Letters

Jigsaw Revelation: the Love of God


Have you ever put a jigsaw puzzle together?

Sometimes you find two or three pieces that fit together, and suddenly that part of the picture makes sense, when a moment ago, it looked completely different.

I’m sort of thinking along these lines today. Would you think this through with me? This will likely get uncomfortable; brace yourself (or skip it and move on).

Revelation chapter 20 is in the middle of what appears to be The Epic Judgment Scene at the end of time. In verse 12 is this statement: “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

That’s the scene that we’ve all read about, heard preached about, where people are judged for all the good they’ve done. This is the verse that gives rise to the silly idea that God is going to somehow compare the good that we’ve done against the bad that we’ve done.

We know better than to think that the good we’ve done outweighing the bad we’ve done is the way to reach heaven. We know better, but there’s this statement: “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

It’s like that weird piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t seem to fit in with other pieces of the same color. There’s always one piece like that, isn’t there?

So let’s look at some other pieces of the puzzle. Let’s lay them all out together, and see where they lead us:

• “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” [Revelation 20:12] We’ve seen that one. Then add this one:

• “God is love.” [1 John 4:8 and 16] This isn’t terribly controversial. We knew that, too. Now add this piece in between those two pieces:

• “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” [1 Corinthians 13:5] Now fit these pieces together with me, and see how these work out:

Since God is love (see above), it seems to follow that God would keep no record of wrongs.

And if that’s true, it means that the books that people are judged by, the books that list what everyone has done, they maybe have no record of wrongs.

And if they have no record of wrongs, then they must be only full of the good things that folks have done. That’s a new and different thought. But that’s what these verses say, isn’t it? I know it’s not the harsh judgmental image of God that some people insist on, but I think that might be the God of someone like Jesus.

Now, some people’s books might be thicker than others.

I would expect that Mother Teresa’s book is pretty immense; she did a lot of good. And she maybe needed less “wrongs” erased out of her book. Just a thought.

Osama bin Laden’s book is on that shelf. I’m absolutely confident that there is some good recorded in his book, though he was famous on the earth for the other kind of things, the kind of things of which no record is kept.

My book is there, and perhaps it’s between theirs. I have to say that I am not overly offended by the idea that my book may be missing some of the things that I’ve done in my life.

Yes, Scripture declares the dead were judged by what was recorded in the books, and at least for the moment, I’m suspecting that this means that the dead were judged by the good that they did in their lives, not by the wrong that they did.

That sounds like an awards ceremony of some sort. Everybody gets a prize. Some are big, some are small.

It reminds me of Paul’s words:

“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved--even though only as one escaping through the flames.” [1 Corinthians 3:12-15]

Now if you know me, you’ll know that I often insist on reading things in context, and the context of this statement in Revelation 20 is fascinating. There was another Book on the table in that scene, the Book of Life, and that’s where the real judgement happened: was their name in that book?

“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” [Revelation 20:15] That’s another story, another judgement, of course.

It’s a big deal, but it’s not what I’m looking at today.

The first judgement, the judgement based on “what they had done as recorded in the books,” I’m wondering if that judgement is based on records that “keep no record of wrongs” because they’re kept by the God who is Love. Hmm…

And if my Father keeps no records of wrong in my book, and if it’s true that “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more,” then I have several reasons to give up my records of who’s done right and who’s done wrong in my perception.

This way of recordkeeping will change my personal relationships, of course, but I’m suddenly impressed that this will affect how I read the news. Love keeps no record of wrong.

Hmm. This might be an interesting season.





                                               

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Letters

Audacious Prayer




Conversation, even online conversation, is a useful tool for discovering what’s in the heart, discovering what you’ve begun to believe that you didn’t realize you believed. These are some of the best conversations in my world.

Recently, I’ve been conversing about audacious prayers, “crazy prayers” with some good folks, and I realized some things that I have begun to believe.


I’ve been burned badly by “crazy prayers” that I’ve prayed which were not on the heart of my Father, but which he graciously answered anyway. Took the better part of a decade to get over one of them. His grace, his kindness during that decade were overwhelming.

And I’ve prayed some “crazy prayers” (for things I frankly did NOT believe at the time) at his direction, which he then answered, and which revolutionized my life and my family’s life, others that changed the shape of my neighborhood, my city.

As a result, I’m all for “crazy prayers” that are in His heart – whether they were in his heart to begin with and I just figured it out, or whether they started in my heart, and he’s supporting my free will. 

But if I don’t find them in Father’s heart, I’m pretty gun-shy about what I’m asking for, what I’m speaking about.

I believe I’ve come to this: the more audacious the prayer, the more I need to have confidence that it is in my Father’s heart before I speak them out.

But if I hear them from him, if I find even the most audacious, the craziest prayers reflecting his heart, then yeah, let’s do this!



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Letters

Audacious Prayer




Conversation, even online conversation, is a useful tool for discovering what’s in the heart, discovering what you’ve begun to believe that you didn’t realize you believed. These are some of the best conversations in my world.

Recently, I’ve been conversing about audacious prayers, “crazy prayers” with some good folks, and I realized some things that I have begun to believe.


I’ve been burned badly by “crazy prayers” that I’ve prayed which were not on the heart of my Father, but which he graciously answered anyway. Took the better part of a decade to get over one of them. His grace, his kindness during that decade were overwhelming.

And I’ve prayed some “crazy prayers” (for things I frankly did NOT believe at the time) at his direction, which he then answered, and which revolutionized my life and my family’s life, others that changed the shape of my neighborhood, my city.

As a result, I’m all for “crazy prayers” that are in His heart – whether they were in his heart to begin with and I just figured it out, or whether they started in my heart, and he’s supporting my free will. 

But if I don’t find them in Father’s heart, I’m pretty gun-shy about what I’m asking for, what I’m speaking about.

I believe I’ve come to this: the more audacious the prayer, the more I need to have confidence that it is in my Father’s heart before I speak them out.

But if I hear them from him, if I find even the most audacious, the craziest prayers reflecting his heart, then yeah, let’s do this!



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Devotionals, Letters

Contempt for God’s Kindness

This just ambushed my thought process.

Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

He’s challenging the Roman believers for showing contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance and patience.

Yikes.

Who are the folks showing contempt for God’s kindness?

Well, this verse indicates part of that: the folks who don’t realize that it’s God’s kindness which leads to repentance. Folks who preach something other than God’s kindness? Yeah. Them.

The context makes it even more clear: those who “pass judgment on someone else” (v1) are the folks he’s addressing.

He’s very specific: “Do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (v3) That’s pretty strong language there, Paul!

More specifically, Paul is saying that believers who condemn other believers, believers who emphasize something other than God’s kindness are “storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath.” (v5) That’s what it’s saying, isn’t it?

That’s kind of a problem.

You know these people: people who get in your face (in person, or on Facebook) and shout about how others are going to hell for their sin, or how a nation needs to repent in order to escape God’s wrath. There are folks who go around denouncing everybody who believes differently than they do as false.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of this garbage comes from pulpits around the country.

When you see them, first of all, don’t buy the manure that they’re selling. It’s not good for them and it’s SURE not good for you. In fact, if you’re able, don’t even let them spew that garbage on you. Walk away.

But more than that: pity them. Pray for mercy for them. Because the path they’re on is storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God’s wrath.

And most of all, do not go with them. That’s a pretty ugly destination they’re headed to. If they insist on going there, you do NOT need to go with them.

Show them kindness.

#PrayForGrace
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Devotionals, Letters

Contempt for God’s Kindness

This just ambushed my thought process.

Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

He’s challenging the Roman believers for showing contempt for the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance and patience.

Yikes.

Who are the folks showing contempt for God’s kindness?

Well, this verse indicates part of that: the folks who don’t realize that it’s God’s kindness which leads to repentance. Folks who preach something other than God’s kindness? Yeah. Them.

The context makes it even more clear: those who “pass judgment on someone else” (v1) are the folks he’s addressing.

He’s very specific: “Do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” (v3) That’s pretty strong language there, Paul!

More specifically, Paul is saying that believers who condemn other believers, believers who emphasize something other than God’s kindness are “storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath.” (v5) That’s what it’s saying, isn’t it?

That’s kind of a problem.

You know these people: people who get in your face (in person, or on Facebook) and shout about how others are going to hell for their sin, or how a nation needs to repent in order to escape God’s wrath. There are folks who go around denouncing everybody who believes differently than they do as false.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of this garbage comes from pulpits around the country.

When you see them, first of all, don’t buy the manure that they’re selling. It’s not good for them and it’s SURE not good for you. In fact, if you’re able, don’t even let them spew that garbage on you. Walk away.

But more than that: pity them. Pray for mercy for them. Because the path they’re on is storing up wrath against themselves for the day of God’s wrath.

And most of all, do not go with them. That’s a pretty ugly destination they’re headed to. If they insist on going there, you do NOT need to go with them.

Show them kindness.

#PrayForGrace
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Prophecy

The Commandments of Christ

I’ve heard John 14:15 quoted many times in reference to obeying some of the laws of the Old Testament:  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Or they’ve quoted John, 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

The verse is thrown out as a prooftext: “You have to follow the commands of God!” though nobody’s expected to follow all the commands: they don’t promote blood sacrifices or stoning sinners. It’s just an attempt to coerce believers into submitting to their own favorite part of the Law.

This is an attempt at control: whether from ignorance or malevolence, this is an attempt to wield the Law, as it has always been wielded, to exercise control over you: “You must do what I say you must do, because of this verse!” This is part of “the curse of the Law.” And implicit in it is “If you don’t do what I say, you’re guilty!” and this is the rest of “the curse of the Law.”

Let’s look a little closer, shall we, at what Jesus said? Jesus doesn’t say, “If you love me, keep all the commands of the Law,” or even “If you love me, keep this particular group of the Law’s commands.”

What does he say? “Keep MY commandments.” Keep the commandments that Jesus has given. Not the commandments of the Law: the commandments of Jesus!

What did Jesus command? Let’s pull out a concordance and look, shall we?

Jhn 13:34
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jhn 15:12
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

Jhn 15:17
This is my command: Love each other.

You’re welcome to look it up yourself (http://nwp.link/1HpK278); these are actually the only commandments that Jesus gave. It’s pretty clear that, while he has commanded it several times, he only gave one command: love each other.

So yeah: if you love Jesus, keep the commandments he gave: they’re all about love each other. That’s it. This isn’t about obeying the law, or about religious traditions, or about dietary requirements or even a command to “do good works.”

It’s about loving each other.

It probably is appropriate to point out that love – true ἀγαπάω love – is a pretty big topic. It’s all about pursuing their good over your own good, and that’s a costly love that will itself require much of us. But the command is love; the command is not about submitting to the Law, either the Old Covenant Law, or the rules that someone is trying to control you with.

Brothers and sisters, the Law is dead. Long live the command of love.

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Prophecy

A Vision of the Puddle.

I was visiting with a friend the other day, talking about what God was up to on the earth today, and I envisioned this picture. (In Churchspeak, “I had a vision.”)

I saw the devil, and he was watching you. And as he saw you emerging from your hidden place, as he saw you beginning to walk in your identity as a child, as an heir, of God, as he watched you shake off “every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares you,” I realized he was standing in a puddle. A yellow puddle. A warm yellow puddle.

Around the planet, the saints of God are coming out of their hiding places; they’re shaking off the snares of the enemy. Around the world, believers are beginning to believe, and are devouring the Word and learning who they really are, and what they’re really armed with. Around the Earth, wounded ones are healing the sick and raising the dead; some of them, without being healed themselves, are healing others in great numbers and with great determination.

And it’s scaring the piss out of hell.

This is one of the main reasons that “all hell is breaking loose” in some places: because all hell is terrified of the people of God growing from just being “Christians,” to becoming “Sons of God.” This is hell’s “fight or flight” mechanism kicking in, except that they have no place to run, nowhere to hide, so they have to fight.

This is also why we’re seeing so many earthquakes, so many storms, on the earth, in my viewpoint. These are the birth pains of the mature sons of God. And it’s also why so many believers are groaning, crying out for more, no longer content with sitting on a wooden pew once a week to be the primary manifestation of their relationship with God.

Romans 8 declares, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

This is happening today, right now. This is going on in you, today, right now. If you’re one of the ones wanting more of God – whether you want more of his presence, more healings, more people to know him, more signs and wonders: whatever! – then you’re one of the ones that are making the devil piss his pants.

Good for you! Keep up the good work! Don’t let down your guard, but keep pressing in! Keep manifesting heaven on earth!

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Nehemiah 4:17: “Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.”


Come join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/northwestprophetic. 
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Devotionals, Letters

Focus on What we’re For.

Instead of focusing on what we’re AGAINST, maybe we focus on what we are FOR? Instead of focusing on warning people against “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” I propose that we focus our attention and our affection on the Shepherd.
First, it’s easier to keep track of: there’s only ONE God to be FOR. There are too many more wolves out there, and they keep swapping their sheepskins, so you have to kind of study their evil to know what evil they’re representing this week. Ick.
Second, we become like that which we focus on. I’d much rather be like Jesus than like the guys that people are warning us about, the wolves in sheep’s clothing. If I focus on the wolves, I become wolflike. Ick again. No, we aren’t ignorant of them, but we don’t squander our attention or our conversation on them.
Third, if I train people to pay attention to my warnings, or the warnings of others like me, then I am drawing their attention and their devotion away from where it ought to be. Believers in Christ ought to be following Christ, not other believers, and I don’t want to be the one who has to answer Him for why His Bride is turning away from Him and following me. Yikes.
Fourth, if I feel the need to constantly be warning the sheep about wolves, then I have seriously underestimated the sheep. We think of the Bride in white lace, but this one has a ka-bar straped to each boot, and instead of flowers, she’s carrying an automatic weapon in her hands. This sheep is not without formidable resources.
Fifth, we’re commanded to focus on the good stuff. Philippians 4:8 is pretty clear. Hebrews 12:1&2 tells us where to fix our attention. This is a WAY better (and WAY more useful) focus of our attention than the wolflike bad guys.
Sixth, we are NOT the only ones out there working to protect innocents from wolflike bad guys. If we act like that’s our job, then we are completely disrespecting the Holy Spirit and the angels of God. It is not our job to do His job.
Seventh and finally, the power of God in us is orders of magnitude greater than the power of evil. Jesus kept messing with that one. In the old covenant, a good guy touching a bad guy polluted the good guy, and this is what many of today’s warnings are about. But in the Kingdom, a good guy touching a bad guy brings healing to the bad guy: lepers, demoniac, even corpses!

Honestly, any ONE of these is enough reason to put our attention on bigger and better things. All of them together are overwhelming.


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Devotionals, Letters

Homosexuals And the Move of God

There’s been a lot of talk about an increase in the movement of God on the earth, and how this is the beginning of a new “wave” of God’s interaction with this planet.
Recently, someone asked me a good question: “Where do gay folks fit in the next wave? I heard one prophet say they will be a part of it, and they won’t necessarily be delivered, but that they too can walk with Jesus and be filled with the Spirit. Will the next wave deliver them, empower them wherever they are at, help them live single, or something else?
I’ve heard testimonies of Spirit-filled homosexual churches. I’ve heard prophets and evangelists testifying that they’ve been among churches that come from the homosexual movement: not “ex gays ministering to homosexuals,” not “former homosexuals,” but “churches made up of people in the homosexual community.”
The testimonies, from reliable sources, are of churches, filled with the Spirit of God, among the homosexual community. (The testimonies, like the churches themselves, are not in the public eye because of all of the wrath they have received from the religious community.)
I’m committed to learning from others’ testimonies (http://j.mp/WUa9gS), so I will not reject these testimonies. In point of fact, they are fulfillment of prophetic words from myself and others, and fulfillment of God’s promise that he would call people to himself from the ends of the earth.  
So where do homosexual churches fit into this next move of God? For right now, I’ll employ a new phrase that I’ve only just learned: “I don’t know.” (Whew. It feels good to say that.)
I’ve spoken out publicly about two characteristics that I (believe I) know about the coming wave:
1) It’s going to be so different than what we’ve experienced before and what we expect, that it will be hard for most of us to recognize.
2) It’s going to be so big that it’s kind of overwhelming.
When you combine those two, it makes for a real mess: outspoken church leaders who are overwhelmed by things they don’t understand or recognize. That ought to be interesting. Perhaps MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” conference was a representation of that?
But there’s a third thing that (I believe) I’ve seen: this wave, this move of God, being so big, and being so different, will carry with it things that we’ve always considered heresy, wrong, unclean. (Tsunamis are very seldom sparkly clean.)
This is where I put the reports of God moving freely among gay churches: I know (I’ve seen it in visions) God is going to breathe life into the homosexual community, and I hear reliable reports that he has begun to do this already. But wait! Shouldn’t they repent? Yeah, but I didn’t repent of all of my sin until I understood it was sin, and some of that was decades after I was saved and filled with the Spirit. And I guarantee you that their repentance is not my responsibility!
This is also where I put the (equally credible) reports of the New Age movement coming to Christ. I know God is going to breathe life into the New Age community, and I hear reliable reports that this, too, has begun to already. But wait! Shouldn’t they repent? Yeah, but see above.
So yes, the grace of God convicts God’s children of sin, and leads them to cleansing and repentance! Yes! Yes! But He clearly does that in his own time, not in mine.
So how will homosexuals and New Agers fit into the next move of God? I don’t know. I expect that they’ll be involved, but let’s see what God does, shall we? And let’s welcome those He brings into his house!
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