Proverbs 22:1 New International Version (NIV)
22 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
It struck me the other morning (the 22nd) that a “good name” in Proverbs 22:1 may refer to more than a nice reputation, but something much deeper: identity. In ancient Middle Eastern culture your name was much more that the word used to address you. Your name was identity. Your name was calling, destiny, purpose and significance. The Jewish people chose the names of their children carefully and prayerfully.
The enemy of our souls, of whom Jesus said, “he comes to kill,steal and destroy”, often does so by attacking our name. Allow me to elaborate.
I recently heard that three of Satan’s most potent weapons against us are the “3 i’s”—insignificance, incompetence and impotence: you don’t matter, you can’t do anything right and you have no power to change anything.
Note how thoroughly the gospel blasts through these three lies!
Insignificance is addressed through the demonstration of my value to God: I am worth the very blood of His Son. I have been redeemed-purchased- at an infinitely high price.
Incompetence is addressed by virtue of my calling and placement into the Body of Christ, where I have been given spiritual gifts to discover, develop and deploy in the service of others.
Impotence is addressed by the indwelling of the Spirit. He comes to take up residence in me, to empower me to love, serve, grow and change. He demonstrates His power in and through my weakness as I learn surrender.
Most of our besetting sins, I suspect, are rooted in our vulnerability to these three lies. The life of the flesh flows out of futile attempts to establish a sense of identity, power, significance, value and competence in illegitimate ways, apart from the calling and purposes of God for our lives. If this is true (and I think so), then repentance will normally involve a remembering: a returning to the foundational truths of who we are, God’s redeemed children, bought at great price, no longer our own but belonging to Another Who loves us passionately and has called us to live lives of holiness, service, purity, love and self-sacrifice out of overflowing gratitude to the One Who loved us first.
Do you know who you are? Are you aware of the good name you’ve been given?
I see a golden wheat field; amber waves of grain, like in America the Beautiful. The waves move across the surface of the field as the breeze gently blows. It’s a picture of abundance, fruitfulness, harvest.
I know at one point in Your ministry there were a bunch of people coming to see and listen to You and You turned to Your disciples and compared the people to a “field, white unto harvest”.
The fields are still white. Ask Me and I’ll give you eyes to see. Yes, I know there are tons of articles about the “Nones” and declining appetites for the things of the Spirit. Don’t let that discourage you. I assure you, it doesn’t discourage Me! In fact, I delight in bringing harvest from what looks like barren dry ground, in turning ashes to beauty, despair to hope, spiritual apathy to revival!
If you just look with natural eyes, you’ll likely miss the plentiful harvest all around you. Eyes of faith don’t just see what appears to be the current state of things, but the potential.
Your church is packed with potential, as are your neighborhood, your city, your nation and your own life. Use your spiritual vision, your holy eyesight. What would it look like to see your neighbors come to a fresh and vibrant relationship to Me? To see strongholds of poverty and addiction and family dysfunction and crime broken all around you? The life of faith is always a life of vision- to see what’s unseen, to see potential, possibilities, a bright future.
Ask Me often and I’ll sharpen your vision.
Lord, help me to see the things You see, the way You see them!
Hidden reefs — Book of Jude
Father, I dreamed I was living in a one level house a little larger than this. In a large, empty back room I saw mice suddenly running around like they were coming in from outside, maybe to get away from the cold. I had no luck chasing or swatting them. They began appearing in other rooms. Then I saw small flying insects associated with the mice. Finally, I saw two small horses, less than a foot tall, that also had gotten in. They evaded me too but did not seem bad or evil. Somehow it was revealed that a mouse had used one of these horses as a host, but it had died inside the horse.
There was a couple, in one of the house bedrooms, awakened from sleep by a man. The woman sat up and called to her a mouse that she had made a pet. It ran to her and climbed up on the bed. She picked it up, petted it, and sort of sicced it on the man who had awakened her. It wasn’t clear what the mouse was to do.
Lord, please tell me what You will about this dream. I see us on the heavenly walkway. That is quite a contrast to the house of vermin in my dream. What is the house?
“Anywhere I am not truly Lord. It can be a person’s life, their home, an institution, including a church, even a country. There are many applications.”
Do vermin or evil spirits never come in where You are, Lord.
“They cannot enter unless they are given an opening–believing a lie is the enemy’s preferred method. A wrong spirit can also enter a group through a member who has been deceived and brings it in. They may come into a house that was previously clean, but not saturated with My Word. Maybe you have become too comfortable or complacent or busy about other things. The enemy seeks warmth, welcome and emptiness. The first room where you saw the mice and horses inside was empty.”
What about the insects that came after the mice but seemed associated with them?
“Evil spirits can be ruling spirits that attract other similar spirits to further affect and make unclean.”
I was chasing them and swatting them to no effect.
“In your own power you were doing this. You never asked Me or anyone for help in the dream. Be willing to identify where help is needed and ask for it. Also, strengthen yourself in Me continually and ask for My help.”
The horses seemed different.
“Evil spirits like to feed on the most innocent or unprepared. Don’t harm them. Help them to see and be delivered.”
The couple in the bed?
“There are those who prefer to sleep, stay comfortable. Instead of helping combat the problem, they make friends with it and use it to attack those who try to wake them up. Unfortunately, whole denominations have embraced wrong spirits such as homosexuality. They have fed into the culture. As they become more relevant to the culture they become less relevant to Me. My servant Jude spoke of this.” For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[ long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 4)
So what do You want me to do with this? What was Your reason for the dream? I admit I like comfort but I don’t want to be a part of the problem.
“Be more intentional about making connections in the body, getting to know people better, spotting and encouraging their gifts. Take more people to lunch. Sometimes you might have people in. Winter is a good time to start. People have more free time.”
Please also grant me more faith and reach others through me, through healing or through speaking Your Word. That has to be You, Lord, because I really don’t naturally do that. I want to be a part of the answer,Lord, not part of the problem.
Along the Cabot Trail- Cape Breton, Nova Scotia