Thursday, February 2, 2012

When you wrestle with God, let him win

Jacob or Israel?

While most people would see Jacob's character transformation and name change to Israel after wrestling with the Angel of YHWH as a type or symbol of prevailing with God in prayer ( especially intercession), I think its more than that. I believe its way more than an allegorical story, but that its an example and pattern of transformation by encounter. I think it is a wholesale revelation and understanding, a life change that is completely opposite of the way he conducted himself in relationship to people and God his whole life up until that point. The first part he was in charge and the remaining part of his life he trusted God.

Jacob's encounter with God released him from being a spiritual orphan to being a prince and prevailer with God ( the meaning of Israel). You don't get to become Israel until you learn that God wins and your strength (thigh) has no redeeming value. We don't become Israel until we walk with a limp for the rest of our lives because of our encounter, visibly and noticeably different forever. From the wrestling in the desert and forward he would trust God for establishing him and his tribe and the eventual nation of Israel. Even though that meant going back to his dysfunctional family to try and make things right after the way he left. With his heart in the right place, the Angel of God went before him and softened his brother's heart.

Jacob was born chasing after his brother and grabbing after everything he could get his hands on through deceit and cleverness. His name Jacob meant Heel or heel grabber and that worldly label defined him for most of his life. The Text in Genesis is very clear that he was a momma's boy and his dad Isaac favored his twin brother Esau, who was more of a manly man. That being understood, it accounts for Jacob's orphan/abandonment behavior and the need to take his brother's inheritance as opposed to trusting God for his own.

The way I read the text, Jacob's mother Rebekah held onto the prophetic promise God gave her that the youngest son would be the leader and bearer of the birthright and that is a sign of her incredible faith and trust that she helped Jacob walk into his destiny even if he didn't fully realize what that was yet. God always fully intended on Jacob being the one in the line of Christ and the progenitor of the twelve tribes, but he will have it done his way. The encounter with God released Jacob from the anxiety and stress of having to figure out his own destiny and helped to heal the father wounds of his natural father at the same time. I think that may account partially for the reason God chose him as the father of the twelve tribes and Jacob's tenderness towards his younger sons Joseph and Benjamin.

Jacob is the type of person who tries to make the will of God happen in their own strength, in other words a lot like most of us or at least hopefully how we used to be. Like many of us, he grew up in a household that was dysfunctional and lacked affirmation. He knows there is a call of God on his life (Padan Aram) confirmed by dreams, but still goes and works for the man for 14 years multiplying sheep ( making money), outside of his homeland and birthright. Even in Jacob's rebellion God recounts his great promises to him in a dream knowing he will turn his back on them for a long time. God is patient, he will wait and he will have his way. He always has our best interests in his heart. Its interesting that 14 years seems to be the seasoning time for the cultivation of a prophet, but I digress. Only when the oppression and lack of justice in Jacob's world becomes unbearable does he really consider the call and promise of God in his life.

Jacob ( and you and me) have to face God all alone, that is why he puts his family on the other side of the river. When you face God alone in an honest encounter, before you face those you have wronged then your character is revealed. Surprisingly to those of us who are expecting rebuke and punishment, what God does most of the time is reveal the character and person he has seen in you and me all along, (Israel) princes and princesses before him, because he sees us in Christ. When we accept God's encounter and word to us and receive nothing less than God's best and blessing we get the revelation of who we are. With the revelation of the way God sees us, we can face anything and anyone and its never as bad as we thought it was going to be, people will forgive and accept you when you finally figure out who you are. It comes down to believing that the Father's blessing really was for you in the first place.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I don't like cats

         When I was growing up we always had cats and dogs.  My mom loved cats more than dogs and as the kids moved out she added more cats to replace them I guess.  She got carried away in my opinion so much so, that present day I don't think anyone would argue she can officially be called a cat lady.  I don't remember how many she has, but around a dozen of every color, size, and temperament.   They have taken over her house and the last time I visited I was afraid to go to sleep at night for fear that they might somehow know intuitively that I liked dogs more than them and scratch me in the middle of the night. I love dogs and sorry, I just don't like cats.

         I don't even know how or why we got talked into it, but after my wife and I got married, we ended up getting cats too, even though Lesley is allergic to them.  Even after we adopted a criminally insane cat named Titus (after the Roman general) that terrorized the neighborhood and sent kids screaming at the sight of him.  Titus was pathological and patient waiting underneath my daughter Jill's bed everyday so that as soon as she put her foot down he buried his fangs and claws into her until Lesley or I peeled him off (wearing gloves).  We had other cats who would pee on the stove or what we called "hick" on the carpet their regurgitated food because they had gorged themselves so much and yet, we would always get a new one, after the defective cat was given away.
         From the smell of the cat box, to the cost of litter and food and the hair all over the furniture, I saw no benefit, no pros, only cons. I could never understand why my whole family fought so hard to keep the cats when I suggested we get rid of them (everyday).  After Sydney our last cat barfed three days in a row and Lesley was finally tired of cleaning up after her, she said the words I had been waiting to hear for several years.  " When I get home after these next two days out of town, it won't break my heart if Sydney is not here when I get back".   The funny thing is, that none of the kids who fought so  vehemently so save her even noticed she was gone for several days.  My house smells good again.  I don't have to worry about sitting down and getting hair all over me.  We save money on food, litter, carpet cleaner, and lint rollers too. 

Cats are a lot like demons ( Lol, my blog, I can say it) we put up with them when we don't have to.  We allow them to terrorize us, rob us of our resources, time and energy.  We serve them and clean up after them when we have authority over them.  Eventually when we come to our senses, we cast them out, with their nasty behavior and habits.  We have been cat free for a couple months now, the freedom is exhilerating. 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

My boss died yesterday

Some people might receive it as good news that their boss died. Not me, I cried and I cried with his family, who I work with and I cried all the way home in my car.  It is not that we were super close, though we talked via phone or e-mail almost daily over the last 3 years coordinating purchasing and sales and developing strategy for the multi-million dollar seafood importing company he started out of the back of a truck some 20+  years ago. My tears had nothing to do with my security or future, our company will be fine.  It is not because he was a people person or spiritual guru or charismatic icon who I will be lost without, though I don't know anyone with more friends. It is because Phil loved life and he loved life more than anyone I have ever met.  He loved life and pushed to the edges the way all of us know we are supposed to, but few of us ever do.

He was a Kiwi, ( New Zealander for the rest of you) who sucked the marrow out of the bones of life. He grew his family and business as he migrated from New Zealand to Hawaii to Los Angeles and then back to his beloved New Zealand where he lived a simple, peaceful life in semi-retirement over the last few years, most of his days spent fishing.  Phil was always looking for the next celebration, sporting event, party, rugby match, boat race, auto race etc., not so much for the adrenaline release, but to be with friends and family and celebrate life.   He was relaxed and calm as a company owner, so much so that to many it appeared he was complacent or didn't care, when in fact his company was an allegory or example of his life, expressing his confidence and loyalty to those he surrounded himself with. We would take 2 hour lunches on Friday afternoon when there was work to be done, but Phil was never in a hurry, the task was never as important as the person to him and I grew to respect that about him.   In hindsight, I suspect that his hands off approach actually brought out the best and the most in those who worked for him. At least it did in me.  Any of us who have had to work at a corporate grind, and punch a time clock would realize what a blessing it was for me to work for a man, a company, that believes in you and your potential and gives you the freedom to pursue it unto the ends of the earth. On my suggestion we traveled together to countries in Asia to develop new product lines and suppliers.  He trusted me to go to Central and South America to do the same. On those occasions when I made bad decisions and lost thousands of dollars and felt horrible, Phil would encourage me and express the utmost confidence in my decision making and his  loyalty to me created my loyalty to him and the company.  He was taken advantage of by those who  had selfish ambition more than once, both personally and professionally, but he never hardened his heart or changed his core values of loyalty and generosity and that will always be a memorial to me.

Phil certainly died way too young at age 58, but I am thankful for the way he was allowed to go.  It is prophetic of his life and an inspiration to me that the last thing he did before he died was reeling in a big fish.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The assault of Orphan Spirit

Abandonment, rejection, lust, addiction, rebelliousness, competition, shame, comparison, rivalry, jealousy, compulsion, accusation, exposure, escapism, guardedness, un-teachability, aggressiveness and hostility are all subservient underlings or extended tentacles of a demonic stronghold that has paralyzed men and women in American culture for decades:  The Orphan Spirit.  His grip tightens every year because of our society’s values, but his means and message is nothing new . 
The strategy/spirit started before the creation of mankind when the Father chose humanity over Lucifer. It was from the beginning of humanity when the enemy amplified the rejection of Cain’s offering to God as a rejection of Cain himself.  Cain killed Abel, because he mistakenly thought Abel was a favored son and he (Cain) was rejected.  The lie is a strong, subtle and multi-level continuous loop, playing over and over in the minds of humanity, motivating their desperate acts, “The father is pleased with and has chosen to include someone and it is not you”.  The spiritual message is reinforced in the natural realm with every man that abandons his family or beats his children or worse ignores them completely.  The Orphan Spirit is behind every Ishmael vs. Isaac, every Esau vs. Jacob.  The orphan feels as though he must fight for everything and take what he wants because he will never receive the blessing, inheritance, peace or identity that a father would have given him.  The orphan spirit is behind the fighting between Jacob and Esau (Israel and Arabs) even until this day, not because the little strip of land is so valuable, but because of what it represents.  It is a declaration of inheritance for the promised son and a rejection label of orphan over the other.  Never mind that all humanity has been grafted into the blessing of Abraham through Christ, the orphan spirit blinds their eyes to that truth.  Their pain and rejection causes them to lash out and act out and so it is with those of us who have been branded with orphan spirit’s lies. 
Orphan spirit is behind every class clown that talks out of turn and every bully that beats up someone weaker because they are both crying out for significance and the attention that a father would have given them. Much like building a brick wall, the orphan spirit lays foundations of fear and insecurity into every part of the orphan’s life that is harder to penetrate and harder to climb over time.  Orphan spirit is driven to release his nature into those he torments, including anxiety, frustration, isolation, striving.  Orphan spirit could never let weak humanity realize they already had been given everything.   Orphan spirit teaches us to point the finger at someone else who took from us rather than come to the father and ask for what is ours.  Orphan spirit robs us of the ability to rejoice with or love our brothers and sisters, instead pointing them out as the ones who took from us what we deserved.  Orphan spirit tells us he is protecting us and keeping us safe by not allowing us to form any close relationships which ironically is the only thing that can heal us. Those tortured and tormented by the orphan spirit don’t even know most of the time their desire to be  lovingly corrected and instructed and to have their character and identity revealed, which is the sacred ministry of a father that orphan spirit steals from us.
On an individual scale, the orphan spirit screams “that’s not fair”, while in desperation and lack of trust and faith drives us to buy the lottery ticket.  It defines its captives by creating envy and jealousy between the have’s and have nots, which usually results in fighting if not violence.  People controlled by the orphan spirit struggle and fight with everyone trying to claim a land they think has been given to someone else.    They push everyone away the way they feel pushed away, outside the circle or into the margin. They are blinded, usually by hatred, sometimes by addiction and self medication to the deep need they are really searching for:  Sonship, acceptance, value, identity and significance that is already theirs because of the Son who has given us everything he has received from the Father.  The revelation of spiritual Sonship can even reverse the effects of orphan spirit in the natural realm.  It may take years, but it will happen.   Those of us who only knew anger,fear and punishment from our natural fathers can know the love and acceptance of heavenly Father who will break down the paradigms and structures that orphan spirit has built into our lives and relationships.    The orphan spirit hates you because you have been given an eternal inheritance he will never experience, not because of anything you did or said, but because you were a son or daughter born into the family of God. 
Orphan spirit knows exactly when he has control of you.  It is the defining moment when basic trust is lost.  Once that bridge has been crossed, his next move is to put you in control of your own (false) comfort and defining your own identity which is really his and not the Fathers.  Usually it takes place with possessions, or addictions or striving for acceptance.  As long as orphan spirit can keep us feeling rejected by the Father it is easy to keep us under his power. 
I personally have experienced a long journey out of the orphanage into the family of God and the peace is hard to describe, but believe me it is worth it and He is good.  He has everything planned out for you in advance, no need to strive, there is plenty, he is a good father.  Time to trust again, right now if you will let him, the Holy Spirit will put the Spirit of his Son in your heart so that you can cry out (honestly) Daddy and feel comfort and cared for maybe for the first time in a long time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Does your marriage suck?


I don’t even remember the preacher talking about it when we got married, or if he did I wasn’t listening.  Why didn’t someone force me to understand how important and central a “covenant” is to every relationship that I value.  I would never have gone through all this pain if I only knew ahead of time.  Maybe they did tell me and I just wasn’t listening because covenant sounds like a boring religious ritual and I am freeeee brother.  I am not dense or uneducated either, in fact I am really smart.  My brain works great, but my heart (and my mouth), not so good sometimes.  I went to Bible College and Seminary and probably taught a Bible study or two on covenant, but the concept of Covenant never penetrated my heart if it did in fact penetrate my mind. Maybe I could blame my mom or step-dad or American culture, and possibly even nature and nurture. I could definitely blame the Devil, but the truth is I probably didn’t want to hear it at the time. 

I didn’t realize how important covenant was until my wife and I were separated and the Lord Jesus loved me enough to connect me with a Messianic- Jew counselor who explained covenant to me with a uniquely cultural emphasis. I listened, because I was broken and had lost everything, usually that is what it takes for men. I was floored by the lightning speed the revelation of covenant traveled from my head to my heart and it is still an unfolding revelation today.

I am not going to bore you with a complete exegetical study of covenants in the Bible, but I am going to endeavor to communicate to you the intention and heart of God in his covenant(s) with us and by inference how our covenants then are supposed to work.  In simple terms a covenant is an agreement between two or more people to accomplish a specified purpose or goal.  The motivation and responsibility is of paramount importance.  The end goal or purpose is more important than fairness or equal distribution of the load of work or responsibility (Get ‘er done).  In other words if one of the members who made covenant was unable to fulfill their part for any reason, the other person(s) were still committed to see the covenant through, rather than seek a way out because of the high value placed on what was covenanted and in respect of theirs and the other person(s) honor. 

Covenants are important in all three major belief systems that trace themselves back to Abraham as their Patriarch (Judaism, Islam, Christianity).  It is important to note that God’s covenant was based on his nature, character and relationship rather than a binding contract.  Covenant is a solemn act and almost always accompanied by some type of sign or ceremony. Let me summarize some key points about covenant.

 God made covenant with Noah, declaring he would never again destroy life on earth with water and the sign or seal of that covenant was the Rainbow that appears in the sky after it rains as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to hold back the rain. The effect of covenant is that it always extends to future generations.

The covenant with Abraham ( Gen. 17) was reiterated at least 5 times in the Bible that he would be a father to many nations and that he would be blessed to be a blessing and that through him all nations on the earth would be blessed. The sign of this covenant is that the land of Canaan belonged to him and his posterity, again the covenant would extend to future generations. 

Abraham’s covenant was revised and broadened with Moses in Exodus 20/Deut. 5.  In fact the law that was given was the sign or confirmation of that covenant.  The Bible or Torah at the time was called the book of the law and viewed as the sign that confirmed the Israelites were God’s peculiar or specific people that were offered his love and protection in exchange for their devotion and obedience.  Again this covenant extends to the following generations.

God covenanted with David to establish David’s kingdom (through Christ) forever.  The sign of that covenant was the building of Solomon’s temple (Samuel, Chronicles) which we know did not last forever, but did extend to the next generation in the natural and continued through the descendant of David (Christ) and through him blessed all generations.  When we think of David, most of us consider the human covenant David made with Jonathan.  The promise to protect and bless the future generations of the other’s  line should anything happen to either of them and which was fulfilled when David invited Jonathan’s lame son Mephibosheth to dine with him at the kings table after Jonathan’s death ( 2 Sam. 7).

Baptism is a covenant, a commitment to identify and live our lives for Christ with the ceremony or the sign being the immersion in water and coming up out of it.  Communion or the Lord’s supper is a covenant ( Luke 22:20)  with the elements of blood and body or bread and wine symbolizing our oneness and remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice and coming kingdom.  Marriage is supposed to be a covenant, with the public ceremony usually confirmed with the sign or seal of a ring exchange. 

The prophet Jeremiah ( 31:31-34) speaks of God’s promise of a new covenant that is coming to the people of God. The people of God broke their end of the covenant, but God fulfilled his part and to accommodate for the lack on the part of God’s people he is announcing here in Jeremiah that he is going to revise the covenant and do our part too since we are unable!  He is going to make himself known and forgive sins which is the covenant sign of his following through and was accomplished through Christ.

  This is why Jesus declares during the last supper, this is the new covenant ( Luke 2, II Cor. 2&3, Heb. 8 & 13).  This new covenant replaces and supersedes the old covenant as Christ sacrifices and dies for us and we bond and re-bond ourselves to him every time we take the elements of communion.  Even so the blessings of those old covenants are accessed by faith for the people of God, funneled through the seed of Abraham ( Christ) in which all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Gal. 3-4, Romans 9-11). 

The power of the covenant in marriage is that it removes selfishness as you look beyond yourself to the next generations.  The covenant removes conditions and the possibility of emotional manipulation.  It makes us vulnerable and therefore real.  People married in covenant do not hold divorce or physical and emotional attention over each other’s head. 

Marriage is to be the deepest and most binding covenant we enter into besides our covenant with Christ.  It is a promise to love each other with the same covenant love with which God loves us.  Think about how God fulfills covenant and makes up both ends of the deal because we were unable to. This is the example to demonstrate and model for our children and their children.

With the understanding of marriage as covenant then, here are some principles that govern and define marriage:

  1. Broken only by death.
  2. You are willing to live and/or die for the other.
  3. Promise of commitment and faithfulness, expressed in a selfless and giving lifestyle.  ( If  husbands have to enforce authority over wife, they are missing it).
  4. You are in covenant for what you give, not what you receive.
  5. Covenant is enforced by character (not contract) and intimacy of relationship.
  6. People in covenant are transparent and vulnerable, teachable and correctable. They have a deep understanding (Yada) of each other.

That is why living together or Shacking up (“its just a piece of paper”) can never be a covenant relationship.  Many people who are indeed married, even good Christian people are not in covenant either as God has intended.  Instead the relationship is built on a foundation of fear and forcing someone else to meet your needs in a manipulative and selfish way.  “If you don’t behave like this for me then I am going to leave” is the sometimes unspoken declaration over the family which oftentimes contains children who are insecure and fearful feeling as if their family structure could disintegrate at any time. The power and commitment of a covenant marriage blesses the children with stability. Pastor Kris Valloton brings out in his excellent book “Moral Revolution” that one reason the woman has a hymen which breaks and bleeds during first intercourse is a covenant sign of the covering ( the blood) that Children were to be born into.  Without going into another topic completely, let me just mention that the marriage covenant was to be the boundary of sexual expression so that the fruit of the union or the next generations could be blessed. 

The transition from contract to covenant will revolutionize everything, and I ask for the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation ( Ephesians) to reveal it to you and make it real.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chapter 2- The battle begins

Chapter 2- The battle begins

            The smell was like rotten eggs, but worse.  It was the tangible smell of death, similar to when Charlene found the corpse of a decaying animal that had been rotting for a few days.  As soon as she stepped onto the Metro bus (route #22) from Kirkland to Bothell, Washington where grandma and grandpa Stallman lived, a stench assaulted her, yanking her mind and senses from plans to spend the weekend with her grandparents. 
            It was Friday night after eight PM, and she was already behind schedule with her plans, but the stench was so overwhelming that she was tempted to step right back off.   For a moment, she hesitated but before she could step off the bus, the door solidly closed behind her.  The bus quickly accelerated, forcing her to grab a handrail to keep from falling.  Since she resolved in her mind that it was too late now to get off, she sat down in the middle of the bus, accepting the fact that she would have to endure the thirty minutes of offensive rancidity.  Still, she couldn’t help but wonder where the foul waft originated.  She gazed around to find the source of the smell.  Only three other people and the driver sat quietly on the bus.  All of them seemed oblivious to the smell.
            The first couple Charlene passed on her way to the middle of the bus was an Asian man and woman.  She guessed them Koreans in their mid twenties.   She wondered if maybe they had just eaten some of that horrid Kim-Chi and the odor was coming out of their pores, but no, that wasn’t it, the smell was much stronger.  There didn’t seem to be anything originating from the couple, and the smell did not seem to bother either of them.   The couple’s attention seemed more focused on each other as they gazed lovingly into the other’s eyes.
            As she quickly glanced toward the back of the bus, she noticed a slouching long-haired man in the back of the bus.  They caught each other’s eyes and Charlene looked quickly away.  The Korean couple pulled the cord to get off at the next stop, and the man from the back of the bus stood up at the same time.  Charlene assumed he was getting off too, but was surprised and became uneasy when he sat down directly across from her. 
            It became clear that the fetid odor was from him.  She tried to casually cover her nose and mouth to keep from gagging, but waves of nausea continued to sweep over her.   She could not understand why the others in the bus had been immune to it.  She wondered if it was because she was more sensitive to smells now that she was pregnant.  She had very little spiritual discernment at that time in her life, but she began to wonder if the smell was not natural, maybe even a supernatural thing.  It was hard to tell since he looked like he had not showered in a few days – maybe even longer. 
            He was a big man, at least 250 lbs on a six foot plus frame that would have been taller if not for the slouching back and shoulders.  His hair held together with dirty rubber bands and his face had about three days worth of stubble to hide the filth of his unwashed face.
            Besides his calloused hands that were black with grime, the thing that stood out to Charlene was the slits that were his eyes.  He was obviously so stoned or drunk that he could barely keep them open, but still, they had a dark and penetrating gaze.   A hint of a smile gleamed in his eyes, but it seemed creepy to Charlene, not happy.  The next thing she noticed was his massive army boots and government-issued military jacket with his name “Miller” embroidered on it.   The stained khaki colored jacket opened to reveal a soiled tank top underneath, and the jacket had the oversized inner pockets, one of which had a bottle of cheap booze that peeked out toward Charlene.
            Charlene was starting to get scared, even terrified that this creepy man had moved directly opposite of her like a jaguar and she was the prey.  Charlene’s mind raced as she thought that maybe he was contemplating all the perversions imaginable on a young pregnant girl. 
            What Charlene couldn’t see were the evil spirits behind the actions of the man.  He had opened himself up and even repeatedly welcomed these spirits in his life out of his hurt, anger and rejection, most of which he experienced upon his return from the Korean war.  The demons of murder, fear, rape, and violence that tormented this man kept him at their beck and call for such a time as this through the medicating effects of the drugs and alcohol that he had become addicted to in an attempt to escape his pain.  Charlene’s angel heightened her spiritual sensitivity to their foulness via her senses- especially smell, so she would call for back up and call she did.  The hairs on her neck and scalp stood on end as the dark presence of the evil spirits writhed over her like spiritual snakes in an almost triumphant, relishing, pre-celebration of the trophy they were about to take down. 
            The battle for Scott had begun!  Charlene looked away from the man and toward the big mirror of the bus driver in hope that maybe he was watching and would do something.  She began to pray silently the only prayer she could remember from the Apostle Paul Lutheran church (Missouri synod) catechism.  “Our Father, who art in heaven…thy kingdom come”- that was all Volel needed to respond.
            Maybe the evil man would leave her alone she hoped in between her prayers, but she knew better.  His intentions were evil, and she could sense his plans to harm her forming in his sick mind.  The evil spirits behind his actions and ruling his life were on orders from higher up the chain to not only terrorize, but harm this girl.  They planted pictures and suggestions in Miller’s mind of having his way with her and then stabbing her in the stomach repeatedly until she was dead.  The evil spirits sensed that there was another life in her, and their command was to take it before anyone else knew about it and could protect her.
            What the enemy knew and feared is that all daughters of Eve who share in the life-giving process receive extra angelic reinforcements, so these evil spirits had to move fast.  Earthly explanations included the maternal glow, but even the most spiritually dense person knew that pregnant women had an extra portion of peace and joy that manifested in a mystical glow.  This was Charlene’s and every woman’s blessing from the Father for sharing in the process of bringing forth life and destiny.
            Charlene projected three more stops before hers, about fifteen minutes and the terror began to grow as she played the tape forward in her mind.  He would follow her off the bus and rape and kill her.  Should she stay on? Should she talk to the bus driver?  Just then, the bus stopped to pick up another passenger.  She was hoping the new passenger would be a policeman, but it wasn’t.  He was a physical manifestation of her guardian angel in human form and what she couldn’t see were the warrior angels that entered with him. 
            Volel took the form of a tall, strong doctor dressed out in light green surgical scrubs.  His muscles were huge and rippling as he walked slowly past Charlene, a natural representation of his spiritual strength and authority. His hair and face were perfect, reminding Charlene of Clark Kent.  The foul smell suddenly vanished, overshadowed by a floral scent, but she couldn’t distinguish which flower it was.  She literally burst into tears of relief and thankfulness as the young, strong doctor that seemed to emanate a glow sat right next to her.
            Saquerel had been there the whole time as well, but stayed invisible to Charlene. This was not his battle to lead, but he would assist.  Nothing would separate him from his charge of staying with and protecting the unborn infant.  The demonic spirits knew he was there, but the presence of just the one guardian spirit threatened them very little.  In fact, they were brazen in their approach and mistakenly thought that the girl’s angels were asleep on the job and wondered where they were, but not enough to stop them.  Saquerel was biding his time and waiting for the girl’s prayer to release him and her own angelic posse.
            The Father of Spirits in his infinite wisdom and sense of justice and irony had determined that the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve who relied on him and accepted his gift of grace offered through the agency of his Son and Spirit would have access to his resources, including his angel armies.  This included humanity’s authority over all the dark Spirits through him and the host of Spirits he commanded.
            The filthy Spirits energizing “Miller” felt the atmospheric change immediately and regretfully realized the girl had prayed for reinforcements.  They were furious that they would not be able to act out their natures of rape, murder, violence, and perversion.  They almost wanted to try anyway, but the swarms of warrior spirits that surrounded the young doctor immediately bound the demonic powers with a strength and authority that the evil spirits could not resist.  They had underestimated the importance of the target, timing and prayer support.  The warrior spirits also imparted some of their essence and natures to Charlene and strength and peace went into her like a spiritual IV drip.
            There were so many things happening in the unseen eternal spiritual realm that affected and changed the lives and destinies of people and nations in that twenty minute time span.  All Charlene could see in the natural, however, was the creepy man scowl in disgust and frustration as the doctor’s steel gaze penetrated him with the truth of his intentions to protect this girl at all costs.
            Neither man uttered a word, but Charlene knew she was safe somehow.  The special feeling she had was the very first time she had genuinely experienced the care and heart of God in a tangible encounter.  She had no grid to measure it against, but knew it was good.  The rising faith and even joy in that understanding made her respond in gratefulness and thankfulness in her heart which released even more back up angelic spirits.  That was the final straw for Miller and the spiritual leaches attached to him.  He got up and pulled the cord and scowled back at Volel as the rotten spirits made him exit the bus out of fear. 
            Volel had been waiting a long time for this opportunity to speak for Father, to release destiny and direction and before Charlene could say anything to him, he spoke to her with such gentleness, but at the same time, supreme authority and confidence that she could not help but to absolutely believe him.  He said, “You are a young woman, but you are going to be a great mother.  There is no greater calling than to partner with God and bring forth life and nurture that life with love” 
            Charlene wondered how he knew she was pregnant, since she didn’t show yet.  Was it because he was a doctor that he could see something other people could not?  All she knew is that after he spoke those words that somehow were more powerful than normal words, she didn’t feel so shameful and sinful anymore in regards to being a pregnant teenager.  God was somehow involved with her and the baby, even though the pregnancy may not have happened right.  This man’s words even gave her permission and authority to be a great mother, and that empowered her to fulfill that call.
            Charlene’s stop was the next one and before she could pull the cord, Volel did.  They got up at the same time, and he allowed her to go in front of him down the steps to the well of the front door exit of the bus.  She could see the porch light on at her Grandma’s three-story house which was only half a block up from the bus stop.  Charlene wondered where the doctor was going since there were no hospitals nearby.  Maybe he was just getting off work and going home which meant that he lived nearby.  As she pondered these thoughts and exiting the bus, Volel said from behind her, “Charlene, we are all proud of you and will be expecting great things from you and Scott.  As she turned around to ask him what he meant by that, the bus doors closed behind her.  He was gone!  That was impossible thought Charlene in a panic.  She had just heard his voice behind her when they stepped out of the bus.  She checked the bus that was driving away and didn’t see him then quickly scanned to her right and left where streetlights illuminated the sidewalks.  He simply vanished.
            Charlene didn’t realize it, but he was still right behind her and would be there for the rest of her life.  She would be more aware of him in later years, but would never see him again with her natural eyes.  Charlene froze on the sidewalk under the streetlight for several minutes in a partial realization that something important and other worldly had just happened.   How did he know her name?  She backed up the tape of her memory and did not remember saying anything to him.  Then her skin turned to goose bumps when she realized the impact of his last words to her.  “We are all expecting great things from you and Scott…”  Charlene had only in the last forty-eight hours let herself begin to compile a mental list of names for the baby and had not told a soul.  She was thinking Alicia, Michelle, or Kristina if it was a girl and Jeffrey, Michael, or Scott if it was a boy.   She ran like a jack rabbit to Grandma’s house with a grin a mile wide.  Grandma Stallman was never going to believe this, or maybe she would.  Charlene didn’t even know if she believed this, even though it just happened to her.  One thing she did believe, though, was that she was going to have this baby and it was going to be a boy named Scott.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We need to be Gideon to get rid of Midian

I researched under a divine inspiration recently what the Bible calls the "high places" that many prophets  (i.e. Jeremiah) and kings (i.e. Josiah) reviled and commanded the people to turn from.  Many times throughout the Bible the conflict and tension between the worship of Baal and Asherah is contrasted with the worship of YHWH, probably the best example being Elijah vs. the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets or  priestesses of Asherah.  These Canaanite Gods which were male and female counterparts worshipped in fertility rites infiltrated Israel in large part due to the lack of Israel taking the land in the manner prescribed by God by utterly driving the inhabitants out, but instead allowing the Amorite false religion  to "mingle" with the worship of YHWH. There was a very strong temptation to worship these false gods because sex was involved and there was definitely a demonic anointing.  Temple prostitutes granted a sense of divinity and power over men by being the medium that allowed men access to divine knowledge and blessing of their crops and children. ( apparently it wasn't working too well or maybe the devil is a liar)

It may seem strange in that most of the Israelites saw nothing wrong with worshipping the true God as well as the false gods even side by side, but it is no different than someone today who fantasizes over pornography on his computer screen who also decides he is a Christian and goes to church. There is deception that has lead to bondage, a clear lack of identity and God is raising up Gideons to deliver these men from the Midianite oppression.

The high places were usually elevated locations like hills or mountains and were recognized by either trees or wooden poles that had carvings to identify them, much like our modern day totem poles you would find in Alaska or the northwest.    I wanted to understand what the high places were mainly because of the command the Angel of the Lord gave Gideon in Judges 6 to tear down the asherah poles and altars to Baal and use it as kindling and offer a sacrifice to the true God in that same location.   Little did I realize until after my study that one of those high places is where the Angel of the Lord met Gideon and that Gideon's father Joash happened to own the great tree or in other words was probably one of the biggest proponents of the Baal and Asherah cult. 

Here are some principles I gleaned from Gideon's example  for personal application:

-God is clearly addressing sexual sin as at least part of the reason that a nation endures oppression (midianites) and does not experience his blessing
-People of God hide in caves afraid of the enemy with no confidence in their identity or destiny when sex is worshipped in a nation.
- The enemy continuously robs the people of God of their food/spiritual food/word of God to the point they are near starvation until the Asherah poles are chopped down.
-The pain had to become great before they cried out to the Lord (instead of Baal or Asherah) and he was gracious to respond even though they were still double minded.
-Angel of the Lord comes to Gideon and meets him where he is at, at the high place/the point of the sin.  v. 11
-God works with Gideon even in his false religious understanding, but begins to ask  him to dismantle the false structures (altars) and build new ones, by using the destroyed altars to the false gods to burn the sacrifice to him.
-When Gideon takes a stand in regard to the sexual sin, it causes a separation and a revival.
-When taking a stand for the Lord against the oppression we can go back and forth between faith and fear and still be used by God, he is patient.
-Gideon asked for confirmation time and again for what he already knew God wanted him to do because of fear of man.
-God spoke his identity into Gideon until Gideon believed it.
-When he was finally sick of the oppression and devastation is when he heard God speak.