Letters

Anointed Worship: What Does That Really Mean?

I had an interesting revelation recently. I’d like your take on it. This might be a little convoluted, so follow close here. This took me down unfamiliar paths; perhaps they’ll be new ideas to you as well.

I was worshipping in the morning, and I was using a track from one of my favorite worship bands. The track was a very popular worship song: everybody and their bass player has covered it.

I found myself drawn into that place of intimate worship. I was thankful for such an anointed song to help lead me into the place of the sacrifice of worship. 

And it began to dawn on me that yes, there was an anointing here, but it wasn’t on the song. Hmm. Yes? Tell me more. 

I considered for a while the possibility that some songs might not carry an anointing on them, but people using the song for anointed purposes still produces an anointing.

That didn’t quite fit right. Why would this song be anointed, and that song not be anointed? (Yeah, I know: there are answers for this, but that’s not the path my meditation took this morning.) Might the anointing on a song vary with the anointing on the songwriter? Or the anointing present during the songwriting.

Then I recognized a feeling in my spirit: That’s not the right path; you’re getting distracted. (Have you ever played “hot & cold” [“You’re getting warmer…..”] when your parents or someone hid something for you to find? We did that with Easter eggs. This was like that.)

So I backed off and just listened in my spirit, watched to see what Holy Spirit might be highlighting for me.

After a bit, I realized that while He uses songs, it’s not songs that He anoints. Hmm.

The infinitely personal Spirit of the Immortal God doesn’t anoint melodies or harmonies with His presence, nor lyrics, though he’s quite happy to use them all. He doesn’t anoint the guitar solo, or the percussion mix, or the click track. It’s not the song’s arrangement, or the engineer’s mix of the song or use of equalization and reverb that carries God’s presence. Neither is it the choice of instruments nor the choice of microphones. It’s not the physical CD, or the data of the .mp3 or .wav file that He anoints.

God anoints people. God’s anointing is on people (and Biblically, you can make a case that he’s not all that particular about which people, believers or not), not on people’s tools. My tool is mine; God doesn’t typically anoint my stuff. God anoints what’s his: you and me.

I’m still working through the question of whether God anoints the tasks that we do; for the moment I think not, that His anointing is on people as they do the tasks, but the jury is still out on that one.

And here’s where it gets personal. This means – if I’m understanding His heart correctly – that when I sense God’s anointing on a worship song, as I did in this morning, that I’m mistaken.

I can think of a couple of directions that could go:

  • I’m pretty sure that very often what I mean when I say “It’s an anointed song,” is that I’m remembering experiencing His anointing while engaging Him with that song in times past. Our emotional memories are really powerful, and it could be those emotions I’m remembering.

  • Or when I experience an anointing in the context of a song, it may be that my own spirit (and perhaps my soul, too) is trained, conditioned to quickly and smoothly enter into the place where I experience his anointing. I can think of worse conditioned responses.

  • Closely related to the above, I think I’ve experienced times where my spirit is so thirsty that it leaps with joy at the barest hint of an opportunity to worship my Creator/King/Lover, and I mistake that leap toward Him for His anointing. I guess this one speaks to the quality of my private worship times. I confess, I love it when my spirit leaps to worship, but it is a sign of lack of spiritual nutrition in my life. Hmm.

  • Since I’m trying to be honest here, the possibility also exists that I’m deceived, too. It is a real possibility that when I experience something associated with a song which I’ve used for spiritual purposes, that I’m actually engaging a religious spirit. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of manipulation that happens in some times and places where we worship God. Looks like I need to keep my discernment ears on.

  • Or something else may be going on.


But God’s anointing is on people. Not tools. 
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Letters

Anointed Worship: What Does That Really Mean?

I had an interesting revelation recently. I’d like your take on it. This might be a little convoluted, so follow close here. This took me down unfamiliar paths; perhaps they’ll be new ideas to you as well.

I was worshipping in the morning, and I was using a track from one of my favorite worship bands. The track was a very popular worship song: everybody and their bass player has covered it.

I found myself drawn into that place of intimate worship. I was thankful for such an anointed song to help lead me into the place of the sacrifice of worship. 

And it began to dawn on me that yes, there was an anointing here, but it wasn’t on the song. Hmm. Yes? Tell me more. 

I considered for a while the possibility that some songs might not carry an anointing on them, but people using the song for anointed purposes still produces an anointing.

That didn’t quite fit right. Why would this song be anointed, and that song not be anointed? (Yeah, I know: there are answers for this, but that’s not the path my meditation took this morning.) Might the anointing on a song vary with the anointing on the songwriter? Or the anointing present during the songwriting.

Then I recognized a feeling in my spirit: That’s not the right path; you’re getting distracted. (Have you ever played “hot & cold” [“You’re getting warmer…..”] when your parents or someone hid something for you to find? We did that with Easter eggs. This was like that.)

So I backed off and just listened in my spirit, watched to see what Holy Spirit might be highlighting for me.

After a bit, I realized that while He uses songs, it’s not songs that He anoints. Hmm.

The infinitely personal Spirit of the Immortal God doesn’t anoint melodies or harmonies with His presence, nor lyrics, though he’s quite happy to use them all. He doesn’t anoint the guitar solo, or the percussion mix, or the click track. It’s not the song’s arrangement, or the engineer’s mix of the song or use of equalization and reverb that carries God’s presence. Neither is it the choice of instruments nor the choice of microphones. It’s not the physical CD, or the data of the .mp3 or .wav file that He anoints.

God anoints people. God’s anointing is on people (and Biblically, you can make a case that he’s not all that particular about which people, believers or not), not on people’s tools. My tool is mine; God doesn’t typically anoint my stuff. God anoints what’s his: you and me.

I’m still working through the question of whether God anoints the tasks that we do; for the moment I think not, that His anointing is on people as they do the tasks, but the jury is still out on that one.

And here’s where it gets personal. This means – if I’m understanding His heart correctly – that when I sense God’s anointing on a worship song, as I did in this morning, that I’m mistaken.

I can think of a couple of directions that could go:

  • I’m pretty sure that very often what I mean when I say “It’s an anointed song,” is that I’m remembering experiencing His anointing while engaging Him with that song in times past. Our emotional memories are really powerful, and it could be those emotions I’m remembering.

  • Or when I experience an anointing in the context of a song, it may be that my own spirit (and perhaps my soul, too) is trained, conditioned to quickly and smoothly enter into the place where I experience his anointing. I can think of worse conditioned responses.

  • Closely related to the above, I think I’ve experienced times where my spirit is so thirsty that it leaps with joy at the barest hint of an opportunity to worship my Creator/King/Lover, and I mistake that leap toward Him for His anointing. I guess this one speaks to the quality of my private worship times. I confess, I love it when my spirit leaps to worship, but it is a sign of lack of spiritual nutrition in my life. Hmm.

  • Since I’m trying to be honest here, the possibility also exists that I’m deceived, too. It is a real possibility that when I experience something associated with a song which I’ve used for spiritual purposes, that I’m actually engaging a religious spirit. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of manipulation that happens in some times and places where we worship God. Looks like I need to keep my discernment ears on.

  • Or something else may be going on.


But God’s anointing is on people. Not tools. 
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Letters

Anointed Worship: What Does That Really Mean?

I had an interesting revelation recently. I’d like your take on it. This might be a little convoluted, so follow close here. This took me down unfamiliar paths; perhaps they’ll be new ideas to you as well.

I was worshipping in the morning, and I was using a track from one of my favorite worship bands. The track was a very popular worship song: everybody and their bass player has covered it.

I found myself drawn into that place of intimate worship. I was thankful for such an anointed song to help lead me into the place of the sacrifice of worship. 

And it began to dawn on me that yes, there was an anointing here, but it wasn’t on the song. Hmm. Yes? Tell me more. 

I considered for a while the possibility that some songs might not carry an anointing on them, but people using the song for anointed purposes still produces an anointing.

That didn’t quite fit right. Why would this song be anointed, and that song not be anointed? (Yeah, I know: there are answers for this, but that’s not the path my meditation took this morning.) Might the anointing on a song vary with the anointing on the songwriter? Or the anointing present during the songwriting.

Then I recognized a feeling in my spirit: That’s not the right path; you’re getting distracted. (Have you ever played “hot & cold” [“You’re getting warmer…..”] when your parents or someone hid something for you to find? We did that with Easter eggs. This was like that.)

So I backed off and just listened in my spirit, watched to see what Holy Spirit might be highlighting for me.

After a bit, I realized that while He uses songs, it’s not songs that He anoints. Hmm.

The infinitely personal Spirit of the Immortal God doesn’t anoint melodies or harmonies with His presence, nor lyrics, though he’s quite happy to use them all. He doesn’t anoint the guitar solo, or the percussion mix, or the click track. It’s not the song’s arrangement, or the engineer’s mix of the song or use of equalization and reverb that carries God’s presence. Neither is it the choice of instruments nor the choice of microphones. It’s not the physical CD, or the data of the .mp3 or .wav file that He anoints.

God anoints people. God’s anointing is on people (and Biblically, you can make a case that he’s not all that particular about which people, believers or not), not on people’s tools. My tool is mine; God doesn’t typically anoint my stuff. God anoints what’s his: you and me.

I’m still working through the question of whether God anoints the tasks that we do; for the moment I think not, that His anointing is on people as they do the tasks, but the jury is still out on that one.

And here’s where it gets personal. This means – if I’m understanding His heart correctly – that when I sense God’s anointing on a worship song, as I did in this morning, that I’m mistaken.

I can think of a couple of directions that could go:

  • I’m pretty sure that very often what I mean when I say “It’s an anointed song,” is that I’m remembering experiencing His anointing while engaging Him with that song in times past. Our emotional memories are really powerful, and it could be those emotions I’m remembering.

  • Or when I experience an anointing in the context of a song, it may be that my own spirit (and perhaps my soul, too) is trained, conditioned to quickly and smoothly enter into the place where I experience his anointing. I can think of worse conditioned responses.

  • Closely related to the above, I think I’ve experienced times where my spirit is so thirsty that it leaps with joy at the barest hint of an opportunity to worship my Creator/King/Lover, and I mistake that leap toward Him for His anointing. I guess this one speaks to the quality of my private worship times. I confess, I love it when my spirit leaps to worship, but it is a sign of lack of spiritual nutrition in my life. Hmm.

  • Since I’m trying to be honest here, the possibility also exists that I’m deceived, too. It is a real possibility that when I experience something associated with a song which I’ve used for spiritual purposes, that I’m actually engaging a religious spirit. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of manipulation that happens in some times and places where we worship God. Looks like I need to keep my discernment ears on.

  • Or something else may be going on.


But God’s anointing is on people. Not tools. 
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Columns, Devotionals

Laughter is Good Medicine

From the tone of my posts you might imagine that I'm a pretty serious person.  And I am very serious about serving God. But I also love to laugh.

You would never survive being around our family without a sense of humor. And I have a serious flaw in my personality - I say things that I think are funny before I realize that I might make someone feel bad. My daughter has inherited my sense of humor and has this flaw also. She and I get along wonderfully and almost every conversation that we have has a moment of laughing so hard we can't breathe - but not everyone gets us. Ha!  We have each other.


Several years ago I found myself in spiritual battle. It was a very hard season and I was experiencing a lot of hurt and rejection. I was at a women's weekend conference and was in worship when I began to laugh. Laugh uncontrollably.

This was not a good situation.  There were some people in the church that were unhappy with my ways of worship - raising my hands, dancing, kneeling, shouting. And now I was in the front row - laughing - laughing uncontrollably - during praise and worship.

I clamped my hands over my mouth and got down on my knees, putting my face towards the floor. And shook with laughter.

Psalms 126:2 says, "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them." and Proverbs 17:22 says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones."

Very honestly, I had never had anything like this happen before but I knew it was the Holy Spirit. As I laughed, I got stronger. My heart began to heal and I felt 'fortified.'

Later, I read a testimony by Cindy Jacobs. She was with a group of believers and they were praying for a little girl who was gravely ill. She was not expected to live. And as they were praying, Cindy was overcome with laughter!  She was horrified and who wouldn't be?  Here she was praying for a little girl who might be dying and she was laughing. And as she laughed, the little girl was completely healed!

I know some of you out there may have heard of the laughing that has happened with different ministries. I've heard of it, too. And I am not supporting or criticizing anyone that's been a part of this. I can't judge it. And neither can you. But I know that since having this happen the first time, it has happened often to me.

When the Holy Spirit's Presence comes on me, I almost always cry.  Yeah, I'm a crier. I just get overwhelmed with the goodness and beauty of God. But since the first time this happened, there is almost always a little laughter mixed in with the tears. There's been times that I'm sure I look like a crazy woman!  I've learned to live with it - lol!

I was with a group of about 40 believers one night at a church and it came on me in a big way. I was among 'friends', people who get me, so I just let it flow. And I lay on the floor for an hour, laughing. People started coming over and touching me and then they would begin to laugh, too. It's my idea of a good party.

When the Holy Spirit came to the earth on The Day of Pentecost (Acts Chap 2) many thought those that had received it were drunk.  Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to be drunk with wine but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some translations say, "but be drunk in the Spirit".  I'm always tempted to ask those that quote this verse as a stand against wine - "But have you ever been 'drunk' in the Spirit?" because that's part of this verse. There's an exhortation here to be drunk in the Spirit.

I have a dear friend, whose walk with the Lord and discernment I really respect, who became very offended one night when someone began laughing. We had come to the service together so I was really happy in that moment that it wasn't me. (Sorry, Lord.)  Because I truly never want to be ashamed of what God is doing! And I never want to quench the Holy Spirit and stop what He is doing. And He gets to do what He wants. And who knows what this woman was going through.  God knew. And she laughed for a long time. I understood and I was a little envious.

Luke 10:21 says that, "He (Jesus) rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit.  This word 'rejoiced' literally means that Jesus twirled and danced and laughed.

If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!

love and blessings~




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Columns, Devotionals

Laughter is Good Medicine

From the tone of my posts you might imagine that I'm a pretty serious person.  And I am very serious about serving God. But I also love to laugh.

You would never survive being around our family without a sense of humor. And I have a serious flaw in my personality - I say things that I think are funny before I realize that I might make someone feel bad. My daughter has inherited my sense of humor and has this flaw also. She and I get along wonderfully and almost every conversation that we have has a moment of laughing so hard we can't breathe - but not everyone gets us. Ha!  We have each other.


Several years ago I found myself in spiritual battle. It was a very hard season and I was experiencing a lot of hurt and rejection. I was at a women's weekend conference and was in worship when I began to laugh. Laugh uncontrollably.

This was not a good situation.  There were some people in the church that were unhappy with my ways of worship - raising my hands, dancing, kneeling, shouting. And now I was in the front row - laughing - laughing uncontrollably - during praise and worship.

I clamped my hands over my mouth and got down on my knees, putting my face towards the floor. And shook with laughter.

Psalms 126:2 says, "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them." and Proverbs 17:22 says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones."

Very honestly, I had never had anything like this happen before but I knew it was the Holy Spirit. As I laughed, I got stronger. My heart began to heal and I felt 'fortified.'

Later, I read a testimony by Cindy Jacobs. She was with a group of believers and they were praying for a little girl who was gravely ill. She was not expected to live. And as they were praying, Cindy was overcome with laughter!  She was horrified and who wouldn't be?  Here she was praying for a little girl who might be dying and she was laughing. And as she laughed, the little girl was completely healed!

I know some of you out there may have heard of the laughing that has happened with different ministries. I've heard of it, too. And I am not supporting or criticizing anyone that's been a part of this. I can't judge it. And neither can you. But I know that since having this happen the first time, it has happened often to me.

When the Holy Spirit's Presence comes on me, I almost always cry.  Yeah, I'm a crier. I just get overwhelmed with the goodness and beauty of God. But since the first time this happened, there is almost always a little laughter mixed in with the tears. There's been times that I'm sure I look like a crazy woman!  I've learned to live with it - lol!

I was with a group of about 40 believers one night at a church and it came on me in a big way. I was among 'friends', people who get me, so I just let it flow. And I lay on the floor for an hour, laughing. People started coming over and touching me and then they would begin to laugh, too. It's my idea of a good party.

When the Holy Spirit came to the earth on The Day of Pentecost (Acts Chap 2) many thought those that had received it were drunk.  Ephesians 5:18 tells us not to be drunk with wine but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some translations say, "but be drunk in the Spirit".  I'm always tempted to ask those that quote this verse as a stand against wine - "But have you ever been 'drunk' in the Spirit?" because that's part of this verse. There's an exhortation here to be drunk in the Spirit.

I have a dear friend, whose walk with the Lord and discernment I really respect, who became very offended one night when someone began laughing. We had come to the service together so I was really happy in that moment that it wasn't me. (Sorry, Lord.)  Because I truly never want to be ashamed of what God is doing! And I never want to quench the Holy Spirit and stop what He is doing. And He gets to do what He wants. And who knows what this woman was going through.  God knew. And she laughed for a long time. I understood and I was a little envious.

Luke 10:21 says that, "He (Jesus) rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit.  This word 'rejoiced' literally means that Jesus twirled and danced and laughed.

If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!

love and blessings~




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Columns, Devotionals

Yes, LORD!

I asked the Lord several years ago why He doesn’t just show His glory to all of mankind?

Why He didn’t make His Presence known on the earth so that people would be bowled over by the knowledge that He is real – He is God?

Maybe you’ve asked Him that, too.  It seems so simple to me.  Show them that You are God.

He didn’t answer me until a couple of years ago.

He told me that when He reveals Himself to us that people have one of two responses; they can say, “Yes”or they can say, “No.”  When they say, “No,” their hearts become hardened.  And God, Who knows all things, withholds His glory with mercy, for those He knows are not ready.

Bill Johnson, www.ibethel.org, tells a story that has always amazed me.  While he was pastoring a church in Weaverville, CA, the Lord touched him in a wonderful way.    · · · →

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Devotionals, Letters

Gifts from Father, Son & Holy Spirit

This is not - as will be obvious - a complete teaching; this is a subject that will swallow whole books in one gulp. This is just some raw material, looking at the subject from a viewpoint different than I've heard before.

I still can’t completely wrap my brain around the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three, and yet they’re one. Not just “One with three aspects.” Not just “Three in perfect unity.” Really three. Really one. Weird. Cool, but weird.
But as I get to know Him/Them, I find that they have three different personalities as well. And the gifts that they give are different as well.
The most common gifts that we talk about are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12, there is a list of His gifts:
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the samea]">[a] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. .
Note that these gifts are manifestations of the Spirit. Just as the gifts that you give reflect the person you are as a giver, so these gifts reflect the person of the Holy Spirit. As manifestations, these are things that happen when the Holy Spirit manifests, or shows up, in our lives. There is no discussion of us “having” these gifts; instead, He has them, and wherever He is, they’re likely to show up. In you, for instance.
In Ephesians 4, there are gifts given by Jesus:
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."[b] 9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The passage is talking about Christ, and then it says “It was he who gave” these gifts. These gifts are people, they’re for a purpose, and – like the manifestations of the Spirit in the passage above – are for the church. Again, these are not gifts that we might have, but gifts that we might be, and they’re very goal oriented: to prepare God’s people to reach particular goals, goals which are a whole study in themselves.
Not to be left out, in Romans 12 God Himself gives His own group of gifts.
…God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[a]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
These gifts – sometimes called “Motivational gifts” – reflect how Father God has created us to function. These are the only gifts that we “have” and we are instructed to use them, and to use them in a particular way, implying of course, that we could use them in a different way. These gifts are resident in us, part of our makeup, built into us by the grace of God, and as a result of the measure of faith that He’s given us. As faith can grow, so can our effectiveness in these gifts.
Note that some gifts have analogs in all three lists, like prophecy, others in two lists, like teaching, and others in only one, such as giving.
While those of us who have been in the kingdom since the days of the Jesus People will find this old and redundant, there is a new generation rising into maturity in the church that mostly has not been schooled in these subjects. I'm thinking that it's time we review the subject.

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Prophecy

Mid-Course Correction Going On

If you’re an observer of the church, you’ll notice something interesting: God is leading the emerging generation of believers differently than the path the generation that’s finishing their race ran on.
Even now, if you ask about priorities for the people of God, believers in the “over 40” age group will talk about theology, and the need to have all the theology right. This group talks about the Bible as the authority, though they often live as though the Sunday sermon is the real authority. (Note: “over 40” is just an approximation: some 30-year-olds belong in this group, and some 60-year-olds belong in the other.)
But if you ask believers in the “under 40” age group the same question, they won’t mention theology. This group is more focused on “How can I change the world?” and they expect to refine their theology along the way. This group also regards the Bible highly; the Bible, interpreted by the Holy Spirit, not by the pastor’s sermon, is the real authority.
The curious thing is that the second group, rather than the first is actually more Biblical: this is the model used over and over in the Book of Acts: “He said preach the good news to the whole world! Let’s go preach somewhere that nobody else has preached yet.” In fact, it has been said that Apostle Paul’s method of being led by God was something of “bumbling around in the Spirit until something happened!”
Regardless of which group you find yourself in (I think of them as the “Get The Theology Right” group and the “Change the World” group), this is not suggesting to you that theology is not important. It is of critical importance. But theology is not more important – or more urgent – than obeying the Word.
As I’ve been reflecting on this, I realize that, being in the older age bracket, I’ve been assuming that the theological questions have been the right questions to ask. I’m changing that opinion.
Curiously, when given instructions by God to go do something (such as “Go into all the world and preach the good news of the gospel”), it is the servants who insist on getting the instructions exactly right. The response of sons of the Kingdom is more along the lines of “Hey, good idea. Grab the debit card and let’s go!”
Since many of us in the older group, who have valued theology so much, are finally understanding so much more about our status as sons, not as servants, and since we’re teaching the younger believers that they’re sons, not servants, I suppose we should not be surprised that they’re making the choices that sons make, rather than making the choices that servants make, as my generation has done (much to our embarrassment).
As I’m learning more about my identity as a son, not a servant (why did nobody tell me this decades ago???), I’m coming to value the perspective of the second group more. I admire their willingness to take risks, I admire their eagerness to follow God’s leadership, and I admire how much they’re getting done!
  
I’m going to think more carefully about how to continue my ministry before the Lord.

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Columns, Devotionals

Seeing Through the Eyes of the Father

 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 

One of my heroes of faith is Shane Claiborne.  He wrote a book called, "Irresistible Revolution" that changed my life.  The Lord spoke to me in a powerful way while reading this book and confirmed many things that I had on my heart.

Shane Claiborne tells a story about being invited to speak at a church but when he arrived he was shunned by the church goers.  They thought he was a homeless man and stared at him and wouldn't speak to him. They were very surprised when they found out he was the guest speaker.

Because Shane Claiborne has dread-locks to his waist!  (I think he's recently cut his hair.)   He typically wears baggy jeans and an old work shirt.  


But I am so blessed and inspired by him because Shane Claiborne is busy 'being Jesus' to his community.  He's feeding the hungry and housing the homeless.  He's sharing Jesus to the lost.  He's 'being the Church!'  And I love him.

I spent my first twenty years of being a believer going to church and believing that I knew what it was all about.  I was preoccupied by what I wore to church and disapproved of those that didn't dress well.  I sang in the choir and led youth groups.  I gave to the building fund and never missed tithing.  

And then Jesus began to do a work in my heart and I realized I had missed the mark.  And that's sin - right?  

Our worship dance ministry had done a 'prayer walk' around our church - circling the church each week and surrounding it with prayer.  The Lord had directed us to do this. 

And then the Lord convicted my daughter, who was in college at the time, to circle Ferris campus in the same way.  About this time she met a young man I'll call Jacob who was on fire for Jesus.  The Lord had given him the same conviction so a group of them began to obey the Lord.  She would tell me about this group with joy and enthusiasm.

One day, she described Jacob - mohawk, piercings, tattoos -  and I was shocked.  Laura told me, "Mom, you have a religious spirit!" and I realized it was true.  I immediately repented and have never made the same mistake again. 

A lot of religious sects get offended by women wearing pants because of the scripture that states that women should not wear men's clothing.  You realize, of course, that when this scripture was written, everyone wore 'robes' and they now make pants for women?

So many of the things Christians stumble over are purely cultural.  And then they fall into judgment and miss God all together.  

A friend told me several years ago after sharing Christ with her son for several years he finally made the decision to visit church.  And no one spoke to him while he was there.  Because of his appearance.  The Word tells us to make the most of every opportunity but we choose to shun people even when they come to church?

Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  We are called to save the lost.  Of course if we never interact with the lost, it's hard to save them.  If we are so offended by appearances, or if we expect every Christian to look the same, wear a three piece suit or a dress, we'll miss God all together.  Because God sees the heart.

Now I'm not saying that people should not dress modestly.  I believe men and women should dress modestly at all times, so please don't misunderstand that.  But I think we've got to change our religious thinking and start realizing what's important.

Where did we get the idea that serving Christ means singing in the choir and baking cookies for the congregation.  Was that Jesus' final commission to us? It means going out into the streets and meeting real people where they live.  It means helping people and sharing the love of Christ.  It means sharing your food and your money and working with your hands.

And we might have to leave our three piece suits at home or they'll get dirty. 

love and blessings~


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Columns, Devotionals

Seeing Through the Eyes of the Father

 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 

One of my heroes of faith is Shane Claiborne.  He wrote a book called, "Irresistible Revolution" that changed my life.  The Lord spoke to me in a powerful way while reading this book and confirmed many things that I had on my heart.

Shane Claiborne tells a story about being invited to speak at a church but when he arrived he was shunned by the church goers.  They thought he was a homeless man and stared at him and wouldn't speak to him. They were very surprised when they found out he was the guest speaker.

Because Shane Claiborne has dread-locks to his waist!  (I think he's recently cut his hair.)   He typically wears baggy jeans and an old work shirt.  


But I am so blessed and inspired by him because Shane Claiborne is busy 'being Jesus' to his community.  He's feeding the hungry and housing the homeless.  He's sharing Jesus to the lost.  He's 'being the Church!'  And I love him.

I spent my first twenty years of being a believer going to church and believing that I knew what it was all about.  I was preoccupied by what I wore to church and disapproved of those that didn't dress well.  I sang in the choir and led youth groups.  I gave to the building fund and never missed tithing.  

And then Jesus began to do a work in my heart and I realized I had missed the mark.  And that's sin - right?  

Our worship dance ministry had done a 'prayer walk' around our church - circling the church each week and surrounding it with prayer.  The Lord had directed us to do this. 

And then the Lord convicted my daughter, who was in college at the time, to circle Ferris campus in the same way.  About this time she met a young man I'll call Jacob who was on fire for Jesus.  The Lord had given him the same conviction so a group of them began to obey the Lord.  She would tell me about this group with joy and enthusiasm.

One day, she described Jacob - mohawk, piercings, tattoos -  and I was shocked.  Laura told me, "Mom, you have a religious spirit!" and I realized it was true.  I immediately repented and have never made the same mistake again. 

A lot of religious sects get offended by women wearing pants because of the scripture that states that women should not wear men's clothing.  You realize, of course, that when this scripture was written, everyone wore 'robes' and they now make pants for women?

So many of the things Christians stumble over are purely cultural.  And then they fall into judgment and miss God all together.  

A friend told me several years ago after sharing Christ with her son for several years he finally made the decision to visit church.  And no one spoke to him while he was there.  Because of his appearance.  The Word tells us to make the most of every opportunity but we choose to shun people even when they come to church?

Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  We are called to save the lost.  Of course if we never interact with the lost, it's hard to save them.  If we are so offended by appearances, or if we expect every Christian to look the same, wear a three piece suit or a dress, we'll miss God all together.  Because God sees the heart.

Now I'm not saying that people should not dress modestly.  I believe men and women should dress modestly at all times, so please don't misunderstand that.  But I think we've got to change our religious thinking and start realizing what's important.

Where did we get the idea that serving Christ means singing in the choir and baking cookies for the congregation.  Was that Jesus' final commission to us? It means going out into the streets and meeting real people where they live.  It means helping people and sharing the love of Christ.  It means sharing your food and your money and working with your hands.

And we might have to leave our three piece suits at home or they'll get dirty. 

love and blessings~


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Prophecy

Counterfeits in the Kingdom

One of the signs that says to me, “Hell is scared,” is the immense quantity of spiritual forgery going on. 
Nobody in their right mind counterfeits $3 bills. What gets counterfeited are $20 bills and $100 bills. Why? Because they’re the most valuable.
There is more value tied up in US $20 bills than all of the other American bills combined, except the $100 bill. And of course, there is more value tied up in the US $100 bill than all other US bills combined!

When things are valuable, they are counterfeited. When they are meaningless, they are not counterfeited.

And it’s not just the “most valuable” things that are counterfeited. Nobody counterfeits ten-thousand-dollar bills. That’s silly. The bills exist, but they are so very rare, that they stand out. And there are so few of them that all together, they aren’t worth as much as $1 bills.
No, people counterfeit what is valuable, and they counterfeit what the public can regularly expect to use and handle.
In the Kingdom, nobody is counterfeiting God’s work in Genesis 1. That’s too very rare, and let’s be honest: it’s hard to fake that. And nobody is (seriously) counterfeiting the Cross of Christ. Yeah, people have themselves crucified every Good Friday, but nobody believes they’re Jesus: it’s obvious that they’re fakes. Besides, that particular counterfeit leaves the counterfeiters dead, and it’s hard to make a profit when you’re dead.
But the things that Father is releasing, unveiling in this generation, the treasures that he’s giving (has already given) to every single believer: these are getting counterfeited.
God is speaking about sonship, about how we’re legitimately God’s heirs. So the enemy is showing several counterfeits claiming to be Jesus Christ in the flesh. Here’s one: http://nwp.link/1uLEuNa
God is speaking about how hell isn’t what we’ve always thought it was, so these false Christs are denying hell.
God is showing us how weak and helpless the devil really is, so these false Christs are denying the devil himself.
Our response is not to get all excited that there is yet ANOTHER false Christ. They’ve been around for millennia, and there will be more. Yawn. Our response is not to tell everybody about why this false Christ or that false Christ is actually false. Neither is our response to declare that just because there is a false Christ, therefore all Christs are false, and then deny that Jesus came in the flesh. (Don’t laugh: there are many who have done this!)
Our response is the same in this situation as it is any other time the false is declared: we focus on the real.
If the devil is parading false Christs, we fix our eyes on Jesus, the real Christ.
If the devil is raising up false healings and false miracles, we become skilled in wielding the healing gifts, the gifts of miracles that come from the real Holy Spirit.
If there are New Age mystics who talk about being transported to other places, whether spiritual or physical, either in their own spirits or actually in the flesh, then we press into these gifts (all of which are described in Scripture) and we learn what Father is releasing to his children today.
Bottom line: if the devil is leading people astray, we drawer closer to God to be led by Him (and not by our reaction to the devil) into what is true.
What does the Word say?
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. … But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. – [1 John 2:18-20 NKJV]

Our response to the antichrist spirit that is pretty busy in the culture around us is the anointing from God, to know what he knows, and (since he’s talking about experiential knowledge, not book-learning) to practice what we know from Him.

Let’s follow God, shall we, wherever he shall lead us.

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Devotionals, Letters

False Teaching, or False Signs

The New Testament speaks time and time again about false doctrine, false teaching, false shepherds. We don’t really pay a whole lot of attention (as a larger community) to these issues, which the Bible emphasizes pretty heavily.
The Book mentions “false signs and wonders” only ONCE, but that’s the thing that gets the attention. And the definition has been expanded: “If you experience _____ during your intimate times with God, that’s a false sign! It’s of the devil!”
Bah!   Er… “No, that would be in error!
The false teachers that those apostles were warning us about had one thing in common: they wanted to add some form of “works” to the message of grace. It came in various forms:
§         “Obey the Law!” (Or “Obey this part of the law.”) or
§         “Don’t eat meat!” (or some other dietary restriction) or
§         “Respect these Jewish holidays!” (or “…these new [age] holidays”) or
§         “Don’t drink alcohol!”
Fundamentally, the false things that the New Testament writers were warning us about generally were limitations to the freedoms that Jesus brings his people into! It was exactly this context into which Paul writes, “do not submit again to a yoke of slavery!” and he goes on in that context to say, “I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” (See Galatians 5; it’s really quite graphic.)
This was the greatest danger to the new Church, and the one that so much of the New Testament epistles were specifically written to combat: that there would be people come into the congregations (called “savage wolves” in Acts 20:29) who would want to draw people away our freedom in Christ.
By contrast, we have very large numbers of congregations, where the leaders teach their favorite part of the Law (note that I did not mention tithing!), or about all restrictions about what good Christians should or shouldn’t do. Often, they preach an even more restrictive law to their leaders.
And many of them are warning their followers against what they’re calling “false signs and wonders,” but is really just brothers & sisters getting free. 
Freedom. What a wonderful thing when we experience it. It’s jumping and dancing and celebrating; it’s shaking and falling over and being rocked by love; it’s worshipping with abandon; it’s healing the sick and casting out demons; it’s falling in love with the person of Jesus. 
This is what we were made for! This is exactly why God said, “Let us make man!”: we were made for relationship!
  
We’re warned against these things, as if they were “false signs.” Nah. It’s just freedom. And freedom is our goal.
I don’t understand why this is sticking in my spirit so strongly today. Perhaps someone needs “permission” to hunger for God (if it matters, you have permission!). Maybe you’re asking why all the “Do this, don’t do that” rules are not fitting you well. This would be why: they’re not for you!
It’s easy: It is for freedom that Christ has set you free! Do not submit again to a yoke of slavery!
And maybe let me know if I was writing for you today? 
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Devotionals, Letters

The Vision of the Wooden Spoon

The vision began with a quiet stream, in a quiet, green meadow; it reminded me of Narnia for some reason: that peaceful. The stream was wider than one could jump across, and deeper than you’d want to wade across, and its flow was smooth and fairly fast. All in all, it was a very peaceful environment. The birds were singing.
Then a giant hand appeared in the sky, holding a giant wooden spoon, the kind of spoon that people use in the kitchen to mix cookie dough. The spoon dipped into the stream and stirred.
For a while, nothing much happened, except the stream became more turbulent from the spoon’s motion. After a minute or two, the stream darkened, and soon I could see things in the muddy stream: old tires, boots, cans, bottles, sticks and stones, jars, bags of rubbish. The hand with the spoon withdrew into the heavens.
I was kind of appalled. This had been a peaceful stream, in a beautiful meadow, and now it was full of trash and garbage and muck and mess. Well, actually, the peaceful stream had always had the trash and muck and garbage and muck and mess, but it had been lying hidden in the mud on the bottom of the stream. Now the stuff was out in the open.
The vision continued, and the stream kept flowing, and then I saw it: the garbage was flowing downstream with the flow of stream. Some of what had been stirred up came to the top of the stream, and was carried far downstream, out of the picture. Other things, heavier things, were carried a little ways downstream but they settled back to the bottom of the stream. Soon the stream was clear and peaceful again, but I knew that old tires, discarded shoes, bottles and cans were still there, lying on the bottom of the stream.
The hand with the spoon appeared again, and stirred the water again, and again the stream darkened with mud, again tires, discarded shoes, bottles, cans, and other detritus were stirred up, and again they floated various distances downstream.
The cycle was repeated several times, until eventually, the stirring from the almighty spoon did not bring up muck and garbage.
The stream returned to peace, but it flowed smoother, faster, than it had before, and I realized that it flowed cleaner than it had before. The garbage on the stream bed had settled under so much mud that the stream flowed smoothly over it, but still the garbage had polluted the stream.
Now the stream was actually clean.
I believe that this is what Father is doing in some of our lives. He’s stirring things up in our lives, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s easy to be appalled or offended at what he’s doing, because he’s good at what he does. Things are being stirred up, memories, habits, relationships that have been in our lives are being stirred up from the dark depths of our lives, and brought into the light.
And the reality is that much of what he’s stirring up is garbage: shame, embarrassment, memories of foolishness, of sin, histories of unwise choices, character weaknesses. It’s easy to resent these coming to the surface after how many years of being hidden in history.
But he’s bringing them up in order to wash them away, in order to remedy the issues. Trust him. Have hope, rest in the confident assurance that he does know what he’s doing, and that he’s working for good in you, for the purity that we really have wanted. He’s answering our prayers.
We can trust the spoon. More specifically, we can trust the hand wielding the spoon.

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