Shameless Belief

Please read Mark 9:14-29bible-1238612_640

Belief is defined as acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; trust, faith or confidence in someone of something. Pistevo is Greek, it is a verb meaning persuasion, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation. I love that it is an action word in the Greek language meaning it is not passive but something that is chosen. It is a great reminder that even if something doesn’t feel like it is true, when we know it is, we can push past our flesh and choose to believe. Growing in faith is a daily process of renewing our trust in Jesus.

I know sometimes we read the stories in the bible and pass quick judgment about someone’s struggles or wonder what they were thinking,  forgetting that we have insight because these things have occurred. Hindsight is 20/20 and even so the Word of God is active and alive (Hebrews 4:12)so fresh revelation can happen all the time. I have to say I am quite encouraged by the fact that these chosen people had struggles and we can learn from them.

I preach to myself often as I am writing, I am quite aware I am far from perfect. Even this week as I write about how we believe, being shameless as God’s child, in His righteousness, in surrender, in trust and yet there are areas of my life that I struggleto fully give to Him. My 10 lbs that needs to be 30, that seems to want to be my friend and stay. My eating habits that so quickly cave to unhealthy, my discipline, or lack of it with spending money and in time writing. Do I believe that God can help me to fully engage with the self-discipline fruit of the Spirit that He has implanted in me? Obviously not completely! These are areas that I continually need to surrender and trust that I am redeemed in these places and choose to believe that, going forward, one painful but necessary step at a time.

My heart is for these things but as Joyce Meyer so lovingly says, ‘We don’t need a wishbone, we need a backbone.’ So I cry out, Lord I do believe, help me in my unbelief and step toward Him and my goals. And yes it takes our co-operation to ignite the gifts He has given us, we need to be willing. This is why the story that is told in 3 of the gospels about Jesus healing a demon possessed boy encourages me. We can want something with our hearts but can be aware there are parts that aren’t fully believing it.

Mark is the only gospel writer that tells the part of the story of the boy’s father. The anguish he was experiencing watching his son possessed must have been unimaginable. With great desperation, he cried out for Jesus to do something, adding ‘if you can’. “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Aware of his own doubt –“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed,” I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:23,24

Imagine the grace Jesus extended in this situation, not only did He heal this boy and bring a new level of trust and surrender to this man, but He encouraged and taught his disciples. They had been unable to drive this demon out and Jesus had called them an unbelieving generation, the very ones who had been experiencing the life of Jesus, walking with Him.

These are the stories that encourage my heart, that my condition of unbelief is common to man but that Jesus does great and amazing things in people’s hearts. And we don’t have to stay there. We can engage in the daily process of renewing, being faithful and obedient and desiring more. I have heard often that Jesus loves us the way we are but He loves us too much to leave us there.

In Elijah House ministry training , co-founder John Sandford says the inner healing they teach is to ‘evangelize the unbelieving areas of the believers’ heart.’ I learned in this training that there are many ways that we protect our hearts from hurt and sometimes those things close us off from fully engaging in relationships and life. But as Jesus said, ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’

I can trust Him in my areas of discipline, you can trust Him to come and meet you in whatever area you are having trouble believing for. Sit with Him and seek out what parts need persuasion. Be honest in surrendering your struggles (He knows them anyway)

Pray with me please;

Lord, you know us better than anyone. Please come Father and highlight these areas that we are not fully believing you. Please help us to surrender the things that keep us stuck in our unbelief. Lord we cannot do this without you and you say that everything is possible for those who believe. To the best of our abilities we believe but we need you to evangelize those unbelieving parts with your truth Lord. Please come Lord Jesus and meet with us. Thank you that you are for us and not against us and your heart is to make us more like you. So take these molds of clay and form us Lord, heal us, let us be displays of your glory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

god-1772560_640

 

Freedom for the Captive!

Isaiah 61:3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

God has been speaking these verses to me for months. This weekend as I finished the second school for Elijah House prayer ministry 202, I realized the very personal implications this word had for me. This captive has been set free!!! For the 13 years that I have been a Christian I have sensed there was more. It was like looking through prison bars, knowing the intimacy I sought with God was within reach but seemingly unreachable. I tried my hardest to live the ‘Christian life’, by going to church, reading my Bible and praying and serving and there certainly have been many amazing things God has done during those years. I believed everything about Jesus and the bible in my head but my heart was unable to connect. Words arent sufficient to describe the agony of my spirit wanting the intimacy with God, yet nothing seemed to penetrate my heart.  I began this deeper healing journey over a year ago after I experienced a time of depression and burn out.

My striving spilled over into many areas of my life and combined with different life events it stopped me. Something had to change. God was calling me to heal to release me to help others do the same. I learned to rest and to say no and to care for my spirit and soul. In the midst of this time Lighthouse for All Nations was offering the Elijah House school and I felt strongly that this was the direction to go. It is the mandate of Elijah House to bring healing, unlocking the doors of our heart and with the Holy Spirit bringing people to repentance and reconciliation, transforming as they say the unbelieving parts of the believer’s heart. If we were all really honest we could admit we have those places in us or I think the church would look completely different from what it does now.  Now do I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sin and shame and all past, present and future sin was nailed to the cross? Absolutely, we have all missed the mark and need a Savior. Romans 3:23 says, ‘for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ And Colossians 2:14 says that Jesus, ‘ having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.’

 I also believe that because of vows I made to protect my heart, lies that I believed and judgments that I made created a propensity or bent toward certain behaviours that kept my heart captive. Often it is not circumstances that bind us up but it is our responses to those things that do. What did your heart say when …… (fill in the blank) happened. We don’t even need to verbalize these vows our heart makes for our spirit to know they are there. For example without getting into detail I made a vow not to feel, how do you think that messed with my God-given emotions and interrupted my responses to my heart?  Sometimes this bent toward certain behaviours comes down through the generations and we have opportunity to stand and put the cross between that and us and our future generations. So it is not just for me that I receive this healing, it is for my family, their families to come and those that God wants to touch through me. Is it difficult sometimes and does the enemy try to keep me from being free, without question, yes! Reminder – John 10:10 ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.’ 

This is my story, it is God’s story. It may not be everyone’s story, God heals us all very uniquely. My call is not to judge how others’ get there and to be faithful to the things that God calls me to do. There is more to do for sure, our final healing won’t occur until Jesus returns.  God was very specific to my heart as people prayed with and over me this past weekend, they said things about me that they had no idea were true. Only God can do that. And if only one person is encouraged or has a glimpse of hope because of me being vulnerable and sharing my journey, that is beautiful. It is not about me really. ‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.’ Revelation 12:11 So I will continue to write the words, I received a word from God that one day this gift He has given me will resurrect hearts! Oh Lord, so be it!!! My purpose is to glorify God. I am here for such a time as this. Pray with me that He will awaken our spirits to be who He has created us to be!

‘The glory of God is man fully alive and the life of man is the vision of God.’ Saint Irenaeus