The Father’s Protection

O39n April 15, 2019, I dreamed that I was on a stage with a microphone and I began to prophecy. The prophecy was like a short rhyme, I don’t remember all the words, but I remember saying something like, “Jesus, Jesus, seek Him with all your heart.” In general, the message was to seek the Lord, to be close to Him. Then I heard clearly, “Evil days are coming, walk closely to me so I can protect you.” Then I saw a picture of vision of the Father. He was gathering His children close to Him with large, long arms. He was big, in order to protect them.

In these evil days, it is important that we stay close to the Father, not legalistically, but in relationship with our Abba Father. He wants to protect His children.

As much as I love my son, Joseph, I can protect Him best when he is close to me. If he strays from my side, it is harder for me to protect him. Likewise, we need to walk closely with our Father, close to His everlasting arms. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

In the book of Genesis, Joseph called for his father, Jacob, to come to the land of Egypt due to the severe famine that was in the land. Joseph said,

“You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute” (Genesis 45:10-11, emphasis mine).

Jacob’s obedience to the Father, and to his own son, created a place of protection and provision for the people of Israel. Jacob and his household drew “near” to Joseph, a picture of both intimate relationship and a place of security and protection.

In these evil days, God wants to be our Goshen, our protection and provision. Let’s draw near to the Father, under His wings we will find refuge (Psalm 91:4).

Water Wednesday – Fountains of Living Water

My wife and I recorded this video while camping in West Virginia a couple of years ago. We hiked a few miles to this waterfall and camped near it, and used it to bathe in the morning. I hope this message will be an encouragement to you in your journey. Blessings!

And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

-Revelation 7:14-17

Water Wednesday – The Real Thing

P1150904The picture to the right is a painting of Niagara Falls that we took in Washington D.C. at the National Art Gallery. It is called Niagara, by Frederic Edwin Church (1857). A beautiful painting indeed it is, but it’s not actually Niagara Falls, it’s only a painting. I’ve been to Niagara Falls a handful of times and I can confirm that no painting or photograph compares to actually standing in awe of the wonder of water that is Niagara Falls. Nevertheless, the painting has value because it portrays a likeness of what Niagara Falls is actually like, from the artist’s perspective.

In Mark 4:30 Jesus said,

“To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?”

Jesus gave us parables so we could picture in our minds what the kingdom of God looks like. Through a parable, we see a portrait of God’s eternal kingdom. The parable itself is not the kingdom, it is merely a word picture to point us to the real thing. The parable has incredible value, but the real thing is the King of the kingdom, God Himself.

Romans 8:29 says,

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ephesians 2:10 says,

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Likewise, God has called each of us to reflect His image and likeness to the world. We are His painting, His work of art, His photograph, His love poem to the world. We are not God, but we can be like Him and we can draw others to the real thing. The real thing is God Himself.

I love beautiful pictures of nature. As I scroll through Facebook, a website or flip through a magazine, sometimes I see beautiful pictures of God’s beauty from all around this earth. My heart is drawn to these places, I want to see them for myself, not just in a picture. The picture is meant to draw me to want to travel and see the real thing.

The Bible paints a picture of what God is really like. But that picture should draw us to want to really know the author, to encounter Him in all His power and glory and love. Through others, we can see His likeness. Through nature, we can see His character and His beauty. But when we come into His presence, we encounter Him, the real thing.

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Water Wednesday – Copper Harbor

Copper Harbor

The drive up to Copper Harbor, Michigan, pictured above, is my favorite scenic drive. The highway (M-26) winds and dips its way to the northernmost point in Michigan as it hugs the Lake Superior shoreline. In fact, U.S. Highway 41, which goes all the way to Miami, Florida, ends in Copper Harbor. The tree-lined road to Copper Harbor opens up to views of Lake Superior, with red freighters floating on its horizon and white-capped waves rolling onto its shore. The deep blue of the largest freshwater lake in the world (by area) has always calmed and soothed my soul.

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I’m from a small town in Michigan of about 2,500 people, but Copper Harbor’s population is only 80 according to this link. As much as I love Copper Harbor and the drive to it, more important is people for whom Jesus died. Perhaps I could live in Copper Harbor year around, but God has called us to go where people are.

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Water is wonderful and scenic drives are beautiful, but only people have eternal souls. As much as we love creation, we cannot make it our idol. People are more difficult than trees, but it is people for whom Jesus died and it is people God has called us to love.

John 4:42-44 says,

“Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

Copper Harbor

my heart is here
in the woods, by the rivers, near the waterfalls
sitting by a lake
listening to the waves as they lap onto the shore
I love these northwoods
where the raspberries grow wild
my heart is here in Copper Harbor
but inside I can feel the Spirit calling
the upward cry of destiny
knowing this is all great and good
but the trees do not have souls
only people do
would I be willing to give my all for the least of them?
whether it be for a small town in Michigan
a village in Africa
or a child in Central America
would I be willing to pay the ultimate price
give my all, lay down my life?
so the world would know Jesus
I preach the gospel, not just with words
but in the way I live my life
can I be consumed with passion
filled and always moved with compassion
driven to give this love away
can my soul be filled with this longing
stirred with this holy calling
to give my life away

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