December 23

Please Read This

This may be the most important post I’ve ever written.

There’s no way to say this without sounding a little crazy: I was told what to say. But not how to say it, so please bear with me.

Starting with Scripture is never a bad idea.

Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

That’s the task I was given.  “Tell them,” he said to me (Romans 10:13).  “Tell them.”

Tell them what?

The vision I received contained images but very few words. The day was dark, and I saw a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21) rising out of the ground. Smoke billowed from it, and the smoke filled the sky (Exodus 19:18, Revelation 9:2). Lightening came from the clouds of smoke (Exodus 20:18, Psalm 29:7, Hosea 6:5, Revelation 4:5). The smoke swirled and came near me, and I saw that it wasn’t really smoke, it was clouds of locusts (Psalm 105:34, Joel 1:4, Revelation 9:3). Then I saw a great light appear in the smoke (Habakkuk 3:4), and I asked it, “Can this be prevented?” A voice replied, “Look around you, it is already burning” (Luke 12:49).

Then I saw Jesus on the Cross, and all around him the landscape was in flames (Isaiah 66:16, James 3:5). The voice said to me, “Do not be afraid, it will not hurt you” (Isaiah 43:2). And then he said, “Tell them! Tell them that all who dwell in the Kingdom will not be harmed. Not a hair on their head will be singed” (Daniel 3:27, Luke 21:18).

(I added Bible verses because I found, much to my surprise, that every element of my vision could be found in the Bible.)

Let me put this in context. Over the past two months, I have received a number of visions. Some are of troubled times coming near. Others show restoration. I’ve seen destruction, and I’ve seen a New Eden.

This was the first vision in which I was told to take any action. “Tell them!” he said.

I’m a writer. I’m good with words. But I’m struggling to put into words the message I received.

Despite the frightening images, it’s a message of love. God loves us! (1 John 4:8) And not because we are Christians or Americans or because of our color, our bank account, our language, our flag, or our church membership. He loves all his children.

“Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?” (Hebrews 12:7)

Make no mistake: trials are coming. But let us be aware of the reason. We have become soft, what Jesus and Paul called malakoi (Matthew 11:8, Luke 7:25, 1 Corintihans 6:9). Those living in luxury. Those who carry no cross. And yes, I include myself.

It’s easy for us to protest. We don’t own a chain of luxury hotels. We don’t fly around in corporate jets. Perhaps we work hard for our living, and perhaps that living isn’t very large. But if you’re reading this, you have internet access, and that puts you in the top 40% for starters. The world’s median per capita income is $2,920 per year. $34K a year puts a person in the top 1%.

I don’t write this to suggest guilt. I write it in the hope that it will help us do something Americans are not very good at: taking stock of ourselves (Proverbs 28:13). As Christians, we admit that we’re sinners, but we don’t like to admit that we sin (1 John 1:9, James 5:6). And yes, I include myself.

Jesus’ challenge to us is not easy. It’s nearly impossible not to fall short. The point is not whether we’re doing everything he asked, but to acknowledge the ways in which we aren’t. Here’s a simple example: I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. But I’m never quite satisfied with the material things he’s given me. And I’m afraid of my government. True there’s much to fear, but not if my Lord is bigger than the government.

If. Therein lies the quandary of my faith. Do I really believe that Jesus is Lord? Am I willing to trust him wholeheartedly? Even with my money and my family’s well-being? My self-defense?

I invite you to pray honestly about questions like these. Because the purpose of the coming trials is to make us teachable (Jeremiah 9:7-9, Zechariah 13:8-9, Daniel 12:10). “Those who dwell in the Kingdom will not be harmed,” he told me. But “dwelling” in the Kingdom means more than a profession of faith, it means living that faith in our everyday lives (James 2:26). It means, as Paul said, imitating Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:1).

I’m not going to tell you how to do that, because I recently learned something else: Each of us has a different calling. I’m called strongly to the social justice aspects of the Gospel. You may not be. Perhaps your strength is prayer, or witnessing, or healing, or deliverance, or evangelism. I don’t think any of the Gospel can be ignored. Matthew 25 is as important as John 14, and vice versa. James 2 is as important as Ephesians 2. We can’t “specialize” completely. But, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, each of us has a different role to play. Maybe we haven’t found it yet. I invite discussion, because a lot of people are going to see this differently. God didn’t tell me what you have to do. But “doing” is the operative word.

I am going to begin a series of posts trying to explain what I saw and what it meant, because a profession of faith isn’t enough. We’re being called to repent. We’re being called to confess (to God and each other, not to me). We’re being called to change.

The call right now is verbal. But it’s going to get more insistent. Times of trial are coming.


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Posted December 23, 2016 by admin in category "Religion

6 COMMENTS :

  1. By Phil J. Yoder on

    First, Thanks DJ for your honesty and transparency. You demonstrate great courage and bravery through sharing your vision with us. Please accept my gratitude.

    Second, I didn’t know that you were having visions; I’m looking forward to hearing about the others. So go ahead and tell us even if you’re not sure how to, we can sort it out along the way.

    Third, we endure trials for the sake of discipline. For sure, this is a hard teaching to accept. It brings up the question of theodicy, or rather, how to explain suffering and pain in the world if the Lord is truly good. These ideas seem relevant: already/not yet; living between the times; living after the birth, life, baptism, ministry, death, and exaltation of Jesus Christ until the final consummation. Is this the question you’re asking us: what does it mean for you personally (and perhaps for us collectively) to pick-up and carry the cross? That may indeed look different for each individual believer because of their particular set of circumstances. There may also be common characteristics in a generalized sense in terms of what it means for the body of Christ to carry the cross. Depending on how you respond I’ll just say that I would be willing to consider following up on both of those queries.

    Lastly, what does it mean that every element of your vision could be found in the Bible? Is that to show how your message is consistent with the biblical story? Yes, that’s a very good reason to cite scripture. But, just as an example, Exodus 13:21 tells a story that happened. By citing it are you saying that it will happen again in some sort of way? In this case, what is supposed to happen again? More wandering in the desert, the people of God living into what it means to really trust and obey Yahweh?

    Reply
    1. By admin (Post author) on

      “Is this the question you’re asking us: what does it mean for you personally (and perhaps for us collectively) to pick-up and carry the cross?”

      Exactly. Jesus’ most frequent commandment was, “Love.” His second most frequent was, “Follow me.” Following Jesus requires motion. Action. Movement (internal and external). He gives us a lot of examples, including intensive prayer, community-building, teaching, social criticism, healing and deliverance, and standing against what is wrong. I’m suggesting that not every one of us will imitate Jesus in the same way, but that we ought to seek to imitate, and we are challenged to do so with greater fervor.

      As for why I quoted Scripture, three people I respect have suggested I explore how my visions intersect with the Bible. One of them suggested this with an eye toward language with which to express them. One, I think, had in mind that doing so would add authority to what I saw. The third seemed to be concerned with my own ability to assimilate and understand what I saw.

      For myself, when I read that previously God has indeed shown himself as a pillar of fire, and that his voice and judgment have been experienced as lightening from clouds of smoke, it gives me more assurance that I’m really not crazy. Because there are moments I have doubt.

      However, your suggestion that these events are happening again, as in the Followers of the Lord wandering in the desert until they are ready, that’s something that hadn’t occurred to me in that way but yes, that seems to be what I was told.

      Reply
  2. By Luke on

    DJ: Thanks for the message. I read it about a week ago and been pondering. In the past months God has impressed on me 1 Thess 5:20 “Do not despise prophecies.” I have experienced prophecies in an accurate manner. I have heard and see a lot of “flaky” babbling. There must be a way for prophecy to be done with wisdom and grace: in the context of Christian relationship of committed believers. This includes those who can and are willing to test and refine a vision. I applaud you for stepping out. The prophet is not responsible to accomplish the message. The prophet delivers the message. God accomplishes the message. There is one thing I believe about prophecies. It is in the voice of two or three messengers a word is established. 2 Corinthians 13:1

    Reply
    1. By admin (Post author) on

      Thank you, Luke, for your thoughtful words. I have recently been struck by two verses: Ezekiel 22:28 and Lamentations 2:14. There are surely times when God has sent a single prophet to counter those who told people what they wanted to hear. (Isaiah and Micah said much the same at about the same time, though Micah went north and Isaiah stayed in the south.) I don’t know why I’m receiving these visions. I shrink from the spotlight. But my heart tells me they are from God, and they are not meant to lead anyone astray. However, interpreting them is difficult and I have been talking with several people I trust. It is easy to see a thing and come away with the wrong message. That’s one reason I said nothing until I was told to say something. Another is that I have not been given specifics about what will happen, only that trying times are coming. Soon.

      Reply
  3. By Phil J. Yoder on

    For me, carrying the cross means perseverance, endurance, tenacity. Learning a language? It’s the attention to detail. Cleaning up after supper? It’s doing it because you want to. Exercising during the week? It’s the determination to run because you know you need it. Frustrated by a long day? It’s the humility to reach out and talk to a friend. Sometimes all I need is someone to be present with me, in that moment. Other times, I need help to remember the big picture and why the little things matter. Sometimes, I just need to be told: carry your cross…

    Would it be comparable to say, pick up your mat and walk? John 5:8

    Reply
    1. By admin (Post author) on

      Phil, you have an ability to see and do the little things that I have always admired. And yes, the little things are important. Yet we stand at a crossroads, divided, conceited, and quarreling. There is but one Gospel, as there is but one Body. Yet the hand says, “I am of the body and I am a hand, therefore you are not of the body because you are not a hand,” and eye likewise, and the mouth. It is time for healing, both of ourselves and of the Body. We are called to the whole Gospel, and we are called to call others to embrace the whole Gospel as well. The call I have heard is not to make more Christians, but to call Christians to become Kingdom-dwellers.

      Reply

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