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!!