Dear Passion and Fire family,

August passed too quickly for us! But we were able to pack lots of fun filled meetings into it! We went from Kansas, to California, to Florida, to Minnesota! We even snuck in one day with our children while we were there in Florida. It was so good!

As great as August was for us, I’ve been made aware that there are many in this world that aren’t having such a great time as we are. I’ve had several dreams lately about all the discontented people on the earth. So much of our world has now become divisive and volatile. And it can be so easy to step into someone else’s discontent. So, I asked the Lord “How do we handle today’s climate of discontent and division?” And I heard Holy Spirit sing over my heart an old familiar song by Matt Redman, “I’m Coming Back To The Heart of Worship”. Only He changed one word, and instead of ‘worship” He sang “Jesus”. “I’m coming back to the heart of Jesus.” And it’s all about you. It’s all about you, Jesus.”

So, how do we get back to the heart of Jesus?  What would the heart of Jesus do in times of conflict and division? What would the heart of Jesus say? How would Jesus react in His heart of hearts?

As we turn our hearts to Him, we’re going to see great victories won in this season.

The enemy wants to pull us apart from one another, so as to sow dysfunction in our midst. And when we’re dysfunctional it’s next to impossible to pray together in power. Criticism, grumbling, and division all stop-up the flow of Holy Spirit and shuts down the power of prayer to move heaven and earth. It’s time for unity, not division.

And if that isn’t enough the enemy tries to get us involved in the offenses of others, where we have no business. Not now, or ever is it good meddle in problems and controversies that we’re not called to handle. The Father wants to save you from all that extra grief that we don’t need.

Proverbs 26:17, “It’s better to grab a mad dog by its ears than to meddle and interfere in a quarrel that’s none of your business.” 

It only takes a spark to get a fire going! And I’m not talking about a Holy Spirit spark getting a fire going, but a fire of controversy and division. The Father wants to set the earth on fire with revival, not contention.

When I think of a fire of controversy and division, I automatically think of James 3:5-6 and what it says there about the tongue. My husband and I memorized James early on in our Christian life and after we memorized chapter 3, I felt like I never wanted to talk again. The tongue can be a very dangerous organ and then again it can be the most uplifting. Here’s what James says:

“And so, the tongue is a small part of the body yet it carries great power! Just think of how a small flame can set a huge forest ablaze. And the tongue is a fire! It can be compared to the sum total of wickedness and is the most dangerous part of our human body. It corrupts the entire body and is a hellish flame! It releases a fire that can burn through-out the course of human existence…It’s a fickle, unrestrained evil that spews out words full of toxic poison!” James 3:5-9

And listen to Proverbs 29:11, “You can recognize fools by the way they give full vent to their rage and let their words fly! But the wise bite their tongue and hold back all they could say.”

Even so, when the tongue is used in the right way it can release life! (Prov.18:21) It’s time to link hearts and lay down our objections with one another. Controversies become distractions by the enemy to keep us from being focused on Jesus.

Just recently while I was editing Joshua 5 in the Passion Translation, I heard the Lord speak to me through it:

“When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw standing in front of him a man holding a drawn sword. Joshua approached him and said, “Are you on our side, or on our enemies?” “Neither, he replied, I have not come to take sides, but to take charge. I am the Commander of Yahweh’s armies!” At once Joshua threw himself down to the ground and worshipped him and said to him, “I will do whatever you command, my lord!” The Commander of Yahweh’s Army said, “Remove your sandals for you are standing on holy ground.” And Joshua obeyed.” Joshua 5:13-15.

When we’re facing conflict the best thing that we can do is to throw ourselves before the feet of Jesus and let Him take charge. We do ourselves a great disservice when we run into a battle without Him as our Commander and Chief!

And this is what I hear the Lord saying, “Let me take over your problems. At first you may think that I’m not working fast enough for you, but my timing is perfect. And as you move with me you will begin to see that I’m never late. I’m always on time. And watch the process unfold before you, for where you have failed, I will come through. For I will never fail you. Leave it in my hands, move with me and I will instruct your heart. I will work a miracle out of your mess as you look for my heart in the midst of it all. Just allow the conflict to bring your heart back to me and watch me work for you!”

It’s Time for a Love Revival

Just recently I heard the Lord say to me, “Be a lover, a listener, a learner, lifter/leader, in this order.” As I meditated on this word, I realized that these are steps to developing relationship and  accountability with others. This is the way we develop trust.

Lovers

We must learn to be lovers first; lovers of God and lovers of people!

1 Jo. 4:20, “Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister whom you can see, how can you truly love God whom you can’t see? For He has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to others.”

I remember when we were new believers in the Jesus Movement. We would often worship and sing, “They will know that we are Christians, by our love”. But sadly, as Christians we’re often known out in the world for being divisive, mean and angry with one another and others. And all the while we’ve been given all the power we need to walk in love, the greatest gift ever given!

1 Cor. 13:13, “So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” TPT

I can still remember what a hard time I had in the beginning of our missionary career. We were working in the jungles of Panama with the Kuna people. We weren’t there very long before I started having a real attitude toward our closest neighbor and my bitterness toward her began to grow. Every day it became more and more evident until my husband nailed me on it. He refused to let me go on suffering that way. He made me put it to rest by confessing my contempt for her. What a revelation to my heart!

Sometimes we try to fool ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as better and so we try to justify our sin. But once I called my attitude for what it was – sin, I could finally step into my position in Christ as an overcomer. I simply yielded the authority of my life back over to Jesus. I had to come back to the heart of Jesus where the battle had already been won. His power had already been released in and through me at my co-death, co-burial and co-resurrection with Christ! All the power I would ever need to love my neighbor had already been allocated to me.

Ro. 6:12-16 “Sin is a dethroned monarch; so, you must no longer give it an opportunity to rule over your life, controlling how you live and compelling you to obey its desires and cravings. So then refuse to answer its call to surrender your body as a tool for wickedness. 

Instead, passionately answer God’s call to keep yielding your body to Him as one who has now experienced resurrection life! You live now for His pleasure ready to be used for His noble purpose. REMEMBER THIS: sin will not conquer you, for God already has! You are not governed by law, but governed by the reign of the grace of God. 

…we must put every conflict behind us and enter into the love revival that’s awaiting us! It’s time for the lover in you and I to arise by the power of the cross and who we are in Him!

Listeners

Prov. 18:13 “Listen before you speak, for to speak before you’ve heard the facts will bring humiliation. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”  

Learners

Prov. 12:15, “A fool is in love with his own opinion, but wisdom means being teachable.”

Lifters  

Ro. 14:19 “So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another.”

Leaders

James 3:17-18, “If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful, fruitful life guided by wisdom’s gentleness…. The wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace considerate ad teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form and it always bears the beautiful harvest of righteousness! Good seeds of wisdom’s fruit will be planted with peaceful acts by those who cherish making peace.”

And finally, the key to it all is coming back to the heart of Jesus.

Phil. 2:2-5 “So, I’m asking you, my friends that you be joined together in perfect unity- with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display Of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation.” 

Amen and amen!