Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Conversations In Heaven - Moses

God wants us to know and understand Him.  Sometimes that can be troublesome when we come upon sections of scripture that seem to contradict who we know Him to be.  But we can't look at it as a stumbling block or dead end.  Difficult sections of scripture must be viewed as an invitation to conversation.  There's hidden information and usually deep revelation found in the most confounding parts of the bible.  The key, I believe, is to ask our Teacher to help us understand.

In Exodus 32:7-14 Moses seems to save all of Israel from the anger of The Lord.  But I wonder if that's exactly what happened.  Here's what we know from scripture:

  • Israel was really really having trouble believing.  They tried God's patience a whole lot.
  • They got scared when Moses didn't come down from the mountain and asked Aaron to make them a new God.
  • The Lord tells Moses how miserably Israel has failed by making a golden calf.
  • The Lord asks Moses to leave Him alone so that He can let His anger destroy them.
  • Moses intercedes for Israel.
  • The Lord changes His mind and allows Israel to live.
Since learning of God's unchanging nature, His amazing patience and mercy, and the revelation of Jesus in the entire Old Testament, Exodus 32 has raised more questions for me than answers.

Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. Why was Israel so incredibly hard-headed when it came to trusting God?
  2. Why would such a loving God plan to destroy His own people?
  3. Where did Moses get the courage to stand between God's anger and Israel?
  4. Why does God seem to be taken by surprise about the golden calf, Israel's stubbornness, and Moses' reaction?
  5. Why does God seem to be reacting like a man, as if He's hurt by Israel and wants to squash them in response to their hurting Him?
I believe these questions are best answered by listening in on God's planning sessions before the beginning of the world.  I'm not saying this actually happened.  I'm saying I believe this is how God revealed to me the answers to my questions.  Often times He explains things to me in the form of movies in my mind.  Like an episode of a favorite television show or a clip from a favorite movie, He dramatizes the revelation He's giving me.  This is one such instance:

Jesus:  "OK, we need to come up with a way to pull intercession out of Moses.  It would be nice if We could get him to reveal that We are able to cultivate boldness in our friends at the same time.  Any ideas?"

Holy Spirit:  "Simple, I'll say We are going to destroy Israel."

J:  "Yes, but deserve has nothing to do with it.  I can't stand the idea of not saving them."

HS:  "Oh, Me either.  But Moses needs something to confront.  I mean, by this time he won't be afraid of any man or kingdom of men.  He trusts Us too much."

J:  "But We have to be careful what We say.  Our words will cause Israel to be destroyed the second they leave Our mouth."

The Father:  "Then We will make the destruction conditional.  If Moses allows it, it will happen.  If he is bold and challenges Us, they will be saved.  We will simply tell him to get out of the way, leave Us alone, so that we may destroy Israel."



J:  "Wait, do We want this in The Book?"

F:  "Yes.  All Our beloved must see the trust We have in Moses because of the trust he has in Us.  It may take them a while, but they will see it.  You will show them, Son."

If you read the passages in Exo 32 carefully, you'll see that God did not declare outright that He was either angry or about to destroy Israel.  He chose His words carefully when speaking to Moses.  He told Moses to leave Him alone "so that He could" let His anger destroy them.  It's obvious that God has implicitly set Moses as the gate to Israel's destruction.  The entire interaction between God and Moses in this instance seems designed by God to inspire Moses to be bold before The Almighty and speak on behalf of both The Lord (Moses mentions God's reputation as being at stake) and Israel.  This is a type and shadow of Jesus who intercedes on God's behalf to us and on our behalf to God.  God found a way to get Moses to rise to the occasion and become what He always designed Moses to become.  This exchange had nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with the relationship between God and Moses.  This was not about the anger or wrath of God.  It was about God harvesting the attributes of Christ in Moses and putting them on display for all to see.  In one genius conversation, God revealed the intercessor and bold friend of God He had created in Moses.

The Lord provoked Moses into a transformational conversation.  The key word there is "provoked".  Is He saying or doing something provocative with you right now?  If you are like Moses and you know His character and nature, you will go boldly before Him and say what's on your mind.  Go to Him and tell Him Who He Is.  It may be the key to your next transformation.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Vulnerability and Connection

First let me deal with some religious devils.  Penis.  Did that offend you?  Good.  The source of the offense needs to be exposed.  The idea that somehow the medical term for a body part is inherently filthy is a demonic doctrine straight from the pit of hell.  It is the carnal thought patterns stuck in your head that cause you to either fear or hate the penis.  It may have been trauma or tragedy that taught you to disdain that body part or it may have simply been religious ignorance.  Either way, God created it.  Satan did not.  Take a minute to get over it if you need to.  I'll wait.

So what's the big deal about the penis?  Well, like everything else about our body, it represents an aspect of God and relationship.  He told me to look at it from a mechanical perspective first.  The penis serves the purpose of connection or joining of one person to another.  We are all familiar with this concept.  A power plug has prongs on it that jut out so it can be connected or joined to the power-giving wall socket.  God said in Genesis that a man will leave his parents and be JOINED to his wife.  The two shall become ONE FLESH.  The penis is one part of the connector that allows for the joining.  The man gives, the woman receives.  A connection is made and life is the result!

But there's more to it than that.  God told Abraham that the sign of His covenant would be circumcision.  What is circumcision?  Well, every male is born with a sort of sheath of skin, like a hood, that covers the tip of a penis.  Many don't realize it but while the foreskin is in tact, the tip of the penis is protected and remains extremely sensitive.  When exposed by the pulling back of the foreskin, the penis, and therefore the man, is extremely vulnerable.  The act of cutting away that layer of protection causes the tip of the penis to be FOREVER EXPOSED.

Now, circumcision no longer serves any purpose in the Kingdom.  God said it would be a "sign" of the covenant.  Since Abraham's time we've learned that all the signs pointed to the life we now live in communion with God.  Circumcision was a prophetic picture, a living parable, of the way in which we are to come into the Kingdom and the way in which the Kingdom comes into us.  Just as God commanded Abraham that any convert or newly purchased slave would have to be circumcised as a sign of their new identity, anyone entering the Kingdom of God because of Jesus would also have to be circumcised in the place with which they are joined to their love:  the heart.

In Deuteronomy 30:6, God prophesies "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."

Paul says in Romans 2:29 "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God."

Nothing is more important than our connection to Him.  And without a completely vulnerable heart, we are unable to love Him as He desires.  Sexual perversion is exceptionally heinous, not because it's twisted, but because of what it has twisted.  Modesty and purity in our bodies was always meant to mirror modesty and purity with our connection to God.  Though we can live without shame, we cover the parts of our body that we use to connect to our spouse because they are intended and set aside specifically for that person and that person alone.  In the same way, we have a secret place, or marriage bed, with God.  We have intercourse with the Lord in the spirit.  He enters us and we enter Him and bliss and life are the result!  The New Testament calls it fellowship and communion.  We are told that in His presence if fullness of joy.  What parallel in the natural does that sound like?  We keep it secret and covered so that we remember it's only meant for Him.  It is a sacrifice we make, just as in keeping our privates covered until married, that honors the one with whom we connect.

So, before you discuss the penis, understand that heaven does not see it as a weapon or a toy.  Heaven sees it as a sign that points to inevitable and permanent joining.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Replacement Therapy and Prayer

Sometimes the best way to learn something new is to deprive yourself of something old.  Take handwriting, for example.  People who lose their dominant hand in an accident eventually learn to write with their other hand.  They have no choice.  But did you know that you can do the same thing by discipline?  If you are right-handed and want to learn to be ambidextrous, you can train yourself to write using your left hand by refusing to use your right!  When we deny ourselves something for a period of time we can learn to do something completely new.

I wonder if the same principle holds true in the spirit?  Jesus said we ought not do things for the praise of men.  If we do, that praise is all we will ever get for our efforts.  If we want true and lasting joy, we need to learn to have all things seen by our Father in heaven alone.  But in a world where each of us were taught to have not only our sense of approval but also our sense of what's true subject to the judgement of people, how can we ever hope to learn to live our life in front of an audience of One?  It's simple:  Replacement Therapy.

If you read Isaiah 61:3, you'll notice that God keeps saying "I'll give you THIS instead of THAT."  It seems to be His way.  He replaced sin with righteousness, death with life, evil with good.  He isn't a God that takes but a God that replaces!  You trade in your substandard way for His excellent way and you become more like Him in the process.  But how?  Well, that's the part that requires trust and patience.  You see, He won't give until there's an empty slot in your heart.  Jesus said, "Let him first deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Me."  The word "first" is important.  I can't receive His gift of fellowship until I give up any chance of fellowship with men.  Admittedly, that's a long process.  And He never wants to replace fellowship with men by excluding all men from our life.  He just wants first place in the hierarchy.  But that's another topic for another time.

What does this mean for relationship with God and what do I do about it?  Good questions.  What it means is that if we are to go deeper in the knowledge of Him, we need to make room.  God is big.  He takes up a LOT of space.  How do we make space?  Easy, deny yourself what you get from men and continue to seek Him.  I used to think it was wise to tell people to pray different, but I was wrong. God showed me that people pray based upon their audience.  He said, "If you pray knowing that you will discuss that prayer with someone at some point, it affects the way you pray."   He told me, "Share none of what you say to Me with others until I say otherwise."  When I asked Him why, He said, "Is prayer about your relationship with Me or your relationship with them?"  He got me there.

Eventually I got to a place where I no longer admitted to or agreed to pray for anything openly to people.  I would still minister to people in prayer in public but my time speaking to God became so private that nobody could tell what I prayed for or even how I prayed for it.  I shared neither the purpose nor the outcome of my prayers.  It was like I was a secret agent for the Kingdom.  My secret place was so secret that not even my family knew when or if I was in prayer.  An amazing thing happened in this time.  I stopped having discussions about what I'm believing or praying for with other people and started having them directly with God.  If I prayed and nothing seemed to be happening, I didn't ask anyone for help or advice or encouragement, I took it directly to The Management.  No matter how frustrated I became, I made it His situation to deal with, face-to-face.

It was nerve-wracking at times.  I would wonder if maybe I was doing something wrong.  But I took Him at His word.  He said He'd never leave me or abandon me.  He said that Holy Spirit is my Teacher and that He would lead me into all truth.  All of His promises inspired and encouraged me to lean directly upon Him to direct, mold, and shape my prayers.  If He could not or would not lead me through this thing, well, then I was wrong about Him to begin with.  Would He prove Himself strong on my behalf?  Would He get messages through to me?  Would He teach me Himself if I purposed to rely only upon Him?  I didn't know for sure but I was tired of half-measures and double-mindedness.  It was time to sink or swim, in Jesus' name.

He did not disappoint.  In fact, one of the first things He said to me was, "Finally!  Now we can get down to business."  Understanding and revelation flowed.  When I positioned myself to receive ONLY from God, He began building my trust in Him like never before.  That's right, He earned my trust.  I made Him my plan A and I burned the bridge behind me.  There was no plan B.  I was His or I was finished.  I set out on this new journey to learn about prayer and I ended up learning about the person and character of Holy Spirit.

The biggest revelation I got was how intentional and cooperative God wants to be with us in prayer.  I have heard many popular and respected speakers say that Holy Spirit wants to pray with us.  The idea here is that we should not be firing off petitions we came up with ourselves but that we should ask Holy Spirit what He wants to pray about and then simply join Him.  I also learned that not everything requires prayer.  I've gotten into the habit of asking God, "Should I pray about this?"  If He responds in the affirmative, my next question is, "What should I say?  Should I declare or proclaim or petition or should I just rejoice?  What's on Your heart for this situation, Lord?"  There have been plenty of times when He's said to me, "This situation is already handled but I need someone to deliver a word of encouragement."  There have been other times He's said, "I need you to go in person and love the people in that situation.  I'll give you more detail when you get there."

So, ask Him if you should maybe try this out?  Resolve to tell nobody when or if you are praying for them or anyone else.  Don't discuss what you pray about or when.  Don't ask for help from people in how to pray or when to pray.  Deny yourself the benefit of your brothers and sisters in prayer for a time.  Like Peter when he stepped out of the boat, it may seem insane but it may also afford you the chance to partner with Jesus in doing something you've never done before.  If this idea delights you, give it a shot!  If not, don't worry about it.  Take what you can use and leave the rest.  He is a better teacher than I am and I can assure you that He's doing a great job with you.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jesus The Liberal

Does that title make you cringe?  There was a time when it would have made me vomit.  I've since learned some things about God.  The most important of which is that He existed before man began creating political labels.  Read this definition of the word "liberal" and see how many of those fit the Jesus written about in the gospels.

So, recently God has been talking to me about how those who love Him have completely missed His point and allowed themselves to become entangled in the affairs of this world.  They've been baited into a debate that is crafted to distract us from the real issue by playing up the horror and tragedy of consequences in the natural.  The only people who have the capacity to create real and lasting change have been taken captive by politics.  It's a sinister strategy that attempts to keep us so carnally minded that we are spiritually ineffective.  Constant exposure to horror, loss, tragedy, and carnage, elicits a fear or hate response from us and we make war against human beings in the name of God.  The message coming from the world is so shocking that it traps us into a cycle of reacting.  But you did not so learn Christ.  The Kingdom is responsive, never reactive.  So how do we break the cycle?  Perhaps we need to look at the root of the ills of our society instead of just the symptoms.  Maybe then the solution will be clear.


This is a huge huge huge wedge issue for many Christians.  Of course God hates the death of the innocent. But that's another topic for another day.  Suffice it to say that God is completely against the taking of life--period.  And He tells me that everyone knows in their heart that life begins at conception.  It's only open for debate in the court of public opinion.  People have the ability to get together and agree to a lie that allows them to justify almost anything.  Get a person alone and the truth of what they believe is more likely to come out.

I was shocked to find out that God didn't want to correct the people who were OK with "a woman's right to choose".  He made it very clear to me that knowing right from wrong is not the issue.  You can know all the right there is to know and still be unable to live it (see Romans 7 for more).  No, He wanted to correct those who are supposed to be able to hear His voice.  On them is the responsibility for knowledge of mercy and grace.  To know the mercy of God and not give it to those who do not know it grieves Him.  Does this sound odd?  Who did Jesus rebuke, the ignorant or the learned?  Who did He call the "den of vipers"?  Remember that to know what is right and not do it is sin.

He said some really provocative things to me.  He said that He is pro-choice.  I was like, "Uh...  God, that can't be You talking.".  He said, "If I wasn't pro-choice, would women have even the ability to choose?  Son, your choice is the one thing I have always denied Myself."  Does that mean abortion should be legal?  Of course not.  It means abortion has exactly zero to do with a woman's right to choose.  Even before it was legal a woman could choose to abort her child.  So, what's the point, then?  The point is that He is willing to suffer and die to protect our ability to choose Him.  He is willing to endure the loss of the innocent to honor His own word.  He will not restrict our will.

Does this mean He wants abortion to continue?  Of course not.  Don't be a tool.  He told me that the christian strategy for abolishing abortion was way off the mark.  It's not kingdom-minded.  The kingdom is never reactionary and is always responsive.  Even more, the kingdom is previous.  The kingdom sees what lies ahead and responds before it happens.  How many times in the bible did God tell someone what was going to happen before it happened?  That's how He operates.  God is proactive about everything.  He says things like, "Do this SO THAT this will happen".  He's planning ahead.  So how does this relate to abortion?  I'm glad you asked.  The way to stop abortion is not to make it illegal but to make it unnecessary.  

Does that mean God is pro-contraception?  Nope.  Unwanted pregnancy is the leading cause of abortion.  But it goes deeper than that.  What is the leading cause of pregnancy?  Sex.  What's the leading cause of sex?  Here's where we get into a tricky situation.  Sex between consensual adults isn't the only cause of unwanted pregnancies.  There's also rape, incest, and disease to contend with.  All of them, including promiscuity, can be summed up by one word:  unhealthy.  Whether it be the unhealthy mind of a man who commits rape, the unhealthy self-esteem of a couple who create an unwanted child, an unhealthy genetic code that creates a malformed fetus, it's all just a lack of health.  Unhealthy hearts and minds come together and create "unwanted" children.  God have mercy on us.  Unwanted people.

Let me ask you this:  what if we found some way to legally and physically mandate that no woman ever aborts her unwanted child ever again?  What then?  Have we really solved the problem or just fed our religious pride by making the world bend to our will?  Is there any method by which we can eliminate unwanted people except to murder them?  What if we found a way to raise the value of the average person in the eyes of everyone so that nobody ends up being unwanted?  What if we lived our lives in such a way that the formula HUMAN = WANTED is the universal norm?

You'd think that God in all His wisdom would have told us how to do such a thing...  Like, what if He gave us a command that was a one-size-fits-all solution to all problems BEFORE they start?

John 15:12
"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you."

But how does loving someone keep them from getting an abortion?  Please remember that we're talking about stopping abortion before it becomes a possible choice.  We are talking about creating a culture in which things like abortion are as abhorrent to the public as cannibalism.  We are talking about helping our species become so incredibly healthy that we would never engage in or suffer from things that create unwanted people.

So how does love eliminate rape, disease, incest, and sexual promiscuity?

What causes a man to rape a woman (or vice versa)?  Behavioral scientists say that rape is caused by a desire to control, conquer, or have power over another.  For whatever reason, the perpetrator feels an overwhelming desire to exert dominance over another in a sexual way.  It's more about power than it is about sex.  Behavioral science also tells us that perpetrators are not created in a vacuum (with the exception of neurological abnormalities).  Perpetrators are a harvest that was sown as victims.  A male who was raped or molested has a much higher chance of doing the same to others.  Why?  To regain some sense of wholeness, purpose, identity.  A victim will either become a perpetual victim, a perpetrator, or free.  So what determines where a person ends up on that spectrum?  All things reproduce after their own kind.  You sow trauma and trauma will grow and then it will sow again.  But there is one seed that will outgrow, outperform, outyield, and outlast all others:  Love.  Someone who has been freed from the cycle of rape will always relate some story about how love set them free.  Tenderness, mercy, forgiveness, transparency, trust, patience, kindness are all the things that short-circuit the vicious cycle.  Consider Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  Does this mean we should just pat rapists on the back and tell them Jesus loves them and then let them go off and rape again?  No.  It means there is a limited window of time when these men are in jail that we can teach them about their true identity.  We can help them face what they've done with patience and kindness, man-to-man, so that they believe and are set free.  Are you going to prisons to stop abortion?

Incest is more difficult to see in the natural, but the prescription is the same:  love them into truth.  Yes, any perpetrator must pay the cost of what they've done, but that shouldn't stop us from loving them into truth.  Tender care should be given to the victims so they understand that the selfish act of their perpetrator does not define them.  A long-term relationship based on trust and acceptance has to be established with such a person so that they can see their own value through your actions towards them.  Be sure it's not about putting "another victim saved" notch on your belt.  I'm talking about creating life-long relationships here.  I'm talking about adoption.

What does love have to do with disease?  Everything.  If you are like me, you believe in the authority God gave each of His children, through Jesus, to heal the sick.  Disease must always go.  It's not the will of God and each of us has to contend for the faith to eradicate it.  But how many of us are willing to make it our personal mission to heal a diseased child in the womb?  How many of us are willing to do it knowing that nobody will ever know?  Are you willing to search your heart to even see if you have the capacity to make the diseases of the unborn more important to you than your own children?  Can you believe Him to change your heart if you weigh it and find it lacking?  What would it look like if we all had the same reputation as John G. Lake?  But that's not the hard part for us.  The hard part of us as a church is to admit that we do not yet see the frequency of miracles it would take to replace the doctors who treat children in the womb.  Can we confess that we need to grow in faith for the sake of the unborn and be responsible and accountable for that?  Can we simply say, "I believe, please help my unbelief" and then get our hands on some broken babies?

Finally, how does love stop sexual promiscuity?  This one has gotten so so so far away from us.  As Christians we've shouted the letter of the law from the rooftops and indulged in judgement of anyone who would dare ignore our self-righteous warnings.  Parents kicking children out of the house instead of teaching them the honor and beauty of fighting to retain virginity so it can be given as a gift to their spouse one day.  We speak death over those who have and promote sex and then we reap a harvest of death in our entire culture.  Those with the most spiritual power are causing the most spiritual damage and then have the gall to chalk it all up to "the last days".

No, the cause of sex outside of God's design is simple:  lack of love.  There are many natural answers for having sex.  We all feel like it or have been through a time in our lives when we did.  But why do so many give in?  Why, with all the potential consequences, do so many risk even their own lives for a momentary feeling?  Well, scientists would say "self-esteem" but God says, "who do you think you are?"  It comes down to identity.  We make all of our choices based on who we think we are--our perception of our personal value.  Tell me, how will the people out there with a wrong identity ever find out who they are if we don't show them?  How can we tell them if they disdain our reputation?  Why in the world would they ever believe anything we say about who they are in God's great plan if we don't love them first?

If we are going to carry His name, we should probably imitate Him like dear children.  He had every right to be indignant with us but sacrificed Himself instead.  He went even to the point of death to show how much He values us.  And He understood that love breeds love.  He Himself fell to the ground and died, then He sprung up and bore much fruit.  He came to us gently and lowly of heart.  He was goodness personified.  It was His peculiar goodness in the face of abhorrent evil that gave Him so much credibility with the lost.  The goodness of God drew all men to Him.  We have to do the same.  We have to set aside this horrible habit of treating His lost children as the enemy and love them as if they were our very own.  We must adopt them into our family, whether they change their ways or not, so that they can feel the trust and security that so far has been denied them.  Maybe then they will see our love and believe that God truly sent Jesus to save us all.

Any good military strategist would tell you that it's a bad idea to fight an enemy on his home turf.  If you have the choice, always fight the enemy on YOUR terms and not HIS.  So let's stay out of the political arena.  The political is rooted in the world and the whole world lies in the sway of.....who?  So don't enter his arena.  Don't argue with men.  Stop the battle before it starts by loving it to death.  We've done this with suicide, drugs, alcohol, abuse, poverty and many others.  Christians have shown a clear ability to break the cycle of death with a preemptive strike of loving self-sacrifice.  Why not do it again here, with abortion?  Why not dedicate yourself to revealing the love of God to such a degree that people will value their identity over their need to feel good?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Value and Meaning

Scripture tells us that we were made in the image and likeness of God.  Because we know this, we can determine certain attributes of God's character.  Two of those attributes are the importance of value and meaning.

Consider this:  why do you do what you do?  Do you eat because you can't help it or is there something else driving you?  Because you understand the link between eating and living, you eat.  But why do something to continue living?  That seems like an odd question, but take it seriously.  We continue living because for some reason or another we value life.  Why do you choose certain clothes over others, certain people over others, certain activities over others?  Value.  We do what we do because we value the process, the outcome, or both.

But how do we assign a value to things?  What determines our values?  I value my children because of what they mean to me.  I could go deeper into that but suffice it to say that what they mean to me determines the value they have to me.  We value highest what means the most to us.

So much of our existence is based in the reward that comes from the people, places, and things that mean so much to us.  There is an almost constant struggle to either gain that which means something or defend it.  Look at your life.  Is there any place in your life where you are not either going after something of value or fighting to keep something of value?  In that struggle is so much of the awesome stuff of life!  Like an amazing football game, the struggle for the win is the whole thing!  We eventually learn to value the struggle itself over the object we are trying to gain.  I value my relationship with my children and my wife, not because I own them and will never lose them, but because the struggle of the relationship is so full of danger and bliss.

Anything we truly value above all things involves risk.  Remember wanting to go to Prom with that certain someone?  Or how about asking someone to marry you?  What about the risks of child bearing?  How about starting that amazing company you've always dreamed of?  Risk, risk, risk.  We will struggle for what means the most to us.  We will risk for it; even die for it.

Now, imagine for a minute that you are God before time began.  You have all the power.  All of it.  Total and complete control.  If you can create whatever you want and do whatever you want with it, how are you supposed to value it?  I mean, if you give your children everything they want whenever they want it, they end up spoiled.  Why?  Because they did not have to struggle to earn any of it.  We do not value things that are granted, that cost us nothing.  So, if for God everything at the beginning of time was already granted, how does He value anything?  I mean, what gift can you give to the Man who has everything?

Ok, here comes the scripture....

Gen 1:28
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Here we see where God tells man that man is now in control of this earthly realm.  The implications of it are not readily apparent.  Luckily it is spelled out elsewhere:

Psa 8:4-6
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet

So, God created value by His own integrity and self-restriction!  He is sovereign, He is all powerful, but He set up this earthly existence in such a way that He could experience wins and losses by the choices of His own children!

So what has value for Him?  What means something to God?  What could a mortal possibly do for The Creator that would have any eternal meaning what-so-ever?  That we give Him the one thing He denied Himself:  our choice.  It's that simple.  For Him it is no different than it is for us.  We want our children, our loved ones, to choose us.

Have you ever thought about how much it tickles His fancy that you think about Him?  I mean, that you are even willing to consider an invisible God who loves you must just make Him sing.  We cannot please Him apart from faith because choosing to believe Him is literally the only thing we have to offer.  He wanted it that way.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hearing God - Triangles and Dolphins

Recently, God showed me a vision of me doing a HALO jump.  When you jump out of an airplane at night from 35,000 feet, you really can't see where you are going.  Under normal circumstances, that's not good.  While hurtling toward the earth at 120 mph, it's really really not good.  Yet U.S. Special Forces do it all the time.  If they panic, they die.  So, how do they maintain composure under such circumstances?  Well, just because they can't see where they are going doesn't mean they are lost.

Nobody performing a HALO does so without provision.  They have oxygen, a special suit, an altimeter (tells you how high in the air you are), and best of all they have training.  You see, it's completely unnatural for a human to know exactly where they are headed and maintain composure without the use of their senses.  Without training, nobody could keep from panicking in a HALO jump.  The oxygen may keep you awake and the altimeter may let you know when the ground is going to greet you but none of your equipment will give you the one thing you need to remain calm:  trust.  Training gives you understanding of the purpose of the provision so that you perceive no lack and are able to trust that you are safe.  I cannot see, but the altimeter gives me all the information my eyes would normally provide.  I cannot breath, but the oxygen and mask feed my airway.  I cannot land safely on the earth at 120 mph, but my parachute was specifically designed to slow my descent.  I am safe.

This whole vision came about because I was talking to God about not being able to see.  He said, "What do you mean?"  I said, "Uh, what do You mean 'What do I mean?'"  He said, "You can see just fine."  Then the vision hit me.  I knew that God putting me into a HALO jump was good and not bad.  It came from Him.  I've settled the fact that He's good.  So I simply enjoyed the HALO like some kind of maniac.  But then He said, "Why doesn't this scare you?"  I replied, "Because I know You're with me."  Then He immediately showed me the altimeter, the oxygen and mask, the parachute, the helmet, and the training.  I understood and said, "Yes, I trust You."  He said, "So, you can see?"  I said, "Yes, I suppose I can."

Just to drive the point home, He started to show me things in scripture that have to do with perception.  And He began to talk to me about imagery and sound, echos and shadows.  He said, "You only truly see with your heart.  And your heart sees in a way that humans are not used to seeing.  Yet you can be trained..."  Then He said, "Echolocation and Triangulation".  "Huh?", I replied.

He showed me how Jesus constantly used natural concepts and ideas, imagery of things found in nature, to convey truths about The Kingdom.  "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed..."  He showed me that even as far back as the prophecy given to the serpent that God used natural imagery to convey His ideas and purpose.  It's for this reason that Jesus forever carries the title "Abraham's Seed" and "The Lamb".  Then He said, "The natural is an echo of the supernatural."  "That's one heckofa echo, Father."  He said, "Well, I AM."  I said, "Word."

Consider it, the account of creation reveals that He spoke creation into existence.  His Word being spoken resulted in our physical universe being created.  His sound created our reality.  That's the very textbook definition of an echo.  The Bible says that His word shall not return to Him void.  What's it called when a word returns to you?  That's an echo.  So I said to Him, "We've discussed the whole echo dynamic before, Father.  Why is it important for sight?"  He said, "Echolocation.  Consider the dolphin.  Though their eyes work just fine under water, they can see farther and with much greater clarity using SOUND."  "Whoa!", I replied.  "But not just any sound.  They interpret the ECHO so they can perceive the landscape."

Then He pointed me to Psalm 19.  And then Romans 1:20:

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

The echolocation revelation also applies to my own utterance.  I was made in His image so, like a dolphin, I can release my sound into the landscape and it will return with information.  Likewise, I can also speak what He spoke and allow the echo of both our voices give me clarity.  I see by both speaking and listening.

So I suddenly understood that the things that are seen should always point to the things that are not.  They are an echo of a more clear sound;  a shadow of a much larger figure.  I recognize His voice in the echo.  So then I asked Him, "What does this have to do with triangulation?"  He said, "What is triangulation in the natural?"  I explained, "It's when you determine the exact location of something based upon where it is in relation to  3 fixed points in space."  We've all seen it on CSI or cop drama shows or action/adventure movies.  In order to find a given cell phone, you can "triangulate" it's position by pinging it from 3 cell phone towers.  Give me 3 points for comparison and I can always tell you exactly where I am.

He said, "You said before that you couldn't see where you were going.  What if it's more important to see where you are?" "OK", I replied.  Then He explained that I was capable of determining where I am in any context by using the following three points of reference:  logos, rhema, echo.  My position or location is always going to be relative to His.  So I am only able to determine my position based on His position.  In all cases I must ask myself the following questions in order to see where I am:  What does the Word say about this (logos)?  What is Holy Spirit saying about this(rhema)?  What is going on in the natural right now(echo)?  Based on the answer to those questions, I am fully aware of my own location AND His.  In every instance I find that I'm always in one of two places:  in Him, not in Him.  If I'm in Him, who cares where I'm going?  If I'm not, I know where I need to go for cover (hint:  back to Him).

This is why the HALO vision was so important.  In the natural you can't get a meaningful picture while you are in a free-fall.  But if you add that piece of information to the Word and a conversation with Him, you have all the provision you need to perceive truth.  Jesus, the prophets, the apostles, they all mixed information from the natural, scripture, and conversations with God in order to carry out their mission.  They were all trained to see beyond sight.  They used their heart as a sort of echo chamber to more accurately "see".  All the places where scripture talks about your eye or your sight, it's referring to this kind of heart-sight.  Keep your echo chamber filled with the sounds from above.  Keep your echo chamber tuned to the frequency of light.

Now, as a small aside, God did not pick a highly-specialized military manoeuvre as a vision because it fit the "how do I see when I can't see" scenario so well.  He picked it because The Body is being trained right now for Special Forces missions.  Don't wait until you leave the plane at 35,000 feet to learn echo-location and triangulation.  You may panic if you do.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Containment - Old Testament Mercy

It was Jesus who defeated the enemy.  So what was God up to prior to Jesus?

There are many purposes served by Israel, God's chosen people, but for the purpose of this post I want to look at localization.  What I mean by that is that the Old Testament is centered around a single people or nation.  God chose them above all other people.  But why just one people?  Why just a single Promised Land?  Why did He give them The Law and Prophets and not, say, China?

We can't know fully what went on in the mind of God when He reached out to Abram.  Were there perhaps others God considered who were slightly less faithful than Abram?  Maybe.  But God wanted to choose a single person out of whom to create a single nation to be His.  Again, there are many reasons for this.  I don't want to get into all the types and shadows and various purposes for Israel right now.  What I want to focus on is the singularity of Israel and the localization of God's attention on the tiny plot of land called the land of Canaan (later to become Israel).  Yes, I realize that scripture also tells us that God loved Egypt and Syria along with Israel but again they are adjacent to Israel both topographically and ethnically.

So, why choose a single nation?  Consider the policy that the first Bush administration had on Sadaam Husein in the early '90's.  They called it "containment".  They realized that Sadaam represented a unique threat that was too costly to deal with head on and too costly to ignore.  The idea behind containment was to allow Sadaam's regime to be however vicious and vile as they wanted provided it was within the borders of Iraq.  As we've seen since we toppled Sadaam's regime, a direct confrontation results in the cancer of his corrupt regime spreading and finding footholds in other locations.  While Sadaam was alive and in control, the cancer was....contained.

Now, consider Israel between the time they are given The Law at Mt. Sinai and the time that Jesus came.  They seemed to be in near constant turmoil.  They were locked in a constant ware/peace/genocide cycle in a single region of earth.  It was Israel versus the world over and over.  And time and again God commanded them, "Kill everything  you find.  Every man, woman, child, and animal."  How seemingly cruel!!  But what was really going on here?

To answer that question, we need to go back in time a bit further.  Sin entered the world through Adam.  Every man since, except Jesus, was born into Adam's blood line.  We have a sin nature as soon as we enter this world.  Cain was no exception.  Cain was the world's first murderer yet how did God deal with him?  He put a mark on him and sent him away.  The reason for this is another topic for another time but suffice it to say that God has mercy on Cain.

Well, not long after Cain, Lamech comes along:

Gen 4:23-24
23 Then Lamech said to his wives:
" Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech!
For I have killed a man for wounding me,
Even a young man for hurting me.
24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Then Lamech seventy- sevenfold."

Notice that in verse 24 Lamech is speaking, not God.  Lamech compared himself to Cain:  "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold..."  Not only did he judge himself worthy of protection for having killed someone, as God did with Cain, he upped the ante and judged that since it was a murder motivated by self-defense it was far more worthy of protection than Can's--seventy-sevenfold to be exact.  This is the first example of morality as determined by man and not God.  This is how that dynamic is most clearly stated in the New Testament:

2Co 10:12
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Comparing ourselves to each other as a method of determining our worth, righteousness, or anything else instead of to God's holy standard leads to a moral decline.  This is the very definition of the proverbial "slippery slope".  It starts small with a single person like Cain who has the audacity to do something completely contrary to good sense (wisdom) and over time it becomes a societal norm.

Let me ask you a question:  when did foul language on television become acceptable?  Can you remember a time when it wasn't?  That may seem like a lame example but it fits nicely.  It also trended upward in time with television violence, sex, cynical story-lines, etc...  How did it happen?  Well, like murder, it started small and grew until it was a societal norm.  The same trend can be seen with literally every societal ill or sin.

It was no different in the time of Noah (not to say we are in the time of Noah, though some would disagree).  What started with Lamech, Cain, and ultimately Adam had spread like a cancer throughout all of humanity.  God was only able to find a single family worth saving!  It was so horrible, in fact, that God was hurt.  The human race, save one family, was beyond redemption.  So God obliterated them.  There was no Jesus at that time to save them.  They could not be born again and redeemed.  In order to save the legacy of love God had started with Adam, He had to save Noah and destroy everyone else.  Sin gave demonic forces a stronghold in sinful people so God wiped out the stronghold.

So things started over with Noah and his family.  But there was still no Jesus yet and Noah was a child of Adam.  Sin still reigned.  Demons were not gone, just pushed back.  It was only a matter of time before things got out of control and God would once again be forced to wipe out humanity in order to give a single worthy family a chance to continue the legacy of love.  Due to the power sin had over us and our propensity to compare ourselves amongst ourselves, this cycle would seemingly have to continue forever.  Demons working with the selfish hearts of men would threaten our species time and again.  But God is smarter than that.

Let's skip ahead to God's next plan to stem the tide of corruption:  The Law.  The Law is amazing.  God came to Israel in power and love to convince them that HE IS and that they can depend on Him.  He established His authority over them and then gave them what The Apostle Paul called "a tutor" or "a guide":  The Law of Moses.  God's intention with the law was to cancel man's habit of comparing himself against his neighbor.  The law clearly states right and wrong and punishes wrong unilaterally.  If you break one statute, you are guilty.  The Law made Israel afraid of God.  It made them listen to Him and regard His councel above their own.  He dealt with them severely to keep them mindful of right and wrong, good and bad, health and sickness.  It's purpose was literally to keep the human race from going off the rails and devolving into another global Soddom.

After many rough starts with the law, Israel found themselves in the region of Canaan.  Suddenly God is telling them to just massacre whole ethnic groups in the region!  Ghastly!  But wait, didn't these people all descend from Noah?  And who were these people groups?  Did any of them end up with demonic blood mixed with Noah's blood?  Yikes.  That sounds scary.  What about their culture?  Did they sacrifice newborn babies to demon gods?  That doesn't sound healthy at all.  Ok, I can see why you'd want to stem the tide of baby-killing culture.  That seems like it will eventually result in the species self-destructing.  But isn't genocide a little harsh?  Couldn't Israel have saved them?  Ultimately Israel did save the pagan cultures through Jesus.  But as I've said before, He wasn't on earth yet.  Why not?  That's another topic for another time.  Let's just say that God could not violate His own word in order to save mankind or the very universe would unravel.

So, like a scalpel God used Israel to excise infected tissue from the region.  This set up a future dynamic of attraction and containment.  Yes, finally containment!  The mixture of the region of Canaan, The Law, and Israelites created what could be considered a demon honey-pot.  Remember that demons are fallen angels who are very angry with God and very jealous of humanity.  They are naturally attracted to whatever God is doing on the earth so that they can try to corrupt it.  God decided what better way to keep the world safe from another age of Noah than to attract the vast majority of demonic activity to a single place on earth and against a single enemy on earth:  Israel.

Demons got into the Somethingites and forged a culture.  Israel slaughtered them.  Time and again a nation would rise up and Israel would slap them down.  Yes, there were plenty of instances where Israel was enslaved, worshipped idols, etc...  The overall effect of God's Law, Judgement, and Wrath was to keep the human race viable for Jesus.  In the fulness of time we see that God kept the enemy busy with Israel long enough for Jesus to pop into the mix and defeat him once and for all.