Monday, June 18, 2018

Healing Our Outlook

When we are delivered to a new place in life our tendency is to try and define what we think we see. In that new place, wait for the Lord to speak before you begin to craft your definition. You will have brought with you the fears that created the negative, fear-based outlook in the old place. That outlook and its accompanying false definition of reality need to be healed before you can fully enjoy where God has placed you. That healing will be more important than your arrival in the new place.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Don't Be Surprised

I just heard the word “surprise” in my spirit. Each time I hear this word a surprise takes place either with a dramatic change in a significant leadership position or a turn of events that completely flips conventional wisdom on its ear. As you move through the busyness of your day be like one of the 300 soldiers of Gideon’s army that drank water from their cupped hands raised to eye level instead of lapping water head down like an animal. The 300 would not be taken by surprise because they remained watchful of their surroundings.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Those Who Ponder

Every dream began when someone stopped long enough to ponder a new reality. God is inviting each of us to a place where we can ponder with Him so He can reveal what has not yet been imagined. From within that place of availability to God, dreams will be released that would not have been seen had we not stopped to ponder something more.

I know a man who worked for IBM in the infancy of the company. His job was to meet each day with a team of five others and ponder possibilities. He said he was paid to look out a window and consider unrealized possibilities and applications for the technology being considered. This group would then send the results of their pondering to another team who would distill the thoughts and images down into some of the products we use today, products that came into being because someone took the time to look out a window.

A dictionary definition for the word “ponder” means, “to think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.” There is a benefit to having times when we ponder spiritual matters beyond what we confidently think we fully understand. Pondering gives God a place to come and reason with us and show us more.

If we are not careful we can assume and even make it appear to others that our current understanding of life and reality needs no further input or development. This is not the mindset of one who ponders the expanding edge of God’s revelation.

God is inviting you to ponder with Him dreams that exist beyond this moment waiting to come through the portal of our pondering to become a reality. If you can pause and allow yourself the time to ponder, you will begin to see something so much larger, something only seen by those who ponder.




Friday, June 15, 2018

Erased Lives

Something unusual just happened. I was putting the final touches on a word I wanted to post on my blog and social media accounts when my cursor began to backspace uncontrollably deleting everything I had written. It was like the Pac-Man icon on steroids. I frantically punched every key I could think of to stop the carnage. It was too late. My cursor backspaced and consumed each word I had written. I was left with an empty word document.

Immediately, I tried to recapture my thoughts and rewrite the story. As soon as I began to type the article a second time, the Lord spoke.

“Do not try to rewrite the story at this time. That will come later. I want you to use the erasure to speak to some of my loved ones who feel like the prepared script of their life has been erased through human failure. Talk to them. Give them hope. Tell them I am about to write a new script for their life to replace what was lost. The rewrite will be better than the original.  I have each erased word held securely in my heart. Nothing has been lost.”

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Our Premature and Uninformed Assumptions

If you pause and take a moment to ask people why they are doing something, especially when what they are doing seems strange and out of the ordinary, it might actually make sense once you become informed. Ask before you make any judgment, especially when it comes to an act of faith. Asking is an issue of honor. It will safeguard you from making a premature assumption.

Your One True Option

Right now you only have one option available if you are going to do this right. Hidden opportunities will become visible once you get past this important decision. When this decision is finally made, what seemed like a mystery will suddenly make sense. What seemed like a distant impossibility will become your personal testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Your Spiritual Elevator Ride

In the last couple of years, I have been spending more and more time riding elevators. Usually, this happens in a hotel where I stay when I teach and minister. 

Yesterday, I saw the image of an elevator in a video. In the video, a person extended their finger and pushed the button for the floor where their room was located. As I watched the video and saw the person rise to a new floor, I began to think about riding a spiritual elevator. 

A high place described in Scripture can be a place where an encounter with God happens that releases revelation or gifting. Think of Moses ascending to the top of a mountain and being enveloped in a cloud of God’s glory to receive the word of the Lord or the first disciples waiting in the Upper Room and receiving the empowerment of the Spirit. You don’t get to these high places without choosing to ascend even though at the moment of making that decision we really don’t know what to expect. At some point, each of us has to make the deliberate choice to go higher or we will remain on the current floor of our spiritual life-experience and not believe for more of God or from life itself.

High places are experienced because a choice was made to leave something behind. Not everything will be able to fit in the elevator of decision with you. What is standing in your life-lobby expecting to rise with you? Some of your current relationships and past choices cannot ride higher into the next season because either their assignment has been completed or they might create jeopardy to your calling and legacy. 

When the elevator door finally slides opens, step inside and press the button of belief and let the door close. Get ready. God wants to take you higher. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Draining Away

Delusion and deception are beginning to drain away to reveal the truth of God. A deluding spirit has been sowing deception in the hearts of people for a very long time. This deception is so great that those held under its spell have been blinded to an emerging reality. They are no longer able to celebrate the smallest victories of hope or the first steps toward reconciliation no matter how obvious those things may appear. 

Jan and I lived in Berlin, Germany just 6 years after the Berlin Wall came down. At the time, the city was in a massive rebuilding project. Our apartment was located in a neighborhood called Lichterfelde (“field of light” in German) on Am Pfarracker (“on the pastor’s acre”). Our apartment was #23 (Psalm 23 is the shepherd's Psalm). I am not making this stuff up! We only found out about these meanings after we moved into our apartment and learned a little German. 

The Berlin Wall ran right through the heart of the city. East and West Berlin stood in stark contrast to each other. One commentator said when the wall came down it was as if someone had drained a lake. When the draining was finally over, a bright and colorful island called West Berlin emerged with its beautiful structures and streets filled with prosperous shops and smiling people. That image of freedom stood alone surrounded by the gray and depressive architecture and subjugated populace of East Germany. 

That contrast was still very visible when Jan and I lived in Berlin. I could ride my bicycle a few blocks south of our apartment to cross no man’s land where the wall once stood. In that passage, I went from bright-colored homes and streets into the still lingering muted grays and browns of failed Communism. After the wall came down and freedom filled the nation, it was East Berlin that needed to be rebuilt, not West Berlin.

Each of us has a choice to make as events unfold around us. God can use whomever He desires to bring about these events – even people from the opposite side of the political aisle or people who do not believe as you believe. When the draining of delusion and deception is done and the completed work of God remains as a stark and undeniable piece of transformational evidence, how will you respond? 

Are your political affiliations, your educational credentials or your current relationships demanding that you continue to deny what is beginning to stand before your eyes? Choosing to believe the best when believing the best has not been in fashion is an act of courageous faith. The future belongs to those who see with the eyes of faith.




Sunday, June 10, 2018

Side-Tracked Bravery

Don’t become so focused on your current understanding of reality that you begin to believe the way forward will only be discovered by a continuation of the status quo. Some of the greatest advancements in human history have taken place because someone was willing to walk the path of a diversion, a side street not considered possible within the confines of an established opinion held by the dominant group currently in power.

The Choice of Fullness

I have noticed the life, vocabulary, and behavior of people who know they are blessed is defined by words like, thankful, grateful, peaceful, hopeful and joyful. The common thread in these words is the suffix attached to each noun, “ful.” It means to be full of something.

In a crass use of our language someone may say, “Oh, he’s full of it!” The “it” is not a positive definition of the person being defined rather it is a way to say someone is not honest, truthful or genuine.

How do we arrive at a place where our lives are defined by thankfulness, gratefulness, peacefulness, hopefulness, and joyfulness? It is the result of having disciplined our thought life. A negative experience may take place and instead of allowing our life, vocabulary, and behavior to follow that negative experience and pull the drain plug on our faith leaving us empty and in despair, we make a different choice. We can choose to redirect the effects of these painful experiences and demand they come under the influence of our greater reality in Christ.

Not one of us who follows Jesus Christ has a legitimate reason to allow our lives to be defined by anything other than filled with the 5 examples I listed in the first paragraph. The world we live in wants to drown us in painful definitions to the point that we are submerged in despair. The end of that sorrowful journey is an empty soul. You were destined to live a full life no matter what pain your encounter. In the pain, choose to be full.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Spiritual Sight

There is a powerful proverbial statement that historians believe was first spoken by Erasmus, “In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king.”  The phrase reveals the impact that revelation can have no matter how small that revelation might be. 

You do not need to have a panoramic prophetic insight to have a significant impact on an individual life or in the affairs of the world. You just need to be faithful to deliver what you see or hear and discipline yourself to go no farther. 

There are times when a revival or a reformation might begin with the delivery of a very simple word that contains minimal content. You and I are not responsible for encyclopedic prophetic insight. Deliver faithfully what you have been given and let people learn how to struggle well with God's Spirit for its personal application. 

When you have faithfully released what God has asked you to deliver, it is time to rest and return to a place of listening. Let the critics slice and dice your prophetic word all they want. Any word worth its Kingdom salt will draw some form of opposition. 

Even though you only saw in part, like the one-eyed person in the proverb, at least you saw something. Revelation in a time of cultural blindness, no matter how small or limited in its scope, will always reveal the way forward in the darkness.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The First Sign of Your Breakthrough

Remnants of your breakthrough will begin to appear before the actual breakthrough is experienced. Something is taking place out of sight and above your circumstance. God is trying to get your attention. He is sending the remnants of your breakthrough as the first evidence of something that has already transpired in the realm of the Spirit.

I almost missed it – the fragment of a robin’s egg. It fell from high above me from somewhere within the branches of one of the trees on our property. It was only half a shell. A newborn robin had just broken through the thin blue shell that fell at my feet. As I held the fragile half shell in the palm of my hand, I looked up into the branches of the tree and knew that somewhere above me and out of my line of sight was a nest where new life had just emerged. 

True breakthrough does not happen first in the physical realm. It is birthed in the Father’s heart in the realm of the Spirit and then it arrives in this world as either an unexpected gift from God or in response to an act of faith. It is like the time in Scripture when four men broke through the roof of a house to lower their friend down to Jesus. The debris from that event began to fall as an announcement that something wonderful was about to happen. When all the debris finally settled, a man was healed. 

The debris of your breakthrough will be the first sign that something good is about to appear. Pick up those remnants with expectation. Look up! Something good is about to arrive.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Beautiful Mercy

God’s mercy is non-partisan. It is not prejudiced, nor does it belong to a single faith-affiliation or live only in one stream of revival or reformation thinking. Mercy knows no boundary, restriction or human limitation because it reflects the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love. 

God’s mercy recruits emotionally and spiritually healthy people to release its beauty and redemptive potential. It is an unimagined gift we bring to those written off by the merciless as unredeemable. Mercy-givers will lose friendships and a connection with the existing power structure.  Resources that once flowed from those relationships will begin to dry up because mercy-givers will appear to emotionally and spiritually immature people as traitors to a cause birthed out of division, separation, and exclusion. 

A redeeming history is always written about those who followed the path of mercy.  Walk in it and you will find beauty, clarity, and freedom. In that place, new relationships, a new resource base, and a new future are awaiting your arrival. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

North Korea – History Will Fast-Forward and Prayers Will Be Answered

I just watched a powerful video from Lance Wallnau. In the video, Lance shared a piece of history from the family line of Kim Jong Un, the current leader of North Korea. Kim Jong Un’s great-great-grandparents were Christians. 

A Wikipedia reference says of Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the First Supreme Leader of North Korea, “According to Kim, his family was not very poor but was always a step away from poverty. Kim said that he was raised in Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community.”

A recent article in Charisma Magazine written by J. Lee Grady reported that North Korea will be opening their borders to Christian missionaries. We are on the precipice of something unexpected. I believe God is about to fast-forward the Christian history and the prayers of Kim Jong Un’s believing ancestors for fulfillment in this moment of history.

Dust off your faith and begin to believe for the impossible. There are many cynics who will have “rational” reasons why a miraculous turnaround cannot happen in North Korea. Those same cynics deny other supernatural works and turnarounds accomplished by God in human history. This is a time to believe and expect that impossibly gridlocked situations in our world can take unprecedented turns toward breakthrough because God is at work. 






Keep Moving - Your Next Open Door Is Just Ahead

An open door is not a destination. You need to keep moving once you enter a new place because that new place is only one point on the map of your life-journey. It was never intended to be your final destination.

The same faith that allowed you to see the first open door will be there for you once again as you move through this unfamiliar territory toward the next doorway that is not yet visible. 

A life of faith does not produce destinations where we are allowed to become stationary. We need to keep moving, not as a neurotic version of a life empowered by human works and the need to always have to produce something, but as someone who lives in a moment-by-moment willingness to respond to the leading of God's Spirit. The Lord is always drawing us deeper and farther into the things of the Spirit. 

There is a new doorway just ahead of you that God will ask you to open. Keep moving forward and deeper in your faith and you will see the next doorway at just the right time. 


Monday, June 4, 2018

Unexpected Growth in Unexpected Places

I walked by the walnut tree in our backyard and noticed this little limb with leaves growing out from the base of the tree trunk. This is not the normal place for new growth. New growth happens up in the branches and limbs. As I looked at the miniature limb, the Lord spoke, “There will be unexpected growth in unexpected places.”
While appearing small and vulnerable, the little limb carries all the DNA of the large walnut tree and a potential as thick and strong as the trunk from which it grew. 
Today, do not measure the potential of what God has asked you to do by the first signs of life. Those first signs can appear small and fragile. Measure potential with the eyes of faith. Faith will help you see what was not expected.



Sunday, June 3, 2018

Your Opportunity

Your calling and the fulfillment of your destiny will be realized and experienced when a Spirit-directed timing and opportunity converge. What you do while you wait for that convergence is important.

A righteous convergence is not something you can make happen. If you try to do this by the strength of your will, it will become unhealthy, premature and short-lived. You can, however, prepare for its arrival by developing your character and ministry skills. As you prepare, avoid the pitfalls of self-promotion and a resulting fear-based positioning of your gifts and talents. These two pitfalls have derailed the calling of many gifted and talented people.

The opportunities offered by God will not pass you by if you have disciplined your soul with humility and rest. The opportunities offered by God, those fashioned and empowered by Him and for His purposes, can only be seen and experienced from a place of humility and rest. Train your eyes to see through these two lenses and your timing and opportunity will appear at just the right moment allowing you to step into something you would never have never thought possible.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Place Called Wonder

When I stand under a warm summer midnight sky and look into the heavens and see the stars, I wonder. When I wake up from a dream, I wonder. When I view photographic images from the Hubble telescope of a distant galaxy, I wonder. When I see a newborn baby that just minutes before had emerged from a mother's womb, I wonder.

When any of us think we have our life of faith all figured out we begin to lose a sense of wonder. At that point, we can begin to make self-confident proclamations about what we consider to be absolute. A loss of wonder and the desire to explore the depths of truth can become a demand that other people must see life like we see it through the narrow lens of our understanding. 

I have noticed this is particularly true in the realm of theology. A person who demands to prove every point of their theology as absolute will not be filled with wonder or with a desire to explore any further. When a point of theology becomes part of a system of belief it loses its personality and becomes a systematic set of cold and harsh facts created and conditioned by a predetermined mindset. A lack of wonder and inquisitiveness stops our spiritual and intellectual forward motion and parks us in a place of motionless personal conclusion. At that juncture, we begin to look and sound small because we spend our time defending our position and declaring it as something unchangeable.

The God we worship is beyond our ability to fully measure and comprehend. While He is so tender and approachable that a child can come to Him, the depths of who He requires that we are willing to explore things about Him that are not yet seen or understood. Have you ever seen the eyes of a small child viewing something wonderful for the first time? Like the revelation of God's Kingdom that is always expanding, so it should be with our understanding of Him. That expanding revelation will produce a child-like wonder in the most hardened person if they are willing to open their heart and mind to something more.

God will not be held hostage to our theology about Him no matter how well-educated and well-defined it may have become. Many continue to live this life thinking their understanding of God is unchangeable and absolute when Scripture tells us only Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 




Friday, June 1, 2018

Standing Up To Bullies

I was about 8 years old when an older kid who was 9 began to push and shove my little brother who was only 6. My brother had a look of fear on his face as the bully began his attack. I didn’t like what was taking place so I stepped between the bully and my brother and punched the big kid in the gut. The bullying stopped while the older kid tried to recapture his breath. 

We all continued to live together in the same neighborhood. The bully never messed with me, or my little brother ever again. It would have been interesting to see the attack take place a few years later when both boys were in their teens. My little brother, Dwain, ended up standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing in at 260 pounds in his prime. He played center on our high school basketball team.

We all need an older brother presence in our lives. This is someone who will stand between us and the bullies of this world and say, “If you want this one, you will have to come through me!” 

A lot of people feel alone and vulnerable. They have no one to stand between them and what is coming at them with overwhelming force. Yes, people will eventually have to stand up for themselves, but until they learn how to do that, they need help.

Look around at what is taking place in your surroundings today. Bullies stand in checkout lines and give checkers a ration of dishonor while people remain silent. Bullies prowl our schoolyards, run corporations, marry innocent girls, and at times, pastor local churches. 

Not everyone needs a punch in the gut. Some do, but for the most part, just you and me standing between the bully and the victim to let the bully know they are seen is all that is needed to end a barrage before it escalates. I have seen little old ladies take on bullies. It is not your size or your station in life that gives you the courage to step into the fray. It is the courage of Jesus Christ that rises up when you see injustice and make the choice to stand between the bully and the victim and say, “If you want this one, you will have to come through me!”