Letters

The Exodus: a Memoir

Four months ago, we was all slaves in Egypt, building bricks for a living, seven days a week, from before dawn till after dark. Our slave lords were so very cruel that they made us kill the baby boys that were born, leaving a generation that was mostly women.

Three months ago, this shepherd guy shows up, speaking both Egyptian & Hebrew, and announcing that there was a god who cared about, and who said it’s time to leave Egypt. Seriously? Who cares for slaves, anyway?

That pissed off the slave lords of course, and they made our lives miserable for a while, but then things got kind of interesting. It was like the gods were even more pissed off at the slave lords. Nature was out of control: disaster after disaster beat on the whole slave lord nation.

Two months ago, the worst disaster: a whole lot of the slave lords’ children died in a single night. We smeared our huts with blood and had this weirdly symbolic meal, and they said that was why our kids didn’t die. Seriously? I mean, how does that work?

But the slave lords backed off, and the Egyptian shepherd guy – I guess his name is Moe –  said it was time to go, and then it got really interesting! The slave lords “loaned” us slaves their gold dishes and jewelry and stuff, and we left. There was a really big crowd of us. I never knew there were so many of us slaves there. And the sheep! That was a lot of sheep!

And we headed out of town, with Moe up there at the front like he was Charlton Heston or something, with his big brother walking next to him. We had some carts, but mostly, we was carrying our stuff, dragging our stuff behind.

There was this dust storm that always seemed to be at the front of the parade, but even freakier, every night, there was a firestorm boiling up in the middle of the camp. It was really weird, but it did keep us warm, seeing how we was camping in the wild, and we didn’t even have decent tents yet.

Then one day, we went through this wet place where I thought I’d seen an ocean the day before. Sure enough, there were still fish flopping in the mud, starfish and seaweed alongside the path, but they was rushing us so much, and I was carrying two kids and a sack with all their clothes and stuff, so I didn’t get to pay much attention.

When we got past that wet place and hiked up the hill on the other side, we stopped to rest, and I heard this huge crash of waves behind us. I looked around, and by golly, there was the ocean, right where we’d just hiked through. The funny thing was that there were dead men, dead horses, and what looked like chunks of the slave lords’ chariots floating in the waves. Somebody started singing, and it turned into a regular party.

Then it got real. Now we had an ocean full of dead bodies between us and civilization, and we were stuck in the outback and it didn’t seem like anybody knew what was going on. Some days, we hiked, some days we didn’t, and I never did understand why. I was more concerned with the fact that we had no tent, no food, not even a freaking water bottle for the kids! (We got busy right away, making tents from sheepskins and camel hair any anything else we could get our hands on, and making other camp stuff.)

The kids were crying, the sheep were dragging their tongues, we were all hot and tired all day, or cold and tired all night, and it was miserable. The bugs were thick, the food was scarce, and all that walking! A few days after the ocean incident, we found an oasis with some standing water, but it was polluted. I was so thirsty, we were all so thirsty, I got on my knees to get a drink, but I couldn’t do it: it stank, and there was bugs and crap in it.

So Moe throws a stick in the water and says, “OK, it’s all good. You can drink it now.” It was still kinda funky, but it wasn’t so bad as before, and the sheep really liked it. They just waded in and drank and drank. We got our water out of the other end of the pond.

And still we hiked. Oh,  how we hiked! And there was always that cloud bank during the daytime, and the fire storm at night. Pretty soon, folks was real eager to claim there spot in the middle of the camp where it was warmest at night, but it wasn’t so bad even at the edge of that huge campground where me and the boys camped and talked every night.

And it was in the desert, so food and water was always an issue. I don’t know which was weirder: the couple of times Moe got mad and whacked one of the rock outcroppings, and out pops a waterfall, or the fact that every morning, me and the boy’s would go out of the camp into the bush, and gather up rice or quinoa or something off the twigs and bushes and have that for breakfast. It was pretty good, kind of spicy sweet. We’d go gather it up every morning, and save some for lunch and dinner. Except Saturdays. It was never there on Saturdays, which was even weirder.

But the jostling for the best camp spaces got weird. Some folks wanted to be by the firestorm where it was warm, and others wanted to be at the edges, so they didn’t have to walk so far for breakfast. It seems that weird stuff was all we ever ate any more, and who can blame ‘em: slaves don’t know how to hunt, and we didn’t want to eat the sheep. They were pretty scrawny and disgusting sheep nowadays anyway, but we drank the milk, or mostly the little ones did.

And then we arrived here, camped around an active volcano. It’s been weird here. First, Moe’s family showed up from wherever it was they had been, then Moe formed some sort of committee of leaders while there. It looked like we were going to be nomads for a while. Better make more tents.


This is a scary god on a scary mountain.
But then Moe decided he needed to go climb that volcano, just as a storm was settling in over the mountain. We heard the thunder, but after a while, it sounded more like a thundering voice, and the voice was talking to Moe, and the voice was telling Moe what to say to the crowd, to us.

‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’

We all heard the voice, and then Moe came and said the same thing to us, and we was all real excited! Us being a special treasure to a God who beats down slave lords, feeds us in the wilderness and makes a bonfire for us every night and breakfast for us every morning? What’s not to like about that, and me and the boys, and I guess just about everybody, told Moe, “Yeah, we’re all in on this!”

But we got thinking about it over night. This is also a God that killed the slave lords’ animals and crops and eventually some of their kids. This is a God that chases his “special treasure” into the desert and then leaves us there to starve, to die of thirst. This is the God that I guess lives in an active volcano, and damn, he’s scary. You know, the more me and the boys talked about it, the less excited we are about hearing this God talk to us, hold us accountable to some “covenant.” And stuff like us all being “priests,” or being “holy,” now that’s not for us.

Then we had this great idea: Maybe we can get the best of both worlds going on here? We’ll do the covenant thing, but we’ll make Moe go talk to the scary God in the volcano. He can be the priest, and he can tell us what the God wants us to do, and we’ll do what he says. More or less.

We can have a go-between! He’ll give us some token list of rules. Keep the rules, when it works out, and we’re on easy street. The God thrashes on any slave lords, and he keeps feeding us, and we don’t have to deal with the scary stuff!

What could go wrong with that? Right?


Standard
Letters

The Exodus: a Memoir

Four months ago, we was all slaves in Egypt, building bricks for a living, seven days a week, from before dawn till after dark. Our slave lords were so very cruel that they made us kill the baby boys that were born, leaving a generation that was mostly women.

Three months ago, this shepherd guy shows up, speaking both Egyptian & Hebrew, and announcing that there was a god who cared about, and who said it’s time to leave Egypt. Seriously? Who cares for slaves, anyway?

That pissed off the slave lords of course, and they made our lives miserable for a while, but then things got kind of interesting. It was like the gods were even more pissed off at the slave lords. Nature was out of control: disaster after disaster beat on the whole slave lord nation.

Two months ago, the worst disaster: a whole lot of the slave lords’ children died in a single night. We smeared our huts with blood and had this weirdly symbolic meal, and they said that was why our kids didn’t die. Seriously? I mean, how does that work?

But the slave lords backed off, and the Egyptian shepherd guy – I guess his name is Moe –  said it was time to go, and then it got really interesting! The slave lords “loaned” us slaves their gold dishes and jewelry and stuff, and we left. There was a really big crowd of us. I never knew there were so many of us slaves there. And the sheep! That was a lot of sheep!

And we headed out of town, with Moe up there at the front like he was Charlton Heston or something, with his big brother walking next to him. We had some carts, but mostly, we was carrying our stuff, dragging our stuff behind.

There was this dust storm that always seemed to be at the front of the parade, but even freakier, every night, there was a firestorm boiling up in the middle of the camp. It was really weird, but it did keep us warm, seeing how we was camping in the wild, and we didn’t even have decent tents yet.

Then one day, we went through this wet place where I thought I’d seen an ocean the day before. Sure enough, there were still fish flopping in the mud, starfish and seaweed alongside the path, but they was rushing us so much, and I was carrying two kids and a sack with all their clothes and stuff, so I didn’t get to pay much attention.

When we got past that wet place and hiked up the hill on the other side, we stopped to rest, and I heard this huge crash of waves behind us. I looked around, and by golly, there was the ocean, right where we’d just hiked through. The funny thing was that there were dead men, dead horses, and what looked like chunks of the slave lords’ chariots floating in the waves. Somebody started singing, and it turned into a regular party.

Then it got real. Now we had an ocean full of dead bodies between us and civilization, and we were stuck in the outback and it didn’t seem like anybody knew what was going on. Some days, we hiked, some days we didn’t, and I never did understand why. I was more concerned with the fact that we had no tent, no food, not even a freaking water bottle for the kids! (We got busy right away, making tents from sheepskins and camel hair any anything else we could get our hands on, and making other camp stuff.)

The kids were crying, the sheep were dragging their tongues, we were all hot and tired all day, or cold and tired all night, and it was miserable. The bugs were thick, the food was scarce, and all that walking! A few days after the ocean incident, we found an oasis with some standing water, but it was polluted. I was so thirsty, we were all so thirsty, I got on my knees to get a drink, but I couldn’t do it: it stank, and there was bugs and crap in it.

So Moe throws a stick in the water and says, “OK, it’s all good. You can drink it now.” It was still kinda funky, but it wasn’t so bad as before, and the sheep really liked it. They just waded in and drank and drank. We got our water out of the other end of the pond.

And still we hiked. Oh,  how we hiked! And there was always that cloud bank during the daytime, and the fire storm at night. Pretty soon, folks was real eager to claim there spot in the middle of the camp where it was warmest at night, but it wasn’t so bad even at the edge of that huge campground where me and the boys camped and talked every night.

And it was in the desert, so food and water was always an issue. I don’t know which was weirder: the couple of times Moe got mad and whacked one of the rock outcroppings, and out pops a waterfall, or the fact that every morning, me and the boy’s would go out of the camp into the bush, and gather up rice or quinoa or something off the twigs and bushes and have that for breakfast. It was pretty good, kind of spicy sweet. We’d go gather it up every morning, and save some for lunch and dinner. Except Saturdays. It was never there on Saturdays, which was even weirder.

But the jostling for the best camp spaces got weird. Some folks wanted to be by the firestorm where it was warm, and others wanted to be at the edges, so they didn’t have to walk so far for breakfast. It seems that weird stuff was all we ever ate any more, and who can blame ‘em: slaves don’t know how to hunt, and we didn’t want to eat the sheep. They were pretty scrawny and disgusting sheep nowadays anyway, but we drank the milk, or mostly the little ones did.

And then we arrived here, camped around an active volcano. It’s been weird here. First, Moe’s family showed up from wherever it was they had been, then Moe formed some sort of committee of leaders while there. It looked like we were going to be nomads for a while. Better make more tents.


This is a scary god on a scary mountain.
But then Moe decided he needed to go climb that volcano, just as a storm was settling in over the mountain. We heard the thunder, but after a while, it sounded more like a thundering voice, and the voice was talking to Moe, and the voice was telling Moe what to say to the crowd, to us.

‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’

We all heard the voice, and then Moe came and said the same thing to us, and we was all real excited! Us being a special treasure to a God who beats down slave lords, feeds us in the wilderness and makes a bonfire for us every night and breakfast for us every morning? What’s not to like about that, and me and the boys, and I guess just about everybody, told Moe, “Yeah, we’re all in on this!”

But we got thinking about it over night. This is also a God that killed the slave lords’ animals and crops and eventually some of their kids. This is a God that chases his “special treasure” into the desert and then leaves us there to starve, to die of thirst. This is the God that I guess lives in an active volcano, and damn, he’s scary. You know, the more me and the boys talked about it, the less excited we are about hearing this God talk to us, hold us accountable to some “covenant.” And stuff like us all being “priests,” or being “holy,” now that’s not for us.

Then we had this great idea: Maybe we can get the best of both worlds going on here? We’ll do the covenant thing, but we’ll make Moe go talk to the scary God in the volcano. He can be the priest, and he can tell us what the God wants us to do, and we’ll do what he says. More or less.

We can have a go-between! He’ll give us some token list of rules. Keep the rules, when it works out, and we’re on easy street. The God thrashes on any slave lords, and he keeps feeding us, and we don’t have to deal with the scary stuff!

What could go wrong with that? Right?


Standard
Devotionals, Letters

Accusations Against God.

I was thinking about God’s provision. Provision is something that God is really quite good at.

If I ask my Father for something to eat, and then I complain about what he brings me, my complaint is not merely against the food. My complaint is also against my Father who brought me the meal.

My words address the food: “This is yucky! I don’t like this.”

But the accusation continues further: “Your provision for me is yucky! I don’t like how you provide for me!” It’s inescapable.

The Israelites did this regularly during the Exodus. “Where’s the water? I’m thirsty!” “This water isn’t good enough; it’s bitter!” “I’m tired of manna; I want meat!”

We do this pretty often, don’t we?

We complain about God’s provision for us, because it’s not as generous or as comfortable as we want. We ask for a ministry, but it’s not as effective as we think it should be. We ask for a home, and then complain that it’s uncomfortable. We ask for a job, and then we fuss about the people we have to work with.

In all these things, we’re not just complaining about the things that God has lovingly and carefully provided for us. We’re also complaining about the God whom we accuse of such inferior provision.


The obvious solution to this problem, after we’ve repented (changed how we think about God’s care for us), is to practice giving thanks. “Thanks, God, for this adventure in the desert, away from the Egyptians. It sure is exciting to think about how you’re going to take care of us!

There’s one more place that Father’s been speaking to me about our whining:

I was visiting with a friend about how the Saints are pretty unhappy with the candidates for president in this election cycle (and I’m guilty of mocking them, too!), and Father whispered this verse to me:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1. Then he added,

“These are my provision. I’m sorry that you don’t like my provision. But you’re going to need to learn to work with them. You’re going to need to bless them, and not curse them.”

When I complain about the poor choice of presidential candidates, I’m accusing God’s fulfillment of Romans 13:1. With every complaint about Donald or Hillary, I’m accusing God of being a failure as a provider! And I haven’t even asked him about why He provided these candidates. 

(Even worse, when Paul wrote this verse, and when Peter wrote “honor the emperor,” they were referencing Caesar Nero, unquestionably one of the cruelest and most evil rulers in the history of this planet. We are without excuse.)

I’m thinking we have room to grow in how we respond to God’s provision in our government.

Let the lessons begin. Are we ready to learn? 


Standard
Devotionals, Letters

Accusations Against God.

I was thinking about God’s provision. Provision is something that God is really quite good at.

If I ask my Father for something to eat, and then I complain about what he brings me, my complaint is not merely against the food. My complaint is also against my Father who brought me the meal.

My words address the food: “This is yucky! I don’t like this.”

But the accusation continues further: “Your provision for me is yucky! I don’t like how you provide for me!” It’s inescapable.

The Israelites did this regularly during the Exodus. “Where’s the water? I’m thirsty!” “This water isn’t good enough; it’s bitter!” “I’m tired of manna; I want meat!”

We do this pretty often, don’t we?

We complain about God’s provision for us, because it’s not as generous or as comfortable as we want. We ask for a ministry, but it’s not as effective as we think it should be. We ask for a home, and then complain that it’s uncomfortable. We ask for a job, and then we fuss about the people we have to work with.

In all these things, we’re not just complaining about the things that God has lovingly and carefully provided for us. We’re also complaining about the God whom we accuse of such inferior provision.


The obvious solution to this problem, after we’ve repented (changed how we think about God’s care for us), is to practice giving thanks. “Thanks, God, for this adventure in the desert, away from the Egyptians. It sure is exciting to think about how you’re going to take care of us!

There’s one more place that Father’s been speaking to me about our whining:

I was visiting with a friend about how the Saints are pretty unhappy with the candidates for president in this election cycle (and I’m guilty of mocking them, too!), and Father whispered this verse to me:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1. Then he added,

“These are my provision. I’m sorry that you don’t like my provision. But you’re going to need to learn to work with them. You’re going to need to bless them, and not curse them.”

When I complain about the poor choice of presidential candidates, I’m accusing God’s fulfillment of Romans 13:1. With every complaint about Donald or Hillary, I’m accusing God of being a failure as a provider! And I haven’t even asked him about why He provided these candidates. 

(Even worse, when Paul wrote this verse, and when Peter wrote “honor the emperor,” they were referencing Caesar Nero, unquestionably one of the cruelest and most evil rulers in the history of this planet. We are without excuse.)

I’m thinking we have room to grow in how we respond to God’s provision in our government.

Let the lessons begin. Are we ready to learn? 


Standard
Devotionals, Letters

The Missing Diamond Rings

Some time ago, Jane & her husband John had difficulty connecting heart-to-heart with the people of their little country church. So they decided to invite folks to their home. That went so well that they made a habit of it, inviting folks from the church, and from the neighborhood to their small home for a meal and to talk about life, and how God relates with them.

One week, Jane was cleaning her home for the guests expected later that afternoon, and she took her diamond wedding rings off and put them onto her ring holder on her dresser. They were pretty large diamonds; they’d belonged to her husband’s grandmother, and they were every bit as special as they were valuable. One thing led to another, and she forgot them there when guests started arriving.

There were several new people, lots of good food, and excellent conversation. Throughout the night, individuals would excuse themselves to use their bathroom, which was accessed through the master bedroom, right past the dresser.

Jane didn’t remember her rings until they’d farewelled their last guest, and sat down to unwind. As soon as she remembered, she jumped up to check her rings, while John did the dishes and put chairs away.

As she rushed to her bedroom, she instantly saw that her ring holder was empty: her rings were gone! She burst into tears, remembering the many people, many of whom she didn’t know, marching past her precious rings, all alone in the bedroom, where anyone could slip a ring in a pocket. She searched the dresser, the floor, the bathroom, in case they’d fallen somewhere, but found nothing. One of her guests must have taken them. Now they were gone forever. 

She fell on her bed, weeping. John heard the tears, and took extra time with the dishes, so Jane had time to share her broken heart with the Lord, and that unleashed a fresh wave of tears. She was creating quite a wet spot on her bed quilt, and still she poured her heart out.

As her tears faded away, a black cloud of discouragement started to take its place in her heart. Those rings were family heirlooms, and she’d failed in her care of them. Now she’d never be able to pass them on to her daughters and granddaughters. The black cloud began to settle over her heart.

But before the cloud had completely settled in, a small voice whispered, “Check the quilt.”

Hunh?

“Check the quilt.” Then no more came.

She sat up and looked around. This quilt had also been in her family for generations. It had been hand-sewn by one of her great grandcestors as her wagon train made its way to the Northwest.

Check the quilt? What could he mean by that? She looked more closely at the quilt, noting the even stitching, not noticing the great wet spot from her tears. Eventually, she worked her way to the corners: her grandcestor had sewn a few coins into each corner so that the quilt would lay flat. It felt like four quarters in each corner.

“You’re getting warmer.” More of a thought than words. She examined the four corners, wondering what she should do next. Eventually, with a mental shrug, she got her seam ripper from her sewing kit, and, gritting her teeth, she opened the stitching holding the quarters in place.

Working carefully, to do as little damage to this family heirloom, she opened the seam, and four quarters fell into her hand. Her eye caught the nineteenth century date on the top quarter, and thought about her ancestor’s sacrifice to make the quilt. She picked up the top quarter with her other hand; the one beneath it was even older.

Now interested in the dates, she picked up the next quarter, and there, in her hand, between the coins from a century earlier, were her diamond rings that had just gone missing this afternoon.

She wept some more, but these were tears of joy.





Standard
Devotionals, Letters

The Missing Diamond Rings

Some time ago, Jane & her husband John had difficulty connecting heart-to-heart with the people of their little country church. So they decided to invite folks to their home. That went so well that they made a habit of it, inviting folks from the church, and from the neighborhood to their small home for a meal and to talk about life, and how God relates with them.

One week, Jane was cleaning her home for the guests expected later that afternoon, and she took her diamond wedding rings off and put them onto her ring holder on her dresser. They were pretty large diamonds; they’d belonged to her husband’s grandmother, and they were every bit as special as they were valuable. One thing led to another, and she forgot them there when guests started arriving.

There were several new people, lots of good food, and excellent conversation. Throughout the night, individuals would excuse themselves to use their bathroom, which was accessed through the master bedroom, right past the dresser.

Jane didn’t remember her rings until they’d farewelled their last guest, and sat down to unwind. As soon as she remembered, she jumped up to check her rings, while John did the dishes and put chairs away.

As she rushed to her bedroom, she instantly saw that her ring holder was empty: her rings were gone! She burst into tears, remembering the many people, many of whom she didn’t know, marching past her precious rings, all alone in the bedroom, where anyone could slip a ring in a pocket. She searched the dresser, the floor, the bathroom, in case they’d fallen somewhere, but found nothing. One of her guests must have taken them. Now they were gone forever. 

She fell on her bed, weeping. John heard the tears, and took extra time with the dishes, so Jane had time to share her broken heart with the Lord, and that unleashed a fresh wave of tears. She was creating quite a wet spot on her bed quilt, and still she poured her heart out.

As her tears faded away, a black cloud of discouragement started to take its place in her heart. Those rings were family heirlooms, and she’d failed in her care of them. Now she’d never be able to pass them on to her daughters and granddaughters. The black cloud began to settle over her heart.

But before the cloud had completely settled in, a small voice whispered, “Check the quilt.”

Hunh?

“Check the quilt.” Then no more came.

She sat up and looked around. This quilt had also been in her family for generations. It had been hand-sewn by one of her great grandcestors as her wagon train made its way to the Northwest.

Check the quilt? What could he mean by that? She looked more closely at the quilt, noting the even stitching, not noticing the great wet spot from her tears. Eventually, she worked her way to the corners: her grandcestor had sewn a few coins into each corner so that the quilt would lay flat. It felt like four quarters in each corner.

“You’re getting warmer.” More of a thought than words. She examined the four corners, wondering what she should do next. Eventually, with a mental shrug, she got her seam ripper from her sewing kit, and, gritting her teeth, she opened the stitching holding the quarters in place.

Working carefully, to do as little damage to this family heirloom, she opened the seam, and four quarters fell into her hand. Her eye caught the nineteenth century date on the top quarter, and thought about her ancestor’s sacrifice to make the quilt. She picked up the top quarter with her other hand; the one beneath it was even older.

Now interested in the dates, she picked up the next quarter, and there, in her hand, between the coins from a century earlier, were her diamond rings that had just gone missing this afternoon.

She wept some more, but these were tears of joy.





Standard
Devotionals

Mindsets

The Lord first spoke the word “mindset” to me several years ago.  (I wrote this ‘note’ in 2012)
A friend had died of sickness.  We had gone to the hospital to pray for her and I had seen the light of Jesus shine on her and bring wholeness.  I had spoken the things I saw in the Spirit over her.  She felt heat. Others had come and prayed for her, spending hours worshipping in her room. She was recovering.
Then I got a call two days later that she’d gone home to be with the Lord.  I asked God, “Why?”  And He said, “mindsets.”
In the last few years, God’s been talking to me about this a lot. The free online dictionary defines a mindset as:
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit.
I googled “mindsets” and found out that there’s a book out called, “Mindset” by psychologist Carol Dweck.    · · · →
Standard
Columns, Devotionals

Mindsets

The Lord first spoke the word “mindset” to me several years ago.  (I wrote this 'note' in 2012)

A friend had died of sickness.  We had gone to the hospital to pray for her and I had seen the light of Jesus shine on her and bring wholeness.  I had spoken the things I saw in the Spirit over her.  She felt heat. Others had come and prayed for her, spending hours worshiping in her room. She was recovering.  




Then I got a call two days later that she’d gone home to be with the Lord.  I asked God, “Why?”  And He said, “mindsets.”

In the last few years, God’s been talking to me about this a lot. The free online dictionary defines a mindset as: 
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit.

I googled “mindsets” and found out that there’s a book out called, “Mindset” by psychologist Carol Dweck.  Here’s an excerpt from it. 

 “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.  It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you commit to and accomplish the things you value.  How does this happen?  How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?“

Now I don’t like psychology for a very simple reason.   It does not acknowledge that man is a spiritual being that needs salvation.  It is ‘humanism’ at its worse; man trying to fix himself without Jesus.   And once again, I’m sure this book will tell us how to fix our thinking through positive affirmations.  But this understanding of our thinking is profound.

The online dictionary also talks about “collective mindsets.”  A story is told that in 1974, psychologists were trying to reorient the American Indians to have ”correct goals” such as a house and a full bank account.  But their historical viewpoint of success was so different that it was impossible to get them to think ‘correctly.’ 

The term ‘apostle’, which we see in scripture, is a secular term that was first used in Roman/Greek culture.  The Romans were conquering vast territories and claiming them as part of the Roman Empire.  But when the conquerors  would return to these regions, they found that the culture of the original country had not changed.  The people were not becoming “Romans.”  So they left ‘apostles’ in the area to change the culture!  These people were to be an influence and infiltrate the culture with Roman/Greek thinking! http://www.impactnetwork.net/pdf/apostle.pdf   They were sent out to these regions to transform the culture!

This is the reference point that Paul would have been using when writing.  He was charging us to be apostles to this world.  We have been ‘sent out’ by Christ to affect our culture, to change men’s  thinking, to tell the world that there is access to God through Jesus Christ.  But instead, many of us have been indoctrinated into the world’s thinking.  We are salt that has lost its ‘saltiness.’   Salt is a natural preservative that people used to keep their meat from spoiling.  Jesus wants us to be salt and light to this world.

We say more with our actions than we say with our words.  Especially when we are parents, we have a huge influence on the mindsets of our children.  If we eat dinner together every night and then spend time as a family in God’s Word and in prayer, we are establishing a truth in our children; that we cannot go a day without the Word of God; that we value the principles of God’s Word; that God is our first priority.

If our children see us up every morning before they are, praying and seeking God, it sends a message.  If our Bible is always open and we know what it says, and we quote it, it sends a message.   If the first thing we do when our children are sick is to lay hands on them and pray, we establish that we believe God’s Word regarding healing.  It becomes established in them that God heals.  They begin to experience healing through faith and when they are sick again, they do what works; pray, repent of sin and receive healing.

Our culture and society has an understood "truth."  When you are sick, you go to a doctor.  Medicine heals you.  Some things cannot be healed; they are chronic or worse yet, terminal.  Some pharmaceuticals will help the symptoms but you will always be sick.  When medication causes negative side effects, you can take another medication to get rid of that side effect.  Everyone needs health insurance.  Getting sick without health insurance might mean that you could be refused medical care.  If you are given medical care without insurance, your bills could destroy your finances.  Doctors have the final authority on your health.

This becomes a deep routed fear in people.  It becomes a mindset. 

Many times believers in Christ believe that they have right thinking based on truth because they believe Jesus is the Son of God Who died for their sins never realizing that they are still believing lies from the enemy in every area of their lives.  They have deep routed mindsets well established from their childhood.

Then consider the ‘collective mindset.’  Nothing reassures us that we are ‘right’ better than having a group that agrees with us.  We find comfort in that; that everyone thinks like we do.  We pass this thinking down from generation to generation; from church to church.

Jesus talks about mankind as ‘sheep that need a shepherd.’  Without a shepherd, sheep don’t know where to go or what to think.  They are known for flocking together and not separating from their flock.  It is very hard for us to think independently and risk the rejection of others.  We are much more comfortable getting into the center of a group of like believers and hiding there;  approved of and accepted.

When Jesus was on the earth, He spoke the most harshly to the religious of that day: the Pharisees.  The Pharisees religiously observed the Sabbath, they tithed and fasted and prayed.   But Jesus condemned them saying that unless we become more righteous than they, we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven.  He called them hypocrites and told them that they invalidated the Word of God by their traditions; teaching their own traditions as the doctrines of God. (Matthew 15)

A few years ago, I heard about Heidi and Rolland Baker’s ministry in Mozambique, Africa. www.irisministries.com   At that time, it was reported that they had raised over 70 people from the dead.  Heidi was going into the villages there and calling the people to come and hear about Jesus.  She was especially having success in the deaf receiving  hearing  and I always think it’s so wonderful that the first thing these people heard was the Name of Jesus!

When I first heard about this, my mind sort of did a little overload –“ What?!  Over 70 people raised from the dead?!”  I could not comprehend this!  As the years have progressed, I’ve listened to her on line.  In one session, she was speaking to a large group of pastors in Africa.  She asked them how many of them had raised people from the dead and every single one of them raised their hand!

One pastor told the story of a woman who was the people’s leader in witchcraft.  She died and the Lord told him to go raise her from the dead.  He didn’t want to -LOL.  When he obeyed, the woman came to life praising Jesus and now serves Him with all her heart.  Many of the villagers have committed their lives to Christ because of her testimony and the transformation God has done in her life!

Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and the author of, “When Heaven Invades Earth” says that when we share testimonies of the wonderful things that God has done, it creates an atmosphere for miracles.  People need to hear the wonderful things that God is doing.  It expands their thinking and they begin to think outside their mindsets.

Pastor Johnson’s  church has been experiencing miracles for years.  They are pressing into God that their territory, Redding, California, be a cancer-free zone.  They are seeing tumors fall off, deformities from birth corrected, cancer healed and many other healings and miracles.  They are breaking the mindset that God does not operate today the way He operated in the New Testament.

God’s mercies are new every day.  He will help us today.  But, He tells ‘US’ to renew our minds in His Truth.  He tells us not to be conformed to this world in our thinking.  He’s not going to do it for us.  He has given us His Word and His Spirit and it is our choice to renew our mind and seek Him or to continue to believe things contrary to His Word, just because we’ve found a group that will agree with us. 

We like to tell ourselves that if Jesus had come to the earth today, we would have recognized Him.  We would have followed Him and honored Him.  But He’s on this earth today.  He’s omnipresent in the form of the Holy Spirit and many ‘believers’ have not recognized Him. 

God gave us free will.  We can choose.  We can decide to follow God with our whole hearts or we can stay where we are.  There is always more.  He is infinite love; infinite mercy; infinite truth.

Jesus’ last commission to us was this: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel (The Good News!) to all creation.  He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.  THESE SIGNS WILL ACCOMPANY THOSE WHO BELIEVE: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them;  THEY WILL LAY HANDS ON THE SICK AND THEY WILL RECOVER.”

We have to start with a new mindset.  We have to start by believing.

Mindset –  A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations. 2. An inclination or a habit.

blessings and love~

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

Standard
Prophecy

When Darkness Comes Into the Light

For a long time, I’ve been praying that the things that have been hidden in darkness would be revealed in the light. Many of you have been praying similar things.
I’m not stopping those prayers (please, don’t you stop either). But I’m adding to it: I’m praying that those that see the things drawn out into the light would recognize them, would understand them, and would take wise action based on what they recognize and understand.
There’s a lot of dark stuff going on in hidden places in our world. It has to: there’s so very much light increasing all around, that the darkness is not just where dark things are most comfortable, but now, that’s the only place where the dark things can survive.
As I pray these prayers, I expect hidden things in governments to be brought into the light and recognized. I expect people to recognize and condemn atrocities in the Middle East and in Asia. I expect that dark things in the medical community and the business world will be revealed, perhaps most especially where those two worlds overlap. As I pray, I expect that hidden things in the education systems will come to light and surprise many.
Demonic strongholds will be uncovered, and – if we’re attentive – torn down. Demonic plans will evaporate to dust. Sins and influences that have been hidden in darkness will be uncovered; some will scurry away to find more darkness, and others, unable to hide, will find their end when a Saint notices them and wields their sword of the Spirit on them.
But it won’t only happen “over there.” This trend toward disclosure will also happen “over here.” And it’s probably good that it does. There’s darkness in the Christian religious system as well, and if we’re violently honest, there’s probably a measure of darkness in most of our lives that we’ve completely lost track of.
I suppose these will come into the light as well.
But I also expect that we’ll see our hopes and desires come to light, and surprise many, even surprising ourselves. And it won’t just be us, it will be many people, shaking their heads, as if awakening from a dream, and marveling at the dreams and visions that are in their own hearts.
I expect that as we pray, we’ll see the “sons of God” emerge from their hidden place, and take their places in the Kingdom of God, and no, I don’t really know what that will look like.
And best of all, our Magnificent Bridegroom, who has been hidden by the weeds and distractions of the world will no longer be hidden. He will be seen as he really is, and as we see him, we’ll be transformed.
I look forward to walking in the fulfillment of these prayers. Would you care to join me? 
Standard
Devotionals, Letters

When Darkness Comes Into the Light

For a long time, I’ve been praying that the things that have been hidden in darkness would be revealed in the light. Many of you have been praying similar things.

I’m not stopping those prayers (please, don’t you stop either). But I’m adding to it: I’m praying that those that see the things drawn out into the light would recognize them, would understand them, and would take wise action based on what they recognize and understand.

There’s a lot of dark stuff going on in hidden places in our world. It has to: there’s so very much light increasing all around, that the darkness is not just where dark things are most comfortable, but now, that’s the only place where the dark things can survive.

As I pray these prayers, I expect hidden things in governments to be brought into the light and recognized. I expect people to recognize and condemn atrocities in the Middle East and in Asia. I expect that dark things in the medical community and the business world will be revealed, perhaps most especially where those two worlds overlap. As I pray, I expect that hidden things in the education systems will come to light and surprise many.

Demonic strongholds will be uncovered, and – if we’re attentive – torn down. Demonic plans will evaporate to dust. Sins and influences that have been hidden in darkness will be uncovered; some will scurry away to find more darkness, and others, unable to hide, will find their end when a Saint notices them and wields their sword of the Spirit on them.

But it won’t only happen “over there.” This trend toward disclosure will also happen “over here.” And it’s probably good that it does. There’s darkness in the Christian religious system as well, and if we’re violently honest, there’s probably a measure of darkness in most of our lives that we’ve completely lost track of.

I suppose these will come into the light as well.

But I also expect that we’ll see our hopes and desires come to light, and surprise many, even surprising ourselves. And it won’t just be us, it will be many people, shaking their heads, as if awakening from a dream, and marveling at the dreams and visions that are in their own hearts.

I expect that as we pray, we’ll see the “sons of God” emerge from their hidden place, and take their places in the Kingdom of God, and no, I don’t really know what that will look like.

And best of all, our Magnificent Bridegroom, who has been hidden by the weeds and distractions of the world will no longer be hidden. He will be seen as he really is, and as we see him, we’ll be transformed.

I look forward to walking in the fulfillment of these prayers. Would you care to join me? 
Standard
Prophecy

A Summary of Prophetic Revelation about the Wave of God

Prophets have been seeing this image of a wave coming from God for decades. Here are some things the prophets are discerning about the wave. This is not an exhaustive list.
§         The wave is a metaphor for a move of God, a revival, a renewal, an outpouring.
§         This is an answer to our prayers. This is what we’ve asked for. This tidal wave is God’s answer to our desperate prayers.
§         We’ve experienced waves in the past. They were small ones, preparations, so that we had the opportunity to not be overwhelmed by the one coming, so we would not respond in fear.
§         The wave (outpouring) that is coming to us will notbe in terms or means that are familiar to us. It will be different than what we’ve experienced before in both kind and degree: it will be a different kind of move of God, and it will be more powerful than what we’ve read about in history or experienced in previous decades.
§         The key to being part of this wave (as opposed to being damaged by it) is Matthew 5:3 (“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”). Unless we are poor in spirit, the Kingdom of Heavenis not ours.
§         The tools that we’ve developed in previous years, whether we’re describing networks or organizations, understandings, giftings, anointings, study tools, even much of our knowledge about God (our “theology”) will not serve us in the coming outpouring. Years of experience in God is not an advantage to being part of this wave.
§         In this wave, signs and wonders will be commonplace, and not considered remarkable. The power of God will be more present in this wave than in the training waves that have come before.
§         The enemy fears this move of God, and will do all he can to distract both saints and sinners from the work of God. There will be more “war against the saints” than there will be “false signs and wonders.”  For those paying attention, it will not be hard to discern the work of God from the work of the devil; fear is not called for. For those who are not paying attention, this discernment will not be the greatest difficulty they face.
§         This wave, this outpouring of God, will not be limited to only a few locations, or only a few meetings. This outpouring will be equally available to individuals inside the churches and individuals outside of them. It will be a mistake to say, “You must come to this meeting, you must do this or that, in order to experience the move of God.”
§         Relationships will be a key in this move of God: relationships with other believers, relationships with community, relationship with God himself. Much of the power and the favor of this outpouring will be through the vehicle of relationships. Guard your relationships.
§         This “tidal wave” outpouring has already begun. Currently, it is hard to see in the natural, like a tidal wave is hard to see in the open ocean, where it’s just a larger-than-average ripple in the surface of the deep. It’s only when it reaches the shore does it rise up and display the power in it, and it has only begun to rise up.
§         Because it is so small, because it is unfamiliar, because we think we’re ready, most people can’t recognize it yet. But our inability to recognize it does not limit the power or breadth of this tidal wave outpouring.
§         We cannot stop the wave, and we can no longer delay it. We cannot escape it. We can only ride with the wave, or we can be overwhelmed by it.
Summarized by Norwest Prophetic, with input from many others, both online and off.
Standard
Prophecy

The Marriage of the Visible and Invisible

Editor’s Note: This is not your normal “Release this prophetic word to the world” kind of post. Michael Danforth is a prophet in Yakima, WA, and this was part of his monthly newsletter for the end of 2013. Michael is a reliable Northwest prophetic voice, and the word has been judged profitable, if unfamiliar in its presentation.  

I felt compelled to write to you about a few of the outrageous transitions that are going on in the spirit and how they will impact the years to come.
I have always seen faith as point of entry. It’s the doorway into the supernatural and the unseen world of the spirit. Once we step through these spiritual doors by faith, from that moment on, we should expect to see the invisible with our own eyes. Many have asked, “What do you believe will be one of the most significant revelations in 2014?” Without hesitation, I have said, “The marriage of the visible and invisible.” In other words, what is visible will be seen in a different light and what is invisible will become just as apparent as what is already visible.”
  
Before I go on, let’s settle the issue that I am not your normal everyday prophet. To many, I come across as being a little less sociable and a bit dysfunctional. If my mother were present today, she would be the first to say, “Michael was always a bit withdrawn and had a tendency to view the world around him with extreme imagination.” Of course, none of us knew then, that even as a child, I was seeing the world from a prophetic perspective. The world I engage in has always been very different from the visible world around us. I know many of you could attest the same.
Like some of you, in my youth, my spiritual understanding and sight was not nurtured like it could have been. Therefore, it took me a while to realize that what I was seeing was not just some wild figment of my imagination, but invisible realms of God’s kingdom.
I have a confession to make. During the last number of years, I have been slow to become fully transparent about what I have believed to be the intended outcome of God’s intentions for humanity. Much of my concealment was because many already viewed me as being unreasonable and less practical when it came to spiritual things.
I sadly confess, as a result, though I have carried the appearance of being a spiritual forerunner, I found myself dialing down the extreme radical nature of the kingdom of heaven within me. Looking back, I can clearly see how I let the fear of man restrain me from exhibiting the expectations of Father on the earth.  Nonetheless, that was then and this is now. 
Let me encourage those of you who have felt somewhat restrained because of the peculiarity of the Spirit of God working in you. The box of confinement is ultimately being destroyed for the purpose of manifesting whatever revelation of heaven that has been in you since the beginning of time.
Let there be doubt, God is piloting His people completely off the known charts of spiritual flight. I believe one of the reasons this nation and other nations in the world are in the condition they are in, is because many people in the kingdom of God have allowed the fear of man to hinder the revelation of heaven in them. Again, I am an example of those who have appeared spiritually radical, but have exhibited far less than a 100-fold potential. Therefore, the power of acceleration is upon me and is readily available to anyone who has a desire to make up for some lost time.
There is one important thing to remember about forerunners, whether it relates to spiritual things or natural things. Most want to participate in the eventual fruit of their labors; however, most are unwilling to be identified with the stigma and ridicule that is often a part of their journey to get there.
For a number of years now, I have referred to a spiritual gathering of the saints that would redefine what it means to see eye to eye. Many have interpreted an “eye to eye” encounter as people on earth coming together viewing each other on the same spiritual plane. While this sounds reasonable enough, the fact is, there will always be those who will be willing to lay everything on the line for the sake of the Kingdom, while others will not. In this respect, many will continue to have difficulty seeing eye-to-eye.
Nonetheless, spiritual maturity is indeed on the rise and those who appeared to be living beneath their relational potential in the Father, are now approaching a new definition of what it means to not only have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus, but with all the saints of God.
Having an eye-to-eye encounter with the saints of God reaches far beyond any earthly meeting where everyone seems to be on the same page. Even before Christ, there has been a continual invitation to interact with the saints of God, in heaven and on earth, simultaneously.
A time is coming when the people of God on earth will no longer refer to those who have come and gone, and whose permanent dwelling is now in heaven, as being dead. Nor will they view them in the past tense. Every day, there are countless people who are exiting this earthly realm and entering into the heavenly realm, thus heaven is now their final dwelling place.  However, there are also those who are ascending and descending from earth to heaven, yet earth is still their primary dwelling place.
As I have mentioned in earlier writings, this Kingdom ascending and descending has widened the eternal gate of glory between heaven and earth. This means that the appearing of those in heaven on earth will become more frequent. It also means that those on earth will frequent heaven far more readily as well. .

The body of Christ has broken a barrier of understanding of what it means for God to be the “God of the living, not the dead.”
Mark quotes Jesus as saying,
“But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)
Jesus is making it very clear that when God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the God of…” it meant that God was still the God of those who had once lived on the earth, but are now living in heaven. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still very much alive, even more so.  Thus the words of Jesus when He said, ‘you are completely mistaken if you think I am the God of dead corpses.’
All the saints in Old and New Testament times, as well as, anyone else in God who has gone before us, are very much alive. The primary difference is that they are a living revelation that their true citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. I have long been aware that not only do angels gather with us when we come together, but even the saints of God who once walked upon the earth.
While this might sound eerie and spooky to some, for others it is a glorious expectant reality. If we are serious about hanging on to the doctrine of repentance, then we should be repenting for excluding the rest of the church, the body of Christ that is still very much alive in heaven.
For years, I have nurtured my sight, my spiritual senses, to see thousands come together and participate, in the spirit, during our public gatherings. This will soon become an eventual visible manifestation. Like Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses, Elijah and countless others, will begin to appear in plain sight. Jesus was extremely sincere when He said, “Greater things than these, you will do.”
A good friend of mine, who has entertained angels for years, told me that before he saw his first angel with his own eyes, he started acting as though they were with him all the time. He would talk to them and refer to them continually. He even went as far as making sandwiches for them during various lunch times. Sound ridiculous? Of course it does. However, on one occasion, while he was in the kitchen preparing lunch for himself and his invisible friends, he heard a giggling sound coming from the other room. When he went to investigate, he saw three angels setting in his living room. When he saw them, they looked just as shocked that he could see them as he was. I forgot to ask if he made enough sandwiches. 
For me, one of the most troublesome things about our western Christian culture is that we have a desire to go far, but not too far, certainly not far enough. This is why “forerunners” are so necessary in the kingdom of God. One of their primary purposes is to venture out into the depths of the Spirit, beyond our current state of spiritual understanding and reveal the hidden knowledge of the Spirit.
Theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something. Theology is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. Either theory or theology alone is sufficient to transform one’s mind into the mind of Christ, thus our eternal state. Like faith, they are a point of entry, one of which is designed to lead us into a genuine encounter with the Spirit of the Lord. The future will be filled with a generation that will break the barriers of theoretic and theological understanding. Their revelation will include both knowledge and experience.
Isaiah writes,
“…For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9)
Hosea writes,
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord…” (Hosea 6:3)
True knowledge includes the act of knowing, hearing and seeing. In fact, it involves all of our senses. Its intent reaches far beyond mental knowledge about someone or something. In these passages of scripture, the Hebrew meaning of “knowledge” is to know God in the sense of personal experience, not just literal understanding. It means to experience the ways of God, to know His paths and to know His heart.

In the near future, the earth will quake and the heavens will shake because of another increasing heavenly invasion. An unusual terror is about to hit the earth in ways unimaginable. Not terror in the sense of chaotic horror, but terror in the sense of the raw glory of the Lord becoming so visible that many will be terrorized by the brilliance of His appearing.
Michael Danforth 

Standard