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Prophetic Endurance

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Out of Africa

And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:15 (NIV).


"It's true we're "hard pressed" - and also "not crushed." We walk in supernatural calm that only comes from deep relationship...with Jesus!"


Read Bruce Marchiano's Newsletter here.


 

Call to Prayer for the Ukraine

Details from Dr. Dobson's Letter:

Personally, I am convinced that Almighty God is active in the affairs of mankind. It does appear to me that we are entering what has been referred to by biblical scholars as "end time events." No one knows how human history will play out in the days ahead, but we can be sure they will be guided by His mighty hand. Ultimately, according to my theological understanding, the Rapture will occur along with the other events that were foretold in Scripture by the prophets of old.

The New Testament ends with the phrase, "Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly." Amen.

This is a critical time for prayer by people of faith. Let's join together with a united voice in asking the God whom we serve to lead and guide in these perilous times. Nothing will happen that is not permitted by Him. This is not a time for despair. Our obligation is to win as many people to Jesus Christ as possible and to say with the prophet Isaiah, "Send me."

By Dr. James Dobson, Family Talk


 

Do we prophesy out of our imaginations?

The word of the LORD came to me:

“Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the LORD!

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins.

You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD.

Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the LORD has not sent them, they say, “The LORD declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words.

Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The LORD declares,” though I have not spoken?

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD.

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

“ ‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth.

When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury.

I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD.

So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD.” ’

“Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own?

You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.

“ ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds.

I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

Ezekiel 13 (NIV)


I teach a creative writing course at the local art gallery. It has been on hold during the pandemic, but I am hoping to start up again soon. As an ice-breaker I am going to share some creative writing hints I wrote called The Archway to Insight . . .

Open the door of the mind

Be prolific

Question the slums of life

Bloom where you're planted

Art is just around the corner

Be rock solid at criticism

Pursue solitude


As Anne Morrow Lindberg put it. . .

“The beach is not the place to work; to read, write or think. I should have remembered that from other years. Too warm, too damp, too soft for any real discipline or sharp flights of spirit. One never learns. Hopefully, one carried down the faded straw bag, lumpy with books, clean paper, long over-due unanswered letters, freshly sharpened pencils, lists and good intentions. The books remain unread, the pencils break their points and the pads rest smooth and unblemished as the cloudless sky. No reading, no writing, no thoughts even—at least, not at first.

"At first, the tired body takes over completely. As on shipboard, one descends into a deck-chair apathy. One is forced against one’s mind, against all the tidy resolutions, back into the primeval rhythms of the seashore. Rollers on the beach, wind in the pines, the slow flapping of herons across sand dunes, drown out the hectic rhythms of city and suburb, time tables and schedules. One falls under their spell, relaxes, stretches out prone. One becomes, in fact, like the element on which one lies, flattened by the sea; bare, open empty as the beach, erased by today’s tides of all yesterday’s scribblings."

(Source: Gift from the Sea. Anne Morrow Lindberg).

Lindberg prefaced it by saying,”Besides, I thought, not all women are searching for a new pattern of living, or want a contemplative corner of their own. Many women are content with their lives as they are. They manage amazingly well, far better than I, it seemed to me, looking at their lives from the outside. With envy and admiration, I observed the porcelain perfection of their smoothly ticking days. Perhaps they had no problems, or had found the answers long ago . . .

"But as I went on writing and simultaneously talking with other women, young and old, with different lives and experiences—those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard-working housewives and mothers, and those with more ease—I found that my point of view was not unique. In varying settings and under different forms, I discovered that many women, and men too, were grappling with essentially the same questions as I, and were hungry to discuss and argue and hammer out possible answers. Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking  . . . under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, and new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others."

As Luci Shaw wrote, “Silence and solitude leave us undistracted so that the messages can arrive undistorted, clear and true.

   But so many are afraid of silence and of being alone. They wonder, what if nothing happens?  . . .But, in gradual steps, and given some simple tools people can begin to experience contemplation for themselves and discover that it is transformative. And this transformation (as well as the waiting) also informs—always—the place where our creative work is done. For artists, this combination of discipline and listening-receiving is a true cornerstone.

   To be an artist, to live out the persistence of spiritual hunger and thirst—those seasons of drought and rain in art, in the weather, and in spiritual vitality—or a sense of connection with God the transcendent Almighty, in the context of an overwhelmingly material universe—is a kind of evidence of spirituality’s existence and importance. . .

   This mystery, this spill of clues to an unseen reality, is very much a part of the artist’s as well as the mystic’s life."

This is from the chapter, Listening to the Muse, from the book Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw.

Her friend Madeleine L’Engle wrote: "I was lucky as a child in being given a lot of solitude. . . Allowing the child a certain amount of solitude in a reasonably safe environment . . . is allowing the child’s imagination to grow and develop, so that the child may ultimately learn how to be mature."

(Source: Walking on Water. Madeleine L'Engle)

As Luci put it, “In George Bernard Shaw’s play Joan of Arc, Joan’s captors respond to her claim that she hears God by telling her that it’s just “something in her imagination.” She responds, “Exactly. That is how God speaks to me, through my imagination.” This is very often how I feel (Luci Shaw continues)—that words, ideas, and rhythms are given to my imagination, handed to me as a gift for which I am infinitely grateful. But the gift must be shaped and crafted if I am to be a cocreator with God."


It’s a cracked crossover world, waiting

For bridges. He escapes our categories,

Choosing his own free forms—fire, dove,

Wind, water, oil—closing the breach

In figures that flicker within.

Luci Shaw

(Source: Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit. Luci Shaw.)


When I was taking a course in the prophetic, I learned from Murray Dueck, the leader of Samuel’s Mantle that prophets in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, were considered false and condemned if they prophesied out of their imaginations. He read a selection from the chapter at the top of the page from Ezekiel. I wondered if I could think differently about prophecy and the imagination.

“Maimonides suggested that "prophecy is, in truth and reality, an emanation sent forth by Divine Being through the medium of the Active Intellect, in the first instance to man's rational faculty, and then to his imaginative faculty." (Wikipedia).

On this website Prophetic Worldwide we ask:

What is your definition of prophecy?

Should prophecy engage the imagination, and if so, how?

Would you respond better to an overt word or a subtle word picture?

Does God speak to us through our immediate faculties, or in secret ways?


To quote from lessons on the empathetic imagination by Beth Kephart:

Open your eyes to open your heart.

Use your imagination as an arrow hurtling back toward what might have been or will never be.

Use the distance between the facts and your yearning to change those facts as your personal redemption.

Meander within the space of insufficient evidence.

Make your readers the agents of empathy.

Think of what might have been as a prayer.

Hope.

Define again the categories of our empathetic imagination, to get a little closer to the truth.

I am a storyteller.

The power of your forgiveness.

You have found your story.

Your greatest achievement is not behind you.

A house of memoir, she said. A shelter for the truth.

(Source: Wife/Daughter/Self:a Memoir in Essays, Beth Kephart.)


In compiling my stories for the work of fiction called Ageless Confessions I am launching this Friday night (see invitation) I drew from my own life experiences. I also drew from my imagination to recreate scenes of an area of Victoria called Fairfield and Rockland. Because I felt the preceeding short stories were necessary to set the tone or atmosphere of the novel, it is preceeded by about  five short stories about various times in history and varying social classes. This I called a segue. Buy the book.

The Abomination That Causes Desolation


“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

Matthew 24:15-21


This box was filled with straw somewhat like a manger. It contains a pot too heavy for the average person to lift. The origin of the pot is Vietnam. This pot was revealed to me to contain The Abomination That Causes Desolation mentioned in Matthew. This pot is an abomination, and cost $600, made of terra cotta. 

I bought it over a year ago before I moved, and now it houses a large peace lily. The ugliest thing I have ever seen, it is large, ludicrous and overbearing. Yet it is meant to be.

So let the reader behold.


 

I Will Follow You

C                                                 F    

I will follow you wherever you go

C                                                 F

I will follow you wherever you lead me

F/A  G/B  C                       F/D

One day, I will be what I long for:

F  Gsus G  G7  C

Like you, Jesus

C                                            F 

Your steps are bigger than mine

                        G        C/A

And all of the time, I find

F                                       Gsus G          C   

Walking with you is like walking with heaven

 

C                                                 F    

I will bless you, Lord, all of the time

C                                                 F

I will worship you wherever I’m standing

F/A  G/B  C                       F/D

You are so worthy of all I could whisper

C                                            F 

 

Your love is bigger than mine

                        G        C/A

And all of the time, I find

F                                       Gsus G          C   

Loving with you is like loving heaven

 

F/A  G/B  C                       F/D  

One day, I will be what I long for

F/A  G/B  C                  F/D   

One day, I will be like you

        F     G      C               F/D 

And you are, so worthy, so worthy

F     G           G7  G

So worthy, Jesus


I wrote this song during my twenties: now things that have endured become like essential oil, purified. May we become the beauty of our Christ.


What is a Fortified City?


A woman should be like a fortified city, but so many women today have their walls and constitution broken down. It can be broken down by abuse, by health problems, and by neglect. It can be broken down by rape, by verbal abuse, and by stigma. Poverty never makes for a functioning citadel. What should we do to heal a broken down city? Studying the city of Cacassone has given me some insight. It's history is prophetic.


More on Carcassone . . .

The first signs of settlement in this region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac—a Celtic place-name that has been retained at other sites in the south—became an important trading place in the sixth century BC. The Volcae Tectosages fortified it and made it into an oppidum, a hill fort, which is when it was named "Carsac".

The folk etymology—involving a châtelaine named Lady Carcas, a ruse ending a siege, and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sona")—though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme. Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate, is of modern invention. The name can be derived as an augmentative of the name Carcas.

Carcassonne became strategically identified when the Romans fortified the hilltop around 100 BC and eventually made it the colonia of Julia Carsaco, later Carcaso, later Carcasum (by the process of swapping consonants known as metathesis). The main part of the lower courses of the northern ramparts dates from Gallo-Roman times. In 462 the Romans officially ceded Septimania to the Visigothic king Theodoric II who had held Carcassonne since 453. He built more fortifications at Carcassonne, which was a frontier post on the northern marches—traces of them still stand.

Theodoric is thought to have begun the predecessor of the basilica that is now dedicated to Saint Nazaire. In 508 the Visigoths successfully foiled attacks by the Frankish king Clovis. Saracens from Barcelona took Carcassonne in 725. King Pepin the Short (Pépin le Bref) drove them away in 759–60.

A medieval fiefdom, the county of Carcassonne, controlled the city and its environs. It was often united with the county of Razès. The origins of Carcassonne as a county probably lie in local representatives of the Visigoths, but the first count known by name is Bello of the time of Charlemagne. Bello founded a dynasty, the Bellonids, which would rule many honores in Septimania and Catalonia for three centuries.

Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209

In 1067, Carcassonne became the property of Raimond-Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nîmes, through his marriage with Ermengard, sister of the last count of Carcassonne. In the following centuries, the Trencavel family allied in succession with either the counts of Barcelona or of Toulouse. They built the Château Comtal and the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus. In 1096, Pope Urban II blessed the foundation stones of the new cathedral.

Carcassonne became famous for its role in the Albigensian Crusades when the city was a stronghold of Occitan Cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of the Papal Legate, abbot Arnaud Amalric, forced its citizens to surrender. Viscount Raymond-Roger de Trencavel was imprisoned whilst negotiating his city's surrender and died in mysterious circumstances three months later in his own dungeon. The people of Carcassonne were allowed to leave—in effect, expelled from their city with nothing more than the shirt on their backs. Simon de Montfort was appointed the new viscount and added to the fortifications.

In 1240, Trencavel's son tried to reconquer his old domain but in vain. The city submitted to the rule of the kingdom of France in 1247. Carcassonne became a border fortress between France and the Crown of Aragon under the 1258 Treaty of Corbeil. King Louis IX founded the new part of the town across the river. He and his successor Philip III built the outer ramparts. Contemporary opinion still considered the fortress impregnable. During the Hundred Years' War, Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city in 1355, although his troops destroyed the Lower Town.

In 1659, the Treaty of the Pyrenees transferred the border province of Roussillon to France, and Carcassonne's military significance was reduced. Its fortifications were abandoned and the city became mainly an economic center that concentrated on the woollen textile industry, for which a 1723 source quoted by Fernand Braudel found it "the manufacturing center of Languedoc".It remained so until the Ottoman market collapsed at the end of the eighteenth century, thereafter reverting to a country town.

(Source: Wikipedia)


"The French city of Carcassonne is one of the most perfectly preserved walled cities of the world and the largest walled city in Europe. The fortification consists of two outer walls, towers and barbicans built over a long period of time. One section is Roman and is notably different from the medieval walls with the red brick layers and the terracotta tile roofs. One of these towers housed the Catholic Inquisition in the 13th Century and is still known as ‘The Inquisition Tower’. Portions of the 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ were shot in and around Carcassonne." (Source: https://www.touropia.com/walled-cities-in-the-world)


Carcassone is one of the 22 most impressive walled cities in the world, third after Jerusalem. The city given as a metaphor for the Holy City in then Bible is Jerusalem, and her history is depicted by scribes, saints, and Biblical scholars down through the centuries. Those living outside her gates were those rejected by society. They lived in the desert, and were in the company of shepherds, and other rough characters who lived in the wilds. This is typically where prophets lived.

To live within the gates of the walled city is to be fortified. This is a description of safety. Today in modern times it also refers to the food supply being fortified by various vitamins and minerals to prevent disease. When you eat a fortified food, you feel safe. You think that you are getting the minimal amount of vitamins and minerals you need to prevent things like scurvy, beriberi and pellagra. The idea that our diet is fortified is somewhat deceptive. So is the walled city. Why would someone choose to live outside it, for instance?

There is a desire to return to the natural state of food, as there is a desire in man to be a survivalist and return to the wild. A prophet is someone usually unrefined, so they prefer to be unfortified also. The natural state of the desert is closer to the natural state of being with God, without many possessions, without family, without distractions of the acceptable life. Without the security and provisions of the fortified city and those that belong to the common good citizen. Eventually, in the modern age we will seek a return to natural materials, and clothing, linen, and textures that exemplify the desert colour patterns, and rough feel. This is akin to our roots, of travelling nomads, living in tents around the time of Abraham. 

I buy a lot of the material in my house in linen including bedding, tunics, and long dresses, coats, some of it flax linen from Europe. I try to furnish my house with solid wood furniture, and with bamboo, and jute. I have hyacinth baskets in my living room that smell like a tobacco field. This return to natural fibers, materials, and smells gives a sense of the nomadic existence of the desert. This is also sometimes called transience. I think I have lived in fourteen residences of my own or with roommates since I left home at eighteen. I think it is a worthwhile gift to develop your roots, your reputation, and stay in one place but the Lord has also used a nomadic perspective to not let me get too deep for everyone to understand or relate too. I like the idea of living in one place, but I feel now that I live in the desert outside the city and that I am rejected by most. I am accompanied by a couple of rough-looking shepherds, and we pitch our tent, and have a campfire most nights, and eat under the stars.

Living with little and having little, is also a skill that allows us at points in our lives to draw nearer to God. It simplifies communion with the Holy One of Israel. It brings out our strengths, our fortitude, and our self-reliance. I try to feel joy in these circumstances, but sometimes it is absent. There is almost a long silence between you and God. He is working, but in ways you cannot see, taste, touch, or smell. It is beyond the senses. 


Song in the Night   

 

Jesus, Savior

Are you here tonight?

Broken, weary

Can you hear me tonight?

 

I cannot see you

I cannot touch you

I cannot hear you

but I sing and you have no words

 

Music and lyrics by Emily Isaacson (unpublished)


Right now I will be honest with my readers and followers and say we need more provision than we have. If you ever feel called to donate to my ministry, now might be the time. I have opened a Go-Fund-Me account that you can donate to on the home page: www.wildlilyinstitute.com


"Are you in a desert experience? Let your thirsty soul be restored and refreshed through the daily devotions in the NIV Streams in the Desert Bible.

At some point in our lives, we encounter the trials and deep mysteries of the Christian faith. And when we do become like a thirsty traveler, what we most desire is for hope, comfort, and encouragement to burst forth like a sparkling, clear river.

The hopeful daily readings in this Bible promise to revive and refresh you--one of today's generation of faithful sojourners--by providing daily devotions in modern, easy-to-understand language that beautifully captures the timeless essence of the original. These devotionals are presented alongside Scripture using the popular New International Version of the Bible.

While the devotions in this Bible were originally written by L. B. Cowman--a pioneer missionary in Japan and China from 1901 to 1917--this devotional Bible has been edited by James Reimann. It maintains the beauty of the original Cowman writings while making the devotionals more accessible for the readers of today."  (Source: Goodreads)

Buy Streams in the Desert

 

Whose Humility?


Guest Blog by James K.A. Smith, Editor of Image Journal

I am in the early, ruminative stages of a new book project. I love this phase so much. It's the time when dreaming is work, when you get to be a student again, when progress is less linear and often arrives as a surprise.  

For this project (I'll share more in the months to come), I've been reading Thomas Merton's classic, New Seeds of Contemplation. It is a profound, ranging book, though not without its flaws. (Merton's patriarchal assumptions are unsurprising but nonetheless jarring.)

This week, one thread of Merton's reflections has burrowed its way into my psyche: his unique reflections on humility. He is a remarkable diagnostician of various forms of false humility. For example: Merton notes that there is a way of "being humble" that is really just conformity to the expectations of others. But that, he says, is not humility. In fact, "there can be an intense egoism in following everybody else." In other words, sometimes "being humble" (or "acting" humble) in terms of what others expect humility should look like is actually a form of self-interest, an intense desire to be seen as humble.

It is interesting that when he first discusses this, Merton associates the saint and the artist, the monk and the poet. The great temptation for the monk, he says, is to cloak oneself in what one assumes the crowd expects humility to look like. "If they do this job thoroughly," he notes, "their spiritual disguises are apt to be much admired. Like successful artists, they become commercial." These "spiritual disguises" that pass themselves off as humility are anything but; they still have their eye too much on others. At root, this is still a posture of self-interest: I see you seeing me and I want to be seen well. Merton continues:

A clever kind of insolvent servility, a peculiar combination of ambition, stubbornness and flexibility, a "third ear" keenly attuned to the subtlest modulations of the fashionable cliché–with all this you can pass as a saint or a genius if you conform to the right group.

I think Merton's keen insight is this: humility is not comparative. Humility, strangely enough, is not fundamentally a matter of how I look or relate to other people; it is, instead, about the posture of my being toward God. Like Kierkegaard's Abraham, what it means for me (and you) to be humble is somehow utterly singular–a secret, of sorts. Thus Merton cautions that the saint isn't always the one who conforms to our expectation of what it means to be humble.

One of the first signs of a saint may well be the fact that other people do to know what to make of him. In fact, they are not sure whether he is crazy or only proud; but it must at least be pride to be haunted by some individual ideal which nobody but God really comprehends.

True humility, Merton says, can be mistaken for pride precisely because one who is truly humble is answering a singular call that is a secret wrestling of another soul with God. Merton ventures a definition: "humility consists in being precisely the person you actually are before God, and since no two people are alike, if you have the humility to be yourself you will not be like anyone else in the whole universe."

Humility is not pretending to be less than you are; humility is submission to one's utter dependence on God to be who you are called to be. "And so it takes heroic humility to be yourself," Merton says, "and to be nobody but the [person], or the artist, that God intended you to be." And if you do that, "you will be made to feel that your honesty is only pride."

It may seem strange, given our collective assumptions about what counts as humility, but this sort of humility requires courage. It requires a certain kind of refusal of expected norms. It requires courage to answer a call. It requires courage to wrestle with a God others cannot see. It requires courage to detach oneself from the expectations of others and say: this is not about you. "True humility excludes self-consciousness," Merton later observes, "but false humility intensifies our awareness of ourselves to such a point that we are crippled, and can no longer make any movement or perform any action without putting to work a whole complex mechanism of apologies and formulas of self-accusation."

True humility, in other words, starts to sound like liberation. Which isn't to say it's easy.

Standing Straight in the Gospel

There is more to life than being a wimp. This refers to our softness on ourselves when it comes to living the gospel. We need to have good posture. We need to exercise what we know. Living it out is a daily practice, not a monthly one. Exercising once a month won't get you in shape. Going to church once a month won't make you fervent. Hey wait. . . isn't fervent a little too intense?

Kindness and softness are not the same thing. We need to be kind instead of soft, encouraging others to rise to their full potential. Everyone has a destiny, not just the pastor. He gets paid, but you are being you out of your own free will. Your response is free.

We need to be somewhat stringent to really come down to a person and a relationship, not a religion, method, or structure. The reason is, Jesus can be found in many colours, many faces, many beliefs, many buildings, many structures, in the hearts of men. We can't quite pin it down, and this is good. When we want to make Jesus into something we can control, it has lost its life. There is already the understanding of what a dead church is, of the image of an old church building whose tithes and parishioners have dwindled down to nothing. A church full of people, with no life. A building where people come but don't mean it. Nominal holiday attending blank faces. The church is meant to be alive. It is meant to be a flame, a controlled fire of love. But be careful you don't put out the fire entirely with the hope of controlling the flame. Every believer has a flame in their hearts. They need those with their candles lit to light their hearts to flame. This fervency is what you see in a real believer. They have the capacity to light others.

We can rejoice that the real church lives and breathes, but it exists through pain and persecution. It is birthed by solitary prayer. It happens when we are alone with God through the trials in our lives and come face to face with who we really are. The persecuted church exists today as much in North America as it does in Asia. There are Christians who live out painful lives, crucifying their flesh until they know the reality of Christ in every country. That is how they know it is real. Jesus himself lived out human life in all its pain, and as a lamb, finally crucified the flesh once and for all. Halleluiah!

There are widows and orphans everywhere, and many mouths to feed. There are the poor on every continent who can tell you stories about the light of a church feeding them. There is both physical hunger and spiritual hunger, and both require our dedication.


When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.

"Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread."

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?

Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16: 5-24

The Commitment to Gratitude

After walking the beaches of Campbell River for over a week, collecting seashells and listening to the sound of the waves as I travelled back and forth to Vancouver Island last week, I remember all the nostalgic times my family has shared and why I want the good times to last. You never know when someone's days may be cut short or you may lose a family member. While I was there, my sister, who was pregnant with her fourth child was admitted to the hospital, and by morning we were informed that the baby had died. We aren't releasing any details of her personal journey and the grief we share as a family. We know you will respect our right to grieve in silence, in the valleys of solitude where we roam not as strangers but as friends with the Good Shepherd.

It is these dark times that make us relish making memories, the future retreats, and moments of celebration when our family will be together again. We were sitting at the table having a Celebration of Life over ice cream and berry crisp, and it was only the next day that the country marked another death, another reason to fly the flag at half mast. It is only recently that I have come to understand what the middle ground its. What is this aspired territory that marks us for the eternal?

This understanding came to me, as I have mulled over quite a few sermons on pride and quite a few teachings on shame, and why neither are really esteemed in the Christian life. They can be almost close, then almost polar opposites. I began to wonder if we counter shame with pride so we don't fall off our mountains. It became more and more clear, that we are taught that shame and guilt and related and that they are bad emotions to feel. Before, telling our stories, and even testimonies became commonplace. But now, we hear more and more that people have adopted pride, using that word, price in their heritage, their culture, that their culture has value and that they should be proud. It would be difficult for committed Christians, I am thinking of Protestants to accept this descriptor because we have been warned about the dangers of pride, and of being too proud. We are regularly admonished to be humble instead, and told this emotion is un-Christian. Yet as I thought about the matter it became clear that there must be a middle ground where we could rest and be healthy... I believe this middle ground is gratitude.

Gratitude is the emotion we feel when we want to avoid shame for our past. It should be the place of balance from the pride of not needing anyone, to the gratitude that comes when we accept grace. It is gratitude that allows us to accept a Saviour. Indeed, the marker we should look for to identify a Christian is how grateful they are. Are they grateful for everything? Can we seriously bless Jesus in the good times and the bad? There are plenty of things to verbalize in gratefulness, in the avoidance of shame, guilt or pride. It is by means of gratitude, our gracious acceptance of the cost Christ paid that allows us entry into heaven.


At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Matthew 18:1-5


Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Mark 14:1-9 (NIV)

The Posture of Waiting

We are a waiting people. We wait in life for fulfillment, even for many years. We wait for our children to be born. We also wait in our brokenness at times for restoration. There is gestation and birth in many ways, in both nature and in earth's cycles of the seasons. Creatures live and die, and we celebrate and mourn, often at the same time.  

This conflict is seen both within and without, in both our conflicting emotions, and our conflicted relationships, lifelines, and years of service to entities we cannot control. Healing our wounds and our conflicts means waiting for redemption, for the meaning in the pain, and waiting for restoration, to be whole again.

One of the best things to do in waiting is to assume a posture of worship. This blog delineates some of the worshipful postures we have, including both dance and music. I spent years both dancing and teaching dance. I particularly found meaningful participating in the yearly 'March for Jesus' growing up which would start at the parliament buildings in Victoria. 

I was part of a dance troupe that travelled to many churches, schools, and fairs, and went on YWAM as a teenager four times, even to Europe. The last team I was on was the Commonwealth Team that visited Victoria during the Commonwealth Games from Australia. I didn't stay with the team, as I was ill but stayed at home and travelled to the performances and sang a solo with them of "Let the Flame Burn Brighter". These trips taught me to keep the physical disciplines of dance and exercise in balance with spiritual disciplines. I saw the power of children singing and dancing to the Lord as a powerful tool to bring hope and renewal to many churches and even secular places like prisons, malls and walled countries.

Today as a Mennonite woman, I am reminded to keep things in balance with the spiritual realm. For example I read in the book The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de waal. She lead the way in relating the contemplative life to those living outside of monasteries. I now understand that we can couple menial tasks with prayer, particularly contemplative prayer. I appreciate the focus on building a good home, and a home that will last in the Mennonite tradition, with purposeful values. This physical house represents the spiritual house, and in this way each task takes on spiritual meaning. 

Sometimes we are left in life with real scars and can be hurt again where we have been wounded before. I am trying to see the way through some painful times where people seem to re-open my scars, when I have already healed them. I don't see the point of reliving trauma, and often would discourage people from destabilizing too much through extensive counselling. Sometimes the practical rituals of daily life have to heal us through repetition and the sanctity of life itself.

Even in my life today, I am having to go back in time and unravel things that went wrong twenty years ago that were never resolved. Sweeping problems under the rug is certainly not the answer. I am worried at times that entire generations can have a festering wound, as we have seen recently in the news as the First Nations bands have come forward with disturbing evidence of their treatment in residential schools. Much more healing is needed to restore a whole people group. I made this video to describe the healing process, and the resolution.


Esther de Waal, one of Celtic Christianity's preeminent scholars, shows how this tradition of worship draws on both the pre-Christian past and on the fullness of the Gospel. It is also an enlightening glimpse at the history, folklore, and liturgy of the Celtic people.

Esther de Waal introduces readers to monastic prayer and praise (the foundation stone of Celtic Christianity), early Irish litanies, medieval Welsh praise poems, and the wealth of blessings derived from an oral tradition that made prayer a part of daily life. Through this invigorating book, readers enter a world in which ritual and rhythm, nature and seasons, images and symbols play an essential role. A welcome contrast to modern worship, Celtic prayer is liberating and, like a living spring, forever fresh. (Source: Amazon).

 

Jerusalem How I Have Cried


A Prophecy About Jerusalem

22 A prophecy against the Valley of Vision:

 

What troubles you now,

    that you have all gone up on the roofs,

2 you town so full of commotion,

    you city of tumult and revelry?

Your slain were not killed by the sword,

    nor did they die in battle.

3 All your leaders have fled together;

    they have been captured without using the bow.

All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,

    having fled while the enemy was still far away.

4 Therefore I said, “Turn away from me;

    let me weep bitterly.

Do not try to console me

    over the destruction of my people.”

 

5 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, has a day

    of tumult and trampling and terror

    in the Valley of Vision,

a day of battering down walls

    and of crying out to the mountains.

6 Elam takes up the quiver,

    with her charioteers and horses;

    Kir uncovers the shield.

7 Your choicest valleys are full of chariots,

    and horsemen are posted at the city gates.

 

8 The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah,

    and you looked in that day

    to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest.

9 You saw that the walls of the City of David

    were broken through in many places;

you stored up water

    in the Lower Pool.

10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem

    and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.

11 You built a reservoir between the two walls

    for the water of the Old Pool,

but you did not look to the One who made it,

    or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.

 

12 The Lord, the Lord Almighty,

    called you on that day

to weep and to wail,

    to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.

13 But see, there is joy and revelry,

    slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,

    eating of meat and drinking of wine!

“Let us eat and drink,” you say,

    “for tomorrow we die!”

 

14 The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

15 This is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:

“Go, say to this steward,

    to Shebna the palace administrator:

16 What are you doing here and who gave you permission

    to cut out a grave for yourself here,

hewing your grave on the height

    and chiseling your resting place in the rock?

 

17 “Beware, the Lord is about to take firm hold of you

    and hurl you away, you mighty man.

18 He will roll you up tightly like a ball

    and throw you into a large country.

There you will die

    and there the chariots you were so proud of

    will become a disgrace to your master’s house.

19 I will depose you from your office,

    and you will be ousted from your position.

20 “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat[a] of honor for the house of his father. 24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.

25 “In that day,” declares the Lord Almighty, “the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down.” The Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 22:1-25


This is a song I wrote back in my early days:

 

Return To Me

Bm                                G

Israel, delight of my eyes

A Em     G

I have longed to take you in my arms again

Bm                                G

Wandering into the night

   A

I call into the desert

Em             G

I call your name

 

D                 A

Return to me

Em              G        A

Let me hear your song again

          D            A

With eyes of love

Em           G               Asus  A

I search for you, my beloved

 

Bm                                      G

Jerusalem, how I have cried

A Em          G

To see your desolation, your hope in lies

Bm                                           G

Hear my words out of the night

A                    

I call to you my people,

Em             G

I am your light


The words of Isaiah are set in stone. The prophets in the Old Testament have been read thousands of time, and yet they still seem harsh and unyielding. The cross was unyielding too. Death is unyielding and so is the grave. If we were not told the word, if we were not given the message we would be without a candle to see by. We would be without light. We would prefer to be warned in advance. We would prefer to go to our end prepared. Yet we will never know the moment or the day. Yet I have done these things that the ancient prophesies be fulfilled, that I may say to you, "Today this has been fulfilled in your midst." So rejoice! For the time is near that I will take a sickle to the wheat.

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together."

John 4:34-36

So I will tell you of restoration, with the hope that you will learn from me how to restore the broken and heal the wounds of the prophetic in your midst. More on this next time . . .

Empires

Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,

and the Ancient of Days took his seat.

His clothing was as white as snow;

the hair of his head was white like wool.

His throne was flaming with fire,

and its wheels were all ablaze.

A river of fire was flowing,

coming out from before him.

Thousands upon thousands attended him;

ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.

The court was seated,

and the books were opened.

“Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

The Interpretation of the Dream

“I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

“Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. 

“ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

“This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Daniel 7:1-28 NIV


I too have been on bed rest this week, after two trips to the emergency room. Unable to work, or barely crawl from one room to the next, I was unsure how to do the things I needed to do. But the sickness stopped me and I was unable to do anything outside the Lord's will as usual. When I read this verse, the explanation was given to me that this event has occurred again in modern times. The beasts spoken of represent four ideologies or sects. Each one exists in the constellation of the prophet. The first beast represents the Vineyard denomination where I grew up (my father pastored and planted the Victoria Vineyard form the time I was 10 to 13) and I later attended 8 Vineyard churches. From out of this lion of John Wimber came the eagle of the prophetic: the prophetic school in Abbotsford (founded in 2000). The pain represented by the wings being ripped off the eagle symbolizes a womanhood with no needs (one who can live in the desert), the dire opposite of a structured Mennonite Community. The mind of a human was given to it: the rational mind and the ability to teach the symbols, times, and practice of the prophetic and the ability to publish.

The second beast was that of a bear, representing a family on Bear Mountain (they lived for twenty years at the foot of crown land called Bear Mountain), and the sect of their non-profit society that influenced the spiritual development of over a thousand people over twenty years. They called the practice of their work "listening to Jesus". The bear means they were a little embarrassing at points, occasionally discussing their personal issues and letting their clothing air on the line. The bear eventually takes three ribs in its mouth (does this mean Adam, Eve and Lilith?) After I fasted for a month on olive oil, my brother fell and broke two ribs in continuation with this war between the sects. The flesh represents an "O" blood type who eats meat whenever he wishes and is favoured for his blood. 

                         

I had a frightening and vivid dream one night that they had formed a commune and were dissecting their children while still alive to harvest their internal organs for spiritual food during the pandemic. The commune lived together on a piece of property and were completely run by the father of the leopard clan. The children seemed to accept this and would just wait for their turn, and say "Their time had come." They were unschooled and not aware that this practice was socially unacceptable. I asked them in the dream to raise cows instead but they just didn't see it my way.

The third beast was that of a leopard: representing paternity. The leopard is wildly fierce that his offspring must bear children with his name. But his son, instead of having children to continue the family name (he had been given the same name as his father), subverted the command to another union in the same extended family where four rules, all children arose. They ruled the home, where they refused to listen to the advise, counsel, or leadership of adults. They established that children would rule their parents on earth under an "apocalypse". They would defy maternity. They came into the world at the times of 4 different generations including X, Y, Z and Apocalypse. The final child, a fifth was called a "drop of the sea" and was not included with the other four. Through the family the demand for paternity was met, but it was conveyed to others that they too must fulfill this demand and have children, or it was a form of lewdness. The panther ruled the entire family with his threat of "disowned" should they not comply with the rituals of high society.

The fourth beast was a totalitarian empire, based on non-violence. It was a rule of iron, representing the medical profession. It crushed its own patients, dehumanizing them, then shipping them away in trains of hopelessness and despair to a concentration camp of debt where they were given numbers on their arms instead of names. The iron rule was control of the subverted force of healing to kill (by plague) and sterilize the human race, dividing it into two races, one of which was unacceptable. The bodies were buried with their clothes on. It had one small speaker (one small horn) who spoke boastfully (in an extroverted way), claiming to be the owner and proprietor of the sea. He started out with the right motive, but eventually turned into Judas Iscariot, selling the sea out into the hands of witchcraft and slavery. He continued to exert control over the earth and nature, while setting himself up to be the equal of the other beasts. He claimed the label of a missionary and went over to the Orient where his resentment festered in the marshlands. There he stayed for three years, but as the poetry depicts in "the evolution of Covid", his second wife bit a pit viper (left behind a germ), and left her mark. Their medieval presence would sweep over the earth like the Black Plague, leaving devastation in their wake. 

                       

Finally the books were opened. The Ancient of Days has spoken. The sea has roared. The church has suffered long enough. The court is seated and the defendants will state their case. The happenings surrounding the sea and its inhabitants will be tried in a court of law. There will be no more pretense over this terrible trauma that has befallen the earth and its inhabitants, only Justice and Liberty; for this is the final hour.

And now I will call my two witnesses.

Language of Heaven


So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk by the path.

Hosea 13:7


Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

“I am,” he replied.

 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”

The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’”

 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”

 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him.  As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.

I Kings 13:11-24


Today, love is overused and undervalued at the same time. We love everything from various foods to cars, from movies to retailers, from people to God himself. We may not consciously distinguish one use of love from another, in part because our speech is becoming more and more informal, but it’s important to be intentional about the differences. As we know, Scripture tells us that love is the highest attribute. So let’s look at the four types of love found in the Bible, and that Lewis helps to draw out in The Four Loves, published in 1960, and based on a radio series he did with the BBC a few years prior to the book’s release.

If we think that perhaps love is not worth the sorrow and pain, then we are more pagan than Christian. Though the fall has invited such selfishness to linger heavy in our culture, ours is the Gospel charge – to go to the nth degree to love those who are broken, not for some vague humanitarian effort, but to 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” (Matthew 28:19-20). Let us ask God to awaken such an abandoned and reckless love to come alive in us.

Four Types of Love, C.S. Lewis.com

Read more . . .


What language do you suppose we will speak in heaven? Of all the languages ever spoken on earth, when I asked the question what language will we speak in heaven, the answer was: the language of love. The language of love is spoken in five dialects: agape (charity), eros (romantic love), pathos (burden bearing), philia (friendship), storge (affection). When we become familiar with these languages on earth, we are more and more suitable for heaven. We learn to speak from birth all five, growing in our attachment to our Saviour and his love for us. These may make us interdependent with the rest of the community of believers, able to give and receive.

Four of these loves were discussed by C.S. Lewis in the book The Four Loves, the fifth I have added as my knowledge of the ways of people has grown on. Burden bearing seems like it has been discussed in detail for over two decades. Although no one want to be a sponge, there are certain types of people who just pick up everything they come in contact with. They feel real pain and real emotions that aren't their own. They can even be diagnosed with diseases that don't apply to them. They cost more at the counselling office.

The conclusion: they are not delusional, saying all sorts of things that aren't real. They need to pray more to release these burdens to Jesus, and become a conduit in the process for intercessory prayer. Finding a verse that relates to each burden helps, but you might have to be a walking concordance. These people make good worship leaders. They will actually perceive the burdens in the body and society and sing them to the Lord. I have watched the nuns doing this as they sing their evening prayers, from the chapel of the Poor Clare's. Several books have been written on this phenomenon. One is the book The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity by Carol Brown.

More and more, it is needed for us to identify that love comes in many ways and many forms. For example chastity is a love of many people, whereas marital fidelity is the love of one person. The problem with long-term marriages is they have a tendency to make Christians feel self-righteous and look down on folks who aren't quite as fortunate. They are associated with "bad apple syndrome". No matter how faithful you are to your spouse, if you become a Pharisee, judging other's relationships as good or bad, you have gone bad yourself. No amount of Christian doctrine can save you if you think marriage is the way to heaven.

There remains the issue of prophetic inappropriateness. To ask a prophet for a prophetic word is a mocking taunt. The Bible clearly points out in that this is dangerous territory. They are not at your disposal; they have no need to answer your question. Your continual pestering of spiritual persons needs some exoneration. What is your motive? For one, whenever you ask someone a question, you may be perceived as testing this. It is good to question how appropriate this is. Second, to wear down and exhaust another person's defenses is time consuming and expensive. Jesus is busy, leave him alone. Bothering him is like bothering head office at Save-on-Foods. 

The question we need to ask is: am I testing Jesus or is he testing me? During this time of trial and refinement, it is an acceptable martyrdom to suffer, it has been ordained, and further, as my friends at the Vineyard would say, the difference between suffering and martyrdom is prayer.

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Build Yourself Up

But you, most beloved, build yourselves up
in your most holy faith. – Jude 20 (NIV)

Warm up with worship
hands raised, spirit stretching
to the Almighty.
Increase the rhythm of the heart
with the jumping-jacks of praise.
Hop onto the treadmill of the Word
read it, study it
meditate on it, memorize it.
Then it’s down on the floor
for push-ups of confession
abdominal crunches of petition
and, firmly grasping others’ weighty burdens,
bench presses of intercession, set after set.
Up on your feet again for step-ups of listening
then cool down walking in place, silent.
End with a song of thanksgiving
that pours from a well-toned heart.
Now go out to meet the day
your spirit radiating contentment and joy
flexible and strong from its workout
with faith, hope and love.

Violet Nesdoly

Even So Come

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A Day of Prayer

The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute asked to join us in linking arms on Sunday, Aug. 22, with Rev. Franklin Graham and Christians worldwide in ardent prayer for the catastrophic events that are unfolding in Afghanistan. Please pray specifically for the Lord's intervention and protection of the tens of thousands of Americans and our Christian brothers and sisters who are in immediate peril by the Taliban. Keep this in your prayers as we continue on.

What is prophecy?

A prophecy is a message that is claimed by a prophet to have been communicated to them by a deity. Such messages typically involve inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of divine will concerning the prophet's social world and events to come (compare divine knowledge).

--Wikipedia

Maimonides suggested that "prophecy is, in truth and reality, an emanation sent forth by Divine Being through the medium of the Active Intellect, in the first instance to man's rational faculty, and then to his imaginative faculty."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy   


What is your definition?

Should prophecy engage the imagination, and if so, how?

Would you respond better to an overt word or a subtle word picture.


"According to Walter Brueggemann, the task of prophetic (Christian) ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture."

What is prophetic poetry?

Does every poet write from an ideology?


The ocean you find yourself in is oddly familiar, and that is the strange thing about poetry, how it is so solitary, but the realities spoken by the poem are shared by many.

--Onjana Yawnghwe, When Poems Are Rooms

What is a Levitical Ministry?

Beyond the great composers, the authors of the Hymns of the Faith, we have contemporary worship music. It is written by musicians. In the early days of the Bible, these anointed musicians were called Levites. A lot of new worship music is produced today, and featured on Christian radio. This is attracting contemporary society in droves. Worship leaders strive to present music in church settings that is cool, singeable for corporate worship, theologically correct, and an attractive sound. But we are really using worship music as a medium, a means of connecting in an intimate way with our Creator.

Prophetic Quotes

Praise to Jesus, my friends, we seek Him in all ways for all our everything every moment of every day, glory to Jesus! #onourknees my friends, crying out to He who alone is "our refuge & strength," healer & redeemer of ALL the enemy's games, glory to Jesus . . .

– Bruce Marchino, Twitter

No one can pray and worry at the same time. When we worry, we aren’t praying. When we pray, we aren’t worrying. 

–Max Lucado

No matter how dark things become, someone is always with you – and that someone is God. He helps by giving you peace and a positive mental attitude.

–Norman Vincent Peale

In every case, the cries of Christ are not declarations that he believes God has actually left him, but cries for help to a God who he knows is there but cannot hear, see or sense him.

– Brad Jersak

Those who never rebelled against God or at some point in their lives shaken their fists in the face of heaven, have never encountered God at all.

– Catherine Marshall

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.

– Mother Teresa

We trumpet our disabilities to God.

– Emily Isaacson

There is a tendency to see divine intervention in things that happen in the normal course of miracles.

– Robert Brault

There is coming a new wind of my Spirit into the Fraser Valley and the language of this wind will be signs and wonders and dreams and vision (as stated by Acts 2). If my people receive my language in this coming season then they will be able to hear what I am telling them to do. However if they do not know how I speak and value how I speak this wind can blow right by them and they will not even know I am moving.

– Murray Dueck

Prophetic Moments

Waiting for Jesus.

Listening to the Holy Spirit.

Urged to act by power not our own.

Worshipful Postures

Hold your hands out.

Keep your candle lit.  

Worship every day.

Pray for others. 

 

 

 

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