Monday, January 21, 2019

God is Removing the Scales of Our Unbelief

The eyes of people with whom we hold deep disagreement over social and spiritual issues are about to be opened. When their eyes open, they will be able to see what was not previously seen due to the obstructions of prejudice, misinformation, and unhealthy religious tradition. These people are being set up by God to have a Damascus Road-like experience similar to that of Paul when he was set free from the effects of his religious bigotry. These encounters will not be the result of the person’s faith, but an intervening work of God.

In Acts 9, Paul, who at the time was known as Saul, was in route to arrest, imprison and in some cases, put to death, the followers of Jesus. Up to the Damascus Road encounter, Paul was convinced he was right and the Christians were wrong. It would take a supernatural event with an accompanying personal word from Jesus to deliver Paul from his deception.

Shortly after Paul's encounter with Jesus, a man named Ananias went to a house on Straight Street under an assignment from Jesus to lay hands on Paul so he could receive his sight. When Ananias laid his hands on Paul the text tells us, “Instantly, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he regained his sight” (Acts 9:17). As soon as the scales fell off, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. God had to blind Paul with the brilliance of His revelation on the road to Damascus so he could be healed and receive a new kind of sight only available after an encounter with the risen Lord.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were not actual scales, they were “something like scales.” The word “scales” is translated to mean, “to peel off the rind or husk from something.” A scale is anything that hardens our heart to seeing and believing the truth. Until those scales are removed we are not able to move in concert with God to accomplish the goals of His Kingdom.

What fell from Paul’s eyes were those things that blinded him from seeing the heart of God for those he was persecuting. Scales of unbelief, dishonor, and division fell onto the floor of the house on Straight Street. Until those scales were removed from Paul’s eyes his true calling could not begin.

Many of us have been asked to take positions of division against those with whom we hold deep disagreement over the issues of faith and culture. When we assume those postures, we become blinded by the scales of a religious spirit and are separated from the very people whom God desires us to co-labor with in the future. In the coming days, expect to see scales fall from the eyes of our greatest opponents.  We will be able to see that transformation only after we have allowed God to remove similar scales from our eyes. 

We are in a season of miraculous personal transformation on both sides of what appears to be impossibly entrenched social, political and spiritual issues. Jesus is interrupting ungodly missions of division, malice, and hatred with heavenly encounters. These interruptions will create new alliances for future Kingdom advancement not thought possible until the scales fall from our eyes. Only God has the power to intervene in these cases and bring this kind of change. These transformations are not possible by human effort.  It will be God, not our arguments or organized opposition, that will bring about this kind of sight.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Grasping

Without a transition plan, you will be found grasping the doorframe of your current life assignment, afraid to let go and move into the new season God has for you. 
Fear can cause us to freeze and become immobile. When faced with a transition, we can sometimes find ourselves holding on to our current assignment in fear of what might not come. 

This kind of fear can paralyze us. Instead of believing for more, we settle for less. We grasp onto only what we know, not what we have been asked to believe. Our fear becomes a limiting testimony of how we see God. 
In these situations, we stand in the doorway of something new without ever actually stepping across the threshold. God already has your new place prepared. He is simply asking you to let go and trust him. When you let go, God is free to lead you toward your new and unexplored future.

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Place-Walking-Transitions-Ministry/dp/0615947573/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1545056288&sr=8-6&keywords=garris+elkins)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Copy That

When I was a cop on patrol and received an assignment via my radio, I affirmed the message was received by giving my call sign and speaking the word “copy.” My response let the dispatcher know I understood my assignment. When on the move as a SWAT team member and I received a verbal command from the team leader I would say back to him “copy that.” It meant I heard and affirm the instructions given. 

I did something similar as an instrument pilot waiting for an IFR clearance to fly into the clouds and navigate safely through inclement weather. I would file an instrument flight plan before my departure and then when I taxied out and during my preflight check, a radio call would come with my clearance. I would write down the instructions then be asked read them back verbatim to verify I understood my assignment and direction of flight. Whether as a patrol cop, on a SWAT mission or flying through the clouds, people’s lives were at stake regarding the clarity of the information I received. I needed to make sure I heard correctly before I moved forward with any fatal assumptions.

A lot of us are moving through life at warp speed. We can find ourselves living this life on the run. In this blurring occupation of our time, we rarely stop to verify anything we hear assuming we heard the information correctly the first time around. Our assumptions filter what we thought we heard and then we move forward with partial information and eventually collide with a mountain of misinformation hidden in a cloud of assumption or fire a fatal comment at the wrong person.

We owe it to everyone to get our facts straight before we do or say anything. Some friendships would still be alive today if a friend confirmed the intent behind an offhanded comment made without taking offense. Business ventures have failed because a vital part of a plan’s execution was not read back correctly and an error of judgment was executed. Someone sitting in a church pew thought they heard a pastor’s remark accurately in a sermon, but instead, they took offense and quietly left a church without honoring the relationship and taking the time to personally approach the pastor and ask for clarification.

We owe it to each other and to God, to make sure we hear things accurately. Relationships and our mission can be negatively impacted by misinformation. Take time to get the facts straight before you speak or act on what you think you heard or read correctly. Lies are looking for a place to germinate. We do not want to give them any possibility for life through our undisciplined communication. The devil is the father of all lies and miscommunication. None of us want to partner with him to produce the offspring of separation that can lead to the spiritual death of a relationship. Be careful out there. It is a dangerous spiritual environment and we need to walk in wisdom and compassion before we act prematurely on our assumptions.



Friday, January 18, 2019

You Will See Hidden Things

In the coming days, some of you will walk into familiar settings and God will open your eyes to see what was previously hidden. When this revelation takes place, give God a moment of pause so He can unpack clearly the reality of what you are seeing. This will not be a time to become aghast or sidetracked by your emotions. What you are about to see will carry a prophetic assignment. You will need to keep your spiritual cool and not let your emotions take over or succumb to the fear of what other people think. God will empower your faith with the courage required to announce what you have seen.

The announcement will set in motion a chain reaction of events. You are not responsible for what takes place after the announcement is made. Your assignment is to pray, stay humble, and faithfully reveal what you saw. God will assign the timing of your response. Obey His direction.

Ask God for a higher level of discernment. You will need this new level of discernment to know how to properly steward what you are about to be shown.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Prophetic Food Chain

The most significant prophetic voices are not always those who capture the most social media attention or get invited to speak at conferences advertised with garish slick-page ads or who sell the most “product.” That is a narrow arena of Kingdom influence many times over-inflated in its effect. 

The most significant prophetic voices can be the unrecognized ones who live at lower levels on the advertised and promoted ministerial food chain. They live in the invisible and neglected trenches of life where pain and suffering are unvarnished and raw and where a prophetic word of hope helps a person choose to live another day. God has the uncanny ability to place these people next to individuals who carry cultural influence. These encounters appear to be coincidental but they are strategic placements by the hand of God.

These unrecognized voices speak prophecies of hope setting in motion a chain reaction of cultural breakthrough that will end up on the news announced as a major development. As the effect of these words become evident, their source can become lost in the shuffle. They may be lost to undisciplined eyes and ears, but not to God. God remembers His obedient ones and He will reward their faithfulness.

Someday, the Lord will retrace the prophetic steps that led to solutions and innovation that became prominent on the world stage. At that moment, we will see it was not the most visible and dramatic ministries whom the Lord will choose to honor, but the unknown ones who took the first step of obedience and spoke a simple word that set in motion a supernatural work of God. 




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Landing in Unexpected Places

On my drive home, I noticed that a paraglider had landed in a vacant lot in town. It was obvious this was not his intended landing spot. As I drove past the pilot, he was gathering up his fabric wing and harness and walking toward the street. He looked fine and uninjured. I assumed he would soon make a phone call to have a friend come and pick him up.

As soon as I passed the man, the Spirit nudged me to gain my attention and shared an interesting word.

Some of you set out on your flight of faith following the wind of the Spirit. You had a destination in mind, but then the wind shifted and you now find yourself landing in an unplanned destination. This is not a mistake or an error in judgment. God will use this unlikely landing zone to reveal the next stage of your calling. Repositioning you has a larger Kingdom purpose that will be revealed in the coming days.

The Lord is changing the wind currents of His Spirit. He is moving some of you to places you did not plan to land or even knew existed when you first launched. If you could see what is taking place outside your context you would see other people touching down in equally unusual landing zones. This is happening because God is divinely repositioning His people for the next expression of His will on Earth.

A fresh wind is blowing and its direction is not predictable. You have not wandered off course. You have been in the flow of the Spirit and God is repositioning your life for greater effectiveness. If you are still airborne expect a safe landing. Enjoy the flight. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Invisible Armor of Love

Yesterday, while scanning a few Facebook posts, I came across two profound comments. Both comments were about two long-time friends of mine. These are real friends I have processed the challenges of life with face-to-face.

One friend, David, was being honored by his daughter on his birthday. His daughter said his presence in her life was “like wearing invisible armor your whole life, knowing that you are protected and loved no matter where life takes you.” When I read those tender words of honor from a daughter about her father, I realized my friend did a good job as a dad. I also saw the protective power of love expressed by a daughter who knew her father was always with her no matter where life took her.

My other friend, Stan, was speaking to a group of leaders from across America who were assembled in Los Angeles to choose the next leader of the Foursquare Church. One sentence spoken by Stan was recorded by someone in the meeting and posted on Facebook. In the meeting, Stan said, “Anything minus love equals nothing.”

Those two comments struck a deep chord within me. I began to see the power of love in a new way. When we love people our love becomes an invisible armor that covers them when they are away from our presence. It is also the single ingredient in life that takes our relationships and our life-investments from nothing to something. Love is not ethereal and untouchable. It is tangible like a garment or an investment commodity. Love has substance.

If we have experienced love we will never stand naked before the challenges of life if we know we are loved by someone. We will always feel clothed even when life strips us bare and leaves us alone. If we have experienced love we will never be tempted to make life-altering decisions without the presence of love to determine the quality of the choices we make. Love has the power to transform the nothings of life into something of value under its guiding influence. 

Love is the most powerful armor we can wear and it is the most valuable investment we can make in this life. I am grateful for two friends who helped me see love in a new way.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Headline of Your Life

Those who write the headlines do not always portray the truth. This applies to the news, but more importantly, it applies to you and how you think God sees you. What others broadcast about you is not the real story of your life. Only God knows your heart. He is the true and accurate source for your story. Subscribe to His revelation service when attempting to define your reality. His is the only headline worth reading and believing.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Paying Tribute to a Great Woman of God

I want to pay tribute to an exceptional woman of God who entered the Lord’s presence yesterday at the age of 96. Jean Darnall was a prophet who moved in the rare air of supernatural revelation. She was mentored by her pastor, Aimee Semple McPherson, at Angelus Temple. Under Aimee’s influence, Jean’s prophetic gift began to develop and mature. Jean would go on to become a trusted voice not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom. While living in the United Kingdom Jean was a significant influence during the Charismatic Renewal, especially within the Anglican Church. She was revered for her words of hope and Kingdom insight wherever she traveled.

During a conference in the Netherlands 22 years ago, I walked off the platform and a hand reached up and caught my arm. It was the hand of Jean Darnall. As she gripped my arm she looked into my eyes and said, “Young man, you will write for God.” I smiled and tucked that word away not knowing what it meant. Ten years later, I walked into Bethel Church in Redding, California to attend a Leader's Advance. During that gathering, I had a life-transforming encounter with God that ignited the word Jean gave me that laid dormant and unactivated for ten years. That encounter with God in Redding was seven books and almost 2,000 blog articles ago. I haven’t stopped writing for God since. 

When Jack Hayford invited me to speak at his conference in Van Nuys, California several years ago, I stepped onto the platform and looked out across the audience. There, in the back of the auditorium was Jean Darnall. She came to hear me speak.  It was an honor to single her out as the person God used to prophesy a significant part of my calling. I will be forever grateful for the life and obedience of Jean Darnall. She modeled a depth of maturity, humility, and honor I hope to attain someday before the Lord calls me home. Rest in the peace of God’s presence, Jean. You have been a good and faithful servant of God.

God's Promise Clock

This morning, I got down on our living room floor to do a plank workout. I do this every day to strengthen my core. When I do planks, I use the stopwatch function on my iPhone to measure the duration for each plank I perform. Today, I went to set my stopwatch and noticed it was still running from the day before. It was just coming up on the 22-hour mark and counting. I had not reset the stopwatch yesterday when I was done working out and it kept faithfully measuring the time until I hit the reset button.

My stopwatch reminded me of the words of hope and promise we all receive from time-to-time. We can easily forget them when life gets busy or we become emotionally derailed. The time of fulfillment for every promise was set in motion the moment God spoke them into existence. They are still moving forward even when we forget. God has not forgotten any of the promises He made over our lives. The moment He uttered them to us, Heaven’s promise clock was set in motion. 

Today, check the spiritual timers that were set in motion for the promises God made about your life. You will discover that God’s clock of promise is still running. The time of fulfillment is approaching.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Actionable Prophecy

I am sensing a prophetic release is taking place in our nation. Unusually detailed prophecies are being prepared for delivery to unlikely sources. A prophetic special ops team is being assembled with detailed plans for deployment against unseen and deeply embedded deceptions. The resulting action of these words will be the rescue of individuals and systems of culture held captive under their deceptive influence. 

This word came to me while I was listening to an interview of a Navy SEAL team leader describing a successful operation.  The SEAL team was tasked with the rescue of a downed pilot. After capturing an enemy combatant and the completion of a detailed interrogation, they were able to gather enough actionable intelligence to plan a rescue and get the pilot out of enemy territory alive. Actionable intelligence is information that has enough substance and verification to reduce the risk to the rescue team and increase the probability of a successful outcome for the operation. 

As I considered the words “actionable intelligence” the Lord said we have entered a time when detailed actionable prophetic intelligence regarding works of darkness will be delivered to the Church. This is another level of prophecy that will move beyond words of encouragement and comfort. This will be a tactical form of prophecy with a mission goal to uncover the secrets of evil activity that are functioning contrary to the will of God. It will announce the plans of the enemy in time to launch surprise rescue raids to recover those held captive in places of spiritual and social imprisonment.

The successful delivery of this kind of prophecy will require a depth of character in the ones who carry these words. This actionable prophecy must be handled with great humility so that its delivery and execution is not sullied by human pride and self-promotion.

Actionable prophecy will require courage to publicly deliver. These words will be akin to Noah announcing a coming flood that no one believed possible or took seriously. When delivered, deeply embedded culture-wide deceptions will be unearthed shifting the lines of authority of the entrenched power structures within our economy and politics. 

Unlikely voices will be called to the prophetic microphone in the coming days. The actionable prophecy delivered by these courageous ones will bring glory to God because no human prediction could have revealed the detailed paths of rescue these words will deliver.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

When Life Heats Up


When Jan and I visited Venice, Italy we did what most tourists do, we took a gondola ride, ate great Italian food and enjoyed the unique architecture of a romantic city built along beautiful canals. During our time in Venice, we also took a water taxi to the island of Murano and toured the glass factories where beautiful blown glass creations have been made for the last 1,000 years. The photo I attached is a vase we bought from one of the factories.

As I watched the artisans create their blown glass masterpieces, I was amazed that melted silica, when exposed to intense heat, could become such beautiful works of art. I watched the craftsmen blow air through steel tubes while balancing a glob of hot melted glass at one end inflating and expanding the glass with their breath while forming the object's shape with special tools and adding touches of color. 

The process reminded me of our lives and how in some seasons, we can feel like we have been reduced to a hot glob of unformed glass not knowing what the end product will become. Life can heat up and melt what we have come to know as our definition of reality leaving us feeling formless and not at all like a potential work of spiritual and emotional art that someone would buy and take home as a treasure.

If your life is heating up and what you have known has melted under the intense heat of opposition, loss or an imposed change, remember this, God is always up to something good beyond your ability to imagine a beautiful outcome. 

During the process of reforming your life, God will be faithful to recreate in you what does not seem possible in human terms. He will breathe His breath into your soul inflating you like the craftsmen on Murano did when they created our vase. A capacity you did not know was possible will be given to you when this painful time is finally over. 

With God, there is hope that when your life heats up and melts before your very eyes that something beautiful is possible. When God is finished recrafting your life you will become a priceless work of grace having spent time in the skillful hands of a loving God.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Where Lost Things Go

Yesterday, I took Jan to see the movie, Mary Poppins Returns. The film was delightful, full of color and childlike wonder. In the movie, Emily Blunt sang the song, The Place Where Lost Things Go. The song was tender and the lyrics were profound and meaningful. I could see the audience engaging emotionally as Emily sang. One section of the song’s lyrics read,

“Do you ever dream
Or reminisce?
Wondering where to find
What you truly miss
Well, maybe all those things
That you love so
Are waiting in the place
Where the lost things go.”

As I listened to the song, I thought of many of us who have lost someone or something we dearly loved. That separation can create deep sorrow and a longing to be reunited. I thought to myself, where do the lost things in this life go? The only answer I could come up with was that all the lost things go back to the heart of God – to the place from which all goodness originates.

The lost things in this life are held securely in the heart of our loving Father. What we consider lost always returns to Him. He receives them back and holds them safely until we can be reunited. This is the God we can trust when life makes no sense.

Going to the movie helped me stop and pause long enough to consider once again this good God we serve that never loses anyone or anything. All lost things of value are not really lost in the greater scheme of things. They are simply repositioned. When their time is done they will always find their way back home to the heart of God. That is where the lost things go.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Thin Places

You have probably heard someone say, “I feel thin”, as in feeling weak, exhausted or powerless when faced with a challenging situation. As I thought of the thin places in my own life, the Lord began to unpack a word of encouragement.

The thin places in our lives actually carry the potential for the greatest revelation and breakthrough. In the thinness, we are at the end of our emotional or spiritual rope. We have nothing left to offer. We have been thinned out by a challenging circumstance. In these thin places, the voice of God can be heard with a unique clarity not always available when we are insulted by the thickness of success, personal fortitude or a season of outward blessing when trouble seems far away.

In these thin places, we are actually closer to answers and breakthrough than at any other time. There is less distance between us and a resolution or a needed revelation. 

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he described one of his thin seasons and shared a dialogue he had with Jesus, “And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9). The use of the word “grace” in that verse refers to Jesus personally assisting someone who is in a weak (thin) place. 

If you are in a thin place, I want to suggest something. Stop trying to figure out the reasons why the thinness has taken place. Tell the Lord you know He is present and assisting you even if the thinness has caused you to lose a measure of hope. As a result of that recognition, Paul said a beautiful contentment would enter your heart because you know you are not alone. Contentment is the breakthrough in the thin places of life.


Monday, January 7, 2019

What's Your Location?

My first night as a rookie-cop-in-training, I was lost in many ways. It was all so new and unfamiliar. I was thrust into another world. With so much coming at me I felt like a thirsty man trying to take a drink from a fire hose running at full blast.

That first night on patrol, my training officer Glenn asked me, “Where are we?” I said, “What?” He spoke again in a hurried tone, “Quick, I’ve just been shot and you need to call for help. What is our location? Dispatch needs to know!” I had no idea. I felt foolish.  Immediately, I began trying to remember what street we were on while listening to the radio and trying to take in all the newness of the job. I was still lost. My mind had not yet been conditioned to multi-task as a cop.

A few hours later, Glenn asked me again, “Where are we?” Again, I had no clue. He pulled our patrol car to the curb and we had one of the many “talks” a training officer will have with a rookie. After a few days, I had trained my mind to be constantly in touch with my location. Eventually, Glenn stopped asking me questions about our location. He could see that my head was now on a constant swivel trying to catch a street sign or mile marker as we zoomed through the dark night. After those first few days, I always knew my exact location. To this day, my head is still on that same swivel.

A lot of print and preaching comes our way about knowing where we are going. While that is important, it is secondary to knowing where we are in this moment because all we have is this moment. 

My wife, Jan, will occasionally ask me, “How are you doing?” To be honest, sometimes I don’t always want to talk when I feel stressed or defeated, but over the years I have found I need to be brutally honest and tell her exactly what I am feeling. When I reveal to her the true location of my emotions, sometimes hidden under my masking mechanisms or a dismissive attitude, she can bring to our conversation the support and honesty I need to help me gain a new perspective and move forward.

If we don’t know the location of our emotions and true spiritual condition, we cannot get help to our current situation when a real and spiritually life-threatening need arises. Businesses can fail, dreams can die and our personal lives can slip into a season of decay because we missed the street signs of our actual condition and were not able to get help moving our way when our life takes a negative turn. 

Put your spiritual head on swivel mode as you move through life. Check the streets signs that brought you to this place. If an attack does come and you are wounded your spiritual backup units will know where to find you because you were able to tell them your true location. 



Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Perfect Fit

I have some friends whose daughter is a professional fit model. A fit model is someone with perfect physical dimensions used by clothing designers to check the drape and fit of the clothing they create. The fit model is, in essence, a living mannequin. Fit models are not voiceless or robotic. They give valuable feedback to a designer for how a garment fits, feels and wears as the model moves about while wearing the designer’s creation.

The Church only has one spiritual fit model – Jesus Christ. In every revival or reformation in history, the Lord has handed back to the Church ill-fitting garments we have imposed upon Him to wear.  Just before each historic move of God, the Lord will remove an old garment and invite the Church to create something new to more accurately express the dimensions of His heart in fresh and creative ways.

We can get too comfortable in the current garments of the Church.  Our comfort creates assumptions and demands that cannot be worn by successive generations. 

In God’s Kingdom, the garment does not define the model. The model defines the garment. The beauty of the Church can only be seen when her expression is hung upon the frame of Jesus Christ. He defines us and nothing else. It's not what we do in His name, the hopes we have of a great move of God or our personal ambition that brings this definition. It is Christ alone. He is the Perfect Fit. He defines the expression of His body.

We are in the midst of a garment change in Church history. Many are sewing new garments with the dimensions of God’s heart in mind as the single design influence. These new garments will walk down the runways of culture and draw an entirely new clientele into God's Kingdom. If we create these new garments with the fit of Jesus’ heart in mind the resulting creation will be stunning. Listen to the voice of the Lord as He informs you about the fit of what you are creating in His name. He will be faithful to tell you if what you are creating can easily be worn by Him and if it truly represents His heart.



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Prophetic Couriers

A prophet is a courier. Like couriers who deliver documents between clients, so it is with a prophet who delivers a word from God. When we see ourselves as more than simple couriers, we will eventually feel the need to create a public platform highlighting our style of delivery and a ministry industry to promote our prophetic product. In the end, this will draw attention to the courier and not the One who employed our delivery services. 

We have entered a time of adjustment in the prophetic movement. Some things people hold dear are being dismantled so they can be reassembled for the glory of God. Do not fear these adjustments when they come. On the other side of this adjusting work of God there exists the release of a greater prophetic anointing and an increased depth of character for those who are willing to let God have His way. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A Year of Unusual Rescue and Deliverance

In the coming year, many of you will experience unusual and unimagined rescue and deliverance from deep and entrenched places of spiritual warfare. Until your release takes place the spiritual conflict will intensify and in some cases, become overwhelming. Your options will appear to be few, but God has another plan.

When you find yourself pinned down by spiritual enemy fire and can no longer move forward in any direction you are not without hope. In those moments when it feels like you have run out of options and you are about to be overrun and destroyed, the Lord will reveal His plan of intervention and rescue. When all hope seems lost, you will be asked to employ your greatest weapon in spiritual conflict - trust. This is not a trust in your abilities or the abilities of others to rescue you. It is your trust in the Almighty God who promises to never leave anyone alone on the battlefield of faith. Trust will become a place of supernatural revelation. Trust will reveal the way forward through the conflict when no way seems possible. If you can trust God in these engagements, you will spiritually live to fight another day.

As you continue to do battle the rest of us will begin hearing the sounds of worship coming from within the foxhole of your faith. These sounds will be the evidence that you have discovered the weapon of trust. Your act of worship will begin to announce victory in a place where the odds were stacked overwhelmingly against you. Your trust in God and the resulting sound of worship will dissolve the enemy’s target of fear on your chest and give you the courage to rise from your foxhole and run forward in courageous faith to secure your future.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Discipline of Silence and Separation

From the moment our first cry was heard when we left our mother’s womb to the last sound we will make as we exhale our final earthly breath, our sound has always let the world know we exist. My time of social media silence disciplined my life in an area I did not know needed discipline – my desire to make a sound. We all live a life of sound. It’s not evil or wrong. It just needs discipline from time-to-time in order to remain true and pure.  

In my time of silence and separation, I would read things other people wrote that stirred my emotions. I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings. I felt drawn to respond to some of those stimulations with either a comment or introduce a line of thinking to help steer people toward another consideration. 

There were times when almost unthinkingly, I reached for my keyboard only to remember my commitment to silence. The time away was like a room I was asked to enter and close the door behind me. The sounds of life and social interaction were taking place just outside the door of my self-imposed seclusion. I wanted in on those conversations. The door of my isolation continued to invite me to turn its knob and go back outside, but I resisted.

When I wrote the book, The Leadership Rock, I included a chapter titled, Margin Time. I shared how our lives need to have margins strategically positioned to buffer the bone-on-bone realities of life. These margins can take the form of silence, Sabbath or any planned interruption in the normal routine of life. These margins become spiritual buffers where we cushion ourselves to outside input so we can hear God more clearly. Silence and separation actually become a place of rest, revelation, and reset. Without these margins, too much of life will run together without a pause and clarity is lost.

As I now return to writing and posting content on this first day of 2019, I feel like someone who has tasted food for the first time after a prolonged fast. My writing palate has been cleansed. My thinking has leaned out. My spiritual garments fit better. My creative process has been refreshed. I am ready for a new season.

In the noise and busyness of life that will surely come your way in 2019, at some point, give God a sacred space of silence and separation. Create margins. Go there and listen. What you fear might be lost in your absence will be displaced by the release of something new. In that sacred space, fresh insights are awaiting your arrival. You will begin to hear things not easily recognized in the constant clamor of a connected life.