Thursday, December 19, 2013

Faith: Nothing More, Nothing Less

"And what shall I say further? 

For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets.

Who BY FAITH, they subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions.

Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts."  

- Hebrews 11:32-24 AMP.

All throughout the Bible we are given example after example of the mighty works of God.  We see miracle after miracle happen as men and women walk out their life journey with God. 

All of these stories have ONE common denominator - BY FAITH.  

Here me again, at the very center of EVERY move of God 
... were the words - BY FAITH!  

It was the trust (BY FAITH) that was rooted in their love relationship with God that moved mountains, delivered people and freed nations. It was faith that moved Joshua and Caleb into the promise land. It was Gideon who BY FAITH helped to free the Israelites who were once again caught in their sin of self and idolatry!  

It is always about FAITH; Nothing More, Nothing less. 

It was the men and women who heard God's voice, trusted Him and kept their gaze on nothing else other than on God Himself. 

Like Jesus, they learned to do and say ONLY that which they heard the Father doing.  John 12:49-50.  

The miracles followed those who heard, those who TRUSTED, and those who obeyed the voice of the One who loves them; their dad in heaven.

When Satan comes to test you like wheat (and he will and God will allow for it for a season in order to strengthen you) there will be one thing that will be TESTED.  
What is it?  

It is your FAITH.

This is your deep trust, hope and confidence in God - in who He is, what He can do and who you are to Him.   Nothing will shake you up more than when your FAITH is tested.  

When all is stripped from you and in the deepest part of your being you choose, with your will, to TRUST in the goodness of God despite what is screaming at you from all angles. 

FAITH is the deepest part of your intimate love relationship with God.  It is at the very core of your Christian belief system.

It is the thing Satan hates most about God's children. 

It was at the core of why Job was tested and why Peter was tested and sifted. 

 "Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! 
Satan has asked excessively that [all of] 
you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], 
that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], 
that your [own] faith may not fail;
and when you yourself have turned again, 
strengthen and establish your brethren." 
- Luke 22:31-31 AMP.

It is the thing the enemy will target most because it is your FAITH which has the power to move mountains and unlocked hidden doors to your future and your calling.  

It is FAITH that releases God and brings down the kingdom of darkness.  It is not your religious activity that will do this.  It is BY FAITH.

God's power is released when God's children choose to hear His voice and take Him at His Word.  Trusting and believing (BY FAITH alone).

It is your FAITH which pleases the heart of God.  FAITH which moves the heart of God to action. Faith tells God that you not only believe Him but that you TRUST Him.  And when you step out into the unknown BY FAITH - God opens up a freeway before you.

The good news if you are in a season of crisis, testing or sifting?  

Jesus tells us that in those seasons of testing - HE is and will be praying that our FAITH will not fail us.  

Imagine that - the God of the universe ... the One who created the heavens and the earth is praying for you and for me.  

A God that cares so deeply about us that He actually allows suffering and testing in order to draw us ever so deeply to Him.  

Suffering is like a refiner's fire - it purifies that which is not of Him and replaces it with more of Him!  Suffering draws the impure and ungodly thinking to the surface and we receive more of the mind of Christ - if we are so willing.

If God is allowing a rough patch in our life - then He has good reason for it.  There is something deeper He is doing - and most likely it is moving us into a deeper understanding of the PERFECT LOVE OF GOD.  

A perfect love that will keep us more and more immovable for future tsunamis.  He is making us into that strong Oak tree planted, one whose storms acted as a life-giving force to deepen it's root system into PERFECT LOVE. 

If God has allowed a certain kind of crisis in our life - then let's thank Him for it.  Let's thank Him for those circumstances, those financial struggles, those health issues, those unkind and ungodly people.    

See this whole crisis as a tool ... God has used to bring each of us into the PERFECT LOVE OF THE FATHER.

HOLD onto the HOPE that Jesus promises when He says, "when this season of testing is over - you WILL go and strengthen others".  

Remember, no season is forever.  A season is just that - it comes and it goes.  

Be sure to gleam what God wants to do in and through you in this precious season of sifting.  

And remember, to get off that mouse wheel of religion (works focused) and CHOOSE to enter into God's promises for you and for others ... BY FAITH.  

It is not the doing that will release more of God individually or corporately - it is your relationship with Him and your ability to believe Him and trust Him that will!  
Let this song by Jason Upton, called "Faith" - stir the Holy Spirit in you!

Keep playing it over and over again!  Step out of the doorway of doubt, discouragement and despair and step back into the doorway of FAITH!  

Allow your confidence in God to be restored!  

Choose to place your confidence in the One who loves you!  

The One who is for you!  

The One who will NEVER forsake you or desert you!

The One who gave His life for you!  

NOTHING you do or don't do can ever separate you from the love of God.  Hear me - NOTHING!  Romans 8.  

Both Jesus and I are praying for you today....
... for your FAITH to be strengthened! 

God, let FAITH arise in the hearts of your children - your leaders and your people!  

So that the world may be strengthened in the intimate knowledge of who you are, what you can do and who they are to you!  


 "Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! 
Satan has asked excessively that [all of] 
you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], 
that he might sift [all of] you like grain..

But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], 
that your [own] faith may not fail;
and when you yourself have turned again, 
strengthen and establish your brethren."
- Luke 22:31-31 AMP.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TRUST: The Heartbeat of Any Relationship!

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with friendship." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.

At the center of every friendship or relationship is the word TRUST. A great word to ponder - just how trustworthy are we, really?

Do we see the heart of someone else as truly sacred and holy ... someone who was made in the image of God? Do we keep what they share with us - highly confidential? Do we speak kindly of them when they are not around? Do we have any hypocrisy in our hearts and in our friendships?

Trust is often broken in secret ways. The unkind emails, the secret addictions to porn or adultery, the slander or mocking that goes on behind closed doors.

When people give us their hearts in whatever capacity - can we see their hearts as holy?

Instead of pointing the finger (even if it is just in the attitudes of our hearts) at everyone who has broken trust with us - let us examine our hearts and ask for God's help ... to make US into a trustworthy people. We are all untrustworthy. If we think we are not - we are not looking deep enough. We've all broken trust with people ... in some way or another.

We should be pursuing God and asking Him to make us into a people who can steward the heart of another human being well.

Transformation, revival or anything else we are running after corporately in this season will not happen until the deep work of God's Spirit is done in the hearts of God's people; God's leaders first.

We've got to be spiritually healthy and thriving in order to raise up a generation of spiritually healthy people! We will duplicate who we are and what we are. We will raise up more orphans or we will raise up more children of God.

We ALL fail at this most sacred honor of stewarding trust. We all fail at seeing people at sacred to God. And yet, we should aspire to being someone that others can say ... she or he ... is trustworthy. We should ask the Holy Spirit to help us, empower us, lead us and to help us become more and more like Christ.

Two books on this very topic are the book "Safe People" by Cloud and Townsend and the book called, "Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse".

Both books will open our eyes to see unhealthy, unsafe and toxic people (and churches and organizations too!) so that we have better discernment in who is trustworthy and who is not - so we don't just give our heart over to anyone!  Not everyone should have access to our hearts or our lives.  We can love them and yet "guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life".  

Guarding our hearts is Biblical and a skill that must be developed!

These books will help us to see unsafe tendencies in ourselves too. We shouldn't feel shame if we see unsafe or abusive aspects in ourselves - we should see it as an opportunity by God to become more like Him - more loving, more kind, more safe in our relationships with people.  We should adjust with God and allow Him to do the transformation in us.

Both books will help us to identify who we can share the most intimate details of our life with - and who to love but who not to let into the inner chambers of our hearts.  For those of us, who were not trained how to discern health from unhealthy - will greatly profit from reading these books.

Another great passage to ponder and ask God about ... is found at the end of John chapter two.

Where it says, "Jesus knew what was in the heart of man and he chose to trust NO ONE."

But Jesus [for His part] did not trust Himself to them, because He knew all [men]; And He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man [needed no evidence from anyone about men], for He Himself knew what was in human nature. [He could read men’s hearts.]  - John 2:24-25 AMP.

What is up with these verses?

What is God trying to tell us?

Are our expectations too high and so, when others fail us - we fall down hard with offense and bitterness?

If Jesus chose to trust NO ONE but His Father in heaven, what is our role in trusting others? 

Do we give over our hearts too freely to people? 

Should we only put our hope and trust in God?

In Christian circles, we "share" very confidential information as a means to "pastor people well" or "to intercede" or because "we need this information to lead well". We put a spiritual twist on it and we fail to see it as spiritual abuse.

While all of these reasons are true in some sense - we need to be careful that we view the information shared by someone as "their" information. Just because it was shared with us does not give us legal right to share it. We need to see it as a gift, a present that belongs to them and not to us.

Information that does not originate in us does not mean it is ours to share unless the person give us permission to share it. Learning to be safe, to be trustworthy - does not come naturally to us.

Shared information has hurt so many people. It is at the center of gossip, of slander and in the hands of the enemy and wounded people - information will hurt and destroy people.

We must learn and grow in being safe and trustworthy. We learn it by first understanding what it means to be a safe person and then two, practicing the art of it.

An interesting thing to ponder with God about TRUST.

God, help us to become trustworthy people.  Forgive us for all the times and places where we have broken trust with others. When they gave us their hearts, trusted us with sacred information ... and we did not steward that well. Help us to see people - even our enemies - as holy and sacred to you. So sacred that you gave your life for them! God, uproot all dishonor, hate, bitterness in our hearts that was created from unsafe, abusive and toxic people. Help us to be vessels of your character and nature to others. What we do reflects to the world who you are. Help us to reflect a God who is safe; a God who is a strong tower, a God who is a place of refuge for people during a storm. Help us to be that kind of person - both in public and behind closed doors - a person who doesn't break trust and if we do - we seek the ministry of reconciliation.  Amen.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Is God REALLY Enough?

"Sometimes God doesn’t want us to be rescued by others. 
He wants us to walk out of our mess with Him." 
- Joyce Meyer.

I saw this quote today from Joyce Meyer and my heart shouted a big O' YES!

Today's blog is a bit longer than usual.   Grab a coffee and let's have a moment to ponder God and this thought from Joyce together!  

This quote is just what the Lord has been talking to me about lately when it comes to the ministry of praying for people.

So often, when I minister to people, the Lord will tell me that I am not allowed to pray or do ministry with an individual.

At first, I am like ... "Why Lord?, This just doesn't seem right. Shouldn't we be available to anyone who needs you and needs prayer?"

And the Lord always reminds me that ultimately - everyone needs to find their hope, their healing, their salvation in GOD ALONE.

So often, in the midst of trauma, spiritual warfare, or while walking through very painful events - we want someone or something to rescue us.

We all do this, myself included.

Like someone drowning in a raging sea or someone caught in a tsunami of spiritual warfare - we want to run to anything or anyone that will provide some relief.

We want to be rescued from our circumstances and from painful events.

So, when this stuff is arising in us or around us - we will run from person to person, event to event, conference to conference, looking to be rescued. We hunt down those we think are anointed and we ask them to pray for us. We somehow believe that they hold the key to our healing, our breakthrough or what we need from God.

And because we are SO busy running after these things - we never learn to slow down and cultivate a life-giving relationship with God - as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We think we are running after God through these events or corporate spiritual experiences, but if we are really honest, those people or events become the focus of our hearts rather than God. We never learn to get alone with God in silence and solitude to work through the issues of our heart.

So, as we are drowning in an ocean - we will make every attempt to get out of the darkness or storm.

Our hearts will panic and like someone drowning in an ocean - our fear and anxiety and our push to be rescued will often lead us down a path to further spiritual death. Why? Because we fail to see it is GOD ALONE who provides the answers for all we need.

We fail to wait, to listen, to see and to hear Him.

What is needed in the midst of trauma or spiritual trauma - is the discipline to slow our minds and hearts down - and to fix our eyes on GOD ALONE.

We have to learn to speak to our souls, just as David did and say "why are you so downcast my soul, put your hope, your trust, your confidence in GOD ALONE". We have to speak to those raging places within us and point our soul back to GOD ALONE.

I find the greatest burden on my heart in this season is for people to learn how to do life with God. To learn how to walk intimately with Him. To learn how to stand on His Word alone. To learn to live under the authority of Scripture. To help people to stop chasing after things that seem to be life-giving but they are not.

To learn how to live FROM His Word. To learn how to bring forth TRUTH, the truth that will set people free.

To learn who God truly is and what God truly has the power to do!

To help people understand the power of the cross in their own lives! To help people live from ALL the truths that lie in the finished work of the cross. Helping people live from the transformational power of the cross!

Many people don't understand when they ask me to do ministry for them (prayer, healing, deliverance) and I say no.

In the midst of their spiritual battle, I really seek the Lord and ask Him what is His will for this person.

I don't say no because I don't love them or care - but actually, it is because I do love people deeply. But I am well aware that it is not me that can heal them. GOD ALONE holds the key to that. My job as a Christian, as a pastor, as a minister - is to help people connect with the source of LIFE - GOD.

It is like when John the Baptist said, "I must decrease so Jesus can increase". This is my job always. Decreasing so God can increase. We should never be the center of anyone's world - God should be.

Unfortunately, many pastors stay in the center and never help people or build programs and ministries that help people learn how to live life with God. By keeping the sheep infants - we keep ourselves in business. We should be trying to work our way into the background - just as Jesus did when he said, "greater works will you do than I am doing".

If we are always feeding, rescuing and doing all the work for people - they can never mature in the ways of the Spirit.

We must help to move people along in their spiritual maturity. Helping them learn how to walk with God. How to turn to Him for everything.

People who walk in oppressed countries - learn how to cultivate a life-giving relationship with God because they don't have the privilege of someone else feeding them because public teaching of the Word is not available.

So, they have learned to take their Bible and they have learned how to do life with God in the secret places of their heart. They mature very quickly in the Spirit and in the ways of God because they had to learn to cultivate this lifestyle while living under oppressed conditions.

As a church and as ministries, we do people a disservice when we meet their every need and not help people (discipleship) in how to live with God, be healed from God, walk with God and be empowered by God. We need to develop every intentional and strategic ways of maturing the sheep; developing deep inner fortitude in people.

I remember a friend of mine, who speaks all over the world, setting this example for me years ago. He was the one of two people that mentored me in the things of God's Spirit.

I remember when I was in a place of darkness - intense spiritual warfare. I would call out to help from him.

I wanted so badly to understand what was going on with me. God was doing a major work of healing me as well as releasing the gifts of the Spirit in my life. And while both of these were happening, the enemy was contending against me in such ways - it is a miracle I am alive today.

I wanted to be rescued from the spiritual warfare that was raging around my life. I remember the first time he said to me, "Lori, I pray God can be for you in this season what He could never be for you in any other season". He would never help me except to point me back to GOD ALONE.

I use to get so angry with him ... when he would say that to me. I would make judgments in my heart - like, if he was really a Christian - he would be loving and he would help me! What kind of Christian won't pray for someone else! I had no clue that what he was doing was the most loving thing he could do. He was pointing the frantic part of my heart back to God.

Looking back on it now - what he did was he drove me to seek GOD ALONE - for direction, for healing, for breakthrough and really, for GOD ALONE to be everything to me! Both him and this other dear friend of mine - were always teaching me to seek GOD ALONE - to wait, to listen, to seek God for all that I needed.

Through their mentoring, I stopped wanting to be rescued or delivered from the darkness and instead I just wanted to KNOW GOD. To go back to my life passage. To live life FROM Scripture. To consider ALL things as rubbish compared to the priceless gain of knowing God. Philippians 3:7-11.

My friends/mentors knew, that in order for me to live a life that was victorious and as overcomer in Christ - I needed to learn to cultivate a relationship with God for myself. I needed to keep pursing God in the quietness of my heart.

I needed to take long periods of time to be alone with God. To go away, to my convent, to BE with God. To stop seeking all the conferences and events and learn to cultivate a life-giving relationship with my God, my Dad, my King, my Lion of Judah.

When we have big and vacant holes inside of us - we will run through life wanting someone or something to fill it. We all do it. And we especially do it when we are facing pain.

We will even use good, spiritual activities to keep us busy and distracted from the person of God.

But the reality is, lasting peace will never come until it is GOD ALONE who fills every crevice of our being.

When GOD ALONE is the sole desire of our heart. Psalm 73:25.

When all other idols and desires are cast aside and when we realize that everything ... even our dreams, our desires, our need for healing - is garbage .... YES RUBBISH compared to the blessing of knowing God and walking through life with Him.

When we spend time with Him ... we then almost laugh ... that we would want that something else (even healing) more than Him.

I fear, that the church is losing focus on the call to heal, mature and empower the gifts of the Spirit in the sheep.

Instead of pouring efforts into intensive discipleship programs (for a lack of better words) - we are spoon feeding our people. We keep doing the work for them.

We are teaching and preaching ... and our Sunday services are thriving and yet, we are failing to teach people how to live with God in the quietness of their hearts so that they alone can live with God through any storm that may hit them.

We are praying for people and we are providing services for healing, etc.. and yet - we are not helping people to know how to get free and how to stay free. We are not giving them the tools and resources they need to live a thriving life!

We are failing to teach people the Biblical precepts for healing, for breakthrough, for living an lifestyle of an overcomer.

We need to shift this. We need to put people in touch with God so they can learn how to live out life with God. Just as with children - we don't want them to be 20 years old and still living at home. We want to see them growing, maturing and being able to stable and thriving adults. Learning how to take care of themselves. But for the spiritual life - it is learning how to live life FROM God.

This was the problem with the Israelites. It WAS the big problem. I have been studying Judges now for months and this is what the Lord has taught me.

The Israelites kept in a cycle of defeat not just because they forgot about God but also .... because they NEVER learned to walk with God as individuals and as a corporate body of people. They had to rely on a Judge (a leader) to lead them out of captivity! They seriously had no internal compass of how to hear God, how to listen to His voice (commands) and how to walk with God (obedience).

They had no idea how to be aware of the enemy's temptations to lead them into captivity and into the worship of counterfeit gods (Baal).

I believe we are coming into a time where we need to see a shift - where we as a body of people ... as Christians .... we need to stop seeking a Judge or a leader to lead us out of darkness and instead ... we need to trust God and cultivate a thriving relationship with Him. To learn to live life from GOD ALONE.

So that no matter where our nation goes in the future - we can still follow God, still obey Him, still walk intimately with Him.

Like Daniel, we can have a thriving personal relationship with God no matter what is going on around us (like being taken captive into Babylon).

We, as God's people, need to be helping the sheep - learn to live life with God. We need to be about the business of maturing the sheep, discipling the sheep and empowering the sheep.

With the storms that are coming upon this nation - we will need the Holy Spirit alive and thriving in everyone!

We can't walk through a spiritual tsunami if we are not maturing in the things of the Spirit and in the ways of God. (which comes from being grounded in the Word of God and in a personal relationship with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

We need to be helping the sheep to become God-sustaining sheep.

This is a passion of mine (if you can't tell).

Now, I am not saying there is not a season to care for broken people, to be there to pray, to help them in the midst of their darkness.

Like an infant - they need extra care. They need someone to be feeding them, caring for them, nurturing them. This is one of the ways they will know God's love is real.

But, we can't keep doing this or we will keep the sheep as spiritual babies their whole life!

We will never prepare them for the things they will face in this world.

We must help the sheep learn how to live, move and have their being in God. To help them know God's nature and character. To learn what it means to cultivate a relationship with ALL the various aspects of God's nature. To truly KNOW Him. We should never get tired of knowing Him. He is truly the most amazing person we can ever know!

If we are struggling today, we must seek to find what we need in GOD ALONE. He is truly the answer to everything that we need. Everything. There is nothing that is outside of His reach, outside the realm of His ability to heal.

So, who does God want to be for us in this season that He could not be for us in any other season?

This is the part of His nature we must learn to know intimately. By knowing this part of His nature - we will move into the place of victory. Knowing this part of Him will move us above the storm and into His presence.

The storm might not change but our perspective of God, the storm and us in it - will.

God's arms are wide open - let's run into them! Amen! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spiritual Zombie; There is HOPE

Feeling spiritual dry? 
Feel like a spiritual zombie?  
Has the Word of God become life ... less .... to you?
Do you read it and it seems like you know everything? 
Do the words on the pages seem dead?

There is HOPE! 

The Word of God IS alive and active.  Hebrews 4:12.  

If you are feeling as if the Word of God has no life in it for you ... there is a spiritual remedy. There is a temptation that will come to lead you away from the Word as your source for all living and guidance.

.... Ask the Lord if there is something you have given more power and more authority in your life than His Word (the Bible).

This "something" could even be something that is spiritually good - like we just want to worship, to pray, to be in God's presence all the time. Or we just want to intercede, to pursue healing and deliverance .... we want more of God and we see the Word of God as not enough.

This something could be that we are being led more by a prophetic word than by the Word of God. We got a word about our future that fuels our selfish ambitions and so, we link arms with it and we start down a road that was never part of God's will.

Now hear me, none of these spiritual disciplines are bad. They are ALL needed to have a vibrant and healthy life in God. They help us grow in our intimacy with God. They help us to connect with our most amazing and loving God.

But, if we forsake the Word of God for them - they can become like little or big idols in our hearts. We end up making them our God and not God as our God.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are no longer our foundation - and we have put something else in it's place.

The key to a THRIVING spiritual life again?

Cast aside those spiritual idols and seek to make God and He ... who is the Word, #1 again. Let the Word of God, be God.

The Word of God was what Jesus quoted when defeating Satan in the wilderness. And the Word of God (the book of Deuteronomy) was what Jesus quoted the most! He boldly declared the Word of God and it was His offensive weapon for defeating spiritual darkness. For He, was and IS the Word.

You will be surprised to see how VIBRANT your spiritual life becomes when you, in the deepest parts of your heart decide to make God and He .... who is the Word ....  #1 again.

You will begin to grow in your understanding of who God is, what He can do and who you are to Him.

If you cast down these idols in your heart, you will find the Word of God alive and vibrant again when you read it.  Psalm 73:25.

The light bulbs will start flashing and revelation will flow again! To know Christ through the Word will become the greatest desire of your heart again!  Philippians 3:7-11

All other desires ... and yes, even the spiritual lusts ... will fall to the side and you will THRIVE again.

  • Do you want to thrive spiritually? 
  • Tired of being a spiritual zombie?
  • Do you want to overcome depression and hopelessness? 
  • Do you want to overcome the spiritual oppression that covers you?

Let God's Word (the person of Christ) be your final source of authority in your life.  Learn to cultivate your own personal relationship with God.  Stop wanting people to save you, help you or deliver you and turn to God.  Let God alone be your source of all life.

Learn to talk to Jesus as you are reading the Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, guide you, correct you and lead you.  2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Word of God will never lead you astray. The Word of God will keep you from the deception that is rising in the world. The more you know the Word of God, the more you will know when the counterfeits are in your midst.  (See word search here on being led astray)!

Satan will do anything to lead you and those you lead away from the Word of God. He will tempt you to chase after all sorts of spiritual lusts.

Want to know what spiritual lusts looks like? 
Ask God to show you. Ask God to reveal to you what a spiritual lust could look like in your own life. Ask Him to show you own your selfish ambition leads you away from the purity of Him and your simple devotion to HIm.

He will show you ... as you read the Word. 

A good place to start on the theme of being a spiritual zombie? The book of Judges.

The Israelites were led astray, into horrific bondage due to something other than God and His Word leading them. Israel did not listen to God's Word to them (in Deuteronomy) and thus, they were led into cycles of captivity. When did freedom come to them? When they chose to have no other god but God and His Word.

Remember, Satan comes as an angel of light. Seeking to look good and spiritual and yet, like a wolf or a lion ... he is seeking to devour the shepherds and the sheep.

Remember, it is the TRUTH that will set people free and heal people.  John 8:32.  The renewing of the mind with TRUTH transforms the heart. Romans 12:2
It is the application and weaving of Biblical principles into our lives ... that leads us to spiritual life and vitality.  Weaving TRUTH into our lives takes an investment of time - into the lives of others.  

This weaving does not just happen on a Sunday morning - it happens by choosing to live Christianity 24/7.

Don't forsake the Word of God and the person of the Holy Spirit.  

If you feel like a spiritual zombie, spend some time repenting and make the Word of God, the authority over your life.  

Soon, you will feel new life coming into you - like medicine in an IV! 


The Word is alive and active - it will bring LIFE to your dry and brittle bones! 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Holidays: Unlocking God's Best Plans for Our Lives!

I saw a posting today on Facebook that got me thinking and praying. Pondering the significance of the three main days of this holiday season. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Years.

This pondering goes with a book I read recently called, "A Thousand Gifts" and with my in-depth Bible study on Exodus, Joshua and Judges.

This book "A Thousand Gifts" was written about the power of having a thankful heart. How a change in perspective has the power to unlock miracles in our lives. To bring about a deep change that will launch us into God's beautiful plans for each one of us.

Negativity and grumbling will keep us in the wilderness - wandering indefinitely (Exodus). Gratitude will take us into the promise lands of our lives - where with God, we will defeat and displace the giants standing on God's promises for us (Joshua). By surrendering to do things God's way - nothing will be impossible for us and we will defeat ANY giants standing in our way (Judges).

These three holidays can have a significant impact on our lives - if we flow with three main Biblical truths or precepts in each one of them. Gratitude. Life. The Cross. Each one of these should be a holiday we are celebrating in every moment, every day of our lives.

1) GRATITUDE - Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving - having a heart that looks upon ALL things with gratitude (even the hard, deeply painful sort of events in our lives). A heart that chooses to remember God (and thank Him) in all things. To be mindful of who God is, what God has done and can do .... and who we are to Him. When those things are on our minds always - gratitude is what flows from our hearts. Gratitude (and being mindful of God's presence and truth in our lives) becomes like air that we breathe in and breathe out.

2) LIFE - Christmas.

Christmas - is remembering the birth of our Savior. It reminds us of the truth that God is always in the business of birthing something new in us. Something that will bring life to others. Something that will require the laying down of self so that others might have life. This season as we remember the Christ child - what aspect of Christ's character and nature does He want to bring to life in us? What is He birthing that is new in us? This birthing requires sacrifice just as it did for the Father who sent the Son on our behalf. As we enter into Thanksgiving, what is the new life it being birthed? A new life that is never meant for you - but so that others might know Christ? Know His love? Know they have worth and value?


The New Year - a new chapter in the book of our life. New Year's always reminds us of the truth - "God makes ALL things new". God reminds us that life is like a book and that in each season - there is a time for the chapter to start and the time for a certain chapter to end, and for a new one to begin. Is God turning the pages of a chapter in your book? Is one season coming to an end and a new one beginning? As New Year's approaches in a month or so - we need to remember a powerful truth and we need to lay aside any religious works that we are attempting to turn the pages in our book; the story of our life. We can NEVER enter into the promise lands of our life by works. Galatians 3:3. We can't worship more, fast more, pray more - to see that new season begin. Those are powerful disciplines to develop our relationship with God. However, they can't be used for our own selfish ambitions (even those that seem Godly and good).

We must BELIEVE more. We must stop, in our flesh, from trying to turn the pages in our book. We must stop trying to enter into a new chapter by the works of our flesh or through religious activities. We must stop praying the Word (as if we need to make something happen) and start declaring the Word and who God is. We must start living truth rather than staying in a cycle of praying truth.

Jesus died so that we could live NOW from the power of His cross. That by FAITH, we would combine the power of prayer with the power of action (obedience).

We need to live from the Truth that in His cross. The message of the cross is not just salvation. The cross has deeper meaning that simply getting us to heaven.

We must get off the mouse wheel of religion that keeps us trapped in a certain chapter and move into the new chapter BY FAITH. Like all the great saints in God's Word (Hebrews 11) - we must enter into God's promised land BY FAITH and by surrendering to do thing's God's way not our way (Judges).

Religious duty is a trap that will keep us contained to a wilderness of works. Grace will free us to step into God's promised land by FAITH. It will bring us into the New Year, the new chapter that God has for each one of us.

So, this holiday season - I am reflecting on these three principles: gratitude, life, and the finished work of the cross.

I have a hunch, God has something wonderful around the corner for those of us who choose to live by FAITH and by the grace of God rather than by religious works.

Living FROM God and not for God. Living surrendered to do His will rather than to do things our way. The power of the resurrection - came after Jesus surrendered "not my will but yours be done". And by faith and trust, he put His life into the hands of His Father. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Depression or Mental Torment? There is HOPE!

Blessings Beloved Ones!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

There is HOPE and it is found in God ALONE!

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my Savior, 
and my hope is in you all day long."  
Psalm 25:5 NIV

Have you every struggled with moments or seasons of depression or mental torment?  

Those moments when our heart and mind are flooded with negative or condemning thoughts ... where our heart is flooded with an unbearable amount of guilt because of something we've done?

Those moments when Satan whispers to us - to take our life, to give up hope ... that there is not one ounce of goodness in us?   We try to quiet those thoughts - but they seem to pop back up when we cycle into mistakes over and over again.

I have ... and they always come right after a mistake I made.  A mistake that I felt was too big for God to forgive.  A mistake that I seemed was beyond the reach of God.

Guilt in itself ... is not necessarily bad.  The key is knowing whether what we are feeling and thinking is either 1) guilt or 2) conviction.   Guilt is from the enemy or our flesh.  Conviction is from the Holy Spirit.

When these "thought" waves come - we must slow down to be with God in order to get a sense of what is really going on in our heart.

Guilt and conviction require two very different responses from us!  Guilt requires a strong rebuking with the Word of God.  Conviction requires a surrender to the work of God in our lives to lead us out of sin and back onto His life-giving path for our lives.

Guilt will come will feelings of shame, condemnation, self-hatred and it eventually will try to lead us to spiritual death.  The enemy will come and use those thoughts and emotions to lead us down a path that will bring us into a spiritual prison.  A prison that only a revelation of God's love and forgiveness can break open.  Guilt will tells us that whatever we did was and is unforgivable.

Conviction on the other hand sort of feels like guilt but it is NOT the same thing.  Not even close.  Conviction comes as thoughts that are revealing a sin that is active in our life.  It will give us that initial stomach ache feeling however it will lead us to life and to love.

Conviction is a work of the Holy Spirit to bring us back into God's best plans and purposes for our lives.

God brings about the revelation of sin in order to lead us back down a path that is life-giving for us and for those in our lives.

The truth is - that Jesus Christ came - He lived, He died and He rose again to defeat any cycle of sin in our lives. Through His death and resurrection - He has defeated ALL powers and principalities!

Through the work of the cross - He has given us the pathway to a brand new start. Even if that new start has to happen moment by moment, day by day, week by week and year by year!

The enemy will try to whisper to us - to tell us after we try and fail again - that the Gospel is not working for us!  He will try to get us to lose hope in the cross because it didn't have that instant fix in us.

He will try to point to the fact that "this religious faith stuff" doesn't work.  He will do anything to get us away from the work of the cross. The key to defeating the enemy is to keep our eyes on God alone.

To keep our eyes on what Jesus has done on the cross for us!  To never lose sight of this finished work of the cross.  To never get back into religious duty to defeat the work of sin.

To keep declaring to God that we trust in His finished work of the cross and to keep trusting in the outworking of the cross in our lives - no matter how long it takes to defeat a certain stronghold of sin in our lives - including the work of mental torment.

The enemy will whisper, "the cross doesn't work".  Stand strong against that lie and boldly declare from your inner most being - that it does!  Boldly agree with God's Word!

The Truth is - we can never save ourselves from anything.  We need to trust that Jesus has done the work for us on the cross.

We also can't defeat those tormenting thoughts that come to condemn or shame us.  We need the work of the cross to silence the voice of the enemy in our lives.

We need to rise up and partner with what God's Word says about who God is and about who we are to Him.

We need to know God and we need to know what God's Word says about the mistakes that we made and we need to know the Truth of what He says - about how His mercies are new each day!

What does this mean ... His mercies are new each day?  This simply means - every day - God gives us a fresh start to do life again.  It means as long as we repent and turn to Him,  He wipes away our yesterday and He remembers our sin no more!

It means, we live from the finished work of the cross - not towards it.

One of my FAVORITE illustrations of this principle is found in the movie called, "Martin Luther".  The newer version of this movie.  There is a scene in this movie, when Martin Luther begins to illuminate this principle.

If you know the history of Martin Luther, you will know that he was a man who struggled with mental torment, self-hatred and condemnation.  He was a man who knew the voice of the enemy and he was a man who God used to change the world with the message of faith and of grace.

He was a man, who knew what it meant to live under the law brought condemnation and to live under the umbrella of grace brought peace and freedom.

If you don't know the story of Martin Luther, rent this movie and watch it!  It's one of my all time favorite Christian movies!

Watch this video clip - and then ask the Lord - how you can stand up to the torment that has been assailing you.  Ask God to show you what Scripture you need to know to defeat Satan!   Stand up and with God's help - boldly declare who God is for you and what Jesus did for YOU! 

When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness, He didn't use worship, or prayer, or praise to send the enemy away.  He used the Word of God.  Period.  It was His weapon of choice when defeating the temptations of the enemy.  Scripture tells us in Ephesians 6 that our offensive weapon is Scripture.  If we want to defeat the enemy we must know the Word of God.

God will lead you and he will show you!  So often, in the moments of mental torment or in the moments when we feel the oppression of the enemy is heavy - we want to run to others to rescue us.  This is not a bad thing - as long as we are not running to others before we run to God.

God wants to teach us how to pick up our spiritual weapons for ourselves.  He wants us to know how to wield the Sword of the Spirit for ourselves.  He wants us to know how to use His Word like a precision weapon when it comes to tearing down the work of the enemy in our lives or in the lives of others.  Remember, the Word of God is an offensive weapon!

God wants us personally to know Him and to know His Word.  He wants us to really know what His cross has done for us.

And the only way for us to know Him - is for us to spend the time and cultivate a relationship with God for ourselves!  I fear, we are not raising up mature Christians who have learned to live with God and how to walk with Him in all seasons of life.

We will know victory and have victory to the degree we choose to know God.

And when I say know God, I mean the intimate knowing that Paul talks about in Philippians 3:7-11.

We will know victory when we know what Jesus has truly done for us!

The Word of God is alive and active.  It is living.  It is God.  And so, when we read the Bible - not only do we come to know God more and more - but the Word of God reads us.  It will lead us, guide us and revive us.  It will renew our minds and it will change us.

This is not an over night experience.  We live in a microwaved culture that wants instant change.  Instant gratification.  Instant transformation.  Instant revival.  Instant breakthrough.

However, living powerfully with God is a discipleship process.  It happens day by day,  month by month and year after year.  As I have said in previous blogs - transformation does not happen in a quick momentary encounter.  Those are powerful for a catalyst for movement - but it is the day in and day out walking with God through every season of life that will reveal God's faithfulness to us.

It is when we find God in the valleys of life ... and in the mountain tops of life ... that we will know His love for us is real.

If you are struggling with mental torment - I have two quick suggestions for you.

One, watch this video clip and see the power of God rise up in Martin Luther when he starts declaring who God is and what He did on the cross for him and for others.

And two, start reading your Bible more.  The best place to start is in the Book of Colossians.

Why here?  Because this is one of my favorite books that describes God's power and who He is as the Supreme being!  The one who created all things!  It reveals Him as the one who truly sits above any battle we might be facing.

When you read Scripture, don't read it just for the facts - read it to know God personally, to know His heart and to know His heart specifically for you!

Ask Him - God, what do you want to show me about yourself today?

Facts are not bad.  Facts help us to understand principles and precepts better - but to know God intimately means we need to open our entire being to Him.  Especially those broken places where we want to keep Him out.

Beloved ones, if you are struggling with mental torment today - know I am praying for you!  God has the power to free your mind and your thought life as you choose to focus on Him and on what the cross means for you!

However, I can't free you nor can anyone else.  You must cultivate a life-giving relationship with Jesus, with your dad in heaven and with the Holy Spirit - and over time you will see sparks of new life emerging in your thought life and in the deep parts of your being.  You will come to see the beauty that is in God, the beauty that is in you and the beauty that is in others!

Remember a powerful Truth - let it be your anchor:

Your Mistakes Do NOT Define You - Jesus's Sacrifice for You DOES!"! 

There is HOPE and it is found in God ALONE!

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my Savior, 
and my hope is in you all day long."  
Psalm 25:5 NIV

My prayers are with you today - His beloved ones!

- Muah!  A big hug for each of you today!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mobilizing Your Church or Ministry into The Gifts of the Spirit?

Blessings Beloved Ones!

For those of you wanting a quick read today ... this blog is much longer than my typical pondering.  Why?  Because I felt this topic warranted a little bit more thought.  

It is a topic that is being discussed in many churches.  As key leaders like John McArthur and others are publicly speaking on the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit in the church. 

So, grab a cup of coffee - and let's jump right in!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine the other day. She had just listened to a sermon by John McArthur called Strange Fire ... on the topic of the gifts of the Spirit. 

She was asking me what my thoughts were on people and/or churches who wanted to incorporate the gifts of the Spirit into their lives, their families, their churches and/or their ministries. 

Those who want more of God's presence and the outworking of His Holy Spirit.

Obviously, we could write a whole book on this very topic and probably a whole series of books.

However today,  I felt it was important to share with each of you, what I shared with her.  Inviting you into our conversation.

My background growing up is Catholic.  I was on staff in a mainstream evangelical church for many years where I fell in love with the Word of God.  This led to me attend Western Seminary (a conservative Baptist seminary) where I began to study Bible and Theology.

I then spent 5 years in a variety of charismatic churches.  There, I attended various conferences, prayer rooms and I began to get a broader picture of the Christian faith experience.  

What led me there, was God.  He was taking me into a season of intense healing from some childhood trauma - see "My Story".  I was healed through what some would call "prayer counseling".  You can learn more by reading my story.  Click the previous link.

During this season, I was on staff in one of those churches.  It was my passion was to train and equip pastors, leaders and people on this very topic.  Especially in learning how to flow in the gifts of the Spirit in a way that is healthy and life-giving for the sheep. 

I am driven by a deep desire for spiritual health and the life-giving power of Jesus to be released in people's lives (PERISSOS)!  

To be a part of building ... both a highly strategic in the transformation of peoples lives.  In reaching the lost and seeing people flowing powerfully in the gifts of the Spirit in a way that is Biblical sound - transforming those sheep to be world changers for Christ!

In my 17 years of experience, I have seen that this sort of ministry can't be taught in a one-time event or by having guest speakers come in for a quick visit - to share and impart something.  

It truly requires a strategic and intentional plan of action.  Strategic discipleship.  It requires a plan to build out healthy RIVER BANKS.  

River banks are Biblical boundaries of knowing how to work with the gifts of the Spirit -  for the sheep that have been entrusted into our care.

So all of that to say, I am very familiar with how powerful the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be to bring about transformation, healing and deliverance in people's lives.  

I have personally led corporate prayer gatherings where people have been healed - either emotionally, spiritually or physically.

During that season while in the more charismatic stream, I had the honor of developing, launching and leading a prophetic school where I (in addition to other guest teachers) taught leaders and pastors in how to flow in the gift of prophecy in a way that was not only doctrinally/Biblically sound but also life-giving as well.  

We also had leaders who were then responsible for the discipleship of a small group of people within the larger context of that school (for more accountability and training).  Looking back - there were definitely things I would do differently and things I have fine tuned when mentoring and discipling leaders in the prophetic. 

I also trained, coached and developed leaders and pastors in inner healing and deliverance (freedom related ministries).   Helping them to understand the Biblical precepts that lead to spiritual freedom in the lives of the flock:  Forgiveness, Repentance, UnGodly Beliefs, and Curses.  Again, even with this - it is a discipleship and training issue.  

Because people need to know how to get free and how to stay free if they are to have lasting freedom in their life.  By offering a quick prayer of healing at the end of a service will not ensure the long term freedom of the individual if they do not know how they got into bondage in the first place! 

Discipleship is the KEY to everything as it relates to the gifts of the Spirit and to a healthy flow of God's Spirit in our homes and in our ministries. 

I have seen the power of what God can do and I have seen just how destructive those ministries can be - when people lack the maturing and training needed to have a vibrant ministry in the gifts of the Spirit.  

Wisdom and healthy leadership is imperative to a move of God's Spirit.  Strategic leadership that uses wisdom in the unfolding of the gifts.

It is never about whether to have a flow of God's Spirit through the use of the gifts of the Spirit. 

Personally, I believe it is about developing RIVER BANKS to support the kind of river that is flowing through your family or organization.  

The problem many churches have with the gifts of the Spirit - is that, it can get very messy and very unhealthy ... very fast.  And when we don't educate our body with Biblical foundations to what is is we are releasing into our body life - all sorts of havoc can result.  

Wisdom is key.  Discipleship is key.  Education and training is key.  Having a strong Biblical foundation and understanding - revelatory knowledge is KEY.

Most churches avoid ever doing this sort of ministry because of this fear and because of their own doctrinal beliefs.

However, my own personal belief is one of healthy organizational systems - which come from healthy training, equipping and leadership development.  

Our organizations will only be as healthy as the health of our leaders - not only in spiritual maturity but in what they are equipped and trained to handle.

Strategic leadership is key when it comes to releasing the gifts of the Spirit into a church.  Ministry teams need to talk through how and when to release certain things - how and when to preach on certain topics and how to train the leaders and the staff.  

Not just training - but serious discipleship.  Otherwise - your ship (your ministry) might capsize and possibly sink.  

Strategic leadership.  Wisdom.  Discipleship.

We need to ask the question - how to do we mobilize the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a way that is healthy and life-giving for the sheep and for the world (those God is sending us to reach for Christ)? 

We need to be asking the questions - what do our RIVER BANKS look like in relation to what God is doing in our church?  This is part of what I help to unpack as a consultant.  

This my beloved friends ... involves the building of RIVER BANKS.

My friend asked me, do you think it is a good idea to pursue this kind of thing in a church?  

Of course my answer was YES!  Because the gifts of the Holy Spirit are from God for the building up of the church (people).   These are spiritual weapons God has given His children for bringing forth the Kingdom of God and destroying the Kingdom of Darkness.  

Any wonder why Satan would love to see the church lay down these weapons?  These gifts?

We should not step away from this sort of ministry due to fear although, IF we are to pursue going down this road of exploring the gifts of the Spirit and mobilizing our body of Christ (people) in the gift of prophecy for example  - it has to be done with much wisdom, planning, insight, understanding and ... developing a structure for training and equipping of your body before you release them into using their gifts.

The reason I say before - is because when Jesus discipled the disciples - he first had them watching for a season.  This watching - is part of the discipleship process.   

The learning from people who are more mature in the gifts of the Spirit is imperative.  

And not just learning from someone who can move in the gifts of the Spirit but learning from a teacher, an equipper - one who understands the art of discipleship and understands the role of the fruit of the Spirit as it relates to the gift of the Spirit.   

The fruit of the Spirit and Christ-like character must always be our focal point - because without LOVE all of this stuff is just a clanging gong.  1 Corinthians 13.  

All of it is meaningless if we are not walking in Biblical love with others.

Jesus, was a master teacher.  

Be sure to learn from one's who are called and anointed by God to equip! 

Be sure to consult people who know how to 1) flow in the Gifts of the Spirit and 2) those who know how to build it with health into their body life!   Just modeling it - doesn't mean it is being trained and developed into their people.  Just because a church flows in these gifts doesn't mean that it is flowing with health and vitality in the life of the sheep.

And just because a leader knows how to have strong healthy boundaries in the prophetic for themselves does not mean they are good at training it to others.   

Not all leaders are equippers.  Some leaders are visionaries and some leaders are equippers; and then there are some leaders who can do both.

This is why mobilizing the whole body through an extensive discipleship plan -  is important to spiritual health organizationally.  Communication is key.   And having the whole church on the same page and being a part of the solution is key to thriving in the things of the Spirit.

So, look for those called to equip and build up the body life in the prophetic and in the gifts of the Spirit.  Don't just appoint anyone.  Ask God to reveal the one He has ordained for such a time as this.

God is the one who calls and anoints people for ministry.  

The illustration I gave to my friend on this whole topic ... is that of a hospital.   This is an example I would give to someone who wants to start a prayer ministry or healing ministry in their church.   Like building and training prayer teams for altar calls and for those who are doing healing prayer in large corporate gatherings.  

I was trying to share with my friend - why it is important to have a strategic plan in place prior to building this sort of ministry.  A discipleship plan for the healing and stewardship of those on the prayer teams and those who are receiving prayer.

We as God's leaders - have to understand we have a higher calling and that is the stewardship of our flocks.  We can't be doing heart surgery on people without the proper training.  We also can't be careless in using words of knowledge and words of prophecy and using God's name like a visa card.

THE HOSPITAL - A Healthy Plan for Healing Ministries

Imagine if someone came into a hospital (aka a church or ministry) and they needed a very complex heart surgery.  The hospital first had no sort of triage system to determine the needs of the patient.  Instead, they just quickly directed the person to whomever was available at the front of the hospital.

So, as this patient arrives into the hospital ... they give this person over to a nurse who has only been trained to take someone's blood pressure.  

This was also her gift and anointing given to her from God - was for the taking blood pressure.  But, she sees other people being heart surgeons and because of her jealousy, her selfish ambition and the fleshly desires of her own heart - she tells the hospital she could do this heart surgery (without any God-given gifting, calling or training) and she really wants to! 

So, the hospital decides to give her a high precision knife - and they empower her to do the surgery without any training and without any discipleship on the process of doing open heart surgery.  This nurse now has a sword, a weapon - that she has not used at all.  

She hasn't studied it nor been taught what to do with it.  She also is not anointed with this gift of the Spirit.

So, she takes this knife and then takes this patient into a room of hundreds of people and starts cutting into the fragile parts of her life and heart ... publicly.  She opens up the heart and starts sharing what she sees with others.  The patient, still awake, begins to be filled with shame.  

The nurse begins exposing the sickness and disease that lingers in her heart while also exposing some of the good things that will come once her heart is healed.  

The nurse starts telling everyone what she sees inside of there while taking the knife to her heart. (thinking what she is doing is life-giving).

She starts cutting open the veins - thinking she knows what she is doing and that she is bringing life back to the person. 

But remember, she has no gifting for this, nor training, nor expertise as a heart surgeon.  God set her apart to be a nurse, but this is not what she wanted.  She wanted to be that heart surgeon.  Someone had once told her that she would be one and so she set her mind to be one .... without seeking what God would have her to do - she didn't test that word and instead she stepped into being a heart surgeon without truly asking the Lord what His will was for her life.

The result?  The person dies.  

Not right there on the spot, but slowly ... because in the surgery, the nurse failed to re-attach one of the veins in the heart of the patient.  She failed to clean up the wound and left a big area of bitterness and un-forgiveness there.  The nurse then wheels the patient out to the street and leaves them there - since there was no after care plan in place for how to care for this patient after the surgery (the large group ministry time).

Now, this story illustrates some of the core issues when mobilizing people in the gifts of the Spirit without proper discipleship. 

  • The hospital must be able to identify what staff is anointed and called by God for what.  
  • Who are the doctors, who are the nurses, who can do triage, who are the neurosurgeons who can take difficult cases, who are those who can train the surgeons and the staffing, who can oversee the hospital that has this kind of expertise and training.  
  • Who is called by God to oversee such a hospital and be sure it is running with health and vitality?
  • What is the strategic plan for patient care? 
  • Is it wisdom to do open heart surgery for people in altar calls, at retreats, in places where there is not long term discipleship plan for that person you are providing ministry for?
  • In giving prophetic words - are you training people in how to give a word and how to test a word?  Are you teaching people how to truly hold up that word to the Word of God and to hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?  Do people truly know how to test a word to be sure it is not building up self but building up the life of Christ?
  • Are we teaching people deception looks like and how to be on guard for it?  Do we believe we are above being deceived?  Not fearful but alert and aware of what deception looks like in the prophetic?
  • Are we teaching people how to hear God's voice, how to know the enemy's voice and how to know the voice of our flesh?  
  • How can we flow in health in our organization if we are not building these sorts of riverbanks into our organizational structures?  
Bottom-line - is we need to create a hospital that has trained staff and processes in place to ensure the health and safety of our sheep!  To say that our sheep are safe when we have none of these riverbanks in place is foolish and is deception.  To think we are above deception is pride.

We must never be fearful of deception or of the move of God's Spirit - but we must use wisdom when moving in the gifts of the Spirit and we must realize that at any moment - Satan want to move through us as much as God does - this is why the Bible calls for Biblical testing.

This is why Paul exhorted the Galatians about false teachers who were trying to pull the church of Galatia back under the curse of the law rather than the freedom of the cross.  We can't ever think we don't need a rebuke from the Lord and from others in our body.  

We have to have ears to hear when God is trying to realign us back to Scripture.  To turn off God's voice in His people and in His prophets - is very dangerous.  Look to where it lead Israel?  Into regular cycles of defeat and bondage.

So the question is not whether to flow in the gifts of the Spirit or not.  

The question is - are you going to prepare your hospital with the right staffing and make sure the staff is trained, educated and being placed in positions where they are flowing in their God-given gifting - whether you want to pursue healing ministries or prophetic ministries. 

And a part of this discipleship process and leadership development - is helping people to make sure they are not stepping into areas where they are not anointed by God.  This takes spending time with your leaders and being intentional in their development! 

In this discipleship of anointing - we have to teach and train on how we must NEVER try to put on someone else's coat of favor.  And we must never be like Joseph's brothers and throw someone into a pit because we are jealous.  

We should never try to take up someone else's area of expertise or do what God called them to do.  

We should never be carrying someone else's spiritual weapon or try to steal it from someone out of jealousy.

God protects us when we are walking in His ways.  

EVERYONE has a part to play on team God and like a good coach on a baseball team - getting people into their God-given positions is key to having a winning team.  For us in the church, it is mobilizing people in their God-breathed anointing!

If we read the Gospels and in Acts, we will clearly see that Jesus and the early disciple's moved in the gifts of the Spirit.  

Powerfully, I might add.

They listened to God's voice and then followed Him. John 12:49-50. 

They healed the sick, they preached the Word, they cast out demons, they prophesied, they had dreams and visions and they moved in a supernatural power that changed the world! 

God wants us to do the same today!  He wants to work through each one of us to bring LIFE to others.  To turn people from the power of Satan to the power of God.  Acts 26.

In Matthew 10, we are told - that we are to go out into the world - preaching, teaching, healing the sick, freeing people from demonic oppression.  

That ministry is not meant just for those special leaders. 

This ministry is not meant to stay in the four walls of the church - God wants His people trained, mobilized and equipped to do the work of the ministry.  Which is stated in Matthew 10.

God wants His whole body mobilized to bring the Kingdom of God forward into the earth.  Most of Jesus' ministry was not in the synagogues.  

Somehow we got this all backwards.  

Jesus was, commissioning people to go out into the world to do these things for the sake of the Kingdom.  Jesus said, "Greater works will you do than I have done". Jesus was very intentional about discipleship and preparing people. He didn't wait until people were perfect to empower them - but He did invest into people as He discipled and sent them out.

Jesus never came to live among us to keep the Kingdom impact for Himself.  He wanted his disciples to do MORE than He did. Can we, as God's leaders, actually release the ministry into the hands of the people?  I mean honestly, can we lay down our need for power and control in order to see the Holy Spirit move in everyone?  Can we take a back seat so that other leaders can emerge?  Can we get underneath people in order to lift them up, train them and see the Holy Spirit released in them?

We as God's leaders...  need to realize that there are millions of hurting sheep in this world and we must see ourselves on one team - fighting the Kingdom of Darkness.  

We should want everyone mobilized and moving on all cylinders because God's team wins when we do!

So, we need to train God's leaders of the flocks to do ministry and life with health and LIFE! 

We need to build ministries and infrastructures that support spiritual healing, health and maturity!

Spiritual health and maturity has to be on our agenda.  Strategic planning, intentional vision casting and intentional building must take place for the Kingdom for there to be health in our organizations! 

Leadership and team development .... and organizational structure are KEY to the spiritual health in our families and our organizations!  KEY!  KEY!  KEY! 

In the three diagrams below that I made, you will see Diagram 1 - showing what happens when we mobilize a body of people (aka the hospital above) - without any training and equipping.  It leads to the possibility of spiritual death and destruction.  To think our sheep are safe without healthy boundaries and training - is foolish thinking and it is deception. 

That is like never talking to our children about strangers and how they try to lure kids into their cars to hurt them ... and then saying to them  - you are safe!  This is seriously foolish thinking.   This is not wisdom.  No, we tell our children what evil and temptation looks like so that when it comes knocking they have the spiritual strength to say no and they have a plan in place in their hearts in how to run from it!  

This is why Paul was telling us to be on alert for false teachers and deception.  He gave us this in the Scripture so, when we saw it - we would be prepared to know how to run from it and run back to the Word of God as our source of life and our authority for living.

In diagram 1 -  although the senior leader might intuitively know how to do all the appropriate Biblical testing in order to pray or prophesy in a spiritually healthy way, that doesn't mean the whole body does!

This senior leader might have healthy spiritual boundaries - or what I like to call RIVER BANKS but that does not mean that all the people watching him or her do.  

River banks are essential for the spiritual health in any spiritual organization.

This is what I am passionate about training and developing.  This is why I started the prophetic school that I started - was because of my deep conviction that having healthy Biblical river banks will help to keep an organization spiritually healthy.

As I said, a senior leader might know how to do this ... but, if a body sees the head doing something - they will start to mimic what he is doing - in the hallways, in the parking lots, in their small groups and if they have never learned nor developed how to have healthy RIVER BANKS in their own life and ministry - it has a high potential for the enemy to get in there to bring about death and destruction.   

THUS, the need for training, equipping and discipleship when it comes to the prophetic or healing related ministries.  

Diagram # 2 shows what it looks like when the body life has been trained in healthy RIVER BANKS.

One of the things that I didn't include on these diagrams, which I will add later - is how INTIMACY with GOD (Knowing God, Hearing & Discerning God's Voice) and training people in their God-given IDENTITY, GIFTS and CALLING are essential for a healthy prophetic ministry within a church.  These are some of the foundational blocks to building a healthy and stable prophetic ministry.

The reason for this is because people need to know how to discern God's voice versus their flesh and versus Satan's voice.  

As most of you probably know - Satan's voice comes as an angel of light - it seems a little like the truth ... it seems loving and good ... but it actually seeks to puff up self and our selfish ambitions.

Satan's voice in the prophetic will never encourage us to die to self, to lay down our selfish ambitions - it will come to try to build self up like, "you will speak to millions, you will be the next Billy Graham, you will marry X person, etc..."  A true prophetic Word will seek to build up the life of Christ in us not the life of self.

Satan's voice will always lead us away from God's voice and away from God's Word.  It will lead us away from obedience, dying to self, servanthood - it will put us on the pathway to wanting to fulfill our own calling and dreams rather than to live a life that lays down our calling for the sake of others.  Satan's voice is so subtle, because it always comes with a tad bit of truth.  But at the root of Satan and his voice is "self".  

At the root of God's voice will always be "love" and no self exists in God's love (Phil. 2:1-9).

And as much as God might want to heal us physically, he really wants us to mature in His likeness and living in the fruit of His Spirit.  Love always trumps the spiritual gifts.  1 Corinthians 13.

Can we honestly say and evaluate the fruit of the Spirit in our homes and in our ministries?  

If the fruit is not evident by love, by forgiveness, by repentance, by humility, by meekness, by our going to our enemies and washing their feet and doing good to them, by us seeking out those we have hurt and truly looking them in the eyes and bringing kindness and truly asking for their forgiveness?  Then maybe, just maybe - we have begun to make the gifts an idol?   Have we really put character above the gifts?  I don't mean in what we say - I mean, in what we live out with others?

We must never put the gifts above our pursuit to make disciples and to mature people in their faith.

So, while a senior leader might have built these spiritual disciplines into their life over time and can now naturally do this intrinsically - does not mean the body can!

The body needs the training needed to bring about spiritual health in the body and to those the body life is called to serve (the world).

They need RIVER BANKS so that when the flow of that Holy Spirit river comes - the RIVER BANKS will keep the river flowing powerfully and it will KEEP things healthy, vibrant and life-giving!

The other BIG thing when mobilizing the gifts of the Spirit in your church or ministry is helping your leaders and people become spiritually mature and healthy.  To help the leaders sort through their own baggage so that it doesn't affect the flow of God's Spirit in and through them.

This is seen in Diagram 3 below- of what can happen when God's Spirit flows through His people.  Say for example, we do hear God's voice. We test it and we discern it is God speaking. Now, we funnel that Word through our hearts and minds - God's broken people.   

We have to make sure our flesh and our wounds are not acting as a muddy filter - distorting the voice of God.  

If inside our hearts - we are filled with wounding and big boulders of broken-ness (like offense, bitterness, hatred - areas like the rocks in the picture below), or we have a sin raging in our lives (like gambling, porn or some other secret sin), or if we has mis-perceptions of who God really is - those things will seek to defile and muddy the waters of our prophetic words and our prayers in ministering to people.  

We can pretend that they don't - but the reality is - they do and they will. 

So, we have to know how to filter and test the words before we just unleash them into someone's life. 

Our prayers as noted in the blog I wrote a few days ago - can be led by our flesh, by our wounds and by our selfish ambitions and not by God's Spirit.

I will use me as an example.  

Because I was molested and raped in my younger years ... for years, I struggled with a deep hatred of men.  God has since healed me of it - praise the Lord - but for many years - I hated men.

Now, say I was a leader or a person flowing in the gift of prophecy prior to God dealing with this issue in me.  When all of a sudden, I get a word for a man who I happen to be praying for with others.

The Holy Spirit starts flows through my heart and mind .... which is filled with hatred.  And say, I have never been trained or discipled into how to set aside my flesh .....

Now, let me ask you - just how beautiful, holy and life giving do you think this word will be?  

Will the water be clean and life-giving?  Or will it possibly have some mud in it? Some ungodly beliefs?  Some sin?  Some junk?

This again - is a discipleship issue!  No one is perfect or healed and so - we can't wait until people are healed to minister to one another - but there are KEY things to be training people in as it relates to the prophetic.

That word will be defiled by my heart unless I truly know how to put aside my flesh and the attitudes in my heart.  

This requires skill, training and knowing how to do this!  

This takes being intentional in understanding all that is involved in praying and giving a word to someone else.

These are also things that we need to be trained in - like ... in receiving a word from someone.

The junk in our lives and hearts has EVERYTHING to do with what kind of LIFE we will bring to others.  We will deeply hurt others by the words that we speak - if we don't see the need to steward the voice of God well.  

And when we are stewarding the voice of God - we should bow down in our hearts with holy reverence and realize that IF we step into this arena of ministering in the gifts of the Spirit - we should have a holy fear of the Lord that leads us to wanting to develop healthy organizational structures ..... programs, training and discipleship in our churches - so that we are preparing our body to bring only the LIFE of God to others.

We can't be foolish to think Satan is not waiting for an opportunity to hurt God's people.  

We can't just foolishly say - hey, you are all safe!  Don't worry about deception.  

Even Paul and Peter didn't take on this foolish thinking.  They were constantly warning the church to be our guard and to be prepared for the enemy and for the false teachers.  They weren't creating fear - they were creating discernment!  They were calling up discernment in the churches. 

Scripture is very clear in the call to be "alert, on guard for the lion prowls seeking someone to devour".   

This call to alertness is for all of us. 

We have to have ears to hear the voice of God in the people.  This is what it means to walk in wisdom and to listen to the counsel of many.  This is why there are structures in place with denominations in order to protect the flocks from deception.  Because the nature of deception - is - you can't see it in yourself.  You have no idea you are being deceived and it takes the voice of someone else to show it to us.   

Equipping people in the gifts of the Spirit, I believe, is necessary to have good, solid thriving ministry.  

The key to a powerful move of God's Spirit lies in our ability to equip and prepare people and leaders before and as we mobilize them. 

Think of the Marines. Would they ever send a team of people to war without going through an intensive bootcamp!  Never.  

Did Jesus model before empowering?  Yes.  Did he train?  Yes.  The only bummer is - we don't have record of all the conversations they had as they walked from town to town.  

Some people will see healthy equipping programs as trying to "control" God's Spirit.  

I personally disagree and quite strongly.

I believe that in order for spiritual health and vitality to exist when letting that river flow - it does and will require healthy RIVER BANKS to make sure that death and destruction do not hurt, destroy or spiritually kill the leaders and sheep God has ENTRUSTED into our care.  

Sometimes I get concerned that we have become blind to this spiritual precept.  That every single sheep that has crossed our path - we will be held accountable for how we took care of that sheep.  We will be held accountable for how to helped it, or rejected it.  We will be held accountable for whether we fed it, clothed it, or helped to mature it.  

We will be held accountable to God for everything we say and do and for EVERY sheep that has crossed our path. That thought should keep us humble as we seek to care for the sacred souls God has given to us to steward.

Now, we should not live in fear and condemnation and always bogged down with the weight of this stewardship - but it should keep us up some nights - seeing God in prayer and through His Word in how to ensure we are doing the will of God as we lead them and in what we expose them to.

Good stewardship will always have healthy boundaries that are rooted in the Word of God, equipping (discipleship) and in the counsel of others.  

This is even more necessary when it comes to releasing the gift of prophesy and/or healing and deliverance ministries in our churches or ministries.

To me, the question is not about whether or not to mobilize people in the gifts of the Spirit, the question to me - is what kind of RIVER BANKS will you build to ensure the safety and spiritual health of people?

I am praying for you, my dear ones - as you seek to bring the heart of God to others in a way that brings life to the dry bones in people's lives!  May the God of all love and wisdom lead you!

If you have questions or would like to talk more on my consulting services ... or how I might help you in building out strong riverbanks for you personally or for your organization - send me an email to!

Much love in Jesus!

Remember, my gifting is not in graphic arts!  Hahaha!  This is the best I could do - to put into picture form what a healthy, vibrant ministry looks like in the gifts of the Spirit!   The arrows on the side represent - RIVERBANKS.   

DIAGRAM 1 - Death & Destruction

Mobilizing People BEFORE any sort of healthy ministry of the gifts of the Spirit.  To the measure we train, will be the measure in which we experience spiritual health in our organizations.  

DIAGRAM 2 -  Spiritual Health & Life 

A thriving ministry or organization will have developed a healthy organizational structure, leaders and training programs that will equip people BEFORE we mobilize people!  Solid RIVERBANKS will lead to solid health and spiritual life in an organization.  They will keep the sheep safe.

DIAGRAM 3 -  God's Vessels (Our Filters)

Our sin, our wounds, our mis-perceptions of God WILL muddy the waters of God's voice and the flow of His Spirit.   In training people and helping people to become free of these obstacles - will help to ensure the health of our organizations and the health of those God has called us to steward.  Remember, we WILL be held accountable to God for how we steward people's hearts and lives.  Don't fear the gifts of the Spirit but do fear the Lord in how you mobilize people and train people with their spiritual weapons!