Archive for the 'Hearing God' Category

The Pattern of the World

I’m way off track on my goal of switching from full-time criminal justice reform to creating a new album and studying more about God. It’s super frustrating, but I can see some light. Plus, I consider everything I do with criminal justice reform still to be doing God’s will – in fact, I call what I do “God’s Project,” because of all the things He’s done to make it happen. So if He wants me to keep it up, I will. Part of walking in the supernatural is to hear God and do what He says no matter what else you think you want to do. We’ll see.

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Last week I watched with amusement the Family Leadership Summit, where each of most of the Republican candidates for president answered questions about pretty much everything, including God. I watched a lot of strange answers, including a guy who said that he never asks for forgiveness (apparently he doesn’t need it), but that he enjoys eating that “little cracker.” Most of the answers made me think that everyone was just trying to find that perfect balance between talking about God and not saying anything too crazy to lose votes. Political Christianity.

A lot of America is probably content with these kinds of answers. But if you’re a follower of Jesus, you have to get used to living in a foreign land – the natural world, where everything Jesus said and did often seems crazy to most everyone else. For a moment, I wondered what it would look like if a candidate for president was truly someone who believed in all that Jesus taught and modeled. Someone who believed in the supernatural. Someone who understood the transcendent force of love for all persons, even those who are unloved by the world. What would he say? Would he be called a “Republican?” Would he even be there?

In my opinion, if Jesus himself were in Ames Iowa that day, he wouldn’t have been labeled as either a Republican or a Democrat. If he spoke to anybody, he probably would have spoken of things that people simply wouldn’t have understood. Just like before, he would have spoken of wonderful things to give hope to all humanity, but he also likely would have spoken about things that would have made people want to kill him. The more I think about it, the more I believe that he wouldn’t have even gone in to the Summit – I think he would have spent his time looking for the poor and displaced people that were somewhere in the backstreets of Ames.

If you’re like me, and you want to follow this radical named Jesus, you have to realize that some things he said might be labeled ultra-conservative, while other things might be considered downright socialist. And so to truly follow Jesus, you’re going to have to get used to feeling like a complete outcast in the natural world. That’s to be expected. In Romans 12, Paul wrote, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Jesus mentions being “not of this world” a few times, and one commentary explains one of those statements quite succinctly: “The Spirit of God in true Christians is opposed to the spirit of the world.”

If the whole political thing just frustrates and confuses you – especially when they talk about God – then that’s a good thing. In my opinion, that’s just you listening to the Spirit of God and not conforming to the pattern of the world.

Be blessed, everyone!

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Priorities

This is a moment of truth. Denise has been so busy that she asked me to take over writing about God. Then I became so busy myself that I had a hard time doing it, too. But that’s unacceptable.

I was recently reminded of what really matters when I was out of town at yet another gathering to talk about criminal justice reform. It’s what I do for my day job (piano just doesn’t always pay the bills), and so I travel around the country trying to get justice leaders to take more of a compassionate look at how they treat people who get wrapped up in the criminal justice system.

At that particular gathering, a prosecutor – clearly upset at having someone like me questioning how he does his job – asked me (in a tone that only a prosecutor can take), “How do you define ‘justice’”?

He interrupted me to ask it, and the question clearly was designed to throw me off, because that’s a tricky term for anyone to define. There are regular dictionary definitions, legal definitions, famous people definitions, and collaborative definitions, but I asked him, and he made it clear that he wanted my personal definition of the word justice.

And for a second, it did throw me off. But at that moment a small voice inside me (quite obviously the Holy Spirit) said, “Just tell him the truth.” And so I did. I said that I was a Christian, and because I had a biblical worldview, I defined justice in a way that would honor God. I told them that perhaps the best way to encapsulate it would be through an articulation of the Golden Rule.

Well, a few things happened because of that. First, it silenced the prosecutor. It’s hard to argue against the Golden Rule, right? Second, several people came up to me afterward and said, essentially, that they were followers of Jesus, too, but they thought that I’d been brave to say it out loud. I hadn’t thought it as brave – I just figured it was what the HS wanted me to say. Third, I started getting some flak from people who didn’t think I should have said it at all. I fretted about that last thing a bit, but then I quickly remembered Matthew 10:32, which says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father.” It was then that I realized that I had done a bit of ministry that night, and that it was worth any negative consequences.

It turns out that the ministry was primarily for me. When I came home, I told Denise that I was sick of being too busy to talk about God, sick of being too busy to learn about God, and sick of being too busy to worship God. Long story only somewhat shorter, I’m taking six months off starting in June to focus on God. I’m going to complete my fourth album, read and write about God, and basically get my priorities straightened out. I’d tell you to wish me luck, but we all know luck has nothing to do with any of it. Instead, pray that I can set aside all the trappings of the natural world to do what I think God really wants me to do.

God bless all of you!

God and Music

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Wow, when things get busy, they really get busy. Denise is working harder than ever, and I’ve been out of town. Still, I have no excuses for not talking about God. Supernaturally speaking, it’s sort of inevitable. The more you want to talk about God, the more resistance you’re going to get. But that, my friends, is a completely different blog.

So when I’m rushed and don’t know what to say, I talk about something that I really love, which is music. Now, I don’t know about you, but you just can’t explain music without God. There is simply no way to fit music into evolution, or secular humanism, or anything apart from God, who gives some of us the gift of being able to play, and the rest of us the ability to feel the powerful emotional touch that comes from music. That’s why most musicians will never attribute anything they do musically to themselves. They can’t. Even when they don’t necessarily call it “God,” they know that it all seemed to exist outside of them, and that they were merely permitted to grab onto a part of it. If you watch the Oscars, you’ll see a lot of people thanking their producers, their directors, and their fellow actors, but if you watch the Grammys or the County Music Awards, a ton of people thank God or Jesus Christ.

When I play concerts, which is certainly not very often, I try to end by talking about the notion of gifts and infinity. God gives all of us gifts. Some of us are blessed with the gift of being able to make music, but we all have something, and each of you have at least one, and probably several, really wonderful gifts from God. And because we’re also given an ability to understand the concept of infinity, we can immediately take a known concept and imagine what it might be like in its infinite or perfect form. So, for example, if a piece of music seems beautiful, people can think of beauty and imagine it in its perfect form. This perfect form, of course, is the thing that awaits all of us when we enter the Kingdom as followers of Jesus Christ.

Every good thing that we do provides people with a glimpse of God and heaven, because we can reach people through our gifts and then tell them, “now imagine how you might feel if you experienced this thing in its infinite and perfect form.” That’s probably why one of my favorite passages is Matthew 5:14, which says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before [others], that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

So . . . whatever your gift, find someone and share it with them. Heck, share it with me!

But never forget to give all the glory to the one who gave it to you.

Spiritual Confirmation

I’m always open to receiving spiritual confirmation on wisdom, training, and any messages I might get from God. That’s because my flesh is not only weak – it’s also thick and dense. There are many times when I receive some pearl of wisdom and then turn around and wonder, “Is that you God?” I understand that confusion and doubt are from the enemy, but how do I sort it all out? Well, my ongoing theory is that God speaks to us where we look for Him. And one way I look for Him is by seeking confirmation. And if you seek confirmation on any particular message, God will surely give it to you, too!

When it comes to confirmation, my agreement with God is that when I receive a message more than once I will pay special attention to it and KNOW that it’s from Him and that it’s IMPORTANT for us. Of course, I test the spirits and look at where the confirmation is coming from. I ask, “Is this from God or from another Godly person?” “Does the message line up with the Bible and who it tells me God is and His purpose for my life?” “Is it from the Bible and my daily passages?” Over time I have learned that my confirmations always come in one of these ways so that my thick and dense flesh will finally get it!

For example, I just received a confirmation like this on the blog I just posted about “Standing Firm in Trials.” Right after I posted it, I opened my daily scripture from K-Love, and it said this from James 1:2-3;

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Bam! Just like that God gave me confirmation on the message I had written. I know that often it’s hard to see or feel joy during trials, but you should always know that your Heavenly Father loves you so much that if you let Him, He will let these seeds of trial fall on good soil to grow into something beautiful to share with another in a time of need. Also, when we focus on the joy of each situation, we defeat the ploys that the enemy has in mind to magnify the trial and our pain! My confirmation told me that faith is like a muscle – when you really exercise it, it surely grow!

Whenever you hear from God, or think you’ve heard from God, tell Him that you’ll seek His spiritual confirmation so that you can stay close to Him and be able to see clearly His word and blessings for you and your life. If you start searching for God in this way, then I’m sure that He will speak to you exactly where you are looking!

Dreams and Visions

Dreams and Visions

Did you know that a sign of the end times is an increase in prophetic dreams and visions? The Bible says,

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17 and Joel 2:28 (NIV))

I have been experiencing spiritual and prophetic dreams more frequently over the past year. In future posts, I’ll share them and their meanings with you. But first, I want to tell you why I believe this is happening to me and how you can share in this blessing.

As we mentioned in our book, 7 Spiritual Truths and the Lies that Hide Them, God will speak to you in the way that He knows that you will listen. My husband actively looks for signs in nature showing that God is working with him on various things. Because of that, God sends signs through nature to my husband (these are big and obvious supernatural signs – the kind that would make you say, “Wow, did you see that?!”). In the book, we joke that if you believe that God will speak to you through billboards, then you better start looking at all of the billboards. But seriously, think about how you listen for God to speak to you. Is it through your feelings? Is it through visions? Does He talk to you out loud? Maybe he speaks to you through other people. I know a lot of people who were seeking God when suddenly someone came out of nowhere and helped them through their troubles with just the right supernatural advice.

You may have had a relationship with someone in which you knew what they were thinking before they even said anything. I would never presume to know what God is thinking, but once you know how He speaks to you, it becomes much easier to really KNOW that it is Him who is speaking. And then as your level of communication deepens, your relationship becomes more intimate.

These days I talk to God constantly, and I am constantly watching for His reply. Sometimes it comes with just a “Holy Spirit-type” feeling, but lately it’s been in dreams. Because I am open to hearing from God in dreams, He is using them to speak to me.

I am so excited about this new gift, and I am equally excited to share it with you!  I want you to feel like you are walking hand-in-hand with God each moment of each day, and to feel the closeness of your loving Father.

Why “Arming the Saints?”

You may have wondered why we are called Arming the Saints Ministries. The short answer is because helping to equip current believers with knowledge and information is what God placed on our hearts many years ago. It came from a broken-hearted realization that we – and many of our Christian brethren – often did not know why we believed what we believed, and that we were often unaware of the authority we possess as believers to operate in both the natural and supernatural worlds.

After years of studying, researching, and plain ol’ on-the-job life training, we realized that we had to strive to acquire more supernatural education and share it with the world!

God sent me to Denver Seminary to expand my knowledge and give me the tools to research and write our book. When I say “our” book, I mean the book that God gave me the information to write – thus, “we” equals God, me, and Tim. The book is called:

“7 Spiritual Truths and the Lies that Hide Them

Supernatural 101 for Arming the Saints”

I will be giving you snippets from the book and I will often refer back to it in many of our upcoming blogs. If you would like more information about the book, you can find it on our Arming the Saints website at www.armingthesaints.com



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