Prophecy

Go, Dust Him Off

In the Spirit, I saw an older man walk out of a cave. He was wearing an Australian duster coat and a large Aussie hat. He was covered in dust from being in a cave for years.

Holy Spirit said, “Go, dust him off.”

As I did so, I thought to myself that this man, through life circumstances, had chosen to hide in the cave.

Holy Spirit corrected me, saying, “I hid him. He cooperated with me and stayed hidden. I am bringing him out now and releasing him for this hour. He has understanding, wisdom, strategy and revelation that is needed right now.

He walks in the fear of the Lord. Listen to him. Cooperate with him.”


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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, December 9, 2019

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULbCj1Hy-LQ

This week, we caught a closer glimpse of what the impeachment hearings in the House are truly about: election 2020. Democrats can't win and they know it. This impeachment is their best chance to lose less of the vote, but it may backfire.

The reason opposition news against Trump doesn't sway his base is because of what it reveals about actual, normal life. Usually, the president and Congress are portrayed as operating "above" everyone else, never having any problems, or at least that they only have problems that us normal people never have. But, every accusation and difference of opinion reported about Trump reveals that every president—not just he—deals with the same, constant, nonsensical heckling from people at the office that all the rest of us deal with.

Some friends always act like they have a better idea when they actually haven't a clue. Doing the only thing that can save a company or school always makes people mad—especially if those are the very people who drove problems to the brink of crisis. As movers and shakers shake and move to save the world from idiots who shouldn't have been put in charge, those idiots refuse to give us a moment's peace, even when they are close friends and family.

So, you see, Trump deals with the same kind of nonsense that every competent person deals with. We just didn't know until his adversaries told us so—as if we hadn't already seen it before.

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Letters

The Vengeance of God


Isaiah 61 begins, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor...”



This much is familiar to us. It’s the part that Jesus quoted when he began his public ministry (Luke 4). It was him announcing, “This is my job description for the next three and a half years. This is the what Messiah will be among you.”

But the statement He quotes from in Isaiah 61 goes on; Jesus actually stopped in the middle of a sentence. I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard - and I agree with them - saying “That’s because it wasn’t yet time for the next part.” Which reads:

“...and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

We are clearly no longer in the days of Messiah, at least the days of his earthly ministry. I wonder if we’re now in the next bit, “the day of vengeance of our God.”

Look at how this verse defines the day of God’s vengeance. It continues on and describes God’s vengeance as:

¤ to comfort all who mourn,
¤ to provide for those who grieve in Zion,
¤ to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
¤ [to bestow on them] the oil of joy instead of mourning,
¤ [to bestow on them] a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Resulting in:

¤ They will be called oaks of righteousness,
¤ [They will be called] the planting of the Lord.
¤ [They will be called] for the display of his splendor.

That is how Isaiah describes “the day of vengeance of our God”: comforting, providing for, blessing his victims, until they are firmly established and displaying his splendor.

Hmm. I  believe I’ve misunderstood God’s vengeance.

I had learned about vengeance from Romans 12:19, which tells me, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

I’ve always interpreted this as, “Don’t you beat ‘em up and make ‘em pay. God can beat on ‘em far more severely than you can!”

That was my understanding of vengeance. It was the image of God as my hit man, so I didn’t need to dirty my hands (or dirty my soul). He’d do the dirty work for me.

If I was really honest, the idea that I’d always had modeled for me was “God save me and destroy my enemies!” And I rather adopted that idea too, not in so many words, but this was the worldview from which I prayed.

Yeah, I don’t think that’s right any more. That’s not what his vengeance is; where he’s leading us.

Rather, God appears to want to save me AND save my enemies! (What? He loves those idiots, too?)

Jesus stopped quoting Isaiah before he mentioned the vengeance of God. But that didn’t stop him preaching these values.

Everybody loved it when he quoted Isaiah and announced, “That’s right here, right now.” They all smiled and nodded and clapped politely.

But when he went on, things changed.

Seven verses later, Luke records, “They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.”

That’s a pretty big attitude change. What pissed them off so badly?

I’m glad you asked. In between, he declared, “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

He was preaching that God wanted to save Israel AND save the gentiles.

It angered the religious community then, and it seems to anger the religious community now. But that’s not my issue here.

My focus here is that this idea that God wants to save us AND save “them” too is far more consistent with God’s character than the idea that God iss our hit man, on duty to smite our enemies so we don’t need to dirty our hands.

I remember a verse from my youth (from when I used to focus on sin as I was presenting the “good news”): “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). That’s him saving his enemies.

I could go on. Now that I stop and think about it (and I’ve been thinking about this for months), I find the value all over Scripture, now that I’m beginning to be willing to see it.

But for now, I’m going to just make this statement:

The vengeance of God is not about  smiting my enemies. It’s about saving them, about blessing them with everything he’s blessing me with.

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Symphony

Encore of Revival: America, October 14, 2019

Who does Pat Roberson think he is? Who gets to say whether or what America's "mandate from Heaven" is? We can talk about Kurds and allies and defending the defenseless. But, once we start using grandiose terms like "Heaven's mandate", that opens a whole new discussion.

If we're going to go all Bible-thumping Bible-happy about America and Heaven, we need to look at what John saw in Heaven in Revelation 12, where a woman and her newborn baby are given eagle's wings and saved from a dragon. The woman giving birth is Israel. The eagle's wings could only be America. If anyone is going to argue that America even has a mandate from Heaven—which may or may not be true—it would be to protect 1. Israel and 2. the unborn. But, that's assuming that America even has such a mandate. Syria, as much as we all should love all people, is not part of Revelation 12 and should be left out of this melodramatic "mandate from Heaven" freak talk.

Yes, America—and every other country—should all look after human rights and the good of all people—not only Christians, but non-Christians as well. Pat Robertson presumes the old, classic, "us four and no more" thinking we have come to sadly expect from Sunday morning culture. As for Syria, Russia is there and should be able to police wild stuff. America is spread too thin. And, the world would be safer if more nations hunkered down and stayed home. Scary and unpopular as it sounds, America needs to pull out of Syria because we don't have the unlimited resources of God and because we are indeed needed elsewhere.

Who should look after the Christians in Syria? The Christians should. Rather than playing on old superstitions, such as that America exists to favor Christians or that "good Christians" squabble over petty differences, Christians should act like the family they are. Jesus told Peter, "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." Military might is not how God works with Christians. He uses military to direct global politics, but shooting enemies of the Sunday crowd is not God's mode of operation, no matter how much Mr. Robertson thinks so. Heaven cares about Christians, but its strategy for Christians is to love each other and spread love—that is Heaven's mandate for how Christians should be looked after.

When we face our challenges, some leaders cower in fear, too scared to give an answer that should seem obvious. When asked the trap-question, "Should the president ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival?" the obvious answer is, "If the rival broke the laws of that government, of course! Otherwise no Republican or Democrat would be able to enforce laws against the other." Why can't Republicans say that? When one finds oneself with power one didn't earn, one won't know how to beat the toughest problems, no matter how obvious things may seem to everyone else. Congressional Republicans will either level-up their game or pack up and go home. This isn't pee-wee politics anymore.

Democrats in Congress seem to have forgotten all about looking after Americans, though. The House is trying to impeach a president who won't be removed by the Senate—it's pointless. But, to understand Democrats, one must understand the Democratic voters. They might not know that impeachment is pointless, just how Mr. Robertson doesn't know that a "mandate from Heaven" comes from Heaven, not sensationalist TV. But, sensationalism is the trend, for now.

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Letters

Reflections on Some Influencers

I was reflecting on some of the guys who have influenced my life in God over the years. None of these guys had a position of “leader,” but all three of them were competent leaders.

I knew a man who studied God, and God’s ways, for decades. He could put all kinds of letters after his name, including DMin, and PhD. He understood the Bible better than anybody else I knew at the time.

When I listened to him, I thought, “What a learned man. What a great foundation! I need a foundation like that.”

I knew another man who didn’t have a degree, but had spent a couple of under-funded decades among a people who didn’t even know who God was: teaching some, discipling a few, and desperately depending on God every day, for his meals, for his ministry, for his family’s lives.

When I listened to him, my heart melted. I prayed earnestly, “Father, I want to know you like this man knows you!”

I knew another man who came from the streets, and even that was just recently. He had not the slightest shred of education, and it showed. But he spent hours, many hours, just sitting in God’s presence, listening to his heartbeat, talking with him about what was on his heart.

When I listened to him, I realized that he had some ideas that were pretty messed up, and the first guy could help him with that. And I saw that he had some serious insecurity issues, identity issues, and the second guy could really help him with that.

But when he talked, he blew my mind. He healed the sick regularly, got words of knowledge effortlessly, and unbelievers listened carefully when he talked about his Jesus.

When I listened to him, I thought, “Father, is this really possible? Can your children walk in this kind of revelation, this kind of power, in this day and age?”

I learned some things in this reflection.

I really do love meditating on the things God has done in my world, in my life. The angel in Revelation 19 was right: the testimony of Jesus, who he is, what he's done, really is the spirit of prophecy. Mmm mmm. So good.

Different people have imparted different strengths into my life. If I only listened to people like me, I would certainly not be who I am today. Since both my wife and I like who I am today, this would be a bad thing.

Even people that make me uncomfortable can have a great impact on my life, provided I’m willing to learn. It's that "willing" part that I wrestle with sometimes.

It’s not enough to know ABOUT God. I must know God. And there’s more to know than I have any idea, even now. What a big heart!

It’s not enough to know God. I must also know ABOUT God if I aspire to trust him, to be like him. And again, there’s more to know about him than I even believe is possible.

When God invests himself into a person, he doesn’t necessarily make that person tidy, neat, clean, respectable. My ideas for what a “Good Christian” is were woefully inadequate, which means they are probably still woefully inadequate today. (Yet again I am reminded: He is NOT a tame lion.)


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Letters

Reflections on Some Influencers

I was reflecting on some of the guys who have influenced my life in God over the years. None of these guys had a position of “leader,” but all three of them were competent leaders.

I knew a man who studied God, and God’s ways, for decades. He could put all kinds of letters after his name, including DMin, and PhD. He understood the Bible better than anybody else I knew at the time.

When I listened to him, I thought, “What a learned man. What a great foundation! I need a foundation like that.”

I knew another man who didn’t have a degree, but had spent a couple of under-funded decades among a people who didn’t even know who God was: teaching some, discipling a few, and desperately depending on God every day, for his meals, for his ministry, for his family’s lives.

When I listened to him, my heart melted. I prayed earnestly, “Father, I want to know you like this man knows you!”

I knew another man who came from the streets, and even that was just recently. He had not the slightest shred of education, and it showed. But he spent hours, many hours, just sitting in God’s presence, listening to his heartbeat, talking with him about what was on his heart.

When I listened to him, I realized that he had some ideas that were pretty messed up, and the first guy could help him with that. And I saw that he had some serious insecurity issues, identity issues, and the second guy could really help him with that.

But when he talked, he blew my mind. He healed the sick regularly, got words of knowledge effortlessly, and unbelievers listened carefully when he talked about his Jesus.

When I listened to him, I thought, “Father, is this really possible? Can your children walk in this kind of revelation, this kind of power, in this day and age?”

I learned some things in this reflection.

I really do love meditating on the things God has done in my world, in my life. The angel in Revelation 19 was right: the testimony of Jesus, who he is, what he's done, really is the spirit of prophecy. Mmm mmm. So good.

Different people have imparted different strengths into my life. If I only listened to people like me, I would certainly not be who I am today. Since both my wife and I like who I am today, this would be a bad thing.

Even people that make me uncomfortable can have a great impact on my life, provided I’m willing to learn. It's that "willing" part that I wrestle with sometimes.

It’s not enough to know ABOUT God. I must know God. And there’s more to know than I have any idea, even now. What a big heart!

It’s not enough to know God. I must also know ABOUT God if I aspire to trust him, to be like him. And again, there’s more to know about him than I even believe is possible.

When God invests himself into a person, he doesn’t necessarily make that person tidy, neat, clean, respectable. My ideas for what a “Good Christian” is were woefully inadequate, which means they are probably still woefully inadequate today. (Yet again I am reminded: He is NOT a tame lion.)


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Prophecy

Pillars are Changing

“Many of My children are and will be experiencing a change of PILLARS in their lives, individuals
that they have looked up to for personal strength and support. As your Mother has always been a pillar for you, many of My children have pillars as well.

This is a season of rapid change and for the replacing pillars. These pillars have done their work well and it is now time for them to move on, some to come home to Me, others to new endeavors.

However, in order to raise the ceiling for those who I have called to new heights – I must replace the pillars.

Many may not see or appreciate what is happening at this moment in time, but soon they will see and know that I have set in motion a plan for the next season of their lives that will see them rocket to new heights.

So do not despair at the loss of your pillars, yes for some there will be a grieving process, but as My process says I will never leave you nor forsake you, so trust me as things are changing and be prepared for the new heights that I am leading you into.”

~Martin  Best, July 2017
Shelton, Washington


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Prophecy

Pillars are Changing

“Many of My children are and will be experiencing a change of PILLARS in their lives, individuals
that they have looked up to for personal strength and support. As your Mother has always been a pillar for you, many of My children have pillars as well.

This is a season of rapid change and for the replacing pillars. These pillars have done their work well and it is now time for them to move on, some to come home to Me, others to new endeavors.

However, in order to raise the ceiling for those who I have called to new heights – I must replace the pillars.

Many may not see or appreciate what is happening at this moment in time, but soon they will see and know that I have set in motion a plan for the next season of their lives that will see them rocket to new heights.

So do not despair at the loss of your pillars, yes for some there will be a grieving process, but as My process says I will never leave you nor forsake you, so trust me as things are changing and be prepared for the new heights that I am leading you into.”

~Martin  Best, July 2017
Shelton, Washington


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Prophecy

Pillars are Changing

“Many of My children are and will be experiencing a change of PILLARS in their lives, individuals
that they have looked up to for personal strength and support. As your Mother has always been a pillar for you, many of My children have pillars as well.

This is a season of rapid change and for the replacing pillars. These pillars have done their work well and it is now time for them to move on, some to come home to Me, others to new endeavors.

However, in order to raise the ceiling for those who I have called to new heights – I must replace the pillars.

Many may not see or appreciate what is happening at this moment in time, but soon they will see and know that I have set in motion a plan for the next season of their lives that will see them rocket to new heights.

So do not despair at the loss of your pillars, yes for some there will be a grieving process, but as My process says I will never leave you nor forsake you, so trust me as things are changing and be prepared for the new heights that I am leading you into.”

~Martin  Best, July 2017
Shelton, Washington


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Letters

Running Ahead of the Pack

Forerunners move out from the crowd they've been running with, to a place ahead of the crowd, where they are an example for others. As a result, it is not uncommon for forerunners to feel isolated, alone.

You need to know that that’s not isolation: that’s forerunning: it’s part of the job description of a forerunner – running ahead of the crowd, not with it – and that solitude is part of God’s provision for you. (Remember how Jesus sought it out? eg. Mark 6:45-46)

Others among the crowd see your example and move forward to join the forerunner or to even move beyond you. So the forerunner will have an empty spot, a vacuum, behind you, where others used to be, where others used to be. The more effective a forerunner is at bringing others forward, the greater the vacuum. Anyone trying to pull away from that vacuum will feel the vacuum pulling back.

Forerunners, that’s one of the things you’re fighting: you need to stay out of that vacuum; you may feel forces pulling you back. Resist the influences trying to pull you back to where you used to be. You need to keep pressing forward, keep reaching for the high calling in Christ Jesus. That’s who you are; that’s how you’re made.

There are others who need to move forward to fill that space behind you, who need to draft behind you, who will be encouraged to keep the pace you set.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…. (Hebrews 12:1)



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Letters

Running Ahead of the Pack

Forerunners move out from the crowd they've been running with, to a place ahead of the crowd, where they are an example for others. As a result, it is not uncommon for forerunners to feel isolated, alone.

You need to know that that’s not isolation: that’s forerunning: it’s part of the job description of a forerunner – running ahead of the crowd, not with it – and that solitude is part of God’s provision for you. (Remember how Jesus sought it out? eg. Mark 6:45-46)

Others among the crowd see your example and move forward to join the forerunner or to even move beyond you. So the forerunner will have an empty spot, a vacuum, behind you, where others used to be, where others used to be. The more effective a forerunner is at bringing others forward, the greater the vacuum. Anyone trying to pull away from that vacuum will feel the vacuum pulling back.

Forerunners, that’s one of the things you’re fighting: you need to stay out of that vacuum; you may feel forces pulling you back. Resist the influences trying to pull you back to where you used to be. You need to keep pressing forward, keep reaching for the high calling in Christ Jesus. That’s who you are; that’s how you’re made.

There are others who need to move forward to fill that space behind you, who need to draft behind you, who will be encouraged to keep the pace you set.


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…. (Hebrews 12:1)



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Prophecy

Insight from Gandalf the White

In The Return of the King, Denethor, Steward of Gondor (the realm of men) says of himself to Gandalf, “Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other men’s purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose higher in the world as it now stands than the good of Gondor; and the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine and no other man’s, unless the king should come again.”
To this Gandalf responds, “Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for.
“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”
I suppose that it’s not completely unimaginable that I sometimes find inspiration in Gandalf’s insight. I love this image: it is our job, the job of men, to rule, but it is our ultimate destiny to submit our rulership to the True King who is yet coming. Ultimately, our job is stewardship.
Even more, like Gandalf, our task is stewardship of “anything … that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower….” This includes stewardship of our world, our influence in that world, our fellow human beings, and of the planet that we now call home.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.” ~Matthew 18:23

(Many thanks to Kriston Couchey for provoking this line of thought.)
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Devotionals, Letters

Insight from Gandalf the White

In The Return of the King, Denethor, Steward of Gondor (the realm of men) says of himself to Gandalf, “Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other men’s purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose higher in the world as it now stands than the good of Gondor; and the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine and no other man’s, unless the king should come again.”

To this Gandalf responds, “Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for.

“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”

I suppose that it’s not completely unimaginable that I sometimes find inspiration in Gandalf's insight. I love this image: it is our job, the job of men, to rule, but it is our ultimate destiny to submit our rulership to the True King who is yet coming. Ultimately, our job is stewardship.

Even more, like Gandalf, our task is stewardship of “anything … that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower….” This includes stewardship of our world, our influence in that world, our fellow human beings, and of the planet that we now call home.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.” ~Matthew 18:23


(Many thanks to Kriston Couchey for provoking this line of thought.)
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Devotionals, Letters

Insight from Gandalf the White

In The Return of the King, Denethor, Steward of Gondor (the realm of men) says of himself to Gandalf, “Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other men’s purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose higher in the world as it now stands than the good of Gondor; and the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine and no other man’s, unless the king should come again.”

To this Gandalf responds, “Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for.

“But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?”

I suppose that it’s not completely unimaginable that I sometimes find inspiration in Gandalf's insight. I love this image: it is our job, the job of men, to rule, but it is our ultimate destiny to submit our rulership to the True King who is yet coming. Ultimately, our job is stewardship.

Even more, like Gandalf, our task is stewardship of “anything … that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower….” This includes stewardship of our world, our influence in that world, our fellow human beings, and of the planet that we now call home.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.” ~Matthew 18:23


(Many thanks to Kriston Couchey for provoking this line of thought.)
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