All can be “well” and we can STILL be blind

One of the common mistakes we make in diagnosing current times is “how things are going.” If things are going reasonable “well” for us, we can’t see what might wrong beneath the surface, or care to explore that beneath the surface.

In the U.S., we can say, “Hey, the economy is humming along (for us saying it, of course), so what could possibly be wrong?”

Spiritually, we can say, “Look at our church! It’s growing! We bring in awesome speakers and have a great band!”

For us, all can seem “well”… and we can be blind. This is Israel’s case in Isaiah (and in many of the other prophetic books). Prophetic words calling “doom” on Israel didn’t always come in “down” economic times. They often came in GOOD economic times.

So, when Isaiah comes along preaching hypocrisy, they’re looking at him and asking, “What are you smoking?”

We, today in the American Church, are struggling. We may see verses from Isaiah and put them out there with the thought of, “Well, that’s for the OTHER part of the church!” (It can be a “liberal” Christian putting it out and digging at the “conservatives” or vice versa.)

Here is the problem: these words are for the AMERICAN church. Not just one segment. Friends, WE are in trouble… and are still struggling with spiritual blindness.

20 Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
    and clever in their own sight. (Isa. 5:20-21, NIV)

Continue reading “All can be “well” and we can STILL be blind”

Can these bones live?

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” (Ez. 37:1-4)

There are those times we face impossible situations. Those times we are looking over a valley of dry bones. Those times when we think the dream is dead. We see hope gone. We see the “faith” we had just simply… gone… evaporated. It’s not a matter of “perhaps” anymore.

But God has Ezekiel over that valley looking at the impossible and asking a very crazy question, “What do you think? Can these bones live?”

Give credit to Ezekiel. I would have said, “You have GOT to be crazy!”

Ezekiel said, “Lord, you alone know.”

He was ready for anything, which is great, because the Lord then had him PROPHESY over the dead bones.

What a sight. Ezekiel standing over a valley of parched bones prophesying LIFE into an impossible situation.

We need those levels of obedience in our lives. We need those levels of boldness in our lives. It is time to speak boldly what the Lord has declared in your heart for your life, your church, your city, your family…

It is time to hear the word of the Lord, and speak it. 

I am in a place now where things are moving forward with our church, but every day I am waking up with words the Lord has me declare with freedom and boldness. He is asking me to pray this victory all the way home. It is time for a boldness that looks past the physical situation to what the Lord can truly DO in our lives, in our church, in our city.

There is an abundance that is there for my church. There is a harvest. There is an abundant blessing. The enemy won’t rise up and take this away.

Those are the kinds of things the Lord has me declaring every morning this week. It is time to speak LIFE and see what God alone can do.

Prophesying False Hope

Pick the hot social issue of the day. Pick the hot button issue of any type in our current time.

Think of the rhetoric you hear on blogs and other forms of media.

On any issue, no matter the “side,” more often than not you will hear opinion. Sometimes, as Christians, it may have some sense of “biblical” formation. Yet, more often than not, the opinions offered will be more along the lines of “I had this happen to me, or to someone close to me, so I am changing my view from ‘A’ to ‘B’.”

When it comes to Christians offering opinions and views, that is the case as well.

What rarely happens is someone saying anything about prayer and hearing the word of the Lord more clearly.

Too often we are prophesying false hope.

Too little of our opinion is coming out of prayer and hearing more clearly the word of God and too much is coming out of the other experiences we have around us. It doesn’t matter the “side.”

We are not people of prayer any more. We are people of opinions. And in the process we may be prophesying false hope.

18 But who has stood in the Lord’s council
to listen to God’s word?
Who has paid attention to his word and announced it? (Jer. 23:18, CEB)

I know this idea runs the risk of having someone get up and just saying, “Thus saith the Lord!”

But, as always, shouting “Thus saith the Lord!” doesn’t mean the Lord saith it.

We, as the people of God, need to be standing more in the Lord’s council, begging for HIS view. We need to spend more time with our ears open to HIS word, rather than the words of others we LIKE to hear…

And when we truly hear his word… announce it. Proclaim it. With boldness. Without fear.

But until we get back to standing in the council of the Lord, we may just be prophesying false hope.

Hit and Run Prophecies

It doesn’t happen nearly as often these days, but it JUST happened, so I am thinking of what I call “hit and run” prophecies. Sometimes it’s an “anonymous” letter sent to the church. Occassionally, like this time, it’s a phone call left on the church voicemail. It’s called in at night when they know no one is there. They leave some “word from God” without their name or return phone number (like that can’t be traced, which really cracks me up).

Makes me want to call that guy back at 5 a.m. and give him MY word from God… 😉

Prophecies are not hit and run. They are true words from God. They are told TO people… TO their faces. It can be encouraging. It can be challenging… but the prophet is out there… THEIR face in view… THEIR voice being heard… ready, if necessary, to be responded to…

But the prophet stands… no matter the response.

We need the prophetic word in our Church and in our culture. But do it boldly. Do it with the fear of God in your heart and be ready to take the response.