As I sleep I enter my awakened state. Class is beginning and it’s time to listen with discretion. Some who talk are distracting my attention, trying to intimidate me with deception. Others speak little but are clearly teachers helping me learn quickly. In this dream state I am drawn to pray, I cannot be silenced. When I awake from these lessons, either truthful or deceptive, I bring them before the Lord to clarify. One word rings aloud, ‘watchmen’ and a song plays in my mind…”so let us not talk falsely, the hour is getting late”. A scripture comes upon my heart…I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.* From Scripture Isa 65:6 and lyric from All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan
“What do you think?”
When I offer this question I have given myself away in a few simple words. I have opened myself up to the influence and opinions of others around me. In the book of Proverbs there are three verses that speak of how in the multitude of counselors there will be safety. But who am I seeking for counsel? The answer is obvious on the surface; seek the Lord Jesus Christ for our ultimate counsel always!
It’s when we understand that we are to be the body of His counsel where the tangibles of this thought comes into play. Who I allow to counsel me matters. Am I asking my family, my friends, my neighbors? All may be good candidates up until we have to understand that it’s only God’s Word which can accurately guide our steps. If our family, friends and neighbors are not familiar with God’s Word than we open ourselves up for error.
If I wanted to bake a really good cake, sew a great sweater or build a gazebo, I know I’d have to seek help and advice from others who specialized in these gifts. We should take just as much care when it comes to our spiritual walk.Scriptures for reference Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 24:6, 1Cor 12:8
The man desired to be made well. Hearing a slave woman speak of hope, he decided to travel toward the possibility. This first step was just that, a step in the right direction. Within himself he carried preconceived notions of what his journey would look like. These notions brought him anger when he was given the answer for how to be cured. He nearly walked away from his healing because it didn’t agree with his idea of what it should look like. Wisdom in a servant’s voice brought him perspective to be obedient to his hope.
2 Kings 5:9-14 Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.” But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.” His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.” Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.
My Father’s voice is everywhere, outward and inward. I hear it when awake and in my sleep. It engulfs me. I hear Him in movies, songs and from the mouths of those around me. He gives me wisdom to sift out the noise trying to drown His words. Only His voice can wrap me up in truth to comfort and watch over me. My desire is to talk only with my Father’s voice. Anything else is just sharing words of empty air.
My feet walked about two major cities of our culture these past couple of weeks. In all the outward beauty, I sorrowed in the emptiness. Artists, craftsmen, teachers, judges and rulers had combined their precious gifts to build a world devoid of truth. They encouraged the people to soar without wings of worth. Persons were encouraged to extend their hands to clap in praise of their own accomplishments. Where self-flattery failed, in its place were fear and terror for the false gods of old; fables and tales driving them to give away their very inheritance; truth.
2 Thes 2:4 (CEV) He will brag and oppose everything that is holy or sacred. He will even sit in God’s temple and claim to be God
Sitting at my table I drank my water. I had been out alone and feeling thirsty, and I stopped to refresh myself. I had never been to this inviting place but its alluring music drew me inside. The décor was easy with palm trees and wisteria vines making it feel like a hidden oasis. I didn’t know the songs playing and each of them echoed in my head with fascination.
Across the patio I noticed a man staring at me intensely. He was incredibly handsome and our eyes met momentarily. He smiled to acknowledge he’d seen me. Quickly turning away, I felt my face cheeks grow hot at his gaze. I looked down at the ice in my glass and tried to ignore this glimpse.
Within minutes the man came to stand at my table. I felt awkward and inexperienced by such attention. He smiled down at me and I couldn’t remember seeing such perfection in a smile. Up close he was even more handsome, and I could feel my heart race wondering why he’d notice me. Introducing himself, he shared his name to be Armi. In my curiosity I asked if it was a nickname to which he shared it to be from Armers. He invited himself to sit down at my table.
For the next few hours I listened to Armi speak to me. My head began to swim just hearing his voice. I swooned to hear his words of flattery, feeling intoxicated by his talk. The music in the background added to the enticement of his words. While my head felt as if I was inside of a fog bank, my chest began to hurt. With each passing minute the pain increased. Soon I could no longer hear Armi speaking; I could only feel the agony in my chest.
Closing my eyes, I reached to put my fingers in my ears, not caring what I looked like. I could feel a wind come into this seeming oasis, shifting the very atmosphere where I sat. Minutes passed and Armi’s fading voice hollered at me to come with him. Keeping my eyes closed, I spoke aloud, “You would entice me with flattery, temptations of beauty, influence and every kind of attraction to my soul. I must close my eyes to you because you are uninvited and simply not allowed.”
Gen 6:2…the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose
Do not be afraid. Do not fear. When I read these statements in the bible they make me tremble, but also comfort me. It’s clear by their repetition in the Word we are meant to understand their inference. We are going to face places in our lives where our challenges will bring fear enough to be afraid.
I am encouraged by these repeated instructions. They assure me. In the moments I will both fear and be afraid, I will also be strengthened to endure by the Lord Himself.
Psalm 18:32 You give me strength and guide me right
The eyes looked into deep darkness and wept. The voice spoke words few would receive. The hands reaching out met resistance to be touched. The nose could smell an acrid scent. The taste of the tongue was bitter.
Jesus wanted us more than we wanted Him and despite the testimony of our rebellious natures, He still chose to give us His life. His heart broke open and He poured the balm of His love out to soothe all the wounds of the world. Hope was restored in His mercy and compassion.
Imagine if you will a game of magic. You come to the table expecting a trick and view it as entertainment. The magician does not disguise who he is. He puts before you the cards or shells you anticipate because you have seen them before. He shuffles, and while waiting you are being entertained by the knowledge of your guessing.
Now letting go of imagination, realize the truth. The magician has used guile to entertain you. While he was showing you what you were expecting to see, he was doing his best magic ever, keeping you occupied in guessing.
Magic defined – the art of producing illusions as entertainment by the use of sleight of hand, deceptive devices, the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of incantation or various other techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature, power or influence exerted through this art
Faith was the beckoning light in the darkest of night. Hope offered the rope needed to pull me from the depths of a well too deep to climb out of. Love healed wounds cut so deep no pharmacology could numb the pain. This is my testimony I must declare from rooftops over and over again. If I don’t, I deny who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for me.
1 Cor 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Thes 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
Mat 10:27 Whatever I say to you in the dark, you must tell in the light. And you must announce from the housetops whatever I have whispered to you.