You’ve Already Got It

https://www.facebook.com/zionequip/videos/1018497522426480/?vh=e&d=n

Watching this radical video about healing without prior knowledge of this extraordinary couple would be easy to dismiss as fantasy.

But I can attest to their character and testimony, having attended their church, served there, and even having undergone their school of ministry program.

This church is special to me. These pastors are special. They fear no man and love Jesus wholeheartedly.

They changed our lives, or rather, God moved through them to awaken us sleepers to the truth. And the thing I love about these people of God is that they aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know.” This is because they have such a faith that someday they will know. And are so in love with Jesus that whether they receive the answer or not, it doesn’t change their decision to press in and give Him all the glory.

I must say that we did see the miraculous at their church, Zion. We saw things in the Spirit that cannot be explained and would appear truly magical to anyone else. We witnessed people healed and were able to be a part of it in some way.

It was an honor and a privilege (a wellspring) of peace and healing during our time here. But God didn’t want us to remain there in paradise and we were deployed back to our hometown. We left on good graces and were even anointed with oil to do work here in Marion.

And today I find myself wondering what happened?…we were taken from the nursery with all the tools we would ever need, but doubt was still rampant in our hearts. And the devil fed our disbelief through horrific tragedies and constant attacks since our blissful time at Zion.

The very first day at Hope we still had that flame. And God even used us that day to pray over a woman having a miscarriage in the bathroom. That baby survived and is healthy and well! Many members of my family began attending church and I was seeing God move in their lives.

But the longer we were removed from the wellspring, the more we forgot what power we carried and our doubts, which had been kept locked away within us began to resurface from those dark depths.

We lost Rachel in a car accident.

The world was thrown into a pandemic.

My son and I suffered constant illnesses (2-3) a month since he was a baby. Even today, I still keep getting it wrong, and have dealt with a severe viral infection and other issues (but thank God, James has only had a runny nose for two weeks and no other symptoms!!)

I must say that amidst all of this I pulled away and that led to picking up my fallen self and pulling from church to the point that I only served in kids ministry (I am director of PreK).

For the first time in my life, I just didn’t want to sing in the worship band. And I struggled with anger towards God and His people (the two go hand-in-hand).

Now, to make the story short, I’m finally healing and seeking God again. Having realized that there is nothing in this world that will fix me or make me whole. Jesus is the only way—and we must all choose to suffer for Him. I say suffer, because Christianity had always been easy until now.

Now, my walk is real. And I need a real faith.

I just read in James that Faith requires works to not only exist but to grow. In other words, we must step out more (even if it’s baby steps) in order to grow our faith. You need to take steps of faith in your own life and healing.

My pastor and his family were very sick one time, and they just said “ no more!” In their spirit and got off the couch and went for a walk. It was the last thing they felt like doing but it was a leap of faith to do so. They were putting their bodies back under their authority and also they were believing they were well before they felt like it.

I wish I had all the answers and all the faith when it came to healing and why sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But I do believe it’s something worth pursuing the answer to, but not worth the expense of your trust and peace in God and His Will.

I fell down a rabbit hole of lies believing God didn’t care that I was sick when in reality it isn’t about pleading to Him for healing but about opening up the gift of healing He has already given us.

Someday, I too will understand and know. But until then, I trust God, make declarations, take leaps of faith regardless of what I see and feel, and give Him praise.

God bless you all!

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The Lord Builds the House

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As many of you know, a friend of ours lost his wife in a car accident a few months ago. They had moved here from Virginia to help our church, a wonderful God-filled couple, with their 3-year-old son. I never expected God to move like He has through this tragedy, bringing beauty from ashes in ways only He can.

The husband, Jared, has impacted hundreds with his message of hope and healing. He has never lost sight of God or His promises despite this. And I really want to share one of his messages with you so that you too can be impacted by one man’s unshakable Faith.

The Lord Builds the House

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”  -Psalms 127:1

My first home remodeling memories go back all the way to my toddler years, hammering nails into a board my dad had set up and helping paint the side porch on my childhood home while wearing only a Sherwin Williams hat and a bathing suit. If my father didn’t have tools around, it was shingle samples. Dad was employed in different home repair based industries all growing up and he owned his own kitchen cabinet business. Home repair was the backbone to my family’s wellbeing all of my life. It led me to working full time in the family kitchen cabinet business after graduating college. Customers would ask at what point did my brother and I begin working with our dad, we would respond “full time or just in general?” All of us kids (including my sisters) knew a hammer and a paintbrush from a very early age so the “first day of work” could have been that one trip mom made to the store without us kids.

Having worked in many different homes, you come to appreciate the sanctuary that a house is for so many different types of people. It’s your haven from your job, your safe place for your children and the gathering place for your outside family and friends; home just isn’t four walls and a roof. As Rachel and I put our previous home up for sale last April, the picture she sent me of Isaac (my son) with the realtors sign shook me as I realized what we had just done haha-but in total faith we knew “home” rested well beyond the materials that make up a home, but what we had formed in our hearts as a family. Taking that with us as we packed the house only meant “home” was moving, not being left behind.

How great the difference a few weeks later. As family and loved ones repacked our things back for VA, “home” had been greatly altered from that moment on from that highway accident. It became another structure entirely different. It was a home I couldn’t fix.

The line applies here as much this week, as it does every week. My writing here isn’t to depress you. This is to illustrate to you through my journey the healing deliverance of our Mighty God.

In the months that followed I began to clean the yard of “home.” Picking up pieces, fragments of what was and contemplating the necessary repairs. I needed help. I cried out to God and began to seek Him on moving forward; I asked Him for help.
God began a work in my “home.” 

Weekly I began to see repairs rise up out of me as I dealt with the anger, loss of hope, bitterness, loss of faith, loss of joy, loss of peace, all the while carrying the grief of Rachel’s loss. One day, God got me to hand off that grief to Him…and I was done grieving. Like a freshly repaired plumbing leak, I routinely “checked the pipes” on that repair. As I told loved ones where I was at on my grief and how it was gone, I felt the safety nets come up-ready to catch me in case I was wrong.

I pushed on. 1997-2001 Honda CRV’s became just another car for me.
God put the desire in me to stop at Rachel’s old job last Friday. I hadn’t been able to step foot in a Starbucks and order a drink since her accident…especially that Starbucks.
I approached the cashier and made my order. I got a sideways glance while my order was placed and then a, “are you Jared?” God always times His help. I took my time tasting my drink at the bar and speaking to another customer with small talk and spoke more to the Barista. No impulse to run, no tears. The master plumber had made his repair.

So why does this matter? 

The “house” that gets built in life inevitably faces use, the elements of life, and even storms. Wrecks happen. We lose loved ones. Attacks come. The house becomes damaged and all the while we try to continue to live. 

Where do you stand with your house?

It says in Psalm 127:1 that God builds the house. BuildSSSSSSSSSSS.
This isn’t a one time build. It’s a build and rebuild and rebuild and rebuild…
We are getting additions, remodeling, and changes constantly as we act to do our part and apply the Word of God to our lives.

Unfortunately, some of us haven’t invited God to remodel our homes. Hello, pink walls, dingy carpet, and wallpaper! God wants to rip that stuff out and replace it. Maybe God began a work in you but you didn’t let him finish. Maybe the job is done but you kept the dumpster of debris…the bitterness, the anger, the resentment, and the unforgiveness. Invite Him to complete the work within you. Invite Him back to finish. Let Him take away that dumpster. God’s ready to go to work in your life.

Let your light shine bright, Jesus Bright

 

Heart of Healing

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“…A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.”

-Matthew 12:15

 

Finally, the snow has parted here in Ohio, along with it’s freezing temperatures. And just as the heat of summer starts to roll in…I get Strep Throat. Even as I type this now, my throat is hurting and swollen. However, I’m thankful that it has motivated me to write again. Life has been rather busy, and all my blog ideas have just been quickly jotted down on the backs of recipes and bills, in my phone and between the pages of books. It is almost a treat to be sick enough to be given time, a break from the busyness of life.

That very thought has led me to write this blog, as I struggled to pray for healing over myself when I felt the oncoming symptoms appear, I realized that part of me didn’t mind being sick, it was like I partnered with it, if only slightly. Healing didn’t come and here I am taking penicillin on day 2 of missed work wondering if I would have been healed if I had fully wanted it.

I know there is much we don’t yet understand about healing, why some people are healed and others are not. Why some healings are instant and others take years is a mystery to us all. I believe there are multiple factors at work, limiting us from our full potential. The same Holy Spirit is within us after all. He is the one who worked within the disciples, raising the dead, casting out demons, healing everyone regardless of how severe the ailment. So what has happened?

There is nothing in the Bible that says the power of the Holy Spirit has left us, and how confusing would it be for Jesus to send us the Holy Spirit, demonstrate His power, and then take Him from us. Would it not be the equivalent of holding out a precious jewel and then snatching it away just as our hands were outstretched towards it? Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit in great excitement and with a promise:

12 “I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do anything you ask the Father in my name so that the Father will be given glory because of the Son. 14 If you ask me to do something, I will do it.

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper who will be with you forever. 17 That helper is the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it doesn’t see or know him. You know him because he lives with you and will be in you.  (John 14:12-17)

Jesus guarantees us that if we believe we will do even greater things than he? And what did he do? He did countless miracles! Not only that, but he goes on to promise that the Holy Spirit is with us forever, not just for a time as many people have come to believe today, simply because they haven’t seen the Holy Spirit work in their lives.

The truth remains that what we seek we find. I grew up believing in the Holy Spirit but failing to see His power. But, what is more likely? To believe that Jesus lied to us or to believe that maybe we got something wrong ourselves? Maybe we have let doubt cloud our hearts, maybe we have forgotten who the Holy Spirit is. Even the disciples had to learn and grow in their understanding. It took an incredible amount of faith and an unshakable trust in Jesus to propel them forward on their journey.

Are we truly surprised to discover that maybe we will be required to have that same faith and trust?

I know a pastor who pursued healing for many years. It seemed hopeless, everyone he prayed for walked away unchanged, and man did he do bold things, putting his faith to the test..as this was going on, something tragic happened, his sister died of cancer. It was a defining moment, would he give up on healing? Instead of feeling hopeless, he became angry. Satan had had the last laugh, it was all or nothing. With renewed passion, he continued to pray over people, and that’s when…the miracles happened. Today, he sees miracles all the time. He believes without a doubt that God is good and his will is for everyone to be healed and restored. I know this man, in fact, he has opened our eyes to the miraculous.

I share this testimony in the hopes that you too will continue pursuing God’s promises. They are all worth fighting for with everything we have. Words alone won’t be enough to change the world, we need to prove that God is good and He is at work through us. That is what Jesus did, he taught and he did miracles, the two went hand in hand and we are called to mirror him.

And Jesus healed every single man, woman, and child that came to him. And those who came to him, whether they were blind, crippled, or diseased…were asked this question, “do you want to be healed?” I find this question is very easy to miss…we think to ourselves, of course, they want to be healed! But Jesus isn’t going to give you something you won’t receive, something you don’t want. Maybe this is a factor we also overlook today, we never ask people what they want, we just pray for them and even pull them up from their wheelchairs in the belief that healing will come by force.

The heart of a person can be the heart of the problem. Everything we do stems from our heart. How easy it is to pray over the obvious, the outward effects, that point to a deeper problem. Our bodies and minds can become warped by sin and brokenness, and only the Holy Spirit knows the heart. We can’t heal without his power, and we can’t heal without his guidance.

Ask him how to pray for someone, get to the heart of the issue, have that person say aloud what they want to happen…their words are just as powerful. And be willing to do what the Holy Spirit asks of you, don’t hesitate.

Believe that the miraculous is possible, seek it out, and you will find it. But be prepared and warned. In order to grow, to see more, you may have to step out of your comfort zones, out of your idea of what healing should look like, you may just have to trust yourself in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

 

“Faith without works is useless.”

James 2:20

God of Miracles

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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.”

-Psalm 139:14

Every week at church we recite this phrase, “all the time, God is good.” I watch as many people declare this over their lives, not knowing the power behind such declarations. They don’t even have to believe what they are saying is true, the fact is, it will become true to them in time. Our words have power and influence over things seen and unseen, I have seen this become reality, have heard testimonies of miracles because someone refused to back down from the truth. God is Good.

Recently, I’ve felt rather down-heartened. It seems everyone is getting incurable illnesses, dying in freak accidents, undergoing trauma no one should go through. I pray for each occurrence as it reaches my ears and then go about my day not altogether sure my prayers made a difference.  It isn’t that I haven’t seen my prayers answered before, in fact, it’s moments like this that my passion for healing is heightened. I must believe in God’s goodness, without this one belief, there would be nothing. No point behind all this pain and suffering, it would be a waste. I refuse to accept that our struggles are a waste, that we labor in vain. It is this unwavering feeling that assures me that there must be an answer, a purpose, and a hope for restoration.

When we first speak that truth over our lives, “God is good,” something happens…like any Word that we try to place in our heart, satan comes. He comes to attack that Word, that truth before it can become a part of us. He isn’t just the father of lies, but a thief. Every Word is tested, and can only be accepted as truth when it becomes truth in us. I could tell a blind man that the sky is blue, but that would not be a truth to him until he saw that same sky for himself.

I have seen God’s goodness. He saved my life when I could have fallen out of a ride at an amusement park (the seatbelt was broke), He saved me and my mom’s life when a semi hit our car (the steering wheel twisted away just in time), He saved my dad’s life twice (His heart had stopped), and these are just a few times…

The greatest thing God has done in my life is bring me up in a relationship with Him. I’ve never known a life without Him. My dad grew up a Jehovah’s witness and my mom had grown up as a Catholic, but when they had me, they had both became born-again Christians and decided to go to church.  And so my earliest memories are that of worship and Bible lessons, the excitement of going to church and seeing my friends and church family. That same family is with me today, 23 years later. God is Good.

So, God has been Good, but what about the “all the time…” part? Well, if you accept the Bible as truth, it says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus is God in the flesh and our High priest. He never once turned someone away who asked for healing, never cast aside His disciples, and always had compassion for the lost, jew and gentile alike. This truth isn’t a hard one for me, although I have changed in many ways since I was little, never have I changed my heart. I’ve always been compassionate towards others, I’ve always had a heart for people. Do I love perfectly? No way, but at my core, I know what I care about, what I value. And so I have always loved God, and have never let my anger or confusion turn my heart against Him.

I don’t say this to promote myself, I am nothing without God. He first loved me. He first loved you. But we must hear and accept the whole truth, “ALL the time…God IS Good.” And so now, when I find myself in moments that seem hopeless…I recite this. In moments when I feel my prayers aren’t heard…I recite this. On those days when it’s like the rain won’t stop falling…I recite this. When I’m angry and so full of despair that I have no words to say, I will find the strength to recite this. Because it is truth, and it is hope, and it is love. And I would die for all of these, because God is Good and satan will not take this from me, and he has no right to try and take this from you!

I know this post is titled God of Miracles. That title is actually a song I would like to share with you. The song was written by Chris Quilala, a Christian musician and worship leader from the Jesus Culture band. He wrote this song when his newborn baby died. I want you to listen to the lyrics with this in mind. Chris had lost someone so precious to him, someone, who would never grow to know him, memories that would never be shared. He had prayed and nothing had happened. All his life he had heard and believed that God does miracles….that truth didn’t change for Chris, even as he held his baby. The fact is, this belief was tested in Chris, and it came out all the stronger. My God is the God of Miracles! Our enemy is satan, and when we are sure in who Christ is, who God is! then there is NOTHING satan can do!

All the time, God is Good. 

Called To Heal

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“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

-Isaiah 53:4-5

I still have yet to witness a profound miraculous healing. I have seen many people healed of small afflictions, and have seen serious illnesses healed over time, but never have I witnessed someone’s leg grow out instantly, cancerous tumors visibly dissolve, or the crippled walk. Despite having not seen, I still believe. It is a choice we all have to make, and yes it’s a choice. Satan tries daily to increase our doubt and wrap us up in the worldly reality that writes miracles off as impossible fantasies. For those that believe in God, satan tries to twist our view of Him, “is God really good?” we begin to question, “if He is good why would He let bad things happen?” Unfortunately most, if not all, of us have blamed God at least once, for something He didn’t do because we fell into satan’s trap and forgot who He is.

It is crazy how easily one can twist the Bible. Picking out verses here and there like a bag of skittles and tossing the more nasty or “offending” parts out. We see this happening more and more as people try to justify their sins and force God into their self-created box. I’ve even seen people take it as far as to believe that there is no hell or satan….no judgement at all for their actions. There are extreme opposites too, that live in the old testament and believe God to be constantly furious and unforgiving towards His creation. Both, I am happy to say, are not true. All it takes is looking at the entire Bible, not just the savory parts, for us to reaffirm who God is and what constitutes right and wrong.

The old testament, in so many ways, has many still bound. Just like the pharisees we gravitate towards laws and structure instead of the miraculous and spontaneous acts of God. If it wasn’t in their religious scrolls they instantly labeled anything new as from demons, giving credit to satan for what God actually did. They had studied the Word and held that as the complete picture of who God is, not realizing until late that God was still writing and revealing His nature to us. Even now, we do not know God completely, that’s what makes a relationship with him so much fun! He reveals more of Himself as we partner with Him. I didn’t know everything about my husband coming into marriage. I still don’t. We had been friends for years but even then I had much to learn about his heart and what living with him would be like. I honestly believe that to be one of the greatest joys of marriage, discovering one another more deeply. God is the same way.

Our God is miraculous! keep that truth in your mind when the world tries to tell you something else. God’s nature, heart, and intent are clearly expressed in the Bible, however do not limit God to only what you know. One thing I’ve heard through multiple testimonies is that God often works in ways we would never have guessed. We can’t be like Moses striking the rock (Numbers 20) instead of obeying how God wants to do something. We serve a God of infinite ideas and He loves expressing them through us, for the sake of our faith and trust, but also for the sake of those we minister to.

The new testament is what brings it home for us. In the old testament we see God as restorer and healer, then He sends His Son, who is restorer and healer..lastly Jesus dies for our sins/debt and is resurrected…before he returns to heaven He promises the disciples that they will be receiving the Holy Spirit in His place. Keeping that in mind lets look at what Jesus says earlier in John 14:12-13:

“I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things I’m doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father. I will do anything you ask the Father in my name so that the Father will be given glory because of the Son.”

We will do even greater things than Jesus? Yes, it is now our commission to carry out, we are called to heal, restore, raise, cast out, and perform many other signs in the name of Jesus. What about the next part, “They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father,” In order for the Holy Spirit to come, Jesus had to ascend. He even tells the disciples that it’s better that He goes so that the Holy Spirit can come and rest upon them. It is through the Holy Spirit we receive power to do the miraculous. Remember, our debt has been paid, our old selves have died along with the old covenant. God is not mad at us, if he was that would mean that our debt has not been paid! Jesus is now alive in us, God sees Him reflected in each of His children. Now we are the ones called to heal and restore.

That is why I believe in the power of healing. Our God does not punish us with diseases and disabilities! Do not blame God for the works of the devil. “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) We live in a fallen world, however we have a weapon in the Holy Spirit. Through co-laboring with Him we can change the world. We are the ones called to release heaven’s realities on earth and destroy the works of the devil. But we have to say yes, we have to make a choice. Do you believe in the power of healing?

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” (Luke 4:18)