Let Him Interrupt

His boy was finally home. The lost son had appeared around the bend. The dead – was now alive. It was celebration time! What a scandalous story of mercy, the Prodigal Son. This son as-good-as spit in his father’s face, asking for his inheritance early, left home and spent it in no time – frittering away his portion of what his father worked hard to earn. It wasn’t his remorse, actually, but his hunger pangs that drew him back home. Jesus tells the story with precision and purpose recorded in the gospel of Luke.

I am focusing today, on just a couple of moments in it, where he is sitting in shame and pig slop, considering the worst case scenario vs. the best. What to do. Do I dare return? If so, what would I have to say for myself? I’ll pick up the scripture in verse 18 of Luke 15, where the young man is thinking and planning it out:

“I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”

This is human reasoning. First admission. Confession. “I have sinned against God and against you.” And then there is an equating of that sin with a real felt unworthiness to continue as being counted a son, or heir. “I am no longer worthy of being called your son.” And his third statement is one of working to be accepted and to earn his keep at his father’s estate. He begs to be allowed to work there. “Please take me on as a hired servant”. Our equivalent of “Will Work For Food”.

It’s human nature to think you are unworthy of his goodness, his mercy, his love. Especially just after you’ve royally messed up. I urge you, let him interrupt you as you pray and reason. Let him stop you mid-sentence. Right there. And not allow you to finish your thoughts  – your “Please take me back, but only use me to serve you.” Your… “I will do all I can to please you God.” Your “I will read my Bible every day, now.” “I will volunteer at church consistently from now on.” “I will keep my promises to you.” “I will pray more.” “I will stop wasting time, money – my life.” “I will…”

What have you prayed?

Let’s pick back up in the story where he finally comes home – in his dirt and stench, with nothing left but poor reasoning and plans:

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]

And that is as far as he got. Because his compassion-filled father interrupted before he had the chance to say what he’d rehearsed in his mind – before getting to the big pull – what he thought would be the kicker – the deciding factor: “Let me work for you as a hired servant.”

But the good father interrupted – to speak to his servants, actually. The option, the plan his son had to work – to perform for a wage for his provision – was never even voiced, and certainly never considered:

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

May I suggest, that the Father – our Father in heaven – longs to interrupt your “I will…”‘s with his, “Quick!…” Notice in the passage above, where he interrupted. His son’s plan was:

1. confession 

2. declaration of unworthiness of son-ship 

3. proposition to earn his wage in order to eat

The father in the parable interrupts after #2. But make no mistake. It’s not because he agrees with #2 and just cuts him off before he gets to #3. He addresses the unchanging of his boy’s status as son first thing, when he says, bring the finest robe and get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. These were signs of this time, of dignity, wealth, authority and family identity. Of belonging, and the position of son, restored. And if that wasn’t implication enough, I see him (yelling excitedly over his shoulder), “this son of mine was dead and now has returned to life!” “This son of mine.” Well, that settles that. The father would never disown his son. No matter what. Nothing would change the relationship at least on the part of Dad. His love and bond were too strong. Even stronger than before!

So that leaves one element in the speech of the squanderer left unaddressed by his dad, #1, the confession of sin.

I believe that was intentional too. No need to bring up the sin and betrayal. To say, “I can’t believe you even bought prostitutes.” No need to talk about it at all. His son brought it up. That was all that needed to be said. Nothing more, nothing less on that. Perhaps because there really should be a humble admission – an honest confession.  But when that happens, it is usually evidence of a heart and mind already changed. Repentance. And that is the starting point for all renewal. All restoration. No need to take him by the arm, walk him back to the pig pen and rub his nose in the nasty pods. There was already repentance.

I know as a parent, I’ve been guilty of doing just that – bringing up the past – dragging my child through the details, even amidst an obvious broken and contrite heart. Why? Many times, I’ve even implemented some made-up punishment vaguely related to the wrong. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s my attempt at making sure they know the “depth” of wrong done so they aren’t tempted to go there again. But God is changing me. He’s softening my heart to be more like his. To reflect more mercy, more empathy. More like the father in this parable. It’s been slow, but I see some change.

If you read the rest of Luke 15, you’ll notice his son never bringing up the proposal again. Never bringing up the betrayal committed, the dishonor or the unworthy feeling he had still being considered a son. Because what his father said when he interrupted – this was the new narrative. This was truth. Identity. Significance. Purpose.

Whenever the voice of guilt turns to condemnation, or when your inner voice is declaring unworthiness of being a child of God, but only worthy to serve…

Whenever you feel like you need to perform for His approval, or work for a perceived view of your right standing, or keep doing more, more, more for His provision and sustenance, I implore you ~ repent. Change the way you think about Him.

Let Him Interrupt.

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I Healed… Wait… Was That Me?

A Little Background

This is a follow-up post to my last one about being extreme like Jesus was. I welcome feedback always, and love a healthy conversation. So since I did get a little feedback, I thought I’d address it, and go into a bit more detail on what I meant when I wrote the words toward the end, “I healed…”  Originally, I followed those words with 3 things that people I’ve come into contact with have been delivered or healed from, and then I wrapped the sentenced up with, “by the power of God”, to clarify that I did not for a second think anyone was being healed by my own…anything. Since it published, I reworded that sentence to read, “On the other hand, I’ve healed people solely by the power of God, from…” (You can find it just under the 2nd photo. It’s after that, where I list those few things).

I made that edit, moving the phrase “by the power of God” to right after “I healed” because I wanted to be extra clear about it. I know it wasn’t me who originated any healing. And yet, my spirit and individual conviction won’t allow me to change the first two words. So I had to ask myself why. Why not change them to “He healed…”? When first asked about it, what came to mind was how I knew that some of Jesus’ disciples used that phrase – that they healed.

I had a vague recollection that the writer of some stories in the gospels would say, “they healed, or he healed…” speaking of a disciple. I also thought Jesus commanded us to heal. I didn’t know where it all was written, or how frequently, but now I was curious. And curious as to why I felt so strongly.  I’ve been doing some digging ever since.

The rest of this blog post is scattered with the results of my research this past week. It was not my intent to prooftext, but to re-read the Word – the gospels and Acts specifically, each passage in context, like I’d guess the Bereans would.  My goal was to build confidence in what is true. And to find out if what I believe, that Spirit-filled followers of Jesus can heal, and it’s ok for them to say it, is true. If so, it will be laid out in scripture. And if so, nothing anyone says accusing me or any other spirit-filled, healing follower of Jesus, of being fake or self-righteous – should be inconsequential in light of the Word.

Why is This Important?

Here’s the crux of it, I think: Jesus healed everyone who came to him. He came to give life and life abundant. As he walked this earth’s soil, He was, and still is “The (capitol T) Healer”.  There was a transference of power to take place after he ascended. That even sounds wrong… because it’s not like he gave it up and was left with none. He just decided in his mercy and love to share the Spirit with us. Continually available. As a gift.

When he gave his life, he said “It is finished!” I believe that means Jesus accomplished all he came to earth to do. He was done. The prophecies about his life were officially fulfilled. His assignment to preach the kingdom of God was completed. For more on this, check out this sermon all about those three words, It Is Finished.

In completing his work, he yielded his life to the voice of his Father at every turn. The result was salvation. Freedom. Healing. Forgiveness. Righteousness. Peace. Joy in the Holy Spirit (and more). The result that was all-encompassing, was the restoring of people everywhere, back to the Father and the Father’s original design.

Remember when he breathed on his disciples and told them to receive the Holy Spirit (in John 20)?  This was the passing of the power. The handing off of the torch of authority! It makes my heart leap with joy that He would love and trust humanity that much.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Cause I Have The Same Power

When Jesus left this earth, he said that we would do even greater things than he. Super hard to believe. But I will. Because he said it. Because everyone who believes and follows Jesus from that point on in history has received the Holy Spirit of God. That same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead – now lives inside every true believer (Romans 8:11) living in and empowering each one to do the same, or even greater miraculous works than he did, all done to authenticate his message and give him glory.

NOT only did we get the same Spirit, but John says that God does not give the Spirit by measure. And if he meant that about Jesus, he also meant it about those who Jesus passed his Spirit on to. We have 100% availability to the fullness of the Spirit. Another way of saying it is, it is always near, or “at hand“, for us.

When Jesus sent out 72 disciples (recorded in Luke 10:9) he told them to “heal the sick in that town…”  then added, “and say to the people there, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near you.’” It was a purposeful instruction to declare His Kingdom was near everyone whose health was restored. Jesus gave them a lot of instructions, actually. I counted: these two were #9 and #10 out of 11 of them.

After the 72 returned, they were stoked with excitement and joy because of all the things they were able to do, “even the demons obeyed us when we gave them a command in your name!” Then he says to them, eight verses later, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Listen! I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the Enemy, and nothing will hurt you.  But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.” My husband reads that last part as: take the authority I’ve given you over Satan. Use it without fear. But stop focusing on all the spiritual warfare and demonic stuff. Focus instead, on what you DO have. Life and life, eternal.  

The jaw-dropping feats he accomplished while physically here…he expected and commanded his disciples to do too, and to continue doing even after he ascended. His time on earth was so limited, and the only way his works would continue to change and impact human lives here would be if humans did those works, in a sense, on his behalf. If we did them by his Spirit in us, and in the authority (Luke 10:19) of his name. There must be something about person-to-person, flesh-and-blood interaction. Maybe it derives from his nature to esteem relationship.

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, knew there would be no way man could accomplish miracles on their own. Miracles are supernatural: supra (above) naturalis (natural), or beyond (our laws of) nature. It is beyond human nature to walk on water, read minds, heal another human with a single touch or word. Yet he commands it. Again and again.

Cause Jesus Said To

In the beginning of Matthew 10, it says, “Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness. This is also recorded by Mark a few places. And Luke writes, “Then he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick…” He added that the twelve left preaching the Good News and healing people everywhere.”A few verses later, Jesus tells them to go to the lost sheep and preach that the kingdom of heaven is near. And he says, “Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons.”  He follows it all with, “Freely you received, now freely give”. In another passage that is escaping me, he says, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go…” as if to say, God gave this to me, I give it to you, so strengthen yourself in it and go! I’m with you. Here’s your green light! Go! In the passages above, Jesus…

a.) gave them authority, and 
b.) told them to do these things.

I am convinced that he:

a.) still gives his followers authority (or has given) and 
b.) is still telling us to do these things.

The only difference is, he’s not in front of us. He’s now in us.

His Spirit who enable all these things, and gives us the grace and power to do every right thing, is at work IN US. But he will STAY in us, if we don’t take intentional steps of faith and action to let his power out.  That is why I still say, “I healed…” Because it is a co-laboring. A partnership. A major way he set up from the beginning, for his glory to be made known on the earth after his ascension.

His omnipotence bubbling over and spilling out, through our obedience to every-day commands to step out of our comforting natural and into the uncomfortable supernatural realm where miracles and healing take place. No wonder he’s left us with The Comforter. I get Paul as I read what he wrote to the Ephesians – that he prays that their minds would open to see…

how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength 20 which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world.

He was like, OPEN YOUR EYES, Ephesians! You believe, right? Look at how much power you have in you now! It’s the same power at work in each of you that was at work in Jesus himself, raising him back to life! Isn’t it crazy!? But yet, it’s true!

Cause We are Co-Workers with God Himself

Paul scolded the Corinthian church for having silly arguments about who they were “following”. As if the man is more important than the message. He states so on-point, that we are God’s co-workers. We labor alongside. We rub shoulders. We are His servants. He asks us to do something, and we are to do it. He’s not physically doing the doing part anymore. He’s gone. He’s doing it through his Spirit, giving and entrusting us with the great responsibility of representing him. So we now plant. We water. And He grows.  He always does the growing.

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.

It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field.

Paul states above, that the planter and the waterer work together with the Grower in the heart of man. And that they will be rewarded for their own hard work. What the most important part, I’m reminded, is that “God makes the seed grow”.

God makes the bone align. God makes the torn tendon repaired. God makes the cancer dissipate. God makes the marriage new. God makes the deaf hear. God makes. He restores. He heals. But because he no longer walks the earth, his #1 way to heal, is by empowering us to heal.  It’s like He initiated all growth, healing and life in Jesus.  And then assigned us to administer it. This requires our will, emotions, mind and consequently our actions fully submitted to Him. This is why when I talk about healing, I don’t just say I heal by his power, but sometimes I also say He heals through me. To me, because of how closely we are working with the Spirit, there is little difference. But to others who have perhaps experienced spiritual abuse or seen people heal and take either credit or money for it,  I can sure see why the first claim would sound a bit off. I understand. I just care more, at this point, about doing what Jesus said to do, regardless of how others have distorted it.

James and John’s Confidence in their Authority

This was brought to my attention this week, and I found it amusing – In Luke 9, a whole Samaritan village chooses not to accept Jesus or his message. Jesus  basically says to shake the dust of that village off their feet and keep moving forward, continuing the work of kingdom. But James and John are indignant! Obviously secure in their supernatural authority, they ask Jesus,

“Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”  55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. And they went to another village.

Notice: Jesus didn’t rebuke them for asking if they could call down fire from heaven like a New Testament Sodom. I actually think that their assurance of their authority probably made him smile, just a tiny bit. But he rebuked them because of the spirit in which they spoke – it was a spirit that promoted violence, condemnation, and destruction. And that is not the same spirit of Christ. They should’ve known that by then. In the original text (omitted in some translations), Jesus clarifies to them why they’re wrong. His purpose was to save and give life. Not to destroy and take it. But I digress. You just gotta love the guys’ righteous anger and that resolve. They wore what my daughter and I call their “Jesus Badge”.

The authority they carried and we now carry can make all the difference. Now we must learn to carry it with humility, knowing full well that any power that results or manifests as a result of our exercised authority, is a gift that originates purely and solely from the Spirit of God himself.

Acts 14:3 And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.

Faith Comes by Hearing (& sometimes Youtube Videos)

Whenever I have healed anyone, (which, by the way, hasn’t been often, and more times than not, I’ve attempted but didn’t get to see the breakthrough I was hoping for) I have done so because Jesus has commanded his followers to heal the sick. I know I’ve already gone over that. It seems so outlandish to even talk about healing as a legitimate act, largely because it’s not practiced regularly by the western evangelical church. And there have been televangelists who have given it a bad name. Only in the last 100 years has it become remotely acceptable again, due to undisputed miracles at renowned revivals like the one at Azuza Street, LA, The Jesus Movement, and more recently and regularly at Spirit-led churches like Bethel in Redding.

I have seen dozens of YouTube videos of other faith-and-Spirit-filled men like Todd White, who heal people in their everyday lives as they go about their errands, jobs and outings.  The watching of and listening to these modern day miracles birthed a faith like never before, in me, to do the same. Or at least try.

Enough months of watching them, and I thought, “Why not me?” So I stepped out and have done it because I’ve seen them do it. I’ve done it to bring authentication to a message God’s given me to speak to them, I’ve done it to exercise my authority, and I’ve done it in the name of Jesus, to the glory of God. Because there is nothing in the world like seeing someone in awe of not only what God can do, but how much he know, cares about and loves each one of us.

WHEW! This has been one extensive post. If you’ve made it this far, I really commend you! And thank you. I have spent all day today, ironically sick, writing about what I’ve researched and sought God for truth these last four days, on believers healing people. I hope I’ve done this topic justice.

For further scriptural context, I’ve included a list below. And as always, I welcome any respectful feedback. All of this post was written with an openness of mind and a spirit of teachability, if that’s a word! I was never on the Debate Team, but I sure love a good, challenging conversation about the Word of God.

Peace and Healing to you!

Chelan

PS – Now, get out of my body, cold virus! Ha ha!

~~~~~

  • The disciples heal – Mark 6:13, Luke 9:6, Mark 16:20.
  • “Then Peter said, silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and anklebones received strength…[Acts 3:6-8].
  • “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” – Luke 12:32
  • “And these signs shall follow them that believe” -Mark 16:17
  • “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give”.
    Matthew 10:8
  • Jesus Christ said anyone who believes in him will do the same works that he did and even greater works, because he was going to the Father.
    John 14:12
  • “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” [Acts 6:5, Acts 6:8].
  • Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed” [Acts 28:7-9]

Chase Him Down or Chase Him Away

I don’t remember the last time I met a man who was so radical in his beliefs, claims and actions, that people would either flock to him and become totally transformed or get so upset that he was disrupting their current way of doing things that they forced him out of the city.  It’s safe to say, probably never.  When it came to Jesus and those he ran into, it seems they either chased him down, or they chased him away.

But when it came to Jesus and those he ran into, it seems they either chased him down, or they chased him away. He’s an extremist. For sure. His presence tends to make people buckle and embrace his power in humility or resist it completely in furious pride. There’s no middle ground with him. That’s been our territory for two millennia. Not his.

Chased Him Down

After Jesus was baptized, and after he returned from the wilderness completely emptied and completely filled, he began his ministry in that region – a ministry of constant outpouring of both power and love. His presence meant miracles. His name conjured images in the people’s minds, of real healing and real hope. Thirty-four times it is written in the gospels, how crowds were gathered all around him.  There was no denying what he could do.  And none of them knew who this man was, except perhaps that he came from a little nearby town called Nazareth.  What they knew, is what they witnessed him doing. And what they heard him saying. Even though the sayings were filled with mystery and profundity, and even though they seemed up-side-down and void of reason, they didn’t keep the people from filling the space around this man who claimed to be God. The words of Jesus were life-giving. As was the touch of his hand. He restored. So they came. Do you think they came for him? No. They had no idea. They didn’t see him like we see him. They flocked to him, and they chased him down really, for what he could give them. What he provided. He was the means to the end – wholeness. The means to the end – health. Forgiveness. Peace. Life. And even life eternal. I’d be pressing in, too.

I’d be pressing in, too. I hope. I mean, as much as the drinking of his blood and eating of his body would creep me out, I think…I hope I would be nodding along with Peter as he replied to Jesus moments later, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6)

I can think of a few who “chased him down”:

  • Nicodemus (John 3) who went in the night to the home where Jesus was staying,
  • The Gerasene man filled with demons came running out to meet him from the grave caves (Mark 5),
  • Even women took the chance of approaching him like the one who suffered from a blood disease for twelve years,
  • Jairus the desperate father whose daughter had just died but was “only sleeping” according to Jesus (Mark 5),
  • There was a Roman Centurion who found Jesus and took the extra step of faith to believe he’d heal his servant, who lay paralyzed, miles away
  • And the leper who found Jesus and plead with him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Matthew 8)

Those in the crowds were the ones whose eyes were beginning to open to the truth he’d pour out. Some got it. They were normal villagers, hungry for both truth and nourishment, frustrated in their sin and discord, sick, possessed or oppressed by evil spirits. They seemed used to the decay of the human condition, and this prophesied Messiah, if it really was Him, would be their only hope. But his confusing parables and extreme teachings, many were simply not ready for.  And if that didn’t keep them from gathering around, it was his miraculous power that actually scared some, causing them to force Jesus out of their city limits.

Chased Him Away

In two instances I can think of off hand, where Jesus was chased away, one was by his own hometown folk when he went to visit Nazareth.  They allowed their familiarity with his family (“isn’t this the son of Joseph the carpenter? How can this be?”) to build unbelief and even violent resistance in their hearts. Some translations call it a deep offense. After Jesus told them that prophets are not accepted in their hometown, and gave some examples of minor prophets who were sent to outside regions to perform miracles because miracles are directly correlated to belief, Luke reports what happens next:

“the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.”

The other instance of him being chased away was by those who witnessed the deliverance of the madman. This man who’d been living naked, insane, howling, and breaking every chain that attempted to secure him. He was delivered of Legion, a mob of thousands of demons. Aside from raising the dead, this was the impossible case, if there ever was one. Yet, after the awe wore off, and word spread, the miracle witnesses became upset and offended because their pigs had drowned.

 And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.

That’s a lot of bacon. But I wondered earlier this week if the downturn of their meat market was the only reason they made him leave. I honestly think that having someone so close with so much power immediately available to him was a frightening reality to consider. What if he were to use his power for evil? What if he would threaten their way of life and teach repentance? Changing the way one thinks was as hard then, as it is now. To stay the same undisruptable way,  and to keep from losing more livestock, they forfeited the freedom of many of their fellow men by making the Miracle Worker leave. Of course, he respected their wishes, as he still does. For the will of man will not be violated by the Creator of man.

angrymob

One more instance where Jesus wasn’t necessarily chased away, but had to leave a place pretty urgently, it was because he had infuriated religious leaders there. He did that a lot. They literally picked up rocks to stone him to death, and he not only talked his way out of a stoning, he walked right through the group of angry accusers:

 So they tried again to seize Him, but He eluded their grasp. (John 10)

I love that, don’t you?

He eluded their grasp. Like a stealth lead actor in 007, only wearing sandals, I want to be like him, that way. Not the sandals part. But when accusers come at me, I want to elude their grasp every single time.

I wonder if I’ll ever be as bold as Jesus, looking over my shoulder at people chasing me down for a miraculous healing or chasing me away because of unbelief or offense. Maybe it’s just way less obvious now, in our digital world where they can simply hide me from their newsfeed, block my messages, “Unfollow” me or ignore my calls because I’ve become so literal or extreme. Yeah, now that I type the words…I realize that’s actually happened. And as much as it hurt, I can say this: me and Jesus…we can kind of relate better now. He’s been through all of it. I’m getting to be a little more like him.

UNfollowingJesus

On the other hand, I’ve healed people solely by the power of God, from headaches to evil spirits, to a whiplashed neck (to anyone who may be caught off guard by the phrase “I’ve healed…”, I understand, and I’m working on a new blog post about those two words, already. Please stay tuned).

I’m not quite sure how to put it into words, but there is something like a slow unifying of spirits taking place inside of me, through experience… of both the rejection of a certain group of people and the restoring of brokenness of another demographic altogether.

Revelation by revelation. Step by step…of faith, and year by year. Isn’t that the goal? To be transformed into his likeness – to look like him more and more by getting to know him?

Richness To The More

Yet I feel like there’s so much more ground to cover. There is so much more truth to uncover and teach and preach…divine revelation that will undoubtedly offend those who just have a hard time unlearning what they believed was “the gospel truth” for decades. Like I have had to do. I have a great assurance though, that with deep digging and insight from the Holy Spirit alone, void of media or pastor or commentary interpretation, there is more. And such richness to the more.

I am reading the Word like I’ve never read it before. Old verses and entire concepts are being redefined and mean new, exciting, controversial and palpable things to me! I’m being drawn to strangers with fearless urgency nearly every week. I think there will always be more. There are so many who are sick or in chronic pain that should’ve been well long, long ago. Had they been living by the Sea of Galilee and encountered him in that day, they most definitely would be made well.  There is so much more peace and comfort on standby, ready to behold from a word of wisdom or knowledge for those who have stopped believing God is close or that he cares.  I want to be “Jesus” to them. Do what he would do. Say what he would say. Regardless of the backlash. I am convinced now, that is the purpose of everyone who loves Jesus and lives for him, complete with power and love made possible only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

jesuspalmleaves

I want to draw crowds around me to make his unearthly power and love evident and seen – even contagious.  So that the glory of him who killed sin by being killed, himself – who conquered death by rising to life, who overcame loss with selfless sacrifice and repaved destruction by handing restored health and relationship to every human being – the glory of this one man – will be made known.

If that means facing rejection, anger, avoidance, defensiveness or even ostracism, Lord, help me to stand my ground and take it just like you did. Thank you for making me more…like you.

Does “Deserve” Deserve to be Said?

For years now, whenever I hear the word “deserve” whether used in a “positive” sense like “Forget a birth day, you deserve a birth month!” “I deserve to be treated like the queen I am.” or a more negative one like “that creeper deserves a death sentence!” “I deserve to be punished for what I just thought.”, my spirit cringes. I ask myself, Who is to say who deserves what? Certainly not us. And, do any of us really deserve anything, whether good or bad? Who judges that? If camped too firmly on the positive, it can lead to self-entitlement and self-absorption. If camped to firmly on the negative, a spirit of shame and condemnation.

Since the line is so easily blurred (or stepped over) I just stopped using the word deserve, altogether. Instead, I try to think of the good things as ways to be healthy, balanced or right again. And the bad? I ask God to give me his heart on the subject and respond how he would. I think of Jesus – Is it just me, or does sin seem to make him more…sad than anything? Can you picture his face when he looked at the crowd of men with stone-filled fists ready to unleash at the woman caught in adultery? The whole situation must have torn his heart. But mercy triumphed, as it did wherever he stepped foot. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jn 8:11. 1. I don’t condemn 2.Go on – move on. 3. leave that life of sin – stop doing it. You can. ~ There was never a mention of what she deserved. Only acceptance, empowerment and a command.

It seems like the blood that Jesus Christ willingly shed proves he deems us worthy of every one of its benefits. Worthy of Kingdom living. Freedom. Abundance. For us to admit this seems like arrogant heresy – “Look at me! I’m worthy of receiving all he’s offered!” Ha! – Sounds so foreign to even type that, as I’m used to singing to my King, “YOU are worthy!” not “I am worthy!” But if God didn’t love us so much and deem us worthy of being adopted into his royal family – if He didn’t deem us worthy of offering us salvation in every way, he wouldn’t have come at all. He does what he pleases. So to Him, we must be worthy of his love and salvation. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that we would be saved.

This worthiness though – it differs from the idea of “deserving”. As closely-related as they seem, they’re different. Deserve derives from an Old French word, “deservir”, which is originally from Latin, and means to serve zealously or to merit.  No one deserves God’s favor, gifts, blessings. It’s only by the gift of grace, received through faith that we’re saved or given anything of God. Deserving, I believe, always implies there was a working for or toward an end. A doing of something enough to cause a particular outcome. A performing. “She did this, so she deserves…” (I shudder even typing it). And when it comes to salvation, that sounds like the polar opposite of what we have in Christ. That sounds like a spirit of religion – a doing in order to receive or be received. Not a simply being. Simply believing. Simply receiving a gift. So after all my thinking so far, that my conclusion – so far. To be worthy, at least in the faith, is not the same as deserving.

And I still don’t like the word deserve.
I wonder if anyone else doesn’t like it either?

Angel’s 10th Birthday

Our lil one turned DOUBLE digits this weekend. We still could not be any more in love with her. Her sweet as honey-heart, her silly-face smiles, her long, wavy ombre’ hair,  her observant, serving ways, her memory like an elephant, her health-consciousness, her get-dirty-adventurous side… We do love her and see Jesus shining out of her every day. Still, after 10 years. Below are some photos I took over the weekend and the video taken at Papa and Gigi’s where she blew out all her 10 candles in her Funfetti cupcakes…or, at least she thought she did.








After the 2nd evening of celebrating was all over last night, Ricky and I stayed up until 11:48 just sitting in the living room talking about the revelations that God has given us over the last year, and how we can convey truth in love to others, without being upset or coming across as mad in any way, that so many people really are deceived and resist changing the way they think because they believe what they have been taught is the biblical truth, even without really digging in and reading it for themselves in context. The look of the Gospel has changed in our perceptions, and so has our perception of God himself. Jesus too. It has all changed. They haven’t of course. But we have. It is beautifully frustrating, fulfilling and freeing all at the same time. And I never thought I’d get to stay up late and talk about things like this and grow deep in Him with my husband like we do now. It was only a dream years ago. But a heart-shift can happen at any moment, if we are open to learning truth – to seeing it for what it is, and abandoning all else but that truth. To walk in it, especially alongside your spouse for life – is an incredible gift. A treasure. I am so grateful.

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Carol? Why?

Have you given some thought to the lyrics of “O Holy Night“? It has been my favorite for years. The words ring and resound with hope, rest and freedom from slavery.  If you take it a step further, the slavery can mean anything that someone is kept in bondage to. A stronghold they can’t seem to get away from, and that has control over them in some way.  There is hope for these among us. And we can share it.

This final verse is especially powerful:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease

Let the words of this hymn fill your heart. And bring you into a space and time of pure praise.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
…”

An Evening with Bob Hazlett

You know how it feels after a long day where your muscles are fatigued and you slip into a hot tub and you just rest – rest in that warmth and feel-goodness and let it just surround and envelope you?

That is how I feel this morning and last night after I left an event at Grace Chapel church in Wilsonville.  I decided to detail the evening here so that I would not forget what I experienced.

I had discovered quite by accident that a man from Connecticut was in town speaking, at that small church. And thought, what are the chances? This man, Bob Hazlett, I had seen online and listened to whatever I could of his, back in Feb/Mar of this year, 2016. I sensed a calmness, a humility, and also a power about him, as he would meet people in an audience or anywhere, really, and God would give him a bit of knowledge in that moment about that person he would not otherwise know. To me, the gift of prophecy can be so encouraging when it is exercised correctly. There are just two people I know of with this gift, who I would actually go and see/hear, Shawn Bolz and Bob Hazlett.

It was a struggle to get to the point of actually going. My husband doesn’t feel the need to go many events in general, so he questioned my need as well. It brought up an hour long discussion and long story, short, I told him I’d already got my one ticket for $20, and he did not have to feel pressure to go with me. I just like being with him. After a while, when tensions settled in the home, we hugged and he opted to stay home with Angel.

I had posted on FB that I was intending to go and would save anyone a seat if they wanted to as well. Who knew? Out of all my FB friends, there may have been one that felt led to attend this as well. My mom and dad, who I’d told about it days before, decided against it, but an acquaintance of mine I know through Gunnar Simonson, music artist Manager, Raymond De Silva, replied, to my surprise. He was on his way, I was there 45 minutes early, and the seat I was saving in row 2, center, was his. This, I believe, was ordained by God. If Ricky would have gone with me, I probably would have not posted the announcement on FB. But I did, and I soon realized, the dynamic was a certain way for a certain reason.

I sat there alone for about 20 minutes getting lost in the worship as the team practiced their songs for the evening worship time. Already, I had sensed the presence of God in that place. Maybe it began in me, and I was already to the point of fullness in my spirit, that just a song or two of truth and lyrics sent me into overflowing with tears as I sat there.

Before it started, Raymond and I talked. Mostly I talked. God gave me two examples to tell him to testify of my own personal experiences with speaking healing of life into people, in a strange or miraculous way. It was so fun to recall and retell of my stories of the man whose back was healed at the Doctor’s office lobby, and of Solomon, the Muslim from Senegal who I met on a walk one day and he amazingly let me pray for him to know Jesus in a personal way.

The event, called Kingdom Come, started with what seemed like over an hour of worship time. Precious moment after moment in his presence. Just one song I did not know.  I was in love with God. I did not care about how or if anyone saw me as I expressed myself in worship. He was all that mattered. Between songs at one point, we prayed for those around us who needed prayer for anything. The young woman near me had her hand raised and I zoomed over to her. I got to pray healing over her anxiety and related stomach pain. I knew I was supposed to pray for that, for God had delivered me of that same exact thing ten years ago. I told her all about it with such excitement. TEN years ago. And worship and surrender was what healed me of it one day. After that day, I had two more panick attacks, and then nothing. Not one more. For ten years. Allison was so excited to hear this. Her eyes were wide and they were glued on me as I testified of God’s power.

When Bob went up to speak, he first talked about the meaning of the word Hallelujah and what the root, halal means. It denotes what lamps and celestial bodies do: shine, emit light. It also means to be boastful or to praise. I looked it up later and found that in just a couple places in the Bible, it means “to be insane, or rather irrational, speaking nonsense”. I guess that when we yell Hallelujah, to some, it can seem rather irrational! But Bob had people who needed healing there, identify themselves and we’d all yell out Hallelujah three times and on the third, we all yelled, clapped, etc.praising our God as he healed many of them. And this is what happened. Those who experienced healing came up in front of us all and he quickly went down the line with his microphone asking what it was and how they feel now. About ten people in all. Great way to raise the faith level in the place from the get-go. It was like primer for the paint.

As he prayed over one woman, he mentioned her being a seer. I leaned over to Raymond, and  asked if he knew what that was, because I didn’t, just a year ago. He said no, so I explained it was someone who could somehow see into the spirit realm, and see with their eyes, both demonic and angelic spirits. He just nodded.

When Bob spoke, it was on persevering in suffering, from Romans 5, but in relation to not finding break-through in the healing you have been seeking and praying for.  He encouraged us to continue praying and believing the truth of God’s word, for it is true. Even when our perceived reality does not match up with what we read to be true and possible in the Word. When we focus on the reality of lack or pain opposed to the truth of what Jesus says is possible and shows again and again is his will (complete restoration, God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven), hopelessness begins to take hold. When that happens, it is like the tension of the truth rubs up against our current reality and creates a rut. When that rut is rubbed up against for a long time, our hope seems further and further away. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12) but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.

Here is the text of Romans 5: 1-5, amplified, of which he focused on 3-5:

Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The message was very encouraging. After he finished, he offered people to come forward and receive prayer from designated people with prayer badges on, which I don’t really agree with because I believe if we are filled with the Spirit, we can all pray and the same Spirit will work through us all. But I still went forward to receive prayer (I suppose out of tradition) on behalf of my mom, who asked for prayer on that FB thread I’d posted. So we prayed healing over her back and also restoration in her spirit and that God’s love would drive out all worry and fear in Jesus’ Name, for worry and fear have proven to compound back pain and effect the back pulling it back into a state of pain and tension, where it becomes a cycle. So we prayed against all of it, believing God would and has in fact already done a good and restoring work in her in both ways.

After the prayer time at the end, I sat back down and Raymond told me that the man in front of him prayed for him and told him the Lord gave him a picture of a plane taking off – this was evidence to him. Raymond had told me initially that part of why he came was to hear from God as to weather He is calling him to move to Nashville for business endeavors. It was so funny as he shared it with me, I asked if he’d told that man anything about his dilema and he said, no. I only told him my name. His excitement was showing in his face as he spoke and then he stopped and said, “Drop the mic.” We both laughed. I think he might be moving to Nashville.

As we sat and talked for about a half hour, he admitted to me that he has been able to see into the spirit realm since he was a child so clearly at times, he could not distinguish the difference between human beings and spirit beings. I told him maybe he could read the book, The Veil, whose author writes about his own same gift.

The Lord gave me several words for him: one had to do with him being a nucleus (I didn’t say that but I pictured that) where he’s a source of truth for the artists he will be working with, and his influence in words will affect each musician for the benefit of the kingdom. I also drew in his little notebook, a picture God gave me of a stick shift. That tonight would mark a unique moment in his life where he was going from N or D to 4D – like, off-roading – in the spirit! Sounds funny, but he related. He admitted he’d felt like he was just on cruise control, and agreed, he could see how all he was now understanding was going to take him into a deeper level with God, and that this stick shift was special in that it had no end to how many gears it had – we can always go deeper with God. So really going into 4D with him – is just the beginning.  AMAZING!

We walked to the book tables as they were packing up. He wanted to buy Bob’s book, “Think Like Heaven”. After the purchase, I just thought I’d take the opportunity to meet him since he was right there. I used to get a bit starry-eyed at guest speakers, etc. But not anymore. It was very cool to recognize that I saw him just like me or any other believer who’s been baptized in the powerful Spirit of God.

He shook my hand, asked my name and its meaning. I told him Chelan, Bubbling Waters.

Chelan, are you a musician, by chance?

Yes, I sing.

I think that the Lord is going to use your voice to heal people. I see you singing over the sick and them being restored.

That’s amazing. I’d forgotten about it, but you’re the third person to prophesy that about me. One time I actually went to a hospital to pray for someone in a coma and within that week, God brought him out of it and he regained all functions in his body again.

Do you work in the medical profession?

Well, I guess so. Yes.

What do you do?

I’m a caregiver.

Ok, that is right where God will use your gift of song. Do you ever sing to your clients or around them?

Yes. I do.

Keep doing that. He will use your voice in song to bring healing to them.

I will. Thank you.

And that was that. He had not a clue who I was, but God spoke right through him specifically to me about what He wants me to do and keep doing, in order to bring restoration to the people he loves. And to bring him glory.

All glory to God… This was certainly a night to remember for me. A good example of being in an atmosphere of believers where faith is rising all the time, and God is speaking, hearts are changing and his people are being given the tools and fire under their seats to go and do what Jesus has called us to do, each of us using our unique gifts to bring him glory and people restoration and freedom.