Friday, September 11, 2015

It's Time to Dive In!

At the beginning of the year God gave me a word for 2015. I knew the word was for my family and me but I also felt it was for many more so I shared it on my blog:

Rivers are About to Spring Forth!

The Word that God gave me was based on the following passage of scripture:

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.

When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. Ezekiel 47:1-9

As I mentioned in my original post one of the things that I felt God was saying through this passage is that the increased blessing and anointing would come gradually throughout the year. Just like Ezekiel went first to his ankles, then knees, then waist, and finally to where it was too deep to cross so would we be brought in to gradually increasing levels of this new place with Him. I know that my family and I have experienced some of this already over the course of the year and I hope you have as well. But now, as the year comes closer to it's end, it's about time for us to dive in!

Diving in can be scary!

Think about the analogy in Ezekiel. When you are going through a river there is a certain amount of safety in having your feet on the ground. This is especially true if the river is moving rapidly. The more you have sure footing the safer you are, but once you dive in you're at the mercy of the rapids. 

Diving in means allowing the river to take control!

So the decision now is up to us. When it comes to the blessing and anointing of God there are a lot of people who are happy with waist deep. Waist deep is still safe. Maybe they occasionally will bend down and get their heads wet but they never give up their footing. They never give up their plans. 

God is calling you to give up your footing!

You will never fully experience His presence and anointing until you let go of control. You will never experience all that He has for you until you are willing to let go of your own plans. God is ready to bless you abundantly but is asking you to trust Him completely.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, September 10, 2015

God is Seeking Intercessors

This is a follow up post from my post on September 5th:

Since I writing that post I had two things encourage me as to how true it is. The post was based on Ezekiel 22:30:

"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one."

After writing this post I had the opportunity to have a date night with my wife and we went to see the movie "War Room".  War Room was the #1 movie in the box office for Labor Day weekend and it is all about the power of prayer. In the movie Miss Clara is an elderly lady who is teaching her real estate agent how to fight for her marriage the right way. The movie is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14:

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Then just yesterday morning I met with a friend who I hadn't had a chance to meet with for a while. In talking he mentioned how he had been repenting for his city and for his nation in prayer. This is the kind of intercessor we need. We need people to step up and take on the issues in our nation in prayer! We need people who are willing to fight in the spirit realm to make way for the physical realm. 

Here are some previous posts I have written in regards to this topic:

God is seeking intercessors! Will you answer the call?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Are You the One God is Searching For?

"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one."
Ezekiel 22:30

Will you stand in the gap?

It is interesting that this statement says nothing about bringing people to repentance. We know from the rest of the Bible that God desires all men and women to repent (2 Peter 2:9) but here He doesn't mention that he was searching for someone who would bring people to repentance. He also doesn't say that He was looking for a political activist who would change the laws of the country in order to keep that country from being destroyed. He was simply looking for someone to "stand in the gap". What does that mean?

"Stand in the gap" is the literal definition of the word intercession.

God was looking for an intercessor. Basically He is saying that there was a gap created by the sins of the nation between Him and His people and gaps between us and God always lead us on a path of destruction. This is why God was looking for an intercessor, someone who would bridge that gap through prayer by interceding for the nation, for the land but sadly He was not able to find one. Because of this the nation continued on a path to destruction. Later in the story we see that an intercessor rose up in Ezra and Nehemiah and the nation was eventually restored but it was forced to go through destruction because at the time God could find "no one".

Are you standing in the gap for your nation?

Bringing this idea to today in our setting, it is easy to see the United States on a path towards destruction. Facebook is blown up by political posts about various laws that are being past which are against the moral code of Christianity and how we need to petition agains these laws. We do not have a shortage of political activists, petitioners, and complainers in the Church today, and yet we are still losing ground. Why?

We have a shortage of intercessors!

In the time of the early church the government was extremely immoral. At times it was so against Christianity that they would kill Christians any time they got a chance, yet the church thrived and grew and became the largest influence in that society. There are probably several reasons for that but I believe the most important reason is that they had intercessors. We constantly see examples in the book of Acts of the church having serious, intense times of intercession. There intercession was so genuine that it got results even when they didn't have much faith in their own prayers (Acts 12:13-16). We need to return to this type of intercession.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mental Health and Christianity

As I have shared in some of my previous posts God has been leading me to a realization that my calling to ministry is to be partnered with a calling to mental health. This partnership between Christian ministry and an understanding of mental health is something that is highly needed and often missing in the church. On the other hand, the understanding of the spiritual realm is almost completely missing from the mental health field. I am not yet an expert in psychology and my formal education is limited to a high school Intro to Psychology course that I took 13 years ago, but I do have almost seven years of experience working with clients who have an SPMI diagnosis. I also partner that with an extensive knowledge of the Bible and many years of experience in Christian ministry. So that being said I thought I would address some issues I feel are keeping the church and the mental health field separate:

Science vs. Religion:

The underlying issue of it all is the constant conflict between science and religion. Psychology is considered a social science and psychologists consider themselves to be scientists. Scientists tend to think that science and religion are opposites and can not work together. Because of this many Christians are wary of anything with the title science. This is seen throughout all scientific fields including psychology.

The Issue of Demon Possession:

Many Christians often assume that mental illness is an automatic sign of demonic possession, this is not always the case. However psychologists seem to generally deny the spiritual aspect all together. Just like with bodily illness, mental illness is sometimes directly connected to demonic possession or oppression and sometimes it is simply a sickness, which is just a less direct attack from the enemy. Either way God's power can come in and free the person of that. But, as with sickness, sometimes God works through proven methods of treatment in order to bring healing. Just like he might work through a doctor to bring healing to the person with cancer, he might choose to work through psychiatrists and therapists to bring healing to the person with schizophrenia or severe depression.

On the other hand, there is clear evidence in the scriptures of actual demonic possession and I believe that does happen today and can manifest in a similar manner as mental illness. This is why a Christian working in the mental health field needs to have their spirit attuned to the Holy Spirit and should ask for the gift of discerning of spirits. If you do not have the gift of discerning of spirits, or you are not sure that it is demonic possession it is best to treat it as mental illness. I have met people who were literally scarred for life by churches, who probably meant well,  attempting to cast out a demon when there wasn't one there to be cast out.

Mental Health Awareness:

Overall my point for writing this post, as disorganized as it may be, is just to help spread awareness. Statistically mental illness is a lot more prevalent than most of us realize. Many people are only exposed to the idea of mental illness when the media discusses the latest mass murderer but the majority of mental health clients are just people living their life like you and me. They just have an extra hindrance to fully enjoying that life which they are learning to cope with and to overcome.  We as the church should be looking out for these people because we have a hope through Jesus Christ that the mental health psychologists and psychiatrists don't necessarily have. through Christ we can help bring joy to the severely depressed, peace those with mood disorders, and deliverance to those with schizophrenia or other mental illness.