Where are the New Wineskins?

I was compelled to walk early today. Out in the sunshine, I began praying; thanking Jesus for legs with strength to walk, and joy in the day! As I moved to praying for people I do business with and those He has brought into my life, my eye caught a beautiful lady walking towards me.

I often ask God to bring me into contact with some one He has prepared to bless, and today it was like a meeting had been pre-arranged, and both of us knew it. As she approached, the love of God for her flooded my spirit, and I saw a beautiful soul.

A smile crossed her face and she took out her earphones.
“You look so healthy!” She said. “Do you walk everyday?”

“I try to” I replied, “God is teaching me to be whole, in my spirit, mind and body!”

“That’s wonderful! Do you meditate?” She asked hungrily. “And do you know about healing energies and grounding?”

I laughed. “Yes!” It was God’s healing energy that healed me of Lyme Disease!”

“I asked the universe this morning to bring me some one who can help me in my spiritual journey and healing, and here you are!” she said.

Our conversation continued  and I shared how God’s Spirit desires to speak to us and guide us into greater understanding and how He can help us release pain and toxic energy from the past, helping us walk in His wisdom in every area of our lives! I told her God has blessed us with tools to help people heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.

We exchanged information and said we would get together soon.
As I carried on with my walk, I thought of the spiritual world becoming manifest around us.  While many still deny the spiritual aspect of their lives, many more feel oppressed and hungry for healing.  Increasingly, people understand there is power in the spiritual world and long to live in freedom.

Simultaneously, I see a gospel, confined by a religious North American corporate system, largely empty of power and devoid of the signs and wonders the Bible says accompany an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit and a surrendered life.

Jesus told the religious of His day their dry cracked wineskins could never hold the new wine that was coming.  The outpouring of the  Holy Spirit brought a gospel that collided with the pain and brokenness of the world, bringing life transforming relationship, and defeating the demonic strongholds that bound people.

If we, the Body of Christ in North America don’t relinquish our dry, cracked wineskins and allow the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance and a  Gospel characterized and imbued with resurrection power, we  will continue to lack anything with power to respond to those praying to the universe for spiritual guidance and healing.

Holy Spirit, invade and shatter my comfort zones.  Lead me in all wisdom and truth and may I be found trustworthy to carry the light  and transforming power of Jesus to my world.

Planting in Tears

Sometimes life is hard.  Just plain painful and difficult.  There is always beauty if one looks closely, but it can be shrouded by circumstance to the undiscerning eye.

The question is what do I do through difficult seasons.  Psalm 126 grabbed my heart this morning.

Restore our fortunes oh God, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.  Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

When going through grief or trials, often the last thing on my mind is planting seeds.  The desert places of life seem the least profitable places to plant, yet it seems in the upside down Kingdom God honours our commitment to continue to plant goodness in life’s tumultuous times.

When walking in a season of little the invitation to plant what little you have seems counter intuitive. I am learning the Kingdom of God is foolishness to the world, but faith conquers fear and despair, creating spaces where hope can grow.

I love the promise that God catches all my tears in a bottle and records them in His book.  Nothing is wasted when laid at the feet of Jesus.  Nothing.  To withhold the seeds God gives us till we come upon greener landscapes and better circumstances is to forfeit a future harvest of abundant sheaves, gathered in joy.  Why?  Because it negates our need for faith and trust in the God of Kingdom.

To go out with seeds in the desert takes a great deal of faith.  Ecclesiastes 11 says “Cast your bread upon the waters and in many days it will return to you… He who watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. 

They who put their faith in God and listen for His voice know what and when to plant and believe with faith for a harvest that ushers in joy.  The interesting thing about planting eternal seeds in God’s kingdom soil is that the harvest and return may come from completely unexpected sources!

What has God given you in this season?  What gifts do you hold that can be sown into the lives of others?

Are You Still Using Training Wheels?

In my spiritual life, I feel as if I have ventured out on a bicycle, but am realizing I still often use training wheels. Today I asked my heavenly Father to remove the training wheels I have unknowingly been relying on for years.

Romans 8 (we all know it), says;  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Him, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do, weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son to be a sin offering. 

Paul says we are to live in freedom, in step with the Holy Spirit.

Religious people are prone to living according to the rules, not according to the Spirit – myself included.  We screw the training wheels of the law on so tightly that the Spirit has no room to teach us to truly ride our bike according to His law.

We pedal along rigid and straight, thinking we have bike riding all figured out, when in reality, it is the training wheels, not adeptness or understanding that keep us balanced.

Jesus broke all the rules, went to all the wrong places, and somehow, we claim Him to be the leader of all us law abiding Christians.  We know full well Jesus was filled with and walked in the power of the Holy Spirit, but unconsciously I wonder if we see that kind of freedom as beyond us?

If it’s the Holy Spirit, not the law, that gives us freedom, I wonder why I am so little acquainted with this amazing member of the Trinity?  It would seem that living in step with the Spirit gives me freedom to really ride, able to take the curves and backcountry roads that were always off limits to those with training wheels.

So when I see broken people, far off the training wheel track, I can go to them without fear of losing my balance and breaking my training wheels, and truly see them and really love them and introduce them to the ultimate freedom of the Spirit through Christ’s work.

I have come to believe when I rely on the word of the law, I become religious, but when I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me into the Word of Truth,  suddenly those messy, brutal, no win situations involving people God loves become redeemable because they are approached with the Spirit, not the law.

I may start off feeling more secure with training wheels, but I can never go all the places God calls me while I am relying on them to keep me upright.  After having tasted the freedom of riding with the Spirit’s power, training wheels become restrictive and binding.  So I am asking the Holy Spirit if He will teach me to ride.  I mean REALLY RIDE!

What might God call you to that would require the you to switch your training wheels out for the Spirit who gives freedom?

Burning Coals of Kindness

David was quiet when he came home, slow to answer how his day had gone.  Eventually I learned he had been verbally accosted by some one at work toward the end of the day. As he shared what had been said and the manner of delivery, I felt a protective desire for justice rise up. Doing my best to subdue it, I asked how he responded.

“I listened, and let her walk away” he said quietly. “Then, I sent her an e-mail.”

We talked about people’s lives; how anger, bullying and power tripping often comes from a wounded place of insecurity. We wondered what paths this individual’s feet had travelled that left such deep wells of pain.

Later I read the e-mail David sent, and was moved by his kind and gracious words. A verse in Jeremiah came to mind as I realized I was witnessing through David, an example of what God has been teaching me the last few weeks.

Work for the peace and prosperity of the city to which I sent you into exile.  Pray for it, for its wellbeing will determine your wellbeing.”                       (Jer 29:7)

It is natural to resent people who abuse, mistreat, slander or misunderstand you,  but God tells us to see it differently – to desire their peace and prosperity.  To have compassion for and love those who misuse us.

If Israel, conquered and led into captivity, is told to work for the peace and prosperity of her captors, how much more should we pray  and work for peace and prosperity over those who wound or offend us?

I love deeply and quickly, but God is showing me I take offence and allow myself to be wounded far to easily as well.  I hear Jesus asking me to free myself by forgiving immediately. When I am unaffected negatively by others, I can be steadfast in Christ.

But I am also to pray peace and blessing over those who hurt me, for our mutual welfare!  I am learning there is a powerful reality at play; the law of the Spirit brings freedom from the law of sin and death.  Jesus established the ultimate freedom when He died for us who rejected and murdered Him.

He undertook excruciating work for the wellbeing and prosperity of His enemies, and as a result, millions are freed and restored in His name, and God placed Jesus above every power and authority.  What can happen when I bless those who offend me rather than allowing myself to be wounded?

My wellbeing is tied up with how I respond to those who come against me.  Changing my thinking from resentment or retribution to wholeheartedly praying and working for their wellbeing topples strongholds that hold them and me captive, bringing freedom and wellbeing in God’s way and time.

God forgive my hardness of heart, and lack of grace and teach me to yearn for the wellbeing of those who come against me!

Whose wellbeing is God inviting you to pray and work for?

 

The Toxic Root You Don’t See

As someone who helps other people get well, I find it interesting that many people have mysterious health issues despite eating well and exercising. I find it inspiring that the Bible is the most incredible health guide every written.  I guess that makes sense seeing as the One who wrote it also dreamed up and created us!

John prayed that his friend Gaius, whom he loved, would enjoy good health and that all would go well with him even as his soul was doing well. (3 John 1:2)

Yes, what you eat matters. Yes, your level of activity matters. Yes, your exposure to toxic and harmful things matters. A lot!

But what if the unseen “matters” of the soul have as much to do with our health as the external ones?

Paul tells us to be very careful not to let any bitter root grow up. He also tells us to not forgive opens the door for the enemy to mess with us.

In Philipians we are told to rejoice always and not be anxious about anything.  Instead we are to pray.  Sometimes I confuse the two.

Anxiety affects our body, unresolved stress affects our body, bitterness and un-forgiveness affect our body, anger and frustration affect our body.  Conversely when we think of things that are true, noble, right and praiseworthy like Paul tells us in Philippians 4, our body responds positively.  In fact, our thoughts affect our DNA and can influence our genes.  Interesting isn’t it?  (If you want to know more about this, check out Caroline Leaf – a brilliant cognitive neuroscientist).

When God tells us to choose life and blessing not death and cursing, He makes it clear life begins in our mind.  We are given the power and responsibility  to choose  With our MINDS we choose life or death.

When we entertain the enemy’s attributes, we open a door for him to affect our soul and body.  What you consume affects your health.  If you are watching violence, witchcraft and new age (think Disney, video games, porn, yoga sexual promiscuity…), it will burn toxic roots into your soul, mind and body.  Words have power of life and death, if your environment or music is spouting death, you better believe it affects you.

I wish everyone I love would do a pantry overhaul, nourishing their bodies with good food and exercise.  I really wish people would do a soul cleaning and get rid of toxic roots sabotaging their wellbeing on every level!  Healing and reprogramming my mind has been a huge part of my health journey.  For optimal health, a coach who knows how to nourish and heal the body and mind is great, but it is imperative the Holy Spirit be our guide as well.  He leads us into all Truth and is the Counsellor.  Speaking of which, I have a walking appointment with Him right now!

What do you need to cleanse you mind of?  Have you invited the Holy Spirit into your journey?  How has He coached you into greater wellness?

The “Why” Behind Fearless

What are you facing today? This week? This month?  I hear God asking of me far bigger things than I have capacity for.  I love that feeling!

I have been in a week of realization. You know when you “know” something, but then God helps you bring it from your head to your gut, or your heart, (or whatever organ grabs you most)!

I am seeing with more clarity, a few of our idols and how they keep us from worshipping Jesus. One idol is perched on the shrine of the TV stand, and the other walks about on two legs all around us!

I’ll save TV for another day, but I am noticing we (myself at the forefront) fear others – what they think, how they’ll react and what they’ll say about us far more than we fear what God will think and say of us.

I know this is not a new idol because thousands of years ago, Isaiah demanded; “What are mere mortals that you fear them more than God?” We may not even realize it, but until what people think or say has no sway on our commitment to follow through in obedience what Jesus has asked of us, we have an idol.  The Bible calls it the fear of man.  I have begun to think of it as Paul calls it, a spirit of intimidation.  We are not bold in our calling because we fear the wrong master.

The other day this verse leapt off the page at me as I was praying for courage.  “But the LORD is with me like a Might Warrior!”  Jeremiah 20:11

WOW.   If you had an awe inspiring mighty warrior walking around at your side, first of all, you would not fear what others think because your Back-Up trumps anything culture or society has to intimidate you.  Second, you would want the Mighty Warrior to think well of you, so you would wear your big boy/girl pants and step forward when normally you would retreat in fear.

I must admit.  I sat there in my hammock, a little stunned.  Then I wrote that verse on my leg where I can see it every time I look down.  I have been picturing Jesus as a Mighty Warrior, striding beside me as I go about my day.  Its amazing the conversations I have had and the liberation of  caring only what HE thinks of me, not what they  think of me!

What are you facing today? This week? This month?  Can you imagine yourself doing things a bit differently with the Mighty Warrior, The LORD walking beside you to help and back you up in everything?

I hope so!  Go slay your Goliath!

God Help My Unbelief!

The more a read my Bible, the more I see God honors great faith.  Jesus’ life is riddled with stories of faith that changed the course of peoples’ lives.  It is also riddled with accounts of those who went away empty because of their lack of faith.

I don’t ever want to go away empty!

When Jesus comes down from the mountain in Mark 9,  He is confronted by a large crowd, arguing with religious leaders over a young boy, tormented by a demon.  When they see Jesus, they run to Him, overwhelmed with wonder.

It turns out, the boy’s father has already entreated Jesus’ disciples to heal his son, but they cannot.  Jesus seems exasperated and tells them to bring the boy to Him.  The father, hope renewed, says: “If you can do anything, please take pity on us and help!”

If you can!”  Jesus says.  “Everything is possible for the one who believes.”

To which the father quickly replies: “I do believe; help my unbelief!”  Jesus immediately takes authority over the demon and heals the boy.

This floors me, and brings me to my knees.  Jesus never reprimands His followers for lack of caution, or for not forming a committee to discuss the options – it is always for their lack of faith and belief.

What if the faith and belief we walk in is directly proportionate with how much we know and spend time with Jesus and allow His Spirit to fill and lead us?  And what if our belief in and understanding of Jesus directly correlates with how much authority we have to heal and touch others?  Why did people throng to Jesus, overwhelmed with wonder?  Jesus walked in the authority and glory of God, proving, through His life, Everything possible.  Wherever Jesus went, people were freed, healed, and restored to dignity and wholeness.

Jesus tells His followers they would do mightier things than He.  I haven’t seen too many dead people brought to life, or miraculously healed from all kinds of afflictions this week.  Why not? Perhaps our religious institutions are more concerned with being safe than being holy.  Perhaps I am more concerned with what people think of me than believing Jesus wants to radically touch people’s lives through my faith.  Either way, I wonder if Jesus walked among us in the flesh if He would repeat His words to the crowd that day: “You unbelieving generation; how long shall I put up with you, bring the boy to me.”

God has never claimed to be safe, nor predictable, but He is always faithful.  With this in mind and with great faith, we can bring people to Jesus believing He will heal them if we let the Holy Spirit show us how to pray, not our fears or religious institutions!

What is God asking you to believe Him for today?

The Matter Of Life and Death!!

I am deeply troubled at the path our nation is travelling.  On June 6th our government will vote on recommendations under bill C-14 for assisted suicide and euthanasia.  Why is this such a big deal?

If you follow Jesus Christ, you know every human being is made in the image of our holy God, bears His glory and deserves honour, love and dignity regardless their situation and state – no exception.

The thing is, we are subject to the universal laws God put in place!  God sets a clear choice before His people in deuteronomy 30:19:  This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set  before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life that you and your children may live.

Our nation is at a crossroad where we will either choose life and blessing or death and cursing.  What parliament is proposing is more destructive than we can see with human eyes.  It reduces value to a level of comfort, rather than something inherent to humankind.  It is a choice of the will to choose death and cursing for our nation and future.

The proposal is not simply the compassionate ending of suffering when there is no hope.  I have stared through the gates of death when there was no human hope.  Because of Jesus, there is no situation He can’t redeem!

The proposed bill allows the murder of minors, people with non-terminal conditions, people with mental disorders and even physical disabilities.  It exonerates health practitioners who encourage or perform euthanasia or assisted suicide from any repercussions for their part in the death.  It also states that a practitioner doesn’t necessarily need consent to kill some one.  It bears the mark of the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy what God loves best.  People.

When a person is in despair and wracked with pain, they are at their most vulnerable and easily swayed in directions they would normally never entertain.  This bill capitalizes on pain to justify murder.

Every person on the planet has a destiny.  They may not know it, they may not care, but each has been given an open door to God Himself, and a destiny to walk in should they choose.  When we murder an image bearer, we destroy the dream God has for that individual, and devalue what Jesus declared invaluable. We shake our fist at the Life giver and willingly walk through death’s doors.

What do we as Christians do?  First, we NEED  to get into the throne room in repentance, praying for mercy over our nation and wisdom for our leaders.  We must get our minds and hearts off ourselves and begin to care for those in distress and pain with our eyes on Jesus.  We need to speak in love and with reason to those in authority over us, explaining why this bill is so dangerous.  And we need to pray some more.

www.euthanasiadeclaration.ca/declaration/

From this link, you can sign the petition against Bill C-14.  You can also contact your political representative and urge them to oppose the bill.  Please don’t no nothing – that is when evil overcomes and darkness prevails!  “I set before you Life and Death, Blessing and Cursing… Choose LIFE!”

Don’t Look Behind you!

“Forget the former things, look not to what has been; behold, I am doing a new thing.  Watch as it springs forth.”  Isaiah 43:18-19

When we moved, (after recovering from exhaustion) I thought – wow, I should move once a year. Giving or throwing away bags and boxes of “stuff” provoked a wonderful feeling. I don’t want to carry around anything I’m not intending to keep, and I ruthlessly paired down our possessions.

Looking forward as Jesus calls me into a new season, I hear Him inviting me to do the same with my spiritual house. Forget the former things.

Looking inward, I find myself dragging the vicious baggage of “I can’t” and “I’m not strong enough” that have been my safe guard through years of incapacity. The Holy Spirit gently melts my resistance to even hoping for success.  So many experiences of trying, crashing and being carried back again to the refuge of solitude have left my heart reticent to take another leap.  “Katie.  Forget the former things; I am doing a new thing.”

On the other hand, farther in the past lie memories of success and methods that produced powerful results. So often Jesus does not allow us to repeat past victories, rather asking us to lay again, our foundation on Him.   “Katie.  Look not to what has been.  Look to the One who equips and provides.”

The Spirit reminds me: it is God who accomplishes His unfathomable works through humble obedience, and He is always doing new and wonderful things.  “Katie.  Look, watch as they spring forth.”

And so I put on my boots, and I watch eagerly.  With anticipation.

What has defined you in the past? Is it time to clean away attitudes and beliefs you cling to that aren’t rooted in the person of Jesus Christ?

What is God calling you to today?  What do you need to leave behind in order to walk forward in His power and equipping?