We Flourish in Complete Surrender

Friday, October 7, 2016, we had a service at our church called, “Awaken”. When I go, I listen for the theme of what God is doing right now in the Body of Christ.

As I arrived, I pulled out my journal and heard the word “FLOURISH”.

As soon as I stood for worship, I felt the need to take a small step forward. I was in the front row and if I went far, I’d be way out of line with others. I took a tiny step forward and began to worship, not worrying about if I was a little “forward.”

Then I saw water rising up in two columns, “flourishing”. It became two walls of water and I realized it was the sea parting, like the Red Sea with Moses rose his staff. I was standing at the opening where the Israelites would have had to choose to go forward and trust that the walls would not cave in on them. The “line in the sand” was at the beginning. I realized that the Israelites went forward on dry ground, solid ground. As I saw this, the music echoed, “The Rock won’t move, the rock won’t move… on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,”

As I sketched this picture, I wondered how many people there should be. Just one. This message is for an audience of one, because this was an individual journey. The step I choose to take was an entry into the parted sea, into what God would give let me enter into if I just said, “Yes.” At the end of the tunnel I saw the words “The Promised Land”. Have faith for the Promised Land, step into it.

The worship progressed and the prophetic painter, Tim, finished a picture of a fierce lion! I returned to the vision and looked down the passageway created by the parted sea walls. At the end of the tunnel a huge, flaming lion’s face appeared at the end of the passageway between the columns of water. The face of the Lion of Judah, in all his GLORY, began to come forward through the parted sea walls, filling the passageway. Nearer, and nearer, approaching me as I stood there.

How majestic he was! How magnificent! How fierce his love!

img_0005
(Lion painted during worship by Tim Yearington)

He came through the tunnel toward me as I crossed the line to say “YES!” God is simply asking for our “Yes” and he will come get us and lead us like the flaming torch and the smoking fire pot that led the Israelites in the desert, yet we will NOT be in a desert. The sign at the end the the passageway said Promised Land. He is not going to leave us wandering in the desert any longer, if only we will take the step.

Genesis 46 flashed into my mind again as I worshiped. I stopped to read…

46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

Jacob took the step of faith and went to Egypt. His didn’t yet know that he would find his son there, ruling as second in command of all Egypt! He went in blind faith, knowing his need. When he arrived, he found that his faith was well rewarded. What was stolen from him was returned!

Joseph, the misunderstood dreamer, the one who was outcast and rejected by his brothers YET adored by his father, was now second in command of all Egypt. God himself lifted him up and recognized the gifts his brothers hated him for. Those who scorned him were brought low in humility and repentance before him. The dreamer was unmasked before their eyes. They had no idea who he was until that moment. They had no idea of the greatness of the gifts, or the purpose, in the little brother they mocked. In spite of what had been done, Joseph valued the unity of his family. He had mercy and forgave.

“Mercy triumphs over judgment…” sang the worship leader as I read this scripture.

God rewards faith. He rewarded Jacob. He rewarded Joseph. Have you had years of trial, loss and struggle, insecurity, or fear? In the midst of it, have you pushed forward, continuing to believe that God is faithful, no matter what you are experiencing? Or, have you wavered, lost faith and wallowed in the slop! No matter where you’ve been, it’s time to stand up, WAKE UP, and wash the scales off of your eyes. Get out of your cocoon, shake yourself free, and LOOK down at that line in the sand.

Jesus said, “When I return will I find faith on the earth?” Will he? If you are willing. Stand up. Take a physical step forward. Say, “Yes, Lord.”

Don’t look back.

There is no looking back allowed when we want to flourish. No dwelling on the old! If the Israelites looked back while they were in the middle of the parted Red Sea they would have lost valuable minutes and the waves would have crashed upon them as they closed down on Pharaoh and his army. Remember Lot’s wife as she was fleeing Sodom and Gomorra. Lot’s wife looked back. She was turned into a pillar of salt by the Lord. Don’t grieve for what you are leaving behind, just go!

The time is now to believe! Any affection Lot’s wife had for Sodom and Gomorra was misplaced. Don’t grieve over what should be dead! Don’t grieve for an old identity you were not meant to wear anymore.

When you step over that line, you will be choosing faith. You will go nowhere without faith. Choose overcoming faith. As in Genesis when Joseph was calling for his family to come and receive what he paved the way for, God is calling you to come and “step into” the path where he will roar over you with His grace. “I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again.” He is with us. “And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” What Jacob had longed for, God had heard. God does not forget the desires of your heart. What was lost long ago will be returned. God has not forgotten, nor has he been inactive. While Jacob grieved, Joseph was being prepared for what was prophesied long ago in those dreams. God returned what had been stolen with abundance added!

HAVE FAITH! Celebrate what you do not yet see! Look at the end of this story and take it as a word for yourself. God has been active in your life and your situation in ways you don’t know. He has been fighting for you, whether you were striving in struggle, or resting or believing or frustrated while He was doing it. He was working anyway. Some of us have just been spinning our wheels going nowhere worrying about the path we were on. God wasn’t worried!

You may not see what is ahead; you may only see the step in front of you, but step forward and say “YES, yes God, I’m all in.” Done? Good. Now, you have postured yourself to receive. You are standing in faith. He will show you the next step.

Let this word be a light to your feet and lamp to your path. Joseph didn’t know his future when he left to greet his brothers the day he was thrown in the pit. He didn’t know it when he got to Egypt and spent two years in the pit again! There were people who got in his way, like Potiphar’s wife, and became tools of the enemy in his life, but God saw it all and said “Watch what I’m going to do with that boy!” Now, don’t be surprised at what God will do with you.

At the end of the night of worship, Jesus came before me and handed me a treasure chest. It was open and filled with gold coins. Having seen this picture before, I asked the Lord “Why are you showing this to me?” As I looked, something new happened. Select coins began to levitate and full color faces appeared on them. I heard the word, “CHANGE”. Imprinted on the coins were some of the faces of those who’s lives I’d seen changed by Jesus. “These are my treasures,” He said. “Lives changed.”

When these coins, these precious ones, were put together they amounted to a treasure that were a King’s reward. His reward for the cross.  Each one had let themselves be submitted to the Refiner’s fire. Each one had taken the first step toward their Father God and now, they lived as His reward.

Take a step toward him. Adore Him. He will come for you, like the Lion of Judah that he is. He will come for you. Just celebrate where you are and believe God is faithful.

Jeremiah 29:13
“You will seek me and find me
when you seek me
with your whole heart.” 

Advertisements

Deep in the Water

I have had continual intercession pouring out of my mouth for two weeks and feel like I’ve been standing on the line between God’s people and the enemy siege holding down territory. Meanwhile, I’ve been seeing a picture of a blanket being pulled back, and praying for God to uncover the thing that need to be revealed for me to be holy and ready for what He has for me to do. This may be while healthy Christians are feeling off kilter. God is uncovering places of weakness so that we can deal with them. Don’t avoid it! I believe God is saying, “Don’t shrink back! Stand! Fix your gaze on Me. Stand, pray in the Spirit and watch. Be continually alert.”

Don’t let yourself feel defeated, but let God reveal what has been covered.

I’ve felt a weight, a weight to lighten my own load by letting God show me every judgement and attitude that needs to change. It has been like training for a race. At night, before bed, I have been asking God questions about areas of my life that I just wanted to be better.  I would write a question in my journal about things that just didn’t seem right. I have gone to bed expecting to get answers in my sleep and dreams have come. Ask and you will be given. Expect that the Lord will answer.

I am humbled at where I have failed to love without restraint. I am grieved at the way we treat each other in the church, letting our opinions be like a gate that limits who can enter. Any opinion that is not God’s opinion of a person is a judgement and these become filters that we see people through. I see the unity that could be, and am painfully aware of our lack, and where I have not pushed forward to honestly speak because of my fear of judgement.  I hate that.

God is raising up a glorious church! Wade through the waters!

I’ve had to die to myself in so many ways in the last two months. I’ve seen where my heart has been hard and it is painful to know of the refuse it has left behind and the opportunities that have been spoiled. I feel the grief of God. 

This is the heaviness I have felt and it has required some washing. I have been praying, not only for myself, but for the whole body of Christ.

We recently had record rain and flooding in our town. Many of our basements have been filled with water.  I know my basement is not the part of the house I clean every week.  It’s where I keep the stuff I don’t want to look at every day. The basement is the foundation of our house. Deep within us we have foundational ways of thinking.  God has been looking in our basements and uncovering things that still needs some cleansing.

My street remained flooded for several ways and I had to find new ways to get home. There have been roads that have become newly impassible. Our old ways of doing things may have been good for a time, but what is God up to? What is he saying to us? I believe he is saying time if short. The time is now. You will not be able to operate like you have been. “Detour.”

There were houses in my neighborhood that were like islands in a lake. Just like this visual, there are people who have been overcome by the world. They are surrounded and have been drowning or bailing water trying to stay afloat. God says, “HELP!” Stand in the gap for these. Fight for those you have not loved, because Jesus paid the highest price for him and you/we are his Body. His body. He is here, through us to speak to the world. What do we look like? Are we inviting? Do we limit what God will do tomorrow by our judgements of people. What if Jesus held the sins of Mary Magdalene against her, or the annoying kid who was pestering him during his sermon? He saw the value in people even when they didn’t fit into the guidelines of the law. Do we have our own set of laws that aren’t God’s laws. What is the community of faith supposed to look like?

What is required of us?

I see this picture. There is a person experienced in walking with the Lord; she is covered in armor and bearing a sword in one hand. She is walking, holding the hand of a person who doesn’t yet know how to do that. It is an armed person teaching another how to stand and fight, to resist and to worship and celebrate, but they are walking, living life together, staying accountable. This is what discipleship looks like. It’s no just a Sunday deal. It is doing life together. This can be a hard pill to swallow, as I’m feeling it myself right now.

If we exclude people from our lives who are inconvenient or not “sanctified” yet, we will miss training up those who have been attacked since birth because of their potential. We need to be judging potential and not behavior. I am seeing gifted sons and daughters of God come forward who have been oppressed.  We’ve been afraid of their sin, but God’s not afraid of it. He sees his hurting kids and says, “I want to heal the pain that caused it!”

God is seeking them out and bringing them to us, to the church. They are amazing people who have never felt or understood the true love of the Father. He is restoring them to his heart and largely that comes through US, the church. We need to teach our children to see the potential in people, not judge others who are naughty or nice. Jesus died for us and spent lots of time with humans when we were still sinners, but we have been like the unforgiving servant who required more of people than God did. We are holding debts and grievances that God is not holding against people. It is limiting the potential of the Body of Christ. Jesus prayed for us, “.. that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may know you that you sent me. (John 17:21 NIV). That is deep intimacy! Not just next to, eating dinner with, across the table from.. but in Christ and ONE with each other. One spirit connects us all.

Taking a Leap of Faith Will Bring Rewards

Jack, my 10 year old son, shared this vision he had. He said he had it recently while playing on his plasma car in the driveway. We were doing exercises to hear God’s voice right before he brought this up.

We were on a skyscraper in Florida on a mountain. The skyscraper was surrounded by water which was rising. Next to the skyscraper was a big tall evergreen. On top of the evergreen were all these jewels and keys. We were so close and everyone was wanting to get them, but none of them ever jumped. However, we and a few other people, took a leap to get to the tree and made it.

After we leaped, the water rose to the top and the skyscraper started to fall down. People were scared, but we were unharmed as we were occupied with the treasures God had blessed us with and were hidden with Him. The tree became a massive skyscraper and the other one that had collapsed was rebuilt and came equally as high. It was now golden. Half of the people who had fallen were on this newly rebuilt skyscraper and the other half were in another building I saw. It was red, more like a house. It had a dirt road going to it. It felt like a bad place. They were not having fun in there.

While this was happening, we were still on the tree unlocking stuff with our new keys. It felt like the tree was the old throne where God was and Jesus was now on the new skyscraper with “different sizes” of people. Jesus was the biggest person. We jumped back onto the new skyscraper and were like VIPs there. (Much of this is how my son described it.)

“Set your hearts of things above, where Christ is.”

Isaiah 49
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+49&version=ESV
Interpretation:

In the dream, those who took a leap of faith and trusted God, seeking His treasures and leaving the stable ground behind were “hidden in the crevice of the rock” as the Bible says. We lept from a man made stable structure to a structure that God designed. We were reaching for heaven on two tall buildings, it seems. One was a man made design and one was God’s design. We have a choice to make right now and it will determine our future

For those who choose to stay “on the fence” of what they know, there will be hard times, a sifting. Some will make it through and some will fail. The symbolism of Florid
a, I believe, is that is known as being a “retirement” state, where people rest rather than do.

The water rising is the tide of God’s glory that is filling the earth. As the waters rise, the time will come. Those who jump early will be spared. Seek God and submit to the process or letting him dig deep into your heart. “Search me Oh God and know my heart. Try me and know my mind. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23)

God’s grace is still good, but it is not a license to stand on the fence of complacency. This will be a time when lukewarm is not an option.  Those who are lukewarm will not be able to stand.

DAC004F7-3FDA-4DF4-B8E4-3883BD9D3536This picture appeared on Twitter the day after he shared the vision… It looked just as he described, down to the “red smaller building” which is a FIRE department vehicle in here. God is speaking loudly.

 

 

Shake the Fence!

2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

In a vision on March 11, there were people standing on the top of this dog-eared fence, trying to balance. It was not easy to stand there anymore, but they tried with all their might. Some felt unworthy to get off the fence because of faults they thought kept them back but I saw the Lord write “FORGIVEN” on the fence, so there was really no obstacle to advancement. God was asking these people to go forward in trust with Him. The called one was trying to balance, as if standing on a line of progress, seemingly “stuck” there afraid to move on. The person was facing forward and on the front side of the fence was a sea, churning and unsteady. The sea was pushing on the fence, back and forth and it was obvious that the fence wouldn’t hold out against the pressure forever.

Behind the fence was hard, flat, barren ground. Falling backwards was not at all appealing, but going forward seemed scary and impossible. “How do I go forward on that water? How many steps will I take before I sink?” The water continued to push on the fence. As I watched, I cried out to God, “SHAKE THE FENCE! SHAKE THE FENCE!” knowing they would need a push of courage from the God himself.

I looked a person standing on the wobbly surface. I saw Jesus on the water very close with his hand out. I hear Him say to the one struggling, “Come forward. I give you permission. Come out!” Jesus stretched out his hand of the fence dweller. The called one made the choice to take a step out onto the water. He took the first step! It was the effort required to move forward. We must ask God, “Is there a step I need to take?” If so, take it! Step out into the aisle. It may be one step of obedience that holds you back, one step forward that sets you free.

Like the toddler who quickly learns to balance with the hand of a parent, the called ones will begin to walk confidently with Jesus on the water, learning to anticipate when the waves will rise and fall and stepping with Jesus along the way.

Romans 8:3-4 “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Soon Jesus and this brave soul were walking together, hand in hand, upon the water. They kept pace together as one would who was walking hand in hand with another. However, not long after, a sort of spunky confidence rose up in the new water-walker and the brave soul, this child of God, let go of Jesus’s hand, skipping along ahead, skillfully and joyfully jumping from one rising white-tipped wave cap to another, as if dancing or playing hop scotch. I saw a sparkle of light reflecting off the water near the skipping water walker. Soon, many sparkles appeared on the water and I now realized that the light was being refracted by this child of God like a flawless, multi-faceted diamond that had come out of the safe. The child of God was hopping from wave to wave, from glory to glory, operating in new freedom, unfettered by fear or doubt, radiating light all around, unaware of many of the places the light had touched others because this confident one has eyes only for the Lord.

1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

“My people need to let go of judgement of one another and walk in honor.” There is no time for anymore backbiting or “holy gossip” which is grumbling poorly disguised. Honor one another. Honor the gifts that are in others and you will find honor reflected back at you. God is calling us to unity, to join hands in the effort, but there will relearning and grace necessary to become the unified Bride of Christ Jesus is inviting to the table. New gifts are being spread on the table and the body will have to learn to use them with grace and love.

Have you been waiting for permission to come out of the safe, out of the closet?

This week I heard the words, “Cut the tether!” A tether is a rope that holds something in place. I thought of the game tether ball, where a ball hangs from a rope on a pole. Kids hit the ball and it swings back and forth. Sometimes it winds around the pole, then unwinds as another child hits it in the other direction. Some have felt stuck to a tether, a place, and have been tossed into many directions, yet not freed to move on. I saw a person with a tether cord coming out of their back and a big scissors was cutting it, loosing the person from it’s former anchor. Wherever you have felt “tethered” the Lord is working on your behalf. He is cutting your cord and will hold your hand as you learn to walk in your new positions. He is leading you onto your sea. Fear not! He has not forgotten you. Truly he is faithful!

Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

Expecting an Amazing Easter!

Easter is coming! I know we’ve celebrated Easter every year for a long time, BUT I and those who pray with me feel that this Easter is going to be a new recognition of what we have in Christ! It is the wake up call of the church. We have risen WITH Christ. Old things have passed away and “behold” — LOOK! All things have become new.

My young son had a dream about what it looks like to be “IN CHRIST”. Our family was all in the car together going to serve at the shelter we serve at. We stopped and went into this big tall “statue” but he said it was Jesus. There were the best foods all spread out on tables. He said he got a root beer that tasted better than ANY he’d ever had. There was too much to pick from but you could have all you needed or wanted and it was free. In the dream, our whole family headed there at 100 miles an hour in the car with no seat belts. All of us were in the car having a great time. He said he had to hang on for dear life, but it was the most fun day EVER! God is saying, “Drive to Him with reckless abandon. Don’t worry about the rules around you that would slow you down. Jump in the drivers seat and go all in. He has incredible life and rewards for those who don’t stand on the fence or delay. We can’t be cautious about approaching Jesus. Stop overthinking! Go!

 
The next stop in the family excursion dream was a little traditional church…We now attend a less traditional church. We continued on our way to serve, but we stopped here and all went in. It was Easter in the church and it was decorated beautifully, filled with lilies and celebrating the Risen Jesus. We went in to pray for those who were in the church. God is connecting us together! Unity is at hand! 
 
Do you know that Easter is the ONLY time of the year when a person can wander into ANY Christian church in this nation and hear the message of the gospel, in almost anyone they choose. We live in a nation where many have left the church because of the lack of love in it. They have no idea of the basic story of salvation. But….God is sounding the trumpet to call them back in and I pray that when they walk back in the doors, they will see and feel a celebration of the risen Christ that overwhelms them! Set aside judgement and pride and all the other things Jesus didn’t do and get ready…get ready to WORSHIP!
 
Church!…. It’s time to worship the Lord, for in His house is abundance, provision, unity, family reconciliation, healing of pain and joy everlasting. Come ready to live what you believe. Love with all that He can put in you and be available to receive them in. Rise and shine for your light has come!
 
You spread out a table before me, provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil, filling my cup again and again with Your grace. Psalm 23:5 VOICE
 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 NASB

New Life in Empty Buildings

Clean up crew—
The Lord will clean out the old churches. Those that look like they are dying will be abandon. They will seem dead, but the Lord will be preparing to dust the cobwebs and place them in the hands of his beautiful, prepared, shining Bride!!!!! I see glory filling these old churches. Worship and singing mixed in with the life of the Spirit, waves of his presence and restorative joy.
He is wiping away the old thing to make room for a new thing. Let it be done Lord, in the Name of Jesus, so that every church that bears your name will bear the power of your Name.
Remove the cobwebs that have been allowed to remain. I see an empty old church. It has been vacated and is empty. He has removed their keys so that no unholy thing will have authority or voice. No spirit of compromise will interfere with the rebirth!
It seems dead but the Lord is cleaning and bringing life, He is calling deep unto deep, singing new songs over those buildings that the children outside hear and are drawn too. I see a crowd of children coming like ones who are drawn in unison by a sound. As they approach, they start to sing together the song the Lord leads them to sing. Their hearts are connected with the spirit of worship and they walk with the Presence of the Holy One into the building.
The singing continues and penetrates the old stone walls. Sounds of life reorder and restructure the stones and it is as a birthing is happening. I see a lady in white on the floor in the middle of the room, she is in the fetal position beginning to sway with the music. It is compelling her from the inside out, bringing her up to dance in response to the call of the Lord, in harmony with the singing of the children who have come in until their songs come together and they she dances in the midst of them ….WORSHIP!!!! Worship! The Bride arises! The children touch the pews and they transform into a new material, heavenly and pure. They scurry around exploring and touching, releasing the new by the glory that is exuding from them. All things become new. Golden glory blankets the floors.  Old, red carpets are covered with the glory of the Lord. Light streams in through the windows. REFRESHING!
Come Lord! Wipe out the cobwebs, empty your churches of the stench of compromise, of unbelief, of dead works and let them rest, be cleaned and be restored in glory. There will be no unsurrendered voice allowed to speak in your church.
Let the children be drawn to these old, dry places, where no water has been allowed to flow. I see heavenly light over these children, illuminating them from above. Let them bring your glory with them as they enter the doors. Let Mercy reign! Your name will be praised in your churches Lord Jesus!!! Your purity and holiness will be known and those who gather will do so in Spirit and truth with no shame, no fear, but in an atmosphere of perfect love where they wake up and discover the arms they didn’t know they had, as Adam and Eve would have explored themselves in wonder after their creation. They will look at their feet as if they’ve never known them. Their eyes will look up and light from above will flow down upon them and fill them. There will be no stillness in the momentum of the kingdom but a flow, a flow of love, of a sound. This sound will draw their hearts, compel them to be met but the Lord in His sanctuary. The place where they will be reborn.
Ezekiel 37
“7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling,[c] and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

Seeds of Complacency Dull Our Faith

Some of us need to reclaim our thoughts for God. There are minor infractions that we have permitted. These are the seeds of the enemy in the fertile soil of our mind that have sprouted, and those sprouts, even when small, pollute our faith. When allowed to take root, they remove our ability to stand against the enemy.

I want no mindset to limit God’s work through me and no mindset make way for the enemy. I prayed, “Show me where my faith is polluted!” I realized I had missed something he had been regularly showing me, answering before I had asked. This came to my rememberance. When praying for people, I would ask the Lord what he wanted me to know as I started. A picture of a beach ball would flash through my mind on a regular basis. It drove me nuts! It didn’t seem to apply to most of the people I was praying with them but came before all other words. I would push it aside most of the time and ask for another picture.

One day in my quiet time, I made a point of getting the beach ball out and said, “OK, just let me know what’s going on with this beach ball.” This is the story that played in my mind. I was sitting on the beach. It was a lovely, sunny day and two little boys were playing in the sand with a beach ball, tossing it back and forth. There was a seagull flying low and overhead and swooping over the boys. I was comfortable on the warm sand and observing this pesty seagull, but didn’t feel like getting up to shoo it away. After that thought, from the right side, a huge nasty monster appeared and was walking toward the kids. I stood up and looked at it. “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked.

“Let me me by!” It exclaimed.

“No,” I said calmly. “You have no authority here. Do you want to test me?” It backed down and left. I sat down on the beach again.

Here’s what the Lord showed me. “Don’t tolerate even the smallest work of the enemy.” There are things that the enemy is doing in our midst that seem small and pesty and we tolerate them. We put them in the little nuisance box that we can conquer ourselves if we need to, but they are still the work of the enemy. We have excuses for not standing up against them, but that gives the enemy an “in”, power to destroy and the great enemy, dullness, can creep in. When we get dull, we fail to cut as quickly between truth and lies and the enemy gets a foothold in our life. There are things we tolerate because they don’t seem like a big enough threat, like the seagull over the children. I knew the seagull could pop that ball, but instead of acting on the children’s behalf to prevent disaster. I resorted to thoughts of how likely it was that that would happen. Was it a big enough threat? Was it worthy of me getting up and standing against it?

The question I believe the Lord was asking me was, how much of the enemy’s activity will I tolerate, because “a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Galatians 5:9)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery….7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

This brought me to thoughts of the Good Shepherd. How does the Shepherd, Jesus, take care of the sheep?

  • He keeps watch over them so they don’t fear.
  • He anoints their head with oil so no thin is allowed to enter any cavity and distract or burrow in. Anointing oil repulses the enemies of sheep (nits).
  • He puts protection around the perimeter so they sleep with no fear.
  • The sheep are at rest when they are with Him and He never leaves them, so they live in constant oversight.
  • His body is the gate. He senses danger and fights it off for us, the sheep who dwell inside. We remain at rest while He does this.

Lord, I thank you for the peace of God, because it passes all understanding. It keeps my heart and my mind at rest so I can hear your voice and recognize your authority over my enemies. There is no predator you would allow to enter the sheep pen you are guarding. While I sleep, you guard my life. While I’m awake, you keep watch. Thank you for that peace and understanding now. Come and refresh me in this truth. I receive your help and love your protection. In all things, you are working for my good, even when I don’t know it, even while I sleep. I can trust you with my life. Amen.