Living in Prison


Some of you feel as though you are imprisoned on the land where you live, or work, or go to church. If you had a choice, you would be gone in a heartbeat.

I doubt that very many people in a literal prison have access to this blog and follow it.  For most of you who feel this way, the prison is the economic reality of your life.  You are simply stuck in a ghetto and see no possible way to leverage the resources you have to move somewhere else.

For some it is the middle class bondage of having bought unwisely and now being in a house you own, but it really owns you since you are upside down on the mortgage.

For others the prison is created by social contracts.  You may be stuck where you are because a spouse absolutely refuses to move.  You may be staying until your kids finish high school.  Or it may be that you need to stay close to parents or to grandkids because of special needs.

Another variation of the social contract is the job situation.  Maybe you took a job in a city you did not like simply because you needed to pay your dues in this company, or maybe you are in the military and you were assigned to a defiled place.

Finally, there are those wonderfully confusing situations where God is the one who imprisons us on a piece of land.  We know He wants us here, but have no clue as to why or for how long.

So, prison happens.

When you have cycled through all the emotional pain of the situation, it is time to get down to work.

My beginning point is that God has a plan for you and for the land.  In some situations, we can see that this is a Father-filtered plan.  You follow the trail of His fingerprints and can see that beyond any shadow of a doubt, God brought you to this land you hate.

By contrast, there are other situations where you are wallowing in overwhelming guilt over the choices you made which landed you there.  You can follow the trail of all the things God did to warn you and try to redirect you, but you were obstinate and therefore utterly deserve the mess you made for yourself.

It is important to not let guilt get in the way of this project.  Let’s take a worst case scenario and say you are in a government prison.  You are absolutely guilty as charged. There is no excuse for what you did and you deserve to be there.

Even if every bit of that is true, it does not mean that you stop being a child of God for that period of time.  It does not mean that you stop growing or stop serving the King while you are in prison.  It just means that you have a different playing field.

And even though it was not God’s first plan for you to commit that crime (or make whatever other mess you made) rest assured that He is not a One Plan God.  The majesty of our Father is that He will start over or adjust the plan as many times as He has to through the course of your life.

The simple reality is that most of us are already on God’s plan for our life number 5, 782 even if we look like spiritual leaders.   God works with our free will.  No matter how many cues we miss, no matter how often our stubbornness or fear or foolishness causes us to decline to walk through the open door He placed in front of us, He just adjusts the plan and keeps working with us.  No matter how many cliffs we drive off, He is there at the bottom of the cliff ready to adjust the plan and keep going forward.

Regardless of whether God personally transplanted you to this place you don’t like, or you did it yourself with one or 1,000 bad choices, it is irrelevant.  God is already out ahead of you and is vigorously engaged in creating the platform for a relationship between you and the land.

So how do you begin?

The very first question is whether you are there to give or receive.  Don’t default into thinking you need to clean it up.  It may be, but that is not a given.

One of the most fascinating land experiences in my life was when I was in a city with a triple death spirit.  I was there quite involuntarily, and was as trapped as I could be, living in a mediocre hotel for a week. I did not have enough gumption to even think about being dangerous.  I simply tried to survive.

Yet God incarnated Psalm 23 there for me.  In the very presence of my enemies, He withdrew a huge deposit from that land and gave it to me and it has marked my life ever since.  In fact, I think He got a big kick out of blessing me with treasures from the land which the dark world thought they had all locked up.

Now for those of us with Obsessive Compulsive Serving God Syndrome (OCSGS), it seems really odd to receive and not give.  I wrestle with that in the city where I am.

I don’t particularly care for California, but God has emphatically placed me here and not allowed me to move.  I care even less for the city of Anaheim.  I happen to know some uglies about the city, and I just don’t appreciate its misuse of the Ruler gift.

But I am here because God wants me to receive from the Ruler gift in a big way.  It has a global anointing to it, and in fact, being here on this land has radically changed the face of the company.  While I still don’t like the city, I am deeply grateful for the life that has flowed from it to me.

However, I feel a floating guilt about receiving and not giving.  We have attempted a number of different projects to engage with the city in a life giving manner and are so far absolutely at zero.  There is no grace for any of them.  I can’t even make friends with the neighboring businesses.  God simply is not partnering with me in the art of giving back to the city.

I have finally given up on it although I leave the empty file open just in case it was a matter of timing.  It could be that the command will come in the future to do something here. I still feel a low grade floating guilt over not giving back, and a bit of shame over not modeling on my home turf what I teach you to do, but I think both the guilt and shame are related to my OCSGS, so I suppress them and keep on receiving.

How do you know if you are supposed to be receiving?  Well, ask the King for sure.  That is the first step!

Also observe. Look at the baseline of your life before you arrived at that prison and then compare it to what you experience while you are there.  I know that lots of things in your life are worse since you arrived (or you would not call it a prison), but is there anything that works better there?

For example, think of Joseph.  He grew up in Hebron which is one spiritually loaded piece of land.  His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all had significant encounters with God while there.  He too had dreams of a spiritual nature there.

There is no reference to his being spiritually discerning in Potiphar’s house nor of his having discernment in the palace.  In fact, as Prime Minister, married to a priest’s daughter, he was reduced to using a silver cup to do divination from the dark side.

But in the prison, he was brilliant at dream interpretation.  It could be that this was just a visitation from God to spring him from the pen, or it could be that it was the result of his being on a portal in prison which reawakened that facet of his spirit which had been dormant for awhile.

So look at the baseline from before you were “there.”  Granted forty-eleven things are worse since you are in your prison, but is there anything that is easier, more fluid, more natural, more robust?  If God is trying to massively strengthen some portion of your life through the anointing on the land, then the best thing you can do is lean into it and receive everything He placed there for you.

If nothing sparkles in terms of receiving, then the only other possible option is that you are there to give (No, Virginia.  Just surviving until God lets you leave is not one of the options).

Now the giving dynamic is tricky. We are so easily drawn into going after what is wrong with the land.  In our pain and anger, we can swiftly create a catalog of all the brokenness that is there.  Then we tap into our OCSGS and commit to taking all this trash out just because it is there and we are there.  Who wants to coexist with vermin anyway, right?

One of the biggest transitions in my land cleaning journey has been learning how to work from the position of design, not need.  In the past, I would take ownership of far too many problems, and I found that while I was busy with a dozen things which were a reach for me, I was missing the things God had specifically designed me for.

I had a ceremony where I officially gave the responsibility for the whole wide world back to God and dialed back to just the land which He had designed me to cleanse and therefore assigned me to cleanse.  It is still a bit weird to walk by land which is clearly defiled and to not do anything to help it, but as I stick to what I am assigned, life is just better all the way around.

It seems I never quite learn that lesson though.  I just got a slap in the face yesterday as I realized I let my hangups block me from one of my assignments.

Here is the background.  I drive up and down Harbor Blvd a lot on my way to Brea.  The corner of Harbor and Commonwealth is THE corner in Fullerton. This Exhorter city has dumped a lot of money into the downtown redevelopment, and that corner has gone through some visible redesign over the last 30 years and is highly valued now.

The building on the SW corner has been a hard luck building for a long time.  Back in the day when I first wandered through the area, it was a pawn shop.  Now this was no ordinary pawn shop.  It was dark.  Really dark.  The owner did a short stint in prison for murder and came out more arrogant and vicious than before.

Time passed.  The redevelopment agency displaced him.  The building was rehabed and someone else moved in.  They went out of business.  Someone else came in and redesigned it.  They went out of business.  A third company did the same.

The decades roll by, businesses come and go on the most desired corner in Fullerton, and I know that the cause is the defiled land, but I feel no urge to go there.

The most recent tenant, less than a year ago, was a VERY upscale restaurant.  I watched the remodel process and mused to myself how nice their presentation was.

And, for the last six months, every time I have driven south on Harbor Blvd past the restaurant I have thought, “I should go there some time.”

I never did.

You see, I have issues with restaurants.  For the most part they are expensive, and I am cheap.  And they serve different food than I would mix and match.  So I generally eat at home unless I am on the road and have to eat out.  And even then, I cringe at paying $20 to $40 for a plate of food.  Most of the time, I simply can’t justify putting $4.00 worth of food in my mouth and spending the rest of the money on ambiance.

So, I never went to that restaurant.

But as I look at my design, there are three things that stand out as applicable to this battle.  First, I have authority for life.  I could come against the death spirit that has devoured several businesses due to the murderous previous owner of that land.

Second, I have an anointing for retail cash flow.  Whether it is a restaurant, or a store, or a gas station, people flood into the store as soon as I am there.  I could have done a lot of damage to the lack of sales on that land.

Third, I have an anointing for releasing the Prophet gift into its destiny.  Just looking at it from the outside, I am reasonably sure it was a Prophet company.  What would have happened if I had gone there with a friend and celebrated the excellence of the gift?

God designed me for that battle.  He nudged me dozens of times.  I knew what the defilement was.  But I simply let my issues and hangups about getting good value for my dollar block me from doing Kingdom work.

And yesterday when I drove back from an errand in Brea, I noticed that it was closed and the building was for lease.

Again.

My bad.

Not everything that you need to do to cleanse the land in your prison is based on your design.  Sometimes you just have to get a big old dose of defiance and tell the devil you have nothing at all in you that can deal with the mess in the land, but since you are seated at the right hand of all Majesty, you can bring the work of Christ on the cross and the power of Resurrection Sunday to bear on his mess.

At the end of the day, it is all about who we are in Christ.  I know that.

But I also know that God is the master strategist, and the first place I learn to look when there is land to be cleansed is at my design. Who am I?  What has God already placed in me that He would enjoy using here in this prison?

Quite often I find a one to one match to some of the defilement on the land.

Your job, then, is to take your eyes off the mess that your prison is. Take a look at your design first.  Then check to see if there is a gift God wants you to give Him by making a deposit of His life, manifest in you, into the land.

Copyright June 2011 by Arthur Burk

From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim

This entry was posted in Land dynamics, Prayers for Cleansing Land. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Living in Prison

  1. Kate says:

    ” It is still a bit weird to walk by land which is clearly defiled and to not do anything to help it, but as I stick to what I am assigned, life is just better all the way around.”

    Yes! Just as in life there are people to minister to and prayer groups/issues which cry for more prayer that I simply am not called to meet – there is a great CALM in doing what the King wants ME to do and doing it really well.

    I’m still figuring it out in my soul while my spirit jumps that I’m finally starting to catch on. 🙂

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  2. shea says:

    Before I chose to live in my present apartment, I waited on God a lot for direction. This was the dream I received around that time: A leasing agent was showing me an apartment on the first floor, which was furnished (in the dream I knew that the furnishings would go when the current tenants left). I saw that one of the cabinet doors in the kitchen was damaged. The agent asked, “What can we do to encourage you to sign on?” As I thought about it, she kept talking. I knew that what I wanted most was new carpet (new foundation). End of dream.
    It wasn’t long after moving in that I saw and heard the junk going on. I seriously questioned whether I had missed God in this decision; the spiritual oppression and sense of danger has affected my family and me. I have been fasting and praying each Mon and Fri morning about it.
    The blogs and articles here are helpful; most of this is new to me. I will be seeking God on whether I’m in this situation to give or receive.
    I can also relate to the desire to try to do all that I know to do in situations. However, it is vital for me to remember, on a daily basis, that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The One who does all the work gets all the glory. I simply need to get out of His way, yield to Him and believe in Him.

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  3. Kate B says:

    Just got off a brief media fast (and society fast, and being at home fast, etc) and found this waiting for me. Timely, impacting, and I’m printing it off to chew on it some more when these kiddos lay down for a nap. Thank you.

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  4. Gayle says:

    Wow, so many things resonate with this posting. As someone new to your teachings, and being slow to be able to process it all, but knowing I was led to it to redeem the land that God has called me to. I feel so alone and inadequate in what I feel God is calling me to and don’t know how to really begin cleansing the land . My husband and I pastor a small church in a place that many have told us is a dead end. It is a dieing city, yet I don’t believe God called me to a dead end, but to bring a measure of Holiness. My husband is a practical guy and is doing his part by physically cleansing the land by cleaning and caretaking a park in close proximity to us, cleaning out ditches, and doing whatever he can to beautify this place we have been called to. God has led me to intercede and to cleanse the land spiritually, but I don’t know how or where to begin. I know of no other intercessors in the area and any contacts made have been futile( they only care about building their kingdom). As a Mercy, I travail for this place and feel I am constantly fighting to keep the oppression from overtaking me. Where does one person begin when they know not what they are doing?

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    • Gayle, there are three options. http://www.ArsenalBooks.com has a large selection of land cleansing books. We have a website with some prayers for land. It is http://www.LandPrayers.com. And finally, in our download store, under clips, you will find a grab bag of teaching tools for how to cleanse different aspects of land. Also, you may want the big picture framing provided by our two albums “Redemptive Gifts of Cities” and the sequel, “Seven Principles.” Both of those are about taking on the spiritual dynamics of an entire city.

      Hope that helps you become more focused.

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  5. myronr says:

    Great input. I
    own a piece of property in Central America *never seemed to had known the reason God gave me that land ten years ago,I’m now seeing that my Prison is a blessing in disguise!
    Thanks Arthur for awakaning
    Us to see and utilize the potential & blessings stored up by Our lovinfather who delights in his kid’s prosperirty
    . I praise The King of Glory for the understanding released by THE SlG during this season of reconciliation with Land and beyond. Today I spoke in one of the churches in the Sacramento area I shared on land dinamics/RGI and the leadership decided to train the congregation using RGI teachings (this is the second church that opens the door to the SLG naterials in 2011… What an opportunity to leverage the God resources whiting and without. It seems like THE King continues opening venues for me to take-in/give out.

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  6. sandra says:

    Dear Arthur, Thank you from this “prison” for this insight. Its no picnic when God says stay in the land and “Busted faith “and/or friends family and say leave get out. As I pondered this message it springs to mind that the Apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament from prison and who can forget that here in UK we have the right to have independent churches and Pilgrims Progress because of the prison time of John Bunyan. May we be productive and like the Israelites come out in Gods timing and with ALL he wants us to posses .

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  7. linda says:

    fascinating – esp as I am fasting this weekend over a matter that I feel is a prison of my own making…

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  8. Jacq Wallace says:

    I love that OCSGS, can totally relate, very funny!
    This article is very enjoyable and releasing me to freely receive, I’ve often felt guilty about not giving out as much as I’m receiving from the father on this land but one thing I know is the land I’m on has a mothering quality about it. “Perspectives of the church in the 21st century” talks about the Mothers role is to better position the child for the future, take that coupled with what I’m learning about myself in the Sapphire Training Center,and I’m beginning to receive a wonderful picture of God preparing me and I can rest assured with inner confidence that all is ok, I’m going to be ready when the time comes.

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  9. Joyful says:

    I recall reading of believers in a communist nation that call their time in prison their “honeymoon with Jesus”. Their bodies may be brutalized and their souls troubled, but they have come to experience a depth of intimacy and joy that is not common when “free”.
    In some ways I can relate, as the symptoms of CFS have “robbed” me of the freedom to go and do. A prison of physical and mental limitations that has pressed me deeply into receiving in a way that did not seem possible before.
    The depth of capacity for quieting my soul increases in this place. As the body movement is reduced, the movements of my spirit are more discernable. The broadcast-from-within is brighter, clearer. The coverage area seems to be larger. There are hints of Father’s pleasure. Not in the source of the limitations, but in what is being revealed in the process.
    There was a song I recall from years back that sang of the time when “wounds became windows, clearer than glass”, when we could, “finally see through the pane [pain]”. Not saying I’ve “arrived”. Just saying that Father’s redemption of prison experiences appears more beautiful than ever for me.

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  10. Johnyne Rees says:

    I can relate to this, having felt that the bit of land we were placed on in Texas was so defiled from being plantation land and all the slavery issues that go with that. At times, we could hardly stand living here, with the defilement we felt, the death spirit, and the attitudes and divisions. It did feel like a prison sometimes, albeit one we had chosen. However, we are really enjoy moving toward the upside now, in the midst if real change in this sweet little town! Saturday we will hold something we have prayed into for almost 10 years–a reconciliation session at the first plantation in TX and the westernmost in the U.S., just outside our town and just recently dug up by state archaeologists. There is a lot of expectancy and enthusiasm from many involved (the land owner just wants to “be a good steward” in allowing us to have this rather big event there.) Many new ministries have been surfacing in the past few months and a lot of the negative stuff that cycled through regularly seems to have stopped. Praise Yaweh for His redemptive work!
    –Johnyne

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  11. Robert says:

    Great post, this spoke to something deep in me. Instead of simply enduring my prison, I see some things I need to be more intentional about receiving from.

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  12. Jana says:

    Chewing on this one!
    We have our house in one town, yet both my husband and I work in a city 45km away. Thought of selling, but no real drive to do it. I know God intended us to be here, and I am sure to receive from the land currently. Like you, I also feel a bit shameful for not giving here. But I give tremendous amounts at my place of work. Maybe I need to receive from the land where my house is, in order to give to the land where our school is…

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  13. Joyful says:

    (I think my last comment wasn’t really a good answer to the land as a prison issue, was it?)
    Well, now for the real comment in reply to your post…
    The land I am on is not at rest. It physically moves in response to traffic patterns telegraphed through the ground from a nearby thoroughfare. And yet more than one discerning person would report experiencing a deep peace when visiting our home. In fact, non-believers also seem to respond to the restfulness that seems to be broadcast from here. While pondering the lack of “stability” I prayed for the vibrations to stop and Father responded, “I like it this way!”
    Wow. Every tried to heal something that was design? That felt awkward.

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  14. Joyful says:

    Thank you for this post Arthur.
    You see, I’ve been trying to figure out how to respond to a number of your writings of late and this article may finally be a good landing place for what’s been sitting on my back burner regarding how to respond to you.
    It all started when you posted after the May “giving exercise” how you felt strange about the gifts that came from “strangers”. Well, I’m certainly not part of your near and dear, but I have made a point to include you when it seemed appropriate by sharing various thoughts and ideas from time to time via email over the years.
    But let’s face it, if I am not asking a direct question, why should you respond to these tokens of connection, really? So I asked myself, why are you fussing about lack of connection on one hand and then I see you so clearly discussing how you can’t possibly do one-on-one with all the people that find your writing/speaking to be meaningful?
    Could it be you just were conflicted and I am not remiss somehow?
    Or maybe I should be engaging differently?
    That’s when I started to think about how the whole blog-as-a-connection-point paradigm works (or doesn’t work) for deepening connections. Starting back even further, my experience has been that whenever I get a new audio teaching collection from your think tank, the interchange is mostly stopped before it starts because it usually takes me very long periods to process, apply, and (hopefully) pass along what the Father imparted through you in that series. And by the time I can see some fruit around me, you have been around the world a couple times. It seems pointless to try connecting with you around those concepts. For all I know, it would feel like serving mud pies at Thanksgiving.
    Which brings me to the blog-as-a-connection-point experience. I would love to give back by sharing some things from time to time out of my journey and experience, but how to synchronize this? If what’s going on between Father and me doesn’t fit into the conversation you are orchestrating, then wouldn’t posting be like talking out of turn? Is this a synchronization issue? Am I trying to hard at something you think is a good idea, but isn’t really what God thinks is important for me right now? I tend to lean towards the later, but what if I am wrong and I should just be trying harder? Am I just resonating with you in the frequency of OCSGS when I second guess my intuition that I will be perfectly pleasing to Father when I joyfully receive what He speaks to me through you and brush off any guilt I may feel when I do not force a kind of synchronization He is not requiring at this time?
    There. I did it. I asked you some questions about a current topic and shared at least a thimble-full of experience regarding it. There definitely was something fulfilling about that. (I hope it’s not related to the OCSGS issue.)
    Well, anyway. I wouldn’t want to create any more work for you, but I believe you can look up my phone number from your online store if you want to pick up the phone and chat about this further tomorrow. 🙂
    I do appreciate how deeply my life has been impacted by what you have done in pursuit of living as a noble subject of our King.

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    • Joyful, while there is a social disconnect between slow and fast processors, I think the value that comes from synchronizing with your own design and with your God through going deeper is very high, so I would consider giving yourself the freedom to be yourself, and let the consequences of any social disconnect be what they are.

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      • Joyful says:

        Yes, thank you.
        Now reframing … the heart connect doesn’t require validation from a social connect.

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      • Virginia Gorney says:

        Hello Arthur,

        I love this response to the postings above it.. It reminds me so much of what the “kingdom” on earth is really like…God Bless..I am quietly in the background..but I am here…God Bless you and your family always in ALL ways…

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  15. Betty Ross says:

    How timely Arthur for us this is. We have never been able to sell our house and move towns.
    We live in a 75% on welfare town which is known all over Australia for it’s drug problems.
    Only this morning we were discussing getting out again, and into my in box comes your email.
    Very funny Lord!
    Thank you Arthur

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