I am a self-proclaimed, student of environment. No, not the green environment, outside…actually, yes. I am a student of the out-of-doors, too. But what I mean, today, is that I am a student of the environment between you and me. I am a student of the vibes and attitudes which fill our spaces. I am a student of the environments that we call, ‘home.’
It is not an intentional study. It just happens. I notice things. Then I formulate hypotheses. Sometimes they are proven, sometimes the hypothesis must be altered to accommodate the new things I see and feel in an environment. I do this in my travels. In my many, many houses and homes. I have done this in my Couch Surfing Summer Extravaganza 2014. It is how I settle in so that I can branch out. It is how I have learned to ‘Blossom wherever I have been Planted.’
Have you ever done that? Have you ever ‘felt’ a lightness here or a darkness there? Have you ever been inside of a house and wondered if the previous owners used Ouija boards? Have you felt that gripping darkness and those feelings of chaos and disdain for the light? Have you ever walked into a house and felt an immediate hunger for the Word of God? Have you ever been crossing the threshold of a church and heard the Holy Spirit welcome you with ‘Come as you are,’ or ‘I’m so glad you are here, my child,’ or ‘I love you, My beloved’?
Have you ever felt the greedy Mammon monster at that store you frequent? Have you felt manipulation, before? Have you ever met a person, looked in their eyes and seen the grayness, that is disbelief?
Have you ever felt the presence of angels carrying your airplane from point A to point B? Have you felt the presence of those two guard angels at the end of your sidewalk? Have you felt the rush of wings, my friend? Do you know how much you are loved by your creator? Do you realize that he made these angels to serve him? He made them to be lower than you or I. They are here for us! To serve the Lord, whose heart-pull is to LOVE US!! Have you seen those angels?
Have you felt the swinging bat of pride, that is the spirit of the worshipped demons of the East? Have you? Have you walked into a yoga studio and felt that pull of pride and self-worship? Have you felt the pull of pride in the temples of the East?
All of these stories and more, I have tucked away in my tool belt of Experience + Spiritual Warfare. They have brought me to a few conclusions and solutions:
- If you pay too close attention, you will feel like you are going bonkers. So step back and learn and take it all in, without too much seriousness.
- Do not walk it alone. Go through the humiliation of sharing your experiences and discernment with others, until you find faithful and sensitive intercessory/prayer partners. Pray together.
- Keep talking to Jesus. Talk it out with him, step by step. Keep your observations as simple as possible. Write them down and pray about them, until you have direction or peace.
- Do not neglect your gift of discernment. If you let the embarrassment of sharing with others or the inconvenience or the seriousness of it all, keep you from being faithful in your spiritual gift, then you will have trouble–perhaps even more trouble than if you were to go overboard with it all (as suggested against in #1). It is important to remember Esther’s call to action:
- Remember that obedience is of utmost importance. I believe that this commandment of faithfulness is applicable to obedience in the gift of discernment:
- “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
- Be kind. Don’t use the things you learn in the Spirit, about others, against them. Wield your knowledge with love, only.
- Give thanks to God continually for putting his trust in you. Keep that romance. Reciprocate with love, trust and gratitude. Build your confidence in Jesus and his leadership through gratitude.
- When it comes to your environment–go ahead and pray over your home! Before the ‘passing over’ of God’s spirit, as described in Exodus 12, the Jews used hyssop branches to spread blood on their door frames. Go ahead and anoint your door frame with a smudge of oil. Do it to increase your faith. Do it to proclaim, OUTWARDLY, your allegiance to God, and your trust in Him and His protection.
- Be intentional with worship. Turn on Jason Upton or other intercessory, worship or praise music in different rooms of your house on different days of the week. Just try it. Prove me wrong, if you’d like. Just try it. Fill your home with praise–even when you leave to run errands–leave the worship on! Let your home-space fill with words of life-giving praise.
- DANCE your freaking heart out!! Dance yourself silly! Turn on some music and spin and sprint and twirl and skip across all of your floors–into every corner of your home! Carry the light with you in your heart! And for goodness’ sake! Dance in the confidence of the fulfillment of this scripture:
- “For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” Malachi 4:2
- So lighten up and dance! The Lord is with you and within you! You are his vessel and his hand is just and kind. He is making a home of your heart.
- And He will make a home for your heart! He is, after all, preparing a place for you in heaven! Wouldn’t it be easier for him to make a home for you, here, than in heaven? Trust Him, you silly bird!
- Do this all with the faith of Isreal! Do you recall the time when they marched around the city of Jericho? (Joshua 6) Per God’s directives, they marched. For seven days, was it? They carried along the covenant chest and ram’s horn trumpets. They marched, by faith. They received that which they were promised–the tumbling down of the impassable walls of Jericho. Carry this same confidence with you, as you dance around your home. As you explore your neighborhood. As you hike the trails and ride your bike to work. As you turn out the lights at night and double check the locked doors–carry the faith of Isreal, the faith that saw them through their obedience. The faith that gave them victory over the giant walls and denizens of Jericho.
Making a house, an apartment, or a couch, a home, takes thought, prayer and an attentive spirit. Take the time. Certainly, ‘home.’ The fullness of HOME. Is worth the time it takes to build a spiritual fortress flowing with grace and love.