Your wilderness journey led you straight through a desert, taking years to cross. Your provisions dwindled; toes worn down to nubs. Bone-dry thirsty, malnourished, desperate for replenishing and decent covering from the scorch. You need a complete change of environment and nutritive balance. And here, you’ve not crossed the desert at all; you’ve only gone in circles. Rearranging the same old nest conditions in different patterns, just to survive—or give the appearance of survival; a place to tuck and rest your weary head. Around and round you go in the barren land of choked streams, stuck in a wash-n-dry cycle called The Agitator. The thorns of the desert cacti have shredded you, making the agitating stings more abrasive. Fear you carry isn’t that something bad will happen; it’s the dread that things will stay the same, that nothing will change.
“God, are you even there?” you ask.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Have I not said, ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world?’”
“God, what do I do?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Just be in me.”
“God, do you still care?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Has it not been written, ‘Give all your worries and cares to me, for I care about you?’
I care so much that ‘I’ve kept track of all your sorrows. I’ve collected all your tears in my bottle. I’ve recorded each one in my book.’ Not one will be forgotten. Not one goes unnoticed. Trust me to handle your life in the best way, my way. I will carry you with my wings.”
“I feel forgotten, useless—” You think you hear a faint melody.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.’”
There’s a pause.
“My Child, I Love You. Isn’t that enough?”
🎶 His Eye is on the Sparrow… 🎶
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.
God’s beauty hovers over everything good and pure. His lovingkindness dwells in whoever would seek his presence. In any kind of situation, he is there to shield and protect. He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (ever-present), and omniscient (all-knowing); the three Omnis: power, presence, and perception. Three aspects of God reminiscent of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Truths to bear us comfort and nurturing from the Creator of the Universe.
If there are different aspects of God, and from that trinity hosts of characteristics outflowing, then surely the witnesses of his believers come in an assortment of styles. I think too often the religious mindset would rather put the operations of God in a box, be it for control of others, luxury of familiarity, or appearance. So would you blow up boxes for the sake of Creator if he asked you to step out and do something different?
History has given us a number of prophetic examples; legendary individuals thought of as a bit off, weird to their general populace. Yet, I admire the risk they took for doing something it took courage to do. By shedding man’s judgment rather than miss out on God’s blessings, we grow further into his kingdom and in the gifts of the Spirit.
Just as there are variances in personalities and mannerisms, there are manifestations of holy messages and expressions of the divine meant to edify and encourage. There’s a place for every body and a slant from each person but not one angle for everybody. Because we’re all created distinctively and are not the same body part; we are multiple parts working together for one purpose.
Growing up, I had way more exposure to loud or fiery prophets in evangelistic spheres. The more the spirit came upon these saints to speak, the volume went up—megaphones not needed! It exhilarated sometimes, but often I felt this: I’m touched by the Lord, gifted by the Lord in the prophetic, as we all are or can be. We all have access to the voice of God and to his gifts. 1 Corinthians 14:1 says, “Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the spirit gives—especially the ability to prophecy.” Another version of this scripture I favor comes from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, “Run after love and be zealous for the gifts of The Spirit, but especially that you may prophecy.” But I’d thought many times that if I didn’t behave as these fiery prophets did, or my exhortation didn’t match the volume, then I wasn’t excited enough, impassioned enough, or touched enough. And with that, I tended to withdraw or hide. Because I also didn’t know that other styles of prophets existed in my generation. Why wouldn’t they? When the Bible gives us such a diverse picture of the various prophets in stories of old?
Prophesy isn’t available to only foretell the future, or warn, but it’s God revealed through someone for someone. God is speaking a message and if the prophecy is of God, it will affirm what the Lord already spoke to your heart. It’s personal. Prophecy, and Word of Knowledge (of which I most operate), are meant to encourage and edify. Love is primary. And the Lord loves each one of us as each one of us.
I’ve since discovered those who operate in the gifts of the Spirit who deliver in a reflective, gentle way. This speaks to me the most and ushers in healing properties, something to which I’m perhaps more receptive. I’ve learned that there is tenderness in prophetic boldness, too. Prophetic boldness doesn’t have to mean loud or authoritatively imposing; it can be quiet boldness… or prophetic quietness (calm). A confidence to speak, do, or act out—but acting out doesn’t have to mean waving arms and shouting loud—because sometimes loud isn’t motivating to those on the quieter side of perception. If I’ve considered this, then there are others who have wondered about it, too. So I wanted to encourage those who have prophetic tendencies or desires, and want to step out, take a risk, yet you are on the introverted side of humanity. Sure, we’re a minority (it’s estimated that 25-50% of the population is introverted), but we matter.
If you are extroverted, great! Express how the Lord gifted you to express. But if you’re a soft-spoken one, and tend to tread gently through life, you are as much needed to communicate to others God’s message of love. If you prefer to dive into the silent deep, and in the depth of the waters to still a person’s soul and speak only what the Father wants you to speak, sing, or write to them, then… Most likely, your receivers are those who don’t find extroverted extensions as reassuring or effective as others might. God’s communication is his communication… and his message will be proclaimed. Still, there’s a reason (many reasons) why we are uniquely and wonderfully made. You might reach a person through your style or format or understanding that nobody else can reach. And that matters. Leave the 99 to find the 1 (Parable of the Lost Sheep, Matthew 18:10-14 and Luke 15:3-7).
I knew of an elderly lady who had a green thumb. She loved plants and had a way with them. This dear lady lived on a hill that I drove by almost daily on my way out to the mountain stables where I kept my horse. She’d cut shapes into her hedges, and arrange flower pots, large and small, into images symbolic of telling the Bible story. She was an artist, an artist of plants. She was also prophetic, because more often than not, I’d see a peace dove, or the cross, an angel, the ark, or what looked like a scribe bent near holy flames of fire—Moses’ burning bush! —and more. And it confirmed the voice of the Lord having whispered to my heart either earlier or later that day or even that week or month or season—and I’m not even much of a fan of manicured landscaping. Yet, seeing the images shaped from hedges and plants of her lawn and field speaking a carefully laid out message, well, it was affirming, healing, comforting, and directional. Inspired. I’d say anointed. Love poured off that hill by the hands and heart of that godly elder woman I’d never met. How many more lives had she touched than just mine while she used what she was gifted with, right where she was, to share this meticulous beauty, the emblematic Spirit reminders, with others?
I now often think of those walking in faith, and in the prophetic, as conduits for God’s Word in different shapes, sizes, colors, polishes, and purposes. When you’re right where you’re meant to be, and you create, express, arrange, and stir in the way God created you, then your style of the Lord-inspired prophetic boldness is refreshing as rain to someone who needs it; one who needs encouraged by a message from God through your participation of love. As lovely as a hedge of green under somebody’s skilled and thoughtful hands.
Called to plant seed, grow, sculpt, or harvest? Do it your way in God’s way.
There was once a person who hadn’t intended to be a bomb technician and wished they were something—anything—else. If only they could’ve predicted or seen from the beginning what they knew later, their life would have looked very different. They weren’t always skilled at identifying dangerous devices in a threatened area nor deactivating or disassembling the explosives. In fact, they got their start as the cleanup crew of only one, taking care of whole messes after they erupted, clearing the damage and spaces of shrapnel and debris. Even acting as a paramedic and patching wounds, deep or small. A rota never existed; nobody was scheduled to relieve them. They’d been all alone dealing with the volatile environment 24/7. They worked their way up to recognizing and diffusing danger, got good at it, skilled. Turned something destructive into something more static. Sometimes, though, sometimes they deflected the disparaging elements. Wedged a portion under a dead tree stump; hiding it from the public because of shame. Because their position, which never should have evolved in the first place, went on for too long, and what they daily faced proved hard to endure. The pressure behind such things never dissipated; in fact, felt insurmountable.
But what they tucked under that dead old stump didn’t just collect into a mound of rubble. Instead, the start of a sprig, something tender, fresh, and green pierced from beneath the hard ground and unforgiving places of concrete and gravel. The sprig became a new tree, and the living trunk grew wide and strong. Its roots went deep to where the black soil provided rich nutrients. The mighty cedar soon towered over the hidden things that had wrought such chaos and, in fact, smothered the negative forces. It overpowered cannonballs, dynamite, and other fused components, detoxifying, purifying as it reached toward the heavens. Its branches spread open and wide, providing shade to the scorched and shelter to the displaced. Its call was for helping others, but in a way that differed from thwarting disasters, especially of the human-terrorist type. Yet growing well while stuck in that unstable environment provided it the understanding necessary to gain essential nourishment and peace of the everlasting kind, and safety for the distressed. It thought its field wherein it’d planted its roots was fallow. Instead, its field had been prepared for the splendor of an entire forest of breathtaking beauty.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Dear Bomb Technician: He makes a way where there is no way. He makes all things fresh, new, and different. Things will change. You’ve sensed this; you’ve known things have to change. Situations, while they lasted for many seasons, will not stay the same. If the hazardous devices you face are from a cyclical circumstance, work, relationship, or condition, and you’re burned out, tired of putting out the fuses alone, and sick of being so achingly lonely while doing it; lift up your eyes. Soak in the Spirit. Listen to the wind, which causes the leaves of the wilderness to dance and branches to sway in delirious freedom. Inhale the woodsy scents of other cedars. Lift your eyes to the heavens and know the promises whispered to your heart will rain down upon you. The Spirit is like the wind. You don’t know from where it comes, from where it starts, but SUDDENLY, it’s there, flowing over you, refreshing your soul. Sailing you into crystal waters, brighter beginnings, enhanced positions, thoughtful relationships, and greatest joy, where the deepest longings of your heart find fulfillment. Expansion awaits, for all that your spirit-filled life can hold and release, grow and heal, and love.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Psalm 92:12
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)