Yahweh Highway

Interstate 24 on the southern edge and 64 on the north carry travelers east and west.

I57 connects north and south of this region we call home. We know that the tragedy and trauma, the dark clouds of poverty, and all manner of mayhem and death are not natural; they are demonic.

A decade has passed since we claimed healing for our land. It is high time to reclaim the truth of the heritage of our name: Little Egypt can no longer connote misery and shame. We are the bread basket, the heart of this State, the provision in this era of famine. People are dying for lack of sustenance from the Word, from having nothing to consume but the empty boxes labeled promises from the world.

We are soaring above as we wait on the Lord but rooted and grounded solidly in God’s love. We understand and accept and are using the keys we’ve been given to unlock God’s power to turn the evil unleashed into our region into lovingkindness. In humility but without shame, we accept the mantle of Melchizedek, both priest and king, as Christ lives in us and we allow Him to reign.

Distractions cannot impact or bind us because the great and mighty gavel of the Lord’s judgment has landed with a thunderous sound, releasing His river of living water to refresh and cleanse our land. He has sent us out to execute His judgment, the sentence of imprisonment to bind Satan’s realm, freeing the redeemed.

“Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls salvation and your gates praise.” Isaiah 60:18

The authority to execute God’s judgment is our burden and joy. He has released His arrow to the North and the South. In answer to God’s leading, through the blood, oil, and salt, we have annointed the entire area. God’s light now shines to light the way for all who are called by His love.

The Spirit of the Lord now goes before, allowing us to safely rest, trusting Him to keep evil at bay and tragedy and trauma slayed. We rest in Him as we continue the push and pull of praying against evil, poverty, addiction, and disease, and calling for God’s light to shine and our authority in Jesus to prevail against all forces of darkness.

We have seen the water shimmering above, below, and all around, pouring brilliantly through His open window to fill our homeland and wash us clean, breaking off the chains of fear and dread. Malachi first saw the refiner’s fire and knew the launderer’s soap would purify us as priests and kings, making this offering pleasing to our Father, who has come near us that we may witness His judgment “against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien–because they do not fear” God, the Lord of hosts.  We listen as God tells us now that He is rebuking the devourer for our sakes, and He assures all who will listen that the fruit of this ground shall no longer be destroyed and this vine shall not fail to bear fruit for us who are out in His field. “‘And all nations will call you blessed, and you will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3.

The Yahweh Highway is open and clear. Travel it freely wherever He leads, with praise in your heart sung out loud without fear.

Amen and amen.

 

Triage

Some say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that’s true,

but all villages include thieves and liars and fools.

Whether we like it or not, each makes an imprint the child carries with him always.

So what our children really need is a triage team that prays;

some who see the yearnings, and some who see the fears,

some who battle the enemy, and others who know the tears

the child has cried, alone in the night,

as well as his greatest delights.

Every day brings another load of emergencies to prioritize, stabilize,

and heal from the inside out.

It takes a triage team, waiting nearby, standing in the gap,

knowing when and what to pray about

to raise a child who’s always protected,

knows s/he is loved, now by us,

and eternally by God.

Amen and amen.

Magnify

Old people connected by family ties

to a young virgin girl,

not only a virgin in body,

but surely innocent of the ways of the world.

 

Old Zacharias did what he knew to be right

and served his Lord but that

shred of doubt made him

deaf and dumb, unable to tell even

Elizabeth the wonderful news

or hear her joy and delight.

 

Like Zacharias, Mary could not believe

the marvelous truth at first,

but God did not need to shut

her mouth or ears; she and

Elizabeth both pondered

these things in their hearts.

 

The Holy Spirit so sweetly and

powerfully at work in this

time and place to birth

the only way back

to the God of the world.

 

Old Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth,

the young peasant girl Mary,

and the babies who would

herald and fulfill the dawn of

salvation; every soul ever born now

able if willing to magnify the Lord

through His Son Jesus Christ.

Amen and amen.

(From Luke 1:5-80, NKJV)

The View

Blindness comes in many forms–physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. For some, healing happens in stages over expanses of time.

A dear friend of mine has a form of blindness that typically begins early in life. This beautiful young woman cannot see how fearfully and wonderfully and perfectly God has created her, inside and out. Somewhere along the way, the enemy enticed her to look a little too long at the uber-thin, air-brushed, models in magazines and the tiny, botoxed actresses who’ve had teams of make-up artists and lighting directors spending hours making them look “better” than reality.  My friend bought in to the enemy’s lie that if she did not fit into a certain size of clothing or look like these models and actresses, she should be ashamed of her looks.

God understands how easily so many of us fall into this trap. We don’t realize that it is a trap when we start comparing ourselves to others whose looks conform to our society’s current standard.  The enemy also uses another related ploy to keep us down in the pit of body-shame: he tricks us with false feelings of humility. My friend is kind and considerate, easily puts other people first and has a genuinely humble heart that never boasts or puts herself above others. The enemy can slip in the back door unnoticed and twist our God-given and God-honoring humility into a self-loathing that no longer honors God because it puts the world’s image of what we’re “supposed” to look like above the uniquely wonderful body God actually gave us.

Of course, we need balance too. God expects us to care for these amazing bodies and minds He gave us, and He certainly doesn’t want us to hate someone else because she’s beautiful in the ways our society values most. But He’s given us a roadmap for keeping that balance:

I beseech you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

I pray that my friend learns to see, over and over again every day, how amazingly beautiful and valuable and perfect she is, just as she is today. I pray that her perception shifts from seeing herself through the lens of the world’s totally unrealistic expectations to seeing herself from heaven’s view–fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image, beloved, strong, and uniquely perfect. I pray the same for me because I still struggle with that perspective problem too. I pray for anyone who has only seen how they don’t measure up to the world’s standards, that we may each be transformed as God renews our minds to see ourselves through the love of Jesus.

Amen and amen.

Can you see?

Miracles happen, sometimes in an instant, but sometimes over decades. Sometimes we recognize the miracle, but too often we allow the enemy to provide an explanation that puts the miracle into terms of our every day world view. When we stop seeing the miracle through God’s divine sovereignty, we lose it. The miracle happened, but we only see how it occurred in the natural realm.

Jesus rebuked Peter for speaking against the divine plan for salvation that required Jesus to go to the cross, be killed for our sins, and then rise from the dead in ultimate victory. See Mark 8:31-33. Jesus knew that Satan was the source of Peter’s inability to see the Father’s plan, and He immediately rebuked Peter for going along with Satan’s lie, lowering the sovereign plan of God into the realm man’s limitations. If we are willing to listen, Jesus will rebuke us too when we speak out against His miracle-work on earth, calling it merely an everyday occurrence stripped bare of God’s power and authority.

I have a friend who had a serious, acute medical issue. She asked me for prayer, and I gladly prayed for Jesus to heal her completely. The tests results were negative; none of the problems she feared showed up. She was relieved that the doctors had found a simple problem with an easy solution. I was happy that she would not have to face the worst, but I failed completely to rebuke her for not seeing the miracle God had given her. I have confessed my sin, and God faithfully forgave me. But my friend lost sight of the miracle God gave her.

I pray now for the courage to always speak up when I see a miracle in my life and in other’s. Satan comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus comes to give us life, but not just life on earth bound by our own explanations for how all this works. He comes to give us an abundance of miracles that cannot be explained away with our logic or intellect. See John 10:10.

May I and everyone to whom He has connected me accept the divine truth of miracles every time we receive them.

Amen and amen.

Don’t Be Petrified

When we were kids, many of our moms told us, “If you make that face long enough, it’ll get stuck that way.” I certainly heard that warning many times as I stuck out my tongue at my sisters.  And we all know how bad habits form a rut that makes it harder and harder over time to pull out of.

Turns out our moms were on to something. When Jesus came into a synagogue to preach, the religious leaders “watched Him closely,” hoping that He would break one of their man-made rules “so thay they might accuse Him.” Mark 3:2. Jesus knew that they were plotting against Him, wanting to accuse Him of breaking their rules for healing someone on the Sabbath. Jesus healed the man despite the Pharisees’ condemnation, but He was “grieved by the hardnes of their hearts.” Mark 3:5.

The word for hardness in Greek, as used in this passage, is “porosis,” which refers to blindness caused by hardening or callousness. It is also a medical term that describes the process of a fractured bone’s extremity being petrified.

When we continually choose not to see the love of God, when we choose only to see how Jesus breaks the rules we’ve erected to give us a sense of control over our world, we fracture our relationship with our creator, just like breaking a bone in our arm. If we leave that bone broken, it will eventually set in that crooked, broken position. The end of the bone, broken off from its source of life, will harden, become useless, petrified. It will get stuck that way just like Mom warned.

But the great news is (and there’s always great news to be found in God’s kingdom), with one cry of a hardened heart, Jesus can turn our heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26. So Moms need not worry when their kids make faces at each other. They’re not really gonna get stuck that way. But anyone who sets his face against God and continues to scowl at Him, refusing to accept His love, will too soon get stuck that way.

If your face is stuck in a permanent scowl, just look up! Turn your eyes to look for God. If you choose to begin the journey back to Him, He will return to you. Zechariah 1:3. You might even find yourself smiling.

Amen and amen.

 

A Pure Language

“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.” Zephaniah 3:9

Yesterday evening, a friend at church asked me to explain to another friend how I had received the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues. This is where many readers will roll their eyes and be tempted to stop reading. Years ago, I too would have thought, “Oh no! She’s getting into that weirdo stuff only holy rollers believe in.” Well, I challenge you to continue reading; of course I am a holy roller–washed in the blood of Jesus and so crazy in love with Him that I can’t help but sing His praises every chance I get. You certainly should stop reading if you do not want overflowing joy that sustains you in the valleys and sometimes lifts you up to soar like an eagle.h

But my friend was hungry to hear how the Holy Spirit gave me this precious gift. Here is how it happened:

Until I was in my late 50’s, I didn’t know anything about this gift and thought it was a hoax, just another gimmick to get some old fashioned church goers lathered up so they could show off.  Then I began attending New Life Church of God in Benton, where it was common for people to speak in tongues during the service. But there was no show or production, just a quiet reverance from the congregation and almost always an interpretation in English from another worshiper. I came to realize that the Holy Spirit was palpably present in those moments, like He had wrapped us all in a warm, soft comforter, holding us in His loving arms.

When I read chapter 3 of Zephaniah, my heart almost leaped out of my chest at the promise that God Himself planned to restore to all believers “a pure language,” one that allows “all” of us to “call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord.” (verse 9) Then, I read what this means to God:

“The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with          singing.” Zephaniah 3:17.

Then I understood. My simple openess to this gift of the Holy Spirit would give my Father in heaven cause to rejoice over me with gladness.  As I opened my mouth, willing to allow the Holy Spirit to undertake speaking to God Himself in a language so pure I could not understand it with my mind but only with my heart, I was simply submitting to God’s sovereignty in a new, miraculous, unfathomable way. God delights so much in our participation with the Holy Spirit that He rejoices over us with singing every time we allow His pure language to come forth. To me, this realization melts my heart, causing my pride and fear to wash away.

I spent quite a bit of time alone with God, allowing His word to grow deeply in me, before I was able to let go of control over my vocal chords enough to allow the Holy Spirit to undertake for me. I was not in church with others but alone, at home, during my sweetest time of the day, my morning meetings with God, where He shows me who He is through His word. When I finally let go of control and sincerely asked the Holy Spirit to undertake for me, He spoke through this amazed old lady with unknown words spilling out in a waterfall of diamonds and rubies and topaz light. That light then burst forth in my spirit, burning down the walls of resistance I had erected, thinking I needed to keep parts of my life only for me and away from God. As those walls came crashing down, the light washed me clean and free as never before. I knew I was changed forever, that right down to my DNA, I was truly a new creation.

Now, although I still struggle because I live in a fallen world where the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), I now have the constant assurance that I don’t have to rely on only the words I can think up in my own limited mind. The fact that I don’t know how to pray as I ought (Romans 8:26) no longer hampers my prayers. Now I have access to that pure language that delights my Father in heaven, and the prayers of my heart are transformed into the song of my Father.

So this tesimony is first for my friend. She knows who she is. And it is for anyone wanting more and more of God. May God Himself enlighten the eyes of your heart.