ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY V
OK, so I didn’t quite finish up on this topic like I expected to last week. Thought I was going to move on back into the Psalm 23 Adventure today, but woke up a couple of nights ago realizing that there was just a bit more to share on this, so … for those of you looking forward to getting back into Psalm 23 today, bear with me. We’ll get there next week.
Let’s talk today about the directive nature of prophecy.
A few years ago, Della and I heard the Lord speak very directly to us a series of simple commands over a period of several days. I’ve shared this before – or part of it, anyway – but He said to us, “Simplify.” Then it was, “Consolidate.” Next came, “Get out of debt.” Then He said, “Become mobile.” Lastly, the word was, “Be ready to go wherever I send you at a moment’s notice.”
Got the picture? I’ve shared this before in this series, but we can sum up these commands in the word He gave to the rich young ruler, “Sell all thou hast, and come and follow me.”
God’s word IS directive! It requires action on our part. To ignore it is to suffer the consequences. The point is that the directives are given in love. These directives are a form of prophecy. They come as a direct word from the Lord with instructions He expects us to follow.
As I have noted previously in these pieces on prophecy, all true prophecy comes from the heart of the Lord for our growth and development in our relationship with Him. All prophecy is directive in one way or another, but some prophecy comes with very specific commands such as those I’ve just mentioned.
When Della and I received those instructions from the Lord – and we both received the identical commands, called each other on the phone from our respective offices and shared them – we began to immediately take the necessary steps to do exactly what the Lord was instructing. Of course, we did what lots of folks do in ignorance when they first receive commands like this from the Lord. We ran those instructions through our personal computers – you know: our brains, our own thought and reasoning processes.
Our computers spit out an interpretation for us that sounded rational. Want to hear what it was?
You see, what also entered into the equation was the fact that we had been feeling the need to do some travel and ministry throughout the northwest. We’d had some invitations to come and share in the Spokane, Washington area, as well as in Alberta and British Columbia in Canada.
So we added that to the mental computer program. Of course, as soon as you add something to the picture that the Lord has not personally said to you to that which He has said, you really screw things up.
Our mental reasoning and mental computer spit out the following: (1) get rid of the six-bedroom home in Anchorage and move into something smaller (all but two of our kids were grown and gone from home, so this made sense!); (2) get rid of all the extra “stuff” and pare things down to a simpler lifestyle (i.e., clean out the garage, have a garage sale, sell off the extra four bedrooms worth of furniture, along with the second living room’s furniture and accessories); (3) put whatever we weren’t going to use for the next six months in storage; (4) use the sale of all those “extras,” along with some commercial video equipment I had to pay our bills down; and (5) get ready to head down the highway for six months’ worth of travel.
That wasn’t what the Lord said to us, was it? What did He say? Hmmmmmm.….. Let’s run through this again. (1) Simplify. (2) Consolidate. (3) Get out of debt. (4) Become mobile. (5) Be ready to go wherever I send you at a moment’s notice. Pretty clear, isn’t it.
Simplify. Brother, there was a mouthful. Our lives were so involved and complicated it was ridiculous. I was Chief Engineer for the local FOX television station. I owned and operated a newspaper distribution business serving the southwest corner of the city of Anchorage for the Anchorage Daily News. Della was both manager of the largest Zale jewelry store in the city and in the state, as well as serving as the unofficial assistant regional manager.
Besides all of that, we were trying to homeschool two of our kids; we had a live-in school teacher in our home who had taken a beating from some teens in the high school in Barrow and was recuperating from her injuries. Add to that our involvement in the newly burgeoning spontaneous worship gatherings, and you begin to get the picture.
Consolidate. Hmmmmmm…….. We were pretty spread out with our involvements so that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
Get out of debt. Easy! When you’re both making good salaries, and you have the income from a profitable newspaper business on the side, and you are netting over a hundred grand a year…….let’s see….car payments on two cars, insurance, house payment, utilities…throw in a generous food allowance per month, and you’re still left with an easy 50 - 60 grand to play with. If that’s so, how come we were almost $20,000 in debt, and couldn’t figure out how to make our money stretch?
Things just weren’t adding up.
Become mobile? The only way you do that is to pare things down so far that you have no home to worry about, no payments to make, and very little in the way of personal effects you have to haul around. Ouch! This was going to hurt! Unless you could take care of the first four directives, number five was never going to be possible: “Be ready to go where I send you at a moment’s notice.”
See what happens to folks when they get their priorities in life all askew? You become so involved and so entangled, you take the Mark of the Beast. That really is what the Mark of the Beast is all about. Remember how John described it? “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads, And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
It’s a mindset. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a way of doing business. People become ensnared by the Beast – the world system – and its way of doing things.
The phrase, “to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads,” represents two very clear Hebrew metaphors that recur throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The “mark in their right hand,” signifies the way you conduct business. The mark “in their foreheads” signifies the way a person thinks. These marks have nothing whatever to do with getting some kind of ID chip implanted beneath the skin so you can be tracked, nor do they have anything to do with putting some kind of invisible mark on one’s skin that can be scanned with an ultraviolet or infrared scanner.
People who focus their attention on ID chips, scanners, and GPS tracking as the methodologies of “the Beast” are literally being sidetracked by the enemy and deceived into thinking they are avoiding taking “the Mark,” while all the time they continue to live, do business, and think like the world system – Mammon – wants them to think.
If you believe that you must do things the way the world system operates, you really have taken the Mark of the Beast. If you conduct your own personal business, excusing some of your business practices on the basis that “this is the way it is done,” when in your heart of hearts you know it isn’t really pleasing to the Lord, you’ve taken the Mark of the Beast.
Getting rid of that mark takes some major effort, some discipline, and the help of the Holy Spirit in directing you. It can be done, and you won’t do it overnight unless you are ready for a major disruption of your lifestyle.
Today’s piece isn’t really about dealing with the Mark of the Beast, and we’ve already covered that in this series, but suffice it to say that the Lord has been gracious to us in getting us out from doing things the way we used to.
Della and I started off doing what we thought was the way to respond to those directives from the Holy Spirit. We found a house about 50 miles north of Anchorage out in the country we figured we would purchase. We started the preparation for buying the place and embarked on a course of action that would have still kept us comfortably ensconced in Alaska, near our kids, but with a simpler lifestyle.
Fortunately, we had said, “Yes,” to the Lord and given Him permission to do whatever it took to accomplish His heart’s desire in our lives. Folks, look out when you pray that way! Make sure you mean what you say to the Lord, and be prepared for the unexpected.
I rented a storage locker and began moving things into storage that we didn’t want to move out to the new house we were going to get. One evening, driving along the Old Seward Highway and headed back towards our house with Della and our youngest son, Joshua, a drunk pulled directly in front of us from oncoming traffic. He was less than two car lengths away when he made the move and avoiding him was impossible. We hit him at 50 MPH with our almost new Lumina van.
He was driving a dilapidated Nissan pickup. The impact of the collision picked that little truck up in mid-air and hurled it into a telephone pole. The entire front end of our mini-van collapsed around us. The drunk managed to extricate himself out of the wreckage of the pickup and ran from the scene before we could really get proper identification.
We were completely protected in the accident, and other than the momentary shock of the event suffered no injury whatever. The mini-van was totaled. The owner of the pickup – whom we believed to be the driver and identified him from photographs – reported the pickup as stolen two hours after the accident. His insurance company refused to pay for the accident because we had not gotten his ID at the scene, and our insurance only paid the vehicle off.
Presto! We were without a vehicle to make any kind of move to another house, and attempting to resettle 50 miles out of Anchorage suddenly became an exercise in futility.
Suddenly, our priorities were reordered. Earle and Marcia Treend, friends of whom I have spoken previously who were involved in our daily spontaneous worship, offered us their ranch in Idaho as a place to resettle in exchange for taking care of the place. We eventually sold or gave away most of our household possessions to our older children and other folks we knew, put in storage what I thought was “really valuable and we needed to hang onto for the day when we came back to Anchorage.”
Hahahahahaha…….hohohohohohoho……. Ohhhhh, Brotherrrr! Nevertheless, we were simplified, consolidated, and a little further out of debt. Not very mobile, yet, but at least sort of ready to go wherever the Lord wanted us to go.
Back at the ranch in Idaho was an old classic car belonging to some other friends in British Columbia, Kitty and Rene Loyd. It had been in storage there for years. We agreed to buy it from them, and I spent several months restoring it – a limited edition 1963 Mercury Comet Caliente hardtop. It was hardly designed for the kind of trips we needed to take, but in the months that followed, whenever we needed to travel into Canada, other friends came and picked us up and transported us. See. We were mobile! Just not the kind of mobility we envisioned. We were free to go wherever the Lord wanted us to go whenever He so ordered.
I contracted my services with the FOX station where I had resigned as Chief Engineer. They retained my services for another year as a contract Chief Engineer, paying me more money each month than I had earned on my salary, for the equivalent of a week-to-ten days’ services; and in less than a year, we were out of debt.
We didn’t have the high cost of maintaining a six-bedroom home, house payments, car payments and relatively high cost of living, and with that income we very quickly made progress in erasing our debts. That’s only part of the story, however, but we’ll cover that in some other Coffee Break.
See how the Lord does things when you don’t program what He says to you, or try to make it fit within your mental framework? It took almost a year to accomplish, and except for my stupidity in hanging onto things in storage in Anchorage that eventually rusted, molded, mildewed and had to be thrown away four years later after shelling out some 5 grand in storage fees, we were greatly simplified in our lifestyle, consolidated like we couldn’t believe, out of debt, mobile and free to respond to whatever the Lord asked.
Despite our ignorance and attempts to fit and figure out the prophetic word the Lord had delivered to us within our own understanding, we still purposed to obey that word – wholeheartedly. The Lord was gracious and merciful.
Every so often, I can hear Him chuckle when I attempt to “translate” what He says into the framework of my understanding, and I know that it’s time to stop. His direct Word to us needs no “translating” or figuring out, or trying to fit it into what we would like to do. All He asks us for is direct obedience. Simple obedience. It isn’t complicated at all.
We complicate things. We make simple prophecy – direct word from the Lord to us – into some grandiose scheme and get ourselves into messes He has to extricate us from. We drag things out unnecessarily with our plans, our hopes and our dreams because we want the Lord to fulfill those things according to our ideas instead of simply obeying Him and letting the chips fall where they may. We plan for contingencies. What happens if things don’t work out the way we think they ought to when we respond to the direction of the Lord? It’s all fear, folks! It’s a bunch of baloney.
If we can just come to the place where we shut up, stop running God’s Word to us through our own personal filtering system with its ideas, plans, doctrines, or whatever, and just obey – simply obey – the Lord has a marvelous way of fulfilling our wildest dreams and in the process, bringing us into a far more intimate relationship with Him. That’s what happened to Della and me. It’s what happened to all those folks who began to get involved with us at the ranch in Idaho as we gathered together for spontaneous worship gatherings.
Prophecy isn’t general; it is specific! Prophecy isn’t vague; it carries personal direction to each of us. We just need to shut up, turn off our thought processes and reasoning, and listen to what the Lord is really saying to us – personally! And then, respond without compromising.
It will change your life forever! You’ll never be the same. Della and I sure aren’t.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is (712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#. For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400. If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you! Be blessed in the city, blessed in the field, blessed coming in, and blessed going out!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
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