Sunday, May 23, 2021

Aren't You Glad the Church Isn't Just Wearing Their Birthday Suit?

 

Happy Birthday!

You’re looking pretty good—for being almost 2,000 years old.

Today we remember how we went from being self-quarantined cowards hiding in an upper room to being bold as lions—bolder—bold as street preachers.

We went from hunkering in silence to carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. You’ve heard of Him, because of what happened to them, back then.

About ten days before it happened, He said, the thing we most hate to hear. Wait.

I’m reminded at how much I hate to wait at every red light. Nevertheless, He said it. Thankfully they did it. They went into an upper room and waited. And waited. And waited.

After His resurrection, He showed up time and again for about 40 days. I suppose, they figured, He’d do it again.

He told them to wait until they were endued with Power.

So. They. Waited. Even though they weren’t even sure what exactly they were waiting for.

But, after about 10 days, they must’ve worked through all their differences, their guesses about what they thought would happen, and they settled into a place Jesus had prayed we’d all reach, a place the Bible calls, one accord.

Then, just like that, suddenly the place shook and fire fell as if tongues of fire hovered over each of them and just like that, they went from chickens to lions.

Their outward circumstances did not change one iota. But they sure did.

The elite still wanted them silenced. The government that crucified Jesus was still in power.

But that didn’t matter anymore.

Why?    

Well, because. What happened to them was like what would happen to us, if we saw an enemy approaching with sticks and stones and suddenly we realized we held a stick, too. Only our stick was DYNAMITE.  

  That’s not advocating blowing up people. I never said people. I said enemy. We have an enemy and it isn’t people. It isn’t flesh and blood. We have an invisible enemy and blowing up his schemes and plans is exactly what we’re to do.

As a matter of fact, that’s what Jesus was talking about when He chose the words, “endued with Power.”

Endued is the Greek word, enduo; ἐνδύω; (en-doo'-o). It means to clothe or be clothed with (in the sense of sinking into a garment).

Think about that word for a moment. Jesus must’ve smiled when He said it; perhaps a tear of joy slid down His cheek. I can’t imagine it didn’t, considering, He’d longed for this moment since the beginning, when He found us, ashamed, scared, naked and hiding.  

He made clothes to cover our naked body. Then, watched as we walked away from the perfect garden home He’d made us. Perhaps He shed a tear then too, knowing those clothes would do nothing to cover our exposed soul.

Like the prodigal’s father, from that moment to this, He never stopped yearning, never stopped searching, never stopped preparing for this moment.

It’s a moment any good parent would take. In a heartbeat they’d step in harm’s way and take the place of their child.

It’s just what He did.

The moment He’d been waiting for finally came. He allowed Himself to be stripped, exposed and naked.

It sounds crazy, but it pleased Him to do it. It was part of His plan.

Because, He knew, the enemy was holding sticks and stones, that can only break bones, but He Himself was dynamite that pierces through bones clear to the soul.

Perhaps that’s why when He said, we’d “be endued with power,” the word He used for power, is dunamis, δύναμις, εως, , translated: (miraculous) power, might, strength.

You can guess, it’s where we get the word, dynamite.

Once inside the enemy’s lair, He blew off the doors and set the captives free.

He ripped the veil that separated His children. To this day, He still holds out clothes to cover our naked soul and invites us back into His Garden Home.

Just as the prodigal’s father, ran to his son, put a ring on his finger and a robe on his back; God so loved and longed for this moment that He swept in like a mighty rushing wind with tongues of fire that sat on them, like a great big embrace, a hug and a kiss and endued (clothed) them with His Spirit that had been stripped from them way back in the Garden.  

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I can hear heaven singing, Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday Church. Aren't you glad you're not still just wearing your birthday suit? 


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Why'd You Just Stand by and Let Her Die?

We've spent months praying for baby Finley to be healed. 

I've spent days wrestling with God, since hearing of her passing.  

The following story helped me find, peace. 

If you wonder why our prayers seem to go unanswered; why God seems to just stand idle; perhaps this will help you, too. 


“Stay the course, Mac and I’ll see you again.”

Maggie’s voice drifted across his memory like the wind…

Mac worked the muscles in his jaw and clenched his fist. “I would never let that happen to someone I loved if I could prevent it.” He pointed his finger toward the sky and noticed he was trembling. His chin quivered, “You could have prevented this. All of it…and You didn’t.” Mac sunk to the cockpit sole and drew his knees to his chest. “Why would you do nothing? Why?” For several moments he sat in silence listening and heard only the waves lapping against the side of his boat.

He knew he shouldn’t press so hard but he couldn’t shake the thought. “If one of my sailors stood by and watched a comrade get killed when they could have easily prevented it—I’d have him court marshaled, dishonorably discharged and I’d forever brand him as a coward.” He looked up; his eyes blurred with angry tears. “Now God, where does that leave us?”

No answer, just the gentle breeze, the lapping of the waves and the cry of the gull. “Yeah, ignore me some more—You’re good at that.” 

Then, a nagging question hit him. Why’d you let Richey join the Navy? You of all people knew the danger.

Mac made a single laugh that held no humor, “That’s not even the same thing God and You know it. Joining the Navy is not a death sentence. I didn’t want him to get hurt, but I’d have taken a bullet for him if I could to protect him. I certainly wouldn’t have stood by and watched without lifting a finger to help…like You.”

Silence filled the atmosphere. Another scene drifted into Mac’s mind. Richey stepped on a rusty nail when he was five. The nail was sticking out of the bottom of his shoe and Richey was hysterical. Maggie tried to pull it out, but Richey screamed bloody murder so they rushed him to the emergency room. The nail was removed, the area sterilized and Richey was sent to another room to wait for a tetanus shot.

Richey couldn’t understand why, after already being poked in the foot, they would want to poke him again, with a needle, in the arm. “I’ll be good—I won’t step on no more nails. Promise…Please…Please…Please don’t poke me no more.”

He cried. Maggie cried. Even the nurse who cleaned the wound cried. Maggie held Richey on her lap and rubbed his back and when his breathing settled, she whispered in his ear, “Do you trust me?”

Richey sniffed three times and tried to speak but could only make jerky little breaths. He squeezed his mom’s shoulders and looked in her eyes through tears and lifted his head up and down.

A lonesome wave rolled under the boat.

Mac shook his head hard and the memory vanished. But as he did other questions appeared. Was it Maggie’s fault he stepped on the nail? Did she make him? Why’d they hurt him again? The questions raced through Mac’s mind faster than he could answer but he knew the answers immediately.

“NO!  If Maggie had known, she’d have prevented it. And, sure the needle hurt—but it was for Richey’s own good. It’s not the same thing. How could cancer be good? How can whatever happened to Richey be good? Death is not good! Didn’t You say, ‘I’ve come to give life? Life not death!’”

Mac waved his hands in the air and looked toward the sky. His voice weak, about to break, “We don’t know the future, we’re just people—just stupid people…not God. Not eternal, not omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent. I couldn’t help Mags…or Richey. I’m just a man.”

A single cry fell from his lips and he went to his knees, his hands clamped together and hung in front of him, his head tilted back facing the sky. Silence ruled for several moments. Mac listened to his racing, breaking heart. “I just don’t understand.”

One question rose to the top of a million others fighting for his attention. The Voice that asked the question was filled with compassion.

How can a man who doesn’t understand, blame a God who does?

Line by line slapped his soul, like waves against the boat…

It’s not My will that any should perish.

Life is a vapor.

The thief comes to kill steal and destroy.

There is none righteous, no not one.

My ways are not your ways.

Trust Me

Mac knew two things: the words rolling through his mind were from somewhere in the Bible, thanks to Maggie, insisting he make Bible reading a daily routine; and he was exhausted.

He poured himself onto the starboard bench. Folded his hands behind his head and stared straight into the sky. He tried to see through the clouds through the blue, through the solar system and into heaven—where Maggie was. 

Instead, all the scenes and questions rolled through his mind again—sailing with Richey, the Navy, the nail, the tetanus shot, Maggie. Mac watched the clouds; each one held a memory of Richey and Mags. But then, a vapor trail from a jet snaked into view. It floated like a water snake slithering across the sky. 

That’s when it hit him.

The venom that had bitten his wife and son happened not recently, but many years ago, back in a garden, where the world was right and good—God declared it very good and said, “I made this just for you, take the wheel.”

Mac let out a deep breath and shook his head. “But we handed the wheel to the snake…and now this.”

He pictured his wife and son.

Pain pierced its dagger one more time, but it was losing its sting.

Mac remembered Maggie’s plea, as he lifted his eyes toward heaven and his hands in surrender. “Alright, Captain Jesus, take the wheel—help me, to stay the course.”

The dagger dissolved and a gentle peace flooded his soul.

The circumstances didn’t change one bit—but Mac did. He knew that no matter what, somehow, he was going to make it through this storm. Without making a conscious effort, Mac did what he’d always done—what he’d taught Richey to do when adrift and lost at sea—look for and hold onto, what’s stable.

Although he knew there was an ocean full of things he didn’t understand; he knew God was the anchor for his souland he’d see his Maggie again.

And that was enough.


Above story is an excerpt from, The Voice.


Monday, April 26, 2021

What Time Should I Go By? Chronos or Kairos?

When’s the, eight o’clock train leave?

The clerk lifted a thick eyebrow and peered over thin glasses perched on the end of his nose. “Eight.”

The cowboy nodded and flipped open a worn silver pocket watch. It read five ‘til eight. He sauntered over to the window and looked up and down the tracks. Empty tracks. He tilted his head as he looked at the clock over the bank across the street. It read one minute to eight.

He turned around, held the watch to his ear, and stared at the clock on the train station wall. It read five minutes past eight.

“Hey mister,” the cowboy said, scratching his whiskered chin. “What time should I go by?” He lifted his watch. Mine says five ‘til.” He nodded toward the street. “That clock out there says a minute to.” Then, he frowned. “But yours says, five after.”

The train clerk shrugged. “You can go by whichever you want.” He raised two shaggy brows this time as he peered over his spectacles. “But there’s one thing you can’t go by.”

The cowboy crossed his arms. “What’s that?”

“You can’t go by—" he looked out the window “—the eight o’clock train; ‘cuz, it’s done gone.”

Some say location, location, location, is everything. But, it’s not. You can be at the right place, but if you’re there at the wrong time—you’ll miss the train. Or plane. Or boat. Or worse yet…the moment.

There’s more than one kind of time. Chronos, helps us not miss our train; kairos, helps us not miss Life.

Chronos refers to the kind of time we read on our clock or calendar. It can be measured. It’s where we get, chronology or chronological.

Some examples of chronos time are:

Galatians 4:4; “But when the fullness of the time (chronos) had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Acts 2:1; When the day of Pentecost had fully come… was an exact date on the calendar; chronos.

John 2:4 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour (chronos) is not yet come.” Jesus was saying, His time (chronos) to go to the cross, had not yet come. That time was a date certain, on God’s calendar.

However, Mary seized the opportune moment and said “Do whatever He says…” Jesus’ response to her faith, turned a problem, into an opportune time, a kairos moment.

Chronos is earth’s clock. Kairos is Heaven’s.

Only God fully knows both. Acts 1:7 says: “And He said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times (chronos) or the seasons (kairos), which the Father hath put in his own power.’”

He’s God. We’re not.

Elijah went by God’s time. According to the talk of heaven’s clock, he knew it was time (kairos) to pray that it would not rain—and it did not rain, for three and a half years. Then, he looked at his kairos watch, and knew it was time for rain; so even under a clear blue sky, he boldly proclaimed, “I hear the sound of an abundance of rain” ...and it did rain. A lot. 

Notice, his prayer was according to kairos; not according to need. 1 Kings 17 and 18.

Kairos means an appointed time, an opportune moment, or a due season.

I do prayer walks, whenever I can find, or make, the time. But one day, while I was busy, while I was working, while I had other things on my mind and my agenda, I heard, probably not audibly, but it might as well have been. “Go for prayer walk now.”

I did.

I just happened to be walking past Jim’s, when I spied a man knocking on his door; peaking through his window. I walked on by, then turned around, thinking that was just a little too weird. He said, Jim had called his company for a ride, but now he wasn’t answering. He told me, according to company rules, he wasn’t allowed to open the door.

Well, company rules don’t apply, when marching to the tune of kairos time. I opened the door and hollered, “Hey Jim, this is Doug, you alright in there?”

“Nooooo” came the faint cry.

He was on the kitchen floor and couldn’t get up. In short order we had him up, and medical assistance attending him.

We may think all we can do is pass the time, (chronos), as we walk through our mundane uneventful, boring life. But, if we’re listening and obedient, we can experience an entirely different realm of life happening all around us. Unzip the veil, and dare to peek, just beyond the ordinary and natural and step into the extraordinary, supernatural awareness of God’s divine timing, seizing the moment, the kairos moments, all around us.

Continued part two: Reaping Kairos

(Above was part of our Whispering Pines Village Wednesday Bible Study)

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Prayer Cloud

It’s hot. You’re thirsty.

You lift the handle and plunge it back down.

The old pump squeaks.

You do it again.

Nothing happens…or so it seems.

You do it again. And again. And again….

The old pump gurgles.

You cup your hands under the spout.

The coldest, freshest water pours out.

You splash your face and hair and drink long and deep.

Refreshed.

 

That’s prayer.

 

It’s work.

It works.

It taps reservoirs unseen.

It draws the answer at first pull.

If quit too soon, it never arrives. 


Of all the examples the Holy Spirit could choose, to teach us about prayer, He chose, Elijah praying for rain. Why?

 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16-18

Effective, fervent, in original text is the verb, energeó, it means: to be at work, to work, to do.

The word, avails, is the word, ischuó, it means: to be strong, have power.

That’s prayer. It’s work. It works. It taps reservoirs unseen. It draws the answer at first pull. If quit too soon, it never arrives.

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…” Can you believe it? Holy Spirit, compares you and I, to the mighty man of God, Elijah.

“And he prayed earnestly…” That means; Holy Spirit expects us to do the same.

It sounds simple. Elijah prayed it would not rain; it didn’t. Then he prayed it would. It did. 

Wasn't there more to it than that? I don't know about you, but I've prayed plenty, without seeing results as simple as that.  

Elijah heard from God. We should too.

Prayer is communication. Not just talking, but listening. Hearing from God is our goal every time we pray. When we call a friend, we don’t just want their answering machine, we want to hear their voice.  

Hearing from God, opens doors.

Elijah went to the king. I went to a stranger.

He was a long tall Texan. I was a new to the area, nervous, Yankee.  It was just a few words, but I knew it was God. He was walking away. I hurried and headed him off at the pass.

I looked up at him. He looked down at me.

I swallowed hard. “Excuse me sir, um…”   

“Yeah…” he drawled, like only a Texan can do.

I blurted it out before I chickened out. “God hasn’t forgotten you.”

Eternity passed for a second or two and the long tall Texan, bowed his head, his chin quivered a little and perhaps some of that Texas dust blew in his eye, because it started to leak.

It’s been years, we’re still friends. God not only remembered that Texan named Willie, but pulled him off the bench. We couldn’t have started that little country church, just outside Three Rivers Texas, without him.

It was some of the best—and hardest—times of my life.

Pure Prayer Power

God told Elijah, go tell the king; “It’s not going to rain.” He did. It didn’t. For years.

Drought and famine hit the land hard.

Answered prayers aren’t always nice, but always right.

After three and a half, long, years, God told Elijah, it was time for rain.

Before there was a cloud in the sky, Elijah declared “I hear the sound of an abundance of rain.” 

He was able to echo publicly, what he’d heard privately, only by investing intimately, in prayer.

At the top of Mount Carmel, he bowed himself down, and prayed for rain.  

Elijah understood that even though it was God’s idea and timing, it was up to him to pray it in. God created the earth and then handed the keys to man (Genesis 1:28). Therefore, by design, He is willing to help us, to work with us, but He waits for us, to ask.

After praying, Elijah sent his servant to look toward the sea. Nothing but blue skies was all his servant could see.

Elijah prayed some more and sent him again.

Nothing.

Prayed and sent again.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Again, and again, and again. Seven times again. But then, the servant returned and said there wasn’t much, but a small, little cloud, only about the size of a man’s hand.

A cumulus cloud. That was all it took.

(Cumulus: heap, accumulate, pile up. Cumulus clouds can turn into Cumulonimbus clouds (rain/thunderhead) which are a dense, towering vertical cloud, forming from water vapor carried by powerful upward air currents.)

The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing when He gave us this example. Seven times, Elijah prayed and the servant went. Seven, God’s perfect number, of completion. Teaching us to pray without ceasing, until the answer comes. It’s on the way from the first day, just don’t quit, keep pumping, praying, accumulating, until the answer arrives.

Elijah understood the power accumulating within the effectual, fervent upward draft and substance of his prayers.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  

Pump by pump by pump…word upon word, line upon line, powerful upward drafts of prayer for America have been accumulating and there's a sound, for those with ears to hear, of a mighty rushing wind; listen, even now, there's the sound of an abundance of rain. 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy”  Acts 2:17-18

That little cumulus cloud, the size of a praying hand, grew. 

“Hurry” said Elijah to his servant, “run and tell the king to get down the mountain now, or he’ll get stuck in the rain.”

The sky went black, the winds blew and there was a mighty outpouring of an abundance of rain.  


1 Kings 18:41-45


Let’s pray.

Lord Jesus, thank You for waking us to our need for prayer, by revealing the drought in our soul. We understand that from the moment we start to pray, the answer is on the way, even if we don’t see anything, our prayers are working, accumulating, getting stronger and stronger. We ask for endurance to persevere in prayer. We ask for a passion, to hear from You. Boldness to proclaim what we hear, without fear.

WE DECREE that Holy Spirit is pouring in abundance throughout our land, quenching the thirsty, cleansing the willing, and washing away the wicked.

Although the city on a hill may have flickered, she will not be snuffed out; she's been anointed and refueled and is burning brighter and brighter, from sea to shining sea. 

A great awakening has come to the once sleeping giant, the American Church. Now THE CHURCH HOUSE is awake and engaged, and leading the charge to take US to our God ordained destiny.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CHURCH HOUSE HAPPENS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.  

Let it rain, let it rain. I hear the sound of an abundance of Holy Spirit reign. 



UPDATE: After writing, I walked to a friend's to pray for him. On the way I took the picture of the blue sky...no clouds anywhere. I said to the sky, "I hear the sound of an abundance of rain."  I told my friend, "Even if there's no evidence, we hear the sound of an abundance of healing for you." A few minutes later I walked home and noticed the small cloud and took a photo of it too. Seven hours later were in the middle of an abundance of rain.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Shyloh's Baptism

“Dad, can you pick us up at the airport?”
“Of course. How long can you stay; a month or two?”
She giggled, “Just the weekend.”
It wasn’t long, but nothing short of awesome.
Taking grandkids on their first trip to the ocean ranks right up there with teaching them to walk and ride a bike. Their wide eyes as they scan the horizon and can’t see the other side. The funny face when they slap the waves and taste the salty water. The non-stop picking up of shells.
But, none of that, compared to the request from my youngest daughter, Shyloh.
She’d grown weary of an on-again, off-again relationship, with God. She wanted the battle to end. “Dad, do you think—” she paused for a moment and her voice got small— “you could baptize me?”
She saw making an outward expression of an inward confession, that Jesus Christ is Lord of her life, as the answer to her dilemma.
I saw it as an answer to a thousand prayers.

As far as eye could see along the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, spring breakers played in the water and laid on the beach.
They were fully committed to fun in the sun.
My daughter looked beyond the sand and the sea, to the One Who made it.
She was fully committed to the Son.
She drew a line in the sand, before God, thousands of spring-breakers and multitudes of angels, from this moment forward, come hell or high water, Jesus is Lord of my life.
The sun danced on the water as we waded into the salty Gulf, the waves broke against our legs, a multitude of voices mingled with the seagulls’ call; but for a moment, while we stood in waist deep water, they were all gone.
It was just her and I, with The Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
She nodded in agreement that her old self was buried with Christ and she was born again, resurrected with Him, to new Life.

Humbled and honored, I gently laid my daughter, back into the water.
Sure, I know, I’m her dad, perhaps a bit biased, but when she came up, there was a glow even a blind man could see. There’s no doubt about it, even with the multiplied thousands of college girls in bikinis…she was by far, the most beautiful lady, inside and out, on that beach.
What she did, was no small thing. A single mom with two young kids. She flew down on Friday and returned on Sunday. That’s not much time. The effort was huge. The expense great. The time short…yet she counted the cost and found it worthwhile.
She knows, Jesus showed, the difference between Friday and Sunday can make all the difference in the world.
We may never know, this side of heaven, the difference she made, the seeds she planted, in someone else who looked on and saw and thought…I need to do that too.
Perhaps next year we’ll return to that same spot. Only this time Shyloh will be baptizing college kids from all around.
Let’s pray.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the awesome honor of baptism.
Give us a hunger like Shyloh, to be fully committed to You.
After being baptized, You entered a time of testing and temptation. Lord, we ask for Your Presence to saturate us, Your holy angels to surround and protect us. Holy Spirit, thank You for reminding us of Your Word, Your Promises and our commitment to one another.
Your will be done in our lives and our country.
We love You Lord Jesus.
Amen.





Saturday, March 20, 2021

Was He Talking About 2020-2023 in John 20:20-20:23?

Four Years in Four Verses

 You may recall, in January of 2020, the Lord showed me a picture of Adam and Eve, in the garden, the moment after taking the forbidden fruit. The word, “Exposed” was superimposed over the picture. The rest of the year played out that word. Unprecedented corruption, exposed. Unprecedented fear of being exposed to an invisible enemy shook the world.

John 20:20 exposes even more.

Imagine all of 2020 crammed into one day. That’s what that Friday was like.

The next day, they called it Sabbath, we call is Saturday, was longer still, all of eternity laid within its horizon.

Then, the first day of the week, they were told He wasn’t dead, wasn’t stolen, but was risen.

Just like that, there He stood, in their midst.

The next four things He said and did echoed for two thousand years until reaching a crescendo regarding the current four years in which we live.

Peace

If asked, they’d have to admit, they were scared, huddled like sheep, no idea what to do, for fear of the Jews.

But then, He said, “Peace be unto you.”

That triggered a memory.  

Only a few days prior. Just hours before He was betrayed by Judas, and abandoned by His friends, He talked of peace—twice. Once He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Then in the same conversation, a little bit later He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Exposed 2020

Then, He exposed His scars. His hands and His side. (John 20:20)

He was alive. It was really Him. The scars proved it.

But wait.

How could the Creator of all the universe, perfect in every way, be standing there…flawed?

He kept the scars.

He didn’t have to.

Why'd He do it?

He showed His scars, the ones we (you and I) gave Him, not to shame us, but to teach us.

Scars may identify us; but they don’t define us.

When they saw the scars, they knew it was Him and fear and sorrow fled. The writings of old, came alive right there and then, like front page news.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

In 2020 and John 20:20, scars were exposed…and remain.

Rioting, burning, beating and murder. “Give us our way or we'll burn it to the ground!” Venom from the very same demons that stirred the mob to cry “crucify, crucify…impeach, impeach.”   

The scars in 20:20 revealed the sin of mankind. The scars of 2020 revealed the sin of our nation.

In both cases, the cause and the cure are the same. Never before in the history of mankind has the world shouted in unison from every outlet, “Wash your hands.”

They say it to prevent being infected by an invisible enemy called COVID.  “Wash your hands” in the Bible means to repent of the invisible enemy called, sin.

What evil meant to harm us in 20:20 and 2020; God has turned around to heal US.

 

Engaged 2021

After the excitement settled a bit, He said it again, “Peace to you.” But He didn’t stop there.

“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)

Wait. What?

All those years. Centuries actually. They’d been praying, longing, believing, waiting, for the Messiah.

When Messiah comes, the rightful King will sit on the throne. When Messiah comes, He’ll restore the kingdom. When Messiah comes, He’ll make us great again. Messiah will fix everything.  

But they (and we) got it all wrong.

As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.

His plan is not to do it for us…but through us.

Looking back, it made perfect sense. He came right out and prayed it on that dreadful night, “As You have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18).

Just like in 2020, the Lord showed me a picture and a word for the coming year, 2021. 

It was a picture of an army. A glorious army, in one accord, without spot or wrinkle. Engaged, was the word superimposed over the picture. 

2020 slapped US out of our apathetic atrophying slumber; it was a rude, but necessary awakening. Now we’re awake and engaged and following Jesus to be the glorious Church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27).

 

Anointing & Power 2022

But how?

How could anyone, ever follow in even one of His footsteps; our weaknesses so many, our strengths, so few?

He answered that question by breathing on them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)

It must’ve been like when He breathed the breath of life into Adam. It was like blowing a dying ember to life; glowing and growing, until finally exploding into tongues of fire and world changing Power; fifty days later on the day of Pentecost.

The power of unity is supernatural. 

Before they received the Power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it’s written that they were in one accord. On the night Jesus was betrayed, His earnest prayer for us, was that we’d be in unity, that we’d be one as He and His Father are one. (John 17:20-23).

As the Church unites Power ignites.

The holy engagement of 2021 will lead to anointing Power of the Holy Spirit in 2022. We will see as they did then, Holy Spirit Power moving the hearts and minds of men to cry out by the thousands, “What must we do to be saved.”

 

Authority 2023

What He said next was something we could never grasp mentally or do, physically, it's obtained only by Divine Authority.

“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23).


After being exposed (2020) to the Truth, the Proof, the scars and coming together, engaged (2021) as a glorious army, without spot or wrinkle, we receive Power (2022) from the Holy Spirit; which comes with His Authority (2023) to bind and lose, to forgive and retain, to rule and reign.

 

Dear Church, The days of saying I’m just an ol’ tired, worn and weary, sinner, saved by grace, are over. Jesus is not coming back or looking for an old worn out, doomsday dreary, hag of a bride waiting for a magic carpet ride on a rapture rug. He’s coming back for a glorious church, a beautiful bride, watching, prepared and ready, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish.

This is our day, this is our hour, arise and shine for the Light has come and the glory of the LORD has risen upon US.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Do You Look Like a Lion?

 

Stephen stood before the angry mob. They glared at him; each fist held a stone. Stephen gazed toward heaven; his face held a glow.

Why was the mob so angry?

Stephen was just the guy in the back, mopping the floor and taking out the trash. The only time he was out front was when he stood in the food line, dishing out meals to widows; the poorest of the poor.

If the widows spoke, it was all Greek to him (that’s a joke, kind-of, because Stephen’s mission was to Greek speaking widows).

But no matter, he didn’t need words. He could hand them their food, pause just long enough to catch their eye, and smile.

Love in the eye, and a smile, can say more in a moment, than a thousand sermons.

The widows viewed Stephen as a kind and gentle lamb.

But not everyone.

No-strings-attached Love that comes from Above, sends tremors through the hordes of hell. It’s viewed as a threat, like the stalking of a Lion.


Words of wisdom are like the roaring of a Lion to demons of the deceived. Civil discourse with them is impossible, because all they hear is the roar, all they feel is fear.

They won’t debate, they can’t, they have no words, just fear. Like a venomous dog backed in a corner, it’s fight or flight.

They rage over everything…and nothing.

So, why were they so angry with Stephen? After all, feeding the poor was something the virtue-signaling, sanctimonious agreed with.

David asked it in Psalms and the Disciples prayed it in Acts:

‘Why did the nations rage,

And the people plot vain things?

The kings of the earth took their stand,

And the rulers were gathered together

Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ (Acts 4:25-26)

The mob wasn’t mad at Stephen, they were afraid of him—actually, the Lion of Judah, in him.

behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed. Revelation 5:5


WHAT DID STEPHEN DO WHEN STARING IN THE FACE OF EVIL?

1.      He looked toward heaven.

That glorious glow that comes from being close to the Father, that clothed the couple in the garden, that shown from the face of Moses radiated from the face of Stephen.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

 

2.     He told HIStory.

Beginning with the patriarchs, he talked them through the peaks and valleys of their nation.

HIStory is a map, revealing where you’ve been,
and where you should be going.

Stephen told how the founding fathers waxed mighty with authority, but over the years failed to stay engaged; allowing a new government to rise, that didn’t know them, only feared them. That fear caused the ruling class to oppress them, enslave them…abort them.

The evil against them, was a wake-up call to them, and they cried out to God.

He heard and sent a deliverer with great authority, power and might.

But they rejected the man God had chosen, so he fled and dwelt in a different land.

Their rejection delayed the deliverance, but God, in His mercy, appeared in a burning bush to the deliverer and told him to return.

By mighty signs and wonders God delivered His people and judged the nation that oppressed them. His deliverer led them out with silver and gold and not one feeble among them…yet they continued to reject and rebel against the man He’d chosen.

God took it personal and turned them over to a debased, reprobate, corrupt mind. They craved the security of bondage and lusted for gods of other nations. They dropped in the desert until all who rejected God’s deliverance, were dead.

HIStory should be retold, not rewritten.

 

3.     He told the Truth.

Stephen’s words to the angry mob, echo to US today, “Oh you stiff-necked, perverse generation, how long will you resist the Holy Spirit and reject God’s deliverance?”

Like a pack of ravenous wolves, they gnashed at him with their teeth.



Looking up, Stephen said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”



The Lion’s roar was all they heard. Red was all they saw. Like a riotous mob burning down the city that fed them, defunding the ones that protect them, they grabbed the man who loved them and cast him out of the city to stone him.

Our courts oppose the righteous man; fairness is unknown. Truth falls dead in the streets, and justice is outlawed (Isaiah 59:14).


 

4.    Stephen imitated Christ, in life…and in death.

Heaven’s curtain was open for Stephen. Jesus stood next to the Father. All heaven gave a standing ovation.

What else could he do, but imitate his Savior.

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  



Maybe for a moment, Stephen dropped his gaze from heaven to earth. Perhaps he scanned the rock throwing mob. Perhaps he locked eyes with a young man standing at the edge of the crowd and echoed Jesus one last time, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”  

God, rich in mercy, already selected a new deliverer.

And those who picked up stones, had dropped their coats, at the feet of a young man, named Saul.


What will you do?

Pick up a stone? Walk away?

Or, be His deliverer...and be delivered, too.  


Let me know how to pray for you.

 

I love you

Most importantly,

Jesus loves you.