Archive for the 'Hearing God' Category

A Word From God

I hope that everyone is weathering this unusual time, and I pray that everyone is healthy both in body and spirit.

I had a word from the Lord a week or so ago, but I’ve been putting off sharing it due to its somewhat political nature. Frankly, I have an aversion to the politics of this age because it’s been used by the enemy so successfully to divide people. It all reminds me of our civil war and how divided our nation and families were in that particular time. Nevertheless, I’ve been convicted by my lack of obedience since I have received this message, and so here it is. Those of you who are in more charismatic churches know that if someone gets a word, he or she must share it verbatim and not try to clean it up just for the sake of cleaning. I’m not apologizing for the message, but I will simply tell you to open your heart and mind and ask for the Truth to be revealed from the Lord.
What God told me is this:

“Tell my people to stop worshiping Trump. He is just a man and I am God. I am He who knew you from before you were formed in you mothers’ womb. He is a not a man after my heart. The things happening now are to break down the idols you have come to worship that take your focus off of me and the good things I have for you. Trump is your president because your nation picked him. Yes, I use all things to my honor and to show my face – but he is not to be worshipped and set on a pedestal as one who is above me or the laws. Look at his fruit and test him by my Holy Spirit – open your eyes.

Break off/break down your idols that you worship – that which you focus on – money, wealth, politics, vanity, pride – these are not lasting, but I AM. I am the Alpha and Omega – the beginning and the end. Turn your focus to me and prepare to be blessed immeasurably.

This time you have while you are removed from the busyness of the earthly world is to be used to renew your bonds with me, remember me, spend time with me as you would a long, lost friend. Get to know me and reflect on the good things in your life and know that I orchestrated those times. Look at your growing and learning times and know that I was with you and that I remember your sorrows and heartaches. Know that I have never left you.

Come back to me, rest in my arms, enjoy my peace, stand in my protection, seek my heart for you and your family and see how much better it is than the worldly, fleeting pleasures. Invite me into your home and heart so I can heal your woundedness and prepare you for your True blessings. Also know that I am a jealous God and disobedience and forsaking me angers me. I created you, I created the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon, the stars in the sky, the food you eat. I created you to love me and fellowship with me and yet you have created altars and idols to worship who can’t speak, or bless or save you. Come back to me. I forgive your sins – nothing is too great for me to forgive – just ask me. Put down your pride. I love to heal your brokenness and purge the lies set in you by the enemy.

Stop hating your brothers and sisters because they don’t believe the way you do. Stop taking in everything your people say as truth and look for my Truth. If you don’t see me or my heart in situations or people it is not my Truth. Be careful what you feed your body to be healthy and in the same way be careful of the things you feed your mind. If it is not my Truth it creates a trash heap in your heart where the enemy finds pleasure in exploiting and growing lies, hatred, misinformation, deceit, pride, covetousness, and busyness to blind you from my love.

Come back to me – not for just a moment like you did after 911 where I protected and rescued many – but for your lifetime. Make your time on earth matter by knowing me and loving my people, helping my people not just in a crisis but every day. Come back to me. I Love you.”

A little more revelation from this past week. Know that the words I heard from the Lord, above, are addressing the adoration and admiration of idols, but especially people’s (believers and non-believers) adoration with our current President, as shown especially by comments that he is a man of God and has been chosen by Him apparently to bring people back to God. In fact, the current President is not a “man of God,” as shown clearly by tests gleaned from adherence to scripture and by spiritual fruit, which we have discussed a bit before. But there appears to be more confusion over the President’s particular role given God’s providence over all things.

I suppose this will require a longer explanation in another blog, but for now simply realize that God uses ungodly people to do His will all the time, and His will is not necessarily what you might hope it would be at any given time. For example, in Luke, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow, whose pleas wore down a man who “neither feared God not cared what people thought.” Luke 18:1-8. Jesus used this particular ungodly man to make a broader point about God’ justice. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Solomon’s Temple and initiated Babylon captivity of the Jews. Cyrus rebuilt the Temple and allowed the Jews to return from Babylon. In each of these things, God’s will was done – and would always have been done – whether or not people agreed with the Kings or even remotely knew their ultimate purpose.

The Bible is clear in stating that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” (Romans, 8:28) and those things include both good and bad – godly and ungodly – rulers. But at any given time, we simply don’t know what the “good of those who love him” actually is. Indeed, to build His Kingdom, it’s quite possible that God will use ungodly rulers to force some of the more unpleasant parts of the end times to occur. So, we don’t know why someone is in charge – we only know, given a strong sense of divine providence – that God has everything under control and, in the end, will use it for good of the Kingdom he envisioned at creation. In fact, if you go down the path of saying, “God placed this person on his or her throne to make us a more godly nation,” then you’re stuck in a logic problem of trying to determine why, for instance, God placed any other particular President – or even some dictator – on any particular throne at any particular time. Is one placed there to bring people to God, while another is placed to punish – each for our ultimate good? Or is it the other way around?

The point is that, even with a strong sense of divine providence, we don’t exactly know why a person is allowed to rule. So, again just for now, realize that God’s plan for this particular President might be for something altogether different than to bring our nation “closer to God.” Indeed, simply from the current news surrounding the church, an equally plausible reason appears to facilitate separation of “the sheep from the goats,” the true believers from those who only practice a shallow, if not anorexic belief.

The main point is not to worry, but to allow God to work. And, accordingly, not to try so hard to define and, indeed, prompt that work that we stray from Biblical principles. God will do what He will do, and we may be puzzled by that at any given time. But as for daily living, we have clear guidance: Follow God, relying on His moral law, scripture, and, in some cases, particularized revelation, to make daily decisions – each of which brings glory to God. If you find what you are doing is, instead, practicing a sort-of idol worship, not only by coveting the things of the natural world, but also by constantly standing up for ungodly decisions, ever=defending unscriptural actions, and persistently agreeing with notions that sow hatred and division, then it’s clearly time to turn back toward God.

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!

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!


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