Friday, April 24, 2015

Perfectionism, Laziness & The Trigger

I found a quote from the author, Hugh MacLeod - "The best way to get approval is not to need it."

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.  -- Psalm 25: 1-3

Do not let us be put to shame as we wait for you, Lord.  If we're missing you and what you want to do for us and through us, bring teaching and revelation in our lives to give us direction and inspiration.  

Saturday morning, Kris Vallotton posted on Facebook.  He wrote about laziness.

If this post offends you, I would remind yourself that I am quoting the Scriptures and maybe your offense is conviction. . . .  Jesus said work is the catalyst to city transformation. He said, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)"  Here is what Solomon said about lazy people; "He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys." (Proverbs 18:9)  "Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger."(Proverbs 19:15)  In fact the Bible warns us about lazy "believers" who refuse to earn a living for their families. It says, "If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8) 

My father accused me of being lazy when I was a kid, and he'd put me to work.  He'd come into the house when I was a kid and demanded I stop playing and come outside and help him with some house project or yard work.  His demanding was always done with anger and condemnation.  In affect, stop being a kid and get out here.  Stop being lazy.  

I remember the accusations and being told what to do in a gruff, frustrated tone.  I then got lost in the work in order to numb the humiliation and shame.  The accusations and hurrying to get to work with my angry father is what I hated.  I told April about these memories arising in me after reading Kris' post.  She reminded me the Lord doesn't accuse.  

We went to worship at Word Alive Sunday.  Kent preached on necessary actions are to accompany faith.  Armchair faith won't get it done after you've prayed and declared what you've believed.  There must be corresponding action.  With 2 Kings 3: 16-21 a biblical reference, he said, "Expect - so, dig a ditch."  And, "Holy Spirit is the helper, not the doer."  So much of what he said or alluded to sounded like Kris - Stop being lazy.  Its so curious to me we've had to counter these things we've heard from people we respect and love.

During the message, April heard in her spirit, "Proverbs 6: 6."  She looked it up.  "Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways and be wise."  She thought to herself, "What?"  We kept speaking to each other on our way home that we're not lazy and slackers.  

During worship, I checked my spirit and thought, "I've been writing.  The Lord told me to write.  What I write will inspire generations to worship.  Regardless, if I have four readers or not, I'm doing what I'm called to do."

I can't be perfect in what I do and what comes out of my work, or, even, how I live my spiritual life. Maybe this is what discourages me.  Perfectionism is a myth, and it can't be resolved through hard work.

The next morning, April said why didn't we hear what Kent said Sunday and celebrated because we're exactly where we ought to be because we believed and acted all along the way.  We didn't react that way.  We felt shame because we felt we were doing little, if anything, right now.  We agreed our reaction was evidence we were under attack.  Christian friends were not our adversaries.  The enemy is putting the screws to us.

I told April later I was angry with myself for not seeing the change in my work schedule on Sunday sooner. I clocked in at work on Sunday afternoon at 4 instead of 3.  They changed my schedule to a 3 to 9 shift. Days earlier, my shift that day was to start an hour later.  I realized the change the next day.  My perfection gene arose with anger. I was disturbed with myself. I somehow should have known better.  

This made me feel imperfect when keeping track of my schedule is my responsibility - "stop playing and be perfect, stop writing and be perfect, stop praying and worshiping and be perfect.  You ought to do more, and, thereby receive acceptance and love and appreciation by what you accomplish."

April said that was the trigger that made me feel ashamed.  She then said to me to go to that time of pain with my father.  Jesus was there with me those days when I felt ashamed for playing and not working with Dad.  What would Jesus have said to me those days?  I went to that time and place in my spirit.  It made me cry because Jesus would have accepted and loved me.  He wouldn't shame me.  His love for me was greater than the shame I felt.

As I drove to work that afternoon, I found Need To Breathe's song, Something Beautiful on my You Tube channel. I played it and cried again.  Alleluia.

The next day at work, I went out to the parking lot to assist Charles and his wife with a bag of potting soil.  I walked with them to their car.  He told me he'd lost strength because of cancer treatment.  I lifted the potting soil into the back of their van.  I then turned to Charles, told him my name and asked him his and asked if I could pray for him.  He said yes.  I prayed over him the Lord's best and complete healing.  He and his wife thanked me.

Later on, a co-worker asked me to assist a woman and her daughter with groceries.  I followed them to their car.  The mother's hair was growing back from falling out recently.  My co-worker had said to me in a whisper the mother had cancer.  As I followed them, she said her and her daughter go out of the house intentionally when she has tough days.  As we made it to the car and opened the rear hatch, I saw a Celebrate Recovery Bible.  That was my open door, the trigger that encouraged me to reach out.  After Anita put her daughter in her car seat and closed the hatch, I asked if I could pray for her.  She agreed, and I felt compassion come.  I prayed and stumbled over some words because of the Lord's compassion for her over me.  When I finished, she thanked me and paused with an expression of emotion that caught her by surprise.  I said, "Yeah, I felt that, too."

I may not be perfect, but I'm not lazy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Furniture From Behind the Curtain

I dreamed earlier this week.  There was a lot going on, including throwing Frisbees, but I mostly remember one thing. I walked into a room.  A color, console TV was on.  Someone was sitting on the carpeted floor in front of it.  Dr. Charles Stanley, a Baptist TV preacher and author from First Baptist in Atlanta, was preaching.  I said, "My mother loved Charles Stanley."

I was then in the congregation near the front.  I didn't hear Charles Stanley say a word, but I knew he was preaching about Acts 2, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and moving as in relocating.  As a metaphor in the sermon, he directed what was behind a curtain to be brought out on the dais.  Identical pieces of furniture were already on the platform - two chairs and a communion table (all I can recall) - were brought out from behind a curtain.  These pieces had been in storage and were covered in dust.

Could this be a prophetic sign we're moving our dust covered items, including ministry items, out of storage around Pentecost - end of May, first of June? 

Back in July, I referenced Doug Addison, a prophet from California (High & Extended, 7/11/14).  He wrote on his ministry blog (http://dougaddison.com/2015/04/prophetic-word-opportunity-knocking/) last week, "April would be a time when new doors of opportunity would be opening. It will take 'rising above' your current situation to gain higher levels of revelation. Well, opportunities are now knocking. Get ready to open the door and watch things begin to happen quickly."  I find it ironic Doug writes it will take rising above your current situation to gain revelation while the last time I referenced Doug Addison was in a post entitled High & Extended.  Interesting.

I believe I've written before not everyone appreciates or accepts what's labelled prophetic if its not in the Bible.  I understand that.  You have to value the sources of such utterances before you accept what is said.  I agree.  For me, Doug speaks to me when he writes.  If he's right, he's right.  If he's wrong, he needs to refrain from sharing and calling it prophetic.  I'm going to refer to what he's written recently, and how it's applicable to our circumstances.  If this isn't your cup of tea, I encourage you to stop reading.  If your interested in what follows, I pray it speaks to you, as well.

Doug writes, "It is a time of acceleration but it might appear to take you by surprise. Just as the enemy brings surprise attacks, God is opening surprise blessings. These open doors and the release of higher-level revelation will require you to rise above your situation and circumstances. In other words, it might not look like a blessing at first."

I'm still not sure what he means by rising above your circumstances.  I tend to believe he means to gaze high and expect more in these days despite what's going on.  Surprises are bound to happen, but blessings may be in disguise.  Choppy times will need to be eclipsed.  "God will use what may seem like opposition."  Doug continues, "It is actually the wind of change that is here to bring strategic repositioning that will set you up for advancement."  This comforts us.  

He writes he had another dream.  He was on a beach playing Frisbee with a prophetic leader he knew (In the lead paragraph of this post I mentioned dreaming of throwing Frisbees, too). "The wind increased and would blow my Frisbee tosses back into my own hands. Then he threw it to me and it caught the wind. I was able to catch it on my index finger, which represents gaining greater direction.

"This is what things may feel like right now for many people." Doug writes, "Your efforts to break through haven’t seemed to amount to much. Watch for the wind of the Spirit to shift to your favor and see direction come as the month progresses."  We have definitely felt this over the last couple years.  I claim this in faith.  For me to dream of throwing a Frisbee the night before I read this post is kind of cool.  I've learned often coincidence is the language of the Spirit.

Doug continues by writing we shouldn't be alarmed.  Embracing the pain of change will help in these days. Don't choose to view change as setbacks.  Don't panic and stay focused. 

"Don’t be distracted or get too busy." Doug writes, "With this new wind of change here it will bring many 'dry bones' (my post, A Dream Anniversary, 2/26/14) and dead dreams to life. The natural tendency of this sudden burst of new life and energy will tempt you to try to start running too early. Pace yourself and let the refreshment of the Holy Spirit revive your vision first. As you do this it will allow you to pace yourself for greater things that are yet to come."

This particular point of insight reminds me of April's recent dreams when she's heard the word, "cyclops."  I've believed that to mean to stay focused.  Don't be distracted or misdirected.

The relevance of this post from Doug to me ends with his insistence for the reader to track all that God is saying to us. "Journal, draw or write out what you are hearing and dreaming. Clarity will increase as you consistently do this."

He concluded by conveying a dream he had recently of a white worm eating the words off his computer screen after he'd type.

"When I realized this was happening, I woke up, prayed and broke this attack over others and myself. Don’t back down from writing or releasing your message. It will help people and it is a major part of what God is calling us to do right now."

I've expressed frustration in feeling tired in my soul since I acquired my new job.  When I've had time to write, I haven't had the energy or focus to devote myself to it.  Maybe for me to post and journal what I believe God is speaking in these days is my rising above my circumstances.  Just sticking to it and recording what I can and believing the anointing will guide me to write and give testimony has brought me to write.

Again, if this kind of post is not your cup of tea, I will not insist you should continue to read my musing and reflections and experiences.  I don't even insist you should believe what I write.  My business is to write what I believe God is saying and doing and that all this will inspires generations to come worship him (Psalm 102: 18-22).   What I will always write and say with boldness is these are wonderful days to be alive, and what is to come will eclipse the past.  I invite you to follow along and see what the Lord is and will do.  Alleluia. Selah.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Flat Tire

I had a flat tire on my way to work recently.  I pulled over two blocks from home.  The rear, driver's side tire was absolutely deflated.  I changed it.  The spare was fully inflated.  Alleluia.  I called my employer's automated message service to report I'd be late.  All of this and changing the tire worked like a charm.  I thank my earthly father for teaching me - in this case, teaching me to change a tire with confidence.  Thank you, Lord, for my father, Harry.  Bless him, Lord, with your loving presence to bring him joy and peace in these days.  Alleluia.

I can't help but ask my heavenly Father what this flat tire might mean prophetically.  I wrote on this blog a couple days prior to the flat about the refreshing of my prophetic gifting in January, the dream about Eli receiving the scholarship and its fulfillment last month (Fulbright Dream, 4/1/15).  As I pulled away from the house and making my first turns, I knew one of the tires was flat.  When I stopped and looked at the tires and found the flat one, it came to me I sensed a few days before this could happen, and, suddenly, there was the manifestation.

As I walked in the cul-de-sac the next morning, I asked the Lord if there was anything I was to learn from this flat tire.  I walked, prayed and looked at the car.  I then had a subtle sense regarding that particular tire.  It was old and bald.  I believe its the oldest of the four.  The impression I had was its the last, original tire to be replaced - a sign of complete transition from what was to what is and will be.  In addition, a vehicle is a symbol of ministry.

I continue to recollect learning to change and the actual changing of tires.  This is one of those things I attribute to my father's teaching.  I changed my rear tires to snow tires on my first car, a '73 Chevelle, a hand-me-down from my brother.  The learning may have started there.

I remember talking to Eli on the phone when he had a flat on an interstate in Florida.  I went to our Dodge Caravan, unpacked my jack and talked him through loosening nuts, engaging the jack, lifting the car and changing the tire.  This was the most dramatic.

I also recall getting to Anna when she hit a curb and had a flat in Albertville and changing the tire in an Episcopal church parking lot late one night.  I was feeling put out, but it all worked out.

Must there be a prophetic message in every innocuous event or experience?  Must we assume God speaks in every occasion?  Well, I've grown accustomed to expect the Lord to speak everyday.  The Lord's words and expressions are often treasures that must be sought.  Those who ask, seek and knock are those who find.  Not everyone pursues because we're prone to be skeptical. 

Over the recent years through hearing testimonies of the seekers finding and the hungry being filled, I've chosen not to be skeptical but expectant.  Sometimes, those who begin to accomplish things in a gifted area have success simply because they believe they could be gifted, being less skeptical, not paying attention to the cynics and believing God has created them to be something more than they've settled for in the past.

A mere flat tire can reveal the will of God for a person who's willing to pay attention.  When I walked and prayed the morning I asked for clarity, I believe I received and with it came hope and joy, hope amidst our circumstances and joy that I'd heard from the Father. 

A mere flat tire caused me to thank my heavenly Father for my earthly father and renewed within me hope for our future.  What common place experiences in your life have the Lord orchestrated to speak to you of what is true in your present or compelling you to lean forward gazing at your future?  I encourage you to pay attention and give thanks for a heavenly Father who speaks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fulbright Dream

In a recent Facebook instant message conversation, I wrote to a friend of mine I know we've come into a new season.  He asked what God had conveyed to us about this new season.  I just said I knew a new season had begun by virtue of what he's shared with us in encounters and experiences, dreams and impressions.

January was clearly significant, and what happened recently fulfilled what was dreamed then.  I write this now to fulfill the mandate on my life to record what God has done to inspire worship in generations to come.

The morning of January 19, as I wrote about dreams and days in January and composed a prayer, I listened to worship from Bethel Church in Redding, CA the night before.  As I worshiped and wrote, I was surprised, surprised by the Presence.  The Presence of the Lord overwhelmed me repeatedly.  April came in and found me singing and crying.  It was wonderful.

After the worship set ended, I went into the bedroom to get ready for a shower.  I kissed April and felt overwhelmed again with laughter and tears, but there wasn't any music.

I made it into the shower.  As I washed, I prayed for those who've influenced me over the years.  I didn't go any further than Bill Johnson.  I prayed in agreement with passion for anything he prayed for in that moment.

I remained in the shower and recalled the Lord saying to me years ago when Karen S. repeatedly called me a prophet, the Lord said, "Jeff, what if you are?"  That morning in January in the shower, I began to cry again and recalled saying years ago, "Then I need people to be sent into my life to teach me what it is to be a prophet."  As I remembered this, the thought came to me as I stood in the shower, "I am a prophet!  If I was a prophet back then, God needed to bring people into my life to teach me."  Soon after that, Bill Johnson came into my life through CDs from Cinde Lucas.  I haven't been the same since.  The Presence of the Lord overwhelmed me again in the shower. Funny. Alleluia! Selah!

Around this time in January I read about a budding mega-church growing in Albertville.  After reading about it, a sense of jealousy arose in me.  I stayed there spiritually as I went to bed that night.  The next day, I came to my senses and honestly confessed to myself I'm not a mega-church pastor.  That's not my calling. Days before, God brought back to me  my calling and gifting as a prophet, and I received it with joy.  I'm not to be a pastor in the seasons to come (the remainder of my life), but a prophet and apostle.  May the Lord bless richly that congregation and leadership for what is to come in love, power and glory.  May the same be true for April and me. 

Back on January 31, I wrote in my journal of dreaming two nights before. "I dreamed of a clear thought overcoming me as the visual in the dream was of a computer screen tallying two columns of figures amounting to 90,000 (of something).  The clear thought (I can't say it was a voice) was Eli had won the Fulbright Scholarship he'd applied for months before.  This woke me up from a dead sleep.  It was the middle of the night.  I thought about waking April and telling her, but I fell back to sleep."

Monday night, Eli called April and me separately.  He told us he's been awarded the Fulbright Scholarship.  He'll study in England for a year in Leeds.  April, first, text me while I was at work to call her when I had a chance to hear some good news.  While I dragged a pallet jack behind the store with a younger colleague of mine, I called her.  She told me the news first.  Eli called me earlier, but I missed the called, and he left a voice mail.  I called him on the way home from work. He giggled as we celebrated together over the phone. This was the fulfillment of a lot of work and practice on Eli's part.  He was unable to express all his joy.  We're very proud of him!

I dreamed he was awarded the scholarship months before.  A couple weeks ago when we were in Tampa to see Eli perform at his senior recital, I told him about the dream.  I said I believed the dream was from God, but we'd have to wait and see what was going to happen.  Well, to our wonderful surprise, it was a prophetic dream come true.

In those days in January, I was refreshed with a series of encounters with God that renewed my spirit.  I needed to be refreshed as a prophet.  Was this the only way I'd have the dream telling me Eli was to receive the scholarship?  I don't think that's the way this works.  I'm just amazed by God.  I experienced a renewal of my prophetic gifting through encounters with Holy Spirit.  Then I had a prophetic dream that was manifested two months later.  I told Eli, again, about the dream as we laughed together on the phone as I drove home that night. Also, I told him seeing this dream fulfilled helps my faith.  He laughed.

It's true.  My faith has been refreshed.

We've had a lot of dreams and spiritual impressions since Christmas.  What's the next fulfillment of what's been conveyed to us?  I believe there's more to come.  In the meantime, we look forward to visiting Eli in England and celebrating Christmas in the land of John & Charles Wesley.