Divine Culture

Some people are convinced that there are two versions of society in the earth – guilt based, and shame based.

In a guilt based culture, citizens are taught to feel bad if they have done something the rest of the people consider to be wrong. The offending citizen should feel guilt even if no one knows about the failure. Paying for the error, or having it payed for by someone else, the offender can experience some level of freedom from the guilt, but should still feel badly if someone else payed the fine.

In a culture of shame, I am not instructed to feel remorse for my actions if no one believes that I did anything wrong. However, if my fellow citizens or tribe members believe evil of me, I have lost face and honor. In the worst of these cultures, it is better to die than to be shamed or shunned. Also, to be shamed or dishonored by an enemy demands vengeance or I would be shamed by my own people.

The Kingdom of God brings another culture to earth. Being born of God happens in the process of forgiveness of our sin. Being a son or daughter of Yahweh, having His nature (2 Peter 1:3-11), we are not under a law, and we are honored as family of the King.

2 Peter 1:3-11

For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.

(from Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © by Holman Bible Publishers.)

Receive One Another

Romans 15:1-8

We then who are strong ought to bear with the doubts and fears of the weak, and not just focus on our pleasures. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to building them up. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.”

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.


Impressing a Witch

In chapter 8 of Acts, as a result of persecution, Philip was driven out of Jerusalem. He went to a city in Samaria and preached and performed miracles until every person surrendered to Jesus as Savior.

Even the town magi (sorcerer) got saved. His name was Simon, but his neighbors called him, “The great power of God.” He claimed that he was great.

When he saw Philip’s miracles, he was astonished. He followed Philip around, watching him.

Philip was not an apostle. Apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to Samaria, and they laid hands on the new believers and they received the Holy Spirit.

Even though Simon wanted to fool his neighbors with miracles into honoring him, and had seen Philip doing many real miracles, he was more impressed by seeing people receive the Holy Spirit.

What is the church missing because of the rarity of apostles laying hands on new believers so that they receive the Holy Spirit?


My basic understanding of maturity in Believers is measurable by observing how quickly a person responds to a situation with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).

In practical terms of work or ministry, maturity can be measured by stages of commitment/effectiveness:

  1. Believer
  2. Disciple
  3. Servant
  4. Friend
  5. Son / Daughter

In different situations or groups, you may find yourself in different levels of development. Press into the level of Son (Daughter) in every part of life.

(Thanks to Rick Joyner: book ARMY OF THE DAWN)

Effective Ministry Lasts

In Acts chapter 8, Luke wrote about two effective missions by Philip. This was one of the culturally Greek Jews the Apostles laid their hands on to ordain them as food delivery deacons in chapter 6. Stephen was another.

The powerful gifts given to them by the Spirit of Jesus through the Apostles made them able to perform miracles.  When Stephen was murdered, the ensuing persecution drove all but the Apostles out of Jerusalem to do ministry.

Philip went to Samaria and evangelized a whole town with preaching and miracles. Even the town witch got saved. Then, he was led by the Spirit out to the desert to encounter a man who worked for the government of Ethiopia. Immediately after leading the man to faith in Messiah, Philip was whisked away by the Spirit to Azotus. 

When missionaries went to Ethiopia later, the church was already strong there, because of Philip’s ministry to the man he met and evangelized and baptized.

The “in passing” ministry was both easier and more effective than the work in Samaria. Do what you’re told by the Spirit and expect awesomeness.

Good Leaders Listen

Brad McClendon had a prophetic experience in which he saw Jesus, seated on His throne, with all His leaders gathered before Him.

The Lord was sharing things about Himself, but only a small number of the leaders were listening to Him, because it seemed so basic. They were trying to look past Him to see the things that were about to come on the earth.

When these things came upon the earth, only the small group who had actually listened to the Lord tell about Himself were ready for them.


Starting Small

Zechariah 4:6-10 (NKJV)

So he answered and said to me:

“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.
‘Who are you, O great mountain?
Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!
And he shall bring forth the capstone
With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

“The hands of Zerubbabel
Have laid the foundation of this temple;
His hands shall also finish it.
Then you will know
That the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

Almost every big work of Yahweh in the earth started as a small group of people gathering to pray. TV networks, the largest congregations (Seoul Korea style), evangelism ministries, a gathering in an upper room…

What fruit will be borne through your garden won’t be sure until this chapter of your story is done. You don’t know when “middle age” was until you’re dead. You don’t know the end of the story until the end of the story. We know some things in part, but the fulfillments of prophecies frequently look very different from our anticipations of their ends.

Expect your Author to be good at being your Finisher. Don’t force things unless He instructs you to. Don’t worry about how long it takes or how much of you is left when it finally blossoms.

People usually plant nut bearing trees for their children and grandchildren. Some of our best work bears fruit after we die.

You’ll still get to see it!

Rightness or Righteousness

When confronted with a situation that is scary or offensive or combative, our response should be sourced in the identity of Christ – the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). Basic.

Because I sometimes misread a situation or someone’s intentions, I may be responding wrong – my misbelief can be misleading me. Presumption or a stronghold in my mind can make me misunderstand.

It is better to be wrong in my understanding of a situation and responding to that perspective in the Spirit than to be right about what is going on, but responding to it in the flesh. The possibility of things becoming blessing is increased by manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.

If I am in the Spirit, He can change my mind to understand the circumstances. If I am in the flesh, I am bringing death to the encounter even if I have the facts right (Galatians 5:16-21).

Like Jesus

We get seriously excited when we get a prophetic word that God wants to make us powerful and effective like Jesus! We sign the agreement by thanking Him and saying “Amen” to His desire.

Then, He adds, “But first, I want to use this crucible over here to make your character like His.” Quickly, we are thrown in a pit by our brothers, or insulted by religious leaders, or knocked unconscious by some event and wake up in the middle of a desert.

Be mindful of the fact that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” He had not yet descended to the grave nor ascended to the throne. When Yahweh calls us, He sees us owning the prize already.

Follow the leadership of your big Brother. Because He knew the value of the crucible, it only took Him 40 days to experience what He needed to in the desert, not 40 years. He wants to show you how to succeed, so expect His leadership to always be accessible.


Recently a gorilla in the Cincinnati Zoo was killed. It had apparently not yet injured a boy who went past 3 barriers to invade its habitat. A decision was made quickly by Zoo officials that attempting to tranquilize the animal, and by doing so save its life, was too risky to the child because they could not be sure what the gorilla would do in response to the pain of being shot before the tranquilizer took effect. It might cost the child’s life.

In a situation where a very valuable and well-loved animal’s life was weighed against the value of a small, immature and relatively unknown human, the animal lost. Two values systems collided and one had to lose.

In the cultures we live in, both in and out of our relationships with other believers, values systems collide constantly. From unrestrained gangsters to unrestrained law enforcement, from replacing carpet to investing in missions, from traditional music to contemporary (you can easily stretch the list), we fight over how to make decisions.

Most of the arguments could be settled simply by understanding the Kingdom of Heaven and the values things and actions have based on the culture of Heaven. We can’t even agree on that, though.

Internally, you make decisions that are along the same lines, and you can make those without having to surrender to others’ non-Kingdom or misunderstood Kingdom values . The question at that point is simply, “Are you weighing things’ and actions’ values from the perspective of Heaven and eternity?”.

You can. You should.