Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Mission Killers

In a tactical operation, whether natural or spiritual, those who can remain fluid and able to break away from a failed plan and adapt to rapidly changing circumstance are the ones who will actually complete the mission when the mission seems to have fallen apart. Stay loose and focused when the stuff of life hits the fan. Unreasonable rigidity is a mission-killer.

A Magnum Kind of Faith

God placed an internal alarm clock inside me that awakens me about 4:00 each morning. He put the alarm clock there about 12 years ago when He commissioned a writing anointing in my life. Those early morning hours of stillness have become a creative retreat between the Lord and me. 

For the last year on numerous occasions, I have looked over at my bedside illuminated digital clock to see it reading “3:57.” Number 3:57 always reminds me of my years as a cop. That numeric designation is the caliber of the handgun I carried on duty. It was a Smith and Wesson Model 19 Combat Magnum. That weapon was securely holstered on my side as a street cop, a SWAT operator and later as a detective. A .357 Magnum is a very potent round. The revolver is dated in its technology for modern police work, but the caliber still exceeds the power levels of most semi-autos carried today.

I shared all that gun/caliber information to lead you to something the Lord did yesterday. When Jan and I finished taking communion, she talked with me about an area of my life that could lead to compromise if not dealt with. I had a rational explanation for what took place, but she was right. It could and would lead to compromise. I was firing a puny caliber of rationalization in my defense that was not powerful enough to penetrate deep into a developing half-truth in my life. My excuse did not hold up under the powerful wisdom of God’s Spirit expressed through my wife. I confessed my rationalization before the Lord, and Jan prayed over me. My faith fired a fatal shot into the heart of deception.

We are in a season of history where we need to carry a powerful expression of faith – a faith of a sufficient caliber that can overcome even our most well-crafted rationalizations and compromise. This kind of faith is able to penetrate deep into the falsehoods and lies we have allowed to live and lead our lives. This moment in our collective spiritual history requires that we take aim and destroy any emerging work of hell. Our ability to rationalize an area of our life must be shot in the heart with truth. Only a faith that is inspired by the revelation of God’s Spirit has that kind of penetrating power.

What took place yesterday between Jan and me has raised my spiritual sight to a new level to recognize a new horizon. I am expecting to see or hear a fresh revelation approaching in the distance that I would have missed had I still lived head down walking into the future with a potentially dangerous compromise still present and directing my steps. Something was shot dead yesterday in the spiritual realm through confession and repentance. The way forward is now safe.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Something Unusual is Taking Place

Something is being manifested in nature causing me to think the created order is responding to what the Spirit is releasing in Oregon and beyond. Two events are taking place at the same time and in the same location in this region- one literally on top of the other. A massive fire is raging in SW Oregon along with an unusually large swarm of Earth tremors shaking underneath the fire. (See the link below.) 

We can too easily separate and dismiss the response of the created order from spiritual issues. For those who live in Oregon, the natural fire and the shaking Earth are saying something to us. Don't join too quickly with the dismissive voices who fail to see some of these connections as having relevance. 

God wants to release a fire of revival and reformation to consume the deception holding our region in spiritual bondage. He also desires to shake the false foundations of people and cultural institutions that are preventing this region and our nation from flourishing in the love and goodness of God. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Embers of Revival Fire Still Burn

What was burning as a revival fire in the past and appears to have died out has not been fully extinguished. A burning ember of passion always remains. That ember has continued to smolder in the hearts of people waiting for a moment in time, as directed by the Spirit, to reignite and burn once again. Historic revivals never die. An ember of hope always remains somewhere in someone. To those who only see revival through natural eyes, the fires of revival can seem to burn out, but they always remain in the hearts of passionate people as embers of hope waiting for the right conditions to reignite.

Jan and I live in southern Oregon. For several years, our summers have included smoke from wildfires. It seems to have become a predictable summer event. Currently, we are living in the smoke once again caused by a large blaze about 70 miles north of us. Many of us are learning more about the science of fire.

This morning, I was reading a report about these summer fires and came across a fact I did not previously know. Some of these large fires are never fully extinguished until the arrival of rain and snow in the fall season. In some cases, even the rain and snow does not end the life of a fire. A fire named the Klondike fire that burned last summer was a 50,000+acre monster near Selma, Oregon. The fire lay smoldering through the winter and in the last few days, it has reignited. The reignition was because of lingering embers that kept burning in the stumps of large trees.

If you carry a passionate ember from a revival in the past, even though you do not see any outward evidence of a current revival fire burning, do not lose heart. Follow the leading of the Spirit. Be immediate in your obedience when God asks you to do something. Your faith may be stretched far outside your spiritual comfort zone, but do it anyway. The smallest act of obedience from someone who carries an ember of revival fire can be the single spark that sets a city or a nation ablaze for the glory of God. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Directed Steps

We can make our plans, but in the end, it is the Lord who directs our steps. 
Making a plan is a good exercise. Because we only see in part, even our best plans are only partial. Something is always missing. The larger image in our minds must be the picture of God’s love that is always directing us forward and deeper into his heart. 
Maybe you need to get a different perspective and see how God views your plan. We are like a child with a box of crayons trying to color within the lines. Our plans are simply our best attempt to reproduce God’s heart and desires as we see them. 
We can plan each step in life, but it will be the hand of God that captures our feet and places them in the desired foothold. This is where your trust needs to be placed: in the directing love of God who will get you where you need to be. 
(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Making the Sound of Heaven

You have been standing alone for a season, but that is about to change.  The sound of your faith is making the sound of Heaven on Earth. That sound has become a spiritual magnet inviting those of like mind to come and join you.

Yesterday, I was hiking through the woodland trail system that surrounds the small town where I live. About a mile ahead of me was a beautiful outdoor music venue called The Britt Festival. The Britt hosts world-class music groups throughout the summer. Most evenings, our small town is filled with the sound of music.

As I walked closer to the venue, I heard the faint sound of music. A bit farther down the trail, I realized I was hearing a trumpet solo. As I rounded a bend in the trail a young man was standing at the edge of the path playing his trumpet over the expanse of a mountain valley. He was all alone and most likely part of the larger orchestra group performing that evening. As I walked by him, he continued playing. In passing, I thanked him for his music.

Some of you reading these words are like the young man I met on the trail. You have left a venue of the orchestrated sounds of religion, and you now stand alone in a solitary place. You have been faithful to not allow your heart to grow cold and cynical in your departure. In this strange season, you find yourself alone playing to an empty place – to an audience you cannot see. This solitary season has created a depth and excellence in the sound you are making. That was the purpose of your departure. You needed to find your unique sound.

Just as I was drawn to the distant sound of music in the forest, so it is with those God is calling to join you. Those with ears tuned to the sound of the Spirit are making their way toward you. Keep playing the music God has given you to play. It has become an invitation extended to those still far away. It is a sound with tremendous potential.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Spiritual Cruise Control

God has given you the ability to ascend in faith the obstacles of life while others may fall behind. Some of those who fall behind are people you know through the daily activities of life. They might even be friends. This is not because you are better than anyone else. It is merely the effect of faith on the movement of your life and how certain events will play out when faith is involved.

Maybe this has happened to you. Yesterday, I was returning home from a trip to California. Between Oregon and California is an extensive range of mountains that freeway I-5 crosses. I like to use cruise control, so I set my speed on long drives and let the car do the work. 

Yesterday on several occasions, I had cars pass me on the flat sections of the freeway just about the time we hit an incline. I was still on cruise control. They were apparently not and the incline caused them to slow down. In several instances, just as soon as someone passed me and hit the hill and slowed down, I began passing them because I was still on cruise control. My speed remained constant. 

This back and forth went on each time we climbed a section of incline. One driver looked over at me as I passed and gave me a dirty look like I was some kind of jerk playing cat and mouse with him. Not wanting to create a road rage incident, I put a pleasant look on my face, smiled and kept moving forward. 

When God gives you an assignment, set your spiritual cruise control to the setting the Spirit reveals for your course of spiritual travel. This faith setting will allow you to maintain the momentum needed to ascend what lies before you. Others may rely on their natural abilities and will begin to lag behind you when an obstacle appears. Don’t be surprised or respond emotionally when you pass someone on your ascent, and they look at you with disgust. It’s not personal. Pray for them as you pass by and remember to keep your eyes on the road God has given you to travel.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Dangerous Intersection

A dangerous intersection is crossed when our unresolved frustrations are linked to short-term and short-sighted solutions. This is a ploy of another Kingdom to disempower the Church. It applies to our faith, our politics, and culture. Deal with what is frustrating you today because tomorrow you might find yourself in an alliance with things contrary to the heart of God.

Learning to Drive the God-Car

As a boy growing up in America in the 1960s, things with wheels fascinated me. Bicycles were my first set of wheels followed by a go-kart, a mini-bike and then at about age 14, I realized the possibility of driving a car. I couldn’t legally drive alone until age 16. At 15 ½ I could get a learner’s permit to drive on the city streets, but I had to have an adult with me whenever I was behind the wheel. Then a plan hatched in my anxious mind.

At age 14, I asked my dad if I could “warm up the car” by backing it out of the garage into the driveway before each family outing. I took me about 10 minutes to complete the backing up process because the time behind the wheel was precious. My dad knew what was up and said yes with a smile. For the next 18 months, every time I backed the car out of the garage I felt the approaching sense of something called manhood. 

Finally, I got my learner’s permit about the same time I was done with Driver’s Education at school. For the next 6 months, I learned how to drive in the real world. The day came when I got my real driver’s license. As soon as I got home, I hit my dad up for the keys to our family Oldsmobile 98 to take my first solo drive. My little brother, Dwain, went with me. I had a mission to slow-drive past Gloria’s house, the girl I was infatuated with at the time. On about the 5th pass in front of her house, the magic happened. She saw my beaming face pass by from behind the steering wheel of the family Olds. I had arrived.

I was thinking about the wisdom of my earthly father and the parallels to the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. Some of the stuff of life comes in stages where trust is built and released over time and exposure. For years my father watched me ride bikes, go-karts, mini-bikes, backing out the Oldsmobile without leaving a dent all the while observing my respect for the privilege of driving.  He could trust me with each step in my process of maturity.

Many of us have lived our lives with our eyes fixed on the horizon of something like the fulfillment of a dream or a calling. These horizons are not approached in a day or a week. They are a passage over time. Some horizons are years and even decades away. It would have been crazy to think my dad would have tossed me the keys to the family car when I was just learning how to ride my first bike with the training wheels still attached. 

If you have grown impatient with the God-process you are currently walking through, don’t. Give God time to do something in you that will prepare you not only to fulfill the desires of your heart but to also become a trusted member of a team and in a larger context, a trusted and proven servant in the Kingdom of God.  When God finally tosses you the keys you will experience something wonderful - something that an inpatient life will never know. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

This is Your Invitation

There seems to be an abundance of 30-day challenges out there. Most of them are great. I want to add one with a different twist.

I would like to invite you to commit to pray in the Spirit (tongues) for the next 30 days. Commit to pray this way when you first get in your car each day until you arrive at your first destination whether the journey is 5 minutes or an hour away. Turn off the radio. Turn off your worry machine and simply pray in the Spirit. I have been doing this for years, and it has released something so powerful in my life that is hard to explain. It must be experienced.

What you will begin to see are interpretations for your prayers that are different than an interpretation that comes following the gift of tongues released in a public worship gathering. You will begin to hear fresh revelation for your business, your family, and for the broader culture. 

Most Spirit-filled believers only have a single sentence of a prayer language. God not only wants to expand your Spirit-inspired vocabulary, but He also wants to take your prayers deep into situations that will remain unlocked if their interpretive solution is not prayed from the depths of God’s Spirit. 

Your invitation has been extended. Expect God to do above and beyond all that you could ask, think, or pray in your natural mind.

Swimming in the Deep Waters of the Spirit

Deep water feels different than shallow water. If you have ever jumped off a boat into the middle of a deep lake or out at sea, you will know what I mean. Yes, water is water, but the unknown depths beneath your dangling feet do something to your perception. For many, swimming in deep water creates a fear of the unknown. When we enter the depths of the Spirit something different takes place. We do not experience fear. We encounter awe and wonder. 

When I enter a church, and the worship is being led by the Spirit, I get the feeling that I can’t touch bottom. That depth is a place where trust is expanded and miraculous encounters take place. In some instances,  I have experienced shallow professionalism that never took us out into the deep water.  I have also experienced a sloppy ministry style that each week was defined as "we are just being led by the Spirit." Neither one got far from the dock. 

In the moments when the deep water of the Spirit was encountered, I experienced something that a well-scripted worship event or a loose leadership style could not attain. The depths of worship in those moments was an invitation to float into something more profound and awe-inspiring. Our lives must occasionally take these swims into the deep waters of the Spirit, or we will succumb to the acceptance of a wonder-less faith where our spiritual feet will always demand that we must feel the bottom. 

This is not limited to worship teams. It applies to a Fortune 500 executive leading a corporate team into a new venture, a musician taking his genre in a new direction or a single mom faithfully leading her children into a new season of life after her husband walked away. No matter our life-assignment, this boils down to a willingness to do all we can to host the Presence with as much skill, excellence, and commitment as we can muster and then diving into the deep water in faith willing to do whatever it is that God has called us to do. 

For many of you, your next season of life will be revealed in your willingness to sail your boat of faith out into the deep water of something new. In that new place, the Lord will ask you to jump out of the boat into unexplored waters where you can no longer touch the bottom of what had previously felt secure and familiar. In those moments awe and wonder will fill your heart with an unexpected buoyancy only experienced by those willing to swim in the deep waters of the Spirit.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Stepping Out of the Box

In a dream, I saw Jesus running across a stream. He looked like all of us who have run across a narrow mountain stream landing on each available stone with the ball of our foot. It’s a delicate dance of passage. 

In the dream, Jesus wasn’t landing on stones. His feet were landing inside the little boxes of religious opinion and narrow worldviews we create in an attempt to define who we think God is and how His Kingdom should be manifested through our bias.

The Lord did not look angry as He made the crossing. The look on His face was one of joy. He was moving to the other side of the stream not allowing any small box way of thinking to inhibit His forward progress.

When we create a box of opinion, worldview or alliance and demand that God fits into what we created, we have actually created an idol of sorts. The idol reflects an image of us, rarely of God. These are foolish and limiting creations. God is always moving forward beyond the most expansive edge of our current level of understanding. He steps in and over the little boxes we create where we live with other like-minded people who share that same limited understanding.  

God’s love and plan for humanity can never be restrained or held back by the boxes we create to contain and define our opinions and conclusions. We are the only ones held back from something better when we choose to live inside a small box of preferential thinking that restrains and contains the fullness of God and His Kingdom expansion. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Setting Up a Defensible Perimeter for Spiritual Battle

In warfare, humans have always constructed their defenses at the outer limit of an enemy's range of effective fire. These defenses were set up in the mouth of caves, moats around castles, walls of a frontier fort and today, with firewalls around our technology. In the natural, this makes sense as an attempt to keep people alive during a conflict.

The weapons of spiritual warfare are different. Their effectiveness is not measured by natural distance or placed in this realm based on what can be seen.   Our spiritual weapons of defensive and offensive action must be positioned from an eternal perspective. Many succumb in a spiritual battle because they fight from within a natural mindset setting up defensive perimeters based only on human measurement. These conflicts create unnecessary casualties because they put us within range of hell's weaponry.

Ten years ago, I began to see images of thrones. After several months of continually seeing throne images, I began to inquire of the Lord what He was saying. He took me to Paul’s writing in Ephesians, where Paul detailed our position in Christ at the right hand of the Father. I came to realize our position in Christ is not some positional theory of placement we will occupy in the distant future. It is a "now" position because we were resurrected with Jesus. 

As a result of that season of seeing thrones and realizing the present-day significance of our position in Christ, my first book, Prayers from the Throne of God, was written.  That new perspective changed everything for me, especially how I pray and conduct spiritual warfare. 

When we fight a spiritual battle, we need to rise above the fight in two ways. First, we must rise above how we see the battlefield and the combatants. It is too tempting to only see people and cultural institutions that need changing and limit our engagement to that lower level. Yes, there are essential things we can do like becoming involved in our culture to bring about change or voting, but these battles are not won in that arena alone. These involvements are the by-products of having engaged a more significant conflict being waged in the spiritual realm.

Secondly, we need to understand the outcome of each earthy battle will be determined by the outcome of a heavenly conflict. This is why we do not set up our spiritual defensive lines or unleash an offensive campaign based solely on natural intelligence gathered through human intellect and thereby constructing our fortifications determined only by input from our emotions, our circumstance, or a religious spirit. We set up our defensive lines and determine their placement in the defined space between Heaven and Earth - the space Jesus ascended through during His resurrection. Some call this boundary line the separation between the first and second heavens and the actual Heaven, the third heaven, as described by Paul.

We sit at this very moment with Christ inside His defensible perimeter in Heaven, a perimeter that is based on His ultimate authority and sacrifice. Our spiritual battles are fought from behind the security of that perimeter. Within that perimeter, the weapons of hell cannot reach our encampment unless, by an act of fear and faithlessness, we step over the perimeter to engage the battle in our flesh. Only those who approach earthly conflict from a heavenly perspective will have the ability to remain safe and secure in the spiritual conflicts that play out on the personal and cultural battlefields of life.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dealing with Relational Death and Decay

This week we realized one of our beautiful maple trees had finally died. It has been a slow death. We tried to help the tree, but its disease was stronger than our desire for it to live. The maple stands 65 feet and is positioned at the front of our property. Last night, I sat on the stairs of our porch looking toward the tree and thought of how much I will miss it.  As much as I love the tree, it needs to be taken down. Our arborist confirmed that it was indeed dead and has now become a hazard. We have a date on the books for its removal.

Early this morning, I was sitting once again on the steps of the porch looking out at the dead tree now silhouetted against the early dawn light. It literally fills the horizon. I realized when the tree is removed I will be able to have an unrestricted panoramic view of the late afternoon sky when the light reflects off the clouds and highlights the distant ridgeline of pine trees. If left in place, the dead tree would continue to fill my field of vision with its dead limbs and crispy leaves obscuring a beautiful vista, one I have never been able to fully see and appreciate. 

We have prayed over the tree for the last two years, hoping this day would never come. We sought the advice of professionals, had its limbs and branches cared for by arborists, and now, we have to deal with the reality of the tree’s death. Without its removal, I would look out on a scene of death and decay. In the end, the dead tree will become a dangerous hazard to our home and lives when the winds begin to blow with the arrival of winter storms.

Some situations and relationships in our lives will eventually die, and in their death, they will obscure our vision. They will also become a hazard if not removed. That sounds harsh to some, but it is a sad reality of life. We all need to establish healthy and life-giving boundaries. There are times when we will have to make a decision to define that boundary with the blade of incisive clarity. 

These dead issues will someday become a hazard to our spiritual and emotional life and limb when the winds of change and challenge begin to blow.  Leaving them in a place of influence will create an unnecessary hazard to our lives and to the lives of those around us. Their removal is not a callous act without a process of love that offers redemption options while always trying to believe the best. But at some point, they will need to be lovingly removed from the landscape of our lives. When this happens, we will see something that was hidden by a scene of death and decay, something that would have remained hidden had we had not taken action.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Cost of Doing the Business of Life

Yesterday, Jan was off to meet someone for a counseling appointment, so I headed to a local market to buy some groceries for dinner. In the checkout line, I began to place items on the conveyer belt. When I picked up a bottle of Kinder BBQ sauce, my hand slipped, and the bottle fell to the floor and exploded. If I could have reduced time and let the image play out in slow motion, you would have seen the BBQ sauce splash upward in a beautiful fan-like pattern all across the front of my clean shirt finally coming to rest in a blast zone of smoky goodness on the floor of the checkout aisle.

Like all events of this kind, I stopped and stared in unbelief at the mess I made that was now dripping its luscious BBQ sauce bliss from my previously clean shirt. The first words out of my mouth were, “I am so sorry. Please charge me for the bottle.” The man checking me out said, “No problem. That’s the cost of doing business.” He went on to thank me for offering to pay for the bottle.

When the man said, “That’s the cost of doing business,” I realized how true he was. Some disasters, large and small, are simply the cost of doing the business of life. Like you, I would love to live in a disaster-free zone, but that kind of life is an illusion. The recent arrival of our new puppy, Boone, has harkened me back to the days when our babies arrived and changed our lives into something called parenthood. Boone’s teething teeth and the accompanying puncture wounds up and down my arms are evidence that blood is the cost of experiencing puppy love until they are trained to use their mouths in less destructive ways.

If perfection and a BBQ sauce-free floor or a puppy without teeth is what we are looking for in life or even demanding from God, we will become disappointed and perpetually angry with people and eventually, with God. This world can be a mess at times. That is the cost of being human. 

If you caused a mess in someone's life, confess your part in the problem, offer to pay for the damages and then help clean up the mess. Don't just walk away and ignore what happened. If someone else causes the damage, represent God’s heart regarding their failure. Step in and help them clean up their mess. Jesus modeled this for us when He stepped into our world to pay the ultimate price to clean up the mess of our unredeemed lives. That’s the only way we can live free when human failure takes place. It’s the cost of doing the business of God’s Kingdom.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Arrival of Your Good Deeds

As I read through the 14th chapter of Revelation, I came across verse 13. One part of that verse caught my attention. The text reads, “…for their good deeds follow them.” As I pondered what that phrase could mean for us today, I began to get a sense of what the Lord wanted to say to some of you reading these words.

You have had seasons in your life that were filled with trials and challenges, but you kept moving forward in faith. At times what took place was overwhelming. You felt alone even though in your heart you always knew the Lord was near. It has been a struggle trying to find meaning in all that has transpired.

The Lord wants you to know your good deeds have not disappeared. They have been following you and are about to arrive to manifest something you could not have imagined or even considered as a possibility. These good deeds that have been following you are the acts of obedience and love you did in the name of the Lord when it would have been easy for you to simply bail out on your life of faith. 

Your good deeds have been silently following you waiting for a moment in time when at the Lord’s command, their accumulated goodness would be poured out upon your life. You will be overwhelmed when you see what has been following you.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Crumbing Credibility

Years ago, when I wrote my first book, Prayers from the Throne of God, a man paid me a compliment. He said my book was better than a well-known classic on prayer. When he spoke those words,  I had two responses, both internal. One, I knew the man was not being honest because I was familiar with the classic he referenced and my book would never be a threat to that well-deserved classic status. Secondly, I knew in that season of his life, the man was trying to gain my friendship using false flattery as a tool. It worked for him in his broken past, but now he was in an environment where that was not a value or a virtue. 

The day the man spoke the shallow flattery, his credibility crumbled in my eyes. Not a throwaway kind of crumbling, but it was a reason to weigh his future words with a grain of salt. We continued to have a relationship, but the relationship needed to be more honest and truth-telling before it could be real. The man’s crumbled credibility was eventually rebuilt. It was rebuilt through God-honoring conversations that were a two-way street of honest interaction. 

Many times we try to build our credibility by the improper use of flattery and affirmation.  These ways of communication are the equivalent of an emotional selfie with people we deem to be important. Social media is full of cheesy photos that equate proximity with a relationship. It also happens when we type a comment we know is not fully true. In those instances, we are trying to connect with someone we value to somehow salve a sense of lack we might have regarding our own identity.

I have found the best thing to do in any relationship is to simply affirm the person, not an action or accomplishment. Yes, there are some actions and accomplishments that do deserve affirming, but the deeper affirmation is always apart from what a person does – it’s an affirmation of who they are as a human being valued by God. These affirmations can travel with a person through all the seasons of life – the failures and the successes – and allow them to emerge on the other side emotionally and spiritually intact. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Spiritual Terrorist

Self-pity is a spiritual terrorist who wants to sneak aboard your life. This destructive attitude comes with a bomb strapped to its back. Detonate it in prayer—far away from innocent bystanders. 
The problem with self-pity is that it feels so good. Like a drug, it feeds a false reality and the accompanying illusions that justify its existence. 
Somewhere in this transition, you may feel slighted. You might even feel betrayed or ignored. In these times, your emotions will be intensified. You will need to walk with wisdom so that your response to people is directed by the Spirit, not by your emotions. 
None of what’s taking place is personal. It can feel personal, but most often, what is happening is simply a manifestation of your insecurity during a time of change. 
Your best course of action is to acknowledge self- pity, confess it, and let God heal you. This is best done in private or with a trusted prayer partner before you say something publicly that could wound people who have no idea of what you are struggling with. Deal with your heart. Then, if you do need to approach anyone who hurt you, you will go with a right heart attitude. A right heart attitude makes positive change possible. 
 (An excerpt from the book, A Good Place)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A Pinball Way of Living

If we are not careful, we can become like the ball in a pinball machine bouncing back and forth between the latest political controversy, moral offense or today’s news broadcast of someone’s wrongdoing. It is like dope. It keeps us spiritually stoned and out of touch with a truer reality. There is a purpose in offering us this pinball form of life. It keeps us distracted from what is really taking place. It also keeps us responding to life at the level of the soul, not the depths of the Spirit. That has always been hell’s plan from that day in Eden when we tasted the foolish fruit of human wisdom and responded emotionally to a deception.

Installing the Door to Your Future

I saw the image of a person walking into a large warehouse filled with construction material. It was Heaven’s warehouse of possibilities. On the floor were stacked pile after pile of doors. The impression I had was the doors were waiting for installation. Dust covered them because they had been there for a long time without anyone present to install them into a doorframe. 

As I came away from that image, I received both an instruction and a correction. Many of us have waited for a door to open before us to reveal a new future or the way into a Kingdom project. While this seems honorable, it has kept some believers from acting in the faith required to actually hang the door and walk through its portal.  God provides the doorways, but it is our faith that installs the door into the doorframe. The doors I saw stacked on the floor of the heavenly warehouse were already provided. They were waiting for someone to take action and install them in the doorframe of God's promise and invitation.

Review your history. Find the promises and invitations God gave you in the past but now lie dormant gathering dust. A doorway was given to you, but God intended for you to work with Him to install the door in the doorframe of His revelation. 

Go back to the doors of your past and ask the Lord if they are still to be hung and opened in this season. If so, pick up the door and, in faith, begin the installation process. If a door is no longer to be opened, another door will appear. When it arrives, pick it up and allow God to show you the place and the timing for its installation. Install door in the new doorframe and walk through it. That passage will reveal the purpose and plan for the next season of your life.

Friday, July 12, 2019

No Longer Ichabod

I just heard the Lord speak the following sentence, “The Ichabod delusion is being displaced by an Issachar anointing.” The Spirit of God is entering segments within the Church where His presence has been muted and ignored, and as a result, the glory departed. An awakening is afoot. The individuals and groups you may have defined as “Ichabod” will become awakened to the Spirit's presence. These awakened ones will join the ranks of an Issachar generation who understand the times and how to engage the work of God’s Spirit. In partnership, they will righteously transform the kingdoms of this world into the Kingdom of our God. Let go of your limiting definitions. They no longer apply. Something new and unexpected is about to arrive.

Choosing Hope

Only a posture of hope birthed from faith can redefine what has been declared impossible. Choosing hope is a critical step in the process of renewing our minds. The determined choice of hope when all appears hopeless is one of our greatest acts of faith and often the most neglected.

Look for hope in every aspect of your life. It is the only way forward in the challenging seasons of life. The eyes of faith will help you see through the fog of fear that has blinded your spiritual sight. Hope will lead you to the miracles, signs, and wonders of supernatural transformation God has planned for you, your family, and our nation.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Reconciled Life

Getting even is never an increase. It keeps the participants living at a lower level of mutual dysfunction. Choosing to forgive your adversary will release you from the control of the offense. Continuing to bless your enemy after you make the initial choice to forgive them will move you forward into realms of Spirit-empowered considered impossible by those who continue to live an unreconciled life.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Finding Your Reset

Last night, I read an article in our small-town newspaper. The author was writing about the woodland trails that surround our city. He mentioned hiking and pointed out the benches provided along the trails as places for hikers to stop and rest. Then he mentioned something that caught my attention. He said when we hike along trails, the forest inhabitants will grow silent, not knowing if we are a threat. They will wait until we pass. If we stop and sit for a while, the creatures will realize we are not a threat and will return to their normal activities. The author said the forest resets when we stop and rest.

I thought of our lives and how important it is to find a place of rest so the life around us can reset. These resets take place on emotional and spiritual benches we find along the path of our day if we choose to see them. Many times, we walk past these benches never stopping long enough for the situation that surrounds us to reset.  As a result, we are not able to hear the sounds that can make a real difference in our lives and in the world around us.

I recently met a very wealthy man. He is one of the more affluent men in his nation. He owns many corporations. People ask him to speak at conferences around the globe at the highest levels of corporate and government entities. All his resources are focused on helping nations flourish and prosper. His speaking schedule is booked out a year in advance, but each week, for one day he goes into the backcountry near his home to listen to God. He purposefully puts aside his busy life and the demands people place upon him to rest and reflect. He experiences a reset each week. In the reset, he hears things from the Lord that are literally changing entire cultures.

Today, ask the Lord to show you where your resting bench is waiting. Go there and sit for a while. In a few minutes, you will sense your surroundings begin to reset. Clarity will come that is only available in a place of purposeful rest where forward motion is stopped. You will hear things from God not discerned by those who rush past these benches always in motion, wondering why they are not hearing the deeper things of God.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Spiritual Elevators

Recently, I watched a video about a new elevator system. Traditional elevators move people up and down between floors. This new elevator adds another function. It can also move passengers side to side, laterally between floors. This up and down, side to side movement cuts down the wait time for passengers because the elevator’s computer can assess the demand between floors during peak use time.

For the last few months, the Lord has been speaking to me about becoming spiritually agile, able to move laterally. People of faith can become trapped in ways of thinking that are up and down – always linear - without considering that a lateral move might be what God desires. 

There are times when we need to move sideways to align our life with a new direction before we move forward in a straight line. I think the elevator designers were somewhat prophetic. Linear movement and straight ahead thinking can make sense to a mind trapped in tradition or logic. Jesus was a master at lateral movement. When people expected Him to move in one direction, He moved in a way not previously considered.

Listen carefully to the Spirit. He may ask you to take an elevator of faith that at first seems like it is moving in the opposite direction from the expectations of your tradition or the mindset of a particular group. Trust His leading. If you are willing to do this, you will find yourself arriving at new and unimagined destinations of Kingdom enterprise before the waiting crowd who took the elevator of assumption and missed God’s timing and ultimately, His intended destination.

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Peaceful Touch of the Father

Life with a new puppy is a unique experience. We have been here before, so it’s no surprise. It is a constant vigil for accidental piddles and making sure our little Boone boy knows how to fit into his new pack.  By the way, he is such a good pup. He is a quick learner. Already on day two, he knows how to go in and out of the doggie door to relieve himself. Whew!

We crate Boone at night. For those who wonder what a crate might be, it is a wire cage only large enough for a dog to lie down. It’s like a personal cave where a dog can feel secure. 

The first night home, we put the crate across our bedroom, and Boone howled and howled. After about 30 minutes of this dog-chorus, I had an idea. I slid the crate alongside our bed on my side. I could put my hand down and touch his noisy little nose that was poking up through the wire as he cried. As soon as he felt my touch, he stopped crying, settled down, and fell asleep. He slept through the first night, and now the second. All is well in Elkinsville.

Calming Boone in the middle of the night when he was thrust into a new and unfamiliar environment was a milestone in puppy training. It is also a milestone in our spiritual lives. Every new season will have a night experience when so much is unfamiliar and unknown that we will cry out in some form of anguish not knowing what is taking place. These strange circumstances may not change overnight, and that can be unsettling. The only thing that can calm us is a touch from God. 

Just as Boone raised his nose and poked it upward looking for comfort so it should be with us. The circumstance of our lives may be unchangeable and uncomfortable. In those times, we have control over only one thing.  We can decide where we will reach out for peace and security. Only God can provide those two things. If you are in a new and unfamiliar place, turn your attention heavenward, and you will feel the peaceful touch of God’s hand. His touch is the only thing that can calm the anxiety of life.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Living Beyond the Obvious

The obvious is not always the right solution. There are times when God will go in the opposite direction from what is assumed to reveal His heart in the most unimagined ways. Jesus did this in His life.                                               

When the religious establishment attempted to destroy a sinner, Jesus extended mercy, gave wise counsel and sent them on their way to encounter a new life. When people tried to trick Him with questions sourced in the obvious, He stepped over their trap and revealed true wisdom.                 

Living and responding from the obvious is limited in its ability to bring real change. It does not allow for creativity in our faith as we explore the depths of God’s wisdom and mercy. Choose to not respond to the issues of life from an obvious bias, and you will be used by God in surprising ways.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Revolving Door of Your Future

Many of us are sensing a shift taking place in our spiritual lives. This shift is not always accompanied by a change in geography or employment. It is a deeper shift that takes place in the realm of the Spirit.

As I was processing that idea, I saw an image of revolving doors. When the image appeared, I stepped forward, trying to time my entry. When I stepped into the chamber of the revolving door, I saw someone else walking on the other side going in the opposite direction. I realized I was actually seeing a version of myself from the last season walking into an appointed place in history. When I finally passed through the revolving door I was delivered into a new season in the Spirit.

If you are sensing the same thing, I want to let you know some of what is taking place in this revolving door experience. You are being upgraded. Your past anointing is being upgraded for a new season and a new assignment. What you have relied on in the past for support will no longer provide sufficient support for your new assignment. You are stepping into an upgraded support system. 

You will face two challenges in this transition. The two challenges are an attitude of assumption and stationary thinking. These two if left unchallenged will keep you standing at the entry of the revolving door not taking the step of faith required to time your entry into what God is developing. 

In this transition, you will experience a moment of amazement and wonder when you see the old version of you pass by the new you as the revolving door moves you forward. What you learned in that past has taught you a great deal. Nothing will be wasted. What is coming is even more profound. Take the step of faith and trust God. He will not fail you.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Delayed Detonation

Prophetic words spoken long ago and forgotten by many will soon come to pass. God has not forgotten these words. They have been resting without ignition for this moment in history. When they are released, they will have explosive results.

I was prompted by the Lord to deliver this word by something I read this week. Near Frankfurt, Germany a 500-bomb dropped in the 1940s during World War II finally exploded. When the bomb was originally released it sank deep into the middle of a barley field without exploding. On June 23 the bomb finally detonated creating a large crater 33 feet wide and 13 feet deep. The bomb’s ignition system was a spinning fin on the tail of the bomb that drove a steel rod through a glass plate as the bomb fell to earth releasing corrosive acetone. The acetone dissolved celluloid discs to ignite the bomb. This bomb did not land at the correct angle. The steel rod was not able to penetrate the discs. It took over 70 years for the acetone to finally eat its way through the discs creating the explosion. The story of this bomb is a powerful metaphor for what we will see taking in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Prophetic words delivered in the past and have remained unfulfilled because the circumstance for their release had not yet appeared. Some of those words made no sense when they were initially delivered. Those who released those words were mocked because a context was not yet present to receive their instruction and direction.

Today, listen for the delayed detonations God will bring about to fulfill prophetic promise over your life, your family, and your nation. God can deliver the payload of a prophetic word at a future date. In some cases long after the person who spoke the word has passed.  Some of those words had a moment of fulfillment at a specific time in the distant future. 

Not all things are immediate in God’s Kingdom. A prophetic promise will many times lie buried for decades or even centuries before they make themselves known. When these delayed detonations take place, you will be in awe at the goodness of God and His impeccable timing.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Free and Unmuzzled

The sound of your voice cannot be silenced if your words are empowered by the heart and will of God. If God has given you something to say, He will make way for you to be heard. Truth spoken in love is the most potent sound made on Earth, and it cannot be muzzled. 
We have all heard of people being blocked from social media accounts for content that did not align with the worldview of the provider. Others have been excluded from strategic meetings where critical decisions were being made. Exclusion because of dissenting content is not new to the human experience. Social architects have attempted and repeatedly failed to control the voice of truth and freedom since the dawn of time.
If, for a righteous reason, you have found yourself on the outside of a relationship, a group or blocked from sharing your opinion to a wider audience do not forget this critical reality - God is still in charge. He will make a way your voice to be heard even if a person, group, or institution attempts to muzzle your voice.
We assume too quickly that the impact and range of our voice are limited by those in control of the social microphone or the gatekeepers of a particular group. Do not despair if you find yourself isolated and on the outside. You carry the sound of Heaven, and that sound cannot be silenced if love is motivating your words and actions. God will lead you to a new platform and new relationships where your voice will be amplified beyond the restrictions you are currently experiencing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Your Coming Reveal

God is creating alliances of believers who realize the current expression of the Church is not agile enough to accomplish The Great Commission. These individuals also know it will not be enough to fill yet another stadium for a stand-alone, uplifting gathering or experience another revival meeting unless those events have something more substantial in mind – the discipleship and transformation of nations.

The revealing of these agile individuals and groups will be the result of a winnowing currently taking place within the Body of Christ. Those who are part of these agile alliances of world changers will be able to move at the speed and impulse of the Spirit. They are being called out from circular orbits of effort that are unable to think outside the gravitational pull of the status quo. These agile teams will be able to move forward at the speed of faith as directed by the Spirit. They will not have to ask permission from those at the top of the totem pole of a religious hierarchy. 

Ask God to reveal His purpose for your life. You carry elements of The Great Commission that are critical to its fulfillment. Once your personal reveal takes place, venture out and search to find those agile, like-minded individuals and groups who are waiting to partner with you. In that partnership, God will do great things.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Give the Fire of God Something to Burn

This morning, before sunrise, I got up to prepare for a dinner we would have later in the day. We have some good friends staying with us for a few days, so after being on the road for most of last week, I was hungry for some home cooked barbeque. I had our smoker ready to go the night before, so the first thing I did when I got up was to ignite the charcoal in preparation to put a tri-tip, beef ribs and a few bacon blossoms in the smoker.

I placed chunks of hickory and pecan wood on top to the charcoal that rings the edge of the smoking platform. I have the charcoal set out for a six-hour burn. As the charcoal progressively ignites and begins to smolder, it will burn through the chunks of smoking wood, giving the meat a continuous application of smoke, creating a nice bark.

When I went out to adjust the airflow on the smoker, I was reminded of how life in the Spirit resembles smoking meat. Our job is to prepare our life like the charcoal positioned in my smoker with chunks of smoking wood sitting on top. Our obedience aligns our lives to receive the approaching fire of God. If we align our life-purpose and passion with His fire, a burn can take place that will release a unique testimony. Our acts of obedience are like the chunks of smoking wood I placed on the charcoal. They become investments in our future when the fire of God arrives. A fire might not yet be burning under your acts of obedience, but a time will come when the fire will arrive, and something powerful will take place. 

If you give God's fire something to ignite the aroma of your life will become as appealing as the wafting hickory and pecan smoke currently working its way through our neighborhood. It is making our neighbors wish they were having dinner with us.

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Word of Clarification and Encouragement

God sits on a throne above all our social, political and personal issues. He is absolutely and completely victorious. He is building an army of love to march under the orders of His victory to bring about cultural transformation. The issues you worry about to a point of spiritual and emotional immobilization have been crafted to appeal to the unresolved fear in your heart. Don’t believe and never invite any fear into your mind and allow its voice to tell you God’s redemptive plan is not working. As the Kingdom of God continues to expand across the Earth, the places of earthly authority and demonically-empowered dark strategies will eventually bow their knee to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as the reality of Heaven on Earth takes place.

Off the social radar and not within the programming of a controlled news narrative God has raised up individuals and groups who are partnering with the Holy Spirit to transform our world in partnership with Heaven to fulfill The Great Commission both individually and nationally. Plans and Spirit-breathed strategies are being formed to align this world with the heart of God. Follow the encouragement of God. Encouragement, goodness, and hope are the only paths that will lead you to your place of active personal participation in this process of transformation. 

Ask God to align you with those who no longer follow a fear-based view of this life, the end of this epoch of time and the life to come. Make an exchange. Give God any fear-based belief you have and ask Him to examine it in light of the Truth. He will hand you back a purified, simple, hope-filed reality. At that point, you will be ready to receive a new set of marching orders that may cost you some relationships that still live in fear and have developed a paradigm of life around that fear. 

Don’t abandon those who abandon you. Some of those who will criticize you and distance themselves from you are destined to someday become your allies. Follow Hope. It is the promise of your future.