Morning meditations are never boring. Sometimes they are instructive and sometimes healing. Today, much to my surprise, the voice of scripture began to echo back and forth in a seamless theme of worship, contemplation, and conviction.
I had stumbled into a private performance; a duologue between Wisdom and Love. So surreal was the moment, that I decided to invite you into my imagination.
I entered the theatre.
At the front was a small, but ancient stage made of aged, wooden planks. The audience seats were empty, and I marveled that those who should have been present could not be deterred from their busy schedules.
I took my seat in the middle of the auditorium.
The heavy curtain opened to reveal Wisdom and Love standing center stage.
Wisdom spoke first.
“Listen to me, all you godly ones: Love the Lord with passion! The Lord protects and preserves all those who are loyal to him. But he pays back in full all those who reject him in their pride,” Psalm 31:23.
His tone was commanding. Parental. There was an urgency about him. I considered the unprecedented times we are living in.
A time when pride is exalted. Godliness mocked. Maybe that explained the empty seats.
Love spoke next, though few would have recognized that the words came from him.
In our time, he has been reduced to a mere caricature; an impotent personality. Like those who attempt to define him, he is often seen as passive and unable to cope with injustice.
“For God in heaven unveils his holy anger breaking forth against every form of sin, both toward ungodliness that lives in hearts and evil actions. For the wickedness of humanity deliberately smothers the truth and keeps people from acknowledging the truth about God,” Romans 1:18.
The wickedness of humanity had been on my mind of late. I wondered whether truth would ever have its day, again?
Wisdom smiled, as if knowing my thoughts.
“How happy and fulfilled are those whose rebellion has been forgiven, those whose sins are covered by blood. How blessed and relieved are those who have confessed their corruption to God! For he wipes their slates clean and removes hypocrisy from their hearts,” Psalm 32:1&2.
I remembered the first-time I experienced repentance.
Pride in my religious circumstance was my hypocrisy of choice, but I was unaware. Until godly sorrow exposed my condition and washed me clean. That’s when I first realized how elusive pride can be.
We are stricken before we know it.
How desperately we need a revival of repentance, I thought.
How desperately we need to love truth, again.
Love had moved to the corner of the stage. He was staring into the darkness; away from where I sat at the center of the small room. There was sadness in his eyes and for a moment, it seemed I was lifted into his contemplations and transported back through history. The presence of sorrow was tangible. He still carried every painful moment of man’s long, laborious troubles in his bosom.
From the beginning of time until now, I saw Love reaching…
And he spoke.
“In reality, the truth of God is known instinctively, for God has embedded this knowledge inside every human heart. Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as his eternal power and transcendence. He has made his wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse,” Romans 1:19&20.
Was that a note of futility in Love’s declaration? Wisdom must have heard it, too, because he spread his arms to the darkened auditorium where I sat as the lone spectator. Gently stating his case, he moved to his colleague.
“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him,” Proverbs 17:10.
The words stung as I pondered which side of that equation I fell on.
I considered my reactions to occasions of correction.
Together, they’ve witnessed man’s beginnings, I mused, and they will be here through his end. Yet, still their warnings fall on empty seats and hardened hearts.
Happy to see Love’s response, Wisdom continued, “Fools mock the need for repentance, while the favor of God rests upon all his lovers,” Proverbs 14:9.
Obviously, something in his words had warmed Love’s heart.
Like the emotion that erupts when I hear the spoken name of my children. The tenderness that surges beneath my breast even as softness breaches my eyes. Joy escaping through tiny crinkles that fill their corners and tug at the edges of my lips until they tilt upward.
I wondered, was he was thinking of me?
My attention turned to Wisdom as it became obvious that he was now in travail. David was the author, but Wisdom spoke as though he had penned each phrase.
These two felt things on a level I would never comprehend. Like an unplumbed deep or a mysterious spring, I could observe but never capture their passion.
“Before I confessed my sins, I kept it all inside; my dishonesty devastated my inner life, causing my life to be filled with frustration, irrepressible anguish, and misery. The pain never let up, for your hand of conviction was heavy on my heart. My strength was sapped, my inner life dried up like a spiritual drought within my soul,” Psalm 32:3&4.
I remembered how pride had thrown me, like some poor slave, into the clutches of sin. I longed to do what was right but kept returning to the thing my conscience hated.
Guilt weighed heavily on my shoulders and blame filled my gut with ache. I was always pretending; always hiding the thoughts that kept me from freedom.
The more I tried to conquer my sin, the louder my tormentors shouted. Condemnation mocked every attempt to defend myself and self-reproach marched up and down the halls of my mind.
Wherever I went, they followed. These accusers.
My conscience. My enemy.
The same depravity that tempted me; taunted me.
“Throughout human history,” Love moved downstage as he spoke, “the fingerprints of God were upon them, yet they refused to honor him as God or even be thankful for his kindness. Instead, they entertained corrupt and foolish thoughts about what God was like…” Romans 1:21.
Wisdom was animated again, though sadness still marred his visage. He turned to follow Love, interjecting as he walked, “We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive,” Proverbs 16:2.
Love nodded and stopped downstage. Center. “This left them with nothing but misguided hearts, steeped in moral darkness. Although claiming to be super-intelligent, they were in fact shallow fools,” Romans 1:21&22.
Wisdom halted as well, standing just to Love’s side; unwilling to upstage him.
I dared not breathe lest I disrupt their reflections.
In my own meditations, I noted that the footnote suggested the Aramaic could be translated, “They became insane.” And again, I wondered, where is the audience?
Truly, we are living in unprecedented times.
A time when pride marches in the streets and insanity is admired.
His heaviness was palpable as Love continued sadly. Softly. Yet, I noted a tinge of incredulity.
“For only a fool would trade the unfading splendor of the immortal God to worship the fading image of other humans, idols made to look like people, animals, birds, and even creeping reptiles!” Romans 1:22.
Love paused to wipe a tear from his cheek. When he spoke again, his voice was hoarse and cracked as if every fiber of his being was engaged.
As if each syllable was being forced across a chasm of pain…
“This is why God lifted off his restraining hand and let them have full expression of their sinful and shameful desires. They were given over to moral depravity, dishonoring their bodies by sexual perversion among themselves—all because they traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served the things God made rather than the God who made all things—"
With a deep sigh, he declared, “…Glory and praises to him for eternity of eternities!”
And they both echoed, “Amen!” Romans 1:24&25.
They turned to walk backstage, and I thought, Surely, this isn’t the end?
I know that we are a generation of unprecedented sin living in unprecedented times.
We exalt pride, love greed, and pursue vanity. Self-loving Self-interests consume our energy from sunrise to sunset. We worship our opinions; mock what we don’t understand. We make up laws to defend our entitlements. We call evil good and good evil.
I looked to see how Love’s chapter ended: “And because they thought it was worthless to embrace the true knowledge of God, God gave them over to a worthless mind-set, to break all rules of proper conduct. Their sinful lives became full of every kind of evil, wicked schemes, greed, and cruelty. Their hearts overflowed with jealous cravings and with conflict and strife, which drove them into hateful arguments and murder. They are deceitful liars full of hostility. They are gossips who love to spread malicious slander…” Romans 1:28-30.
For the first time, I forgot about the audience that wasn’t here. The climax had become clear. The scriptures read like a mirror to my soul.
My own hypocrisy was staring back at me.
The sin I commit in God’s name.
There, I stood, in fig leaves of Self-deception; the appearance of goodness I wore like a banner of rightness. Pride had imprisoned me, yet again.
The room was quiet. Still.
A pin could have broken the silence.
When I found the courage to look up, I realized they had not left the platform, after all. Love and Wisdom stood center stage...
Love stepped forward, his gaze never leaving my own. In a gentle, but firm tone, he spoke.
“Although they are fully aware of God’s laws and proper order and knowing that those who do all of these things deserve to die, yet they still go headlong into darkness, encouraging others to do the same and applauding them when they do!” Romans 1:32.
Uncomfortable now, tears stinging my eyes, I stammered, I didn’t know this was about me. They seemed to be such small things. Surely, you didn’t notice…
The complaints I voiced against others. The anger I defended; judgments I pronounced.
The seed of offense I watered. The tree of hatred that grew and the bitterness that sprouted betrayal where love once bloomed.
The jealousy that drove me to madness and schemes of cruelty. The truth I twisted as false testimony fell from my lips like rain… watering thirsty ground.
The slander I incubated and the accusations I spread like seed. My words… spears flung in the darkness; piercing the heart of once beloved friends.
The positions I abused. The least of these I oppressed; stepping stones in my rise to promotion. The status I exploited to manipulate those I scorned and the years I wasted trying to control the fears I refused to bring to you.
Their gaze was intense, both Wisdom and Love, like a spotlight beaming directly on my soul. I was no longer the audience, but the focus.
I am yours. Your church. Your bride, but you knew…
That I am the unprecedented one.
I am the pride that keeps my generation from knowing you.
Love stepped off the stage, moving slowly up the aisle and toward me as he spoke, “Do the riches of his extraordinary kindness make you take him for granted and despise him? Haven’t you experienced how kind and understanding he has been to you? Don’t mistake his tolerance for acceptance. Do you realize that all the wealth of his extravagant kindness is meant to melt your heart and lead you into repentance? Romans 2:4.
Tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to. I saw how my fears had deceived me and hidden the pride that exulted in my religious position.
I thought my days of being deceived by that state of mind were finished, but here it was…
How did it keep growing? Like a weed in my garden; why did I respond like a puppet whose strings had never been cut?
Betrayed by my own vanity. Trapped by Self-interest and the judgments I made, too easily, of others.
Here I am, trying to measure up and falling short, again.
And like before, Love only wanted to cover me with the genuineness of repentance.
He waited, just outside of reach. It was clear that Love would not do for me what I must do for myself.
Wisdom, still on the stage, spoke quietly.
“Then I finally admitted to you all my sins, refusing to hide them any longer. I said, ‘My life-giving God, I will openly acknowledge my evil actions...’” Psalm 32:5.
The room was soundless, except for my sobs. I stood from my seat and moved toward him, but before I could touch him, his arms encircled me.
I was surrounded by Love.
In the distance, I could still hear Wisdom’s voice.
“And you forgave me! All at once the guilt of my sin washed away and all my pain disappeared!” Psalm 32:5.
Wisdom danced across the stage as he laughed. His arms wide open; his feet spinning. I could feel Love’s chest bouncing enthusiastically as he laughed with him and I laughed as joy spread through me.
When the celebrating grew silent, I asked if I could finish the play. In unison, they nodded, and so I mounted the steps.
By now, I realized that it had all been for me. I was the denouement of the drama; the moment the plot had been leading to all along.
I saw the summation of the storyline and all became clear. It was Wisdom’s words in Psalm 32:6, “This is what I’ve learned through it all: All believers should confess their sins to God; do it every time God has uncovered you in the time of exposing. For if you do this, when sudden storms of life overwhelm, you’ll be kept safe.”
So, as I leave this stage of morning meditations and observations of unprecedented times of pride, wickedness, and self-deception, I caution you to remember that sin, every sin, is unprecedented and evil, but repentance always restores the soul.
If, like me, you find yourself stuck in a pit of struggle, wrestling with emotional issues of guilt, self-importance, offense, and tormenting condemnation, consider this:
“Many are the sorrows and frustrations of those who don’t come clean with God. But when you trust in the Lord for forgiveness his wrap-around Love will surround you,” Psalm 32:10.
*All scriptures are taken from The Passion Translation
After seeing some uncommon fruit that followed an extraordinary, albeit unsettling week on Facebook, I woke up this morning with a remarkable word from the Lord.
My skin is white, a condition I rarely think about, unless I’m lathering it with sunscreen to step into one of these long, hot, Texas, summer days.
Maybe, that’s because I grew up on the North side of Houston, in an area that was not trendy enough to be designated as a ward of the city.
Our next-door neighbor, second parents, and two people dearest to my heart, were legal immigrants from south of the border who shunned those who entered our country illegally.
My parents were ministers who loved both.
I grew up watching my dad, my brother, and my husband work with both, become friends with both, help illegals work through the system, pray for miracles as some sought citizenship and weep for the loss of fellowship when one was denied.
Today, my sister and her husband pastor a large church in the same area; a congregation that is almost entirely made up of both legal and illegal brothers and sisters in Christ. They minister to every conceivable situation that arises from this issue. They have seen God move mountains, work miracles, and continue to be God to those who remain as well as to those who must go back to the country of their birth.
In this country, and for those who live along its boundaries, border issues did not become issues of color until politicians decided that color was synonymous with power.
Today, we are being told to open our borders because that is what love would do. Therefore, God is on trial. We have been asked the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Before He made man, God looked down at the earth and found it in a state of darkness. It was formless, void, and chaotic. All its boundaries had been compromised.
There is no coincidence why all the evils, injustices, and ravages of sin come together in this one place, drawn, like a magnet, by supernatural forces.
Because foundations and boundaries cannot be separated lest the structure fall.
Psalm 11:3, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
From the beginning, God established boundaries to form the foundations whereby the sons of God could “subdue the earth.” In other words, He pushed back the encroachment of chaos by forming a foundation that was defined, confirmed, and settled by boundaries.
And God spoke to chaos and commanded that it would not cross the boundary. Lawfully and specifically, He defined the borders so that confusion, anarchy, deficiency, and absence would know where the line had been drawn.
He separated light from darkness, Genesis 1:4.
Job 26:10, “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness.”
He separated the waters in the heavens from the waters in the sea, Genesis 1:6.
Psalm 104:9, “You set a boundary that they may not pass over, so that they will not return to cover the earth.”
Job 38:9-11, “When I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop.”
He separated the waters in the sea from the dry ground, Genesis 1:9.
Proverbs 8:29, “When He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth.”
Jeremiah 5:22, “Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord, ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail. Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.”
Just as there were boundaries for the Kingdom of Heaven, in the same way, the first thing God did was establish boundaries on the earth.
Sin will never enter heaven’s gates. Evil will never climb over its borders. Chaos will never overcome the Prince of peace.
And so, it was that God gave man a foundation designated by boundaries that would define our home because all the nuances and problems that evil would present could not begin to be addressed until our foundation was firm, secure, and strong.
Which is why, there are boundaries for nature.
Boundaries for governments.
And boundaries for men.
These boundaries have nothing to do with the “enlightenment” of the times we live in. They exist, as they always have, to protect the sons of God in a sin-cursed world where Satan seeks to devour and destroy all who cross boundaries.
To bring chaos back.
In December of 2004, we saw the devastation and power of destruction that can happen when one of these boundaries are crossed, even briefly. The loss of life in the Thailand Tsunami was mind-boggling. There wasn’t a single heart that didn’t break for the plight of the souls that suffered.
Scripture has been used a great deal, lately, on both sides of this issue, but outside of its boundaries, scripture, too, is meaningless.
Because God is a God of boundaries.
Proverbs 22:28, “Do not remove the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.”
The boundaries of nations are established by God.
Isaiah 26:15, “You have increased the nation, O Lord, You have increased the nation. You are glorified. You have extended all the borders of the land.”
Acts 17:26, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”
Satan understands boundaries, which is why he continuously tries to tear them down. It is the only legal way that he can steal, kill, and destroy.
Job 24:2, “Some remove the landmarks. They seize and devour flocks.”
When we take the act of removing boundaries lightly, we participate with evil.
Hosea 5:10, “The princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary; on them I will pour out My wrath like water.”
At the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015, pastor and prophet Rick Joyner presented a word of warning that came from several prophetic dream encounters. These warnings can be understood more clearly today than they were on the day he first shared them. (YouTube: Rick Joyner; Morning Star Ministries, September 9, 2014 and February 3, 2015.)
In these dreams, a spirit of evil had broken through our boundaries and the same blight and destruction that the innocent citizens south of the border were fleeing was rushing in, like a flood of devastation, over state lines.
The safety and provision of this nation had been sold for political gain.
Wars are fought on many different frontiers, today. Cyber war. War on Terror. Desert warfare. Special Ops. War against poverty. War against Christians… etc. But we cannot be a light to the nations, a comfort to the distressed, or food for the hungry, if we are physically at war, attempting to survive our own demise.
In his second dream, he walked amongst the camps, where he was invisible, at first. What he witnessed was an intense spirit of terror, hatred, and privilege rolling over the ranchers near the border; an escalation of things they have experienced in recent years. Brutal murders were taking place and yet, so much famine followed this group that they had been reduced to cannibalism and great fear had invaded their own ranks.
As he walked, he realized that he represented the believers in our nation. It was the attitudes of the heart and the behavior of Christians that would determine the outcome of this crisis.
Eventually, the Lord allowed the evil spirit that was controlling the gangs to see Rick and attempt to entice him into joining the horde. When Rick refused to let his heart be turned by bigotry or narrow-minded preconceptions or political partisanship and intolerance or spiritual animus, he heard the sound of marching feet approaching from behind and turned to see the army of the Lord coming to destroy those who were intent on destruction.
I want to make sure the reader hears what is being said. This is not a discussion about racism. It’s not about people who hate people who don’t look like them. It’s not about people who worship Trump or love his policies, his tweets, or who refuse to deal with things he may have said or done in the past. It’s not about people who don’t love people who come across our borders looking for a better life.
There is evil on both sides of the border. Hate. Anarchy. Until Christ returns, it will remain so, but there is also grace and love in abundance.
Our border guards, the majority of whom are of Mexican descent, are asking why we are allowing their names to be slandered by a media that is comparing them to Nazi’s and falsely accusing them of running Labor camps. These are men and women who not only face life and death situations daily but provide food and clothing from their own cupboards to meet needs and help illegals who are caught in impossible situations… a cup of cold water.
Until we walk side by side with them, we must avoid becoming part of the inflammation of the masses by a politicized media.
Make no mistake: this is a spiritual issue; a war for the future of our nation. A war over boundaries. A war between good and evil; chaos and peace.
God has been challenged. The God Who gives His ministering servants the sword to avenge evil, to enforce borders; the same God Who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
Ezekiel 18:23, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”
What we are talking about is the ultimate act of Love for the innocent people who have struggled with the evil that has violated their borders, crossed their boundaries, eroded their foundations, and devastated their futures. We are talking about laying down our life and the ease with which the enemy can manipulate the emotions of our flesh.
My parents were right to love both legal and illegal immigrants. My neighbors were right to hate the evil that mocks boundaries and avoids consequences.
God desires that we remain a nation that can help the innocent rebuild their borders; be a Light in their darkness. A people who can offer aide. Food. Clothing. Shelter. Protection. Salvation.
But first, we must protect the boundaries of our nation so that our nation can be the provision they need.
To do that, hard choices must be made. The borders must be protected from evil and such is the mandate of governments, because the same evil that has blighted their land seeks to blight ours; to put out the last beacon of Light.
To reduce the planet to chaos once again.
Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Finally, let me say that there is such a thing as an “unrighteous law” or “border” and there are unrighteous situations that happen at our borders because we are all flawed and human. We get things wrong. We make mistakes. We create bad law. And the bad law we create opens the door to the invasion of evil where the Accuser of the Brethren can use difficult situations to blame, to justify greater evil, and to tear down boundaries.
Abortion laws are the best example I can give of an unrighteous law and the invasion of evil that follows. So, what is a believer to do when faced with an ungodly law that has become a part of the foundation of a nation?
He is to lay down his life, John 15:13.
In 1989, God asked me to cross the boundary of the laws concerning abortion in our nation. Here I stood, being asked to obey God rather than man’s law and yet, the same God had also said, “be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established,” Romans 13:1.
There are those who live in the extremes of scripture, using them to justify their opinions. The Bible calls those people the “untaught” or “unstable.” “People who distort even the scriptures to their own destruction,” 2 Peter 3:16.
The fact is that God never contradicts Himself.
For me, there was no dilemma. How to obey was clear. I crossed the boundary. Disobeyed the law and accepted the consequences that followed. In other words, I honored both. I respected the law by yielding to its consequences when I violated it. The result was a story of supernatural proportions. I was in my early 30’s and had never, before, experienced the glorious nature of God as I did through that one act of laying down my life.
So, what can a believer do for such a time as this?
1. Lay down your life for your brother at the border – Love God and refuse to fear man. Don’t become a part of the spirit of cannibalism that is blaming, pointing the finger, accusing, and condemning those who don’t agree with your “side.” Don’t make this about you. Don’t “feel good” because you allowed politicians and media to manipulate your emotions. Weep for those who are caught in the battle and pray for a solution to their crisis. Become an answer to their need, but don’t force the foundations to be destroyed by allowing a hard case to make a bad law. Give God an opportunity to arise.
2. Pray – Call a prayer meeting in your home, at your church, or in someone else’s home. Refuse division.
3. Pray for our president – Whether you voted for him or not, follow the advice that Christians are called to follow under every leader. Pray for him. Ask God to give him wisdom and refuse to be part of a political spirit of hatred, division, finger pointing, and opinionating. Watch your words because the power of our agreement brings heaven to bear and ministering spirits are sent to accomplish what we speak. I’m not saying don’t disagree, but as I have shared, disagree with honor and respect. There is no fear, no hatred, and no accusation in perfect Love.
4. Trust God – The same God who cares for you cares for the people south of the border and it is He Who sets every boundary in place. Some of us are born in luxury. Some are born in poverty. Some are born in freedom and some are born in bondage, but God has a plan for every individual soul. Not only does He set boundaries in place, but He decides the location of our birth because He has a purpose and a plan for our life.
My prayer is that wherever you are, you will trust God, especially in the darkness. Only then, can He be the Light of the world.
May Jesus Christ remain high and lifted up; the Founding Father of the United States of America.
Lord of All who come through her boundaries.
“Our theology makes little room for great trials. Everyone wants a beach and not a barren wilderness. Right? But listen, just as God created deserts and wildernesses in His natural creation, He has also designed deserts and wildernesses to fulfill a crucial part of transforming His spiritual creation.” ~Brian and Candice Simmons, The Wilderness, Where Miracles are Born.
I believe that the biggest problem the church faces today is found in these passages: “And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, everyone by another, and everyone by his neighbor: the child shall behave himself proudly against the elder, and the base against the honorable,” Isaiah 3:4&5. [KJ2K]
The spiritual gift of mature, seasoned discernment once spotlighted those who had been through the wilderness of preparation. These were they whom God had prepared for service and whose time of promotion had come. However, we are living in a time when proud flesh is mounting the platform of leadership and influence because no one is guarding the gate of promotion.
But God will not share the platform with our flesh.
“And He said to me, ‘My holy lovers are wonderful, my majestic ones, my glorious ones, fulfilling all my desires.’ Yet, there are those who yield to their weakness, and they will have troubles and sorrows unending. I never gather with such ones, nor give them honor in any way.”
I was practically born on the platform of “church celebrity.” I know firsthand how we exalt our musicians and leaders. Had it not been for the divine intervention of God in a wilderness season of humility, shame, and death to Self, I would be lost in the sin of pride, today.
Whether it is the person teaching our children, directing our youth, pastoring our church or leading our worship, discernment is necessary to recognize seasons. God only promotes His holy lovers; those who are called, prepared, anointed and set apart.
It is proud flesh that advances based on the political spirits of control, appeasement, fear of man, personality, intimidation, favoritism, and Self-promotion. We often wonder why God does not manifest in our midst and yet, our platforms are filled with carnal, undead flesh.
Any decision we make that arises from the manifestations and motivations of the flesh is sin.
God’s holy lovers are those who have spent time in the closet of intimacy. They are those who learned to fall on the Rock in their wilderness season of necessity, difficulty, and adversity.
They have discovered that their strength is in Christ, alone.
If God is going to “gather” with us again, discernment must make a comeback.
Spiritual mothers and fathers must be willing to speak truth to one another and to the younger generation. Spiritual growth in the church is no different than in the home. Guidance, teaching, love and correction are all necessary for maturity.
Without these things, spiritual children cannot come into their season of responsibility as holy lovers of God.
When our leaders have met with Him in private, God will gather with His people.
Transformation requires adversity
Facing our adversary on the battlefield of adversity leads to transformation because adversity is the mirror through which we observe our true adversary, which is Self.
The carnal mind is blinded to the sins of Self, though constantly aware of the sin in others.
Proverbs 11:1, “To set high standards for someone else, and then not live up to them yourself, is something that God truly hates.” [PT]
Salvation without transformation becomes a trap for setting a bar we never reach. It is the birth place of expectations, proud flesh, manipulation, and oppression.
God sends us into the wilderness of adversity to judge ourselves. It is in this mirror that we will finally begin to examine the fruit hanging from the limbs of our own behavior.
Behavior is the legal witness truth subpoenas in the courtroom of adversity.
No matter how much we protest, our behavior either testifies on our behalf, confirming that Self is dead, or it testifies against us, proving that sin is alive and well.
To see accurately and recognize the nature of Self in us is to face the adversary within.
A spiritual novice is one who has met the Savior but has not recognized the cost of grace. Neither age nor how much time has passed from the moment of salvation defines this stage.
The spiritual novice is easily offended because Self is still lord of their behavior. They see others as the adversary, which is why they are dangerous when placed in a position of leadership.
They may be called, but they have not yet been chosen.
The wilderness exposes the offended spirit that causes us to blame others. To see others as the enemy is to fail the test.
In every hardship we face, Self is being exposed. The purpose of adversity is to open the eyes of our heart so that we can tear down the stronghold that is exalting some wounded part of our undead Self against the knowledge of God, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
Soul-salvation is the journey into spiritual maturity and the purpose of our wilderness.
Moses was a wilderness expert. Guilt led him in, but transformation brought him out.
Moses did not come out of the wilderness trusting in the gifts or talents of Self, but rather, leaning on his Beloved. It was from this position that he led the people of God into a brand, new, born-again experience. He was no longer the same impatient, impetuous man, who killed the Egyptian.
This new man exercised patience over and again as the people struggled with the traditions, behaviors, traumas and habits of their time in slavery. Because of his own wilderness experience, he stood as their intercessor, not as their judge.
Oh, that we would understand this principle.
When we promote those, who have not been through the wilderness of transformation, we promote proud flesh who assassinate the slaves in their midst.
I have seen one too many memes about how people hurt pastors these days. As the daughter of a pastor who was married to the son of a pastor, I cannot compute the image of a true shepherd who is a victim of the people.
Every authentic leader understands the cost of grace. They are aware of the wasted years they spent in the bondage of mental addiction and emotional slavery. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing of themselves.
A true leader is prepared for the pain of leading slaves out of bondage because they never forget the pain they inflicted on others when they served their old masters.
The same grace that lifted them out is the grace they extend. The same mercy that covered the shame of their sinful behavior is the mercy they offer.
What I can testify to, however, is that when a leader abuses the people, God intervenes: Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 23:1-2; Jeremiah 50:6; Ezekiel 34:2-10;21; Zechariah 10&11; etc. There is a special judgment for those in a position of influence, James 3:1, which is why, only those who understand the cost are qualified for the position.
For that reason, before He promotes us, He prepares us.
The second time Moses tried to blame the people for his actions, God acted quickly and severely. Moses did not enter the Promised Land, Numbers 20:12.
Pride, anger, and blame are adversaries that infect our heart and arouse sinful behavior.
Pride perverts our perspective. Anger triggers us to do the right thing at the wrong time or the wrong thing at the right time and blame causes us to meet injustice with injustice. Only by leaning on our Beloved can we keep these adversaries from arising.
When we fail to give God His rightful place of honor, Self rises to the occasion and causes us to sin against God.
Moses forgot the lessons of the wilderness and it cost him.
It was Self that forced Moses into the desert; the same stronghold that controls all who refuse to endure their time of purification in the wilderness of adversity.
When we promote someone before their time, we abort their true destiny.
Insecurity is the result of terminating the process that leads to humility. Cutting the process short produces insecure leaders who mistake their lack of confidence for humility. Instead, their insecurities cause them to lean on the arm of flesh rather than rely on the Holy Spirit.
God saw a leader in Moses when he was in his mother’s womb. He saw the potential for humility long before Moses experienced the meekness of a contrite heart.
“Seeing” potential is not the same as “realizing” potential.
God knew that one day Moses would be known as the humblest man on earth, but not without the wilderness.
Love sees beyond the physical and into the future, but it does not interfere with the process. Love does not cut the cocoon or help the butterfly avoid its struggle.
In the name of love, we have done that very thing, creating disfigured, distorted caricatures of authority; leaders who abuse the weak.
Humility is critical to promotion in God’s house, but it does not surface without killing the Goliath of Self.
When there was no one left to blame for his sin, Moses learned humility.
He was raised in a palace with everything he wanted at his fingertips. He was a celebrated prince of Egypt. He conversed with kings, managers and heads of state, but in the wilderness, he was just another shepherd keeping watch over the sheep.
Sometimes, God must reduce us before He can promote us.
After 40 years of wilderness experience, Moses embarked on a conversation with a bush.
God knows when the work is done.
Malachi 3:3, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness.” [NIV]
When Moses was willing to talk to the burning bush, God knew that the work of humility was complete.
Hearing God’s voice is the number one priority of leadership, but how many leaders would dare talk to a bush?
Pride keeps us from speaking to strange and unlikely receptacles.
Pride keeps us from hearing God’s voice.
Pride hides the Self that the wilderness exposes, but humility embraces responsibility and finds freedom in failure.
Hiding sin creates shame. Shame reinforces pride and pride leads us back to our sin. It is a vicious cycle; a cycle that traps countless leaders in the prison of Self-focus.
When we refuse to humble ourselves and face our true adversary, we miss the burning bush and the talking donkey that carry God’s voice.
The wilderness of adversity freed Moses from the shame of sin.
It was in his own, personal desert, that Moses faced the Self-serving Self within; the man who blamed others for his angry outbursts and subsequent casualties. It was in the wilderness that Moses became a man of character, integrity, and hope.
All because he was willing to face the truth about Moses.
It is only when we face the adversity created by our adversary that we come to the end of Self and receive the grace necessary to rise, again.