Helping My Old Man

Although this never happened, just imagine if it had. Imagine that when Jesus was a young man in the flesh He had been set upon by a group of thugs organized and paid by those same religious leaders who hated Him. Imagine that instead of simply killing Him, they had locked Him away in a dungeon, underfed, beaten, forced into slave labor for countless years until He was finally a weak, frail, shabby old man fraught with sores. Then one day, He was simply dumped into the street; left a grey-haired beggar barely able to lift His head.

Now, imagine that you happened by and saw Him lying there covered in dust, wearing only filthy rags and smelling of decay. He is holding out a shaky arm, begging for water and food as pleading tears run down from His weary eyes. And, suddenly, you know fully who it is you have come upon!

What would you do?

Would you run quickly and bring Him water? Would you pick up His emaciated body now light as a feather and say, “It’s okay now. I’ve got you, Lord”? Would you hold Him close to your heart despite the smell and cry tears over Him as you walked? Would you tenderly carry Him into your home and spoon feed Him from your own table? Would you bath Him and groom Him and give Him a soft place to rest? Would you stay faithfully by His side and hold His shaky hand? Would you caress His face and gently kiss over His tears of relief? Would you help Him with all you had? Would you treat Him better than your own grandpa or your old man?

Matthew 25:34-40

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

Although we are incapable of ever fully grasping the depth of the love that beats for us within the heart of God, these precious words from Him do afford us an intimate glimpse as to its flavor.

So, whenever you feel the whisper of compassion blow into your good Samaritan’s heart for that neighbor in need placed by God before you, then just give. Give generously and without hesitation. Love your neighbor as yourself by simply giving of yourself; your touch, your time, your words, your focus fully in the moment. Give of all you have with all your heart despite the smell. Give as though you were giving to Jesus, Himself, because, my beloved … are!

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Hated Whisperers

Here is something Jesus showed me last night. I’ve never quite thought of it this way before…

Fear is a reaction to a possible negative future outcome; it’s a reaction not to what already “is” but to what “could be”. But only God can see what is to come; only He can decide what is to be. So then, is He the One who whispers about the scary thing to come and then just leaves us alone to feel our feelings about it? No! God is not indifferent. He’s compassionate and comforts His children with gentle promises in the face of a scary future which by His own word is guaranteed. If we trust in His perfect love and sole authority over all things, including future events and our possible suffering, then fear can’t touch us.

Fear is not of Him because He is Holy and lying is a sin, and by that I mean, “fear always lies”. Even if spirits of fear do happen to whisper about future pain that does come true, they didn’t know it would, and yet they want you to believe they did as if they are God, and that is where they are always lying. Do you see? We should never believe any sudden thoughts of the future unless they come from God, Himself. Any other spirit claiming to know the future is lying, even if that future comes to pass, because they are claiming to be equal to God.

Even if a thousand-foot-high wall of water is just seconds away from crashing over us, and our own understanding is telling us we are about to die, God can deliver us to safety at the very last second, showing us that our own understanding lied to us as well. (Our own understanding is not God either and should not be relied on as such.) Believing our fears is acceptance of divination, and is acceptance of other spirits as equal with God. In that sense, it is adultery. Only God has final say over all things. When we rely solely on Him and not on voices of fear or our own understanding, then we honor Him as our God.

Ever notice how babies laugh rather than cry when tossed into the air by their daddies. They know no fear because they have yet to be hurt. Satan is allowed to administer pain and then his spirits of fear are allowed to whisper promises of more future pain in an attempt to get us to transfer our faith (belief) away from God and onto them. We trade our God for them. Isn’t that disgusting? They lie! They are NOT God. Don’t allow them to set themselves up as such.

Fear is like a man who walks up to you, points a gun to your head and says, “I am going to kill you!” Can you in peace and calm reply, “You can do nothing but that God allow it, and I bow to His will alone.”? We need not be afraid of what God might allow, for He is master even over the pain of death, and He loves us to the end of the universe and back.

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HE BE — An Autistic Poem

God is infinite. Do you think He isn’t used to that? He has been infinite infinitely. It’s simply how HE BE. “Who are You?” we ask. He humbly tells us the truth. “I AM.” And, once He opens our eyes to see, we can only ever respond, “HE BE.”

God is infinite. Just try and count Him. Do you think He would then create something, anything which He could not control? In His naturally infinite wisdom, He created us, a “whole”. He is infinite, but we are singly, solely, only, wholly… one. I am aware of myself. I think, therefore, I am. But, I am also aware that I am… only. In my separation behind this veil, I am an only, an only, lonely, wholly one. I am alone.

I know beyond a doubt that He is always with me, before me, beside me, behind me, inside me, closer than the air I breathe, yet I cannot perceive. I don’t see Him, smell Him, taste Him, touch Him. I’ve yet to meet Him face to face. Yet, He speaks to me somehow in ways that fight description, seldom in words, seldom in pictures. He shows me concepts instantly, gently in a flash. He leads me by the heart, yet I’ve no proof to offer, even to myself. Belief and faith in Almighty Him, for me it is not senseless, it’s sense-less. And so, in faith, I hunger behind the veil.

Though we’ve come to know our God as three, it is infinite HE BE.

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The Testimony of Your Life

When we are willing to publicly display our personal walk toward Jesus by allowing even our unsightly dross to appear in public view; when we openly share our personal journey of refinement, we provide others with such rich and fertile soil from which to gain courage and grow. Our personal testimony stands as the proof that Jesus DOES change lives.

Allowing others to witness our imperfections and moments of pure (and often ugly) humanness and then allowing them to accompany us through the beautiful transformation process is so gut-level honest, drawing us all closer together. Jesus can powerfully melt walls and enable us to see with His eyes when in obedience, His people willingly share the honest, undoctored testimony of their lives.

The raw, honest, vulnerable, exposed, messed-up-yet-beautiful truth of our life is indeed a powerful blessing. The parable of our life is not a trivial thing. It is a powerful tool of truth. Satan hates the mighty healing-power of honest testimony, and persistently produces comments out of loose mouths to intimidate us from sharing the naked truth. Have we not all experienced this pattern of discomfort-intimidation? Yet, from Jesus’ Spirit of courage, we stand, responsible to the truth, despite all that enemy-generated discomfort orchestrated to tempt us off the path.

When, for fearing the discomfort of criticism, we do cave to this intimidation, step off the path and begin offering an altered perspective (whether by hiding our truth behind a wall of protecting-silence, or, presenting a carefully-constructed, highly-polished, comfortably-perfected yet dishonest testimonial-mask), this altered, greater-than-we-are perspective can give the appearance of pridefully placing ourselves on a pedestal. Critical spirits can then emphasize that pedestal to the insecure, causing them to become threatened and themselves uncomfortable, tempting them to knock us off that pedestal, bringing us back down to our rightful place in their eyes — below their level — thus restoring their own comfortability.

Yet, if we, in humility, would only innocently stay the deeply-honest course (like a child) and not cover up the truth of our delicate light (but stand in all our vulnerability against any temptation of pride or fear of criticism), then we would not have so far to fall when the proud and insecure pass by, would we? For, they would see no threateningly-high pedestal to kick over. All they could do is scoff at the obvious imperfections of those whom they see as beneath them, and kick dirt in our face with their criticism — still painful, yes, but much less so, perhaps leaving room enough for us to pity them their place and quickly forgive them.

But, my greater point here is that this scene is incomplete. For, while our wary focus may be on those proud and insecure children who can and “will” hurt us, there are so many more children who are looking on — vulnerable, impressionable children seeking with open eyes and tender, broken hearts. Imagine the healthy and inspiring impact when they see us refuse to play the perfection-game of the insecure and the proud, but instead let our imperfect-yet-so-beautifully-humble-and-honest light shine despite the painful attacks, trusting that our Jesus will not let His transparent, beautiful lights come to shame for their imperfections.

When we take our seat on the witness stand of the courtroom, are we asked to speak of that which we do not know? All we can give is the testimony of our life. For, we are its one-and-only witness. How can the parable of our life and the beauty of our transformation achieve its full, inspirational impact when our full journey remains untold and all that is shown is our final destination, where it is we look our best and feel our safest. The parable of a life is a gritty story that only one witness can tell, but like reading a good book, it is a journey that many can take, a journey that deeply impacts the soul, forming a powerful loving-bond of friendship with the story’s main character. Satan hates this impact, so he badgers us to give an incomplete or less-than-truthful testimony, air-brushed, polished and refined for our own self-comfort.

I know it takes courage to expose our light in the presence of those few who might hurt us because of it, but there are truly so many others who will be drawn to it and deeply impacted by it. Our light is one of unconditional love, but also vulnerable truth. We each are the witnesses who carry our own testimony. It is this truthful testimony that the Lord can use for His glory, to save His children. They are all our future friends. And on behalf of those yet unsaved friends, I thank each of you, my brothers and sisters, for your courage and willingness to be vulnerable. You may not like your own life’s parable, but don’t underestimate or even attempt to judge its huge impact. Just know with a peaceful certainty that it is a very powerful story.

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The 99% Theme

Can we all not see how God’s enemy, the prince of this world, is using the ways of this world as his own mocking version of God’s loving, velvet vise; how he is relentlessly pressing God’s children by continually bombarding us with this world’s increasingly-ungodly systems and practices? Do we truly not know that this is Satan behind the wheel, coordinating this constant push to lull us little by little away from the loving ways of Jesus and into a kind of numb acceptance of man’s lower ways, ever manipulating us to adopt these ways as good and acceptable?

It would seem that gradually, down through recent generations, we have found ourselves born into an ever-greater ignorance of the more godly and God-pleasing ways of our God-fearing forebears. “Well, this is all we’ve ever known, and it’s not so bad.” Surely, those of us rich in years have noted this world’s insidious and subtle march down and away from the pure and holy standard of citizenship required for Christ’s beautiful kingdom, as set forth by our loving King. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) How would those born in poop even notice? How many, both rich or poor, now think mostly of themselves, are actually proud of their pride, boast about their sinful conquests and even scoff at acts of selfless kindness when offered by those with the courageous love to speak the name of Jesus out loud in public?

How can we not recognize the smell of the enemy on this, our modern world? Today, don’t we actually expect to be lied to by merchants and politicians and played by those who’ve “got game”? Don’t we purchase a majority of our products with the customary expectation that they will be overpriced, poorly made and become a landfill’s cherished heirloom? And, what about the violent, profane, adulterous and even blasphemous ingredients that are now regularly folded into our entertainment omelets? Has this not indeed become our daily food? Even graphic scenes of fornication that would have fainted our then-young great-grandmothers are now common place and accepted by the vast majority–and their now-young children. Who couldn’t see that one coming for a long time now?

Though some may ritually fast from food, how many are willing to come up out of Babylon and fast from their entertainment? Are we so addicted and desperate for our pleasures that we now unthinkingly accept any garbage ingredients they contain? Do we even notice that taste anymore? Where are those with the strength to say no to the appetites of their flesh and endure the symptoms of withdrawal? Who now can be still and quiet long enough? Oh, how we have hurt God’s heart by preferring the junk food of His enemy with all its artificially enhanced flavors and colors. Are there truly so many who do not fear God and are willing to risk their eternal soul for a seat at the world’s banquet? Is there anyone left who loves God enough to walk away? Why are we so willing to break His heart? Do you not know the lateness of hour in which you live? God is about to destroy the world’s banquet and hold His own banquet for His Son.

When Jesus said, “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher” (Matthew 23:8), I don’t believe the god of Hollywood is the one teacher to which He was referring, do you? So, why then do we gather so recklessly at the foot of the silver screen for our daily bread? Do we think we are smarter than the devil? Do we think we are not changed by what we take in through our eyes and ears? We can not enter the arena of the enemy and come out unscathed; we can not say to ourselves, “I feel no pain, so I must have made it through okay.” Don’t you realize that the devil is an expert in anesthesia, and is relentless and calculating? You have not known determination until you have heard Satan raging at the Father. He has nothing left to loose. But, WE DO! He wants us all destroyed. He is the god of money, the god of the boast, the god of selfishness, lust and greed. He is the god of Hollywood, and he is now pulling out all the stops. Say hello to the world’s teacher.

(1 John 2:15) “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”

Count on both hands how many a movie you have seen where its lead characters, when faced with a painful or dire situation (or even a barely-challenging one), turned as a matter of course to the one and only sovereign Being, the Judge of all creation and said something akin to, “Only by Thy will, Abba Father, could Pontius Pilate hand me over to my kinsmen for persecution. Please, take this bitter cup from me. Nevertheless, Your will be done, not mine.” How many armies or heroes, or even one solitary good guy, have you ever heard say, “Guide me, Lord. You know how this looks to my natural mind, but I will resist the temptation to take matters into my own hands and rely on my own understanding. Instead, I will wait on You, Father, for You oversee all events and timing. I shall be still and know that You are God and in control of all things”? How many have put their trust in Jesus and sought to please their loving, eternal Father by obeying Him and relying on Him for all their needs as did king David? Can you count the number of movies on both hands? Can you count them on even one?

Yet, how many movies lately have you taken in where the main character, after having fornicated once or twice and taken the Lord’s name in vain a handful of times, will hatch a plan, grab a weapon, lie, spew profanities, kill and then be worshiped as a hero for having saved the day by his own hand without any apparent help from God? Don’t tell me you don’t recognize this theme. Does it not fit 99% of all heroes offered up by Hollywood today? I call it the “worldly good-guy” theme, and this theme has continued to evolve over generations under the guidance of the god of Hollywood such that now the hero, being more edgy and gritty than ever, is nigh indistinguishable from the anti-hero, while at the same time, we are now being led to humanize and sympathize with the evil-persona.

Can you not see this sharp contrast between king David who relied on and loved his Lord and the near superheroes of today with their confident, emotionless expressions and their arms folded about their chest? Can you not perceive how you are being deliberately pushed to adopt the “rely on myself, take matters into my own hands and be my own hero” way as truth? This is not God’s will. This is not God’s way. This way is a deception and a very dangerous path made popular by Hollywood.

What will you do when your economy tanks, your currency becomes worthless and your food becomes scarce? Through His prophets recently, Jesus has said that this will happen very soon. Will you give in to Satan’s spirits of fear, anxiety and anger when they come a-callin’? Will you push God aside and proceed to take matters into your own hands like all the “good” hero examples in your DVD collection?

(Isaiah 8:11-13) For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me, “Do not walk in the way of this people; do not think like everyone else does. Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. But the LORD of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”

There is a particular movie being released in theaters this Valentine’s weekend. Please, do not seek it out as your teacher. The Lord has indicated that anyone participating in this will come under a type of cover; a dark one, and that it will be rare to find a pure marriage bed once the enemy carries out his assignments. Please don’t hurt God anymore. Do not push the Holy Spirit out of your marriage for the sake of sensual pleasures. Do not allow your appetites to rule you. God has called us to love Him with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. Sacrifice this movie as your first-of-many acts of love toward Him.

Don’t play the devil’s fool. Please ask the Holy Spirit, not Hollywood, to be your Teacher.

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Journal Entry, August 28, 2014

The Last Fig Falling

I have been pulling near-all-nighters most days these past couple weeks. I was up till 3:30 AM both this morning and yesterday morning, about 5:00 AM the day before that, around 2:00-2:30 AM before that, etc. I never plan it that way. It just happens sometimes when I’m working on a big project. Normally, when I pass through a mini-season of late-nighters, I will typically wake up somewhere between 9:30 and noon. But that isn’t what’s been happening this time. What did happen sticks out in my mind as something I ought to share.

Okay, so, every now and again, I will be concentrating on something, and for no reason at all (at least that I can perceive), my eyes suddenly snap to a clock (like unthinkingly scratching an itch) and there I will see the numbers 9:11 which then prompts me to pray. “Lord, are you trying to tell me something here?” I do not live a clock-driven life, so it doesn’t happen often that I should look at a clock for no reason, much less see easy-to-recognize symbolic meaning in the numbers there. I’m also not the kind who would notice all the numbers around me as being spiritually significant, so these few “clock experiences” are about the extent of it for me. (Edit: 9:11 is being used here as a past example. It’s been several months since God has communicated to me in that way.)

One morning last week, wondering how late I had slept in, I looked at a clock and saw 7:47 AM. My only thought at the time was, “That’s kind of early after having been up so late.” Then, the very next morning, 7:47 AM again. “What? Lord, are you trying to tell me something here?”

Then, two mornings ago, Tuesday, August 26, 2014, I was dreaming about something (I can’t remember now) when suddenly my dream was interrupted with a vision of a fig tree. I saw only one fig on that tree. It then let go and fell to the ground. At the very same time, a branch from the begonia in my room broke off and fell to the ground. The sound that it made not only fit perfectly into the vision of the last fig falling, but it also woke me up. I looked at the clock, 8:48 AM. I asked the Lord what it meant, and He immediately brought back the two 7:47’s in a row. Any ideas?

For the rest of that day I felt anxious. “Lord, does this mean there is no time left? Am I spending my time wisely? Should I work harder to complete this project, stay up even later, or just let it go?” I kept hearing His word: “Be still. Be anxious about nothing. Ask for My will, and trust Me to guide your steps. My timing is always perfect.” Then, yesterday morning I woke up, 7:45 AM, my anxiety was gone.

Today, when I awoke (around 10:45 AM, back to normal I guess) I thought again about that last falling fig and wondered what it meant. Then, as I spent my customary morning-time with the Lord which includes reading at least one chapter in His word, the chapter that was next in line was Amos 8. Where God, Himself, tells us what the symbolism of ripe fruit means. Interesting, isn’t it?

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That Diamond Shore

(Psalm 139:17-18) “How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in number they are! If I should count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

The first time I ever encountered this verse, it went in smooth and easy. For, The Lord had already put in my heart that any one soul is more precious and valuable than all of His material creation combined, that we are indeed priceless to Him (John 3:16, Mark 8:36). So, right away, I went into my imagination and visualized a vast, empty beach of wet, light-tan colored sand, where every grain contained a thought, all concerning just one particular child of God. And, from that first encounter long ago, this simple visualization became my floating concept for that verse. This light-tan beach seemed to float right past my mind’s eye whenever my heart told me that someone needed to hear that verse.

But, over the decades, there existed one small, blank spot in my imagination which I routinely avoided, though not consciously, of course. You see, I could never quite picture myself as that child. This parable beach of my imagination always more easily represented His thoughts for someone else, anyone else. It was never mine. I think perhaps I would have simply felt too embarrassed to ever allow that verse to fully sink in. But, that’s okay. Matters of the heart take time, and Love is so very patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Anyway, yesterday, I found myself mulling over this same, sandy verse once more, contemplating the hugeness of God’s dedication to each and every member of His beloved family — yes, including me this time. I think I might have been trying to take this simple, long-established, cold-and-hard fact about God and somehow bring it into its heartfelt fullness, to make it more warm and real, to find that spark-of-life, that telltale sign, which is always present in His divine truth. But, I could not, and you know, it never dawned on me to ask Him for help. (I seem to keep forgetting to do that.)

But then, this morning, as I lay awake seeking the Lord’s company, this verse passed before me yet again, and as always, I am there, standing on that same empty beach, staring at that same wet sand, almost as if I could reach out and touch it. I was even faintly aware of small, quiet waves peacefully lapping at the shore behind me. I could hear myself talking, as if to someone else, saying, “Go ahead, pick up any one grain and ask Him which thought it represents.” But, as I tried hard to focus in on that one, wet grain of sand sticking to my index finger, something in my heart told me that it was time for this old scene to receive an update, that it was time for me to come more fully into the truth. My journey toward God is like a long stairway cut into the side of a mountain. Each step closer is a step upward, and as I stepped up, that lone grain of plain-old sand, which I never could quite clearly see, became a perfect, tiny diamond, and that long-held, visual concept of my imagination, that smooth, wet, light-tan, sandy shore turned a dazzling white and sparkled brilliantly in the late-morning sun. And at last, the truth of His heart settled warmly into mine.

Yes, not only are God’s thoughts concerning us more numerous than the sand, but each and every one is a pure and precious grain, a flawless diamond. Each thought for our sake, brought forth by our Creator is born in love, a pure, perfect, holy thought of the ultimate, highest quality. God’s thoughts about us are never callous or flippant, careless or sloppy, shallow or short. His considerations run so much deeper than we can comprehend, on currents of love unfathomable. His thoughts are never without richness of heart. I began to cry.

Somewhere in God’s heaven, there is a breathtaking, beautiful seashore with sand so stunning and sparkly-white, where all its diamond grains represent God’s thoughts of you, and you alone. This is your beach. This is your proof, the evidence of how much you have been loved and cared for all this time, though you never knew. Somewhere in heaven, on a breathtaking, beautiful seashore made just for you, it is raining diamonds… even now.

“Dear Father in heaven,
In Isaiah 55:8-9, You tell us that, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways and Your thoughts than our thoughts. I rise over six feet two inches above the dust of this Earth. Yet, even the nearest star in the heavens is already 21,945,207,964,240,000 times higher that I am. That’s 22 quadrillion times my stature. My ways and thoughts are so incredibly low in comparison to Yours. From out of Your unfathomably high ways and innumerable, diamond thoughts come Your perfect plans for us. You are all truth and overwhelming love. I am merely a tiny, ignorant child in sinful flesh. Holding this simple truth deep within my heart has brought me the wisdom not to argue or insist on my own way about anything. For, any choice upon which I might insist outside of Your already perfect plan for me could only result in a plan less perfect, for which I might one day suffer agonizing regret. Thank You that You are the Father and I am the child still within my cradle. Thank You so much for faithfully guarding Your perfect plan for me despite my ways. How I dearly love Your faithfulness.
In Jesus name — Amen.”
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