Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't Deny Reality: Have Faith in God, Not Faith in Your Faith

I'll be starting off with a scripture out of Romans 4.

Romans 4:19-21
"Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform."

This single scripture found in Romans 4 tears down the popular healing theology which says you have to believe you are already healed in order to be healed. This scripture also tears down the teachings that say illnesses are just "lying symptoms" and if a person believed the symptoms were real, then that is why they got sick or remained sick. These commonly held beliefs on healing are unbiblical.

The deadness of Abraham and Sarah's body was very real. It was nothing that Abraham or Sarah did/said or thought that made their reproductive systems unable to produce a child. Sarah had always been infertile (Genesis 11:30) and on top of that, now she was an elderly woman past any capability of carrying a child. If all that Abraham and Sarah had to do was believe that they could conceive a child at their age in order to conceive a child, then we are actually reducing the miracle that God performed here and bringing New Age "power of the mind" into our churches. This is terribly wrong and offensive to God! As we read in the scripture above, "he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform."

Abraham's faith was correctly focused on God's ability to perform the miracle He had promised. This is where we should focus our faith as well.

We simply believe that *God* is the One able to perform the miracle. Our faith is in God. It is not faith in our faith and not faith in our ability to believe that we are "already" healed. Faith is not a denial of reality either. It's seeing the reality of what is going on in our body (or in our life) and despite that, still believing the promises from God. That's real biblical faith! That's good news because you don't have to become superstitious about your words. You can simply rest in your heart that no matter what happens or what comes your way, you are still looking to Jesus.

If you are in a multiple year battle or in a battle where your sickness is progressively getting worse (or  fatal), you have to be settled about this. Otherwise as you walk this journey with the Lord, your faith in God will get shipwrecked and you will begin to focus inward and condemn yourself for not "believing right" if things get worse. I've seen it time and time again with many friends and strangers online. They have been so confused by putting their faith in their faith, their words, their declarations and their "positive confession" that they aren't even looking to God anymore. We should simply keep our focus on Jesus and not on us.

If you are believing God for a healing, it's OK to see and feel the sickness in your body. However you should, just as Abraham, be careful not to allow it to waiver your faith in God or in God's power or ability to heal. Simply continue to stand on the promise of healing that God has made to you and know that HE is the One able to perform them, regardless of how impossible your situation looks in the natural. With Abraham and Sarah, their situation literally was impossible.

Consider in Genesis 18:14, when Sarah laughed at the thought of having a child at her age, what did God reply to Abraham? “14 Is anything too difficult for the Lord?...”That was a rhetorical question of course because we know that nothing is too difficult for the Lord.

Now unbelief occurs when a person doubts God's ability or power to heal their body. These are things we may have to face and wrestle at times in our walk with God. I think that's part of the growing process and maturing in the faith. As long as we don't call it quits and walk away from the faith, I think this is a healthy process that needs to be encouraged with care.

When Peter doubted as he walked on the water, Jesus didn't just let him drown. Jesus reached out and grabbed him during his weakest moment and brought him to safety. We can trust that God will do the same for us in our weakest moments. Sadly with the way some ministers teach doubt and unbelief, you would have thought Jesus just watched Peter drown! haha

This whole post might sound a bit semantical to some, but it is really important for those who are  believing God for the impossible. Understanding that our faith is in God's ability to perform what He has promised is KEY! It takes the burden off the sick person who has wrongly been told they must pretend they are already healed or have been told they are still sick because they believed "lying symptoms". Whether the church realizes it or not, but this actually destroys the relationship between the suffering person and God. It makes God into an impersonal force who will release healing only when you finally believe "just right". It's such an awful, destructive doctrine.

As a church, we need to have more compassion and understanding, so we can build people up and bring their focus onto God instead of towards themselves. 

True faith is not about how hard you muster up a feeling or try to believe, but instead it is about WHO you believe in. 

Updated: March 2016

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Things God's Taught Me in this Season...Humility, Trust, Doctrine, Surrender, Charity

Humility. "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness".
This is a big one and one of the hardest to learn and walk in...It requires us to be broken and challenged deeply. BUT and this is the important thing. We have to come out on the other side with a greater love, compassion and grace for others. Every one will go through hard times, but for some it causes the person to become hardened and prideful. You will see this typically as a "get over it" or a tough guy type attitude. However as Christians, God challenges us to grow in maturity by not reacting this way. When God brings us low, it is to impart grace, love and compassion for those who we once disregarded or thought were inferior to us for various reasons.

The specific areas where you hold pride and self-righteousness may be very different from mine. Here's some of the areas God had to bring me low...

• Dying to my political beliefs which I made my identity for a long time. Saying goodbye to Republicanism and everything that goes along with it. Letting go of my lack of compassion for people on welfare and disability that was masked as "political beliefs". Letting go the idea that I somehow "did things right" as a opposed to those who found themselves in bad situations.

When we found ourselves unable to feed ourselves, God told us to go on food stamps. We had to walk into the assistance office and to be seen with "those people". We began shopping at walmart on welfare day and saw everyone else there who were also on food stamps. Looking into their eyes and seeing they are just like me! Having to swipe the access card at the register, so everyone knows "they are on food stamps". God brought me low and took away the ego and pride that was inside of me. I used to think I was better than these people. I became one of them.

• Dying to my knowledge of natural health which I made my god. Saying goodbye to thinking that I was more enlightened because I "did things naturally" and was very self-righteous. God told me to quit all chronically ill, natural health groups and to remove myself from all discussions involving these things. I had to stop looking at natural ways to get well and to start looking to Jesus Christ as my healer. I had to stop thinking that I could fix myself with a diet, a supplement or some new health theory and had to come to realize that I needed God.

• Dying to thinking I was a better person because I ate a certain way or did not eat certain foods. For some it can be juicing, veganism, paleo, gluten free etc. I had to stop looking down on people who didn't eat organic or in the way I thought was "right". I had to come to a place where I was just happy that I had food to eat.

Trust in God. "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something " This is another hard one to learn. It required me to stretch myself to the point of total brokenness...The place where God called my husband and I to stand, it stretched me so, so, so much. And because of where he called us, these are the things God has shown us in this season.

• Dying to the idea of there being spiritual formulas and spiritual laws one can "master" to make God heal, deliver and send provision etc. Trust and relationship with God is not found by saying a list of declarations and following a list of rituals. Trust is letting go of control in your own strength and allowing God to do what He wants to do. Trust is in God, not in our methods or words we speak. We have to learn to be patient and wait for Him, even when we don't want to or even when we don't believe this to be true. hahah!

• Dying to the idea of knowing how or when healing is going to happen. Tough one!! I believed I was going to be healed in 2013. Here we are coming to the end of 2014...

• Dying to the idea of really even understanding our walk at times! Trusting God can look like unbelief or laziness to others on the outside who haven't walked the same path. God may put us in a season that requires total trust without Him giving us much information to know where we are to walk or what is coming.

 Dying to the idea that I can make it happen... This is very hard. This one not many people agree with because of the way we teach healing and suffering in the church today. Repeating declarations and the general idea that  "if I just say the words exactly right and with enough belief then it will happen"...does not make it happen. Healing is a personal transaction between us and our Lord. It is not a mastering of a universal law or life force. We are not the New Age!

Learning to trust in the Lord is not something that can be imparted by a touch at a conference.  Be careful not to chase a particular healing minister or pastor instead of trusting God. Man will disappoint us every time.

Biblical Doctrine. This is another big one for me. Coming into this, I didn't think I could learn scripture on my own nor write on biblical topics. But God challenged me big time...With this challenge, He had me unfriend, unfollow and unlike just about every single ministry page and had me start over again from the ground up. God wanted to teach me Himself without having other voices tell me how to interpret scriptures or what I should believe instead of what is actually written in the bible.

This allowed God to show me a lot of things! This allowed God to correct me, discipline me and change what I believed. He gave me discernment! He showed me deceptions! He prophetically showed me where certain ministries were heading. It was like everything opened up to me and things became so clear in the Word.

It has been in this season, that God really built a foundation in me. He put a fire in my heart to preach the gospel and what he has shown me and to not hold back no matter how hard it might be and no matter who may stand against it. He put a commitment in me to do what he has called me to do. This part of my walk is honestly what keeps me going! Knowing that God has not put all of this in me for nothing. That he has a plan for me (and my husband!). And that He is going to make these things come to pass.

God is God. Sonship does not mean Godship. Sadly many today believe in the manifest Sons of God doctrine that deifies man. Even though God has given us authority in Jesus' name, God's will rules above ours and we should pick up our cross and follow Jesus. This does not mean that God does not love us nor does it mean God does not want good things for us. However I have had to come to a place of realizing that I am the clay and He is the potter. We follow Him and that's in the good and the bad. That's when He calls us to stand in stormy places and also when He calls us to stand in calm places. We should have a reverence for the Lord, His will and His word.

Charity. People have helped us so much in this season and I have been so very grateful and thankful. It has challenged me deeply with the way I will now bless others who are in need. I could have added this to the humility section, but I wanted to highlight it. Those who have given us money have never once questioned me how it was being used or where it was going. I'm not sure I would have done the same before this season. God has really changed my heart and put a desire in me to bless those in bad situations! We would not be here today if it weren't for people's generosity and charity! I want to be able to make that difference in someone elses life now.

Overcoming rejection. In this season, I have seen a lot of rejection and yet God was able to build confidence in me. As God started to teach me the Word, I began to become more confident in what He had taught me and I started to share with people online. Since I don't really leave my house often, this was the natural place for me to start. I started being outspoken on FB, YT and on my blog. Sometimes I got banned, blocked and unfriended. And yet God kept telling me to keep speaking and to open my mouth and say the things He has taught me.

I remember one time in particular, I was at a meeting and I felt very strongly to go and pray for this lady. I walked up to her and I said, "I feel the Lord wants me to pray for you. Would that be ok?" And the lady replied back to me, "No I don't want you to pray for me".  That was NOT what I was expecting considering it was a healing meeting and she let another lady pray for her, but to this day I think God set that one up for me. haha I think God tests us more than we imagine...

We have to be very careful that we don't let people's words hurt us to the point where we stop obeying God out of a fear of rejection. When we know that God has called us on a certain path, then we have to take confidence in it and start walking in it. We can't let the rejections stop us.

Sometimes though the path God has us on, will not always run parallel with others in our life. If they unfriend you, then you have to forgive wherever possible and just move on. I had to stop allowing disagreements cause me to start doubting and questioning God's call on my life. I almost walked away from what was in my heart because I was letting a fear of man get to me. We have to stand firm in the confidence of what God has spoken to us and then preach that knowing the potential costs.

These are just a few things I've learned so far in this season. There's so many more!!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Being Sifted Like Wheat, Lord Make it Stop, Please!

Lately I have been crying out to God. Telling Him, I can't take it anymore. I told God I was so done living like this. Haven't we stood enough, Lord?? I've been saying this for 17 months, but in the past few months things have been unbearable.

As I was laying in bed the other day with a migraine and feeling lost, this is the scripture that God spoke to me.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

This is not exactly the kind of scripture I was looking for, but in our situation it makes sense. Lately everything has been falling apart. Everything hurts. 

Inside I feel completely dead from the culmination of all that has been going on for the past 6+ years. I've only been saved for 2 years, but we were suffering long before we started down this journey in Christ. It seemed like it has all caught up to me. Years of living very poor with very high levels of stress that never go away. Years of feeling insecure and uncertain about our situation. Years of not knowing how we are supposed to walk at times. Years of feeling like I'm making things up as we go. Some days it feels like it's never going to end because well it's been 6+ years. It hasn't ended yet.

And yet we do hold on desperately to what God has promised us even though it seems so remote and distant at times. God is the only hope we have because without a miracle from Him, we have no life before us.

Neither of us can heal ourselves. 
Neither of us have any capacity to work.

The days leading up to this latest breakdown, we had been praying and trusting God for a need and no money had come in, so I was scared and anxious. I cried so much the day before, it triggered a migraine that started in the evening and continued on when I woke up the next day. On top of everything else going on, it just seemed so cruel. 

I guess this is what it feels like to be sifted by Satan. It hurts. It unrelenting. He's evil and wicked and trying to get me to turn away from God. Sometimes I have been mad at God.

While laying in bed I was also reminded of the story of Dan Baumann who was tortured in prison for 9 weeks. God sent him to this country knowing that he was going to be arrested and tortured for weeks.

Dan tells in his story,
"It was out of my hands, there was nothing I could do. Either God would do a miracle or I would stay there.
There was no sense of feeling God. I felt like God was far away. All I could really trust in was His character, and that His character would be true no matter what I was feeling and no matter what circumstance I was going through."
“I struggled with faith, ‘Was God with me? Did He love me? If God is good why would He allow me to go through this situation?’ And I remember one day I woke up, and I was done inside." 
Although the circumstances are much different, on a spiritual level we are at a similar place because if God doesn't show up, there is no way out. It seems I've asked the same questions and have also felt done inside too

And of the thousands of verses God could have given me to encoruage me, He gave me the one saying that Satan was sifting me like wheat. That's hard to hear to be honest because I have no idea if there is an end in sight. I have no idea how much longer this needs to go on for. Satan asked permission and God gave it to him. That's hard to swallow.
This part of the scripture is encouraging though.
"But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren"  
I hope Jesus is praying for me that my faith should not fail because I feel dead inside. God somehow uses our brokenness to make us into who He wants us to be. It is after we feel crushed that God restores us and enables us to strengthen our brothers. I just hope that I make it to the restoration part! heh I'm tired. I'm done living like this.

Some people will not understand where I am walking right now and that's ok. I have found either people understand because they've been through it or they flat out just don't get it at all. Again that's fine. I'm not going to try to prove something to these people who don't get it. What we are going through is biblical and the things that Satan tries to use to destroy us, God can use to purify us. 

God has invested in us and I'm believing that He's making this all work out for our good...some how, some way. I hope soon.
I am weak. I am helpless. I have nothing without the Lord's provision and grace on my life. I've even come to realize that our faith isn't even ours and it is a gift from God. How could I take credit for anything when it's Jesus who is praying that my faith should not fail?

I can't even begin to explain how trying this season has been for me. It feels like at any moment everything could fall apart. Given all of my health problems, I don't even know how I keep going at all. We depend on God for literally everything and it's been extremely, extremely difficult. I don't think most people could relate to be honest. And yet God has brought us all this way, for more than 2 years. However in the last few months, things have become even more difficult than before, which is horrifying to me. And yet God was saying to me, "Satan has asked to sift you". And God said ok. Again that's hard to understand for me right now. It certainly feels like we are being sifted and he's trying to destroy us. He is trying to steal everything from us to ultimately get us to walk away from God totally. The devil thinks we only love God because of the stuff he blesses us with, so he starts putting pressure on these things to see what we do. Ultimately he wants us to curse God and turn our backs on Him forever (read in Job 1:9-10).

Getting back to Luke 22, after Jesus said that Satan was going to sift him, Peter said,  “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 

And yet Peter was not ready to do this. God knew that, but Peter didn't. Not long after he spoke those words, Peter denied Jesus three times. Temporarily his faith failed.

During this ridiculous season, just like Peter, I have failed in various ways and have had mental breakdowns several times throughout. Lately I've started to lose grips on reality. I've never been one who can handle stress well and looking back I also now understand why God chose to heal my adrenals. He knew I wouldn't have lived through this otherwise. For those that don't know, your adrenals glands make a hormone called cortisol that we depend on to live everyday and it increases in stressful situations. Trying to take meds to mimic that rhythm is extremely difficult and usually doesn't work.

The sad reality is many times we have to fail in some way before we can see our weaknesses. We may talk a big game when life is easy, but when the trials come, just like Peter, we could find ourselves doing the opposite of what thought we would do.

When Peter saw Jesus look at him after the rooster crowed (read in Luke 22:60-62), Peter was deeply troubled and wept bitterly. He finally recognized his weakness, his humanness and came to a place of repentance before God. What Satan used to try to destroy Peter, it actually ended up sifting Peter and bringing him into deeper intimacy with God. 

Once we see God's grace and willingness to forgive us in our weak times, something inside of us changes that wasn't there before we "failed". We then feel compelled to help those who are in similar situations and let them know that there is hope in Christ.

And I do really like the last part in this verse. "...when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren".  

After we have failed in some way in our walk and then see God accept us back by His grace, only then we really know how to support and strengthen others in their struggles. This is how God can use our failings for His glory. Our failings become a testimony to His faithfulness and our testimony encourages and strengthens others who have walked the same road as we once did. In addition, we gain grace for people who have "failed" in similar ways as we did and we can pour love out to them, guide them, teach them and strengthen them just as God did in our lives. 

We essentially impart to people what God did in us, but we have to get out and come to a place of healing to do this.

This is what God shared with me while laying down with a migraine. God was telling me exactly what was going on here because things have been so dark. What Satan used to try to destroy me, ultimately, it is pushing me into answering the call God has on my life. I just hope I can continue on because I don't feel like I can. Please pray for me and my husband. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Times When it Hurts

Some times the only way to 'feel' God's love is by simply remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross. It isn't about a feeling. It isn't about a hope in your heart. Sometimes there really is no other feeling that verifies it, but remembering what the Word says. No comfort. No warmth. I hope that this changes when I'm out of the wilderness, but in this season God has never been "Daddy" to me as some like to call Him. He has in fact been very distant in times when I wanted Him close. And yet I do know He is here. He knows I'm writing this post, but He has chosen not to make Himself known. He has been very quiet in the toughest times when we had no way to pay for our mortgage. He has been very quiet when we were going to lose our car insurance. He has been very quiet when we were going to have our natural gas turned off and electricity turned off.

Then to be told that God has you here and is withholding on purpose, it's hard to understand. It's hard not to get mad at times. It's hard to continue to remember that God is good. Sometimes the lines blur and you don't know who or what you are fighting. It's hard to accept. It's certainly not the prosperity God that the Western church preaches. It's not the "healing is always on" God that the Western church preaches.

The other day I was reading Job and was seeing that God had been distant throughout Job's struggle as well. However we know at the end when God restored everything to Job, that He in fact wasn't distant. He was listening to every single word him and his friends were saying. He was involved but was silent. Imagine though that Job didn't have Jesus Christ as His Lord and savior. The Messiah was yet a promise far off in the future. He didn't have the privilege to know God's love through the sacrifice that Jesus would make for us. His friends words did not help either.

This has been the hardest year of my life. Prior to that, 2013 was the hardest. Prior to that 2012. Prior to that 2011. etc It feels like God is trying to destroy me. It feels like he wants to watch me suffer to the point of absolute destitute. In this season I've been pondering more about what are our needs? Is clothing really a need when you have clothes, even if they are 6 years old and have holes? Is a house a need, maybe a shelter works well enough? Heating? Light bulbs? Trash service? Hot water? Food? Internet? Cable? Phone?

Sometimes God won't always be there cheering you on and embracing you. Sometimes he will choose to step aside and see what you do...

I can look to Jesus' wilderness and even though we don't know what happened during the full 40 days, Jesus, the perfect, sinless, Son of God was likely broken physically, mentally and emotionally to prepare Him. We also know that Apostle Paul had some sort of wilderness for 3 years (read in Galatians 1:11-24), but again we know of no specifics on it. There seemed to be some sort of preparation for him too.

Every day is a battle. Every day is tears. Every day is pain. Every day the sky feels like it's falling.

And yet God gave us promises of life, strength and rest. He said we were examples. He said that we were like the green leaf in drought that did not wither. He said that we were going to be those who build mature Christians. He said that we would be healed. He said that our needs would be met in this season.

I just didn't realize what was going to happen in between, to get to these promises. No one prepared me properly. I was sold a false gospel and told everything would be better after I gave my life to Jesus.

God knew what was to come because He called us here to stand. It doesn't make it any easier though as I write this crying my eyes out.

People say God won't do this. I don't know. One thing I do know now, is there is a very high price to pay to be used of God. Yes there is a cost. Yes there is sacrifice. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When God Calls You to Stand in the Wilderness

When God calls you to stand in a wilderness, it's not fun. It is not pretty. It is not a game. You can fall away from the faith during this time if you mistakenly remove the full armor of God by trying to do things your own way. Regardless of how alone you may feel, God is there every step along the way protecting you, providing for you and also teaching you things that can't be established elsewhere. You are in good company, but you must stay alert and obey God every step of the way. If you fall down as I have along the way, just get back up and run back to Jesus.

For a long time, I didn't realize we were in a wilderness. I thought I was looking for the anointed man to pray for me to get healed. I thought that I just needed to get my healing theology settled and then I would be healed. I thought that I had missed it somewhere along the way. We had these amazing prophetic words spoken to us over 2 years ago talking about a time where we were obviously healed and I just could not understand where we went wrong or what we possibly did to miss it. We walked to the best of our ability and generally felt like we were obeying God... So what was going on?

That's when I looked around and realized, Duh you've been in the wilderness all along. The dry earth, spiny shrubs and fierce animals all around....Yep all this time I've been in the wilderness, but couldn't recognize it. haha The questioning, the reasoning, the crying, the doubting, the anger, the frustration, the unknown, the helplessness and much more. This is where your faith is tested and God builds you, matures you and fashions you into what He has for your life.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Many say God can't or won't use sickness as a wilderness in a person's life. Many say that healing is right now, always flowing, so just receive. I believed that for a long time and this is actually where it lead me. After struggling for more than 20 months in trying to understand what was going on, I am glad to know that we were in the wilderness all along. Why? Because it gives me hope and a satisfaction that there is an end and that God has been in this the whole time! When God has you in a wilderness, He really is with you every step of the way. Through your goof ups, triumphs, failures, sadness, tears and pain. When Elijah was in his wilderness (read in 1 Kings 17), God provided water for him at the brook Cherith and commanded ravens to bring him food each day. Then once the brook dried up due to the drought, God sent him packing to the next place where he would live off of a handful of flour in a jar and some oil in a jug for years. Even though things looked dreary, God was there.

So for me, realizing that God has been guiding our footsteps in this journey and it wasn't just me off doing my own thing, losing my way and following my flesh, I have to tell you it was extremely uplifting, hopeful and reassuring. God used our journey in pursuing Jesus as our healer as a time for Him to build me, teach me, establish me, change me, tear things down in me, build things back up in me and for me to get to know Him.

God refrained telling us we were in a wilderness because I don't think I would have accepted it. For me it is much easier to believe a wilderness season could stem from a loss of job, death of a friend, being burned out in ministry or God bringing you into a new place, but no way would He use sickness! Even though the signs were written on the wall, I didn't want to look at them because it challenged some of my beliefs of what God would do in a person's life with sickness. Generally speaking I do not believe that God made me sick, but God used this journey in us to conform us to the image of His son.

Romans 8: 28-30
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

So I am here now, but if I continuously look back to see what I could have done is fruitless and leads to guilt and condemnation. It keeps a person from moving forward and just keeps them walking around in circles. If Elijah had left the widow's house to go back to the brook which may have been familiar to him, it would not have been flowing with water again and the ravens would not have brought him food. God did that only for a time and then told Elijah to move on. He didn't tell Elijah to hit a rock or speak to a rock to make water like he did with Moses, he told him to move on and go forward to the widow's house.

We have to follow God's leads wherever that takes us even if it challenges us and makes us feel uncomfortable or if it is different than what others around us are doing.

When we find ourselves in a wilderness, we can't keep looking back at what God did for us in a past season or earlier in the season and try to make it work again. Sometimes we have to let go of our comforts and continue on to the next area God has for us. He wants us to walk forward with Him and move from there. Many times it really will be out of our comfort zones and it won't feel so good at first and this part of the testing of our faith. Many may actually rebuke it as if it's the enemy (haha!!), but it may be God leading us away from everything we once knew and telling us to walk this way over here instead of the path many others went down before us. This is what God did with Abraham, telling him to leave his family and his country to move into new land where he promises to bless him and make him a nation (read in Genesis 12:1-3).

Just in the last 4 months, I have finally come to a place where I am OK with the idea that God has essentially been saying, "not yet" when we went to all of those healing meetings. He used those healing meetings and ministers to get me to start asking questions, to get fed up with it all and to seek Him in a much deeper way.  He kept us here for a short while to build something in us that otherwise would not have been in us because I never would have started questioning things.

Trust me though I don't look at this in a prideful way, but really in just shock and awe of God has done. He took me who was a borderline atheist who wanted nothing to do with God and ministry and has turned me into a Born again Jesus preaching madwoman. haha!

It has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination because our wilderness is not just spiritual, financial and emotional, but also physical. We both have physical conditions that can only be healed by God. It is even tougher when you suffer from symptoms daily and are robbed of any way to work to provide for yourself. I had to surrender everything to God and just let Him do what He wanted to do in our lives. We are completely dependent on God for all of our needs in this season any way...I really mean that too and he has provided. If I look at it selfishly for a moment, how can I run from the only one who can help? How can I say no to the only one who has the power and authority to heal me and give me the life He has promised me?

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...

I have been quite distressed at times. I have felt extremely tested and tried to the point of brokenness not once, not twice, but more like ten times. I don't know why we have been tested in this way, but I give praise and glory and honor to God for what He has done. Maybe some day in the future I will be able to look back and say, "Oh yes now I see why God did this". As for now, I have to continue to trust Him because we are still in the wilderness and He is our only way out of the wilderness. A friend came over and prayed for us and she said, "you won't fall off the cliff". That has always been something I would say, "God don't let us fall off the cliff, we have been hanging on to you". We won't fall off the cliff because God is here with us. It's not because of something that I am doing or because I have such amazing faith. I generally don't look at myself as someone who has great faith. haha! It's completely and entirely because God is in this. He is leading us every step of the way and I just put my simple faith and trust in God.

And even though I've come to a place where I'm spiritually OK that God had us here and was doing something in our lives, I am also very ready to move on and for healing to take place in our bodies. It is time Oh Lord for the promises in our life to be fulfilled. I want to be able to answer the call God has in my life and to start walking out what He has been showing me.

Psalm 143:7-11
Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
10 Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

  This song came on Spotify as I was writing this and it seemed quite appropriate. Sometimes God says, "stay"! Sometimes God says, "go"! We have to listen to Him and follow appropriately.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice" - Have We Lost the Heart of Jesus?

Before I was saved, I used to be very involved in the natural health and chronic illness communities. If you want to see what I used to do, you can read all about that journey in the archived posts from 2008-2011. I used to research scientific theories, come up with new ideas and try out different treatment options. I knowingly and willingly made myself a guinea pig in hopes of finding something that would cure me and work for others who were sick with similar conditions.

Over the years, my husband and I started noticing that people would invest their personal identities and get their value from following a diet, a supplement regimen, treatment plan or even going to a specific doctor. The followers of these groups would become die-hard fans and they would defend it against any questions or claims whether legitimate or not. I will admit I fell into this trap myself and repeated many of the "truths" that were promoted in these groups without first testing them out myself.

In these communities, if a person ever had complications or problems with a diet, treatment plan etc., the people were so loyal to that specific plan that they would yell and blame the person that needed help. They would pick apart the person's eating habits, dosing schedules, lab results and look for ANYTHING they could use to blame the lack of results on the person.

Ultimately, no matter how well a person followed their plan or advice, as long as they weren't seeing results, they could never do it right and it was always determined to be the person's fault when it did not work.

When God spoke to me in July 2012 and pulled me out of the natural health communities to pursue Him for healing, I spotted the exact same error in the church too.

In this post, my focus will be mainly on the healing portion of ministry. I'm going to thoroughly discuss the effects of having misplaced our identities and personal value in healing teachings, doctrines and ministers.  I will also talk about the effect it is has had on the sick people who are on the receiving end as well. This is a long post, so here we go. :)

Doctrine Becomes A Weapon Against Those in Need

Having sound doctrine is important and we should always be studying the Word to examine our beliefs. However if our doctrine ever becomes a yoke we put on those we were once trying to help, then we are in error.

Nearly every healing ministry sets up a specific plan or some sort of guideline for the sick to follow. I understand that these were created with good intentions and were meant to give the sick a plan of action to keep people on track.

Problems arise when people go through "this plan", but they did not receive their healing. It can be a confusing time for many sick people because they believed this was what they were supposed to do.

When a person in need tries to get help or has questions about healing, the same doctrine that was once used to "help" the sick becomes a weapon used against them. Often times the sick person is told to go through the checklist again and again and again because they "could not have done it properly". Their lives are picked apart and many doctrines then go on to look for a secret sin, hidden emotional roots and anything else they can to put all blame on the sick person. It's also very popular to say that the sick person doesn't really believe or doesn't really want to be healed. Some teachers say things like, "The sick have to want to be healed. We can't do it for them". It shows that those pushing the doctrine think they are 100% right and the person in need is 100% wrong. It also shows how much we as a Church have lost our compassion for the sick and hurting and have become blinded by a doctrine or teaching put out by popular ministers.

The heavy burdens and yokes we put on those in need and looking for help are unscriptural.

Matthew 11:28-30
  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

It's not like I am talking about people who are practicing sin and are unrepentant. I'm also not talking about unbelievers or atheists who are actively against God. I'm not even talking about Cessationists who don't believe it's God's will to heal His children through the prayers of his church.

I am talking about people who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, know it's God's will to heal, come to healing meetings, buy healing books, watch YT videos on healing and are following Christian healing pages on facebook. These people are plugged in and seeking the Lord with all their heart.

And yet, when these people struggle or have a question, for some reason many in the healing movement take that as a personal attack to their own identities. Why? Well I believe it is because many have based their identities on these doctrines, ministers and teachings instead of getting their identity from Jesus and knowing His heart. We need to reevaluate 'what' or 'who' has our heart! If we are getting our value from a doctrine or a minister that we follow, then we need to recognize this and ask the Lord to help us. We should always be looking to the Lord Jesus Christ for our personal identity and value, but sometimes we falsely base our identities off of the doctrines, churches and ministers that we follow.

People outside of the church do this too with their political parties, sport teams and even colleges. This is not something that is limited to the Church, but we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Even Paul warned about identifying with a leader within the church because of the problems it caused with rivalries and factions.

1 Corinthians 1:11-13
11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 

Do We Have a Heart for the Sick?

In recent years, a teaching that has gained popularity is "knowing your identity in Christ" or "knowing who you are". This teaching is extremely important and it's a place where the church needs to grow. However, even though it is widely taught among the Charismatic and Pentecostal circles, it has had very little impact on keeping people from misplacing their identities in a ministry, church or a teacher. In fact, identity teaching has become another doctrine where many use it as a weapon against the sick and hurting, to disqualify them from being healed.

Ministers may say things like, "If you really knew who you were in Christ, then you would be healed. Sickness could not even stay in your body".

This is an example of taking a teaching and using it to attack the person in need. The repercussions from a statement like that could be devastating to a new believer. Doesn't the minister need to "know who he is in Christ" in order to pray for the sick to see them healed too?

Somehow ministers become immune to any correction and all the burden is put on the sick person.

There is a major disconnect between what is taught by ministries and what is actually practiced when presented with a person who is in need. If we actually knew the Person of Jesus Christ and understood His heart and nature and what that truly meant (outside of  repeating phrases we heard someone else say), then I truly believe our actions would look much different when a person comes to us for help.

A church that has a heart for the sick would be spending a lot more time praying specifically for healing of those who want prayer instead of writing books about why people are not healed. There would be meetings that are completely focused on praying for the sick and the sick would be encouraged to come and get prayer repeatedly. These meetings would be tailored to the sick and not to healthy. At meetings, the worship and the message would be shortened in order to be able to pray for as many people as possible. There would also be a person leading the way and praying for the sick. The sick would not be passed on to members of the audience who may or may not have any desire to pray for the sick (or may not even be saved)! Most "healing" meetings in the American Church end with the audience instructed to pray once or twice for a person near them, while the worship band packs up their gear. Somehow the two hours of singing and one hour message became more important than actual prayer. This is what passes for a "healing meeting" today.

It is wrong. It is an embarrassment.

Almost all healing meetings these days are called, "training and equipping" events where it's mostly meant for able bodied people to go for entertainment. It's simply a pep-rally. Sorry this may be harsh, but most of them are not really healing events at all for the sick and yet these are the only real healing events that take place in the church. The person dying from cancer simply needs someone to pray the prayer and to encourage them in their faith. These training and equipping events will never fulfill the needs of the sick found in the Body of Christ, so there has to be more! Where are all the people these events are supposedly training? It's like a college with thousands of graduates and students, but none of them ever apply for a real job or leave their dorm.

If we give our hearts to a method created by man, often times we become spiritually blinded too. Even in our search for "truth", we tend to look at everything through the lens of that ministry or doctrine. We tend to follow and believe whatever is put out by them without first searching the Word or asking Holy Spirit for guidance. Early on in my journey I was guilty of this too and I accepted many interpretations of scripture as truth without doing my own study. I would later find out how much people twist scripture to fit into their teachings or purposely ignore entire verses and chapters as well. In addition, when we endorse a teaching we tend to ignore the gentle questioning within our spirit and it can become potentially dangerous, leading us into deception. I believe this is why there is such an influx of psychology, new age, new thought and other metaphysics entering into the church disguised as inner healing, deliverance and prophetic ministries.

Anyone can slip into the trap of having their value and identity come from a minister or teaching. We have to constantly guard against it, recognize it and put our focus back on what Jesus did for us.

I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice

Looking back when I was in the natural health communities, it always started off with someone who had good intentions. I know this to be true in the church as well. We love Jesus and are simply trying to give reasons as to why a person isn't healed and we are trying to give people something they can do to be healed. Unfortunately though even in these good intentions, it becomes something that is very bad. Many go on to use the knowledge they have learned to attack the very people they were once trying to help. How many of us in the church have heard things like:
"You must have some doubts you don't want to admit to".
"You don't have sufficient belief for healing".
"Maybe there's some hidden sin in your life that you just won't let go".
"You didn't find the appropriate root that's keeping you from receiving healing".
"You must have some secret doubt about healing".
"Your negativity is keeping you sick".
"Maybe you don't really want to be healed".
"You are sick because you don't want to give up your disability check".
"You probably just want to stay sick so you don't have to work".
Taking the scriptures and knowledge one has learned and using it in this manner is not OK. If Jesus Christ is our identity, then where is His grace? Where is His love? Where is His patience? Where is His righteousness? Where is His redemption?

We should remember,
Matthew 11:28-30
  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

When we say these kinds of things to the sick, we have strayed away from understanding the heart of Jesus. We are no longer representing Jesus, but instead putting the burdens of man onto the sick. These are the kinds of traps and lifeless uses of scripture that the Pharisees used against the people of their day. Remember that Jesus said to them, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice". We are in error when we push a doctrine to the point of actually tearing people apart with the scriptures that were meant to bring us life and freedom in Christ. When we enslave and indoctrinate the sick into a method, then we lose an opportunity to connect them to Jesus. Scripture is more than just words... It's supposed to point back to the living God!

As ambassadors of Christ, we cannot be lashing out at hurt, sick people who have come to us for help. I know that sick people can be emotionally unwell, but that does not give us justification to treat them poorly.

They are bound in their sicknesses. They need to see His compassion and grace shine through us. If we cannot help them, then we always need to be pointing them to the one who can always help and that is Jesus.

If you are interested more about what "I Desire Mercy, Not Sacrifice" means, then I highly recommend reading this article on another blog.


Those in Need Shouldn't Have to Prove Themselves

The checklists that most ministries want the sick to do are impossible to ever fulfill or complete in a way that is satisfying or final. Many of the requirements are open ended and can always be questioned or doubted.

For instance, a person cannot prove they have removed or dealt with roots, doubts, sin, unforgiveness nor can they show a person their level of belief or faith. These are heart issues that only God truly knows, so this naturally becomes an easy point of attack for those on the outside. There is a high cost when we force the sick to prove themselves to us time after time. Many leave the faith and walk away totally away from God. In the very least, they begin to have a twisted view of God's nature and they start to feel like healing is tied to a checklist of things that need "fixed". The sick and hurting then become self-focused rather than Christ-focused.

Instead of looking for what's "wrong" in the sick and needy, we need to simply be pointing them back to Jesus Christ. The reality is we do not know why people are or are not healed. The reality is there is no secret revelation or formula to see more healings. The reality is even if a person dots every "i" and crosses every "t", it does not mean they even know God. Remember, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice". It's not about how well we can follow a checklist. It's about knowing and understanding the heart of God. Following a healing doctrine perfectly does not mean the sick will be healed. This is something that every healing minister and every person in the Church who wants to pray for the sick needs to understand. There is not something wrong with everyone who is not healed by your doctrine, your prayer, your church or your favorite minister. To think this way, it is not godly, but instead arrogant and prideful in yourself and in the ministries and doctrines you follow. Instead of trying to make ourselves look good, we need to begin surrendering these mindsets to the Lord.

We must always point back to Jesus instead of pointing people back to a man or to a teaching. Jesus is the only healer and that is who we need to point people to no matter what is going on.

It's also important to note that when someone comes down with a sickness in their lives, it does not mean they have a bad relationship with God or that they "opened a door". Even the biggest legends in healing history had major struggles in their lives. John G. Lake's first wife died while he was in ministry serving the Lord. Smith Wigglesworth was struck with several illnesses during his life. Despite a lot of prayer, he had chronic kidney stones that were never healed. He also had an appendicitis for 6 months and was on his deathbed. He was delivered of this condition, but he still endured the struggle and was not healed instantly. His daughter was also deaf and despite many prayers, she was never healed.

I find it sobering and humbling to know that even those who many put on a pedestal dealt with the same exact things that we deal with today. We don't have all the answers. We have made too many assumptions and that has cost us our compassion, humanity and love for people. We have to put our trust in God, not people of the past, not doctrines, not a minister, not a church and not a pastor. It is our faith in Jesus that will guide us through the struggles of life and the disappointment when people are not healed when we pray. We need to stop blaming the sick! 

A Dishonest Presentation Brings a Distorted View

"You are already healed!". "By His Stripes you WERE healed!".

We preach these phrases, but it's a dishonest presentation and that is why many ministries see disgruntled sick people. 

It is true that Jesus already paid the price for us to be healed. Jesus' sacrifice was perfect and we do not need Him to die again to heal us today. I don't know of anyone who is calling for such a thing. However that one time sacrifice for all does not mean we are 'already healed'.

When Jesus died, rose from the dead, sat down at the right hand of God and Holy Spirit was sent to live inside of believers, sickness on earth and in man's body did not instantly disappear. If all sickness had completely left the world after the resurrection of Jesus, then I would agree that we were "already healed". Despite what Jesus did, the earth is still under the effects of sin and people still have sickness in their bodies.

I sincerely ask people to reconsider the way in which we preach healing. The way in which Jesus proportioned healing for us was in fact "easy" for us (, but highly costly for Him). However the way in which we obtain that healing in our body is a mystery.

Please do not allow the simplicity of what Jesus did for us to cause you to lose your compassion for those struggling. Please do not allow the teachings and ideas put out by man cause you to lose your hunger and desire to see the sick set free.

When we are seeking the Lord for healing, it is not like we are trying to put together a table from IKEA.

When we buy a table from IKEA, we know when we follow Steps A through T, if we follow the directions exactly, that at the end we will have the table we purchased. This is NOT how healing works and we have done a huge disservice to think in these kind of terms.

There's a distorted view in the church of how intense the struggle can be for someone who is believing God for healing. Many sick people go it alone too and have no support there to help them along the way. They reach out to these ministries because they have no one else. As sick people go through this battle the church does very little in order to encourage them to keep hanging on.

Closing Thoughts

My husband and I have been seeking healing for over 2 years now. I have been sick for more than 14 years and my husband has been sick for about 6 years. We currently have no income and have sold off everything that we own that had value to pay to live. Everything with value is now gone and we live each month by faith. We have been through every healing method that is out there and we have gotten prayer from many different people (including very popular Facebook and YouTube ministers) and yet we have not been healed. I don't know why. I don't try to make up a reason. I don't blame anyone for the prayers not working. Despite all of that we still need healed. I can't just "let it go", "get over it" or decide in my head that healing is not important or just shrug my shoulders and move on with life. I'm not "already healed". Without the real Jesus I have no life. I will have another 40+  years of sickness, poverty and eventually homelessness and bankruptcy. No one and nothing can change that but Jesus! Hallelujah!

The reality is is that when YOU are the sick person, things change big time. It is easy to look from the outside in and judge, ridicule and shift blame. However when doctors say to you, "Sorry sir, but there is no treatment or cure for this" or "Sorry, but surgery was unsuccessful and you'll have to be in a wheelchair for life", this is when Jesus being a healer has to be more than a doctrine with catchphrases.

The church of today focuses so much on entertainment. We worship a God that we don't even know anymore. We have lost his heart and have filled that void with doctrine, ministers and church events. When you are the one who needs healing to be real, you cease caring about these things. It's child's play. It's a distraction. It's a way to feel as if you are doing something "spiritual" when you aren't. When you are in a time of desperate need, your spiritual life ceases being about entertaining church events and it entirely becomes about seeking and believing Jesus for His promises. All of the things people say to shift blame to the sick person, it changes when it's YOU in that position. No one truly understands what it is like to be in this position until you are in this position.

The problem is that there are no real healing meetings in the church anymore. We have meetings where we sing praises to God for hours and "soak in the presence", but then we won't tend the sheep that God commanded us to tend. We won't comfort the hurting or sick. What good is our meetings? What good is our events? What good are the programs? In Isaiah 1:11-17, God shows us how the things we do can become a burden to Him. In fact some of the words for worship in the Greek has little to do with music and everything to do with reverence and service to the Lord. If we are worshiping God, then our hearts should be bursting with a joy and desire to pray for the hurting, broken and sick. We should want to reach down and help them to see the Lord.

Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthians when they turned the Lord's supper into a dinner party where the rich left overstuffed and the poor left hungry. This is not much different today in the meetings we have in the church. We've turned church meetings into concerts and games, where we watch the sick leave in need and hungry with no where to go! Why do we despise those who come to get prayer for healing? Why do we despise those who have nothing when we have gotten our fill? If Paul came to our church events and saw what we were doing, what would he say to us?

If we were honest we'd realize that the sick and broken have no where to go. No one wants to pray in a church environment because it's tough, risky and not entertaining. We are ok with concerts, writing books, releasing albums, long sermons and making videos, but when it's time for real ministry time, we run scared. We can't look the sick in the eye and care for them unless it's on our terms. We are ok if they sit in our worship meetings, go to our "training and equipping events', but they better be able to get healed on their own ! We don't have time for the sick in the Church because they show something deep within our selves that we are afraid to admit.

I've heard the lousy reasons why these meetings can't go on long.

You have to get home to watch a movie.
You have to go visit with your friends at Applebees.
You have to get home to prepare tomorrow's sermon.
You have to get back to the hotel to get on an early flight to do this same thing tomorrow.
You have to get home to pray to God and soak in His presence.

The church has turned its back on their sick brothers and sisters because they are too busy doing "stuff" that is more entertaining. We are addicted to entertainment whether inside or outside of the Church. We can't just sit still for a moment and look at what it is that we are doing.

Most sick people are not living at all and are barely surviving. Many live day to day and some commit suicide because they have no hope. They need a miracle and when they leave a church event, they can't just forget about it and be happy. They can't unwind by having dinner with their friends or go on a date night with their husband to forget about it. These people are grieving over the dinners and date nights they haven't had for years and the vacations they haven't been able to take. They are prisoners in their bodies and Jesus is their only hope.

The Church needs to stop being self-centered and become Christ-centered. When we attack these people or put huge burdens on them, their last hope is gone because we actually make Jesus bad news. The church has allowed wolves to come in and misrepresent the true nature of Jesus.

If you have made a doctrine or minister your identity, which caused you to embrace doctrines that were never demonstrated by Jesus, then you need to repent and make real changes to your ministry, your church and the way you pray for people. If you have taken the knowledge you've learned and used it as a weapon against the sick, you need to repent too. If you've created a "relationship" with God that is based around conferences, worship meetings and entertainment, you need to repent.

Let God guide you in this time and allow him to change you and mold you into what he wants for you. Pray that God shows you His heart and what he feels towards those who are sick and hurting. It does not matter what's popular or entertaining. What matters is knowing the heart of Jesus!

Let's make Jesus our identities, not our thoughts, doctrines, 10 step programs, worship concerts or anything else in between. Keep encouraging the sick to get prayer and encourage them to have a relationship with Jesus in their own homes. If we take that away from them, then they literally have nothing to live for and that's wrong because Jesus died for them so they may live!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rebuilding from the Dirt, Up.

I just wanted to give a brief update of what has been going on with me. It's been quite a long time since I posted. This post won't be full of analytical discussions.

Since August, God has been tearing down everything that I thought I believed and starting over again. You can see the beginnings of what he was teaching me in that last post from August. However I have realized how important it is to have the basic understandings of the Christian faith before adding on to it or building onto it.

Mostly I have been re-learning about what it really is that Jesus did for us. That Jesus was both God and man and what that really means to me. God has been teaching me His nature and what that means as far as limiting Himself. Yes God has limits that he put on himself. He cannot lie and he cannot be unfaithful to us.

I have also been questioning the Charismatic church. Not for their beliefs in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but pretty much everything else they believe in. The constant moaning and crying for revival. The inner healing rooms. The interwoving of New Thought and New Age practices. The focus on experiences and tingling feelings. The focus on God's love instead of also His Holiness, His Faithfulness, His Righteousness.

In the past 2 months, God has been blessing us miraculously. We have had several miraculous provisions and it's been incredible. I know that I don't deserve what he is pouring out on us and it's hard for me to accept it at times. I've been convicted in my heart that that's how I need to feel about what Jesus did on the cross too. It's undeserving. It's amazing. It should cause a person to be speechless and overcome with Joy!

Also in these past few months, has been a lot of struggles too. My sister's brain cancer is growing and she has been suffering with the chemo treatments. My health has been suffering lately as well. I have more vision loss and have had numbness on the left side of my body. My head has not been feeling right and writing big long, thought provoking analytical posts have not been possible. Reading long posts can trigger these feelings and I just haven't been able to do it.

We finally have trash service again. I cried when we got enough money extra to pay for this to come back on. Sometimes it's the small things in life that make you happy and appreciative!

This is the reality of what's been going on and I don't partake in the idea that we have to pretend everything is ok to have faith. Things have been tough but God has proven himself once again to be faithful. Sometimes I may think his timing is slow, but I have to trust him because he is the only reason why we have made it through. If I cannot trust him in his time, then who or what am I really putting my faith in? Faith in my faith? Faith in a person's teaching? When a person thinks "they did it right" it does not produce good fruit. It simply produces a sense of superiority or self-righteousness and that's something that I want God to burn out of me. I want there to be none of me in my testimony and ALL of HIM.  Sadly I see a lot of this "I did it right, so let me sell you a book" from ministers. I also see a lot of people who God graciously healed and these people go on to attack the sick who struggle to receive their healing. I want nothing of that. If I look like a fool, or an idiot and I do everything wrong, then all the more glory to God when he delivers us and sets us free.

That is it for now. Blessings to everyone!