Thursday, April 30, 2020

Before We Come Back Together

Today, as one who served in pastoral ministry for many years, I want to share something with my fellow pastors, church leadership, and those who love and pray for the local church. These are unprecedented times that will require of us deeper levels of wisdom and sensitivity to the Spirit's leading.

When all the social distancing restrictions lift, and we begin to reassemble, be careful that you don't assume you are coming back to something familiar. Yes, we will gather once again in a familiar facility with familiar faces, but everyone will have changed in the absence, including you. It would be wise to explore and understand the implications of that change. Take some of the remaining time of this separation to gather with your staff and primary leaders and talk about the ramifications of what has happened before you make plans to come back together. Your people know what a shared life of faith was like before all of this took place. They need leaders who understand what has happened in their thinking about the Church and how your ministry can help them live in a new world. 

These changes are not physical but philosophical and mission-oriented.  The application of your mission statement may need redefinition to take on new forms of expression, each with the same value as a Sunday morning gathering. The change that has taken place under the influence of this pandemic is more significant than any of us had imagined or fully realized. Those who discern and understand that change will be used by God to lead His people into new frontiers in the coming years, frontiers many of us did not know even existed. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Perfect Fear Casts Out Love

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, a perfect storm is taking place. The spiritual storm systems of isolation and suspicion are joining with the fear created by an unseen and predatory virus. These influences are beginning to merge, creating a superstorm of unimagined strength and intensity. Unless we fight against the development of this perfect storm, we will be swept away by its powerful winds.

Scripture tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear" (I John 4:18). Perfect is defined as “lacking nothing, complete.”  While that is an absolute truth, the opposite can also be sadly true. If we allow fear to become prominent in our thinking and our interactions with people, fear will be perfected instead of love, and it will become the driving force in our lives.

We are living in a time when unreasonable fear has taken control of the political and social discourse.  Statistics on both sides of an issue are no longer trustworthy because personal agendas are driving their interpretation. People are angry, and in some cases, rightly so. Unless that anger is dealt with, it will create devastating results in our personal relationships and within the institutions of culture.

When addressing the end of time, Jesus said the love of many would grow cold under the influence of unfolding fearful events. A cold love develops after incubating in the Petrie dish of fear, isolation, and suspicion. When our love loses its perfection, fear takes the advantage and enters our lives creating a storm of death, a death far greater than a death that comes when a deadly virus pays a visit.  Be careful. Protect love at all costs.

The Final Gear Check

Every life-assignment requires some form of gear. Gear is that equipment you make sure is ready and functional in case the stuff of life hits the fan. Before an operation, a special forces operator does a final check of their gear to make sure everything is in place and ready to go. It can save their life, the lives of their team members, and ensure the overall success of a mission. An empty magazine, neglecting to bring along a breaching tool, or a malfunctioning communication system is a recipe for death and disaster.

Gear is not always tangible. It can be a mindset. It's having the right personnel on the right team.  Gear can be a mission statement in place and operable. The idea of doing a final gear check applies to a business venture, a government initiative, maintaining an emotionally healthy family unit, or anywhere people are on a mission.

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he listed the full armament of a soldier of God. Before he inventoried the gear of a spiritual soldier, he made this statement, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13). The part of the verse that stuck out to me was “and having done everything.” In other words, it is wise to do a final spiritual gear check before battle to make sure the right gear was on board and ready to use. Paul then went on to list the spiritual gear needed to engage spiritual battle – truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word.

Before your next spiritual engagement, do a final gear check. Is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and God’s Word on you and ready to use? You will need all of this gear to come out alive. Every spiritual conflict will use all of this gear. Having done everything - a final gear check, you will then be able to stand and survive the coming days of spiritual warfare no matter what comes against you or your spiritual team.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Danger of a Knee-Jerk Response

It never ceases to amaze me how some people will negatively interpret what we write or speak. Some personal filters are so biased it does not matter how clear something is written or spoken, their personal bias hijacks their reasoning and interpretation. At that point, what they share comes forth as an undisciplined knee-jerk reaction void of wisdom and mercy. I know this because I have been guilty of the same thing. So have you.

I've had people challenge me on something I wrote, causing me to ask myself, “Did they actually take the time to read what I wrote?”  If you thought our culture was uptight before the pandemic, as they say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” Our culture is beginning to feel like caged animals in a zoo. If what you share reaches through the bars of a person's bias, you might get bitten. Hungry people can become desperate when they feel caged. It doesn't matter who or what reaches through the bars of their intellectual cage, they will bite.

Instead of being the perpetrator of a knee-jerk response and taking a bite out of someone, what can we do when our passion rises to the surface? First of all, it is OK to be passionate about something. Passion is not a problem. The problem is what we do with our passion. I have passion for Jan, not for other women. We must disciple and direct our passion or it will become our slavemaster. Just to say, we are passionate about something without integrity in our response is irresponsible. 

When passion rises, pause, and inquire of the Lord. Read or listen again to what offended you and try to capture the presenters intent. Then ask yourself two questions. Is my response in line with the heart of God? Would this be better challenged in a personal note instead of splashing my knee-jerking ignorance all over social media and beyond?

Not all the time, but in a few instances, I have actually gained a friend after a personal inquiry was made, and clarity on an issue was received. I’ve never experienced this when a comment bomb was dropped and the person continued on their merry way. As the culture heats up, we need to cool down. Only cool heads are free from a knee-jerk way of living and responding to others.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The New Road Ahead

The life-road you have been traveling has been filled with potholes, dust, and dirt. The speed at which you thought your life would have moved forward has been hindered by these conditions. You wanted to press the accelerator but could not, fearing the relational vehicle in which you were traveling, would begin to fall apart. 

You are stronger than this bumpy section of road. You have made it this far under challenging circumstances. Hang on for a little longer.  Your spiritual life may be covered with dust, and your emotional suspension system may have been fatigued and compromised under harsh conditions. However, you are still intact and moving forward in faith. Keep it up. You will soon come to the end of this unimproved roadway. 

God has paved a new future for you. Once you hit the new pavement, things will smooth out, and the dust cloud of this difficult season will become only a fading memory in your rearview mirror. Proceed with wisdom on the last few miles of this bumpy road. Don’t give up. A new way forward is coming soon. 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Until We Understand All Things

This is a moment in history where a significant global shift is taking place. It can seem overwhelming to try and understand all that is happening in the world. It can feel like someone trying to walk across uneven ground wearing a blindfold. It can make you feel as though you don’t know the essential details and that you are somehow out of the most important loop of information. 

It is easy to feel disconnected, not knowing what is taking place behind the scene where powerful spirits are attempting to direct the affairs of earthly governments and cultures. In the middle of these events, you will be standing on solid ground if you have placed your trust in God. 

You have been brought to this moment of history to either discover for the first time or reaffirm once again that trusting God is your only viable option for personal sanity and emotional stability.  Keep your eyes focused on Him. While all of these events whirl around you wanting to draw you into a maelstrom of conflict, your primary assignment is to love God, your friends, and your family. Set yourself free from the expectations of others and worship the Lord in your unique way. Give yourself permission to enjoy the small things in life. Keep your life simple and uncluttered. God is OK with all of these choices because it makes hearing Him easier when life is confusing and seems out of control. 

Trust is the most powerful possession you have if that trust is in the never-failing goodness of God, not in your ability to understand all that is taking place. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Watch North Korea

If the news coming out North Korea about either the death or vegetative state of Kim Jung Un after a failed surgery is accurate, something significant is taking place in Asia. I wondered why the Lord had me hold a word for a few weeks to finally share it this morning on my Facebook wall about God keeping or removing leaders. That word, alongside something I wrote two years ago on this blog about North Korea titled "North Korea - History Will Fast-Forward and Prayers will be Answered." makes me hope for heavenly intervention in that nation. If the information regarding Kim Jong Un is correct, a significant shift will take place in the leadership of North Korea. Friends who are intercessors are beginning to gather tonight to pray into this developing story. The story of North Korea is not finished until God writes the last chapter.

Deciding Where To Invest Our Hope

God puts people in places of authority for purposes we may never fully understand. Whether they remain in that position for the full course of God’s intended purpose, on the one hand, is a choice they must make, but ultimately God will determine the longevity of their service. 

Nothing in this life is sure – no political system, societal structure, or expression of religion. Neither are those who lead those institutions.  Only God is absolute, all-powerful, and unchangeable, not people or the systems they represent. 

Our hope should never be placed in those whom God has positioned in a place of leadership to exercise His will, no matter who the person is or the role they might fulfill. Above all the promises made to us or the dreams we hold dear, our hope must rest only with God and God alone. Everything else will eventually disappoint us when we discover that we invested our time, energy, and resources in cycles of human failure reaping only a harvest of sorrow and disillusionment. Those failed investments will eventually lead us to a place of bitterness because our hope was misplaced. 

“He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning” (Daniel 2:21).

Friday, April 24, 2020


I’ve noticed something, or rather, had it confirmed once again. In a time of peace or when no global trauma is taking place, smartasses have an audience. They are like the schoolyard bully no one confronts, until one day when someone does, and then they are no longer the big man on the schoolyard. 

Once a war starts or an innocent grade school kid is killed in a drive-by shooting, or any sad event takes place, smartasses don’t sound so cool or hip anymore. Their voice becomes more hollow and irrelevant in the middle of a crisis. 

Smartass inclined social critics look for the smallest slip of someone’s tongue, a miss-applied metaphor, and jump on the issue offering their smart-assed response. Their critique lets everyone know the depth of their shallow intellect, and even more sadly, the mud puddle capacity of their empathy for others they deem as intellectually less.

Don’t be a smartass. Just be smart. 

Replacing the Status Quo

We have all heard or used the phrase, “the status quo.” Status quo is defined as “the existing condition or state of affairs.” God has always been the disrupter of the status quo since the beginning of time, especially when it did not reflect His heart or desire for humanity. 

Coronavirus is a diversion. It wants to draw our faith into a dead-end canyon of despair, where it will shrivel up and die and become our status quo. It is always wise to view any sorrow or drama in this life through the lens of faith. Faith allows us to see past the immediate challenges we are facing to see what God has planned. This is where we experience hope.

To wisely navigate this moment in history, we need to look past this global pandemic and its sad repercussions to see how God plans to use it to interrupt the old status quo by importing something new – the importation of Heaven’s status quo upon the Earth. 

Only God can fulfill what the Apostle Paul wrote, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28”. In this painful time in human history, we have two questions to ask of ourselves, “Do I love God, and am I living out His purpose for my life?” If we can answer in the affirmative to both of those questions, all things will work out, especially when the old status quo is upended and something new comes to take its place. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Restart Line is Forming

A cultural restart line is beginning to form. In the coming days, this line will become visible to those who view what is happening with the eyes of faith. The Spirit is sending out invitations for people to begin lining up at a place called “Restart.” What began as a very confusing and desperate situation will morph into expectancy as people begin to respond to the Spirit’s call to line up. 

Once all the responding individuals and institutions are assembled, a release date will be revealed.  That date will not be announced by any news organization or government entity. This will be a God-call to begin moving.  The release will be called a move of God as people follow the leading of the Spirit into a hope-filled future.

Those who have allowed their ears to constantly be filled with a message of fear, dread, and cynicism will be unable to hear this call of God. Those who moved forward in faith and responded to God’s invitation will be the starting point of a restorative work of the Spirit that will lead us into a new future, not return us to the past. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Just a Thought

In the past, I have written about being careful regarding conspiracy theories. I even quoted Scripture that cautions us on the subject. Like you, I have my opinions. 

A theory is something that remains speculative until the evidence arrives to verify the issue in question. Verification is what moves theory into the realm of reality. The uncomfortable truth is that in the current sea of conspiracy theories, some of them might actually prove to be true. Conspiracy is not what we want leading our lives, but to dismiss all of them out of hand because it is fashionable to do so is as foolish as believing everything floating across our computer screen.

Cynicism, hipster theology, or the need to remain credible at all costs can blind us from seeing a deeper reality. We can be like people, who out of fear, begin to make absolute statements and end up rejecting all conspiratorial issues out of hand. One of fear’s most powerful tactics is the dismissal of the things that make us uncomfortable.

Perhaps the wisest course of action is to wait and see before we start issuing absolutes about things that have not yet fully run their course. This does not mean we cannot challenge an outright lie that stands in opposition to God’s word. It merely means we don't have to correct every theory we disagree with. Time will do that work for us. Correction can become a distracting, fulltime job – a job that none of us do very well. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Rise Up and Move On!

It's time to rise up and move on.  Get up and make the bed of your faith. Change the sheets of discouragement. Replace them with crisp, clean words of hope. Dust off the doubt from all the surfaces in your spiritual house. Shower off the debris of any faithless words you have spoken. Put on garments of praise for the God who loves you beyond imagination. This is a new day. It is not like yesterday.  You can lay in a bed of discouragement for another day or choose to believe that God is the keeper of His word, and none of what He promised will fail.  All things are possible if you choose to rise up and move on. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Catch a Memory

Take a moment and recapture a fond memory. It is a healing exercise. I just did, and a strange and beautiful peace entered my mind pushing aside some of the concerns I have picked up of late. 

As a young boy, I remember going fishing with my dad and riding in his little aluminum boat on Lake Berryessa in California. Dad had an old 2-cycle outboard motor that coughed and chugged us across the glassy surface of the lake at the break of dawn, leaving in our wake a tendril of blue exhaust smoke. Our fishing poles stuck out from the boat’s bow like a ship's masthead with red and white bobbers bouncing up and down. My brother and I sat in the front seat, shivering in the cool early morning air that passed by our pink cheeks. As the boat motored toward our favorite cove, we were anticipating the first tug of a fish taking the bait and submerging our bobber. Dad was at the stern, running the outboard with a Camel cigarette hanging from his mouth. My brother and I exchanged glances with each other and then back at dad. He was smiling. He loved to be with “his boys.”  Those were simpler times with a lot less life clutter to process.

Today, reach back in time and grab a simple memory. Linger in its remembrance for a few moments. Like the power of a testimony, a simple memory can cross time and bring the same joy into the current moment that was experienced when the event first took place. These are gifts from God. Unpack them with joy.

What Needs To Be Exterminated?

Globally, people have been pressed into forced isolation. They can’t go to work. Most of their favorite stores and restaurants are closed. The kids are home 24/7, and the familiar forward motion of life has come to a standstill. The cessation of our normal activities has forced us to stop and entertain the possibility of rest. This can go two ways – positive or negative. The negative aspect is that we do nothing with our emotions and let them drag us around to deliver us back into our routine of life when things get back to “normal” without having made any substantive adjustments in our thinking. There is a positive aspect of learning how to rest.

The following quote is from my book, BEYOND. A few months ago, while writing the final draft of the book, I had no idea how real and personal the following paragraph would become for me and many others. It gave me a positive handhold for this challenging time.

“In a place of rest, I will recognize what can impede the long-term endurance needed to finish well. A primary root of the Hebrew word for sabbath means “to exterminate.” When we stop to rest, things begin to surface in our life that has been hidden beneath a great deal of shallow surface activity. The flotsam of wrong motives and unhealthy ways of thinking start to rise to the surface, and we see their stark and deadly reality. We must exterminate these things before they push us so hard that we collapse emotionally and spiritually from self-induced exhaustion.” 

Today, examine the flotsam that is floating around your life in this time of isolation. Deal with it. Assign it a new place in your thinking if it is positive or exterminate it if it is negative. You are being prepared for reentry. What you are going through is part of that preparation. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020


You are not adrift. The current of God's love is moving you to a new place. Your job in this time of transition is to rest and trust in His faithfulness to get you where you need to be.

In Flew a Ladybug

This is a photo of two of my favorite females. Jan is holding our new puppy named Ladybug. The pup is the result of a romantic encounter between a Labradoodle mom and an Australian Shepherd father. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago. I like it because Jan and Ladybug had just finished taking a nap together, and all was all quiet on the puppy dog front – for a moment.

The name Ladybug came after wanting to name her Lady but felt she was something more. My daughter Anna commented one day as we entertained our new puppy’s name, “She reminds me of a little ladybug.” An hour after Anna made that comment, the yet-to-be-officially-named puppy and I were sitting outside in her kennel enjoying the sunshine when a real ladybug flew out of nowhere and landed on my right arm. Once the ladybug had my attention, it flew up and off my arm and made a few orbits above my head, making sure I got the message and then flew away.

God likes to confirm the little things in life, like the naming of a puppy. For those whose image of God is of a distant and distracted father who cares little about such things, I pray those dear souls could see Him in a different light. 

Today, look for the ladybug kind of confirmations that visit our lives on a daily basis. They are messages from a loving Father who wants His children to know that His eye is on the sparrow, little puppies and anything His children love.

Saturday, April 18, 2020


This morning as Jan and I shared communion together, we were praying for some of you and for the institutions of our nation. During our communion prayer at 6:19 a.m., I heard the word, “Backfire!” 

Perverse political and religious spirits with unrighteous agendas have attached themselves to the opportunity offered by the coming of this hell-sent virus. They think this is their time to wreak havoc and introduce their agenda. 

The plans these spirits have tried to implement will soon begin to backfire. This backfiring will not be subtle. It will be heard and seen by all. Just as an engine backfires because of mistiming, so it will be with these plans for a cultural revolution. This is not their time. It is God’s time. 

The Fruit of Heaven

In this time of worldwide shaking, the fruit of your past obedience will fall into your hands in an unusual display of God’s goodness. The Lord has not forgotten your love and commitment to Him and to others. Every act of kindness you have done in the past planted a seed. Those seeds have grown and matured to become sweetened fruit hanging from God's vine. Open your hands in faith. This is a time of harvest. The fruit of Heaven is falling to Earth.

“You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalm 128:2).

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Joy to the World

Yesterday, while on a hike, I found myself singing Christmas carols. It was an out-of-the-blue kind of experience. While I sang the carols, I began to feel lighter and emotionally free. It was a pleasant sensation.

This morning, Jan shared with me a couple of articles written just this week by prophetic voices regarding the topic of Christmas. The Spirit is saying something.  In this season of isolation where increasing levels of frustration and anger are manifesting, we don’t have to let the negativity of the season affect the moment. We can import experiences of joy, like singing Christmas carols in April, into a season filled with despair and literally shift our attitude and hopefully, the environment and relationships around us.

If this sounds too simplistic or like an attempt to ignore reality, you are missing the point. Faith is supposed to overcome the restrictions of this life that want to rob us of our joy or tell us something cannot be done. There is nothing simplistic about it. It is a spiritual act empowered by faith. The sanest thing I did yesterday was to sing Christmas carols in April on a mountain trail out in the middle of nowhere.

Jingle your bells!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Replica Love is a Dangerous Thing

People are tossing around a lot of opinions of late, opinions about things they picked up via some YouTube theologian, from a social media comments section, or the polluted well of their favorite cable news program. If that is you, be careful. Truth is best confirmed in a relationship, not from a distant and biased platform.

One night as a freshly minted rookie cop, I almost shot a suspect. My training officer and I were on patrol in one of the worst parts of the city. It was 4:00 a.m. when we pulled a car over for a traffic violation. As a two-man patrol unit, I approached on the passenger side in the darkness to take a look inside the car to make sure it was OK. The driver did not know I was present. When my FTO arrived at the driver's door, I heard him ask to see the man’s driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. At that point, the man reached for the glove box, and that is when things went sideways.

The man’s right hand entered the glove box and brought out a .45 auto pistol. This was one of those moments where time literally slows down under an adrenal dump giving us time to fight or flight. I fought.  While drawing my .357 magnum revolver, I yelled at my partner, “Gun!” I began to squeeze off my first shot. In a millisecond, while I was acquiring my target, and before my hammer fell, the man’s hand opened up, and he dropped his weapon. Another ounce of trigger pressure and my weapon would have discharged. The man’s hands went up, and he shouted, “It’s just a toy replica! I just wanted to show it to you!”

After we pulled the man from his car and let him know what almost happened to him, he began to shake uncontrollably. We had a long and intense conversation with a very naïve and foolish man. That event reminds me of what is taking place in some segments of our culture. Opinions can get our credibility killed if we bring a replica to a gunfight.

Be careful that in pursuit of truth, you don’t partner with a greater error than not having your theology neatly packaged or being aligned with the "right" worldview. That greater error is the absence of love. When we get to whatever heaven is going to look like, Jesus is not going to check our theology. He is going to check the quality of our love. To a self-anointed theology expert, this sounds like heresy. But in reality, it sounds a lot like how Jesus responded when dealing with the unloving nitpickers of His day. Anything less than love can get the head of our relationships blown off if we assume we have the corner on the market of truth, and everyone else doesn't. Sadly, like the man in the car that night on patrol, in those situations, the evidence will prove what we had was a replica and not the real thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

God is Reframing Our Future

Many times, I will see something just before I begin to write. This morning, I saw frames like the kind of frames that surround a photo or work of art. The frames were approaching a date shortly when we will emerge from this time of isolation. Each frame has a life it will encompass and a date when the reframing will take place.

Most of us have written something in the margin of a book or a Bible. As we read along, we jot down thoughts and observations in the margins of the text. There is actually a term for this: “marginalia.” 

Marginalia originally described the intentional designs in the margins of Medieval illuminated manuscripts. The margins of these manuscripts were filled with beautiful patterns and images in gold and silver that helped “illuminate” the text. 

God will be reframing many of our lives in the coming days. He has written on these new frames – the marginalia - His desire for the next season of our life. The new frame will make our lives come alive with fresh clarity revealing the original intent of the Artist. 

This season has not been a wasted or lost time. Each painful loss and disappointment will be captured by God and transformed into a hope-filled marginalia text that will reveal the creativity of His redeeming power. When you emerge from this time, and your new frame is placed over the image of your life, you will become a masterpiece of God fit for a place of honor in the most prestigious gallery.

Monday, April 13, 2020

New Credentials for a New Season

The Lord is issuing new credentials of authority during this time of social isolation.  They will be used once we exit the current season and enter a new season soon to be revealed.  The new credentials will be issued to those who have not wasted this time huddled in worry or merely holding their emotional breath until this time of isolation passes. These credentials will not be initially recognized by those paralyzed in fear.  This is the same kind of fear that held captive the will of the older brothers of David and all of Israel while Goliath pranced back and forth, mocking God. 

While all believers have authority, few are exercising what they possess. As a result, our culture is being steered by a godless agenda with an assignment to hijack our Kingdom potential. 

The new credentials will come after we perform courageous acts of obedience that confront the lies and deception holding our culture in bondage. When David brought down the giant and cut off his head (the symbol of his authority), God gave David his kingly credentials to lead the nation. At that point, he was recognized as someone credentialed by God.  Some of you reading these words will act and speak like David as our culture lives in fear. What you do and say will make room for God to credential your life.

God does not have a Plan B. He only works from a Plan A. This is a Plan A moment in our history. Each of us can become recipients of new credentials if we allow God’s Spirit, not the spirit of the age to reform our worldview, and give us our marching orders. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Clearing the Lungs of Our Nation

For the last several days, an intense spiritual conflict took place in the heavens over the United States. Last night, a victory in that battle occurred because of the prayers of God's people. The Lord has arranged the timing of this victory to coincide with our celebration of the death, resurrection, and enthronement of Jesus Christ. 

The unusual emotions you may have experienced were byproducts of this conflict. It is not unusual for someone to be sensitive to what is happening in the spiritual realm and misinterpret what they are feeling. If your response was wrong-spirited or insensitive, confess your mistake and repent to those you affected and move on. 

This battle has cleared the lungs of our nation, allowing us to exhale and take in a new breath. That new breath will invigorate the plans of God in our lives and culture. Follow the hope that fresh breath brings. Hope will be the evidence that our spiritual lungs are clear of the congestion of fear, and in some cases, deception. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Voices of Reason

The masked and unresolved fears people carried with them during the last season of life before COVID-19 paid a visit have now attached themselves to this virus.  Unreason is ramping up and gaining more control with each passing day. While this constriction increases, new voices of reason are speaking up,  revealing that this fear has now become predatory. These voices of reason will not tolerate skewed statistics, unreasonable options, or political posturing.  The virus of fear has clamped down on both sides of our divided political spectrum. None are immune.  Love is getting ready to expose, call out, and cut the strands of this strangulating fear.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

When Prayer Finds Its Mark

In every spiritual conflict, there will be a single prayer that will be used by God to bring down the plans of hell. While many will be praying, one prayer from among the many will work its way through all the dark defenses and strike a fatal blow.

The death of Ahab, husband of Jezebel, reveals this principle. Ahab was a wicked king of Israel, and his death had been recently prophesied. Ahab disguised himself when going into battle in hopes of blending in with the other troops and not be a recognizable target. He had another man wear his royal robes into battle as a diversion. 

In the heat of battle, “An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor” (I Kings 22:34). The arrow was shot at the mass of enemy troops, but it found an intended target, a disguised target.

As we pray against dark agendas and evil strategies, we may not know how to pray with specificity. God understands that we don’t always have a clear understanding of what is taking place. He simply asks us to pray. We think our generic prayers are less significant than specific prayers. God is the one who directs our prayers, specific or not. He will be faithful to guide the flight of our prayers and help them find their intended mark. 

When that single Aramean soldier fired his arrow into the troops amassed before him, he was not aiming between the joints of Ahab’s armor. He was firing into a battle unaware of Ahab's presence. God guided the flight of the Aramean's arrow to find its distinct target just as He is guiding each prayer we fire today into our spiritual battles. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

This is Not a Time for Productivity

This time of social isolation is not for the purpose of productivity. It is meant for revelation. This is a moment of historical reset, not a break from our previous routine or a forced sabbath. The great danger for church leaders is trying to keep things afloat and continue to reproduce what was without entertaining the implications of a God-inspired reset only available when a fresh revelation is received and implemented. We can try to keep our people occupied with what was familiar in the last season and come out of this time without the reset and redirection God wants to offer that will lead us into the future.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a reset as: “to move (something) back to an original place or position: to put (a broken bone) back in the correct position for healing: to put (a gem) into a new piece of jewelry.” As I read this definition, a spiritual application came.

I had something written out to define the three elements of this reset, but the Lord said to not publish it, but allow each reader to make personal application. Using the metaphors provided in Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word reset as it applies to this season in history and our eventual return to “normal,” what does it mean for you as it applies to:

- a return to God’s original intent, personally and for the Church?
- a spiritually broken bone in our calling needing a reset for healing?
- a transfer of the gem of our faith into a new setting?

Answering these three questions will help individuals and communities of faith define what the reentry will look like. What hell intended for evil, death, and despair will be used by God to reset His people to be a more powerful expression of His life and love.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Surrounded by Angels

I debated whether to share the following experience, not because of any fear or doubt. I wanted to make sure I had permission from the Lord to make it public or keep it private as a personal experience. The Lord just gave me permission to share.

Last Wednesday morning, I was on a prayer walk through the woodlands near our home. I saw just a few people hiking on the trails. I was in one section of trail where I rarely encountered another person even during normal times. All of a sudden, I felt a presence behind me. I turned around in preparation to step aside and allow someone to pass by, but no one was there. At that moment, I knew an angel was walking behind me. I could not see the angel, but the sense of his presence was as real as if a flesh and blood human was behind me. I said out loud, “I sense your presence.” When I turned back around to continue walking, I sensed another angelic presence in front of me. All three of us were walking together. 

I inquired of the Lord what this encounter meant, and He said, “I have dispatched angels to walk as rear guards to follow my people and way-maker angels to walk in front of them as they follow the path of their faith.” A beautiful and powerful peace enveloped me as I continued to hike. 

You and I are not, nor have we ever been alone as we step forward in faith. God has positioned the resources of Heaven to walk with us through valleys of dry bones and through fields of plenty. We are always accompanied. The great assault taking place in this moment of history is an assault of fear, not a virus. This fear has been released in an attempt to immobilize our faith by making us believe we are naked, alone, and abandoned. Don’t accept the invitation to this fear. You are not alone. You are surrounded by angels on assignment who carry the glory of God. They are walking with you at this moment, and they have you covered on all sides. Keep moving. Faith, not fear, is the way forward. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Release of Dormant Callings

In this time of cultural pause, unrealized callings empowered by a prophetic promise will rise to the surface to be discovered and released. God never wastes a season, no matter how challenging it might appear. Each chapter of life is filled with the potential fulfillment of a promise. Dormant promises rising to the surface and being released in the middle of the painful seasons of life has been the history of God working in His people since the Creation.

22-years ago, I stepped off the platform at the De Bron conference center in Holland when a prophet named Jean Darnall, reached out a took me by the arm and said, “Young man, you will write for God.” To be honest, writing anything was the last thing in my bucket list. That word remained dormant and unattended until ten years later when, as a tired pastor in need of spiritual refreshment, I was invited to a leadership gathering at Bethel Church in Redding, California. During that visit, I had a deep and profound encounter with God. In that encounter, the word about writing was ignited and released. That was 8 books and 2,000+ blog articles ago.

Prophetic promises have seasons attached to their fulfillment. Those seasons are used by God to release the most impact once a promise is activated and engaged. Each of us carries these promises. Some of them are forgotten. Others are put on the back burner of our memory because they did not align with our desires at the time of their delivery. 

In the coming days, expect promises either forgotten or neglected to come to the surface of your consciousness and ask for your engagement. In the challenging and stressful seasons of life is where God does some of His most unique promise-fulfilling work. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Beautiful Passage

There is an interesting shift that takes place in our thinking as we grow older, and our remaining days are less than what has already been lived. A lessening of stress from the demands of life slowly arrives and sets up camp in our mind. The need to always strive, push, or do something profound seems to walk off the platform of our life. We then experience a shift in our focus and begin looking at life’s finish line welcoming its release. The demands that once pulled on our peace vanish and are replaced with a strangely beautiful abiding. None of this is a compromise of excellence or abandoning of purpose. It is the power and beauty of rest being expressed in preparation for the final passage.

Apocalypse Sells

Apocalypse sells books and movies; it promotes some ministries and creates insular, fear-based fellowship, but does little to advance the Kingdom of God. 

When we forget the truth expressed in the following verse and others like it, we will too easily buy into an apocalyptic, end of the world mindset as our only option and forget God's ultimate end game - the redemption of all things. 

“The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him” (Psalm 22:27 - emphasis mine).

During this time of global isolation, fear wants to infect us with a deadlier virus than COVID-19. If we follow the lead of fear, we will never arrive at a God-inspired destination. Just as a natural virus separates us from those we love, so can a spiritual virus of fear separate us from those God intends us to love.

Get on the side of faith and hope. Abandon the appeal of fear and dread. God has something better in mind.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Springing the Trapdoor of Evil

The gallows of control and subjugation of God’s people are being constructed by the spirit of Haman in an attempt to destroy the work of God’s Spirit. While individuals are being used to build these gallows in the political and economic sphere, do not focus your attention on them. These individuals are only a diversion, pawns used in a broader strategy of evil. The real battle is taking place in the second heaven, the realm of spirits.  

Above all this intense warfare, Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, the place of supreme authority. No plan of hell or an evil plague will have the last say if God’s people will pray. The spirits motivating people toward these evil agendas will soon fall through the trapdoor of their own devices. Some of the individuals held captive by these spirits will see the error of their ways and turn to God in repentance. In this time of unusual conflict, focus on the end game, not emotional diversions, and you will see the glory of God released in the Earth.

“So, they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:10).

This is Our Issachar Moment in History

A great deal of social and political maneuvering is taking place in the shadows outside the spotlight of this global crisis. What you see playing out is not the real focus. Ancient political spirits are positioning assets and making plans that are not visible to those who only see the surface implications. History must be studied and understood, or our naivety in these matters will catch us unprepared.

As I considered these things, I saw the hand of God clasping a leather-bound book of history. From Heaven, the Lord extended his hand and passed the book through the veil of space and time. He then placed the book in the hands of those in the Church who carry the spirit of Issachar. 

The destiny of the cultures of the world is being placed in the hands of the Church. The transforming and reforming power of God’s preferred history for our world is greater in power and authority than the collective plans of darkness.  

Wake up from the slumber of death and begin to prophesy a future of life and hope to a world that only sees death, not the possibility of resurrection life. This future of hope, not despair, is being announced by God’s prophets. Listen for its sound. It is the sound of reformation of the cultures of the world. That sound has been released from the throne of God and will define our history before we actually live it. It will become the sound of a faith that sees the substance of things not seen.

“The sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do” (I Chronicles 12:32).

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Emotional Solitary Confinement

When I was 12-years old, I went pheasant hunting with my dad and brother near Los Banos, California. We saw a promising field and asked the landowner for permission to hunt. He was gracious and took us out on his property to show us where the birds hung out. 

On the way to the field, we passed an old, abandoned farmhouse. The house was where the landowner stored some of his farming equipment. As we approached the house, a deep and threatening growling and barking began. The farmer kept a guard dog locked up in the house to deter theft. I saw the dog in the window and called out to say hi and was told by the farmer not to address the dog. He said he wants no one to speak to the dog so it would not become accustomed to human contact and remain aggressive to strangers. Even as a kid, I knew that was wrong on so many levels.

That guard dog reminds me of what happens to people who are isolated and alone for too long. They lose contact with reality because they lost contact with human interaction. As this time of social isolation deepens, make sure to reach out to the people you know and might not have seen in a while.  It is good for a person’s emotional health to know they are not forgotten. 

They say solitary confinement in prison can really mess with our mind and turn us into someone we would not recognize before the isolation took place. Maybe before the farmer isolated the dog, he was a friendly family dog and not suspicious of every stranger who approached his prison cell of life. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Make This Day Count

In this time of forced isolation from the familiar, I have felt a bit of malaise. Each day, Jan and I choose to refocus and reset our hearts on the purposes of God. This morning over breakfast Jan remarked, “We want to make this day count.” 

Those who choose to listen for a fresh word from the Lord and prepare for its implementation will emerge from this time of isolation, ready to hit the ground running in the Spirit. Acceleration has been planned by God that will be attached to each of these personal words.  This is not an acceleration that will be empowered by our natural human desire to get out of our homes and return to familiar places. It will be a new move of God that will have an assignment to reform and transform all our relationships. This not acceleration to return to what was but an invitation to move into something not previously imagined.

The end of this virus will resemble a spiritual starting gate where trained and prepared racehorses are jumping at the bit to run once the starting gate is flung open. Their focus is solely on the anticipated sound of the starter signal, not the noise coming from the nervous and excited bleachers. 

God has assigned each of us a race lane for this move of His Spirit. Get in your lane with the word the Lord has given to you. Stay there and listen. The bleachers of the culture are noisy and agitated and will increase in volume in the coming days. If you focus on that distraction and join in with its fear-based chorus,  you will miss the sound of the start. Make this day count. Quiet your soul and listen for the sounds of God's Spirit. Your future is about to be announced.