h1

The Climate of the Era

January 11, 2017

picture-rgb

For many years, I have been concerned (at times frustrated and at times weeping) for the state of the (mostly white) evangelical church in America.  It seems, at times, that the church believes that God can get voted in and out of power; that He wins and loses elections.

I was in Kansas City when Bill Clinton won his second term, my friends from church were so upset, they said “not even Jesus could have won if He had run”.

I answered, “He never would have run.”

I remember finding that statement so odd.  The concept of the One who within Himself holds all authority in Heaven and on Earth, seeking legitimacy for His position from an electorate, and then the electorate could in some odd sense give Him a mandate seemed ludicrous.  It was such an incongruent concept that I could not even wrap my mind around it.

God does not take sides in the affairs of man.  Even if we look at the theophany in Joshua 5:13-15, when the Commander of the Lord’s Army appears, Joshua asks Him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”  The Commander answers, “Neither,” even though He clearly been assigned a job to do.

God has only one side and that is His own; He asks us (all humanity, but especially the church) to join Him on His side.  When, as His people, we fail to grasp this concept, we begin seeking authority and power that comes from humans instead of using the authority and power that we have in Christ to change the society in which we live.

As God’s people, we have been saddened by the secularization of our society, the amount of lostness of our friends and neighbors, and the hostility which this society is showing the church.  We have wept for the decisions that have come out of our Government, but since we have a poor understanding of the way things work. We have battled incorrectly and ineffectively.

Even in this election season it was stated that the greatest enemy of our society was secularism and progressives.  No, the greatest enemy of our society was and always will be “the powers, the principalities and the rulers of this dark age.”  (Our society is no more secular than Rome was when the church began.)

The territory that we must win is the hearts and minds of people who are lost, which include the liberals, the progressives, the Muslims, the agnostics, the homosexuals, the abortionists, the unbelieving church goers, and so on. The battle is always between God’s people and the powers and principalities.  I would like us to look at this much more closely.

In an interview on NPR Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a very interesting observation, which we need to understand to effectively understand the state of this nation today.  Here she is speaking about the cases she litigated to get women equal protection under the law.

 NPR: And you were responsible for so many decisions that changed discrimination law for women. I’m wondering for a woman or a lawyer starting out today, how one should look at changes they see around them, unfairness they see around them, and how that can translate to actually changing the Constitution in the way that you did in the ‘50’s, ‘60’s, and ‘70’s.

RBG: I didn’t change the Constitution; the equality principle was there from the start. I just was an advocate for seeing its full realization. Where we started out, even the Declaration of Independence starts out all men are created equal, so I see my advocacy as part of an effort to make the equality principle everything the founders would have wanted it to be if they weren’t held back by the society in which they lived and particularly the shame of slavery. I don’t think my efforts would have succeeded had it not been for the women’s movement that was reviving in the United States and more or less all over the world at the time. And the Court was certainly aware of that sea change in what the public thought women ought to be doing.

 A great constitutional scholar Paul Freund once said “the Court should never be influenced by the weather of the day but inevitably they will be influenced by the climate of the era,” and that’s what happened in the 1970’s. Judges had daughters and granddaughters and they began to recognize that some of, some of the so-called favors for women were not favors at all, but they were locking women into a small piece of man’s wide world. So it was the change in society that opened the Court’s eyes and made my arguments palatable when they would not have been a generation before.

http://www.wnyc.org/story/transcript-interview-justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg/

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg is saying is that first the attitude of the society changes, then the laws change.  Paul Freund calls this “the climate of the era.”   So if we don’t like the way the laws are changing, we need to look at the “climate of the era” not at a specific law.  Laws follow they don’t lead.

This is also true for politics, votes, the media’s orientation, etc.  The powers, the principalities and the rulers of this dark age will always try to pull the climate of the era to their side. It is our job as His people to establish God’s Kingdom (His rule and reign) on the earth.  He has given us His authority and His weapons to make this happen.

If the powers, the principalities and the rulers of this dark age are winning the battle then the question is:  What are we doing wrong that we as His People are losing ground?  It is probably a good sign that we, as His church, need to repent about something.  The evidence that we are losing the battle is that society is becoming more secular; the laws are being changed to approve things of which God does not approve.  God’s heart for the widow, the orphan, and the alien is being lost, and the things that everybody knows to be true no longer reflect God’s heart.

In Acts 19, Ephesus is in a huge riot.  People are shouting for two hours and finally (vs. 35-36): The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash.

From the Ephesian’s perspective, the whole world knew they were the guardians of Artemis, and that these facts were undeniable.  As the church took over that area, these things were no longer known.  Wikipedia  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus) shows that by the time the crusades came through, no one even remembered that the temple of Artemis ever existed and much of the marble from the temple was used to build other things.

Fifty years ago, everyone knew that if you had same sex attractions you needed therapy, now everyone knows if you have same sex attractions you were born that way, even though there is very little scientific evidence for that.  If this is taken as fact, then it must be understood that all people are equal before the law and therefore there must be marriage equality.  Naturally, no one should discriminate and so, of course, wedding cakes must be made.

So which came first, the law or the change in the climate of the era?  When we get the answer to this question wrong, we battle incorrectly. Look at the illustration above, the church is constantly trying to pull the flags of the tug-o-war instead of the rope.

Look at Prop 8 in California. It was a ballot initiative to recognize “only marriage between a man and a woman” in California.  There was a tremendous amount of prayer put in to get Prop 8 passed and since prayer is effective, it was passed.  The problem was that the climate of the era hadn’t changed at all, so it was immediately challenged in court and was quickly deemed unconstitutional.

Laws follow the climate of the era they do not lead.  The question I ask is, “What would have happened if that much effort would have been spent pulling on the rope, praying that the heart of the people would change and that we would repent first as a church and then as a nation?”  Think about this, if the climate of the era changes, there would be no same sex marriages no matter what laws are on the books.

An interesting observation is that same sex marriage was approved by a conservative court.  Also, note that the church interceded Trump into power (notice also that whenever the church intercedes an event into existence against the will of the people, the media is completely confused about what happened.) out of concern for the make-up of the court and the laws that court will pass. Yet, by the end of the week on 60 Minutes, Trump says he believes the issue of same sex marriage has been settled by the Supreme Court so he’s not going to worry about it.

The questions we must ask ourselves are, “What is going on? Why is the church losing this battle, when by all rights, we should be winning?”  In Colossians 2:15, it says that Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  So, Jesus has already won the war against the powers and authorities but here in the natural we are losing this battle.

Here is the problem, Jesus will only pull on the climate of the era rope as hard as the “my people who are called by my name” will allow him to.  Jesus has tied the exercise of His authority to His people.  In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus says

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

He ties His authority and our disciple making together.  For this reason prayer is so important and so effective.

Some observations of “my people who are called by my name” in America:

The problem of “Might and Power”:

Zechariah 4:6, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

What are might and power? What are horses and chariots?  In today’s world those who have power are those who have a voice in Washington; i.e., voting blocs, super PACS, lobbyists, and so on.  Somewhere along the way, the church began looking to the vote to get God’s agenda done in Washington.

God’s agenda is not achieved by voting, it is done because His Spirit moves and changes the hearts and minds of people.  This in turn changes the climate of the era and then the votes, the laws, the courts, the atmosphere changes.  So, when “my people who are called by my name” seek political power they are exchanging their birthright for pottage.

By the right of birth into the family of God, by the blood of the Lamb, we have access to call His will down onto the earth so what is done in Heaven will be done on Earth.  His will is that His Kingdom be expanded upon the earth in the hearts and minds of people and that “the powers, the principalities, and the rulers of this dark age” be defeated.

This is a spiritual reality that will never be achieved by natural means.  When His People try to achieve this by voting for this or that agenda into earthly power, they are relying on “horse and chariot,” “might and power,” instead of God’s Spirit.  Since the war is a spiritual war that manifests itself in the natural, fighting it in the natural becomes a fool’s mission and in turn gives territory to “the powers, the principalities and the rulers of this dark age.”

The Problem of Choosing a Side

Both sides of the political spectrum in this country have things that somewhat reflect the heart of God and things that are an anathema to Him. As His people, we need to be the “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” just as John the Baptist was.

We need to be able to speak to the “Herrods” of this world, no matter which side of the aisle they sit on, and say, “it is wrong that you married your sister-in-law, Herodias, and all your other evils are wrong as well” (Luke 3:19).  When we sell our birthright for the pottage of the vote, we lose our voice in society, because we justify things that God does not justify and compromise with things that God is against.

It seems as if “my people who are called by my name” are like deer in the headlights.  We are staring so hard at the headlights of abortion and same sex marriage that we miss the truck behind the headlights, or worse, we justify the truck behind the headlights.  This results in things like: just 12% of evangelical Christians say their views on the arrival of refugees and other immigrants are primarily informed by the Bible (http://www.zwemercenter.com/why-the-church-must-love-the-refugee/).

That is a pretty shocking statistic, considering how often the Bible speaks about how “my people who are called by my name” should treat the foreigner, e.g. Deuteronomy 10:17-19: 

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

So, if the “climate of the era” is informing His people on how to treat refugees, who is going to win the battle, the powers and principalities or His church?  There are many more examples like this, such as the recent article in Christianity Today, by Ed Stetzer: Evangelicals: This Is What It Looks Like When You Sell Your Soul For A Bowl Of Trump.

Church, we can never win this battle if we sell our souls to a political party.  I’m not saying don’t vote, but “my people who are called by my name” must never become a voting bloc that political parties and candidates think they can court for votes.  We must push both sides to walk in godliness.

The Problem of Looking like the World

On most of these issues the church is not that different from the society around them.  There is a large amount of abortions in the church. As a Christian counselor, I get to hear about this all the time.  Don’t be shocked.  Think about it.

What if your 16 year old came home and said she was pregnant.  You will need to go to church with her with a big belly, she is going to be seriously struggling with school as she cares for a baby, or maybe the burden will be on you, the judgment you will receive from friends and family, I mean you’re a good Christian Family everyone always admired how stable you were.  All this goes away with a simple procedure.

Believe me, this is the same issue Peter faced when he denied Christ.  Will you stand up for Christ and have this baby in your family, take on the reproach, stand with your daughter in this difficult time? Don’t be shocked that many people don’t make that decision.  In my church, more than once, when I found out a young girl was pregnant, the very first thing I did was say to her, “your baby is welcome in this Church.”

What does the reality of abortions among ”my people who are called by my name” do to our right to move the “climate of the era” to a place where abortion won’t be acceptable anymore.  We can say the same about divorce, premarital sex, adultery, pornography, and so on.

Don’t be confused, the enemy is working hard to get the church to fall in these areas because he knows what that does to her authority.  If “my people who are called by my name” are not living in the opposite spirit of what the world lives in and participating in her sin, she cannot expect to win the battle for the “climate of the era” of this nation.  And you think a vote is going to change this?

Dear church, I fear that this election has caused a lurch to the side of “the powers, the principalities and the rulers of this dark age.”  Scripture states that we will know the tree by its fruit.  This is the fruit that I have observed:  I live in Queens, NY, which is the most diverse place on earth.  Picture a place where people from more than 190 countries are represented and more than 180 languages are spoken in the public schools (http://www.thenyic.org/sites/default/files/NYIC%20Ed%20Collab_TI%20Survey%20Report%206.16.15.pdf).  Where people from closed access countries (where missionaries are forbidden to go) live next to followers of Jesus and have an opportunity to hear the gospel for the first time. When they (including Muslims) accept the Good News, they take the Gospel back to their closed access countries through phone calls, Skype and visits.

The following events are happening within this context.   I have a friend who is an assistant principal at one of the best regarded High Schools in NYC.  She told me that within 48 hours of the election results, she had a Muslim student have her Hijab pulled off, a Sikh student was spit on, the white students’ attitudes changed.  They were walking around saying, “This is Trump’s America now,” some Muslim students who were part of a bake sale were told that no one would ever eat food they had touched, etc.  Do you get my point?

I really hope I’m wrong, but it feels to me as though there there has been a shift in the “climate of the era” to accepting racism in ways we haven’t seen in decades.  Oh church, do not fall for the wily schemes of the enemy.  Do not exchange your birthright for a bowl of pottage.  Don’t you know Jesus is the only hope for this nation and you are His hands and feet?  If you give up your birthright to bring His Kingdom to this earth, what hope is there?

A Lament for America

Oh America, America, weep and wail, because the people of God within you have lost their way.
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for the people of God to humble themselves and pray.
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for the people of God to seek His face.
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for the people of God to turn from their wicked ways and repent.
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for without the people of God, the mercy of God is lifted.
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for how will God hear from heaven and forgive?
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for how will your land be healed?
Oh America, America, weep and wail, for how can God continue to shed His grace on you?
Oh America, America.

(I began writing this about 2 years ago long before the current political situation came about.  I didn’t finish it because I don’t have the ability to draw and felt that there really needs to be an illustration to fully explain the concept I wanted to convey.  A few weeks ago, I asked my neighbor, Edith Alvarez, who is an artist, if she would be able to put the picture in my head on paper.  Step by step, she was able to take what was in my head and put it on paper.)

Advertisements
h1

Natural consequences vs. Punishment

December 3, 2015

Many of my clients tell me they are afraid of God’s punishment or when something bad happens it is because God is punishing them.  I think this is a misunderstanding of punishment vs. natural consequences.  Let me give you an example:

When my nephew was 18 months old he decided he liked to play with the buttons on the elevator at church.  He would press a button, then if not caught go into the elevator and press more buttons.  Now being an adult I know this is not a very smart thing to do.  What happens if one day he isn’t caught on time and he ends up on the first floor and goes out the door or if he gets lost on another floor in the building?  Nothing good can come from this behavior.  So i said to him,  “If you play with the elevator I will need to give you pow-pow on your hand.”  Now I know my nephew quite well and I already knew what was going to happen.  (Notice just because I knew the choice he would make did not take away his free will to make that choice).  About 10 minutes later, when he thought I wasn’t watching,  he took his little diaper-butt over to the elevator, got on his tippy-toes and hit the button.  I went and lightly hit him on the hand and I said, “you can’t play on the elevator.”  Now do you think he learned.  No, because the punishment I gave him wasn’t hard enough.  So 10 minutes later again, I saw little diaper-butt go to the elevator.  And others were about to step in and stop him.  I said, “Don’t stop him.   We will just need to go through again later if you do.”  I watched him go to the elevator, get on his tippy-toes hit the button, wait for the door to open and go in. Then I quickly got into action and ran into the elevator, grabbed him and gave him a really hard pow-pow on his hand.   He cried and cried.  And I told him,  ” I know it hurts, but that’s what happens if you don’t obey.  You can’t play on the elevator”  He never again played on the elevator

Now the question is “Was I being nice or mean?”  Obviously nice because the natural consequences of this behavior is much worse than a stinging hand. He could have gotten lost, he could have found his way to the first floor and onto to the street.    The natural consequences of this behavior could be very very painful.

Now if this is what punishment is, isn’t God more loving than what I could every be.  Wouldn’t He want me to avoid the natural consequences of my bad behavior.  Can’t  He see the consequences of what I do much better than what I can?  I think the punishments from the hand of God are much kinder and more loving than anything natural consequences would bring me.   Many of the bad things coming my way are natural consequences.  Wouldn’t wisdom ask for God’s mercy in His punishments vs,  just allowing me to live out the natural consequences of my sinful ways.

I ask God to correct me quickly and to help me be a person who will easily respond to his smallest whispers of correction so I don’t have to be subject to punishment but punishment is still better than natural consequences.  Natural consequences don’t come from a motivation of love.

h1

To the Church of Jesus Christ of the African American Community: Pharaoh is about to have a Dream

January 23, 2014

During the anniversary of the March on Washington, I was thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Kennedy’s assassinations.  I then thought about Lincoln’s as well.  I began asking this question, “What is it about the African American Community taking her place in this country that has Satan so scared?”  I went to bed with this question on my heart and woke up with the following which I present to the leadership of the African American Church for evaluation –  to take what is of God and to throw out the rest:

The African American Community is Joseph.   Let’s look at the basic events of Joseph’s life.  First he had a dream that told about what was to come in the future. He was then sold to slave traders by his own brothers, and then he became a slave in Egypt.  After this he became prisoner through no fault of his own.  There he met the cupbearer and the baker who he interpreted the dreams for. He strives to find a way out of prison through his own efforts by asking the cupbearer to remember him and his unfair situation. The cupbearer forgets but a few years later, Pharaoh had a dream and none of the soothsayers of that time can interpret it.  The cupbearer remembers Joseph who  is called upon to interpret it.  He was put in charge of everything.  He not only saved Egypt, he saved the known world and his own family.  He also played a major role in the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. And in all this God was with him.

I suspect, though I do not know for sure, that if we go back to the oral histories of the tribes of Africa (before being sold as slaves) we are going to find prophetic words that spoke about the days to come.  Another person needs to investigate this.  But let’s look at what we do know:

  1.  Africans are sold as slaves to slave traders by their own brothers as well as others.
  2. They are involuntarily taken to a country that is not their own.
  3. There they are sold as slaves.  (but God is still with them-look at the church that was birthed during this time)
  4. Then they are freed from slavery and shortly thereafter become prisoners through racism (blatantly through the codifying of Jim Crow laws but in myriad of different ways in which racism manifests itself in this nation)
  5. The time of the cupbearer began with the civil rights movement, MLK, laws being altered and is culminating in the Obama presidency.
  6. The very, very short time is about to begin between the cupbearer’s release and Pharaoh’s dream.  It is time to get ready.
  7. Pharaoh is about to have a dream and the soothsayers of our time will not have the answer, the white church will not have the answer, the Hispanic church will not have the answer, nor anyone else or any other church. Only the one that God has prepared for such a time as this. This is you, the African American Church.  Get ready.
  8. It will result in not only Egypt (the American society) being saved, but also the world and it will be the preparation for the coming of the King.

Some folks may be thinking “How can this be?”  Maybe they are looking around at the brokenness in their community and wondering, “how could we ever become Joseph to this society?”. But let me tell you what I see.  I see a church who has remained doctrinally sound.  There are no major cults coming out of the African American church: No Mormons, JWs, Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. etc.  The waves of Doctrine have come and gone in this society but the church in the African American community has remained faithful. Secondly when a white unbeliever has a problem for a solution they will just as easily go to Buddhism, “the secret”, Tarot Cards, humanism, or whatever else is the newest wave of false beliefs systems as turning to Jesus, the Bible or Church.  On the other hand, if an African American has a problem that is beyond them, the first place they go is the church or to Jesus.   When I go to schools that are primarily black I here gospel songs being sung at Graduations, (dare you do this at a white school).  Do you think a white guy could have gotten away with having something as blatantly Christian as Tyler Perry?  So if we look at these realities then if money is the “worldly wealth” not true riches and to know Christ is “true riches” (Luke 16:11) then who is rich and who is poor?  Don’t be fooled.

So then how to respond to this word, how to get ready?

1. Don’t believe the hype.   What do I mean by this?  The Egyptian society always tries and defines Joseph.  They said he is a slave, a prisoner and even though positionally he was these things, in reality he was the servant of the living God and where he walked, the favor of the Lord walked with him.  To the Egyptian society he may have been a prisoner but to God he was Pharaoh’s second in command – in training.  So how does this apply today?  I was listening to a sermon series once on finances and the preacher who I will not name was talking about claiming what is rightfully ours from the kingdom of darkness and he specifically mentioned lost wages.  I began to imagine, what would happen if all the believers in this country who have the inheritance of slavery would begin to call out of darkness the wages owed their family multiplied by 7 because that is what a thief owes.  And I was seeing the finances pouring into the church and I was getting excited. I suddenly realized it was not going happen.  Not because it does not rightfully belong to everyone who has an inheritance in slavery but because “The Hype” has been believed.  “The Hype” is the way this society defines you.  So I looked and saw that on this preacher he didn’t have any of that (this is not a person I know) and I asked God “why not?”  He showed me his grandmother getting on the bus in the south under Jim Crow laws.  When she got on the bus and was required to sit in the back, but the back of the bus never defined her.  Instead, her relationship with Christ not only defined her but it defined the bus when she got on it.  It defined the back of the bus, the front of the bus, and the one who was driving the bus.  Egypt could say what it wanted about her but she knew who she was.   When I look in the Spirit I see many people have accepted Egypt’s definition of who they are.  I’m not talking about the rhetoric, or the protesting, or the declaring.  I’m talking about that place deep inside that only God sees.  When this society says go to the back of the bus (and it still does, maybe not literally but in many, many ways because this is what being in prison is) that inner place says, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why doesn’t God love us as much?” “I hope I’m not who they say I am, but what if I am?” “Nobody is ever going to give us a break”, “Maybe I really am less than”.   Do not believe the message from the Egyptian Society.  This is not who you are.  (I want to make this clear: this thinking affects both the CEO of a company and the homeless person on the street.  When the CEO says, “Now finally I am somebody, look at my position and my money.” And when the homeless person says, “Look at my circumstances, I really am nobody.” And everyone in between.  This is two sides of the same coin. Am I somebody or nobody based on my circumstances and what the society says I am or am I somebody because of my relationship with Christ?)

In the Egyptian society, prison was worse than slavery, and in many ways, I see the same today.  The time of prison has been much more devastating to the soul than slavery (look at reconstruction).  Under slavery, a person knows why they can only get so far, under racism: “maybe it’s me”.  I believe most of the brokenness of the community (obviously not all, we are fallen creatures after all) comes from this place.  “Since it doesn’t matter how hard I try, I might as well do whatever.”  “No matter what I do it won’t work, so why bother.”

This is a lie.  The truth is you are the servant of the Most High God and if you see yourself that way, not just individually but as a community, you will define the places where you walk and the cities you live in.  Favor will begin to follow you and your community just as it did Joseph.  This is true for the most crime ridden neighborhood and the safest neighborhood, for the most impoverished neighborhood and the richest neighborhood. 

2. Stop striving to be somebody in the Egyptian Society. The Egyptians did not need another Egyptian.  They needed a Hebrew that had been taught about the living God from birth, who knew how to access the heavenlies and walk in the wisdom and the ways of God.  No one in Egypt could do this except Joseph.  This was true of him while he was a slave and a prisoner not just when he was put second in Command of Egypt.  God does not have a piece of the “American Pie” for you.  He is going to give you the whole pie, because He has set you aside for such a time as this.  The riches God has put in this community are true riches and striving to be a part of the Egyptian society always calls you to give up True Riches for worldly wealth.   How many times has someone made it “big” in the Egyptian Society and then you hear that they are “meditating”, “following The Secret”,  trying out other religions (of course there are exceptions).   When the cupbearer left prison Joseph said, “But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house:  For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.”   He was looking for mere justice when God had second in command of all of Egypt for Him.   The Egyptian society was never going to be “fair” to Joseph.  He was a nobody in their eyes.  He was never going to win what he sought through striving.  But when God released Joseph into his position, it was more than mere “fair”.  See Pharaoh is about to have a dream.  You must get ready.  Do not despise your birthright.  Don’t exchange your birthright for pottage just because you are in prison right now.  

3.  Repentance and healing.   Let’s look at Daniel 9:2-3  In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.  And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:  When Daniel realized it was time for his people to be released from captivity what did he do?  He repented for the sins of his people.  Notice the language. “We have sinned”. This is corporate confession.  When I lead people through the Daniel prayer in chapter 9, beginning in verse 4, I first have them write down the list of sins from the group they are confessing for  (this only works if by the laws of the Spirit, you are a true, legal representative of the group for whom you are confessing).  I then have the person or group see themselves  standing as a representative of their people (this could be on behalf of their family, their church, a church body e.g  the church of NYC, the church of America, etc., a city, a nation: look at what Uganda did on January 1, 2000.)  Then I lead this prayer changing the words “Judah”, “Jerusalem”, “Israel” to the name of the people they are representing,  e.g. last names of the family.  When I get to vs. 8 where it says: because we have sinned against thee I then lead the person in listing the sins of the people they are representing. At the end of the prayer the list is erased or torn up.   

Healing comes as you declare God’s healing power over the soul and spirit of your people where slavery, prison, striving, believing garbage, has hurt and devastated the heart of your people.  It is renouncing lies that have been believed for generations and declaring the acceptance of God’s truth about who you are and your circumstances.  It is allowing the cleansing of the blood of Christ and the poultice of His Spirit to wash the poison of prison and the Egyptian society out of your soul.  It is to become new.  I know the Lord will lead in all these things.

4. Get prepared.  There is very little time left in prison. During this time you must become like Joseph because this is the training that God has for what He is about to do.  Scripture says in Genesis 39: 21 But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.  And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it.  The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.  This is what the Lord wants to do right now with this community which he has preserved for himself.  He wants to show mercy and favor in the sight of the warden of the prison or in other words, “those who keep you down”.  He wants to release authority and responsibility – right where you are now, where you will be fully trusted because this is God’s training ground for that which is to come.  God wants to release this authority and responsibility in all your spheres of influence: where you live, where you work, where you play, where you study, where you worship and all other areas.  Once you cease to focus on the Egyptian Society you will have time and energy to define the place where you currently are by your relationship with Christ.  And mercy and favor will begin to fall on this community in ways that we have never seen before even though you are in the time between the cupbearer and Pharaoh’s dream.  Be aware, I sense strongly from the Lord, this is a very short time.  Get prepared.

h1

The sippy cup of life.

January 2, 2012
Sippy Cup

Sippy cup

A few years back I was over at my brother’s house when my 2 year old nephew asked me for a cup of Apple Juice.  I sat him up on the counter and got his sippy cup out of the dishwasher.

The rubber piece

The rubber piece

As I started putting the the rubber part on the inside of the cup so it wouldn’t spill he said, “No, I do it.”  “O.K.”,  I replied.  Now I knew there is no way a two year old is coordinated enough to get that piece correctly lined up with the three little parts in the top with the holes in the rubber part.  But he decided to give it a try.   After a few minutes I asked, “Can I help?” and he said, “No, I do it.”  So I let him try some more though I knew there was no two year old who was ever going to accomplish that feat.   A little while later I said, “Why don’t ‘ you let me do it.”  “No, I do it.”  “O.K., but you’ll get apple juice a lot faster if you let me do it.”  “No, I do it.”  So I let him try a while longer, but eventually, (because I am a human being) I got impatient and said, “give that to me” and then I took it and fixed the cup and put apple juice in it.

God on the other hand never gets impatient and He watches us trying to put our lives together, knowing that we will never fix it on our own without His help.  He stands in the background saying to us, “you’ll get apple juice so much faster if you just give me your sippy cup” and we say, “no, I do it”.   “If you hand me that mess that you made in your life and take your hands off I can fix it.” and we say, “no, I do it.”  But since God is never impatient He will never grab your life from you and fix it He will wait indefinitely for you to hand the sippy cup of your life to Him so he can fix it.  He is waiting for us to simply pick up our life and say, “Here, You fix it. I can’t.” then to patiently wait on Him to do what He wants with our lives.

h1

God and my ducks

December 21, 2011

Everyone is seeking peace.  We all want to be at a place where we can say there is no stress in our lives, we have found contentedness.  Most of us have grown up believing that peace comes from having all our ducks in a row, in other words:  our relationships are working well, no one has a life threatening illness, there is at minimum enough money to pay the bills,  my boss loves me, the economy is great, there is no threat of war, etc.  For each one of us this list varies in what is important to us.  Often we feel like we will never get off the hamster wheel of trying to get everything in order and therefore we can never have peace.

ducks in a row

In contrast to this, God says, Peace comes from Him.  One of the names for Jesus is Prince of Peace.  God wants us to look to Him for peace not our ducks.  Yet we spend our lives trying to get our ducks to get in line, they keep wandering off because they have a mind of their and for the most part are not under our control anyways.   The reality is if we ever do get our ducks in a row, nicely lined up, God will come in a flick one out of place, because He is a very jealous God and wants your peace to from Him not your ducks.

God solution to the problem of anxiety and stress is a deep heartfelt knowing on the inside of us that:

1. He is sovereign over all things.  It is all in His hands.

2. He deeply loves you.

3. He has good plans for you.

4. Nothing that happens in your life is bigger than God and if you open yourself up to His sovereignty in your life, He will take care of you.