May 18 2018

Wounds of the past

Wounded people wound other people. That’s a reality of life. And when we know this reality, it is so much easier to not be offended when people do or say things that try to hurt us. When we recognize this fact, we can love people no matter what they do, because we can see that they are acting out of their own woundedness. In a way, it makes us feel sorry for them, sorry for their situation, and gives us a desire to see them set free. The great news is that we, as representatives of Jesus, have the authority to lead a person from a place of brokenness to a place of wholeness. I met someone once who told me he was struggling with depression, and he was a little shocked when I told him that I had authority over depression. Why? Because that is part of my identity as a son of God. The same is true of any other type of emotional wound that someone may be carrying around. Jesus already paid for them to be free of their baggage, and we get to help them give that baggage to Jesus. When you come across someone who is emotionally wounded, ask Holy Spirit what the root cause is, then pray for healing for that specific root cause. Even if they won’t let you pray with them in that moment, you can still pray for them at a later time on your own. God wants them to be free more than we do, and when we choose to partner with his vision for the people we encounter, we will see him do incredible things in their lives. I am sure you can think of at least one person right now who is carrying some emotional wounds. Maybe you are carrying some yourself that you need to lay down as well. Have a chat with Holy Spirit. Get his advice, and start praying for people to be free!

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May 11 2018

Orders

Back when I was going through basic training for my military service, there were some common phrases we would hear the training instructors yell at us on a fairly regular basis. We would hear things like, “I can’t believe you’re not done yet!”, “what’s your major malfunction?”, or, “what part of (fill in the blank) don’t you understand?” These were all very pointed questions to get someone back in line with what they needed to be doing. Sometimes I think it would be valuable for Jesus to ask us some very pointed questions as well. I once heard someone say that people who have served in the military have a tendency to step into supernatural ministry a lot easier than others, because they understand the concept of authority. Military members understand the importance of following orders as well as the authority to give orders. Military members understand that orders need to be carried out, regardless of personal opinion, or potential risk. An order is an order and it is given to accomplish the mission at hand. Being a follower of Jesus is a lot like serving in the military. When you join the military, you give your life to a cause, and you give up a certain degree of your rights for as long as you wear the uniform. When you give your life to Jesus, you give your life to Jesus. It’s not yours anymore. You give up your right to do what you want to do. You have put yourself into the service of a king. And not just any king, but the King of all kings. And yet, many of us live out our Christian lives from a perspective that we can just check a few boxes and then do whatever we want with the rest of our lives. But that’s not how it is supposed to work out. Sometimes I wonder if it would be beneficial if Jesus popped his head into the door and asked a pointed question like, “what right do you have to refuse the order of your King?” We have a King who has given us some serious orders and we (the church) haven’t done a great job following those orders. We all need to be in this together, pursuing what the heart of our King is focused on, and not giving up until he receives everything that he paid for!

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Apr 27 2018

Discernment is so important

The more I minister to people, the more I realize that there is a major need for good spiritual discernment within the body of Christ. We need to know if something we encounter is good or evil, if it is part of God’s plan or if something else is at work behind the scenes. There are so many different ideas and initiatives happening in our world today, and it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that something is good without realizing that it is actually rooted in evil. We have to be able to discern what is beneath the surface and ask God to reveal any attempt of deception or manipulation that a person may be using against us in order to further their own initiative. Without Holy Spirit, this can be a difficult goal to achieve. The good news is that God knows the motives of everyone’s heart, and he has created a gift of discernment that is available to his children. That spiritual gift, listed in 1 Corinthians 12, helps us to quickly recognize anything that is not of God.

When we use the gift of discernment in the systems of the world, Holy Spirit will guide us towards what he wants us to be involved in. We should be excited about bringing change to the world, and to individual lives, but it needs to be grounded in the phrase Jesus taught us to pray; “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need to be aware of what God’s heart is for any situation, focus on that, and set aside anything else that is contrary to what he wants to accomplish. Then we can pray for his will to be done, without being affected by all the other variables that others may try to mix into the situation. This method can be applied to anything. It can be applied to personal relationships, needed changes in culture, business development, something we recently learned but never heard of before, a message we heard at church, and any other area of our lives. All we have to do is set aside our own opinions and ask God for his heart for the situation. If we do this, we will have the guidance we need to make the correct choices and, at the same time, be able to avoid deception and manipulation.

I hate manipulation, it’s so evil. Anytime someone tries to deceptively control someone to do their will, it is essentially a form of witchcraft. I have fallen for this myself, not realizing that someone was manipulating me, or realizing it just a few moments too late, and I have used those situations to learn how to discern even more clearly. We need to be able to recognize the spirit behind something and recognize any perspective we have that might give someone an opportunity to manipulate us. Pray for discernment. Pray for wisdom. Know when to say no. And always love, even when someone is trying to manipulate you.

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Apr 20 2018

What’s Next?

I often find myself asking God about what is next. What is next for our nation? What is next for our city? What is the next step to take for our ministry? The Kingdom of God is constantly advancing and ever expanding to increase the Lord’s influence in the earth, and I want to be front and center, involved in what he is doing, and participating in bringing his kingdom to earth in greater measures. God is always up to something new and incredible. We may not be able to see around every corner or know exactly what step to take, but if we are willing to take the risk of just following where he leads, it will lead to greater encounters with him and greater opportunities to see other lives changed. It doesn’t matter what it is. We just need to say yes to him. So I ask these questions because I want to be right there with him when he moves. And since he is working all over the world, you can ask the same questions and participate in his mission wherever you live. It’s not limited to just a few people, we all get to participate! We all get to be a part of the greatest kingdom on earth! We all get to represent Jesus everywhere we go! Ask God the same questions. Listen for his answers, and follow where his Spirit leads. He will never disappoint you.

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Mar 23 2018

Thorns in the flesh

Have you ever encountered someone who has a sickness or physical impairment, and who thinks that God gave it to them to teach them something? There’s a passage of scripture in 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul refers to a “thorn in his flesh” that was given to him to keep him humble. Some people have taken this verse to mean that God sometimes puts a sickness on us to teach us a lesson. Just recently, I met a lady who was wearing hearing aids and she asked me to pray for her ears. She was advanced in years, so most people would just assume the hearing loss was a result of her age. But she told me that she believed God was punishing her for something, and that’s why she lost part of her hearing. I didn’t let her go any further, and led her through a quick prayer of renouncing the lie she had believed. Eighty percent of here hearing was restored after she renounced the lie. God wasn’t trying to punish her, and as soon as she stopped believing that, she received most of here hearing back!

I never really agreed with this “God made me sick” theology because the idea of God making someone sick to teach them a lesson stands in stark contrast with all the other scripture that talks about God being our healer. Something clicked for me when I came across this verse again this past week. Holy Spirit reminded me about the times an evil spirit was sent by God to Ahab and Saul in the Old Testament (you can read those stories in 1 Kings 22 and 1 Samuel 19) in order to bring about a specific result. Evil spirits are subject to God’s commands just like any other created being. Just because they rebelled against God doesn’t mean they get to ignore him. God maintains the authority to use them to bring about his purposes.

In Paul’s case, I have come to believe that there was an evil spirit constantly reminding him of his past. Here’s a guy who was used by God to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and perform many miracles. And yet, he had a past that most people would think disqualified him from ever being used by God. If any of us spend enough time thinking about our past mistakes, I am sure we can all make a list of reasons why God should never use us. And I imagine Paul probably thought about this as well. But then, there was this “thorn” which I don’t think was a physical ailment, but an actual spirit coming to remind him of his past failures. Paul refers to this thorn as a “messenger of satan” that was sent to torment him. Did God send this spirit to perform this action? We don’t know, but in Paul’s case, these reminders served the purpose to keep him humble.
If you have been battling a sickness, don’t believe the lie that God gave it to you. Trust in him to bring the healing you need.

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Mar 16 2018

More than an exercise

I met a man this week who has been suffering from problems in his hip due to a several years old injury. We chatted for a few moments and then I prayed for God to heal his hip. As he was testing it out, after the prayer, he noticed it felt a little different, but not completely better. Then he said this to me, “That was a cute little exercise you did there, but you need to understand that my hip is fused together and there is nothing that can be done to fix it.” His response was a little comical on the surface, not because he didn’t have faith, but because of the way he expressed his position. This opened an opportunity for me to share some testimonies with him about what we have seen God do in the past. Prayer is so much more than an exercise, it’s a step of faith with an expectation that the one we are praying to is able and willing to accomplish our requests. There is nothing he cannot do. Even when doctors say something is impossible, we know that nothing is impossible with God. The one who designed the human body is fully capable of healing the body, and he wants us to partner with him in delivering the healing that people need. So, I want to encourage you today that if you have been contending for a healing, and it hasn’t come yet, don’t give up. Your prayers are more than an exercise. God has heard you, and he will answer. Keep contending and you will see a breakthrough!

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Mar 9 2018

Relevance

I’ve been thinking about relevance lately, and how our attempts to be relevant in today’s society can sometimes conflict with the concept of pursuing the idea of bringing God’s kingdom to earth. It’s easy to lose sight of the target when we get distracted by the current popular movement of the day, but we have to remember that when we say yes to Jesus, we are saying yes to a king, and not just any king, but the King of all kings. This is a concept we don’t have a good reference point for in Western civilization, probably because we are too many years removed from the times when kings ruled many of the nations of the world. In that era, when you bowed before a king and offered your life to his service, you gave him complete control to determine your destiny. The king decided every facet of every capacity you would serve him. He decided where you were sent, what you were to do, and when you were to return. When you bowed before the king, you did it knowing that you were giving him control over your life. So, when we serve the King of kings, we give our lives into his service, no matter what the cost, or what he requires for us. But how do we stay relevant when we are tied to his decisions? It’s easy. Jesus told us to seek first his kingdom, and taught us to pray for that kingdom to come to earth. The world is hungry for authenticity. This generation craves truth and is drawn to the supernatural. If we make His Kingdom relevant on earth, we will instantly become relevant in every sphere of society. If we keep that as our primary focus, everything else will fall into place.

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Feb 23 2018

Billy Graham

I’m reflecting on the life of Billy Graham today, and on all the great things he did to advance the Kingdom of God during his 99 years on the earth. It’s amazing, looking back at his life, how much one person can accomplish if they are focused on the mission given to them by God. He was definitely one who knew his calling, knew his identity, and focused his energy into pursuing the dream God had for his life. I love that he was able to impact Presidents, world leaders, and everyday people. He lived out so many qualities every believer should desire to have. He didn’t shy away from the truth of the gospel. He shared his love for Jesus everywhere he went. And he loved people well. I think we could all take a lesson from his life and apply it to our own. I came across a video yesterday about a prophecy given in 2012, by Mark Chironna and Benny Hinn, regarding what God was going to do in and through the church that is going to bring a 21st century manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the earth. It was declared that when Billy Graham died, the shift into this new season would occur. Get ready, I think we are moving into something new. You can take a look at the video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yMztNyZ9c4

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Feb 16 2018

Stay Woke!

Have you ever noticed how, at times, the Bible is very direct and blunt? Some scriptures seem friendlier than others, and some kind of punch you in the gut. One example that comes to mind is James 4:4, where we are told that being friends with the systems of the world makes us enemies with God. That’s kind of intense, and I can’t imagine using that scripture in a conversation without someone becoming offended. But it’s also very true. We have been called to live a lifestyle that influences the world, not the other way around. And we have to be willing to let scripture redirect our lives when we get off track, even if the truth is uncomfortable. I have noticed a recent trend of Christians pursuing teaching and methodologies from other religious belief systems, instead of looking to Jesus, or his word, for what they need. This is not only unwise, but also very dangerous. Satan was very crafty when he deceived Adam and Eve, and he uses the same tactics today. He will often mingle a little bit of truth with deception to trick believers. We never want to end up in a situation where we give the enemy influence in our lives, so we have to constantly be on guard for any kind of deception and ask Holy Spirit to give us the discernment to recognize when something should not be a part of our lives. As long as we keep our focus on God, anything that is not of him is more easily recognizable. The key is to stay in his presence. Sadly, there are many spiritually unhealthy practices that are common in our society. Some have already become regular practices of believers, and others are now making their way into the church. Many people use Yoga as a form of exercise, but they don’t realize that most of the poses are designed to offer worship to Hindu gods. Some believers have developed supernatural healing models based on Reiki energy healing, which is a Buddhist supernatural healing method. And then there is the Enneagram personality tests which were developed by mixing beliefs from a handful of Eastern religions and Christianity, and have a stated goal by the organizations current president of offering people several different paths to God. These are just a few examples of practices that look healthy and helpful on the surface, but have their roots in religions that directly contradict the word of God. We have to be careful here. Adding the word “Christian” to something or sprinkling in a little bit of truth doesn’t suddenly make that practice safe. Our very first allegiance has to be to our King. He is the one we look to for supernatural healing, he is the one and only path to the Father, and the one true God is the only one who deserves our worship. Any idea, and principle, and any practice that puts itself in the place of God should never play a role in our lives. If you have fallen into one of these traps, talk to Holy Spirit about it, he will show you the way out.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

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Feb 9 2018

Spiritual Tension

We live in this tension between physical and spiritual. We live on the earth, and at the same time, are connected to the spiritual realm. Navigating both at the same time can be confusing, especially if you have been given a gift of discernment or prophecy. Having the ability to see into, or sense what is happening, in the spirit realm, and then correlating that with what is happening in the physical realm can be unnerving at first. Knowing what to do, or how to respond, in those situations is definitely something that takes practice. We have to grow into our gifts and into our callings. And that growth typically doesn’t happen overnight. It is usually a process of development over time. I have experienced seasons of acceleration in my life where God caused gifts to grow exponentially in a really short amount of time. But I think that actually increased the tension because I had a lot to learn about what he had given to me. So, we live in this tension and we learn as we go. The great thing is that Holy Spirit is an amazing teacher, and since he is the one who gives these gifts to us, he is the best one to teach us how to use them effectively. Ask him to show you how to use what he has given to you. I often advise people to pray for a gift of discernment so that they are able to know what to be involved with and what to avoid. But I have come to realize that great discernment requires a measure of wisdom to know what to do with what has been revealed. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak and when to remain silent. We can all use a little more wisdom in our lives as we navigate this tension.

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