Monday, March 2, 2015

We are all called to be Queen Esthers

It is worth remembering what this season of Purim is all about.

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

I won't rehearse the whole story, I assume my readers know it well. There is a key however to the story that fits in this day. I was reminded of this by Barbara Yoder. It had to do with how Netanyahu sees his trip to speak to congress.

In a greater way if we as Christians carry inside us by the Holy Spirit a world view that helps us see past the deception and cultural delusion that is rampant in our land we too are Esthers.. called to speak up. Some will not hear. They deny that the gallows being built are for us, they don't want to hear about evil plots, they want to live inside a bubble of intentional blindness without having the reality of those who do want to kill us and the reality of people (kings) who intentionally or otherwise continue to fall for Haman's evil plots. They are those who insist that the mix of political viewpoints that reflect from a biblical world view are out of order. They seem to feel that if we just say nothing, pray and hope that everything will turn out all right.

If Esther had taken that approach we wouldn't have her story in the Bible and more important a nation would have died at the hands of an evil plotter. Just like today.

There are forces at play in the world who mean to kill Christians, Jews, innocents and yet there is a vacancy of leadership that recognizes that reality. Not even among spiritual leadership is there a stand for world view that comes from the heart of God. People think it is a mix of politics and religion. I am guilty of that.. but sometimes the Hamans of the world and those compliant like King Ahasuerus was in office need to be called to account.

If I don't, then what's a prophet for? I guess I have to tear whole books out of my Bible starting with Ezekiel. And when the rulers of the day were oppressing the people with heavy yokes... a guy whose name I bear called them out and openly rebuked them... His name is JESUS.

Should we do any less??

Hiding From The Prophet

If you flow in the prophetic you see a syndrome that puzzles you.

Scenario:

You get a word for someone.  It's a strong word.  It means a life change for them.  You deliver the word.  They hear it.  It shakes them up. Upsets the apple cart. 

Then the word comes to pass, exactly as you said it would.  Their life changes.  They now have a new and better apple cart.  Except now they don't want THAT new one upset. 

So they avoid you.  What if you gave them another word that would tip things over once more?  You are dangerous to the Status Quo.

I'm not talking about a word of rebuke, but a word of relationship change, job change, destiny direction, ministry reset, financial change or a host of other things.

What terrifies most people about prophetic word is not that they are wrong or false.  That's easy enough.  It's when the word is not only right, but significant and it requires stepping out in faith.  That's not what people want.  They want a soft word.

People rely on the old ways.  They forget that they now prosper because they heeded the word of the Lord from the Prophet.  They have become comfortable in their new reality.  New comfort zone. In their mind they are saying, "Please Mr Ms prophet, don't disturb my comfort box.  I like it just fine".
They want to stay comfortable in the new box they occupy.

Here's how they hide from the Prophet:
  • They say "I'm able to hear from the Lord for myself" so if it threatens to disturb them, they don't want to hear.
  • They try to silence the prophetic voices around them by claiming the prophetic isn't real.
  • They try to "Kill" the prophets.  Most of the time this is done by "setting them aside, down, muzzled".
  • They depend on house prophets who fill their itching ears with whatever they WANT to hear because the real word of the Lord would be too hard.

I don't ever say, "I told you so".  They know that.  For those who say, "I want a word", that would be a one off if it came to the point where it caused them to have to step out in faith believing.  Most people want a word but don't have to move from UR like Abram did.  

There are people who read this who have indeed had a word that changed their lives and now they are cautious about getting another one.  Hiding out.

Don't be afraid, don't hide from the Prophet.  He or She is there to help you prosper... by the word of the Lord...  The Power to prosper.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Original SIN was not Eve's

I won't go into the theology of it all, but you probably know this to be true.  Adam sinned.

What WAS that sin?

BLAME - Passing the buck.  Not taking personal responsibly. It's the devils favorite scheme.

The original Sin was Adam blaming EVE and then Blaming GOD for his downfall.  His fault.

That deception is rampant in our society today.  I read a news report how the bankrupt nation of GREECE is blaming Germany for their poor choices and lousy government.  It's breeding corruption and demagoguery not seen since the 1930s when Hitler blamed the Jews for the condition of his nation. Look where that took them.

Muslims blame the crusades for the condition of their bankrupt culture (and they blame Bush.. but who doesn't).  Some politicians play that blame game as well.  How about we tell the truth and stop blaming others. 

Unions blame company managers for being stingy and keeping the money, Companies blame unions for their inability to make it in the market.

President Obama blames Fox News and Rush Limbaugh for the divide in this nation.

Politicians blame banks for the financial crisis of 2008, Banks blame politicians for the laws that caused the crisis.

People who feel threatened by government blame the ones in charge.. but when they change governments nothing changes.  So they live in fear blaming those in charge.

Russia blames the Ukraine for fomenting western ties that threatened Russian sovereignty. Ukraine blames Russia for moving against those in Crimea who wanted to kick all Russian influence out.

Black people blame white Privilege and racism for a cultural lack of structure and opportunity.   White people blame black folks for not seeing and acting on what is an obvious problem all around them and allowing it to stand without confrontation or change of behavior.

Young people blame baby boomers for taking all the good stuff and squandering it, Older people blame young people for being lazy and shiftless.

As the old saying goes, there's enough blame to go around.  What makes it doubly hard is until we stop blaming nothing can change.  Nothing will change.  We will be victims for eternity going to our graves saying "If it weren't for _______ I coulda been a contender.

Not as long as you choose to be a victim you can't.

Here is an article I commend to you.  BLAME SHIFTERS



Don't Go Changin'

TRUE STORY..

some of you who have known me a long time will know of this and who this is. I knew a young man, son of a pastor friend of mine, Steve, who was small. Short. At 16 he was not yet 5' tall. He and his parents were concerned and tried all they could. Diets, vitamins, exercise. Nothing worked. I know it seems strange but they prayed that his DNA would be reversed somehow that he might grow.

He didn't. It became a source of genuine frustration. Out of resignation once his dad said to Steve, "IF God had wanted you to be any different, he would have made you different. You are exactly what God made you to be." That took a load off his shoulders. He was feeling guilty for being differently made. 

What Steve's dad was saying is, "There is no use praying to repent of your DNA. You are what you are. In HIS eyes you are perfectly and wonderfully made."

No repentance required.

Then in early adulthood, without chemicals, without drugs, suddenly he experienced a radical growth spurt. Steve is 6' today. Why did this happen as it did? I don't know. I have many friends and relatives who are very tall, Fat, Skinny, Hairless, Hairy, Pretty, Not so much, Short, well built, scarecrow. Every shape and size. Of course there are merchants who depend on your desire to change your DNA and offer all kinds of quacks and cures. That's why cosmetics, Botox, Plastic Surgery, Implants, drugs (legal and otherwise) and every kind of quack "Change Your Life" quack cure and theology comes along. None of which will do much except drain your bank account.

Then there are different personality and temperament issues; As heritable (DNA) as your hair color, eye color and the lenght of your toes. It's you. If you have certain personality traits differing from someone else, be who you are. Don't try to imitate others. IF you have a tenancy to be aggressive, passive, pensive, organized or somethings else, as long as you are respectful of others, you need to be what you are made of. There are plenty of people who will try to convince you to change who God made you to be. They will try to lock you up in chains of guilt and condemnation. They will make sure you stay addicted to their CURE until everything you have is gone and then so are you. Then prepare to be cast aside...

I am not talking about real pathology, there is depression, violence, bi-polar disorders and such. I'm talking about the uniqueness that you were and are made to be..a star in the universe. Some bright, some red, some flaming out, some steady, some rotating around another star, some just forming, some aging out and some just "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Be who you are.

So stop blaming God for making you the way you are. You are exactly the person he created you to be.. warts and all. Get on with it. Life is far too short to spend it trying to repent of your DNA.

Friday, February 27, 2015

More than Three Reasons are Actually Excuses

An early mentor of mine used to hammer this truth into me.  That when you begin to blame others, have multiple reasons for your failure, they become excuses.  In fairness there are people who are quadriplegic or on a bed of horrid pain.  I'll accept that. They have a valid reason. 

It's all the others who have created an atmosphere of failure for themselves and others around them by offering excuses.  You may wonder what this has to do with the prophetic. The most prophetic thing I can say to those I love today is, Examine yourself.  IF you blame all your bad luck, low achievement, economic condition, state in life on bad luck, you are deceived.  We have huge swaths of good people who have bought this lie and it has put them in chains as certainly as if they were forged of steel.  So I offer up some WORLDLY WISDOM about the making and accepting of excuses.  If you are upright and well... you have no excuse except the person in the mirror.  I hold myself to that standard and so must you.. or you will stay where you are. 

Read This:

“We have more ability than will power, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.” Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld 
 
“Bad things are always going to happen in life. People will hurt you. But you can't use that as an excuse to fail or to hurt someone back. You'll only hurt yourself.”
 
“Man gives every reason for his conduct save one, every excuse for his crimes save one, every plea for his safety save one; and that one is his cowardice” George Bernard Shaw 

 Uncalled for excuses are practical confessions. Charles Simmons 

 People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." George Bernard Shaw 
 
He who excuses himself accuses himself. Gabriel Meurier 

An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie; for an excuse is a lie guarded. Alexander Pope 

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. Don Wilder 

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. George Washington Carver 

It is easier to find an excuse than to find a reason. Doug Brown 

The trick is not how much pain you feel but how much joy you feel. Any idiot can feel pain. Life is full of excuses to feel pain, excuses not to live; excuses, excuses, excuses. Erica Jong 

 For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future; but an excuse can last for life. Eric Hoffer 

We are all manufacturers. Making good, making trouble, or making excuses. H. V. Adolt

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts. Edward R. Murrow
 
It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. George Washington 

We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse. Rudyard Kipling 
 
The best job goes to the person who can get it done without passing the buck or coming back with excuses. Napoleon Hill
 
Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make a good excuse. Thomas Szasz 

 He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. Benjamin Franklin

 An excuse is worse than a lie, for an excuse is a lie, guarded. Alexander Pope
 
Bad excuses are worse than none. Thomas Fuller
 
Don't make excuses, make good. Elbert Hubbard
 
"Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far."
"Difficulty on the way to victory is opportunity for God to work". Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When Politics and Church become Vanity

As a prophet I say what God says.  As a human being I have opinions and a worldview.  I hope it is the mind of Christ.. but sometimes it's really not.  That causes confusion.

A disclaimer.  I am a conservative politically. Not republican per se, not libertarian per se, but Conservative both fiscally and socially.

I also have compassion for the poor, downtrodden, abused, rejected, those discriminated against, those who are not allowed in the front door.  For that reason I spend a lot of time with people who I know sometimes are in that boat.  I can't help steer the ship if I'm not in the boat with them.

It's a matter of choice and practice.  It's not new.  My whole life I have again and again inserted myself into a culture that is very different from my northern European white roots.  In college during the years of civil rights struggle, I was there.  Not from the outside looking in, but developing relationships that allow me to prod and poke in places most people would not dare go.  Some are offended. Some angry. Most accept what I say as sincere inquiry, discussion and disagreement.

Now in the later years I am beginning to get it.

Sunday Morning I was invited by a friend to attend a catholic church of some repute.  St Sabina.  That's the Church led by Father Michael Pfleger.  He talks about being part of the same struggle in the 1960s.  He is 65 years old.  He would have been 15 when I was 20.   He would have been 19 when MLK was killed.  I don't deny his bonifides, I did wonder a bit about his story..   A priest wouldn't make any of it up now..

The Church service was good.  The praise and worship excellent.  Good Praise dancers.  Things were in order.  It had catholic overtones.  But more urban than catholic.

When I arrived at the church I was met by several white activists on the church steps.  Handing out all sorts of material.  The kind of thing you see and hear in more liberal circles.  Cops are killing everybody, Rauner is starving people and something something something jobs - discrimination.

I took it and smiled.

When I sat down and the worship started I noted many of those people had joined the service. When people raised their hands, they stood mute.  No participating. Nothing at all. Even as the service intensified there was complete passivity.  They were there for political Jesus, not the King of Kings.  In attendance right up at the altar were Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dorn.  Friends of Barack Obama.  They were applauded.  Introduced by Father Pfleger. 

Many radical left wing people have zero faith in God, but are expedient in their participation in events. The event was a talk that was given by Cornel West.  I didn't know as much about West as I thought. Before going, I read on line a lot of what he said and wrote.  I also read those who endorsed him and those who did not.  I discovered that I liked him.  He actually is a prophetic voice and can say things I can't say.  I suspect we would have much in common if we talked very long.

After he was done speaking there was an altar call. Not for salvation. Not for repentance from dead works (of which there were plenty on display).  The altar call was to lay down your life.  Not for Jesus, but for "The Cause".  It was at that point where Father Pfleger offered his story about getting on a bus in those days of protest and not knowing if he would come back alive.  Most of the white non participating in worship white radicals went forward.  It looked to the outside like a show of unity.   It wasn't.  

After reading and studying what he said and what I heard that was presented to a majority black congregation, I get it.  He is like a lot of prophetic people.  He speaks what sounds like it is what you want to hear, but beneath the surface there is a message, a spirit.  Kim Clement does the same thing.. What you think you hear Kim say prophetically isn't what he said at all if you know how to hear with ears tuned to the frequency of God.

If people who were hearing his voice understood what he really saying many would be offended.  I won't get into it here, but he is actually right.

I stayed for the whole thing.  Left when the formal mass began being held.

NOW you probably expect me to come down on this.  I won't.  I can't. You see, I have seen EXACTLY the same behavior from the right.  The mixture (Remember God isn't real big on mixture if you read the law) of politics and Church is a vile cocktail.  Both ways.

Here's where it goes wrong, no matter the philosophy, left or right.  It is in fact taking the name of the Lord in Vain.  I know MLK used the pulpit. I know James Kennedy used the pulpit.  I know that historically the pulpit has been a tool for political change.  There is a time and place but it's not what it seems.  We have been co-opted as a church from the mission we were given on earth.  The real cause.

Those people in the pew, left wing or right wing are led to believe a falsehood:

  • Jesus is a Republican or Democrat
  • Jesus cares about political outcomes
  • Jesus is in the business of righting social wrongs thru political action
  • I am a good christian because I support the political viewpoint that my Reverend supports (and preaches).
  • I love God and I know my Reverend loves God and he is in favor of________ therefore I am too

In other words people are persuaded to a political viewpoint because of the leadership of the church, not because they are able to articulate and defend what the leaders is propounding.

Like Ezekial I must prophesy against this activity:

Ezekial 34:2-4 Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? 3"You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. 4"Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.…

The other problem is the sheep love to have their ears tickled.

Paul wrote this to Timothy at Ephesus:

2 Timothy 4:3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

This goes both ways. In the left leaning church the straw men are how oppressed everyone is, how unjust everything is, how inequality is the real problem, how people are victims and there needs to be political change.  People eat it up, the responsibility for personal life change is lifted from them and they wallow in a spiritual gutter victimized.

In the right leaning church, the straw men are some powerful forces that control everything, conspiracies, government is the enemy, if we could just get right leaders in place everything would be all right.  People eat that up because the future is where life will get better.  They believe that the nation is under a great judgement because of liberals.

I know this because I have been a proponent of these things.

My eyes were opened. I saw how vain this whole thing really is, vanity of effort that only keeps people in bondage and taking the name of the Lord in Vain.

Here's what I know for sure, God has few mandates that he is really serious about. He changes our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, and from there he expects us to be filled with the Spirit of God and respond in love.

Father knows best and that is nothing will change until peoples hearts are changed.

  • Gangs and killing on the streets?  Not gun control, Heart Changes
  • Babies born rampantly to single moms, not more welfare support, Heart Change
  • People gaming the system to live well and not work.. not rules, Heart Change
  • People taking advantage of others who need work and so they don't pay them .. not minimum wage, Heart Change
  • People saying racist things about others, not hate law, Heart Change
  • Corruption in government, not prosecution, Heart Change

We have to get away from the idea that religious political activism is the answer.. left or right and begin to focus on heart change. 

What I saw on Sunday Morning at St Sabina had nothing to do with heart change and even those who listened carefully to Cornel West didn't get what he was saying... hard hearts needing change walked away convinced he just reinforced what they already believed. He didn't.









Monday, February 23, 2015

When you know that you know and you really didn't want to know that much

I have always had some level of prophetic vision.  I didn't understand it. I don't claim anything.  It just has always been there.  Even when I was very young I remember instances where it manifested.

I think most people have some prophetic vision but it is often repressed by culture, peer pressure and educational bias as they grow older.

I remember the first time I was shocked with a vision.  I was 14 years old.  I was helping out at the store. A man and his two sons came in to get parts for a piece of farm machinery.  He was always a kind decent man.  I waited on him.  Got him what he wanted..  Then I looked at him and it was like looking at a corpse.  Vacant. Not there.  I didn't say anything.  I was 14.  He didn't seem unusually unhappy nor different.  Just a decent farmer.  I just knew inside that he was about to die.  The next day he went out to the field and hung himself by a piece of rope suspended from the auger of his combine.  It was horrid to think about and I felt so bad for his sons.

I never told anyone what I saw that day.  Not anyone till writing it now, here.  It is memorable because it was so clear.  Had I said to him (as I would today) to encourage him to look beyond his present pain (debt) and that life was worth living for himself, his boys and his wife and brothers, but I was 14 years old. 

That's why it's so hard to lay hands on someone today and have their whole world open up to my spiritual eyes.  Not always, but sometimes.  Then what to do?  When I see impending disaster, like a few days ago, I must say something.  It has demonstrated the importance of the Gift of the Prophetic vision in the lives of God's beloved. 

The same is true when God gives a vision of the future.  The response must be sharing it with people that need to know.  I try to put in print to help others get a grasp of what is about to happen. When I say about to happen,  there is no timetable.  It's never certain, just WHAT not WHEN.   That frustrates many..  but it's how the prophetic works.

There is a yet unfulfilled vision that was given me several years ago after Barack Obama was elected. I saw him no longer in office.. before his term was up.   The circumstances of his absence not seen.  Yet he was gone.  I know many would say that this is wishful thinking on my part since I have had disdain for the job he is doing as president.  Yet I know how divisive this would be in our country.  It's already become a huge issue dividing the nation right in half in response to what he is or has done.  Nothing happens in a vacuum and this will not. It is not in the best untruest of the USA for this to happen.  Believe me, we would have serious repercussions.

I reveal this vision because if it comes to pass, I am hopeful that those who might be affected will use restraint in response to this event.  I hope and PRAY that he completes his term and is retired quietly on January 20, 2017.  

Yet to deny the empty chair is to deny the reality of the vision.  If I saw rightly, God save us, if I didn't -- Pick up a stone and be the first to cast it.