Using Discernment in the 2016 Election

But can you not discern the signs of the times? ~Matt. 16:3

I have been pondering what to say about the current elections in America. It is a presidential battle like none that I have experienced since beginning to follow politics in the late 1960’s. Control of the U.S. Senate is also at stake. Christians are very divided. The division is about the destiny and role of the USA in the world and in the Kingdom of God. But I believe that we are in a season when such division is necessary until the body of Christ awakens to the reality of its own condition. This blog is intended for believers to awaken.

I have ministered this year on the critical importance of discernment and have blogged several times on this subject. Discernment is an ability to see beyond what is presented, to perceive and understand that which is not readily obvious to the casual observer. We, the church, MUST discern what cannot be seen or heard in the natural realm.

Mr. Trump was not my first, second or third choice among conservative candidates for president. Others had more of my preferred positions and could better articulate what I saw as the natural way a president should govern. He barely knows what a Bible is, much less what is on the inside. He has apparently accepted Christ recently based upon reports from evangelical leaders around him. He has never had much interest in the past for politics or government except as a bureaucratic obstacle to building something.  He has a record of leadership success in his own company but no experience in government. He desires a judicial branch that interprets the constitution in its original intent. He is pro-life and pro-Israel. He has chosen a vice-president that is openly and unapologetically Christian with a Biblical world view. He has offended many people publicly. He is the antithesis of a politician. But…he has a sense of destiny for the nation.

Ms. Clinton was the first choice of liberally minded people, by a slim margin. She speaks of her Methodist faith, yet does not use the word ‘Christian’ to describe herself. She has a 30+ year record of government involvement including policies, decisions and positions that should be clear even to the casual observer. Most of her record in government would not stand the test of coming anywhere close to advancing the Kingdom of God. In fact most has been in the other direction. She is pro-abortion and pro-Palestine. She desires a judicial branch that interprets the constitution as a ‘living document’ devoid of original intent. However, she has offended few people…publicly. Her verbal rancor has been restricted to closed doors with her staff and political insiders. She chose Tim Kaine, a self-described Catholic, who supports all forms of abortion and embraces liberation theology, a Marxist view of Christianity. She is the perfect reflection of a career politician seeking a higher position and has been successful in doing so.

So here we are…a politically incorrect, offensive, no-hold’s-barred business man and a politically correct, highly trained, publically manicured government official. One stands for change…shaking change for the nation to arise. The other stands for status quo…incremental decline. When we vote we vote for an individual but more importantly for the governing policies and direction they and their party envision.

So what does God envision? He wants us to discern….to see beyond what is presented through the eyes of the media culture. To see things from 30,000 feet above; to see the end from the beginning. Some may be able to discern the obvious at ground level; an overt breaking of a moral code, a verbal affront, or a felony criminal indictment.  But many fail to discern the trajectory of a nation as seen from high above.  We must discern the impact of the next 2, 3 or 4 Supreme Court appointments and dozens of federal district and circuit court judges affecting the next 40 years. We must discern the consequence of politically nuanced words and policy. We must discern with wisdom the allegations, emails, policies, and, most importantly, the direction a nation must go to fulfill its kingdom purpose. We must discern the decisions of today as they affect next year, the next decade and beyond. We must discern the future of the unborn and our children’s and grandchildren’s future.

God wants us to discern His vision for America. I could a provide a long list of respective positions and proposed policies of the respective candidates but we must DISCERN!  He wants to see His purposes for America fulfilled, to see His people arising to take dominion in every sphere of culture to advance His kingdom.

In Matthew 16:1-3 Jesus chastised the religious leaders because they could understand the natural, overt signs of the weather but could not discern the covert, underlying signs of the times. Let the church in America not be so chastised. I sense we are in that season needing keen discerning of the signs of the times.


The US Gathering 2016

A few of the group of leaders who gathered.

Gather together and come; assemble you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it—let them take counsel together. Is. 45:20, 21a

I am processing the many things that happened last weekend in Woodland Park, Colorado. We had a 3-day gathering of leaders from states and nations to do the Father’s will for aligning America with His will in this day and hour. This was the most powerful and purposeful gathering in recent memory. The Holy Spirit guided, directed and moved us into alignment to worship and intercede for America. 2016 is a year of change in this nation. We are but one of many holy fires burning in this nation. We are but one of many small groups assembled from the nations to declare what is to be and present it. Praise the Lord.

The Lord of Hosts manifested in a tangible way leading us to direct His angel armies toward the seven mountains of American culture.  There was a pulling down of ‘gods that cannot save’. There was demolition of idols made from human hands.  There was a declaration to replace ignorance from man’s kingdom with knowledge and Truth of His Kingdom.

The Lord of Hosts in scripture is YHWH Sabaoth, the LORD of heavenly hosts. The heavenly hosts were dispatched, the believers worshiped the Lord, the apostles and prophets revealed and established that which was The Lord’s will for this day and hour. We simply did our portion to advance His kingdom.  Praise be to the Lord. May His mercy endure forever and ever!!

Read more about these Gatherings here.


The Bridge from Soul to Spirit

For the word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging, the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. Heb. 4:12 Amplified

The amplified version of Hebrews 4:12 brings forth the unfathomable riches and reality of God’s words spoken to His people. He speaks to the church and to us individually with the power to pierce through our natural thoughts and cultural clutter. The Bible, the inspired written words of God, brings general direction, correction, and encouragement for life. God’s prophetic gifts, words and actions spoken and demonstrated through His people, bring insight and understanding for specific life situations. In this day and hour we need the sharp, penetrating words of His Spirit. His words will analyze and sift our thoughts beyond our natural abilities. It is in this penetration that we distinguish between the un-renewed soul and our regenerated spirit. 

The dichotomy between soul and spirit is both a battleground and a bridge. It is the great battleground of decision. It’s also the bridge to the supernatural. Our choice is to allow the life and power of His words to penetrate into the deepest part of our person. We then have a bridge crossing over into the supernatural dimensions of the Kingdom of God.

Today, allow His words to go deeply into places of resistance. Let them dissect and decide your course and your understanding. Let them be the bridge to the supernatural riches of the Kingdom of God in this day and hour.


What was...and What Will Be

"New wine is being released into those with a new wineskin, a wineskin that is pliable, flexible, and willing to be stretched by kingdom dynamics at work in the church."
Ezra 3:12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of the temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
We live in a day when many in the church are praying and believing for revival in America. We want to see God’s glory manifest…as it once was. We long for that which was. It was the same long ago when King Cyrus released God’s people to return to their homeland.

King Cyrus issued a decree allowing all Jews to return home to restore the temple and rebuild the walls of protection. But only a remnant chose to return. It was only those whose hearts God had moved, those who embraced what God was doing through Cyrus. That small band of people from Judah, Benjamin and the priesthood entered a land of enemies, a temple trampled, and a city without safety. There were great trials and opposition inside and outside the nation. Upon completing the foundation of the temple the people gathered around to see what was emerging. Two sounds came forth from those gathered at the temple…cries of weeping from older people who viewed the foundation as inadequate, less than, and unworthy of God’s glory…..and shouts of joy from a younger generation who celebrated that there would be a temple. While young and old knew of Jeremiah and Isaiah’s prophetic words of restoration, only the young could embrace a new kind of glory.

The glory of God would not be in the gold and silver of the temple, the bricks of the walls, or the gilded gates of the city. It would be in the overcoming power, persistence and purpose of a place where Simeon would declare over a baby Jesus ‘my eyes have seen your salvation’. It would be a place where the Messiah would declare ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me’. It would be a city where people would shout ‘Hosanna to the King’, a cross would bear the weight of a savior and sin, a tomb would be opened, resurrection would come forth, and the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all men. Rather than the glorious Law of Moses it would be the gracious Law of Christ. It would be a place of grace.

Today many of us in the church have seen and experienced glorious times in the church. We had the Jesus movement of the 60’s, the charismatic renewal of the 70’s, the resurgence of faith in the 80’s, etc. We tend to see revival as it was in times past. We envision it based upon what we saw then rather than what the Father sees now. Very often God’s glory for a new season is not the glory of what was. It is a glory for what is.

Be encouraged that God’s glory will manifest, but it may not be like it was. We are entering a new season where the glory of God will manifest in ways not experienced by my generation. Yes, the source is from the Ancient of Days, but the wine is new and fresh. New wine is being released into those with a new wineskin,  a wineskin that is pliable, flexible, and willing to be stretched by kingdom dynamics at work in the church. There will be weeping, and there will be shouting. There will be a sound that comes forth. Will you weep or will you shout for joy?  Will you embrace the new glory of these last days?


From The Shaking, There is a Shifting

The commissioning of a new Apostle into the Kingdom!
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Heb. 12:28, 29 NIV
I’ve just returned from 3 weeks in Nepal. I’m getting my ‘head in the game’ here on US soil and recovering from a 12 hour jet lag. Such is life in international ministry! A word in season for Nepal is ‘A Shift’…..a shift to an organic identity in Christ for the church in Nepal. Prior to our November 2014 leadership school in Pokhara we received prophetic words regarding a great ‘shifting’ about to occur and we would be called to be engaged in ‘shifting the landscape of Nepal’. There would be a ‘prophetic stretching of the church without a tearing of the church’.  During our 2014 ministry we taught a group of pastors for 10 days. We were sowing, imparting, teaching, and calling forth a new level of understanding. We laid a foundation of grace, but saw little tangible fruit at that time. However, now (18 months later) we see a ground-level shaking, of which the 2015 earthquake has played a part. The shaking from the earthquake is being used by the Holy Spirit to help the church in Nepal see that which still stands strong, the Kingdom of God. In the fullness of time it is happening!

We continued to plow and sow in some new soil with different pastors; we saw fruit of 2014 emerging and growing in key leaders in the nation.  The church in Nepal has known the role of pastor, evangelist and teacher. It is only now beginning to know the role of prophet and apostle. We imparted vision and called forth an organic, national identity for the church. This is an identity NOT of Hindu culture, Buddhist culture, Indian identity or caste system bondage. It is not an American church culture. It is the identity of Christ Jesus, expressed through the unique origins of the people. They shall shake off cultural baggage and break chains of tradition. They shall arise in unity to establish the Kingdom of God. They are becoming a strong tower in the Name of the Lord and the righteous are running to it. They shall become a holy nation, a sending nation to other lands. Young prophets are recognizing their prophetic calling. Old leaders are imparting wisdom and authority to young leaders who rise in humility to sacrifice their lives for the Kingdom. Do you not discern the times?

I recall many poignant moments and will share one. Near the end of our time with about 30 leaders, most of whom were part of the 2014 school, I looked at one pastor and said ‘you are called to be an apostle’.  He lowered his head, tears in his eyes and reluctantly nodded ‘yes’. We then asked Kali, a 73 year old apostle to come forward and we anointed and commissioned this pastor for his apostolic call. It was tearful, powerful, and in the fullness of time. Do you not discern the times?
From the shaking there is a shifting!

Read more posts about Nepal here.


Overcoming Persecution With The Warrior Spirit

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Jeremiah 15:11

The words of the prophet Jeremiah remind me of the people of Nepal. I am now in the mountains of Nepal, a country steeped in spirituality and proud in cultural traditions. Nepal is a cross-section of aboriginal Nepali culture, Tibetan Buddhist influence from the north and Indian Hindu influence from the south. Traditionally a Hindu monarchy that persecuted Christians, it has been a multi-party republic since 2008. While open evangelization is illegal, enforcement is very limited. The Church, about 2-3% of the population, is transitioning from persecuted infancy to maturing adulthood. Two of our key on-the-ground Nepali ministers are teachers of teachers, i.e. they are enlarging the understanding and skills of ministry by teaching adults how to teach the Gospel to children. Another on-the-ground ministry leader is Kali, a 70+ year old apostolic pastor. He is a warrior for the Gospel in the land. He was a lone believer in his home village in Gorkha district decades ago. He learned to fight on behalf of the Kingdom of God at an early age and has prevailed. He has been directly influential in birthing over 400 churches during a time of persecution. He is now ‘father’ to many young pastors and ministry leaders throughout the country. His ministry is in rural areas where few western missionary organizations know of him and his work. But I guarantee the Lord of Hosts knows of his work!!

With this as our backdrop, Deborah and I are ministering to about 35 pastors from across the nation gathered in Pokhara. We are conducting a follow-up to our two week pastor/leader school completed by these same pastors in 2014. These pastor/leaders have been hand-picked as a ‘remnant’ that has the noble heart of priests and kings to advance the gospel in this day and hour. After Pokhara I will move to the Gorkha District with Kali where a young prophet from our local church and I will encourage and teach groups of pastors/leaders in three different villages over about eight days. While I am in Gorkha, Deborah will be in Bardiya, the flat lands of western Nepal, teaching for several days to leaders in that District. She and our Asian Director of the Crossfire International Alliance will build up the leaders in that area. This is new territory for us. 

The Gospel of the Kingdom is never stagnant, but always moving and advancing in some way…either overtly through evangelism or covertly through hearts and minds being transformed into maturity of character and leadership.

As I write this I am reminded of the aboriginal peoples of Gorkha who were known far and wide as fierce warriors. They were called the Gurkhas. The men were recruited by the British and Indian armies because they were a warrior class; their DNA and culture endowing them with a warrior mindset. Special Units of Gurkhas are embedded in the Indian, British and Nepali armies today. It is said of them that they greeted hardship with laughter. The former Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw once stated that "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha." Persecution has not prevailed in Nepal. The Church in Nepal is taking new territory with this perspective. The Lord as a mighty warrior is with them and in them.  Advancing the Kingdom of God requires such an attitude in this day and hour. That is heart of the leaders to whom we have the honor of ministering.

Want some more inspiration on overcoming?  Check out this post from Harvey.


Stop Kicking...


We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Acts 26:14
I’ve grown accustomed to living life and ministering in a certain way. The Holy Spirit has helped me come into a fuller dimension of expressing His purposes and call in my life.   But in my humanity, I like routine, comfort, and not having to change.  I get comfortable with whatever level I am currently at. The longer we live life the less we like to change, even when change is initiated by the Lord. Why resist change? Because it takes energy, willful purpose, and intentional movement in the mind and heart. There is no cruise control in change. Therefore, we often resist what God desires to do in us in the next season.

Saul was resistant. In his encounter on the Damascus Road the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you persecute me? It is hard to kick against the goads’. One translation says ‘kicking against the pricks’. The Lord had been using a spiritual ‘goad’ on Saul for some time. A goad is a pointed stick used to prod animals such as oxen to respond. It’s often called an ‘oxgoad’ in scripture. Saul’s encounter was the culmination of a long process of goading and prodding by the Spirit to see the reality of Jesus as Messiah. He desired that Saul enter a new season of understanding; to become Paul. But Saul was a zealous, passionate student and disciple of the Law of Moses. The law had been in force for hundreds of years. It was the revelation of Yahweh awaiting fulfillment in a Messiah. Paul believed he was defending the Father even as he was persecuting the Son. Paul kicked against the Spirit of God who was prodding him toward a new level of revelation and knowledge about the Messiah. The old way was only for a season. The new way would bring forth the gospel to the world.

As the Holy Spirit takes us to new heights, depths and maturity, we get accustomed to that height, depth and level of maturity. It’s like a default setting on a computer, always booting up to the same setting. That setting may have been good for a season. It was a good setting. It was a good way. But the Lord is calling for an upgrade within! Today is a different season. Recall Jesus’ words to the teachers of the Law, ‘but can you not discern the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:3)

Paul’s resistance came to a climax on the Damascus Road. He needed a very personal, catalytic encounter to stop kicking against the goads. He got it!  He changed from an opponent to a proponent, from resisting the Messiah to insisting He was the Messiah. Check your life today. Is there a place within you that is kicking against the goads of the Spirit? Stop the kicking. Accept the pricking.


Somewhere It's Snowing...

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Gal. 1:3

As I sit at my desk this Sunday, it is still snowing after 36 hours of white stuff falling from the sky. It’s beautiful yet hard to believe that it continues, and continues… In Colorado we are accustomed to short lived snow storms of 12 or 18 hours duration. This two day affair is beyond normal! Will it ever stop?  It reminds me of a song our friend David Stearman sings when ministering at our local church…. ‘Somewhere it’s Snowing’. Yes…it continues snowing right here! 

So it is with grace. Grace continues. It keeps on falling on us!  Much longer than 36 hours, thank the Lord! We, especially in the western world, are not accustomed to durability of concepts, ideas, materials, and even relationships. We live in a touch screen world with software programs, apps, constant upgrades, replacements and appeals for something new to buy…rather than embracing things durable and continually operable. Much of what we own is disposable after only a few months or years of use. It fails to endure. It fails the test of time.

Grace is the durable manifestation of Jesus Christ, continually cleansing us when we don’t even realize it. Grace is the ultimate snow storm….the perfect storm. Grace never stops falling, bringing purification and the water of life with every flake.   God’s manna from heaven fell for 40 years as provision for Israel in the wilderness. It was durable and operable because it was God! Yet grace goes even further than that.

Today we embrace the Father’s durable, continual, operation of grace that purifies and gives life. We embrace the perfect storm authored by our Father in Heaven. But we may have to rename that song to ‘Everywhere it’s Snowing’.

Click here to read another post from Harvey Wittmier on the benefits of the gift of grace.


Feast or Foolishness?

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 KJV
Paul authored this scripture to a church that was spiritually challenged; that is, many in Corinth came from a pagan and Greek influenced intellectual culture. People embraced philosophy and multi-theistic beliefs. Paul’s message of one God, represented by one Savior in bodily form, and empowered by one Spirit was so foreign it seemed foolish and incomprehensible. They could not discern things that come from the Spirit of God.
The word ‘discern’ in this scripture is ‘anakrino’ meaning to scrutinize, to investigate, to determine. Paul’s concern was that some were not able to properly scrutinize and determine those things authored by the Holy Spirit versus another spirit.  He follows that assertion by saying they were ‘worldly, mere infants in Christ’ and not ready to consume ‘solid food’ (1 Cor. 3:1, 2a NIV)
Paul was addressing believers in Christ, people in the church, not unbelievers.  The amplified Bible further illuminates ‘natural man’ by translating it ‘the natural, non-spiritual man’. The original Greek simply means one who is ‘natural or sensual’.  Too many in the Corinthian church could not discern things from the Spirit of God because of a natural, sensual perspective. They were not accepting the Holy Spirit’s perspective on things. We could say it was the ‘flesh’ or the ‘old man’, rather than the new man, the new creation. They could NOT discern those things of the Spirit of God. 
I occasionally observe the rather passive response of believers when the Holy Spirit speaks something, does something, or manifests in some way out of the ordinary. The passive response comes from an intellectual, natural perspective.  Some people do understand it and accept it, i.e. they discern what God is doing or saying. Others are glazed over OR simply viewing with an un-renewed mind that cannot accurately interpret spiritual things. They are operating out of their intellect, not their spirit and cannot accept and embrace what God is doing or saying, especially when it is outside the normal.
I was ministering in East Africa a few years ago when a woman began to jerk and convulse as she was loudly speaking in tongues in a prayer line. I initially interpreted that the Holy Spirit was upon her. In some situations that would be an accurate discernment. However, after only a minute or two I discerned that it was demonic. While her spirit was praying in tongues, her body and mind were manifesting a demonic presence in the room. I bound that spirit and silenced it so I could continue with the rest of the prayer line. I then returned to her after praying for others and cast the demon out of her. She then stopped the jerking and all was well with her soul and body. It had to be discerned. Just because one situation is the Spirit of God does not mean the next similar situation manifests the Spirit of God.
In this day and hour we must train ourselves with solid food so we can be discerners. The Holy Spirit then connects with us as deep calls to deep. We become excellent perceivers of the Father’s intentions and manifestations in the Spirit realm. We become the answer to Paul’s prayer that ‘we may be able to discern what is best’ (Phil. 1:10a). Then we respond to each situation, not by a formula but by perceiving what God is doing. We also perceive if the enemy is involved. Can you discern and understand what is best?


Discerning the Things of the Spirit

"We can discern the snow storm coming, but cannot discern the spiritual storm now swirling."
 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret (discern) the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret (discern) the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:1-3)

 Throughout scripture, Spirit inspired writers speak of the importance of ‘discerning’ as a means of distinguishing, understanding, and deciding what is good, right, and just. To discern is to ‘perceive with the eyes of the intellect, to detect, to distinguish; the act of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment’.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 16:1-3 portray the Messiah discerning the hearts of the Pharisees and Sadducees as they demand a sign from heaven. Jesus discerns their motives and their agenda. He understands that no matter what spiritual sign may be given, it will not be discerned and understood because of their heart condition. They can interpret the signs of weather but cannot interpret the signs of the times. So it is today, in our culture of information and data overload, that many do not discern the times. We can discern the snow storm coming but cannot discern the spiritual storm now swirling. This must change.

A prophetic intercessor in Colorado speaks eloquently to this issue in a recent post saying, there is now unfolding ‘the restoration of the anointing of Issachar to discern the times and advance change. It combines shrewd evaluation with prediction, but is ultimately driven by the prophetic. It manifests with the actions of game-changers. (Morris Ruddick’s post on 02.10.16 at www.strategicintercession.org). 

There is an anointing to discern the times. We must embrace it. Without it we are blinded by the tangibles of the culture. To ‘discern’ includes the intangible element of perceiving. To perceive is to see behind the curtain, to sense something with spiritual eyes or ears, to have insight beyond natural understanding. We live in an era where our perceptive antennae must be raised and finely tuned. Proverbs 17:24 (NIV) says ‘The discerning (perceptive in KJV) man keeps wisdom in view but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Discernment and wisdom are partners in life. They are supernaturally linked. The eyes of many are wandering to and fro looking for a superman or woman to solve the world’s problems. Some are seeking more inclusive doctrine, something that will offend no one but ultimately save no one. But the discerning, perceiving believers keep God’s wisdom in view, knowing that the times compel acuity of hearing and 20-20 insight into things as they really are. The discerning believer will not be deceived in these times. They will distinguish good from evil, truth from lies, right from wrong. They will simplify a seemingly complex world into decisive and wise choices. They become the game-changers.