Fog or Cloud?

“How are you?”
“I feel like I’m in a fog.”

I overheard a conversation start like that many times, but the response given this time sparked something in me that I couldn’t shake. The answer was coming from someone going through a tough time.

My heart crumbled a little bit because I know that feeling. It creeps on you, subtle but very much present; a fog will make you feel isolated, confused. It will rearrange your priorities. It’s not a nice cozy feeling, but one of bewilderment as you stumble forward, you try and remind yourself that you worship a living God that is in control despite the fog. The brief conversation also reminded me of early morning drives down my street, from home to school, when thick, crisp, lightly humid fog covered the still lakes and dewy, grassy spans pouring into the cold and quiet asphalt streets. Fog understood no difference between the lakes and the asphalt. It was interesting that fog had stirred different feelings in me. The difference seemed to be that the “negative or vague” fog was something I had picked up in literature but the child in me was intrigued by fog and celebrated it because I knew I had to soak in the experience of it because it wouldn’t last. Then I wondered, what does the Bible have to say about fog? Want to know the answer?


I had to search the word fog in different versions from the KJV to find one solitary verse, James 4:14, in the NLT version uses the term fog to describe what the KJV calls “vapour”. Basically, the term as we generally know it, is not used in the old language. What is most commonly used is the word cloud. Cloud!

In Genesis, He set a rainbow in the cloud as a reminder of His covenant with Abraham. In Exodus, one of the most evident revelations of His presence in the lives of the Israelites as they leave Egypt behind is that He “…went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud…”
Over and over, from Genesis to Revelations, a cloud would descend, appear, lead, cover from harm, disappear, remain until. It actually blew my mind how much the Bible mentions a cloud. It also convicted me. It stirred in me a lesson I had listened to about our attitude in the midst of trials or life in general. The more I read scripture involving clouds the more I realized that whenever a cloud appeared, it was God-sent.

Exodus 13:22 says ”He took NOT away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people…” Imagine being in the Israelite walk-a-thon and there’s a cloud before you and that’s all you can see. You’re being told to trust and walk. Don’t look back to Egypt. Then, things are dicey and the Lord’s presence descends on a mountain as a cloud with a rumble so deep that it shakes you to your bones! Conviction sets in. You can read about that in Exodus 19 where the cloud is even described as thick. The tabernacle is built and the Lord consistently presents Himself in this form. A cloud. Evidently moving by itself. A cloud. It fills the mercy seat. A cloud. Covering you from seeing past it and anyone seeing you in the midst of it. What I saw at that point is that God in His desperate love for them created a way to envelope His people without smothering them! Holy covering.

God put my attitude in check at this point for my own circumstance.

Am I in a fog or in a cloud? Yes, I understand a fog is a kind of cloud! But, am I going to continue to buy into the perception of this world that a fog is plainly a state of not knowing what’s ahead or that it’s a blurring of reality because I’d rather not know? Will I hold on to confusion even though the word clearly states in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…” Or, am I going to get a hold of His promises of peace, grace, hope, strength, and faithfulness? Biblical verses on these abound! Colossians, Galatians, Hebrews, Peter even writes in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him because He cares. Will I truly take up the promises that have been given to me and embrace the cloud of the presence of my living God? Will I proclaim that He is my reality or fold under the pressure of wanting to know the unknown?

If God, Jesus Christ, has me in a cloud, I will trust that He is not only keeping me from seeing ahead for my own good but He might even be covering me so that my enemy can’t see where He’s taking me. I must believe. And if I believe, I must choose joy. I must glorify my Creator, Comforter, Father, my King. He must be exalted. He has been so good to me.

When fog happens, if my heart is in the right place, it should remind me that heaven came down. The Lord is in this cloud. His embrace is a breath away. I can dance with Him in this cloud. I can cry my guts out until my lungs are on fire. I can allow Him to lead me. In this cloud, I must continue moving forward when it moves and be still when it stands still. I learn to be sensitive. I learn I’m in a need-to-know basis and that’s perfectly fine because He wants my trust. I learn to hold the hand of my brethren and pray for their need because we are one body. I practice being patient. I practice being humble. I practice loving and being loved. I praise Him. I worship Him. The King of kings is in this cloud!

“So, how are you?”
“In a cloud! Praise the Lord!”

Same Gift. Different Administration.

Fellow Young Minister,

Merry Christmas! I hope its going well for you on the road. I hear traveling weekly and preaching can get pretty lonely and presents its unique challenges. People are expecting you to show up with the same results everywhere you go, yet each church you’re with has a large variety of differences that show up. Talk about pressure. We know, its only pressure if we let it become so. But, I remember you mentioned how you felt the people expecting you to preach a certain way, because you are an evangelist; which typically means people are going to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, be baptized in Jesus name, miracles and healings are going to show up. Despite the expectations of the people, you mentioned you went ahead and followed God’s Spirit and there was demonstration of the Spirit and of power. This letter is not about the definition of demonstration, but I’m thankful for how you said that you focused on just “doing the will of God, and staying in your lane”. That really went a long way with me. I decided to look into the office God has appointed for you, from a biblical perspective, and the subject became bigger than I thought it would be. I have other friends called to the same office and became very intrigued, because while the Spirit and gift is the same, the administrations are different (1 Corinthians 12:1-4).

In Acts 8, Philip, biblically-known as an evangelist, went about Samaria preaching to people who had not heard of Jesus, having miracles and deliverance confirm the preaching (Acts 21:8). Likewise, people were being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but no one was receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We don’t hear of Philip getting frustrated over why none were receiving the Spirit, he simply sends word for Jerusalem to send Peter and John. These two apostles show up and Samaritans receive the Spirit. EVERYONE rejoices.

There are a few things I want to denote before going further. Philip ACKNOWLEDGES that there is still a need not yet met, that another individual is gifted for. In the same manner, when people receive the Spirit after Peter and John show up, we don’t hear of Philip thinking he’s a good-for-nothing evangelist. It doesn’t stop there. An angel speaks to Philip to pack his bags and go to a desert where he finds ONE man, an Ethiopian eunuch. He proceeds to preach Jesus to this man, who reads the Scriptures, and baptizes the man in the middle of the desert. Then, God literally translates Philip to another region, like straight out of the movie “Jumper”. What’s astounding to me is that Philip is fully confident in his office and gifting, whether or not he was ministering to a whole region, one man, people received the Spirit, or people were being baptized. I wonder how many places Philip would be “invited to preach” nowadays, if no one ever received the Spirit where he went. Nevertheless, God would speak to him and Philip would listen. Peter had his place. John had his place. Philip had his place. ALL were effective.

Allow me to take this further. You know who else was gifted as an evangelist? Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5). The Scripture emphasizes that Timothy needed to be intentional about making “full proof” of his ministry. Yet, we discover that Paul had STATIONED Timothy in the region of Ephesus (1 Timothy 1). So how does one make full proof of their ministry, as an evangelist, when you’re stationed? We see here that the office of an evangelist isn’t limited to an “itinerant preacher” that’s invited to church services. Paul fully expected Timothy to appoint elders at Ephesus and still grow as an evangelist. It is for this very reason, I believe that Paul told Timothy to “not neglect the gift” that was within him (1 Timothy 4:14). Biblically, evangelists are individuals that are gifted for bearing the good news to SINNERS, not saints. Many times, we call traveling preachers evangelists, when they really may be operating as an apostle, prophet, pastor, or even teacher. I have witnessed young ministers become frustrated or skeptical of God’s gifting for them because it was not administered in the same manner others administered their gifting. They felt called to be an “evangelist” but never had “preaching opportunities” show up. Consequently, they felt like the bible studies they taught, souls won, and evangelistic equipping done in the local church weren’t good enough for a phone call to preach somewhere else. When in fact, it was the most terrifying thing that young evangelist could do to the kingdom of darkness in their hometown – and more importantly, to glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Scripture talks about the “same Spirit” distributing “manifestations”, “administrations”, and “ministries” to every individual in the church (1 Corinthians 12). I would apply this principle to the five offices in Ephesians 4, as well. The same office, but a different manifestation or placement. BOTH just as effective. All evangelists are traveling preachers, but not all traveling preachers are evangelists. Whether or not traveling takes place right down the street, you’re traveling towards the destination of a soul’s heart, in order for God to intervene where they are at. I love how the Lord has such diversities of gifts in His body, and ALL MATTER. Paul talks about how the “unseemly” and overlooked ones end up mattering the most (1 Corinthians 12:23). It gave me so much encouragement to find this out, because our Lord really has a part for all of us to contribute through. Likewise, I am grateful and excited to know that I will continue to see God glorified in the manners He is through your life, in the years to come. It may be that you are in the same place Timothy was, in 20 years from now; but, God won’t be done doing marvelous things through you.

I suppose I can end this letter with saying, we’ve all received gifts from Jesus on our spiritual Christmas, and we rejoice that though our administrations may be different, the gift and Spirit is one and the same. Thankful to be partnering with you.

Merry Christmas!

Humanity’s Problem With Faith

What is biblical faith? Many of my church friends would quote Hebrews 11:1, while many of my dear friends with other worldviews would say something similar to religion. I would contend that faith involves both of those responses.

It was in the 11th grade that I first started engaging in biblical studies, during a time where I began to dive into popular literature from the Renaissance and study philosophers from ancient Greece, the Enlightenment and other influential movements. I became exposed to such impactful thinkers like Thoreau, Hobbes, Voltaire, Neitzche, Kierkegaard, Brand, and the list goes on and on. There was a ton of discussions involving faith and religion. It compelled me to know for myself what in the world “faith” was and what kind of worldview I really adhered to or wanted to adopt.

I discovered biblical faith wasn’t exactly limited to some people’s definition of “religion”. Neither was biblical faith exactly limited to some church-goer’s recitation. What became apparent to me was that with faith, came an expectation to change. Change is frightening for humanity. The human body is always trying to cope with change through a process called homeostasis. But, it’s more than natural, it’s spiritual. We wish to retain comfort in our circumstances and stay in control. But biblical faith challenges us to change.

Think about this simple sequence: if I admit that the biblical God is real, I consequently acknowledge that the biblical God is right, with His own definitions of what right is. Therefore, I must make a decision in response to His reality and rightness. Whether we like it or not, no response is a response.

As an extension, what hinders people from changing as a result of faith, is not knowing and understanding where faith comes from. They find a lack of motivation to change, because they’re not linked to the sources of faith. These two sources being: love and their listening. The Scripture makes it clear that faith is actively generated by love (Galatians 5:6) and is a product of what we listen to (Romans 10:17). If faith is separated from love, we find little to no effective motivation for change; while if we listen to adversarial thinking, we end up developing faith in the adversary, which faith is synonymous with fear, and we do not develop it in the Lord Jesus Christ. God wishes for us to recall what He said and to listen to what He is saying, in order for faith to be produced in our hearts, and change to be established. This is the hangup that many bible believers and bible nonbelievers have, they think that faith is the SOURCE of the supernatural, not the PRODUCT. I have made a case with friends that God’s existence is not a result of my faith, in my worldview, but my faith exists because of God’s love. God and His love predate my faith.

To make practical application of this principle, I get to receive answers for my prayers not based off of what I “just say” in prayer, but based off of what God has established through His love. The effective examiner of my prayers, is whether or not I am praying what God has established and communicated, in order for a fruitful answer to occur. This is biblically called: praying the will of God. How in world do I pray God’s will, more so, know God’s will? Very simple. It is established through His Word. If we do not have a healthy relationship with God’s Word, the Scriptures, we will not consistently pray effectively. The Word of God is the first source of my faith in God, this is what I must listen to. Romans 10:17 makes it very apparent that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”, with the Word of God being a divine, unwavering, revelation from God about Himself, that is without contradiction. To read more on knowing what biblical revelation is, read the writing on “When God’s Revelation Messes With My Theology”.

The second source of faith, is God’s love. The Scripture makes it clear that besides light, God’s defining characteristic is love – biblical love, that is (1 John 4, 1 Corinthians 13). Knowing that God is speaking to me, on the basis that He loves me, makes me so much more attuned to listening. There are many people that are terrified to think that God exists and wishes to speak with them, because they do not understand this defining characteristic of God. This may be tongue in cheek, but their terror can be confirmed through their playful talk about hell, in which many psychologists discuss that people’s usage of phrases like, “What the hell?” or “How in the hell?”, are subconscious indicators of their fear of hell. Interestingly enough, God’s ultimate desire is not for humanity to find motivation from fear of hell, but from faith that proceeds from His love.

I believe I must pray every day that I would have “ears to hear, a mind to perceive, a heart to receive, hands to grab and release, feet to stand and go, and a spirit to saturate” what He wants to say and do. This positions me to produce faith when I listen to what God says, as a result of His love for me and others. On the other hand, if we are having struggles and challenges with coming closer to God or what is taught in the Scriptures, we should be praying for revelation of God’s love, not so much for more faith. It is God’s love that becomes the motivating factor for my change. That change can be a change of attitude, behavior, mindset, direction, decision, environment, you name it. But I must focus on the love of God for this to occur. I wish to write more on this subject, but I wish to respect the time you invest in other matters. I submit to you that humanity’s problem with faith has its remedy in God’s love being communicated to our listening. It can be overcome in our hearts, and we can aid others along the way.

Keep reading for more…

The Scripture makes emphasis on the fact that faith has 14 elements- you can tack on “of faith” to each one: the door, law, righteousness, measure, hearing, shield, family, joy, work, fight, assurance, prayer, gift, and spirit. You can couple these 14 elements into 7 pairs, seeing that faith is a force of agreement between God’s love and our listening.What is the family of faith, without the joy of faith? What value is there in the work of faith, without the fight of faith? What’re the grounds for the righteousness of faith, without the law of faith? Where is the power for the prayer of faith, without the assurance of faith? Where does the hearing of faith arrive, without the door of faith opening? How do we protect the measure of faith, without the shield of faith? And how do we operate in the gift of faith, without the spirit of faith?

It is crucial that as biblical believers we heed to the fact that faith is a PRODUCT and a PROOF of what is already established. Proof can be received or rejected, but its truth does not change. Hebrews 11:1 (Wuest’s New Testament Translation) says that faith is the “title deed of things hoped for, the proof of things which are not being seen”. Understanding that biblical hope is expectation and not some emotional high, faith is the title deed that God transfers to us, indicating that we have a right to receive what He has said, if we let His Word produce it through us. Likewise, faith is the “proof of things which are not being seen”. Mathematical proofs are comprised of axioms, which are pre-existing truths that result in a conclusion, or proof, that helps an individual conduct mathematical functions. It is the basis on which any math is performed. Faith operates in the same manner. It is comprised of the immutability of God’s Word and God’s love, in order to for us to come to a conclusion in which to act out His promises. We ought not to suffer in our faith because of unfitting circumstances or trivial rationalism. Though our humanity may be limited, we can rest full of faith in Christ.