Losing Courage and Jesus

Last night I lost my son Courage. He eventually was found and I will share the story shortly but I want you to see a powerful lesson from losing Courage that can “En-Courage” you. When we pay attention to our life experiences we find that God is eager to reveal Truth to us in everything. And I mean everything.

I am usually awakened in the morning to process what God is saying because the mornings are often when I am most still and able to listen before the hustle of the day has a chance to distract. Coffee and quality quiet time is often the perfect ingredients to hear God and process all that Life has to teach you.

God has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. -Isaiah 50:4

So last night Courage was playing outside after my wife left for work and I was making supper. He will usually take his bike and ride around the block multiple times. Some time had passed where he was not home yet and the usual 6:00 siren never sounded, which is usually his que to return. I eventually went looking for him in the car, but I could not find him anywhere. My thoughts were hoping he was just playing with other kids at a house but he has never really done that in our area and we told him to let us know first if he is ever invited to play at another house.

But the time got later and later and so I called 911 thinking I better get some more help in case something major happened.

The deputy came over and got some info about Courage and we both drove separately around town to look for him and after more time passed with no sign I started to get uneasy. I would pray but I also started to think the worst and kept trying to stay away from those thoughts of fear.

Because that’s what happens when you lose Courage. You start to live in fear.

It started to get dark and I continued wrestling with fearful thoughts because this has never happened before. Toward the end I even started to breakdown as my continued prayers for his safety stumbled desperately out of my heart. And then 2 hours later from when Courage went missing…

I went to the window and saw dimly through the dark glass my son’s helmet as he was rolling up on his bike. I met him outside and asked where he was as the questions continued to build up in my head. Questions like: Where were you? Are you ok? Were you playing with someone? Did they do anything crazy to you? It seemed like I wanted to ask thousands questions at once but I remained calm to assess the situation. I now know what a worried mother feels like even though the kid is like,

“No need to worry mom.”

I called the deputy and he came in as I questioned Courage to find out that he had followed some kids on their bikes to their house to play. He had lost track of time until the mother told her son to take Courage home because it was dark. (Love that mom’s wisdom). The young deputy gave Courage a sticker and a dog tag and told him to listen to his dad. We thanked him and then immediately I packed the kids up to go meet the people whose house Courage was at.

Courage showed me the house and it was a family who had recently moved to the area. I met the mother of the kids and we had a nice talk about kids tendencies to lose track of time, play, etc and we exchanged numbers in case Courage wanted to play there again. It was reassuring to know this family didn’t seem strange or unsafe.  I had a good talk with Courage again about the importance of letting us know where he is and to ALWAYS come to us before ever going with others.

Some of you have already started picking up on even more wisdom in this story but again:

When we lose Courage all kinds of fearful thoughts can take over.

Some people reading this are still so concerned with the what if’s of this story that you are missing the point, but there is some wisdom to your worry isn’t there. Just remember to see things from all sides because more often than not, your worry is unnecessary. Jesus said to not let your heart be troubled even though you will have troubles in this world and there is a very good reason he said that even though our reasoning may often conflict with His if we do not learn to surrender.

Speaking of Jesus.

My story reminds me of when Jesus’ parents lost him. They assumed he was in their company and as a certain amount of time passed they realized they should go looking for Jesus back in Jerusalem where they were last with him at a recent festival. They eventually found Jesus who was surprised they were looking for him. Courage was the same way.

Whats the big deal?”, kids think. “I was just living life and being present.” “I was going about my business unconcerned with the things you are concerned with and concerned with the things you should be concerned about.”

Because often without Courage we are not actually present are we? We are worrying about other things. Maybe its our relationships or job or sports team or kids or all the bad news the media blasts that blind us to our present environment or the you name it.

Maybe what we name should be given new categories so we stop living by the what if’s and worries that cloud our thinking. Or maybe we should stop categorizing period so our mind stops ruling our heart, which causes the heart to be troubled. Or maybe you are getting wisdom beyond what I can even say right now.

So let’s end with this.

Be present because the longer you lose Courage the more fear and crazy thoughts take up residence within you.

Have Courage because it is freely given and it is the only way to live fearlessly in a complex world.

Having these things will remind you that no matter how much time passes there is a timeless Love that is stronger than death, larger than life and always inviting you to live beyond your wildest dreams AND fears, while being fully present and with you wherever you go.

Think about this more when you get some quality quiet time and maybe some coffee or else you may be too concerned with other things to fully take in these words.

– Preston Hall

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The Subtle Falling of Leaves

The Subtle Falling of Leaves

The leaves are beginning to fall

You’ve been falling for a while now

Will you embrace the change of seasons?

Will you allow death to serve its purpose so you can overcome its meaning?

Will you complain when winter draws near?

The leaves falling are calling you to leave your resistance to transformation’s process

Spring will come again you know. Do you know?

If you don’t fall you cannot rise, so we are changing your definition of failure and falling

Are the trees immoral for shedding their leaves?

Is immortality alive in the breeze even when you don’t know where it comes from?

The leaves are beginning to fall

They’ve been trying to wake you up for a while now

Be still and know, so when the trees are naked you are no longer ashamed

The winter’s snow will reveal your purity

Love will give meaning to your process

Love will conquer your fear of death

The leaves are beginning to fall

You’ve been resisting the cycle of life for a while now

Unless a grain of wheat falls, my child, unless it dies it cannot arise

You return from where you came

I’m sorry they told you you will return to the dust

They’ve been clinging to their fading shells for a while now

The real you returns to My Face

The Face of the One who breathed you into existence

So conquer death by not being afraid of it, my child

Embrace the expanding cycle of transformation

Life & death is in the power of a Reality that never dies

In a little while now you will see Me face to face

For life is but My breath that lasts forever

The Overview Effect: Encounters of the Heavenly Kind

planet-earth-from-space

“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” – Fred Hoyle

“The Overview Effect” is covered in a brief documentary where astronauts explain their experience from space looking back at the earth.  They talk about a cognitive shift in perspective when they realize the beauty of earth as one living organism and how everything in it contributes to its life.  This perspective causes one to see the pettiness of human wars and conflicts, while expanding the desire to see mankind work together for the benefit of our home and each other.

If we can get this brilliant perspective we will further see change towards a holistic approach to life on earth and a true movement FOR mankind that is founded on Love.  This cognitive shift is none other than the mind of Christ.  It also reminds me of the famous verse:

“For God so loved the world.”

About 10 years ago I was using a book in my prayer time someone had given to me called: Open My Eyes, Lord: A Practical Guide to Angelic Visitations and Heavenly Experiences” by Gary Oates.

In the book Gary shares one of his experiences while on a Randy Clark sponsored ministry trip to Brazil in 2002.  While the testimony is better in full context, I will share what is pertinent to our post.  During worship one night, Gary had a powerful experience where he left his body to find himself looking down at everybody worshipping the Lord.  He then started shooting upwards through the tent until he was looking down at part of the city, while also seeing the tent they were meeting at glowing with the presence of God.

For those who like Scripture to back up experiences, Ezekiel 8:3 says:

“The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me into visions of God.

Eventually Gary came back down into his body and looked up to see Jesus coming toward Him where he ended up having a powerful experience with Jesus.  See the book for more details.  At the end of the book Gary leads you in a powerful prayer of consecration and impartation that I would soon find out really works.

Shortly after reading Gary’s book I was reading Bill Johnson’s book called, “The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind.”  As I would read the book a heavy presence of God would come over me and I kept hearing God’s voice internally saying over and over:

You have to renew your mind.  You have to renew your mind.  You have to renew your mind.”

Maybe that same voice is saying the same thing to you right now?  Don’t mistake the words you just read for my own. 🙂  Continuing on.

While hearing the words to renew my mind, God’s presence grew so strong that I decided to lay down for a nap.  (Looking back I thought I was just getting tired but later realized it was an overwhelming presence similar to what Adam may have felt when he was put to sleep in Genesis 2:21)  Shortly after laying down the next thing I know is I am hovering 2 stories up outside by bedroom window looking into it.  I then began to shoot straight up in the air.  As I was shooting up into the sky I was afraid but remembered Gary’s testimony of when he was afraid in his encounter he began to descend, so I tried as best I could to ask God for strength to not be afraid.  (Fear robs us of so much!)  The next thing I know I am hovering above the earth like the picture I included with this post, only it was far more vivid.  Take a little time to imagine yourself looking at the earth from this position before you continue reading.

I was suspended in this view of between heaven and earth until suddenly I began to fall back to earth.  I remember thinking over and over as I was falling, “I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die!”   I got about 20 feet from the ground and I begin to float like a feather for the remaining few feet to earth until I came to rest in some lush green grass. The next thing I know I woke up on my bed quite stunned at what just happened.  Read the the Ezekiel 8:3 verse again,

“The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven.”

I had experienced The Overview Effect and I didn’t even have to be an astronaut to see it!

So after recently viewing the Overview Effect I am impacted by this encounter more than ever.  My heart swells with Love and Possibility for our planet.  I know without a doubt that Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit SO LOVE THIS WORLD.  They want to see us come together in unity to make it beautiful and to also enjoy where it is already beautiful.  This is God’s desire for heaven on earth and it is this perspective that Jesus teaches us to live out and pray for.

Activation:

Take time to meditate on the picture I posted above  and/or watch the short 19 minute documentary called “The Overview Effect.”  You can now see this effect without even needing to leave your body!  Ask the Spirit to take you deep into God’s heart for this planet.  Let God expand your horizons to what is possible.

Between earth and heaven we learn the perspective of leaven.  We learn the power of mankind to affect the whole.  We learn that we are participating in what lives, dies and grows in the earth.  We participate in what the earth and mankind is becoming.  We learn that our imaginary boundaries are the only thing that keep us from Reality.

Between heaven and earth we learn our worth that gives birth to the endless possibilities of Love.  Floating on this ball of land and sea we can take each other’s hand and see that we are all here together.  WE ARE ALL HERE TOGETHER!

 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. -Acts 17:24

Together we have to renew our minds,

-PH

View The Overview Effect Documentary Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKK4dAu_sFo

For more about Randy Clark and Global Awakening see www.globalawakening.com

Gary Oates Book:  http://www.amazon.com/Open-Eyes-Lord-Visitations-Experiences/dp/0975262203/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465150136&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=gary+opates

  • For those who value Scripture like I do we further see Gary’s and my  experience in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.  In line with what Paul says, I did not know whether I was in my body or not but God knows.  Also sharing this experience has nothing to do with me being highly mature or spiritual.  It simply has to do with the grace of God showing us how big God is, what is possible and how reality works.  I was simply hungry for more of God.

When Teresa of Avila Said My Name

Years ago I was reading the words of Teresa of Avila alone in a house.  I was being greatly impacted as I sat on the couch and eventually stopped reading as I began to experience an awesome presence of God.  I eventually leaned back and closed my eyes to fully take in the experience.  Sometimes we see more when our eyes are closed.

I was caught up in a state of consciousness with God that words cannot describe but at some point a female voice audibly and firmly said my name with what sounded like “great delight.”  I didn’t even flinch because I was so caught up in God’s presence.  I slowly began to open my eyes and looked around to see if the woman from whose voice had spoken was there.  I saw no one yet I was engulfed in a serene peace as my mental capacities were joyfully suspended in God’s presence.

I believe that voice was Teresa of Avila herself.

This is what it is like to experience the truth of Scripture that records we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  (Hebrews 12:1)

This was also one of those times when God was going beyond what I could think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

While my experience may be foreign or even cause anxiety to a troubled mind, it would only be because the “cares of the world” as Jesus calls them, are the ruling agents of one’s perception.  When we care more about the Reality of God than “earthly things”, our minds are able to experience the “things above” that the Apostle Paul encourages us to focus on. (Col 3:1-2)  When we value these experiences they lead us to have renewed minds that are conformed to heavenly realities and not patterns of reasoning that reject them.  (Romans 12:2)

The Way Our Names Our Spoken

The powerful thing about my encounter with Teresa in God’s presence was the way she spoke my name.  And that is the key in all of this isn’t it?  It’s the intention of how someone speaks your name and wants to influence you.  It is how they say it.

Someone can call your name with the sound of great disappointment or a tone of questioning intention that makes you feel they do not have your best interest in mind.  God, being seated above where we are asked to focus our minds, has no disappointment in His mind towards you.  This immediately brings to mind something a friend of mine has said,

It is impossible for God to be disappointed in you.  For Him to be disappointed with you, you would have to do something He didn’t already know you were capable of doing.” –Randall Worley

Part of the reality of God being seated “above” is that He is seated above accusation and the things of the world that have no connection to His nature or reality.  Things like fear, condemnation, doubt, complaining, gossip, bad intentions, hate, etc.  And so we see why Paul encourages us to focus on things above where God is seated and where we are seated with Him!  (Eph 2:6, Col 3:1-2)

Your Name

Jesus sent out 72 disciples to proclaim the reality of God’s world with the authority to heal the sick & cast out demons.  The 72 came back extremely excited because of all the miracles they saw and the demons that submitted to Jesus’ name.  Jesus explained the authority they had in God but emphasized that it is not best to rejoice in the power that you have but to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

I picked up Teresa’s book again today and read this,

The soul understands they would do far more good in one day than in ten years if they thought a lot less about their authority and simply loved God.”

That is exactly what Jesus was saying to the 72.

Jesus went on to rejoice and praise Heavenly Father that these disciples were able to be impressed by God’s world of wonders & miracles but most importantly He was rejoicing in their slow realization that God loved them for who they were and not for what they did.   All our experiences with God will naturally cause wonder and delight but most of all they remind us that we are connected to a God we can continually know as we are known by Him.  He knows us all by name!  (Eph 3:15)

The power of knowing that our name is written in heaven comes from experiencing the intention of the One who speaks our name.  I described the tone of Teresa saying my name as one of “great delight”, which is exactly the tone of Jesus’ praise of Father revealing to us that our names our written on His heart.  It is with Love and Great Delight that Father God speaks your name.  Anything else is not from God and is from an accuser.

The substance of God’s name is often best understood as “Love” and Love casts out all fear & accusation.

Those who overcome accusations by trusting God is Love are able to experience the victory of living aware of God & Heavenly Realities.  They can abide in Love with their minds being free from accusation as they are focused on “things above.”  It is of the victorious ones that the book of Revelation records the following about our name:

The one who is victorious will be dressed in white.  I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Rev 3:5)

It is fitting that the author of Revelation opens up with hearing a voice in the Spirit, which is where we are all called to live.  We were born to be led by the Spirit of God in knowing our Heavenly Father is our Perfect Daddy and we are His unconditionally loved kids.  The fruit of living from heaven (above) while on earth is one of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Self Control, Wonder, Mystery, Child-Likeness and more.  These qualities truly bring heaven to earth as Jesus taught us to live and pray.

Be encouraged today that you are actually surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses that continually speak your name with great delight as they cheer you on to experience all that God has for you.  Be encouraged to share your heavenly experiences from a place of having your worth firmly rooted in God, as the blood of Jesus and the words of your testimony encourage the hungry and thirsty to find their Reality in God. (Rev 12:10-11)  Rejoice in knowing your Father knows and loves your name!

Prayer

Father, give us ears to hear You speaking our name with Great Delight.  Let us hear and experience the truth from above that we are your beloved Children in whom You are well pleased.  We don’t just want to read it, we want to know it.

-PH

Those who hear the word and accept it will bear fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” – Mark 4:20

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” -Eph 1:3

  • Teresa’s book I was reading is titled, “Teresa of Avila: The book of my life” as translated by Mirabai Starr.

 

Brushstrokes of Grace Review

Here is my  review for Randall Worley’s book: Brushstrokes of Grace: Finding Grace In A Graceless World

My wife recently rearranged our living room to be more open and inviting and I must add, she did an excellent job.  Randall’s book will rearrange the living room of your heart and mind to be more open and inviting, as a deeper understanding of God will be entertained in whatever place you find yourself reading it.  I’d even say that many will be comforted in finding themselves while reading it.

Speaking of comfort, some may initially find this book uncomforting as they are invited to venture into their previously shallow ideas about the depths of God, while others who are uncomfortable will be comforted by a God that was much better than they had originally anticipated.  Throughout the reading of this book I found myself comforted in the depths of God’s love that I have come to know yet in other places I was challenged in the shallowness of some of the waters I found myself in.  It is here where Randall inspires our hearts with a deep that calls out to the depths we were created for.

Brushstrokes of Grace will help paint you a picture of who God really is.  Keep in mind you may not see this painting hung up in some the religious institutions of our day but for those not hung up on dogma and who are interested in actually knowing God’s nature, you will be greatly encouraged by the quality of the Artist accurately portrayed in this book.  Randall has done a masterful job with communicating in a way that allows these brushstrokes of God’s grace to touch the canvas of our lives.

Lastly, I have paid careful attention to the depth and clarity of Randall’s teaching for quite a few years now and many of us have wondered when Randall would write books. Brushstrokes of Grace has been worth the wait but many should not wait to get this book in their hands . It will be a catalyst for you to be encouraged in understanding and ultimately experiencing the true depths of God’s love and grace that religion has long tried to keep hidden.  I cannot recommend the author and his book enough.

Check it out with the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Brush-Strokes-Grace-Finding-Graceless-ebook/dp/B010QX0RGW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1460737687&sr=1-1&keywords=randall+worley

-PH

God, Science, The Matrix, You

Have you ever experienced God (or even received a God inspired idea) in a way that completely rocked your world and left you not knowing how to process it?

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” -Psalm 139:6

Science is now confirming what happens when you experience God, which results in a process of unlearning and learning new realities that actually make new connections in your brain. This can be monitored on brain scans. The following paragraph is from Rob Moll’s book, “What Your Body knows about God.”

One researcher believes that spiritual experiences can be so powerful that they knock loose some of the brain’s wiring, creating a sense of God’s absence as the brain rewires the necessary parts to experience God. The “dark night of the soul” may not simply be a form of spiritual depression but a signal that the brain is changing.”

This makes perfect sense to many of the experiences I have had with God where I was so amazed right away, yet left somewhat confused as how to process or walk the revealed truth out. This is because I was previously darkened to the Light that is now shining in the places that had no grid for the Light to shine there continually. Of course my spirit is extremely excited in these times but what will other people think? How can I become mature in this new reality I am beginning to understand?

These questions will take on varying degrees of excitement and difficulty depending on the connection you have to people who are safe enough to process your journey with you and who will not be afraid of paradigms that they themselves may not have a grid for. (Which actually means they are not formed in their brain yet so their minds are literally in the dark but it is possible for their heart to burn with excitement at what you are saying. See Luke 24 for the story of some disciples walking with Jesus without even knowing it in their brains but they did have burning hearts.) It will also vary according to the levels of persecution or pushback you directly experience like the Apostle Paul or Jesus did with those who think what you are experiencing or saying is crazy or false.

The encouraging thing is that this “dark night of the soul” is actually the place through which the seed of Truth can break through the soil and grow into a beautiful tree that can feed the world, while simultaneously bringing you increased fulfillment as you go from one level of understanding to another in your relation to God.

This process of experiencing God and rewiring the brain is what the Scripture calls the renewing of the mind.

Using the analogy of the Matrix movie, this journey is usually only sustained by those who decide to take the red pill to see how much of God and Reality we can actually know.  It is for those who have allowed their hearts to be tenderized by Love so that seeds of revelation remain and grow even when our minds cannot comprehend what we know in our heart from our experiences with God.  The red pill is usually not taken for fear of what one does not understand.  This is where Father God always stands with His arms wide open saying, “Fear not, I love you, and I am with you wherever you go so lean not on your own understanding until my understanding is formed in you.

This not only means He is with you wherever you go on earth but He is with you wherever you go in the heavenly realms where you are actually positioned in Christ and where you learn to have the mind of Christ because you are born from above.  It is to this invitation that Father continually invites us to, knowing that He has much more to reveal to us but we cannot yet bear it all.  This is why we have a Spirit guide available to guide us into ALL truth even if that truth knocks some things loose in our brains until new connections are formed or if the newly formed truth makes others think we are still “out of our minds”

But like the Apostle Paul who was eventually killed for His renewed mind from Jesus, we can sometimes say,

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

Be loved and take the red pill!

-PH

Scriptures covered in this post: Mark 4:20, 2 COr 2:18, Eph 2:6, John 3:3,12, 1 Cor 3:18, John 16:12, 2 cor 5:13

Who Understands?

Who really understands?

Brian Zahnd sparked my imagination, which God breathed upon to further illustrate a picture to demonstrate a reality for you.

Brian painted a scenario where you took your neighbor to court because he built a toolshed that extended 3 feet onto your property. You win the court case as the judge orders your neighbor to remove the toolshed and so justice has been established right?

Brian goes on to consider another scenario where the judge weighs the arguments but goes on to to judge that both of the properties must be returned to the Native Americans from whom it was stolen from 150 years ago. Is this better justice?

This reminds me that people’s understanding of justice (among other things) is usually symptomatic and often incorrect. This means that well meaning people think they know what justice is but fail to see they are often just as much a part of the problem that their proposed solutions to injustice claim to deal with. When we do not understand the deepest realities of Life we often stay at the surface level of our knowledge of good and evil, us vs. them, justice and injustice, without ever getting into the deep end of the pool where the waters are too deep for that posture of thinking to comprehend.

People who only deal with symptoms perpetuate the cycles of root issues that God wants to heal. God wants to undress the shame of our darkened imaginations that hide behind the kinds of knowledge that keep us from knowing God and Reality. When we finally change the way we think (repentance) we can start answering the call where “deep calls out to deep” and begin to release the depths of Reality to others, even if they do not yet understand. These seeds of revelation can then take root in the soil of people who do not even know they are there until years later a beautiful plant of insight breaks through their heart and starts to overtake the dirt that was previously void of divine reason. The sunlight of God’s imagination will then develop these plants in hopes the person will guard their heart and cultivate the beauty of what God is growing.

So when we think of our understanding of reality, whether it is our idea of justice, forgiveness, love, hate, etc., may we embrace the calling and challenge to go beyond symptomatic reasoning and may we dive into the very heart of our Creator who has the wisdom to transform the darkest of our humanity. This is the Love of God in action as we grow in our understanding of actually possessing the mind of Christ that is foolish to the status quo.

Drink & Think Deeply My Friends,

-PH

Brian’s story was in his book “Radical Forgiveness:  God’s Call to Unconditional Love” and can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Forgiveness-Gods-Call-Unconditional/dp/1621362523/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1457799749&sr=8-6&keywords=brian+zahnd