The Armor of G-d: A Fractal of Seven

Okay, gang.
I have been harping on this a little bit on another place on Facebook land, thank you Sheila Galvez and Amanda Damon.
So here goes.

“στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνηςκαὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης,ἐν πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως, ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ [τὰ] πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι·καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ.    Διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι, καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων”

Ephesians 6:14-18

Oops, wrong text, need to grab something y’all can read.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.  To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

Ephesians 6:13–18

There. Much better.

Now then.

Let me make some addenda

The Actual Seven Pieces of Armor

Loinpiece of Truth = Prophet

This covers all of the the loins.  We have physical loins to cover, as well as the loins of our mind (1 Peter 1:13).
It’s not just a belt like we wear to keep pants up. It is a piece of armor that covers our body from from the waist to the knees, and protects the heart of our vitality and virility: our sex organs.
And because our minds are so aligned with truth, Peter calls uses similar language to describe protecting our mind.
Prophets must walk in truth at all points, including embracing truth in relationships with others.  They must not waver from G-d’s whole truth.  And the whole truth may mean the Prophet has to put on a long game for dealing with other people.  The Prophet more than the other gifts has the capacity to see positively for others stretching far into the future when they cannot see for themselves, and as a result of that long sight, can provide hope on the second level of principles, which is the relationships between man and man.  He can then use that hope and those principles to help rebuild a broken man or woman.  He or she must engage in this restoration in the spirit of meekness, rather than the spirit of condescension, arrogance, or jackassery (Galatians 6:1).

Breastplate of Righteousness, which covers both front and Back = Servant

Servants, alone of all the gifts, gravitate toward all expressions of and desires for righteousness.  What they can see is the gold that is in the dirt.  They see the present-moment usefulness of what others would consider a trash heap.  They walk free of guile, and the L-rd Who Makes Us Righteous, Adonai Tsidkenu, protects them front and back, when no one else thinks to protect the Servant.  I would contend the Servant has the fewest natural or seen or recognized walls and barriers and protections.  Because of this, and because the Servant gives so readily in the protection of others, they themselves need people who will actively advocate for and bless and protect them.
The Breastplate of Righteousness, contrary to the bad preaching of some, is a piece of armor that DOES PROTECT THE BACK as well as the front.  Dear preachers: quit asking the rhetorical question, “which part of the body is unprotected?”
The L-rd protects our comings and our goings, and that is an important aspect of our journey that we must speak to:  our arrivals and departures.  I have personally noticed an upward trend in the inability of believers to have good arrivals and/or departures.  I have noticed in these cases an increase in the numbers of bridges burned.  This is not good for the purposes of speaking about one another with affection and honor.

Shoes of READINESS, NOT peace = Teacher

Um, yeah.  Read the text here.  And then read it again.  And then read it again.
Gang, the phrase in the King James expresses it well, and if you gloss over it in your zeal to get to what you think the dynamic is for the Teacher, think again.  The King Jimmy says, “having your feet shod with…”  And the VERY NEXT WORD is not “peace”!  It is “readiness”.  Readiness.  Readiness.
I cannot overemphasize this enough.  Teachers, you have enough natural expressions of peace.
Even a carnal or soulish Teacher, in the sin of Selective Responsibility, will have enough non-worry that they will allow the do-dads around their house fall into disrepair.  And sloth or heaviness masquerades as peace.  What is needed in the Teacher, and what the high-functioning Teacher can get a disproportionate ROI from, is being Ready.  Instant, in season and out of season, Paul calls it.
Let me put it another two ways.  Hermes in the Greek Pantheon was symbolized by winged zapatos (Spanish for “shoes”, and one of my favorite words).
Was he characterized by sloth, or readiness?  And what is the one article of clothing that when you don it, lets others know you are able to walk out the door?  Shoes.
Runners! Get READY, Get ON YOUR MARKS, Get Set, <POW!> GO!
They nowhere symbolize peace, but READINESS!  Now, the Gospel is one of Peace, and the Shoes of Readiness are empowered by the Gospel of Peace, but they are still Shoes of Readiness.
Readiness is a theme that will give the Teacher striking power, and dangerous strength.  Readiness with give the Teacher a capacity to pair his or her research with action.


Shield of Faith (Shield of the Trinity) = Exhorter

The Exhorter, as I said in the RG post, is a man or woman of threes.  Their principle has gone through three iterations (Pain and Suffering, Sowing and Reaping, Reality).  Sun, Moon, and Stars.  Three sets of Principles for Cause and Effect.  Three Exhorters who wrote these sets of principles: Moses on the First level, Solomon on the Second Level, Paul on the Third Level.  Jonah the Exhorter, three days in the belly of a fish or thought, depending on how you read the Text.  Nineveh was so large that it took three days to cross the city, according to Jonah 3.  Yeshua the Exhorter mentions the signs of Jonah and the Son of Man, being in the belly of the earth three days.  The Three members of the Trinity, which is the Exhorter’s strong suit (the nature of G-d).
Thus, when the Exhorter walks in faith, it has to be a faith in G-d, and not in the polls or viewpoints of his fellow man.  He or she must get from G-d what G-d’s agenda is, and then he or she must follow suit to do what G-d tells him or her to do.  And if he does this, and follows G-d, and makes the Trinity his or her trust and shelter place, then Psalm 91 can kick in and the L-rd will shield whatever the Exhorter hands over to G-d.  But, the Exhorter has to learn how to excel in relating to G-d as well as and better than they relate to humanity.

Helmet of Salvation = Giver

Based on what I said above, I would imagine that the Loinpiece of Truth works in tandem with the Helmet of Salvation.  Another profitable Prophet/Giver combination. 
So, there are certain helmets that protect the whole head from attack.  With eyeholes for sight.  I think we are designed to have a singular focus, and salvation covers our whole life.  As some believers have said, “I was saved, and am being saved, and I will be saved.”  Our salvation is already but not yet.  We have not just forgiveness of sin, but also healing, deliverance, comfort, counseling, wholeness, liberation from curses, and a whole compliment of tools, ways, means, and raw materials available to us to effect this thing we call the life of following Yeshua.  Our salvation covers everything, all of the resources to do the things we are given to do.
And what does the Giver excel at, and what is their gold glitter oil?
Resources that drip from them.  A bevy of vast and varied items.  They have access and provide access to the things.  And with the things, we can do the jobs.


Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of G-d (John 1:1-14), who is Yeshua, and then to a lesser extent, Scriptures = Ruler/Judge/Deliverer.

Read the above again very carefully.  The primary expression of the Word of G-d is not the Bible;  it is Yeshua.  I get so irritable and cranky when we say, “the Bible is the Word of G-d,” and then we fail to mention IN THE NEXT BREATH the fact that Yeshua is the Word of G-d.  He is.  The one who sits on the white horse is called what?  THE WORD OF G-D!  HE IS THE LOGOS!
The Strength of the RJD in handling a situation is in their capacity to go to both the L-rd and to Scripture and derive solutions from a living and breathing relationship with G-d.  Freedom comes when a son executes what is given to him or her.  Freedom comes when a son takes the raw materials Dad gives him or her and uses them to execute the vision.
The Ark of the Covenant is another expression of this truth.  Three things in the ark that feed the Judge and that the Judge uses to feed the masses and be personally life-giving to them, and yes the Deliverer must be personally life-giving in the lives of others and not just safely punt to the system, hoping the system will be life-giving to others.
Thing #1: The law tablets.  This represents the moral authority of the RJD to speak from G-d.  This law must be inscribed on the tablets of the Ruler’s heart.  They must have a living and breathing and pliable relationship with the Word himself and the word itself.
Thing #2: The staff that budded.  This represents the RJD’s knowledge that G-d has appointed them.  The RJD cannot just have brain knowledge of and mental assent to G-d’s appointment of him or her, nor can they merely have an emotional release in their heart alone and think that will do the job.   Rather he or she MUST have the buds of the staff growing in his or her spirit, which dwells in the seat of dominion in the brain.  Both head and heart (not one over the other) must have shoots of almonds growing in them, and there must be a deep-seated flow and synch of both head and heart and reins (kidneys and adrenals) flowing together that provides the rush of truth from a depth of the RJD’s sonship.
Thing 3#:  The pot of the omer of manna.  Rightly measured, plenteous to satiate, provided as a resource from Dad’s hand.  This ties to the RJD’s aspect of provision.   There must be a right affection between the RJD as a son and his or her Dad as Provider.  The G-d of all Grace provides from heaven the dew that lands and coalesces all over and around the camp of the Ruler’s circle.  The Judge, the Deliverer is not just a mere machine, but must transcend to the spirit realm and return with life-giving provision for the job at hand.  There is an intimate expression that flows with depth from the innermost zeal and glory of the Ruler’s innermost being.  He rules and leads with an eye to redeeming even the most broken and flawed person, and uses them well, stewards them well to accomplish and manifest the miracles of G-d Himself on the earth.  It is a shallow thing to own Amazon and the Washington Post if you have no eye to what you can do in utilizing those resources to change the world.  The manna must flow from G-d and the RJD must walk in their strength of refusing to blame others and pointing them to the Word of G-d.  And with the Word of G-d, the RJD slices through the soulish cesspool and malaise of the natural and divides the portal between heaven and earth, and introduces his or her tribe to the G-d, the Word of G-d who affectionately sits astride his white charger and rides with His Bride adjacent Him on a horse of her own.

Praying at all times in the Spirit = Mercy. 

The amorphous uneasiness the Mercy gives you will keep you when you are uncertain as to which way to go.  The Mercy flows back and forth with the gusts of the Holy One.   Alertness, perseverance, and supplication are the Mercy’s trademarks.  Praying at all times.  I expect Janis and other Mercies to, in part, help fill this out.  But I will offer this one point here.  Specifically, the praying at all times is what keeps the one in the armor from needlessly stepping into harm’s way.  You cannot put a price tag on being able to hear a couple of words from the Holy King of Israel.  Always in movement, finding flow, creating flow when it is not present, and even resorting to bashing the hell out of some diabolical interference when necessary, with a sling, a rock, and the enemy’s sword, as a response to carrying an offense for a third party, these are the ways that the Mercy moves in the battlefield.
I am of the opinion that David, the shepherd boy, sang a tune as he stooped by the waters to gather his five smooth stones, each of which expressed one of the five levels of “HOLY TO THE L-RD”, and one of which he used to smack Goliath in the Seat of Dominion.
And I realize these thoughts are somewhat uneven, but here they are for your digestion and consideration.
Be blessed, gang.

The Passage That Kept Me Going

After I had first heard my ex-wife had cheated on me, I chose to give her a period of time, 90 days, to see what she would do.
I had also begun to ask counsel of those I knew whom I had respected in the ministry who had experienced divorce and they had given me counsel.  One of those friends, who had an experience in marriage in which he was claiming aggrieved status, said that he went through and did a serious season of self-examination.
Yes, the divorce may seem like it is all their fault, but it is still a good thing for us to do self-examination.
As a result of that conversation, during that time period when I had taken to consider thoroughly what I should do, I began to recount my sins as well, the places where I had messed up in our marriage, and the places where I knew that I was in the wrong.
And while I never engaged in physical acts of adultery, I may as well have (Matthew 5:27, which is based not on a new commadment or new interpretation of the Torah, but on the old commandment of Exodus 20:17 and Deuteronomy 5:21).  The wrong desire is adultery.
And, no, not even a first look is right or good.  No, “admiring the L-rd’s creation” is the same as “scooping fire into your lap”.  It does not work.  I have heard all the preacherly catchphrases and they do not work.
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, got the tattoo.
We must resist the equivocation.  If by my confession someone can be freed, it will be worth it.
And deliverance from all of that nonsense, whether the act is physical, mental, or emotional (and they all form pathways that are not often or quickly removed), is a process.
So, as I was going through that process, I had a conversation with a pastor friend who is an expository preacher and a Teacher by Redemptive Gift, and I told him what had happened.
He then directed me to a passage in Micah.
See it here:

I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
Micah 7:9

By hearing of our own offenses and knowing what sin is, we know the absolutes, and thereby where the boundaries of the fence are.  And we can take a strange comfort in knowing where the boundaries are, because then we can know when we are in the right and when we are in the wrong.
We need to know that we can be wrong when we are wrong.
We need to know there are still standards.
Let’s cite Frank Peretti, because he says it better than I can, and BE FOREWARNED, to my survivor peeps, the context is an internal discussion pertaining to a bathtub drowning, and the character in the book is in the process of coming to grips with her own state of reality, which is necessary in order to overcome denial:

She looked at the tub; she touched the cold, blue-green porcelain. I could pretend, she thought.  Just for the sake of discussion, I could pretend that this is a fence, a limitation, a boundary.
A boundary I crossed over, and shouldn’t have.

She let her thoughts continue on their own and just enjoyed listening to them huddle together and confer in her head.
What if what happened here was wrong?
Ah, come on, according to whom? There are no absolutes; you can’t know anything for sure.
What if there are, and what if I can?
But how?
Later, later.  Just answer the first question.
What if it was wrong?
Yeah.
Then I’m guilty.  I made a wrong choice, I jumped the boundary, I did wrong.
But I thoughts boundaries only exist in your mind!
I did wrong. I want to think that, just once.
Why?
Because I need a fence.  Even if I’m on the wrong side of it, I need a fence.  I need to be wrong.  I need to be guilty.
What for?
Because…

Sally stirred. She pressed her hand firmly against the tub where her child had died. she mouthed the words, then she whispered them, then she said them out loud, “Because at least then I’d know where I am!
Apparently she’d awakened a dormant emotion; pain came upon her suddenly, and aching deep in her soul, and with gritted teeth and a stifled whisper, she pounded the side of the tub.  “Oh, God!”
She rested against the hard plaster wall again, panting in hurt, anger, and despair. “O God, help me!”
Despair slipped and fell. His talons had lost their grip.
There, she’d said it.  She’d followed the proposition through to its conclusion, had her little fit, and how she was finished.  She didn’t know if she felt better.  She felt a little foolish for talking out loud to herself–or to God, whatever the case may be.  It didn’t matter.
-Frank Peretti, Piercing the Darkness, pp. 206-207-

Further, when we know there are fences, we know not only that there is a wrong side…
And when we are on that wrong side, and therefore guilty….
But also…
That there is a right side…
And we can be on that side…
And we can know when we are on that side…
I spent myself handling my offenses against the throne, and against Him, and against my then-wife.
Pam, to whom I am married now, helped deeply in that process of dealing with the offenses.
It is possible, while you are dealing with a divorce or even with a seperation with what you did wrong.
Consider the gravity of what Jesus said to the Pharisees.
“Because of the hardness of your hearts…”
Gang, I cannot overemphasize this enough.
If you are not dealing with the hardness of your heart,
it does not matter if you have biblical grounds or not for divorce.
It does not matter if your heart is wounded, and justifiably so.
It does not matter how many different ways you are tied up due to generational bondage or covenal agreements.
If your heart has gone hard, then it will be damned hard to have a successful single life or remarried life.
What made blasphemy of the Holy Spirit so easy for the Pharisees is that precise condition, and over and over again, that was the illustrated root of their resistance toward the Son of G-d.  It was not a religious spirit.
It was hard-heartedness that got them.  It was the resistance toward Ezekiel 37 and 38.  They did not allow Him to breath life on them and remove their stony hearts.
Their bones were devoid of sinew and muscle.  The Rulers had no Exhortery pliability.
In my own adultery, there were several things I sowed that reaped destruction.
And it began with fear of man, thinking this was the right person to marry based on a dream.
And after I bore the indignation of the L-rd and dealt with the process of recovering a pliable heart, He took up my cause, in some very subtle ways.
Hit the second half of that text from Micah 7:9

until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.

“Executes judgment”.  That is Mishpat.  Execution.  He can be trusted to execute to those who want his working in their lives.  Judgment first starts in the house of G-d, with us, and then with our case.  He judged it, and executed.  He is the G-d who executes.
Our job, believer, is to handle our business honestly, vulerably, and openly.  Come hell or high water, do it, and deal with your junk.
Now, concerning pornography in Matthew 5, I had a conversation with a friend who had some thoughts, and they echo mine here.  What follows are our very rough, unrefined, unrevised thoughts somewhat mixed together.
I think that what Jesus was trying to say is not that the two (adultery and looking on a woman with lust) are the same.  Rather, what He was driving at is “you think you are holy because you avoid the big act.   Well, the act itself consummates because it is rooted in an attitude germinated in the soil that says that lust is okay.
That person that says it is “okay to admire the creation of G-d” does not realize the danger they are helping you to jump into.
One is adultery and the other is the adultery of the heart.  One begins a process, the other finishes that process.
In the act of physical adultery, you are joining two people, two spirits into something that did not previously exist.
In the instance of lust, damage is done, but spirits are not joined.
Said another way, Jesus is saying, “Well, if you really want to be righteous “clean your thought life.”.
Don’t pretend that makes you holy just because you are avoiding physical adultery.
There are commonalities between the two, but they are not the same.
Would it feel the same to you?
If you had to pick between the two 10 years of porn that you could fight through together, versus one act of adultery, which would you pick?  That give you the evidence that the two are not the same.
Having experienced both, I would have to say, “I would have picked having to fight through 10 years of porn to rescue my bride, over one moment of adultery”.
I know in her a lot of what was lost.
This woman is a card-carrying Exhorter who was given a birthright of authority over nations.
And because of the hell that we dealt with, she is now way-removed from that path.
So, in handling your own situation, my question is, “what will you do to avoid a hard heart?”.
Hard hearts are seedbeds for Jezebel.  Jezebel is not merely this beastly dragon that wants to kill the prophets.  It can end that way.
But Jezebel begins with a decision that “I am not going to let anyone hurt me like that again.”
And the entry point for her is subtle.  A grandmother who neglects her grandchild or grandchildren.  A mother or father who somehow hurts their kids.
Yes, they are accountable for how they hurt us.  But ultimately, we are responsible to pass the Mercy’s Test.  All of us.  The test of the Right Response to Pain.
The news is that the Phoenicians hurt Jezebel by marrying her off as part of Omri’s contract with the Phoenicians.  She was a gifted and multi-talented Exhorter, considering the gifts that Phoenicia had and gave to many places.
The news is that Jesus, our chief example, and an Exhorter, was hurt by all sorts of people, and allowed them to do what they did to Him, and yet gave Himself to them, for them.  Just to have one Nicodemus.
And the news is that others will hurt.  I have hurt, and some of you will hurt.
But we must protect our hearts and keep them tender before G-d, and not let it get that edge of hardness.
Proverbs 4:23.
And we NEED EACH OTHER TO TENDERLY HELP ONE ANOTHER PASS THE TEST.
Must pass.  Must pass.  With flying colors.  Bearing fruit in our season, and being planted by the streams of water.
Streams.
Streams of revelation.
Streams of dreams and the vision G-d has for us.
Streams of affection.
And we must wrestle this temptation to grow calloused to the ground.
We have too many needless casualties of war because of wounds through relationships, marriages.
The bloodletting has got to stop.
Tempering my counsel from yesterday because I want you to catch the punchline, understand you may have a right to divorce, and that may be where G-d is sending you, but you do not have a right to leave with a stony heart and keep your life-giving effectiveness.
The gifts and callings of G-d are irrevocable, true.
But other things can be damaged and you still keep your gifts.
Your anointing can be affected.
The size of your conduit can be crimped.
The shape of your seal can be damaged.
The sum total of your potential effectiveness can be lessened.
And the level of your kinetic effectiveness will definitely taper off.
Gang, we must push through.
 

A Conversation I Had With My Wife On Adultery and Divorce and Remarriage

A few years back, as many of y’all know, given I am pretty open here about about my own life, my wife and I had a conversation concerning the breakdown of my previous marriage.  In that conversation, she pulled something based on the context of Leviticus 20, the fate of the perpetrator, and the ultimate end of the one sinned against:

When adultery happened in the [Torah], the perpetrator and their co-perpetrator were stoned.  The partner of the marriage who had been the innocent in the relationship.

But what happened to the innocent who was sinned against?  He or she was left as a widow or a widower, and was thus permitted to marry again.

I then drew the connection following the principles of hermeneutics.
Think specifically of Rule #1…
Or as Joe Castleberry of Northwest University calls it, the Jiminy Cricket Rule of Hermeneutics

Always let your context be your guide.

So, here is the larger context of the canon, using both the Tanakh and the New Testament.

The only difference between adultery in the Tanakh and adultery in the New Testament is that the perpetrator gets to keep his or her life.

And the one sinned against?  They have the same status as a widow or a widower, and are thus free to remarry.  Reading Jesus and Paul together, we see this permission as well implied in the context of his discussion of the Pharisees.

Whoever divorces for any reason except fornication/marital unfaithfulness/sexual immorality

You are permitted to divorce your spouse, from the way I read the varied texts, and marry another, if adultery/sexual immorality is the root of your issue.

Now, granted, let me throw three caveats here.

First, if you have permitted your heart to become crunchy, or cold, or you permit a Jezebel/Ahab combo take residence in your heart (which is a real possiblity, because Jezebel says “I am not going to every allow myself to be put into a position to get hurt again”), you are A) going to have issues with relationships beyond adultery/fornication/marital unfaithfulness B) have issues hearing Father’s voice in discernment on the matter.

Second, if you refuse to hear Father’s voice on the matter and only consider your immediate needs/wants/lusts etc., you are going to have a hell of a time the second time around.

Third, before you respond to quickly end a marriage, have an extended conversation with Father, because He will always have input to give to you.  Even with the biblically justifiable means of divorcing an unfaithful spouse, the L-rd might have a few pages to speak to you on the matter of your marriage.

Be darn sure you pay attention to all He says on your specific marital issue.

It is the glory of G-d to conceal a thing; but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. –Proverbs 25:2-

With those three caveats, a soft heart, a willingness to hear the voice of Father, and every last shred of input He has on your own situation, proceed with what He tells you.

Also, I would add as valuable a deep and thorough application of 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 3 to your given situation.

And take caution and much care how you proceed.

As to the subject of abuse, I personally consider that under the category of “marital unfaithfulness”.  There is a violation of marriage covenant that happens in the presence of abuse.  And thus, evauating each situation on a case-by-case basis, I can see biblical grounds for divorce based on abuse.
This is, however, one of those cases where I would counsel as a pastor, STRONGLY, THAT YOU SEEK FATHER.

And in the area of remarriage, I would strongly counsel you to seek the L-rd about that in the arena of abuse, as to whether or not remarriage is the wisest course. Not just IF, but even if He clears you to remarry, then WHEN.
The other dynamic I want y’all to grasp as I write this is this:

If you are looking for an excuse to exchange your current spouse for a new model just because you want to sample another set of wares and are tired of the model you already committed to, then your heart is already hard and you need to repent.

SOME WARNINGS

Also, please realize that divorce is not to be treated as something worthy of a party or celebration.

Something in you died:  something of which you were part.

Those of you throwing divorce parties and saying “thank G-d that bastard/bitch is out of my life” never got the point of marriage.

Those of you who are crying for any number of reasons, and whose emotions are all over the place, because of the depth of pain opened up by this sort of tragedy get it.

Those of you wishing to call me heretic because you are proponents of that nonsense called Covenant Marriage, “you put down your rock and I will put down my sword and we will try and kill each other like civilized people”.

Jesus gave us an exception in his teaching on divorce.

Get over yourselves, and your egos, and your preoccupation with “you are violating G-d’s word”, and let’s actually reason together from the text of Scriptures.

Read the Bible, donkeys.

DEATH OF A COVENANT

When something on this level dies, it is one of those things in your life that is worth mournful contemplation.  When my first marriage ended, I sat sheva without realizing why.  I did not thank G-d for it, and I did not want anyone to celebrate my newfound freedom.  I rent my clothes as a reflection of what happened to my heart.

And then at the end of that week, I arose and anointed myself with oil, and concerned myself with rebuilding my relationship with my sons. And I went, at Pam’s invitation, to the Sunday School class she was teaching on the Bait of Satan.

And later, in conversation with her, I understood why I sat sheva.

Ezekiel 24:16
“…behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes.”

It was the death of something that was precious.

It was an actual and literal death.

So, while I am grateful for my marriage to Pam, I look on that previous season with sobriety.

And, yes, the wine is sweeter in this second marriage, but it came at a steep price.  Adultery, seasons for reconciliation, and eventual implosion of marriages are like the bombing of Nagasaki.

My ex-wife, when we had first began a relationship in 2004, made a comment to my then-pastor sometime after we had become engaged.
“G-d told me he is my Hosea.”

Not the words you expect to hear, and at the time when I heard those words, they resonated.

I thought I understood back then why they resonated; she had a dark period before she had come to Missouri, and I was pretty sure that her relationship with me would be redeeming and cleansing for her.

But now, I understand some things more deeply than I chose or would have ever wanted.  And give the treasure and the cost, I would not wish the treasure on my closest friend, or the cost on my worst enemy.

COSTLY TREASURES

Some treasures are more costly than we realize.

G-d can only hand us some of these costly but necessary treasures by forcing them on us.

During the process when He forces those treasures on us, He makes us pay a cost that we did not want to pay.  And that cost is steep and painful.

When I was being made to pay for the gift of earned authority to work with couples in marital trouble, I began to learn that this first marriage was never G-d’s intent.

During that marriage, there was never a settledness, a meshing of the two into one.  I blew past all sorts of red flags, and those parts that knew it was wrong, I quieted them down with sermon after sermon that I had heard through the last couple of decades telling me that G-d would make the wrong one the right one.

That was one of the consequences of choosing to marry not the right person:  A lack of meshing.

So, what was the gift?  Earned authority to work with troubled marriages.
What was the cost?  I paid the price for choosing to disobey and marry the wrong person, and then G-d choosing to remove that person by allowing the marriage to slip into multi-pronged, multi-faceted disrepair.  As a result, I destroyed my life and she destroyed her own life, and hurt the lives of several people close to both of us.  I lost several opportunites for ministry and missions work.  I lost several precious friendships.  I lost the chance to finish my M.Div.  I lost my ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of G-d.  I lost the chance to live with my sons, who now dwell several states away from me.

FINAL WORDS

So, remember, when you are the victim of a marital unfaithfulness, you do have liberty.

But please, I implore you to treat it with a huge dose of sobriety.  And if you need some help picking through your marriage, I am glad to lend a listening ear or some counsel, to whatever extent you might need.

Sort and pick through the issues with someone you trust.  Do not sort through these issues with people who are willing to run down your spouse/ex-spouse.  Sort through them with someone whose mouth is on the altar and who has drunk deeply from the cup of sobriety and humility.

Be blessed, gang.

Giving of Creation To Man…Giving of Woman

I am studying out the concept of giving throughout Scripture, given that we have an…ahem…interesting theology of giving in the church, and one that is pretty weird in many places.
During this reading, I figured I would punch up a search that deals with giving ideas.  Think max frame:
Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 4.22.22 PM
 
I have to point this one out.
“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave and I ate.”
How do we know there was an issue here and that the perception of both was twisted?
G-d used the same word, natan, to describe that which he gave us in Genesis 9:3.  “I have given you everything.
So, man cursed the gift G-d gave him.
And no, I am going nowhere near that idiotic bull**** joke that talks about blameshifting.
The problem is that they wrecked the entire package of human existence.
And our issue is that, as believers, we act like idiots if we participate in this garbage.  And we have no excuse if we are believers.
And, its not just one side of the coin or the other side.  It is the whole enchilada.
Without Christ, you are wholly incapable of seeing the opposite sex and anything but wrongheaded.
Which means, in our woundedness, after we come to Christ, we have got to simply hunt for the win/win with the opposite sex on a constant basis.
We dare not squander the grace of G-d by making cracks at the opposite sex.
And we dare not squander the flavor of G-d’s grace by taking on a victim spirit that says we can’t recover.
Is there a place for dealing with wounds and expressing pain?
Yes.
But at some point do we have to take ownership of and responsibility for things that are not ours.  You better believe it.
Let me add to this.
Read the following blog post by my friend, when you have some time, and then read the following quote here.
https://noblesubjects.com/2018/09/08/hello-12-all-because-of-a-gas-can/

-Spartanburg is Teacher Redemptive Gift and the principle is Responsibility.  One high point of responsibility is to voluntarily clean up other people’s irresponsibility, even when it is not your fault.

Sometimes our job, and the way we earn some beefy authority is by taking care of things that are not our responsibility.
Sometimes, in order to gain authority in your own life, you have to be willing to do some things that are flat-out not comfortable.
Sometimes, you have to refuse the bait of calling a man a chauvainst, or a woman a Jezebel, or pick your demeaning term, and own a problem that isn’t yours, endure some pain, and do some gym time in order to easily smack down some crap that has been hindering you and your friends.
And recall, you have been given way more than that spouse who will not behave rightly.
Every good and perfect gift.
So, find the gifts among the trash.
And work with those limited materials.
Chances are, G-d wants to play chess and brinksmanship with your life as the playground in order to whack the enemy a good one.
The question is, in order to earn high authority that He has had for you for a long time, are you willing to become a bit perplexed for a season in order for the L-rd to demolish your and His ancient enemy?
 
 

Another Dynamic of the Mercy Gift: from the Seven Gifts of Jacob to Joseph

Text:

“A little balm, a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. Take double the money with you.”
From Genesis 43:11-12

-The capacity to stretch a dollar into excellence, beauty, and ultimately things that lend themselves to flow.
“It is amazing how [a Mercy] can take limited resources, be they finances, decor items, etc, and with those limited resources, decorate or set up in such a way that it adds to the flow of an environment. Those items are blessed and arranged in such a way that they improve the spiritual quality of whereever they are.”
It creates that lead-with-your-emotions, Mercy, intangible wow factor that is difficult to language.

A Sound Byte On Spiritual Growth

John Bevere once said spiritual maturity is a function of suffering (in accordance with Hebrews, which tells us that “[Yeshua] learned obedience by the things he suffered).”
 
I actually disagree.  Spiritual maturity has something to do with suffering, but suffering alone that produces bitterness does not produce the fruit of maturity.  Rather, taking the suffering and asking of it, or of the L-rd what the lesson is, hunting for that lesson, and learning the lesson the suffering was designed as a tool to teach you, is what produces maturity spiritually.
 
For the record, according to 1 Timothy 4:12, also, maturity as a believer has NOTHING to do with age. My older son and daughter outstrip some people twice their age. There is no shortage believers who have this stupid idea that people are only more mature and we should only hearken to their counsel past a certain biological age, but that has nothing to do with it.
 
The bottom line is this, you grow spiritually as a function of productive suffering; that is, you grow as a result of sucking the marrow out of the garbage through which you go.
 
Find the crimson thread of redemptive purpose.
 
Our job is to grow in our suffering. And that suffering may take many forms.

Healing…The Children's Bread…From Exodus…and יְהוָ֖ה רֹפְאֶֽךָ

We hear healing referred to as the children’s bread.
Where does that phrase come from, though?
Answer:  The story of Jesus healing the daughter of the Syrophonecian’s woman in Mark 7.  Jesus said:

It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.
-From Mark 7:27-

While I was praying for a friend this morning, I noted the name “the L-rd Your Healer”, Adonai Rapha, is given to the children of Israel in Exodus 15:26.  Now, look at what happens in the verses that follow the giving of that name.

“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them,saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.

They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt.And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness,and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”

-Exodus 15:23–16:4-

Following the dispensing of this name, the L-rd gave bread, manna, IMMEDIATELY AFTER.
Gang, here is the picture, Yeshua was giving the Syrophonecian woman a statement about health.  In healing, which is part of our food, entropy is restrained:  Entropy of person, of possession, and of promise.
It’s not just about the instant signs.  It is about a lifestyle where the affection and power of and partnership with G-d Almighty is able to flow.
Our partnership is with Him.
Our bread comes from Him.
Read, and re-read this one, gang.
And read the further tie-in.

“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them,saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.”

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.

They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt.And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness,and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.”

-Exodus 15:23–16:4-

 
When the name Adonai Rapha was given, G-d tied it to the keeping of his commands.  And when they gathered manna, the same question is put ot them.  Will they walk with Him and treasure his words, or not?
Gang, we have been given a HUGE set of gifts from Him, and with that, we have been given a relationship that is tied to simply hearing what He says, when He gives input, and doing it.  It’s not just about a set of rules, but rather about a back-and-forth partnership.  We are in a RELATIONSHIP with the L-rd.
I bless you, friends, to move from a slave mentality to the L-rd and into a son and bride mentality or actual RELATIONSHIP with Him.  I bless you to relate to Dad, and to your Bridegroom.
I bless you to press in for His bread.  For what He has for you.
The L-rd is not going to force you into the wilderness of a lonely place and not provide bread to sustain us.
I am getting so abundantly sick of Christ-followers having to feel like they are forced to walk alone in hard times, with no help to process, and feeling like they have to say “all life is just obendience”.  Obedience is a midpoint on a line from slavery to being your Father’s beloved son.
Consider, you were made for this, gang.  You were made for a depth of relationship that is deeper than a set of rules.  True, there are guidelines and boundaries, but there is a love relationship for which you were designed.  And in that relationship is bread, even in the wilderness, and healing, and deliverance through the trials through which you are going.
 

When a Prophet Gets Handed a Problem and Has Limited Resources and the Added Problem of the Negative 6th Head of Leviathan

Arthur Burk Joy Unstoppable
Cirriculum that is needed.
https://theslg.com/content/186-joy-unstoppable
Tomorrow, we were supposed to help a good friend paint and begin the process of moving into His new office space in Spartanburg.
And there came to be a problem.
No water.  Painting is made more difficult when there is no water.
He writes

FRIDAY EVENING
Today started well. I slept deeply last night and awoke with joy.
I met the landlord at 8:00 a.m. as intended and got keys. And from then on, things went sideways all day.
Short version is that he apparently has a pretty serious negative 6th head problem. He talked at length about his difficulties with moving out (which he has not completed yet) and all the other complications in his life.
From his perspective, it was just a run of bad luck. I heard it though different ears, piecing together a lack of flow that went back for years.
So we now have to overcome THAT and leave a new imprint on the land and the building.
After several fairly unproductive hours, I stopped and pondered what to do to break the hold of his stuff.
I ended up cleaning up the dump behind the garage. It is one of the things that he was supposed to have done by now, and has not, and said he would get it “soon.”
There is clearly a portal there. I don’t think it is a fragrance portal, or an earth gate, or a time portal. I don’t know what it is, but it was pretty rough.
And I felt (rightly or wrongly) that it was exacerbating the stuff he left on the land. So even though it was counter intuitive, when we are supposed to be prepping offices, I felt it was the most strategic thing I could do, to clean it up, get that trash off the property, and then sanctify the portal.
I waded in with a variety of tools and got the pickup filled with trash from the past few years that had been dumped there. It was hard work and hot in the natural, as well as draining from the demonic mess.
I got about 90% done and then simply ran out of gas. I will finish loading the truck tomorrow morning, and make a run to the land fill.
In the midst of that, I discovered that the landlord has shut off the water this afternoon. I have placed an order for water service in our name, but did not get it in in time, and it won’t be on until sometime on Tuesday.
So that creates a very awkward situation with a group of people coming in tomorrow to help clean and paint, and we have no water.
I have worked out a plan to get enough water for us to get by, but it will definitely slow us down and make things harder.
In a situation like this where there is human error (mine) and demonic junk (his) I take two steps. One is to dial back the scope of the project. The second is to focus on relationship.
We are clear that this will make a hard job harder. And all the volunteers coming need to have an extra dose of the Fruit of the Spirit so that the enemy does not win through leaving people bruised.
Tonight I am resting and working through options for tomorrow and Sunday.
And tomorrow we will go forward, understanding that the core objective is to earn authority against the 6th head and imprint that on the land. Any work that actually gets done, is secondary.
So that said, Class, what attitudes and actions do we need to engage in, with fierce intentionality, in order to leave a deposit there?
How does one change the spiritual climate from negative to positive, for the 6th head of Leviathan?
And yes, this is a test!

The idea with the 6th head is that it can gum up the works and create choppy flow so that things do not have smooth transitions.
The negative 6th head is empowered by consistently behaving in such a way that intentionally believes and acts as though, in every situation, there must be a clear winner and a clear loser.
It is easy to craft a Win/Lose situation.  The artform is in crafting a Win/Win, and acting in such a way in your interactions with others that enables them to come away with the satisfaction of a Win and you as well.
Find the Win/Win between the One and the Many or the One and the Other, and work your strategy in such a way that you move toward those goals, even if they are small interactions.
There are plenty of opportunities in the construction industry to hunt for those Win/Wins, and it is easier to bowl over other people so that you get what you need to accomplish done, and forget caring about whether or not the others in your midst get done what they need to get done.
Using the analogy of a Scrabble game, he continues.
 

Here we have very few Scrabble letters to play with, so it will be a complicated process to find a win in any direction, much less a win/win.
But the harder we work for a score, the more it counts in the heavenly bookkeeping.
That is part of the reason I am spending time on this post. Instead of just being whupped, I can leverage the problem for a teaching moment, for those who are coming and those who can’t come but are following us.
So for those of you who are offsite, the core prayer is for creativity — for us to see the opportunities God brings to the table that we might not normally see.
Game on, gang!