Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Counseled By The Spirit

Today I wanted to share an experience I had yesterday during my time writing in my journal.  For me, my journal is the place where I meet with God, my "secret place", if you will.  It's where I both pour out my heart to Him and hear what He has to say, and it's where I pray whatever is on my heart.

For quite a while now I have been trapped in a cycle of resentment and unforgiveness toward someone from my past.  I've blamed them for things that both happened in the past and for things that effect me now, and I have repeatedly forgiven them, (or at least said I forgave them) because the unforgiveness was eating me up inside, and keeping me in bondage to things I just didn't want in my life.  But no matter how many times I tried to forgive them and move forward, I could not rid myself of the resentment I felt.  And every time I would sit down to write the hurt and anger would pour out of me onto the paper, a constant reminder that I hadn't actually successfully forgiven them.

Yesterday, I sat at my computer and wrote, and again, the hurt poured out from my fingers onto the page.  And in the midst of the pain, I cried out to God.  "Lord, please, I can't seem to really forgive this person!  Please help me - I don't want to hold on to this any more!"  And He answered, and His response surprised me - He told me to break an unhealthy soul tie with that person.

Now, if you are anything like me, you've heard a lot about soul ties in relation to sex outside of marriage.  Breaking soul ties, to me, seemed kind of silly, actually.  It had always seemed like something that was a "formula" created by man to give us something we could do to feel like we were free.  It never seemed like it actually did anything.  But by inspiration of Holy Spirit, I did just what He asked - I renounced the soul tie that had formed and thanked Jesus that it was completely broken.

Literally, in an instant, the hurt and anger and resentment that I had held against this person for years was gone.  Just, GONE.  I again forgave this person for the past, and instead of just saying I forgave them, I actually felt forgiveness rise up in me.  I started the prayer one way, feeling like I was never going to be able to let the hurt and anger go, and at the end, was completely free of it all.  Not only was I not holding things from the past against them, I was able to examine the things that had happened and see them with new eyes.  See that those thing which were hurtful had nothing to do with me, or my value.  My worth in God's eyes had nothing to do with this person's treatment of me in the past.

But the funny thing is that I would never have prayed to break a soul tie on my own - it was only though surrendering my own efforts in fixing this situation that I was able to hear what God needed to tell me.  He knew what was needed for me to be free - I did not.  And that makes me wonder, how many situations are we in that Holy Spirit wants to help us out of, but we're too busy trying to fix it ourselves to listen?  I had done what books, pastors and friends had told me to do.  I had forgiven this person, multiple times.  But I did not have the capacity to forgive because of the unnatural bond that had been created years ago, and Holy Spirit knew that once that was dealt with, everything else would fall into place.  But I had to get to the point where I stopped doing what other people told me would fix the situation and instead hear what God was saying.

So, what if we all stop trying to follow the "method" for a moment and really pay attention to what God is telling us to do?  Instead of reading a book that tells me how someone else got their breakthrough, maybe I should ask Holy Spirit to show me what I need to do to get MY breakthrough.  I am really starting to believe that He does know what is best for us, after all. 

Father, I pray today that we have open ears to hear what You are speaking.  I ask that everyone reading be able to hear and respond to what You are telling them to do about every situation in their lives.  I thank you Father, that we can find exactly what we need when we hear Your voice and stop listening to the many voices around us vying for our attention.  I pray for open ears and open hearts for Your people, God.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Individual Gifts and Talents

Today I've been thinking about the charismatic church experience, which is what I'm most familiar with, and something has been highlighted to me by Holy Spirit which I never quite saw this way before.  Here's the scripture that got me started down this road:

"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly." -Romans 12:4-8

We are each part of the body of Christ.  We each have special gifts and talents, and we each need to be equipped to fulfill our particular role.  We are not supposed to fulfill the same role many times over, we are each called to be something different from anyone else around us.  We say we understand this, and yet how much of the time are we comparing ourselves to each other?  We see someone touched at the altar and think that they have something that we don't have because they fell down under the anointing of the Spirit and we didn't.  Or they gave a word in tongues and interpreted during a church service and we've never done that, so we think they are some how better than we are, more loved by God, more anointed, etc.  We think that in order to be more valuable in the Kingdom of God we need to do what someone we look up to is doing.

And yet, in this passage of scripture, some of the gifts listed don't seem that impressive.  Prophesy, yes, that's something we all want and go after.  But serving others?  Like, offering to clean the church, or working in the kitchen, or watching the babies while their parents are in the main church service?  Encouraging others?  Giving? Showing kindness?  How are these important gifts? We don't see them as having value in the Kingdom of God because they seem too easy.  Out of the list of 7, we only think there is true honor in 3 of them: prophesy, teaching, and leadership, and somehow we think we have to fit ourselves into one of these 3 or we're not being effective for the Kingdom of God.  We all think in order to really do something for God we need to be a leader in some way.  We need to fall into one of the 5-fold ministry positions.  Usually the first thing someone who's on fire for God wants to do is go into full-time ministry.

Where did this idea come from?  Certainly not from God, because here equal value is placed on all the gifts, even those gifts that we think are easy, like encouraging others, or giving.  We have equated being effective for God as standing up in front of people.  You've "made it" if you've got a pulpit from which to speak.  But I don't need a pulpit to be a giver.  I don't need to pulpit to encourage others.  I don't need a pulpit to be kind to the people around me.  And apparently, to God, those gifts are just as vitally important as being a leader or a prophet.

So the question then is, when are we going to start valuing each other for what gifts and talents we are bringing to the Body of Christ?  And when are we going to see the value in ourselves?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

*Not a Real Post

This isn't a real blog post.  Today has been fairly busy - I had mentoring class this morning and then when I got home this afternoon my kids have been at each other (summer boredom comes around fast!), so I haven't had much time to gather my thoughts.  I figured I'd just get on and tell you about what I'm pondering about with God today, because that is as organized as it's going to get.

  1. What does it really look like to stand in faith?
  2. What does spiritual maturity really look like?
  3. How do we maintain our connection with God even when things get chaotic in our lives?
  4. How do we continue to support one another when prayers go unanswered?
I'm hoping that perhaps tomorrow I'll have something to say about at least one of these topics, because right now my thoughts are too muddled!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

God Isn't Repelled By Sin

I spend time pondering things, and one thing that has been on my heart is this: how we teach that God could have nothing to do with sin, so He sent Jesus for His sake, so He could accept us again.  Jesus, God in flesh, came into a depraved, sinful world.  He did not sin, but sin was all around Him, and He loved those who were still lost in their sin.  But if God could have nothing to do with sin, then why could He come in flesh into a world full of it?  And love those people?  Because if Jesus really was the express image of the Father, He is showing us that the Father loved us when we were full of the sinful nature and committing sin. Which of course it says in John 3:16.

Therefore, I don't think it was the Father that could have nothing to do with sinful people - it was sinful people who could have nothing to do with the Father, because His goodness in the midst of our depravity highlighted to us just how depraved we really were, and with that understanding came much shame, judgement, and condemnation of ourselves.  We saw just how filthy we were when we were in the midst of that kind of love and goodness.  No matter how much God loved us and desired to forgive us, He knew that we would always see ourselves filthy and ugly and naked and ashamed unless He gave us the right to see ourselves as fully forgiven, fully redeemed, fully holy, fully righteous.  We would not be able to forgive ourselves even if He forgave us - we would not be able to receive His forgiveness without a sacrifice.  And so He came - God on earth, as a man, the only one able to completely fulfill all the Law and redeem man from his own guilt and shame.  I think the price that Jesus paid wasn't to satisfy God - I think it was to satisfy us.  And how loving is that?  That God would do something for us that He didn't require for Himself.  He did this all for us.  And that, that right there, is what His Love is all about.

He came and gave of Himself not for His own benefit, but for ours, so that we could see ourselves as children of God instead of children of wrath.  So that when the enemy came and told us how awful and filthy and no-good we were, we could look at the point of the Cross and say with confidence "You are wrong - I am not those things because of what Jesus did for me.".  Jesus hanging on the cross is a picture of the love of God in action.

Father, thank you for loving us so much.  Thank you for the Jesus coming and giving us the right to see ourselves as You see us.  Open up our eyes to see just how loved we really are by You.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

God Didn't Screw Up

Here's something I just wrote in my journal:

"Trying to make yourself into someone you are not is like telling God He screwed up when He created you."

Over the last week or so Holy Spirit has really been focusing on the fact that Christians are not meant to be a homogeneous group of people.  We are not meant to fit into a mold of the "mature Christian" and all act, talk, walk, and look alike.  And yet the church has been trying to get us to all "fit the mold" for ages.  We look at the pastor, or elders, or someone held in high esteem in our local assembly, and think that we should just be more like them.  They say they matured in God because they got up early at 4 am and read their Bible and prayed for 3 hours before work, and we have one of two reactions.

Reaction #1 - "I want to be like elder so-and-so, so if they grew to maturity by doing this, then I'm going to do it too!"  

Reaction #2 - "I can't get up and spend 3 hours reading the Bible and praying.  I'll NEVER be able to have as close a relationship with God as elder so-and so!"

In both reactions we see maturity in God reduced to a formula - elder so-and-so did "x" and got "y" result.  Therefore, if I do exactly what they did, I will get exactly what they got, and if I do not, I will not.  We also see limited, worldly thinking, in that we are limiting God to doing things only one way, because that's the way that worked for someone else.  

The other thing that I see in this type of reasoning is that we tend to take someone else's experience and allow it to carry more weight than what God is speaking to us.  We take something someone else did under inspiration of Holy Spirit, and make it into a formula that will work for anyone.  Then if the formula doesn't work for us, we wonder what we did wrong, instead of understanding that we are all created to be different.

I have done this for years.  Literally.  I limited my relationship with God because I thought that to really get close to Him and and walk in unity with Him I needed to do x,y, and z, and if I couldn't make those things happen, then I was out of luck.  I thought I needed to do all these things in a certain way, whether those things worked in my life or not, or God would withhold part of Himself from me because I wasn't doing it "right".

The other thing I've fallen prey to is thinking that the people of God are all supposed to be outgoing, friendly, talkative, bold extroverts who are happy all the time and want to be going and doing for God all the time.  Are there some people who absolutely are this way?  Sure!  But when you are a shy, quiet, smart introvert and your only example of people on fire for God are bold extroverts, it's really easy to think that you are broken, or that you just need to pretend in order to be effective for God.  It's really easy to hate who you are because you are not able to make yourself into someone different.  It's also really easy to be jealous and envious of those people for whom being extroverted is natural.  Especially since there is such a push to go out and evangelize the world, which to most of us means going out and doing things that most introverts are VERY uncomfortable doing.  

But I'm coming to realize that if we are called to be parts of the Body of Christ, we each have an individual part to fill.  We each have our part to play, and we each have something that we contribute, whether we are a people-person or a book nerd, whatever our personality or home life, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  God is with us, and willing to reveal to us where we fit, if we just stop looking to others for answers and look to Him.  Holy Spirit will teach us not only who we are in Christ, but what we need to do to grow in Him, and what Christ looks like in US.

Father, I just ask for everyone reading today to get a fresh revelation of who You created them to be, and how You will use their gifts, talents, and abilities to transform the world around them.  I thank you Father that there is no one way, there are no limitations on You, and that You will work in our lives as we seek You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

*I apologize if this seems scattered today - I was having a difficult time getting the thoughts from my mind to the page, probably because I mostly likely could write a book on this subject!

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Greasy Grace" - Why I Don't Agree

Greasy grace - boy, do I hate that term.  It's most often heard from the people in the church who are most afraid that giving extravagant grace will allow people to just do whatever they want.  My question is, if it's the love of Christ that constrains us (2 Corinthians 5:14), then if someone is actually walking in relationship with God they won't want to do the things that we consider "sin".  Plus, we can't crucify sin without Christ - we don't have the ability or the power to do it for ourselves.  I can know that I shouldn't do something, and actually not want to do it, but trying to change in my own power and ability is virtually useless.  People don't like to preach that type of grace - that nothing is being held against you any longer and Christ has paid ALL THE PRICE needed for you to come into relationship with God - because of fear.  It's totally and completely fear based - if we tell people that they don't have to pay a price through their behavior then they won't change their behavior, and we'll have drunks and druggies and gays and all manner of sinner in our church!  Then we'll have to deal with these people in love!  And we'll need to explain their behavior to our kids!  It's fear of those different than us, and it's why we've tried to homogenize the church.  We've put forward the idea that we all need to look the same, act the same, follow the same rules, and then we can be unified in love.  But we aren't all the same.  We don't all have the same struggles, but we do all have struggles.  We all have areas of sin in our lives that we can not overcome unless Jesus helps us.  Things that we have tried to conquer on our own over and over and over again and failed miserably each time.  

The thing is that each failure actually tends to push us away from God instead of toward Him, because we feel like it's our responsibility to clean ourselves up to make us worthy of His attention and love.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The Father wants us to come with Him with a clear understanding that we can not fix ourselves, and submit ourselves to His love and mercy so that He, as the Master Potter, can.

Father, I ask today that you give us a more complete understanding of Your grace for us.  I ask for each reader that You come in and do the work in them that they can not do themselves.  We ask together that Your hands be on us, molding and shaping us into the people You created us to be.  And we thank you that there is NOTHING that can separate us from Your love and mercy.  Nothing stands in the way of our relationship with You in Christ.  Thank you for your love.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Holy Temple of the Lord

Today I feel like I need to do something a little different.  A couple of days ago, the Lord illuminated some scriptures in Ephesians and dropped some tidbits of revelation from them on me, and I'd like to share what He showed me with you.  First off, here are the scriptures for reference:

"God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself." - Ephesians 1:22-23 NLT

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." -Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT

"Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord." - Ephesians 2:20-21 NLT

So I've underlined the points in the scriptures that had jumped off the page at me, and here's the revelation as I wrote it in my journal:

We are God's masterpiece - we are made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things with himself.  We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.  

We are each individual bricks in the building of the Lord - God is creating and forming and putting us together in such a way that we make a holy temple for the Lord.  We are held together by Christ, who comes in and fills up our cracks and binds us together - He is the mortar which holds all of us (His church) together.  We are made a complete temple for God through Christ.  Without the mortar of Christ we would not be able to stand together, and in fact would not fit together, because he comes in and fills all the spaces and gaps between us.  Where we may not meet eye to eye with each other, Christ comes in and fills that gap so that we can be bound together in love.  He who is Love fills our gaps, so we need not be bound only with those who are similar to us, but those who are different can be built into the same structure, because He fills in all the areas where we don't meet.

A brick wall is built out of items of similar shape and size.  A stone wall is built out of separate pieces of stone which may not all be uniform, but are of the same type.  You would not mix bricks and stone, let alone bricks, stone, gravel, cinder block, etc. in the same wall.  But Christ fills our gaps and differences with Himself, and we who are varied and different can become a single structure, strong and bound together in love, without having to be similar.  God Himself knows where we fit in His masterpiece called the Body of Christ.  

The biggest thing I got out of this revelation is that we really don't need to be the same.  We are not called to be like anyone other than Christ, and in fact, the only requirement to do that is to be Love.  It doesn't mean conforming ourselves into carbon copies of each other, but to be fully ourselves, the person who God created.  We are each individual, unique, and yet, in Christ, we are bound together into something amazing.  Let's learn to be ourselves instead of trying to "fit" into a mold where we don't belong.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jesus Paid the Highest Price

I don't have a lot to say today.  My kids are all wound up and I've not had more than 5 minutes to myself since I got home from my class this morning, so hopefully I can quiet things down and focus enough to hear what Holy Spirit is speaking for everyone out there who's reading.  I know that Holy Spirit can work through me even in these types of situations, so I'm going to have to trust in faith that He'll give me what needs to be said.

Father, thank you for your presence.  I thank you that you have something to say to those who read this blog today, and I ask you to move in me and speak through me what you desire to say.  

"I love my children.  I am not angry with them, nor am I disgusted with the sin that plagues their lives over and over again.  Jesus came for them.  I sent Jesus to the cross because it was My good pleasure to do so for my kids.  I just desire that they come to Me, knowing I love them.  Jesus paid the price, He paved the way for you to run into My lap and for Me to be your Father.  He took all the blame, He paid every price necessary, so that you can walk into my presence clean, spotless, and holy.  Accept His sacrifice as payment for not just your sin, but your life.  Your life is not your own, but it is Jesus in you who lives.  Let Me live in you and through you in My power.  I hold nothing against you - I am for you."

I pray that this blesses you and accomplished what the Father intends.  In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hearing God's Voice

Since launching this out yesterday I have to say that God has been showing me and teaching me so much it's almost more than I can handle!  I feel like I've finally really found where I "fit" in the Body of Christ, and figuring out where I am gifted and anointed is amazing.

I wanted to share a little about how I get the word from God for the blog, because some of you may be wondering.  For me, I tend to "hear" Holy Spirit speaking to me, not as an audible voice, but inwardly, sort of out of the deep places in my thoughts.  I asked Holy Spirit to explain it to me so I could explain it to anyone reading here, and this is the example He gave me:

"I dwell in unity with your spirit.  I speak to your spirit, which in turn communicates these thoughts to the point where you spirit and soul (mind/will/emotions) meet, which is the subconscious.  The subconscious then communicates them to your conscious mind, so your "hear" them sounding like you.  This is why many people are hearing My voice, but think it's their own thoughts, or question whether it's Me speaking to them. The more you practice hearing me, the more you recognize my voice, and the more you can tell the difference between your own mind speaking and Me."

So that is how I hear God's voice primarily, although there are times when I get impressions, feelings, or even whole packets of information that do not come through that way.  I will say I have never audibly heard God's voice before, although I don't doubt that He could speak to me that way if needed.

Because I trust that what Holy Spirit is saying to me is from Him, being practiced in hearing Him, when I write out whatever He has to say for the day I will most likely not edit it (except for spelling and punctuation) unless He tells me to clarify something as I'm reading through.  I trust that He's saying what needs to be said.

So, Father, I ask you now what you have to say for each person who reads this today.

"Love is the word for today.  Love - learn to love yourselves, for I have created you.  Learn to love those around you, for they are also Mine.  Love does not compare one to another - do not compare yourselves against each other, for out of this is all manner of jealousy and envy.  You only envy that which you think you can not have, you are only jealous of another when you feel that what you have is lacking.  See that I have given you everything you need.  See that the gifts, talents, and anointing on your life are perfect for your personality, your location, and the season of life you find yourself in.  I am growing you up into the fullness of who you are in Christ - do not despise the things I have given you.  Love yourself, and see yourself as I see you.  I desire to pour my Love into you today to illuminate your worth in Me.  Receive it, and be glad."

Father, I thank you so much for your words for today.  I ask that everyone who reads this receives it, and that it accomplishes everything you intended. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Format, same Mina

Today begins a new chapter in the life of this "unable to fly" blog.  God has really been speaking to me about writing in general, and about having a gifting and anointing as a prophetic scribe able to write down the things He's talking to me about.  He encouraging me both in my writing for personal use (my journal) and for the benefit of other people.  In the past I always felt like what I was writing here had to be about me - I had to somehow make my life meaningful to other people, or be able to teach through the stories of my life, or be at least entertaining in what I was writing.  But now I really feel like this blog, in all the years I've had it, has been building up to this.  Building up to a point where this vague urge to blog made sense.

So, I'm going to try to get on and write what God has for me to write once every day.  I feel that it's something He's urging me to do, both for my own benefit, and for the benefit of others.  It's not that I think that I have the only voice; obviously that's not the case.  Or that I'm looking for a title "Prophetic Scribe Mina".  But, if I've been gifted in this area, I desire to use it, instead of telling God that I'm not worthy of the gifts He's given me.  I've done that for too long.

I'll put the prophetic word for the day in italics, only so you can tell where my rambling breaks off and the voice of Holy Spirit begins.  I pray that whatever He has to say to those of you reading this edifies, exhorts, and comforts you.

July 8, 2013: 

"Today is the day for the new - new beginnings, new adventures, new relationships.  Today I have new things for my people - a new word if you take the time to hear it.  It's a day of refreshing those things which are old and bringing them into a newness of life.  Taking what seems to be falling apart and making  it shine with My glory.  Taking what seems hopeless and shining the light of hope upon it.  All those things which you thought were dead are now coming alive in My power.  Coming to life, from the brink of death.  Becoming exactly what I have planned for them.  It's a day for My breath to come in and breathe on those things which are dark and crumbling in your life.  Can I not do this?  Can I not bring life where there is death?  Can I not make right what is wrong?  Can I not make things switch in an instant?  My power raised Christ from the dead, and my Spirit, full of power, rests in you.  Let me make those dry things lush with new greenery.  Allow me to grow your garden into fresh, green sprigs.  Let me tend the dry places, the arid places, and make them lush and fertile again.  Today is the day for new rain to fall.  Today is the day for life to come.  Today is the day I have good things for you, if you dare to only believe."

Father, I thank you for these words.  And I pray, agreeing with everyone who will read this, that this is their day for the new in You.  I pray that the people that read this grab hold and run with it, knowing that these promises are for them, because they read it and received it with joy.  I thank you that they need only believe in your goodness to receive it.  I ask that everyone who reads this word would experience this newness and refreshing in their lives today.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

This is going to be the general format for the future, unless Holy Spirit instructs me otherwise.  I look forward to seeing where God is going to take me, as well as everyone who reads this word, directly from the Heart of the Father to his children.