As you probably know by now,I live in a small mountain town in Southwestern Colorado. Not only is it a fantastic place to live but, the view is amazing and one can see an incredibly long way. Lately though, it’s been getting quite hazy here. Prevailing winds are beginning to send the smoke from numerous wildfires burning in California, Montana and Washington into my neighborhood. It burns my eyes and is making folks a little wheezy. Right now, the fires are burning thousands of miles from my view and days away from home- but I can smell it.
Over the years here in Colorado and not too far from Lake City, spruce trees have been under attack by voracious beetles. These bugs, over time, burr deep into the bark and eventually kill enormous swaths of trees. While not in my line of sight (yet) there are huge stands of evergreens standing as brown sentinels of death on mountain sides around the state. Before people knew what was happening, something insidious had slipped in and started chewing away at the trunks of these trees. Some still look green and healthy to the naked eye, but their death warrant has already been signed by the Pine Bark Beetle that has taken up residence, chomping at their core for years before the tree turns brown and dies. There is a clear analogy to be made with the insidious nature of destructive Pine Bark Beetles and that of creeping destruction of false doctrine within the Body of Christ. I won’t belabor that point, but it is something to think and pray on when you get a moment.
Dry years with little snow and rain have compounded the fire situation out west. When summer lightening storms move across the mountains, these large congregations of trees are defenseless and vulnerable to the storm. Just as we are seeing in California right now, if an intentional arsonist, a bolt of lightening or a careless campfire sets something off, the concern is always that a rampaging firestorm will be unstoppable in our own mountains. The conditions, due to the Beetle-kill situation make Colorado ripe for disaster. Thick piles of dead needles, high winds and sap-filled branches in tricky terrain are the recipe of doom that we saw jump to life a few years ago. Flames ripped through thousands of acres, burned homes and sent people into full-blown panic.
A friend recently told me that the homeowners association in their remote development was planting acres of Aspens to replace the stands of spruce that had been burned up and threatened their home between Lake City and Creede a few years ago. Aspens, it seems, are full of water and don’t really burn well in those fast sweeping fire conditions. Furs, pines and spruces, on the other hand, are full of sap that act like kerosene, whip up the fire conditions and can pop explosively from one tall pinetop to another across the miles. According to the arboreal science offered to the homeowner’s association, Aspens may lose singed leaves as a fire blows thru but all the water they carry generally leaves them as a bulwark against such firestorms. If the trees are damaged then the associative, intertwined, community of roots spreads out- sending up fresh sapling growth.
After writing this blog for more than a year now, it is not uncommon for people to email me and express their support, alternate opinions, ask questions or to be critical. That’s OK. I don’t mind. Everyone that signs into Feverseason.com is coming from a different starting point and has different backgrounds or experiences than I. That is all well and fine and I understand. The nature of this blog is to get the discussion started. The idea being to talk about history, literature, or my life experiences, societal baggage or controversial issues of the day and examine them in The Light and bend them into something that always comes back around to Jesus. That’s how I approach my life. I think it is scriptural and why Jesus mostly taught with stories and parables.
While most comments that I receive are quite supportive, I’ve had a few folks mention that my focus on End-Times matters is too scary and that perhaps I should dial it back. I have had others who suggest a more invitational bent with a focus on Salvation and attracting new believers. There are others who are made cranky by my permeating thread of discussion regarding the Filling or Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They feel this intimates that they are not “real” Christians if they haven’t taken this step–or they take umbrage at the idea that they haven’t received all that they need at the moment they accepted Jesus as their Savior. Others are riled when I talk about healing and deliverance which Jesus told us to be doing as we spread the gospel. More recently, I have had some offer the idea that UNITY is the most important need for the Body of Christ and “I ought not to be so critical of the church.”
This signals, that indeed, an important discussion has begun and people are thinking. I am not critical of The Church. I am only critical of the apostate church. Denominations or congregations who have meandered away, for whatever reason, from the Biblical, “first church pattern” shown clearly in Acts and other books throughout the New Testament. Interestingly, I have not had anyone contact me, critical of my viewpoint, (and some of these folks are seminary-trained pastors), that substantiate any argument with actual Biblical references. Mostly, they are generalizing, or espousing a view that springs from “people traditions,” not Bible Doctrine. I will always try to answer gently, while basing my rebuttal on The Word. I never want to seem holier-than-thou, or Church lady-ish in my delivery. It is my observation, however, that while once common, Biblical knowledge has fallen into disuse. This gaping deficit highlights an absolute necessity for me to cite chapter and verse when I write and, for the need in this country for in-depth Bible teaching. I don’t want people to think I am just winging it, or that I am unable to substantiate the things that I am teaching herein. It is important. It is scriptural. It is necessary for the tricky and difficult days which I believe are coming down the road for us.
Lest people think that I never take criticisms or helpful advice to heart. I really do. And the most serious one that I have heard of late is the Unity one. “We as the body of Christ need to quit snipping amongst ourselves, and work together, save souls and pray for Revival!” It is a hard one to argue with and it sounds really great! Nobody likes divisive controversy especially within the Church– and who doesn’t want nice, quiet, UNITY? Who doesn’t want revival? So, I’ve been praying about this, seeking God’s wisdom in this area and asking him to show me if I am out of line in my emphasis– or in error in what or how I have been teaching or writing about. Then “BAM,” out of the blue, the Lord gave me a really fine, two-part illustration:
In this illustration the Lord showed me first, that we, the Body of Believers in Christ, His true remnant, are like a stand of Aspen trees. Enormous stands of Aspen trees growing along a mountainside, all have a common, intertwined, integrated root system. An Aspen grove thrives best in thin rocky soil, where the air is rarified and the breeze is clean. They spread, sending up new growth sprouts, supports and draws strength from that common root system that we cannot see as we walk along the hiking path. A healthy stand of Aspens, growing in common soil can stand for generations. Rooted thusly, in common soil, they live and grow or begin to shrivel and die in this unified community.
“Well, Lord, What is that” common soil”? Is it just our communal love of Christ? Is it the blood of Jesus that covers all our sins? Should I not be crying out for the Holy Spirit Power that reads so powerfully in Acts? How am I to write about this “common soil” and describe it?” says I. Tuesday night, just after having this partial Aspen-epiphany in the afternoon, I spent a few hours with my regular worship group. During this soaking session of worship, the Lord gave me a further vision of this very thing. I could see the aspens growing in a large stand, very beautiful with their white scarred bark and vivid green, heart shaped leaves. Then I saw a large Bible opened and as it tipped downward, all the black words began to slide right off the pages and into the roots turning into the soil around these trees. All the words began to slide off every page and dropped to the ground until there was nothing left at all in the Good Book, all the words and letters were now embedded around these Aspens. Not just a verse here, or a book there, well-manured with extra words, ‘religious tradition or philosophy’s of men: The rich soil feeding that visionary Aspen root system– is comprised only of the entire Word of God. All of it.
This was a really cool visual for me! It was also an almost instantaneous answer to prayer, which is always appreciated! We may all come from different backgrounds religions or lack thereof. We may interpret some things differently which are not Salvation issues in different congregations or denominations. We cannot, however, cherry pick what foundational portions are palatable, what we would prefer to avoid, leave unspoken or consider outdated. It is what it is. We have to open up the inspired Word of God and read it and study it, and cherish it all. Most matters can be sorted out scripturally, in multiple places, if one considers the Bible literally. I have stated more than once that one should not prescribe to any doctrinal foundational issues unless you can find, at the very least, two or three clear verses (in context) that substantiate it. In these serious times we must absolutely know what and why we believe. Don’t take what I say at face value either. Look up those scriptures that I cite. Check me out. If you think I am in error, tell me why you think so. Only God is infallible.
For those who are new to Feverseason.com let me just say that dreams and visions are a scriptural means of Godly Communication and are found often from Genesis all the way through Revelations. I have dreams, I sometimes have visions. I occasionally have Words of Knowledge for myself or for others. I often interpret other peoples dreams and sometimes I write about what He shows me if I feel that it is intended for the general good of the group. This is all decidedly in line with Spiritual gifts and the Biblical record both Old Testament and New. You may never have seen this in your church or had the opportunity to read about it in scripture but it is all over the place and yes, God does still talks that way to his people today. He never changes.
All dreams and/or visions should line up with and NOT contradict the Bible. We operate in a supernatural world that has good and evil operatives with very different objectives. If you are hearing anything that does not line up with the word of God…or is
perhaps telling you to so harm to yourself or perhaps to drown your children in the bathtub. That is NOT a Godly voice, nor one that you should listen to- and you should seek help/deliverance at once!
Without taking this metaphor too far, we need to be thinking about the kind of trees we choose to be growing amidst, and worshipping with. Are they full of water or combustible sap. Are those shallow roots in a tight ball that is bound by religious traditions of men and susceptible to falling, dramatically, when the high winds come? Will they burn up when trouble comes and take down the whole mountain when the sparks begin to fly? Make sure that you are firmly rooted in the intertwining roots of a strong stand of aspens. The soil doesn’t have to be deep…It only has to be composed of that one thing. Standing solidly in such peculiar/particular soil in that sort of specific unity they will withstand when the blizzards and high winds or fires blow thru. Aspens thrive near the mountain streams. The big ones can stand in the gap, buffer the winds and give the young’un’s time to get established and shade new grass and wildflowers. Your stand should be rooted on the Rock with the soil that was created from every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Hosea 4:6–My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: This week I decided to put a brief smattering of corroborative references at the end of the post for your perusal and study:
Trees: Psalm 1:1-6, Jeremiah 1:11-12, Ek.17:5-6, Is. 44:4
Drought and Pestilence: Matt 24
Whole Word of God: John 1:1, Psalm 11916,11,105, 2 Tim 3:16, Rev. 19:13, Matt.24:35, James 1:21-22, Is. 55:11, Matt. 4:4 , Proverbs 30:5, Hebrews 4:12, Prov. 29:18
Dreams: Job 33:15, Eccl. 5:7, Genesis 37, Matt.2-4, Joel 2:28, Daniel, Acts, Revelation
The Rock: Deut. 32:15, Is 30:29, 1 Sam 2:2, 2 Sam 22:3, 32, Is. 44:8, Ps. 144:1, Ps. 92:15, Ps. 95:1, Ps. 62:7, Ps. 28:1, Hab.1:12, Is.26:4, Matt. 16:18
Drought and Pestilence: Matt. 24:7, Luke 21:11, Lev. 26:25, Hab. 3:5, Joel 2:25, Joel 1:4
Fire: Malachi 3:2, Daniel 3, Luke 3:16, Psalm 104:4
Spiritual Gifts: Ephesians 4:11-16, Acts 1:8, 1 Peter 4:10-11, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 2 Tim 1:6-7
Armor of God: Ephesians 6:10-19
Unity: 1 Cor. 12:12-13, 1 Cor. 12:14, 1 Cor:12-16, Gal. 3:28, Ephesians 4:11-13,1 Peter 3:8, John 13:35, John 17:23, 1 John 4:12, Ps. 133:1, Phil. 2:1-3
God does not change: Mal 3:6
Do not add, delete or change the Word of God: Deut. 4:2, Proverbs 30: 5-6,1 Cor. 4:6, Ps. 119:160, Prov. 22:18-20
Healing and Deliverance: Deut. 7:15, Ps. 91:9-10, Ex 15:26,23:25-26, Ps. 103:1-5, 107:19-20, Is. 53:4-5, Is. 58:6-11, Mal 4:2-3, Matt.7:7-11, Matt. 8:16-17, 9:35, Mark 11:22-24, Mark 16: 17-18, Luke 4:17-19, Acts 4:29-30, Acts 10:38, Gal. 3:13, Luke 9:1-2, Acts 5:15-16, James 5:13-16, 1 John 5:14-15, 3 John 2