Another fun testimony...

I am walking down the street in Manila (Philippines) a couple of days ago and I see these folks sitting at a shrine on a street corner. Immediately, when I looked at the one man, I felt something leap on the inside of me. I knew it was the Holy Spirit. I tried to figure out what God wanted with this man but I didn't hear anything per se. So I dropped off my laundry at my friend's house a block away and then came back. Sometimes I feel bold but sometimes I feel chicken. This was a chicken moment. I felt a little weird going up to them when they were doing something already so I stood near by and played with my phone for a second. The one man noticed me and yelled out to me. I started chatting with them and asked if any of them had any pain or problem in their body. They all did - elbow, back and another problem. They all were improved from the first prayer but not perfect yet. After two prayers for one and 3 for the other two all of the pain left their bodies.

I then shared how every Filipino knows that Jesus died on the cross but many don't know why. It was because we all have done bad things and this keeps us separated from God. But God doesn't wanted us separated. Jesus took the punishment of what we have done wrong to be forgiven. So I ask them if they would like to turn from what they have done wrong and make Jesus their God. They all did and then prayed after me: "Dear Jesus - please forgive me for what I have done wrong. Give me strength to turn away from the bad things I have done. I make you my God." You know you can do this too if you haven't before...

Testimony

I had a great weekend in Ifugao and Isabela, Philippines. This was one fun highlight, though. My old power bank quit working and I needed to get another one. So I go to the shopping mall in Roxas, Isabela, and as I am looking to buy one, I hear the Holy Spirit tell me to share the Gospel with the worker. So I ask the 5 employees of the shop to come together and ask who needs a healing. They all do - 2 sore throats, a bad back, a headache, and a painful wrist. After a quick prayer for healing, 2 are improved and 3 are the same. I tell them we need to persevere. After the second prayer, most of them are either completely healed or radically improved by the Lord. I start sharing the Gospel with them all, but the worker who was helping me originally needs to help a new customer. So the other four employees pray to repent of what they have done wrong and make Jesus their God but I still missed the first one who the Spirit prompted me to share with. So I go back to her after she is done helping the customer and she too prays to make Jesus her Lord and Savior.

Thoughts

If you think your gift is about you, you’ve missed the point.

Pride in the revelation of what you already know can keep you from being able to live it out. For example, some of those that 5 years ago emphasized how well they had tolerance are now some of the least tolerant people towards political leaders they disagree with. 
Empowerment to live out what we know to be true comes more from the Spirit than the intellect.

To contemplate...

When Calvinists focus on whether something is or isn't God's will based on what happened when they prayed, it is a failure to understand that God's will often includes human involvement. We have a personal relationship with God through Jesus - and God wants to work in relationship with us to accomplish His will! Ananias in Acts 9 was just wanting God to sovereignly stop Saul without his involvement. But God wanted to work through him! God's way to accomplish his will can often involve more than a "if it be thy will" prayer!

The church many times sees healing ministry, witnessing, and Holy Spirit ministry as something for those with great character and good theology as some sort of reward for having been disciples. However, Jesus picked people with major character flaws (like Judas, Peter, James, and John) in Luke 9:1-2 to be empowered and saw Holy Spirit ministry as one more aspect of their discipleship process. 

If you take too much credit for what God does through you, it can create an orphan spirit where you depend too much on your resources instead of His! 

God First!

Removing idolatry (meaning anything we put in front of God) from a believer’s life is as much about putting God first as removing the idol. Simply removing the problem alone doesn’t solve the problem as much as simply create a vacuum.

Some thoughts for today...

If the messages of your church are to simply get people through the next week, then your people may start to reduce God by only believing for that. But so much more than that is available in the abundant life Jesus gives!!

If you make decisions based off of whoever can tell you emotional stories to manipulate your feelings instead of truth and facts, you can easily be deceived and have a mercy gift not grounded in reality.  Stories, truth, and facts are all important.

When you want the reward without embracing the process you become a target for the victim mentality. - Erik Frederickson

The only secure place for one's value/self worth is found in the One that does not change! If value is based on what a person will spend for something... well, you have been bought with the life of Jesus on the cross. There is nothing more valuable than that!

"In his 1942 devotional Abundant Living, E. Stanley Jones, Methodist doctor and missionary to India, writes: The early Christians did not say in dismay: "Look what the world has come to," but in delight, "Look what has come to the world."
They saw not merely the ruin, but the Resource for the reconstruction of that ruin. 
They saw not merely that sin did abound, but that grace did much more abound.
On that assurance the pivot of history swung from blank despair, loss of moral nerve, and fatalism, to faith and confidence that at last sin had met its match." - Alberto Cordero

If people make healing ministry difficult in their minds it will become difficult in their experience.

(if no quote by it, it is from me)

Some different thoughts...

If you think the essence of Christianity is fighting for what you think you are entitled to instead of serving, you might have missed how Jesus did royalty as the Son.

If you hate people that are full of hate then you have just become what you were against.

I wonder how many breakthroughs would come quicker if Christians didn't take credit (or discounted it) in the past for how God had previously answered prayers.

When one's prayer life gets past all of the regular things they say, ask God for, and/or ask forgiveness for - after that is the place that real relationship of getting to know someOne starts.

Lying and stealing epitomize the orphan spirit of distrust.

Thoughts

Seeing people get healed on any amount of a consistent basis is not a random fluke but has much more to do with what one believes about God, themselves, and the sick person while ultimately depending on His grace. Jesus made healing ministry something that could be replicated in Luke 9 & 10; not a random aberration.

**************************************************

If one learns thankfulness towards God instead of taking credit for what He empowered us to do, it will be far easier to believe for Him to show up next time!

What's going through my head...

What if the Believer's life is not so much about me working hard to do spiritual things but about Him flowing through me to do what I can't?

And if one is wondering how to access that... then maybe that is where religion stops and relationship starts!

***********

It works better to not focus all your spiritual energy on trying to defeat the one who is already defeated, but to focus more on the One who did the defeating!

******

Some don't want to confess to another their struggles due to shame... but it is actually confessing to healthy others that helps to bring freedom from shame!

*******

If ministry gets put in front of God, ministry suffers. If God is put ahead of ministry, ministry naturally occurs as a byproduct of connecting with God's heart for people and acting on it.

*******

If we do not give testimonies of what God can do because of false humility, it can cause others to not get breakthrough because they don't know what is available.

*******

What if the primary part of a relationship with God is not trying to get stuff out of Him but falling in love and being loved by the King of the Universe?

********

Working hard to try to make something spiritually happen can be a really poor substitute for trusting Jesus to do what we can't.

********

If you focus on stewarding and your responsibilities overly much, you may fail to realize the best way to steward is to keep God as your source and partner with Him!

Some more thoughts...

What if the Believer's life is not so much about me working hard to do spiritual things but about Him flowing through me to do what I can't?  And if one is wondering how to access that... then maybe that is where religion stops and relationship starts!

*****************

Some may call a behavior legalism. But for another it may actually be safeguarding their heart to avoid distraction so they may keep the main thing the main thing!

****************

And from other people:

"It is tremendously poor theology for the light to hide until the darkness takes over and then God pulls the light out of hiding to get them off the planet... the purpose of the light is to be sent into the darkness with the revelation that the light shines forth in darkness... the light is productive based on how bright the light is not based on a lesser amount of darkness." - Damon Thompson

****************

"Christian myth #127: If something is from God it will only be fun and easy to do :)." - Kristen D'Arpa

Some thoughts...

A person who is living their life predominantly for themselves will have a lot less meaning/purpose than one who is seeking first the kingdom. Living for self is an empty and unsatisfying way to go...

***************************************************************

Jesus was very content to empower people and let them grow personally in the process of using gifts; they did not have to become perfect to get access to gifts. If someone has to have perfect character to operate in healing, then why did Jesus send out very imperfect disciples in Luke 9?
If someone has to be baptized in the Holy Spirit to operate in healing, than why does Luke 9:1-2 with the disciples occur before Acts 2?
Of course Spirit-baptism and character are important, but I don't think God likes us restricting Him and what He is allowed to do through us and disqualifying ourselves when He qualified us with the Great Commission!

********************************************

False humility blocks multiplication. If everything good is reduced to giving glory to Jesus, no one else can be taught into the same breakthrough. But if a person can share HOW the Lord did it and what God did in and through them in the partnership, then multiplication/impartation has a much better chance of taking root in the other. If one is really seeking first the kingdom, false humility can be the enemy to kingdom expansion.

Church and Culture

Jesus and his disciples didn't constantly re-evaluate their values simply because culture didn't agree. If one is constantly trying to conform/change the Bible/truth to current culture in the name of loving people, perhaps they are living a different model of "love" than Jesus, the disciples, or about anyone else in the Bible did. Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus, etc. sure would have had much less persecution if they would have done this instead!! When the church values an easy life over holding to truth is when they will likely never have that easy life due to the bondage that the lies they believe have put them in!

Some more thoughts...

What if seeking first the kingdom (Mt. 6:33) will cause people to find their destiny that are not finding their destiny by seeking first their destiny? What if one's destiny isn't His destiny for them if it doesn't involve seeking first His kingdom? And what if seeking first the kingdom is something that a person can live out EVERY SINGLE DAY and not something they have to wait around for?

If you spend a lot of time consumed with a fear of lack, it is probably a good sign to spend more time with (or that you are believing a lie about) the Source!!

What if strength can be seen in someone who can ask for forgiveness/admit they don't know something/admit they are wrong when needed more then needing to show the world that they are always the best? The former shows me someone secure in who they are and not living for the praises of man. The latter shows me someone who has a performance based identity (needs to perform in order to feel valuable).

"If you have nothing to depend on God for, you're not getting out of your comfort zone enough. Faith only comes through dependence." -Mark Rapley

Following God on one's own terms and how they, culture, or their friends think He ought to be (instead of following God on His terms and how the Bible shows Him to be) is a great place to come up with bad theology and live in compromise.

It isn't so different from making up a god in one's own image... And then sometimes they start to wonder if their god is even real. Because he isn't. That god doesn't exist! :

Thoughts...

I wonder what percentage of people's temptations would dissipate if they lived in close connection with God and other healthy people. Maintaining freedom has a lot less to do with some sovereign act of God and a lot more to do with how he intends us to live.

**********************

Show me someone who will weep in the Presence for nations (or whatever it is God has laid on their heart) and I'll show you someone who will change the world.

Show me someone who doesn't have much time for God and what He cares about (making it an optional addition to an already full schedule) and I will show you someone who wonders why God is holding out on them.

***********************

When God works through us, it is far more pleasurable (and wise for our own relationship with God and for desiring future victories) to celebrate the victory with the One who gave the victory than to pat ourselves on the back.

God's Moving with the Eagles! And some other thoughts...

I really liked the below article about a healing and God moving in the Eagles' locker room:

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/philadelphia-eagles-player-has-baptized-5-his-teammates

If one's concept of following the Holy Spirit causes everyone around to think they are flaky, irresponsible, and incapable of committing to anything... perhaps that person is pretty clueless about the Holy Spirit. And if they think everyone around them has a religious spirit for thinking this about them... well, maybe they don't understand a religious spirit as much as they think.

Praying really hard yet believing that nothing will happen (as an orphan spirit) is a poor substitute for trusting God as a child of the King! In other words, God responds more to what people believe than a lot of words...

Current Musings...

 

I am thinking/realizing that if God opposes the proud (James 4 & 1 Peter 5), then choosing to act in pride must be one of the stupidest things I can do.

I wonder what percentage of people who want a healing in their body would find their problem would disappear if they changed what they ate and drank, got enough sleep and sunshine, and exercised regularly. I think it would be at least a significant minority and maybe even a majority (especially if we include prevention).

I wonder what percentage of things going on in people's lives that they are questioning why God is doing it to them is really the result of them reaping what they sowed. Sure, there could be many other factors (i.e. other people's free will), but I think there is a significant percentage in this category. (Pr 19:3)

If a discipleship program doesn't involve actively doing the Great Commission, how effective can it be?? How much can people really be becoming disciples if the main thing Jesus commanded them to do isn't even on their radar?

Some different thoughts...

I wonder what percentage of things that people think they need would be things they would realize they don't really need if they had a lot closer relationship with God and encountered Him. I also then wonder what things that did not matter to them before, might start to matter a whole lot to them, because they matter to Him.

If you think your dream should be given to you without any need for work or sacrifice, there is a decent chance that the entitlement mentality will keep you from your dream!

Jesus' idea of fathering isn't always pulling people immediately away from dangerous circumstances. Rather, He can even have people take risk in those situations. Because security is being in the presence of Jesus not avoiding difficult circumstances. See Peter walking on the water in the storm with Jesus...

I wonder what percentage of things that people think they need would be things they would realize they don't really need if they had a lot closer relationship with God and encountered Him. I also then wonder what things that did not matter to them before, might start to matter a whole lot to them, because they matter to Him.

If God really just cares about character and not about healing the sick then how come Jesus never counseled the sick in how to grow in character instead of healing them?

It may be better to find out and do what God would have us do than to pray for Him to empower us to do what we think He wants us to do. But to do that, we'll have to get close enough to Him to see things from His perspective. Ultimately, the empowerment to do what He is wanting (which ultimately is the place of real satisfaction for us) is only found in close relationship with Him and healthy others.

Musings...

We need His perspective through relationship; not just His empowerment for what we think He wants us to do.

If someone has something to prove it can be a sign that they have not learned identity from relationship with Christ but instead have their value wrapped up in that thing.
 
Avoiding principles of how God works in the name of not having a formula and having freedom might cause us to miss living out the breakthrough... because God does work in certain ways.
 
It it easy to plateau in ministry and gifting if you think it is all about you. In fact, many times the breakthrough comes when I quit focusing on my gifts and destiny and instead focus on loving people and trusting God's heart of love for them to bring about the answer to what is needed for them.

Thoughts

I am pretty sure there is a direct correlation between lack of purpose and a lack of fire of God's presence resting on a person's life.

Passiveness is not a fruit of the Spirit

We need His perspective through relationship; not just His empowerment for what we think He wants us to do.

Spiritual gifts can plateau when the focus is on one's own gifts and not on love for those who would be blessed through what God can do through them.

People tend to live for whatever is the most real to them. Hence, we need to be focused on encountering Him as He is really all that satisfies.

Appealing to God’s sovereignty for something not happening to excuse personal passiveness is to fail to understand that God has sovereignly chose to primarily work through empowering people…

Which I piggy-backed from "God in his sovereignty has decided to soveriegnly work through people." - Kevin Dedmon

"The behavior of the church needs to define the behavior of culture not the behavior of culture changing the culture of the church." -Damon Thompson

"Emotions are not a barometer of reality." - Mark Rapley

Thoughts...

It doesn't work well to judge others for not having something that only came to you by grace!

It doesn't work well to be intimidated by something that God gave you authority over.

If you want to hear His voice it would only make sense to get in His presence...

***************

To try to control things to avoid failure will still bring about some measure of failure - because the circumstance will never be what it could have been with living in trust of God.

To try to control things to avoid being hurt by others will still bring about some measure of hurt - because isolation can be a big hurt in and of itself.

To try to control things to get our needs perfectly met will invariably cause us to not get all of our needs met - as living in perpetual self -focus causes us to miss our need to love. Or we may constantly see what isn't and be robbed of joy.

As a side point, Cloud and Townsend in "How People Grow" mention how when we try to control things is when we are out of control and when we actually surrender to the Holy Spirit is when we have control... because self-control is His fruit... not mine.

Knowing who we are as sons and daughters of the King is vital instead of living as striving disconnected orphans. Then we work from trust and grace... not control and fear.