. While shopping, I was enjoying some classic rock music being played over the in-house sound system. A song came on that unbeknownst to me had a loud siren playing in the musical score that sounded just like a tsunami siren warning people to flee to higher ground. I noticed the other shoppers weren’t responding. They just kept shopping as if life was normal.  I started to move toward the exit of the store and out the front door when the song ended and another song came on. It wasn’t a real tsunami warning. It was only a soundtrack mimicking the real thing. I tried to quietly return to my abandoned shopping cart as cool, calm and collected as I could without looking too foolish.

That experience taught me something. While traveling along the coast with the knowledge that an event like the rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a reality, it offers a person two choices. One, which I did, was to pray the Shalom of God over the coast and the fault line. The other was to manage the subtle fear that wanted to come and paralyze me so that I would miss the beauty of God’s creation and live on edge 24/7 while on the trip. We can get so wrapped up in preparing to exit a potential threat to life that we miss living in the beauty of the moment. 

The reason the people in the store were not moving toward the exit when the siren in the song was playing was that they knew what a real warning siren sounded like. They were free to enjoy an afternoon of shopping. To them, it was just a song. To me, it was the approach of disaster. 

In the end, we all need to be prepared for the potential outcomes of life, but not allow our preparation to morph into a paranoia that can cause us to live in a mindset of perpetual fear.  Fear is a thief who robs us of our peace. Plan your life-strategy to keep safe. Always have an escape route to get to the higher ground of God’s peace when danger comes. Have a spiritual go-bag filled with the essentials of your faith packed and ready to grab when a real-life emergency comes and you have to move fast. Do all you need to do to be prepared to take action should you be faced with an event beyond your control, but never live in that preparation as a prisoner bound in the shackles of fear. That would truly be the greater disaster.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Thunder of God's Voice

Last night a powerful thunderstorm rolled through our area. It was so powerful that I received a FEMA warning through an app on my iPhone. Right after the FEMA warning was displayed, a clap of thunder exploded over our house. I have lived in the Caribbean and lived through some very loud and intense storms, but to be honest, this was the loudest and most house-shaking thunder experience of my life. Jan and I were stunned when the thunder shook our house to the foundation and sent our cat running for his life.

This morning, as I reflect on the storm from last night, the air is now still and calm. No sound of a storm remains, but the memory is still fresh in my mind. It reminded me of the writer of Hebrews trying to explain the power of God and the sound of His voice that will shake what is not secure in His Kingdom and defined by His love. 

“The earth was rocked at the sound of his voice from the mountain, but now he has promised, ‘Once and for all, I will not only shake the systems of the world, but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!’” (Hebrews 12:26) 

Every political and social condition not in line with God’s heart will experience a shaking like the thunder that exploded over our home with unimagined power. This shaking will expose and destroy each dark and malevolent power that rules individuals and culture from behind a veil of deception.
Most of us want to see God as a tender, gentle and compassionate God. He is all of that. But He is more. He is also powerful, almighty and consumed with a passion for His people and the Earth He created. There are times when this tender, gentle and compassionate God will roar out in His holiness against those things that try to separate His creation from Him. When God’s voice becomes a clap of holy thunder and shakes our world, He is not trying to destroy people. He came to save, not destroy people. He is reminding us and warning the powers and rulers of a dark and unseen kingdom that He will not allow them to go on forever controlling and deceiving.
We are about to experience the awe of God - an awe-inspiring revelation of His holiness that will stop us in our tracks just like the thunder that shook our home last night. This will not create an unhealthy fear in a follower of Christ. Neither will it create a list of people who we choose to see only as our enemies. The thunder of God’s voice will shake us free from our foolish pursuits and short-sighted determinations and bring us to a place of awe and worship in the God of Heaven. That encounter will change everything.
“Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe”(Hebrews 12:28).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Feeling the Pressure to Perform

To encourage someone to suck it up and "just take the next step" is not always wise counsel. There are times when people need to know where to place their foot before they take the next step. In these situations, where theirr foot comes down is as important as taking the actual step. 

Don't feel pressured to prove to someone that your life is going somewhere. Creating a state of continual motion is not evidence of your spiritual maturity or that you have a vision. It can be the evidence that you have not yet learned how to rest, trust and wait for the Lord to speak before you move forward. Avoid the pressure to perform and you will avoid the pain that comes from making a hurried and unwise decision.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Honest Faces

I walked into the hotel lobby where I am staying and passed a sign that read, “Please show your room key.” Showing my room key was to gain entry into the hotel’s breakfast buffet. As I walked by the front desk the man working behind the counter didn’t even raise his eyes to look in my direction. I paused and went back to show him my room key. When I said, "Here's my room key", he glanced up front his paperwork and looked directly into my eyes and said, “I don’t need to see your key. You have an honest face. Have a nice breakfast.”

I don’t know how honest of a face I have, but like you, I want to be perceived as an honest and honorable person. It was 6:00 am. I was dressed in a baseball cap, hoody, cargo shorts and hiking shoes. I needed a shave and my morning shower.  I looked more like someone who just walked in off the street trying to grab a free breakfast than a patron of the hotel who was in town to speak at a local church.

Those who carry the Spirit of God reveal more to those around them than their attire or life-circumstance can transmit. I have seen the depth of God’s countenance carried in the eyes of a tattered homeless person and failed to see it in a well-dressed person of privilege. It is all about the heart being revealed through the eyes, the window of the human soul.

Most of us spend time trying to look presentable and keep in at least a semblance of good physical health. We are a human temple of worship with a body, soul, and spirit created to house and express the presence of God. These three elements of our being are designed to work in harmony with each other. It is the inner peace of God that is picked up by people in the most unexpected moments – especially in a pre-dawn journey to a hotel breakfast buffet before a shower and shave were able to do their magic. If you are at peace with God and with people it really does make a difference. No matter what is going on in your life, your inner peace will transmit a message. It will reveal your true identity in the most unusual moments when you were least expecting it.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Heaven Has No Coincidences

As I sit here in a hotel room in Eureka, California, I find it by no coincidence that several things are happening all at once on the same day. Later this morning, I will take the short drive to where I am scheduled to speak at the First Baptist Church of Arcata, California. The church is physically located next to Humboldt State University.  Thousands of students attend this university. Twenty years ago, Bill Johnson spoke here and prophesied the next Jesus Movement would be birthed in this church. 

This is Pentecost Sunday, the day in Church history when we celebrate the coming of the Spirit in power. I also happen to be staying in the same looking over the same courtyard described in my book, The Sound of Reformation. During that previous stay, as I watched koi fish swimming in circles in the courtyard pond, the Lord said the circle-swimming fish resembled a religious pond of predictability that has invaded the thinking of some in the Church. It is a resulting way of living birthed from a mindset where we no longer expect more. The koi fish are still here doing the same thing they were doing during my last visit. Nothing has changed. They are still swimming in circles. 

God has another plan. He wants to free us from our ponds of predictability and transplant us into the freshwater current of His Spirit where we will experience personal and corporate revival and a resulting cultural reformation.  

This specific day on the calendar of 2018, the koi pond revelation and Bill Johnson’s prophetic word are not a human coincidence. They are divine indicators that God has a plan to execute that no coincidence of human logic could ever imagine.

Today, remove the limited thinking and faithless conclusions of coincidental thinking. Let God lift you out of the pond of predictability and fill you with the same expectancy I have of what God is about to do this morning. You and I are not responsible for outcomes. We are responsible for the measure of faith we carry into situations where supernatural outcomes are possible. Let faith arise and the enemies of God be scattered, especially any faithless expression of faith.  Every day is a new day with God. See today with the eyes of Heaven and you will see the new thing God is releasing upon the Earth.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Fruit of a Double Portion

Yesterday, I brought home some cherries. As I was eating the cherries, I noticed most of the cherries in the basket were double cherries. It was hard to find a single cherry in the basket. In all my life, I had only seen a double cherry a time or two. I stopped eating and said to myself, “I need to get a picture of the remaining ones just to show people this actually happened.” It was then the Lord began to speak.

“Don’t allow what surrounds your life to determine your vision or define what your future holds. I am releasing double portions and double blessings to those who have the eyes to see as I see. This double portion will clarify your vision and redefine your future. The double portion is already in your basket. Look again. This is not blurred double vision. It is the double portion of goodness I have planned for you before time began.” 

Today, look again at your life – your friendships, resources, hopes, and dreams. Look at all of your life through the lens of faith, hope, and love, especially those areas where you may have lost hope. Clarity will begin to come. You will begin to see as Heaven wants you to see. That is the vision you need to have in order to step into your future with confidence, trust and expectation.

“Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (Isaiah 61:7).

Friday, May 18, 2018

Measuring Your Dream

Lately, I have been seeing objects lying on the roadway at intersections. Last week, I wrote about seeing the head of a claw hammer on the ground at an intersection ( Later, in another intersection, I saw a measuring tape, the kind that spools up the metal tape inside a small enclosure.

The significance of both objects was their location. Seeing these things in the middle of an intersection infers a coming change. An intersection is a place of decision and new direction. When I wrote about the hammer the Lord was telling some of you to no longer allow your life to be hammered by people who disapprove of your decision and then voice their disapproval with blows from the hammer of condemnation. In order for a new season to unfold, we must deal with the sound of these voices in our heart and mind before we can move on.

Once we transit the intersection of condemnation we will arrive at the intersection of measurement. In this intersection, God wants you to begin dreaming impossible-sounding things not imagined in the intersection of condemnation. 

In the image the Lord was unfolding, I saw a person stop and pick up the measuring tape. The one I have on the workbench in our garage only measures 25 feet. It comes to an abrupt end and lets you know in no uncertain terms it cannot measure past its designed distance of measurement. When the person in my vision began to unwind the measuring tape, I saw them pulling and pulling on the tape with no end in sight. Like my 25-foot tape measure, they thought it would come to an end, but it kept unwinding as long as they continued to pull. They were surprised and delighted. There was enough tape inside the roll to measure the depth and substance of any dream God gave them as long as their faith continued to pull on the tape.

Every dream has a measurement defined by Heaven. God will provide all the tape you need to measure the cost and summon the resources required to make your dream a reality. He has brought you through the intersections of condemnation and measurement to make you ready to experience the next leg of your journey toward the fulfillment of your dream. All things are possible when condemnation is silenced and when you are measuring your dream with Heaven’s measuring tape. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Discerning Hidden Messages

Jan and I live at the edge of our small town close to the forest. It is not uncommon to see all kinds of wildlife. We have seen deer, wild turkeys and on a couple of occasions, a cougar. Last night, I was awakened shortly after midnight to the loud howling of a coyote. He was close – just across our street and up the hill. The howling went on for a few moments.  

This morning, I researched the vocalization of a coyote and realized what I was hearing was a howl from a coyote separated from his group. He was howling to be found. Coyotes have 11 different vocalizations. People who study these animals can tell you what each howl, bark, and yip means. They are able to discern the coyote's message within each sound they make.

It is important for us to be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds being made by individuals and culture. What can be written off as only a complaint may be an appeal for something authentic. A negative comment may hide a wounded heart. An overly gregarious response to life may hide a fear of engagement.

A prophetic person is not just a mouthpiece for God. People who carry a prophetic anointing must be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds of culture in order to accurately discern what is taking place before they speak. Last night, I had no idea what the coyote's message was until I studied the wisdom of those who work with these animals. God wants us to study the wisdom and revelation of the Spirit for the audience of our words before we deliver them. A surface understanding will not reveal the heart and motivation of a person.  Without this depth of revelation, we could easily misinterpret what is actually taking place. 

When the howling of the coyote stopped last night, I wish I could have seen through the darkness. I would have been able to see the coyote rejoin his family unit. The other coyotes would have discerned his appeal at a level my neighbors and I would have missed. That reunion is a goal of prophecy - to reunite separated people with the heart and will of God. 

In life, there are times when people will make strange sounds as they begin a journey toward wholeness. A prophet motivated by love will try to interpret the message hidden within the sound of someone’s voice before they speak.   Seek to understand their message before you deliver a word and God will be able to use you in profound ways.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Living the Dream

A few weeks ago, I was shopping and struck up a conversation with an employee. I asked, “How are you?” The woman said in a cynical tone, “I’m living the dream!” After a few moments of conversation it was obvious she was not living her dream. Some of what she shared was painful. Her life condition had placed her on a long and lonesome road of despair. The look in her eyes conveyed to me the depth of her daily struggle. 

At the end of our conversation, I spoke a word of hope to her. It was like cold water was splashed in her face. Her countenance changed immediately. Literally, a different person was looking back at me. She reached out and gave me a big hug and said, “I never saw my life that way before.” After that initial encounter, I went on to do more shopping. A few minutes later, the woman left her department in the store to track me down and said the words of hope I spoke to her had changed the direction of her life. You could see a transformation beginning to take place in how she carried herself and in the lightness of her step. Hope gave her the ability to see her life differently. 

The greatest ministry of the Church is the release of hope. The resurrection gave the early disciples hope when they thought death was the only option available. Hope has been the coin of Heaven’s realm for the last 2,000 years. If you want to know where the next revival, reformation or breakthrough is going to take place, listen for the sounds of hope. Hope is the dream.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Distant Sounds

Distant sounds capture my attention. There are times when I am sitting in my writing chair next to the open window that I can hear those distant sounds. The horn of a train sounding as it travels through the city. A dog barking a warning or birds singing in the darkness of the predawn. I remember the tug on my emotions the first time I heard the call of a loon echo across a mountain lake or the call of a foghorn cutting through the dense coastal fog. 

These distant sounds gently capture our attention to remind us of things outside our immediate reality. The Lord will do the same to gain our attention. These sounds of Heaven are an announcement. A testimony, an unexpected blessing or a sense of something approaching not yet fully defined, raise our awareness to look beyond the moment to anticipate the arrival of something new.

The Lord spoke to me this morning when I heard one of those distant sounds. I know the following word is not just for me. It is for some of you. He said, “The new thing I want to do in your life will be announced before it arrives. My announcement will be like a distant sound.  I am releasing this sound to gain your attention. When I gain your attention you will be offered a choice to believe. Once you believe, a connection will be made to what the sound is announcing. Just as certain sounds in the natural realm create a beautiful longing in you so it will be for what is coming. That longing in faith is what I need to perform what I have promised.” 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Teach Your Daughter Well

One of the most important things a father can teach his daughter is to know the difference between truth and a lie. The truth will guard a daughter’s heart when well-crafted lies are whispered in her ear. A daughter will first learn the sound of that truth or the lack of it when she listens to her father interact with her mother. A strong woman is a discerning woman. Teach your daughter the power of discernment and she will grow up to become a strong woman.  

When the Winds of Change Begin to Blow

In every revolution of culture, the first people to be attacked are the poets, artists, writers, and musicians who express the discontent of the people through creative expression. These voices must be silenced by those in positions of authority if they want to remain control are to remain in power. The same can happen within the Church, 

-  when an Apostle reveals a heavenly blueprint that exposes a weakness in our current expression of the Church.

-  when a Prophet announces the blueprint and that announcement reveals something new and unfamiliar.

-  when an Evangelist recruits people to the blueprint who don’t look, sound or act the same way as our current demographic.

-  when a Pastor rearranges a community of faith to align with the blueprint to ensure a future of life, health and the possibility of growth.

-  when a Teacher explores the details of our belief system to discover and challenge our sacred cows and then invites us to see and understand the blueprint with new eyes.

When God begins to do something new, refuse to join in with the first wave of critics. Many times these critics are motivated by a fear of change or the loss of control. Take time to experience the craft of the spiritual poets, artists, writers, and musicians. In the common thread of their message, you see a glimpse of the next move of God.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Your Upgrade

I was invited to speak at a conference in Southern California. When I was contacted and provided with the event details, I was given my travel information and asked to make my own airline reservations. I was told I would get a reimbursement check along with my honorarium at the conference. I was asked to book Business Class for both Jan and me. That was a joy! The only problem was, at the time, from Medford, Oregon to Los Angeles there were no flights with Business Class. We would be flying in a puddle-jumper.

Driving to the airport and making the flight, I had to adjust my thinking and my attitude. I was flying Business in Coach, but only in my mind. I was flying with the honor extended to me by the inviting pastor. When we arrived in LA we were treated wonderfully throughout our visit. It was a great conference.

In the course of our lives, we may find that our honored position in Jesus is not always visibly represented as we move from one season of life to the next. We have to choose to fly with the mind of heavenly royalty transiting our time on Earth no matter what our surroundings may indicate. As I sat in Coach, I had to adjust my long legs and feel scrunched for the flight, but that was OK because, in my heart and mind, I was flying spiritual Business Class.

The ticket you hold for this season of your life may not reflect the status you have in God’s Kingdom. You are the royalty of Heaven passing through time on a mission for your King. Carry yourself like compassionate royalty visiting another realm no matter where you find yourself. That mindset will begin to shift the environment around you because it first shifted the way you see yourself and your surroundings. If you ever get an upgrade in this life you will sit in that wide and comfortable place with a humble heart that only comes when you know your surroundings do not accurately represent your status in God’s heart or in His Kingdom.

Friday, May 11, 2018

When There Is Not "Next Step"

I was sending a private note of encouragement to a friend who felt as though their life was stuck. They did not see themselves moving forward in any meaningful direction. My friend felt empty and without emotion. 

As I was finishing up my note of encouragement, I was going to add a final word that said in essence, “just take the next step.” As I was getting ready to type, the Lord told me not to include those words in my note. At that moment, I realized that peace and contentment in my friend’s life, and anyone’s life, is not discovered when we take “the next step.” What has produced emotional and spiritual fatigue is many good people and brought their life to an exhausted standstill is the demand to always be doing something for God that is measurable. The result of this way of thinking is the creation of a history of repeated depletions, both spiritually and emotionally, that if not challenged will cause a person to give up. We are not strong enough to live this way.

In some cases, the need for constant productivity has been part of our problem. We seem to think knowing the next step and having that as the primary evidence of our value and significance will somehow clear away our spiritual malaise. It won’t. What is needed most in these times is the discovery of a rest that only comes when we realize the presence of God, not a never-ending life of productivity and external validation, is what brings us true rest and a resulting peace. In rest is where revelation is discovered. If there is to be a "next step," it will only be found in a place of rest. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Doorway of God's Favor

The favor of God is like a doorway. When it appears, you must choose to walk through its opening. To step across its threshold requires courage. Your existing circle of relationships might not understand the favor of God and demand that you accept the limitations of a false favor called unquestioned allegiance. If you stay within the confines of this false favor you will not experience the fullness of God’s calling upon your life. 

Before you take the step, make sure that honor is securely in place in your heart regarding those who are demanding your allegiance. Your decision will be challenged. A heart of honor will keep you safe when the accusations come.  Without honor and a willingness to bless those who disagree with your choice, the intended fruit of God's favor will not be experienced. 

Someday, when you look back on your life in a moment of reflection, you will see how the favor of God became a rudder that steered your life to a good place. In that good place, you will look around and see some of those who initially demanded your allegiance and questioned your departure. They were able to discover God’s favor for their life when they watched you follow the leading of God. You became a model of hope. Your courage helped them take the first step through their personal doorway of favor to discover something they never thought possible. Favor is powerful. It is the way forward.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Running Away

If you feel like running away make sure it is in the right direction. The end of these undisciplined life-sprints will leave you alone, exhausted and without hope. When you cross the finish line you will discover the new destination resembles the starting point where your escape race first began. The scenery will have changed but the issues of your heart will remain unchanged. The only time we are supposed to run away is from evil or toward the heart of God. All other races have sorrow as their prize.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Moving Laterally

There are times when a critical discovery cannot be made by continuing to move forward in the rut of the status quo. Some of the greatest discoveries have been made by people who were agile enough intellectually, spiritually and emotionally to move laterally when an opportunity appeared. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Hammers of Disagreement and Disapproval

I just returned home from doing some grocery shopping. I saw something that prompted me to share the following word. I believe for some of you it is a time-sensitive word. 

As I was driving home I had to stop at a traffic light. When the light turned green, I began to cross the intersection when I noticed a claw hammer on the pavement. It was just the head of the hammer, not the handle. 

As I drove over the hammer’s head, I sensed the Lord begin to speak. Some of you are crossing an intersection of life that will lead you into a new season. It is an important crossing. In previous crossings, you literally got hammered by the displeasure of people when you attempted to cross the intersection in faith. You were told to not cross and as you attempted to make your passage the blows from the hammers of disagreement and disapproval struck your soul without mercy leaving painful bruises in your emotions. You turned back under the pain of the assault.

This crossing will be different. This time there is no handle on the condemning hammers. It is impossible for your accusers to swing their hammers because there is nothing for them to grasp. Your faith and resulting maturity no longer provide a handle to grasp. You don't have to cower in anticipation of a painful impact. When you get the green light from God to move forward, do it with a fearless confidence. Just as I drove over the hammerhead lying in the middle of the intersection, so it will be with you as you move forward to receive what God has promised.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

If The Lights Go Out

(I wrote this six weeks ago and parked it in my writing file. Early this morning, I was awakened by thunder and lighting that was not predicted in our weather forecast. When the thunder and lighting appeared unexpectedly, I was reminded of the following word. I release it not to create fear, but to remind us to always to be awake spiritually and to place our trust only in the Lord. Everything else is only a fleeting place of false security.)

I saw the image of a huge light switch appear over a map of the United States. A hand found a way to get to the switch undetected and flip it off. When the switch was turned off all electronic and computer-generated mechanisms ceased to function. Cars rolled to stop. Electricity to homes was gone. Computers stopped working. Satellites circling the Earth went silent in their orbit. Cell phones lost their signal. People no longer had an immediate electronic connection with the world. 

The next part of the image was a sound. I heard this sound once before when I was outside a hospital when the electricity was knocked off during a powerful thunderstorm. Immediately after the power went off, I heard the diesel engines of the backup generators start up and re-power the hospital. 

Whatever the image of the light switch over the United States symbolizes, God has a plan in place of supernatural re-empowerment to power up the lives of believers through the exercise of our faith and our trust in God. 

Many of the things we consider secure and unwavering in this world are only held together by the thinnest of threads. Only God is secure and forever. While cultures and power structures will fluctuate over time as they have throughout all of recorded history, God remains faithfully the same yesterday, today, and forever. If an unimagined event should ever take place, either a natural disaster or a manmade event, let your first response be to trust in the God who loves you beyond measure and imagination. For every evil plan a human could execute or any natural disaster that would bring death and destruction, there is in place a far more expansive plan of God to redeem and rescue. That plan is our place of peace and security if and when the lights go out.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Disciplined Regrets

A regret does not just go away. It must be transformed into something greater by a work of the Spirit in partnership with our will. Every one of us will have regrets for the failures in our lives. What we do with our regrets can literally steer the course of our life. In some case, even more than the sin that created the regret in the first place. Paul wrote, Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death”(II Corinthians 7:10). 

Repentance is not, at first, an outward action leading our lives in a new and redeemed direction. It actually means a change in the way we think. Many times people cannot believe that God has fully forgiven them. They pick up a false belief that says self-punishment will somehow prove to God they are truly sorry. Instead of living their life free, they continue to live in a downward, death-producing spiral when an undisciplined regret is at the controls of their life. 

Regret empowered by unresolved sorrow needs to be disciplined into submission by bringing it to the Cross where it can be put to death. This is strong evidence of a renewed mind. If you have done this and you still struggle with regret you are either not believing in the complete work of the Cross of Jesus or you are dealing with a demonic spirit that has attached itself to your thinking. Get with someone who can help you deal with either issue and help you pull out of this death spiral. Once you gain new spiritual and emotional altitude where you are free from the control of an undisciplined regret, you will then be able to reset the course of your life to align with the heart of God and His desire for you to live free from the unresolved regrets associated with your past mistakes.

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Gift of Resolution

Donald Miller, author of the book, Blue Like Jazz, said something profound. He said what drew him to follow Jesus was the issue of resolution. Miller said only Jesus offered a resolution for his personal sin and the sorrows that he and others experienced in this life. I first read Miller’s words years ago and they continue to ring true the longer I walk with God.

The dictionary defines resolution as an act or a process of resolving an issue. I believe it is actually a combination of both. A process of resolution begins when we choose to surrender our right to control people and our demand that God would create a particular outcome. 

Once we choose to step into a process of resolution things will still appear rocky and impossible. At that point, trust steps up and offers us a ride to the finish line. Without trusting God in a process of resolution we will bail out early before the issue is resolved. Our part in the process is to continue to believe the best and never allow hopelessness to write the last chapter.

There is a resolution for our sin if we confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness. There is the hope of resolution in an offended relationship if we are willing to be the one who takes the first step toward reconciliation no matter what the offense.

At the end of time, there will a resolution of all things that we have struggled to understand.  Even the most painful of experiences in this life will eventually be resolved in the love of God. That is the gift of resolution.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Simple Things

The week I graduated from high school, two of my friends and I, crammed our backpacks and bodies into a 1959 VW and drove to Yosemite from our homes in Los Gatos, California.  It was a rite of passage of sorts. We would spend the next 10 days hiking and camping in the remotest parts of the park. The trip was filled with stunning scenery, barbequed Spam, and golden trout.

One night, I remember lying in our sleeping bags looking out across Wallace Lake as a brilliant full moon settled between two distant mountain peaks reflecting its bright image across the lake. As young developing romantics, one of my friends said, “This is just not right. We need a girl to share this moment with!” 

The backpack trip was filled with many similar expressions of newfound freedom that placed our high school experience squarely in the rearview mirror of life. One of my friends was off to Seattle Pacific University in the fall, the other friend had enlisted in the Marines and I was would soon depart for Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

About a week into the backpacking adventure, we stepped off the trail to explore a distant vista point in hopes of finding a campsite. It was late in the day. As we arrived at a rocky outcropping, there sat a man who looked to be in his 40’s. He was contemplating the stunning view. He had a bottle of bourbon at his side and a cigar in his mouth. He greeted us and we talked for a moment realizing we would not camp there and interrupt his place of solitude.

We found out he was a high school teacher. Each year, he would hike into the backcountry of Yosemite and spend almost a month camping. Each night after he sat up camp, he would sip a shot of bourbon and smoke a cigar. When the bourbon and cigars were gone, he would head home. I left that encounter realizing we had just met a man who knew how to measure the pleasures of his life. He gave off the impression of peace and contentment. 

Many years later when I was a young church planter, I was driving through the Swan Valley in Montana. As I drove south on the Swan Highway, something caught my attention. I turned my head to see a man in a pickup truck emerging from the forest on a dirt road. His pickup truck was filled with a freshly cut load of firewood and atop the firewood was a nice 3-point buck that he just shot. He was heading home with a truck filled with an abundant provision. His image gave me the same feeling as the teacher with his nightly bourbon and cigar in the backcountry of Yosemite. 

Maybe what I appreciated most about the two men I described was their sense of reflection. Both appeared to be resting from their labors of life having a Sabbath rest of sorts. My guess would be they were reflecting on goodness. I have found in the places where we can reflect on the goodness of life is where God has things to say to us that cannot be heard anywhere else. We need space in time where we can meet God in a moment of reflection.

The older I get the more important it becomes to find the simple places where I can reflect on the goodness of this life. Where is your simple place? It will be in that place, a state of mind, where you can unwind and breath easy and feel the goodness of God wrap itself around your weariness and your concerns. These simple places provide for us the gift of reflection where the most profound revelations can take place. These simple places are worth discovering because they help reset the tempo of our lives and refocus our limited energy on what matters most. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Your Double Portion

The situation you have been forced into through no fault of our own is not your final destination and condition. God always has a plan to prosper His people no matter what their circumstance may seem to indicate. Joseph, who was sold into slavery and unlawfully prisoned, rose to an unimagined place of authority to rule Egypt second in command only to Pharaoh. 

During the time of his restoration, Joseph had two sons and named one of his sons Ephraim, and declared, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52). The name Ephraim means "double land”, “double fruit”, and, “I shall be doubly fruitful.” These are names and definitions that can seem impossible to imagine in the dark and dank enclosure of an imprisoned season of life.

Begin to live in expectation that knock will soon be heard on the door of your prison cell. You have not been forgotten or abandoned. You have been hidden away for such a time as this. God has a plan to bring you out to receive a double portion of blessing, honor, and provision. This double portion is not just for you. It is to be shared with those who sold you into this place of sorrow and abandonment. You will be released to become a redeemer in partnership with the Redeemer. Your willingness to love and forgive will be evidence that your heart still belongs to God.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

An Edited Life

The Lord is editing the script of your life. The first printing contained only a partial text and errors in spiritual grammar. God is editing the text of your life to present to you an updated version. He is doing this so you will be able to move forward into your future with increased hope. The Father has written the script of your life in reverse. He has written your story from that place in eternity where you now sit fully manifest in your destiny seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. This is part of what Jesus meant when He said,  "on Earth as it is in Heaven."