"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other," Psalm 5:10. [KJ21] The Passion Translation says, "Your mercy and Your truth have married each other..."
Some 40 years ago, I heard an old-time gospel preacher use this scripture to explain a critical fact about the human condition. Like us, he explained, the disciples had different perspectives from which they viewed the world. Understanding that, when it came time to create "teams" Jesus sent them out, two by two, establishing their partnership on that very diversity.
Currently, the Enneagram is the popular manifestation of identifying this uniqueness, also known as, Basic Personality Types, or Temperaments. Taking this into consideration helps us understand why the disciple with a mercy perspective always walked with the brother who saw everything in the black and white of truth, because mercy can soothe the wounds truth reveals. Similarly, righteousness walked with peace. In the natural, these temperaments would be at odds with one another, like oil and water, or fingers on a chalkboard, but in the spiritual, they are "iron sharpening iron." Righteousness turns peace into a peacemaker rather than a peacekeeper. Just as peace keeps righteousness from slipping into the swamp of condemnation.
Even in the same family, we are born with different ways of perceiving the same events. We emerge from the womb wearing a God-given pair of glasses so to speak. Psalm 139, He "weaves us together in our mother's womb" and every detail perfectly suits us for His purpose. Some are truth oriented and some mercy. Peacemakers calm storms of chaos, while righteousness stirs up storms of repentance, reminding us that “sin is a reproach to any nation,” Proverbs 14:34. Even those who don’t know Christ view the world through a predisposed lens. As differences go, these partialities often lead to unrest, offense, and deception because in the natural, we cannot see through another person’s lens. Conversely God gave us these distinctive predilections, not to divide us, but so that we would recognize our need for each other. More importantly, so we would recognize our need for Him, for His Lordship over our lives. For the simple fact is that only His perspective is perfect and only through the adjustment He makes to our lens will we be we able to see clearly.
As in everything He does, God expects us to recognize how desperately we need one another. If we stubbornly rely on the way "I" see things, we will be unbalanced, unhinged, and easily led into deception. Hence the reason He sent His disciples out, two by two, each one carrying a different perception, a different emotional response to crisis, and a different revelation of Who God is.
Sometimes, the very message we need to hear is the one that exposes the inequity in our perspective.
I was born with a strong justice or "truth" perspective, an outlook, I’ve discovered, that has a way of pushing people away rather than drawing them to me. Years ago, a prophet told me that I came from a spiritual lineage that included "Joan of Arc." I laughed. That is until last summer when my girls were studying the Enneagram and exclaimed, "Mom! You're a 1!" A 1 is identified as a "Perfectionist" or "Reformer." Here's the first thing that pops up on Google about a 1: "Ones… [have] an emphasis on personal integrity and self-control. Their attention goes toward seeing and correcting what is wrong and doing the right thing. They are known for their honesty, dependability and common sense." Sounds impressive until you read the rest of the chapter. The study emphasizes the good, while unmasking the bad and ugly secrets you have tried so hard to hide. Eventually, you are convinced that the latter outweighs the former, but it is the same story for everyone. Clearly none of us see the world through a balanced, straightforward, or perfected lens. I was still processing the results when the girls added this little treat, "Guess what historical figure was a 1?" Yep! You guessed it! Joan of Arc.
Interestingly, my whole life began to make sense, especially in light of this Psalm. In the early 80's, I had a supernatural encounter in which God called me to stand against abortion. Only now do I realize that He was actually activating my natural calling. Because it was a heavenly activation, however, it came with a caveat, a warning that I must go in a spirit and attitude of mercy. "Mercy and truth are met together." To accomplish that, He broke my heart and gave me a new perspective toward abortionists and the women who obtain abortions. As I stepped out to obey, I began to encounter some of the most vicious spirits on earth and yet, I could not hold back the tears, or the flood of compassion that rose in my soul. It was then that I knew that a supernatural work had occurred within me.
On the other hand, my firstborn daughter was born with a strong mercy lens. Her kindness and hospitality are well known by everyone who meets her. However, early in her life, the Lord warned me that unless certain spiritual truths were planted deep within her soul, the day would come when mercy would lead her into compromise; a concession that could be deadly to her spiritual health. Today, we often talk about how those truths have kept her from falling into the trap of twisted mercy. Satan did come and set her up for a lifetime of disappointment, but truth preserved her.
The message on my heart is simply that God will never allow us to have everything, know everything, or be everything to the world around us. He made us to be leaners, to walk on perpetual crutches so to speak. He made us to need one another. Just as Aaron and Hur were necessary to hold up Moses' arms so we are necessary to one another.
Our differences are our saving grace.
I believe that the greatest outcome of this chaotic season would be the union of leaning into the diversity our Father created. Learning to trust the knowledge of God that can only be observed through the earthen vessel of a brother's lens. In this union, Charismatics would recognize how much they need their Baptist brothers and vice versa. Races would rejoice in their differences, finding purpose in their identity. In this union, diversities of gifts, insights, and spiritual revelations would flow without restraint. The Ekklesia would be edified, strengthened, and unhindered in her task to cover the nations with the gospel. Most notably, in this union, Jesus Christ would be glorified; His Name lifted high above the earth. His Bride leaning, trusting, and honoring the unique expression of Christ within each other. She would be purified. Her gifts flowing, like sweet-smelling oil, slipping out into the streets and neighborhoods, influencing governments, changing atmospheres, and permeating the world with the smell of His fragrance.
In this union, His people would be, finally and completely, ONE.
This was a message delivered at HOTHOP Austin in early 2019.
2019: 5:52 AM, the Lord woke me up with this word:
“I know who the world thinks I am, but who do you say I Am?”
I looked up Isaiah 55:2, “Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.”
This morning, 3-19-2020, the Lord reminded me of this word. Last year, when I first delivered it at the Sunday Morning meeting, I said that I believed it was a prophetic word and God might be speaking about something that was still to come. Still, I came home and put it away… until today. As I read back through it, I realized that it was, indeed, a word of instruction and promise for this present moment we are in.
How ironic it is that for the first time in decades, we are struggling to find the food that sustains our bodies. I believe that God is reminding us that we have not been eating the food that He provides.
There is a marvelous message in the time that was on the clock that morning, 5:52 or 5-5-2, and the question I heard the Holy Spirit ask as He awakened me.
This is what I believe He was saying.
Biblical meaning of the Number 55 is “Grace upon Grace”
Few would doubt that the Hand of God is being revealed in a visible way all over the world, but why? I believe that He is inviting us, His children, to turn from the sin of believing that we are strong without His manifest presence in our midst. We have gone our own way.
The Bible meaning of repent is, “The act of changing one’s mind.” In other words, “To turn.”
God’s Hand is always an invitation to turn.
To sum it up, in the first two numbers, we have grace upon grace, the Hand of God, and an invitation to an action, “To turn.” But what does the “2” tell us?
The Biblical Meaning of the Number 2 is “Differences.”
Differences that are submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, will always reflect the Oneness of God. God hates division but Loves differences. He created our differences. In context of scripture, our differences are meant to be displayed as prisms of Light in a unified setting.
Which is why, what the world thinks of God is directly related to what we believe about Him and how we act on that belief.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.
Division represents Satan’s agenda for our differences.
The number 2 signifies a divided heart. Two gods. We have two eyes, but if their focus is divided, we are blind. The division among God’s people today testifies that we are all going our own way, which translates to the world, “which group is going God’s way?” We have built edifices of division, creating our own doctrines, our own methods of worship, denominational idiosyncrasies, and we have isolated ourselves from the differences that Christ anointed to serve His body.
Unity is not control. Unity isn’t forcing everyone to believe the same thing or punishing those who have a different revelation. Unity is the found in the blood of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection as the Only Begotten Son of God. There is only One Way to God and only One Way to be unified and that is by the power and witness of the Holy Spirit Who lives in all those who are called according to His purpose.
When His Spirit bears witness that you are my brother, then no matter how I feel about our differences, we are not divided.
Isaiah 5:2, “He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter.”
Isaiah 5:2 is a picture of grace spurned. The humility necessary to receive God’s grace was rejected. There was no turning and the crop failed. We have been in a season of grace, a time of plowing, planting, and waiting, but our divisions have spoiled the vines and produced bitter fruit.
The true church, God’s Ekklesia, will be known as a place where differences prosper and division dies. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” John 13:35.
Not only will the House of God be known as a place where Love thrives, but His Temple, us, our personal, intimate relationships will be famous for Loving one another. We will no longer be peacekeepers, but peacemakers. We will be known as those who bring heaven into the divisions, the brokenness, and the devastation sin produces.
Our mouths will speak Truth and the Love of God expressed through us will set captives free.
In the expressions presented by His separate and individual Temples differences will become the prisms that reveal Christ’s Love to the world.
2 Kings 21:1-7, “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem... And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel…”
Abominations – Strong’s Concordance #08441 – Tow ebah meaning – A disgusting thing.
A divided heart is disgusting in God’s eyes. He hates the mixing of the holy and profane. Yet, we have had hearts divided by doctrines, opinions, and loyalty to denominations and men for too long.
As in Isaiah 5:2, grace covered us until it harvesttime. But it has come, and the fruit is spoiled.
Manasseh was King of Judah, which means, “praise.” We have enjoyed a season of unprecedented praise and yet, amidst the melodic sound of our worship, division, strife, and bitterness has flourished.
Our soul is divided. We can lead the praise team or be on the praise team; we can preach, teach, evangelize, and prophesy and still be following the desires, thoughts, opinions, impulses, and cravings of another lord: our undead Self.
Whatever lord (Lord) a leader worships, that lord (Lord) is the one ministering to the hearts of the congregation.
Many years ago, Doug Stringer stood at the front of a once powerful church, historic for revival. He said, “God has only one fire. It burns in revival or judgment, depending on what He finds when He comes.” Several months later, as the morning worship service was just getting underway, I heard the Lord say, “Run!” The sound was so urgent, I left my seat at the front and ran down the aisle, past the people, and into the foyer. There was my husband, standing with his assistant, and I asked, “What is it?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “God won’t let us go in, yet.” Over the next few moments, the doors opened 4 different times and 4 different leaders and intercessors came out.
The worship service could be heard in the background. The sound was beautiful, but the spirit was foul. The team was made up of varying degrees of protected sin.
One of the intercessors went to the bathroom to pray and the others congregated around Johnnie and me. I asked one of the leaders, “What did the Lord say to you?” She replied, “I heard Him say, ‘Swine on the Altar.”
A few minutes later, the pastor noticed that his entire front row of leaders were missing and demanded that we return. Obediently, we went back in. It was time to send the children to their class and one of the associate pastor’s called them up to the platform. His short message was on “illusions.” His prop was a small bowl he had taken from his office. Each of the leaders who had fled that morning were aware of this bowl. We had seen it many times. A small pig perched atop the lid in the center, appearing to be a handle one could grip. Instead, when we reached out to touch the pig, there was nothing there. It was an illusion projected from inside the bowl.
As he spoke about things not always being as they appear to be, the pastor passed the bowl around to each child and asked them to touch the pig. Afterward, he asked two ushers to pass the bowl throughout the congregation, insisting that everyone touch the pig. My friend, who had received the word from the Lord, looked at me and said, “Don’t touch the pig!” Of course, I wasn’t about to.
A divided heart cannot hear God’s voice when He speaks.
For decades, He has been speaking through His prophets, but we have allowed our doctrines, our judgments of the messenger, and our differences to determine whether we receive or reject the word. Our ears are not tuned to the sound of His voice, Proverbs 4:20.
The day God said that swine was on the altar of our worship only a few were tuned to hear Him. When flesh feels comfortable in God’s house, it is a clear sign that God is not.
Less than two short years, later, the building that once housed great revivals, became a church for those who practice sexual perversion and unrestricted sin.
The leaders followed the impulses and desires of a divided heart, Luke 16:13, and the fruit was disgusting in God’s eyes.
Proverbs 25:26, “When a lover of God gives in and compromises with wickedness, it can be compared to contaminating a stream with sewage.”
Proverbs 21:16, “When you forsake the ways of wisdom, you will wander into the realm of dark spirits.”
2 Chronicles 33:10-13, “And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they would not listen. Therefore, the Lord brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh in chains and bound him with fetters and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he sought the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers and prayed to Him and He was entreated by him and He heard his supplication and brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom.
Then Manasseh knew that the Lord, He was God.”
God has always known what the world thinks of Him. Afflictions do not come to ravage their hearts, but to turn us from our unrighteous ways.
We have used His grace to produce bitter fruit.
Which brings me to the reason God woke me up this morning. Like Manasseh, God is asking us, “Who do you say that I Am?”
The great irony of Manasseh’s story is repentance. Even in a time of judgment God’s grace was within reach, but it was only accessible through turning.
Manasseh took away the foreign gods and idols out of the House of the Lord. He tore down all the altars he had built on the mountain and in Jerusalem and cast them out of the city. He repaired the altar, sacrificed peace offerings, thank offerings, and commanded the people of Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.
Manasseh turned… and the people followed.
And Manasseh reigned 55 years.
55: Grace upon Grace. The most wicked king in all of Israel’s history received a double portion of God’s grace!!
I do not care how wicked our nation is today, God is not judging them for their wickedness. An eternity without Him is more judgment than any earthly dilemma we could ever face.
Instead, God wants to pour out a double portion of His grace, IF we, His people, will repent. If we will turn.
“…but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Romans 5:20. Here we see 5 and 2 together again. Grace and division. Man’s divided heart always leads to abomination and disgrace, but God’s amazing grace can still restore the standard.
Isaiah 30:5, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved…”
Humility is key to receiving grace, James 4:6.
Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, (2) what is good. What does the Lord require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
If we want to carry His presence in the public place, we must spend time with Him in the Secret Place. Psalm 18:11 tells us that “He made darkness His secret place…”
Psalm 66:12, “You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us into abundance.”
Fear and darkness may gather around us but those who abide in the secret place of the Most High will find rest and grace to help in time of need. They will come forth singing a new song.
Because darkness is the place where intimacy erupts into pregnancy and pregnancy gives birth to the impossible. What you believe about God in this season of quarantine, will determine how you emerge and how you emerge will determine what the world sees.
We are living in the time of Mannaseh, again. We have far surpassed the magnitude of innocent blood shed in his day. Yet, God has extended His grace to us… Grace upon Grace.
If we will turn from our divisions and seek His face.
He will hear and the world will believe.
Thirty years ago, in a quiet cemetery on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, we buried the body of a late-term aborted baby boy with curly black hair. His head had been torn from his shoulders and one arm had been brutally pulled from its socket by the tugging and ripping of the scissor-like forceps firmly clenched in the abortionist’s hand. A surgical incision gaped gruesomely from his small back exposing the removal of tiny organs and his crushed head revealed that his brain matter had been extracted and sold as well. David’s connectedness to humankind didn’t end on the abortionist’s table. Rather, a long line of profiteers would benefit from his death because David, like every other unborn child, was human, like us.
Yet, years before David’s death, God knew a baby boy would be aborted on a cold and rainy day in December in a cold and foreboding office in Houston, Texas because too many hearts had grown cold and indifferent to the plight of the unborn. God knew and He singled this child out to be a voice to the nation. Years before he was slain, God would bring individual people with supernatural assignments together to give this unborn baby boy a purpose, a song, and a name. In the telling of the story behind his discovery and my own awakening, I hope to give David a voice and encourage yet another generation to keep fighting until life is considered precious, again. The same God who attends a sparrows funeral, attends the death of every unborn boy and girl we throw away for the sake of convenience and God weeps.
A Song for David is my story. It is David’s story. And it is Alex’s story. It is the story of how God supernaturally awakened me and charged me with the greatest assignment and adventure of my life. It is the story of David, the unmourned, unloved, and unwanted baby boy who died on December 8, 1988. And it is the story of Alex, the broken, dysfunctional man who saw himself in this brutalized, dehumanized, and discarded child. Most importantly, A Song for David is our story. It is the story of every true believer in this nation for the day will come when we will all answer the question asked in David’s song. One way or another, we will all give an account for what we did while babies died.