Friday, May 31, 2013

In the Sight of Everyone



There are secrets that are kept.  Not everyone would understand.  Not everyone would appreciate the disclosure of what is hidden.  Not everyone would treat us the same if they found out what’s been hidden and now revealed.

In Psalm 31: 19-20, I found some words that speak to me about our current circumstances.
O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you,
and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone!
In the shelter of your presence you hide them from human plots; you hold them safe under your shelter from contentious tongues.

In our circumstances that are grafted into what the Lord has declared and promised to us, we’re living in a season where God is really all our security.  We believe the Lord has brought us to a place of absolute dependence on him because of what he’s revealed to us will only be accomplished through his power and grace.  So, we respect the Lord above all other authorities, and we trust in his abundant goodness for us as we take refuge in God in the sight of everyone.

This weekend, the denomination’s mantle under which we have lived for over 20 years of ministry will be formally lifted off of us by a voice vote in executive session of the clergy in our conference.  It is not a disciplinary action, but an acknowledgement of our wills being exercised in surrendering our ordinations.  We surrendered our ‘authority’ (really, as April says, “we have responsibilities, but no authority) because we believed we couldn’t in good conscience remain under the denominational mantle and do things in ministry in opposition to the church’s ecclesiology.  With that being our choice, we fear the Lord most of all in light of his inspiration and direction.  We take refuge in God alone.  Alleluia!  In the sight of everyone!

Often I’ve kept secrets from my world regarding what I believe about myself and my relationships. None of this is earth shattering.  The secrets have been locked boxes that contained feelings or judgments I’ve willingly kept to myself because I didn’t want to be judged or ridiculed.  It’s that simple. 

In this season, April and I have acted willfully to give testimony of what we believe God has called us to do and be.  With that being true, we’re keeping no secrets (take a look at our ministry website to read our ministry vision and mission - https://sites.google.com/site/safeharborofalbertville/).  This is what God has called us to do and be, and we’re taking refuge in him in the sight of everyone.  I may be reading these verses from my neediness, but how these words strike is that we’re taking refuge in God openly, in the sight of everyone, unashamed. 

How are you to live out your faith in these days in the sight of everyone, openly, uashamed?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Doctor!



A few days ago I was suffering from muscle soreness and a rising temperature.  This led to an evening of flu like symptoms including the need for me to don a hoodie and to curl up on the bed.  I asked April to pray for me twice.  In the second prayer, she declared, “Jesus, you told us you’d be our insurance.  We trust in you for healing and our health.” 

The insurance reference was in the context of a dream April had many months ago that confused her greatly at the time.  She dreamed that Jesus stood before her and told her, “I’ll be your insurance.”  In the days we currently live, the dream makes outrageous sense today, and I experienced the Godly benefit of healing that only God could provide.  I rose from the bed the next morning feeling much better with no temp.  Alleluia!

This experience brought back to mind an episode several years ago when I was experiencing a ‘male health’ issue.  It had grown persistent (don’t you love a mystery?) and I was beginning to worry.  One night, I dreamt of having a conversation with a woman I respected greatly from a church I was pastoring.  In the middle of the conversation her voice was muted and replaced by a loud voice yelling, “Doctor!”  This startled me awake.  “Wow!”  I thought.  I had never experienced anything like that. 

I soon made a doctor’s appointment.  I was examined and blood was drawn.  I came back a week later.  My symptoms had sense subsided but I was still worried what the blood work might disclose.  Come to find out my cholesterol was 260.  The doctor said he didn’t want to prescribe meds and preferred I attempt to change my diet and lifestyle, if I was open to that.  I was cool with that.  I went back to the doctor in 5 months after cutting back on drive thru fare, eating more veggies and fruit and incorporating daily walking and jogging in my life.  He drew blood from me.  I went back in a few days to find out my cholesterol had dropped 60 points.  He had never seen anything like that without meds.  He congratulated me.  I thanked him and praised the Lord. 

First of all, pay attention to your dream life.  God can and will use dreams to communicate to us when our minds are calm as we sleep.  Two verses I know speak of God’s activity in the night as we sleep.

‘Where is God my Maker, who gives strength in the night.’
--Job 35: 10 (NRSV)
‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.’
--Job 35: 10 (NIV & NASB)

And . . .

Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
--Psalm 121: 4 (NASB & NRSV)

There are other verses that refer to God’s movements at night.  That’s all cool.  The best thing is when your dreams move to being efficacious.  The dreams become effective when you act on what is communicated to you.  April prayed over me and declared in faith that Jesus was to be our insurance.  Alleluia.  I’m much better.  When I heard, “Doctor”, I knew what I was supposed to do, which brings me to my second point.

The Lord does whatever pleases him.
--Psalm 115: 3 & 135: 6

The ‘male health’ issue (don’t you love a mystery?) led me to having my blood examined and the high cholesterol found which could have led to a stroke.  The ‘issue’ subsided after the exam, but the blood work was the most important thing.  Alleluia.

Healing can come in many forms and fashions, and it’s the nature of God to heal.  He loves all of us, and it’s my responsibility to give testimony of what my Lord has done so that worship would be inspired for generations to come (Psalm 102 In the Message). 

Additionally, our God uses dreams to communicate his will for us.  My words of caution to you regarding this is that you must bear in mind, our own subconscious can project uneasiness or fear or whatever into our dreams.  This may not be God speaking to you.  Also, our enemy can, on occasion, attack our souls in the night.  My best advice is to grow accustomed to what your heavenly Father sounds like when the sun’s up and how he chooses to talk to you.  Don’t attribute every form of communication that enters your soul and spirit to God.  That’s a mistake.

It’s all gonna be OK.