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Healing

UNITY IN THE BODY

Armor of GodWell I heard a message today about putting on the full armor of God and the vulnerable spots we still had though fully dressed. The point he was making was that with other members surrounding Him then he was safe. That was the springboard for my thoughts.

How many times I have heard of the value of the body of Christ. Scripture supports the idea and I believe I tied it into a message that I gave before. Today I stopped to really consider it. Unity in the body of believers is not a reality in the churches I have attended or visited. A few good small churches perhaps have some pockets but that’s it. So if it is a good idea then why is it not like that any and everywhere? Here is some good instruction regarding this.

18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

How many people are willing to submit to one another? What is it that holds us back? Here is the prayer Jesus offered up just before His sacrifice began. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.UNITY

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

So it appears that the key to the world at large receiving the gospel is based on our being unified with God and our brothers and sisters. What could possibly stop us from just doing this??

I propose to you that most people in the body of Christ are not willing to trust one another and very likely do not trust God either. How many people grew up in a home where they felt loved, valued, and experienced a great sense of belonging? There are a few such people but very few. What about relational breakdowns and betrayals? How many of us have dated someone who ended up breaking our hearts? Perhaps it happened when you were married or both. You lost your husband/ wife to someone else? Perhaps a best friend? In life we are facing things that are not honoring or above board all the time. The workplace may have been a place of betrayal for you. You worked hard to receive you reward but the reward went to someone else. The boss was won over by seduction rather then work performance. We all have faced something at one time or another in life that has made us wary of our fellow man.37819432-depressed-young-businessman-sitting-wet-under-rain

So we show up at church as a new believer and what do we learn? Do we see the scriptures being played out here? Sadly we will receive messages about what we should be like “ Someday “ but they are chalked up as loft thoughts that might happen with enough attendance and enough bible studies. One day it might just fall into place……. But it doesn’t.

Let me share a true story with you. My wife and I were returning home from a nice visit to South Carolina. The airport there was beautiful. It was springtime and everything was green and full of life. The people working there were friendly and polite that it was sad thing to have to leave. We landed in Newark Airport that just endured a storm that had flights delayed and the airport was filled with frustrated angry people. My wife and I searched for a place to sit and finally found two seats. They were far from our gate and not together. Across from me sat a lady and a man who were engaged in surface conversation. I picked up on the fact that the lady was very nervous and quite upset. After a while the man’s flight was called and he escaped the mayhem.

So now I engage her in conversation but not to talk about the weather. There is something strangely familiar about her pain and I want to know what it is. As we chat she shares with me that she is flying somewhere to pick up her son from the rat Womanfink dad. Ahh there it is. She is freshly wounded from tearing apart the two made one. This pain I was all too familiar with and I wanted to encourage her. As I shared a little of my story I told her how God had picked up the pieces of me and put me back together and that I had even been remarried and was very happy once again. Well that triggered an angry response as she tells me that if she was to ever remarry that there would be so many prenuptial agreements to be signed that he would never get anything in the event of divorce. You see she was very hurt from her last relationship and her short term husband was trying to get all of her assets which spilled over into her dads assets who shared his things with her. I suspect that she felt terrible that her dad’s things were being jeopardized by her choice to marry this guy.

Now throughout our conversation she has been struggling to hold back a flood of tears. She would share something real and then have to cut herself all and say something silly as a method to save herself from coming apart. Her facade has almost completely failed. What if I knew she was not okay but was really broken. Surely then I would strike while she was weak. It may sound silly but when you are hurt and vulnerable this is a real fear. If people see you for what you really are then what? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves.

So let me finish the story. After some time passes and she seems to have quieted back down I engage her again. My heart was really going out to her because I identified with her pain and suffering and I wanted her out of it. So I go back to the marriage discussion with her and say “ You know you really can’t do that don’t you? ( I am referring to her prenuptial agreement plan ) She responds much like I expected. “ What do you mean that I can’t do that!” I believe it was God who spoke to her through me at that moment. “ If you do that then you will never know love again.” To really know love then we must make ourselves vulnerable to another. Love allows us to view a person with a different lens and to see the person more like God sees them, more like the truth about them. I know that she left with a bit of truth and encouragement that day but ultimately it is up to her what she would choose for herself. Every wall of protection we build potentially cut us off from a source of life.hole in wall

So who’s to blame? I would say you and I are to blame. Rather then walk according to the Spirit of God we walk by our many excuses as to why we are not following Jesus in the ways He laid down for us and prayed for. “But Jesus, The church I went to had nobody doing as you did so I couldn’t break rank could I?” Jesus, “I had been hurt so many times by people that there was just no way I could trust them enough to be in unity.”

As I type these words to page I feel a little sick about how I have settled for the luke warm Christian life. It seems that we are resisting the very thing that Jesus prayed for. I would so love to see revival in my land but I may be the reason in my church that I don’t see it or at the very least, one of the reasons.

We are called to follow Jesus not man. We have figured out by now that man is lost. We are also called to submit one to another….. why?? Out of reverence for Jesus. That is that person who thought you and I were worth losing his life to save ours. He’s that one person who has never lied to me, cheated me, abandoned me and never rejected me. So when He tells me to love my neighbour and to be humble and to submit myself to others for His sake is He doing it to break my heart? My trust? Is He hurting me in some way or can I just trust that if He loves me more then any other person then I know that what He asks of me is good.

luggage  Most of us are still carrying baggage from the past that needs to be released. The walls that we built to imprison us that we thought would protect us need to come down. Wounds that we have need to be dealt with and not just covered up. We need healing and I only know one doctor who is able to help, but the good news is that he will. We just need to show up and surrender our wounds to Him and let Him do the rest. Proverbs 3 : Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Rather then have Jesus ask us “ Why were you not willing to…… let us follow Him and then hear “ Well done my good and faithful……. Or at least that is what I find myself…….. Just Thinking.

“Ponderings of The Shack”

The Shack

Well I am sitting here “Just Thinking “ about the book/ movie called “The Shack”. It was probably my most favorite book of all time. It goes where no one else goes and that is where you get hurt and angry with God. We all know that He is God and that He is good all the time at least that is our confession. When great tragedy strikes you or someone you love our confession is tested and it our confession may be “ I Hate You God!”. I don’t think any of us ever plan this or even see the day coming that we would ever turn against God but yet for many of us it does.

The Shack takes you on a journey of a family that undergoes something horrific and the way it changes each person. It is not a book to create a new theology and to tear down anything though it gets accused of it but it is a book that leads you into the depths of your heart to discover what lies beneath the surface. We all need to really do that because you may be surprised at what you find.

Some real difficult things enter each of our lives at some point along our journey and how we react to them is what makes or breaks us. I have people in my own circle who have suffered things and their reaction to the things has ruined their lives, as they live in a pool of bitterness and unforgiveness. They meditate on the wrongs done to them by others. Well if you live on this planet people are going to do bad things to you that are not fair or just. The answer though is not “ getting them “ back but in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not what good little doobies do because they are just so nice, but is what wise people do so they can get past the wrong done to them and enjoy life again. If you don’t, you won’t. None of us ever feel like forgiving someone who hurt us directly or through a loved one but we want justice and we want them to suffer. We choose to forgive them for the sake of ourselves really. We do it because it is the road to freedom not because they deserve it or you just feel like doing it.37819432-depressed-young-businessman-sitting-wet-under-rain

I am a person who likes the truth whether it is a little painful or not. This book/ movie allows you into a person’s head as they process but ugly stuff and even how a person concludes things be they right or wrong. Today I visited a couple and had time to sit & listen to some of their stories of life. They had to watch their daughter die slowly by being rejected by others her own age. I love my children and would never want them to be rejected but it happens to most people. For this young girl it continued until she took her own life. Her mom had to find her in bed lying in pool of her own blood. I suspect that someone unknowingly murdered her that day with words designed to destroy her self worth. I’m not sure if the person who did that carries the burden of guilt today or if they forgave themselves and learned a huge lesson.

I’m not sure who the parents handled it at the time it happened but even to this day there still is pain. She told me that her peer group would sit at the back of the church and her daughter would join them. They would immediately move and leave her behind. One would assume that church would be a safe place but no rejection knows now bounds. The parents carry no bitterness toward anyone today but I can’t help but think if it was me how I would handle it. That situation would shame me on so many levels that I don’t know if I could recover or avoid killing someone or even a group. But wait I’m a good doobie so I’m sure I would just do all the right things. I am a person. I cannot predict how I would handle it until I am actually there. I would talk to God but how those conversations would go is anyone’s guess. When Christian passed away I had some pretty angry, accusing, screaming “conversations” with God and it shook my relationship with Him.

I suspect my story is not uncommon but I never left my pain all buried where it can’t get light to heal it. The Shack is all about helping people like you and me along their journey and helping us to discover God the person like we may never have known Him before. To all the religious people out there slandering the book/movie that they may have read or NOT I say stop it! This is a fiction that I believe is God inspired as it will bring many people into healing and restore relationships. “The Shack” is one of those gifts that get released by one ordinary man to help us ordinary people with seemingly extraordinary troubles and that is what I find myself “ Just Thinking”

AFRAID

 

37819432-depressed-young-businessman-sitting-wet-under-rain

 

The life I used to know

has somehow disappeared

The control and order in life

Is now replaced with fear

 

My confidence has been taken away.

Yet I still go through the motions

A part of me is dying

So for comfort I look to potions

 

Where is the God who saved me

Tonight while I feel this doubt

Is He still here with me

Or now alone I walk this out

 

He promised me He’d never leave

I will not be left an orphan

Guess He knew what He was getting

When He made me His own son

 

So by faith, I’ll praise my Father

and I’ll praise the 1st born Son

And I’ll look to find my teacher

Beautiful Holy Spirit, You are the only one.

Safe Place

I would like to start off with an image. Imagine you are a little boy or girl who has discovered something to them to be important and even mysterious. You don’t understand what it is that you have discovered but you take your discovery to someone whom you value and trust. This person would be a person with whom you have a good relationship with, and respect for their wisdom or insights. Since it is something you are only trying to understand you need to be sure that the person is a “safe place” to bounce your thoughts off of and get their feedback. So excitedly you bring your discovery to them and they shoot it down immediately. The thing you were excited about has become evidence to that person that you have wasted your time and furthermore implies that wasting time on such things makes you a bad person. How would you handle that?fear

Do you think you would become vulnerable to them in the future? It is hard to navigate the tricky waters of relationship with others when you stop looking ahead for the landmines. Most of us have them I’m sorry to say and they seem to catch us in our vulnerable moments. After all if we had remained more guarded we may have sensed that there was something lying in the dark waiting for that unsuspecting soul. But when you feel safe you leave your heart open because this is when real relationship can take place. If the heard is guarded you will save yourself a lot of pain but you also limit yourself to a realm outside of love.

The bible talks about the wisdom of guarding ones heart above everything else because out of the heart flow the issues of life. A heart that has been wounded needs attention from God right away. He has exactly what is needed to make the necessary repairs to you. Left to your own your heart will grow cold, bitter or just hard. You will no longer be the man or woman you were and you will not be able to help anyone down the road with others in trouble.Cleft_

So the first impulse you may have, is to run from this friendship! It is not the way to go if you want to move forward in life. I have tried to withhold love, friendship etc. from people for a wound I received from their words, and I have lost things because of it. The devil will perch on my shoulder and tell me that I was wrong about such a person from the very beginning and should never have trusted them in the first place. I for one, struggle not to listen to the evil one. “Oh Jesus come and speak to me”, should be what I say right away and then I will have my shepherd right there to guide and comfort me. What He will reveal will be just what I need.

So if you think a person is your safe place to share you may find yourself getting hurt once in a while as we are all people in progress. I wish I could tell you that I am always a safe place for people but I can’t but Jesus I really want to be. I do know that if we want to grow and transform we need to just forgive, give the pain to Jesus, love again, and get back on the path He has called us to and that folks is what I find myself……. Just Thinking

Psalm 31

Day 3 At The Well

wellwall

Spiritual hunger is very great in the earth at this time. People are hurting and hungry for answers. Some have come to my church and left hungry as there was no spiritual food there. If people are not able to hear me then they cannot hear what I am doing in the earth. The lost ones who are searching, come into our house and don’t find what they need to satisfy their hunger. The fields that are white and ready for harvest, do not grow inside of buildings. When I walked the earth as a man, I build no great hall for people to gather at. I sent out my disciples 2 x 2 and I am powered them so that their journey would be a success. They have only me to rely on as they were not allowed to take any extra money or clothes but had to put their trust in me to provide. They all returned full! The disciples experienced what it was to walk in the power of the kingdom as they moved among the people. Man has always feared the unknown and that still the case today. People are not willing to risk themselves for the sake of another.

There have been many groups who have tried outreaches and found no success. If you were going on a fishing trip, would you go without taking bait? Would you put out your hook with no bait and expect a fish to bite. Do you remember the story of the small boy who had a packed lunch with two fish and five small barley loaves? This was plenty of fish for himself but could not supply the amount needed for this crowd. When he surrendered his supply to Jesus and Jesus blessed and it became enough to satisfy the whole crowd. Many in that crowd we’re satisfied because they were looking for food for their bodies. If the food supply had of continued then those who hunger for food would continue to come. You must ask yourself ”what are you hungry for?” This is not what I came to earth for. I came to supply them spiritual food that they could never otherwise receive.

Today things are very much the same. People are “ministering” to the poor by giving them food and not giving me. It is I that they really need but I am not being offered. Often I am presented as the God who was, or the God of folklore rather than God almighty. I change not! Passing out hotdogs may fill their stomachs but it will not provide any hope for them. Just as you need me to make sense of your life, they need me both to offer hope, and to make sense of their life. Many of them have been taken in by people claiming to have power. It is now hard for them to trust. A Word from me through you, that they know to be true, tells them that I know them, and this will break through their walls because this is what they have been searching for. When they understand that I am real, authentic, and that I know and love them, they will be changed. Just as you were once overjoyed to discover that I wanted you as my son, they too will be overjoyed. They need to know that I am the way today, that I am the truth in this world of lies, and that I am the way to return home to the Father, the one who loves you most. So I ask you, Will the fruit hanging on the branches be left to rot? The harvesters truly are so few. The harvest fields are all around you.

DAY 2 AT THE WELL

 

wellwall

Oh how important it is to listen for me and you trust me in the uncertain times. As you know people imagine what I am supposed to do and then when it does not happen they think I have left them down. People have free well to choose and they often choose poorly and end up hurt. The deceiver would have you think that I am behind all the calamity and pain that comes in your life. In this way he inflicts the pain and breaks trust between the person and I at the same time.

The woman at the well at five different husbands and now lives with a man who chose not to marry her. Can you imagine the kind of pain but this woman lives with every day. To be rejected by so many men would leave a huge scar on her heart not to mention the many trust issues. Yet here she is talking with Jesus and has opened herself up Him. This defies logic but yet it had happened. Jesus demeanor and in the way he spoke to her were both born out of love. The very reason that he met with her was first   birthed in love.

When the church goes out into the marketplace to minister to the lost, what is the reasoning behind this? Was this outreach first birthed by their love for the lost? Was I sought out in prayer to see if I was doing this? Many times this is not the case. My children think I will love them more if they lead someone to me. When a person fails to surrender all to me, then my love is not able to reach all the rooms in their heart and so they feel they are not loved as much as someone else. They conclude that they need to attract my attention by doing something for me and then they will be truly loved. Sadly they never know my love in full measure until they surrender all to me. Others may also thing that they will gain prominence for notoriety by becoming “good” at reaching the lost.

I can tell you now Norman how important the foundation is to any outreach. All of my work is built on the foundation of love. In this way the outreach is all about your love for me and your willingness to reach out to the lost. I know people are insecure but this must be overcome, as you must be prepared when you go into the enemy camp to rescue one of the captives. Love is a powerful force as I am by nature love, so walk in it.

If your secret motive is to lift yourself up, then will I assist you and that? Will my child enslaved to darkness be used to build your kingdom? Always inspect the foundation of any undertaking and make sure it is solid. Unless you spend time in my presence you will not have enough love to share with others. I can give you enough love for you to overflow.

As for the woman at the well, the walls of the prison surrounding her heart were broken down by the power of love. You know what the Scriptures say concerning my word.

Hebrews 4:12 “ for the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, having between the soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

prison walls

DAY 1 AT THE WELL

 

wellwall

I am here at the well so to speak, to be alone with the one I love. I had forgotten what it is to come here with You and waiting on You to fill me with the living water that only you have.

below referring the woman at the well

What appears to you to be a chance meeting at the well was not that at all, but rather me being at the place and time that my Father revealed to me. I am who I am and you are who you are. Our Father made us both with great joy and great purpose. I know you feel as though you have missed your time but there are many appointments and opportunities available in one’s life. It is just a matter of you listening and then making it to your appointment. For the woman at the well that appointment changed both her destiny and that of her town’s. You see, not only was she a woman covered and crippled by shame but so also was her town.

The religious system of the Jewish faith had rejected and condemned the Samaritans’ and so hope for them seemed to be lost. Such is the time that you are in as well. The world has chewed up and spit out many and there are many more, who hide their secrets for fear of rejection. As you know, things that are hidden in the dark they will never heal but are an open gate for the tormentors.

How would you like to be one who happens to be at the appointment for someone and reveal to that person that God has not rejected them. Not only that but he has sent you there specifically for them. Would you like to be part of that Norman? A real rescue mission where the rescued are used to rescue those in jeopardy. You know what it is, to be sought out by the Lord, and how it changes things and also De-bunks so many lies.

As much as people say that they don’t believe, or care, they do. The lost are being tormented by the dark messengers of Satan every day. They have been convinced by the lies spoken to them that they are rejected, disqualified and unloved by me. We know that that is simply not the truth. It is time that they know the truth.

FREEDOM FROM BEING LOVED

risk-being-loved-500x500

My mind has been sent on a journey by hearing a quote from a man who knew Jesus in his imperfect life here on earth. In my journey here on earth I have experienced many things. As a young person I grew up in a home where my parents worked hard and we had the things that most children had. We took trips to places and camped and got to see more then many of my friends. The odd thing though is that I never really felt loved at least not always. My parents told me that I was loved just like many of us, but I perceived that receiving love was very much based on how I was performing. How we perceive things like love is very important as it is laid at the foundation of who we are as a person. If this is something weak, distorted or missing then our lives are easily toppled when adversity comes our way.

Since my perception of love was that I was not receiving it I was very needy and tried to convince myself and others that I was strong and did not need to be loved. So this was the lie that I tried to live out but of course it can’t be done with any success. I met a girl who was both beautiful and seemed to fill that need for love that I had and so we married. During the marriage I was faced with many things that I managed to avoid as a single person. With my many insecurities being challenged on a regular basis I became frustrated at every turn. I could no longer stay hidden and saw that I was failing as a husband and father. We had three beautiful children but again I felt I had nothing to offer as a parent and hoped that my wife could cover all those bases. Well divorce finally arrived at our home and my wife left with the children and I was now alone again.

Being alone allows time for reflection and I now was doing plenty of it. When I realized that being alone was a permanent situation I wanted to die. If I had not feared going to hell ( which may not be truth ) I would have done so. I remember one day in I was in the basement sweeping the floor getting ready to move out when I noticed a presence with me. I realized that God had not left me despite my many failures and wrong doings. I spoke out loud and asked Him why He was here when no one else wanted to be with me. I never heard an answer but really felt that He still loved me which seemed silly as I sure didn’t love me.

Well as I had mentioned earlier this need to feel loved was still very much in me so I started to seek out Jesus more as He had something I needed. Not only that but He had seen the worst of me and was still here and ready to love. How could I toss that aside. I was going to church more regularly but discovered that church and personal relationship were two different things. Church was me building friendships with others who had made Jesus a “ something” in their lives. As people we are in a constant state of change and so is our status with Jesus. Perhaps we will have a Christian Social Media site that with have “ Present status with Jesus”. In a public setting like church it was hard for me to receive love as I really didn’t believe people when They said that they loved me. I actually cringed when I heard the words and thought ” oh sure you do”, kind of like saying “ I love beer”. Perhaps it was this that kept me close to Jesus as He was my only source of love. I believed Him and trusted Him and so I could receive love. People I really didn’t trust and my heart was quite guarded from them.

Jesus began to teach me by His Spirit on a regular basis and we were like best friends. If I went to slander my wife to Him He would not hear of it. After I time I just stopped doing it as it was something He would never listen to. He did day to me “ She is not here to teach but you are so let’s work on you”. After a bit there came a change in me that I opened the door to my heart to a select few people. I started to visit a family who always appeared glad to see me. They too loved the Lord and really loved to see what He had to say in the bible. After a time another home open up and I felt like I was a part of their family as well.

I had migrated to a small church and I found the people to be like my real family. I so enjoyed them. It was a wonderful experience and I grew all the more as I was in good ground. Life began to expand and hope returned that life would be worth living. The kids came over on weekends and my friends would love on them which was such a blessing. Things had drastically changed since that day in the basement. He had found me and taken me from the depths of despair to the High Places where things are so bright and the air so invigorating. He even taught me so things about marriage and then brought me a wife that was more than I could have asked or hoped for.

Well I have traveled many miles since then and God has always had a home or two with people who loved me ( and now my wife ) and a place where I am loved for the person I am right now. In order to be truly free I must be open to receive love from my friends, family and strangers and there needs to be a dedicated love supply line attached to God when all three of them pour into you. I have such a line and mine has a valve on it which I control. I have made the mistake of cutting it back to near off when things happened that shook my trust in Them. Without that love flowing into my love tank I began to fall back into things like environmental control, self-protection and became a guarded person again as fear replaced love and lies became plausible. The wrench that opens the valve controlling God’s love is called trust. I couldn’t seem to find that wrench for a time.

This world and the dark ruler in it are trying to sever the line of love from God to every one of us at every moment of every day. He has more counterfeits for true love then there are hairs on my…. well my wife’s head. Much like Donald Trump’s solution of building a wall to create safety and protection I concluded that the same method would stop pain. I built one quietly around my heart thinking I was now protected when in fact I was now a prisoner. The most important thing in our lives is the ability to receive God’s love. Without His love we are empty vessels with many cracks and very unhappy. We often take solace in the fact that the majority of people are using one of those many counterfeits that the devil supplies.Then he convinces us what he offers is all there is. “Everyone is doing this so it must be right!” It isn’t! Freedom comes from knowing you are loved just as you are and that is what I find myself……… Just Thinking

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