Saturday, August 31, 2019

Standing on the Threshold of Power

About 30 years ago, I was escorted through the West Wing of the White House.  A friend of mine who knew one of President George H. W. Bush’s correspondent secretaries arranged for us to get an after-hours guided tour. During the tour, we came to the Oval Office. The secretary opened the door to the office and uttered the words, “Don’t step across the threshold. That requires a Presidential invitation.” We went on from there to visit the press briefing room for an obligatory photograph standing behind the podium in a sport coat and tie. I sent the photo to my mom. She framed it and hung it on a wall in her home, fully convinced her son was in the big leagues.

Standing on the threshold of the Oval Office and peering inside was a very unique experience. Just a few steps from where I stood the most powerful human being in earthly civil government made decisions that carried global ramifications. When my friend and I left the White House and drove on to our hotel in Maryland, I pondered what I had just experienced.

If you are a believer, there are no restrictive thresholds to power. God has opened up the way into Heaven’s version of the supreme spiritual Oval Office where God sits enthroned with Jesus Christ at His right hand. Seated in Christ is each redeemed person. The only prohibiting thresholds are lies crafted by hell to keep us thinking we are an unloved outcast or the restrictions created by a religious spirit offering us a weakened, performance-based version of faith or our own unredeemed thinking that inspires us to live like slaves, not sons and daughters of God.

Today, if you have believed a hellish lie about your identity, have been restrained by a religious spirit or assumed an opinion about yourself that is less than a loved child of God, please read the following Scripture. Read it out loud. Hell needs to hear you speak it. The religious spirit restraining your Kingdom potential needs to hear it. But most of all, you need to hear it. When the Word of God is read out loud, it reverberates throughout all of creation. It disempowers the lies we believe, and its truth readjusts our thinking.  

In our relationship with God, there are no longer any thresholds - none! Now read the Scripture below and step across the threshold.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water”(Hebrews 10: 19-22).

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Gift of Generational Wealth

There is something called generational wealth. This is wealth amassed by one generation and passed on to the next. Some have been denied this blessing due to war, mismanagement, premature death, disease, discrimination, or unresolved issues of sin. Apart from those sorrows and the financial damage they inflict, we should be able to leave something behind for those who follow us. 

For example, someday Jan and I will pass on our home and any assets we have to our children. We will leave behind a harvest they did not plant believing they will do the same. My parents and Jan’s parents did this for us. This is not about big bucks, mansions, and a Lamborghini in the driveway. Neither family was wealthy. My dad was a carpenter. Jan’s folks were missionaries.  In fact, both parents lost everything late in life, but God intervened on their behalf and restored to them a retirement blessing through a means not considered by most financial planners. In their loss, they encountered the grace and mercy of God.  Under God's redemptive hand, they finished better off after the loss than they would have had the original retirement plan worked out as structured. When our life is placed in the hands of God, outcomes are encountered that seem impossible to natural thinking.

When Jan and I were younger, we made plenty of mistakes with our finances. We needed God’s grace and mercy to help us when we bought a new car on time having by-passed financial wisdom in our decision-making process or when we ran up our first credit card to the max “buying” a cruise to the Caribbean. I read something a few years ago that most first-generation millionaires drive older used cars. Instead of forking out large monthly car payments and the resulting high insurance premiums, they save money. They saved because they are looking past the moment and seeing something in the future that took precedence over an emotional purchase that could lead them into personal financial bondage and lack. 

Some people approach their finances with blinders on. They see wealth as a way to gain more things and status. As a result, they squander the ability to create generational wealth. The wise ones have another plan. They have learned to say no to reactionary spending and exercise a gift of the Spirit called self-control. They see the next generation that will either inherit their lack of discipline or their blessing. This is not about lots of money. Not everyone is destined to roll in dollar bills in this life. It’s about vision. Our vision of the future must be so other-centered that it can overcome our desire to sin, mismanage our money, or make foolish decisions that rob a future harvest of its greatest potential. 

When I consider a purchase or a choice that could lead to sin or dishonor, I take a moment to envision my wife and children.  It’s amazing how that image will affect those decisions. As my family comes to mind, so do those who have trusted my leadership and my voice within God’s Kingdom. Ultimately that journey of discernment will lead me to the face of God. I have not always been perfect in that process, but it is the desire of my heart. I want to leave behind something for the next generation to harvest from the labor of my personal discipleship and discipline. I don’t want to stand on the door of eternity empty-handed either in the natural or spiritual realm. I want to leave behind the wealth of God's grace and mercy.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Unseen Pathway Into Your Future

Some of the angst and worry we sense in our lives and within the culture is created when something of value comes to an end, and we can no longer see a way forward. People can fail, and a dream crumples. Politicians and a political system meant to serve a nation seem to be hopelessly gridlocked. A relationship that started out with a shared passion is now separate and passionless. In these dead end-appearing places something has died, and there appears to be no way forward.

I was processing how people feel in these painful circumstances when I came across a verse in the Psalms, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters - a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19). The last part of the verse struck a deep chord in my soul, “…a pathway no one knew was there.”

If you are emotionally or spiritually standing at the end of something you valued and no longer see a way forward, read the verse I quoted over your circumstance. Some of you might be so deep in the pain of disappointment it could be a struggle to read those words. Do it anyway. Don't allow resignation or cynicism to rule your faith. The simple act of obedience of reading truth and inviting it into your thinking will confront a lying spirit that wants to steer your life away from the goodness God has planned. Your act of faith expressed through your current state of doubt and disbelief will release new hope. We serve a God who delights in revealing roads of hope no one knew was there. When we speak the truth of God at a dead end, the revelation of a new pathway will always follow in due time.

Parting the Red Sea was not an isolated event lost in history. The resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of something new. These examples from Scripture and many others were provided to help us adjust our thinking to believe the impossible is always possible with God. Exchange your hopelessness for hope. Hope is what God has used to pave the hidden pathway He is about to reveal to you. God has always seen your way forward. He wants to reveal that pathway to you.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Transformation of a Painful Setback

Your set back will become a set forward when God intervenes. You cannot change what has taken place or who was wounded in the painful process, but you can change the condition of your heart. A changed heart will invite God's hand to reach down and transform your set back into a set forward. 

God is hovering over your circumstance waiting for your heart change to take place so He can pick you up from this setback place and move your forward over all the spiritual and emotional wreckage that seems impossible to cross in your own strength. The Lord will put you down in a new place – a place your detractors and condemners told you was not possible for someone like you. 

When you arrive in the set forward place, let your first response be worship and thanksgiving, not self-justification and payback. That choice will be the first outward evidence that your heart has truly changed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

It's Not About Salvaging Our Ministry

I am in debt to anointed pastors who nurtured me at the beginning of my walk of faith. I remember listening to a conversation where a leader had fallen into serious sin. The leader met with my pastor, Roy Hicks, Jr., to begin a process of healing and restoration. When the fallen leader entered my pastor’s study for their first counseling session, Roy raised his hand before a single word was spoken and said, “This is not about restoring you to ministry. It is about getting healthy spiritually and restoring you to God.” 

Too often, we over-value personal ministry at the expense of wisdom and integrity. God is not impressed with our ministry no matter how large and expansive it might appear. He is concerned about the integrity of our hearts. If we forget about integrity, we will enter a place of spiritual peril and end up wounding and confusing those who have entrusted themselves to our leadership.

Not All

In our over-heated and myopically focused social media accounts, we can too easily believe the world is falling apart. Not all we read or hear is true. 

Not all marriages are struggling.
Not all husbands are addicted to porn.
Not all wives live in a world of romantic fantasy.
Not all pastors are prideful and self-promoting.
Not all politicians are corrupt.
Not all cops are bad.
Not all churches are filled with hypocrites.
Not all immigrants are out to destroy the soul of America.
Not all cultural institutions are evil.
Not all children are wayward.
Not all…(you fill in the blank).

The broad brush we have been offered is painting over a masterpiece that can quickly disappear under the hasty brushstroke of our acceptance of unverified facts. Even our fact-checkers are now suspect because of their self-interest and worldview. 

Many good people of faith have bought into an apocalyptic worldview that seems to always go first to the worst-case scenario before it considers the possibility of the positive. We have picked up a mantle of fear prophesying to the world that our God breeds disaster and mistrust. We go there first before we consider goodness, wholeness, and peace. We even have our favorite Bible verses to support our view. 

We have entered strange waters. Lurking below the dark surface of this sea of social turmoil exist monsters of our own creation, waiting to rise to the surface to consume our love. Not all is as it seems at first glance. 

God, give us eyes to see and ears to hear your heart. Without these perceptive abilities, we will become as blind and deaf as the culture we so easily indict.

A Measure of Friendship

Jan and I were talking about friendship. In our conversation, Jan said something profound. “A measure of true friendship is the ability to share another person’s joy.” 

Everyone suffers in life, so identifying with another person’s pain can be shared more readily. Joy is different. It is not a shared human experience. Those who do not have joy will many times withdraw from what should be a shared joyful experience with another person, even from those who considered the relationship a friendship. Some people we thought were friends who gathered around us in a time of sorrow or loss may someday create distance between us when our sadness is replaced with joy or our lack is filled with abundance. We really do not know the depth of friendship until it is tested by both sorrow and joy.

People can have strange reactions to what they have not experienced. In some cases, another person’s joy can be interpreted as a judgment on their joyless life. In that unhealthy way of thinking, they will struggle with sharing a friend’s happiness. In the struggle, they don’t want to have a reminder of what they lack. Regular points of contact are avoided. Phone calls aren’t returned, or the person simply disappears. When this happens, we need to reach out and try to touch these friends who are now MIA. 

In the sadness of what is taking place, avoid any partnership with a spirit of offense. The withdrawal is not personal.  As far as it is possible with you, invite them into your joy and let them taste the goodness of God.  Hopefully, they will begin to understand that another person’s joy should bring us together, never tear us apart.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Plant a Promise - Harvest a Rainbow

At the back of our property, we have a lawn. By this time of year, it is getting really dry. It needs help. We stuck an impulse sprinkler in the ground to water the lawn, giving it some extra attention in the hot summer days of August. 

Yesterday morning, Jan and I were sitting at our outdoor table having coffee and a croissant. I looked up and saw something I had never seen before. On each pass of the sprinkler spray, a rainbow was formed. After several passes and seeing a new rainbow formed with each pass, I snapped the photo you see in this writing. Jan and I felt God was speaking. While we sat at the table, we must have seen a least a hundred rainbows.

The rainbow image is so much like God. He not only turns a dry place into something moist and lush, but He is also kind. He loves to remind us He is there with us in the process of restoration. He always attaches some kind of affirmation in a dry place to remind us of His abiding presence. 

In the middle of this dry summer, Jan and I had to make a choice to stick the sprinkler in the ground to help the lawn. It is like our spiritual life. God gives us a promise, but we must place the promise in our dry place.  Once our act of faith is in place, the life of God’s Spirit begins to sprinkle what we thought was dead, dry, and beyond hope of restoration. To let us know He is at work while the dry place is being transformed, God will always provide a symbol affirming the promise He made. It may not be a rainbow. It can be a child turning an emotional corner by doing a simple act of obedience, an unresponsive spouse affirming their love with a tender word of affection or the first installment of a financial breakthrough.

Today, go to your dry place and stick a promise in the ground. Invite the Spirit to come and water that place with God's presence. Once you have planted the promise trust God to bring new life. At some point in the process, a symbol of affirmation will come to let you know God will be faithful to accomplish what He promised.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Heart Condition

If you are serving the transition of someone who is your employer or supervisor, your main task is to watch the condition of your heart. 
In a healthy, honor-filled work environment, the person transitioning may be blessed by financial gifts, severance packages, and trips to nice locales. These can all be part of a working relationship that honors long-term faithful service. 
Early on, choose to celebrate each blessing the outgoing person receives. Celebrate the honor they receive like you were the one receiving the gifts. Don’t miss the joy of blessing another person. Give honor where honor is due, even to someone who may have been hard to work with. You will never fail by giving honor. 
(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Gentle Change

The coming change will be different than what has taken place in the past. Those were abrupt, painful, and stark transitions. This time you will step through the border between two seasons without obstruction. It will be like someone passing through chiffon-like drapes moving gently and slowly across their face. There will be no clinging only a gentle passage into a new place.

Accusers and Accusations

An accusation, especially a public accusation, can be devastating. Imagine the sin you deplore above all others. Then imagine you wake up tomorrow morning and began reading through social media to find out, to your horror, you were being wrongly accused of that sin. You would then begin to read statements from people who chimed in to the comment section agreeing with your accuser saying the equivalent of “I had my suspicions!” No amount to public comment or explanation from you would ever be able to retrieve your previous reputation. 

Accusations are a tactic of hell. That is why Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. Be care to whose opinionated wagon of accusation you choose to hitch your honor. Accusers are a dime a dozen. Redeemers are few and far between. Redemption takes courage and will require the integrity of silence in the face of ongoing accusation until a process of restoration is complete. Anyone can publish a list of sins and bring accusation before the full story is known. Be careful. Be wise. Be slow to speak and even slower to believe the first draft of any accusation.

Digging Through Our Spiritual Trashcans

Yesterday, I made a mistake that could have become a real hassle. I went into town to run a few errands and ended up at a large shopping center. When I got out of the car, I had a hand full of trash and my car keys in my hands. I headed for one of those large trashcans located at the entrance of the store. It had a flip-top opening. I open the flipper door and dumped in my trash and unthinkingly, also my keys. Off I went into the store to shop ignorant of my mistake.

When I left the store 15 minutes later, I did my normal pocket pat down looking for my keys. After a few moments of patting down my pockets like a frantic bongo drum player, the shock hit me, “I lost my keys!” In my developing sense of shock, I finally realized where they were. They were in the trashcan! I hurried over to the can and opened the plastic flip door and stuck my head inside.  There was my pile of trash still on top of the other trash. As I looked into the dark interior of the trashcan, I saw the slight glimmer of the end of a single key. I had to pull out some of the trash to get to my keys. I found them! On the keychain were keys and key fobs to our vehicles, house keys, and all the keys that unlocked all the other locks in my world. I was so relieved. Then another reality hit.

Jan and I are on vacation. I had not shaved in a few days. I was wearing some old work clothes.  I looked a little rough. Then it hit me. I fit the image of a poor homeless guy going through garbage looking for cans or maybe something to eat. One man walking into the store looked over at me with compassion and started to make his way toward me. I could sense I was about to be slipped a couple of bucks to get something to eat. I raised my head and gave a weak smile to all the other folks who were also watching me. With keys in hand and my trampled pride in tow, I hurried off to my car talking out loud to the Lord thanking Him for the keys when I realized talking to one’s self in public after rummaging through a garbage can might affirm someone’s original suspicion.

Jan and I have people in our lives that we love dearly who struggle with mental illness. That condition has led some of them into seasons of homelessness. We have a new level of compassion for people in that situation. We don’t look through them. We look at them, and when nudged by the Lord, we help them out. This was different. Digging through the trash and realizing I was being viewed as a homeless person struck a deep chord within my heart. It hit something more profound than my initial response of shallow pride. I realized I was only looking for keys. In a few minutes, I would go home to a clean house, a wonderful wife, and a hope-filled future.  My experience was only a personal embarrassment. Those who walk our streets and eat our garbage don’t have that blessing. 

The next time I see someone digging through the trash in a public place, I want to recall my experience trying to find my keys and what I felt that day and then multiply it by a thousand times before I start to interact with someone. I want to remember the need for personal mercy before I open my mouth or give someone something to help them out. None of us know the full story of another person’s life. Compassion and kindness are powerful things to experience in a world that has grown so angry, distant, and separated.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Our Secluded Place

Jan and I have entered a time in our lives where we have chosen to spend extended seasons of time in seclusion apart from many of the things we have been doing for years. We didn't arrive at this place early on in our life journey. It became our reality as we matured and grew older wanting to finish well. 

This seclusion is not about becoming spiritual hermits. It is making a conscious and calendared choice to step away from the constant demand to produce and be visibly active.  It's a place where only God knows our exact location. If He needs us, He knows where to find us and bring us out for specific Spirit-directed assignments. When those assignments are completed, we will withdraw once again to our secluded place, a spiritual garden seeded by rest, reflection, and purposed reserve. 

Too much of a life of faith can become a counterfeit of the real thing. It can look good on the surface, but down deep in the human soul, it dismantles the very things we need to live a good and prosperous life. A failure to engage seasons of seclusion will leave us weary, always driven to be industrious at the expense of a true and lasting Kingdom impact. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

When God Reaches Down

The fears we live with made their initial appearance when we chose to listen to their lies. In moments of fearful uncertainty, is where hell can speak its deceptive script in the most effective ways. These lies will always contradict God's truth about our redeemed past and the hopefulness we should have about our future.  God is not locked in time like we are wondering what will happen next. 

Scripture tells us “Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens, his mighty voice thundering from the sky” (Psalm 68:33). God rides back and forth across history – across the ancient heavens - without the limitations of time and physical space. He sees history as a whole, not in part. He sees time outside the bookmarks of our earthly beginning and end. He is the all-knowing God of all things.

If you want to know the way forward or where to place your foot for the next step in your journey, the answer will not found by examining your past, present, or future. It will be discovered in our heart. “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (II Chronicles 16:9). 

This God is the One who rides back and forth across the heavens looking for hearts that are completely His. When He finds such a heart, He reaches down to touch the carrier with the intent to release things not possible for those whose hearts are compromised by fear and unbelief. The evidence that we have experienced the perfect love of God is seen most clearly when love's presence in our life is actively expelling the very things that compromise the full expression of love.  

Examine your heart. If your heart is entirely His above all else, the God of Heaven will find you. He will reach down and touch you to let you know you are not alone. By that touch, you will know you are being supported by the God of all time and eternity.  That touch will heal the sorrow of your past and give you great confidence and hope as you move forward into the future. You will move forward with new freedom because in your heart you now carry a new level of faith in the unfailing love of God.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Retreat Into Your Future

There will be times when people invite you to advance with them – to move forward into something new. Advance, accelerate, and breakthrough are some of the words typically used to craft this kind of appeal. 

In some instances, when you receive these invitations, in your spiritual gut, you will know your assignment is not to move forward but to retreat into a place of isolated intimacy with God. When faced with that decision, always choose the retreat. 

The anxious crowd who issue these advancing invitations believe the best is always ahead of them, never in the present moment.  It will take courage to say no and let them move on without you. When you make the decision to retreat, you will discover a place of rested revelation not available to those who equate constant motion with a healthy and vibrant faith. As the prophet Isaiah said, “In quietness and trust is your strength.” 

Retreat to that quiet place, and you will be refreshed and empowered for a journey only the rested ones can make. A soul that has rested in a place of retreat with God has gained the strength and endurance required to move forward into a future not seen by weary eyes.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Where the Real Battle for a Nation's Soul is Fought

On Saturday, the eyes of the nation were focused on the protests in Portland, Oregon between the anarchist group Antifa and several opposing factions. The possibility of chaos and destruction was significant. 

My friend, Ty Bottler and a team from The Father’s House in Portland gathered in the middle of the protests to worship and pray with a mission to shift the atmosphere. If you don't think witchcraft is in play as an attempt to steer the destiny of our nation, please read the following excerpt from Ty’s Facebook wall where he gave a detailed report of the event.

“As I watched Antifa initially come into the Square, a small group of them sat down in a circle just off to the side and started performing their witchcraft. This was their attempt at shifting the atmosphere so that the whole group would come under the spirit of chaos. Because of the Kingdom atmosphere that we had already established through our prayer and worship, the witchcraft had no seed of chaos to grab hold of. And because of this, after about 15 minutes of aimlessly walking around, Antifa left the Square for different ground.”

It is too easy to dismiss the real spiritual conflict that is taking place on Earth as the overactive imaginations of religious zealots. This is just where the enemy of our soul wants the Church to park her thinking. We are in a spiritual war with dark forces. While voting and being active in civic and social issues is important, those are only responses to the real battle. 

Something shifted in the spiritual atmosphere in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. As that shift continues to expand and transform the spiritual atmosphere of our nation, I pray it will also awaken the Church to the spiritual reality of this critical moment in our history. 

God's Prophetic Fire Hose

We had a massive forest fire just north of our area. It has been contained and the remaining crews are in the mop-up stage. It was called the Milepost 97 Fire referring to milepost 97 on the I-5 freeway in Oregon. I read an article posted by a weather agency that stated the fire crews had just finished rolling up all the fire hose used to fight the fire. If all the hose sections were put together, it would stretch out for 39 miles. That is a lot of hose!

Reading about all the sections of hose made me think of how the gift of prophecy can work. Many times people try to attach value to a prophetic word by the amount of drama and uniqueness contained in its content and delivery. While that can be true at times, much of prophecy is not. The words we deliver are merely a section of a much broader word the Lord is laying out piece by piece to get to a specific person or place in time. When all the sections of a word are finally connected, the content of that word can be delivered to extinguish a work of hell that just a single, isolated word might not accomplish.

If you are feeling like the words God gives you lack a place on a glossy magazine cover or an invitation to prophesy from the platform at a prophetic conference, please take heart. God doesn’t see the delivery of prophetic words like we see them. He is only focused on who is available and willing to speak in His name no matter if its one section of the prophetic hose or the whole thing. 

Remain faithful in what God asks you to speak no matter how large or small. If you are willing to be that kind of prophetic servant, you will find Him sending you into cultural hot zones to be part of a larger effort whose mission is to prevent death and destruction. The Lord will do this because He can trust you to connect your section of prophetic hose to the flow of the larger word He wants to deliver. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Reversal of Misfortune

Today was one of those days when I had nothing planned to write. I sat in my writing chair empty of content and prayed, “Lord, is there something you want me to write.” It would be fine with me to not write anything if He had nothing for me to say. As soon as I prayed that simple prayer, an image came to mind. It was an image I have seen several times in the last week. I knew at that moment what I was to write.

Earlier this week, I saw the image of a massive wave approaching a populated landmass. The wave was higher than the tallest buildings along the shore. As the wave approached, it was obvious the wave would overwhelm the area and bring great destruction and death. I prepared to run but realized that trying to run away would be a futile effort, so I turned around and faced the approaching wave. As soon as I turned around, the wave reversed course and began to return in the direction from which it came and then the image was finished.

Interpreting what I saw, I understood it on two levels. The first was that something significant was approaching us on a cultural level, and the other would take place personally for some of you reading these words. Even though they are different in scope, both will have the same outcome, and both will be remedied in the same way. 

What seemed impossible to turn back, as represented in the wave, will suddenly reverse course when we turn around and face the wave. At that moment, our stance of faith will become a testimony to the world that  God is our only source of deliverance. When the wave reverses course, it will return to its point of origin and decimate what caused the wave to initially mount up and begin to move forward on its destructive journey. 

There are some things in life that we cannot pray away or teach away. These are things that can only be reversed when we have no hope apart from the intervention of God. This is where the greatest miracles and reversals take place. In these situations, all we can do is turn around, face our fear in faith, and trust God with the outcome. 

There are things approaching our culture and our personal lives that are so immense in their destructive power that only an intervention by God can save the day. When these things approach don’t turn and run away in fear. Turn around and in defiance to the wave of fear hold your ground and watch God do something amazing and awe-inspiring.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Revival of Scripture

The only trusted way to know how to interpret this life is to bring our opinions to Scripture and let God’s truth evaluate the quality of our understanding. If we bring Scripture to our opinion and allow our opinion to override and reinterpret what truth is, we will open our lives up to error and deception. This is not new in Church history. It has taken place historically just before a revival or reformation when the truth about an aspect of our faith is rediscovered.

I am beginning to see more pastors and teachers returning to the simple preaching of God’s Word in public gatherings. This is not a robotic form of teaching without creativity or the ability to adapt the delivery of the message to a changing culture. This kind of teaching creates a stable platform upon which to build our lives. It also helps us disciple our emotions and opinions under the instruction of God’s Word.  

For several decades increasing numbers of people within the Church have allowed human opinion to supplant Scriptural truth, and the by-product has been everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. We are about to experience a revival of Scripture. That revival may be one of the most significant revivals in our lifetime.


You can always do a transition better. No transition will ever be perfect. “Perfect” is not the goal. 
We have an unrealistic tendency to want our life transitions to be perfect. We need to revisit our definition of reality. In retrospect, each one of my transitions could have been done better, but people were involved. The human element changes everything. 
If a “perfect” response to the plan is your goal, you will actually miss the heart of God in the plan. Whenever God relates to human beings, he builds into his plan recourse for human error. He understands your weaknesses. God can actually do more through your weakness than through your strength. His love doesn’t operate through our inflated ego. God has chosen to work through the place of human weakness where the only thing we can bring to him is our humility. 
“Perfect” is a strict, non-human attribute. Only God is perfect. If we require perfection as the goal of our transition, we will lose friends in the process because people will be people and end up failing us at some point. Because perfection is the person of God, not a goal, we can call upon him, the perfect one, to help us when we stumble. 
 (An excerpt from the book, A Good Place)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Spiritual Parenting

Spiritual fathers and mothers get angered by the same things that incense a young believer. What a spiritual parent has learned to do with the help of God is to temper their initial angry response. This is done to offer their spiritual offspring the time needed to process their decision, not having the added weight of stumbling over a parent's undisciplined knee-jerk response. Spiritual maturity is a process for both parents and children. The mature love of a spiritual parent is longsuffering and able to endure the most foolish of responses patiently waiting for their children to come back to their senses and make the right choice

Today in Portland, Oregon

Today, two extremes of the ideological/political spectrum will confront each other in demonstrations in the streets of Portland, Oregon. Hopefully, the event will be peaceful. Many hold no hope for that outcome. As these two groups gather and confront each other, in the clash you will see the failure of each spectrum, especially if it takes a violent turn as these events have done in the past. 

I have friends who will be gathering to pray and worship in the midst of, and in the face of these protests. Not only is this a brave and daring thing to do, but it will also become a visible demonstration of another spectrum – the Heaven to Earth spectrum. This is what Jesus introduced to His disciples when He taught them to pray on Earth as it is in Heaven. It is a calling to stand in the cultural seams of discontent and reveal the heart of God.

In the United States, we are free to express our opinion peacefully in the public square. If Heaven does not take precedence in our thinking, in times of social intransigence, we will be left with frustrating and futile options like those that will be on display today in the streets of Portland, Oregon. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been called by God to bring from Heaven to Earth the solutions and options not seen on either side of our heated social debate. Before you engage socially, ask God to reveal His plans and directives. These are the ones that are not always seen on our TV and computer screens by a news media who live by the motto “If it bleeds, it leads.” 

Today, the path of two distinctly different bloodlines will be revealed. One bloodline will follow a trail of blood left behind by misdirected and angry people who have no ability to change the culture for the better. The other bloodline will reveal a path of blood left behind by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as humankind's only hope. You will see that bloodline being demonstrated today in prayer and worship by those who get their marching orders from above, not from the spectrum of human opinion. What cannot be seen today by the natural eye are the angelic hosts that will descend upon the streets of Portland, Oregon in answer to those prayers and worship.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Our Response

There are times when I scroll through Facebook posts that I see someone depicted in a less than noble booking photo or view the image of a person who has committed a horrible act. Lately, I find myself reaching out to my computer screen and touching their image. When I touch them, I pray for God to reveal His love in their brokenness. The other options are to become one of the condemning, and demeaning comments logged in the comment section or dismiss the person with an "I'm sure glad I am not like that person" thought. If we are to represent the Lord in the arena of culture, our response to human brokenness must be radically different than an unredeemed culture or the Pharisaical expressions of God-less religion.

What's Happening?

In the last month, I have been speaking to people who work in high-impact Kingdom positions. Change is coming in many of these assignments. I have noticed several consistent themes in some of these transitions.

1.  A sense of unease that worried some of the individuals who are entering a time of transition was not a warning from God about something wrong with them emotionally or spiritually. It was actually the Spirit wanting to gain their attention to show them something new so that in the future they would be ready to let go and move forward.

2.  Some who are being transitioned will not change location. They will change hats. New assignments, not new geography, is taking place. The Lord is trying to heal organizations and churches that always thought a change in leadership would require a change in geography to protect the transition.

3.  What was at first thought to be a negative option as a future assignment is being reconsidered. Now, under the influence and revelation of the Spirit, that original option has been transformed into the desire of the person’s heart. God is assigning passion to what was first rejected and dismissed. That passion will allow them to fully embrace the coming change with joy and expectancy. 

4.  Those in charge of these transitions will be given a greater grace and favor to make challenging decisions about personnel placement. God will touch the anointing of these individuals in such a way that unpopular decisions will become widely accepted as a wise choice.

These four points do not only apply to people in leadership roles. There will be a trickle-down effect that will touch a wide variety of people at each level of an association or organization. 

Review these four points and ask the Lord how they might apply to you, especially if you have been sensing a change coming in your current assignment. In all of this, God’s got your back…and your front and your side. You are filled and encircled by His presence. You are not uncovered and adrift. God will bring all of this together for an expression of His goodness to those who are watching your transition. Your job is to trust God and allow Him to reveal the outcome.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Moving with the Wind of the Spirit

When I read the book of Acts, I discover a group of people who did not slavishly follow a plan or remain in a single direction without frequent course corrections. I read about people who followed the Spirit at all costs. They arose each day and allowed the Spirit to set the course for their lives.

Back in my 20s, I used to crew on a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay. The boat was a flat deck Cal 25 owned by a friend of mine. The boat was equipped with a spinnaker rigging. A spinnaker is a large billowy sail that hangs off the front of a sailboat to catch as much wind as possible. It is a sail hoisted when a vessel runs before the wind. In other words, when you are sailing downwind. It increases the speed of the sailboat. What I always liked about running before the wind was the sense of calm that came with that rigging. The crew could talk in a normal voice and not have to yell like it was when sailing into the wind. Sailing with the wind was different. It was quiet, fast, and powerful. 

Perhaps one of the most important things each of us should do each day is to ask ourselves, “What direction is the wind of the Spirit blowing today?” To the planners and those trapped in slavish human logic following the wind of the Spirit can be considered a form of intellectual compromise or flippancy. The planners want us to stick to the plan at all costs. The logical ones have no place in their thinking for anything as whimsical as following a wind. Throughout the history of the Church, the decision to follow the wind of the Spirit has faithfully led believers to supernatural outcomes not possible when plans and logic demanded an unchallenged allegiance to their direction.

Which way is the wind of the Spirit blowing in your life today? Turn the course of your life to align with the Spirit's flow and set your spiritual spinnaker to catch the wind. Your choice will accelerate your effort, and you will enter a beautiful place of calm that only comes when the wind of the Spirit is leading the way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

God is Re-writing the Map of Our Nation

I was in a historic bank building in Jacksonville, Oregon conducting some personal business. The building has housed a bank since the mid-1800s. The interior of the bank looks a lot like it did 160 years ago. It has been preserved as a historic landmark. The room contains artifacts from that era. On the wall is a map of Oregon circa 1850. I walked over and stood in front of the map. Something immediately stood out to me. Most of the cities we know today are not on the map. Even Medford, Oregon, the largest community in southern Oregon did not yet exist. The Portland area was vacant of many of the cities we know today.

Yesterday, the image of the map came to mind. When it did, the Lord began to speak to me. He said, “I am about to put certain cities on the map. Cities that have lived out of the national spotlight will be highlighted by a work of My Spirit. That highlighting will illuminate something I will do in their midst that will come unexpectedly to those who have not been sensitive to My Spirit. To the watchmen, men and women in tune with My heart, this will not be a surprise. It will be an answer to years of faithful prayer. I am rewriting the map of your nation.”

When I first stood in front of the old map in the bank, my assumption of what should be on the map is what caught my attention. I approached the map expecting to see familiar cities noted, but their place in history had not yet begun. I am sensing the same thing today in the realm of the Spirit. While many of you are looking to Washington, D.C., or a major urban center as the next place of national significance, God has other plans. He is calling forth cities without national significance to become ground zero for the transformation of our nation. The national map is changing.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Free-Falling Into God's Peace

A couple of months ago, I took one of those at home tests called Cologuard that people use in place of a colonoscopy. I had a colonoscopy 17 years ago and got a clean bill of health at that time, so I thought instead of going through the process of a colonoscopy, I would do the easy thing.

When the results of the Cologuard test came back, it was positive. I wasn’t expecting that result. I was shocked. At that moment, a whole host of fears lined up telling me horrible tales about my future, my eventual death and Jan having to live her remaining years alone. I took the test results seriously because I have good friends and relatives who have battled the c-word. Some are in the middle of that battle as I write. 

From past experience, I knew I needed to do something before I told Jan what happened. I invited Jesus into the scary Cologuard positive test result and asked Him to show me how to respond. What happened next was amazing. The Lord said, “Stand on the ledge of your fear. Now step off. Step off into My peace.”

I could actually feel the trembling fear under my feet. It was a shaky and weak sensation. In the next moment, I made the choice to step off the ledge trusting in the word the Lord had spoken. After I took the step, I began to literally free-fall into what I can best describe as a syrupy slow-motion sensation where the atmosphere was thicker than usual. I was free-falling into the peace of God. There were no bumps or borders. It was an infinite sensation of peace without depth or ending. I was falling into God.

After several moments of that beautiful experience, I found Jan and told her about the Cologuard positive result. We prayed. We also worshipped. We were not worshipping from a place of fear, but of peace. Stepping off the ledge held something dark back from our thinking of how we would process the next few weeks until a colonoscopy provided an accurate reading on what was happening inside my body. I continued to free-fall for the next month until my colonoscopy took place. The free-fall continued after the procedure for the next week while I waited for the lab results.

A few days ago, the gastroenterologist sent me a letter regarding the lab test results for the small polyp he removed during the procedure. The report stated, “benign polyp - no cancer potential.” He recommended that I have another colonoscopy in ten years, which is a normal cycle for these kinds of procedures.

When I read the doctor’s report, and before sharing the good news with Jan, I got down on my knees and thanked the Lord. I spent a few moments in worship. I got up from my knees and walked into our living and shared the results with Jan. We worshipped together and thanked God for His goodness.

Life will present each of us with a ledge of fear somewhere along the way. Fear is no place for any of us to stand because lies and hopelessness speak loudly in that place. Stepping off the ledge of fear into the peace of God is our only spiritually healthy option. The peace of God that surrounds us at that moment of free-falling is able to guard our hearts no matter what life brings our way. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Letting Go

Letting go will be harder than you think. Start letting go today, no matter how far in the future your transition may be. 
In our grasping at life, we are trying to find a sense of security. Our grasping says: “As long as I can hold onto this present situation or relationship, I will be secure.” This kind of security is an illusion. Nothing in this life is secure. The only secure things are what we place in the hands of God. 
Letting go is not just a physical act—it is an emotional and spiritual one. This release must begin long before the date of your transition is a reality. Walk through all the phases of your coming transition with an open hand, grasping at nothing. 
In our first major life transition, my wife, Jan, and I made plans to sell our dream home. Jan loved our home. During this time of transition, she would walk by the special kitchen sink and custom fireplace and release these items. She did this with our personal possessions and with our close friends we would soon leave. She did this for two years. In the end, when it came time to sell our home, Jan was free to move forward and not look back in regret. She never felt a sense of loss. 
Try to disassemble this transition into its various parts and let go of one part at a time until there is nothing left for you to grasp. You want to approach the day of your transition empty-handed. 
What part of your plan can you begin to let go of today? 

(An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.) 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Perilous Journey of a Prophetic Word

When we speak in the name of God our words are supposed to originate in our spirit, pass through our soul and then be delivered by a spoken word, a creative work of art, a prophetic act or some other physical manifestation. The problem is when the word passes through our soul. The soul is where our emotions and personality live. It's where an undisciplined emotion or a fractured part of our personality is waiting to hijack the intent of what God wants us to speak. In this place, we can wrap a word with our bias, unforgiveness, or an unresolved wound prior to delivery. At that point, the word is no longer the truth spoken in love.

In our soul is where an immature emotional response lies in wait. It’s where our anger looks for something to shout out before thinking. This is the part of our lives that carries unresolved childhood wounds into adulthood. When these issues are left free to roam in our soul without Spirit-directed control the message they form no longer represents God’s original intent, yet they are still transmitted as a “thus saith the Lord.”

This can happen to anyone whether a person is young in the gift of prophecy or mature.  Just this morning, I started to write something, but it had too much of my emotion on a particular subject entwined in the text so I deleted the content before publishing the word. 

For those of you who know you are called to speak for God prophetically, be careful in this agitated spiritual atmosphere. Our souls are very vulnerable parts of our being. In our soul,  God has placed a filter called discernment. It must be used each time we speak as representatives of God.  If that discerning filter is not cleaned from time-to-time, even the most powerful and poignant words of prophecy will be polluted in our soul and miss the mark in their delivery. 

“God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares" (Psalm 139:24 TPT). 

Friday, August 9, 2019

A New Day - A New Image

Today, a large maple tree will be removed from our property. The tree finally died after several years of progressive disease, so we hired an arborist to come and cut it down. The tree fills the view from the window just outside where my writing chair sits. It has been there for the last 17 years. About midday today, the image outside my window will radically change forever. 

At the start of each day, I stand by the window, look out, and pray into the dark predawn hours. This morning, as it has been each day before, I saw the image of the tree silhouetted against the faint light coming from the town in the valley below. In the darkness, one would almost think a living tree was standing there until the light of dawn revealed the image of its death.

The image of the dead tree could be a metaphor of sorts for what is taking place in your life. Something has filled your view of life for many years. It was once alive, vibrant and beautiful, but over time became diseased and died. It could be a relationship, a job or way of seeing the world around you. The time has come to remove the dead image. God has something new He wants to show you.

The removal of what has died will change how you see a significant part of your life. You have been looking at the progressive death of something that once was alive just like the tree outside my window. And like me, you are finally ready for your dead tree to be gone. You no longer want to look outside your window and see death.

I am looking forward to a change of scenery when I look out my window. In the future, I will see an image of a clear blue sky where pealing bark, dripping black sap, and dry, crispy leaves once stood.

The anticipation of something new came to visit my thinking this morning. Tomorrow morning, when I rise and stand in front of the window to pray, I will see new stars in the night sky not visible before the tree was removed and later in the day when the sun rises, I will see an expanse of clear blue sky. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Engaging Our Spiritual Transmission

If a car is put in neutral, it will eventually come to a stop. The engine can be revved, and the car can be a premium grade having all the added options, but without the transmission being in gear, it will go nowhere. The vehicle will eventually lose its ability to make forward progress because of its neutrality.

In a culture filled with so many impassioned and angry voices, in our frustration, it is too easy to seek a voiceless place of neutrality thinking that is a spiritual place to live. Some followers of Jesus who want to appear informed and balanced must be careful they do not put the transmission of their faith into a form of intellectual and spiritual neutral. This can cause the impact of their lives to gradually slow and become stationary without having any real Kingdom influence on the surrounding culture and within the Church.

The only gear that will give you the right kind of engagement is the heart of God. Some good people have come to a standstill because they have wanted to distance themselves from all the trash-talk. In the long run, that choice doesn’t work because it leaves the cultural conversation without the sound of God's heart.

If you find yourself wanting to walk away from all the drama, consider withdrawing to a place of solitude with God for a season. Read the Psalms. Meditate on God’s goodness. Detoxify your soul. Fast. Do whatever you need to do to discover what your voice sounds like when you choose to speak the truth of God's heart in love. 

Seek the heart of God, and once you encounter His heart, you will be able to engage your spiritual gears once again and find your way forward along the noisy and congested cultural highway. Stay engaged and in gear with the heart of God. It is the only gear that will give you the traction needed to move forward and make a difference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

God's Plural Plans for Our Lives

When a life plan falls apart it and a feeling of discouragement arrives, it is too easy to believe a lie that says God has only one plan for our life. In those painful experiences, we can give up because we don't see a new way forward, thinking we serve a one-shot God. God has more than one plan for each life and He can make each one of them work no matter what kind of derailment has taken place.

During a lunch conversation with my daughter, Anna, she mentioned the plural usage of the word “plans” in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” I looked up the verse just to read it again with fresh eyes and contemplate what the Lord was saying. As I read the verse, I realized the beauty of God’s creative ability when it comes to the failed plans in our lives. He is the infinite God of all things, including the revelation of a new way forward when we think our failed plan was the end of our road.

If a plan for your life did not work out, come to God in prayer and worship and ask Him to reveal another plan. These other plans are not second rate or lesser in value or quality than the original plan. God’s plans are all created in love and filled with excellence. He is waiting to hear from people whose plan was painfully dismantled. 

The Lord wants us to believe He has more goodness in store for our lives beyond the pain of what fell apart. God's goodness is always ready to reveal a new way forward with a new plan that will lead us into a future filled with hope.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

When Life Wears Well

Yesterday, I had to take off my wedding band. My ring had left a deep indentation in the flesh of my ring finger from continually wearing it for the last 46 years. I noticed there was no remaining design on the ring. The last hint of the original design was long gone. When we bought our rings those many years ago, a serrated design graced the ring. Today, after decades of wear, the ring is now only a smooth gold circle.

I don’t like it when I have had to take off my ring for some occasions, like a medical procedure that does not allow jewelry to be worn or when I have to wash a lot of grease from my hands. It never feels right. 

I have noticed the appearance of the ring has changed, but its original substance has remained. It had worn over time creating a different image from what it looked like when Jan and I visited a jewelry store in a mall in San Jose, California in the summer of 1973 as a young couple in love and recently engaged.

The ring makes me think of life and relationships. Everything will change over time if it is healthy. Nothing remains the same. Our marriage has changed over the years, just like our rings. Through our failures and successes, God has polished our relationships under His loving touch.  The initial impressions of marriage we had have worn off in the process of maturing in our love. 

Some people try to keep things the same, and in that futile attempt do not become the person or the relationship God intended them to become. I like the worn look and feel of my ring. It reminds me of a faithful and forgiving God. I love the beautifully familiar nature of my relationship with Jan. It is a reflection of oneness we share that makes me feel strange when we are apart. 

Every healthy relationship will wear and change over time. To not appreciate and welcome the beauty of change will rob us of a sense of gratitude. That gratitude will make us want to put a ring back on our finger or wait at a door for the return of someone we love because we are not complete without them.  Embrace the beauty of change. The gratitude you experience in that embrace will help the relationships God has given you to wear well over time.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Prophetic Placement

The most significant prophetic words are not always spoken from behind a podium in a church service, or by a speaker at a conference. The most significant prophetic words are many times spoken in closed doors gatherings with world-changers whose target is the transformation of a culture or in a private office meeting with a political figure who governs a nation. Sometimes these words are delivered in what the world would describe as a "chance" meeting on the street. The significance of the word is not defined by the venue of its delivery.

The people who carry and deliver this level of prophetic ministry know they were positioned for the delivery of the word solely by the hand of God. It is too easy to spend our lives making a way for our gift instead of allowing God to make the way. That desire can limit the scope of our gift and our ability to be used by God in a more significant and powerful way.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Declaration

When you don’t know the next step, declare the heart of God into the unknown. Declarations of God’s heart will make a way when no way forward is visible. 
Declarations uttered in faith are like spiritual bulldozers; they have the power to push aside walls of unbelief. These declarations call into being those things not yet visible to the natural eye. 
God has made a way for you. Let your words express the joy that awaits you. Sing songs of deliverance before you are delivered. Worship before you have a reason to worship. Trust before your circumstances tell you trust is possible. 
You are traveling on a new and unexplored course. You will not arrive at your final destination through human power or intellect. Your arrival at God’s preferred future will come because at some point you stood where no trail was visible and called forth a pathway by declaring the heart of God. 
 (An excerpt from the book, A Good Place.)

Saturday, August 3, 2019

A Trustworthy Chain of Events

There are only two things in this life we can stand upon and be secure. Those two things are the love of God and Scripture. Nothing else can provide us with the secure footing required to navigate through the challenging seasons of life. 

Scripture tells us that the perfect love of God casts out our fear. This casting out is not something we do alone as an exercise of our faith while God watches from a distance as we struggle in our pain. When a dark season arrives, we are invited to follow God’s lead in confronting our fear. 

We have a part to play in the expulsion of fear. We are called to partner with God in faith facing the things in our life that cause our concern, but it is His love that does the casting out. Our faith links us to His power and authority over fear. We can shout at the fear as loud as we want, but it is the power and authority of Jesus Christ that makes fear tremble and depart, not our zealous shout of faith. Once we are aware that God’s love is at work in our lives and hell’s lies are being dislodged, a peace comes that Scripture tells us is beyond our ability to comprehend.

If we are not aware of God’s love, and if we are not consuming His word as part of our regular spiritual diet, we will suffer the consequence of feeling adrift, alone and without stability when life throws a challenge our way. Our realization of the love of God brings us peace because we know He will never leave us or forsake us in the depths of our worst trials. Scripture gives us something stable to stand upon when life becomes shaky, and nothing is making sense. 

This is a chain of events. Once we know God loves us, and we allow His word to affirm that reality, a crazy, unexplainable peace begins to enter our mind. That peace has a traveling companion called hope. Hope arrives with a mission to carry us through our personal valleys that are shadowed by death and despair to deliver us to outcomes we never thought possible when the challenge first appeared. This all works together as a heavenly chain of events – our trust in God’s love and His Word, and the arrival of hope. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Thought Police

Some mainstream social media platforms and search engines are demonstrating a level of control and censorship not imagined just a few years ago. Consideration of an opposing opinion is being denied and in some extreme cases defined as domestic terrorism. 

As frustrating as this can be, God is not muzzled. His prophets are taking note. Get ready to hear new levels of Spirit-inspired revelation that will reveal the wisdom of Heaven. This revelation will dismantle hell's attempt to control the culture.  Rome tried to censor the first believers in an attempt to maintain control. That attempt proved ineffective and futile. Truth expressed in love can never be silenced.

These forms of cultural censorship must be evaluated spiritually. If not, our frustration level will increase to such a degree that we could begin to mistakingly think God's agenda could be thwarted by human restraint. God is about to shout the sound of freedom upon the Earth. It will be a sound that no attempt at human censorship will be able to withstand.