Friday, December 6, 2019

2020 - A Year of Suddenlies

2020 will be a year of unexpected and sudden intervention by God in human affairs. It will be unexpected for those who have forgotten the word of the Lord. The prophet Isaiah wrote what the Lord said at a time in human history similar to ours, “Long ago I told you what was going to happen. Then suddenly, I took action, and all my predictions came true” (Isaiah 48:3).  Carry expectancy with you as you cross over the threshold of the New Year. Sudden things are about to happen.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

No More Worry

For those who worry about the outcome of an impeachment hearing, the 2020 election or whether a nation will rise or fall, it would be wise to read the following verse from the prophet Isaiah who recorded the word of Lord during a troubling time in Israel's history. "For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now!" (Isaiah 46:13). We are in a moment of heavenly timing. That timing will release supernatural intervention as a Kairos moment upon the predictable Chronos timeline of human reasoning. The answers to the dilemmas in our culture are coming from above, not from below. Align yourself with the heart of God and all the things causing you concern will find their place of submission under the mighty hand of God. God remains sovereign in all things.

Writing the Story of Our Life

Whenever I write, whether it is a short article or something more substantial, like a book, I do two things in the process. I write the piece first, then I read it. In the writing part, it’s not that I don’t actually read while I am writing, it is just a different phase in the process. When I finally read the finished product, I read the text as someone reading it for the first time. I read as a seeker. It is in that final reading where I see problems with my logic, the delivery of an unhealthy tone, or at times, the need to hit the delete button and start over.

We all write (live) portions of our lives before they become a readable text. In the writing seasons, we are living things out for which we have no prior experience. It is a messy process filled with mistakes. We use the wrong punctuation and words that created unclear text. Because of these error-filled seasons, we can begin to think we will never be able to publish a worthy life. It is in these early stages of editing where our life develops the content of its story. In this private place where we work with the Editor of Heaven, we are fine-tuning the content of our life so that someday it will become a readable testimony bringing hope to others as they write the story of their own life.

I’m hard on myself when it comes to my writing, and unfortunately, I am also hard on myself during the first draft seasons when God is doing something new in my life. We all need to give God the time He needs to turn an immature and incomplete first draft manuscript of our life into something that is easily read by others. In these gut-wrenching times of editing, we develop the text of the finished manuscript. This is where the text of our life becomes readable and relatable and without a lot of fluff. Being willing to work with God through seasons of intense life-editing is where the best sellers in His Kingdom are written. Keep writing. Your story is still developing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

God is Bringing Comfort and Rest to Afflicted Minds

This morning as Jan and I took communion, we prayed that our minds would not be divided. We anointed each other with oil to heal anything in our thinking that would separate us from a singlemindedness with the Lord. 

As we prayed, I saw the image of a person struggling with dark and confused thinking. Their feeling of confusion and divided thinking had become a real concern. They did not know what to do and even wondered if they were losing their minds. The person had prayed, rebuked the evil one, and stood upon the promises of Scripture, but the problem seemed to persist. 

I saw the top of the person's skull had been removed, revealing the two hemispheres of their brain. A spirit of division was attempting to gain a foothold in their thought life. In the next moment, I saw the Lord approach the person, and like someone wrapping their arms around a troubled child, the Lord embraced the vulnerable and exposed brain. He began to speak words of comfort to the afflicted one. The freedom I saw beginning to emerge on the countenance of the person being embraced did not come from their effort to try to do better or think the right thoughts. It came because the love of God had appeared and surrounded their restless mind in an act of mercy speaking words of assurance and peace. When the Lord spoke, the sound of His voice silenced the spirit of division.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Understanding the Detour

Take a moment to reconsider the detour that is taking place in your life. You are being detoured, not abandoned. 

The word “detour” is of French origin. It was created from the word “tour” which means “to turn.” God is turning your life in a new direction. A tour of something new is taking place. A dictionary definition defines a detour as “a deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure.” You are being detoured to experience a tour through regions of your life and faith you had not considered before this detour began. 

As the detour moves forward, focus on the landscape of God’s heart, not on what you are leaving behind or what awaits you in the future. This is why the detour is happening. It is not to rob you of your joy or destroy your dreams. You are being detoured to see the heart of God, and that image will change the way you view your future and interpret your past. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Reseting Our Spiritual Clock

This morning, I walked into our kitchen to start the coffee. In the darkness, I noticed the digital clock on the stove read 3:39, and the clock on the microwave was reading 3:40. When the time changed in November, I set the clocks back an hour and thought I did it at a precise moment, but there must have been a short lag. I did not notice the difference between the two clocks since the time change. But, when I entered the kitchen this morning, the two clocks revealed their difference for just a moment before returning to proper alignment. Had I not been standing in the kitchen at that precise moment, I would have missed the error.

Like the two digital clocks in our kitchen, not everything in our life will always align when it comes to our perception of time. Our expectations and assumptions can create miscalculations in our understanding of time. When we realize those misalignments, we need to trust God that He has the timing of our life held safely in His hands. 

On one of our trips through London, Jan, and I visited Greenwich, a suburb of London. Greenwich is where the Royal Observatory is located and where Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is kept using an atomic clock. In most of the non-English speaking world, this time keeping is referred to as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Greenwich clock is the timepiece from which all world time is set, plus or minus hours depending on where you read the current time on the globe. Incorrectly setting our wristwatch or the clocks in our home does not affect GMT/UTC. Greenwich remains constant as a global reference point for all time measurements.

Whenever we set our spiritual and emotional clocks, we create a frame of reference for the timing of the events in our life. Our settings will always contain a human error. This doesn’t mean we failed. It merely means we missed the timing for the realization of a desire of our heart or the fulfillment of a dream. Life is not over because we set the wrong time. In God’s Kingdom, a correction of a timing error is always possible because God is the merciful keeper of time. Just as someone who wants to set their clock to the proper time would set their timepiece to the atomic clock in Greenwich, so it is with you and me when we want to align the timing of our lives with God. If we realize we made a mistake in our perception of time, we need to give God our clock to be reset. He will lovingly reset our clock to His timing and hand it back to us.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Keep Moving

Last night, I had a dream. In the dream, I saw someone slowing down to cross an intersection cautiously. Then the Lord stepped out into the intersection and waved the person through declaring, "The way is clear." A lot of our understanding of faith is caution based. That is not a negative thing unless it is how we always approach the intersections of life. When you approach the next intersection, never forget that God's ability to lead you in the right way is greater than the devil's ability to lead you in the wrong way. God will tell you when to slow down. Until then, keep moving forward in faith.

Depositing Sweetness

Our marriage is filled with small rituals. Each morning after Jan and I greet each other, we enjoy a long hug and a kiss. Then we move to our second daily ritual of morning writing. Jan heads off to her chair in our bedroom, and I enter our living room where my writing chair awaits. After about an hour of writing, I make breakfast and take it to Jan. Every morning, I place a small piece of chocolate on Jan’s plate to be savored after breakfast as it melts in her mouth under the warming influence of her last cup of coffee. 

It’s that little piece of daily chocolate that I am thinking about as I write these words. In case you might have some idyllic thoughts about our marriage, it’s that little piece of chocolate that I hope will create some relational equity when later in the day I say something stupid or hurt Jan’s feelings. 

Buying your wife flowers for no reason - just because, or doing the dishes without being asked or putting a piece of chocolate on a breakfast plate is what I call “depositing sweetness.” Anything we do to express our love to another person is like making a deposit in a savings account. Over time it collects interest.

My father was a rough and tumble kind of man. He grew up in the depths of the Great Depression, just trying to survive. He hopped freight trains to find work and boxed a few rounds on Friday night for a $5 purse. Yet, in all his manliness and strength, as a young boy, I watched how he tenderly treated my mom with on-going expressions of his affection. He did the little things that mattered.  When he did fail as a father or husband, it was the interest gained from those loving acts deposited over time that kept our family together in the tough times. Witnessing those small expressions of love given to each other over time created a respect that my brother and I have for our parents who have long-departed this life.

It’s never too late to start expressing your love. Today, look around and discover a place to deposit a little sweetness in the lives of those you love. That deposit may seem small, but it will not go unnoticed.

A few weeks ago, I got busy with our breakfast preparation and forgot to put the little piece of chocolate on Jan’s plate. When I walked out of our bedroom to return to my writing chair, I heard Jan say, “A little piece of chocolate would be nice.” Nothing we do in love for those we love ever goes unnoticed.