Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm Ruined for Anything Else

There's one line from Bill Johnson, from Redding, CA, I like to quote, but one shouldn't overdue.  Those who know these words don't live as Christians playfully.

I'm ruined for anything else.

We worshiped on Wednesday night, as we did the Wednesday before, at the church we attend in Calhoun County, AL.  The environment was conducive to free expressions of body movements and utterances in song or word.  I took advantage of the environment both evenings.  There could have been a thousand people in the room or an audience of one.  Regardless, these were just recent examples that affirm the truth I'm ruined for anything else.

On occasion, I've sensed the Lord's intimate and glorious presence that's led me to express myself physically.  I refrain from dancing, usually, but not in bowing or kneeling or even lying on the ground.  I ended up on the floor the first Wednesday.  I was alone in that expression.  The next week, I left my row, moved to the open place behind us as the congregation sang and worshiped.  I dropped to my knees and sang and laughed and cried and prayed in tongues all of which was in praise of our glorious God and King.  I'm ruined for anything else.  

First Wednesday, prior to my descent to the carpet, I saw behind closed eyes silver, white and red jewels shimmering.  The jewels were lined up vertically on could have been a wall.  I didn't know for sure because the room where they were was dark except for the light emanating from the jewels.  They were more beautiful than any photograph or video could depict them.  

The second Wednesday, after I returned to my seat because a Bible study was to commence in the same auditorium, I sat quietly with my eyes shut.  I began to pray for the outpouring of revival in this area.  With my eyes shut, I saw people sitting in the same room where we sat.  Suddenly, ice water pitchers came to each person in the room, but they didn't simultaneously.  As if in phases, the pitchers came to each person and poured out the liquid each held.  Some of the people tilted their heads as if to drink and some didn't as if they know the pitchers were there, but, still the contents were poured out on each.  

Some of the people in the room then rose from their seats and became figures of light.  They left the room while the others remained.  My wife and I got up and went to the large gathering area with seats and tables outside the sanctuary.  The floor is littered with debris of black, brown and golden pieces.  Across the area from us, we saw the figures of light leave the building.

These two visions of mysterious and inspiring images seem to have been born in a rich environment of worship and Holy Spirit's presence.  Such encounters leave me awestruck and humbled.  Overcome, I say little is in comparison to what the Lord shows and speaks.  I'm ruined.

A colleague of mine at work had missed several days due to a family member's illness and frightening diagnosis.  I saw her arrive one day this week.  She looked tired but glad to be back.  I said I'd heard it had been hard for her lately.  She shared about the condition of her father-in-law and the fears of the family.  I said she should take it easy that day.  When I was alone in the storage area I prayed for the Lord's peace to surround her and the family.  She then appeared in the room.  Moved by compassion, I asked if I could hold her hand.  She extended it, and I took it.  I told her I'd pastored a lot of churches, and I knew God was good and wasn't responsible for sickness or accident or the early death of a loved one.  "He's with you in this."  With that she shared more.  We shed tears together and affirmed God was still at work.  When compassion arises for the hurting in my midst, I know I'm ruined for anything else.

The next day was perhaps the most significant of any described in this post. I was standing still at work and then I heard it. In a subtle form, perhaps like a still small voice, I heard within my spirit, "I'm a minister of God."  It had been a long time since I could comfortably consider myself as a minister of God.

Months into years of discouragement with a recent shift in season has now brought its own reward.  I know I'm in a new position with the Father's blessing. I know I've learned to hear and see  as the Lord shows and tells as I never had before.  I want to please the Father, lift up the Son and flow in the Spirit.  I'm ruined for anything else.

Could we be on the verge, finally, of stepping into our destiny as a couple and as partners in the Kingdom?  Time will tell.  We will walk through doors only the Father can open.  We will be placed in positions of anointing and purpose only the Lord can construct and orchestrate.  Right now, I find peace in the simple comfort I know who I am again, ruined for anything else but to minister the grace and mercy, power and love of the good news of God in Christ to the world.  This thrills me and draws me even closer to our God who can always be trusted.  Alleluia.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Two Owls

I'm a huge advocate in encouraging folks to listen for the Lord's voice.  In addition, I believe in this endeavor one should anticipate the Lord speaking in languages we already understand and value. 

April dreamed recently.  We had two infants in our hands.  One was perfectly formed.  One was orange in color and not fully developed, but as large as the other.  In April's research, the color orange in dreams often means perseverance.  Certain clarity about this dream image didn't come until she listened to a recent sermon from Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  He spoke about perseverance.  Those in difficult times shouldn't abandon it, and those in times of favor and prosperity shouldn't fail to persevere, either.  With that, April caught it.

We've persevered through tough times.  We've known our season changed.  We're now in a season of favor.  The undeveloped infant is still ours.  Our perseverance in this season of favor will bring about this infant's full development just as our perseverance of continued worship and belief and pursuing God's face in tough times of lack and symbolic imprisonment brought about the first child's development.  Infants usually mean, but not limited to, new opportunities and responsibilities. Two infants for two different seasons.

Last Sunday in church, as we sang and worshiped the Lord, several images came to mind which I won't document here.  I sensed the Lord's presence and then his pleasure for us.  He impressed on me he's very pleased with us.  I was overwhelmed with joy and laughed out loud.  I like laughing out loud by the Lord tickling me with his pleasure.  Alleluia.

Yesterday, I woke and prepared for work with a sense of discouragement.  I read the morning psalms from the Daily Office desperately looking for a word of encouragement.  Psalm 99: 6 says, Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.  They called on the Lord AND he answered them.  That helped me.  I prayed throughout the day for me to hear and see like Moses and Aaron did.

Before too long, the simple promise given to April and me years ago came to me of things far beyond what we could think or imagine will come to us in ministry.  This promise was given to us from two different witnesses weeks apart years ago.  

In February, I read from Genesis 41 where Joseph interpreted Pharoah's dreams.  Joseph told him, And the doubling of Pharoah's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about (41: 32).  The two witnesses of the same promise were brought back to me yesterday.  I was strongly encouraged to believe again it's fixed by God.  All of it will happen.  Alleluia.

After work, April and I went to get some gasoline and a few things at the store.  We arrived back home.  In the driveway, I looked at her and said we're about to experience things far beyond what we can think or imagine.  As we continued to sit in the car, we heard the hoots of one owl to our right, then we heard other hoots from our left.  They continued back and forth a couple more times.  I then noticed a silhouette of what looked like to me something that was perched in a tree just along the tree line in the backyard.  I slowly got out of the car and made my way carefully through the yard until I knew for certain it was our owl from the right.  It then looked to its left and flew off.  So cool.

The Lord speaks to me in subtle ways, even through birds - hawks, eagles, and, now, owls.   I guess its a language I value (like pop and rock songs).  The owl in prophetic language symbolizes wisdom and craftiness.  I believe in hearing two of something is fixed by God and seeing one which I hadn't before mirrors my prayer to learn to see and hear when the Lord shows and speaks.  

I'm praying daily for the Lord to teach me to hear and see when the Lord speaks and shows.  Someone may say sincerely I don't need to pray this because it appears I'm already hearing and seeing as God speaks and shows to me.  Well, I guess I believe the spirit of what is conveyed in Zechariah 10: 1, Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain.  I'm asking for an increase in gifting without anxiety in a time when its raining.  

Lastly, and I think so much of this comes down to this, I came to the belief recently in asking for an increase in spiritual sensitivity is a desire to know the Lord more of his heart and in his presence.  I ask for your prayers in this journey, and I'll pray for an increase in your desire to know the Lord more, as well.  May the Lord bless you.