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! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mobilize: To Put Into Movement

"Leaders: Your charisma may attract new staff but only your character will keep them loyal for 20 years. Charisma fades but character lasts." - Rick Warren.

Rick Warren always has the best quotes! He is one of the best strategic thinkers out there and he is deeply spiritual! Love him! 

His quote got me thinking and talking to the Lord this morning about what kind of leaders, churches and organizations keep not only clients/members but staffing as well?

If we have high turn over (resulting in continual financial crisis) in our organizations either with clients and staffing or church members and church staffing ..... maybe that is a sign we need to look deeper.

To see what is pushing people out the back door and bringing about the constant financial struggles. Do we really care to really see WHY people are leaving and WHY people don't want to give?

People who 1) are growing and maturing 2) are being invited to be a team player in the bigger picture of a vision and 3) are being empowered to contribute in their God-given way (mobilized in their calling) .... will stick around to keep building out ... what needs to be built out for the sake of God and His Kingdom.

People will always give graciously when they are deeply connected and invested into a mission. God's mission not a man-made vision.

Don't just ask people to give money, or to pressure them with messages of obedience. That is religious manipulation and control.

Instead, seek to discover the treasures in everyone - really care about what God put into EVERYONE.

Help to mobilize EVERYONE in their God-given calling - training, mobilizing, empowering them as Jesus did with His disciples. Walk with them as He did!

Sometimes, the church and her leaders needs to die to self for the sake of the sheep and seeing the Kingdom of God rise up in EVERYONE!

I recently sat in on a prayer time, and there was this young woman in the room. The person leading the prayer time never once asked this young college girl to pray or to contribute to the prayer counseling session. This person was SO focused on doing their thing, they failed to use it as an opportunity to empower the next generation of leaders! They failed to train and give this young girl an opportunity to use her gifts!

This is SO common. Discipling people means slowing down to involve them, train them, talk with them, coach them, correct them and then empower them some more!

I wonder what would happen to the finances in our churches if God's people were truly mobilized to not just usher or greet (those are all needed and are a needed part of the ministry) - but what would it look like if EVERYONE was doing what God put them on this earth to do?

What would happen if we truly mobilized people and the Holy Spirit in people?

What would this look like? I mean, to see God's light moving 24/7 hours a day, impacting people everywhere not just at church on Sundays or in our small groups and Bible studies?

I have a hunch, giving would increase and Kingdom resources would no longer be a problem that plaques many churches today. What if all that money went into the development of people rather than buildings? Being .... that people are the church anyways?

Now, don't get mad at me. I am not saying buildings aren't needed. I am just saying, maybe we wouldn't be in a financial crunch if we put things back into God's order. People first.

I have a hunch the team Kingdom of God would win and the team Kingdom of Darkness would start losing in this battle for people's souls.

Mobilize. To put move people into movement; into action.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words: Hearing God's Voice!

Hi Beloved Ones!

I pray you are having a wonderful day today!  I am sure you all have heard that saying "a picture speaks a thousand words"?  This picture speaks for itself.  I was going to include Bible verses to go with each of the three areas but instead I thought that would be a great quiet time activity - to do a word search on Bible Gateway and see what God has to say about Himself, Satan and about our Flesh.

Are we bearing fruit in our lives?  If so, what kind?  

What is the root of that fruit (good or bad fruit) and where does it come from? 
And ... the question really is - what whispers are guiding our lives and the decisions we make each day?

God or ...
Satan or ...
Our Flesh ...

Literally - there are three voices that can lead us in any given moment. And as I shared yesterday in my blog about how God and the enemy worked side by side in that prayer room - the same is true for any one of us.  We can be led by God's Spirit in one minute ... and then, we can listen to whispers of the enemy about someone or something - and so, we do something crazy, unkind and ungodly the next! 

None of us are immune to this internal spiritual battle for our hearts and lives.  We are, however, as I mentioned yesterday ... accountable to God for how we treat one another.  This humbles me just thinking about it.  Oh dear Lord, help us to be more and more like you! 

God's voice, Satan's voice and the voice of the flesh can lead us in any moment, in any thought, in any action and in any deed that we do.  

These voices act as soft and gentle whispers ...  like thoughts that pass through our mind.  We probably have all had that experience when someone comes to mind to pray for, or we suddenly think about our kids and we feel God prompting us to pray for them - for protection, guidance or for a special need God lays on our hearts. 

We have also probably had those negative thoughts about someone or something.  A thought that moves us away from being grace-filled and merciful ... and the thought moves us into emotions of judgment, hatred, jealousy, envy, lust or covetness.   Those thoughts can be Satan's or the voice of our flesh.  

So, how do we begin to know what is God, what is the enemy and what is our flesh?  How do we sort through the craziness that sometimes goes on in our minds?  

We must learn to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (God's Word) and allow God's Word (His voice) to lead us in our thoughts, our speech, our actions and our deeds (in how we serve and bless others).  

We must truly learn how to slow down, "catch" the thought and examine it in the light of God's Word.

This picture below is one of the many tools I use when training people on Hearing the Voice of God and on learning to live life from the voice of God.  

It is something I use in my prayer time when I listen to the Lord as well. 

And I use it as a mental tool when praying for people. Over time, I have a mental checklist I go through when trying to discern the voice of God.  To discern His will.  And to discern the fruit of God's Spirit. 

One of the object lessons ... I have done when teaching both adults and children this lesson on Hearing God's voice has been to use baseballs.  I would get many baseballs and I would write words or phrases that represented thoughts.  I would write ...

1) Godly thoughts/words on them  

2) Satanic or evil thoughts on them 

3) Fleshly thoughts on them .... like in the clouds pictured below.

I would then throw the balls out into the audience and show people how they need to "catch" a thought and really look at it (the ball) and hold it up to Scripture - before they decided to digest what was written on the ball.  Or - to make a decision or to do something with those words written on the ball (like doing something hurtful to someone else).

This is sort of what we need to do if we really want to listen to what God says in His Word - about taking EVERY thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  What does this really mean?

It means, we pay attention to every thought.  We slow down and listen to the chatter going on in our minds.  And if a thought about a circumstance, a person, a church, a leader, a business (anything in life really) ... does not align with God's heart (His Word) - then we must discipline our spirits, our hearts, our soul, our mind ... to reject or push aside that which is not God in our thinking (thoughts will lead to actions if we allow those ungodly thoughts to linger and take up residency in our minds).

Think of these clouds below as the baseballs - filled with words or thoughts that bombard your mind all day long.  They could be thoughts about someone specific.  

What are the thoughts or what balls are being thrown at you that is leading your life right now and how you live our your Christian faith with others?  

You will be surprised once you start paying attention to your thought life - on how much garbage we allow to linger there.  Thoughts that lead us down a pathway of negativity, grumbling and death.  Thoughts that are trying to lead us away from God's best plan for our lives.  

How do we clean out the gunk in our minds?  Slowing down to pay attention to your thought life.  Start rejecting the thoughts that do not align with God's Word for you and for others.  Period.  Then, use the broom of the Holy Spirit to push those thoughts out of your mind and out of your life - so that God and His God's Word remain! 

This is much easier said than done.  But it becomes easier the more you learn God's Word, the more you meditate on Scripture - the more you will know God's voice versus that of our flesh or of the enemy.  Over time, you will become stronger and able to resist the thoughts that are not leading you towards LIFE.

I hope this picture blesses you as you seek to live life FROM God's voice!  Bringing LIFE to every single person you touch!   

May you be blessed as you purse to live life FROM God's Spirit. Much love and peace in Jesus to you today!  

 - Muah! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Partnering with the Holy Spirit Changes Everything by Victoria Boyson

Blessings Beloved Friends!

Well, the enemy certainly doesn't want me to post this article today.  I spent a good few hours preparing this blog and writing some thoughts on it and presto - it disappeared out of no where.  Frustrating at first until I realized God must really want me to post it. 

So, here I am re-posting it and asking the Holy Spirit to help lead me in doing so!  I knew He wanted me to post this - I just didn't ask for Him to protect it as I did it!

A friend forwarded this article to me this morning.  As soon as I read it, my heart resounded with a loud YES!  I really do think this is something that is on God's heart.  It is the very thing I am most passionate about - training, equipping, coaching, developing and maturing people in the gifts of the Spirit. 

We truly can't be great at something unless we learn, train and practice on how to do something well.  I have been enjoying watching my son play basketball.  He is now 6'5", 16 years old and is in another growth spurt. This kid loves basketball and God is so glorified when he plays.  

And while God has given him some great gifts and talents, my son has seriously taught me what inner discipline looks like.  He studies the great players, watches what they do and then he, on his own effort goes and trains for hours each day.  He has looked up the training methods for those who have truly succeeded in their game.  His vertical leap is amazing and he is dunking flawlessly now (both head on and even backwards)!  He was even told by a leader in his school that he needed to "smile" more on the court because he just looked to intense and serious.  This comment threw his game off for a while until he realized (with our help and coaching) that he needed to play the game the way God created him to do it.  He also had voices of other team-mates telling him to stop shooting when his game was hot, out of jealousy.  They would literally tell him to stop trying to be "the superstar".  That was no where in my son's heart but that is how the enemy was working to try to shut him down.  They said this to try to stop the flow of God in him.  My son has learned how to stay focused on his game and he has learned how to master him mind, how to push off words of death and negativity and how to encourage himself - despite opposition from those closest to him.  I am SO proud of the man of God that he is! 

The lesson here - even if God has given us spiritual gifts, talents and strengths, we need to steward what God has given us well.  We need to learn how to deal with the hatred of other people and Christians.  Who "say" they are for our best but in reality, something deeper is lurking below in their hearts.

This is what I love to do in discipling people - equipping and empowering people in such a way that they bring spiritual health to others and not death! 

To me, a real leader doesn't lead as a king, they lead as one who seeks to empower everyone (as Jesus did).  To teach them how to be led by God's Spirit and to live life FROM God's voice.  These are two radically different ways of doing life and ministry.  One is Spirit and the other is what people would call "soulish".

In my 20 years of ministry, I have seen so much devastation due to the things she addresses in this article.  I have seen leaders and people taken out of ministry because of the hatred inside of Christians.  This is a hatred that is so subtle, but it really is alive in our hearts.  It is time we look deeper into the things that motivate us and drive us.  

It comes out in the words that we say, the things that we pray, the emails that we send, the ways we avoid people we don't like, the ways we mock people behind closed doors, the ungodly conversations during church leadership meetings when we "say" we need to talk about these things in order to pastor people well.  If we listen well, we can hear it in the words that we pray.

I remember one time, I was soaking in a prayer room that was streaming IHOP from Kansas City.  There was such a sweet presence of God in the room.  And then, the devotional worship set switched to what is called an intercession set.  An intercession set is one where people come up from the audience to pray for certain topics. 

I was not paying very close attention because I was journalling at the time but my heart could feel God's presence in the room.  But within a few moments of this new set starting ... someone got up to pray from the audience at IHOP and they began to pray about abortion.  Suddenly what was once a sweet presence of God in the room - changed drastically!  

This woman praying began to release massive amounts of condemnation and judgment upon those who had abortions.  The words of her mouth were overflowing from her heart.  The amount of judgment in her shifted the room from life to death by the power of her words and the power of her prayers. 

What is in our hearts really DOES matter! (Proverbs 18:21).  This was one of my first times where I saw both the life-giving power of God's Spirit and the forces of hell at work - side by side.  I ended up painting (for fun) a picture of it - to remind me how God's Spirit and darkness can often operate in the same room.  Maybe not at the same moment in time - but they both can be present. 

Here is the picture I painted.  When I painted it, I sobbed.  It reminded me of how life-giving that worship was and also, how dark and mean-spirited were the words of the woman who hated people who had abortions.

This is why TRAINING, EQUIPPING and DEVELOPING people in the gifts of the Spirit is key to the spiritual health in an organization.  Without it, people will use their spiritual weapons to hurt others.  

This is why transformation from the inside out - is key to using these gifts in a God-honoring, life-giving way!  We all should be about the pink not about the black! (myself included in this exhortation).

Sometimes, we make decisions that affect people's lives without ever really stepping back long enough to ask God if HE is the one behind a decision or if it is a work of our flesh or our inability to slow down to really lead and mature someone else - either in their character, their gifting, or their calling.  If they don't fit in our vision, we fail to ask God what HIS purpose is for this individual. We fail to steward a sacred soul well.

I've seen people fired and let go in ministry situations where someone was told they weren't anointed or skilled in a certain area.  But rather than to realign them into their God-given calling or to invest into them in the areas where they need to grow, they let people go rather than to really invest into the life of one of God's most sacred souls (person).

Now, I am not saying there is not a time or a place for person to need to be let go in a church situation - what I am saying - there is a God honoring way to do it.  A way that speakings LIFE into an individual and leads them down God's best path for their life.  A way that says thank you to someone for their all their heart felt service, a way that honors the LIFE of God's most sacred soul.  A way that still communicated with them once they have moved into a new area of life and ministry - that communicates their life is still valuable in God's eyes.  There should never be sides in God's Kingdom - for we are all His children and we are all fighting against the Kingdom of Darkness.  

There is such a line between what is good and honorable and glorifying to God and what is not. We need to find this line - with God's help and grace.

I have never read anything by Victoria Boyson nor do I know what she believes theologically.  However, as I mentioned to you all in my Welcome page - I really am a Christian mutt.

Whenever I read anything - I keep an open heart and mind.  I don't read something to prove an author or speaker right or wrong.  I read or I listen openly and ask God to speak to me.  I then, search the Scriptures for God's heart on any given matter.  

When I read this article this morning, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to post it as my blog today.  I felt she had some great thoughts to ponder when it comes to being led by God's Spirit or by our flesh and our selfish ambition.

Scripture is very clear - selfish ambition will open up the door to all sorts of demonic activity in our lives, in our homes, in our businesses, in our marriages, in our church relationships and in how we lead others.  Self is at the center of all arguing. 

But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth.
This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal).
For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).
James 3:14-17 AMP

By Victoria Boyson

"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" Romans 8:26-25.

Saturated with jealousy, Satan has been consumed by his lust for power. God created humans and chose to give them a free will. Satan continually, without rest, pushes to steal that free will away from God's creation. He will stop at nothing to gain power over humanity. Through his unquenchable thirst for power, he's ravaged the earth in his war for dominance.

Satan coveted what belonged to God and fell from the exalted position God had given him. He burned with envy then and has not changed his tactics since this war began. He is still emboldened by jealousy - it's the way he works - he can't stand for you to have anything God wants to give you.

While subverting our destiny, Satan seeks to align us with his twisted agenda. When we open ourselves up to trying to control others, we allow the enemy to use us. It must give Satan great pleasure to use us, the humanity God loves, as a weapon against the Father's own Kingdom.

The strongholds of evil that we allow to have place in us can so easily beset us from the plans and purposes of God. So, like the generations before us, we must wage war for the control of our own hearts.

Every time we allow control, manipulation and accusation to work through us, we are being used by the enemy and opening the door for Satan's traits to take hold in us. Even our thoughts against a brother can generate demonic energy that draws demons to us to use us. If we give him an open door by our hatred, we send him an invitation tohate through us.

Who's Controlling Who?

We all have choices to make in this life and for those choices we will definitely be held accountable. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). We will have to answer for every word we speak (Matthew 12:36).

The enemy wants to use us to hurt one another. Taking full advantage of any open door available to him, he pressures and manipulates people into becoming what he is. Molding them, he uses them as tools to work for his evil schemes and, though they feel like they have control, they are ultimately the ones being controlled.

Those who are driven to control or manipulate are themselves being controlled and manipulated as well, yet, they may not even realize they are. They don't understand why they have the feelings of jealousy or competition toward others, but they are pressured, even tormented, by their emotions. They are led from irritation, to offense, suspicion, anger and hatred, resulting in acts of cruelty they would not normally allow themselves to practice - at all costs, they want to dominate and they want to win.

What they don't realize is that as with all competition, as they are winning, someone else has to lose. It's this general process that should raise red flags in our heart that somewhere we've gotten off from God's design.

Soulish Prayers

Many years ago, I was invited to join a prayer group. At the time, I remember thinking the people in the group seemed so super spiritual, real "hard-core" intercessors - I was impressed. Plus, they flattered me and expressed their desire to have me with them and even their great need for my participation. It was all quite tempting for me at the time.

Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to seek the Lord before joining them. I naturally thought any prayer group would be of God. Looking back however, I can see Father God was trying desperately to stop me. I had no idea, but He knew that I was walking into a trap. I was young, inexperienced and gullible. I fell for it - hook, line and sinker! Sigh.

At the meeting, the person in charge began to talk about a woman who was not in attendance. They wanted prayer for her, but went on and on about how "wrong" this woman was, until we were all fired up with fear-laced determination to pray for her. The only problem was, instead of praying for, we were actually led to pray against her, to rebuke her, as if she were the enemy. What we were praying were soulish prayersof control and condemnation.

I don't think most Christians realize what the outcome of soulish prayers are or that they even exist and so fall prey to using them. Soulish prayers are prayed from a selfish, self-seeking attitude, to get what they want, even revenge. Unfortunately, some prayer meetings seem more like complaining and whining meetings, and prayer itself is only an after thought if someone insists that it's done.

In short, soulish prayers are man's attempt to use human power from the soulish realm (mind) to manipulate and control another human person or organization through prayer. The problem with that is that God refuses to be a part of controlling His creation. It's not that He couldn't, He just will not. Our ability to choose is extremely important to Him.

So, if you are trying to control someone through prayer, trying to force them to do something you want them to or think they should, God will not be a part of it. He won't answer your prayer, but the spirit of control will. The spirit of control loves to be party to such actions, along with his friends, condemnation, guilt, fear, self-hatred, discouragement and his many other cohorts.

Soulish prayers do have power. God may not answer them, but Satan will. This releases an onslaught of witchcraft against the person targeted for prayer. They can feel an unexplainable spiritual/demonic heaviness/depression, they suffer from feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy and guilt and condemnation - nightmares, headaches, illnesses or unexplainable accidents.

Prayers prayed in an attempt to control another are prayed out of a spirit of control usually with pressure from fear, jealousy and accusation. So, naturally it is these evil spirits who will target the person they're attempting to control.

The enemy is sneaky. He likes to make us think we are working for God when, in actuality, we're working for Satan. He will target those who do have a genuine intercessory gift. Because he lacks the authority himself, he has to use those who do.

The enemy really has learned no new tricks. He uses good, religious acts like prayer meetings. Yes, nothing is off limits; he will pervert anything to try and bring destruction into our lives. And the negative power of soulish prayers is real. Indeed, it produces a curse, not a blessing.

Yes, we are called to pray for those who are in genuine sin, through faith to see them come back to God. However, the Holy Spirit will not empower any prayers motivated by jealousy, selfishness or any fleshly attitudes (unforgiveness, anger, criticism or self-righteousness)... but the enemy loves them. Soulish prayers will not bring the results you desire, but will only add even greater difficulty for the one you are praying for and unleash hardness in your own heart.

Out of anger, fear or frustration, many pray to try to force something to happen. But what they don't realize is demons are taking full advantage of their frustration. The kingdom of darkness set them up to use them to hurt the victim of their soulish prayers as well as themselves. So, you may be praying for someone to do something you think they should, but what is actually happening is demons are sent to harass and condemn the person you are praying for. Our struggle is with the evil principalities in this world, taking authority over them(Ephesians 6:12). We do not wrestle with people - we love them. And through this love we show we belong to God (John 13:35).

The enemy has his own agenda and will not accommodate yours - soulish prayers will not get you what you want. No, in fact, quite the opposite, they will destroy your life. They feed off your negative attitudes, words and thoughts. The Word says you must "humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Our Teacher, Comforter and Friend

God has set up His laws for prayer in His Word and even warns us that we're not to deviate from it or even our prayers can become an "abomination to Him" (Proverbs 28:9).

Maybe your thinking "Hey! I can ask anything in His name and it's mine!"

The Lord knew the weakness of our hearts and gave us a Teacher, Comforter and Friend to guide us through prayer. It is only by being submitted to the Holy Spirit and through Jesus that we can pray effectually. Only with the Holy Spirit's help can we pray with genuine authority.

"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" Romans 8:26-25.

Through Jesus, we have access by one Spirit - Holy Spirit - to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). To pray effectually and to guard against soulish prayers, we must wage war and seek to protect our hearts from the sneaky attitudes of the flesh. To guard against the enemy's manipulation of our prayers, we must ask for the Holy Spirit's help.

God has designed prayer to be a partnership of His Holy Spirit and our spirit. He's done this to draw us near to Him. We need Him and He knows it more than we do. Like children, we wander off on our own. It's His mercy that we can only do "all things through Him" (Philippians 4:13). And it's through humility and purity of heart that we can flow withthe Holy Spirit. Remember: He's our teacher, we're the student.

I'm sure you are like me and you don't want to give the enemy any help. So, our prayers should sound something like this:

- Holy Spirit help me to pray! (and let Him cleanse you from any wrong motives or attitudes).

- Father, thank you for __________. Thank you that they are a blessing, they are loved of God and are destined for great things in Christ. I thank you Lord that Your will will be accomplished in their life.

Genuine thanksgiving and appreciation for a person are absolute prayer transformers! They can transform your heart and mind and will open the door for the Holy Spirit to fill you with genuine love for them. Soulish (control and accusation) prayers, are relationship destroyers -thanksgiving and appreciation are relationship restorers.

The Greatest Prayer

The greatest prayer you will ever pray for anyone is: THY WILL BE DONE! This simple, genuine prayer works like an explosion of grace and transformation in the spirit realm. By praying this and truly desiring to see HIS will overtake their lives, you will align yourself with your beloved heavenly Father and make His heart glad. You will feel the rest and confidence of trust rightly placed.

Jesus trusted His Father. He knew that God's will was always good, always right and always what He needed, even when it's difficult. So, Jesus put His life in His Father's hands on the night before His crucifixion and prayed: "not my will, but yours done" (Luke 22:42).

He showed us how to pray with the same beautiful, surrendered trust, but also with magnificent fire! Like an unassuming bomb, Jesus said, "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

Do you understand what you pray when you pray this prayer?

Think of what heaven is like! When you pray this, you release all God is and all He wants for us into the life of the person you are praying for. It's a glorious prayer that is never denied. When you truly want what He wants, He answers it, because He's waiting for you to ask Him to give you His will. He loves you and His will is always in your best interest - you can trust Him.

Do you need a miracle? Put a smile on your face and turn your face to heaven and say with great confidence in His unfailing love, "Father, let Your will be done!"

Please pray with me:

Dearest Father, please forgive me for any soulish, un-Godly prayers I have prayed. Please guide my prayers and make them what You need them to be. I don't want to be out of Your will, I want to live in You - completely enveloped by Your Holy Spirit. I need You!

I surrender any harmful emotions, any anger or fear and I ask You to uproot any controlling spirits or tendencies in me - I want to be completely Yours. Help me to close all doors to the enemy. I renounce any untruths I have aligned with. Protect all that You've birthed in me. Make me strong IN YOU!

Help me to forgive those who've prayed against me. Give me Your forgiveness for them  -  I choose to forgive them! And give me YOUR LOVE for them.

In Jesus' name, I come against every word-curse or soulish prayer prayed against me and I cancel its assignment against me. In Jesus' name, it will have no power to affect me in any way, shape or form. I declare it will not manifest in my life at all! Please, Lord, restore my soul.

Father, I ask that You would deliver those caught in the bondage of control. Redeem them and restore them - restore their soul. Pour out Your love on them and help them to fulfill their destiny in You. Make us one, Lord - one with You and in You and may we truly become a glorious, radiant example of Your goodness and power!
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.