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...

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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.

A fun airport healing testimony…

So I sit down in the airplane and start chatting to the guy next to me about football (he was wearing a Packers shirt and I’m a Vikings fan). After a while, he mentions how his family is in different places on the plane and how his wife is in the back with something like 12 bulging disks. I was quite exhausted after a great but busy day of ministry so as he said that I quick prayed “Jesus, should I offer to pray or should I rest?” As I was praying this, the man then next asks me what I do for work… I chuckled… Looks like I am going to be offering to pray! So I tell him and tell some recent testimonies and told him I was just asking Jesus if I should be offering to pray…

So he jumps in and says how he would welcome the prayer for his wife. I tell him that I’d be happy to pray when the plane lands. So as the plane gets close the man reminds me that he’d still like prayer for his wife. I said that I’d be happy to and that I’d be waiting for them at the gate inside.

So I go inside and they come with her being wheeled up in a wheelchair. One quick prayer later, she can’t find the problem with her back that she has been dealing with for a long time. The man then watches her leg grow 2 inches and the sciatica disappear. I then hear “neck.” So I ask and she says her neck is always stiff. After prayer, she is fine.

Then the man says that his wife needs prayer for Lyme’s. As I start to pray for her I see a picture in my mind’s eye of the top of her head. So I ask if she needs healing there. She says that the Lyme’s causes problems with that part of her body too..

After all of this, she says, “well, the real test will be that I can walk to the next gate (they were on a layover).” And so she takes off with her family – without the wheelchair and the airline people who were going to push her – off to her next flight.

I like Romans 8 in the Message where it says: “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?'”

Different Thoughts and a Cancer Healing

People who feel entitled without being willing to sacrifice or do something with excellence likely will be a bit disappointed…
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I don’t want to try to control something in my own efforts to make it happen when God wants me to believe him for it! Some things are better off left impossible in my mind where I need to simply trust/depend on the Savior (and take risk)!
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I think there are a whole lot of people who want their dreams, but not as many that are willing to truly sacrifice whatever it takes to see it happen. That is why I think it really helps to have a dream compelled by love. Because we will sacrifice to do things out of love for others that we would not do if it was just about us. So I’m here to encourage you to not be afraid to sacrifice when needed to see the change you want to see happen in the world. It is worth it!
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Getting frustrated with God due to lack of personal transformation while not having vulnerable, transparent relationships with those that are healthy (obviously including Him!) is a bit like getting frustrated at God for not having a blizzard while living in Florida. Sure, God could sovereignly cause one to happen – and it may have even happened once or twice before – but it just isn’t the way He commonly works. Things work better doing them his way than trying to get him to do them the way we think they should be done.

It is misguided when people say that it must be God’s will for them to not be whole when they only try to get him to do things the way they think it should happen… God’s will does not equal current life experiences. Many times God is looking for people to become the answer rather than just pray for an answer… But that is going to have to include having healthy, transparent relationships with healthy others (obviously including Him!!).
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Revelation without connection leads to a disconnect (from what one knows in their heads to what they live out). Because God never intended what he shared to sons who are abiding to be attempted to be lived out by orphans who are striving!
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When a Christian shifts from sin focus to God focus is when they will begin to experience victory against sin. Because victory and empowerment is found through someOne not by trying to avoid some thing. The essence of Christianity is not sin management but connection to God and others and kingdom advancement.
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And here is a cancer healing that just happened in Tijuana! The woman went to her doctor and was cancer-free. She was in a 3 month period where she was taking a break from treatment. Before that, her scans and showed incurable lymphoma! God is good!

http://www.thegreaternews.com/blog/9/1/2013/tgn-testimony-lymphoma-cancer-healed

Different thoughts and a fun link from Guatamala

When a Christian shifts from sin focus to God focus is when they will begin to experience victory against sin. Because victory and empowerment is found through someOne not by trying to avoid some thing. The essence of Christianity is not sin management but connection to God and others and kingdom advancement.

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There are times that people contend for the same breakthrough over and over. They had the empowerment, but then it disappeared. If they keep praying for the same thing, they become like a dog chasing its tail. The key is not contending for what has already been given but to re-attach oneself in close abiding relationship. Then there is a discovery that the “gift” or empowerment still is there and it never left.

In other words, the issue isn’t always to contend for the same thing over again but to stay in close abiding relationship with the one who gave the empowerment!

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The President of Guatamala declares Jesus Christ to be God of Guatamala. See the article below. You may want to use Google Translate…

http://www.fuerzalatinacristiana.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6095&Itemid=12

A Few Random Thoughts……..

Praying for healing is not about tossing up my best prayer hoping that something will work. Rather, its about knowing that I am child of God (John 1:12), He’s given me authority and He’s backing me up, so how can this person NOT get healed when I pray. Remember, God responds to what we believe and faith flows through what we believe…
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A religious spirit is not anything that keeps a person from doing whatever they want whenever they want in the name of freedom. No, doing whatever you want whenever you want and not caring about what anyone else thinks is called anarchy.

I’m also tired of Christians doing offensive things to others that are not what Jesus would do (and have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit) and then accusing them of having a religious spirit if they react. No, that is not a religious spirit – that is just you being rude and not walking in love.

What if grace has a whole lot more to do with forgiveness and empowerment than it does with doing whatever you feel like in the name of freedom?
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What if God has called us to actually encounter Him and seek first his kingdom vs. being religious – or, being religious about not being religious.
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Passiveness, lazyness, and being unwilling to take risk is not what avoiding striving is about.

Acting flaky, being unreliable, inability to commit to anything, constantly changing one’s mind, and being a slave to one’s feelings are not fruit of the Holy Spirit nor would being led by the Spirit is all about.

If someone thinks that their dream is just going to be handed to them without initiative, hard work, and sacrifice, they may be living more of a fantasy than a reality. I don’t know of too many people who went from dream to destiny without doing something…
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You know, Jesus never told crippled people to stay crippled because they were becoming so holy that they’d be like Mother Theresa if they couldn’t walk for a while longer. He never told blind people that they were learning so much so they better stay blind for another five years so they could be like Einstein or something. Just saying…

Quotes

If you are not intentional about growing in risk taking you will never grow beyond your last level. – Jason Chin

And then some of my thoughts…

There is a place of peace in knowing that God is my source and not man. And knowing that He loves me and takes care of me. If man is my source, than I have to people-please, manipulate, control, etc. Enter stress, worry, fear, etc. But if God is my source I can rest in Him and work from rest because I love people and want to see them touched… I am now free. Love now compels me rather than performing for others love or my own selfish ambition or a host of other things…

Fear of failure can produce workaholism (in order to not fail). However, depending on one’s own efforts already brings a failure of sorts as it is far less effective than dependence on Him! Success comes through close relationship where we are receiving regularly His ideas (and everything else from Him) not just using whatever abilities we have on our own. Even if the latter is deemed successful by those around – it still is empty without close relationship with God.

Healing as a Lifestyle…

In the Gospels, healing was meant to be a lifestyle, not an event. Let me explain: for most churches, healing is something that is pursued when someone in the church is sick. Someone has cancer or some serious disease and everyone pursues healing for them. However, for Jesus, healing was a lifestyle. Wherever he went, miracles followed. In the same way, he sent the disciples out to heal the sick as a lifestyle. This occurred both in Luke 9 and Luke 10. The third time He sent out the disciples is what is called the Great Commission at the end of Matthew and Mark. So, if the Great Commission is for today and for all Christians (which most churches I know of would say), than the lifestyle of healing the sick is also for today and for all Christians :).

A fun testimony…

This was a fun testimony I was left with by a guy who came to a healing conference…   God loves to heal through everyone!

Thanks for coming to teach us how to do this stuff. On Monday I went to work and told everyone at staff meeting about the healings that God did on the weekend. A lot of faith was released through telling the testimonies. I offered to pray for healing and had the privelige of seeing 4 ladies come for prayer. All four had the presence of God come on them with heat, wind, weight, and other manifestations. I had to teach them how to be catchers because of the presence of God on them. I walked them through the process like you did with us. I told them it was Jesus and the holy spirit touching them. The healings included a wrecked knee being healed and a shoulder that did not allow the lady to lift her arm past her neck and multiple healings from a car accident 20 years ago. The lady that had been in the car accident has no knee cap. I commanded that to be made new and am still believing for it but she can now use her leg properly. She used to walk up stairs placing one foot beside the other but on Monday she walked up the stairs normal and her husband said “how did you do that?”

She was healed of leg pain, including damaged tendons and ligaments that have hurt for 20 years, hip pain, back and neck pain and headache. One lady was manifesting the Holy Spirit before I even got to pray for her. She said she was not born again and I explained that Jesus wanted to touch her life because he loved her. She also was seen by her father walking up stairs normally and testified to her Dad what happened. People at work are asking for
more prayer. They are talking in the hallways what God has done and giving him glory. There have been other healings as well but it is all because God is gracious and is willing to pour his spirit out on all of us.

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There has been many more testimonies.  The pastor’s wife at a church in southern California where I recently ministered just recently told me how she prayed for someone in a wheelchair who got out of it!  God continues to work after the services are done!!

Joke

So I don’t think I have put much of any kind of jokes on here, but I felt the need to put this one on.  This is coming from C. Peter Wagner given to a Pastor and Leader’s Conference on God TV given at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.

A Catholic Priest, Pentecostal Preacher, and Jewish Rabbi all served together as chaplains at a major university.  Ever week they would get together for coffee and to talk shop.  One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t all that hard – it would be much harder to preach to a bear.  So they decided to do an experiment.  They would all go out in the woods, find a bear, and see who could convert it.  A week later, they found themselves in the hospital discussing their experiences.

Father Flannery, on crutches, with a big bandage around his head, said, “Well, I went into the woods to find me a bear.  When I found him I began to read from the catechism and he wanted nothing to do with that.  He batted me around until I could grab my Holy Water, sprinkled him, and said ‘Holy Mary, Mother of God.’ when I did he became as gentle as a lamb and next week the bishop is coming to bring him his first communion.”

Reverend Billy Bob was next.  He was in a wheelchair with one arm in a sling, one leg in a cast, plus an I.V. drip.   In his best pulpit oratory voice he said, “Well brothers, you know I ain’t got nothing to do with holy water and sprinkling.  I found me a bear and read to him from God’s Holy Word. But Satan was behind him and he pushed the bear into me.  And he commenced scratching and biting until we rolled down the hill into the crick.  As soon as we did, I quick dunked him down and baptized him.  He became as gentle as a lamb and we was praising God together.”

They both looked down at the Rabbi who was in intensive care with a full body cast and tubes all over.  The Rabbi glances up and strains to say, “Looking back on it, the next time I won’t try to start things out with circumcision.”

Thoughts…

“There is not one recorded healing in the Bible that occurred through someone praying in their head. There also is not one recorded prayer for healing in the Bible that includes the word “ask.” Nobody ministering healing in the Bible asks, begs, or pleads with God to heal the sick person. Perhaps if one is not seeing the results they want to in prayer, they should change their method of praying!”

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If what you are doing in ministry is not rooted in love for God and others, it can easily just shift in to trying to use God in order to perform spiritually for others love and acceptance.

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Where a person is trying to create an identity for themselves, is likely where they will start performing for others. Gifts flow best through love for others, not through performing for them!

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The Pharisees major problem was that they were rules oriented rather than relationship oriented.  The Pharisees thought to follow rules in order to find God.  Jesus, though, constantly tried to get them to find life in Him rather than through strict adherence to rules.  This same issue still is prevelant in the church today.  So many think that the essence of the Christian walk is to try not to sin instead of knowing Jesus.  When one tries in their own strength to do what is only possible through putting relationship with Jesus first, they have already gone on the path of the Pharisees.   Jesus is after us finding life in Him, and, from that place, we can’t help but want to follow the parameters He has laid out to have a healthy relationship with Him.  Our heart is already turned in love towards our Lord and friend.  Jesus had a very low value for making the essence of Christianity working hard to follow rules and a very high value for relationship being first and foremost!

I found this fascinating...

I saw this on my friend's facebook: "I learned something amazing today! Einstein was a Jew and he says in his own biographies that much of the information he "discovered" came to him in colorful visions by God the Creator of the Universe."

I had to ask to hear more. She replied: "Jim Kaseman talks about it in the series 'Spiritology 101' - He says he was reading a biography on Einstein and it was quoted from Einstein that he saw 'Colorful visions from the God of the universe' that showed him different discoveries such as quantum physics, different mathmatical equations, etc :) I understand that he was a believing Jew as well... so I thought that was really cool to learn and had to share!!" She then adds, "Its cool because so many people thought he was crazy due to the fact that he would sit in an empty room with a pen and paper and write down what came to him... when I think he wasnt crazy...but it was God speaking to him and showing him amazing things most of us can only begin to understand... God is so cool :-)."

I found that fascinating and had to share...

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I think in the Christian life, many try to approach God to put something in (quiet time, fasting, etc.) to get something out of Him. However, this tends to not work so well. He is not after us trying to earn something through working at it from Him but through blessing His friends that are close to Him as an act of grace. A major hindrance to receiving can be trying to put something in to get something in return. It works far better to go all in and then watch how He blesses more than we can ask, think, or imagine - but to know that there is no way that we could work hard enough for His goodness and blessing. If we keep thinking we have to work hard for His blessing, than we will keep trying to work harder to earn what He could have given for free if we just wouldn't have thought that we somehow earned what He previously did. Thankfulness is the proper response!

Blessings to you!

Trust

We were never meant to limit God to what we have seen him do before. Rather, any gifting that He has done through us is also an opportunity to recognize that it was Him - and that if he could do through us what He just did, that He can be trusted for much more. If we internalize gifts too much, we can focus more on them than on the One who worked through us. Perhaps those that get the most done in the kingdom are those that can trust Him for the most! There is a simplicity in child-like trust and having Him be the source and simply loving others rather than making man the source and trying to control and command in order to get agendas (even good or Holy Ghost annointed agendas) to try to come to pass. Obviously, trust is only going to grow through spending substantial time in relationship with the one that we are learning to trust. Also, it will occur through having a healthier relationship through removing wrong mindsets about who they really are...

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And some quotes:
"[The Apostle] Paul is saying that to manifest the gifts of the Spirit without love is to seperate the gift from the Divine Giver." -Howard Ervin Spirit Baptism p. 120

"Divine initiative always courts a human response. Nonetheless the assumption is often made that the Christian is not to seek the manifestations [gifts] of the Spirit. It is frequently phrased something like this: 'If God wants me to have them, He will give them to me.' On the surface this affirmation sounds convincingly pious... [However,] There is a rather obvious error in the tacit assumption that graces acts irresistably upon the passive, even indifferent child of God... There is a divine/human synergism. The divine initiative does not function by arbitrary decree... God's gifts are for those who eagerly desire them or else Paul's words are meaningless (e.g. 'desire earnestly spiritual gifts')." -Ervin p. 132

Believing for things to be getting worse and worse until the rapture comes.... might be severely hindering the church!

Believing for things to get worse and worse until the rapture comes.... very well may be hindering the church and keeping Christians from transforming society.

If Martin Luther felt things were only going to get worse and worse and then the rapture would happen (so he may as well not do anything), there would have been no Protestant Reformation.

If the Pilgrims felt that the religious persecution they were facing was just a sign that things were getting worse and worse until they were raptured out, they might not have ever come to the New World.

If the founding fathers would have just accepted that things are supposed to get worse and worse until they were to be raptured out, they would have never started America and had the freedoms that we now do.

If Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and others would have just accepted that slavery/segregation is just a sign that things are getting worse and worse until the rapture occurs, we still would have these atrocities today.

If you and I accept that things are getting worse and worse until we get raptured out (because we are just strangers passing through), we will likely accept things happenning that should not and might make future generations pay.

Are there perhaps things that we are accepting as being from God that He is wanting us to fight against because they are NOT from Him?

NOBODY knows when the end will come. I am tired of hearing people say that it will happen in the next ten years because of how dark things are getting (because we have a recession). Look at history - how about Europe in the Middle Ages when a third of the people died of the Bubonic Plague and London burned down (amongst tremendous corruption in the church and many other issues). Things have been far worse. I am tired of hearing people believing and expecting the worst - God help us so that we do not receive things getting worse and worse for ourselves and loved ones by believing for it and through feeling disempowered to do anything as a result!

For a different view of eschatology, see Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle (especially where he talks of the rapture). This is not to say that I am Post-Millenial either. It is to say that there can be rather negative implications to how we live life and what we will let occur if we are only focused on the negative prophecies regarding the latter days.


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Every gift you have is reproducible in others (who will honor that gift on your life). That means EVERY gift. So perhaps our primary focus (for the sake of kingdom expansion) should be on the reproducing over the using of the gift... Or using of the gift in the process of demonstrating to others how it works.... The only hindrance from the spiritual father's side is pride in thinking how hard I sacrificed to get/grow in the gift...

Quotes

Some of these come from my friends' facebook statuses -I'm just quoting the original, but thanks for tossing them up on fb! Some of these were my statuses that I didn't want to lose in time... sorry for the repeat if you already read them. However, I need to read many of them more than once :).

"Pride only, the chief of all iniquities, can make us treat gifts as if they were rightful attributes of our nature, and, while receiving benefits, rob our Benefactor of His due glory." -Bernard of Clairvaux

"Compassion is the heart of God for that person and at that moment you get a live download of the overwhelming compassion of God for that person. And every time compassion comes, it opens the doorway to the gifts of the Spirit in operation. Compassion will open the gifts of the Spirit." -Faisal Malick (The Destiny of Islam in the End Times, p 47)

"Faith isn't simply trusting God in lack; it is trusting Him for increase on what you already have been given." -Billy Jones

"Over-obsession with the gifts at the expense of relationship with God can cause one to limit what they will believe God for to their gifting. Under-obsession with the gifts, though, is disobedience to God (1 Cor. 12:31) and will often cause people to never fully become who God has created them to be." - Me (used as my status)

"Any part of one's life that they can't talk to someone else about is not a healthy part of their life."-Me (To clarify: I didn't mean they need to tell EVERYONE about it. But if a person has issues that they can tell absolutely no one, that is not what I see the Bible identifying as living in the light. It is through the context of relationships that people heal and grow. As AA says, "You are only as sick as your secrets.")

Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. - C.S. Lewis

"Striving and working harder is a poor substitute for encountering God's heart in kingdom ministry. It just is not anywhere near as effective." -Me

"Healing the sick is only a peripheral part of the Gospel if you aren't the sick person." -Me

"The rate at which God does things supernaturally through our lives should prompt people around us to be discontent with living in their comfort zone and create hunger for something more. How will they hunger for more if they do not see that more is available?" -Me

"Real slavery is living your life trying to gain favor with people. Real
freedom is living your life because you have favor with Christ." -Tullian Tchividjian

"There is something about encountering the Lord that satisfies an ache... Learning how to seperate oneself to encounter the Lord is essential." -from my notes of Bill Johnson 10/7/08 speaking to first year at BSSM

Quote on how to know God's will

This might just be my favorite quote on knowing God's will...

"In his book Decision Making and the Will of God, Garry Friesen has done a masterful job of critiquing the view that God always has one particular thing for you to do in a given case, that correct decision-making depends on your finding out what that thing is and that if you miss it, you will only be in God's permissive will at best - and a second-class citizen in the kingdom of God. Arguing against this extremely harmful view, Friesen remarks,

'The major point is this: God does not have an ideal, detailed life-plan uniquely designed for each believer that must be discovered in order to make correct decisions. The concept of an "individual will of God" [in that sense] cannot be established by reason, experience, biblical example, or biblical teaching.'

So, the perfect will of God may allow, for a particular person, a number of different alternatives. For most people, for example, a number of different choices in selecting a partner (or none at all), various vocations, educational institutions or places of residence may all equally be God's perfect will - none being in themselves better or preferred by God in relation to the ultimate outcome desired by him.

The sincere seeker should assume that this is so and should move forward with faith in God if no specific word comes on the matter concerned after a reasonable period of time. All of this is consistent with there sometimes being only one choice that would perfectly fit God's will for us. Our choices must be approached on a case-by-case basis just as life is lived one day at a time, trusting God.

Just as character is revealed only when we are permitted or required to do as we want, so also the degree and maturity of our faith are manifested only in cases where no specific command is given. It is not a great and mature faith that merely does what it is told. Rather- in the words of William Carey as he went out to India as a pioneer missionary - such a faith is one that "attempts great things for God and expects great things from God." It actively gets on with the work to be done, the life to be lived confident in the good-hearted companionship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Human initiative is not cancelled by redemption; it is heightened by immersion in the flow of God's life. People with a mature vision of God and extensive experience in His ways have no need to be obsessively anxious about doing the right thing. For the most part they will simply know what is right. But their confidence is finally not in a word from the Lord but in the Lord who is with us." - Dallas Willard Hearing God pp. 207-208 All italics are his.

And one more great quote for you...
"It is absolutely essential to the nature of our personal development toward maturity that we venture and be placed at risk, for only risk produces character... [We have all too often tried] to use our ability to hear God as a device for securing a life without risk. When it does not work - as it certainly will not - we begin attacking ourselves, someone else, or even God for being a failure." -Willard p.210

Life really isn't about trying to live in safety but it is about being free and secure in God's love to try, fail, learn and succeed. A risk-free, performance-based Christianity can be a real problem due to how it keeps growth from occurring and stunt God's kingdom from advancing...

His presence

It is obvious when reading the Bible that the Christian life includes following principles and obedience. However, there is a deeper realm than simply seeking to follow rules that God is after - it is the realm of deep friendship. This does not negate obedience, but it shifts focus from simply trying to obey and applying the right principles to the realm of relationship.

I just watched this clip again from The Matrix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_dqwkIuUm8 - I really think it illustrates a principle I am trying to make. There is a realm in God's presence that changes everything that I think we (the church) have only begun to scratch the surface of. Let me illustrate a quick example of this with a testimony. A buddy of mine just did some healing meetings in England. After they were done and everyone had already left the church, a man in a wheelchair showed up to the church (he apparently thought the meeting was at a different time). As he came to the door, he found he could not go in and that the church was locked. However, at the door, he felt the presence of the Lord very strongly and was instantly healed - this paralyzed man walked normally out of his wheelchair. There is a principle of praying for the sick - and then there is the realm where God's presence just takes care of it without a Christian in sight. It is like when the man was buried in the same tomb as Elijah but he was resurrected when he touched the dead prophet's body - there is no principle for dead-raisings occurring in this manner. I really believe there is a realm of God's presence that God is wanting to open up upon people that breaks all limitation and boxes that we have put Him in regarding how we think He can work through us.

God's Will

I might sound a little like Pastor Bill on this post, but this just needs to be said...

I've heard others say it, but: "if sickness is God's will, why go to the doctor to get medication? Wouldn't you be hindering God's will from happening?" Or do we go to the doctor in order to find out what God's will is? Apparently, if they have a medication for it, then it is God's will for the person not to have their sickness; but, if the doctor can't help them, then God wants them sick. So essentially this theological position states: Go to your doctor to discern the will of God for your sickness. Whatever he can do for you is what God's will is for you.

Where in the world does this sort of theology come from? I can't find anything remotely like this in the Bible. What if the doctor is an Atheist? Is an Atheist doctor really the best person to discern what God's will is for your health? If this theology is right, then it would logically follow that getting a second opinion or pursuing alternative health methods must be the equivolant to questioning God or being rebellious to His will.

Do you really think that everything that happens on planet earth is God's will? If so, then when people are abused or killed that God willed that to occur? Using this kind of reasoning, Adam and Eve eating the fruit in the garden must have been God's will too. This is absurd. Would the woman with the issue of blood been healed if she just accepted that this was God's will for her and did not seek Jesus? Would it really have been God's will if Naman were to have died of the leprosy he had instead of going to someone with a healing ministry?

Some might say, "Well, God allowed it." Just because God does not turn us all into zombies so that no one has free will, does not mean that God premeditates the destruction of people or cause all of their medical problems and other hardships. What kind of God is that? "Well, he disciplines his children" some might say because Hebrews 12 talks of that. There is a major difference between a father disciplining his daughter in love and a father wishing his daughter to be molested in order to teach her a lesson. The first is healthy, the second is abhorent. And some in the church would attribute this sort of attrocity to God or would blame God for allowing it. How come these people do not also blame God for allowing Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden? The only thing I can think of is that this must be what happens when people do theology without relationship - those that try to work hard to understand God get a distorted picture of Him. Studying about the Lord was never meant to be seperate from knowing Him. Both study and knowing Him need to be in the lives of Christians!

"I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly." -Jesus

Cultivating New Spiritual Gifts

I think many have the approach that they either have a spiritual gift or they do not and there is nothing they can do about it... however, that is not how it typically works.

There are certain spiritual gifts that come from the Lord that are hardwired into how we are made. However, there are many that are not but can be cultivated. When I talk to people about healing, it is amazing how many believe that they can not operate in it because they have not seen God heal through them before. However, we all start somewhere. Every gift - administration, teaching, helps, etc. does not come perfectly refined to the person the first few times they try. Very few people with the spiritual gift of teaching sound like they were born to teach the first time they were handed a microphone. If there is a process of growth and refinement in these gifts, why should we not expect there to be a process of learning how to cultivate other gifts like healing on our lives?

So how does one do this? Well, clearly someone who wants the gift of teaching is going to need to step out and actually practice teaching. They are going to need to learn how to fail, try again, learn from their mistakes, learn how to do things better, and so on and so forth. They probably will not be flowing perfectly in their teaching gift for some time. The same is clearly true with praying for sick people. How will someone cultivate a gift for healing if they do not or only rarely pray for sick people? No one would think that a teaching gift would come without practice, learning, failing, and perseverance.

Another clear way gifts come is through relationship with another who has the gift. God did not really ever intend His body to live in a vacuum. This is the beauty of Alcoholics Anonymous - those that are struggling find another who has gained a measure of victory and seek to learn from them. There is a grave danger to the body of Christ when people put others that operate in spiritual gifts that they don't have on a pedestal - it will cause them to think the gift on that person can not come on themselves because they are too far above them. It is also a danger if we treat them with suspicion and have to receive all our breakthroughs only through God alone... God just often does not work that way - He does things through His body.

We would think the alcoholic who refused to get help from others by going to an A.A. meeting because, if God wants him sober, he can do that to him through answered prayer from his couch, would be ridiculous. In the same way, I need to value relationships and seek to learn from those that have the spiritual gift(s) that I want. To feel that I have all of the spiritual gifts possible for me, but to live without ongoing relationship with people with certain gifts, will cause me to miss out on what could have been available for me. My relationship with God is NOT one dimensional. It is lived both with relationship with God and others. The gifts that I want do not come simply by being alone with God (although they do sometimes come that way). Often, they come from the context of relationship with other people.

Someone learns how to teach through getting input and teaching from a teacher. Someone learns hospitality through seeing how others do hospitality. In the same way, we learn healing through being in relationship with those that see healing occur often and see how they use those gifts.

I have reason to suspect the idea that I do not have any certain spiritual gift simply because it did not come to me without some measure of practice and/or relationship with someone else who has it. If I am unwilling to persevere in practice and not seek to learn from others who are operating at a higher level in the gift or to treat others with immediate suspicion because they have a gift that my circle of influence does not have, could cause me to continue to not have that gift.

If a bunch of alcoholics who wanted to change treated every person who was able to get sober with suspicion or skepticism, their odds of ever getting clean would go down drastically. They have shut down their method of getting clean - through relationship with the gift on another's life. Who are you in relationship to help you grow or acquire more of the gifts God wants to give you? How can you practice these gifts to edify the body around you?


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Child-like trust can open options that appear non-existent. Many times, we think there are two choices of action for a circumstance. But child-like trust of the Lord can create whole new options! His best might be different than simply praying for his hand on what looks to be a possible solution! Jehoshaphat had two apparent options in 2 Chron 20 - surrender or fight. Through trust, God brought a whole different option that worked far better than either. God doesn't tend to stay inside the boxes we try to create for Him. Sometimes the answers that are being sought aren't there because the pray-er has limited how God is allowed to answer. Or sometimes even because the focus shifted from trust in the Lord to trust in a means (that He might have even showed) for the provision!

Sometimes we are better off believing something to be impossible (outside of His hand at work) and simply believing God for it and stewarding what He has given us/doing what He shows to do than trying to make things happen in our own strength... Sometimes we can be taking responsibility to try to do what He instead wants us to believe Him for.

Honor vs. Pedestel

Bill Johnson has some fabulous teaching on honor... but I won't try to duplicate his ideas even though there is some overlap as I write here just to simply lay a bit of a foundation:

Jesus said to "Receive [honor, take in favorably] the prophet in the name of the prophet to receive the prophet's reward. (Mt. 10:41)" This is such a good passage as it shows the way to receive impartation from others: through honoring the gift of God on their life. The danger is that the breakthroughs we may have sought for quite a while can come into a room (i.e. the person with the gift comes into the room), but because I cannot recieve from them (due to jealousy of what they have, offense towards God that they recieved it ahead of me, having a "prove it" attitude like the theif on the cross ["if you really are the Son of God then save us"], or simply not honoring what God has done in that person and just treating them just like someone else), that I could potentially not recieve the impartation that I may have been desperate to recieve, while someone else with much less maturity, who may not have even been seeking for the breakthrough recieves simply by having the posture of honor towards the person with the gift. Sometimes this can cause even a greater spirit of offense...

However, there is another hindrance to recieving the impartation, and that is to put the person on a pedestel. If I believe what God gave them is only for them or that they are somehow so much greater spiritually than I am, I will not be able to recieve the impartation that I otherwise could. I have to actually believe that I can recieve the prophet's reward rather than cut myself off from it through the warped sense of honor that is putting a person on a pedestel. Elijah's gift would have died with him if Elisha did not believe that the mantle could be passed on to him. Bill likes to mention that there is buried treasure from previous revivalists that is just waiting to find a home on another's life...

Now then, in praying for sick people, I try to study how it is that some get healed and others do not seem to. While I certainly would not claim to have any kind of formula, I do think there are principles we can learn to align to to have greater breakthrough. Bill Johnson likes to talk on the importance of sharing the testimony and how it opens the door for the miracle to be repeated. I also hear people share on the importance of having people take their eyes off of the problem and put it on the Lord - which a testimony also can do. But I think there is a third thing too. When a testimony is shared it generally causes the person who is receiving prayer to honor the gift of God on the prayer servant's life. Sometimes if the person recieving prayer can turn the posture of their heart to a place of honor for the person ministering to them they can recieve their "prophet's reward." In the end of Mt. 13, what kept people from their healing was lack of faith which flowed out of lack of honor and offense. Now obviously anyone whose goal is to get sick people to honor them probably is in the wrong area of ministry... however, this can be yet one more reason that sharing testimonies before ministering to someone can open the door up for their breakthrough.

While this is easier to spot in others when you pray for them, it certainly has been a bit disconcerting to realize how much I am having to grow in this area of recieving from others. The last thing I want is the breakthroughs I need to pass me by because I did not honor the gifting on another member of the body of Christ's life. If Jesus could do very little miracles in his hometown due to lack of honor; the last thing I want is to hinder the Lord from working through other members of the body to impact myself due to my lack of honor in recognizing what God has given to them. Thankfully, He is faithful to grow us!

Blessings to you all!

Oh, and just for fun and since every testimony is an invitation to an impartation: a woman got out of her wheelchair over the phone on Tuesday. She could only walk a few steps out of her wheelchair and that would be holding on to a wall and/or her cane. After a prayer over the phone she was walking around without problems. God is good - and I pass along impartation for you all to see Him do the same through you!

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Charles Kraft points out in Christianity With Power that Jesus did not see a miracle as something that happened that was out of the ordinary. Rather, they were normal. To NOT have them regularly was abnormal. If our job as Christians is to be conformed into His image, than perhaps our worldview in regards to the supernatural should shift to His. What would happen if our perspective shifted to surprise at a healing not happening because it is normal for them to do so, rather than surprise that one did? I think I'd find I had more faith if I saw things this way because the healing occurring is the most normal thing in the world; not something I had to make sure I had fasted and prayed and done everything well enough for to maybe see something happen.