This I Do For You

I read about an artist in 1998 who had gained some renown for her artistic depictions of biblical people during the time of Christ and of His disciples. What attracted my attention though was one of Christ on the cross called, “This I Do For You.” The artist’s name was Helen Terry. She came to my house and showed me pictures of many of her paintings and brought a large signed and numbered print of “This I Do For You” and gave it to me. What I found out upon her entering my home was she was on crutches. The metal kind that wrap around the forearm for extra stability. She had polio as a child. She entered my home looking as if she was laboring. My 90 lb. Doberman carefully walked by her side to give support to her and then sat beside her for the next couple of hours. He made sure her hand was on his head all the time she sat there, as if to say, “If you just keep petting me, you’ll feel better.” They made an immediate bond. She was also badly hurt in the only F3 tornado to hit Ft. Pierce, Fl. In all this, she did not complain. Looking at the print of her painting, it was easy to see she had been given a special insight by Him, which she then drew. Billy Graham has a print of her drawing, as does the Vatican. She died in 2013. Her print of “This I Do For You” is the first thing you see when you enter my home. It’s overpowering. The eyes of Jesus in this print convey the message, “You pick up your cross and follow Me.”

The cross Jesus was crucified on was rough, heavy, and filled with splinters. Imagine your body rubbing against it and then having its weight push down on your back and shoulders. Then try to imagine the same thing happening after you have been scourged, so that muscle and tissue are ripped and shredded and visible through flayed flesh along with sinew and bone. Jesus was weakened. Most would have died from the beatings He received and now this heavy instrument of death was placed on Him. So, the soldiers compelled a certain man, Simon of Cyrene, to carry Jesus’ cross the rest of the way. Simon was a visitor from what is now Libya. It was not believed he was a follower of Christ at that time. But He became one after this experience. What went through Simon’s mind as his eyes locked with Jesus? Did he even try to reconcile why this man was so severely beaten so near to the point of death, yet death still awaited Him? He heard Jesus’ groaning and Simon himself groaned at the weight of the cross.  Its rough wood scraped against him and large splinters entered his skin.  Did Simon later realize that the blood of Christ on those splinters now intermingled with his own blood? Simon would become a follower as would his son, Rufus.  I wonder what Simon’s thoughts were when he took communion? How did the words of Christ resonate that said, “Take. Drink. This is my blood shed for you.” I imagine Simon never forgot that. I’m sure he had a special insight. Did he feel like the apostle Paul who said in in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I feel Simon of Cyrene knew better than most. That image and experience was etched indelibly in his mind. Simon would become a missionary to France and it was said he was a bishop in Avignon. He was martyred in 100 A.D. Crucified.

It is imperative that we do our best to come before Him and ask for special understanding and insight in how to take up our cross. I’ll go into this further at another time but in the meantime, I would recommend looking into teachings on this by Jonathan Boegl. Google him. Know that He has a plan for each of us. It’s in our everyday walk. We take up our cross in our job, our church, our very existence. We make it a conscious act of our will to surrender the right to ourselves to Him. In all we do. Wherever we are. Every day. Every thought. Paul said in Philippians 3:8, “I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him.” Sometimes the closest I get to that is just trying to fathom what Paul actually felt. For now, maybe we can embrace what Jesus did for us and delve into the depths of His love. Maybe we can realize that if we take up our cross, certain things might fall away such as anger, pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, inability to share and give, hard heartedness, slander, wicked thoughts, racist thoughts, back biting and inability to show His love to others. Nail all of these terrible things to the cross. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins.

Take up your cross in standing up for others. Do so in love. Pursue peace with all men, but do not give way to evil. Hunger and thirst after righteousness, but remember do not be one who will hear the words, “I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.” Turmoil and thoughts contrary to Christ are so prevalent. Let His word abide in you. Then the love of God will be perfected in you. Do not let the pervasive darkness blind your eyes and cloud your thought. As John said in 1 John 2:28, “Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” He died that we would have life and the forgiveness of sins. “This I do for you.” Take up your cross. I pray the love of God guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Blessings.

Righting A Cast Sheep

We, like sheep, can so easily go astray. I wrote in December 2016 of the perils that face sheep in Shaken Sheep Syndrome Part 2. *I’ve included a link where this can be accessed at the bottom of this post. What I heard then has become much more dire. The Lord woke me at 6:15 A.M. Friday, 2/12/21 with the words, “Woe to the shepherds and prophets who destroy and scatter my sheep.” I wrote it down as it’s so easy to go back to sleep and then forget. Chapter 23 of Jeremiah speaks to this. These shepherds scatter the sheep of His pasture. They cause the people to be in error. They speak visions of their own heart and say things are good when they completely contradict what the Lord said. God said He did not send these shepherds and prophets who caused His people to hear words and listen to false dreams that led them down a wrong path. Because of these false words, visions, and dreams, the Lord said He is against these shepherds and prophets. And this is exactly what has been coming forth from the mouths of so many shepherds and prophets today. The words of these leaders can cause a sheep to be in danger.

A cast sheep is one that has gone astray and has gotten stuck in something that will eventually kill it. Rescuing the sheep is called “Righting It” and setting it back on its feet. They can become weighed down from the weight of their own wool. When wet, it becomes quite heavy and they can fall because they are off balance and then are unable to right themselves. A good shepherd makes sure the sheep are healthy and the wool shaved. Some today are only concerned with fleecing the sheep. Take the money but don’t look after the flock. Some sheep are just like people in that they have an appetite for things that will cause distress when ingested. This can cause bloating and sickness, leading to death. A sheep’s stomach is similar to a cow’s and has four chambers. If it is stuck on its back, gasses build up and their air supply can be cut off and they can die. We can ingest things in our spirit that lead to all sorts of noxious ailments causing destruction. Wrong ideas. False doctrines. Following those who we know we should walk away from as we’ll end up in a ditch like the wayward sheep. Sticks and all sorts of debris can get stuck in a sheep’s wool, further weighing them down. Much like the lies that are fed to us as a steady diet which many believe. Hate, racism, elitism, unforgiveness, Christian nationalism are all like the sticks and debris in the sheep’s wool that weigh us down. We eventually will wander off on a path of destruction, or like a sheep purposely rolling over on its back on a hollow in the ground, only to get stuck in a rut. They thought it was soft grass, but didn’t see what was underneath, and the weight of their wool and things stuck to them now has them trapped. We too can think something isn’t harmful. We know the person or have read or followed them for years and now something is off. Do we still follow or pay attention when what they speak doesn’t line up with what Christ spoke?

Following wrong doctrine or bad advice and leadings can cause us to be cast down just like a cast sheep. Psalm 42 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you so disquieted? Hope in God, the help of my countenance.” In Chapter 9 of Matthew, Jesus saw the people and had compassion for them, for they were like sheep that were weary and cast down and were scattered as those having no shepherd. When we’re like this, we feel as if there is no direction. Turmoil and chaos are evidenced wherever we go. It fills the air. We can become depressed and lose hope. Feel we’ll be stuck in a rut forever. But a good shepherd listens for the voice of their sheep. They can hear distress in the sound of their bleating. And the good shepherd has a sheepdog that alerts him to the lost sheep or when they are in danger or lost. Right now, both the shepherd and the prophet are too interested in the sounds of their own voice. They are consumed with how many sheep they have or how many follow them. And they are too interested in the value of the wool once fleeced. A good shepherd will lift the sheep from the hole it’s stuck in and then massage them until the circulation returns and they regain their equilibrium. Right about now, how many sheep do you feel have lost their equilibrium? They’re out of balance. So, what can we do to address this properly?

What we listen to can be either nutritious or cause indigestion. It is incumbent upon us to make sure what is presented lines up with what Jesus spoke. If not, reject it. If a shepherd does not put his sheep first, or is too concerned with their own standing, it may be time to address it or move on. If a shepherd speaks things that add to hate and discord and prophesies things that are not true, they must be confronted. Right now, apologies for the 2020 election only speak to that one issue. The last five years are not addressed. What led them to come under this wrong spirit in the first place? Are they going ahead with more new ministerial programs and classes they want you to follow or are they stopping to listen and ask Him for correction? Today, shepherds and prophets are still speaking to the same problem. Rather than defending the past administration, they’re attacking the new one. They are stuck like the cast sheep and they have not asked for help with contrition. Yet, they still attempt to lead. I fear many of these shepherds will not change from their nationalistic fervor. Some may have to die off to be quieted, living out their lives espousing a doctrine contrary to what Jesus taught. Instead, I pray they truly embrace the work of the Cross or just fade away. They do great damage to His Kingdom. The division in our country is growing. Jesus has an answer. Love your fellow man. Teach only what He taught, not your own concoction. Jesus laid His life down for His sheep. Following that mindset is a good place to start. Rather than trying to speak things that just rile people up and create more disagreement, look to see the condition your sheep are in. Care for them. Love them. The Lord says in Psalm 107 that He will pour contempt on those who arrogantly abuse power, but those who are diminished and brought low, He will raise up, show them His favor, and put them in a safe place where no one can touch them. We need to get on the right page. There are so many pages we can turn to in His book.

Jesus said My sheep know My voice and the voice of another they will not follow. We must know His voice. Listen for it. Right now, sheep are hurting.  They are lost, angry and confused. We must look to “right those cast sheep.” So, ask directions. He will say this is the way, walk in it. Believe He will make you to lie in green pastures. That He will restore your soul. He will feed you and anoint you and provide a dwelling for you. Embrace that. Rest in it. Do not allow anything to cause you to be cast down. He is your provision. Blessings.

Speaking Truth to Prophetic Chaos ~ Part 2

I recently wrote about speaking truth to prophetic chaos. The discord seems to have worsened since then. More prophetic ministers and pastors have apologized, but again with opt out clauses. Many of these people are still only focused on not being accurate with their word that Trump would win the 2020 election. I wrote four years ago that God spoke to me regarding the 2016 election saying of Trump, “He will win but he will not serve.” Another prophetic minister heard those same 8 words but now feels they mean Trump would not serve the system. I disagree vehemently. Growing up in a military family, I learned what it means to serve. Giving one’s all for God and country. Often putting yourself at risk, but not complaining. Always ready to serve. Never one that would abandon your post or creed. In my walk with God, service is a part of my life with God. Trusting Him and always trying to draw closer. No matter what certain evangelicals professed, I never witnessed this with the one elected President in 2016.

So, if one says they heard God tell them that Trump would win in 2020, who then did they hear? What did they sense, feel, witness, or dream? Something was quite off. Were they caught up in the fervor of other prophetic people who stood by what they said they heard even up to and on January 20, 2021? Are they with those who believe it still might be changed, or maybe they missed it and it was win one term, then a break, and then win another term? Some feel they had to stay with this prophecy because they could pray it in. Trump would help them fight against abortion. But during the 2016 primary, you had decent Republican candidates like Kasich or Bush that would have also appointed judges to their liking and could also be upright men at the same time. Even Cruz would have not fully maligned the office of President and given judges that evangelicals wanted. I voted for Kasich even though I knew who would win. The fact that people bought into the platform and seductive drawing proffered by Trump seems to be left out. Much like when the King of Babylon sent men and letters to Hezekiah, King of Judah, and Hezekiah showed them all the treasures of his house. They would later take them all. Much like what many religious leaders today did with Trump. He saw all they had, wanted, and were willing to do for a seat at the table. Grifted by one who had done that for decades. But no prophetic voice today was heeded when warnings were given like there was in the prophet Isaiah when Hezekiah reigned.

Many now speak of an increased fear in government, yet had a sense of protection under President Trump. They listened to what so many prophetic voices declared, when in essence they prophesied lies. This spirit that works from the enemy has brought strong delusion that is still entrenched in the thoughts of many. How else could one explain the excitement of following after that man coming down that New York City escalator? Believing what he proposed? Ignoring cases brought against him for tenant abuse, especially people of color, in properties he owned. Using illegal immigrants and treating them poorly in constructing places he owned, Anti-trust violations, race baiting in doing all he could to work to put the Central Park Five in jail forever and never apologizing even after they were found not guilty. Swindling and cheating those who had contracts to work for him was common practice. And if things didn’t work out, just go bankrupt. Treating women shamefully, often against their will. Paying hush money to keep them quiet. Birtherism he started with President Obama. And of course, saying “good people on both sides” in Charlottesville. This is a fraction of things that could be listed to ask why in God’s name did people become ensnared by this which would have been rejected outright if Trump had remained a democrat. He knew years ago what he needed to do to be successful. And an idol was erected that so many still bow to. And that evil spirit of fear is still at work so that many still follow him.

Many still believe the lies and find reasons to fault the enemy for what they did wrong in embracing that which was contrary to the teachings of Christ. Contrary to His Way! They look for counsel from those who still lead them astray like any monthly prognosticator. Only you can deliver yourself from where you are and walk in truth. If you continue to look to man for your answer you will walk in continued darkness. Look to Him. Embrace the Cross! That is the only true path. His Word is truth and life. If you continue to embrace that which doesn’t line up with His heart you will be in a constant state of doubt and anxiety. But He will give you good counsel. He will instruct you in the midst of storms and even as you sleep. Just set Him ever before you. His justice will always prevail.

So where do we go from here? How do we repair the division in our country and in our Church? How do we repair our status in the world? How do we turn down the rhetoric and the anger that is so prevalent? We start by repenting. Everyone. There is no one that hasn’t harbored something in their heart that adds to the division. Thoughts alone, even not voiced, can cause terrible harm. To others and to you. So that you do not misunderstand what I’m saying in this post, I’ve prayed for all in leadership. Yes, even Trump. If he had changed, all of us would have profited. Some repentance will need to go deeper. There are some people so inextricably stuck in this chaos they will need to be prayed for like one being de-programmed. The daily lies, acceptance of evil evidenced by conspiracy theories and things like QAnon, have taken a toll. People have left churches in anger. That must be rectified. Friendships and even relationships in families have been torn and fractured. Some seemingly irreversible. And what of those who defended lies that stated the virus was a hoax or that masks infringe on your first amendment rights. Masks are not just about you.  They protect your fellowman.  Will you apologize to those thousands who have lost loved ones? What of those in ministry that still lead their sheep astray by claiming the election was lost because of fraud? Is your God so small He can’t stop that from happening? Time for many of you to step down or take a sabbatical.  The enemy comes to rob, kill and destroy. And too many have let him. We need to stand firm but always speak truth in love. And sometimes we just have to be quiet and bring it to the Lord in prayer. For a long time now, I’ve asked His truth and mercy to blanket our land. I’ve also asked for discordant voices, Trump among them, to be quieted. Not killed or hurt. Quieted. We are to represent Christ in everything we do. Those that walk contrary to that are of the world and those that embrace the world walk in error. Speak and walk in His love.

Proverbs 28:4 in the Passion Translation states, “Those who turn their backs on what they know is right will no longer be able to tell right from wrong.” I so fear many now walk this way. I am speaking from a heart that breaks from what I see. And I identify with Paul in 2 Corinthians 11 in that I too burn with indignation when I see so many fall from being led astray and into a path of sin and hate. We are to be imitators of Him. Cast off darkness and those who walk in it. We are to shine as His light. Examine yourself to make sure you walk as one of His. I pray the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Blessings.

Speaking Truth to “Prophetic Chaos” ~ Part 1

It seems that every year prophets of every shape and size start sending out notices of their upcoming word for the next year. Many of these words have been quite generic or based on the political climate or whatever seems to be the aggregate they’ve agreed on. As I recently wrote, I see many of these people actually not deviating much from those prophets of Baal who yelled and ran about cutting themselves in order to hear an answer. They’ve doubled and tripled down on their belief that the Lord told them Trump would win again. At least the false prophet, Balaam, who often would speak at the behest of those who hired him, could only speak God’s word of truth when His spirit was on him. That seems to have by-passed many “prophets” today. So, what could have caused such an auditory mishap from so many who proclaim to be God’s mouthpiece? Is it the Lord they are hearing, or has something else caught their attention? Everyone can miss it, but it is incumbent on those who believe God has spoken through them to immediately confess when they are wrong.

Speaking prophetically has become so commonplace and prolific that a word in season becomes lost amongst the continual onslaught and barrage of never ending “words of the day, week, and year.” So many have surpassed in totality of words that which was spoken by ALL the prophets of the Old Testament. And then you add in speaking tours, prophetic courses, books and lesson plans, all for the low, low price of whatever. And these same people have been promising to apologize for what they missed, re: Trump and the November, 2020 election. But wait. We need to hear about another court case, and another fraud allegation, and maybe congress will overturn the election or maybe V.P. Pence will. Nope. Guess God got it wrong. Seriously? At what point do you just stop this nonsense and realize you got it wrong and that which was the purveyor of this madness and misdirection also had you under his spell. The prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) has been at work, but so much of this evil has been too easily followed. Prophecies given by so many speaking of Trump and his ascendancy to power in 2015-2016, I feel were misunderstood. But why?

I had been on my face in prayer and intercession a week before the 2016 election when God spoke to me audibly regarding Trump. The Lord said, “He will win but he will not serve.” Eight words. I wrote on this before. I knew what was coming. Yes, Trump would be a wrecking ball, but not in the way so many gleefully awaited this to be made manifest. This would come through our nation and uncover that which was simmering below the surface. Hatred, chaos, racism, rise of autocracy, and to reveal what was really in the hearts of so many. Especially those in the church. Those who once purported to stand against racism, misogyny, speaking evil of others, bullying, cheating, lying and so many other things once considered sin, were now O.K. And what was there was indeed uncovered for all to see. To those who were given charge of His sheep, yet embraced this wrong, I heard the Lord say, “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.” At no time in our history has a person with no political clout, a proven track record of misdeeds, lies, bankruptcies and other fiascos, been spoken of as a terrible person by his opponents and then suddenly embraced and kowtowed to. This was the enemy. His spirit of fear permeated our land and we allowed it. The Lord did not order it, nor was it from Him. And now we have seen our U.S. capitol assaulted by misguided people under the influence of evil for the first time since 1812. Shameful. I was praying in the Spirit and in tears for hours before that happened knowing full well something horrible was to happen. And already the trolls are out trying to misdirect fault for this heinous act. But I pray out of this evil will come repentance and a new awareness.

I’ve discussed before the different ways the Lord speaks to me. He often will speak in the middle of what I’m doing and use that. Reading a book, the Bible, a movie or past things He brings to remembrance. In October and November of 2019, He spoke a line from a play to me. When He does something like that, I know I’m to look into every part of what He presented to me. He spoke, “Something wicked this way comes.” That’s from Macbeth. I had not read that since around 1970. I knew what He was saying and how it was pertinent to today. These were witches that spoke this of Macbeth. They had also prophesied his ascendancy to king. These witches also spoke in this same Act 4, “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” Macbeth was hellbent on power to the point of destroying his rivals. He would remove any obstacles to his road to power no matter what it took. Eventually things catch up with him and those close to him that help him stay in power turn from him. Eventually, a person of worth, Macduff, kills him and removes his head. I’m not speaking death to anyone. This is analogous to headship changing and those who once propped up an unscrupulous leader now were turning against him. We see things like this with today’s Lincoln Project of disgruntled Republicans and past party members walking away and speaking out. The Lord also showed me what was just the beginning of a serious disease would become so horrible, and much of the problem would be exacerbated by those refusing to do the basic things needed to stay safe in this pandemic. What should have been a total effort to attack this pandemic would be politicized, and many in the church would be part of the problem. He also showed me the great chasm in the church that would become worse. Lies and conspiracy theories would be accepted and spread by millions. I pray daily that His truth and His mercy would blanket this land.

I have shared these words from the onset of my hearing them with just four people. My sister Beth who edits all I write and one I trust with anything. My ministry partner and best friend, Joe. My sister-in-law Mil and one who hears form the Lord. And Carl Thomas, the pastor of the church I attend, Revival Life Church. I always discuss with him what I receive and I value his input. I need to say that one important thing the Lord has impressed upon me is there is wisdom in fewer words. Playing to people’s fears through your own inability to be comfortable with God being quiet by increased verbosity may get you a response from like- minded people or those spiritually lost, but you do damage to the Kingdom. This is a darkness that Oswald Chambers referred to as only following your own point of view, prejudices, and preconceived determinations. Rather than react to every event going on in our country and claim it to be a prophetic word, the Lord has instructed me write that which warns, but uplifts. Identifies wrong, but encourages you to be closer to God. Encourage church community, but warn to reject all that does not line up with the teachings of Christ. I’ve tried to do that. We are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. We are to be separate from that which works to pull us from His presence. When you walk with those who operate in unrighteous deception, know you will be susceptible to strong delusion that God allows.

Colossians 2:8 states, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” We are to be complete in Him, but this word tells us to beware. The onus is on us. As it says in 2 Corinthians 10, WE must take captive thoughts that do not line up with Him. Every thought must be in obedience with Him. As Jeremiah said in chapter 7:28, “We are a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord nor receive correction.” We are faltering and yet His mercy prevails. It is new every morning. But know this, the Lord speaks to those who lead His people astray in Psalm 50:16 and says, “What right do you have to speak for me and claim My covenant promises as your own?” (Passion Translation) Love one another, be hospitable, minister to one another. Walk in truth. Cast all your cares and anxieties upon Him, but be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, goes about seeking whom he may devour. In all things rejoice. He is still on the throne. He alone is God. Rest your hope in him. Remove that veil you put on that causes you to have clouded vision. This hope we have is a sure and steadfast anchor for our soul. Blessings.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

We seem to be caught in a snare from which we cannot free ourselves. Part of the reason is we too often work to strengthen the very snare that holds us. We do that through our own arrogance. We feel our wisdom will lead us into truth as we trample on the very foundations of all that truth is built upon. We boast in all our self-made ideologies not realizing we have strayed off course by a degree, which then turns out to be so much further from our original heading. We seek things that glitter and offer false promises. We listen to words and promises that touch the visceral part of our nature, when we should know that it’s but a part of our fallen nature, still quite alive in the midst of us. Something is wrong.

One of my favorite and yet sadly funny stories in the Bible is in Chapters 32-34 of Exodus. The Lord had been giving detailed instructions in all things having to do with standing before Him. From consecration of Priests, to the Anointing oil, to instructions for building the Tabernacle. Moses is called by the Lord to go up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. I often think back to the movie “History of the World Pt 1” with Mel Brooks playing Moses. In the movie, he drops one of the tablets and therefore there are now 10 commandments and not 15. Wonder what those other 5 commandments might have said? I’m sure they would have been applicable to today. Doesn’t matter, we have enough trouble giving heed to the 10 we have and doing quite well ignoring the teachings of Jesus. The funny part though is, that while Moses was gone for an extended time, the people grew restless. All the miracles they had seen were no longer relevant. They were forgotten. They needed to see and hold what they chose to worship and have something they could give voice and appearance to. Moses had been up Mount Sinai many times. This time was too long. Yet, God had never failed the Israelites. He was always on time. So, the people’s anger led Aaron the High Priest, brother of Moses, to tell the Israelites to give him the gold earrings from their ears and the gold from their hands, and he fashioned a golden calf. And Aaron said “This is your God O Israel.” The next day they proclaimed a feast day to this idol and rose up early and offered burnt offerings to their new god. This golden calf. Symbolic that the gold which came from their ears where they were to hear God and the hands which were to be used to build a new land and offer praise up to God, now crafted an idol. “And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play” to an idol. (Exodus 32:6)

The Lord told Moses to go down to the people, as they had corrupted themselves. Moses was so angry he cast down the 2 tablets God had given him and they shattered at the foot of the mountain. Moses then confronted Aaron and accused him of bringing sin upon the people. And herein lies the funny part: Aaron said the people were set on evil. They caused him to mold the golden calf. He said “the people gave me the gold and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out!” Something a little kid might say when reprimanded by a parent. The calf just magically appeared! Moses burned the calf and ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the people drink it. Sort of like when someone says I hope you choke on it! Moses told the people to consecrate themselves, as this day every man has opposed his brother. Our sin of following after that which is not God harms more than just ourselves.

The Israelites did just as people have continued to do all these years. They know what the Word says, but they become futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts are darkened. We take His glory and mold it into an image acceptable to our reprobate minds. It is one we follow as often as it is an object we covet. And we are often led down a primrose path with visions of grandeur and promises that are not worth the breath it takes to utter them. Yet, they continue to be spoken and people continue to listen and blindly follow. Half of our country now follows one way and the other half another. I do know that even 20 years ago much of what is being said today would have been dismissed outright. But now the most absurd and even ungodly things have become words to follow. Personal traits once seen as reprehensible and totally divorced from the teachings of Christ are now accepted, especially if it gets you what you want. The end justifies the means. No matter what. And prophets and ministers have doubled down on their bets. They are akin to those who cut themselves and cried out to Baal, knowing full well that the God of Elijah would prevail. The prince of the power of the air only has to whisper now. His work is being done for him. When we take all the attributes listed that a Christian should walk in and decide they are no longer necessary, how would you answer if the Lord asked you why? Would you be like the Israelites and just say I wanted certain things and suddenly one appeared to me offering a solution? Just magically appeared? As I’ve written before, people need to be quiet. Confusion reigns. These so-called leaders change their minds based on what others say or whatever source they receive their news from. They run to and fro seeking the word of the Lord and do not find it. When things are in turmoil as they are now, one must sit and be quiet before Him. And if He gives a word regarding the current situation, then you stand on it. You do not vacillate. The Passion Translation of Proverbs 29:18 says, “When there is no prophetic vision people quickly wander astray. But when you follow the revelation of the Word, heaven’s bliss fills your soul.” What are you feeling right now? Is it Him?

Turn away from anything offering a path that doesn’t line up with the teachings of Christ. No matter how much it glitters. No matter what the promises offered. His word is true. Yes and amen. We must be aware that there is so much faulty information from those trying to get our attention off of Him and onto another path with false offerings. But the Lord is faithful and will establish and strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. Trust in Him and no other. “I pray the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5) Blessings.

We Become What We Behold

Growing up, I had my problems with the church. I had an encounter with the Lord as a little boy, but as time went on, I became complacent. I had my own beliefs, but they were often at odds with those who preached the Word to me. The hypocrisy of those telling me one thing, but not following what they preached, had a negative effect on me. My lack of establishing a relationship with God was one of the reasons I became complacent and drifted away. It wasn’t until after a couple of experiences with God, when my heart literally stopped, did I get to see Him. He then showed me what I was to see. And that image, along with supernatural encounters, radically changed my life. I saw Him and I will not allow any person or doctrine to take that from me.

Certain verses are permanently inked into my heart. Chapter 3 of 2 Corinthians is filled with life for me. I do not need to be commended by Christian leaders heard daily espousing a doctrine that is at odds with what I read in the gospels and epistles. My sufficiency is from God, even though I have to remind myself of that.  I do not need to please another ministry or attempt to be more spiritual to please God. I cannot allow anger or hate to enter into my consciousness and still remain right before Him. Yet it has become acceptable for Christian leaders to rail about their own personal agenda from whichever pulpit or social media platform many choose to use. Division and discord, as the end result, has become acceptable. Political affiliation leads the way, no matter how spiritually off it may be. And character, decency, integrity and truthfulness doesn’t matter if you get what you want from the one you choose to follow. When did that become a portrait of Jesus? What image do you see? Read on.

As I mentioned, Chapter 3 of 2 Corinthians is filled with life for me. Specifically, Verse 18 says “We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We are being transfigured into His very image. The veil is taken away and we become mirrors that reflect His glory. How could anyone in Christ go from this glory that is etched permanently in us and take on an image of that which is the complete opposite?  Just as we can be transformed by His glory, we can also walk in the opposite direction. You see, we become what we behold.” And the faces and voices of so many I see and hear today reflect an image quite unlike the Savior that I do my best to behold. You have a choice to do your utmost to reflect Him or be satisfied with a poor facsimile ~ a poor facsimile which may suffice or even be accepted by some ~ but in the end, you will find this choice under the definitions of spiritual death.

Right from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, mankind was given a relationship with God and an image of glory. But the voice of another ~ a blustering cacophonous sound so unlike His voice ~ drew them near. Just like some voices today that should be rejected, but somehow have become acceptable. We all need to check ourselves and see that we are right with God. What are you hearing and seeing? Does the sound of hateful words, boastful sounds, anger and vengeance repel you or draw you near? The Lord showed me what was coming a week before the 2016 election, but I am still amazed and am having trouble being reconciled to our current state of affairs. I’m also surprised by those who have embraced that which He warned me of. Again, we can be changed into His image or embrace the antithesis of His glory. The more we behold Him, the more we become like Him. The more He is seen in us. The more He is heard in us. The more we walk contrary to that basic premise of beholding Him, the more we become what we now behold ~ that which is not of Him. That should make us take a look at our own reflection. Listen to what you say. Do not be led by those who spout venomous words of division and hate because you are afraid to take a stand for righteousness or are unsure of who you are in Him. He gave His son that you would have abundant life, yet the thief is sidling up to you and whispering lies to you. The thief looks nothing like you if you are in Him, so why hear what he has to say? Stand. The Lord will strengthen you. He is faithful. With open face and heart, you will become what He sets before you. Behold that. Become that. Right now, I am writing to you at the top of my lungs!! We need to look fully into the face of God!   We cannot be like the Israelites who, when seeing he reflection of God’s glory on Moses’ face, asked Him to put on a veil because they could not bear to see His true reflection. Be like those two witnesses, Joshua and Caleb, who set His face before them when they faced the land of giants. No visage, no matter how frightening, could deter them. Yet today, so many have forgotten what they look upon and embrace, and, in essence, wear their own veil so as not to have the Lord cloud their vision.

Be like David as he shared his heart in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Do not allow that which has become acceptable to have any part in you. As it says in Colossians 3, “We are hid with Christ in God.” We have a new nature. That which does not mirror Him cannot remain. Do not accept a substitute gospel. Behold Him.  Blessings.

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.