Don’t Drink the Water

We used to always hear when you were traveling to another country, “Don’t drink the water.” That’s just as applicable here as anywhere today. Ask people in Flint, Michigan ~ or in so many other cities.  Or just look at our streams, rivers, and oceans. If we started working now, we could make great strides in cleaning up our water, which is our most valuable commodity. But I’m talking about what we purposely put in our water spiritually, not environmentally. And no matter how toxic, we still choose to drink this water that is composed of hatred and division and all that is contrary to the words Christ gave us to live by. It’s polluted ideologies that we have come to accept because they are necessary to erect and maintain a platform built from our most vile beliefs. You’re drinking poison, and it will eventually affect all you think and do. You can no longer nourish others with decency and empathy. Now you are hell bent on seeing a doctrine manifest that only will birth death.

In 2 Kings 23, King Josiah is tearing down all idols and abominations built and worshiped by those that were walking contrary to God. They were ground down, burned, and pulverized into dust and thrown into the Brook Kidron. This was also done by King Asa in 1 Kings 15. The Brook Kidron was a common receptacle for impurities of destroyed idol worship. This brook ran north of Jerusalem and swept past the Temple Mount to areas that would later be named Calvary and Gethsemane. The name “Kidron” means turbid, dusky or gloomy. Appropriate name for a receptacle for impurities. We see many that are influenced by drinking from those waters. You are what you eat. You are what you drink. The effects of drinking from what is today’s equivalent of the Brook Kidron can only bring anger, hate, division, and a gospel based on your own theology, not that given to us by Christ. In 1 & 2 Kings, so many followed those who led them down a dark path.  Away from God to their own destruction. Light came to lead us then and today, but men loved darkness rather than light.

There are different streams that lead to the ocean, just as there are different ideas and ideologies that can quench a thirst. But so many are poison filled. They cause a disease of the spirit. Those who drink from these waters that are filled with the dust of man’s idols find themselves forgetting that which is true and right. John 7:38 says, “He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Those searching for those living waters will find them curiously absent in the teachings of too many speaking and prophesying from today’s pulpits. TV and social media are inundated with the overflow of the visceral bile of those spewing hate filled diatribes and who are swimming in polluted waters. And it’s infectious. It adversely affects your ability to discern good from evil.” The more you drink, the more your throat gets dry. And you wonder why.” (Lyrics by PFR) At this point, you can be led astray by those promising something they can’t deliver or will just cause you to become further separated from the truth. Jesus said in John 4 that you would never thirst again if you drink of the waters He gives you. So why would you befoul yourself with lies and deceit or contention and strife? If you follow after that which is right and pure, help the needy, actually read and try to follow what Christ taught, then you’ll become like that watered garden, and like that spring of water with waters that do not fail, spoken of in Isaiah 58.

Or you can keep drinking from that Brook Kidron after the impurities of evil were thrown into it and follow those who display the effects of drinking that water. Dave Matthews said it perfectly:

“And I’ll live with my justice, and I’ll live with my greedy need.
Or I live with no mercy and I live with my frenzied feeding.
I live with my hatred and I live with the notion,
That I don’t need anyone but me.
Don’t drink the water.” (lyrics by Dave Matthews Band)

I pray you do not follow that which leads to constant turmoil everywhere. Drink the pure water He offers and it will become evident in how you feel and act. It will bring abundant life to all. Be planted by the rivers of water that brings forth true fruit. Do not be deceived. Blessings.

Gehazi or God?

I have been in a constant state of angst from the constant misdirection I see and hear from so many Christian leaders and prophets. I see the same things written and spoken to such a degree that it’s as if these “leaders” appear to consult with each other before releasing their revelation. There is far too much that does not line up with what Christ taught. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of people following after those who speak falsely and rule by their own power and they loved to have it so. In Matthew 15, Jesus said that these people who would lead you astray honored Him with their words, but their hearts were far from him. Jesus also said those who spoke falsely were nothing more than blind guides, and if you followed them, you would both fall into a ditch. We need to walk on level ground. “Ditches” are filling up.

In 2 Kings, Chapter 4, the story of the prophet Elisha and the Shunammite woman moves from miracles to a place of desperation. Elisha had spoken a prophetic word to the Shunammite woman that she would have a son, even though she was unable to conceive and her husband was old. As the child grew, something similar to a cerebral hemorrhage occurred and the boy died. She had the boy placed on a bed which was kept in a small room for Elisha, and she went to see him. When asked by her husband why she was going, she only answered, “It is well.” When she came close to Elisha, she “caught him by his feet.” Just like the disciples of Jesus holding onto the feet of the resurrected Christ. Elisha told his servant, Gehazi, to go on ahead with her and lay his staff on the face of the child. But the woman would not leave Elisha. She knew where the power and presence of God was. Elisha went in to the child and lay on him and the child revived. The woman immediately fell at Elisha’s feet and gave thanks and then picked up her son. By doing this, she was showing her thanks to God first, and then going to her son. We so often forget to place our hope and thanks with God first.

The interesting thing to notice is the behavior of Elisha’s servant, Gehazi. When Elisha first met the Shunammite woman and asked her what he could do for her, it was Gehazi that answered before the woman could speak her heart. When she threw herself at Elisha’s feet, Gehazi tried to push her away. When Gehazi laid the staff on the child’s head, nothing happened. The miracle would come from one with a pure heart toward God.

In the very next chapter of 2 Kings, we see Elisha giving a word to Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria. Although Naaman offered riches to Elisha as a reward for his healing of leprosy, Elisha would take no reward. But Gehazi went after Naaman and concocted a lie to get the reward from Naaman. His treachery was found out. Elisha said to Gehazi, “Did not my heart go with you when Naaman turned back from his chariot to meet you?” The leprosy taken from Naaman was now on Gehazi and his descendants forever. Tough lesson.

We need to have the heart and faith of the Shunammite woman. She held onto that which was true. That which was filled with the presence of God. But so much of that spirit exhibited by Gehazi seems to be so prevalent today. Speaking out of turn so as to be noticed and heard. Expecting rewards for what you do that even the man of God turned from. These riches and hopes of adulation so entice. People align themselves with whomever can strengthen them and give them prominence. These things will come back on you and you’ll be seen for the spiritual leper that you are. His words are spirit and truth. They are made to give life. We are supposed to exhibit that life in us and give it to others. But as Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

The next two months will bring forth a large increase of advice and direction given by spiritual leaders. Again, if it doesn’t line up with what Christ spoke, reject it! People wanting to be constantly heard and those looking to increase their coffers will be everywhere. Pizza dreams will produce prophetic words that will seem endless. All the while, these same people offering these words of advice will align themselves with platforms and politics that are diametrically opposed to walking the path Christ walked. We must walk in the light as He is the light. We are to be sons and daughters of light. Be vigilant. Hold onto the feet of the Lord with all you have just as the Shunammite woman did! Do not follow the ways of Gehazi. Accept no cheap substitute.  Blessings.

Giants ~ Part 2

In my last post, Giants Part 1, I wrote of a time when aberrations like Goliath and those before him were part of the historical and spiritual landscape. In Part 2, I’ll attempt to shed some light on the spiritual forces common to those seven nations in ancient Canaan and let you see that those same forces are very much alive in the world and in individuals today.

Giants, as written of in the Old Testament, no longer exist. The Passion Translation of Jude states, “There were heavenly messengers in rebellion who went outside their rightful domain of authority and abandoned their appointed realms. God bound them in everlasting chains and is keeping them in the dark abyss of the netherworld until the judgement of the great day.” End of story? Not so.

Those same spiritual forces are at work today, just as they were in the time of Moses and Joshua. In Deuteronomy 7, God commanded Israel to go into Canaan and cast out the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. They were to make no covenant with them nor show them any mercy.  They were to burn all their carved images to other gods and to not covet the silver or gold from which they were made, lest they be snared by it. But they were ensnared and kept joining with these nations to their detriment. After all they went through in the desert, Israel found themselves having to constantly fight for that which should have been theirs. And in the book of Judges 2:3, the Angel of the Lord tells Israel that these nations and their ways would be a detriment to Israel and their gods would be a snare to them. This is no different today. This is a small sampling of some of the wickedness encountered from each tribe Israel was to dispossess, just as we must today.

1. Hittites- aggressive; caused great fear and confusion whose symptoms can slip into the mind of unsuspecting people who do not watch the enemy’s tactics. Causes discouragement. Today you see it in those who feel problems are too big and look for easy way out. Even those who feel helpless, so they follow conspiracy theories to feel that they are part of something bigger.

2. Girgashites- spirit that draws people to earthly things. Unstable. Need to hold something in your hand to believe it. Today you see that in those that backslide. That which is eternal becomes secondary to that which you have right now. People who are unstable in all their ways.

3. Amorites- arrogant and boastful. In their speech they challenge others even when wrong. Prideful. Faultfinders. Overly high self-esteem. These traits are the same today.

4. Canaanites- merchandisers who often humiliate. Motivated by greed and lust. Accumulating earthly possessions rather than treasure in Heaven. Seek their own greatness no matter who they hurt. Seeks friendship with the world and its riches which places you at odds with God.

5. Perizzites- separate themselves, therefore leaving themselves unprotected. Lacks discipline. Puts no restriction on their actions. Low self-esteem. Spiritual and even material poverty. These are sometimes people lacking purpose and sometimes hope.

6. Hivites- offer a good but dangerous lifestyle. Live high on the hog. Sort of if it feels good, do it. Don’t care what people think. Self-indulgent. Hedonistic. Self-centered.

7. Jebusites- warlike. Believe others are inherently inferior. Racist. Exploit others for own means without regard to those they use. Immoral in thought and deed.

The spiritual forces that operated then are no different today. One can look at the history of the world and the history of our country and see how these same bad traits were part of our heritage and still are. We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood but spiritual forces of darkness of this age, just as it was in the land of Canaan. Max Lucado wrote in Facing Your Giants, “He (satan) vies for the bedside position, hoping to be the first voice you hear. He covets your waking thoughts, those early pillow born emotions. He awakes you with words of worry and stirs you with thoughts of stress. If you dread the day before you begin your day, Mark It Down; your giant has been in your head.” This seems to be everywhere today. Hard to get away from. The news and papers are filled with bad reports and it seems that those we once looked to for solace have now taken sides. Things we once took for granted as the true and proven words of Christ now have been subjected to whatever interpretation fits the needs. How can that be so? Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” But when people are allowed to use His word for their own means, we must rise up and make some good trouble. Make yourself heard. Look at and embrace the weapons of our warfare as listed in Ephesians 6. Fulfill what was spoken in Micah 6:8, “Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord your God.”

I say again that those spirits of evil intent all those years ago still are allowed to exist today. Take up your sword. Make a stand. Romans 16:19-20 tells us to be wise in what is good and innocent of evil and the God of peace will soon crush this enemy under our feet. We must stomp this under our feet. If you still hold on to that which works to undermine His intentions for us, you will remain and die in the desert. We have a promise land that is ours. Though we are surrounded by that which can bring us down and detract us, walk in faith. Hold fast to His word. Turn from lies and fables. Be especially aware that there are those that have a form of godliness, but not His power. They put themselves and their agenda first. They seem to always be coming out with some new knowledge or word, yet never come to a true knowledge of His truth, regardless of the title they may adorn themselves with.

There is so much that can be discussed here, but I’ll leave it to another time. Remain steadfast in the knowledge that He who is everything is faithful, and He is speaking if you listen. It is as simple as if it does not measure up to His word, reject it. Walk in His light. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ. And as John ended his first epistle in 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.” Blessings.

Giants ~ Part 1

The earliest biblical history spoke of “giants” in the land. These are not giants as we perceive them from fairy tales. They are real. Flesh and blood. Tremendous size, equaled only by their evil and rebellious ways. Many scholars have debated the origin of these giants, but I feel what the bible says on this is true.

Genesis 6 explains that there was an unholy union between heavenly beings (fallen angels) with human daughters on earth. This union was to corrupt the divine seed of woman. In verse 5 it states, “The lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only for evil.” This evil would always contend with man to keep him from entering into God’s promises. Giants and those that followed them worked to sow fear and discord wherever they reigned. Numbers, chapter 13, tells the story of the twelve men sent to spy out the land that Israel was to inherit and to see whether the land was good or bad; to investigate the inhabitants of the land and see if they were weak or strong; and to bring back fruit of the land. Ten of the men sent out came back with a bad report. They were overcome with fear. Only Caleb and Joshua believed they could go in and take the land. The fear and doubt from the ten who saw only giants affected all the tribes of Israel. They said they saw the descendants of Anak and they were like grasshoppers in their sight. The same people who had seen great miracles were now on their knees before a spirit of fear and unbelief. God then spoke a harsh word. These same people who had been delivered from years of oppression would wander and die in the desert. The ten spies who came back with an evil report died immediately by a plague before the Lord.

Israel eventually had to go into the land promised to them and dispossess the giants and those who followed them. These giants were deeply entrenched in the land. Comfortable in the rule of their domain. Deuteronomy, chapter 3, tells of Og, king of Bashan, a giant of impressive power whose bed was nine cubits in length and four cubits wide. That’s 13.5 feet long by 6 feet wide. It’s not just the size, but the fact that this bed was set up in his residence in the midst of Bashan speaks to how comfortable he was in his area of rule. Why would he fear any man? But the Lord told Israel that he would give them every place the soles of their feet tread. Have no fear. The Lord would put the dread of them wherever they go to take their inheritance. Their part was to walk in obedience and believe. If you take an honest assessment of where we are today, we should recognize that these same giants have caused us to lose so many promises by following that which is contrary to Him.

1 Samuel 17 tells of David’s exploits against Goliath, a giant and champion warrior for the Philistines who stood over 9 feet tall. David came to battle this giant with 5 smooth stones and in the strength of the Lord. David showed no fear and ran toward the giant. He felled him with one stone and then cut off Goliath’s head. We often fight against some evil and are content with a minor victory. But, to be thorough, you must cut off the head. Kill the thought pattern that seeks to control and destroy. The Passion Translation of Ephesians 6:12-13 states, “Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.” This is a spiritual battle. Wherever we cede territory, even in our thoughts, giants of confusion take root. Giants of old may be gone, but the spiritual force that brought them into existence is alive and working overtime today. It is alive in those who are proud and arrogant, unloving, unforgiving, boastful, brutal, despisers of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. They may even have a form of godliness, but are absent of the truth of His power. We are to turn from these people. Where you see hate, racism, division, lies, deceit, false promises and teachings that use a platform espousing God for profit, and lovers of self and those who resort to demagoguery to achieve power, this is where you see the spirit that dwells within the heart and mind of those giants still alive.

Modern history speaks of people who are or were giants among men. Those who did great exploits. The founders of our constitution and those who made great advances in technology and medicine. Those who came together and brought our country to victory in World War 2. Those who overcame great obstacles in life yet persevered. Those who fought injustice for civil rights for years and today still must fight. Men like John Lewis. Diminutive in stature, but a giant in strength and character. A man who nearly died from a fractured skull during a peaceful protest in Selma, Alabama, but walked in forgiveness and spoke of working to see and bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. Working to see civil rights that were eventually passed but still must be fought for. So many of those who fought this good fight are gone. The new Joshua generation for civil rights must stand and take up the mantle. Do not fear today’s giants nor the evil emanating from those who walk contrary to Christ. Take a stand. Do not let this spirit reside in your midst. Even if this wrong spirit comes from a religious source, reject it! Examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. If you’ve accepted Christ, he resides in you. If that’s true for you, then contradictory truth cannot live within you. That spirit has no place. We are not to be anxious for anything. Trust in Him. Get right before Him. He will lead and guide you into truth.

In Part 2 of this post, I will talk further about the pitfalls and effects of allowing the spirit that birthed the giants to dwell in us and the effects of partnering with those tribes the Lord said to dispossess. I leave you with the words of John Lewis. This man didn’t fall to giants. Look and see with spiritual eyes to what is still before us. He said, “Get in the way. Get in good trouble.” Standing in the path of the spirit of Goliath is getting in the way. You may cause a ruckus by standing up, but it will be good trouble. Tear down those altars and monuments that extol evil. Fight the good fight.

Walk in His wisdom. May His peace rule your heart. Blessings.

Monuments

We are in the midst of competing ideas to either keep or remove that which conjures up images and heart-rending feelings of our past that cannot be erased with even the strongest refiner’s soap. We are at odds as to how to accomplish even the most basic ways to heal. Monuments and symbols of our dark history that led to our nation’s civil war have revealed how much bitterness is still alive in the hearts of so many. Every heart is being laid bare in the midst of this tumult. The din of confused and angry voices seems to be on every day’s page. You already know what to expect when the page is turned.

Mary Shelley wrote in her novel Frankenstein, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” But this history of events in our country is not sudden. It has been going on since 1619. Yet so many have not come to terms with this country’s sin. So many people want to hold on to monuments erected to honor those who fought against our union. For every statue that comes down, there is an opposing reason of why it must remain and how it is part of our heritage and history. This is not a history we can forget. But we must be unified in our efforts to remove this evil and disgraceful stain from hindering our ability to move forward into healing.  Right now, we are like that monster in Shelley’s book that has been resurrected and is alive. It’s hideous and it cannot walk unseen in the light of decency.

Monuments honoring those who rose against our nation in civil war were built by those who still harbored feelings that led us into civil war. Groups like The United Daughters of the Confederacy and Sons of the Confederate Veterans endeavored to defend the Confederate states. Periods of time when most monuments were erected coincide with a point in history when segregation was in a time of strength and disenfranchisement of Blacks was at its height. Keep civil rights down. Schools and living fully segregated. I witnessed those years in the 1950’s when people of color were not allowed in classrooms with me. When, as a small boy in North Carolina, I could see blacks on one side of the street and whites on the other in downtown areas. No blacks allowed in restaurants that I could go to. Separate water fountains. These years of reconstruction after the civil war brought in new horrors. The KKK. Lynchings for fabricated crimes or slights as innocent as just not knowing your place. One should wonder, and even be confused, as to why such monuments that are derived from a mindset of white supremacy would still be standing during such trying times. But they are. The greatest legacy of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was their Mount Rushmore of the Confederacy completed in the 1960s. This monument depicts Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. It is still revered.

In Chapter 6 of the book of Judges, the Lord is speaking to Gideon. He is telling Gideon what he must do, but Gideon is afraid and tells the Lord that his clan is the weakest and he is the weakest in his father’s house. Yet, when the Lord first addressed Gideon, He called him a mighty man of valor. The Lord told Gideon that he was chosen to tear down the false images and altars. Gideon obeyed, but he did it at night because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city. The men of the city were in fact enraged at Gideon’s action and wished to kill him. Gideon’s father stood up for him and asked the men of the city if they would plead for those false idols. The Lord was then with Gideon in great power. I feel that we are being called to stand up against that same spirit that seeks to protect these monuments of shame. It is imperative that we address this now because protecting that which is a replica of evil deeds only leads to more hate and division. As Jacob told his household in Genesis 35, “Put away all these foreign gods from among you. Purify yourselves and change your garments.”

Change can be messy. Even destructive. Emotions and pent up feelings of injustice can cause the pendulum to swing in a way that pummels all within its arc. I understand, as best as I can, the depth of emotions that are being felt. What I have trouble coming to terms with are those who defend the monuments as our proud heritage and wish to punish those who want them removed. There are those that say if we remove these statues and monuments then we may as well get rid of the Pyramids, or the Colosseum, or even the Temple on the Mount because they were built with slave labor. One prominent prophetic minister on the west coast facetiously said that maybe we should get rid of books in the Bible by men like Moses, the Apostle Paul, and the Psalms by David because they were murderers. I’m sure these same people wouldn’t disagree with removing statues of people like Herman Goring or Heinrich Himmler. But they were evil Nazis. Even Germany doesn’t venerate their World War II Nazi leaders! It’s funny how we can so easily condemn one thing yet not see our own connection to an evil past. People are defending the indefensible. Carl Sagan said, “If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” We need to open our eyes. As Jesus said in John 4, “You worship that which you don’t know.” You might think something is acceptable, but what about when it’s exposed to His light? Can we say that we are walking in the light as He is the light? Ask Him.

Right now, every action we take in response to the factions in our society are vitally important. People all over the world are watching. All Heaven is also witness to what we do and how we react. We have no excuse for trying to fortify a foundation whose cracks and faults have been laid bare. Now is the time for all to be so cognizant that we are in a position to educate a new generation and help heal other generations.  How do we teach our children and those we are spiritually in a place to mentor? Words from the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song, Teach Your Children Well, come to mind. “You who are on a road, Must have a code you can live by. And so, become yourself, Because the past is just a goodbye. Teach your children well. Their father’s hell did slowly go by. And feed them on your dreams. And the one they pick is the one you’ll know by.” Teach them well and it will be seen. Do it now why it is still today. We have no idea how important of an example we can be.

I pray we gain insight into what is necessary for healing to come to this land. We see spurts, but not enough to truly heal, as the wounds are so deep and so infected. We cannot allow this to become a political conversation. This is right and wrong. Good and evil. Life and death. Choose life. Embrace healing. I pray, just as it is stated in Ezekiel 36, “That the Lord sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Blessings.

Current State of Unrest

So once again, people are speaking and opining on our national state of unrest. Viewpoints and answers to problems are being offered with such rapidity and conviction that one wonders why this current yet centuries old problem wasn’t remedied long ago. It’s as the prophet Jeremiah asked in Jeremiah 8:22  “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?” Yet, so much of what I’ve read by Evangelical leaders pontificate on the whys and reasons for this national continuing problem. Prophecies have been spoken and written that reveal recent insight into a growing racial tension even leading to violence. Where in God’s name have these leaders been? I have spoken and written about this for so long.  Yet it seems that one can get to the place where if you are not running lockstep within a certain crowd, you will not be heard. But “I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd. While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud. But they’ve summoned up a thundercloud. And they’re going to hear from me.” (From Anthem by Leonard Cohen)

In the book of Numbers 12, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman he had married.  The fact that Miriam’s name is listed first indicates she may have instigated this offense. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, was a Cushite. An Ethiopian. And the color of her skin was part of the issue here. In Jeremiah 13:23, Jeremiah asks, “Can the Ethiopian (Cushite) change his skin or can a leopard change its spots.” This was an immutable fact. This aroused the anger of the Lord and Miriam was struck with leprosy. Moses’ prayers for Miriam’s healing caused the Lord to relent. But Miriam was still shut out of the camp for seven days. The disease, leprosy, may be contained today in most of the world, but hatred is not.  If you could see the disfigurement of people who walk in this disease of hatred of others because of the color of their skin, you would see their bodies have been contorted and deformed by the constant dripping of venom from their minds. Hatred is a most vile condition.

Our country was founded on principles of freedom and equality. Yet during that whole time, we were using slaves to build that which we were fighting to establish. We fought a major, divisive war that left wounds which still fester to stop this injustice called slavery. But we found other ways to enslave and keep one down. Parity and acceptance are still not equal for those with less pigmentation in their skin. Years have gone by and some achievements in civil rights have been made, but too many shades of disparity color this canvas in garish and nightmarish colors. In Psalm 13, David asks the Lord, “How long O Lord? How long will you hide your face from me?” Marvin Gaye sang, “There’s too many crying. What’s going on?” Different times, but things are still the same.

What we seem to hear most right now is the result of years of inequality. So, the focus is on the riots. And the reason for the depth of the hate and anguish is set aside as if not pertinent. Throughout history, when people have been mistreated, the end result is some degree of violence. Martin Luther King said that “riot is the language of the unheard.” Yet how many Facebook posts have I seen using Dr. King as the example of how people of color should behave? They have no idea of what that good man went through in order to bring about the degree of change he did. They forget what it cost him and that he knew that it would require even his life. I wish these people would quit using his statements and image. They have no right and are not of the same spirit.

Frantz Fanon, though not revered by some because of his beliefs, said in 1961, “When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.” This cycle of varying degrees of interest will go on for a while. Then we’ll wait for the next injustice to arrive. And it will. The dream the Lord gave me in 2012 clearly showed me how this will become worse and more insidious. And when we have direction from the top saying the word “Dominate” to Governors in regard to protesters, the best we can expect is an audible simmer that will again boil over.

I will not address those who resort to theft and destruction any more than I will to those outside agitators from the left and the right who come for a myriad of evil intentions. People need to realize that it was loved and quoted by so many when Peter Finch in the movie Network, said, “I’m angry as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” That’s how so many feel. That’s how I feel, and I can’t even begin to understand because I am white. But everyone should pay attention and realize that when the Lord said we are all one, and you decide to come up with your own explanation, there will be something you will answer for. People were up in arms over Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to injustice and now some of them see that is better than a knee on a man’s neck that kills him, or the resulting rioting of that action. I am taking a knee in solidarity.

Paul wrote to Timothy to do things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. We all fall short of His glory and seem to make the same mistakes constantly. But this spirit of racism that is growing at an alarming speed must be dealt with. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Be it good or evil. If this is in you, confess it and ask Him to cleanse you. If it is in one you follow, either politically or spiritually, walk away from them. Be separate from that evil and have no part in it. 1 John 9-11 states, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

We cannot survive with this pervasive hatred. Something will break and not be repairable. Take stock of where you are. The state of your heart. Is your heart is a state of unrest? “Ring the bells that can still ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” (Leonard Cohen) Walk in the light as He is the light. It depends on you to do your part to live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)   Blessings.

Walk This Way

What if you were walking on a dirt road, going from one destination to another, all the while deep in thought as to all that is transpiring in our country? Maybe deep in contemplative prayer or reflecting on a past experience you had with God. At some point, a man walks with you. He seems to know your very thoughts, as if you’ve shared them with him, but that’s impossible as you’ve never seen him before. He starts to relate scripture to your every experience. It’s not just this person’s familiarity with the bible that captures you, but it’s as if his experience is from firsthand knowledge. You find it a bit unsettling but realize you can’t pull yourself away. Your heart burns within you. Time seems to stop and all that matters in life is walking with you. Peace seems to rest on you in a way you’ve always hoped it would. You’ve just had an encounter like the disciples did in Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus just outside of Jerusalem. He who is everything just opened your eyes and your mind. Do not ever discount that this could happen.

Just as Cleopas, a follower of Jesus, experienced his redeemer in a way that was unexpected, so might you. Maybe it might be an angel that appears to you as a minister of the Lord. Maybe you’ll just be confused like the Apostle John was in Revelation 22. He started to fall and worship someone he’d mistaken. The one he presumed to worship told him not to do that. He said he was a servant just as John and his brothers the prophets were. He may have just been a redeemed man sent to provide John with information. Someone like that could walk with us, too.

Hebrews 13 tells us to continue with brotherly love and not to forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. I’d hate to miss that. Even those on the road to Emmaus would have missed it if Jesus hadn’t opened their eyes. Can you imagine treating Jesus in a way that would basically say you’re not welcome in my company? We do it all the time.

Jesus was an iconoclast. What if He walked into church with you and started to turn over a few tables. You might step away and say, “I don’t know this guy.” Or He may appear as He actually looked those 2000 or so years ago in Jerusalem. A very Semitic looking man. Not too tall. Bearded. He may not have had time to wash the dirt off from all His travels. Would your first instinct be to call ICE? Do you think he’s an undocumented Mexican? Or, maybe the Semitic look has you wondering. Maybe call Homeland Security? He was known as an agitator. Maybe some of what He’s saying doesn’t jive with what you consistently hear from a lot of current evangelical teaching. Yeah, there’s no way you can actually do all He’s telling you to do. Maybe you’ll stick with what many in power in the church are saying right now and consider those commandments more like suggestions. Yeah, that’s the ticket. How in heck can you truly follow all those Red-Letter teachings of Jesus in the gospels?

We need to consider we may have encountered things we are unaware of.  It’ll be shown to us one day though. In the meantime, we need to do our best to show love for one another. The love He shows us. By this we’ll be known as His followers. No other way. Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and gave Himself for us. He may be walking beside you. Blessings.

Disguised in Hate

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I’m posting a picture of a scene of part of a regiment of Confederate soldiers posing before two southern mansions. One in that group is a relative of mine from the maternal side of my father. He was my great, great grandfather. His name was Samuel Claiborne Turner. A private in the 12th Regiment of the Virginia Infantry. He enlisted on March 25, 1862 in Patrick County. That regiment fought in such well-known battles as Second Manassas, Maryland Campaign, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. We found these pictures when going through my grandmother’s and her daughters’ estate. This scene reminds me of a particular house I frequently drive by that has an American flag flying outside and two Confederate flags. I’d love to ask the owner why he’s flying the Confederate flags, and why two. But I know others who still have a distorted allegiance to this flag. I despise what it stands for. This relative of mine in the picture represents someone wearing a uniform and following a flag that just disguises hate. And the hate is still alive and flourishing today. People just wear different disguises, but it can’t hide what’s beneath the trappings of their so poorly hidden malevolence. And multitudes are emboldened enough to wear their evil on clothes reminiscent of the KKK and the Nazi party.

Jefferson Davis, after the defeat of the Confederate States, said “The principle for which we contended is bound to reassert itself, though it may be at another time and in another form.” The lie of states’ rights and the right to govern oneself without excessive federal oversight has been inserted as the reason for our civil war rather than freeing slaves and restoring the union. I heard that growing up while living in the south. The war never ended. The 1960s brought legislation for civil rights and voting rights, but one would have thought that losing hundreds of thousands in our civil war would have guaranteed those same rights immediately. In his book, The Lost Cause, the Virginia Confederate and journalist, Edward Alfred Pollard wrote, that he was “profoundly convinced that the true cause fought for in the war has not been lost immeasurably or irrevocably but is yet in a condition to be regained by the South on ultimate issues of the political contest.” The true cause of the war, Pollard described, and the true hope of the South, was white supremacy. This distorted and ugly hope lives on. Not just in the South, but throughout our country. It’s gaining momentum. The problem is, for the majority, the more you hate someone, the more they hate you back. Spiritually, we have the means within us to diffuse this, but we don’t.

The history of our country is filled with stories of wonder and heroism ~ founded on principles that all the world would look to as unique and God mandated. Even countries who profess to hate us and work to destroy us from within and without, have so many citizens that long to come to our shores. But we also have shameful periods in our country. So many nationalities were treated poorly. I’ve written before of how my relatives of Italian descent were looked down upon. So were the Irish, the Jewish, and eastern Europeans. But the main injustice was always reserved for people of color. Something about the color of one’s skin that causes an immediate judgement as to their decency and worth. Too many have been programmed to be suspect of people who look different from us, to the point, that even those who claim not to harbor this view, know there is a part where this is true within them. If we’re in a situation when a person of color is positioned where white is the majority, we may easily find ourselves free of outward prejudice and quite accepting as equals. But when that situation is reversed, and we are alone with others of color, we can easily become suspect and even fearful. We are used to being the majority.

I recently reacted to a post by someone I’ve known for years. The post said I’m proud to be white. The post wondered if you’d share it without fear of being seen as racist. Even though the person stated that they were proud of their heritage, I responded by saying it was seen as white supremacy. I have no problem with people who are proud of their ethnicity. But, ethnicity is not the same as the color of one’s skin. I’ve never said I’m proud to be white. I was born that way. Basically, into privilege. I also have no problem with those who have stood up and proclaimed black is beautiful or I’m black and I’m proud. The same with the American Indian. When people have judged you and classified you according to your skin color you must stand up. The color of one’s skin does not denote inferiority, intellect, ability, or decency. But that has been taught so long that many still quote those evil and wrong “facts” and still use them to judge. The people who still promulgate these vicious lies are not hiding. They are standing amongst us. They are running for office. That means those of us that know better must stand taller. We need to be a voice no matter the consequences. My response to the post I disagreed with cost me a friendship. I was unfriended. Told to F*** off. I used scripture to explain my feelings. But maybe I could have worked harder to explain more gently. But Christ does not look at color. He looks at hearts. And if we believe in Him, we become sons and daughters of the Most High God. That makes us brothers and sisters. That is not just a nice saying. That is scriptural fact.

We need to realize that throughout time people have been treated poorly. Sometimes savagely. But for a large percentage of people, you’ve not had this country discriminate against you because the color of your skin is white. We do not know what that is like. We may sympathize and even empathize, but we cannot truly know. You’ve not been told you were owned. And if you escaped to freedom, then returned because you were property. Beaten for the slightest infraction, again because you were property. Be classified as inferior or worthless. Separated from family for a profit. And when finally, you become free, new laws are put in place to control you. Some of these laws just “understood.” They still exist. In our all loving inclusiveness, we’ve added new ways to show disdain to the brown skinned. Or find new ways to go back on past forked-tongued treaties with American Indians. Still working to crush spirits.

We need to be extra vigilant as Christians today. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 that we were not to be deceived. Evil company corrupts good morals and character. This includes what we allow to be spoken and acted on in our company. To go further, even following that which is morally wrong. If someone calls themselves a believer, yet that which they teach or profess is contrary to what Christ taught, reject it. We must come to a point where we are mature in the spirit, taking in solid food, so that our powers of discernment are trained to allow us to discern between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14) Those who truly are Christians must not allow false teachings to be presented without a challenge. But, do everything in His love. Sometimes that’s hard. Proverbs 18:19 says, “It’s harder to conquer a strong city than to win back a brother who you’ve offended.” So sometimes we need to check our emotions. We are all called as believers to show who He is in us in all we do. Don’t get caught up in the vitriol of those who will say anything for a reaction or to increase poll numbers. Be separate from those worldly actions. Remember, we will be judged on how we treated others. How we loved. Proverbs 13:12 says, “When hope’s dream seem to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing.” (Passion Translation) But that desire, when realized, can bring new life to your soul. We see people every day who’ve had their dreams shattered or who must fight extra hard for what they get. Do not be a stumbling block. Be a blessing. If not in person, then in prayer.

I wait for the day when all flags of hate come down. When only His standard rises above us. When we have seen that every spirit not of God is no longer allowed to whisper evil to us and when those lies are no longer followed. Test every spirit to see if it is from God. Even with all the terrible things befalling the prophet, Jeremiah, embrace he wrote in Lamentations 3. He says with all that has happened, he still has hope. The Lord’s mercies are new each morning and because of them we are not consumed. He is my portion. I hope in Him. He is good to those who wait for Him. Hope and wait for the salvation of the Lord. Embrace this. And as the Apostle John said in 1 John, “he who loves his brother abides in light and he who hates his brother walks in darkness.” It’s that simple and direct. Blessings.

“You Can’t Get There From Here”

There is an old saying I heard as a young man, used sort of tongue in cheek, by Connecticut Yankees and by people all the way up to Maine. When you asked them for directions, their answer would be, “You can’t get there from here.” Well of course you could, but they were just being cantankerous in a friendly New England way. That statement is sadly becoming a matter of fact today.

I have found that even some navigation devices in cars are not updated. If you punch in directions, it will bring you close to your desired destination, but it will still be off. Some phones do the same thing. I was asking Siri for directions recently and was given enough info to be close to where I wanted to go, and right at the end I could see the location I had inquired about. All I needed to do was take a right hand turn. But Siri said to go left. At one time the location I was looking for was to the left, but directions in my phone were not up to date. No matter what direction you receive, it is incumbent on us to make sure the directions we receive are correct.

We are told in Jeremiah 6:16 to ask where the good way is, the good path, and to walk in it. There you’ll find rest for your souls. But those hearing the word said they would not walk in it. This is similar to where we are today. We hear directions from every imaginable source. Friends, TV pundits, newspaper editorials, politicians, as well as church leaders. Depending on their political or religious leaning, you can end up receiving so many opposite opinions in a matter of minutes. Which way do you turn? Luke 1 speaks of the Dayspring from on high who will guide our feet into the way of peace. But anyone with even a modicum of understanding has to realize that peace is a rare commodity in this building chaos. It’s not supposed to be that way though. Jesus told us to not let our hearts be troubled. Yes, we would hear rumors of wars and conflicts increasing at alarming rates. People would not listen and follow wrong teachings. The world would be battered by storms and earthquakes. But we are supposed to put our trust in Him. The tendency by many is to trust in that which brings immediate relief and offers an easy solution. Another troubling tendency is to follow those who have some truth but are still far from the path He set for us.

People look for shortcuts. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” How far do you go down a wrong road before you realize that it is the wrong one? Or before you realize that you’ve followed someone with solutions that feed a part of you where anger, resentment, hate and so many vile things are buried. Soon you are walking that path and starting to sound just like those, who at one time, you would have turned away from. If you say you are in Christ, then you know the path He chose for all of us. You are aware that His sheep hear His voice and the voice of another they will not follow. If even 10 or 20 years ago you would have been horrified and disgusted by what you hear coming from so many leaders, both political and religious, what caused you to start listening to them? When something is wrong with us physically we tend to go to a Dr. And most are wise enough to choose a good Dr. But too often, when we are spiritually afflicted, rather than drink from the wells of salvation, we tend to be drawn to muddied and polluted waters that will only make us sicker.

Troubling things we are constantly bombarded by are not going to let up. They will intensify. Our part is to press in closer to Him. When things become unsteady, we are to hold on to the Rock. The problem only gets worse when we tend to double down. Not admit we took a wrong turn. Listened to directions that did not line up with scripture. And to those religious leaders who cannot disconnect from faulty and misleading navigation systems, they must realize they’re causing others to fall in a ditch they might not exit from. All of us must realize we have a road set before us that leads to eternal promises. But if we continually listen to the dissension and hate filling the air and allow it to take up residence in us, then we must realize we cannot get to that path He has for us from here. The Passion translation of Proverbs 4:26 says, “Watch where you’re going. Stick to the path of truth, and the road will be safe and smooth before you.” If we give attention to all His instructions and pay attention to His directions, and if you fill your thoughts with His words, then they will penetrate to the depths of your spirit. Then you will be able to get there from here. Jesus promised that He would leave His peace with us. Not a worldly peace, but His peace. And He also promised that He would leave us with the Comforter who will lead us into all truth. Ask Him for directions. Blessings.

Permafrost ~ A Prophetic Message, Part Two

I spoke in my last posting, “Eight Words,” that I would share more of what I was shown prophetically for our country. Certain warnings are given many times and it is incumbent on us to realize that at some point the warnings will cease. At this point we’ll be held responsible for our inaction in not trying to bring Godly change and making right what is wrong. It is within our power to do so.

One warning He has shown me is the underlying hate in our country. It is rising to the surface at a faster pace every day. It is proving to be so insidious in how it is undermining all that is good in our country. The soil in this country contains both the word and Spirit of God planted to bring forth a crop to be used for His purposes. That same soil contains the blood of the innocents murdered and of those who could not come to agreement on what was righteous and settled their conflicts through war. We are at a crossroads of deciding what the right path is. There is only one.

This increase in the rise of hatred was shown to me as the example of “melting permafrost.” Rising temperatures have affected areas like Siberia and Arctic regions. This rock and soil has been frozen for thousands of years. Now it is melting and this has allowed rotting animal corpses and plants and mosses to release gases into the atmosphere that contain deadly bacteria and viruses like anthrax and smallpox. There are scientists that believe even some unknown diseases may be released. The animals that were once a stopgap for these diseases escaping are no longer there. Some have suggested reintroducing bison, reindeer, moose, and musk ox to these areas. Herds of these animals walking over these areas, compacted the snow so it didn’t remain fluffy and melt so easily. This would be akin to introducing right minded people into areas of discord and hate to tramp down what is infectious and evil. We are supposed to (Romans 16) tramp this evil beneath our feet. It is God that crushes this evil but he does this under OUR feet. We’ve abdicated this position of authority in too many instances. Just as it is imperative that we fix the problem of melting permafrost and that which is released from the ground, so must we remedy this hate that arises from our hearts.

We have allowed some people to have a voice in our lives that at one time we would have rejected outright. There are some who profess to follow Christ but take positions that cause more stress fractures in the hearts of too many. I’ll address this in a future prophetic posting. We are to have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), but instead, too often, see it replaced with hatred, contention, outbursts of wrath, and selfishness. Just as our mouth should not speak forth both blessings and curses (James 3), neither should our heart be open to both light and darkness. We will be of no use to Him like this.

We still have time to work to bring a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness to the forefront, but the change must start now. This spirit of racism, xenophobia, hatred, and even murder, is being fueled in ways that mirror emotions and actions from many years ago. Christians have come to tolerate and even accept the ugliest mindsets if it serves a purpose. What we hoped was getting better in our society was actually just below the surface and now is there for all to see. The permafrost of our souls is melting and what is being seen is alarming. Our position in the world, that I strongly believe to be God mandated, is diminishing. The light we are to be is dimming. We must be before Him that we may shine as He decreed. He is the light and any other direction not in step with Him leads to a ditch or even death. Like slow suffocation as the oxygen leaves the room. Breathe in His essence. Follow the one true path.

We must all hear His voice. Not in the chaos and turmoil we hear every day. He is in that still, small voice. We must listen for it with all that is within us. We are at a crossroads as spoken of in Jeremiah 6:16 that states, “Stand at the crossroads and look; Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said we will not walk in it.” When you find yourself off the right path, heed what He spoke in Isaiah 30, “This is the Way, walk in it.” If we are His sheep, we’ll obey His voice. We are still at a place where His mercy abounds. No matter how dark it may appear to be getting, hope in Him. I pray you abide under the shadow of the Almighty and you realize that He alone is your refuge and very present help in time of trouble. Trust Him. Blessings.

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