Thoughts of the State of the Union Address

If you are like me, watching the State of the Union Address can stir up negative feelings.  In recent years, we can tune in to see half the room not clapping for a President, while the other half proudly roaring.  It has been such a direct reflection of the health condition of our nation that it makes me want to throw up!

But last night, I got up from the couch after listening to President Trump, and I was truly hopeful.  For the first time, I saw the “wall” between the parties crack.  President Trump delivered a message that brought all together several times, even when it was uncomfortable for some to admit they agreed to what was being said.

It was almost comical watching people squirm in their seats not wanting to stand or clap for an issue they were passionate about after hearing from Trump how he was tackling these issues with results.

I was in complete admiration of this one thing that we can all take away from this speech:  Trumps speech for the most part stayed connected to the heart of what ALL Americans desire for this nation, and in doing so, both parties found themselves standing and clapping even if that person had pretermined he/she wouldn’t participate.

All great leaders find a way to stir up the hearts and to bring people together for a common cause that speaks truth.  All Americans want to protect our freedom, our liberty, and to keep America safe.  We may all differ in how we go about that plan, but if we all stopped and thought about it, we live in one of the greatest nations in the world.

When a leader stands for what God says is right and true; when a leader calls out evil or takes a stand against what God calls evil, without blaming or shaming…regardless of what political party you lean toward, we are compelled to root for righteousness.

The Lord says that the truth sets us free and that righteousness brings a sure reward.

Our job is to find out what God says is right and true, stand in that, and let Him do what we call impossible… heal the hearts and heal this nation.

Now we must all have the boldness to stand strong as well in what is right and true according to God’s word, and simply do our part.

There is so much I could comment on this Address, like all the heart-warmed stories that almost made cry.  And I am sure, there could be much to criticize.  But I prefer to stick to this one high note, and begin hoping for progress.

The SuperBowl Speaks

Many Americans spent time watching Super Bowl 53, and given this event has a national stage, I take note of some of the details that God may be saying.

Seven years ago, the Patriots were in the Super Bowl playing the NY Giants.  The Giants defeated them 21 to 7.  How I know this is because I wrote it in my journal after the Lord put it in my heart to do so.

7 years later, the Patriots came out the victor, beating the Rams 13 to 3.

Back in 2012, when the Patriots lost to the Giants, I felt like God told me that the “giants” in America (those who were trying to steal, kill, and destroy America’s God given destiny), were still in the “winning” position.  These “giants” were, and are, the source of the great divide and corruption in our nation.

But seven years later, the Patriots (Heart of America) defeated the Rams. This is a hopeful sign of a turn around coming, which I believe coincides with the “fall of Babylonian” written in Rev 17,18.

In Super Bowl 53, the Patriots only scored 13 points.  Why was this number significant?  13 is the number identified with America’s foundation, founded by Christians, beginning with the 13 colonies.

America went on to establish a flag that has 13 stripes:

american flag close up design flag

Photo by Octavio Suarez on Pexels.comI

 

In addition, the making of our Presidential Seal has the number 13 several times:  The eagle grasps an olive branch in its right talon with 13 leaves and 13 berries, and a bundle of 13 arrows and 13 feathers in its left.

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God likened Israel to an Olive Tree which stands for peace (Jer. 11:16;Hos. 14:5-7).  The olive branch and arrows are symbols for the power of peace.  The eagle holds an open scroll in its beak inscribed with the Latin 13-letter motto “E pluribus Unum”,which means “Out of Many, One.”

The victory of the Patriots may be a hopeful sign.  I am believing  that we are at a tipping point in America to see her wake up to her identity and destiny and get victory over the works of the enemy that are trying to destroy her.  The prayers of the saints(Patriots) will prevail!

Over the years, the Super Bowl has become America’s national  “feast” of sorts, which has had the ability to join the nation together for celebration.

This event has affected each home, business, conversation, and paycheck, whether you celebrate it or not.  It has given me a picture of what it could look like if the nation began celebrating Gods Feasts and how we can all be united in one purpose:  ONE NATION UNDER GOD. 

It seemed this year that the interest in the Super Bowl has diminished a bit.  Perhaps that too is a hopeful sign: that instead of lifting up man and his accomplishments while they kiss the Lombardi trophy,  we will see how the true value that brings peace is not in what man can accomplish, but in what Jesus already accomplished on the cross.

Things always get messy before deliverance comes.  Our nation is looking pretty messy right now, but isn’t that when God can come in at our greatest time of need and get all the glory.  It requires our humility…not a trophy.

 

 

 

THE FINAL EXCHANGE

If you have been waiting on God in the “hidden place,” this blog will encourage you.  I have titled it, “the final exchange” because this trade must take place before you launch into the call that is ahead.

The preparation process Moses went through is the example God put on my heart to exemplify this “final exchange.” After years of “training” in the wilderness as a shepherd, Moses had an encounter with God at Mount Horeb that shifted him from being a shepherd of sheep to a sheep of the great Shepherd.  His burning bush encounter released his kingdom covenant purpose of why the Lord made a way for Moses to escape the Hebrew baby death warrant. (Ex1,2).

During this encounter, the voice of “I AM” was instructing Moses how to shepherd the Hebrews (Israelites) to fulfill His prophetic promise He had given to Abraham:

“Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.  And and also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they call come out with great possessions” (Gen. 15:13-16).

God told Moses he was going to use him to bring deliverance to the Hebrews from the bondage of slavery, and to lead them to the mountain where God could establish a Covenant with the nation.  This wasn’t a small job, and neither is OUR part in what God is doing in the earth today.

Moses didn’t jump up and down right away with excitement.  I think the Moses prior to leaving Pharaoh’s palace would have had no reservation, and in his zeal, would have stood before Pharaoh in his own strength, mimicking Pharaoh’s leadership.  Evidence of this is when Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and how he responded:

“So he looked this way and that way, and who he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand” (Ex. 2:12).

Moses thought he had covered up this wrong, but some of the Hebrews saw what he did and exposed Moses.  Then Pharaoh found out, and wanted to kill him, which is why Moses fled to the wilderness.

We can sympathize with Moses as to why he would have some serious doubts that God had the right guy after considering his past.

Moses reply to the Lord was:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Ex. 3:11)?

And again,

“BUT suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you'” (Ex. 4:2).

The questions Moses asked initiated the process of the “final exchange.” Those questions obviously revealed doubts Moses had of what God wanted him to do.  But digging deeper, they revealed the shame Moses had deep within his soul that was speaking louder than God’s voice and convincing him he wasn’t good enough for the job.

The fear of introducing an idea and being ridiculed, laughed at, or belittled is the product of shame.  Beyond that comes the fear of failure or the fear of being wrong. 

Shame causes us to hide to save face, so he was probably thinking, Why would I go back to the place I lost face, position, and reputation?”  Why would I go back to the place I first failed, then killed, and fled?  I am pretty comfortable hidden here in Midian.”

God begins to address the shame with HIS ability to cover him and His solution:

“So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

Moses said, “A rod.”

 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “REACH OUT your hand and take it by the TAIL” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that THEY may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you” (Ex. 4:2-5).

The minute Moses threw down the rod, he    allowed himself to be vulnerable with God.

The account tells us that when Moses saw the staff turn into a serpent, he ran from it.  The serpent revealed that which was hidden that could have hindered the call; exposing the weakness in Moses and the enemy. God was going to turn the weakness into a SIGN of His strength and power in Moses.

When God told Moses to REACH OUT and take it by the tail, he had to OVERCOME his initial fear and trust God would make a way to protect him.  Why I say this is because God did not tell him to take it by the neck, which is how you would render a snake powerless.  Instead, he told him to take it by the tail, which would show Moses that the serpent (enemy) could not triumph over him, even in his weakness.

Separation from the staff left Moses vulnerable and gave God permission to perfect the process for Moses to come to terms with what God was revealing, and to transform Moses’ dependency on God.  The healing began, but it took time to perfect wholly.  BUT IN THE PROCESS OF STEPPING OUT WITH THE “ROD”, COMPLETION WAS PERFECTED.

This transaction began a new pattern for Moses to overcome shame, and the key factor is that all Moses had to do in this “final exchange” was to REACH OUT when God called.   At the moment when the enemy (serpent) was manifesting, God’s OVERCOMING power was there the moment he went toward it.

God also used this sign because he knew that the Egyptian magicians would use their trickery to mimic His sign.  Moses would have total recall that God’s power was greater than Pharaoh’s at his first time up for bat, and this set a precedence for Moses to stand in faith every time Pharaoh refused to listen.

Moses saw his authority was not in his ability but in his availability to pick up the staff and use God’s authority as instructed.  Moses would use it to turn the Nile into blood, part the Red Sea, bring water out of a rock in the wilderness, and secure Israel’s victory in battle.

The second sign God gave Moses in this “final exchange” was when he asked him to “put your hand in your bosom” (Ex. 4:7).  When Moses took out his hand, it was leprous, and when God told him to put his hand back in his bosom, he pulled it out and it was restored.

This second sign revealed the promise of death to the flesh (shame) and life glorified as God’s SIGN to His people. God would not only restore Moses, but also the Covenant people of God.

These signs the Lord gave in response to Moses asking Him, “But suppose….” were for Moses first as we have discussed, but they were also a SIGN for the Hebrews later. They knew him a “prince of Egypt,” but he was returning as the “deliverer” they had been praying for.  Moses’ faith had to be greater in God than in the opinion or reaction of the Hebrews who would persecute and turn on him at one point in this process.

The Blue Letter Bible commentary says this:

“There was a real message in the first two signs. The first said, “Moses, if you obey Me, your enemies will be made powerless.” The second said “Moses, if you obey Me, your pollution can be made pure.” Doubts in each of these areas probably hindered Moses, and before those signs ministered to anyone else, they ministered to Moses. This is the pattern with all God’s leaders.”

So what are we to take away from this?  I believe the experiences the remnant has had of getting crushed by rejection, failure, persecution, and character assassination demand the “final exchange” prior to take off.

It is difficult to go forward with God’s instruction without our minds thinking about what happened in the past.  Some of us still have the heat of the consequences of our sinful choices still cooling off in God’s sanctification process. Moses probably remembered how he killed the Egyptian, which was then followed by, “How can God use me now?”

FEAR of falling (failing)….can loom in the back of our minds, and as we learn to surrender this fear through the sanctification process, God delivers us AT HIS APPOINTED TIME.  God’s Word says in Psalm 34:22:

“The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”

When it was God’s appointed time, He answered the prayers of the Hebrews, who had been asking the Lord to deliver them from evil:

“So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel and God acknowledged them” (Ex. 2:24).

In answering this prayer, GOD called Moses forth.  Moses wasn’t perfect when it was time to GO.  But God would equip Moses for the job, and deliver his soul from anything that would hinder him from fulfilling the call.  

Amazingly, this staff in our hands can be a serpent if it is not completely surrendered to the Lord. God knows what can destroy us, and so this “final exchange” is necessary so we can have faith in His instruction and enjoy His victory.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the doubt in your mind that hinders you from stepping out fully in faith to what God has called you to do?
  2. Where is your comfort level of vulnerability?
  3. How do you protect these vulnerabilities and at what cost?
  4. What do you do when you feel emotionally exposed?
  5. How willing are you to take emotional risks?
  6. How do you behave when you feel uncomfortable or uncertain?
  7. Do you spend time and energy trying to make the uncertain certain?
  8. Do you use “crazy busy” as armor?  How?

(Questions from a great book called, “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown)

Finally, what are the “excuses?” Ask these questions in the next couple months of Adar, because as you do, you are entering into the process of the  “final exchange.”  

Quoting Brene Brown from her book:

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional.  Our only choice is a question of engagement.  Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

Right before God is about to send us forth by His Spirit to conquer and do what He has destined us to do for Him, there is a weakness in us that God wants to govern.  He wants to ask us to surrender to His exchange. Hidden in our soul could be something we fear more than the Lord, and is the very place the “serpent” can deceive us, argue against God’s word, and cause the lie to become truth to our soul.  More importantly, the Lord loves us too much to not deal with this hidden sin that could destroy us later without recovery.

By the time we are called out to “GO,” as God gives His instruction, all of His servants must go through the “final exchange.” 

ADAR begins February 4th, and is the month in the Hebrew Covenant Calendar that means to be made honorable; glorious. (2 Chron. 5:19-21).  Praying you encounter His “final exchange” for you.