“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #21

Spiritual Coronavirus defense.

So you know what the doctors are saying, and all the medical experts. We’re probably all washing our hands even more now, and thinking twice about how we travel, where we go, and how often we enter large groups of people, whether a mall, church, work, ball game, or whatever.

There are plenty of experts telling us how to physically prepare to war against this virus, but what about spiritual? Here under the Willow Tree our focus is spiritual, and this is a very good teachable moment. What I am about to tell you I began about five years ago. I have told people of this ever since, but as far as I know, I’m still the only one who does it in my little circle of influence.

We speak of the weapons of our warfare, but so few of today’s Christians seem to take this seriously. Those weapons are for us to fight with, not ignore because were too busy with physical things. But what might this fight look like? How do we do this? I’d like to speak of two things. First, how well do you hear His voice?

Jesus said my “sheep” hear my voice. Not the lambs, but the mature sheep. How can we do what God is telling us to do if we don’t even hear him? If a Christian remains immature due to lack of due diligence, then they cannot hear the voice of God on the level they need to to overcome the devil’s devices. Will they survive and thrive? Not usually.

I start with this point because only someone with an appreciation for maturity and due diligence will make good use out of the next point, which is the thing I’ve been doing for at least five years now, maybe longer.

There are seasons of time in which the careless will pay big for their carelessness, and we may be entering one. If a thousand years is as a year with God, then how long is one hour? God challenged me to figure that out back in October of 2018, because I believe he told me we were approaching the last hour of the last days, which began with the birth of the church, the last two thousand years. (Two days with God.)

The Old Testament gives us an account of the first 4000 years aprox. ( 4 days aprox.), the 4 God-days before the birth of the church. So when the Apostles thought they were in the last days, in God-days they were, and we are, but what of the last hour? I calculated an hour would be aprox. 41.6666667 years! (Sounds crazy, I know. And I was definitely out of my expertise as I worked on this. But if I got it right.)

Now there was another key to this I can’t take time for now, but it had to do with our last Orion’s meteor shower, which I mentioned October 2018. Anyway, with that key…in October 2018…I became concerned with June-July of 2020! I felt I heard the voice of God alerting me to June/July of 2020, which was like one year and seven months away, but now here we are, almost. What I believe I saw was a period of intense chaos that would lead into the last hour before the return of Christ. (Realize the last hour is still a 41 year period.) And this is partially why I’m speaking of getting serious about the weapons of our warfare, this thing God showed me back on October 2018.

As we see this coronavirus just beginning to impact our country, none of us really know if this might become more serious, or not. Presently, they say only people already physically weakened in some way are at threat. But this could be just the beginning of what God was alerting me to, and warning me to be physically and spiritually prepared.

I’m going to give you the short version of something I learned. Many years ago God challenged me to memorize the whole chapter of Psalms 91. I tried many times but always fell short. I got distracted, didn’t try hard enough, lost interest, whatever. But about five years ago I tried again and did not stop! I got it! And then came a surprise! I was praying one day and the whole chapter of Psalms 91 started rolling out of me! I mean I was “praying it”! I was praying it in a way I could never pray it if I was dependent upon reading it as I prayed! It was coming up out of some deep place in my spirit man!

I’ve been praying Psalms 91, in this way, ever since. Not every day, but on a very regular basis. Are you familiar with how powerful that chapter is? I have five years of sowing the seeds of that chapter in my garden with God. The garden Him and I walk in together. This is an example of hearing the voice of God and taking up the weapon of our warfare, the Word of God, my Sword, and using it against the enemy.

Do I still wash my hands? Of course! But I also do not neglect to hear my Father’s voice and make use of supernatural benefits in my spiritual storehouse. And obviously, PRAYER has been an essential part of PRAYING Psalms 91.

We will now end this article with a King James version of Psalms 91. (I love the KJV on this particular chapter.)

“1.) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2.) I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust. 3.) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4.) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5.) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6.) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7.) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8.) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9.) Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10.) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11.) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12.) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13.) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14.) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high because he hath known my name. 15.) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. 16.) With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”

I make the Psalm personal when I pray it. I change thee to me, thine to my, and etc. I also memorized and pray Psalms 103, the first five verses. You see, true warriors don’t mind training themself to face their enemy on the battlefield. To them it is not asking too much. It is an honor to be called.

I know this has been strong medicine under the Willow Tree today, but this is a teachable moment. Let us not waste it. Amen.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #20

The Sword of Wisdom. (Part Two)

Some say earth is hell. But wisdom dictates earth is no more hell, than it is heaven. Perhaps at times we may feel earth is a taste of hell, or a taste of heaven, but that would be as close as it may come. And yet we often hear there is no hell except this life here and now. These people so boldly making such declaration, do they speak wise or foolish? What sword do they wield?

Are you treating planet earth as a stepping stone, or an end all and be all? The wise know it is a stepping stone, but a stepping stone to where, or what?

It is amazing how many people in this world, including some very primitive cultures, have the wisdom to believe there is a God and we are his creation, but they reject the Bible and Jesus. These people speak of many ways of reaching God and being in his good graces. Many of them accomplish good works in the earth, and they are good people, as far as “human goodness” can go. But Jesus warned: “Why do you call me good? There is none good but one, that is, God:…” (Matt. 19:17a)

True wisdom always seems to stand head and shoulders above foolishness. In that one statement Jesus blew away the godless thinking of self-righteousness, because in truth, we know what we are, don’t you? Jesus bore the Sword of Wisdom like none other.

Jesus also said, as it is taught and recorded for history in our Bible, that planet earth, this life, is just a stepping stone and don’t be too attached to it. You don’t stay on a stepping stone. So… where did Jesus say earth was a stepping stone to? Some are quick to say heaven. But Jesus also confirmed this planet can be a stepping stone to hell. In fact, he seemed to indicate more people will step from here to hell, than they will heaven, and perhaps that is because in their foolishness they refuse to admit the wisdom and truth of Matthew 19:17! There is none good but God.

Most people today like the Star Wars movies. Some even love them. I very much enjoy their version of the battle of good against evil and light against darkness. Most people desire to grow in light, not darkness. Few really want to be Darth Vader. Most, when watching these shows will see themself as part of the light, a Jedi Knight. Even Hollywood believe they are of that light. Even in all the lust, greed, pride, money, and power of the typical Hollywood type, they see themselves as the enlightened ones. Pride goes before a fall, and all lies have an expiration date. Only truth is eternal.

Was Jesus of the light, or of darkness? How can Jesus possibly be of the darkness? And yet he said there are none good! Except God! And only God can save us from our bad. Not by works of righteousness that “WE” have done, but by faith and devotion to the finished works of Christ! How does your life compare to the life of Christ? Which do you want to present to God on YOUR judgement day? If you love wisdom you’re really enjoying this article, but if not? Check your light, please.

Only a fool wants to stand before God in their own flawed and filthy righteousness, when they could stand in the grace and mercy of God. Only a fool thinks this planet is the end all and be all of their journey. Our journey is eternal, and earth is just one stepping stone in that journey, albeit, a very important one. For this stepping stone is placed at the most important fork of the river you will ever choose! And you cannot travel both. You must choose one or the other. Wisdom indicates the one less traveled is the better. Jesus indicated it also. The Bible indicates it too.

But most fools love crowds, whether to follow one, or be adored by one. The Sword of Wisdom seeks the truth no matter what. It is impossible to follow true light and reject Christ. You may indeed be a true Jedi Knight, but if you are unfaithful to Christ, you are not of the light.

I may enjoy Star Wars and how it may parallel some truth, but it is still fiction, and a parallel road still misses the true destination, even if it is only by mere inches. The wise understand such truth. The foolish still insist their path will be good enough. God has promised to be the judge of that, not I. I’m only a messenger of what God hath said, here under the Willow Tree.

Please slow down long enough to weigh in the balance the value of your soul, and everything Jesus said about it. Do we so easily write him off as a crack pot? A myth? Just a man? I think not. Wise men and women still seek him. This is our wisdom from the Willow Tree today.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #19

The Sword of Wisdom. (Part One)

Are we back to a day of wisdom verses knowledge? Or has it always been that way? Has wisdom and knowledge always battled each other? The truly wise know how to take knowledge and temper it with wisdom, but sad to say, many are educated beyond their level of wisdom; becoming fools, they live in self-conceited pride. The wise know the dangers of pride, but the foolish do not. Therefore, it is better to have more wisdom than knowledge, rather than knowledge over wisdom.

“So he called together all the chief priests and learned men (scribes) of the people, and anxiously asked them where the Christ was to be born. They replied to him, In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:“… (and they could even quote the scripture from memory.)

Have you ever pondered how the religious leaders of that day had all the knowledge, but none of the wisdom? And what of our day, as we see such magnificent works being done in the name of Christ, while our country continues towards the days of Noah? If our salt be real, how does it fail to save a nation? How does it fail to raise up true disciples in the simple ways of Christ?

How is it the wise men could see His star, but the scribes and priests, even the chief priest did not? Could not? Or did, but chose to ignore? What possible explanation could their be? God revealed His star, and His Son, to some simple wise men, but withheld such a wonder from his highly educated priests? And even after Herod suddenly wanted to know more about this Messiah to be born, still they were not alerted to the event they had studied over the centuries? There are none so blind as those caught up in pride and self-conceit.

What was the difference between the Magi and everybody else on the planet? And where do we stand today? Where does the modern church stand today? What is wisdom verses knowledge? The priests knew everything there was to know about the prophecies of the Messiah to come. And although the Magi were wise, they likely did not have near the knowledge of the priests. They did not know what was written concerning the place of his birth, but they had eyes to see His star. Amazing when you think about it. How many educated Christians are failing to see that church history is repeating and we are headed towards another spiritual dark ages.

To quote Matthew Kelly: “Wisdom is not the amassing of knowledge. Wisdom is truth lived.”

We know what real prayer looks like, but do we live it? We know the simple life Jesus taught, but do we live it? We know what it means to be a true disciple, but do we live it? We know wisdom compared to knowledge, but do we live it? We know the call to be a spiritual warrior rather than a pleasure seeking civilian, but do we live it?

Evidently, God chose the wise men over the priests of that day. Those priests studied and spoke of God’s Sword, (the holy scriptures), all day long, and yet, failed to use it! The one true living Sword born into the earth and they failed to worship him or even greet Him! Jesus called them snakes and vipers. Jesus bore the Sword against his own priests? Woe.

Today I see many famous and wealthy preachers making Jesus out to be something he was not, and the foolish flock to them. I see them twisting God’s Word to say things it does not, and refusing to speak certain things it does say. Are these true men of God? But the wise will temper knowledge with wisdom, and realize we must come out from them and raise up the true standard God called us to. Just like those wise men of old, the wise see his star, and perhaps they do not have a Bible University Degree hanging from their wall, but our greater need is the ability to see His star, find the real Jesus, and bow before Him.

It is peaceful under the Willow Tree as we ponder the movements of the oceans and the ways of man. The waves toss and churn, but the deep places still have REST. This puzzle spoke to me as we came in to 2020. It speaks to me even now, like a star no one else seems to see.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #18

A Sword like none other!

People say a lot of things about my spirit Sword, the blade I have dedicated my life to study and serve. Many of those who speak the most know the least about what they claim. It is said there are no bad students, only bad teachers.

Students become bad students usually because they had a bad teacher. A bad student may affect a few people, but the greater danger still remains the bad teacher, because they may affect a multitude.

Is there any book with more controversy than the Bible? It has survived many years of attempts to destroy it from the earth, and yet has out sold every other book in existence. We’re use to Americans excelling in some way, and some people think the Bible is American, but it is definitely not. We wrote none of it. It is completely of a very mysterious people still affecting the earth today in very mysterious ways.

Oddly enough, this same unusual people who wrote the two parts of the Bible, were also the very ones trying to murder the book’s main hero, JESUS. According to Jewish history they succeeded in killing him. However…many many many say he didn’t stay dead! And many many many lives have been radically changed and transformed by this book proclaiming JESUS actually overcame death.

So…today I’m sort of in a mood. A mood to simply express a few thoughts of my own about this supernatural Sword I serve and love. I want to point out a few basic and logical truths for one and all to consider. No follower of Christ is meant to ever force anyone to become a Christian. It’s not even possible. I am called to simply follow Christ in his light. Some will be attracted to that light. So here we go…

The Bible “claims” to be the recorded history and message of the one true “God” and his involvement with his creation from conception to the end of earth. It claims there is an end. It doesn’t give us much beyond this end, except that there will be a new heaven and new earth going forward after this one, for those still with God.

The Bible claims to be recorded history going back many thousand years, and over the course of those years it is a compilation of many different writers, but all agreeing to the same basic message. There is no doubt from all the physical evidence of writing style, details, historical records, old manuscripts, etc, the Bible was written by no one person. You can argue who wrote what, and how many were involved, but it is certain it was written by more than one person during various periods of time.

It claims this supernatural “Being”, known as “God”, searched the earth and chose a man of faith named Abram, whose name became Abraham, which means father of many nations, but Abram had no children and his wife was barren. After Abraham and Sarah tried to “help” God, and had a son named Ishmael born through their handmaiden, God kept his promise and Sarah had a miracle baby in very old age and named him Isaac. So now…second generation…and there is still only one legitimate child of God’s promise. This light could so easily be snuffed out.

God promised to raise up a new nation of people whom God would speak through to all peoples, and eventually enter into flesh and blood himself to save man from something God calls “SIN”. Which is a form of darkness and separation from God.

Isaac only has two sons, Esau and Jacob. God chooses the line of Jacob to become a new nation called Israel. Jacob has twelve sons. God changes Jacob’s name to Israel, which means: Champion of God, or one having power with God. These twelve sons become the 12 Tribes of Israel, and eventually the nation of Israel you and I know today. Jesus would eventually be born of the tribe of Judah. This is all Jewish history they claim to be true. Christianity is not an American religion, even though we may have gained great influence in it.

With the coming of Jesus, the Bible becomes two parts, and Jesus actually simplifies the 10 Commandments into only 2. The Bible becomes the “Old Covenant” with the 10 Commandments and a theme of justice and law; and the “New Covenant” with a theme of love and grace. Jesus fulfills the Old Covenant we so badly fail, and establishes a new covenant we can succeed in, but only “through him”.

The Old Covenant is all about law and judgement. It shows that God will judge sin if we refuse the Christ Covenant of love, mercy, and forgiveness. It states without doubt that sin must be paid for. The Old Covenant is an eye for an eye. But Jesus came preaching to forgive even your enemies, so you may be forgiven too.

The New Covenant says because God is love, that he entered humanity to pay the price for us, a price we cannot pay because we are already defiled, unholy, no way to escape the fallen condition already upon us, unless God himself intervenes. In the Covenant of Christ, Jesus simplifies the 10 Commandments into only 2! Love God with all your heart, and love your fellow man as yourself.

In other words, love God, (your true Father/Creator), love people, and live in your Father’s House. We also learn there is great power in the “House Rules” of our Father’s House. We begin to learn and love them.

In summation: Ancient Jewish people claim they encountered God. He chose to speak through them and enter the human race through them to save mankind. Because… a day is appointed when all unforgiven sin must be judged by a righteous God, and the eternal jailhouse is a place called hell.

The Jewish people themself, and their tiny nation of Israel have a very mysterious history upon this earth. I think most studied people would agree. This tiny nation still affects this planet in strange ways today, which the Bible actually prophesied would be the case. Many prophecies concerning Israel have been fulfilled, but there are several very unsettling prophecies yet to come, and earth’s stage seems to keep moving that direction no matter what we do. The one that most bothers me is the obvious direction of a chip in our body eventually. It’s a no-brainer. The handwriting is on the wall. (666).

If there is such a thing as a supernatural “Being” who is all-powerful, all-righteous, all-knowing, and he is my Father/Creator, and he warns us that sin cannot go without payment in the world he created, then I either choose that I trust this God and what he put in me (soul/spirit/conscience/eternity), and have much to learn from him; or I reject him and hope somehow hell is not true and man is not in the condition God says he is.

The Bible is not American. It began thousands of years ago with a tiny nation of people who did not speak our language and claim they encountered God, and he moved through them to write certain things down. Adding to the paradox, the very people who wrote the Bible, for the most part, reject its main subject and hero. (Which the Bible also prophesied would be the case.) However, it also says a day will come when the Jewish people will receive the message of the hero of their own book they have rejected. What an amazing story, but we each decide if true or myth?

Personally, as you know, I believe in God, his Son, his Holy Spirit, and the supernatural Sword he has given us. I have chosen to be samurai for Christ. I will live and die by this sacred Sword of eternity. From under the Willow Tree a Sword goes forth from my mouth (so to speak), and we send forth the vision of a warrior child of the Kingdom of God. I hope this is a light you love to embrace, and a Sword you love to learn and share. Amen.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #17

“The Warrior is a child.” (Part Three) Conclusion.

I started a “Fellowship” so we could have “Simple” church. Childlike church. Where and when did Jesus have church? Best answer? Everywhere he went and all the time.

There is a friend meeting me at Cracker Barrel tomorrow, and we will have church. (He doesn’t actually know this yet, but he will, and I already know he will enjoy it. Sounds crazy, I know.) My philosophy of following Christ is: Love God, love people, and live in my Father’s House.

One of my goals has been to simplify everything as much as possible, and that usually results in a child-likeness I really enjoy. Most others enjoy it too. This is what I left the modern church to do, to get back to the simplicity of Christ, and the simplicity of a child. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.

I love to write stories and use them as teaching tools with people, whether child or adult. I do readings. I’m currently signing up to be a tutor helping children learn to read better, a program I would have been involved in sooner had I known about it.

An example of my work would be the free story I put on line called “Flapless”. You can read that story simply by clicking here: flapless.wordpress.com if you’re interested. I love to hook the story up to a big screen TV and read it to my grandchildren.

Okay, a slight diversion there, but getting back to our subject of the Warrior Child of the Kingdom of God. Love God, love people, and live in my Father’s House. This is what it means to me to always live in my Father’s House. God has given us powerful “House Rules” to use against the enemy of our soul, and also provide our every physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental need.

Satan loves to get us away from living in our Father’s House by luring us into his territory. He has to get us into his territory of darkness. We have great power in our Father’s House, but the more prodigal we go, the more opportunity Satan has. God’s House is as a spiritual fortress. Satan has no choice but to lure us away if he can. He will spin his lies, make it look like he is coming in like a flood, create the illusion we’ve already left the house somehow, or God’s House left us, but if it is a lie, and we know it to be a lie, because we are faithful to the House, then his attack evaporates into nothingness every time. It actually ends up working to our spiritual good. It’s one of our superpowers.

But some people only want rules they choose for themself, and they are very resistant to God imposing any of his rules on them. God allows us to make our own rules if we choose to, but we must also live with the present results, and eternal results of those rules. Are you sure that’s what you want? Are you really that smart, even smarter than God? Maybe God is a myth to you. And Satan a myth also. That’s right where Satan wants you, his territory.

But I am the child who has learned, perhaps after a prodigal journey, that my life has a lot more purpose, passion, meaning, fulfillment, value, and power when I use the weapons of my warfare (House Rules) against the circumstances of this life and the enemy of my soul.

It’s really that simple. You can even see the “selfishness” of my choice because things like passion, meaning, and purpose are very desirable to me. I am that type of person. And if I can have greater and more powerful effect in those areas by living in the powerful House Rules of my Father, who is most powerful of all… (I know, again, very childlike of me)…then that is the selfish choice I make. You see, God actually wants us to become all he meant for us to be. He’s not against us, he is for us, but I can be against myself, when I choose to live in pride. (And he will let me.)

Now please understand, following Christ is not the means to an earthly mansion if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s actually the path of a heart broken by LOVE in a world full of NEEDS! How do I live in a mansion while others are starving in the streets? If I am filled with the Spirit of my Father, and I’ve sat at the feet of Jesus and been trained up in the House of God, my heart yearns to serve. Not rule, serve. (I hope you’re not disappointed, but excited!)

Yes, the House Rules of my Father’s House. While I was the prodigal, I learned the beauty of my Father’s House and I want to share it with others, so I find as many ways as I can of having simple, childlike church everywhere I go. I will continue to simplify our Fellowship as much as God shows me how. From the time God began showing me this childlike faith and way, I have felt like a bird released from a cage. Speaking of which, don’t forget to give “Flapless” a quick look-see. Thanks again for visiting the Willow Tree.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #16

“The Warrior is a child.” (Part Two)

Let’s go deeper into the spiritual rabbit hole of the child-warrior. I have come to understand just how important it is for every child to have a “childhood”. This time of love, innocence, play, creativity, imagination, exploration, learning to trust, is very important in our development. If you were robbed of your childhood in some way, and you struggle with difficult to explain issues, that might be the reason. Even Michael Jackson complained often that he had no childhood.

Deeper into the rabbit hole we plunge. Jesus had very strong words for anyone who breaks the innocence of a child before their time!

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trust in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matt. 18:5-6)

Very strong words from the one we know to be Love with a capitol “L”. Evidently, God understands how important our childhood is to our development. After watching the movie: “Beyond the Black Board”, I began thinking more about how we get damaged in our childhood. I was so inspired by the show that I bought her book. What I have read so far has moved me even more than the movie.

I think I know why childlike faith has always come so easy to me, even to the point of catching a lot of flack from people who think I have been foolish in many of my choices, and yet I find myself at age 64 very happy in the garden I have grown, while I watch others still stressing and running their fool heads off chasing temporary things.

At grade level 5 my childhood life took a very big change. I’ve always wondered about the purpose of that change? In grade 4 I was a popular kid. I lived close to the school and my friends were the “in click”. It was easy to be popular as long as I was with them, and it just happened to be so, because we lived close enough to be friends even outside of school. This “popular kid” childhood would have shaped me into one kind of person, maybe a person not in God’s plan for me?

Suddenly we were moving an hour’s drive away! My dad would spend the next 20 years of his life car-pooling an hour to and from work! And I went from having close neighbors to total isolation! In the country! My grandma was ready for a smaller and simpler house and my mom wanted to live in the country. Dad bought the farmhouse and away we went! Goodbye friends and school! Hello cornfields, the wind, and isolation! Also a long bus ride to school. Big changes for a child, but I adapted and became something different than I would have been before.

Adding to the change, I never was a popular kid again. I never made that connection. The few friends I made, we were mostly the loners and outcast. Living in the country, the city kids mostly ruled the school. But in some ways I had an ideal childhood to become a person of vision. I lived in books and nature. My imagination grew very strong in the quiet of that country setting, and when I read something, it is REAL to me. If I believe it to be true, if I believe it to be worth visualizing, it is one of my superpowers, to see it as absolutely REAL, just like a child.

Many children do not get that. Children do not ask to be born into what they are born into. I’m so blessed to be birthed in America. Why did God choose that for me? I don’t know. The child has no power over any of these things.

But here’s the bottom line, this child-likeness is very powerful in the Kingdom of God. The child makes the greatest warrior. So even if you may be damaged from your childhood…the work of the Holy Spirit in us tries to heal all that, and show us what it means to be a child in our heavenly Father’s House.

Jesus said > “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s house.” (John 14:1-2a)

We are finally making some progress in the depth of this subject, but there is still too much for any one article. I found this spiritual rabbit hole under the Willow Tree. As I spend time there, listening to the Wind and pondering things, like I did in my childhood after I was kidnapped into isolation, and it became my superpower.

Jesus says bring the children to me. He says for such is the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, the American way has become one of seeking pleasure and wealth. Our way is to always prosper and climb the food chain into blessings. But God is still looking for children of a sacred battlefield, not material. My superpower enables me to visualize it very vividly. I think the lady in “Beyond the Black Board” has my same superpower. I hope you do too, here under the Willow Tree. I hope you will trust Jesus enough, to let His Holy Spirit lead you into a child-likeness that realizes this world should not be taken so seriously, and our inheritance in our Father’s House should be the joy that fills us every day, giving us great purpose and meaning now, and great experiences in the future we have not even been able to imagine, no matter how strong our childlike superpower may be. Amen!

In the next episode I hope to look more at “My Father’s House”.

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #15

“The Warrior is a child.” – (Part One).

Jesus said> “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God as a little child (does), shall not in any way enter it (at all).” Luke 18:17 Ampl.

Jesus tells us straight out that if we’re above being childlike, then we will not enter the kingdom of God, not at all. In my preparations to teach this I was surprised how deep this analogy goes. I found myself in deep waters! There is a powerful message here if the teacher can get it right! Let me show you a little of what I mean.

Jesus challenges us to be childlike. He does this not only once, but five times in the Gospels. And yet we have the Apostle Paul telling us in First Corinthians 13 to put away childish things. When I was a child I spoke like a child and thought like a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things. Is there a difference between childlike and childish? Was Jesus childlike? Childish? If the greatest in heaven is like a child then surely Jesus himself must be an example of this child-likeness, and yet he seemed so serious and responsible all the time. What is this great mystery of being like a child?

I chose my quote from Luke 18 for a reason, this is also where after speaking of being like a child, Jesus is immediately confronted by the rich young ruler. Their conversation is very interesting, and when studied while keeping what Jesus has just said about the child in mind, you realize Jesus actually ends up inviting the rich young ruler into a child-like life of following him! Of which the rich guy walked away sad. And then Jesus talks about how hard it is for the rich to enter heaven. Is all this just coincidence? No. But in all this you begin to see how deep this spiritual rabbit hole is.

So… I’ve decided not to try and explain much in this first teaching, but simply point out a few things children are good at and adults usually not so good. See if you can see why child-likeness might be powerful in heaven

1.) Children don’t live in their own power! (They are too weak and depend on parents, or someone, to provide and protect them. They live by way of a power not their own! And that mindset is natural for them. God is our parent, but are we living in his power, or our own?)

2.) Children believe! You can convince a child that Santa is real! Children have great imaginations, great faith, they see the invisible! It is real to them! If people they trust tell them something, they believe it! Do we trust God like that?

3.) Speaking of the rich young ruler, children are innocent about MONEY! Unless someone has introduced them to it, they are not motivated by money!

4.) They keep things simple and are happy with little. When I was a child I was happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but then one day I tasted steak, and now feeding me is much more expensive. I have to make more money and work more if I want to eat steak. But if I were still happy with simple, I’d have more time to do things I love.

5.) Children want to play and live carefree. I could do that more too, if I hadn’t got hooked on steak!

6.) Children are still soft hearted. The world has not beat them up yet, because someone who loves them is still protecting them.

7.) Children are still in innocence. They are not sexually motivated.

8.) Children are humble because they know they still can’t take care of themself. They need the help of someone stronger. They live as dependents.

If you look back on this list you will see many qualities that are powerful virtues in the kingdom of God. Jesus was very childlike. He walked in the earth knowing his heavenly Father was always with him, protecting and providing. He was completely content with whatever his Father provided. He trusted his Father completely. In the Sermon on the Mount, he taught to be like the birds of the air, and the flowers of the field, who neither toil nor spin, but their Father takes care of them. But as adults we are taught not to be childish. It’s irresponsible to be carefree and careless.

But what if…? What if you’re only being careless in worldly affairs, and you’re very responsible in the things of God? Has not our Father told us to put our priorities in the Spirit, and things of the flesh will be taken care of?

Children are forced to grow up too soon when no one protects them. This can result in a damaged human being. All children need someone who truly loves them. But many children are hit with the hardness of life way to soon and they strain to survive.

With our human parents we know we have to grow up and move out at some point, but as a child of God we never leave our home and we never lose our Provider Protector. There is a care free childlike warrior we can be! It’s a position of power and peace for those who grasp it!

The Apostle Paul spoke of his peace and contentment whether he was in need, lack, or abundance. He said when he was weak (like a child?) then he was strong! What is this weakness that is actually great power in the kingdom of God? Can we actually live this way? Jesus did. The Apostles did. Others have. (Hebrews 11). But only a childlike faith is powerful enough to do it. I’ts not blind faith, It’s childlike faith. There is a huge difference.

The rich young ruler walked away very sad because he knew he would not give up his riches to follow Jesus in childlike faith. Peter gave up his boats, his business, everything to follow Christ like a child. He suffered many things during his short time on earth, but now lives in great glory for eternity. That’s what our Bible tells us, but do we believe it like a child?

I wanted to share this under the Willow Tree as much for my own understanding as anyone else. Do we resist the work of the Holy Spirit in our life because we fear going back to being a child in our Father’s house? There is nothing to fear, and great wisdom is to be found in our Father’s house. Dare we have the simplicity of a child, and the courage of childlike faith?

“A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #14

“Darkness always feels attacked by light.”

Has the light in you ever caused anger in others? The light in Jesus caused great transformation in some, but great anger in others. Have you ever had to rise from bed in the middle of the night to use the restroom? Did you turn the light on when you did, or leave it off, maybe have a night light, a softer light?

When you’re driving down a road at night, and someone is coming at you with their “brights” on, ever experience pain, get angry, have difficulty seeing, feel like your life was being threatened? So we hit them with our brights. “Take that, buddy! Get your dimmers on. I’ll blast you just as long as you’re blasting me!”

Yes, light can cause REAL pain, and especially the DEEPER the darkness the greater the pain! Human nature tries to avoid pain! It does make witnessing for Christ challenging. It is not for the faint of heart, but for true lovers.

So as a warrior of the Lord, a defender of truth, we try to come to people with our dimmers on, but sooner or later there must be a moment of truth, it is unavoidable. Will the person embrace, fight, or flee? The reaction you get could be any of the three. You might gain a disciple, or end up in a fight, or lose a potential friend as they begin avoiding you like the plague. Two of those three, hurt.

When we think of warriors we often focus on the destruction more than the saving. God’s warriors are called to seek and to save that which is lost, those who have fallen into enemy hands. Our focus is not to destroy, but to save. God has already defeated the devil. We are called to resist him, and seek to save those who are still lost. Ours is a life-giving mission, not life-taking, but we still contend with the powers of darkness, both by way of Satan and very real darkness in those who embrace his ways.

The light in us does cause pain in others. Unavoidable, unless you lower your light. May we become more skillful, not less bright.

Let us consider the Sword we carry. It is very sharp and very bright. It bypasses flesh and penetrates “soul”. It speaks only truth, but we are to speak it in wisdom and love. Therefore, the Sword we carry is very powerful, and must always be carried in a sheath of LOVE.

But again, once that Sword comes out… darkness always feels attacked by light. There is no painless transformation. For those unwilling to take up a cross and follow Jesus, their is no salvation. This is the painful truth. But does the Bible give us a picture of what it looks like when we draw God’s sword?

“He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations.” Revelation 19, starting in verse 13.

God’s Sword comes out of our heart and out our mouth. That is one reason it is more powerful than any other sword. Words…Truth…Vision…Revelation…Wisdom… Inspiration… the pen has always been mightier than the steel bladed sword. We are affected by words in ways a steel sword could never ever touch. Steel can’t touch our soul.

Note this quote from Myamoto Musashi, a Samurai warrior who also wrote the book: “Book of Five Rings”> “It is said that warriors should follow the two-fold way of pen and sword, and they should have a taste for both. Even if one has no natural ability in one or the other, they can be a warrior by sticking diligently to both the pen and the sword.”

This should be an encouragement to all you blogging Christians, of which I am one. The two-fold way of pen and sword.

As servants of the Lord, are we called to drive with our dimmers on? Is that what Jesus did? Or the Apostles? Early church? Does scripture support such a teaching? Not really. As a matter of fact, Jesus did not make the way easy, he challenged people with strong words and then asked if his disciples would leave him too? But I would say the church of our modern day has managed to dim their light considerably, by offering a much “dimmed” version of Jesus. A more worldly version of church. Something more complicated, expensive, and business like. My words may be causing pain even now, for some. Because they are true? If they are not, then pay them no heed. Do you embrace, fight, or run? I stand my ground.

If transformation could be accomplished without pain, I’d be all for it. Put me asleep, doctor, while you do your cutting with your sword. But when I wake? Guess what’s still waiting for you? Pain. So we take pain pills. Human nature loves to avoid pain. It takes a warrior spirit to brave battlefields, no matter what kind of battlefield we speak of. Many are so busy with worldly battlefields, they waste their warrior spirit on temporary pleasures and have little left for God.

Many who claim to be followers of Christ today have lost their taste for godly battlefields. It’s all about being “blessed”. The truth is a battlefield requires a lot of sacrifice. It requires real sweat and tears training, risk of life, leaving comfort zones and traveling light, and it involves the “weapons” of “our” warfare. Is it possible to follow Christ and not become a warrior? “No.” If you think so, you’re probably not following the Jesus of the early church.

Test yourself. What are the weapons of our warfare and what are we personally doing with them? Is going to a big church every week the fulfillment of using your weapons to seek and save that which is lost? Or are we just paying someone else to be a warrior? And what true warrior preacher would teach that’s enough?

Test yourself again. What are the weapons of our warfare? You may say “love”, and that would be true, but real love drives us to take up our weapons and make sacrifices for the sake of others. When was the last time you fasted for the sake of seeking more of the Holy Spirit, more of God’s fire in you? What’s your prayer life really like? Do you study the Bible, or just keep reading it? When was the last real revelation God gave you? Can you name the personal battlefield God has you fighting? Is this battlefield for the sake of others, or mostly just you?

I know, my words are hard today. So will you leave? Many do.

Well…the title is “A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree”, and we may write 100 episodes before this is done. So don’t expect dimmers anytime soon. It is a weeping willow tree. A place where hearts break for the pain and darkness in this world. If you are drawn to embrace such things, you’ve found a place to stand here.

A Warrior sat under the Willow Tree” #13

“Beyond the Blackboard”

What kind of warrior are you, if any at all? Many people have “fight” in them, but what are they fighting for? Is it a good cause, or bad? And who’s to be the judge whether good or bad? Is it something we believe in, or simply things we desire for personal reasons. Are we fighting for the benefit of others, or mostly the benefit of our own? The world needs more true warriors who fight for the benefit of others in a world that can be very cruel and unfair.

As our movie collection continues, I would like to follow “The Kid Who Would Be King”, a movie I consider to be a fictional picture of the invisible battle of spiritual warfare. If you tried to make the Sword of the Spirit visible, and you placed God’s children into a battlefield in which the demons, darkness, and threats were visible, I think the movie: “The Kid Who Would Be King”, is about as close to a visual picture as you could get. It should inspire us to take up our spiritual Sword and not slack in all the armor God had given us.

However, if “The Kid Who Would Be King” is a type of picture of what we “don’t’ see; then what would be a picture of what we “do” see? In other words, not in fiction, but in real life, what would a warrior fighting for the benefit of others look like? Enter “Beyond the Blackboard”. I love following “The Kid” with a reality check. A true story of what one incredible person with love and fighting spirit did for a bunch of homeless kids. This should also be what God’s warriors look like.

There are many battlefields on this planet, and many of them are just about battling for our own gains and pleasures, sometimes even at the expense of others. But who do we “claim” to be? Are we real? What choice do we desire to make, and what choice have we actually made? Our actions, not our words, speak truth. Only when words and actions agree, do both speak truth. The movie “Beyond the Blackboard” will inspire you to become a real warrior for the benefit of others, and not spend your life just on you and yours. Here’s a picture of the two movies:

Here’s some plot from back of the case: When Stacey Bess gets her first teaching job, she’s shocked. It’s not at all what she expected. Stacey is assigned to something called the School With No Name, a space in a homeless shelter that’s supposed to be a classroom. The children are all ages, many from broken families, thrown together in a ‘classroom’ lacking essentials like desks and books.

This amazing woman struggles to overcome her own fears, the lack of proper facility and tools, the disadvantages of damaged parents and hard circumstances, children whose lives are lost in chaos, and added to all that, politicians who don’t seem to really care, and the challenges of still trying to hold together a normal life for her own family. It is an incredible undertaking that she could have easily backed out of, seriously considered if she should back out of, but did not! This spiritual warrior made an incredible difference in the lives of these kids who were born into circumstances they never asked for.

Here is a quote from her book: “Nobody Don’t Love Nobody” > “One thing I was certain about: once I had made it through these few months, I’d quit. I had gone into teaching for the highest of purposes: I wanted to change the world. I believed kids needed to be told they were valuable and talented. I believed they needed to have opinions and power. And I believed I could help. Sure, I could be a little cocky, and I’d always thought I was strong — but I certainly wasn’t strong enough for this.”

I believe everyone has some good in them if you can find it and bring it out. Who are the warriors bringing the good out in you and I? There sure seem to be plenty of people glorifying evil, inspiring to bring the “bad” out. What sense does any of that make, except they are making lots of money on it.

We need more warriors not ashamed to call evil, evil. To call bad, stupid and the wasting of your life. It also usually harms others, even your own loved ones. There is very little sin that does not harm others. The old excuse of “I’m only hurting myself” is just another “evil” lie. Lying is evil! It’s bad, it’s wrong! It hurts you and others too. Truth may feel unpleasant at times, but truth is good. The world needs more of it but now days there is no true standard of truth anymore. Some say that is good, but they would be wrong. The tides of evil rise more every day, because truth has fallen in the streets.

As a samurai for Christ I often say I’m not here to be a good person, but a godly person. I say that because true godliness brings goodness automatically. It’s a by-product. My focus is God and it brings about goodness also. But this movie is not about God or godliness. This woman did a very good thing that puts most Christians and their form of godliness to shame!

The Bible speaks of true religion involves helping widows and people in real need. Loving your neighbor as ourself. The modern church seems to have misplaced the true mission of Jesus Christ and failed to create true disciples who walk in his nonmaterialistic ways in the service of others.

From what I could tell, this special lady and her special family actually gave of their own goods and money sacrificing in this cause. What she actually made as income from the job she was working so hard at, she probably could have made more driving a truck! Or maybe just staying home! But the world you and I live in today, and tomorrow, might be a little richer because of the sacrifices her and her family made. You and I may be benefiting in some round-about way from any of these kids who grew up to be “better”, more “fulfilled”, and “productive” people, because Stacey Bess was willing to pay a price in both her body and soul.

This lady strikes me as a kind person who would not laugh at me and my Bible ways, even my thoughts on samurai for Christ, BUT EVEN IF SHE DID, I would very much respect her and hope that something I have done, or will do, could make such a difference for some group of people, as she did. Way to go, Stacey Bess. You certainly are Samurai in my mind. I want both my words and actions to be true.

Are we willing, like a true warrior to take up our sword and fight to find and bring out the good, and even the godly if our faith be so, in others? This is our message from under the Willow Tree today. I hope you will let both of these movies impact you in such a powerful way as they can. When put together, they are like a Dynamic Dou!

#12 Continued…

“…but ever be filled and stimulated with the (Holy) Spirit.”

Today’s challenge under the Willow Tree is to be literally “transformed”. No big deal, right? And this is how we are going to do it …but ever be filled and stimulated with the (Holy) Spirit. (Eph. 5:18) This is serenity – simplicity – Spirit – and following Jesus unto God. This is the motto of our Willow Tree and the Fellowship I started with our small group. This is the church getting back to being the church!

God’s church either works by the power of the Holy Spirit or it does not work at all. If were not filled and stimulated by the Holy Spirit, then we have settled for far less than the treasure God has for us, and far less than His will!

The Amplified version of the Bible sets the stage for this declaration with this very plain challenge: (Verse 17) > “Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”

This is what I call “Plain Speak”. There is no wiggle room in those words. Our “Sword of Significance” is calling us to something supernatural because it is empowered by a Ghost! And not a friendly ghost, but “The Holy Ghost”!

God has not called us to be good people in the earth, but to be godly people, and for that we need power from heaven! Can I live a samurai life unto Christ? One who serves? Devoted to my Master?

Jesus had spent over three years personally training his disciples in the Word and Will of God, and yet he knew they still lacked the most important thing. Even as he was leaving this earth, he had to tell them to WAIT. You’re not ready yet. If you run out to save the world now, YOU WILL FAIL! And fail miserably.

“And while being in their company and eating at the table with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which, he said, you have heard me speak. For John baptized you with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with — placed in, introduced into — the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1: 4-5 Ampl.)

In verse 8 Jesus adds: “But you shall receive power — ability, efficiency and might — when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”

Want to be transformed? Do you want to have ability, efficiency and might that does not come from your own power? How does it happen? Our Sword of Significance tells us in Romans 12:2 that first of all we must break away from conformity to this world and be transformed by the entire renewing of our minds. This is a supernatural renewal that must be sought through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Most Christians in modern churches today need to stop what they are doing and WAIT. Waiting is one of the hardest things for us to do, but we got to get back to “the true will of God”! And the true way of God.

“Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.”

How firm is your grasp on the will of God, oh thou warrior of Christ? And how firm is His grasp on you? “They call me Lord, but do not what I say.”

Do not be discouraged, but rise up in spiritual valor (courage) and be challenged! Be inspired! Enter the fire! Become a true Sword tempered in the flames of Christ, his Holy Spirit! I write these things not only to encourage you, but to encourage myself as well!

God will give us all we need to succeed in our quest if we ask from a pure heart. If we metaphorically WAIT in Jerusalem (the City of Peace, Prince of Peace, true faith) to be empowered of Spirit and not flesh.

Yes, this means real prayer will have to become more important. Study and renewing of our mind higher on our priority list. When we call Him Lord our words speak true. And then…ACTION! For God will use us in a greater way than we have ever known if we will simply wait, seek, trust, and OBEY.

The true church is the only hope this world has. It is the only hope it has ever had, a city of light set on a hill. Without seeing that pure STANDARD, the world is slowly sucked into the blackness of the Days of Noah. On who’s watch shall it occur?

The weeping willow welcomes you to a peaceful place, even in spite of all the chaos of this world, where the beauty of God can be renewed in us, and others. Invite your friends to the Willow Tree. Amen. (Our series continues.)

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