Thursday

Some Experiences with Judgment in the Courts of Heaven

Some years ago, Jesus took me to a new place that I hadn’t expected: it was a tall, oak, judge’s bench. He took me around the back of the bench, and up the stairs behind it. But rather than sit down himself, he sat me in the great chair behind the bench, and when I sat, I was wearing black robes and I had a wooden gavel in my right hand.

I’ve learned to trust him in that place, and so I didn’t resist him, though my sitting in that chair was more of a novelty that first time than it was about actually judging anything. Since then, I’ve begun to learn some things about judgment, how important it is, how powerful it is, and especially how very good it is.

I was charged with judging my brothers and sisters, but judging from Heaven’s perspective, from the perspective of a King who’s madly in love with them, who’s unreasonably proud of them, who’s amazed and overjoyed with their every step of faith. So the judgments that I’ve been invited to pronounce are about God’s favor on his children; I’ve been charged with finding them guilty of pleasing their Father, and sentencing them to be loved and adored for all their natural lives, and beyond! It’s better work than I first feared it would be; I’ve actually come to love that bench.

But some of the judicial work has been darker than that. Once, I was praying intensely for a dear sister against whom hell was having a measure of success. Jesus brought me around to the stairs and up to the bench. I could see more clearly from up there, and with his help, I saw the cloud of filthy spirits that were harassing my sister. “Judge them,” he said, and I understood.

I began to recognize their crimes, and as I identified them – the spirits and their crimes – I spoke its name. As I did, it was as if the gavel moved on its own, gently tapping, “Guilty!” to each charge. With each tap, a demon was bound and hauled of. Soon, I got into it, reaching into the Spirit for the discernment of each spirit and shouting its name, its crime: the gavel banged and the demon was bound. This, too, was judgment I could get excited about.

I needed to be careful, in my exuberance, to still judge accurately, according to what was true, not merely because I felt bad for my sister’s misery: this was a matter of justice, not pity, and it was a mighty justice that was handed down that day, and other days like it. I’ve developed the opinion that this judge’s bench is an excellent place for intercession.

There was one day, though, that I still shake my head about. It happened some years back, and I’m only now understanding what may have actually gone on.

God the Father somberly walked up to me, and he was looking really quite serious: he was cloaked in a rich black judge’s robe, and his eyes were as intense and alive with fire as I’ve ever seen them. With his eyes fixed on mine, he slowly opened his robe. I was surprised to see a red plaid shirt underneath, but before I had opportunity to react in surprise, he pulled a shotgun from the depths of his open robe, and handed it to me. Startled, I took it from him and glanced at it. Yep, that’s a shotgun, all right.

I looked up again, and now the robe was gone, and with it, the stern look from Father’s face. Instead, he sported a red hunter’s cap and a huge grin, and he held up a shotgun of his own. Movement caught my eye, and I saw Jesus, similarly attired with plaid shirt, red hat, grin and shotgun. Father asked, “You ready, Son?” but before I could answer, the air above our heads was suddenly filled with demons, their leathery wings flapping frantically as they zigged and zagged about the room.

Father laughed mightily, hoisted his shotgun and fired; a demon exploded into a black cloud. Jesus cheered and blasted another one. Soon all three of us were shouting and hollering and laughing uproariously. And blasting demons to tiny black dust. Shotgun blasts were interspersed with shouts of encouragement, great fits of laughter and the soft splatter of the demons shards. They had met their maker, and it had not gone well for them. He is a very good shot, actually.

I had enjoyed this experience so much that I hadn’t stopped to ask what it meant until recently; the answer wasn’t particularly surprising; something about “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” But the experience was, frankly, a great deal of fun. “Spiritual warfare” and “fun”: two concepts I never expected to put together.

That hunting party only happened the one time. I think it was more about teaching me a lesson than a regular part of our business in that place. He’s a good teacher, by the way: I’ve never forgotten that experience, though I’ve been slower to learn its lesson.

Why Does God Speak Cryptically

Anyone who has learned to hear Father’s voice has asked the question: Why does he sometimes speak in strange pictures and obscure messages? Why not just speak clearly?

One of the main reasons (in my observation at least) that Father speaks obscurely is because his goals are different from mine. If he spoke clearly, we’d grab that information and presumably do something with it. But neither the information nor the doing is his primary goal.

Father’s primary goal is relationship. And toward that goal, he speaks to us. Most of what he says to us is about us, or is our personal (and probably private) prayer assignment. Most of the tiny remainder of what he says to us is for our metron, our close circle of relationships: church congregation, home group, family, etc. Very little is to be shared, and so he speaks obscurely, in order that we won’t share private conversation too quickly.

And it is an error, in my opinion, to assume that God is speaking literally. He has been pretty clear about that (see 1Corinthians 13:12, Numbers 12:6-8). And so he speaks obscurely is because he’s more interested in you than he is in the information.

So I encourage you to go for walks with God: talk out loud. Tell him about your day, and how you feel about your day. Ask him about his day, and how he feels about his day, or about your day. Talk about your favorite music, your favorite flowers, and why they’re your favorites. Ask about his.

Avoid talking about prophetic stuff for a long while, either the process of prophesying, or the “prophetic words” he or others have spoken to you. This is about relationship, not the business of prophesying.

This is a favorite topic of mine: intimacy with Father on His terms. Anyway, lest I get overly long-winded, I leave you with these two thoughts. They both apply to the subject at hand, though the application is not overly obvious.  


One more detail: it’s pretty clear that the times, they are a-changing. It’s my opinion that this kind of intimacy with Father will be more important, rather than less important, as the world gets more tumultuous and our lives get busier. 

Preparing for an Uncertain Future.

I’ve been asked recently, “How should we prepare for the upcoming hard times in our nation?” The topic comes up a fair bit in one form or another.

I started to reply to the individual who asked this one, but there are several folks with questions on this topic. Here’s what I observe on the topic:

§         No single prophet will have all the insight on this (or any other) topic. Father promises to reveal his secrets to “the prophets” not “to each prophet.” I won’t have anything close to a complete picture. Having said that,

§         It’s not the prophet’s job [ever] to replace your hearing from God yourself. Take what you hear from the prophets to God to get your instructions for your own situation.
 
§         I believe that fear is the primary danger ahead of us: the enemy is making a pretty strong focus on this sin, trying to drive God’s. If believers resist that temptation, we’ll be positioned to get the rest of it right. (This means, of course, filtering what we listen to, and HOW we listen to it.)

§         It’s my opinion that the disaster prognostications flooding the media are fear-based, and are in error, if only because they’re based on fear.

§         While God is calling some of his children into the prepping community, “prepping” is not the answer. Luke 12:20-21 applies to those who, because of fear, store up all they’ll need to survive Armageddon: I don’t believe that’s actually possible; if we knew all that we needed to store up, that violates the First Commandment, and God has promised to not permit that. (Note: the “first commandment” is more of a threat than a commandment: “You will not be able to have any other gods before me: you set ‘em up & I’ll knock ‘em down!” [http://bit.ly/1nn65Rm])

§         I personally believe that the epic disasters of Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation are clearly behind us, not in front of us (that is perhaps another conversation, and others believe differently). Nevertheless,

§         That does NOT mean I see blue skies and butterflies. Someone really smart said, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” I suspect that’s related to the fact that we are engaged in the greatest war this universe has ever known. It’s NOT “good vs evil.” It’s about the Kingdom of Heaven vs the lesser kingdoms (of which there are many: “good vs evil” is one; fear is another, and self-sufficiency is a third).

§         It is my opinion that the most critical things we can do are in John 2:5 (“Whatever He [Jesus] says to you, do it.”) and Hebrews 12:1&2 (“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”) Key: fix our eyes on Jesus. Having said that,

§         This does not mean “Don’t prepare.” It means look at what Jesus is doing and do what he says. He has had me make SOME preparations (we have gotten out of debt, and we grow some of our own food on our city lot, etc).

§         I’m reminded of stories like Matthew 17:24-27 (and we could choose many others!): It appears that Jesus is invested in provisioning us. Which leads to,

§         I believe we’re coming into a season where we rely on the supernatural for our daily lives. We need to (and are, in fact, beginning to) get used to miracles, so that we can multiply food or raise the dead comfortably and consistently.

§         Whatever troubles that come are an opportunity for the Kingdom of God, not obstacles. Even if there is real persecution against believers, upheaval of any sort open people’s hearts and minds to the King of the Kingdom. If we respond in fear we’ll miss the opportunity (see Romans 8:15).

§         Other people may be called to different responses. I am clearly called to a non-political response, but Father has specifically spoken to me about others whom He may be calling to be involved with politics, or even with forceful resistance to evil. Their calling is not my calling, but I need to not hinder them.

§         The story remains unchanging: God’s goal for us is still intimate relationship, his instruction is still to extend the kingdom, by means of the Great Commission.



So what do you hear God saying to YOU about this season ahead of us? 

An Upgrade by way of a Dream


I had a dream. The next morning I told it to a friend, and as I told it, I realized that God was speaking to me.

In the dream, I had visited with my family, at my parents’ home. At the end of that visit, someone
across the way started shooting at us from the undergrowth. Because of the danger, everyone else left, and as he drove off, my dad told me that he had a weapon I could use. It was in the hall closet.

I ran to the closet, and searched under the bed linens. I remember checking the shelf from left to right; I found a tiny handgun, a pea-shooter, really. It didn't even look like a gun; it looked like a tiny tambourine. It was obviously not going to be accurate at any distance beyond a yard or so, and wouldn’t pack much punch. It was a weapon, but not as powerful a weapon as I needed.


After a great deal of hard work and persistence, which were not part of the dream, I overcame the enemy.

Later, as the family was driving back up the driveway, I realized I stopped looking before exploring the whole closet. I dug into the linen closet again. On the same shelf, a bit farther to the right, I found another weapon: a large, semi-automatic pistol, probably a .45 caliber. Next to it was a package of extra ammunition wrapped to protect it from age. It had been there all along for me to use.

On reviewing the dream, I believe God was telling me that He has made another weapon available to me, beyond the weapon of worship that I'd been using, a new weapon that I hadn’t yet. It was a much larger & more powerful weapon. (And indeed, that was my experience.)

I suspect there's a fair bit of this going on, God upgrading his kids' weaponry, training our hands to war.