New blog and website

Note as of April, 2014: Hello All! I am consolidating my writings into a new blog- Walking in Wholeness: Insights into God, Medicine and Healing. I will no longer be posting to this blog, so I invite you to subscribe to the new one! Thanks and God bless

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Insights into Warfare and What's Ahead for 2012

Since 9-11, 2001, life has been incredibly difficult for some of God's people. The fall of this year, according to a few well-respected prophets, was supposed to mark the beginning of transition out of these trials. For me, this fall has been perhaps the most difficult season I have ever endured, but this past week, I felt the winds of change sweep radically across the terrain of my life. I sense that a new found freedom is upon me, but also upon many who have been living under oppression since the events of 9-11.

Some prophets, such as John Paul Jackson, say that 2012 will be a year of great woes for the world, but that God will provide for those who turn to Him and trust Him for all things. Amidst the darkness of natural disasters, a floundering economy, terrorist threats, war, and all that plagues our world, God's light will shine most brilliantly in those who focus upon what He's doing in the world, instead of upon what the enemy of our souls is trying to do. And God is rescuing those that have been oppressed since 9-11, so that they may be radically used by Him to bring freedom to others in the year to come.

But we must know that the problem in our world isn't a lack of jobs, Lyme disease, war, hurricanes, cancer, or that our wives are alcoholics and our children drug addicts.

The problem is that we are waging a war in spiritual places, which can't be won with the weapons that are available to us in the natural realm, because the powers that are against us are greater than the resources of the natural world. But if we know that God lives within us, and that He has given us dominion over the powers and principalities of darkness, then we can change our circumstances- through the weapons that He has given us to overcome.

But we can't know how great these weapons are until we use them. Yet most of us are so accustomed to living according to our senses that until we witness God's power, we still rely upon our flesh and the things of the natural realm for our well being. And while God has given us tools in this world to enable our survival and to overcome, the real victories are won through His Spirit.

This past week, God gave me some keys. With those keys, He opened new doors of insight into my suffering and showed me why I have been unable to overcome chronic illness for so many years.

Let me preface this with an explanation. When you are sick, and the cause is purely biochemical, you can take a medical remedy and the body will heal. When the cause is emotional, if you heal the trauma, the physical body also heals. But if the cause of sickness is spiritual, then dismantling the strongholds that have kept the disease in place is imperative for healing, because the spiritual realm transcends that of body and soul.

I used to think that addressing all three realms- the physical, emotional and spiritual- were all important for healing. Yet for some, dealing with the spiritual causes of disease, may be sufficient for change to occur in the other two realms.

To my surprise, I recently discovered that my battle has been mostly a result of spiritual strongholds- which were set in place the day of my birth, and reinforced throughout my life. And I believe that disease is, for many people, a result of such strongholds- not toxins or infections. These only take root in the body whenever principalities and powers of darkness are able to create strongholds that weaken the soul and body and leave it susceptible to illness.

It isn't just about healing the Daddy wounds. It isn't just about forgiving your neighbor. It's about learning about strategies that powers of darkness use against people, and praying specifically against those. Unfortunately, precious few books and churches exist to explain what these are. But if you pick up a book on witchcraft, demonic curses and Satanic rituals, and ask God for discernment, you may get insights into your suffering that may set you and others free. More people are afflicted by these things than what most of us realize.

The knowledge that I received this past week about the strongholds that keep people in bondage- and not just physical bondage, but emotional, financial and otherwise- transcends common knowledge about healing the soul, and it is knowledge which I believe is now setting me free from many years of agony and pain. When the time is right, I will share specifics about my experience. In the meantime, I simply wish to encourage those of you who are suffering, to look beyond the natural realm for the solutions to your problems. Ask God for the keys that will unlock the doors to your freedom. Don't assume you know what they are, and that you know how to use them.

I have suffered for many years, partially because I have relied upon my own wisdom to survive, instead of leaning wholly upon God. I am an intelligent person, so it's been easy for me to do this. But intelligence is a thing of the natural realm, and thus, it has only served me in battles pertaining to this realm. It has not enabled me to win the war that has been waged against my life in the spiritual world.

God's ways are infinitely higher than ours, but He is faithful to deliver us if we seek Him with all of our heart, mind and soul. We may be little people with small minds, but we serve a great God.

Yet I am of good cheer. The heaviness that has been upon me these past two months is dissipating, and I believe 2012 will be a magnificent year, not only for me, but for all those who seek God. If only we know that He, and only He, can give us the wisdom that we need to prosper- in every area of our lives.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All We Need is A Flicker of Hope

Here I sit, ten days away from the new year, wondering where the past seven weeks have gone. A storm that rolled into my life towards the end of October has not yet ceased in its fury. It has crashed upon my health but deeply impacted other areas of my life, too. And it has distracted me from posting to this blog as much as I would like.

God must have something good for me in 2012, because the trials have been so absurd and profound that even those who don't believe in demons would have to concede that this unrelenting hell is a bit out of the ordinary, even for those who deal with the hardships of chronic illness on a daily basis.

So I'm trying to look on the bright side, but I gotta admit, endless suffering has a way of stealing hope from the heart.

Ordinarily, when I spend time with God in prayer, or peruse the notebook of amazing and multitudinous (but unfulfilled) prophecies that He has given me over the past several years, (which include many promises to restore my health and all that has been stolen from me over the past decade), I am encouraged.

But hope deferred makes the heart sick, and I have told God repeatedly over the past two months that I don't "have it in me" anymore. People have always told me that I'm a fighter, and indeed, I am a strong soul. But for the first time in my life, telling God to heal me or take me off the planet has become more of a routine prayer than I'd like to admit.

I'm not suicidal, nor have I ever had the inclination, but even the strongest of the strong can only endure so much suffering without wishing they weren't stuck in this broken and busted up Garden of Eden anymore.

I know God uses me for His purposes. I have published five books on healing and medicine, and I minister healing to the sick on a regular basis. I can't leave this planet because I know I'm being used, but I could use a bit more happiness and comfort in my days. I need to be well, instead of being holed up in my house, living the lifestyle of a woman fifty years my senior.

I've gone through intense seasons of physical and emotional suffering before. Much of the past decade has been blacked out by these tremendous trials, but what has made the latest one unique-and perhaps more difficult- is the lack of hope I have experienced through it.

It's just been too long. I've confessed my lack of faith to God, prefacing my tirades to Him with, "I'm sorry, God, but I just can't muster up what isn't there. I want to believe you, but the despair is winning right now."

I took the matter to Him again last night, and He responded by giving me an image of a lit match flickering in the darkness, wavering and weak, as if ready to extinguish at the slightest puff of wind. The match represented my hope.

And then, it was as if God was saying that He could create a fire from that faint light in my heart. He didn't need me to have grandiose hope. He knew I was tired, and that I have been through too much. Few people can endure a severe chronic illness for years and still have sky-high hope for better days ahead. My feelings were normal and He wasn't going to punish me for not "believing more." That revelation in itself increased the size of the flame of my little hope match.

Because our society is so performance-oriented, it's easy to slip into believing that unless we have the right thoughts towards God, He can't heal us, or bless our lives. I'm probably more guilty of that than most people. And when circumstances don't change, you can't help but wonder what you are doing wrong.

But sugar-coating despair with words that we think God wants to hear, or to convince ourselves that God is going to bless us, does nothing but shove that hopelessness further down into the soul, where it begins to fester and silently torment us.

We can't increase hope by our own strength, any more than we can muster up faith by affirming God's truths. Neither strategy works, and while speaking words of truth and carrying out right actions can sometimes change the heart, it is also true that out of the heart the mouth speaks, and when the heart is broken, the mouth responds accordingly. When hope is gone, we don't need a bridle on our tongues as much as we need surgery in our hearts.

The good news is, when only a glimmer of hope remains, God can take that faint light and make a fire from it- which burns out the dross of unbelief, pain and every defiance of God's promises.

For many days, I cried out to God in despair, fear gripping me because I couldn't kick-start the hope that I have always maintained. And while I have yet to experience God's warmth upon me, the light within me has become a tad brighter, because I know that it is He who will rekindle the fire. I can't do it. My wilderness is too cold, and I'm too tired.

Yet I must seek His face and spend time in His Word...because only by immersing myself in the reality of Him can this hope return. Hope is a byproduct of spending time in His presence It springs up naturally from a soul and spirit that are in communion with Him. It also eventually makes manifest that which was initially hoped for.

All that I, that we, have to do, is seek His face. Let the enemy or the world not delude us into thinking there is another way to peace. There isn't. He is the restorer of all things. It doesn't matter that only a flicker of hope, or faith, remains. It is enough for Him to work with.

Tonight, as I light a Christmas candle, and study its dancing flame, I am reminded that Jesus Christ came to earth to be a light for every soul on the planet. His light brings hope to our hearts, and shines brightly within us, that we may transfer this same hope into the hearts of those around us.

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Weapons of Our Warfare

Tolerable, difficult or incredibly dark...such have been the three seasons that have marked the past decade of my life. The tolerable and difficult seasons have been sprinkled with days of happiness and ease, but chronic illness and isolation have a way of keeping the clouds over the sun for long periods of time.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this blog, I have seen signs of the snow melting in the winter that has been my life since age 27. But you know how life is when the seasons change...just when you think spring is imminent, a snowstorm comes. And in Colorado, where I live, the snowstorms as we enter into spring are often fiercer than what we experience all winter.

An unexpected, unprecedented storm has unleashed its wrath upon my days lately. Fitful sleep which begins at dawn, and is marked by nightmares, sleep apnea, and bolts of adrenaline crashing through my pain-wracked body, have been just the beginning.

I have made great strides in my healing, but lately, I feel the heaviness of relapse upon me. The fatigue and symptoms of my first "Lyme years" are back, and then some. Eight-hour blood sugar crises; weakness in my limbs, electromagnetic sensitivity which precludes me from working, and the never-ending cherry-on-the-cake pain.

Then there's the isolation which comes with disability, and crying out at 3:00 AM in anger to a God who has somehow morphed into a punishing authority figure. A God who is surely furious because in my suffering, I have accused Him of "dangling healing carrots" in front of me. Reach out to grab one and...just kidding. It's not for right now.

Where has my loving God gone? Why doesn't He speak to me when I am dehydrated by my tears? Where is He when those who professed to love me, quietly vanish from sight?

I know what I'm supposed to say. I know that when the fury of winter hits, refuge doesn't come by screaming at the sky. If I could just rein in my reckless intellect, and praise God. If I could just tell the emotions where to get off, and pick up the weapons that God has given me to fight this...

...But I let them get buried beneath a mound of grief. There they lie, as the snow from the storm silently blankets them, and I watch them disappear. Anyway, I must not believe they work as God has said, because every time I try to pick one up...the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness...the storm blows them out of my grasp.

The darkness is too fierce
, I protest to God. The pain is unrelenting. I'm sorry, but I can't believe your promises anymore...

And during the adrenaline surges of the night, the enemy hisses, Give up! Your life will never be any different, because you don't believe your God.

I have an unfortunate weakness- a strong intellect. Because the enemy can only operate at the level of the flesh, he uses reason to confuse my mind, so that I exalt it above the wisdom of the Spirit. And when my mind is a biochemical mess, I latch on to his reasonable excuses that I can't live by the Spirit, because I don't have enough serotonin, or cortisol to think properly. My medical knowledge becomes a double-edged sword.

Meanwhile, as my anger and self-righteousness mount, the weapons that God has given me, get buried ever deeper beneath the snow. Why can't I pick them up, God? I wonder in sadness. Jesus, you paid such a price for me to own them, and here I sit, idle...

I don't get it. I don't understand that His body was broken and that His blood was shed, so I could own these weapons, and thereby, find shelter and freedom from the storm that is ravaging me to pieces.

So as I shiver in the cold, vague thoughts of God's armor tapping at the door of mind, I pray: God, I can't do this. I need you to help me dig through the snow, and find the will and the way to put on Your armor. Infuse my mind with revelation knowledge, that no reasonings of the enemy can touch. I need revelation, God, so I know what these weapons are I know what to do with them, and how they can help me to fight this battle in my mind...Because the battle won in the mind is the battle that is then won in the physical realm. But I can't do it, God. Work in me to will and to do, according to Your promises. I can't see you right now, but I know you are here, listening to Jesus' name.

"Indeed, we are human beings, but we don't wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments, and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ."
2 Cor. 10:3-5.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Ephesians 6:10-18

Get me a shovel, Lord.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breaking Out of Prison and Stepping Into Freedom

Chronic illness is a prison, and if you are behind bars for too long, it's easy to forget how to fly. When the illness lasts years, out of necessity, you grow comfortable with being in hell. You have to, in order to survive the isolation and hardship it brings.

So when God recently told me through a prophet to start taking down the decorations in my cell because He was opening the door and setting me free, I was bewildered. He also told me that He wanted me to start living again, and I thought, "What does that mean? Am I not living?"

And then I realized that I have been surviving the past decade, more than I have been living it. I have been spending my days as an orphan, being passed from house to house, begging bread crumbs, begging for healing, and not trusting in my Daddy to provide for me. At least, not as much as I could.

As I get to know my Daddy better, I am living more as the daughter of a King, as He intends, but the prophecy reminded me of how much I yet cling to a jailed orphan mentality. I guess it just feels safe. I'm used to the isolation. I'm used to spending most of my waking hours on survival activities- that is, work and treatments. And isn't that just what you have to do when you're disabled by disease?

If you live from a worldly mindset, yes. When you feel like hell warmed over and your medical costs are higher than your rent and groceries combined, you don't have a choice. You have to buckle down, get smart, and find creative ways to survive and get well...or else.

The problem is that for years, I have halfway adopted this worldly mindset, labeling my fear-based living as the "responsible" thing to do. And the worst part of it hasn't even been that I work too hard when my body screams for rest, or that I skip too many Saturday night engagements with friends in favor of "survival activities." No, the worst part has been the fear that impels me to these things.

The fear-based mentality goes like this: If I don't work on the weekend to make up for what I couldn't do during the work week due to an incapacitating detoxification reaction, I won't be able to pay my bills. If I can't start my work day until noon because I have to sleep late every morning, then I sure as heck had better work until bedtime, or God won't be able to provide for me financially. If I skip treatments in favor of needing to feel well in order to work...well then, He can't bless my healing process.

But if I am the daughter of a King, I don't need to think this way, because there is room to be human in His kingdom. There is room to make mistakes. Anyway, He wants me to trust Him more than He wants me to "get it all right." And in His kingdom, He provides for me when I cannot. Which is always.

Ironically, this month, I felt God leading me to start five new projects. Not one, but five, at the same time that He was telling me to rest and get a life. Really? Well, I would if I could, God...but my body doesn't agree that this is possible.

"When you start living again, healing will overtake you," God had said to me in a prophecy that followed the previous one. "You don't need to do another thing to be well...Just start living again."

But when you've been in a cage, it's sometimes difficult to recognize when God is handing you your freedom. It doesn't look like fun. In fact, it feels like more striving.

The odd thing is that the new projects which He is leading me to do are projects that only a healthy person could undertake. Speaking engagements? Really, God? Yet if I stand on the promise that He is setting me free, stepping out shouldn't tax me. It should eventually lead me into a place of greater health, even if at first, it seems impossible.

At the very least, the new projects will get me out of the cage. Whether I then fly depends upon how much I choose to lean upon Him and trust Him to show me how to use my wings.

I don't think God is advocating that I push my body to do what it can't do. People who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, and other related chronic illnesses, know that the worst thing you can do to your body is push it when you feel bad. One day of skiing a mountain can land a person with CFS in bed for a week and over time, a fast-paced life of too much activity compromises recovery.

No, my Daddy is simply trying to pull me out of my jailbird mentality. My hell has become too comfy-cozy. I may be a miserable little bird at times, but this world of striving and isolation is the one I have, for too long, understood. Apparently.

So this week I decided to obey Him, and accepted a new job interviewing doctors. I also set up two speaking engagements. In the meantime, I maintain my two blogs, and continue to write a new book. I also stepped into a role as a healing minister at my church, and began a different kind of healing ministry with those who know me in the Lyme disease community. I also keep telling people about my medical the same time that I tell them that the best healing isn't through medicine, but God.

Now I must choose to believe that He will enable me to do all this out of a spirit of rest, rather than survival, and that my body can do what He is calling me to do. I must simply share with others what I have learned over the past decade, and know that He will provide for me in ways that He deems best. I can kill the self-imposed deadlines, allow myself to have some bad days, and choose to have fun with loved ones, instead of scavenging bread crumbs like an orphan on my Saturday nights. I can even stop all the medical treatments, because it's probably time.

I don't yet fully understand what freedom looks like. It may also mean traveling the world again, dating and getting married, and doing all of the things people my age do but which I haven't done much of because of infirmity. More than that, though, I think freedom is a mindset. Of knowing that wherever I am, whatever I have, and no matter my situation, I am the daughter of a King. I am royalty. I belong to my Daddy, who will never leave me nor forsake me, so I don't have to worry about provision, my health or other areas of life.

And as I take tentative steps out of my cell, I grasp His hand and choose to trust Him to lead me into the life of freedom that my soul has quietly been starving for. Even if at times, the steps towards that life feel counter-intuitive.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Medicine Versus Faith-Healing

As I sat in the gate area of the Toronto airport this past Sunday, pondering the recent ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conference, I was overwhelmed, recalling the barrage of treatments that are needed these days to overcome chronic illness. Our environment is extraordinarily polluted: with pathogens, industrial chemicals, heavy metals and other garbage, that staying healthy- never mind healing from chronic illness- is becoming more difficult than ever. That our food supply is so depleted in nutrients and manipulated to the extent that 75 percent of what is now sold in conventional supermarkets is toxic to the body, doesn't help matters any.

Going to medical conferences simultaneously excites and depresses me because of what I learn or am reminded of. New treatments give hope and promise to the suffering, yet the complex regimens required to heal from chronic diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, mold illness, cancer, autism and others, are overwhelming. What's more, many of the sick don't have the incredible amounts of stamina, resources, knowledge or money required to follow these regimens. I know because I am one of these people, despite the fact that I have been researching medicine for over seven years and have more resources than many people.

Of course, God has said that I am healed, and that this healing will completely manifest in me soon. (whatever "soon" means in God's mind). That I don't need to do another darned thing to get well because He intends to finish what medicine has started- by His power; supernaturally. So you can imagine the battle that rages in my mind when I learn about a new, apparently amazing treatment that could finally rid me of this or that infection or biochemical dysfunction. How conflicted I get when a kindhearted physician offers to treat me pro bono or at a discounted rate, or send me free products. I provide a lot of helpful information to the Lyme disease community, so I am sometimes blessed by health care providers who offer me a hand or an ear or a free trial of a product.

During the ILADS conference, a couple of such offers came my way again. Typically, I don't turn them down, because no fool would say No to free help, especially when finances are tight and the companies or doctors who want to assist me are reputable and wise.

I asked God what to do about the offers, since He has told me that He would heal me, without the help of medicine. I probably shouldn't have even asked the question, but when the promise of healing hasn't yet fully manifest and you have spent years trying to get well...the decision is hard. Either way, the decision is hard.

The treatment treadmill is exhausting, time-consuming, expensive, painful and never-ending, yet it takes a boatload of faith to give it up, though God has said in His Word that "by His (My) stripes you are healed." Isaiah 53:5. Maybe the problem is that I tend to become more immersed in medicine than in His Word- it's a hazard of my work as a medical writer.

As I packed to go home from ILADS, I told God that I didn't want my faith in Him as my healer to be diluted by my continued reliance upon medicine for healing. Because medicine has a way of subtly shifting my hope away from God and onto herbs, vitamins and bioidentical hormones as my menders. Supernatural healing doesn't have to be a mutually exclusive way that God heals, but when you are chest-deep in treatment protocols, it is sometimes easier to count on the protocol than on the One who makes the protocol work.

When I take medicine, I wonder about how a particular drug is affecting my body, instead of about how God's Word is touching me. I focus upon the vitamins that I should be taking, instead of meditating upon how He intends to restore every dysfunctional cell in my body by His power.

But as I rose from my seat in the gate area to board my airplane in Toronto, God reminded me of some important truths.

He seemed to say that my faith in Him as my healer isn't contingent upon me taking medicine. I could choose to stop treatments in order to increase my reliance upon Him as my healer, but not taking medicine, in and of itself, doesn't increase faith nor is it proof that I have faith. I may cease to take medicine to try to convince myself that I have faith in God to heal me, or worse, to convince Him to heal me- which I don't need to do.

Conversely, taking medicine doesn't have to diminish my reliance upon, and belief in Him as my healer, if I believe that He blesses the medicine and uses it. As long as I abide in Him and His Word, my faith will remain in Him, not the natural substances and therapies that He uses to heal. On the other hand, if I take medicine because I believe that my faith is insufficient to heal me or that He is waiting for me to do something in order to make me well, then I don't really believe in Him as my healer. Faith isn't increased by the decision to not take medicine, but the decision to take medicine may be a reflection of how much I believe in Him as my healer.

His final words to me in Toronto seemed to be, "Just relax. I will heal you either way." My sense was that He prefers to spare me the trials of medicine- the agonizing detoxification reactions, the money and time and happiness lost by grueling treatments- but He will use it, anyway.

Whether or not I choose to benefit from the benevolence of kind practitioners, He desires that I, that we, remain cognizant of one crucial truth; that He is the healer. He pours supernatural power and light into our cells; He gives doctors wisdom, and He uses the natural substances that He has created. Whatever it takes, to make us better, in body, mind and spirit. Thankfully, He will use whatever methods we respond to in faith. As long as we know that He wants us well, and that He has the power to accomplish what we cannot-whether through medicine or by His Spirit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stewarding the Seed to Get the Oak Tree

I wish I had been more coherent for the Voice of the Apostles conference which I just attended in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Long flights, drives and days, along with six thousand souls packed into an auditorium, contributed to the event being a little too much for my body and brain.

Although I was extremely fatigued and sleep-deprived throughout most of the conference, I've yet decided that the jetlag, tiredness, back pain, and now-the "aftermath head cold"- have been worth it. Because not only did I witness over a thousand miracle healings at this amazing conference, but God dissolved a chunk of long-standing despair in my soul, which had been leaning a little too long towards the lies of this world.

I need to attend events like this once in a while, so that I can be reminded of who God is for me and what He intends for my life. I think we all do, because life has a way of pulling us away from God's truths and into our navels.

I don't have the stamina tonight to put into words all that inspired me at VOA, although in the days to come I may post more about the conference and the rich tidbits of wisdom that I acquired from it. For now, I want to share one vital truth which encouraged me, in the hopes that it will encourage you, too.

God has a great plan for all of our lives, yet we sometimes miss it because we forget that great projects, works and relationships start out as little seeds of promise. God doesn't give us immense oak trees right away, but many of us, in our anxious desire to see the seeds that He has given us become trees, drop those seeds without watering them.

Pastor Bill Johnson, one of the speakers at VOA, noted that we must steward the seeds that God has given us, if we want to see those seeds become trees. That means being willing to step out in faith in the small things and obey what He asks us to do, so that the promises He has given us: in Scripture, through prophecy and in our personal time with Him, get fulfilled.

Great projects, prosperous relationships, and even miraculous healings, are the result of taking tiny steps of obedience towards a larger goal. And this is usually the way that God's amazing plans for us manifest. Through baby steps.

Yet these steps aren't the result of anxious striving and fighting to believe God for the fulfillment of His promises. They come from faith, which is birthed, as Bill Johnson mentioned, out of rest and surrender. When we fight, we lose. When we spend time with the One who loves us eternally and unconditionally, and live out of His presence, faith is the byproduct. Obedience results from faith, and from obedience comes the manifestation of God's plan for our lives.

Rodney Hogue, another pastor at VOA, noted that when we bypass the process of being children before God (by not doing anything for Him, but simply receiving from Him) our obedience towards Him becomes performance-oriented. When we attempt to fulfill our dreams out of a performance-oriented mindset, we get burned out, tired and fail to receive all that God has for us.

Self-effort cannot accomplish God's plan for our lives. We may achieve great things and be able to help many people, but our lives will yet be inferior products of performance, rather than a powerful manifestation of His Spirit working through us.

Nobody lives within the realm of the Spirit all of the time. We are busy. We forget that God is good, and our natural tendency is to "do life" through our own efforts. Especially if, as children, we were taught that we have to take care of ourselves, because nobody else will.

Yet if we know that God can and will manifest His marvelous plan for our lives, and that we don't have to do anything except choose to abide in Him, obedience doesn't have to be a burden. Life doesn't have to be so hard. We don't have to worry about having all the right ideas. We don't have to fear not having the physical or mental energy to survive. We don't have to strive and push and fight to make our dreams come true.

We just have to spend time with our Daddy, and choose to believe what He tells us in the quiet space of our thoughts, as we step out in obedience. Because if we are faithful in the little things, He will put us in charge of bigger things, and fulfill every desire of our hearts. It doesn't come from striving. It comes from being with, knowing, and abiding in Him.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Wasteland or God's Green Paradise?

I sometimes lead a double life. One is a reality based on lies, and the other, God's truth (but is there any other truth but His?).

When life is rough, I sometimes live in the enemy's reality. It's a wasteland, of muddy brown fields, skeletons and grey skies. There's also lots of "dissing" going on. That is, dis-ease, dis-appointment, dis-couragement, dis-pair (yes I know that's spelled wrong), dis-tress, dis-may, dis-sension, dis-ability and so on.

If circumstances are dark enough, I swallow the "dissing" wholeheartedly, though I may yet be seeking God and praying for Him to pull me out of it. Sometimes, an hour or two in His presence is enough to move me into another reality -His- but at other times, I need a bigger push in order to get out of the wasteland.

By the way, God's reality is abundance; green pastures full of good feed, the sun warming the earth, eagles soaring, and His will being done on earth, just as it is in Heaven.

Sometimes, the pressure to live in the wasteland is great. Difficult circumstances press in on all sides, and it's easy for us to forget where our true home is. And if the "dissing" has gone on long enough, we may need more than just an occasional Sunday in church or an hour with God, in order to get out of the wasteland.

Because it's one thing to get a glimpse of God's wonderland from the other side of the fence, and another to step into, and live, in His place of paradise.

Though we all want to live in green pastures, we get stuck in the enemy's territory because it's sometimes easier to roll around in the muck, as we replay the lies we've been fed over a lifetime. Staying on the prosperous side of the fence can be an especially fierce challenge for those who have been programmed to crave the familiarity of barren places.

Today, God reminded me that one important way that we can remain in the reality of His paradise is by loving, and ministering, to others. Because as we do, we are reminded that He is active within us, and faithful to bless those who seek Him. As we speak kind words to another, we realize that His love lives in us and flows through us. As we pray over strangers, we witness His power to heal, transform and pull people out of the wasteland. As we provide food and clothing for neighbors, we witness His provision. As we cheer up the downtrodden, we experience the warmth of His sunshine. And then, we remember we have value because He inhabits our being and deems us worthy to carry out His great works of love on earth. And suddenly, we are back in the green of His land, simply because we activated what He has put inside of us.

Today, when I awakened from my slumber four hours earlier than usual, I unwittingly sentenced myself to the enemy's territory by lamenting the fatigue in my body. "This will never go away, anyway, whether you get two hours of sleep or ten, so you might as well get used to it." Went the sinister little voice in my head.

But as the day progressed, and God used me in church to heal a 20 year-old woman who had suffered from intense back pain since the eighth grade, I felt myself jumping the fence. Afterwards, as the healed woman looked at me, her eyes round with amazement and joy accentuating her lovely features, the morning lies moved further from me. "I can't believe it," the woman said, and as she asked me my name, the astonishment in her voice indicated to me that her real question was, "Who are you and where did you come from?"

Had she articulated those words, I would have replied, "God sent me. To remind me, and you, of the land to which we belong."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Real Woe: We Don't Believe God

Illness deflates the spirit. Financial hardship discourages. The loss of relationships pains the heart. Loneliness sinks the soul. Broken dreams crush our hope. But in the end, our greatest woe may not be that we lack money, love or our health-it's that we don't believe God and the promise He's made to redeem our suffering.

We look at the evidence of our lives and deep down believe that the promise of health is for others. After all, we've been sick for fifteen years! Or we recall our car repairs and cardboard-walled apartments and think that God really isn't interested in meeting all of our needs. We ruminate on our divorces, or years of isolation, and conclude that relationships are for the happy who were blessed enough to have well-balanced parents.

When we don't believe God, despair and fear set in. When "by His wounds, we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5 NIV) and "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10, NIV) lose their significance, life distresses. When "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5, NIV) are empty words, so are our souls. When we believe that the words, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers" (3 John 1:2, NKJ)were meant for the characters of the Bible, we give up on the idea that God still heals today. When challenging life circumstances become a greater reality than what He has promised us in His Word, hope fades. And when Jesus' death only purchased for us eternal life, rather than abundant life on earth, His sacrifice becomes emptied of its power for the day-to-day of today.

But Jesus purchased more than just eternal life for us when He went to the Cross. He redeemed us, and saved us, in the greatest sense of the word. For "sozo" (saved), in the original Greek in which it was written in the Bible, means, "saved, healed, delivered and preserved." Therefore, because of His sacrifice, we are given power over sickness, depression, devastation, and all the lies that affront us about our identity and inheritance in His kingdom. Of course, the manifestation of His promises can take time, as we get to know Him and who He is for us, but they are real, Yes and Amen nonetheless.

Still, we struggle to embrace "sozo" because we have been taught that seeing is believing. We don't know how to believe first in order to see, because staying stuck in what we know is sometimes easier than stepping out in faith. Grasping on to a more optimistic reality feels unsafe to a life that has been accustomed to tragedy.

"But God," we protest, "Those promises seem like they are for everyone else but me, because life just never seems to get any better."

And we forget that it's not about our weaknesses, or what we have endured, but the Cross and what He endured for our sake. So what is truth? The voice in our head or what He has said?

When we say: "I have screwed up too much in life to ever be in a healthy relationship again." He says:
I was pierced for your transgressions. (Isaiah 53:5, NIV). Nails were driven into His feet and hands; a spear was thrust into His side, for the purpose of redeeming every mistake we have ever made.

When we say: "God doesn't care about me."
He says: I was crushed for your iniquities; (Isaiah 53:5, NIV) He cared about us so much that He thought that being bruised, broken, battered and murdered would be a worthwhile exchange for our freedom.

When we say: "I can't have peace in the midst of this situation" He says,
the punishment that brought you peace was upon Me; (that is, He took the punishment that we deserved for our independence from Him, upon Himself at the Cross, so that we would not have to feel guilty for our sins against Him, ourselves, or others).

And of course, when we protest that we will never be healed, He says otherwise:
"By My wounds you are healed." (Isaiah 53:5, NIV).

Let us ask Him for the courage to believe in Him, not in the trials that life has handed us. Because either His Word is true or it's not. Either God is a liar or our thoughts are deceiving us. It's up to us to decide, moment by moment, the truth that we want to embrace. Let us not adopt the mind's perspective out of a perceived inability to challenge the lies that have beset us our entire lives. Let us not buy into an inferior life, because it seems easier than doing the hard work of change. Let us ask Him to instill in our hearts the reality that, "Everything is possible for him who believes." (Mark 9:23, NIV). And may we know that in the end, we can do it, because, "it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil. 2:13, NIV). Amen, Jesus. Amen.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Glimpses Into God's Healing Process

I'm a bit rough around the edges. The hardships I have gone through in life have given me some jagged spots. Yet God is polishing me into an eventual diamond. I don't know what kind of rock I'll be by the time I enter Eternity, but I know I won't be the same shabby old pumice that I started out as when I gave my life over to him in 2002. Back then, I told Him to do whatever He wanted with me, but to please give me peace. That peace has been a decade in the making, and the process continues to this day, but I can honestly say He's been making good on His promise.

I haven't agreed with His methods. Nope, I've kicked and screamed most of the way. Because when I envisioned God bringing peace to my life, a beautiful, tranquil island scenario is what came to mind-not some fiery furnace where (ahem) all of my rough edges would be burnt away by trials.

I don't believe God ever willed for me to get a neurological disease that would cause dysfunction in all of my organs. I don't think He assigned pathogens to drill holes in my brain. I don't believe He meant for me to lose my home and job, and to have to move seven times in seven years due to physical disability. And I know He cried with me as I wailed daily in despair for over half a decade. But He has used the process, paradoxically, to bring me to a greater place of peace.

I believe that God wills for His beloved children to be well, and that He is able to heal them. But as I mentioned in my book, Healing Chronic Illness: By His Spirit, Through His Resources, He may allow disease for a time, if the process of illness will teach us strategies that we need to regain our health. I'm not saying He needs us to be sick to make us into better people -indeed, sickness is from the pit of Hell-but He may use our infirmities to teach us how to pick up and use the weapons that He's given us to fight disease.

And I don't just mean vegetables, vitamins and viral remedies. I mean, the power of His Word, and revelation of the truth that He loves us, wants to prosper us in all areas of our life, and that yes-He has the desire and ability to heal us. Truths that most of us assent to on a mental level, but which we struggle to assimilate into our hearts, because life has beat the crap out of us.

It's taken me years to understand that God is healing me. My cells yet lag in the understanding of this great power and love towards me, but I'm starting to get it, as He uses me to pray over others, and I witness Him touching their hearts, minds and bodies through me.

As part of my healing process, He has shown me, time and again, that I need to learn to change my thoughts-with His help, of course. Still, at times, I whine and make the excuse that I don't have enough happiness-inducing neurotransmitters in my brain to think His thoughts. I protest that I've been through too much trauma to believe in His promises- but He always comes back to me with the rebuttal, "So you think your past and disease are greater than my Spirit?"

Yes, my battle with the flesh may be stronger than that of the soul who frolics about the pulpit on Sundays, all bubbles and bounce, and my knowledge of what disease does to the brain sometimes works against me, but He is my warrior. He stands beside me and fights for me when I cannot fight. He enables me to think my way back to His perspective, whenever I choose to go to Him.

He has also used medicine to heal me. Seven years of integrative and alternative medical treatments have either brought the party of Lyme disease pathogens that I suffered with into remission, or eradicated them completely. No test exists to definitively determine their exit, but ART (an advanced form of muscle testing) shows they aren't causing me symptoms anymore. Ironically, my book, Healing Chronic Illness was published exactly one day after my doctor declared me to be free of these infections. As if to show me that writing a book to tell people that He is their healer wasn't in vain.

God is still healing the damage that the infections caused in my body, though, so I'm once again being stretched in my faith. Yet because I now know that His will for me is health, I believe that a deeper healing is yet coming. I stand in faith, even if some days, I still cry.

It's okay. I don't need to be perfect. Neither do you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

About Me

I am a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, but I'm not religious. To me, God isn't a set of rules to be followed; He's not a moral code, and neither does He love us based upon our behavior. He loves us simply because He created us, and is a God of love. He loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to earth over 2000 years ago, to be an atoning sacrifice for our rebellion against, and independence from, God the Father.

Through His ministry on earth, Jesus showed us the loving character of God, which was most powerfully revealed when He finally died on a Cross for our sake. Through his death, He paid the price for every wicked thought and deed that we would ever have-about ourselves, others and our Creator. Because of His work, we don't have to try to be good enough for God, because that would negate all the suffering that He went through on our behalf. We are accepted and perfect in God's sight, simply because of Jesus' sacrifice.

I don't need to convince others to believe as I do, but I want to talk about my Savior and best friend Jesus because I know that some will find that the gifts of peace, joy and wisdom that He has given me are gifts that they will want, too. And in giving their lives to Him, they will discover that He can offer them life and hope that the world cannot.

So I'm a Christian, but I really prefer to call myself a follower of Jesus Christ, because some people, when they hear the word "Christian" imagine a bigoted, closed-minded, extreme right-wing hater of people with alternative lifestyles. Sadly, some Christians have earned these prejudices, as the church in America has become known more for what it is against, instead of what it is for-which is supposed to be love for all people. Moreover, I doubt my God belongs to a particular political party, that He prefers people of certain colors and relational bents, and that He loves Americans more than He loves Iraquis or Taiwanese.

I aspire to live a life of holiness, according to the principles of the Bible, which I believe is the infallible, inspired Word of God. While it was written by men, God does talk to men, and if a book has been a bestseller for two millenia and hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled throughout its hundreds of pages...well, it's a pretty good sign that the words are really His. Among another two thousand reasons that I won't go into here.

Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, though, the Bible is just words on a page, which can be used to start wars if God's Spirit isn't there to speak truth through them. It's a supernatural book that can't be interpreted by the rational mind, which is probably why many have done irrational things in an attempt to follow it out of their carnal understanding. They have read it apart from relationship with God, which means that they ended up pursuing principles instead of the Power that would inform them as to its particular relevance for their lives.

I have much more to say about my faith and what God has taught me in the days to come. For now, these are some basics about me and the God that I follow.

May the revelations that He gives me be a source of light, wisdom and encouragement for your life, too.