In these days of seeking the Kingdom and His righteousness, it’s appropriate and honest to share the recent events and encounters that are part of these days. If I gave only the glowing accounts of the victories and unprecedented encounters with God, I would be dishonest. Here are some recent accounts of my experiences in an environment of budding revival.
Earlier this year, I came into the den and told April I needed some understanding and comfort. We talked together about how hard this has all become. It had begun to feel like we were orphans. God seemed very distant. We believed we’d heard from the Spirit of God recently, but worship had become mundane and predictable.
When our faith was vibrant was when worship was exciting and fun. We’d both spent a lot of our years in ministry leadership when worship was mundane and ritual based. God bless the faithfulness, but most of the worship environments we’d been in were not spiritual and truthful. We longed for spaces and times of praise that were Spirit-based and open for God to meet us as we were and affect us however God chose. Our current worship setting was free and Spirit-based, but my heart was drifting regularly. A lot of this feeling didn’t come from an accurate depiction of our worship environment. It more accurately described my heart.
While my heart was going through ebbs and flows, April was witnessing some signs that made you wonder. One such sign was oil that would materialize in the palms of her hands unexplainably. It would occur during worship or sometime during the day we had or were about to worship. She was growing encouraged, and I was slowly growing skeptical.
One day earlier this month, I went into a rant that stemmed from an account of a mission trip I’d read about that produced lives changed and overwhelmed by the goodness of God. It was evidently wonderful, but I was painfully envious. After several choice words and expressions of anger and frustration, I told April I quit. If it could happen through regular church folks in a foreign set of circumstances, it could happen here, but it wasn’t happening here with any regularity (at least, regularity that didn’t suit me).
One of the roots to these feelings was that I felt I wasn’t doing things right, faithfully, lovingly. I was mad at myself. I was also mad at God. Folks went from their comfort zone into a mission circumstance and God showed up mightily. While I ranted about how unfair this was, I let God have it, too. I’ve been angry at God before. I was familiar with this territory, and my heavenly Father was evidently familiar with this coming from me, as well.
I went for a short walk. I’ve done this before to get this out of my system. When I arrived back home I was thinking April had every reason to be angry with me because I helped nothing by displaying my vulgar vocabulary and throwing my breakfast dish to the carpet (good thing it was carpeted). She met me at the door. I apologized to her. I embarrassed myself with my rant. She asked me how I was, told me it was alright, and that she loved me. I leaned against the wall and cried. She came to me and hugged me. I knew these feelings were linked to past failures and frustrations in ministry and life, in general. I have a bad habit of digging up old feelings related to defeats and failures. I have an enemy that hooks me in those same spots when I’m vulnerable.
She later asked me after some good, frank conversation, “Are these feelings of anger toward past hurts (fiery darts) a reflection of Christ in you?” I said, “No, they’re not.” Then I knew where they came from. She kept telling me these feelings were not coming from me. They weren’t part of my nature. I began to believe that and knew I had to begin to pay attention to when these feelings would arise, recognize what was not from the nature of Christ in me, and command it to leave because it didn’t originate from me.
I hate ranting. It used to make me feel alive. Now, well, it’s not good for me or the people around me because it’s not grounded in love and truth and the Spirit. Forgive me, Lord. I repent. Have mercy on me in the name of Jesus.
DREAMS & MOMENTUM
Not long ago, April dreamed of a sickly white demon. She stood on a porch. The demon (she knew it was a demon) came and stood in front of her. The two began to wrestle. It was muscular with long arms. She thought she couldn’t win, but she repeatedly cast it to the ground. She also repeatedly said to it, “I adjure you!” This meant to renounce, reject. She thought in the dream that it was odd to use such a word, but this was a sign to her that this was a dream from God.
In the morning, she looked up adjure to make sure she understood the meaning. She also researched the meaning of the color white in a negative connotation. One of the meanings of white negatively in a dream was a religious spirit. She and I have dreamed a lot about churches, church people, church activities recently. This dream falls in line with the others. To no one else but ourselves, we renounce repeatedly our covenantal association with the denomination we’ve been called out from (our new calling was confirmed months ago by my brother-in-law having a vision about us). That might be the repeated casting down of the demon and rebuking, adjuring. Why do we continue to dream these dreams in lesser or greater degrees? We’re not sure.
I dreamed recently April and I were on a beach that was familiar to me. We were there with many other people. There was activity, but the big thing was the size of the waves down the shoreline from us. The waves were growing bigger and bigger. I was unsettled because I didn’t know what would happen to us if they came our way. Then I heard an air raid/tornado siren. I wondered if that had anything to do with the size of the waves. In the wave break closest to us there were no waves, just clouds of dust as if there were a series of explosions as if at a demolition site. I then found myself in a department store that doubled as an apartment building full of activity and church people, some I recognized but most I didn’t.
In the past week I’ve felt a growing sense of momentum, that something was growing, and it was good. I have a growing sense of optimism and hope that I cannot explain. I know it’s from God, but I can’t explain it. Anna had come home from an extended choir trip to Florida earlier this week. I told her I felt I had some good news to tell her, but I couldn’t express it. It was just good news. She accepted it.
Good news, like the waves growing in size at the seashore (a world-wide revival to come was described recently as a tsunami wave in a prophetic word declared publicly in Toronto), is coming to all of us. What about the confusion and rants and feelings of past disappointments? The good news of God’s growing momentum to express love to the entire world exceeds any fleshly rant or fiery dart. Don’t focus on what is not an expression founded in our new nature in Christ. The good that’s coming far exceeds the pitiful lies and deception of a fallen foe. Alleluia!