The Spirit’s Eye


“No one has ever seen this, and no one has ever heard about it.  No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.  But God has shown us these things through the Spirit.”  (I Cor. 2:9-10 NCV)

Years ago, my now brother-in-law Tommy had a poster on his office wall that, at first glance, just appeared to be a nice purple-and-blue pattern.  I thought it was pretty but really didn’t see anything outstanding there.  Eventually one day, I heard some of the others talking about the picture-inside-the-picture…and I was intrigued enough to press in closer.  I saw nothing.  It was one of those times where you wonder, “Should I be like the people in the Emperor’s New Clothes story, and pretend I see what isn’t there…or do I just admit that I don’t get it?”

Well, I ‘fessed up…I really didn’t get it.  So Tommy said, “You’re trying too hard.  You have to just relax and let your vision blur a little.  When you stop trying to SEE it, you’ll see it!”  And he was right.  After a couple of tries, it was as if the hidden images materialized out of nowhere.  Now, the theme of that particular poster turned out to be Star Trek…but after I discovered the whole “Mind’s Eye” picture series, I just became an instant fan.  I sought out other similar pictures to peer into and enjoy.

As believers in Christ, many (probably most) of us breeze, at least in our fledgling years, right past situations that appear one way but have hidden spiritual undertones.  It’s not a sin to be unable to read those signs; yet, we can miss some really important, even critical, messages God is trying to show us in the spirit realm.  We can live a very superficial Christian life, saved as can be, but still not have a depth of understanding that will mature us and make our walk effective.

Now, to become spiritually-minded, we don’t have to become hermits, shave our heads, or adopt bizarre behaviors!  However, our affections and appetites change as we draw closer to God.  As we begin to savor the deep things in the Word, and as we spend time in prayer and just fellowship with our Father, a side to us is opened up which we didn’t know we had.  Carnal mindsets start dying off, and we begin to understand a greater scope of what’s going on around us.

I’ll give you a little example, because becoming spiritually-minded has been and is an ongoing process with me, too.  At one time, I might have looked at face values of situations which need changing, and might have only seen the visible problem instead of the hidden cause of it.  The Lord has enabled me, over time, to become aware of the “picture-within-the-picture.”   Rather than just seeing a geographical area full of drug-addicted people, and shaking my head at the astounding statistics, now I realize that there are territorial strongholds which exist on a different plane: addictive spirits which acquire dominance in a particular place…strongholds which can only be broken through prayer, through fasting, and through persistence.  The problems we “see” in the natural realm are pretty much just the results, and not heart of those problems at all!  So when we try to attack that growth from the stem up, it keeps coming back.  We cannot do war against a spiritual entity by fighting against flesh and blood opponents!  Try to rid your lawn of the clover and dandelions by mowing, and see how long they stay gone!

Now, there will always be a need for support groups,positive changes in the natural, etc., but until we see beyond the visible to the root of the problem, and begin to conduct warfare on the root-end of the situation, we will be at best just maintaining.  We can clean out corruption by calling in the authorities, but unless there is spiritual deliverance—unless ground is taken by righteousness where once was wickedness—we will see different faces but the same problem, stemming from that original root.

There is a bit of a price to pay for becoming spiritually-minded.  It comes right back around to time spent in God’s presence.  You cannot think like God thinks if you aren’t willing to hang out with Him and let the mind of Christ rub off on you!  Having His mind won’t make you weird, cultic, eccentric, or “out there;” although, folks may just not get you when you make observations from a perspective they can’t see.  Being occasionally misunderstood is a very small investment, when going deeper into your relationship with God empowers you to pray and to see in a much greater way than before.

God doesn’t give us this ability just so we can feel “enlightened” above other people.  No, that’s where we could dance a fine line of hypocrisy.  It doesn’t make us superior to the average believer, so there’s absolutely no room to gloat in one’s spirituality.  God gives us that deeper vision so that we can see as He sees–to respond as He responds,  and so that we will be proactive to promote His righteous will on earth.  To merely SEE on a deeper level would only drive us to despair, without God’s Word and without His instructions on what we are to do with the revelation He’s given us.  Remember, the devil has his own counterfeit spirituality too, and some may confuse being psychic with the kind of spiritual sight I’m talking about.  When Satan approached Eve in the garden, he said that God didn’t want them to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because God didn’t want their eyes to be opened to see what He sees.  Why, that made the fruit even more delectable…to think, that she could become privy to something God was concealing from her; something with which she might then have a right to disagree!  Therein lies the difference.  When God reveals a matter to us, it’s to bring us into alignment with His will—not to consume our knowledge on our own greed, or form our own carnal opinions about it.  Satan’s intent behind luring people into pseudo-spirituality is to cause them to think independently of God’s will.  Eve managed to be duped into thinking that God was keeping her from something good.   What she, and so many others have failed to understand over the years (to their destruction), is that outside of God’s will, nothing good exists in the first place.

With more understanding comes more responsibility.  God doesn’t grant you the gift of discernment, for instance, so that you can peek into other people’s secret faults and frailties and use those weaknesses to harm them.  It’s not given with the purpose of advancing you AT ALL.  As a matter of fact, a person with special discernment may very well have to gird himself/herself up in the area of having judgmental tendencies.  A person of discernment must also learn to be silent about what God does not choose to reveal to others.  We must NOT reveal what God has confided in us, and certainly not with the motive of making ourselves look more spiritual to other people!  There’s absolutely no room for a gossiping spirit or a manipulative spirit in the life of a Believer who walks on this level.  Conversely, as our awareness of spirit realm is heightened, we must choose to become more humble, more consecrated, more surrendered to God.  Our carnal nature, if not put under submission, will only make a mess out of what God’s wanting to give us for His good purposes.  We cannot afford to try to use our gifts outside the realm of His Word and His will.  We are called to prayer, and on one’s knees is the best place to remain when humility is paramount.  Trust me…if you walk closely to God, there may be times when you discern things about other people which are going to disturb you, grieve you.  You may enter places and sense the presence of a particular controlling spirit.  Without holiness in your life, there are things you can’t bear!  With holiness and a totally submitted-to-God’s-authority frame of mind, you’ll not only be able to bear these things, you can pray the prayer of faith against the influence of the enemy in the lives of people and over localities.  We are not given the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound, calm, well-balanced mind!  Any time God reveals hidden things to you, it’s always either with yours or someone else’s protection in mind, or for you to know what type of prayer must be prayed to bring situations in line with His Kingdom and His will.  And it’s not always about identifying the negative!  God can use our sensitivity to His Spirit to reveal good, wholesome, encouraging, holy truths.  Just as important as not walking through wrong doors is the discernment to walk through the right ones!

God will even test us early on to prove whether we are trustworthy to walk on another plane.  He may instruct us to speak out over something we don’t want to address; or He may order us to keep silent about a matter even though we feel we have the “low down” on the situation.  In these times, it may be very tempting to try to make ourselves look good in front of others.  If we disobey His instructions, we disqualify ourselves from certain realms of spiritual authority.  Just as you love some people you wouldn’t trust for a minute, God loves us even when He can’t trust us…but He’d rather be able to trust us!  He wants to love you, to bless you, to promote you to do great and mighty things, but much of that depends on your obedience factor.  Remember, no matter what kind of pretty pattern we display on the outside, God uniquely sees beyond the window dressing and straight into our hearts.  May He be pleased with what He sees…

Pray with me today:  “Heavenly Father, I desire to be closer to You, and to want those things which You desire.  I have some carnal affections I’m already aware of, and some I may not be aware of.  Prune me of those tendencies toward unrighteousness.  Mature me in the things of God!  Help me to have healthy appetites and goals, and help me to have a pure heart with right motives.  There is another level I’ve not attained in my walk with You, and that level is where You will for me to come up to.  You created me for purpose, and oh, how I want to fulfill Your will in my life.  I want to be a vessel You can TRUST.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit; baptize me through and through, and give me power for service.  Help me not to see the world around me through the eyes of the flesh.  If I walk after the flesh, I’ll only fulfill the works of the flesh.  I ask You to enable me to walk after the Spirit!  When I’m confronted with the sin and the despair around me, help me to see through Your eyes.  Help me see people, even the most difficult ones, through Your eyes.  Prompt me to pray and to intercede for the lost, for the bound, and for the hopeless.  I want to be transformed today.  Help me renew my mind to Your Word, and help me to bear You much good fruit in this lifetime You’ve appointed me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


Give Us This Day Our Daily Friskies

Cat foodIsn’t it odd how all of nature teaches us about God’s nature?  He’s continually teaching me something about Himself…if not in the garden, through my cats.

Every morning, like clockwork, I’ll have one or two sets of paws walking over me as a gentle wakeup reminder.  Just a quick walk across and I hear a light “thud” as my furry alarm clocks jump down.  If I lie in bed and pray awhile, there are two sets of eyes beside the bed looking up at me.  They circle around me like two sharks all the way from the bed to the pantry, and stand at my feet as I first pour myself a cup of coffee.  They are patient; but they are persistent as well.

This morning’s routine had an audience.  Dana, sitting in his easy chair, watched as my entourage and I made our way through the house toward the kitchen.  He came through just as I was pouring my coffee, and as I said to the kitties, “Can Mommy get her some coffee poured first?” he chuckled and replied, “No!  We want you to take care of US first!  And Mommy loves every minute of it!”  He’s right.  I do love being needed.

Did you know that our Father God takes pleasure in our coming to Him daily with our needs?  Now, as with any parent, ultimately He’s after relationship and our hearts…but it is His delight to give us our daily bread.  How interesting that, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructs us to address our God as “Father,” right off the bat.  What a novel idea to so many who’d spent their lives reverencing only the Creator side of Him, the all-powerful, all-knowing, consuming fire side of Him.  We can address Him now as…Father?  In that first line of this prayer, we acknowledge the Holy and Powerful One and call Him FATHER all at the same time!

We come to the next part of that prayer, which declares God’s kingdom come and His will be done.  Just as my Sheba and Sam patiently wait for me to get my morning coffee, we also need to wait upon the Lord and allow His will and purposes to come even before our own wants and needs.  He won’t ignore us; He’s aware that we’re waiting…but there is a blessing in our willingness to let Him operate on His divine timetable.  I don’t even sit and drink that coffee before feeding my girls…I just pour it and give it time to cool as I go about the task of rustling up their daily bread—or, in this case, that can of cat food.  (I guess I should tell you, they have a continual supply of dry cat food throughout the day.  That can isn’t all they get to eat…it’s more a treat than anything else, but boy, do they rely on it being there!)

There’s much more to the Lord’s prayer than giving us our daily bread; but for this morning, I just wanted to share my thoughts about this aspect of relationship with God as our Father.  Just like Sheba, who almost always crams her head into the bowl even while I’m trying to shake the contents of the can into it (making a little mess of herself in her eagerness), we too are sometimes so eager for our provision that we get a little messy…but Father is patient; perhaps He’s even amused at our predictability!  He enjoys the reciprocal relationship between Himself and His needy children.  Now, these cats have nothing they can really OFFER me in the way of help around the house…if anything, they’re work.  They shed, they dirty the litter pan, and they will tear up any Kleenex or toilet paper they get their paws on into tiny shreds.  I knew that about them and still chose the relationship!  The best thing they can give me is time spent with me, nestled up and purring beside me.  God knows that we too have little to actually give in return, but He chooses us anyway!  The fact that we seek His presence, and bask in His company, is enough to make our messes worth the effort.  He desires us.  Isn’t it grand?

Now, the routine of the morning feeding is only momentary, but for the rest of the day, I have one or both of my pets following me, from office to bathroom to kitchen to bed.  They’ve already gotten their needs met, but they now are content to just hang out with their provider, as I talk baby-talk to them and occasionally grant an ear scratching.  As you go about your day today, I’m sure you will stand in need of something that only your Provider can give.  Take time to enjoy the whole experience.  Woo Him.  Follow Him.  Make your petition known, and then wait on Him.  And when Jehovah Jireh answers your prayer, nestle beside Him and show your gratitude.

His joy in meeting your needs is made full when you seek HIM throughout the day, long after your blessing has been consumed.

Quietly Comes Our Rescuer

VoiceThe Lord said to Elijah, “Go, stand in front of me on the mountain, and I will pass by you.” Then a very strong wind blew until it caused the mountains to fall apart and large rocks to break in front of the Lord . But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle sound. 1 Kings 17:11-12 NCV

I wonder how often when, faced with difficult situations, we imagine that God’s method of coming against our circumstances will be to “outdo” the noise of the enemy’s onslaught?  Do we have expectations of Him suddenly becoming loud, boisterous, angry, violent, ostentatious as He rises to our rescue?  What if we were to miss His visitation by overlooking the quiet, gentle sound that follows all the hoopla?

This particular passage of Scripture is intriguing to me, within and outside of its context.  Elijah had hit a spiritual crisis after his Mount Carmel moment.  The prophet who’d called down fire from heaven was now running scared from a wicked ruler who vowed to kill him.  In his despair, Elijah perceived himself to be the “only one left,” and he expressed his feelings of frustration and utter aloneness to God.  God revealed to him Who He is, by revealing to Elijah what He isn’t!

Now, God’s ways are so above our own, I don’t presume to know why He decided to appear to Elijah thus.  We know that in some other Bible stories, the Lord did appear in a loud and frightening fashion; and yet, this particular time, His quietness was a stark contrast to the roar of what preceded Him.

All that we ever need to place our trust in is His sheer faithfulness.  What He has promised in His Word, He will bring to pass.  If we try to predict or even manipulate His method of coming to our rescue, we will go chasing every wild and sensational “noise” around us.  How many people out there simply cannot bear not to be in the loop…and they step beyond the boundaries God has set.  We see scores of people nowadays flocking to mediums and psychics to give them a “when” and a “how;” and practices which are despicable to a holy God are increasingly gaining popularity on television.  Those who seek rogue answers to what He has not yet chosen to reveal operate in the polar opposite of faith:  fear.  Fear can drive one to the point of rebellion against the only One Who can truly help.  We can never sidestep our Creator and get a good result!  Knowing our fascination with appearances, the enemy is more than willing to send his deceptions to us in the big, bold, underscored—and most of all, instantaneous— “signs” that we seek.  Oh, how we need to clear our heads of our expectations and just WAIT ON THE LORD.

Our Father has granted access, through His Son, for us to approach His throne boldly in our time of need!  Even when our feelings are carnal, fearful, flawed, doubtful, or angry, He allows us to pour our hearts out to Him.  As we invite Him into our every day lives, and develop relationship with Him through daily interaction, we also establish the deep mutual trust that enables us to communicate honestly with God.  It is that regular communication that enlightens us to His nature.  That regular communication also teaches us to know that God doesn’t react.  He responds.  He responds to FAITH.

Don’t forfeit your miracle because it appears to be too simple to be from the Lord!  God doesn’t have to prove Himself bigger than our problems, stronger than our enemy.  He doesn’t fight noise with more noise.  When you are in a bad situation, and the chaos is deafening, you may surmise that He will show up in a big booming voice and command the storm to be still.  That’s not the way He does it!  When we read of Jesus calming the storm, it doesn’t say that He screamed out, “Peace, be still!”  He spoke it.  There was no alarm in His voice, no argumentative tone.  It wasn’t the WAY He said it; rather, it was WHO said it.

You may be in dire straits today, heart pounding from anxiety.  You may be looking at a clock or calendar, a financial statement or a medical report which demands something you can’t give.  Your child may have gotten into some trouble that can’t be negotiated away.  You may love someone who has fallen into addiction’s cruel trap, and it may make you feel powerless to help.  You may even feel like crying out, “God, where ARE You?!!”  Stop where you are.  Take a deep breath.  If tears need to fall, let them fall.  He is touched by the feeling of your infirmities!  Hebrews 4:15 Says it like this:  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  The word for infirmities in the Greek is astheneiais…and it encompasses more than mere physical impairment.  It is defined as feebleness (of mind or body); by implication, malady; morally, frailty — disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.  Whatever area of your mind or body contains a frailty, He has it covered because He’s been there, done that!   Because Jesus survived the experience without failing His Father, you too have hope.  Think of Mary, who, after lamenting her brother Lazarus’ untimely death and Jesus’ absence, counters her emotional outburst with profound faith:  “I know, Lord, that EVEN NOW, even after it’s too late in the natural to reverse what has happened, You can raise him from the dead!”

Pray with me:  “Heavenly Father, You know all things already, so I stand before you without pretense.  You see my dilemma.  (Go ahead, be specific with the Lord now about what’s troubling you.)  Your Word tells me that You are all-knowing.  You also know that when the tempter attacks me in weak areas, the struggle to remain strong is more difficult.  I roll my works over onto You now.  I surrender my desire to fix what’s wrong by my own might…I already know it’s beyond my ability, but I also surrender that “need” to be in control.  No man can pluck out of Your hand what’s been committed to Your care, so I cast my cares in this situation upon You now.  I receive Your help.  I allow You to lift my shoulder from the burden!  I allow You to do what You know needs to be done in order to make right what is wrong.  Whatever You require of me, I determine to be obedient.  If You say that I must change something about myself, my habits, my associations, my affections, I surrender those to You as well.  If You should will to change ME instead of overtly changing my situation, then I ask for Your grace to embrace change, knowing that all things work together for good if I love You and am called according to Your purpose.    Thank You for hearing me.  Thank You for even those times when You answer in a quiet, unheralded way.  Your answer may not be noisy and big and grandiose…but I eagerly await the “Peace, be still,” if You should choose to merely whisper the remedy and bring it to pass!  I commit to wait upon You, to trust and to faint not.  Whatever You choose to do, please take Your liberty now, in Jesus’ name.”