Dec 31, 2012

In The Midst of My Frustration

Picking up from my last message, I wanted to share something I've never discussed on this blog before. For the past few weeks, it's been hard for me to pray with anyone. Many of you know that on Facebook, I receive a lot of prayer requests. I try to respond to them as soon as possible. But when it comes to praying in person for strangers it's been a struggle. It's been weeks since I prayed for any of my patients.

I'm not sure what happened. I seem to have entered a phase where my motivation to pray for strangers is at an all-time low. I'm still transporting people who need prayer. But my heart just isn't being tugged at like it once was. Or maybe it's being tugged at, but I'm not responding.

I'm in a season of turmoil.

Lately, it seems as if all I want to do is write. I swear, if I could lock myself in a closet for a month, with a laptop and enough coffee to get me through, I'd be perfectly happy. Just think of all the books I could write.

I've been hanging around Jim Palmer too much. Whenever I read his material, I'm inspired to write. And I've been reading a lot of his stuff lately and getting inspired to write more.

So here I am - a frustrated writer trapped inside the body of a busy paramedic.

So I had a dream a few nights ago...

In the dream, I went to visit my ex-wife.

Yes....I have one. And we don't get along very well.

It's a long story.

So I drove to her house. As I approached, I noticed that her driveway and front yard were littered with abandoned cars.  I stopped and called her on my phone. When she answered, I could see from my vantage point that she was sitting in the yard at a picnic table, so said, "If I know you, you're probably sitting in the yard at a picnic table."

I drove closer to her house, but I had to maneuver my car carefully around the other cars.

I parked and got out.

"You shouldn't be here," she warned. "I'm going to call the police and have you arrested."

I decided to leave. I got in my car and began to drive carefully out of her driveway. For an instant, it dawned on me that leaving was going to be much more difficult than getting there. The cars and how they were positioned, made it impossible for me to leave the same way I got there.

Then suddenly the whole scene changed. I wasn't in her driveway any longer. I was in what looked like an apartment complex and the ground was covered with new-fallen snow.

There were still cars scattered here and there, but now there were people walking around and I had to avoid hitting them, too. I drove my car slowly, to the far edge of the parking lot and tried to squeeze my way out, next to a building, without hitting anyone, but an man walked in my path and I had to stop. I could tell he was blind.

I had my window down, so I yelled out, "Do you want to be healed?"

He said, "Sure".

So I got out and prayed with him.

That's when the dream ended.

My ex-wife is a sore spot in my life. Our failed marriage is a constant source of pain and regret that I have yet to be healed of.

In the dream, my visit to her place seems to represent God's desire to take a closer look something that's been bugging me from my past. The subject (I think) is not my relationship with my ex-wife, but the difficulty I'm having with my own past and my destiny.

I sense that God is saying that we're all bound to face discouragement, regret and other feelings, which can become obstacles to progress. In the dream, the cars I had to drive around, were obstacles. Regret lives in the past but it can be an obstacle to our future, when we dwell on it. Discouragement likewise affects our future if we allow room for it.

One of the things I'm dealing with is professional discontent. As much as I like my job, there's a part of me that desperately wants to spend more time writing. I feel like my career is preventing me from doing that. The funny thing is - I'm not even sure that my career is a real obstacle. I have plenty of time to write on my days off. It could be that I'm just perceiving it as an obstacle.

The people in the parking lot appeared as obstacles, preventing me from reaching my destination, or so it seemed, until I realized that they have needs which I can meet.

So the real problem I'm dealing with is my perception of obstacles. I see my job as an obstacle to writing, and it's not. I see people as obstacles to my destiny and they're not.

In the dream, the way out of my ex-wife's driveway (and my past) was blocked. It was not the way I would move forward. The only way forward was to get a new perspective on life.

In the midst of my frustration, God seems to be changing my perspective and giving me fresh grace (new-fallen snow) a new direction, and empowering me to do what I'm called to do. Despite my fears and concerns, there are still people who need healing, and there will be more stories to write. And God will provide time for both. These are the things I must focus on.

On a lighter note -  my first book will be out soon. Yes, I know you've heard that before, but we're almost done with the editing and since we're self-publishing, it should be available soon. I'm beginning work on the second book - which will be a compilation of stories from this blog and a few stories I've never shared publicly.

I don't have any New Year's resolutions to share with you. But I would greatly appreciate your prayers. I need wisdom and guidance and I need God's purposes to be worked out in my life.

Thanks for dropping by,

Happy New Years!

Dec 28, 2012

Divine Appointments

I frequently find myself on a call after my scheduled shift is over. Part of being a medic is surrendering your time to your patients and your employer, who may need a few extra hours now and then. 

I used to complain about being held over, but I'm not as bitter about it as I used to be - thanks to a perspective that my wife shared.

Shortly after I began my current job, I found out I was going to be held over a lot. I got in the habit of texting my wife to let her know I'll be late. I'd come home and tell her about my day; how many patients we transported, if I prayed with anyone, and if anyone was healed. 

After a while she noticed a pattern.

One day as I told her about a suicidal patient we transported that I prayed with, she said, "Honey, I know there's always a good reason when you're late. Haven't you noticed that every time you're late, there's  someone you get to pray with or give an encouraging word to? God has these divine appointments for you, and I'm okay with it."

I'd never really considered that. And of course, she was right. I've been keeping an eye on the kind of people we transport after the end of our shift and almost every time, it's someone who needs a touch from God. Today was no exception.

We transported a 64 year old woman with weakness in her right leg for two weeks. She didn't think much of it, but she went to see her primary care doctor who did some blood tests and ordered a CAT scan to be done the following week.

The results from the scan came back. But her doctor didn't tell her what was wrong. He told her to go to an emergency room and have them evaluate her. So she did. The ER discovered that she a large brain tumor. We were transporting her to another hospital for neurosurgery.

We got her loaded and went en route. The freeways were jammed with traffic, so we took surface roads.

She seemed too happy to be a person who just found out she had a brain tumor. I began to wonder if she even knew about it. On a hunch that perhaps they didn't tell her about it, and being concerned that if I mentioned the word 'tumor' she might panic, I decided to find out what she knew.

"So exactly what did they tell you was wrong, if I might ask?"

"Well....they said I had some kind of lesion in my brain."

"Awesome", I thought to myself. "They lied to her."

Well, not technically of course - because strictly speaking - a tumor is a kind of lesion. It just happens to be one of the worst kinds, and they didn't feel  like telling her about it.

Life's just seems a little easier when you hide those messy details from people.

I got a set of vitals, then asked my next question.

"Do you believe in divine appointments?"

She looked at me with a smile, "Well...I guess so."

"So do I. And I think you're  having one."

I told her about the dreams about praying for my patients and the people who have been healed including a couple of people with tumors.

"So can I pray with you to be healed?"

"I'd like that", she said with a smile.

So I placed my hand on her shoulder, commanded the lesion to be gone, told demons to hit the road and asked the Holy Spirit to bring His presence and touch her.

She didn't feel anything and our mobile CAT scanner was in the shop for repairs, so I don't know if she was healed.

But I know she was blessed. And sometimes that's enough.

Dec 25, 2012

Santa's Miracle

This is a real Christmas miracle story, that happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin, USA.

A little girl named Sarah had leukemia and was not expected to live to see Christmas. Her brother and grandmother went to the mall to ask Mark Lenonard who was a professional Santa Claus to visit the hospital to give Sarah the gift of hope through encouragement and prayer.

A year later Sarah surprised Santa by showing up at the mall where he worked. Here goes the story.

A little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at The Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on Santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

“Who is this?” – asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”

“Yes, Santa.” – he replied.

“My sister, Sarah, who is very sick.” – he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” – the child exclaimed.
“She misses you.” – he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” – Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..” – the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

“The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays.” – she said through tear-filled eyes.

“Is there anyway, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying?” – he thought with a sinking heart, “This is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked Rick, the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.

“Why?” – Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.

“Common….I’ll take you there.” – Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead.

And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“Santa!” – shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “Thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels, “Oh, yes, Santa… I do!” – she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you.” – he said.

Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, “Silent Night, Holy Night…. all is calm, all is bright…”

The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.

“Now, Sarah,” – he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he ‘had’ to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” – Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.

“My only child is the same age as Sarah.” – he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”

They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”

“Of course, I do.” – Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.

“Sarah!” – he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed – and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well.

He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”

Dec 20, 2012

A Dream Come True

I received this e-mail from the mother of a patient I prayed with. Her story can be found here. The names of the patient and mother were omitted for the sake of privacy

Hi! I'm not sure if you will remember us. You transported my daughter from Mayo hospital to Kindred hospital back in May. My daughter had been diagnosed with a rare auto immune encephalitis. During the trip, you asked if you could pray for my daughter. I told you we welcomed all prayer. I remember how much I appreciated your gesture.  A couple of weeks later, you stopped by her room and told me you had dreamed that she and I were talking to each other. That visit meant a lot. Over time, various people have mentioned such dreams about her. I just wanted to let you know, prayers are answered and dreams do come true. She has started talking, and she is being discharged from Mayo acute rehab this week. We will be heading back to Texas where she will continue her recovery at home. Thank you for such kindness during a very difficult time.

May God Bless You

(Her mother)

Dec 18, 2012

The Father and The Porn Star

By Joel Adifon - originally published here.

This is an uncomfortable topic for many and even for myself. But I know that people out there need to read this.

For some personal reasons, right before taking a nap today, I asked Papa to show me how He feels about pornography.

I fell asleep and all of a sudden I saw myself as a tall, extremely muscled, and athletic Caucasian male.

I worked with extremely attractive, physically flawless girls and basically spent time being especially demeaning to them, calling them "bitches," "whores," and other terrible names. I would do this while the cameras were rolling and I was in scenes with them. I would continue even when filming wasn't going on.

In other words, I wasn't a very nice dude.

When we would wrap up filming for the day, I would go home and completely act as if who I was at work didn't even exist.

I had a beautiful little girl (about 3 or 4 years old) with the most beautiful golden, Rapunzel-like locks.

She would always be playing on the grass of our enormous backyard (I had a mansion in the dream) and whenever I would come from work, she would run to me and I would pick her up and twirl her around in my arms.

One day, we were both in the backyard. I was working on something and she was playing a few feet away.

I didn't notice, but there was a pile of sharp, crushed up pieces of glass near where she was playing. She was about to put her hands in it and play, which would have left them covered with cuts and contusions.

Right before she touched the glass, I happened to glance over at her.

I freaked out, yelled out her name, grabbed her and scooped her up in my arms, holding her tight to me.

"Honey," I said, "please don't play there, you'll hurt yourself and I'll be sad."

"Okay, daddy." She then ran off to go play somewhere else.

I looked at her going to make sure she was safe and all of a sudden, when I turned back to where my focus had been, the Father was standing right in front of me, staring right into my eyes.

He had pure silver hair and a silver beard, yet He looked young at the same time, with fiery, life-filled eyes.

He was smiling and His smile was filled with the most love-filled acceptance of me, yet I could see a deep sadness in it.

"Son, you really care about her don't you?"

"Yeah." I said.

"You didn't want her to get hurt, right?"


"I want to show you something."

All of a sudden, I saw a scene projected onto my enormous backyard.

I saw all the girls that I normally worked with, on the grass, except they were all little girls.

I saw them running at a very fast pace for little girls.

I tried to see where they were headed and I saw a gigantic pile of broken glass with a large building sticking out if it.

The building said "Porn Industry" on it.

The Father, (He was still standing next to me watching the projection, while at the same time in it) was standing in front of the building with His hands out.

"Stop! Girls, please!" His booming voice echoed throughout the yard. "Everything that I've placed in you will be destroyed. All the dreams! All the hopes! All the innocence! STOP!"

But the girls wouldn't stop running. Some of them bumped into Him, knocking Him over.

Then, the vision faded.

The Father looked at me, with pain in His eyes and said, "In the same way that you didn't want your daughter to play in the glass, I never wanted my daughters to go into porn. My son, I don't want them to end up torn, wounded, and broken."

He looked into my eyes one last time and walked away.

The next day, I went back to work shaken up and confused.

I would do scenes with the girls, but my mind would be elsewhere. People would ask me if I was okay.

Finally, in the breakroom, I snapped.

I looked at the girls that I had so often mistreated and said, "Guys, I'm so sorry."

Some of them were getting high and just chilling and they were like, "What the f***? Sorry for what?"

"I'm sorry for being such a dick to you guys and for calling you all those names. I'm sorry." I could hardly hold back tears.

They all laughed and said, "Whatever dude. It's just work." None of them were taking me seriously and that broke my heart.

There was another male pornstar in my dream (probably a demon) who knew what I was up to and came right up to me with an angry scowl on his face. He put a gun up to my chest and said, "Shut the f*** up!"

He pulled the trigger.

I immediately woke and heard Papa say very clearly, in my spirit.

"Joel, My son, this is how I feel about pornography."

Guys, my heart was heavy after this.

As a man, I have struggled with this in various seasons in my life and sometimes the battle leaves you numb.

You begin to think,

"I'm not hurting anyone."

"Papa doesn't condemn me."

It is very true that Papa doesn't condemn you or see you differently for messing up, but His heart is breaking.

He is jealous for His daughters and He loves them with an everlasting love.

If you struggle with this, like I have, ask Him to give you a revelation of His heart.

Do not try to break this by striving or because it's the "right thing to do."

If you're a girl and your significant other is looking at this stuff, do not let that make you feel less than the perfection that you already are in Papa's eyes.

Pray for him and pray for all guys who are trapped in this thing.

Lastly, if you're a girl who's in the porn industry (or thinking about it) who is somehow reading this, I just want to say something to you.

You are loved. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are clean.

Please forgive guys like me who have used you to feel good about ourselves or to fill the emptiness inside.

You have a Father who loves you unconditionally.

He is wildly, passionately, unequivocally in love with you.

He is not the angry Zeus like figure many preachers have expounded on in their sermons.

He just wants you to be safe and whole.

Talk to Him when you feel alone. Let Him be your friend.

He will never use you or take advantage of you.

And if we ever meet someday, let me hear your story and just share mine with you.

From one human being to another.

Dec 15, 2012

The Healing of Valerie Shedden

[100_1311.jpg]This testimony was originally published here.

The last 10 months of my life have been a true miracle and God send. 

 Unless you've had a part of you taken away and then restored to you then you probably can not fully understand why I'm so elated when I talk about the last 10 months .....

I was lame and now I can walk .... I was (partially) blind and now I can see ..... I couldn't think and now my mind is clear ..... My family lived life without me and now we are enjoying life together .... the pain was unbearable most of the time and now I don't experience pain at all ..... the freedom that I once had I lost but now it has been given back to me! 

I am so eternally grateful for what God has done in my life and I enjoy sharing my testimony anytime I can ... just to see the look of amazement on people's faces is priceless.  To see them see "God" in all His glory for what He has done is AMAZING and I wouldn't trade 2007-2010 for anything.  He has given me the ability to use my disease & healing for HIS glory .... what a marvelous gift!!!

Please read my testimony below ...

"Mrs. Shedden, you have multiple sclerosis." Those are the words my neurologist said to me after a 6 wk. long battle with a migraine. The test results were in but no one could have prepared me for those words.

What was multiple sclerosis and what was the road ahead going to look like for me?

As an autoimmune disease, MS tells your body to attack itself. In my case there was leg pain, general weakness in my entire body, numbness in my legs & arms, pins & needles feelings in my hands, face and feet, migraines, stomach attacks that lasted for weeks with no cause and no remedy that felt like labor pains, and then there's the loss of cognitive functions such as memory loss and loss of concentration ... for me those were extremely frustrating to deal with.

Through it all, my husband, Don, stood by me. He held my hand, providing a shoulder to cry on when needed and was just a constant support. I appreciate him greatly.

Every day of the last 2 1/2 years proved to be something new to overcome with this disease - a new frustration. And I couldn't do things with my family that I wanted to do .... they'd go to the park without me a lot, or just outside to play and I'd be stuck inside because I was too weak to walk or stand or even sit up straight at times.

My daughter and I missed a lot of play time together that we will never get back and I'm sorry for that. At the age of 4,5,6 she did a lot of caring for me when I should have been caring for her.

From Sept. 2007 - Nov. 2009 I spent apx. 30 days in the hospital on 7 different occasions. I would have to go in for IV steroid treatments when my symptoms got too bad.

For 2-3 weeks prior to March 14th, 2010 my symptoms had been getting steadily worse so I knew what was coming and for some reason I was overcome with fear for this hospital stay like I never have been before. So, I kept putting it off hoping my symptoms would improve - knowing deep down that they wouldn't.

That Sunday night my physical body was in no shape to go anywhere but the ER but God was telling me to this healing service that I had been hearing so much about at a local church. So, Don helped me to the car and off we went.

One step at a time, my walker in front of me, I slowly made it into the church - all doped up on pain pills - expecting God to do something GREAT! I sat in the back row, feet propped up on a chair in front of me, while friends prayed over me and spoke words from the Lord to me.

All during worship I just waited - expectantly. Towards the end of the service the pastor called me to the front. So, with the walker, I made my way to the front and sat while people prayed over me.

When they were done the pastor and a laymen helped me up and we started walking together, slowly. It didn't take long after that when I heard God speak to me and say "YOU ARE HEALED, NOW WALK!"

So, I let go of the men's hands, turned around and started WALKING!! Then I started RUNNING .... then JUMPING .... then LEAPING ... then TWIRLING ... it was purely AMAZING!!!

I am still in AWE to this day! I've been doing things since that night that I haven't been able to do, physically AND mentally, in YEARS .....
- play basketball with my family
- go on LOOONNNGGG, fast, exercising-type walks with my family
- I can EXERCISE for hrs a day!!!!!
- take my daughter to the park!!!
- be a multi-tasker again!! - - THIS IS HUGE!!!
- I ran up a hill one day
- I chased Emily's t-ball team around the bases last Spring!!

There are a couple of key things that have helped me "keep the faith" during this trial -
1.) The saying - "Stay in the ring, the fight is fixed!" My fight was fixed and we knocked him O-U-T!!!
2.) Matthew 17:19-20 ... referring to disciples asking Jesus why they could not cast out a demon .... 19: "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20: And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

I had the faith as big as a mustard seed (sometimes bigger than a mustard seed) that my healing would happen in God's timing for those 2 1/2 yrs. -- and I have seen it happen!! PRAISE GOD!! I can not quit smiling and praising God and I just fall in love with HIM over and over and over again daily!!!

Dec 12, 2012

Quotes III

"As teachers or leaders, an important question to ask ourselves is, "When someone comes to me with a problem or difficult question, do I try to answer it myself, or do I refer them to God and trust that He will answer it for them?" Leaders often have a hard time sending people to God for things, and instead see themselves as the one who must have all the answers."

"A prophetic word is from God if it happens to come from Him and not from some other source. Discerning the source is more a matter of knowing His heart, His ways and His voice than anything else."

“What nobody tells people who are beginners - and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You've just gotta fight your way through.” ~ Ira Glass

"Does God hate sinners? If you looked in the bible, you might think He does. But if you followed me around and saw Him heal and touch and love on them, you might think He rather likes them. Something must have happened to make Him see them differently. Perhaps it has something to do with that carpenter fellow."

"John's ministry seemed to be one that took place in an obscure location. Even Luke's description of how the word of the Lord first came to John is a testimony to his obscurity:
'Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John in the wilderness.'
"You have a landscape littered with important political and religious leaders, but God chose to work through an obscure nobody who hung out in the wilderness eating locusts and honey. I guess my point there is - where one is found, geographically and who one is connected to relationally, has little bearing on how that person might be used by God."

"If we don't have the faith to see a particular person healed from cancer, or raised from the dead, we may still have the faith to support those who DO have faith to see them raised. Even if we don't have faith for miracles, or if we think this person can't be healed or raised, we still know how to pray encouragement, faith, passion, boldness into those who are still contending for that which we are not ready or able to contend for. 
Those people are ALWAYS more important than what I do or do not believe or understand. Jesus did not die for doctrine or understanding; he died for people. We must support people, even when we cannot support all that the people are believing or doing." ~ Northwest Prophetic

"Love is if you're struggling with patience, you're really struggling with love. The answer isn't to try being more patient. The answer is to become more loving. - Dan Mohler

"Think twice about living from revelation someone else received from God. One day you may be asked to die for it. If you didn't receive it from God, you may question it. And if it's not worth dying for, it's not worth living for. There's no confidence as great as that which we have when we live from what we know God has told us personally."

"I used to fellowship with my own kind, but now I have an 'eclectic' group that I fellowship with. In gifting & doctrine, we agree on nothing, except who is King. The more I'm accepted by them, the more I see Jesus at work. Unconditional love is like that. The eye in a box with its own kind knows familiarity. But that's not its place. The eye must find an ear and ask what he's heard, a nose and ask what he smells, a tongue and ask what he tastes, a finger and ask what he feels and tell them all what marvelous things he's seen."

"The idea that I must live for Christ puts the focus on me. The idea that He is living in me puts the focus on Him and what He can do through me."

"An all-powerful, omniscient, insomniac with ADHD?
And somehow, He has a frightful case of dementia regarding to our blunders. Can't remember a single one, no matter how well we remember them. I'm very fond of Him; perhaps more than anything else, because of his forgetfulness."

"Kindness is not random. Beauty is not senseless. An exquisite design from a loving heart lies behind both. There are no blind watchmakers."

"The removal of a demonic influence for some people is only temporary. When children of the kingdom show up, we reveal a different reality than they're used to. Our kingdom is one of light and truth. All we can do is reveal it and offer them a taste. We can't make them enter God's kingdom against their will. Some choose to enter, some do not. If they choose the kingdom of God and seek repentance and are filled with the Spirit, they begin their new life of truth. But if they choose not to, yes, the demons will return - but only because they chose that path."

"We have evangelistic strategies because we have failed to love." ~ Dan Mohler

“There are two ways of being a prophet. One is to tell the enslaved that they can be free. It is the difficult path of Moses. The second is to tell those who think they are free that they are in fact enslaved. This is the even more difficult path of Jesus.” ~ Richard Rohr

"There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or influence. Those who lead inspire us. Whether individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves." ~ Simon Sinek

"If you see things others can't and you're from the right side of the bell curve, they call you insane. If you see things others can't and you're from the left side, they call you a visionary. If you march to the beat of your own drum from the right side, they call you an outcast. If you march to the beat of your own drum from the left side, they call you unique or authentic." ~ Simon Sinek

"Accountability, if it has to be forced on people, will never set them free or create mature believers. Quite the opposite. It will prevent people from understanding the true nature of God. To be wholly accountable to others we need to set people free to use their will properly." ~ Graham Cooke

Dec 6, 2012

Did God Cause Death & Evil in The Old Testament?

By Richard Murray

This is a discussion about the nature of God and Satan as their works are revealed in the pages of Scripture. The basic premise is that the Old Testament contains an incomplete revelation of the nature of Satan. That incomplete picture of Satan causes many of us to attribute his works to God. The New Testament reveals the works of Satan for what they are. When Old Testament passages are read in light of New Testament revelation, the works of death and evil attributed to God in the Old Testament can be traced back to Satan.

Richard Murray wrote:
The Old Testament has a lesser revelation about Satan and lacks the greater New Testament light.

Jewish and Christian scholars alike have both noted that the Old Testament view of God differs significantly from the New Testament view in one key aspect - the way Satan is viewed. The way Satan is viewed explains all discrepancies between the Old and New Testaments.

Let me explain:

For the Old Testament believer, Satan was an obedient angel who had a tough job as God's enforcer who was in charge of:
  1. Executing the wrath of God's curses on disobedient men
  2. Dispensing eventual death to all men
  3. Testing men's faith by oppressing them with circumstances to see if they remain righteous
  4. Hardening the hearts of certain men to commit acts of rebellion so that they quickly destroy themselves
  5. Destroying what God commands through war, plague, famine, and natural/ supernatural disasters
  6. Accusing men of their failures before God based on his eyewitness reports.
But in all this, Satan is merely fulfilling his role in the heavenly train. He is not seen as an enemy of God, a rebel opposed to the Kingdom of God on every level, like he is portrayed in the New Testament.

For sure, the New Testament confirms that Satan does engage in wrath, accusation, destruction, and temptation, but never under the approval or direction of God. The Old Testament says Satan is just following orders, while the New Testament says Satan is "off the grid" in complete disobedience to God.

In short, Old Testament saints see Satan as a Luca Brasi figure. Brasi was a character from “The Godfather” novel and movies who did the Godfather's dirty work, but who was absolutely loyal to his leader, perhaps even the most loyal. Brasi was an assassin, spy and fixer who always worked behind the scenes to discover and destroy those disloyal or opposed to his Godfather. He rooted out then disposed of the Godfather's enemies. He always had his Godfather's trust and blessing. This was the Old Testament view of Satan.

As The Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts  by Philip Birnbaum says, " with the angel of death. He leads astray, then he brings accusations against man, whom he slays eventually. His chief functions are those of temptation, accusation and punishment. Under the control of God, he acts solely with the divine permission to carry out his plots." (Sanhedrin Press, page 594).

Rabbi Benjamin Blech similarly writes, "Judaism sees Satan as a servant of God whose function is to set up choices between good and evil so that we can exercise our free will.... [His] apparent harshness is merely camouflage for divine concern and love." If God is So Good, Why is The World So Bad? (Simcha Press, pages 7-9)

Author Stephen Harris notes that the Old Testament Satan is not the same entity as the New Testament Satan. In the Old Testament, "The Satan figure acts as Yahweh's spy and prosecuting attorney whose job is to bring human misconduct to the deity's attention and, if possible, persuade Yahweh to punish it.

Throughout the Old Testament the Satan remains among the divine 'sons,' serves as God's administrative agent, and thus reveals a facet of the divine personality.... At the outset, some Bible writers saw all things, good and evil alike, as emanating from a single source - Yahweh. Israel's strict monotheistic credo decreed that Yahweh alone caused both joys and sorrows, prosperity and punishment (Deut. 28).... The canonical Hebrew Bible grants the Satan scant space and little power.

Whereas the Old Testament Satan can nothing without Yahweh's express permission, in the New Testament he behaves as an independent force who competes with the Creator for human souls.... According to Mark's Gospel, one of Jesus' major goals is to break up Satan's kingdom and the hold that he and lesser evil spirits exercise on the people. Hence, Mark stresses Jesus' works of exorcising devils and dispossessing the victims of demonic control. The New Testament, then-- in sharp contrast to the Old-- shows Satan and the devil as one, a focus of cosmic evil totally opposed to the Creator God. This 'evil one' is the origin of lies, sin, suffering, sickness and death." Understanding the Bible: A Reader’s Introduction, pages 26-28.

The renowned International Standard Bible Encyclopedia is in full agreement with this in its entry on Satan: "The Old Testament does not contain the fully developed doctrine of Satan found in the New Testament. It does not portray him as at the head of a kingdom, ruling over kindred natures and an apostate from the family of God.... It is a significant fact that the statements concerning Satan become numerous and definite only in the New Testament.

The daylight of the Christian revelation was necessary in order to uncover the lurking foe, dimly disclosed but by no means fully known in the earlier revelation.... In the early states of religious thinking it would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, to hold the sovereignty of God without attributing to His agency those evils in the world which are more or less directly connected with judgment and punishment.... The progressive revelation of God's character and purpose, which more and more imperatively demands that the origin of moral evil, and consequently natural evil, must be traced to the created will in opposition to the Divine, leads to the ultimate declaration that Satan is a morally fallen being to whose conquest the Divine Power in history is pledged."

Finally, scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, who has written multiple volumes on the historical development of our understanding of Satan, notes that the reason early Jewish thought saw Satan as God's servant is as follows:

"Since the God of Israel was the only God, the supreme power in the cosmos, and since, unlike the abstract God of the Greeks, He had personality and will, no deed could be done unless He willed it. Consequently, when anyone transgressed morality, God was responsible for the transgression as well as for its punishment." The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of God in History, (Cornell University Press, 29-30)

Russell goes on to trace that later in Jewish history, closer to Jesus' day, more and more Jews began to see Satan as an evil entity acting independently of God's approval. This is easily proven by considering the incident in which King David sinned by numbering Israel. This incident is first recorded in 2 Samuel 24:1, and then centuries later in 1 Chronicles 21:1.

In the earlier entry, David's sin is caused by "the anger of God," while in the later passage "Satan" is the cause of David's sin. Same sin, same event, entirely different cause. The Jews were beginning to see that they could not attribute both sin and punishment to God, good and evil to God, love and hate to God. They began to develop the idea that Satan was an enemy to God's purposes rather than an obedient friend. Unfortunately, when Israel as a nation rejected Jesus as Messiah, they also rejected the truth about Satan and have since sadly regressed back to their early Old Testament view, as the earlier quotes above show.

But let's catch our breath and think about this for a moment. If in the passage above, Satan's destructive activity is wrongly attributed as God's wrath, then where does that leave us?

It leaves us falsely accusing God of all sorts of evil events, motives and destructions. We have chained God and Satan at the spiritual hip, good and evil at the spiritual hip, love and wrath at the spiritual hip - God is blamed for all that Satan does, while Satan gets partial credit for the good God does. The end result is that the character of God is clouded and men are unable to fully see, trust and rejoice in his love and forgiveness.

So was the Old Testament view of Satan different than the New Testament view?

Yes, vastly different, but perhaps the best way to put it is not so much that the Old Testament was wrong about Satan, but that the Old Testament was almost completely uninformed about him. The first reference to Satan is not even until 548 pages into the Old Testament. Satan is first mentioned only 3 pages into the New Testament. The total number of times Satan is mentioned in the Old Testament is 19 times, 14 of which are in the book of Job. The New Testament mentions Satan (or his devils) nearly 200 times, despite the fact that it is five times shorter than the Old Testament in length.

Only three Old Testament writers ever even mention Satan, and that only briefly. Every New Testament writer mentions Satan. Amazingly, Moses, David, Abraham and Solomon never mentioned Satan at all.

Their clueless silence is hard to imagine, given the fact that these men are considered giants of the faith. Contrast this with the New Testament, where Jesus repeatedly calls Satan "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the Apostle Paul calls Satan "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4) and "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2) who can appear as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). The Apostle Peter calls Satan "your adversary... a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8), and the Apostle John calls Satan "the evil one... in whose power the whole world lies." (1 John 5:19).

What is going on here?

Not one Old Testament verse warns us of Satan's evil influence in our hearts or minds, much less his rebellious rule over the entire fallen world. Not one demon is cast out in the Old Testament. Legions of devils are cast out in the New Testament. Evil spirits are sent from the Lord in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 16:14), but are sent from Satan as Beezlebub, the ruler of demons, in the New Testament (Matthew 12:24-29).

Jesus' main thrust in ministry was to destroy the works of Satan, not enable them or approve of them in any way. "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8)
When summarizing the Gospel for the first Gentile converts, Peter described "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." Acts 10:38.

The point?

Jesus continually exposed Satan as an enemy of His Father, and not a servant. Jesus described Satan as: "a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)

This is a crucial passage for it shows Satan's evils come from "his own resources," not God's, and that he is in essence a killer and a liar, in fact the "father" of all killing and lying. Remember, Satan tried to both deceive and kill Jesus in the wilderness temptations in Luke 4. Jesus defeated him then and went on defeating him throughout the rest of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.

Jesus not only opposed Satan personally, he fought against Satan's entire kingdom of demonic elements, "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:10. Through the work of the cross, Jesus defeated all of Satan's armies, "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15) Greek scholars tell us these words describe Jesus having a victory parade wherein He brandishes all the captured armor of Satan's kingdom for all to see and celebrate. Satanic captivity has been taken captive by the Lord of love and light who has ransomed and rescued us from our dark kidnappers.

Now we see what one of the main problems was with Old Testament believers. They simply did not have the depth of understanding to see the truth about God's Kingdom as it related to Satan's kingdom. Their understanding of what we call New Covenant truth was at most only embryonic. This is the perfect example of John Calvin's claim that Old Testament saints had only "sleight capacity" to understand deeper New Testament concepts - the true nature of Satan being just such a concept.

Without the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth, Old Testament saints simply could not accurately process how the two invisible personalities of God and Satan operated on the earth. It wasn't God working with Satan as they supposed. It was God working against Satan as Jesus revealed.

Jesus revealed that between their two kingdoms, there was no treaty, no cooperation, no partnership, no under-the-table deals, no compromise, no joint operation going on. It was war!

Jesus stated the battle lines of this war in John 10:10, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly."

Satan = stealing, killing, destroying.

Jesus = life abundant.

Dec 4, 2012

Malaria Healed by an Atheist

This was originally shared here on Facebook by Steve Peace Harmon. 

This is a healing that happened when I was in Malawi, Africa in 2008.

Everyday I’d get up early in the morning and walk the streets Zomba. One day a guy approached and asked me if I would buy some phone cards. I said, “No thank you.” He replied, “You were at the bank the other day and said you would buy some later.” I thought to myself, “I was at the bank the other day and that does sound like it was something that I would say.” I said to the guy, “Yeah man, I’m not interested. But if you want, I could pray for you?” He didn't look too happy about that. He stood there and thought awhile and then said, “My sister, she’s in the hospital with Malaria.” In Malawi, when you get Malaria it is a death sentence. It’s the number one cause of death there, and when you go to the hospital you go there to die.

I couldn't go to the hospital so I asked the Lord what to do. He told me to put my hand on his shoulder and pray for his faith. So I did that. Then I said to him, “Go to your sister, put your hand on her and say, ‘In Jesus’ name be healed.” Now, I didn't think anything was going to happen. Two days later I’m walking down the street and I see this guy run to me saying, “Friend! Friend! My sister! She’s walking around!” He told me that he put his hand on his sister and prayed in Jesus’ name. When he did that a blast of power hit his sister that electrified her body and she started to get up and walk around. I pulled out my camera and this video is what he said right after he approached me and we talked.

When I first met this guy he was very lethargic and sounded really depressed. He showed little emotion. He was so excited to tell me what happened that when started to walk, he said something to me that blew away. He said, “I NOW believe there is a God.” Then the Lord spoke to me, “That’s the point of why you are to perform miracles.” There is no better witnessing tool than to show God to people in the raw form.

This guy was an atheist and through an act of power and love God proved Himself to be real. God showed me that it was like the story in Acts were Paul would lay his hands on handkerchiefs and aprons and then the people would put them on the sick and they would get healed. When I put my hand on him and prayed for his faith he now became that handkerchief and transferred the Glory of God from me on to his sister and the rest is history.. Release that Glory that lives inside of you. You never know what Jesus is going to do.. 1 Cor 2:4-5, “and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” —

Dec 2, 2012

Annual Check-up

This is the continuing story about the healing of a co-worker. The previous post about her healing from last year can be found here

Amy (not her real name) saw me coming in from my ride at the end of shift. Surprised to see me working the east valley, she asked, "What are you doing here?"

I told her I'd been working the east valley for a year. She didn't waste time getting to the point.

"I might need your help with my knee again. It's swollen and hurts a lot. Especially behind my knee."

Amy had been healed of a knee injury a year ago. But the pain and swelling returned. So the question was - would she be healed again?

She pointed to where the pain and swelling were. I asked if she had a few minutes so I could get her healed. She was going off duty and wasn't in a hurry. So we sat on the couch in the day room.

I asked a few questions - basically trying to pinpoint where the pain was located. I placed by hand two inches from her knee and asked if she wanted to be healed again.

"I can already feel the energy coming from your hand," she said with a smile.

"So, I'll take that as a yes", I replied.

I kept my hand about two inches from her skin and commanded spirits of pain and inflammation to leave and commanded ligaments, tendons, cartilage and soft tissue to be healed. She said she felt something moving inside her knee joint.

"Well, you know what that means....why don't you get up and walk on it...see how it feels?"

She got up and walked around.

"I still hurts a little."

"Okay. Have a seat and show me where it hurts."

She pointed to the lateral aspect of her knee. I placed my hand on it, commanded it to be healed in the name of Jesus and had her check it out again.

"'s feels pretty good."

"That was way too easy," I thought to myself.

We talked for a few minutes then we both headed to the parking lot. The end of another day as one of God's kids.

If you're new to this blog - and you haven't heard this need to take this to heart:

Anyone can do this.

I sincerely mean it. I'm not someone who has a special gift. Four years ago, I didn't believe in healing. I just decided I was fed up with living a powerless life and I determined that I was going to pray with anyone and everyone who wanted to be healed.

The learning curve for me was pretty steep. I had no faith. I knew nothing about healing or miracles. So the first 400 or 500 people I prayed with weren't healed. But God told me to keep going and not to give up.

So I kept going. And eventually, the miracles came.

So you need to keep going, too. Because the same Jesus who heals through me, also lives in you. He wants to heal people through you. The miracles will come. If you don't give up.