Like a Divine Appointment, the Glory of God became more available, like the sun hiding behind dark clouds that cover....
The sunsets and sunrises where I currently live, in the highlands of Panama, last about 15 minutes. Look away for a minute, and the clouds and whole appearance changes. Go get a cup of coffee, and you miss most of it. (We are so close to the equator that sunrises and sunsets are rapid.)
I saw the sun hidden behind clouds, recently. The clouds were dark, but the edges which were thin were extremely bright with the very bright light of the sun.
Like the Glory of God, being hid from us, and yet being revealed….
I didn’t know it, but I was experiencing an Appointed Lesson. Not unlike a Divine Appointment, it was a Divine Lesson, appointed by God. An object lesson. Our Lord inspired me, and I learned….
The Glory of God is so bright and huge, God’s glory is dangerous when too fully revealed to us mere mortals. Just like looking directly into the sun is dangerous for us. The lesson was deep, and it was as if I were seeing and knowing this deeply and for real for the first time.
In life, when we have a glimpse of this reality about the Glory of God, it is our job to be so overloaded and overcome that it overwhelms us.
The Light Display that our Lord gives us every morning and evening, and the often less dramatic and more subtle displays during the day – are lessons – if we will only really look and see. The night sky is no less glorious, yet not nearly so bright, so not as useful for this lesson I was receiving.
First, the Glory of God is too much for us to see completely and thus is dangerous to us.
Second, what looks dark and foreboding in life can be a protection for us. Because darkness hides our Lord and God, yet we can safely see how his Glory leaks – especially at the edges of darkness – you can discover inspiration when you can take time to see and know. Deeply know.
Third, darkness may seem to hide God’s Glory. It really only makes it safer for us to see some of his Glory. What a lesson there is in this.
Especially at a time like this, when we can really use such inspiration, and such a lesson.
Meditate on these things. And give thanks!
P.S. As I write this, I remember my wife who unexpectedly died some months ago. To me at least, I feel as I write this that she is here.
It is said history repeats itself. Well, sorta…. Events and periods of time occur that are unique so they are given a name so we can tell one from the other. However, although different, there are patterns that are repeated over and over again. It generally is good versus evil, good guy versus bad guy.
As I write, we are truly in a unique period of time. So much is happening to us, to our area, to our country and to our world. Any period of time can be defined that way; but it appears that at this moment we are facing some of the biggest issues we have ever faced. In a historical as well as biblical sense, this is a major time of GOOD vs EVIL.
During an earlier time, the world faced a threat of world domination by Japanese as well as German empires. Most of us were not around and only know there was a war in the mid-20th century. However, at the time experts agreed that the allies, as the good guys were called, could not win the war against the greatest armies of that period. For a time, America was unprotected after Pearl Harbor; Australia considered moving its relatively small population to the south in order to protect them from the expected Japanese assault; Britain barely survived an invasion from Germany. Germany and Japan were printing money in English for the expected takeover of the USA. Could it have happened regardless of the formidable outback, the huge determined American continent and the British nerve? Maybe.
Even if they couldn’t beat us many believe – which even was reflected in slogans of the time – that to win the war or at least stop the tyranny it would take until the late 1940s or even beyond. That’s almost a decade. As it happened, from Pearl Harbor until the German surrender was less than 3 and a half years. We didn’t have a lot to begin with and it that relatively short period of time defeated one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, with Japan surrendering soon thereafter.
In 1776, we were at war as a new nation against the mightiest of empires known to man. We definitely at that time had no chance of winning ….. but we did.
In 1989 the Berlin wall came down without a shot fired. Talk about impossible.
Christians… believers… all know that Good is stronger than evil. But many times evil wins.
What happened that was different in the above. People of prayer, and especially those who believe what GOD has promised. And the Bible has thousands of promises.
In the revolutionary war, the clergy lead the charge of freedom; Washington himself was continually on his knees and the new leaders put their lives on the line betting a country could be formed based on the LOVE OF GOD. It proved true.
In world war II, the churches were more prominent than they are currently and people knew the dangers. They prayed. There were no ships… a man prayed .. ships were built quickly. Patton prayed, and the weather was with him to win a battle. People prayed, and the biggest and riskiest invasion of France was successful.
People from many countries prayed, and the walls of Germany were torn down by regular people.
In the natural; in logical thinking none of this was possible. So prayers of many were provided, but not just wishing prayers. Jesus said for us… not HIM… to speak to the mountain. Don’t talk about the mountain, don’t negotiate with the mountain. Command the mountain to go. We personally can’t pick up that mountain, but if it’s in our way… whatever that “mountain” is… it must go if we have the FAITH OF GOD and accept that authority.
That means what we see or what we reason to be is not the truth. The truth is our desired outcome. We speak to the mountain – and we do not let the mountain speak to us and tell us what is to be!
The early Americans wanted freedom only GOD could provide. Extended war and failure was not an option for the events of the 40’s. Tyranny under the Iron Curtain was not GOD’S best.
The mountains moved.
The world currently is in crisis. It’s historical, and it’s biblical. Many people are praying. As before, we are to move the mountains. We are not obligated to repeat what experts tell us. We are told to follow this sequence or expect this or that. They tell us hope is way off. WE DO DOT PRAY WHAT WE SEE OR HEAR. We pray what we want to happen … period. God’s way is better than ours. There is no compromise; we don’t negotiate. Like Jesus, we don’t negotiate with evil – ever! We believe and set the process up for the impossible surprises of GOD. We bind the evil; we curse the disease; we pray for heaven to come down to earth. We don’t need a flowchart; we want to move things out and bring in the good in the eternal NOW of GOD.
Don’t be like Pharaoh who when asked when to get rid of the Frogs, he said tomorrow. What’s wrong with today?
You can heal old memories of bad things that happened to you & old memories of when you reacted badly by applying Agape love. Let me explain….
First, a brief & quick reminder, from 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV
So here’s how I do it, I expect this can work well for you, too. (I’d love to hear about your experience with this so I can learn.)
I think of a memory that is painful. First, one where I responded poorly. Then I review 1 Cor. 13:4-7. I see where I reacted without Agape love. I make a new decision, and choose to respond with Agape love, the God, generous kind of love. I choose to respond with Agape qualities in the future. That’s not only a new decision, that’s repentance.
I mentally rehearse or practice having done that. Two or three times if necessary; though once will often be quite enough.
I check to see if my memory of that bad or painful memory is different or better. It usually is.
Then I do this again with a different memory, where I may not have reacted badly, but where I still did not respond with Agape love. I make a new and better decision, with the help of Jesus (which I ask for). A decision to respond with Agape love. Generously. Lovingly. The God-kind of love.
Afterwards, I again check the old memory, am I doing better now when I remember it?
Usually my own response to an event makes a huge difference in how painful the memory is or isn’t.
If I have trouble succeeding with this, I again ask Jesus, who is always near, always at hand (like his Kingdom) – within reaching distance – to help. And I ask for and receive by faith, more of Holy Spirit. I may not feel anything, but I notice I respond differently and can choose Agape love more easily and more deeply.
Let me know how you do with this, I’d love to know!
P.S. Teach this to someone else, maybe by walking them through it. Jesus and the Jesus kind of love can minister to them, too!
Jesus never taught a class. You will find no classes taught by Jesus in Scriptures. He did not teach in a linear way. What he did was something far better.
Jesus had conversations. He responded to questions or things said by people he wanted to disciple or teach. He responded to what they were interested in.
Or he showed something, told stories or parables: he gave interesting, attention grabbingexamples. Thencontinuedthe mutual conversation.
Sometimes he answered questions. Sometimes he changed the conversation – such as about not being so happy that even demons obey you – don’t lose perspective: what’s important is that your name is written in heaven. Notice that the starting point for changing a conversation or introducing a new idea begins with what the disciple, the person who is learning – what they are saying.
When I mistakenly try to teach people things, they resist – covertly, usually. Sometimes overtly. It does not work out well. And I have tried to do this too often. Too often I have been slow to learn.
But, when I respond to something that someone says or asks, I am building on what they are already interested in. Their motivation is already present. I even build on their metaphors: I use them or change them, or use them as an agent of change (when I transform a metaphor someone identifies with, they may also change.) Or I tell stories or parables or in other ways give examples, just like Jesus did.
This works out very well, I have their attention, interest and motivation: I am talking about things they are already interested in. Much more effective than talking about things I am interested in. Tremendous difference!
Have conversations. Start with where the disciple or the person who is learning already is. Build on or transform their ideas. Like Jesus does. He did it in Scripture, and he still does this in our hearts. You can join with Jesus and do this too.
Disciples and other people will learn more easily, learn better, and are more likely to remain interested and motivated.
If you want to have class outlines of what you want to teach, that’s fine for you. And you can use these powerful points in conversations, demonstrations, examples, stories and parables. Teaching more like Jesus. And teaching less like boring people who are trying to force their ideas onto someone else who is not yet ready, nor yet deeply interested.
Running my race. Sometimes I do well; too often I do not.
I have recently, again and again, fallen short of the Glory of God.
I am a sinner.
I have hurt others, and I have been hurt by Christians I look up to and admire. And I have used that as an excuse to sin even more.
How did all this happen, I wonder. Maybe you wonder, too. Well, it was all too easy.
A lot of it happened through social media. Through the news. And most terribly – in my own heart.
Friends I admire and look up to would send me jokes about democrats, and I would laugh – some of them were really funny. And some of these were not just funny, some were also quite nasty.
Other friends would send me descriptions of religious republicans and the twisted things some of them are encouraging, and I would agree.
Friends from different parties would send me news articles. Too often full of truths that make my heart recoil. And too often — one sided or twisted versions of events. And I would agree for a while, before I saw more broadly and inclusively.
Friends with high ideals and good reasons sending me twisted, one sided, soul shrinking propaganda. And I would read and agree for a while. Until….
Everybody has good reasons. Too often amplified beyond reason – the kind of thing that gives opportunity to unclean spirits. Too often twisted, to make a point. Too often so one-sided as to be sinful in themselves, yet very convincing.
And here I am, a well meaning feckless chameleon; first agreeing with this and seeing it clearly. Then agreeing with that, and seeing that clearly. Boy, talk about being double-minded. I’m an expert. A friend tells me the Greek literally means two-minded, a person with two minds – actually two souls.
I have lost all sense of proportion and of the larger picture: I am bound by love, previous repentance, and duty to a King and Kingdom that is at hand: Immanuel and his Kingdom. How often do I forget the Good News of the Kingdom? Too often.
I get caught up being for this or for that; or against this and against that. As though these were my first allegiance. I forget Whose I am.
I have sinned. Repeatedly. Forgetting Whose I am, forgetting the Kingdom and Immanuel. My first allegiance. I am ashamed.
So I again repent and ask for more of Holy Spirit. For help to live not for what I eat or drink but for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting the Kingdom first.
Lord, help me be a beneficial influence in the culture that surrounds me, influence, share and spread the Kingdom of God. And to do this first, before and more strongly and with more skill, love and determination – than any good thing I do in well intentioned and wordly politics. Help me follow Holy Spirit so well and so much that I am full of Fruit of the Spirit. Love, self-control, kindness, patience…and control my tongue.
The Untamable Tongue
3 My brethren, (A)let not many of you become teachers, (B)knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For (C)we all stumble in many things. (D)If anyone does not stumble in word, (E)he is a[a]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [b]Indeed, (F)we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.5 Even so (G)the tongue is a little member and (H)boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And (I)the tongue is a fire, a world of [c]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it (J)defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [d]nature; and it is set on fire by [e]hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, (K)full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made (L)in the [f]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a (M)fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [g]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Verses Demonic Wisdom
13 (N)Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have (O)bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, (P)do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 (Q)This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For (R)where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But (S)the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, (T)without partiality (U)and without hypocrisy. 18 (V)Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Half the country is upset, and half the country is feeling glad.
Here’s a very, very radical idea: love everyone.
Love your favorite politician. Love the opposition. Love followers of each of them – all of them. I didn’t say you should or have to agree with them!
So calm down and try it again if needed: love everyone! You don’t have to agree with anyone you don’t want to. You don’t have to like or love their positions. You just have to love God with all your heart, soul and strength; and others as yourself – and please love yourself with the God kind of love.
Agape everyone. Your politician. (Yes, I know you’re not as attached when you do this; it’s all right.) The opposition. Yes, you really can do it; or it would not be the most important commandments. Love everyone. God, your politician and followers, the opposition and their followers. Agape them all. God first, everyone else second. Everyone.
Yes, that’s right, everyone!
And you don’t have to agree with anyone that you don’t want to.
Agape. You can do it. And when you have difficulty, ask for help.
Ask for more of Holy Spirit; receive with faith – already given! Follow Holy Spirit. Express love out of your New Person, to everyone. The generous, God kind of love.
Now go ahead and disagree all you want. Just keep agape – for everyone! What a radical idea. Doing as Jesus says. Radical.
I’ve noticed several things that help me live out of my New Self, my New Person. So I make a list to help me remember and do this, especially when I am under pressure. (So read slowly & meditate, or even better, have a conversation with Jesus about these matters.)
Why is this important?
My Old Person has:
been marked by sin,
has wounds & is reactive (has trauma & PTSD) because of them,
is carnal and fleshly, selfish and mean. Feels smaller than I am.
does not please God.
Does not hear God except for audible voice, which is rare and something I personally have not yet heard.
Carries the curses of a broken world, including sin, sickness and disease. Feels bad.
Cannot minister effectively.
My New Person has:
always been free of sin – and has no marks of sin.
Has no wounds and so is not reactive to wounds (has no trauma or PTSD). Feels bigger than I am.
Most frequently implicit or ignored, it can also be explicit – and when there are difficulties – just about any difficulties, an explicit Learning Contract can be an immense help.
What situations call for a good Learning Contract? Ministry, including healing and exorcism. Discipleship, including teaching and learning. Counseling. Therapy.
One of the most common problems when learning and growth are not taking place as wanted is the lack of a good Learning Contract.
So…what is a Learning Contract? First, it’s a context. Context provides an element that is likely to control or limit and what will happen. When a situation is chronic and problematical, the context is nearly always a problem. Look for the context when things are not working well.
What sort of context is a Learning Contract? It’s an agreement to learn and an agreement to teach.
Counseling, teaching or other ministry without an agreement to learn and an agreement to teach – too often goes poorly. When ministry is not going well – make a Learning Contract.
Too often a people try to minister, counsel or teach without an such an agreement.
A contract says what people involved will do, and often what will happen if they do not do as agreed. It provides a context for learning and ministry of all kinds. It is an agreed upon context – without which it is difficult to make things to happen.
Jesus spoke to a fig tree, it obeyed. Jesus spoke to the wind and waves, and the storm quieted. Jesus taught us to heal, and demonstrated speaking to the need – we should do the same.
I have heard of people speaking to tornados, which changed course.
I have called for electricity to be restored, and when I am totally determined and single minded – easier to say than to do, I have experienced several times the electricity coming on within a second and a half. So many times this has happened, it cannot be a coincidence.
When you speak to your dog, your dog knows if you really mean it. When you really mean it, your dog is much more likely to obey. This is authority. You can feel it when you speak with such authority.
So speak to situations, to your mountain. As Jesus has been teaching you to do. And delight in results! Give thanks and rejoice!
Jesus, the Word, teaches and empowers you. Use what you have been given. Learn. Explore. Be willing for failure to take place – you can learn a lot this way!