Galatians 5:7

7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Consider with the the context for this verse. Paul’s previous verse reads, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncirucumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

So, in essence, these people refused the concepts of faith and love, and, in the place of faith and love, substituted a list of regulations and a ritual act.

Now, concerning the original act recorded in Genesis, lest we forget, Abraham was made pleasing and righteous to the Father through his faith (Genesis 15:1-6) BEFORE G-d commanded circumcision of Abraham and his family, as a sign of Abraham’s faith (Genesis 17:1-14).

Circumcision was merely a symbol of his faith. But for the believers in Galatia, they were subordinating the first commandment—namely, to love—to a ritual act that had little bearing on their standing before the Father, and did nothing to increase their faith. The act of circumcision, like the act of baptism, is a sign, but these acts are not what saves you. Rather godly sorrow, that leads us to repentence, and is followed by rejection of our previous sinful lifestyle, and acceptance of Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins, followed by a life of faith that expresses itself in love towards God and man is what counts. The repentance and rejection of our old life followed by a commtiment to faith in Christ for the salvation, and the expressive life of faith and love for the sanctification.

In Verse 7 Paul does recognize that the Galatians did have a season where they ran well. The addition of new rules and regulations to faith and love is setting a hindrance in front of them.

This thing called a walk of faith is not a difficult thing to engage in. The walk of following Christ is quite simple. Now, is it easy? No. It rarely is easy. But simple and easy are not the same thing. Faith in Christ is simple in that we are plainly told what must be done to become a follower of Christ. Faith in Christ is not easy in that once we believe, we have made ourselves and enemy to the devil and his hordes. We will face testings and difficult seasons in life as a direct result of following Christ. There is a cost to following him and you have to be all-in. But, once you are all-in and following him, there are rewards that cannot be quantified, and there is an enriching of your life that takes place.

Unfortunately, this means you will have to lay aside those things that will hinder you from obeying the truth, and hinder you from engaging in a deep relationship with Christ. You might have to give us some friendships that hold you back. You might have to stop engaging in some activities. You might face rejection from your family and old friends. You might have to give us some habits and lifestyle patterns that you really enjoyed before you became a believer.

You might have to change jobs, cities, states, or nations or residence.

The cost is different from one believer to another.

But it is a cost that is worth considering and counting.

Whatever is hindering you from following Christ more deeply is usually the thing that he puts his finger on.

Now, I understand this is not an easy thing to hear. I understand that you are probably thinking, “yes he is putting his finger on this or that”, and you don’t need a pastor or leader or mature believer to tell you that this or that thing is hindering you. But following Christ is both simple and not easy. It also is rarely convenient. He has a habit of interrupting what you thought was the right thing and telling you more than you want to hear.

And like a friend or a spouse, he has things to tell you that he isn’t going to tell anyone else. He also has a beautiful purpose, a birthright for each and every one of us.

Let me hit that one and hit it hard.

You have a birthright.

A birthright is that unique problem that you were designed to solve and put on this earth to solve or fix.

And, a birthright brings with it a unique set of resources that the Lord gives you at your disposal in order to solve that problem.

Like Jacob, there is something big you were called to possess and walk in.

And Jacob, who possessed much of what he was called to possess, lost out on major portions of his birthright because he left Bethel.

God had told him to DWELL in Bethel, and stop moving around, and what did Jacob do? He went to Bethel, had a small worship service and left there. And from the moment he left Bethel, you see a negative progression (Genesis 35:16). Rachel, his beloved wife died. The debacle with Joseph and the friction among the sons. Reuben’s defiling of Jacob’s bed with Jacob’s concubine. A major destruction happened, because Jacob chose a lifestyle that hindered him from obeying what God said. So much so that when he stood before Pharaoh, he said “few have been my years and full of trouble”.

Now, we often celebrate Jacob for the birth of the nation that he was involved in, but we often times don’t see the effects of his disobedience where Bethel is concerned on the rest of his life.

So, I would ask you the same question, follower of Christ. What is hindering you from obeying the truth?

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One of My Deep Areas: Kingdom-Initiated Friendships/The Gold Glitter Oil Drips

I am a fairly expressive guy.

Most of y’all that read me, know this.

And when I do friendships, I go very deep and am very loyal.

It is rough when I lose a friendship.

I still recall the day, September 11, 2000 when I connected with the very first person I ever led to Jesus.

She had experienced a deep joy in knowing the saving power of the Truth.

I remember the day I gave her the most important chapter a new believer could ever know.

Romans 8.

And I remember the season when the dynamic of our friendship changed.

I remember the strongest experience I had ever had in worship. I was at the front corner of my home church at the time, dancing in my (at the time) very exuberant fashion. And without warning, this friend, who was trained in dance, came up and grabbed me by the hands and spun me around and around. I still remember the glittered look of her red dress, and the unbridled joy on her face and the sound of laughter as we both enjoyed the presence of Father’s delight. I still remembered that that was the only time I had never gotten dizzy from spinning around for that long.

For the sake of clarity, there was never anything relationship-wise that happened between us.

And before I knew it, the friendship was gone. Too soon. Another needless casualty of the war that we had fought for our college campus. Territorial warfare. Another intercessor and Exhorter, and friend of the King, disenchanted, and somehow made an enemy of those who were once friend.

Things didn’t have to be that way.

I still pray for her today.

So, despite my strong ideological bend, I have a deep sense of friendships that come as a result of kingdom work.

For years after that season, I received a lot of stares from people and a lot of whispers went on around me from those who had thought I was unstable and crazy. These labels–when they get stuck on to a person, and people whispers–and these whispers leave a mark.

Years later, it was this past September, and by this time, dozens of friendships were ruined because of these very nasty labels.

My wife and I had a conversation with a precious friend from one of my favorite towns in the country: Los Angeles. In another season, that town was part of this season of warfare. I have seen the sunset over Malibu, seen the brokenness and beauty of California, and seen the capability of the campus of UCLA.

This friend agreed to have lunch, and we sat and discussed several dynamics of our lives.

And then the dam broke. It happened without my warning.

My friend, who was the major speaker at a conference we had attended, asked some question about the Redemptive Gift of Prophet’s major challenge, I think.

I blurted out, as a matter-of-fact, “Bitterness”.

And he replied, “that’s David, who has deluded himself into thinking he is a Mercy”. And the whispers started in the room. And I thought, great, now people are talking about how I am crazy or unstable or rude for answering to quickly.

But even though I sort of cared what people thought, I decided it was best not to care.

And then another similar event happened, and my friend made a remark about what a Mercy would have done, and people in the room audibly whispered “that’s a Mercy?!?!?!?!?!?!?”

And then one, then two, then four, then nearly half the room approached my wife, and asked, “You really think you are a Mercy?!”

You would have thought someone had called Cornell and reported the sighting of an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

And then the next day…

While coming back from a meeting with Greg Hubbard, a generous-with-his-time evangelist and friend from my wife’s previous season in Western Massachusetts, I felt eyes on me. And heard the question about my T-shirt.

“Where is New Life Church located?”

I was at the moment holding the door open for my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law. I offhanded had chosen that we should go to Longhorn Steakhouse for lunch. And the shirt I was wearing came from the church where I work as a Pastoral Researcher.

The voice belonged to a district Bishop of the Church of G-d, Cleveland. And I responded, sensing the favor of the Father at work. It was a brief conversation, but then I began to think about what was happening.

And in the months that passed since that weekend, friends that were connected with that conference began to just add me on their lists and connect and interact. And I began to use the tools handed to me then to be able to be life-giving in different ways.

And that is when I saw it.

It was a substance, like golden glittery oily substance, dripping off of me.

The same substance drips off of those who are Givers by Redemptive Gift, and attracts resources to them.

This substance was attracting people to me.

I, who was told that I was an unsafe, crazy person was dripping a substance off of me that was causing people to gravitate toward me. And I have had a number of conversations with various people that enabled me to be life-giving to them.

It has caused a number of people to see me as this safe individual, and it has thrown my empathy into sharper relief, and the enemy’s regular emasculation of my in the spirit

I have begun to see a lot more of that quality in my life, and a quickness, not of tongue–though I am still fiercely opinionated, and some people still think of me as unsafe–but of ears. There has been a significant change in that people drift up to me and the result has been fruit of just being able to bless people and speak and be heard as far as what Father really thinks of them.

The tenderness I have experienced as Father’s son has been communicable to others as they receive healing and ministry, for lack of better words.

Whether you call it favor, or anointing, or the presence of G-d, or the volcano that has released because something is now available that wasn’t previously, I am finding interactions with most other people vastly more fluid. and I am finding it easier to hold back and listen before I stick my foot in my mouth, and subsequently connect with those people.

And my wife notices the difference.

I am grateful, and I recognize the change, growth, and ease.

And I recognize that the curses from former leaders, spiritual fathers and mothers, churches, and denominations has been gloriously broken.

And for others of you, the same substance drips after some point. And it causes things or situations to work favorably for both you and the kingdom of G-d.

I don’t know when that point is, but it does happen, and it causes many things that you cannot explain, to happen.

And I still have a heart to see various churches and denominations recover specifically what Father wants them to have, and walk in the portion of birthright and inheritance Father has for them to possess.

Even though I have a post-church mentality, I still weekly go to church, and do what I am asked in order to see Father break the church from her slumber and bring her, deeply and affectionately, into all he has for her.

This is an expression of his bride.

And yes, I know I will offend most people by saying that G-d works even in and through nasty and filthy denominations (see Anglican Communion as but one example), but my Father and my fairest-of-ten-thousand Husband work wherever they want to.

And he will use those who have suffered from SRA/DID and CRA (Christian Ritual Abuse), and those who are shattered in spirit and soul to do mighty things and tear down strongholds and every wicked and vile device of his ancient enemy, and I am celebrating the victory in and through one of those vessels far in advance of that victory.

The Paraclete’s Hammer

Job 28, Isaiah 54, The Fruit of the Spirit and the Redemptive Gifts

One of my favorite things to do is research, and yes, I do enjoy watching the light bulbs come on.

I am the sort of person who mines for the deep gems. It is my heart and hardwiring.  The personally deepest passage pair in Scripture in my experience is Job 28:1-11 and Isaiah 54. 

Now, I understand that Job 28 is talking about wisdom using the analogy of mining, but, lest we gloss over the treasures in the first eleven verses in running towards the purpose of the passage, consider some of these nuggets.

Man puts an end to darkness
And searches out the farthest limit
the ore in gloom and deep darkness
Job 28:3

He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
they are forgotten by travelers;
they hand in the air far away from mankind; they swing to and fro
Job 28:4

As for the earth, out of it comes bread,
but underneath it is turned up as by fire.
Job 28:5

Its stones are the place of sapphires,
And it has dust of gold.
Job 28:6

Bread over, gems under. Stones where we find sapphire. Deep lapis lazuli. Surest azure. Deep as the ocean and expansive as the heart that dwells with wisdom.

Fire is lain to every root in search of these things.

The exquisite imagery portrayed here, yes, lades us with symbolism, and yes we consider that wisdom is the object of this passage. But the imagery itself just moves deeply the heart of the one hunting. Many times, we hunt for wisdom amidst the dirt. The precious among the self-described-common. The light among the heart full of darkness.

True, he who wins souls is wise, but that statement is not merely winning souls to saving knowledge, that is one that wins trust, and wins favor, and wins guile-free communication, and wins friendship, and wins the fullest expression of tenderness and affection in friendship. Not merely sexual, but a deep emotional transfer between trench buddies.

Jonathan, your love excelled that of women.

And before the dirty mind runs with that into the realms of homoeroticism, that is not what David is referring to. He is referring to comradeship. He is referring to the teamwork that results from a work history, a work history that involves warfare alongside someone with whom the heart is knitted.

I get that sentiment.

I have a deep and longstanding friendship with someone with whom I have fought the kingdom of darkness. I have known him for nearly 20 years. We have laughed together, wept together, mourned the loss of my first marriage together, prayed for wisdom and discernment, and ministered deliverance and emotional healing to one another, and for the last 16 years we have talked roughly once a week.

His funeral is not one to which I look forward. But I already have the comments I will make on that day of his passage from the one realm to the next.

There are bonds of affection that come and grow as you deepen a spiritual connection with spiritual friends.

Common causes breed love. Raw time spent together in a common direction breed depth.

And as Job searched for that sort of connection among his friends, and found it lacking, and looked for it in unvarnished fashion in the reality of G-d, he found a real and unvarnished connection with G-d in friendship that few see, and yet is available to all.

And there is intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in death, in testing, in trial, in the midst of false accusations of those we once counted friends and counselors. Few know that intimacy. Some would even cringe at the idea and notion that Father G-d would ever demonstrate a tenderness of affection, and yet isn’t that what John 3:17 is about, and even John 3:16. He loved us, so he sent. And not just because he made a choice of his will while refusing to admit he didn’t like us. That whole “G-d can’t stand in the presence of sin” teaching is often paired with the mentality that even though we are saved, we are still poor, old, miserable, bastard sinners barely saved by grace. This trite pair of statements is used to trot out a mentality that G-d holds his nose and treats us like trash cans that he washes out, spray-paints with white paint, and tosses a shot of bleach in just to kill the stench

And it is a lie from the pit of hell. It is a solution to a complex problem that is simple, neat, and wrong.

You and I are not some illegitimate trash can that has been washed out and bleached and painted. We are not some unholy lump of clay mixed with a holy lump of clay. Romans 8 tears that mentality apart 39 ways.

We are not dual-natured, for the double-minded man is what? And G-d did not create us to be unstable and leave us in that path of instability.

And then the mate of the pair in Isaiah 54 which speaks to our identity.

First, read this in the context of the following thought. We love to go straight to Isaiah 54:17 and laud how no weapon formed against us shall prosper. But when the weapons that are forged against us do begin to prosper, we wonder why. What weakness in us caused those weapons to prosper?

And one problem is that we forget to go through the process and sequence of the first 16 verses in order to get to the 17th verse, or we resist it. Tempering and refining hurts.

Which brings us to that sequence

Verse 1: Sing
Verse 2: Build a place where he is welcome to dwell
Verse 3: Spread
Verse 4: Fear not, be loosed of your shame and reproach, as you receive dignity
Verse 5: Remember your Husband, the L-rd
Verse 6: Hear His calling of you
Verse 7: Remember the brief moment of His real or apparent desertion
Verse 8: Remember that by seasons and by turns there will be times when he tests you and corrects you, and remember that the season of correction and anger is momentary compared to the season of compassion
Verse 9: Walk with G-d like Noah
Verse 10: Compare yourselves to the mountains, o crown of his creation
Verse 11: Remember in your affliction that your base identity is precious and good (Genesis 1 for those that want to fight this theology of redeemed humanity. We are tov in his sight, we are transformed according to 2 Cor 5:17)
Verse 12: He will build us
Verse 13: He will teach our children carefully and bring them ultimate wholeness
Verse 14: He will establish us as righteous
Verse 15: We will cause strife from the enemy to FAIL
Verse 16: The BLACKSMITH’S HAMMER SHALL FALL ON US AND TEMPER US
SO THAT…

Verse 17: No Weapon formed against us will prosper and the tongues aligned against us shall cease.

You are a gem, follower of Jesus.

In light of that, consider the following gem, mined out of Scripture.

There are seven gifts found in Romans 12:6-8, and these are the Motivational Gifts or Redemptive Gifts. They are the gifts of Prophet, Servant, Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Ruler/Judge/Deliverer, and Mercy.

I was sitting in a place of meditation one day, listening to a teaching on the Fruit of the spirit one day, and had a thought.

Love applies to all, and self-control applies to all. We are held in place by self-control, rooted and grounded in the soil of the love of G-d. The fruit of love is the life-giving trunk of the tree, and the middle seven fruits of joy through gentleness are the strongest battle for each believer to possess and maintain.

1. Joy for the Prophet instead of his or her typical cranky attitude.
2. Peace for the Servant when they are being treated as a garbage can, or are being reviled. Important here is for the Servant to be a Peacemaker rather than a Peacekeeper. Expanding on the difference between the Peacemaker and the Peacekeeper, Servants in their authority must set the tone rather than letting the tone set them.
3. Patience for the Teacher who must be possessed of a patience to teach, when others are rejecting them in the revelations they receive.
4. Kindness for the Exhorter who in response to rejection must maintain their poise with mouthy people, especially believers.
5. Goodness for the Giver who despite their playing the system and looking for all the angles must continue to treat others after the design given to them by Father (tov, good).
6. Faithfulness for the Ruler/Judge/Deliverer who must learn to flow in faithfulness despite their desire to break off a relationship with people who act in real or perceived betrayal. Deep faithfulness must keep the RJD anchored and it is a fight.
7. Gentleness for the Mercy who must be gentle with themselves and others when their counsel or incomplete input is rejected by others.

These seven are benchmarks for the spirit of the strong and high-functioning of each gift.

So, consider your gift, and consider these things here. These will be your sharpest place of fight and the place where you will be tempted to throw in the towel, especially when your design is assaulted.

Be blessed, gang.

Romans 5: A Prophet’s Responsibility

Somehow, I had never seen it…quite that way…

Somehow, the scales fell from my eyes, as Ananias laid hands on me and said, “Brother Saul…”

I had been groping in darkness for quite some time as evening and morning appeared the same to me, and I stumbled down the dirty, clay-laden road to Damascus…

Ow was it Carolina…?

I couldn’t tell…

Usually those indicators that are so helpful for telling where you are weren’t so helpful…

I was rudely refusing to see what was written, given my vision had been impaired from years of 

But while in the shower, a flood of revelation cascaded into my spirit, and Father would not shut up…

And even though I am 37 years old, the revelation still comes after 8:30 at night and I am still waxing Theo-illogical as the day begins with the first fruits of the first fruits…EVENING before morning, the first day. For that has been the rhythm of my life the last 20 years or so, since David began praying, and things began happening, and I began to figure out how to fight.

And I am glad He doesn’t shut up.  He loves talking to me late at night, and I am always eager to hear what He has to say. 

The moment was on Facebook, and the post came from rap artist Lecrae, who said:

“My momma grew up in tough, unfair, unjust circumstances like her parents before her. She struggled. She was treated like a second class citizen in her own country. She never quit. She kept going and pushed me. Most of my closest childhood friends have seen prison life. We survived physical & sexual abuse, survived the war on drugs taking our fathers, and I should have lost my mind or life many times. Still I rose up. I read, I worked, I scrapped, I fought. I went to college. I graduated. I built a business. I relied on God. I invested in others. None of it perfectly. I’ve poured my heart out and been shunned and reduced to whatever online gossip chooses to call me at any moment. I’ve seen too much, we’ve seen too much and fought too hard to give up.”

Well-versed in writing and composing, his thoughts are part of the foreground to what is happening in the backdrop. As usual, racial relations have their own rhythm in this country.

And then the punchline came:

“Endurance builds character, character hope, and hope doesn’t fail. ”

It took me the usual half-second flat to identify the address.  He pulled from Romans 5, around verse 5. 

Actually, now that I am turned there this early, I see that it is 5:4.

No, I am not going to pull context, because that would be the entertainment of too many religious spirits and familiar hermeneutical principles that, taken in the wrong spirit, lead to religion.

This turn of phrase is a little bit different.

Consider the following.  Hope does not fail.  In the King James it saith that “hope maketh not ashamed. In another translation “does not disappoint”.  Disappointment, especially repeated disappointment, can lead to failure, which is a breeding ground for the enemy to bring us to shame.

And the opposite of shame is not honor, but dignity.

Concerning hope, I have always repeatedly preached that hope is the fuel in a Prophet’s gas tank.  Hope is the fuel of the prophetic.  Whether a comfort, a reproof, an exhortation, an edification (which includes correction, I will get to that later), a warning, or a consolation, every single prophecy uttered is meant to have some dynamic of hope that shows up somewhere. 

Now, why does edification include correction?  Very simple illustration. If I build a building–an edifice, in English fallen into disuse–and at some point I don’t build with an aligned foundation, that misalignment is going to show throughout the misaligned building, and the only way to move forward correctly is to admit something is wrong with my structure, take down every single piece to the bad part of the foundation, and correct the foundation.

If a prophet does not speak up, or speaks up but is not listened to, when an issue needs to be corrected, then misalignment is the result.

The only way forward in this is to speak correction, for the audience to receive the correction, and to move forward with it.  And as uncomfortable as that makes an audience, the alternative is a major deviation that can lead to destruction.

Sometimes, to edify someone means you are offering correction, because you want to build them up rightly.

This is why hope is so critical in the operation of the prophetic. And this is why Prophets must, Must, MUST!, engage in being more than a critic or an analyst. They must get involved in the work of building and rebuilding.  If the church does not see Prophets helping out, and being the first ones to speak hope mixed in with their correction of courses (pun intended), and then engaged in the process of rebuilding once the error has been fixed, then the church will ultimately become disenfranchised.

Hope does not bring us to shame, but rather breeds dignity.

Concerning Pain and Its Uses

Semi-provocative Thoughts For the Evening
 
This is probably one of the more important things I am going to write for some time.
 
Pain…
 
Plenty has been written about it.
 
But I am not sure a lot of people grasp the L-rd’s use of it in the His processes of shaping and molding us.
 
So, with that in mind, I would like to throw out the following for your consideration, follower of Jesus.
 
G-d provides us with a package of things that are incessantly good, gifts that are comprehensively good.  The seasons that we go through which are painful are also seasons that are used by G-d; he wastes nothing.  Pain, regardless of what you believe about its origins, is often used by G-d in the shaping process.
 
He causes all things to work for good to his kids.
 
And if we will work with his processes, then something useful and productive can result.
 
But many times, we want to escape the pain, not realizing that there may be a purpose, not necessarily FOR the pain, but a purpose IN the pain.
 
G-d will use painful times to work some depth and dimension in us.
 
It is not just about thinking we are exempt from pain, and putting up with the pain, or waiting out the pain, or even escaping the pain.  Rather, it is a matter of asking G-d if there is anything he wants to accomplish through the pain, and then, as long as he wants to use the pain, to allow Him to do so.
 
Pain, as a critical part of the dynamic of sowing and reaping, and as a critical part of this thing we call reality, can cause a specific season in our lives to become fraught with poignant meaning.  It can also be used to temper us, or to work self-control in us, or even perseverance.

We also grow through pain, and in mourning, and tears.  In some way, we grow, even if that growth is in negative ways like growing bitter or offended.

So, rather than developing a potentially shallow response to pain, and so risking becoming shallow ourselves, perhaps it is in our best interest to embrace the necessary and productive pain, knowing that Christ also embraced that pain, and learning the lesson of perseverance, self-control, patience, et al., thus permitting the depth of those virtues to be worked out in us, so that they can be worked out through us in the lives of others.
 
Just some thoughts that are late-night, dense, and probably philosophical or theological.
 
He surely loves and blesses y’all.
So much so, that he lets nothing that comes our way go to waste.
Can you think of other ways he might use pain in our lives?

Abraham Waiting and Then Drawing Near To Speak

Provocative Thoughts for the Morning:

After Abraham stood still before the L-rd (Psalm 46:10), Genesis 18:23 does not merely say that Abraham spoke to the L-rd.

Rather, it says that Abraham DREW NEAR and said…

Genesis has up to this point in several ways established that, not only had G-d given instructions for Abraham to obey, which he did fairly well in many ways, but also another dynamic had germinated and grown between the L-rd and this subtle, Bedouin herdsman.

We are talking about friendship.

Pick up a couple of the subtleties of Genesis 18:22-23 with me.

What does it mean to “stand still before the L-rd”?

Possibly that Abraham was considering what his next statement to his friend the L-rd should be.

The Father hadn’t moved on and he asked himself whether he should share with Abraham the thoughts of his heart and mind, knowing Abraham’s bend toward commanding his legacy toward a posture of righteousness. Would that heart cry for righteousness and that authority to call for the same extend to the place where it interfered with G-d’s plans for the cities on the plain?

G-d’s sharing of his plans with Abraham reveal a dynamic of His nature that we don’t often think about when it comes to reading the Tanakh. Even though he is indeed Sovereign Judge, he is still quite vulnerable and has emotions the depth of which and purity of which we fail to understand, much less be willing to wrap our arms around. This is not some heartless and cruel taskmaster who enjoys roasting the wicked in hellfire and brimstone. G-d , even as Sovereign Judge takes no drunken pleasure in the death of the wicked, as we are so won’t to do.

Rather, every single one of his decisions is made in the context of sobriety.

And Abraham, standing still, was likely pondering what he knew about G-d. This is an illustration of the principle of Psalm 46:10 at work.

Then, he spoke to the one in whom he could trust.

“Shall the Judge of all the Earth do what is just?”

Wait a minute, sparing people is a form of justice?

Yes, it can be. Especially when some of those people can be considered righteous the way the L-rd reckons righteousness, which is a homiletic exhortation for another day.

Abraham made a heart connection with G-d that day, and here is how I arrive at that conclusion, in the spirit of James 4:8.

“Then Abraham DREW NEAR and said…”

Draw near to him and he will draw near in return.

I imagine that drawing near captured something in G-d’s heart. For Abraham, there was plenty of risk. His nephew was living with the wicked. He must have loved him dearly, given the sequence of circumstances that led to this point. He was concerned with all of his legacy. And He knew something about G-d that maybe we have since forgotten. Drawing near To someone that powerful and holy is a scary proposition.

And G-d, in response, fulfilled a win/win both ways. The righteous were spared, and the wicked were destroyed, WITHOUT GLEE OR GLOATING.

If you wish to ask something of Him, are you willing to risk drawing near and considering His nature in order to ask what you need of Him?

He doesn’t promise your interactions with him will be free and easy, but he does promise you will grow and change and be transformed in the process.

Be blessed.

My Review on the SLG Teaching “Legitimacy”

ABLCD-2

I purchased a copy of this teaching while I was in Toronto on March 19, 2016 for the live event When Your Call Is Blocked.

And on the way home from Toronto to Springfield, Massachusetts, Father told me to pop this series into my CD player for the trip home.

And in one word…WOW!

The concept of legitimacy is directly tied to and forms the root of our identity. For years, I have been beating the drum of identity, and in so many words, this teaching was just confirmation of things I had taught, but never really internalized.

Of course, Arthur pulls no punches in this teaching, specifically because his yearning is for people to be free, even if that means they are uncomfortable momentarily.

That entire trip home, I found issue after issue to deal with and repent of, and following those issues I dealt with, I learned one ver simple truth, approached at from a multiplicity of angles.

I am legitimate specifically because God is and because God loves me.

Not that God loves me in the trite way that we like to talk about love. But that God loves me as in God really is tenderly affectionate towards me and is concerned for my well-being.

The Father has a genuine concern for what happens to his children, and when we use things other than his love as measuring tools for whether we are legitimate or not, then we have bought into the enemy’s lies.

We are not legitimate because we are born in to a certain nation, into a certain family, or even because we have a specific spiritual gift or skillset.

We are legitimate because God is and God is loves us.

Yeah, I know this may come across as mushy, but Father just really is radically taken with us and is jealous over us with a jealousy that rages against anything that is a lie and is designed to harm us.

Get this CD album. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

https://theslg.com/cd-albums/503-legitimacy.html