The Man From Macedonia

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.

”But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Luke 10:29

~~~

I’ve had more pleasant experiences in my sleep than the one I am about to share.  It felt that no sooner had I closed my eyes, that I re-opened them to see a very unique scenery.

It was nighttime in a remote and quiet countryside. I understood to be somewhere in eastern Europe. I was crouching atop the splintery criss-crossed, rough hewn rafters of an old abandoned barn. Inside, a wrath-filled mob spoke only the silent language of fist and foot while they were systematically forcing a dozen bound Christians to climb to the top of the rafters via a rickety wooden ladder. Unseen by those around me, I bore silent witness, as they were being strung up with rope around their necks and one by one, kicked off the rafters.

An angel appeared next to me, watching the event as it unfolded. I began to sob the way I do when I see our family being martyred. Suddenly, all the rafter tops of this lantern-lit barn were filled with other angelic witnesses and I wondered why none of them moved. Looking down to the structure floor, I saw the night was well under way.

Our brothers and sisters made no attempt to escape. Their countenance was a mixture of tremendous grief equalled only by love. They kissed and touched head to head whenever proximity allowed for it before being punched or clubbed. The feelings they held for one another are beyond my ability to write. So was the love they had for their captors. Tears streamed down silent faces. No one said a word. As one particular young man was pushed to the edge of a rafter beam I reached out my unseen hand to touch his cheek.

I felt the Holy Spirit connect us.  I knew his story. He knew mine. In my mind’s eye, I saw the events that led to this dark night and shared the emotions he managed for the family being left behind. A deep, quiet joy, mixed with depthless sorrow mingled between our hearts. I had never felt so much love for a person as in that moment. I was one with this fellowship… and yet eternally apart. Counted among this company, yet unworthy of the honor they shared amongst each other. I wanted to die with them.

“Peace,” was all I could utter, and I felt the love of God flow out from my hand. At this, the angel to my left turned his head toward us, and silently gave a half-nod.

The man looked up at me; directly into my eyes and in that moment I knew he could see me. His mouth turned every so slightly upward at the corners, and the most restful, peace-filled gaze I have ever seen from another person flooded me with such raw, untainted nature of Father-God that I wept uncontrollably, yet resolved to never break our mutual stare.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “See you soon.” With that, he was violently kicked in the side and fell some 15 feet short of the barn floor; the rope snapping taut.

———-

“Daddy… does your head hurt?” My 7 year old, Daniel was beside my bed, and it took me a moment to realize I had been crying in my sleep… again.

“I made you coffee. Mommy said breakfast is ready. Will you play with me?”

As I write this, I feel the back of my neck begin to tighten and my desire to share is waning. I need to pray; to ask my Savior where He must touch my being and transform my heart. What else stands in the way of being more of… Him.

Soulish writing? An emotionally darkened blog post that pricks only at our fallen nature and not our spirit-man?

Only you can perceive that for yourself. But… how do we feel when we study about the Roman art of scourging? What do we feel when we read of the prophets being sawed in half, of Paul being stoned or Stephen being murdered? These brothers and sisters died for something much more than living for oneself. They died for you. They died for the love of the good news.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:7-8

How do I really feel when my neighbor suddenly passes on without Christ? Now, the question I must ask is, why is my response such-and-such? Where is my soul in relation to the Spirit of God living powerfully within my spirit-being?

I close my eyes for a moment as I type. I see the man from my dream, now part of that great cloud of witnesses, encouraging me. He gestures with a sweeping arc of his arm, like the man from Macedonia did to Paul. He beckons. So little to ask of me…

He has the eyes of his Father. No condemnation. No shame. No disappointment. Only love. A love that burns and compels. He bids me take my place at the seat of my Savior’s heart. Beyond all cliches and catchy church billboard signs, he silently encourages me to “let go and let God.” So much to ask of me… Perhaps I won’t. Then again…

Perhaps I will…

All my love, brethren.

Acts 16:9

Living the Resurrected Life

He barged into my office without a knock and without an apology. I could see he was deeply troubled in soul but nothing on his face gave that away. I had not seen this old acquaintance in quite some time. Instantly I stopped typing.

“Just came by to say hello, David.”

“Hello. How are you?”  

“Good… Just fine…Happy belated Easter. You don’t celebrate Easter do you? You don’t strike me as the type of Christian who would…”

Ignoring the question, I was breaking for him now. I felt his heart and Dad opened up to me Henry’s thoughts and fears and some of his darkest issues to me in that instant.

“What’s wrong, Henry?” I replied meekly.

“You know I don’t really believe in God… but I know He hears you and answers your prayers. I need you to pray for my dying brother.  Pray that he lives.”

——

Another Easter come and gone. Another year we collect the data and post our results. How many conversions? How many answered the altar call? How “successful” was our “program” this year?

I rarely follow social media. This morning however, I was troubled as I read the numerous posts from the bride of Christ extolling those who participated in their local Resurrection Day sermons. What grieved me more than this though was all the varied forms of exhortation I read in regard to not getting discouraged at the “lack” of results… Next year will be better… perhaps.

Next year?

The Power of the Living Resurrection abides in us daily. We will not find anywhere in scripture where the church is told to prepare for a day in which to stir up the witness of the Holy Spirit.  We are created for good works that will be an outflow of our union with Him… Moment by moment. Not year by year.  

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (I Peter 1:3)

The church has forgotten that if we live the life of Christ, we have no need to cajole the lost to come hear a sermon. The sermon is already inside all of us.

Please- I beg you. Read the book of Acts. I submit the scriptures make it very clear they were living the resurrection. What is now a once a year observance was at one time a moment by moment encounter with the Holy Spirit that led people to the Lord, daily… not yearly. Nor did is come via a Bishop acting as an Evangelist delivering a sermon before a meeting of mixed believers.

Salvation came through the daily living witness of the pentecostal church of Jesus Christ.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God  which I command you. (Deut 4:2)

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Col 2:8)

Have we swapped that indescribable privilege of communion restored… with religion?

We are righteous, holy, without blame, spotless, sanctified and loved fully. (2 Cor 5:21, Col 1:19-22, 2 Cor 5:17, Eph 1:6, Heb 10:10)

It is time for the Bride to live relationally

a walk that reflects what the torture of the cross gave us positionally.

We are righteous in His eyes already. Do we live this way? We are blameless before Him. Do we think this way? We are holy in His eyes. Do we walk this way?  We are living beneath who we truly are. We cannot do this without deep union.

This is not about “works.”  Works leads to more dead religion.

This is about outflow.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Prov 4:23)

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,”  (Luke 6:45)

Everything grown comes from seeds. Planting seeds takes work both for His kingdom and anything… not.. of His kingdom realm. We work at it every day. We say we want to hear His voice. We want to visit His throne-room. We desire to be used of Him.

But… what are we really sowing to? How many of us, if we are really honest, are quite comfortable with the confines and structure of born-again religion? In what areas are we really submitting to the traditions of man and not the life of Christ?

It’s not hard to agree to pray for those to come to accept Christ on Sunday. That is pretty darn easy, isn’t it?  Yes.. it is. How difficult is it to lay hands on a stranger the day after Easter while gassing up on your way to work?

Now the question to ask ourselves is… Why is this so?

When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John… So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)

Peter and John were not on their way to Revival. Nor were they on there way to heal this man. They were on their way to meeting. This stranger got in their way. We can only freely give what churns violently inside us. What areas of the Lord are we moving in more than last month? Last year? 5 years ago? I am not talking about theology. These Christians didn’t even have a bible yet. They had Jesus Christ. They lived Jesus Christ. They gave the life of the Resurrection everywhere they went. It was freely flowing.

We have replaced the life of Christ with theology and doctrines, memorization, and a checklist to make ourselves feel respected by others and in our own eyes.

The scriptures tell us in the last days a great falling away will occur.

It’s already upon us in this nation

and we have not even entered into persecution yet.

The Word also tells us the Love of many will grow cold. Here is a gentle wake-up call: only those who have Christ have true Love… this is a prophetic word spoken by Jesus about the church that will be fulfilled… but to what degree, will depend on us.

Disciples of theology… or disciples of Christ?

Imitators of religion… or imitators of Christ?

Theology is not a relationship. Theology is the word of God rightly divided that provides a stable platform from which we draw to the realm of the spirit in order to live, breath and have our being in Christ alone.

Please hear His heart. I am not saying to stop enjoying a tradition. But how we live day by day is what our Savior died for and is interested in. Afraid of being “weird”? Was Jesus weird? Did it look weird when Peter healed the beggar?

Bottom line: if we are looking to a day to win souls… the church has drifted from the faith and the Power of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is not a day. It’s a relationship we seek and walk out.

Religion breeds weirdness. Relationship breeds Christ. Please… Let us stop confusing the two.

He is calling us. He is waiting. His lost are waiting. They cannot wait another year to hear the gospel. The world needs to see it in power through us every day. As always, first things first…

Seek His face. Seek His Love. Seek Him alone.

No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.”  (Jer 31:34 & Heb 8:11)

Happy Easter, all. Let us live it every second as we learn to draw into Him every moment of our lives. 

Topical Scriptures: The Great Commission

His Church is Called To Rescue His Lost Children by the Power of His Spirit working in and through His redeemed son & daughter.

Here are some verses that I have found minister to me. They remind me of the fact the Holy Spirit was given to me and that His presence is always with me.  They also remind me I have been given the honor of using Jesus’ authority on all matters of the kingdom. One of those things is to rescue His lost children.. those still bound by Satan.

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” John 20:21

What is His heart?

We must never forget what this is all about.  He died to redeem all His creation… not just some of you.   

Remember John 3:16? How about these verses?:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Pet 3:9

Those wretched, , filthy minded, obstinate, self-centered, sinful people… aka “the world”… that is who He died for. That is who we ALL were in His eyes. The gift of His righteousness was given AFTER we accepted Him as Savior… after, not before.

Let me stop here to also clear up a false doctrine floating around. A strong delusion:

The Great Commission was never.. and never will be… released from being our responsibility!!

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:16-20

Nowhere in God’s Word does it say we, at some point, whether we are in the Church AGE (which we are) or in the Tribulation.. that we are released from the Great Commission.  NOWHERE….

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15

“And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matt 9:37-38

“And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:15

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” John 4:35

****Just in case we have forgotten how we are to treat our backsliddenbrothers/sisters, see James 5:19 ****

“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19

Now let’s read about how our walk should manifest to the lost: and to clarify.. matters of the kingdom involves destroying all the works of the devil.  Remember, it is the goodness of His kingdom revealed to the lost, that brings them to repentance.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. ” Matt 10:8

“He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”Eph 5:18

Greek word “filled” means to be complete, amply supplied, to be made full  (greek Playro-o , #4137)

This is power. This spirit life flowing out of us. If our lives don’t reflect what the word says we need to ask Him (and ourselves) some questions…

Please, let us never forget that no matter how dark things get, we are to shine all the more brightly. We are to always, always… go get His lost sheep.

The power to do this is inside you already. Father has revealed His heart’s desire to His church already. It’s already been written and revealed to us. All you need to do is act on it.

Shalom

 

Friends Of Esau…

I am staring out the window even as I type.

Out there.. beyond the grey haze of morning glory that has given way to the pseudo-winter looking sky of this mild NY December… is the vast expanse of His children. A creation that can be traced all the way back.

Back to the beginning…

I am thinking about Esau these days. I think on him perhaps more than some. We grew up quoting scriptures such as “Jacob I loved and Esau I hated…” Context and content become a distant priority in light of twisting verses to guard our misguided beliefs and protect our fragile sense of broken identity.

How often does my thinking line up more with this seed of Abraham than the child of “promise”?

We are so quick to ridicule the one who forsook his birthright, but do we really take the time to note that it was a result of a brother who would not share a bowl of food to a starving sibling? What we fail to realize is that the nature of both sons was the same.

Sinful. Fallen. Darkened. Selfish.

We seek our own way. On the surface it may be in the form of despising our spiritual inheritance, despising what His word declares about His child. Or it may be in the form of trying to manipulate our Father, thinking if we reject and resent ourselves enough in the name of “humility” we will cull His favor.. His love.

Either way, we are searching for something we refuse to acknowledge Father has already given us.

We already have all His heart.

“When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”

We too beg and plead, looking for Father to say He loves us…looking for a confirmation… a blessing.

We get to choose how we will live. Will we exist in the bondage of a heart that stubbornly refuses to accept the goodness of His love? Will we contend with Him even as He is in the midst of us… inside us?

Consider this next time you enter into your worship with your Lord. Consider that all that love you pour out in tears and pain and longing is actually His heart.. His pain…His tears…

…at the thought His child is in reality begging for love… and calling that “worship.”

I look forward to meeting Esau one day. And I trust on that day we’ll exchange embraces. I shall look him deep in the eyes. I know my own will say “I am sorry.” Sorry it took me so long to learn from his own pain.. his suffering… his broken longing.

He is after all… a friend, is he not? Or even now, are our hearts still so hardened?

There can be no exchange of love.. no true friendship, where there is no agreement. It is time to go back. Go back to the beginning. Back to a time when you first felt the love of the One who died for you. Back when the realization of that love is what compelled you to accept Him as your own.

We already have all His heart. How much of ours does He really have?

“…I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.”

Let Us Wash Our Minds…

I recently added a Section titled “Scriptural Truths.” I will be adding and updating this as much as I can.

“We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5

One of the most challenging areas in our walk is to gather the Truth around us in order to walk in the renewal of our minds. If we are going to walk in the fullness of the power, peace and rest that was placed inside us, we must walk in agreement with what the Word of God say about any and all matters…

This is especially true about what the Word has to say about us.

You are His child. You are His beloved. You are His redeemed.

Stop turning to the world for your identity and peace and rest. It does NOT exist there. It will always elude you. It is a goal steeped in the belief system of the god of this Age.

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” John 12:42

Trying to add to your self-worth is death. It is fallen thinking. It is carnal. It is NOT who you are.

The time has come for the body to put off the grave clothes in our thinking. It is for freedom He set us free. Your hearts are free. Have the courage to follow the life that dwells in power inside you.

Brothers and Sisters of the living God. This is our time. This is our hour. This is our destiny.
Walk as the sons and daughters of God amongst the Earth in the manner we were meant to…

… and rescue His lost children.

-David