There is Biblical support for the notion that we should manage our resources with an eye to the future; for putting something away for a rainy day; for the notion that it’s possible to be responsible with our resources in ways that do not mean they are idols to us. There is also Biblical support for the idea that we should trust the Lord for all our provisions. I do not know how to reconcile these two philosophies. I’m familiar with enough real-life related stories to believe that God will take care of people as their needs arise, right down to using impossibly coincidental anonymous monetary gifts that arrive right on time. (The guy who called out prayer needs for a gristly wrist, mentioned in the letter here, has lived that experience in the past year or so.)
Will He do that for everyone? Should I quit my job and expect God will take care of my financial needs? I wonder if my years-long practice of setting aside some money and other resources whenever feasible, as a means of saving for ‘whatever’, is an affront to God and something that limits some provision that He desires for me. Is saving for retirement a false god? Never mind the fact that ‘retirement’ is a 20th Century middle class phenomenon that is going by the wayside; some people (including me) still put money aside in order to provide for themselves later on. I have many questions and few answers.
Early this month (December 2013) I made a very specific prayer to God, asking him to show me what to do with my financial resources, specifically. Should I give more back to Him than I do in the way of offerings at church or other opportunities? Is He pleased with the ways I steward my money, and does He have better ideas than I’ve been living out? I told God I would do whatever He wanted me to do with money. I asked that He be very specific about what changes He’d like to see, if any, because I’ve been diligent and intentional about finances for a long time, and I want to make sure I do the best thing going forward.
A few nights later, as I was dozing off, I felt – more than heard – some communications that were possibly from the Holy Spirit or God…however that works, I don’t know. What I felt were tangible physical impacts on my body, with each impact accompanying some impression. One of them was something about money, and I twitched, though I didn’t ‘hear’ any specifics about money. One of the impressions said something like, “The time has come,” and I twitched again. There was at least one more, but I was overwhelmed by what was happening and couldn’t keep track of it all. Which makes me wonder, if God is giving someone a message, and that person doesn’t get the whole message due to whatever interference or lack of attention, does God hold that communication failure against the receiver? Will He give them another chance to hear the message?
The impressions I got from that night have stuck with me, although I don’t know what any of it means. There was no direct command about money, as far as I could tell. And if ‘the time has come’, indeed, I don’t know what it’s time for. I’ll just continue asking God for revelation about those things or that he would let me know if that communication was not from Him.
I mentioned in ‘YAAS OMG’ that, while I prayed for Man#3, I saw an image of him on a motorcycle. At the time I prayed, I discounted the image as irrelevant. It was vague, with no more presence than a flashlight beam powered by near-dead batteries. It was a fleeting image, clinging to the canvas of my mind for just a couple of seconds. Most importantly, it didn’t resonate in my own understanding as being important enough to spend time on. Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition. All of which reasons were exactly why I should have paid closer attention.
Earlier this year in a prophetic training exercise, we in our group of seven people were tasked with praying for God to reveal information to us about a person whom the moderator would select without our knowledge while we prayed. After our prayers the moderator would reveal to us the person she had selected. We were then to share our revelations and see which, if any, applied to the chosen person. This exercise was the second time I’d ever deliberately asked God to reveal something about someone for their benefit. The first time was a few weeks earlier in a similar exercise between pairs of people. I didn’t share anything meaningful with my partner that evening. So, as our group prayed for an unknown target person, I didn’t have any practical experience to compare the results against.
While we prayed, I saw a misty form of what turned into a mountain top, similar to the one in the opening scene of “The Sound of Music”, minus an ecstatic nun. The mountain scene in my mind’s eye was hard to see, and it didn’t last long. It was the only thing that arose during the prayer. It was obvious that God hadn’t spoken to me.
Our moderator revealed the group member whom she had selected as the target of our prayers. She asked us to share what we had received on behalf of this person, a woman who looked to be in her mid-twenties. I can’t remember who shared first. Whenever it was my turn, I hemmed and hawed and explained all the many ways that my contribution was irrelevant. I then described the fleeting mountain top. The woman immediately exclaimed that the image was quite relevant to her, that when she gets stressed with life, she imagines just such a scene as a means of relaxing. My jaw dropped. “No way!”
Way. (I’m pretty sure I’ve typed the ‘No way – way’ exchange somewhere else in this blog. It’s unavoidable, because God is that surprising.) I was disoriented. (I’m pretty sure I’ve described myself at some other point in this blog as being ‘disoriented’. It is unavoidable, because God’s manifest touch is so jarring to a soul conditioned only to this temporal plane.) How had that happened? It had seemed so…nothing. Yet it appeared that the Creator of the Universe had used the ‘nothing’ image in my mind to confirm to the woman that He knows her and watches over her, specifically when she’s burdened in life. And He used the training exercise to show me important realities about how He operates. Whatever were my preconceived expectations of what a ‘word from God’ should look like, they were revealed to be inaccurate, at least in part.
What had I expected? I suppose that, to the extent I’d ever considered what such a divine communication would be like, I expected more of ‘something’ and less ‘nothing’. I had already been on the receiving end of some profound, life-changing words given to other messengers on my behalf, over the preceding years. I knew what kind of impact they had on me, and I saw no reason that getting a word for someone else should feel any less monumental on that side of the transaction. Perhaps it would come courtesy of angels blowing trumpets or crashing cymbals; or possibly an angel would smash me over the head with a frying pan, cartoon style, leaving my head in the shape of whatever was the message I was supposed to share with someone.
None of that happened. Instead of bombast and fanfare, there was whisper and wisp. The presentation didn’t meet my expectations, so I discounted its possible divine value. Which is an attitude similar to that held by those folks who won’t worship God because He doesn’t run things according to their mortal standards. To the extent that we create God in our own image, we can neither effectively worship Him nor recognize Him for who He is. So, part of the mountain view experience served as a blessing for me, by way of education. God showed me my expectations weren’t necessarily realistic. Maybe He does show up with neon cannon fire on occasion; but it’s essential to know that the omnipotent and omniscient I AM also communicates in ways that appear completely at odds with the power He can bring to bear on any given situation.
I will also add that since that evening this past spring, I have been able to share in similar circumstances a couple of other times. In each occasion I shared with the recipient an image that was drawn in hushed – almost invisible – tones. The people were blessed, and I understood even more that God will talk to us how He will talk to us. Speaking even further afield, I can say with confidence and excitement that there are people walking among us who are so attuned to God’s delicate touch that they routinely change people’s lives simply by sharing His quiet words with them. In most cases those people had to learn how to hear God’s voice in just the way that I’m describing in this post. It is a point of encouragement for the rest of us to keep on trying, since there’s apparently an actual skill to be mastered.
Back to Man#3 and his motorcycle. The image was brief and muted. Which doesn’t necessarily have to mean it’s from God. But it’s not a reason to discount it, at least. And what about the contents of this brief and muted picture, the representation of him on a motorcycle?
This past spring, not long after the class exercise described above, we had an instructor who talked one evening about the significance and symbolism of dreams. A portion of the lecture was dedicated to the discussion of vehicles – cars, boats, airplanes, etc – that appear in people’s dreams. The general idea is that vehicles can represent someone’s real-life ministry, with different types of vehicles representing different ministry callings. During the lecture, we compared several practical examples of dream vehicles against known waking-world ministries, even if the ministries were simply one person’s lifestyle of faith.
An example of how I’ve applied this imagery standard to my own dreams is as follows: in the summer, a month or so after the prophetic dream lecture, I dreamed of a man I know. The dream environment was dark, as if it were nighttime. The man was standing next to a car body, stripped bare, up on blocks. The man asked me to help him with the car. He made this request in a voice and tone that reflected humility and earnestness that the real life man doesn’t typically show.
In real life this man is the epitome of wasted potential. I believe the dream was from God, and the car reflected the man’s ministry, currently in an utterly useless state, wasting in darkness. In such a scenario God still sees the man as capable of much more than he attempts, but the man needs help. I believe God was giving me an opportunity to help the man in some way. For the record I have prayed regularly for the man since that dream, and I am still asking God to show me the best way to go about getting that car into muscular and fine-tuned shape.
I came away from the dream lecture more enthusiastic to consider the method of apparent random madness in our dreams, and I’ve since been particularly attentive to vehicular appearances in my own dreams. All of which is applicable to the description of the picture of Man#3 on his motorcycle. Man#3 is a bit of loner, comfortably moving through life on his own schedule, all the while being, in God’s own words, ‘a smile.’ In context of his personal ministry, a motorcycle is the perfect vehicle for him. Given that the image appeared right before the ‘smile’ affirmation while I was praying, and our group leader had the exact same YAAS affirmation for Man#3, it’s reasonable to assume that God was affirming Man#3 as Motorcycle Minister of Smile. And I believe this to be true even though the motorcycle image came to me not in a sleeping dream, but during an earnest waking prayer for Man#3’s edification.
This past month I expanded my perspective on the triangle points of Wichita Falls, Portland, and Long Island, referenced in this post. (I will eventually get around to learning how to properly link to exact targets on destination pages.) ((1//20/14 – short answer: no can do.)) In addition to praying in general for God to bring revival to those people, I’ve gotten very specific with prayer requests. I’ve asked God to make Himself powerfully present and real to those folks who:
- spend time trying to find peace and satisfaction through false gods like sex, money, work, family, relationships, etc.
- are addicted to any of those false gods, seeing themselves unable to quit the compulsion to spend themselves in waste and futility.
- doubt God is real and, subsequently, live their lives in the echo chamber of inevitable emptiness that such belief engenders.
- are trying to live their lives in accordance with God’s will, that He will give them a clear vision of what He would have for them individually and as part of the larger Body of Christ.
- are praying for revival in their respective localities, that God would bless their faithfulness and longing with the chance to see such revival happen on their watch.
And so on. I don’t know that the folks in the Triangle are dealing with life issues that are different from people anywhere else in the country; but they are the people that God gave me as a responsibility, so I pray. I often end up praying prayers on their behalf prompted simply by my own daily experiences. Doubts, grief, worry, praise, joy, peace – it’s all a reason to pray for the Triangle People. Though I guess they come to mind more often when I’m burdened by one thing or another.
I have also been asking God to show me specifically the needs of those places, so my prayers may be more targeted and, hopefully, effective. Stereotypically, Portland is a place where intellectuals pride themselves on being above the idiocy of Judeo-Christian religion; Long Island is home to the Hamptons, where material success is a brand; and Wichita Falls isn’t synonymous with anything. Is it? I don’t know. I’ve been asking God to show me specifics; over this past month, I’ve gotten a notion that there’s a meth problem there. And just now, as I type this blog, WordPress is directing me to a news report about a meth bust in Wichita Falls. Whether my hunch about meth was coincidence or God’s revelation is irrelevant – there’s now confirmation about at least one specific problem in Wichita Falls to pray about.
I also now plan to visit each of these three places in the coming months. Right now I have no agenda other than to go and pray in each place for a couple of days, over respective weekend trips. Whatever that looks like. I’ll probably be fasting into each weekend. Should I just get there and pray in a hotel room? Get in my car and drive around praying? Both? I’ve been asking God to show me if there’s anything in particular I should do. And again, as I type, there’s a Related Content blog pointing me to these folks. I imagine they are well-acquainted with prayers for revival on Long Island. (Check out the note at end of this post, because our God is an awesome God.)
There should be plenty of opportunities in each weekend for prayer and encouragement; this one blog post has already effortlessly netted me two important bits of information. Now there’s a Related Content suggestion about the drought in Wichita Falls. Thank you, Lord, for your instruction and direction. Please guide my steps so that I do not waste time.
Note on 01/04/04 – this post was effectively written in the middle of December 2013. I put the finishing touches on it during the past couple of days, after not looking at it for over two weeks. In the time since I started writing this post, there’s been a lot of activity that is blog-worthy in its own right. In the event that I do not figure out a way to get a live feed from my brain directly into WordPress servers, I think this blogging effort will be a constant exercise in playing catch-up.
I’m going to add some late info regarding the Triangle people. In early November I told one of our prophetic equipping instructors the word I got about Wichita Falls, Portland, and Long Island and how they make an isosceles triangle and all that. He suggested that I research the places and find out what I could, regarding any potential reasons to pray. He made the comment that “maybe there is human trafficking in those places.” Almost two months later, after I had already completely this blog post’s references to Wichita Falls, Texas, I was looking through a weekly magazine while waiting in the dentist’s office. In an article about human sex slavery and trafficking, there was a section dedicated to a woman in Wichita Falls, who had been forced into sex slavery for some time. I have now added sex trafficking to the list of prayer concerns for Wichita Falls.
This past week I got serious about praying for the people of Portland, OR. I asked God how to pray for them, and immediately I ‘thought’ of Satanists. I can’t say for sure that the impulse was from my own brain or from God. At worst, if the impulse wasn’t from God, I figure there’s probably some Satanists in Portland, and surely they can benefit from prayers that God would show them how they have embraced a counterfeit and dead-end power. I can definitely say that the ‘Satanist’ thought felt just like the meth idea about Wichita Falls, which turns out to have been an accurate assessment of need. I probably need to quit obsessing over the details and just pray. But I want to know that I’m hearing from God and not myself. It’s a fine line.
I got to thinking about Portland Satanism, with regard to whether it was a God impulse or a Joe impulse. Moving beyond the almost-navel gazing aspect of it, it occurred to me that Satanism isn’t precisely the same thing as atheism, though I couldn’t say at the time why the distinction was worth pondering. Atheists reject the notion that there’s God or a god of any sort. Satanists acknowledge not just gods but God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And they actively reject His authority, choosing instead to worship and serve a fallen and doomed being whose primary tool of influence is the lie. Christ Himself called Satan the ruler of this world. Following Satan is an act of believing in the unholy and temporary power that Satan can afford, rather than immersing one’s self in the eternal glory that comes from humble submission to God through faith in His Son.
I asked God to show me any specifics regarding Portland Satanists, in the event that my own prayers weren’t directed effectively. The following morning, December 31, I awoke after a long series of dreams and heard these words in my sleepy stupor, just as surely as I’d heard of the Triangle places:
Tearing up all of the faith takes a slightly less complicated mind than the one we’re dealing with. Tearing up some of the faith is a very different thing.
The voice continued on, but I was jarred into full consciousness and lost the ability to hear more. I wondered then and still whether that word was for the Satanists or one particular person I regularly bring to the Lord in prayer. Whatever the case, God thought the sentiment worth sharing; I will keep it in mind and heart as I pray various prayers. I will add that the notion that God would use the word ‘we’ when talking to me was a very humbling and eye-opening thing. And I don’t worry that the voice was from God or not; the fruit of subsequent prayers will do nothing but undermine Satan’s works; he would not actively seek to weaken his own power base.
The voice told me ‘You: Wichita Falls, Portland, Long Island.” And I started praying. Then the Triangle appeared, and I started praying more. For revival. Today when I was checking my webpage links in this post, I found this information at the website for Long Island Church:
Latest Sermon: United For Revival
You’ll have to decide for yourself if you believe I am or not lying for dramatic effect. I hope you’ll decide to believe that, when I first wrote this post weeks ago, asking God to bring revival to the Triangle people, the Long Island Church website didn’t show a latest sermon to be about revival. The point is not that my prayers have somehow magically made the Long Island Church decide out of nowhere that it’s time to consider revival. The point is God is on the move, and He wants revival in Long Island. He’s going to use Long Island Church to bring about this revival, the Long Island Church is pursuing that end, and God is calling people like me (and now you) to pray for these folks, to empower the revival.
This is getting crazy.
(1/27/14 – The latest sermon is still ‘United For Revival’. Maybe it actually was there when I first looked at the site back in December or whenever it was. It doesn’t really matter whether it was or not, except that I’ve now told the folks at Long Island Church about this blog, and they’ll know whether I’m giving accurate information or not.)
I hope to have another post up within the next three days. In the meantime let’s all get excited and smash the place up in the name of Jesus.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
– Revelation 19:11-16, NKJV