Showing posts with label warfare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label warfare. Show all posts

Friday

Victory. Overwhelming Victory.

This has been on my mind for a while.

Where our Owners’ Manual speaks of the battle (in Ephesians 6), it’s very specific: the victor is defined as the one still standing when the dust settles.


“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore.”

So if you’re battered and bloody and discouraged and weary when the fighting stops, that’s normal. If you’re still standing, you’re the victor.

We tend to think “victory” means that we’re still humming a happy tune, the birds are still singing and our armor is still shiny.

Bah! Shiny armor means you haven’t been in a real battle yet. And the birds will sing again when it’s time. And you can always choose what kind of tune you want to hum.

Someone will bring up Romans 8: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” True that. We are more than conquerors. Isn’t that talking about the happy Hollywood ending where the hero (you) rides off into the sunset with his heart’s desire next to him?

Not so much. What it means is that you’re still standing.

How do you conquer except that you do battle? Real battle. War. Blood. Guts. Demons flapping. Curses flying. Tongues wagging. Naysayers naying. Enemies screaming.

Look at our own example of “more than a conqueror.” He wore the crown of thorns and not a scrap of cloth as he dangled bloody, groaning “It is finished.” That’s our example. That’s our Forerunner. That’s our King.

Have you fallen and you’re not getting up? That’s not winning. I don’t care who’s fault it is. Lying there, staying there, with your face in the mud and blood is not victory.

Having face-planted, and then struggled to your feet as the angels mopped up the battle, even if you need three others to help you to your feet, that’s victory. That’s more than a conqueror.

Do not let the devil tell you you’ve lost if you’re still on your feet, if you’re still fighting, if you’re weary to the bone. If you’re upright, you’re the victor.

‘Nuff said.

Wednesday

Waging War With Your Prophetic Words

It was a heartbreaking season in my life.

I’d been given some prophetic promises about an area of my life. God had declared some beautiful things: unity and power and intimacy and victory. Yeah, it was a lot of “the usual stuff,” but it came in a declaration from God. Actually, it came in two or three declarations; this wasn’t just a warm and fuzzy thought from one person.

We’ll pause here for a definition. When I talk about a “declaration from God,” that might be a prophetic word; those are the best, and I give them the most weight: when someone with a known gift of prophecy says, “This is what God says,” and the community judges it to be true (1 Corinthians 14:29), that’s the gold standard of prophetic revelation in my view.

But the idea of a declaration from God includes what I hear God whispering to me, and it includes those times that something from the pages of Scripture leap alive and demand my attention. They include when friends tell me what they hear God saying about me, and when the promises of scripture actually, contextually apply to me.

As I said, I had two or three of these, including both the prophetic words and the whisper of my Father. There was a good bit of unity among the declarations. I trusted them.

And then things began to go to hell. I wish I spoke metaphorically. Without putting too fine a point on it I’ll say that just when I expected the promises to begin to manifest, to show up, just when I expected to see things turn toward unity and power and intimacy and victory, they turned the opposite direction.

It was a heartbreaking season in my life. You see, this was an area that was really quite important to me. This was no cute little bonus.

I ran through the demonic logic tests: Can God be trusted? Is he really a good God? You know that list. They came at me hard and fast, and I threw them back in his face just as hard, declaring God’s goodness, his trustworthiness, and my confidence in Him. I went further and rebuked every demon I could think of from every aspect of this promise. I felt victorious!

I thought, There. That will do it. And the promises down-shifted for better acceleration into oblivion.

My heart was crushed, but still I held on. I began to ask better, more honest questions: Did I assume God had promised this, when in fact he had not? No, he’d been quite clear.

Were the promises for right now, or was I rushing him? That one was tougher, as he’d never actually given a date, but if this trend continued, then there was no chance of fulfilling them later.

Was I imposing my own definition of what these fulfilled promises needed to look like? Maybe the fulfillment was so different than my expectations that I didn’t recognize it. I searched my heart long and hard on this, and I examined the circumstances. No, the failure was real. This wasn’t just my misinterpreting it.

My life was pretty much over. I nearly gave up.

And then something whispered in the back of my mind. It was a quiet little whisper, easy to miss. “I want you to give thanks for my promises as if you were already walking in the fullness of their fulfillment, as if everything I said has already happened, even though you’ve seen nothing yet.”

It took rather a lot to take the voice seriously, and it took even more to do what he said. But I did.

In those days, I took my lunch hours in a remote meadow. I parked my truck, and since I pray best when I walk, I’d worn a trail into the grasses and shrubberies of the meadow.

I began to pace my trail, questioning my sanity, and mumbling thanks for these hallucinations, these promises. I recognized the failure of my prayer, so I began to pray out loud. That was better, but I could tell I wasn’t to the point of actually engaging my faith yet.

So I began to shout. It was hard, and it took me days to get there, but before long, I fairly flew into that meadow, locked up my parking brake, and before the truck had fully stopped, I was on that trail, roaring my thanks for these promises, for the glory of having been my experience, for the power that had been unleashed. I screamed my gratitude for a victory I had not yet seen, and I wept in thanksgiving for the intimacy that I still only imagined.

Over the next days and weeks, I watched several changes. The first were in my heart. Eventually, my empty declarations of faith began to actually fill with faith, and I began to understand that I was waging war with these promises (1 Timothy 1:18). Not long after, I realized that the things that I was declaring that had not yet happened, they were going to happen. I began to expect, not fearlessly, not solidly, but I began to expect to see things change.

My prayers expanded. I spent my spare time thinking of what that will look like when these promises are fulfilled, and I prayed every answer to that. By now, I was thankful that my meadow was remote, and occasionally, I checked the trees near the meadow, to make sure I hadn’t roared their bark off.

And still I prayed. I walked and prayed and shouted and demanded and wept and gave thanks like there was no tomorrow.

And then things did begin to change. It was like lighting a match to the tinder of a well-set fire: the change was so very small and fragile, and the slightest breath would extinguish it. I said nothing of this to anyone, so as to not blow out my precious flame, but I gave myself to serving that tiny, flickering flame, nurturing it the best I could.

But gradually, over months and years, it did turn, and today I can say I’ve been walking in the fullness of many of those promises for many years.

I’ve also noticed a change in me. I’m quicker to give thanks than I ever used to be. I think I like that.

Friday

Kindness Leads to Repentance

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is describing some of the ways that his family is to be different than how the world does things. In the middle of that lecture, he drops this bomb: “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

There’s one command in this, and one reason for the command. Don’t be like those people because unlike their father, your Father knows what you need, even before you tell him.

I’d like to share a testimony, if I may.

I was helping someone with a legal issue. This someone important to me, someone who calls me “dad.” And the legal issue was pretty bad. It wasn’t that he had done anything illegal, but he’d gotten involved with a World Class Pain-In-The-Hindquarters. 

The World Class Pain was making his life miserable, threatening lawsuits, threatening huge expenses, and was completely flouting the law on the matter. He was Too Important To Be Bothered with things like that (he is a legitimate millionaire, for all the good it does him), and he does know powerful people who owe him favors.

So we’d talked together about the options open to us. At its most intense point, my spiritual son called me in terror and confusion about the latest round of threats, so I called the Millionaire Pain and explained things firmly to him. I think he’ll be able to use that ear again in a few days. I did not submit to his campaign of terror. I wasn’t rude, but I didn’t let him push me around.

But I pissed him off, so he jacked up the intimidation and threats, and neither my son nor I slept much for a couple of nights.

I wanted to ask for prayer, but I didn’t feel that freedom.

A day later, I realized that when I got in his face, I misquoted some facts to him, so I called him back, and (as expected) he sent my call to voicemail, so I left him a long message. I apologized for my errant facts, explained the situation from my son’s perspective, acknowledged what we understood of his own needs in the situation, and proposed a sit-down meeting where we could resolve the disagreement.

He ignored me, of course. His intimidation continued, but it did not escalate again.

Again, I wanted to post a prayer request, but I still didn’t feel the freedom.

One night it really got to me. I should have been asleep. Instead, I was ranting, my intestines were growling, and my sheets were soaked with sweat. I had acknowledged that we’d probably need to take the Pain to court, but as I rolled it around in my mind, I realized that we couldn’t lose the case. We had him cold! We had documentation of a couple of things that would make this an open and shut case! I didn’t want to go to court (nobody in their right mind does), but if we needed to, we would win.

And then I realized that The Pain wasn’t doing any of this to hurt my son or to hurt me, and he wasn’t doing this to win a court case. He just needed to stay in power in his interactions with other people. He needed to feel powerful, and this whole drama was how he met that need. I honestly began to feel sorry for him. That was actually confusing; he was the reason I was still awake at 3:00 in the morning!

And then Father reminded me of Romans 2:4b: “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” We wanted him to change his mind about the hell he was wreaking; we wanted him to repent. Here, God’s showing me the key to The Pain's repentance: my kindness. Nice.

So I prayed quite a bit; I prayed blessing on this man, on his business, on his real estate holdings. But wait, there's more!

I’d been studying angels in the Bible, recently. My new favorite book of the Bible talked about them: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).

So I invited some angels to go visit him and minister the things of the Kingdom to him. We’re supposed to DO the stuff we’re learning, right? And I gave him a new name. No longer The Pain, now he was The Millionaire.

Suddenly, I was tired and I slept.

The next morning, the Millionaire surprised us all. He messaged my son with a remarkably reasonable response. He outlined some things he needed from us (reasonable ones!), and offered some concessions we hadn’t even asked for. Then he recused himself from the final negotiations and he invited us to work with his more reasonable partner. (What? Who IS this guy?)

I wonder if there’s a connection?

I shared the good news with Mrs P, and she admitted that she had been praying blessing on him as well (before she dropped off to a sound sleep several hours before I did!).

I never did ask others for prayer. Our amazing Father really does know what we need, even before we tell him. He’d been answering that prayer long before we got around to praying it.

Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper to me, “I’m serious. It’s kindness that brings repentance. Not power, not strength of will, not even being right. It’s kindness.”

It's kindness that leads to repentance. It really is. 

Thursday

Christian Judgment

I confess that I’m haunted by Psalm 122. You know, the one that begins with,

“I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.’“

I get it when the Psalmist gets excited about going to hang out with God! What a delight! But a couple of verses later, in the middle of his rejoicing, he explains,

“For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.”

One of the reasons he’s excited about going to hang out with God is because he looks forward to the judgment there.

What?

That tells me that among other things, I don’t have a good handle on what judgment is supposed to be. I can tell when it is used wrong, and that appears to be a lot, but we already knew that. Let’s be honest: Christians have earned the judgmental, condemning reputation we’ve picked up. (Sure, hell has reinforced the reputation, but as a community, we earned it.)

Today, I’m struck by this: if judgment is part of the work of the saints, then it’s subject to the same restrictions as the rest of the work of the saints. Judgment is to be an act of love. It’s to be for people, not against them. It’s to be something that builds people up, not tears them down, something that draws them in, not what pushes them away.

I don’t see much of that sort of judgment yet. Not among saints, not anywhere.

But it’s coming.


 

The Fighter’s Regrets

Have you ever woken up with a song floating through the fog in your mind? Sometimes I think that’s just an echo of a dream or a memory, particularly if it’s a song I’ve heard or sung recently.

How about a song from your ancient history in your mind as you woke? I actually pay more attention to these; there’s less chance that it’s just my subconscious expressing itself.

I’d like to share one of these with you. You may find the process interesting, but I believe the lesson might apply to several of us.

Recently, I woke up with a song from my youth playing in my mind, and trust me, that’s from a long time ago. The song had nothing to do with the dream as far as I could tell, and I could only remember snippets of it – really only one phrase.

But that phrase kept replaying in my mind: that caught my attention. And as it replayed, my memory of the lyrics grew. This also suggested to me that this might be from God. So I spoke with Father about it, acknowledging that I thought he might be up to something; I asked for insight, and I paid attention as the memory of the song replayed and expanded in my mind.


Some themes began to stand out in the lyrics that kept playing in my memory. One of them definitely seemed to have the fragrance of my Father about it, so I meditated on that one. That is, I thought about it; I let it roll around in my mind to see what might come from it.

When my mind began to warm up (you know, I really appreciate the fact that God invented coffee!), I fired up Google and looked into it a bit more. And I realized that even after my memory had been playing it back for an hour or two, I had remembered only one verse out of five; the rest hadn’t come back to me, though those verses had actually been more important to me when the song was new.

Here’s the song: https://youtu.be/MYPJOCxSUFc. It’s called The Boxer, by Simon & Garfunkel. It was the last verse alone that spoke to me through the morning fog:

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains*

This verse had literally never made sense to me, but suddenly, there was a message in it for me.

It speaks to me, but I’d like to share it with you, because I suspect it might speak to other, too, and maybe that includes you.

I confess: I’m a man of fairly strong conviction. I stand up for those convictions, and it’s not inappropriate to say that I fight to maintain them. If I believe something to be true, I’ll fight to defend it.

Father gently pointed out that I, too, carry reminders of those fights, reminders, I suppose, every glove that laid me down or cut me till I cried out. I’ve paid a price to defend my convictions. Like the fighter in the song, the price has been paid in several areas of my life: in my memories, in my body carrying the stress, in the solitude that comes from having lost relationships.

Then he drew my attention to the fighter’s vow, and that I’ve made vows like that as well: “I am leaving, I am leaving” but I don’t leave. I remain. I still defend my beliefs, my convictions, and I’m still laid down and cut up sometimes. I’m still wounded from the fights that I am convinced are right and good. And they still bring the fruits of “anger and shame” into my life, just like they did in his.

(Didn’t someone say “You shall know them by their fruit”?  Hmmm....)

This is something that’s come partly from my character (I believe that standing up for “what is true” is important), partly from my youth (I was taught that truth is important and should be stood up for).

But this fight may have been fanned into the biggest flame from my years in Bible-believing churches. “This is what I believe to be true, so I must defend it at all costs.” We teach that, we believe that, in many evangelical churches, and while we defend different truths in denominational churches, we still defend them vigorously.

Think about how Christians respond when a movie comes that we don’t like out (remember Russell Crowe’s Noah?). Consider how Christians respond to “The Homosexual Agenda” or to political candidates, or to the abortion issue.

We’re taught to fight. And we do fight. Vigorously.

And let’s be honest. We don’t win these fights. Hollywood’s marketing now counts on “Christian outrage” as a publicity tool for their controversial movies, and they’re always right. Christians have not affected “The Homosexual Agenda” that we’ve stood against, abortion is still a very big business, and we’ve never once had an Evangelical believer in the Whitehouse, despite our fights on those issues.

The world knows: Christians are fighters. They don’t win, but they sure will fight. Behold how much they fight.

Father hasn’t been talking to me at this time about the issues in themselves. He’s only been using them to illustrate the fight, to illustrate the blows and the cuts that so many of us have taken in the fights.

Then he drew my attention to the refrain:

“Lie-la-lie. Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie.”*

Oh my. It’s right there. I’ve sung this haunting refrain with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and I never saw it: there’s a lie here, and the refrain rubs my nose in it. That’s a lie, lie lie!

There’s perhaps some room for discussing what the lie is. The song itself identifies one:

“He cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains.”*

And I’ve done that. I’ve declared that I’m quitting this fight. But I haven’t really done it. I’ve lied. I’ve gotten tired of being beaten up, tired of the anger, tired of the shame, and I’ve tried to quit the fight. And I’ve failed.

As Father comforted me in this, I realized that for a fighter, the fight is a choice. It’s an option, but only one of several options. I don’t actually need to fight.

As he held me and murmured his love for me, I realized that these are not fights that have helped me, or have helped the Kingdom, not even a little bit.

I occasionally have “won” a fight, but what was the result? Maybe I could say I won, that I defeated someone who believed differently. So what? Now they’ve been defeated, now they’re wounded, too. And now they resent me, and worse they resent my message, and they resent the truth that I fought for.

You know, I don’t think anybody’s ever been bullied into receiving the truth, have they? Oh, sure, we’ve bullied people into acting like they know the truth, but that’s just equipping them for hypocrisy. That’s not a win, not really, not for anybody.

For myself, I’m going to reflect on this for a while. I’m wondering if I might actually defend my beliefs better by walking them out than I would by fighting for them. I don’t know. I’ll think about it.

I may not need to be a fighter, alone in the clearing. I may not need to be laid down, cut open. I may not need to subject myself to the anger and shame.

The Kingdom is not about any of this, is it?

Lie la lie….

----

* From "The Boxer," by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their fifth studio albumBridge over Troubled Water (1970) ©1969

Clean Off Your Boots

Father has had something on my heart for a few days, now. I’d like to share it, in case this is talking about you.

Some folks are in a formidable war, and they know it, but they’re misunderstanding the war.

Some of the battles are about overcoming a sin that’s been besetting you. You’re fighting back, and mostly you’re succeeding, but you surely wish the temptation wouldn’t be so strong and so in-your-face.

Some of the battles come in the words of our neighbors, our leaders, even our brothers and sisters, but they are surely not God’s words. Instead they’re words of accusation, words of manipulation and control, words of rejection and abandonment. You keep shaking them off, but it’s hard to dismiss them entirely.

A small number of the battles are when we’re pressing forward to walk in the fulfillment of God’s promise (and maybe you’ve heard God well, or maybe you’ve missed some of it, it doesn’t matter here), and you encounter opposition and discouragement and ridicule and slander. But still you still fix your eyes, if not on the promise itself, then even better: on the giver of the promise, and you are trying to press forward into your calling.

 Some of the battles that we’re fighting aren’t even our own battles. We’re fighting for sons and daughters who, despite our prayers, are still making foolish choices, partners who have chosen to no longer partner with us. Some of us are fighting on behalf of those who have hurt us, and may still be hurting us. They seem to be trying to fight off our prayers and reject our best intentions for them, and how discouraging that is.

Some time ago, Father spoke to me as I woke, and he’s been bringing it back to my attention recently.

“Tell them that they need to clean off their boots,” He said.


“Wha? Hunh?” I mumbled reflectively. I hadn’t had any coffee yet.

“Tell them to clean off their boots. They’ve been kicking the devil’s ass for so long that their boots carry his stink.”

So I tell you: you need to clean your boots. The devil has told you that you’ve been losing the fight, that you have no hope of winning this particular fight. The devil has been lying to you. (Imagine that!)

The devil has been hiding from you the fact that you’ve been making hamburger of his hindquarters, and he can no longer walk straight because of the beating you’re giving him. He wants you to think you’re losing, when in fact, he’s already lost, and you are, in fact, successfully enforcing our victory over him.

I tell you that you have been more successful in your battle against the evil one than you can know. Keep fighting, he cannot maintain the illusion forever.

His promise is certain: “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

He’s talking about you. http://nwp.link/1SjebvW


Wielding Authority to Change the World

I have been reflecting on the changes going on in the United States and in the world. Those are both many and substantial.

But my thoughts focus not on what those changes are, but rather how we should respond to them.

Let us assume, for the sake of this conversation, that many of the changes are inappropriate, even evil, and should be opposed or reversed.

The question at hand is this: how shall we oppose the things we need to oppose. More specifically, what kind of power shall we exercise.

The changes are being made by the exercise of political power, the power of manipulation and intimidation, the power of deception, the power of public opinion, and some would argue that spiritual power is involved. Many of the changes have been by the use of a combination of these forces.

The question that appears to be neglected so often is this: what kind of power shall we wield as believers, to oppose the inappropriate or evil works in our land? Shall we exercise political power, or manipulation? Shall we wield the power of public opinion with petitions?

Let’s back up for just a moment, and ask a slightly more foundational question? What power has God given us? Or what kind of authority has he given us to exercise on his behalf?

In this whole conversation, I’d argue for these truths:

·         Some forms of power are simply not appropriate for sons and daughters of the Kingdom to use: deception and intimidation, for example.

·         The primary tool Jesus gave us was authority, which is not the same as power (that’s a topic for another article), and the authority he gave us is in the realm of the Spirit. Let’s acknowledge, however, that authority wielded in the spirit realm will manifest as changes in the physical realm.

·         Having said that, there are some believers (I emphasize: not all believers) who are specifically called by God to represent his Kingdom in the political realm. These brothers & sisters have the right to exercise authority in that realm.

My tentative conclusion, therefore, is this:  we as believers, when we see a political crisis (such as laws against Christians) or the exercise of violence (I think of ISIS or Hamas), we are not called to exercise the same force that is being used for evil. We are, instead, called to exercise authority in the spiritual realm, with the result of change in the natural realm.

This is the model of the New Testament.

When they experienced a political crisis (for example, Peter jailed, in Acts 12), their response was not to petition the government, and it was not a prison break); rather, they exercised spiritual authority in prayer, and angels were released to carry out the results of that authority in the natural realm.

The result was, ironically, a prison break of sorts, which was what the believers had been praying for, but also a testimony of supernatural power, which spread throughout both the church and the government.

And when they experienced violence (in the person of the Pharisee, Saul persecuting believers), they again went to prayer. In this case, Jesus himself appeared to Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9), knocked Saul off his ass, and confronted his erroneous ways.

The result was a conversion, which stopped Saul’s “threats & murder” (Acts 9:1), which was what they were praying for, but it also resulted in arguably the greatest preacher of the gospel that has ever walked this planet: the apostle Paul.

I know that we have brothers and sisters who are called to exercise authority in the realms of political power, or of public opinion, or other forms of power. I contend that these are few, and are specifically called by God to those positions of authority.

But all of us, the whole Body of Christ, we have all been given authority to wield in the Spirit. We learned long ago how to wield that authority to lead others out of sin and into salvation. We’ve learned more recently how to wield that authority to heal the sick and raise the dead.

It is time to wield the authority that God has given us – and by doing so, to lay down the power and authority of the world – in the spiritual realm on behalf of nations, and people groups and regions.

It’s time for us to walk away from the weapons of the flesh, and to pick up the weapons that God has given us, and with them, to change the world.


--

Come join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/northwestprophetic. 

Terrorism: Father's Grief

The most famous verse in the Bible declares that “For God so loved the world, that he gave…” God loves the world, the whole world.

Father brought that one back to me recently, as I was praying for his Spirit to move among the ISIS terrorists. “Son,” he said, “Christians are all worked up because the terrorists are killing Christians.”

I listened. “I love the Christians. But I love the terrorists just as much.”

That startled me a bit. And it brought back to my mind a conversation we’d had years ago about martyrs. “Do I not have the right to spend the lives of my servants in the way that I know is best?” I could hear tears in his voice as he said it.

And I realized something. While it’s an ugly thing that terrorists are killing Christians, while it’s a heinous act to crucify or behead women or children for any reason, there’s a reality behind it that is yet even worse.

When the Christians are brutally murdered, they go to run and jump and shout and play with Jesus. They go to a place full of light and love and wholeness and acceptance. The route there was evil, but the destination is glorious.

But for the terrorists, when they brutally murder a Christian, the demons that control him wrap their claws tighter around his soul. And when someone blows up a terrorist camp with a cruise missile, it is not to glory that the dead are destined, and it is most definitely not a flock of eager virgins that they will meet when they arrive.

Here’s what I learned today. I already knew that Father wept over his children’s murders, but I was reminded that their blood would, as it always has, be the seed of yet more revival on the earth. Every time a Christian’s blood is spilled, the grace of God is unleashed to bring even more people into the Kingdom.

Their murderers think they are doing evil, but they are sending individuals to glory and empowering revival upon the earth!

But I learned that my Father weeps more over the murderers than over the murdered. Because these do not know hope, because of what their sin does to their soul and how it enslaves them all the more, because when they are killed, their destiny is far away from Him who died that they could know Him. Father grieves because the terribly costly sacrifice of his Son has not yielded in them the benefit for which he paid that terrible price.

Father weeps more over the terrorists than the Christians they murder.


--

Come join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/northwestprophetic. 

A Vision of the Puddle.

I was visiting with a friend the other day, talking about what God was up to on the earth today, and I envisioned this picture. (In Churchspeak, “I had a vision.”)

I saw the devil, and he was watching you. And as he saw you emerging from your hidden place, as he saw you beginning to walk in your identity as a child, as an heir, of God, as he watched you shake off “every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares you,” I realized he was standing in a puddle. A yellow puddle. A warm yellow puddle.

Around the planet, the saints of God are coming out of their hiding places; they’re shaking off the snares of the enemy. Around the world, believers are beginning to believe, and are devouring the Word and learning who they really are, and what they’re really armed with. Around the Earth, wounded ones are healing the sick and raising the dead; some of them, without being healed themselves, are healing others in great numbers and with great determination.

And it’s scaring the piss out of hell.

This is one of the main reasons that “all hell is breaking loose” in some places: because all hell is terrified of the people of God growing from just being “Christians,” to becoming “Sons of God.” This is hell’s “fight or flight” mechanism kicking in, except that they have no place to run, nowhere to hide, so they have to fight.

This is also why we’re seeing so many earthquakes, so many storms, on the earth, in my viewpoint. These are the birth pains of the mature sons of God. And it’s also why so many believers are groaning, crying out for more, no longer content with sitting on a wooden pew once a week to be the primary manifestation of their relationship with God.

Romans 8 declares, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

This is happening today, right now. This is going on in you, today, right now. If you’re one of the ones wanting more of God – whether you want more of his presence, more healings, more people to know him, more signs and wonders: whatever! – then you’re one of the ones that are making the devil piss his pants.

Good for you! Keep up the good work! Don’t let down your guard, but keep pressing in! Keep manifesting heaven on earth!

--------------------------------

Nehemiah 4:17: “Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.”


--

Come join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/northwestprophetic. 

Terms and Conditions for Trick or Treating

Have you ever seen the fine print on some of the websites out there: “Your use of this website constitutes your agreement to comply, and be bound to, the following terms and conditions…” If there’s ever a legal issue, the case will be decided by how well you and the other party comply with the terms and conditions of the website where the legal issue occurred.

These terms and conditions are very often tricky to find. Sometimes they’re in very small print at the bottom of the page. Sometimes they’re not even on the page you see, but are hidden away on a “Terms and conditions” page that nobody ever sees. But they are binding nonetheless, on every visitor to the website.

1 Corinthians 15:46 says “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” So let’s take this natural principle and apply it spiritually.

I expect to have a larger than average number of visitors to my home on the evening of the 31st. I expect that many of them will be wearing costumes that they think of as valiant or funny or scary. (I expect that I’ll think they’re mostly “cute.”) And some of them will be adults waiting on my sidewalk for their beloved munchkin to return with the candy my bride & I have dispensed.

But I’ve been setting up some “terms and conditions” that apply to every single person that sets foot on my porch, or my walkway, or even my lawn tomorrow night. (And I may leave them in place indefinitely.) They are not posted publicly in the natural, but because they’re clearly posted in the spiritual realm they will be binding nonetheless, on every visitor to my property (which by legal definition extends to the centerline of the street, so this includes at least half of those driving by as well).

The terms and conditions that affect them include the following:

● Every visitor to my neighborhood is welcome to bring the Holy Spirit with him or her, their own human spirit, and any angels that submit who are in service to the God of Heaven, but any other spiritual beings, any fallen angels, any demons, must be checked at the gates to my neighborhood, and are not permitted in. (This one’s old news: http://bit.ly/gatekeeping)

● Every visitor to my own property, by setting foot on my property agrees, by coming onto my property, to be targeted for the kindness of God, targeted for grace and mercy by the Kingdom of Heaven

● Every family and every household that receives candy or other nourishment from our home agrees, by receiving from us, to receive nourishment from the Spirit of God and from the Word of God, and to receive New Life from the Creator of Life. If anyone receives something from us by theft, they are still agreeing, by receiving from us, to receive the same nourishment, and the same Life.

● Every guest to our property agrees, by coming onto our property, to receive an angel or angels as their guests and guards, to lead them to the King of Kings, to teach them the ways of the Kingdom of God, and to protect them from harm. 

● Every guest on our property, by coming onto our property, receives freely and without cost or obligation, our blessing upon their lives, their future, their family, and their family’s future, blessing for peace, and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope. 

● These terms and conditions are subject to change and can be modified at any time without notice. Changes may be effective retroactively. Check with the Holy Spirit for the latest terms and conditions in effect.

So I encourage y’all to set up similar “terms and conditions” for your own property.

I’m relying on the resources of the Kingdom to carry out the terms and conditions I’ve specified. The metaphor of “terms and conditions” was something I worked out with Father in prayer, which was also where these specific terms and conditions were formed. I implemented them by walking around my property, declaring these terms and conditions, until I felt I was “done.” 

Have fun. Wreak glory upon your guests!

(Feel free to share this idea with your friends and co-conspirators if you wish.)

The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady


I’d like to tell you the story of a friend of mine, whom I’ll call Chantelle.

Chantelle had just found a roommate and a nice apartment, and they were in the early stages of moving in, when she called me. “I’d like your help in praying over our apartment before we move in.” She and I had dealt with some things together before, and she understood that teamwork is valuable.

So we began to pray. We prayed over the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and declared the destiny we heard Father speaking about for the rooms and their activity. During the prayer time, I slipped away, and tossed a large handful of Dove’s chocolates into her empty room, just so she’s find a nice surprise.

When we finished praying about the public rooms, we headed down the hallway, and we both felt something strange, an unhealthy, unclean presence back there, and we both felt it at the same point, right as the hallway turned the corner.

Cool! A teachable moment! So we discussed it, discussed what it felt like, and I proposed that we check the back rooms individually for more sense of it.

We checked her room first, and there was no sense of that particular darkness, but there were wrapped dark chocolates scattered on the floor. She laughed and picked up a couple of them, and we agreed that this room wasn’t the source for the sense of the unclean that we felt. She offered me a chocolate and we moved on.

We prayed over the bathroom, blessed it, and ruled it out as a source of darkness, and moved on, while she nibbled her chocolate.

The roommate’s room. As Chantelle opened her roommate’s door, we felt the unclean darkness inside. “Aha! I suspect we’ve found a clue!” The roommate wasn’t home, of course; she wasn’t a believer, and wouldn’t understand what we were doing. In fact, there was just a small stack of boxes in the middle of the room.

We discussed the situation. We both sensed that there was uncleanness on the walls, though they appeared a clean white to our eyes. Chantelle stepped into the room, spiritual senses wide open, looking to sense where the unclean stuff was coming from. The closet? Nope. The window? Nope? This place where the bed obviously went? Nope.

That left the boxes in the middle of the room. They were just moving boxes, and only two or three of them; they looked innocuous enough. She popped the last of the chocolate in her mouth and touched the top box. Bingo! This is where the darkness came from! As we talked about the source of the presence, she straightened out the foil that had wrapped her chocolate, and read the quote it contained: “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” We laughed!

We didn’t get into the boxes; they weren’t our property, but we felt the need to address the darkness, particularly, the darkness clinging to the walls. So we prayed that it would be removed. Nothing happened. We commanded it to leave. Nothing. We prophesied blessing on the room and its future. Nada.

I had an idea. “Chantelle, why don’t you ask Father for the right weapon to remove the darkness?” She gave me a funny look, but we’d done stranger things than this together. She prayed, and I could see from the look on her face that she’d seen Him give her something.

“What is it? What did he give you?” She scowled. “A washrag.” We laughed some more.

But she began to wield the washrag that she saw in the Spirit against the darkness. In reality, she began to wash the walls with it, and it was the first time that we saw the darkness give way, though it was a fight.

After a few minutes, we recognized that this was going to take all night, and I couldn’t help her, as I was still standing in the hallway (out of respect for someone else’s room).

Another thought presented itself. “I wonder if that washrag is for you to wield, or if it’s for someone else?” We prayed. “An angel is to wield it.” “OK. Why don’t you invite that angel in?” She did, and she laughed. “What do you see?” “A cleaning lady!” We laughed some more.

So Chantelle handed the washrag to the cleaning lady angel, and invited her to wield the weapon. Immediately, she began washing the walls, and by the time Chantelle had reached the door to the room, the first wall was halfway clean; we could both feel the darkness lifting. That was better! We blessed the cleaning lady, and invited her to stay. It seemed to us that her assignment was the back of the apartment, particularly the hallway and the bedrooms.

We felt the freedom to invite a couple other angles to the house. A big armed one was stationed outside the downstairs entrance, and Chantelle assigned another, whom she named Cheese Grater Guy, to the front door, to remove any “Klingons” from guests to the home.

When we left, we looked back at the bedroom windows, and we both discerned what appeared to be a cleaning lady waving happily to us from the roommate’s window. We laughed and waved back.

The really fun part of the story came weeks later, when the roommate cautiously reported that she “could feel a presence” in the back hallway. Chantelle replied, “Yep, and she’s staying here! We’re not going to get rid of that one!”


And the cleaning lady likes cats. Both Chantelle and the roommate had pet cats, kittens, really, who loved to play with them. But from time to time, both women could see the cats in the hallway, playing with someone they couldn’t see with their natural eyes. 

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.

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.

Put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.

This is before us today.

We all know that 20:20 speaks about vision. Also true for 2Chronicles 20:20, which includes this declaration: “Put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”

We will be established, we will stand our ground, when we trust what God has spoken to us, what he’s given & done! This is safe territory, and considering the context of the verse, that was a huge declaration! You’ll be OK.

But God is inviting us to receive a NEW word from him (“prophets” speaking of the prophetic community we’re part of), which will take us into a new realm of battle, and into a new realm of victory. You’ll take territory you’ve never had before, territory that you’ll never have to give up.

We can succeed, either playing defense or playing offense. But we score more victories when we take the offense.

God has been speaking to some of us in the Northwest about this, and he used the Superbowl to do it: I’ll summarize it this way: When the people that have spent their lives at defensive suddenly begin to play offense (even from their defensive positions), then the other guy is going to look really bad.

When we add offense to our defense (not a different place, in the midst of our defense), suddenly you accomplish things that nobody has ever accomplished before.

(We could add something about getting the people that have been sitting quietly on the sidelines for all these years involved, but that’s another topic.)

Interestingly, in the original context of our verse, this offense consisted of “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” When we get that down, that’s a big deal in the progress of the battle that we’re facing right now, the battle that looks to be the end of us and our line.

The result of this shift? The result of this declaration? “Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.”

If you’re going to listen to the NEW word from God, if you’re going to take the offense in the battle, then you probably ought to bring a wheelbarrow with you. Because you’re going to need it.

Focus on What we're For.

Instead of focusing on what we're AGAINST, maybe we focus on what we are FOR? Instead of focusing on warning people against "wolves in sheep's clothing," I propose that we focus our attention and our affection on the Shepherd.

First, it's easier to keep track of: there's only ONE God to be FOR. There are too many more wolves out there, and they keep swapping their sheepskins, so you have to kind of study their evil to know what evil they're representing this week. Ick.

Second, we become like that which we focus on. I'd much rather be like Jesus than like the guys that people are warning us about, the wolves in sheep’s clothing. If I focus on the wolves, I become wolflike. Ick again. No, we aren't ignorant of them, but we don't squander our attention or our conversation on them.

Third, if I train people to pay attention to my warnings, or the warnings of others like me, then I am drawing their attention and their devotion away from where it ought to be. Believers in Christ ought to be following Christ, not other believers, and I don't want to be the one who has to answer Him for why His Bride is turning away from Him and following me. Yikes.

Fourth, if I feel the need to constantly be warning the sheep about wolves, then I have seriously underestimated the sheep. We think of the Bride in white lace, but this one has a ka-bar straped to each boot, and instead of flowers, she’s carrying an automatic weapon in her hands. This sheep is not without formidable resources.

Fifth, we're commanded to focus on the good stuff. Philippians 4:8 is pretty clear. Hebrews 12:1&2 tells us where to fix our attention. This is a WAY better (and WAY more useful) focus of our attention than the wolflike bad guys.

Sixth, we are NOT the only ones out there working to protect innocents from wolflike bad guys. If we act like that's our job, then we are completely disrespecting the Holy Spirit and the angels of God. It is not our job to do His job.

Seventh and finally, the power of God in us is orders of magnitude greater than the power of evil. Jesus kept messing with that one. In the old covenant, a good guy touching a bad guy polluted the good guy, and this is what many of today's warnings are about. But in the Kingdom, a good guy touching a bad guy brings healing to the bad guy: lepers, demoniac, even corpses!


Honestly, any ONE of these is enough reason to put our attention on bigger and better things. All of them together are overwhelming.


Opposing a Spirit of Fear


Some years ago, a few well-known prophets from America’s east coast prophesied hell coming to the west coast, and to my Northwest region in particular.

They didn’t call it hell. They called it “The Big One.”  They called it earthquakes and volcanoes and a tsunami, and millions of people screaming and dying. They went so far as to say, “Move away from the west coast, if you can!”

That pissed me off. I hate it when God’s people use God’s name to prophesy the devil’s agenda for my region! That is not okay with me.

Even the secular news caught on, and there were “news” articles on TV most nights: “It happened to Japan! It can happen here!” with interviews of geologists and politicians and emergency response people and preppers and fear-mongers. It was ugly.

The prophets then added, “We asked God if we can stop this, and he said we can’t.” That one caught my attention.

I asked Father about it. “Of course they can’t stop it. They’re from the east coast.” That was all I needed.

We gathered a handful of prophets together in one of our homes and came before God, to see what He said about it.

It was a fun evening, but too long to detail. To summarize, there were two primary points we needed to pray into:

1) We (on the west coast) live on the Ring of Fire: there are going to be earthquakes and such; it’s how God built the planet: stuff moves. We can try to stop the movement of continents, or we can just change the effect of their movements. So we decreed lots of tiny earthquakes instead of the killer quake that Japan got that year. (And sure enough, we got a lot of small quakes over the next couple of months.) This was the little attack, the flash that was to capture everybody’s attention while the enemy went after his real goal.

2) The greater attack was the spirit of fear that was riding on the reports, the prognostications, the conversations about “The Big One.” The enemy wanted to use these reports, and use any significant quakes, to embed a demonic stronghold of fear into the people of the west coast, and the people of America.

We also opposed that attack, and the public fear-mongering pretty well stopped. The enemy has not given up his goal of embedding a demonic stronghold of fear in the people of the west coast, but he’s going at it more subtly now. (This is one example of the current attack: http://on.fb.me/1geQU6L.)

The goal of embedding a spirit of fear into the people of the USA appears to be a pretty key issue for the enemy. It’s everywhere. Look at the conversations around Facebook that are talking about GMO foods, and you’ll hear fear in a lot of those voices. You’ll hear it in the conversations about the dismantling of the US constitution, the Second Ammendment conversations, the vaccine controversy, the Obamacare conversations.

And pretty much every conversation that talks about “Jesus is coming soon” or “the antichrist” or “the tribulation” or “the rapture” is tainted with a spirit of fear.

If I may be so bold, I’d like to suggest that we have not actually been given a spirit of fear. The Spirit we’ve been given is about power and love and it’s about a sound mind.

By contrast, the spirit of fear that’s coming against us is merely a temptation: Will the people give in to fear, or will they resist? Will they respond in fear or in power? In fear or in love? In fear or in a sound mind?

It’s NOT the enemy’s choice whether the spirit of fear infests your house, your community: it’s YOUR choice.


What say you?

Supernatural Gems and A Failure in the Church

You are hereby warned: I’m going to rant. Please prepare yourself. (Conclusions at the… er… conclusion.)

I posted this photo recently, with this comment:

“Interesting night tonight. 
Spent a lovely evening sharing dinner, sharing testimonies, blessing one couple among us, 
and God drops gems all over the carpet. 
These weren't from tonight; they showed up at other times, and they're easier to photograph. 
There were others, larger, more spectacular. 
But together, we probably gathered 60 or 80 small ones (jewelry size) just tonight. 
I stood back, aloof, for a while. "We must honor the Gift Giver more than pursue the gifts!" 
I (a little self-righteously) told myself. 
Father chuckled at me. "If you gave your children a good gift, and they pushed it aside and
just sat there, staring at you, would you really love that? When you give a gift, you want 
it to be appreciated. You want to make them happy. How do you think I feel?"
So I gathered 8 or 10 little ones. I watched some of them appear right in front of my eyes. 
And you know, it really did make me happy. 
We have such an awesome Dad.
And as a bride, we have an awesome groom, and a pretty epic future father-in-law.”


The post generated more response than most of my posts do. A couple hundred comments, maybe hundred folks shared it with their friends. A handful of folks made judgmental accusations which were deleted, but that’s par for the course.


The atmosphere that night was heavily and naturally focused on Jesus, not on gemstones: it glorified God. 

But a couple of folks contacted me privately with some credible questions. The book says not to “receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses,” but the clear implication is that if there are two or three witnesses, to look into the accusation (1Timothy 5:19). I won’t go into details, but I had some things to look into. That was enough for me to pull the post last night. 

I’m still not going to name names, except to say that a name was accused, so I’ve spent most of the next 24 hours consulting with folks (both people & God). I’ve counseled with some elders, with some accusers, with the accused, and with the accused’s pastor. 

Accusations were made that someone had been caught at a service dropping gems. I’ll just say this: it has happened. The one accused in this story told me how it happened and why it happened, and what happened as a result, including their repentance and the process laid on them for their restoration. Several witnesses, including the supervising pastor and some of the accusers have corroborated the confession and the time frame. I’ve been saying, all along, Any miracle that brings fame or fortune to the people involved will be faked for the fame and/or fortune of others. That does not diminish the value of the miracle one whit.

Well it has happened, and I stand by my statement: we have an awesome God, who gives gems to his bride.

I have testimony from several people (I’m one of them) who have seen gems miraculously appearing; even some of the accusers agree: gems do appear miraculously in this person’s presence. The Book says, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established,” and it affirms the principle in both New Testament and Old, a total of no less than six times. The matter is beyond dispute: we have gemstones miraculously appearing. 

So what we have before us is a child of God who walks in the miraculous, who has failed in ministry, who has repented, who was taken out of ministry for a season, and tested before being released into ministry again, and who has no fame nor fortune from ministry.

In the meantime, this child of God has spent quite a few years enduring the curses and accusation of the saints of the most high God. As a result, we have a beloved family member who has been repeatedly, incessantly wounded again and again by those who call themselves healers. 

In the process of examining the accusation made by “two or three witnesses,” I met an embarrassing number of people who sure sounded pleased that someone got busted for their sin. I had real difficulty not getting more than a little bit angry about this. Those who were making accusations of someone’s sin – both the humble ones and the self-congratulatory ones – I have it on good evidence (Romans 3:10&12) that the accusers have failure in their life as well. 

I know I surely do! Those who are close to me could tell you stories that are different in form than the sin with the gemstones, but easily more nasty. I can tell you first hand that before I was a Christian, I was a very un-lovely person, and even after the Son of God died for me, I’ve still made some heinous mistakes. But so have you. (Sorry.)

I can also tell you that the Son of God DID in fact die for me, and for you, and for everyone touched by this story. And I have the honor of telling you that He still loves you and me and them, even though – and even WHEN – we sin. Think about it: when Adam & Eve sinned the first sin, it was they who hid from God. God came looking for them. And while we were yet sinners – WHILE, I tell you – Christ loved you and me in the mist of our filth and stench and took it on Himself, and killed it. 

My conclusion is this: Yeah, someone faked gems. Yep we know at least one person who did it. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts there are bunches more. I’ll bet someone’s doing it right now, somewhere on the planet, faking a miracle of some sort. 

These are the gems I found.  Several of them, including the yellow oval, I watched as they appeared on the carpet before me.
These are the gems I found. 
I’ll bet it happens not at all infrequently: people so desperately want the miracle of God that they’ll do anything to get it, even if they have to fake it. People so desperately need the acceptance and approval of their brothers and sisters that they’ll do anything to get it, even if they have to fake it. 

Does that mean that gems don’t happen miraculously? Nope. It means that God still uses broken people. Like you and me. 

My conclusion: I stand by my original post: God spread some gemstones around. God did some miracles. It was cool, and it brought glory to his Son. Now, are you going to look for the false? Or are you going to look for the finger of God among the muck and the fuss of the human species? 

I’m posting the original picture because it’s associated with the conversation. In hindsight, I think I should have posted a photo of the little things we found that night.