I’m a big believer that the Lord speaks to us in ways we can understand, if only we'll stop long enough to listen. I think He even uses humor and phrases that He knows will grab our attention, because otherwise we might pass right on by something He’s wanting us to see. Like this title that, through a series of events, He put in front of me - “it’s not rocket science.” It's not something I hear every day and yet it showed up twice within a two-day window. It's a phrase that made me laugh and because it was so unexpected, I paused in front of it longer than I normally would have. And when I looked at everything the Lord had laid out in front of me, I laughed a little harder. Because it’s actually true. When I finally took the time, through prayer to pay attention, I realized all that the Lord has been showing me is in fact, not rocket science...
There's been a big subject in my dreams and visions lately that God is bringing to the forefront. It's not something I had spent much time thinking about over the course of my life. But now it's suddenly the subject of so much of what the Lord has been whispering to me. So I’m left with two choices...one: share it in a story, or two; ignore it and move on. At one point in my life I would have easily moved on. But things are different these days. God is stirring somewhere deep in my heart and, combined with the things that are stirring in the world, I just can’t move past this one. The subject is about a word that a handful of people are willing to talk about but, for the most part, most would rather not "go there." It makes a majority of people uncomfortable because of the cost that's attached to it. Regardless of whatever side you happen to land on in reaction to the word, the common thread is that it stirs emotion deep inside. And that word is repentance.
Five years ago I had a dream that I was going to an evening worship service that I thought, at the time, was going to be led by our ministry team. I found out, instead, it was being put on by the government. The president at the time was set to deliver the main part of the service. Because it was a government-run event, we had to have tickets to get in and the ticket I was handed was 19D. After the evening service was over, I went down some stairs into a back room, to a strange underground clothing place, where I tried on a jacket. I remember thinking how amazing and warm the pockets were. (I love pockets.)
That was it. It was short, sweet and slightly confusing. I woke up from the dream and immediately my focus was on two things..."19D" and the "new clothes with pockets." As I typically do, I wrote it all down and then began to research pieces of the dream. I began first with 19D, wondering if there was any importance in the combination of the number and the letter. Again, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. The very first thing that came up was a video about the Calvary Scout, also known as MOS 19D. The Calvary. If there's one thing that would be helpful to know about me when reading all these stories, is that I get really excited when the Lord takes me down a path that has anything to do with battle. I know what He's called me to and it involves a need to be trained and suited-up for the spiritual battle raging all around us. Digging deeper, I realized the video that was posted took place at the army post in the town where we live. A whole new level of excitement kicked-in and I began watching the video, learning all that I could about the job that is categorized as "military occupational speciality (MOS) 19D." And guess what? The job description of the Calvary Scout? To be the eyes and ears on the battlefield. "In the US Army, the Cavalry Scout acts as the eyes and ears, gathering battlefield information about the enemy. There is, perhaps, no more important soldier in a combat situation than the scouts who gather information about enemy positions, vehicles, weapons and activity. Extending the battlefield as lead elements within Infantry Divisions is the main job of the Cavalry Scout. Though they tend to stay mounted in vehicles, often their job will require long distances on foot to better find and target enemy activity. With the information these scouts gather, commanders can make informed decisions about how to move troops and where and when to attack."
Suddenly, reading that quote with spiritual eyes, in conjunction with the ticket I had just been handed in my dream, I felt a new passion and understanding for the mission I knew God was assigning me. And the new clothes...He was dressing me for my new assignment, upgraded with pockets, because... who doesn’t love pockets? (I do.) So while I was sleeping, the Lord handed me my position for the battle into which He was sending me. He gave me ticket 19D and asked me to be the eyes and ears in the spiritual battle that is raging around us. Then He dressed me in what I needed to have on in order to walk into my specific assignment in life.
Several years later, I was checking-in for a flight to Canada to spend some much needed prayer and hangout time in the mountains with my cousin and a friend. I was handed a plane ticket with my seat assignment...19D. Over the years, I've learned to recognize how God whispers to me, so I knew this was a flight and a trip to pay extra-close attention to. Suddenly I was back in my dream and in the middle of the video about the calvary, wondering what God was going to show me and if there were more pieces He was going to bring together. I knew I was supposed to write everything down that happened on that flight. I can't explain why, other than I had a sense in my spirit that the Lord wanted me to. The flight didn't disappoint - it was the most unusual flight I can say that I have ever been on and the notes in my phone quickly filled up. One particular event that caught my attention happened just before we took off, as they were trying to load the snack bins in the back. The man who had the carts full of food had come in through the back door in the rear of the plane. He offloaded the food and then attempted, unsuccessfully, to leave the way in which he had entered. To this day, I still can't figure out how he couldn't get back out, but it created quite the stir with the flight attendants. The longer he tried, the longer the plane was delayed and the more heated the exchange of words became from the back of the plane. Finally, in exasperation, one of the flight attendants suggested that he go out through the front. Giving in, he wheeled his cart up the aisle, as I heard the flight attendant whisper under her breath "it's not rocket science."
I tell you all that, because I soon realized it was all part of an even bigger picture. And through a series of visions that came over the next several months proceeding the dream and the trip, I began to understand what my role is in the Calvary that God is calling me, and so many others, to. I began to see the things that we need to address before we can even consider advancing freely into the battle.
A couple months ago, I got a phone call from my Dad that the engine in their lumber delivery truck had caught on fire in the middle of the night. The truck, stored in the lumber barn, did a slow burn until, thankfully, an employee found it early the next morning. It’s a miracle it didn’t burn the whole building down, but it did manage to wreak havoc as ashes and soot settled onto and into everything in their paths. The process of clean-up has been no small task. My dad and brother, Shannon, working hard to get things back in order. Everything in the building was classified as a total loss and what few items could be salvaged were sent off for restoration. The building was emptied. The ruined items hauled off. The shelves left bare. And as images of the barn flooded the texting string on my phone, I began to see a picture of the state that we, as American believers are in...the natural world depicting the spiritual. The condition of our spirit and of our hearts.
The American flag that once hung proudly above the doorway, had to be removed and sent away to be carefully restored. Its condition spoke the message loud and clear. It made me sad to see a symbol of freedom so tarnished...the red that symbolizes hardiness and valor was dimmed. The white that symbolizes purity and innocence, clouded by dark and dingy ashes. And the blue that represents vigilance, perseverance and justice was unrecognizable.
Suddenly the vision of a heart filled with infection from a couple years ago flashed into my mind as the message the Lord had for me fell into place. A message I believe is for all of us. The events happening in our world surrounding COVID19, in actuality, have to do with the infection that sits deep within our hearts. It's not about the virus itself. The virus is real, it's tragic and it's taken a tremendous heart-breaking toll on so many. But like the pictures of the barn covered in ashes, life as we know it in the natural has quickly become a picture of what is happening in the spiritual. Something brought on by the enemy in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy. But God had a plan to use it. The question is, have we allowed the virus to trump what the Lord is trying to do and to show us? As believers, we have been walking through life completely unaware of the real, true infection we carry, because it has wound itself so intricately around our hearts, becoming a part of who we think we are, not who we were designed by the Lord to be. The events taking place in the world right now were brought on by the enemy to bring chaos and destruction and by spreading a virus and creating distraction - the enemy is stirring fear, anxiety and is putting our focus on everything but what the Lord is asking us to really look at. I believe the Lord is giving us this opportunity to put a microscope on our own lives and hearts - the hearts of the believers. By striping everything we’ve placed on the pedestal as an idol, we are left with a strange stillness and silence that suddenly leaves room for reflection and time to sit at the foot of the cross. The Lord is calling us to that time of stillness...to dig deep and begin asking the hard questions. The really hard ones. Through prayer and time at His feet and in His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the true nature of our hearts. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit and the act of repentance that we are able to extract the infection that has wound its way around the delicate parts of our hearts. The things that have found themselves intertwined in our DNA that weren’t part of the Lord’s original design.
In a biblical definition, repentance is "a summons to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign. Though it includes sorrow and regret, it is more than that...In repenting, one makes a complete change of direction (180° turn) toward God." A 180º turn...toward God. That phrase stirred something inside me and felt oddly familiar. Digging through my notes, I soon discovered why. Two years ago, when I had been praying for answers to some questions burning deep inside me, completely out of the blue, I got a text from a friend telling me to call for an Esther Fast and the Lord would give me the answer. I fasted and prayed and some really amazing things came out of that time. But what I didn't realize until just now, was that the Lord did, in fact, give me an answer. The very first day of that fast, I drew in my notes an illustration of a 180º half-circle and wrote from one side to the other, Lord how do we get from point A to point B?" And I wrote the verses from Luke 12:29-31..."And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you."
We’ve made it harder than it needs to be...the Lord has said very clearly, "it’s not rocket science." Simply put, we are to turn our eyes back to the Lord, 180º turn to look FULL in His wonderful face. Repentant, pure in heart, fully surrendered and walking in obedience. When believers have gone through the process of repentance to reveal and remove the infection, the plans of the enemy are exposed and rendered useless and powerless. It’s then we will begin to rise up as the remnant the Lord is calling us to be. Dressed on our new clothes with pockets, eyes and ears open, fire lit inside and ready to explode into the next great awakening. The move from point A to point B.
It really is about being in a cocoon with the Lord...the place where repentance happens. Through the lens of the Holy Spirit, the infection is revealed and can be removed. It’s going to take dedication and precision. A willingness to be stripped down, shed, and dead to self. Totally clearing our "building," removing the things that have built up over the years on our "shelves" and in our hearts and putting the things the Lord says to keep, through a deep cleansing and restoration process. For some, the infection goes really deep, intertwined by years of living in a world that fed us the very thing that made us sick. But the Lord has instructed us...do not seek what you are to eat and drink, nor be worried. Instead, seek His kingdom and it will be added to you.
If we try to move forward into the new season wearing our "old clothes," weighed down by the stuff, slipping out the back door instead of taking the long, hard walk to the front, sick because of an infection in our hearts - nothing changes. Nothing. We go back to our old normal and we stand to lose the freedoms the Lord has so graciously extended to our nation. But if we are willing, at undoubtedly great cost, to give up the things we've allowed to build up in our "barns" and in our hearts, then maybe, just maybe we turn the heart of the American believer back to God. It begins with turning our hearts back to our first love. With restoration. And in repentance.
In this very moment, the Lord is calling us into the role of a lifetime - to be the eyes and ears on the spiritual battlefield. The ones "gathering battlefield information about the enemy." It’s the army of butterflies that will emerge from the cocoon at just the right time. The butterflies will never emerge as the army, however, if first they haven’t stripped everything that doesn’t belong. Shedding everything and removing all that is blocking our sight and sound. Repentance. It’s the key to moving forward on the battlefield in the position the Lord has called us to. It’s vital to our freedom and unity. Our own freedom, from what blinds us and holds us back, but also freedom in our nation. And it's key to walking in unity in the spirit. John 17:21 speaks of the unity we are called to live in..."that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
The guy who needed to get his cart out of the airplane had to go out through the front. He had to walk the walk in front of everyone. The back just wasn't going to work. We can't slip out the back door anymore. It's time to call it for what it is and make the 180º turn back to the Lord. It’s not rocket science, but it is going to cost us something. It will require a get deal of trust, belief, faith, obedience, humility, sacrifice and boldness to follow through. And it absolutely has to be covered in prayer, because it's a really big deal. As I write this story, my Dad's barn is being rebuilt, the flag is being restored and they are putting on a brand new roof.
Imagine what would happen if an army of 19D butterflies is set free onto the battlefield, eyes and ears in position, waving the fully restored flag of our nation that was founded on God. Valor, purity and justice, back in its rightful place and hearts turned back to the Lord. One Nation, under God...
There's a new covering being put in place...Lord, please don't let us miss it.