Archive for January, 2013

Spiritual Unity

The concept of spiritual unity of all believers has been on my mind (and heart) for quite awhile.  I received this daily devotional from the Activation Ministries International today,  http://www.activationministries.org/ , and it sums up my thoughts beautifully.  Enjoy!

January 27th

Matt 18:19-20

Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.

For wherever two or three are gathered (drawn together as My followers) in (into) My name, there I AM in the midst of them.

 (Amplified version)

Unity’s song releases a sweet fragrance into the atmosphere of heaven. It reaches into the depths of My heart and I respond with outpourings of My glory.

The power of agreement is a weapon against the powers of the enemy. Nothing in Satan’s armory can even come close to combating the might and force of unity. This is exactly why he strategizes ways to prevent unity from happening in the first place.

Sowing seeds of discord in the church is a useful tool in the hands of demons. They methodically sneak into the thought lives of believers planting lies and distortions about brothers and sisters. In turn, they count on a soulish; flesh driven response from those targeted leading them into gossip and slander. The spirit of Leviathan is then free to roam twisting every word spoken into gross misunderstanding.

Another frequently used strategy is offense. This is a spirit of wickedness whose soul purpose is to kill and destroy unity. It feeds on the insecurities and inadequacies in believers. This spirit uses the mouth of its host to slice up those in the body to whom they believe wronged them.

My people, you cannot afford to entertain spirits of disunity and discord, especially in this hour. My Word emphatically warns, be not ignorant of the enemy’s devices! Come into My presence and rid yourself of anything that gives place to the enemy of discord. Give Satan notice that you are no longer a participant in his plans and strategies. Submit yourself to Me, resist the enemy and he must flee!

Unity is a treasured gift to My body, but it is of utmost importance for such a time as this. The hour is late and there must be unity in My house. The corporate anointing is key in My end time move!

When My people draw together in one accord, a harmonious song rises on the winds of My Spirit permeating the atmosphere with My love. Prayer and intercession enter into new levels of power. From this place of My Spirit, whatever you agree upon is done in heaven. I inhabit your unity and agreement, dwelling right in the midst.

I inhabit the praises of My people

…Unity is powerful praise!

 

Holy Spirit, I ask You to show me how to enter into a Spirit birthed unity with other believers. I do not want to be moved or pressured to produce something from my flesh. I desire a genuine bond of love from the Spirit. Reveal to me my part in this treasured gift. Lord Jesus, forgive me for knowingly or unknowingly participating in discord and/or offense. I repent for anything I have personally done that has caused disunity. I ask for increased discernment that I may clearly see the devices of the enemy. I embrace and cherish the beauty and power of unity. I pray for the body of Christ around the world to join hands in the Spirit and move forward together to see Your Kingdom come!

 

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Spiritual Confirmation

I’m always open to receiving spiritual confirmation on wisdom, training, and any messages I might get from God. That’s because my flesh is not only weak – it’s also thick and dense. There are many times when I receive some pearl of wisdom and then turn around and wonder, “Is that you God?” I understand that confusion and doubt are from the enemy, but how do I sort it all out? Well, my ongoing theory is that God speaks to us where we look for Him. And one way I look for Him is by seeking confirmation. And if you seek confirmation on any particular message, God will surely give it to you, too!

When it comes to confirmation, my agreement with God is that when I receive a message more than once I will pay special attention to it and KNOW that it’s from Him and that it’s IMPORTANT for us. Of course, I test the spirits and look at where the confirmation is coming from. I ask, “Is this from God or from another Godly person?” “Does the message line up with the Bible and who it tells me God is and His purpose for my life?” “Is it from the Bible and my daily passages?” Over time I have learned that my confirmations always come in one of these ways so that my thick and dense flesh will finally get it!

For example, I just received a confirmation like this on the blog I just posted about “Standing Firm in Trials.” Right after I posted it, I opened my daily scripture from K-Love, and it said this from James 1:2-3;

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Bam! Just like that God gave me confirmation on the message I had written. I know that often it’s hard to see or feel joy during trials, but you should always know that your Heavenly Father loves you so much that if you let Him, He will let these seeds of trial fall on good soil to grow into something beautiful to share with another in a time of need. Also, when we focus on the joy of each situation, we defeat the ploys that the enemy has in mind to magnify the trial and our pain! My confirmation told me that faith is like a muscle – when you really exercise it, it surely grow!

Whenever you hear from God, or think you’ve heard from God, tell Him that you’ll seek His spiritual confirmation so that you can stay close to Him and be able to see clearly His word and blessings for you and your life. If you start searching for God in this way, then I’m sure that He will speak to you exactly where you are looking!

Stand Fast in Times of Trial

My heart has been especially burdened lately with the trials that many of you are experiencing. From lost jobs, to financial difficulties, hospital stays, and even family deaths, there just seems to be a lot of stuff happening that just isn’t fun. But I’m writing this blog to tell you that I have had confirmation from our Lord both from His Word and through several of His servants that He has not left our side. In fact, He’s right here holding out His hand to you so that you stay close to His protection and comfort. God wants you to stand fast in your times of trial.

When we talk about standing fast I always remember that the Bible says in Ephesians 6:11-13 for us to:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

This passage means that life is not without difficulties. We will experience them, and we must be prepared for them. We must stand and face them head on. The good news is that with God on our side, there is nothing we can’t face and see through to the end. Sometimes just facing the trial head on is really all God wants. In my opinion, God is constantly looking for examples of people who face the troubles of the world with peace, grace, and a sense of calm knowing that He is ultimately in charge. It’s those people who really make a difference in the natural world.

I still remember a man who I met at a Denver area church who told me he had just lost all of his life’s saving in the Enron debacle. He was so calm! It didn’t seem to bother him one bit, and surely that same problem could easily lead to depression or even suicide with any other person. I’m sure that everyone who meets him and hears his story will be moved, like me, by his faith in God to turn even that great trial into a triumph through standing firm. He told me, “Well, I guess God wanted me to work when I thought it was time to retire. He must have something really great in store for me.” Can you imagine how pleased God is that this man still believes and tells others about His glory?

You should realize, of course, that not all trials are from the devil. That’s because many times we have made improper choices that set certain problems into play. Nevertheless, Satan is going to take whatever problem you initiate and use it to steal from you or destroy you if he can. Really, because of God’s grace, that’s the really exciting choice we have every day. No matter what happens, no matter how difficult we think something in the world is, we can choose to let Satan use that difficulty to really mess us up, or we can choose to let God use the same difficulty for His glory. If you really focus on what’s happening supernaturally, you can even find hope and some joy in even the worst times by simply knowing that what God has in store for you later will be so great.

When my husband, Tim, went back to Kansas to take care of his sick dad, things could not have seemed lower. No matter what he did, he couldn’t find out what was wrong with his dad, and after a while Tim had to quit his job to act as a 24/7 nurse. A lot of people fretted over the situation and warned Tim that he wouldn’t be able to find work again and that he would go broke, etc. Well, at that time Tim had a choice: (1) let Satan use the situation to cause hopelessness and despair, or (2) let God use it to show His glory. Tim chose number two, constantly telling people that God would surely find him another job, and the money would be no problem because God would surely work everything out. In the end, Tim was able to spend the last year of his dad’s life with him. He talked to many people in Kansas, including his dad, about God’s will and favor. And you know what? We never even really felt any lack of money due to losing his job. There was a sense of peace, even in the middle of a huge trial, by just knowing that God was in charge and that He would use the situation to lead to something even greater.

No matter how your trial originates, you still have the same weapons – namely the grace of Jesus dying on the cross, the Word (Bible) of our Lord, and our community of believers to provide encouragement, enlightenment, and strength. It’s so important to just stand and face that trial, rather than to run away, hide in a comfortable place or hop a boat on the river of denial J . If you try to ignore it, the problem will still be there when you return – in fact, it might have even grown into a bigger issue. And while you’re standing firm, sharpen your sword, which is the Word of God – dig into your Bible to refresh your memory of who you are and the promises our Lord made to you.

When I have things going poorly in my life I try to step back and ask a few questions and quickly move to the resolution.

1. What have I done in the natural world (like sin or un-forgiveness) that may have contributed to or started this difficulty?

If I identify something that has started the problem, then I accept the responsibility for the action or sin and ask for forgiveness. I then look for the resolution – it may mean humbly apologizing to someone, or making amends in the situation, or just standing in there for the natural course of things – like when you break a law and have to go through the court system. Sometimes I’m not sure what the root cause is and I just go to prayer and ask for revelation on what I have done. I ask for forgiveness, blessing, and supernatural help. Once I’ve done this, I try to leave it alone and let God walk with me through the problem however long it takes. That means that I try not to worry about it or continue discussing it. I simply release it so that my heart can remain pure and free.

2. Have I forgotten to pray spiritual coverage  to keep me and my household protected?

Sometimes I realize that I have gotten overly confident in my flesh and that I have not asked, on a daily basis, for God’s supernatural wisdom and perfection. This usually happens when I don’t get in the Word for even one tiny verse and my focus gets off my Lord and His purpose for my life. I immediately ask for forgiveness and ask for supernatural wisdom, revelation, and protection over me, my friends and family, my household and any one that I come into contact with each day.

3. Maybe I am doing the right thing – if so, is the attack from the enemy simply one designed to get me off track from living a Godly life?

If I’m on a Godly track and I think I am doing exactly what God wants me to do, regardless of what the world would say to do, then I just smile and feel fortunate that the enemy is trying to deter me from accomplishing something big. When this happens, I know that it’s some of the strongest demons that are in play, so I try to remember that it’s important now more than ever to press into my Lord through prayer, His Word, and His people. The Bible says that some demons react only to prayer and fasting, and so sometimes I fast.

And so, my beautiful brothers and sisters, stand firm! Be armed with the knowledge that your Heavenly Father is right there with you to help you muscle through your difficult time! In the end, getting through it by standing firm and choosing to side with God will be worth it. Whatever your trial may be, if you choose to walk with God, He will bless you with wisdom, abundant peace, and sharpened tools for life in the natural world.

Miraculous Healing and the Question of Faith

Have you ever prayed for healing and then secretly wondered whether you might not be healed because you didn’t have enough faith?

I had this very “crisis of faith” when I first prayed for a supernatural healing of my hip. You see, I’m one of the unfortunate few who, despite being relatively young, needed to get a hip replaced due to genetic factors. When I learned of my condition, I prayed passionately. My friends laid hands on me. I spoke positively, as if a healing miracle had already taken place. But when I didn’t get any better, I watched myself, almost surreally, scheduling conventional hip surgery. Where was my faith? Should I have given God more time? My fear, of course, was that my lack of faith had hindered the miracle.

But then two things happened. First, a friend of mine reminded me that our Lord can heal in many ways, including through surgery. This brought to mind my old seminary professor, who once said he could see God’s hand in literally everything – including a lamp, or a table, or a car driving down the road. Surely God has His hand in the extraordinary event that we now take for granted called surgery.

Second, I heard a pastor emphasize the doctors’ often crucial role in God’s healing process. God has orchestrated a doctor’s life of healing as much as that of any other person in any other role, and a doctor following God’s plan will undoubtedly serve by healing. The fact is that throughout the Bible, God used people – both believers and unbelievers – to accomplish his will. And today it’s the same. The key for me was to recognize that an unexplained, immediate healing (akin to the bleeding woman’s miraculous cure after touching Jesus’ robe) and an empirically sensible yet much slower healing through the hands of a surgeon could be equally miraculous.

I believe it takes great faith to receive a miraculous healing without human intervention, but it takes as much faith to put yourself completely in God’s hands and the hands of his earthly servant chosen to minister to you. It’s not a matter of greater or lesser faith. It’s just an overarching belief that God will heal. Whether it’s through a flash of lightning or a surgeon’s hands, God, not the devil, is in charge of the details.

And, looking back, I can clearly see that the details of my surgery were supernaturally miraculous. After the operation, everyone was amazed at my remarkably fast healing. I was back to work after three weeks and walking a mile every day without pain! I also was blessed to have some special time at home with my mom and my husband unencumbered by my usually overly active (i.e., without crutches) lifestyle.

But God really showed His hand through what He had me do during the healing process. Every person who came across my path, from the surgeons, nurses and physical therapists, to my friends and even some strangers, got to hear me talk about God, what He did in my life, and how He had used them to help heal me. It was so rewarding to see those helpers light up when I thanked them for their great service and told them how they were specially chosen by God, who loves them and gave all of them their amazing gifts, to help me with my “miracle.” I’m not sure I would ever have talked to any of them if the miracle meant for me was the instantaneous, “robe-touching” type.

But I am sure that God will have me minster to more people through my experience, “for it is God who works in [us] to act according to his good purpose” and “through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of Him.” Indeed, God continually gives us opportunities to grow our faith and share our experiences with others. Each opportunity is itself a supernatural miracle in which our creator reaches into our lives to provide a glimpse of His overwhelming glory. A need for healing can be one of those opportunities – an opportunity perhaps causing us to wrestle with our faith, but ultimately to help others come closer to God.

So, how much faith do you need for healing? The Bible says only as much as a tiny mustard seed, so keep your eyes on Him, open yourself to growing the faith that you do have, and watch God work. Your miraculous healing will surely come!


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