Truth Arising

I wrote this blog four months ago but apparently forgot to publish it.  I just found it in my drafts folder and read through it.  Oddly enough, it seems even more apropos now than it did when I wrote it four months ago.  This world is changing quickly and I believe we are entering into the close of this age of grace.  I pray so hard that the blind will start to see and those who sleep will awaken to the truth and realities that surround us each day –  before it’s too late.


God has been greatly moving these last months and as expected, the climate is heating up.  The winnowing continues as secrets long kept in darkness are brought to light.  The keepers of secrets are scrambling, projecting their evil onto truth-tellers in a desperate attempt to get the limelight off themselves, demonizing those who expose them, and eventually hoping to lull everyone back to sleep.

Those who are spiritually awake can see through the smoke screen of lies, but those who sleep still follow them.  The winnowing continues to polarize people as those who wake up begin to take a stand against the corruption and those who don’t continue to perpetrate it.

Though I see the temperature heating up and the polarization becoming more pronounced, these lies and deceptions are ancient.  Whispers of the enemy so subtle we believe them without question, as though they’re our own thoughts.  As though they’re just universal truths.  We rage against the real truth without even knowing we’re doing so…or why.

It’s always the same with evil and while it’s presence seems to be a continual surprise, it’s methods are always the same.  Sometimes I wonder how hopelessly deceived people must be in order to remain so blind to what surrounds them every day.  Scripture speaks so often of evil, even exposing it’s methods that we may recognize and avoid it.  And yet we remain blind and led around like sheep to the slaughter.

 

 

 

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These Present Sufferings

Sometimes God makes you struggle for a long time before giving you understanding as to why.  Sometimes the understanding never comes and you just have to struggle your whole life without it.  Other times the struggle and the understanding come together.  I like those times.

I have a mixture of both these days.  There are long-sufferings so old I’ve long given up hope of  seeing resolution on this earth, and then there are shorter frustrations that turn around pretty quickly.

Like today, the internet went down at work just as two groups of customers walked in.  “Perfect…just my luck”, I thought.  I made the first set of drinks hoping the internet was just experiencing a glitch and would come back on so I could take their credit card payment.  No such luck.  I took the second set of orders and apologized that it was taking so long.  When I explained that my internet was down, one of the men in the second group said it was okay, that he could pay with cash.  He then offered (or rather insisted) on paying for the first set of customers in cash as well.

This sparked a short conversation about currency, during which a lady walked in and got in line.  She paid for her drink in cash, but then decided to add something else to her order.  The second group of customers had left (the ones who paid for the first group’s order) but the first group was still there.  To pay it forward, they left cash to pay for the lady’s order before they left.  She wasn’t aware of what had happened, so I explained it to her.  She was so touched by the gesture, she left $5 to pay for whoever came in next.  That $5 is now sitting under my register waiting for the next customer who walks in.

As luck would have it, my internet returned right after the whole group left and now I’m standing here wrapping my heart around it all.  My very first thought when the internet went down was “great, of course this would happen to me…”.  But now, not 30 minutes later, at least two people were blessed because of it…something that never would have happened if I was able to take that first payment.

I wish all frustrations in life were so quickly resolved.  But God is also showing me tiny glimpses into the long-sufferings that have plagued my life for, well, all my life.  Least of which being the torments and traumas that have so mangled my inner being.  The evils of this world bother me more than most, I think.  Probably because I have lived my entire life on the losing side of them…a fact I’ve been giving God my what-fors about lately.

Today He showed me something, though.  He gave me a glimpse into the inner-beings of the so-called “winners”.  You know, the ones who always seem to have life work out for them, get what they want, somehow always get others to give them things/serve them, etc.  He showed me inside the ones who don’t have the slightest idea what struggle and suffering really is…and it was not pretty.  In fact, it was so ugly it turned my stomach and changed my mind around from “why me?” to “thank you, Lord.”

He showed me that there is a choice between an easy life with a sick, petrifying soul or a difficult, suffering-filled life with a purified one.  Each soul can either submit to the purification process, which means submitting to suffering, or they can reject it..in which case Satan is right there, dressed like an angel, waving a “This way to the easy life!” sign.  And most people follow that sign…that road is wide, after all.

But given what He showed me, I’m happy choosing the difficult life.  Injustice bothers me more than anything in the world, and that’s not likely to change.  But God showed me something – that those who have it so easy never make it to the mountaintops of God’s presence.  Why?  They never develop the legs for it.  So many people sell their spiritual heritage for ease and for comfort.  They get winded and turn back to their comfy chairs and baby bottles at every inconvenience…how could they ever survive the storm that is our Lord’s presence?  And it is a storm.

So I stand here again and thank God, even for the sufferings I don’t understand.  Why?  Because I know it is producing in me a strength that will one day be able to withstand the all-consuming fire that is our God.  Our perfect, omnipotent, fire of a God.  And on that day I know that I will bow at His feet having accepted the sufferings from his hand (not always gracefully, but accepted nonetheless).  And I’d rather do so as a weather-beaten warrior than a whiney little baby.


So thank you God, even for the sufferings I don’t understand.  Because I know that in you, no suffering is wasted.  Give me grace to trust you more, and more than anything….come.  Lord Jesus, come.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18

 

 

 

 

Dream: The Sleeping Lion

I used to dream so many dreams.  Or at least, since I hear we dream every night but don’t always remember them, maybe I should say I used to remember my dreams much more.  My dreams were always so bright, vivid, colorful, and God would speak to me in them.  Some were so prophetic in nature it was a little scary.  But the last year or two have been full of dark and silent nights and I’ve wondered what happened to my dreams.

Last night, I dreamed again…

I dreamed I was laying down in a small little space, not terribly sleepy but I was supposed to be in bed.  Suddenly, there was a lion laying next to me.  A huge, beautiful, golden lion.  He was sleeping next to me in this closet-like space but instead of thinking or feeling any sense of danger, it was the most comforting and safe feeling I’ve ever felt.  As I lay there, my arms wrapped around him and I buried my face into his majestic mane.  He was so soft and warm, I lay as close as I could to him and rested so happily in his majestic presence.

In the closeness and safety of the moment, God spoke and I knew the lion was going to wake up.  I knew as soon as he awoke there was going to be judgement on the whole world and all the nations.  I knew this was the moment the Great Tribulation would begin.  I knew it would be so swift and sudden that nobody would expect it.  I knew it would happen all at once.  Everything we’ve ever known to be true about the world was going to change in a moment.

Suddenly, I could hardly contain myself.  The anticipation was so great it filled my soul to the brim and I knew I’d never be able to sleep so long as we were on the precipice of such an event.  I was so awake I knew I’d never be able to sleep now…all I could do was wait for him to wake up and all I could feel was intense…almost unbearable…anticipation.

I got up and sat down next to him with eyes trained on him so expectantly – like I didn’t want to miss a thing.  I wanted to be the first to see his eyes open.  I wanted to be RIGHT THERE with him the moment he awoke.  In my mind I kept thinking, “Wake up!  Wake up!”  I wanted to scream at him to see if he would awake, but I knew the timing was not in my hands.  I only knew it was going to happen suddenly, and that I wanted to be right there and ready when it did.  I could hardly wait.

Lord, You Rescued Us Again

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“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10

 

Lord, you did it again.  

You rescued us.  You helped us.  You were good to us again.

We cursed you and yet you blessed us.  We bit your hand but you fed us still.  We blasphemed you even as you intervened on our behalf…and yet you intervened still.  

Lord, we do not deserve you.  Your love is too great for us.  It’s greater than we know.  We ask for grace, then reject it when you give it.  No Lord, we do not deserve you.

Your knowledge is far beyond ours, and yet we judge you as though we knew you.  Your understanding is limitless, and yet we curse you as though you were foolish.  You rescue us from enemies we can’t even see yet we blame you for our troubles still.  

Oh Lord, we are a foolish people.  We are arrogant, prideful, entitled, judgmental, and ignorant.  We say we trust you and then we curse the gifts you give. 

And yet, you love us still.  You bless us still.  You help us still.  You rescue us still.  We didn’t deserve this rescue.  We don’t deserve this love.  But I am so grateful, Lord.  So grateful.

You are so good and we are so faithless.  Let us repent and seek your face.  Let us drop our prideful hearts, give up our haughty spirits, and submit again to your sovereign love.  Let us thank you for our gifts.  Please open our eyes in the places we cannot see them.  Let us give praise for your intervention, and rejoice that you are not a man but a God who’s love does not depend on our faith.  Your love depends on your faithfulness, which is perfect beyond measure.  May we never doubt it again.

Thank you, Lord.  Amen.

 

On Politics: A Winnowing

Winnow – verb (used with object)

– to free (grain) from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away impurities.


 

I’ve been asked a couple times to share my opinion on the current political happenings.  With all the hype, drama, chaos, and rhetoric going on within the political realm these days, it seems rather senseless to add yet another opinion.  Opinions are, as they say, like armpits.  (Everybody has one and most of the time they stink).  I hardly think adding yet another one to the mix will be helpful.

Oddly enough, I do feel led to write.  But not about my personal thoughts and opinions about the presidency.  My personal thoughts on that would probably only serve to inflame the intense fire of hatred, gossip, and strife that’s already tearing apart our country.  And while I do most certainly have strong opinions on the topic, I have no desire or intention for more division.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  And while the truth will always, to some extent, have a divisive effect…my ultimate desire is for unity and for peace.

So I write.  I write to express the impressions I feel upon my heart and I write to express what I feel to be a higher calling for our thoughts and feelings than the mayhem and rhetoric of hate and degradation that surrounds us.  And I’m willing to write because these ideals should always be held with more value than any passing thought or opinion of any one person.

Proverbs 25:4 says, “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.”

One thing that took me off guard with this election was the outpouring of venom and violence that, even still, is being poured out as a response to the results.  While at least as many people were just as sorely disappointed by the outcome of the last two elections, the vast majority accepted reality as it was and worked within it – without feeling the need to harm (verbally or physically) other people.   Peaceful protests and the civil/non-harmful expression of free speech is to be valued, yes.  But right now we’re seeing widespread violence, riots in the streets, people getting beaten up, mugged, harassed, verbally and physically assaulted.  They’re getting baited by questions that they then receive verbal or even physical beatings for…and for what reason?  Expressing their constitutional right to vote for who they believe will best lead our country?  For being honest and telling the truth?

The is shameful beyond any words I could possibly write.

While I haven’t experienced a mugging or anything that tragic, I got a good dose of the hatred the morning after the election when I came into work.  To be honest with you, I didn’t even vote in this election, nor did I speak out in support of anyone in particular.  But even so, I got name called and accused of “hating women” and “being against social reform”.  I got verbally assaulted and “put in my place” simply because I didn’t join in on the “I hate Trump” bandwagon that has somehow become the popular thing to do.  Well, sorry guys.  But I don’t hate anyone.  And I don’t succumb to violence in word or deed just because someone doesn’t agree with me..or for an even worse reason…because someone does not join in my shared sense of justifiable hate speech.

Let me re-iterate.  I DIDN’T EVEN VOTE.  And yet I got verbally assaulted because I refused to join the hate speech, which apparently incurred such a narcissistic injury that it immediately invoked narcissistic rage.

The only good that comes from a response like this, is we get the chance to see what is really on the inside of people’s hearts.  Many of the same people who were speaking of “tolerance” and “love” two days prior to the election were the same ones cursing and speaking hatred after it.  The good Americans who were disappointed by the last two elections at least proved their integrity through accepting the reality as it was – despite it not being what they wished – and simply dedicated themselves to doing what they could with what they had.  They showed good character.  But these people who are now acting out in hatred and violence – suddenly we’re seeing infantile, childish, and even violent backlash and for what…simply not getting their way?  This alone speak volumes, not to a “party” or to an “ideology” … but to the individual.

(As an aside, I know some amazingly good people who did not particularly care for the turnout of this election, and yet they have maintained perfect composure and integrity.  For you I hold the deepest respect).

Matthew 3:12 says, “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

If there is anything I can say about this election, it is that the results are separating the dross from the metal and the chaff from the wheat.  And I’m not here speaking about parties or ideologies or any political label – I am speaking here to the very hearts and characters of individual people.  Because hearts and characters are not revealed by what we say we believe (especially when we’re happy or think we’re getting our way).  In the same way that you cannot find out what’s inside a cup until you knock over the cup and spill it’s contents, our hearts and characters are revealed by what spills out when we’re pushed and knocked over.

And these election results are revealing so much about who people are and what they really believe.  Not only is it revealing the integrity and character of people, it is also revealing the individual’s level of ignorance.  Those who have been brainwashed by the media to believe things that simply aren’t true, those who’ve taken no steps to dig into facts or research to discover what is or is not true, those who have forgone their God-given ability to think for themselves and critically think…they’re revealing their sad state for the entire world to see.  And it is a sad state indeed.

While the verbal and physical violence draws out my righteous anger, the entire state of things draws out a certain grief.  A grief that our nation is being divided over nothing.  Literally, nothing.  And the very people who should be rejoicing in the results of this election, were they to have spent any time actually looking at any facts, are the ones speaking evil against it.  The level of ignorance and brainwashing grieves my heart more than you know, and it’s driving me to my knees in prayer.


Lord, I pray you speak your truth over this nation.  Dismantle the lies, deceptions, and manipulations that have so many people living in fear, anger, and darkness.  Bring your light to our country and illuminate the dark so that we may rejoice and be glad that you and you alone are King.  If we are living in fear, let us remember who is really in charge.  And let us repent of our faithlessness and self-deceptions.  Let us rejoice that you have spared us of great evils, more times than we deserve, and that this day you have rescued us from the hands of the enemy.  Lord, we do not deserve it but your love is endless.  And let us humbly and sincerely pray that you lead our new president in truth and with grace.  In your name I pray, Amen.

The Power of Christ

We forget.  So easily we forget the magnitude of the one we worship and why we worship him.  We cannot love Christ until we feel the weight of what he did and we cannot feel the weight of what he did until we feel the depth of our own need.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” – Mark 2:17

For those who see and feel no sin in themselves, Christ holds no value.  In fact, for those, Christ is an offense.  To those who find their own salvation in their own merits, Christ becomes an object of wrath or of self-gratification and aggrandizement.  To those who feel themselves worthy, Christ has no worth.

But to those of us who see our sin and see the depths of our depravity, we see…we know the value.  We feel the magnitude of what Christ has done and we fall to our knees.  We know, not in intellect alone but also in body and spirit, how unworthy we are of the gift we receive from him.  With each new day, our humility deepens because we never stop seeing or feeling our sin.  In fact, the more mature we get, the more we feel the gap between our weaknesses and His strength.  And as our sight gets clearer our hearts grow more and more grateful and love-bound to the work of Christ.


Thank you, Abba, for the work you did.  You gave your son to make a way to me, a sinner in need.

The Heart and The Mouth

Above all else, guard your heart.  For everything you do flows from it.  – Proverbs 4:23


Everything comes down to the position and motivation of the heart.  Everything.

Jesus taught this when he says, “…but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man ‘unclean’.” (Matthew 15:18-19)

That which we speak comes from our hearts, and it is our hearts that determine how clean or unclean it is.

For example…

Say you notice something different about your friend.  Where once he/she was thoughtful and giving, now they are more reserved.  A loving heart would perceive this as concern for them and you will approach them in love and ask what is wrong.  If you love them and care for them, you will listen to the answer and provide them with emotional support and care. If you love them and care for them, you’ll make sure you understand what they are going through and why they are acting differently than normal.

But if you do not love them, you will judge them without even knowing what is really going on.  You won’t talk or even ask before casting a judgment.  If you do ask, it’s with the agenda of casting judgment.  Unloving hearts doll our judgment to friends and strangers alike without any form of understanding of what the truth may be.  Unloving hearts get upset only that they “changed” and then become sullen and self-pitying because the friend isn’t serving you as they used to.  Unloving hearts expect or demand love without ever offering it.

Unloving hearts also accuse others of being judgmental, simply because they feel convicted of being wrong.  They feel convicted, refuse to address such conviction, and so accuse others of being “judgmental” simply for speaking honestly.

But here’s the funny thing.  You can’t call someone judgmental without being yourself, judgmental.  And since hardly anyone makes that accusation with a heart of love, that also makes the accuser not only judgmental themselves, but also prideful, haughty, and hypocritical.  You accuse someone of what you believe is wrong (which may not actually be wrong, since you didn’t bother to look into the matter), and you end up incurring three more wrongs upon yourself.  Funny how that works, huh.

Is it any wonder Jesus taught us not to point out the speck in someone’s eye before removing the plank in our own?  He didn’t say “never point it out.”  He just said to check ourselves and approach all matters with a pure heart.  Because when, and only when, our hearts are right is it a beautiful thing to come to someone in love and concern about theirs.  We are called to speak the truth, in love, and to sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron.  We are even called to rebuke those who are stubborn in their sin and, if they are causing harm to others, we are to remove them from our inner circles so as to protect ourselves and those we love.

Unfortunately, most people in today’s world (just look at social media…holy cow) throw around accusations and judgements to people they don’t even know, never took the time to talk to, and have no actually love or concern for.  People get a rush of god-like delusion from casting judgements on everything and then calling it “free speech.”  People with planks so big they can’t even see straight, setting out with prideful and arrogant hearts, seeking only to expose the specks in everyone else’s eyes.

Christ calls us to be different.  May we, as followers of Christ, be ever more wise and discerning in the purification of our own hearts, and leave the hearts of others to the real Judge, who knows and sees all.