New Year’s Eve – 12/31/13

Promised Land

Dear Friends:

On this New Year’s Eve I wish to share an excerpt of scripture which I believe holds a treasure of a key to unlocking all that has been stored-up for each of us in 2014–irrespective of what each of us may be facing in the natural as we look forward.

Gigi and I have plenty to be depressed about at present, but we’ve rather chosen to keep our collective gaze fixed upon the greater reality of a God who is already in tomorrow–before we awaken each day.

As I look back upon 2013 I recall many times when I have failed to listen to what a still, small, voice was coaching me to do from one moment to the next–the still, small, voice of the Holy Spirit.  Many times I allowed depression and despondency to rule the day, when all the while the Holy Spirit was speaking to me through impressions, words of knowledge, vivid dreams, etc, It boggles my mind that He continues to speak to me despite my hard-headed-ness and hard-hearted-ness.  He is a merciful God, beyond what can be described.

Today I am reminded of a key within Deuteronomy 11:10-14–a key which waits for us on 01-0114tomorrow. I will quote this passage below, and then briefly re-visit the key contained herein.

“For the land into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden.  But the land into which you are about to cross to posses it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning, even to the end of the year. It shall come about if you shall listen obediently to My commands which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early and the late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil(NASB).

Historically, this was addressed to the Israelites as a conditional promise as they looked toward occupying the promised land.  The obvious condition was that of loving the Lord and serving Him with the whole heart. But the subtle key to bringing this excerpt of scripture very close to home, to each of us personally, and with very tangible and practical relevance, is what I believe the NASB version has captured perfectly, in and through these words: listen obediently.

It is one thing to listen intently for the Lord’s voice from day to day; it is another thing entirely, to obey what we hear.  The new wine and oil of the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence in, about, and throughout our daily affairs, hinges upon simply listening…and obeying.

I look back upon 3 decades of colorful and often hair-raising ministry exploits around the country, and out of the country.  I think back upon how much more could have flowed through me, had I purposed to obey what I heard.  It is truly absurd to recall the thousands of hours I’ve spent in silence in the wee hours, asking the Lord to speak to me.  And when He has, I have often shrugged it off as if it were inconsequential.  With each New Year however, I am soberly reminded of the gravity of the times in which we live, and dully reminded that I no longer can afford the careless liberty of mishandling a precious word from the Lord.

In the natural, here in the West, we are stepping-into alarming times in 2014.  Alarming as they can be however, we serve the God of Peace, Who dully reminds us also this evening of His personal agenda with the works of darkness–soon and very soon:

“The God of peace shall soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).

The early Believers crushed Satan under their feet by not loving their lives even unto death–for even in death they were the victors.  Their victory in death?  They had overcome the world.

My very personal encouragement to each of you this evening, and as New Year’s Day unfolds, is that to carefully guard that time you set aside to still yourself before the Lord, to listen to His voice. I also encourage you to begin taking your dreams very seriously.  Write them down, meditate upon them, and be reminded that God is very actively speaking to us “deep in the night” (Job 33:14-16) in this hour.  Receive His dreams (the one’s which are distinctly from Him) as gifts from the Throne Room.

On a closing note; and as glib a this may sound; thank you for continuing to call me “friend.”

Your trench-mate,