Darkness, huge crashing waves and dangerous high winds were life-threatening factors pressing upon the disciples and rocketing fear and dread to heights they had never known. They were panicking because, if the present unconventional factors continued, they and their boat would go to the bottom of the lake. Initially, Jesus had told His disciples to go to the other side of the lake (Matt.14:22-27). At first, they were probably focused on their Lord’s instruction and enthused about following those instructions. They likely had a point of destination in their minds and could see it with the mind’s eye as they planned their route and even had a spot in mind to tie up their boat when they landed. But, en route, unconventional elements interjected themselves and the disciples were forced into an entirely different form of effort in which they could no longer see the conventional path or destination. They could only focus on immediate surroundings and attempts at survival. We must beware of reaching a point at which we are merely dwelling on just the facts. Focus on present circumstances and abandoning “the other side” and abandoning instructions or putting them on hold, will take the heart out of us which is a must-have factor in getting us beyond the choking grip of present factors. These may be the present facts but they are not the conclusion of the matter. In the Bible, present facts and final conclusions always looked very different from one another.
Before Moses was born Israel began to cry out, “Save us from Pharaoh!” Then 80 years later there was a suddenly: “Bam!” Snakes, staffs and bull frogs are flying in every direction. Before Jesus was born Israel cries, “Save us from Rome!” Then after 60 yrs. of Roman domination: suddenly, “Boom! Bam!” Wind, fire, speaking in tongues and spiritual drunkenness hit them. Then, following that, all manner of mind-blowing miracles, signs and wonders began to take place wherever the followers of Christ showed up. God’s people are once again crying, “Save us, O mighty God!” So… Get ready for something unusual, something that is unconventional! Are you ready for the unconventional? (Isa.55:8-9) We must have Something which is totally unconventional in comparison to what is already not working here. It will require to be absolutely radical in its makeup and its effect. But it is not being handed to us on a platter labeled “As Usual”, “The Good Ol’ Days”, “Return to 1950’s Revival” It is headed our way in a series of Whirlwinds called “Unconventional”! The items and agendas which make up “conventional” and “typical” are going to be flying in every direction just like Aaron’s staff and Egypt’s snakes and bull frogs. Nahum 1:3— “…the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind”
Anticipation is inevitable. The coming generation will anticipate something whether positive or negative. But what will they anticipate? One of the biggest favors we can do the coming generation is to build anticipation into them: anticipation for the intervention of God in their lives and in our nation. We must see beyond and we must help them to see beyond that which has been the norm in our nation and in impotent religion. Let’s help them to anticipate the unconventional which no previous generation has seen, to be what no generation has been. Mic.7:7- “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” We are praying you discover daily that you are looking beyond the ordinary and you are helping the coming generation to anticipate new possibilities.
Kathy — Rom. 12:2, addresses this: be not conformed to this world or age or time or influences of culture. Don’t let your beliefs and conclusions and priorities be molded by that. If we are going to see “as it is in heaven” and see God’s original intent in earth, we’ll have to think beyond typical. That means, (a) we can’t be so open minded that our brains fall out, and (b) we don’t react to life like everybody else does. We have to choose not to live in anxiety over a new strain of flu and we have to choose not to assume that we’ll be one of the predicted financial failures in 2020. We absolutely dare not be typical and ignorant and follow the dictates of this age and culture where someone with a big mouth and a microphone becomes the TV expert to decide our future.
Almighty God’s thoughts and ways are far above ours. We must needs pray for and prepare ourselves for Father’s thoughts and ways at this time. We must apply faith, positive attitudes and industrious minds to adjust to the unconventional of our times. God can use desperate conditions to open our eyes to see the facilitation available in unconventional people and unconventional opportunities (Ex.16:4-17; 1K.27:7-16; Josh.2:1-15; Isa.45:1-13; Acts 16:30-34).
Things you feel prompted of the Holy Spirit to declare may seem out of place or impossible in the face of present circumstances and contradiction. When you are in a season of shifting, those things you declare will not likely seem attainable until the shift is complete. When God’s hand is moving, you can’t predict the future by present defeats. Ask Abraham, Joseph, David. Declare in spite of circumstances. (Rom.10:8)
The word “declare” means: manifest, announce; making something known emphatically, openly or formally; to make known, sometimes in the face of actual or potential contradiction. The people of God are not on earth to just observe events but to make declarations in keeping with the character of our God, right in the face of those things that contradict the righteousness of God. We will not keep silent. 1Chron.16:24, Amp — “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all peoples.”
There was an Army general in 1898 who wanted to disband the Rough Riders Teddy Roosevelt had organized before they could even get on a boat to Cuba because so many things about them were unconventional in comparison to conventional Army methodology. When the captain of the Rough Riders was required by a general to give a description of his fighting unit, he said, “They are the most unconventional men you have ever seen.” At that point the general began speaking of disbanding the company and requiring them to walk back to the western states from Florida. When their captain asked the general what his particular objection was the red-faced officer doubled up both fists and yelled, “I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime!” The captain responded, “Sir, that’s because nothing like this has ever happened in your lifetime” to which the general had to eventually concede. He needed an unconventional fighting unit to fight an unconventional war.
Convention: “a rule, method, or practice established by usage; custom; accepted usage, especially as a standard of procedure.” One label that fits Jesus very well is “unconventional”. “There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like yours.” (Ps.86:8; also Jer.10:6; 1Sam.2:2; Deut.33:26; Ps.74:12; Job 5:9) Jesus’ disciples had observed Jesus praying and had observed the impacting redemptive results He got when He spoke to nature, disease and demons. When they asked Him to teach them to pray, He told them that they should ask for that which is in heaven to be moved into the earth (Matt.6:10). Needless to say, that which is conventional in heaven (God’s will) is going to be unconventional by earth’s standards, practices, methods, rules and usage. And yet, that is what our Lord instructed us to ask for.
If we allow them, desperate conditions can open our eyes to see the unconventional in the light of facilitation. Baling wire is not a conventional fastener on an airplane. But I had an uncle who, in the 1940’s, flew a single engine plane back and forth between Louisiana and Texas numerous times with various pieces of the plane held in place with baling wire because other parts and equipment were not available. (Please note: I DO NOT recommend any of my uncle’s mechanical practices!) He couldn’t afford instruments for flying aids so he tied a bolt to a piece of string and hung it over the center of the windshield so that, in a cloud, he could determine if he was still flying right side up! There are those who would not use the unconventional simply because it is unconventional but there are those who will take courage and apply an unconventional solution when they realize that attempting to apply the conventional no longer works or the conventional simply is no longer available.
Saving each bit of tin foil, no matter how torn or wrinkled, was what some of my kinfolks did after they went through the Great Depression in the last century. My grandmother made dish soap out of old bars of bath soap that had become too small to handle easily. She would drop them in a jar of water and let them melt and use the liquid to wash her dishes. Experiences of the past help shape our attitudes and actions (or lack thereof) in the present. There were, however, people who came through that economic downturn, and ensuing hardships, by applying positive attitudes and industrious minds to adjust to the unconventional of their times. They were, therefore, able to affect the future so that they might be better prepared to advance into coming changes and developments.
Kathy — Matt. 15:2 (GW) “Why do your disciples break the traditions of our ancestors? They do not wash their hands before they eat.” In reply, could we ask: why is a priority shift considered intolerable? Why do you make “change” rebellion? Precept upon precept is not preference upon preference nor tradition upon tradition. Sound doctrine does not equal changeless traditions.
When heaven invaded Jericho Road, the man was called “Blind” Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus was told to be quiet by those who held to conventional norms but he cried out directly to Jesus so that his life might be invaded by heaven (Mk.10:47). He pushed beyond what was normally acceptable and defied religious limitations and barriers. What are people calling you? How much longer will you accept that? Well… heaven is invading your road by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts10:38)
We know a lady who got to see Father do the unconventional to redeem a life. She was trying to get a certain vacation booked for her family for spring break. She tried with three different agencies and couldn’t get it done. Finally, she got ahold of a young man with an agency in another part of the nation and began to tell him what she wanted. But suddenly she had an urge to tell the young man that she is a pastor’s daughter. He responded, “Well, I am a pastor’s son. But I haven’t been to church in years.” Then she got a word of knowledge for him. She said, “There are three things that have happened in the last three days that have been very difficult for you and the Lord wants you to know that He is working in all of them to bring about victory for you.” The young man began to weep. Our friend patiently waited for a bit and then he said, “You are not hearing nearly what I would cut loose with if I wasn’t in this office with all these people. Just this morning on the way in to work, I was sitting in traffic and just yelled out, ‘God, if You are there and You are real, You are going to have to do something to let me know!’”. He said that in the last three days his wife had told him she was leaving him, he found out that he is about to go bankrupt and he had decided to take his life. Our friend told us that she finds it interesting that Father is consistently using her more along those lines outside of the four walls of the church than He does inside them, when He used to use her more inside the four walls. Father is going to use each of us in unconventional ways in 2020. All we have to do is what Jesus instructed us to do: “AS YOU GO preach the Kingdom…” (Matt.10:7). AS WE GO we can speak and demonstrate the Kingdom of God (His rule and authority and character) to those He puts in our path as we go.
2020 is the time period the Lord has made (Ps.118:24). We will rejoice because the Lord has made it in keeping with His purposes and plans. It is a time period that we may not thoroughly understand nor have a complete grasp of. Yet, the times are in His hand (Ps.31:15). Throughout 2020 we will continue to rejoice because the all-wise God is not behind the times nor even trying to catch up. He has already stepped out into tomorrow and bids us come and partake in His worthy enterprise and we will engage His design with energy and expectation of the extraordinary. May the Lord grant you every enabling blessing for His Kingdom purposes in 2020. “So shall you know skillful and godly Wisdom to be thus to your life; if you find it, then shall there be a future and a reward, and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off.” (Prov.24:14, Amp)
About the time of Moses Israel began to cry out, “Save us from Pharaoh!” Then suddenly, “Bam!” Snakes, staffs and bull frogs are flying in every direction. About the time of Jesus Israel cries, “Save us from Rome!” The suddenly, “Bam!” Wind, fire, tongues and spiritual drunkenness hit them. God’s people are once again crying, “Save us!” Get ready for something unusual! Are you ready for the unconventional? (Isa.55:8-9)