Lest We Cause Them To Stumble: How to Really Process Injustice Well…

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”. He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Matt. 17:24-27

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 ESV

Unnecessary offense…it can entangle just about anyone. Christian, believing Jew, unbeliever, you name it. And no one is immune to the opportunity to become offended.

Recently, an opportutnity came for me to be offended. And here is the kicker; I might have been justified in my anger.

The problem, though, with justified anger, is that, if not correctly handled…

In your anger do not sin.

And “ don’t sin by letting anger control you.”

From Ephesians 4:26, 2011 NIV and NLT, respectively

…can result in us becoming entrapped and capable of being used by the clowns (2 Timothy 2 :23-26). Speaking truth to a person and confronting them directly in private is one thing; speaking to the matter in public without being direct is another.

DISCLAIMER: I am preaching to myself more than I am preaching to anyone else, given I have majored on screwing up in this matter more than anyone I know.

In publishing ablaze our offenses without first checking with the Spirit of G-d, and without framing the offense in the context of the whole problem, we can unwittingly poison others, or get them into agreement with others, or cause destruction to fan out from our circle into other circles, destruction that we did not intend.

And it can empower a spirit that will coil and twist our words in order to make it impossible for others to hear their heart.

This word-twisting spirit is one of the markers for the twisting of sound, and it can negatively affect all forms of our communication between us and those with whom we are communicating.

In processing injustices, we must do a few things well.

  • Step through the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise of who he is and what he has done.
  • Become acquainted with the principles that govern His nature as the Just and Supreme Judge of the Universe, and, more importantly, as our Loving And Affectionate Father.
  • Deal with sins and offenses in our own hearts before the King, if they are present.
  • Speak and acknowledge the injustice, AND the reality that we might not have the whole picture or UNDERSTANDING of the hearts of those with whome we are vexed.
  • Be willing to take ownership of whatever process or series of responsibilities the Judge of the Earth (from Genesis 18:25) imposes on us.
  • Be willing to apologize to whatever people we have wronged before we seek judgment with respect to our own issue or offense.
  • Be willing to be made conformable to His death if that is where he is leading us (Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:10; and, most importantly, Revelation 12:11c WHICH WE OVERLOOK CHRONICALLY, which says, they overcame [the dragon] by not loving their lives so much that they shrank back from accepting a death sentence). You might have to die to yourself and your right to be heard. I don’t know what the process looks like for you and your particular situation. But in order to seek a win/win, you might have to lose something that you really hold dear. You might not. But you might. We don’t merely overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony. And that is no a stylish message. We overcome fully only if we accept all three parts of Revelation 12:11, and that means our lives are subject to his purposes.
  • Recognize that God may engage in a play that looks like a sacrifice or a gambit because he plays a very long game on a 27 dimension chess board, and he often makes moves that look like idiocies to our sensibilities.
  • Accept whatever judgment the Judge gives you, and whatever verdit.

Gang, our usual process in dealing with injustice is so flimsy and disengaged from the full principles of the Scripture and reality that we just yell about it and so Facebook becomes Facebitch. And that is not the design of the platform. Rather, we need a more robust and well-built, honed, skillful approach to correction and rebuke and truly receiving each other. That only comes with us developing a robust theology of a culture of honor that is rooted in a culture of dignity, which is why honor is no repair for shame.

We must recognize, as we come to each other, the God-given and inherent dignity of the one speaking, even if they may speaking in an undignified manner.

Given wounds and parts and SRA/CRA, we really have to extend some grace to one another (αλλαλους) while the offended party speaks their diatribe and we must, if appropriate and pormpted by Father, attempt to reconnect with that person.

The principle here is rooted in love, and an attempt to not cause unnecessary offense in others. That was Messiah Yeshua’s motive in dealing with the temple tax situation: do not unnecessarily catalyze an offense in someone. Because, contentions are like iron bars. And those who are walled up in their city because of needless offense cannot and often will not be reasoned with.

This is just my take, gang. Feel free to eat the meat and spit out the bones on this one. And for further understanding, below is a link to a YouTube video featuring John Bevere discussing this topic generally.

Unpacking the Whole Person, Even If It Shocks You And Your Friends….

It is is a treasure when you find a friend who is sensitive enough to parts of your design that they will pick up on those sensitivities and check in to make sure they haven’t hurt you.

I am learning that…

While I revel in fixing things aand using tools to build and getting my hands dirty doing what is considered traditionally manly work, as that was something my father never helped me unpack growing up…

I also have a very soft segment of my inner person that really gets easily run over.

I had a situation today where I didn’t realize that I needed someone to make sure I was doing okay because they felt like they might have run over me verbally, and I immediately offered a knee-jerk response that I was fine.

A portion of my spirit spoke up today and said that this friend picked up on this very sensitive aspect of my design and checked in with me accordingly.

I said all this to say the following.

Men, if you have a softer side to you, it is not you being gay. Rather, it is you just being more sensitive. That emotional side that feels like a “girl” responding may be your spirit responding because you were made to be tender and emotional in many cases and able to pick up some of the subtler dynamics out of you.

Attempting to reprogram the “unmanly” or “feminine” parts of you can do great damage.

Likewise, if you have some more more masculine, son-like, filial parts that need to pick up a tool and do grunt-trench work, likewise unpack those.

The aim is to be the whole person God made you, and to embrace the builder/fighter dynamics AND the sensitive and emotional, mothering, bridal aspects.

Just some thoughts, gang.

Genesis 2:8-14: Thoughts From This Morning

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”


The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.”

(Gen. 3:8–14 ESVi)
https://accordance.bible/link/read/ESVi#Gen._3:8

So, while engaging with reading the Scripture this morning, I had the following thoughts. And in other places, I have said these things before, but it may bear repeating.

There are preachers, teachers, and others who like to take Adam’s quote, “the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me…, and I ate”, as a joke in sermons or teachings, saying, “and men have been blaming women ever since.”

But, if you will notice in the passage, does the Lord ever stop to sort out the interpersonal relational issues of mistrust or trauma at this moment. Not at all. Rather, what He does is respond not by saying “shame on you for blaming your wife, or passing the buck”.

He also does not ask the serpent for his side of the story, which tells you that He knows something about this serpent that we may not know.

A Bit Of Background For the Unaware

For those of you not familiar with the serpent described here, that term “serpent” is a reference to Satan.

In very simplified terms, Satan was a messenger who stood in the presence of the Divine Council.

He started a rebellion, and deceived many other created heavenly beings into following him, and they sought to overthrow God. He was beautiful at that time, before the rebellion began, and the pride and iniquity that was found in him twisted him into the serpent that we meet in Genesis 3.

Granted, there is more I can say, but that is a brief read on this critter. Below are a couple of good links that will discuss things like the Divine Council that will further you understanding on the serpent.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

What God does is begin the process of responding to the situation in the garden by continuing from the story that was started before the garden.

He starts by addressing the serpent.

He does not start by addressing Eve’s behavior, or Adam’s behavior.

He starts with the serpent.

Let that sink in. When you screw up and do what the enemy gives you to do, the Lord is not going to burn you or beat you to begin with. He is going to handle the clowns first. He is then going to gather you up and because He is your Father, He is willing to coach you to a place of victory, and show you the process for undoing the mess in your life, piece by piece, and step by step. He is Father, not Slavedriver. A father instructs, counsels, and does not provoke their children to wrath ( Ephesians 6:4), and given God is the ultimate father, He is going to work according to that reality, and is not going to exasperate or provoke us to wrath.

Now, He might lead us in ways we do not understand, and some things we might question. But it is not God’s way to needlessly do things in order to frustrated or exasperate us as an end in themselves.

God responds to the situation, not by asking the serpent what he has done (God knows what the serpent has done, both in heaven, and on earth), but by telling the serpent what is going to happen in response to the serpent’s attempt at continuing the rebellion begun in heaven here on earth.

The Lord, for the moment in Genesis 3, is not interested in the squabbles and the jokes that we can make about how men are or how women are; rather, He starts by mentioning:

  • That the serpent will ultimately be defeated,
  • How the serpent will be defeated (using the fruit that came from the woman), and
  • That the Lord will accomplish this using these fallen creatures.

Translation: we humans are still part of God’s purpose to transition all of creation from glory through fall into further glory.

To be sure, in our preaching and teaching of this passage, for us to take the points that are deemphasized, and to emphasize them at the expense of the areas that God emphasizes, is problematic.

For us to make a joke about how a woman is (gullible, easily deceived, led astray, unintelligent) or how a man is (liars, blame-shifters) is anything but redemptive.

And our instruction and dealing with the text must be wholly and finally redemptive.

And for us to further miss the punchline from God’s perspective, namely that He was still going to use Adam and Eve, and that they were still his A-Team, that He made for Himself no other choice than they, and that they were still part of His plan for redemption, is for us to miss the point of the story.

For Us, A Picture of The Redemptive Power of Our King and How He Deals With Us As Sons

Redemption takes place in the midst of our mess, in the midst of our blame-shifting and our shirking of responsibility. And in that truth we can celebrate and move into enjoying God and watching Him triumph over the foe and the avenger (Psalm 8:2), and watching Him choose to maintain a connection with Adam who was still the son of God.

Remember, you are God’s son. This day he has begotten you, dear one (Psalm 2:7).

Furthermore, I would exhort you to allow the Lord to decide how He wants to handle your adversaries.

And finally, realize that, even in the midst of your deep sin, Father stands with you and really adores you. There is a tenderness in Father that is runs toward you, and does not beat or abuse you maliciously.

Do not miss the forest of expounding on the extravagant fullness of God’s love and affection for the trees of a couple of callous and glib remarks on “how men are” or “how women are”.

And don’t make your life’s work a disproportionate mess of telling people how sinful they are, at the expense of exclaiming how unfathomably amazing our King is, gang.

He puts the focus on the many places where he wants to place the focus. He handles the serpent, and the man and woman’s failings, and then he reframed their perception of reality in accordance with the truth. Pertaining to the truth, I will continue this discussion in the next post.

Other Resources For Consideration

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The above is a link to a really good video on the Divine Council

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Above is the Bible Project video on Spiritual Beings: Mind you, two areas where I disagree with the BP authors of this video are the ideas that we are told to “rise above our dirty origins” and that we are “lowly humans”. Making fun of the fact that we were created from the red clay (Hebrew Adam) and calling the origins of our bodies as “ewww gross dirty” curses the dirt, and we need to learn as believers and followers and stewards of this planet not to curse the dirt. Otherwise, this is a very solid video.

https://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Realm-Recovering-Supernatural-Worldview/dp/1577995562
This is a book by Michael Heiser discussing many of these topics and more in-depth.

Genesis 3:7 and Loins and Truth

Continuing from the previous post, I wanted to emphasize a couple of things.

God not only corrected the junk of the man and the woman, but he also reframed the larger picture of the situation before Adam and Eve in accordance with the truth, with the fullness of reality.

Why is this important?

Well, Genesis 3:7 gives us a clue.

It reads:

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3:7

So, why is this important? Well that word there for “loincloths”, חֲגֹרֹת, which is really well-translated, can be understood not as “aprons” or “garments” but most nearly as “belts”. “Loincloths” that cover the loins would be the best fit here, because “belt” does not fully or accurately portray what is being talked about here. We are talking about something that covers the waist here.

And in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to cover our loins with truth.

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 (“the protective piece that covers your loins” is a more accurate way of rendering this. “Lionpiece”) of truth…

From Ephesians 6:13-14

Do you see the connection here?

This is why the reframing in accordance with the truth is so critical. They were believing that they could fix their problem with a patch of fig leaves. And God wanted them, and us by extension, to walk in truth, the light, which is what really protects our body and our spiritually vital organs. Namely, those organs that cause us to unite spiritually with others.

Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

1 Cor 6:16 ESV

Gang, we need him to provide us with the protection we need, because we can’t do this thing called flourishing in the spirit realm out of our own strength. We must seek him and lean on him in order to make this thing work.

When we are caught up or overtaken in a mess, we need the truth as a plum line so that we can own what is our an no more than that, and then ask Father to show us how to fix the mess. He really does want to help us, and He is really against His enemy, who is also our enemy, that clownish serpent.

My encouragement to you is to run to Him.

Finding Fulfillment Or Obeying Your Interpretation Of Scripture…Reevaluating and Reframing Ephesians 5:11

Words from the Exhorter, Winston Churchill, that bear us Reframing Ephesians 5:11, where Paul is quoted as saying:

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Now, there is nothing wrong with exposing what needs to be exposed, but you MUST do so in the context of making sure that that exhortation of the Scripture does not devour your life and time.

Go after your purpose, and quit griping and exposing heretics.

You can busy yourself by exposing heretics and heresies, so much so, that the practice of exposing devours your time and resources, and you never actually get around to doing what you were ultimately made or designed to do.

Do you want to do what Father has for you, or do you want to accomplish what others have for you?

Camups Crusade used to have a tract that read, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

Arthur Burk’s wife used to reframe that by saying to her husband “Arthur, everyone loves you and everyone has a wonderful plan for your life”.

So, my question is, “is your life so far out of equilibrium that you are doing this one thing AT THE EXPENSE OF your limited resources of time?”.

Think carefully about where you are going and what you see going to do.

Slow down, take a breath, and get your ratios of exposing heresies to underatanding/developing your purpose, design, giftings, and destiny right.

Get that ratio right.

My counsel:

For every 5 minutes per month you spend exposing, spend 3 hours daily in the same month investing, understanding, and nurturing your design, gifts, talents, what you were made to do, your purpose, your treasures, and your birthright

Put differently: Expose once if you need to, only as Father leads, and then move on with what you are in favor of and what you are doing with your life.

Explicate what you are for way more than what you are against.

If we spent more time working on us and our relationship with Him, then we would not have the time to write freaking reams of paper on what is wrong with Todd Bentley.

Granted, he needed to be exposed and brought to repentance, but 98 percent of y’all that complained about him did so without the earned authority necessary to say where he needed to be put after repenting. You did not embrace the process of reconciliation for him, but only kvetched about the wrong he did.

Granted, I am not justifying what he or any other heretic did it person you don’t care for. But dang if we spend too much time focusing on and being mesmerized by the wrong rather than moving into the FULL process of how to restore someone, and not use more of that time and paper and ink developing the fullness of what is necessary in us.

So get that ratio.

Heretics and heresies get no more than 5 minutes per month of your attention. No, it is not your calling to solely expose. That will wear you out and turn you into a cynic fast. It will sap your strength and time, and you won’t be able to develop as you should, which WILL strengthen you.

Just my take, gang.

From the Desk of Carl Killingsworth: On An Expression of His Mother’s Thankfulness

Many of y’all know I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore. What many y’all may not know is that, contrary to eyars gone by, and due in large part to Arthur Burk’s influence, I no longer critique others’ choice to celebrate the same, whether or not it is unbiblical, though I have reasons stated for no longer so doing.

That said, if Jesus is going to be made the center of your celebration, whether you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah, or account all days the same (Romans 14:5), and if it is going to be an act of warfare, given we do not needlessly cede anything to the enemy that God created, including the time span that happens to be labeled December 25th, then we simply must regularly exercise a quality of spiritual warfare that we commonly call by the name “thankfulness”.

Carl is a man of God whose walk with God is robust and makes many of my generation’s walks appear anemic by comparison. He assigned me and my now-ex-wife to do altar ministry 10 years ago at our then-home-church, and his formerly-regular, now-occasional counsel due distance are among the best I have received.

Concerning thankfulness, he writes:

Growing up, my mother was the oldest of 4, raised by a widowed single mother and poor would not begin to adequately describe their circumstance.

Those days instilled an attitude of thanksgiving for the little things that never left her.

Looking back, I now understand one of her little idiosyncrasies at Christmas.

She would watch everyone else open their gifts and when that was over, she would take her little Keen Kutter pen knife, and carefully slice the tape, slowly unwrap her gift, and neatly fold the wrapping paper to be saved for another year.

I often wondered why she took so long to open her gifts, but as the years pass I think now I understand.

It was the savoring of something good, An attitude of joy and appreciation that centered as much on the love that brought those gifts as on the gift itself.

“We didn’t have a lot in those days” she once said, “so we wanted to make what little there was, last as long as we could.

In her eyes, an orange and a pair of sox held the same esteem as the grandest, most extravagant gift imaginable.

When she passed, she left a drawer full of neatly folded wrapping paper, some of it so old it was yellowed and brittle and now I know, tucked away in the folds were a lifetime of memories made more precious by thankfulness.

I didn’t save the paper this morning, but I did use her little Keen Kutter pen knife to carefully slice the tape and as I unwrapped my gifts, taking care not to damage the paper, I remembered to be thankful for all the good things in my iife, even the little ones.

Jesus is Lord

Merry Christmas.

I can only add a hearty “amen”. And this post honors the deposit of thankfulness and gratitude in even the small matters.

Philippians 4:8

My Take On Reform Theology’s Criticism of Bethel Church, the Heiligenthal Family, and the Miraculous

Two sets of thoughts.

One.

I do realize that the Charismatic Movement has in many places grown abusive or tone-deaf to the fullness of Scripture.

And many of those of us who are associated with Bethel, have grown to treat the part that they have as synonymous with the whole truth.

It’s not, gang.

They have a small piece.

And many have become uncritical, unjudging, undecisional groupies of everything that comes from Bethel, MorningStar, or [pick your denominational influence].

However, two

Jesus didn’t command us to dwell in perpetual powerlessness.

He charged us repeatedly to pray.

He also charged us to dance between intimacy and principles. Many of us in the Bethel constellation have dropped the complex weaving together of principles for an oversimplified answer to every problem.

Bill Johnson, the Heiligenthals, and others, however, have held onto the principles of 1) resurrection that Jesus said would happen, period, and 2) to love not in reaction to the devil, but rather in reaction to the Father.

I am not saying Bethel got everything perfect. Some of their material on the fivefold ministry is absolutely dubious.

Much of the teaching on the fivefold ministry is downright toxic because it is not couched in the language of “this is what we have seen”, “let’s discuss”, and “what have you seen?”.

But this, a desire to see healing and miracles take place, is one area where they shine. A transformed mindset.

Meanwhile you Calvinists and Reformers have taken all sorts of verbally and spiritually abusive shits in Bethel’s and the Heiligenthal‘s front yard.

And Now Comes My Greta Moment To the Calvinists

Your brother and sister didn’t ask you to bash their dignity or their theology. They friggin asked you to pray for resurrection, in accordance with John 11, and you are acting like Mary and Martha who were allegorized resurrection.

How dare you….

Your responsibility is to, in light of God’s sovereign hand, to ask Him, based on the possibility that it might be given, in alignment with the Sermon on the Mount.

To jump on board and seek for His hand to move in this family’s life and not to decide the frame of what that looks like.

The sovereignty of God was designed to embrace God’s capacity to do what He wants, which includes resurrection.

If the parents determine to pray for resurrection, your job is to get off of your lazy asses and pray as they request, in accordance with the full kingdom agenda.

It is not to bash them as crazy, and tell them how heretical they are.

Jesus didn’t die so we could have the opportunity to doubt whether or not He would work, paired with the fear of our perverted view of His sovereignty.

It is to rest our lives in the hope that He just might do something that is different than your expectations.

We are sick of chronically powerless, inauthentic, partial Christianity that treats God as a dictator who has ceased to work now that the canon is finished.

We want more and we affirm Scripture and the nature of God demand there is more.

That is all.

Sincerely and Badly Executed

I would like to take credit for the following.

But it would be dishonest of me to say that I didn’t get prompted to write the following after I read a piece by Arthur Burk and Margaret Lehman from the Sapphire Blessing Application available for smartphones.

The link to the Google app is here. The link to the iPhone app is here.

Seriously, gang, this is one app that is worth the charge of a few bucks per month for something that would provide a deep piece of life.

With that disclaimer and credit out of the way, onto the heart of the post.

More Than Sincerity….Effectiveness.

It takes more than our own capacity to do something that is the object of our dreams.

In order to take on a dream and to bring it to fruition, we not only have to dream and see the good thing Father has given us. we must also undertake and understand the process by which the dream comes into being.

It is not just something that God merely does without our assistance, or something that just happens.

It takes work….considerable work…on our part, and the setting together of many different principles to cause something to happen.

Bringing a vision to pass is not just about having the vision. It is about writing that vision down, and seeing what parts are your responsiblity, and breaking those parts of yours into measurable principles, weaving together those principles into tasks, and the tasks into something sustainable.

We don’t do more of it faster and harder if it is not working.

Rather, we change our tool, our principle that is not working for one that may work.

We were made for something, and the Lord does not bring it to pass unless….

Moses climbs the mountain.

Solomon forms a political alliance with King Hiram of Tyre.

David kills a lion and a bear.

David sings in the fields with his flocks.

Jesus learns masonry and building construction in the stonemason’s shop.

John the Baptizer dwells in the desert.

Samson keeps his hair long.

Adam communicates to Eve.

Eve comes against the serpent.

The eleven tarry.

Saul asks for Ananias.

Orville and Wilbur understand birdflight.

And make several trips.

And care for their colleagues more than their flying contraption.

And hours of being ridiculed behind closed doors while they experiment behind the bike shop.

We move into our realm of reality.

And stay in a church that does nothing for us.

Or with people that are little more than obstacles.

On the way to an assignment.

And flow outward to a church where you are not fed, but rather you do your work in feeding others.

And remember what He did for you.

Gang, we must move past sincerity, to the place where we embody principles.

Because dreams become reality when vision moves into principles.

With credit to Arthur Burk for catalyzing this concept repeatedly.

Stop being a sincere, slothful idiot (from the Greek idiotes, meaning “unlearned” or “someone who does not understand”).

You were made for more than just drooling and waiting for God to do it.

You were made for partnership with him.

Partnership means you bring some of the resources and capacity to develop skill to the table.

SRA/DID Series: Post 1– Surmises On Working With Survivors and Those With Parts

By survivors, I mean those who survived SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse)

By parts, I mean those who are divided and those who are DID.

They do not need you to be the all-knowing, all-seeing, benevolent counselor who can fix everything and MAKE them be a certain way, or fix them or their disintegration or dividedness.

They just need to you to be available, willing to connect with them, authentic, just flat-out willing to foster trust with them, and listen to them.

Their problems are not like those of others. They are not a problem to be fixed. They cannot be forced to integrate.

Nor is integration necessarily the goal.

They need you to be present. Not capable of fixing their pain.

They want to know you are willing to invest something.

Are you available to walk a mile or two, or three, or twenty?

Just being available makes a massive difference.

Even if you don’t understand everything…

Even if you don’t have a counseling degree or are not an expert, your affectionate presence makes a massive difference.

Some of them have parts that don’t trust Jesus but hate Jesus.

But the question I work have for us is, can they trust you to be present and close your mouth and just manifest the Lord in his gentleness, tenderness and love.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

Are you available and will you listen as they process without trying to tell them the answer?

In some cases, we will respond with what we think the Holy Spirit is saying. Or a glib Scripture reference.

A knee-jerk or quick reaction is not what they need.

Just your presence.

Be there, family. For they are family, even if they are programmed by the enemy.

No greater power in the world than the tender affection of the Lord, and the willingness to invest in these survivors.

A Sucking Pit….Structures That Can Become Erected While Reading…

Not All Reading Is Fully Beneficial

The first time I felt it, was from reading the novel The Count of Monte Cristo. The last time I felt it, was in the loss of a dear friendship to me.

I don’t know if there are times when books or friendships bring to us that feeling of a structure that can create a black hole that sucks life from us, but I can say that when I read books as a very emotionally-sensitive person, I feel them intensely, for better or worse.

I read and can see each scene, and each plot device, and resonate with each similie, metaphor, allusion, and turn of phrase.

I think there are certain books that are designed, especially if the author in question has been given a gift with words by God, and an anointing for wordsmithing, which are designed to draw us in and leave us with something, a treasure or an antitreasure, if you will, if we let them affect us.

For those of us who are emotionally sensitive, we experience books in a different way, and as a result, we may have to read books through a filter in order to prevent negative structures from becoming erected by the assaults of the critters, especially of authors whose flow is defiled.

For example, those of you who know William Butler Yeats, might know that he practiced automatic writing, and had a way with words, and as a result, he was completely tied up with powers that were not of the kingdom.

Life-Giving Writings

Lewis and Tolkien, conversely, had streams that were plugged into the Lord as their source, and, as a result, for those who read his material, we see principles throughout that are not accompanied by defilement. Conversely, it is like a white hole manifesting when I read these. Especially when the relationships are lifegiving and mutually beneficial rather than sucking and depleting.

For example, the discovery of the White Sapling in The Return of the King shewed forth the life-giving relationship between Mithrandir and Aragorn II Elessar, the King of Gondor. Further, Aragorn fulfilled the known legend in Gondor that said “the hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known”, when, after the wounded were taken to Gondor’s Houses of Healing following The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn healed them with the athelas plant. This exquisitely-penned account shows one of the deep dynamics at work in Tolkein’s writings that exposes the work of a Redemptive Gift Teacher.

With Reservation, A Further Recommendation For Understanding Relational Dynamics

I will say, though I cannot recommend her works apart from some serious reservations (for those of y’all that wonder about those reservations, feel free to ask Father about them), Joanne Rowling imbued her Harry Potter series with some of the best relational dynamics among friends, particularly around the area of loyalty, of any set of books I have thus far written. Granted, it was pulpy fiction, but the dynamics of interpersonal relationships in those books played out exceptionally well. If you have a solid filter in place, and Father gives you the grace to do so, read them, but only with a massive filter in place.

My Major Questions When Asking Whether Or Not We Should Read a Particular Book

  1. What is the source of the stream that flows from the essence of a writer, and thus, through their writings? “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
  2. Has Father given you permission or instruction to read that writing? If so, then there is something in it for you.
  3. Are there principles in the work that you are writing? If so, then read in order to hunt for the principles of a given work. For, all truth is God’s truth, whereever it may be found.
  4. Is there a filter you need to have in place as you read a particular work?
  5. Sometimes Father is going to give you a grace to read something that He will not give to another, and vice versa. Thus, just because you see Him teaching one through this or that work, does not mean you have a free pass to read. What you do have is a free pass to talk to Father about the book or piece in question. Use that pass repeatedly. Discern, discern, discern. For example, because of the witchcraft in HP, it is not something I would readily recommend to any and everyone. Same with Yeats, or any others. I also have some real reservations about recommending a believer read Calvin’s writings, if they are susceptible to despair that could be magnified by reading the works of a man that believed in double predestination. For those who wish to wade into a particular work, great care should be exercised in discerning what is meat to eat and what is bone to reject.

This might sound like a laborious set of tasks for some, but when we use these filters as we read, we read ore effectively and with an eye toward executing more in alignment with the priorities of the Kingdom of God.