Yesterday, I posted about varied and unlimited styles of prophetic boldness, focusing on the word boldness. Boldness doesn’t have to mean loud and commanding, as I’d once thought. That for the introverted types, boldness can come in the style of taking risks confidently yet still quietly. Communication of God’s message that is strong, vivid, and full of truth can have a delivery that looks a lot of different ways. The gifts of the Spirit are variedly special and purposeful. It's not about us, but about God’s love expressed through us that encourages and motivates others.
With that said, there is a prophet who has spoken into my life already several times and affirmed visions and promises of God. I so appreciate his demeanor; his soft-spoken, humble words of truth, love, peace, and trust. I now subscribe to his YouTube channel and listen to his Daily Prophetic Word and more. Encouraging, edifying, sweet, full of God’s tender love and light. I’m taking comfort along my journey with his lovely gift of prophetic boldness. It’s good medicine to have a true prophet of God speaking into your life with words of hope and affirmation (“A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing…” Proverbs 17:22). I consider several to be prophets of edification in my daily walk. Kevin Bridges is one who I’ve only recently discovered, but who speaks of God’s love in a compassionate and serene style that is nurturing to my soul. He is a calm conduit of hope and encouragement. So I thought I’d share his channel information. If you’re like me, a quiet and reflective one, you might like to listen to his inspired words, too.
I also just finished reading his poetic book, and of course I recommend it: With Love: Loving Words from Father God by Kevin Paul Bridges
Be ever blessed with words that inspire.
Are You a Wild One?
Have you been stranded in the wilderness, figuratively speaking? Dwelling in dehydration, exposed to the discomforts of harsh elements, drained of healthy energy by the rationing of pure sustenance? Enduring aloneness, lacking encouragement, affirmation, or positive feedback? Are you a spiritual outcast? Do you have gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been by-and-large choked by mainstream corporate church and you don’t quite fit in because how the Lord gifted you and/or how you should operate is not supported, stimulated, or even accepted? A believing, faith-filled outcast wondering what the point is and where your purpose rests? Do you live or serve in an environment where you have little emotional joy?
The wilderness experience is often referenced as a time of spiritual dryness. But often it’s in the wilderness that we establish our identity, who we are in God. We exercise our faith. We face our fears. The Lord in his grace provides for us and we end up pressing in to him as our compass. Focusing on him, our guide, to lead us out, where we are stronger, fitter than when we first entered hauling in the messy landscape of our lives (everything but the kitchen sink). We enter weighed down and heavy. But we leave with nothing but Jesus, whose yoke is easy and burden light.
For some, the wilderness season has lasted decades, and you’ve pursued the Lord with your whole heart. But now you’ve made it through, you survived. You’re at the last line of trees before the clearance to move on out. And you’re waiting for his “Go” command, because you’ve grown to know only HIS voice in the wilderness, and you respect it, revere it, trust him implicitly. At the appointed time, you expect to take his promised hand that leads you fearlessly to what he has “out there” for you, the promised land.
The wilderness was a necessary course of training. You learn about the only map that matters, the Word, and that serves as divine navigation. For us, and for others. The wilderness provokes us to speak and share of our experiences.
I am a wild one. I know spiritual wilderness. So when I found a contemporary book calling out to me, I both rejoiced and mentally recapitulated my journeying up to now. I must have dogeared every other page, top and bottom. I know there are leagues of others for who this book was intended and written.
Freedom to exercise gifts of the Spirit, and creative and unusual ideas at last put to use. The hidden, marginalized, voiceless, quieted ones; outcasts on the fringe. The ones who haven’t quite fit into institutionalized church protocols, or have been tamped by the tight structure of its programs, yet have gifts of the Spirit burning to be activated; the ones who wish to seek the will of the Father regardless of what it looks or sounds like to man… This book is for you:
The Wild Ones: Prophetic Survival Guide (The pioneer call of emerging voices from the wilderness to the frontlines)
The chapters, like rites of passage, each finish with “Prophetic Survival Keys” and a “Campfire Prayer” to keep us revving and warm. Ripe for the time, I highly, highly recommend this book! I pray the Lord increases your spiritual territory and magnifies your divine giftings as you read this book. And I pray the Lord multiply blessings to the author, prophet, and worship leader, Nate Johnston, for blessing, confirming, affirming, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating what has felt like the lost and forgotten remnant of Jesus followers. Here we go, into the next great roiling wave of revival, church reformation, and outreach of prophetic voices the world has ever seen. Are you ready, fellow wild one?
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve that purpose for which I sent it.”—Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
The dark world grew darker, wickedness more rampant and shocking, modesty disappeared, differences of opinions fueled anger turning to hatred and intolerance, gouging a wider divisive gap between “sides.” Pride fed impatience and intolerance. People, even leaders, threw so-called opponents under the bus (blaming someone else for selfish gain or atonement). Sound familiar? Sound like our culture today?
In a vision I had of this world, I witnessed a scene of the unseen unfold. Shadows spiraled violently around people, manipulating their actions. The erratic movement of the shadows turned my stomach. Then, amid turbulent chaos-land, a bright light emitted from a rock like a center-stage platform of immovable stone. A group of people, a number of saints, a remnant, stood on that rock. I realized the holy light came from within those who stood on the rock. Others who were not on the rock had influences clinging on them like black creatures that moved like eels. One at a time, and sometimes in a bobbing cluster, they’d slither up to a saint, getting right into their face, and spew vile words at them, then slither back. Slither up again with revolting insults and character defamation, then shrink back. The oral onslaught continued. But what I noticed was that the saints didn’t react at all, only closed their eyes during the verbal bombarding. They each appeared like an upright impenetrable wall, unaffected, while every insult rolled around each of the remnant and disintegrated to nothingness. And when they opened their eyes, with peaceful countenances, they looked at the ones spewing the ugly, and all that was in their eyes was love—volumes of it! And the love undulated; it moved like a current; it was alive. Unconditional, beautiful, pure, holy love. When the vision ended, I heard the Lord speak one word. That word was “Unoffendable”.
I didn’t want the vision to end, as the flowing love I witnessed enraptured me, but the Ruach HaKodesh prompted me to pray.
The Lord is calling us to a higher standard. Set apart, living holy. Not reactive. Allow him to refine our souls to handle the storms, even, and especially, if the storms are people. Difficult in a pressurized, mixed-up, and angry society, but not impossible. We can look at an offense like we would anything else; temptation, for instance. The Holy Spirit gives us power to overcome, but we also have to make the choice to refrain. “Cease from anger and forsake wrath,” Psalm 37:8. Hold the tongue, close our eyes, maybe even walk away if we need to. If someone hurls an insult or offends and you want to rebut in the worst way, try taking a deep breath, and in the space of counting to three, close your eyes, lifting your heart to him, and say: "Lord, I praise you. You’re making me an overcomer. I choose to be unoffendable, in your name." Because what does the offense matter? The Lord loves you; he has a higher purpose for you. He loves you better than anyone else can or will. That’s all that matters. Aren’t we to strive to be the image of Christ on earth? Let the offense go.
It can start small. For instance, when someone crowds you in traffic then cuts you off and flips you the bird; when a certain coworker gets under your skin and you swear they make jabbing comments with intention, or the waiter got your simple food order wrong not once but twice. Instead of getting peeved, maybe we mutter to ourselves, “Well, that was irritating, but… Lord, bless that person anyway, just bless them.” Prayer has a special way of shedding the unwanted stuff. And then we come to a point of meaning it, instead of holding on to the disagreeable until it builds up inside of us and then explodes in a terrible and messy way. I believe the Lord would want us to let go and be free, not affected, and be at peace, calm, and to love… genuinely love our neighbor, near or far. Because it's significant what we do with what we’ve been given. I want to be like the saints on that rock! Tranquil beauty amid ugly, light in the darkness, and love overcoming anger.
Our Divine Calling
“As a prisoner of the Lord, I plead with you to walk holy, in a way that is suitable to your high rank, given to you in your divine calling. With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. Be faithful to guard the sweet harmony of the Holy Spirit among you in the bonds of peace, being one body and one spirit, as you were all called into the same glorious hope of divine destiny.”
“But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day.”
“And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.”
Strong and Courageous
Similar to lucid dreaming wherein a person is aware they’re in a dream, can consciously make decisions, or choose responses to events, I also experience lucid slumber. In my recent lucid slumber, there were no dreams, images, impressions, or thoughts, except I knew I was asleep, and I was also aware of the Lord’s presence.
“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”—Psalm 42:8
It hadn’t always been the Lord in these dreamless pockets, but it’s always him now. And as I soaked in his company, I heard him say, a gentle reminder, “I will never leave you nor forsake you…”
Then I had a dream. I could see eleven missiles launch from a vertical launching system closer than imagined. I could hear the hostile sound of them as they ripped through the air, an ungodly whistle. Fast and furious, they left no time to react. These missiles landed before detonating and didn’t explode upon impact, but were set to within seconds. The missiles landed around me, one even landed almost underneath me, and I nearly tripped over it; in fact, my belly touched its surface, but I recoiled and remained unharmed. I heard instructions from heaven, “Get up and run toward the people.” I then saw that there were crowds of people who were playing outdoor ping-pong, oblivious, laughing and joking as if explosions weren’t beginning to erupt. I ran through the crowds, heralding, “Wake up and take cover; take cover in the Lord! Wake up! Wake up and take cover; take cover in the Lord!”
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor.”—Psalm 91:4
The dream over, I again lingered in lucid slumber, listening to the Lord’s gentle voice again say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you…”
My eyes opened. It was still night. I lingered over the last words spoken. Found in several places in the Bible, they were first given as a promise to Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:6), when Moses passed the torch of responsibility to him to lead the people into the Promised Land. I dwelled on that because I have a heart for people, a heart for God’s promises, and a heart for ministry. I do what I can from where I am, and have served in several types of outreaches in years past. But I know God has something different intended from what I’ve ever seen or done before in terms of revival and sharing God’s redeeming love and hope, and his word, his truth. I also know that I won’t be alone in this outreach. We all need a tribe, a spiritual family, so to speak. A team who gets us, and we get them. Doesn’t have to be large—could be, but doesn’t have to be. We just need fellowship, encouragement, and a joining of hands—a team of likeminded, spirit-filled players. This is something I yearn for, yet is one of the promises I’m waiting on. I have always had a soul-tie with my biological sister. Like the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David. I am to my sister as she is to me. And, gratefully, I don’t know what I’d do without her. But the Lord has shown me there are others with whom he intends to align me. Although I have yet to meet them, I have prayed for them. I started praying in the Spirit for them at that moment, and I saw a vision:
On the deck of a ship, there were four or five piles of ropes. Thick, strong ropes—mooring lines, I suppose—but they were all tangled. The end of each rope whipped heavenward until the entire length of each rope snapped into a straight, taut line. Then the ropes returned to the deck and meticulously coiled into individual, tidy piles; each pile of rope lined up next to the other in the same row. I knew these represented the lives of people, a certain team. The Lord worked out the kinks in each life until they, like the ropes, were prepared or set, ready to be used effectively. This verse he then gave me, loud and clear; not a jolt, rather a warm covering: “And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18 TPT)
I’ve dreamed of ships a lot in my life. In years past, they were never good dreams; they were nightmares. I used to dream of ships going down, and I was trapped, filled with fear and dreaded doom. Now I dream of a ship sailing steadfast, precise, slicing through the water (I can hear the sound it makes, and I smell the sea), propelled by the winds of the Holy Spirit, guided by the giant hand of God. The ship looks like a mere toy in God’s hand, but he cares for the vessel with such attention, such value. And I am unafraid, in fact, I’m filled with joy.
My future is this. It might not materialize like this or how I think, but this is what the Lord has in store: guided by his hand with utmost care, purpose, joy, fellowship, and I trust him; I’m unafraid. This is also the future, metaphorically speaking, of many of you who are reading this. Dare to hope. Do not lose heart. We don’t need to worry about how the whole caboodle, whatever your caboodle might be, is going to come together. The Lord will take care of that—all of it. If he’s shown you something; if he’s promised you something, whatever it is, simple or outrageous and more, it will be.
Content in visionary prayer, I fell back asleep and had another dream. I was in a hospital bed, wearing a hospital gown, propped up. I was healthy and whole and simply waiting for the administration to discharge me. There was another bed right beside mine that was empty of a patient, and already made up tight and tidy. In fact, like the ship lines, there were four or five beds like this in a row. Except a person reclined very relaxed on top of the one right next to mine, propped on an elbow, wearing street clothes and a peaceful smile, patiently waiting. This individual, part of my spiritual family, held a key to my future. A lady from administration came into the room brightly and said, “Okay, Tessa,” and she clapped her hands once; the sharp clap shook the four walls. “You’re free to go!” The key holder hopped up at that moment and took my hand to lead me out. I remember thinking, had it not been for the Lord’s disclosure during the night season, I wouldn’t have known they were real, or the appointed future was real. Words of knowledge had given me seeds of great hope and expectancy.
Your spiritual journey and gifting might look different from mine, or maybe there’s a resemblance or even a connection. Whichever way, if we but seek Jesus, yielding our lives to him, the Lord will be gracious and give us favor and protection, and he will guide us.
“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!”—Psalm 31:24
*** The Lord had asked me to share what he gives me this week in dreams, visions, intercession, and just soaking-in-the-Spirit time, so I do this in obedience and trust. Shalom shalom ***
Have you noticed how many people, especially aging people, like to talk about their aches, pains and physical problems? Sometimes there’s even a little pride like comparing heroic war wounds or something: “You think that’s bad? Well, get a load of this,” kind of exchange, as a person proceeds to pull up a pant leg and roll down a sock for the big reveal. As I age, the more I hear such things, have taken part of such things, and yet depart from these discussions less cheerfully. If you haven’t known an individual, or clusters of acquaintances complaining about health issues, you’ll most likely see plenty of posts and pictures on social media. There’s also the constant campaign of ads and commercials on medications. I think it’s safe to say there’s brokenness in our society over health, but the overwhelming need to chew over conditions without end can be equally draining.
I’m not referring to the serious diseases and terminal illnesses, afflictions and real medical emergencies that require our understanding and compassion, and that can also expand our testimonies. I mean the day-to-day discussions that seem to vie for center stage when they don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. Maybe it’s not you doing the talking, but you’d lived with a hypochondriac, or worked with a malingerer, for years; that can be its own sort of burden. The negative concentration after a great length of time can be a real drag, when everything about a person, or that comes out of their mouth, is about their ailments, mild, moderate, or imaginary. It's like a verbal mountain of affliction, and you’re caught on its strange and precarious ledge between feeling numb and hypersensitive. Whether it’s you or someone else, aside from trying to fix sincere problems or addressing them with prayer, dwelling on them can be a thought ravager and praise stealer.
God is a healer and restorer. He also desires our focus and attention. I’m not in denial that with aging comes decaying; this curse came with the Fall, our own undoing, that we all must endure. But it’s come to the forefront of how much I don’t want to focus on the process of pains but on praise. A small example would be if someone asked me how my day was going, and I answered, “Well, I got this pain in my hip, and when I move my wrist this way it pops, and I didn’t sleep very well last night…” and then junk is on the table. I don’t want to behave that way. Even if I’m hurting, I want to suck it up, work through it if I can, and not spread the psychological residue, the “crown” of physical discomfort. Instead, have an answer ready on my lips, “My day is good because God is good all the time. Praise the Lord. How are YOU?” Or “I’m still kickin’, thank the Lord–and thanks for asking! How’s YOUR day going?” I don’t want to whittle an opportunity to brighten someone else’s day by dwelling on problems, especially my problems. And if I need prayer, then why not just ask for it, then move on with thankfulness? Some days, I have a spring in my step. Some days, eh, not so much. I am learning the fine line between when to ask for (or offer) prayer and keep quiet being careful not to complain.
So when I’ve caught myself lately near joining the valetudinarian collective (such as beginning my last blog by explaining my recent bouts, and longing for my slipped youth), I hear the Lord say, “Stop. In your weakness, I am made strong,” with emphasis on WHO is made strong. The next time I’m feeling blue about getting older and dealing with aged issues (could be again tomorrow!)—the magic word, “Stop,” is followed by “Praise you, Lord. Prepare me for the best years of my life!” And also, to take special care to reporting glorious healings and answered prayers!
If you are upwards of age 50, I hope you embrace words of praise over pain. It’s okay to ask for prayer; we’re supposed to support each other and give good ear to listen with compassion and kindness. Give and receive. But at certain points, we might do well to fine-tune our focus, redirecting our thoughts from our bodies to Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals. This is one I’ve heard a thousand times, but it never gets old: let go and let God. From the heart, out of the mouth, may we strive to put the Lord first in all things and linger there.
And this concludes my two- day/blog posts on age and body. I’m moving on.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”–Psalm 42:11
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