DESPERATE TIMES DEMAND DESPERATE PROPHETS


A 3rd day message for the 3rd day church as the body of Christ receives resurrection and revelation power from this 3rd day event. It is declared and prophesied that the church has risen with vision and armed with the knowledge of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit whom works mightily in you. The Spirit of the Lord says, Come, for the hour has struck in which great feats will be accomplished and awesome changes will be birthed in the valleys of decision as dead dreams are resurrected to life.
“Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.” (John 20:2)
The Bible states that Mary “saw” that the stone had been rolled away and that someone had “taken the Lord’s body.” First, was this an accurate statement that Mary had just spoken to the disciples? Did someone actually take the Lord’s body as Mary clearly interpreted? The answer is no. Most reading and hearing this know and understand that Jesus had been resurrected in power. What Mary had ‘seen’ was according to her vision in the natural realm and what she discerned from a natural perspective. Essentially, Mary was formulating a belief system and a conclusion based upon her past experiences in life rather than a prophetic promise which could only be comprehended by spiritual discernment. In other words, Mary’s past natural experiences wrongly influenced her spiritual insight. The Greek word in the earliest surviving Codex and manuscripts for ‘saw’ in the original language is ‘Blepo’ which means to ‘casually or naturally see which is limited to natural observation’.
Continuing:
“Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.” (John 20:4)
The original intent and context for what John ‘saw’ in this verse is the same word ‘Blepo’ that Mary had previously based her assumptions on. We see very little progress in discerning the resurrection and the supernatural events Jesus had foretold concerning Himself and the future of the church. We also notice that John did not go into the tomb (which is a picture and type of dying to oneself). Because of this perspective, John’s spiritual understanding would be limited to what he ‘saw’ with his natural eyes and past frames of reference.
“Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” (John 20:6-7)
We’ve now read and recognize that Peter chose to go into the tomb. The original context in which Peter ‘saw’ is the Greek word ‘Thereo’ which is the obvious Greek equivalent of the modern word ‘theory’. Peter is pondering the facts that he is witnessing and we do have some progress, but we do not base our faith and prophetic discernment on theory, assumption and presumption.
“Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he SAW and BELIEVED.” (John 20:8)
John “saw and believed” and something spiritually snapped in the blink of an eye. The Greek word for ‘saw’ in this verse is ‘Eido’ which means to see with understanding or revelation. It’s no accident or mistake that we have three different Greek words for the same modern translation of ‘saw’ in this short passage and historical event. This is the prophetic and spiritual vision that the Lord desires you and I possess as we continue to experience the kingdom of God on earth moving in power. (Remember the statement: Kingdom of God on Earth. It’s important that we understand that the earth is evolving as more and more corrupt by the sons of perdition. But the earth is crying out for the redeeming of the sons and prophets of God!) John saw into the reality, power, and love of the Spirit realm and this anointing of prophetic vision would continue to increase and mature in John’s life, culminating in the Revelation of Jesus Christ – The Spirit of prophecy.
We must come to terms that revelation whether heard or experienced is only active when its power is possessed or revealed in our own lives. If revelation is not manifested in our lives – it is nothing more than good information. Our first step is stepping into the invisible realm of faith is recognizing what is possible and at arm’s reach because it has been proclaimed and promised by the Spirit of God.
The Lord is calling forth a people with prophetic vision and revelation to understand his heart…A commissioned people who see clearly that the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead and the same mighty power of the Holy Spirit have already enabled the church to advance the kingdom on earth. Social resistance and even persecution on various institutional levels will continue to wage war upon truth. But our current trials will drive God’s people into great and awesome acts of evangelism which will define the eternal legacy of the bride as she awaits her bridegroom.
Being open to deeper revelation does not mean being unscriptural. All revelation must be line upon line and biblically founded rather than simply following the crowd of modern and strange end-time doctrines. All of the scriptures speaking of people being separated and removed from the earth refer to evil ones and not believers! Maybe, just maybe, you are not the one taken – but the one left in the field to continue the Lord’s work and fulfill our individual destinies. Why would we leave to immediately come back and reign with Christ for a millennium? Our work has just begun and a new anointing and mantle of prophetic evangelism is awaiting us. This message is to prophetically confirm the releasing of the evangelistic commission and the soon arrival of the five-fold manifestation and affective leadership to seal it.
A prophetic empowered evangelistic expression has been commissioned and we will need to be prepared for its arrival. The Lover of souls will promote and confirm those who have been called into the power of the commissioned. The Lord will answer the prayers of his elders and fulfill the five-fold power, promise and commission of souls to the church.
As stated, John moved from the realm of the natural and into the supernatural in just a brief snap of time. A very similar prophetic insight and parallel played out a long time ago in history in the natural life of the prophet Elisha. Elisha would see – make a decision – and speak a prophetic declaration within a matter of seconds which would change the course of history and save the lives of thousands…Including his own! I believe that our prophetic template going forward as the days unfold are woven within the scriptures and following revelation.
“And it happened after this that Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria; and indeed they besieged it until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-forth of a kab ( about a half of a cup) of dove droppings for five shekels of silver.” (2 Kings 6:24-25)
This event may be one of the most desperate situations that I have ever read or heard about. It is vitally important that we are led by the Spirit and move with spiritual vision into these biblical passages as history may repeat itself very soon.
Ben-Hadad (A type of Antichrist spirit) was waging war on Israel (Let’s say for reference sake – a type of the Church) and had finally pushed on to the capital of Samaria. What is interesting is that some time prior to this (2 Kings 6:8-22), Ben Hadad attempted to conquer Samaria — only to have his band of raiders blinded by the prophet Elisha. The blinded men were led into Samaria and instead of being killed, were given grace in the form of a meal and sent home! This is incredible considering that these folks were enemy combatants. Why did Elisha direct the king to let the Syrian raiders go? I personally don’t know at this time and I can only speculate that it was a prophetic signpost of the Lord’s patience, love, and mercy – even for the rebellious. However, there is a clear prophetic word for the body of Christ at this hour as we continue in this historical event.
First, we need to understand what a spiritual and a natural ‘siege’ is. A siege is when nothing of value gets into an environment and nothing gets out of that same environment. When the kingdom of heaven is not received in to our individual and corporate lives…Nothing of eternal or kingdom value is released out into our natural and corporate lives. In a spiritual siege, the enemy of our souls camps outside the walls of our individual mind with the intent to starve us to death, ultimately manifesting as a spiritual holocaust on a corporate level. In this event, nothing and nobody was allowed to get into this city and nothing or nobody was allowed to leave. Sadly, the Samarians were led astray by inept leadership (both natural and spiritual) into a defensive posture. Demonic entities, always prefer de’tente rather than open warfare as to mask their weakness and to neutralize our true strength in Christ.
The Bible states that this famine was ‘great’. The situation concerning this great famine within the city walls was so desperate that to buy a donkey’s head for food would have cost you about $10,000.00. And a half a cup of bird droppings would have cost you a mere $800.00. A spiritual siege utilizing natural economic and social systems can easily enslave people to influence behavior patterns that would otherwise never occur as we shall read and witness. These patterns may certainly unfold in the not so distant future if positive cultural change is not implemented and realized. This was a desperate situation; however, it gets even more desperate!
“Then, as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help my lord, O king!” And he said, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I find help for you – From the threshing floor or from the winepress? Then the king said to her, ‘What is troubling you?’ And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ And I said to her on the next day, “Give your son that we may eat him”; but she has hidden her son.”
The siege and situation had now become so desperate that there was not even a morsel left on the threshing floor. The granaries were empty and the winepresses were dry. Water (a figure and type of the Holy Spirit) at this time was evaporating from the city and the people were moving into areas or acts of literal insane behavior. People were actually eating their own children for self-preservation. I realize this is hard to digest or even read, but it is in God’s Word and presented by the Holy Spirit for a reason for such a time as this! We need to understand what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to the churches and why the Lord chose to put this desperate and almost unbelievable event in His Word.
What is amazing is that this woman, even after having an entire day to reflect upon her actions, did not show remorse or repentance due to the external pressures that were altering the social norm of behavior. I see a parallel at numerous times in our own societies with this same mindsets. Prophetically speaking: Much of humanity and believers alike, are willing to devour others for their own perceived survival as many have cornered or enslaved themselves into the world system (external pressure) of debt and government reliance.
Humanity’s greatest weapon in killing or devouring the hope and dreams of the church’s mandate are the words that are spoken or proclaimed against another. The root word for ‘gossip’ in its original English translation was derived from the Latin word ‘diablo’ which means ‘demonic’. The seemingly minor but deeply demonic activity of gossip will be one of the church’s greatest temptations as tribulations and travail come upon the earth. The overcoming of this warped emotional issue will have a direct effect upon the power and impact of the latter-day church, our personal wellness, and ultimately – the harvest.
“Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes; and as he passed by on the wall, the people looked, and there underneath he had sackcloth on his body. Then he said, “God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today!” (2 Kings 6:30-31)
The situation is becoming worse and more and more desperate by the hour. We read that the prophet Elisha, the one who may have had the words and answers from God to save the city was now a marked man! The king most likely was recalling back to when he had the Syrian army within his city walls, blind and at his will to be killed! We recall that Elisha directed that the invaders be given grace and released. This must have angered the king to the point of rage – especially after witnessing what he just heard from the woman who along with another ate her own child. This is an incredibly desperate situation. But it gets even more desperate.
It is interesting that Elisha prophetically ‘saw’ and understood that the king was on his way with an officer to take his head off. But, Elisha in the midst of his personal desperation had to come up with something quick or his head was coming off!
“Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” (2Kings 7:1)
Note that Elijah (Elisha’s spiritual father and mentor) prophesied both drought and rain. But here we are in the midst of a great famine with no rain, no food, and people eating each other under a siege by a demonic principality. Obviously, Elisha’s prophetic gifting was still intact because he knew the king was coming to take his head off. However, where was the ‘double portion’ of Elijah’s mantle which should have brought rain and relief? Where and how is your double portion exhibited?
I believe it is clear and is clarion call to the church today – It wasn’t until Elisha became personally desperate that he brought forth the true, genuine and powerful (actually ridiculous) word of the Lord. If you think about it, this was a prophetic word that was both ridiculous and incredible. Not only would provisions miraculously appear, but it would also be in abundance and affordable as well. It wasn’t until the prophet was desperate that God took ownership of his words and brought forth what was supernatural and would bring glory to his name. This prophetic declaration was so ridiculous and so incredible that only the Lord could bring to it to pass.
I believe that like most of us, Elisha became spiritually complacent and socially hypnotized until he truly realized how desperate the situation really was around him. Is it today?
It’s interesting that we read of Elisha just casually sitting around with the elders of the ‘church’ of his time while people were desperately eating themselves (both in word and deed). Is the prophetic voice today striving for approval by speaking elementary, irrelevant and abstract words? Or, maybe we on the opposite spectrum proclaiming declarations of self-righteous judgment? Much of the prophetic voice is weak or ineffective because many fear man for acceptance rather than being fearless in proclaiming and speaking to both the spiritual and natural needs of mankind. Our abstract spiritual or charismatic lingo and self-righteous declarations of judgment find no place in the hearts of the lost and unsaved. It’s time that we cease proclaiming from Blepo (our past experiences), Thereo (our hyper spiritual theories), and declare with “Eido” (proclaiming revelation and resurrection to that which is dead or dying).
Many in the Body of Christ fear others because they are too much in love with themselves. Many times, we fail to see or realize this and we are all guilty to some degree. When the Lord deals with the love of one’s self – He simultaneously addresses the fear of man. Simply put, the fear of man is but a symptom of self(ish) love. Overcoming our love and protection of self is an important key to our prophetic understanding and destination.
The story continues with the governmental officer’s rebuttal to Elisha’s prophetic word: “So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” And he said (Elisha), “In fact, you shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
This man obviously did not believe the words of the now desperate prophet and his fate would be sealed by his arrogance and disbelief of what the Lord declared. I have stated many times that our chances of experiencing a genuine prophetic word coming to fulfillment in our lives can be as much as 100% or as little as 2 in a million. Remember – only 2 out of at least a million coming out of Egypt (Joshua and Caleb) would witness the prophetic word of a promised land fulfilled in their lives.
Two men, regardless of the situation; regardless of what they saw in the natural; or based on past experiences – believed God and had faith that He would fulfill His promises through the prophetic voice. God has promised an abundant life to every individual who enters into the Kingdom Life of Jesus Christ. It’s our position to prophetically declare it and believe it by faith. The story does not end here and it gets even more desperate as if that were possible!
“Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die.” (2 Kings 7:3-4)
This historical event unfolds with four pitiful and desperate leprous men. They cannot go into the city for there is nothing or nobody there to help them. Beside that, they were considered unclean and would have to beg in their condition of which at this point was no different from the desperation of those inside the city.
So, here we have these pitiful men standing with their backs against the city walls and the Syrian army facing them as if they were sitting ducks. These men were at a point of such desperation in their lives that they felt they had nothing to lose and everything to gain! We read that these desperate men went right into the heart of the enemy’s camp!
It would be the willingness and mind-set of desperation that the Lord would use to bring fulfillment of the words spoken by the prophet. God would use the most desperate and reliant to fulfill His purposes – ­Even that which may seem incredible and even ridiculous to our natural senses. God would use four desperate leprous men who were completely reliant and broken to extend His grace and kindness to a disobedient and rebellious people.
The bible states that these four leprous men arose at twilight to go to the Syrian camp. As they came to the outskirts of the camp, they were surprised that no one was there. Amazingly, the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and horses of a great army. The sound was so tremendous that the Syrian army thought that it was not only one, but two of the greatest armies of the world in that time – the Hittite and Egyptian. (Ref. 2 Kings 7:5-8)
The Bible continues saying that the Syrians fled in haste and fear; leaving food, clothing, and provisions at “TWILIGHT!” Listen! For every step that those desperate men took at twilight, their steps were as the sounds of a GREAT ARMY to the hordes of the enemy. It would be through these desperate and reliant men that the words of a desperate prophet and the purposes of God would be fulfilled. Sure enough, just as the prophet spoke – the officer saw the abundance of food at the city gate, but was trampled to death by the people and would not partake of it because of his lack of faith and rejection of the Lord’s promise and provision. (2 Kings 7:17-18)
The situation in Samaria as described in 2 Kings was a terrible time in history such as many parts of the world is today. Many prophetic lessons are to be gleaned from this story. Israel, like the church was and has been warned prophetically that national and corporate disobedience would reduce the people to these terrible acts (see Leviticus 26:29 and Deuteronomy 28:53, 57). We witnessed tragedy unfolding and continuing to worsen as the prophet and elders sat in a comfortable or spiritually complacent position. We also see that it is through desperate and reliant men and women that the Lord delights and fulfills His purposes on the earth as the power of the resurrection is realized and becomes a reality.
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WATERWORLD – A POEM

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Once upon time when I needed faith
I decided it was time to walk on water
Suddenly on my way, I passed an alligator
He had roses in his hat, 
So I stopped him sooner than later
He delivered me a message 
A heavenly massage to sooth my stage
It was more than the words of man
More than the wisdom of this age

Mr. Alligator said, 'Danny, you must trust Him
More sooner than later
For the enemies of truth
Will try to hold you under water

As I continued upon my journey
I thought to myself 'what have I just learned?
But in a flash, there was commotion
There was movement in the ferns

Silently, the silence came
Was it the end of my world?
I shouted out, 'who's there?'
'It's me', said Mr. Squirrel

I've searched for you all over
And now you're finally found
There's no time to waste
For that contrary to truth is sure to abound
We must find the prophet man
We must find out what we can

So much of the population's dying
And the world's people are in tune to doom
Like a rose, I need water
I need chestnuts to consume

'Mr. Squirrel, I said 'I'm sorry'
Can the problems really be solved?
If there's no one here to help
And no one to get involved?

Always look toward the positive
And never drop your head
For the water will engulf us
If we do not dare to tread

A few days later I awoke
And my alarm said 'time as usual is about up'
So I filled my tub with the water
And gargled with my gargle cup

As I bathed, I felt a presence
Being a bit ticklish
As I looked down and around
I heard, 'Hi, I'm Mr. Fish'

How do you do?
As for me, I'm in tip top shape today
Because my water's clean
And no one's menu says 'fresh fish fillet'

You see Danny, I look past all my worries
Which is something you must do
Though you're fed up - Throw your head up
With this advice from me to you
And that is to tread water

At the days setting sun
Time was finding nothing fun
As I walked along the path, I heard
'Psst, excuse me, you're the one

I said, 'hello, are you talking to me?'
He said, 'No alarm meant by thee
But let me introduce myself
I'm Mr. Monkey

Mr. Monkey, I said, 'How may I help'
And how does your problem meet
He said, 'My bananas are at their ripest'
'But they all stand at ten feet

My swinging hand is bandaged up
And could you help me with this chore?
I said, 'Certainly' and assisted him
So he could gather even more

Now with all of the bananas at his grasp
He decided with this accomplished
To put me unto to the path

He said to live by His inner voice
Which would sustain me through this life
Not to use them nor abuse them 
And to understand the words that got me to Him
And that is to tread water.

dk





FROM REFORMERS TO REVOLUTIONARIES

A Reformer is someone dedicated to “fine tuning” a current system by working within that particular system. Reformers lead reformation movements. While they may see the need to redress a serious wrong, or injustice, they do so without striving to change the current system as a whole… Thus, there can never really be a “radical Reformer.” Because of this, even those wrongs that strongly need to be redressed are never truly addressed; because some form of compromise is at the heart of a Reformer. You see, a Reformer’s desire is to seek to improve the current system as it stands and within the guidelines of the system they desire to effect. For them, there is no need to “scrap” the system – just “fix” it. They are willing to “go against the flow” but they are unwilling to leave the stream.

A Revolutionary, on the other hand, seeks to redefine the system and is willing to scrap the system when it is determined that the system is broken, they lead the revolution. They have a radical heart, seeking radical change. They are willing to give all to the cause. A Revolutionary seeks basic and radical change to meet the needs of others. A Revolutionary does not seek to improve the system, but to radically change the system; they are willing to dismantle the system if need be. When a Reformer feels the reforms have been met, they simply stop what they are doing and settle back into the system. Revolutionaries on the other hand are willing to get out of the steam and walk a very different path.

Those in power within the system view Reformers as “trouble,” as someone to have long talks with about issues, and seek compromise. While those in the system view Revolutionaries as a “pain in the arse” because they know the Revolutionary desires not to talk about things, but desires action to take place.

Those in the system can tolerate Reformers because, in general, they are just like those in the system but they see a slight need for a small change. On the other hand, the system cannot tolerate Revolutionaries at all because they are demanding radical change, and they desire that change quickly. You see, Revolutionaries desire deep, real, lasting, radical, fundamental changes not only for a cause, but also to the system. Those in the system, vested by the system, do not desire such a change because in that, they lose power!

The stark difference between reformers and revolutionaries is that revolutionaries not only truly believe in their cause – but are truly willing to pay the highest prices for it.

But remember – the Kingdom of God is not advanced through compulsion, but by the overflow of our compassion.

WHY IN THE WORLD?

Most of us assume that we know why we do the things what we do. But with that said, how do we explain when things don’t necessarily unfold or end up as we thought or assumed? Better yet, how do we explain when others are able to achieve great things or social change that seems to defy all of the assumptions? For example, why is Apple so innovative year after year? Frankly, they are more creative and innovative than all their competition and yet, they are simply just another computer company. At the end of the day, they are essentially just like every other computer company. All computer companies in the U.S. have the same access to the same talent pool, the same agencies, and the same media outlets…Yet, why is it that they seem to have something different? Why is it that Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights Movement? He certainly wasn’t the only man who suffered in pre civil rights America and he certainly wasn’t the only great speaker of the day. But, why Mr. King? And why is it that the Wright brothers were able to figure out manually controlled flight when there were certainly other folks who were better qualified and better funded? Yet, the Wright brothers beat these other folks and teams to it. How…More importantly, why did this happen? Maybe, we can answer these questions to see and understand both the physical and spiritual applications!

Let’s start by first recognizing and understanding the dynamics of ‘patterns’. All of the great and inspiring leaders and organizations (people with a common belief and goal) in the world, whether it’s Apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brothers – they all think, act, and communicate the exact same way and it’s the complete opposite to most others. Maybe, just maybe, it’s the world’s most simplest formula and visual for understanding why we do the things that we do and why we are person we are. All of this can be understood by visualizing a big target like what you would see at a gun range. Image a target with three circles. The bullseye is ‘Why’. The second ring is ‘How.’ And the outer ring is ‘What’. This target example will help explain why some organizations (church or business) and their associated leaders are able to inspire where others are not.

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Every person and social organization on the planet knows what they do 100% of the time. A portion of these folks know how they do it – but very few people and organizations know why they do what they do. And by ‘why’ I don’t mean to make a profit or to receive a form of gratification – that’s a result. By ‘why’ I mean, what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your destiny? What’s your belief? Let’s break it down even further – Why does the physical or church organizations that  you currently identify with exist? As a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside or the outer ring of the target to the inward. In other words, the way we think and communication typically move outside (what) to inside (why). Unfortunately, this is the norm for most folks and is obvious because we go from the clearest or easiest thing (what something is) to the fuzziest thing (why something is). But inspired leaders and organizations, regardless of their stature and size, all think, act, and communicate from the inside (why) to the outside (what). Let’s look at the following marketing example with the understanding that we all have something to market…Even salvation through Jesus Christ! Hopefully, that doesn’t offend you! But it’s true – how we approach and package communication matters greatly.

Imagine marketing the use and need for an Apple product because they are easy to understand and everybody gets it. If Apple were like everyone else, a marketing message from them may sound like this: We make great computers. They are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one? Meh!

But the truth is that this is how most of us communicate. That’s how most marketing and potential opportunities are communicated and that’s how most of us communicate interpersonally. We say ‘what’ we do, we say ‘how’ we are different or ‘how’ we are better, and we expect some sort of behavioral change, an acceptance of our product, or even an electoral vote.

“Here’s our new law firm. We have the best attorneys with the biggest clients. We always perform for our clients – do business with us.” Or, “Here’s our new car – it gets great gas mileage, it has leather seats and the latest in audio technology – buy our car.” But if we’re honest, these forms of communication are rather mundane and uninspiring.

Here’s how Apple actually communicates – Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?

If we’re honest, this scenario and form of communication is different, right? You’re really ready to buy a computer and all I did was simply reverse the order of the information. Folks don’t buy into what you do, folks buy into your product in regard to why you do it. This explains why every single person reading this is perfectly comfortable buying a computer from Apple whether you have one or not. Not only that, but we are also perfectly comfortable buying an MP3 player from Apple, or a phone from Apple or a DVR from Apple. But as we read earlier, Apple is just a computer company. There’s nothing that distinguishes them structurally from any of their competitors. Their competitors are all equally qualified to make all of these products. (This is wonderful parallel of the church and its myriad of denominations). In fact, a variety of competitors have tried to match Apple’s results such as Gateway whom came out with flat screen TVs. They are imminently qualified to make flat screen TVs, they have been making flat screen computer monitors for years. Yet, nobody bought one! Dell came out with MP3 players and PDAs and they make great quality products and they can make perfectly well designed products –  yet,  nobody bought one! In fact, talking about it now we can’t even imagine buying an MP3 player from Dell. Why would you buy an MP3 player from a computer company anyway? But we do it everyday. People don’t buy into ‘what’ you do, they buy into ‘why’ you do it.

The first step is not to force relationships and to not necessarily conduct business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to build relationship and to conduct business (strengthen connections within the body) with people who believe what you believe. Here’s the best part. None of what I’m telling you is my opinion. It’s all grounded in the foundation and tenants of biology. It’s not psychology or even prophetic, but biology.

If you look at a cross section of the human brain, looking from the top down, what you see is that the human brain is actually sectioned into three major areas that correlate perfectly with the three ringed target. In the human brain, our neocortex corresponds with the “what” level. The neocortex is responsible for all of our rational and analytical thought and language.

The middle two sections make up our limbic brains and our limbic brain is responsible for all of our feelings, like trust and loyalty. It’s also responsible for all human behavior and decision making, yet it has no capacity for language. In other words, when we communicate from the outside in then yes, people can understand vast amounts of complicated information like features, benefits, facts, and figures, but these understandings don’t drive behavior. When we communicate from the inside (why) outward, we are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior and then we allow people to rationalize or process it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions and supernatural discernment come from.

Look, we can give folks all the facts and figures and they will easily say, “I know what all the facts and details are but it just doesn’t feel right.” Or, “I’m just not ready for that…” We hear this because the part of the brain that controls the decision-making, doesn’t control language and the best we can muster up is, “I don’t know. Or, it just doesn’t feel or seem right.”

Or sometimes you say you’re leading with your heart or you’re leading with your soul. Well, I hate to break it to you, those aren’t other body parts controlling your behavior, that’s all happening in your limbic section of the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls decision-making rather than language. So, if you don’t know why you do what you do and people will always respond to why you do what you do – then how will you ever get someone to vote for you, buy something from you, or more importantly be loyal and want to be a part of what it is that you do and believe? Again, the purpose is not just to sell to people who ‘need’ what you have, the goal and purpose is to present to people who believe in the core tenants and values what you believe. The goal and purpose is not just to lead people who need a leader, it is to lead people who believe what you believe for this is the hand of the Lord drawing people unto Himself. It is Christ in YOU and that he is gloried in bringing hope to others.

It’s easy to look back and understand that if a organization, let’s say, an employer hires people just because they can do a job, they will usually work for the money alone. But if you hire people who believe what you believe and why you believe it, they will work for you with blood, sweat, and tears. And nowhere else is there a better example of this than with the Wright brothers.

Most people don’t know about Samuel Pierpont Langley and back in the early 20th century, the pursuit of powered manned flight was like the dotcom of the day. Everybody was trying it. Samuel Pierpont Langley had what we assume to be the recipe for success. I mean, even now when we ask, “Why did your product or company fail?” People always give you the same permutations of the same three things. Undercapitalized, the wrong people, bad market conditions. It’s always the same three things… So let’s explore that. Samuel Pierpont Langley was given $50,000 by the War Department to figure out how to produce a viable flying machine. Money was no problem. He held a seat at Harvard and worked at the Smithsonian and was extremely well connected. He knew all the great minds of the day. He hired the best minds money could find and the market conditions were fantastic. The New York Times followed him around everywhere and everyone was rooting for Langley. Then why have we never heard of Samuel Pierpont Langley? We’ll come back to this question. But a few hundred miles away in Dayton, Ohio lived Orville and Wilbur Wright. They had none of what we’d consider to be the recipe for success.

They had no money, they paid for their dream with the proceeds from their bicycle shop. Not a single person on the Wright brothers’ team had a college education. Not even Orville or Wilbur. And the New York Times followed them around nowhere. The difference was that Orville and Wilbur were driven by a cause, a purpose, a belief. They believed that if they could figure out this flying machine, it will change the course of the world.

Samuel Pierpont Langley was different. He wanted to be rich and he wanted to be famous. He was in pursuit of the result, he was in pursuit of the riches and lo and behold look what happened. The people who believed in the Wright brothers’ dream worked with them with blood, sweat, and tears. The others just worked for the paycheck. And they tell stories about how every time the Wright brothers’ went out, they would have to take five sets of parts because that’s how many times they would crash before they came in for supper. And eventually on December 17, 1903 the Wright brothers took flight and no one was there to even experience it. We found out about it a few days later.

And further proof that Langley was motivated by the wrong thing – the day the Wright brothers took flight, he quit. He could have said, “That’s an amazing discovery guys and I will improve upon your technology.” But he didn’t. He wasn’t first, he didn’t get rich, he didn’t get famous, so he quit. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if you talk about why you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe. Well, why is important to attract those who believe what you believe?

There is something called the law of diffusion of innovation. And if you don’t know the law, then you definitely know the terminology. The first two and half percent of our population are our innovators. The next 13.5 percent of our population are our early adopters, the next 34% are your early majority, the late majority, and your laggards. The only reason these people buy touchtone phones is because you can’t buy rotary phones anymore. We all sit at various places at various times on this scale but what the law of diffusion of innovation tells us is that if you want mass market success or mass market acceptance of an idea, you cannot have it until you achieve this tipping point between 15 and 18 percent market penetration and then the system tips.

I love asking businesses what’s your conversion on new business and they love to tell you proudly, “Oh, it’s about ten percent.” Well you can trip over ten percent of the customers. We all have ten percent who just “get it”. That’s how we describe them. That’s like that gut feeling. “Oh, they just get it.” The problem is how do you find the ones who just get it before you are doing business with them versus the ones who don’t get it. So, it’s this here, this little gap that you have to close as Geoffrey Moore calls it, “Closing the Chasm.” You see, the early majority will not try something until someone else has tried it first and these guys, the innovators and the early adopters, they are comfortable making those gut decisions. They are more comfortable making those intuitive decisions that are driven by what they believe about the world and not just what product is available. These are the people who stood in line for six hours to buy an iPhone when they first came out. When you could have just walked into a store the next week and bought one off the shelf. These are the people who spent $40,000 on flat screen TVs when they first came out even though the technology was substandard. And by the way, they didn’t do it because the technology was so great. They did it for themselves, it’s because they wanted to be first. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe. In fact, people will do the things that prove what they believe. The reason the person bought the iPhone in the first six hours was because of what they believed about the world and how they wanted everybody to see them. They were first.

So let me give you a famous example – a famous failure and a famous success of the law of diffusion of innovation. First the famous failure. It’s a commercial example. As we said before a second ago, the recipe for success is money, and the right people and the right marketing conditions, and you should have success then. Look at TIVO. From the time TIVO came out about eight or nine years ago to this current day, they are the single, highest quality product on the market. Hands down there is no dispute. They are extremely well funded, market conditions were fantastic. I mean we used TIVO as a word, “I love TIVO stuff on my piece of junk Time Warner DVR all the time.” But TIVO is a commercial failure, they never made money. And when they went IPO their stock was about $30 or $40 dollars and then plummeted and it’s never traded above $10. In fact, I don’t think it’s traded above $6 except a couple of little spikes. Because you see, when TIVO launched their product, they told us all what they had. They said, “We have a product that pauses live TV, skips commercials, rewinds live TV and memorizes your viewing habits without you even asking.” And the cynical majority said, “We don’t believe you. We don’t need it. We don’t like it. You’re scaring us.” What if they had said, “If you are the kind of person who likes to have total control over every aspect of your life, boy do we have a product for you. It pauses live TV, skips commercials, memorizes your viewing habits etc.” People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it and what you do simply serves as the proof of what you believe.

Now let me give you a successful example of the law of diffusion of innovation. In the summer of 1963, 250,000 people showed up on the Mall of Washington, DC. to hear Dr. King speak. They sent out no invitations and there was no website to check the date. How do you do that? Well, Dr. King wasn’t the only man in America who was a great orator. He wasn’t the only man in America who suffered in pre civil rights America. In fact some of his ideas were bad but he had a gift. He didn’t go around telling people what needed to change in America. He went around and told people what he believed. “I believe, I believe, I believe,” he told people. And people who believed what he believed took his cause and made it their own and they told people. And some of those people created structures to get the word out to even more people. And lo and behold, 250,000 people showed up on the right day, at the right time to hear him speak. How many of them showed up for him? Zero. They showed up for themselves. It’s what they believed about America that got them to travel in a bus for eight hours to stand in the sun in Washington in the middle of August. It’s what they believed. And it wasn’t about black versus white. Twenty five percent of the audience was white.

Dr. King believed that there were two types of laws in this world: those that are made by a higher authority and those that are made by man and not until all the laws that are made by man are consistent with the laws that are made by a higher authority will we live in a just world. It just so happens that the Civil Rights Movement was the perfect thing to help him bring his cause to life. We follow him not for him, but for ourselves. And by the way, he gave the I Have a Dream speech not the I Have a Plan speech. Listen to politicians now with their comprehensive 12 point plans, they don’t inspire anybody. Because there are leaders and then there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority but those who lead inspire us, whether they are individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why?” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.

Credits: Simon Sinek, Dr. Martin Luther King. Apple Inc., TIVO

WILL THE REAL VICTIM PLEASE STAND UP?

I submit this article with a view toward the future but also utilizing humanity’s past, history and habits in the hope of painting a social picture of the days ahead and a snapshot of America’s choices.

I’ll start by stating that ideologies can easily tempt those who originally reject them. A particular ideology, when stripped by time or partisanship of its political and economic connections, becomes a moralizing form of explanation for such horrors as mass control and mass killing – one that comfortably separates the people who attempt to explain them from the people who control and kill. It’s convenient to see the perpetrator just as someone who holds the wrong idea and is therefore different or even indifferent for that reason. It is easy and even reassuring to ignore the importance of economics and the complications of politics – factors that might in fact be common to historical perpetrators and those who later contemplate their actions. It is far more inviting, at least today in the West, to identify with victims than to understand the historical setting that they shared with perpetrators and bystanders in the fields of natural and spiritual battles. The identification with the victim affirms a radical separation from the perpetrator. The Holocaust guard who starts the ovens or the SS officer who pulls the trigger is not ‘me’ – he is the person who kills someone like myself. Yet, it is unclear whether this kind of alienation from the killer is an ethical or correct stance. It is not all obvious that reducing history to morality ‘stage plays’ makes anyone more moral.

Unfortunately, claiming victim status does not in and of itself bring sound ethical choices. Stalin and Hitler both claimed throughout their political careers to be victims. They persuaded millions of other people that they, too, were victims of an international capitalist or Jewish conspiracy. During the German invasion of Poland, a German soldier believed that the death grimace of a Pole proved that Poles irrationally hated Germans. I once read a story of a Ukrainian communist during one of the famines in the Soviet bloc that found himself beleaguered by the corpses of the starved at his doorstep. The catch is that both portrayed themselves as victims. No major war or act of mass killing in the twentieth century began without the aggressors or perpetrators first claiming innocence and or victimhood. In the twenty-first century, we see a second wave of aggressive wars with victim claims, in which leaders not only present their peoples as victims but make explicit reference back to the mass murders of the twentieth century…Ironic? Certainly not, and should be expected by those who have ears to hear and eyes that survey historical and spiritual landscapes. Victimhood will manifest as a powerful dynamic for both forces of light and darkness. Understanding the motive of the victims, perpetrators, and bystanders will be paramount in choosing the right social path and personal destiny.

The human capacity for subjective victimhood is limitless, and people who believe that they are victims can be motivated to perform acts of great violence. In other words, history has shown us that the Austrian policeman shooting babies at Mahileu, Belarus imagined what the Soviet soldiers would do to his own children. Victims are people; a true identification with them would involve grasping their lives rather than grasping at their deaths which seems to be our human nature. Although, by definition, victims are either dead or unable to defend themselves from the use that others make of their deaths or loss. It is easy to sanctify policies and even identities by the deaths of the victims. It is less appealing, but morally more urgent , to understand the actions of the perpetrator. The moral danger after all, is never that one might become a victim but that one might be a perpetrator or a bystander. It is tempting to say that a ISIS murderer is beyond the pale of understanding. Renowned politicians and intellectuals – for example, have justified revenge and people who have called others subhuman were subhuman themselves. Yet to deny a human being his human character is to render ethics and morality impossible. To yield to this temptation, to find other people to be inhuman, is to take a step toward and not away from past positions that have been embraced by the Babylonians to the Grecian Spartans to the Nazi Germans and permeating to the present day. To simply find people incomprehensible is to abandon the search for understanding, and thus abandon history which will surely repeat itself on a much grander scale.

To dismiss some of the worlds most tragic regimes of the past as beyond human concern or historical understanding is to fall into their moral trap and temptation. The safer route is to realize that their motives for mass control or even killing, however revolting to us, made sense to them. Heinrich Himmler said that it was good to see a hundred, or five hundred, or a thousand corpses lying side by side. What he meant was that to kill another person is a sacrifice of the purity of one’s own soul, and that making this sacrifice, elevated the killer to a higher moral level. (This is critical to the church’s understanding in discerning the mindset of the antichrist deception…for even the elect will be tempted by its lure of misguided righteousness when the times will get even tougher). The truth is that this behavior was an expression of a certain kind of devotion. It was an instance, albeit an extreme and evil one, of a Nazi value that is not entirely alien to most of mankind – the sacrifice of the individual in the name of the community. Herman Goring said that his conscience was named Adolf Hitler. For Germans who accepted Hitler as their leader, faith was very important. The object of their faith could hardly have been more poorly chosen, but their capacity for faith is nonetheless undeniable. The truth is that evil depends upon ‘good’ in the sense that those who come together to commit evil deeds must be devoted one to the other and believe in their cause. Devotion and faith did not make the Nazi Germans good, but they do make them human. Like everyone else, they had access to ethical thinking, even if their own was dreadfully misguided.

The conclusion is that only those who are redeemed and exercise their prophetic muscles will be able to comprehend the truth and rightly discern social ideologies that align with the spirit of Christ and which we choose to follow. God is deeply involved in government, economics, and yes, even politics. If He wasn’t – He wouldn’t have us pray for these institutions nor honor the men and women who have committed to them. The persona of ‘victim’, ‘perpetrator’ and ‘bystander’ possesses the power to implement tremendous change – both tremendously good and horribly bad.

THE SWINGER AND THE SLINGER

A 3rd day message for the kingdom as the body of Christ receives resurrection and revelation power. It is declared and prophesied that the church has risen with vision and armed with the knowledge of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit whom works mightily in you. The Spirit of the Lord says, Come, for the hour has struck in which great feats will be accomplished and awesome victories will be birthed in the valleys of decision as dead dreams are resurrected to life.
I want to thank Kevin and Donna for allowing me to share what the Lord has placed upon heart and if you want to follow along, we’ll start in John 20:2
“Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him.” (John 20:2)
The Bible states that Mary ‘saw’ that the stone had been rolled away and that someone had “taken the Lord’s body.” First, was this an accurate statement that Mary had just spoken to the disciples? Did someone actually take the Lord’s body as Mary clearly interpreted?
The answer must be no. Most reading and hearing this know and understand that Jesus had been resurrected in power. What Mary had ‘seen’ was according to her vision in the natural realm and what she discerned from a natural perspective. Essentially, Mary was formulating a belief system and a conclusion based upon her past experiences in life rather than a prophetic promise which could only be comprehended by spiritual discernment.
In other words, Mary’s past natural experiences wrongly influenced her spiritual insight. The Greek word in the earliest Codex and manuscripts for ‘saw’ is ‘Blepo’ which means to ‘casually or naturally see which is limited to natural observation’.
Continuing in verse 4:
“Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.” (John 20:4)
The original intent and context for what John ‘saw’ in this verse is the same word ‘Blepo’ that Mary had previously based her assumptions on. We see very little progress in discerning the resurrection and the supernatural events Jesus had foretold concerning Himself and the future of the church. We also notice that John did not go into the tomb (which is a picture and type of dying to oneself). Because of this perspective, John’s spiritual understanding would be limited to what he ‘saw’ with his natural eyes and past frames of reference.
“Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” (John 20:6-7)
We’ve now read and recognize that Peter chose to go into the tomb. The original context in which Peter ‘saw’ is the Greek word ‘Thereo’ which is the obvious Greek equivalent of the modern word ‘theory’. Peter is pondering the facts that he is witnessing and we do have some progress, but we do not base our faith and prophetic discernment on theory, assumption and presumption.
“Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he SAW and BELIEVED.” (John 20:8)
John “saw and believed” and something spiritually snapped in the blink of an eye. The Greek word for ‘saw’ in this verse is ‘Eido’ which means to see with understanding or knowledge. It’s no accident or mistake that we have three different Greek words for the same modern translation of ‘saw’ in this short passage and historical event. This is the prophetic and spiritual vision that the Lord desires you and I possess as we continue to experience the kingdom of God on earth moving in power. (Remember the statement: The Kingdom of God on Earth. It’s important that we understand that the earth is evolving as more and more corrupt by the sons of perdition. But the earth is also crying out for the redeeming of the sons and prophets of God for it is our inheritance!)
John saw into the reality, power, and love of the Spirit realm and this anointing of prophetic vision would continue to increase and mature in John’s life, culminating in the Revelation of Jesus Christ – The Spirit of prophecy.
 As we transition into the meat of this message, the Lord said to Samuel “Do not look upon his appearance or in the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as mortals see for they look on the outward appearance. But the Lord looks on the heart”. (1 Sam. 16:7)

Am I a dog that you should come to me with sticks?

In the heart of ancient Palestine, is the region known as the Shephalah which is a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judean Mountains to the East with the wide expanse of the Mediterranean plain.

It’s an area of historic and breathtaking beauty. It’s home to vineyards, wheat fields, and forests of sycamore and terebinth brush. The Shephalah is also of great strategic importance. Over the centuries, numerous battles have been fought for control of the region because the valley’s rising from the Mediterranean plain offer those on the coast a clear path to the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem in the Judean Highlands.

The most important valley is Aijolon in the north. But the most storied is the Elah Valley. Elah’s dirt bore witness to the arrival of the knights of the crusades in the 12th century. It played a central role in the Maccabean Wars with Syria more than a thousand years before. Most famously, during the days of the Old Testament, it was where the fledgling kingdom of Israel squared off against the armies of the Philistines.

The Philistines were most likely from Crete. They were a seafaring people who had moved to Palestine and settled in along the coast. The Israelites were clustered in the mountains under the leadership of King Saul and in the second half of the 11th century B.C., the Philistines began spreading out and moving east winding their way upstream along the floor of the Elah Valley. The goal and enemy strategy was to capture the mountain ridge near Bethlehem and split Saul’s kingdom in two halves as a house divided will not stand!

The Philistines were battle tested and dangerous and already the sworn enemies of the Israelites. Alarmed, Saul gathered his men and hastened down the mountains to confront them. The Philistines set up camp along the southern ridge of the Elah and the Israelites pitched their tents on the other side along the northern ridge which left the two armies gazing across the ridges at each other.

As strong as the Philistines were, neither army dared to move as attacking meant descending down the hill and then making a suicidal climb up the enemies ridge on the other side.

Finally, the Philistines had enough waiting. They sent their greatest warrior down into the valley to resolve the deadlock – one on one (manos-a-manos). He was a giant at least 6’9″ wearing a bronze helmet with full body armor. He carried a javelin, a spear, and a sword and his battle attendant went before him carrying a large shield which was customary for the day to support infantry. The giant faced the Israelites and shouted out, “choose you a man and let him come down to me. If he prevail in battle against me and strike me down – we shall be slaves to you. But if I prevail and strike him down – you will be slaves to us and serve us.”

In the Israelite camp, no one moved. Who could prevail and win against such a terrifying opponent? Then, a shepherd boy who had come down from Bethlehem to bring food to his brothers stepped forward and volunteered. Saul objected to his request and stated, “You cannot go against this Philistine and do battle with him, for you are a lad and he is man of war from his youth.” But this non-assuming shepherd was adamant: “I have faced more ferocious opponents than this” he argued. When the lion or bear would come and carry off his sheep from the herd, he told Saul, “I would go after him and strike him down and rescue it from its clutches.” After all, Saul really had no other options.

Saul relented and the shepherd boy ran down the hill toward the giant standing in the valley and stating: “Come to me that I may give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field.” Thus began one of history’s most famous battles and misconceptions of the position of ‘underdog’. The giant’s name was Goliath. The shepherd boy’s name as most of you know was David.

David and Goliath is a true story about what happens when ordinary people confront giants in their life. By giants, I mean powerful opponents of all kinds. From armies and mighty warriors to disability, misfortune, addictions, financial issues, and various forms of oppression. Each verse of this event tells the story of all of us – whether famous or unknown, ordinary or brilliant, and those who have faced an oversized challenge and have been forced to respond.

Should I play by the established rules or follow my own instincts? Should I persevere or give up? Should I strike back or forgive? Through this story, I want to explore two ideas. The first is much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out these kinds of lopsided conflicts because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and realizes the abundant life.

Secondly, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong and more often than not, misread them. We misinterpret them due to our past and natural frames of reference just as Mary thought that the Lord’s body had been naturally stolen out of the tomb. In other words, we base much of our faith out of past natural experiences rather than spiritual promises. Giants are usually not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of their greatest weakness as I’ll explain.

We need a better understanding of God’s template of facing the giants in our lives and there is no better place to start that journey than with the epic confrontation between David and Goliath 3000 years ago in the Valley of Elah.

When Goliath shouted out to the Israelites, he was asking for what was known as ‘single combat’. This was a common practice in the ancient world as two sides in a conflict would seek to avoid the heavy bloodshed of open battle by choosing one warrior to represent them in a dual. For example, the 1st century B.C. Roman historian Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius (author of 23 books of ancient history) tells of an epic battle in which a Gaul warrior began mocking his Roman opponents. This immediately aroused the great indignation of a man named Titus Manlius Torquatus, a youth of noble birth. Quadragarius writes that Titus challenged the Gaul to a dual. He stepped forward and would not suffer Roman valor to be shamefully tarnished by a Gaul. Armed with a legionary shield and a Spanish sword, he confronted the Gaul. Their fight took place on the bridge over the Arno River in the presence of both armies amid great apprehension just like in the Valley of Elah. Thus, they confronted each other – the Gaul according to his method of fighting – with shield advanced and waiting in attack. Manlius, relying on courage rather than the established skill struck shield against shield and threw the Gaul off balance. While the Gaul was trying to regain the same position, Manlius again struck shield against shield and again forced the man to change his ground. In this fashion, he slipped under the Gaul’s sword and stabbed him in the chest with his Spanish blade. After he had slain him, Manlius cut off the Gaul’s head and tore out his tongue as it was with blood upon it and placed it around his own neck.

This is what Goliath was expecting. A warrior like himself to come forward in hand to hand combat. It never occurred to him that the battle would be fought in anything other than the terms he had prepared for. To protect himself against blows to the body, he wore an elaborate tunic made up of hundreds of overlapping bronze fish-like scales. It covered his arms and reached to his knees and probably weighed more than a hundred pounds. He had bronze shin-guards protecting his legs with attached bronze plates covering his feet and wore a heavy metal helmet.

He had three separate weapons all optimized for close combat. He held a javelin made entirely of bronze which was capable of penetrating a shield or even armor. He had a sword on his hip and as his primary option, he carried a unique short range spear with a metal shaft as thick as a “weavers beam.” It had a cord attached to it and a elaborate set of weights that allowed it to be released with a powerful force and accuracy. To the Israelite, this extraordinary spear with its heavy shaft and long and heavy iron blade when thrown by Goliath’s strong arm, seemed possible of piercing any bronze shield and bronze armor together. Can you see why no Israelite would come forward to fight Goliath from natural eyes and a natural perspective?

Then David appears. Saul tries to give him his own sword and armor so at least he’ll have a fighting chance but David refuses. “I can’t walk in these he says, For I am unused to it.” Instead, he reaches down and picks up five smooth stones and puts them in his shoulder bag. Then David descends into the valley carrying his shepherds staff.

Goliath looks at the boy coming toward him and is insulted as he was expecting to do battle with a seasoned warrior. Instead, he sees a shepherd, a boy from the lowliest of all professions who seems to want to use his shepherd’s staff as a laughable weapon against Goliath’s sword. “Am I a dog” Goliath says gesturing at the staff – “That you should come to me with sticks?”

What happens next is a matter of legend. David puts one of his stones into the leather pouch of a sling and he fires at Goliath’s exposed forehead. Goliath falls and is stunned. David runs toward him; seizes the giant’s sword and cuts off his head. The Philistines saw that their warrior was dead and they fled as the Bible states.

“The battle is won miraculously by an underdog who by all expectations should not have won at all”. This is how we have told or explained to one another this story over the many centuries since. It is exactly how the well known phrase “David and Goliath” has come to be embedded in our language, conscious, and culture as a metaphor for improbable victory. But the problem with that version of events and the pipe we’ve been smoking from is that almost everything about it including its perceived revelation is entirely wrong!

Ancient armies reflected three kinds or types of warriors. The first was cavalry – armed men on horseback or in chariots. The second was infantry – foot-soldiers wearing armor and carrying swords and shields. The third was projectile warriors or what we would understand today as ‘artillery’. These artillery skills would be expressed on ancient battlefields as archers and slingers.

The Slingers had a leather pouch attached on two sides by a long strand of rope. They would put a rock or a lead ball into the pouch, swing it around at increasingly wider and faster circles and then release one end of the rope hurling the rock forward. Slinging took an extraordinary amount of skill and practice, but in experienced hands, the sling was a devastating weapon.

Paintings from medieval times show slingers hitting birds in mid flight. Irish slingers were said to able to hit a coin from as far away as they could see it. And in the Old Testament book of Judges, slingers are described to be accurate within a “hair’s breath.”

An experienced slinger could kill or seriously injure a target at a distance of up to 200 yards. The Romans even had a special set of tongs just to remove stones that had been embedded in some unfortunate soldier’s body by a sling. Imagine standing in front of a major league baseball pitcher as he aims the baseball at your head. That’s what facing a slinger was like. Only what was being thrown wasn’t a ball of cork and leather, but a solid rock and understanding what and who the quote: “Rock” is will translate into defeat or victory!

History has also shown us that the sling was such an important weapon in ancient warfare that the three kinds or types of ancient warriors balanced each other. This would be similar to each dynamic in the game of rock, paper, scissors. With their long prods and ground pikes and armor, infantry could stand up to cavalry. Cavalry could in turn defeat projectile warriors because the horses moved too quickly for artillery to take proper aim. And projectile warriors were deadly against infantry because lumbering soldier weighed down with armor were a sitting duck for a slinger who would be slinging projectiles from over a hundred yards away. This is exactly why the Athenian expedition failed in the Peloponnese War. The Athenian heavy infantry was decimated in the mountains by local light infantry – primarily using the sling. (Russia was defeated by tribal Afghanistan using the same methodology). Goliath is a type of heavy infantry. He thinks he is going to be engaged in a dual with another heavy infantry-man. Our gravest error is fighting evil on evil’s playing field and expectations. In the same manner as Titus Manlius’ fight with the Gaul – Goliath states, “Come to me that I may give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field.” The key phrase is: “Come to me.” In other words, Goliath means, come right up to me so we can fight at close quarters. When Saul tries to dress David in armor and give him a sword, he is operating under the same assumption and carnal understanding. He sees or envisions David fighting Goliath hand to hand.

David however, has no intention to honor the traditions of man, traditions of single combat the establishment, and the means of “established warfare.” When he tells Saul that he has killed bears and lions as a shepherd, he does so not just as a testimony to his courage, but to create another testimony as well (Folks can dispute your doctrine, but they can’t dispute your testimony) David will fight Goliath the same way that he has learned to fight large and wild animals as a projectile warrior. David, without hesitation, runs towards Goliath because without armor, he has speed and maneuverability. He puts a rock into his sling and whips it around and around, faster and faster a t 6-7 revolutions per second while aiming the projectile at Goliath’s forehead – the giants only point of vulnerability.

Modern tests and calculations reflect that a typically sized stone hurled by an expert slinger at a distance of 115 feet would have hit Goliath’s head with a velocity of 112 feet per second. This is more than enough to penetrate his skull and render him unconscious or dead. In terms of stopping power, that would equate to a medium sized modern handgun. We find that David fired and hit Goliath within just one second. This range of time so brief that Goliath would not have been able to protect himself and which he would have been stationary for all practical purposes.

I mean, what could Goliath do? He was carrying over a hundred pounds of armor. He was prepared for a battle at close range where he could stand strong but immobile warding off blows with his armors and delivering a mighty thrust of his spear. He watched David approach first with scorn, then with surprise, and then with what could only have been genuine fright as it dawned on him that the battle he was expecting has suddenly changed shape. The prophetic application to this statement is paramount to church’s and our personal future success.

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin. But I come against you in the name of the Lord and the Lord will deliver you into my hands and I will strike you down and cut off your head. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Twice, David mentions Goliath’s sword and spear as if to emphasize how profoundly different his intentions really are. He then reaches in his shepherd’s bag for a stone and at that point no one watching from the ridges from either side of valley would have figured David’s victory improbable. David was a slinger and all in attendance knew that slingers beat infantry hands down.

Goliath had as much chance of victory over David as any bronze age warrior with a sword would have had with a Green beret armed 45 automatic pistol. Folks, this wasn’t even close!

Underdog my…..As I earlier stated, there has been much misunderstanding and what has been passed down from generation to generation and the true essence of what happened that day in the Valley of Elah. David is representative of you and me in that we have been redeemed and empowered which should reflect a different perspective than the world’s perspective in overcoming giants and obstacles. It also reveals the church’s preconceived notions and folly in regard to genuine power and what is already available as Kingdom citizens. If we are truly kingdom culture, then we understand that we are from heaven and colonizing the earth. We are not defensive nor are we underdogs. We are colonizers!

The reason King Saul is skeptical of David’s chances is because David is small and Goliath is large. Saul thinks of power in terms of physical might, past frames of reference, and doesn’t understand that power comes in many other forms and expressions. Adhered rules of the mind generated by our past natural experiences are meant to be broke! Spiritual speed (prayer) and maneuverability (prophetic utterance) will always overcome natural and brute strength in overcoming giants as we are more than conquerors. We can take this story and prophetic offering and apply its lessons in many areas of life. Again, what we perceive as a strong and undefeatable adversary – It’s pronounced strength is usually its greatest weakness in being defeated.

FLAMMING LIPS SINK SHIPS

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As we move into the year 2017, what should be our focus and what is the Father corporately speaking? I’m sure that many of us would love to know, but why don’t you know? Maybe, we can start by understanding that although we do not live in the past, the past certainly lives in us individually and culturally in varying degrees. Warfare, conquest, and revenge is a major part of that past and has been a major developer within the cultures of world history. We experience these collective and cultural offsprings in our generation today. Wars or battles of conquest have changed languages, economies, moral and social fabrics of entire people groups which continues to the current day. The manifestations can be attributed via many mediums such as military, media propaganda, sociopolitical, and economically within the marketplace.

As a result of man’s propensity to satisfy greed through conquest, the western American hemisphere (where I live) is today a much larger natural and spiritual geography of a European civilization than Europe itself! Even those today in the western hemisphere who may dislike European ideologies express that form of displeasure in European languages and denounce it as immoral by European standards of morality. Ironic? Have we ever really or truly thought about these dynamics within a prophetic context?

The truth is that America ‘had’ to rescue Europe many times such as World War I and World War II for very specific reasons. This statement is akin to children who still unconditionally love and oddly protect their parents whom may not treat them well and even abuse them. Such is the relationship between America and Europe.

The history of conquest and man’s propensity to embrace secular, religious, and spiritual ‘armies’ and references to weaponry is not just about the past (although it has shaped the world’s cultures as I stated earlier) – it’s also very much about the present and the future as it unfolds. Warfare and conquest ultimately speaks to why we have arrived at where we are economically, intellectually, and socially. Likewise, it will define our future as the ultimate revelation.

Humanity in its spiritually unregenerate state is the offspring or first born of violence and its spirit has continued to grip many hearts (even those who are spiritually redeemed and especially of the prophetic persuasion). The flesh nature of man continually desires to conquer from both selfish agenda and perceived goodness. We need to look no further than much of today’s damning prophecies of doom directed toward mankind within the dispensation of grace and God’s love.

A true picture comes into view that after thousands and thousands of years, mankind is still juvenile and delinquent in its treatment of one another. Greed for earthly treasure which is surely to pass in our short life rules the day as it did in generations past. Humanity’s legacy is stained by the blood of religious zealots, political greed, marketplace greed, and the lust for economic cargo which is forever tied to what is earthly and temporal.

Many have wondered where and how America will be positioned and its relevance in the future as the days unfold. Why is America or the western hemisphere not specifically mentioned in most ancient texts that speak to the prophetic future? The answer may be that America is still spiritually tied to Europe and the soul-ties have never been broken due to the ‘conquest spirit’ that was inflicted upon native cultures and the soon enslavement of other peoples thereafter?

The Revelation of days will unfold for America as it will Europe who birthed her unless the ties are broken. The U.K. exiting from the E.U. is the first step of untying these spiritual and constrictive ties. Essentially, the umbilical cord of mother Europe that nourished the hostile takeover of the Americas was never severed through true and genuine repentance. America is still drinking the mother’s milk and she has never truly asked for forgiveness nor been forgiven.

We must ask ourselves why are the predominate parts or verbiage of prophetic offerings today laced with such militaristic or conquest laded wording such as “army”, “swords”, “battle” which continue on in the dispensation of grace? I believe that these militaristic messages reveal spiritual importance and are significant as I sought clarity concerning our culture, impact, and heart condition as believers in Christ and how prophecy is meant to reveal the Spirit or mind of Christ. In other words, who are we culturally in regard to identity as a prophetic church? Do we accurately reflect the culture and mandates of the kingdom? What is our true agenda and genuine spirit for this hour and generation? Could we be missing something when we look back at the lack of impact we have had upon humanity as the church? Why has the church lacked impact with such catastrophically nominal results? Are Christians really ready to have their paradigms, dogmas, and spiritual cultures turned inside-out? Maybe, as many continually cry out and seek a paradigm shift or breakthrough from God and desire change…But do we really? The answer is not yet…But we will!

The bible states in Revelation 22: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

We should consider if these relatively modern types of prophetic and militaristic proclamations are essentially “adding to the book” since the Revelation has been declared, determined, and sealed. As a prophetic individual or generation, we can only justify our declarations of ‘judgement’ by stating that we have not added to the ‘words’ of the Revelation as it has been decreed and sealed. To clarify: First, does it really matter? Yes! Doesn’t the words we speak or pen reflect our true heart condition and culture in usurping the position of God in rendering judgement upon another as a supplement to ‘this prophecy’ as stated in scripture? This is interesting since we are all likewise sinners saved by grace, and to have received grace ourselves as filthy rags and then to turn and cast judgment upon another(s) via prophecy is questionable and should at least be prayerfully considered.

Secondly, the Bible states this directive: “To everyone who hears the words of this prophecy.” It would seem that adding to prophecy through the actual letter or Word via pen was and is not the intent or meaning since the far majority of folks (especially the saved) were not skilled in writing or literate at the time of this inspiration anyway. The warning was clearly directed to “everyone who heard” the prophecy and understood its meaning. In other words, it was not only adding to the canon of scripture that instituted the warning – but adding to it’s intent and purpose in our hearts as well!

Most prophetic utterances of judgement regarding family, people groups, countries, political leaders etc., generate from frustration. This is understandable and hinges from the wickedness and debauchery in the world today…I get it. Although there are certainly many areas which are tragic in the cultures of humanity as a whole, we have actually come a long way in regard to civilization and how we interact with one another (especially across ethnic, social and cultural boundaries). Just a generation ago, the United States was still exhibiting strong elements of racism and prejudice under a warped guise of ‘Christianity’. Native Americans were annihilated under the banner of manifest destiny. Private properties were confiscated under abusive immanent domain laws, and the judicial government under the Hoover years were much more abusive / intrusive in spirit in regards to personal privacy.

If we look back from the time of Christ’s burial and resurrection which ushered in the dispensation of grace, we can easily see a trend toward improved global behavioral and cultural improvement. Slavery and forced labor was common and accepted in all cultures and societies around the world. Human brutality, chronic rape, serfdom, child sacrifice, superstition, mythology, fear mongering, no rights for women, blood revenge, manhood rituals, taxation without representation, despotism, and continual warfare were the norm and expected rather than unexpected on every square mile of dirt on the planet.

How can we as a prophetic generation declare with a clear conscience that the world is so much more evil and wicked than any other time previous in history? This is simply not true and negates the authenticity of the prophecy at its conception and inception. Sin still ravages the world, but this is to be expected as long as souls encased in flesh and bone walks upon it! However, we have a choice to make moving forward in regard to how the prophetic voice (the Spirit of Christ) views the world, views its people, and how it translates the purpose and power of the cross.

The sacrifice and power of the cross must not be declared as having no effect. It is still active, powerful and cuts to the core of soul and spirit. As Ambassadors of Christ, the same mighty power to affect others resides in us as believers. But yet, many prophesy and declare judgement and disaster upon humanity and geographies because we fail to see results in our frustration. The core problem is that we have created a vicious cycle of judgement and plagues upon ourselves because we have not heeded the warning in Revelation 22 and have “added to these prophecies” in casting retribution upon others no different than ourselves – except that we have been saved and transformed by grace and not of our own merit. Many easily declare that the hearts and intentions of others will be revealed…But do we want ours revealed for all to see as well? Self-righteousness is the seed-bed which easily grows full bloom into pride and spiritual arrogance.

Man’s seeking for judgement upon another man rather than justice tempered with mercy always develops into a cycle of retribution. We can clearly see through history to the present day that if a wrong is committed against a certain individual – that individual will usually desire equal or oftentimes a more severe punishment than the crime committed against them. We know this as punitive nature which is ingrained in the flesh of man. This spirals out of control not only at the personal level, but at societal and national levels as well. These are the punitive retributions that most wars are made of. Humanity’s impulse and propensity for others to pay dearly for their crimes is an overwhelming one which we must take note of and wonder if it has affected our persona and culture (spiritually as much as naturally)?

The good news is that we can rest in Christ because we know that we serve a Lord and God who will make all things right at the end. This has been the overarching power that has held mankind back from destroying itself generations ago. The judgement and justice of God is awesome in both power and intense love. We see this attribute exhibited in the redeemed man in that we can possess wrath and anger not in spite, but because we love so deeply. Anger is not the opposite of love. Hate is. The final form of hate is indifference which many prophetic offerings sadly possess.

God’s wrath is not a mean explosion, but His intense opposition to the spiritual cancer which is eating out the insides of the human race which He loves with his whole being. If I don’t believe that there is a God who will eventually put all things right and in order, my flesh will take up the sword and will be sucked into the endless vortex of retaliation. Only if I am sure that there is a God who will right all wrongs and settle all accounts perfectly do I have the power to refrain. This not only includes physical violence, but the violence we declare from our words that so easily roll off our tongues which may be the the most powerful weapon of all…

We don’t need to judge and condemn the world, our countries, our societies, political leaders and others. They are already judging themselves in knowingly rejecting His grace and love. Our position is to proclaim truth in the spirit of faith, hope, and love. Our ‘culture’ is to extend love and hope in bringing them to faith in Christ in 2017.