Hate to admit it, but here’s one of my favorite jokes: King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. That means he could’ve honestly looked any of them in the eyes and said, “Honey, you’re one in a thousand.”
Rim shot aside, the “joke” was on Solomon. All these wives and concubines ended up being his great downfall – and ultimately, the downfall of Israel. How could this possibly have happened to the wisest man ever? Pretty simple. Unlike his father, David, there’s very little (if any) record of Solomon surrounding himself with good counsel during his reign as king. Counselors who would have questioned his actions. Counselors who would have warned him of the consequences. Counselors who would have declared God’s sure word. But these voices were noticeably absent in Solomon’s court. He must have figured he owned the market on wisdom.
So, where do you go for counsel? Who are the wise counselors in your court? How do you respond to their words of wisdom? In a day and age where we’re just one click away from a flood of worldly thinking and values, we desperately need access to good kingdom counsel. Godly guidance that can stem the lies and confusion and seduction that aim to steal His destiny for our lives.
In this first of a two-part series, I reveal six things you need to know about getting good counsel in your life.
The picture you’re looking at is not one of those web-bought photos I usually pull out come blog time. It’s the real deal. Taken a few weeks ago during one of our Sunday Celebrations. After our worship time, a wonderful young woman named Annie discovered that her jeans were soaking wet, from mid-calf down. Check it out. She sure did. Looked for whatever could cause enough water to soak her pants like this. Didn’t find a thing. Nothing else was wet around her. Not the floor. Not the chair. Not her young daughter who’d been playing at her feet.
So what happened? Why the wet pants? All I can come up with is the stream of water that flowed from the Temple in Ezekiel’s vision. (See chapter 47.) The one that trickled out from under the door, growing deeper and deeper, from ankle-high to knee-high to waist-high to too-high. The one that became a mighty river with trees along its banks – trees with leaves that “will not wither” and fruit that “will not fail.” The one we sought God for in our pre-service prayer meeting.
I believe Annie’s soaked pants is a prophetic picture of what God has in store for us, as a church, in 2017. The river of His presence flowing in us, around us, and through us in greater measure than we’ve ever experienced before. Growing deeper and deeper. From ankle-high (think Annie) to knee-high to waist-high to overwhelming-high.
This river of revival is our great passion, and we can’t wait to see it overflow its banks during the coming year.
If this is something you and your church desire, please feel free to plug into this prophetic promise from God. It’s yours for the taking. Just strap on your waders and believe with us for a mighty flood of His glory during 2017. It’s time for revival.
“By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” (Ezekiel 47:12)
I’m guessing that a few of you are presently battling serious, chronic, or even terminal disease, believing God for a healing miracle. I’m also guessing that more than a few of you have been in this fight for some time now. You’ve prayed. You’ve believed. You’ve made declarations. You’ve sought out the prayers of anointed others. You’ve done everything you know to claim your healing miracle from God. And the test results still come back positive – the sickness still alive and kicking. (Maybe even spreading, thriving, getting more aggressive.)
I know how it feels. After one full year of hormone therapy designed to beat back the onslaught of cancer in my body, and another full year of watching the effects of this treatment slowly subside, the results are finally in. Two weeks ago, the doctor announced that the cancer is growing strong again.
Some years back, I worked at a missionary training base in Honolulu that was lovingly referred to as “the only third world base in a first world country.” Can’t begin to tell you how true that was. For part of my time at that amazing place, I lived in a tiny, tiny room set off the front porch of a house called Calcutta Mansion. I do mean tiny. There was only enough space inside for a single bed, chest of drawers, and a narrow aisle. (I’m talking something like an eight-foot by four-foot closet here.)
In one respect, however, my little room was Titanic-like. The floor listed so badly that I had to be careful getting out of bed in the morning or I’d lose my balance and fall out the window. And as you can imagine, what with the funhouse floor and all, the door to my beloved room didn’t even come close to shutting all the way. Which was a big issue for me because of the huge family of rats that lived in our attic – an attic that conveniently opened up right over the front porch, just outside my little room.
Every night, this horde of rats would run through the attic, screaming at the top of their little lungs. And I knew – I just knew – that some morning I’d wake up to a bunch of furry bed-companions and a half-chewed-off toe.
Just a quick post to let you know that Eva and I will be headed to the U.S. next Tuesday for a four-week breather. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might spot us hiking around Yosemite National Park with my sister … or soaking in the Alabaster Prayer House at Bethel Church … or enjoying a half-slab of ribs at Jack Stack Barbecue in Kansas City. (Can’t wait!)
As you might guess, my weekly blogs will also be on vacation during these few weeks. Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support over these last couple years of blogging adventures. You guys are amazing!
Ever been offended before? Where someone insulted you? Or spread rumors about you? Or made fun of you? Or rejected you? Or bullied you? Or spat on you? Or disagreed with you? Or ignored you? Or belittled you?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been offended in life. I also can’t tell you the number of times I’ve offended those around me. (I see your hand.) And at the risk of further offense, I guarantee you I’m not alone in all this. (I see your hand again.)
As a pastor, every single relationship problem I’ve run into through the years has been centered around someone who got offended – no matter whether the offense was real or imagined. And that’s what makes this issue so vitally important. We are, after all, a people who are called to walk in Jesus-like unity with one another. (Loving, serving, blessing, and encouraging one another.) Getting offended usually puts a big kibosh on this very high calling from God.
Just so you know, there are two basic ways to keep from getting offended in life. The first is to try and control the emotions, thoughts, words, and actions of others so they won’t ever do anything to offend you. (Good luck with that!) The second is to try and control your own emotions, thoughts, words and actions in such a way that you won’t be so easily offended by others. (What the Bible calls “ruling your spirit.”)
I don’t have to tell you which way is the by-far best, do I?
With that in mind, here are three things that can help you rule your spirit … three things that can help protect you from getting offended in life.
A couple of days ago, I asked Eva what she would tell you right now if she had the chance. Her answer? “Tell them that God has so much more for them in this life. Tell them that they’re barely scratching the surface.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Which has never stopped me from trying.
Some years ago, a private investigator in Bolivia was hired to find a 67-year old homeless man wanted on some minor drug charges in Chile – a man named Thomas Martinez. The detective looked everywhere, finally tracking Martinez down to a small pub in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Just as the detective walked through the front door of the bar, Martinez slipped out the back … before he could hear the news the investigator had been hired to deliver. A family member had died, leaving Martinez an inheritance of over six million U.S. dollars.
As you can see, I’m trying something new for this week’s blog. Sure hope it works! (And that my learning curve is short and sweet.) So … here goes. My first ever video blog. Chatting about a hugely important key to greater revival breakthrough in our lives. Hope you enjoy!
(And please feel free to let me know what you think.)