Oct 25, 2009

My Friend Katie

About a month ago I transported one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Her name is Catherine; she goes by Katie. She gave me permission to tell her story. I picked her up at St Clare hospital in Lakewood, Washington. She came to the ER with nausea, vomiting and symptoms of a general illness. Her white blood cell count was off the charts. She was being transferred directly to the University of Washington with a tentative (new) diagnosis of leukemia.

She seemed tired during the 45-minute trip. I decided to let her rest. She slept some, but tossed and turned trying to deal with the symptoms while lying on the narrow gurney as we bounced down the freeway. Five minutes before we arrived, I woke her up. I told her I believed God would heal her of this disease and asked if I could pray with her. She began to get tears in her eyes, which made me begin to cry. We spent these few minutes holding hands, asking for God’s healing power and love to be poured out upon her life, and crying.

What amazed me about this woman? It was the boldness of her faith. Here she was with a new diagnosis of leukemia and with firm conviction she spent the rest of her time with me declaring the greatness, love, mercy and goodness of God. That’s something I rarely see. She’s become a great inspiration to me.

Katie said one of the nurses tucked a note in her sheets before we left the hospital. We searched the ambulance but didn’t find it. She was disappointed, but I found it the following day. I wanted to give it back to the nurse. That was a bit tricky, because I wasn’t certain who she was. God led me to her. When I told her about the trip, we both began to cry. She’s going to give the note to Kate in person when she sees her again.

I’ve been praying for Katie’s healing with my wife. We asked a few friends to join us through a prayer ring on Facebook. I’m convinced she’ll be healed one day. But even if she isn't I've made a new friend. Praying for people has many different outcomes. At times it's a healing, other times is an encouraging moment for someone who needs it. Sometimes a lifelong relationship begins. You never know what will come of it. Here’s Katie's story from the two e-mails she sent me:

(Oct 7th)
Hi Dave,
I don't know if you remember me, but you took me from St Clare's to UW Seattle by ambulance at the beginning of September.  I had been diagnosed with leukemia.  I am getting better every day, although I am still not back at work.  Perhaps I will be able to return next week or so.  My blood levels are becoming stable and I have so much love and prayer surrounding me that I know I will be fine soon.
As I was saying my prayers today, I read the following and thanked God for you and all I have met.  I thought I would share it with you. 
"All your movements, your goings and comings, controlled by Me. 
Every visit, all blessed by Me. 
Every walk arranged by Me. 
A blessing on all you do, on every interview.
Every meeting not a chance meeting, but planned by Me. 
All blessed.
Not only now, in the hour of your difficulty, but from this time forth and for evermore."
You remain in my prayers.......God bless,  
Catherine Picard

(Oct 14th )
Hi Dave,
While my given name is Catherine and some people do use that name, others call me Katie, a nickname given me by my father.  
Your response to my e-mail was humbling to say the least.  I am now back at work, although my hours are very varied.  I would love to see you again and give you a great big hug of thanks.  If the nurse at St. Clare's wishes to contact me, you are free to give her my e-mail or phone number.  I have often wondered what the Lord had to say to me in her letter, but He must have thought I would need the words later rather than at the time. Of course you may tell or post my story to anyone where and with whom you think it might make a difference.  We are all here for the same purpose, to bring each other to the Lord.  However, if you have a prayer network, I will ask that you also include my mother and father.  My father has Alzheimer's rather badly.  My parents live in California and my mother is without much of a support network.  They need prayer more than I.  
How are your friend with Lou Gehrig's disease and his family doing?  They remain in my prayers also.
I look forward to seeing you again.  I'm sorry I missed you at Fred Meyer, but I am back now, hopefully full time.  My days off are usually somewhere in the middle of the week, although that changes with the company schedule.  I am difficult to contact at home as my hours, as I said are so varied, but you may call and leave a message or e-mail me at any time.

In Christ,  Katie Picard

Oct 23, 2009

Just Not Myself - Reacting to Error

Yesterday was a nightmare...I never saw it coming. (some prophet, huh?) This post is from the point of view of the guy I turned into while driving to work yesterday. It's gonna sound different because I wasn't myself yesterday. I'm glad crap like doesn't happen every day.

I arrived at work 20 minutes early - that's weird. I'm never early. Wait - let's back up...

I woke up at 4:15am and couldn't go back to sleep. There I was wide awake...what the heck? After 45 minutes of staring at the ceiling I got up, made coffee and logged in to Facebook.

(fast forward)
When I surveyed the parking lot, I noticed my shiny new rig idling and the mechanic outside talking on the phone...Crap! This is not good! Darin (the Sup de jour) gave me the bad news.
Time for an oil change.

Well, it could be worse. Oil changes are quick, Glen can do them in less than an hour - so maybe we'd only be in a back up rig for a short time. I can deal with that : )

Clocked in, coffee in hand, we were told to line up for H1N1 vaccinations. I seriously thought about bailing on it - I haven't had the flu since I played with pterodactlys in the sandbox....but I caved in. (I hate peer pressure)

After milling around for 30 minutes and not getting close to the front of the line, dispatch told us we had an interfacility call...crap! Darin tossed us the keys to the POS back up and told us yesterday's crew moved all our gear over last night...should be good to go....honest.

My partner rolled his eyes in disgust...the seat-belt light glowed dimly, while the engine quietly slept. Crap!! Someone left the battery switch on. Darin told us to have the mechanic (still talking on the phone) to give it a jump. We advised dispatch of the problem, they called the hospital and delivered the news of our delay. 15 minutes later we're under way...late.

We're not used to running late. We usually arrive early, the paperwork isn't ready, the patient isn't ready and no one's called report to the receiving facility. We can bank on 20 minutes of boredom. Sometimes I do 'hot laps' around the hallways, praying for random patients or irritating the nurses with bad humor. The nurse behind the desk was on the phone getting her butt chewed out by the doc who was doing the procedure on our patient. She promised him we were loading him and about to leave. She gave us a quick report, tossed us the paperwork and asked us to hurry as politely as she could.

I did everything on the way - the 5 minute transport was just long enough to get a couple sets of vitals, an EKG, a quick history and ask the patient what was going on. He was very helpful, and even mentioned that the urologist who was doing the procedure called him on his cell phone and bitched him out this morning for not being there earlier. They set up the transfer for last night, because the procedure was slated for early morning, but they rescheduled the transfer. The irate doc called the staff and the patient and threatened to cancel the procedure. Just amazing, I love people who act that way.

After that transport we hoped to go back to the barn and switch out of our pre-Cambrian meat wagon. No such luck. We went to the west side instead to cover another rig's area. The brilliant idea to do a rig check hit my partner. We found the portable and main oxygen tanks bone- dry....Nice. A call to dispatch and we on our merry way back to the barn. We changed out the empty tanks and moved our gear into our normal rig. Our shiny new one had a couple of gallons of new oil waiting to be broken in.

My partner is a good guy. Sometimes his thorough-osity irritates me. (Don't ask if that's a real word) His inspection of the portable o2 tank on the gurney? Stone cold dead. Crap!

It was just the beginning.

We found 12 pillows stuffed under the bench seat. I'm not sure how the guys on the other shift party, but apparently the feathers fly when they get excited. We had (as usual) one backboard - without straps. The garbage can in back was bloated bag of refuse, spilling it's vile contents on the floor. We found no de-fib pads in the monitor and no idea what our predecessors planned to do if they had a code. There was a key broken off in the door of the main o2 compartment. This is becoming legendary. Braun, in their infinite wisdom switched to a spring loaded lock cylinder last year. All the new rigs come with an exciting new "feature". If you don't jam the key all the way into the lock and properly depress the spring mechanism, the key snaps off when you turn it. We've broken off about a dozen keys on our rig alone. Finger pointing is at an all-time high.

Our second patient was...'interesting' We were told by dispatch she lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment complex that had no elevators - only an outside stairwell. They were sending another unit with us to help carry her up the stairs. On scene we were warned by the nurse that she was demanding, controlling, pushy, refused to have male nurses in her room and 'fired' some of the female nurses during her short stay. Our informant added this gem to the rap sheet; "she was no stranger to narcotics". YAY!

I broke out a bottle of Rico Suave aftershave, lit a few candles and sauntered into her room - determined to win her over. It worked...she feel in love with us. We had a fairly decent trip with one irritating exception. She had a beautiful vase of flowers (lillies) that we brought along. In carrying them I somehow got orange pollen all over the front of my uniform shirt. It remained there the rest of the shift. About a dozen people were kind enough to ask what happened. I rolled my eyes in disgust.

Coming out of the hospital with the patient, I shook my head in unbelief. Some nucklehead from AMR parked his rig 4 feet behind ours. How the heck were we supposed to load our patient. Don't their gurneys need the same loading space ours do? The EMT shot me a look and asked if he should back up. I said, "I don't know, what do you think?"

Our next transport was a bariatric. Thankfully, it only required us to swap out gurneys. We grabbed the 'wide load' bed and put it in the rig. My partner's obsession with oxygen bottles continued and (drum roll, please).....the tank was empty. The gurney had no pillow and no blanket. A microscopic exam of the mattress revealed every bacteria known to man. Who knows if it had been cleaned in the last month. Our frustration went into high gear. We cursed the lazy worthless slobs we worked with who couldn't manage to do a single friggin' thing right. Dropping off our (very nice) bariatric patient at dialysis, we maneuvered the wide gurney into the room. A nurse poked her head into the room and sheepishly asked if we wanted help. I said, (a bit sarcastically) "I don't know, what do you think?"

(Warning - rant ahead)
OK...we have a bariatric patient. That means they're around 300 lbs, minimum. A lot are 400 - 500 lbs. Some are over 650 lbs. Why does a nurse think for one minute we're going to refuse lifting help? Get your butt in the room and help us! It's a constant source of irritation for us... people who can't or won't do heavy lifting. We pretty much stopped asking for lifting help at the dialysis unit a long time ago. All we every got was attitudes and excuses. A lot of hospital floors are the same way. People disappear every time a large patient shows up. We come to their floor and like cockroaches when you turn the lights on, people scurry for a hiding place.

We have a few EMT's working for us who request an extra unit to assist in lifting when the patient weighs 175 lbs. Two people who can't lift a patient that weighs 175?? No, I'm not kidding....it's becoming a lot more common. Why are these people even doing healthcare? EMS isn't for everyone. Maybe you like the lights or the drama. Maybe it's driving fast. None of that matters. The job involves lifting and carrying people who are disabled. Some are very big. If you need help every time because you can't or won't lift someone, you're a liability. There are other jobs that don't require heavy lifting. Perhaps you'd be better suited in one of them.
(End of rant)

Coming out to our rig, we noticed a shuttle van parked behind us. Yes, we were parked in the shuttle loading area. I'm sorry, but I think ambulances qualify as shuttles, even if we don't have a wheelchair lift. The shuttle was parked exactly 5 feet off our rear bumper. As we approached with our gurney, a woman materialized out of thin air. She introduced herself as the supervisor who was training the new shuttle driver. She sweetly apologized for his park job. Her smile gave away something of what really happened. (at least in my bewildered mind)

(10 minutes earlier) She explained to the newbie, "The ambulance needs exactly six feet of space to unload their gurney. They are not a shuttle van and thus they have no right to park where they did. Do you understand? Good, as you park the van, I want you to leave exactly five feet of space between our vehicle and theirs."

I waited for my partner to go back inside and get the signature he forgot. Sheesh! The shuttle van prepares to leave. I can't believe what I'm watching in the mirror. The van has at least 50 feet of room to back up before they leave. Instead, the driver cuts the wheel away from the curb and creeps forward in his attempt to merge. He crawls within a couple inches of my rear bumper...I can't watch, I close my eyes and brace for impact.
He clears my bumper without hitting me. I'm simply amazed. Stupidity reigns in the heart of men...I just want to go home.

I call dispatch and remind them I need my flu vaccine. They send us to the barn, I snort the vaccine up both nostrils and quickly leave as the stuff drips down the back of my throat...yum.

We get a call to the homeless shelter for a dude with a massively swollen arm. Been like that for a month. Had a DVT a month ago...looks like he still has it. He tells the fire guys his story, they relay it to us. We begin the drive...6 blocks to the hospital. Vitals are good, sats are great. On the way the guy decides to add a few more pieces to the puzzle...diabetic, CVA, heart problems...yada yada. We check his sugar - almost 500...thanks a lot for sharing, pal. I can just hear them now...why didn't you start an IV?? Why didn't you blah blah blah?? 30 seconds to arrival.

Call the ball...

We did our best to tell the story we had so far. But the dude kept changing it. He told us he was taking insulin, but told the nurse he wasn't. Then he told them he wasn't taking his coumadin or any of his medications. He tossed us under the bus. My partner rolled his eyes with disgust once again. I told him don't worry - he's gonna change the story again when the doc sees him and make the nurses look like idiots. If he sees someone else like a specialist, the story changes again. Guys like him make a career out of telling everyone a different story so we all look like morons.

On the way out the door the nurse asked us if we checked out his breath sounds. "Wow, I've never heard such junky sounds in my life, what did you guys hear?" My EMT informed her that our stethoscope was missing an earpiece and a bloody eardrum awaited anyone who used it. I went in a different direction. I thought the lifters in the engine needed adjustment based on the loud tapping sound I kept hearing in the background. I don't know, maybe we should have started him on Levaquin.

The end of shift was fast approaching. Just when I thought the nightmare was over, we had one more problem. Some dingleberry parked a back-up rig in our spot. We have numbers for our rigs stenciled on the ground in front of the parking spaces. It's management's way of bringing it down to the 3rd grade level of personal accountability most of us operate at. But apparently it's too complicated for some. I fetched the keys, once again trying to fix a problem created by lazy mope. To my dismay, the back-up rig (a different one from this morning's fiasco) wouldn't stay running. It turned over, but when I let go of the ignition key, it died. Maybe I could back it up, holding the ignition key on and grind the starter to a burnt lump of metal! Crap!

I went inside & broke the happy news to the supervisor. He rolled his eyes in disgust. 15 minutes later the offending unit was extricated from it's wrongful location and I backed my rig in. Thank God for the end of this day. I didn't pray for a single patient. I did feel like strangling half the people I work with. I prayed that God would never again let me suffer through a shift like this.

I asked God what happened today. The answer is this: I gave a co-worker some advice the day before about reacting to the situations around us. Today I was given an opportunity to walk out my words of advice. It wasn't easy. The advice came from a man I respect greatly; Bill Johnson. He said (paraphrasing) "If you react to error, you won't arrive at truth, but another error. As long as error is your starting point, you're going to end up going in the wrong direction. We are not designed to react to error - but to respond to truth."

I spent an entire day reacting to the errors of other people. It frustrated me to no end. I could have chosen, as I often do, to seek God's truth in every situation and respond to it. Today I chose to react instead of respond. I hope I never make that mistake again.

Oct 21, 2009

I Prayed – Can I Be Fired?

I’m hanging out in the OR today trolling for intubations. I have about an hour or two between cases, so I thought I’d share some tips on praying for patients. It’s a common concern most of us have when we think about praying for our patients - can we get in trouble if we pray for people on the job? In this post I’ll offer my own experiences and observations along with some information for legal help if you ever need it.

When God challenged me to begin praying for my patients, I had a lot of anxiety over it. I wasn’t afraid to pray silently. That doesn’t take a lot of faith. It was the idea of asking a stranger if they wanted me to pray with them that terrified me. I was also afraid someone would notice, complain to a manager and get me in trouble.

First let’s look at the issue of asking a stranger about prayer. When I began to ask patients about prayer – I wasn’t prepared for what I found. I couldn’t believe how many people not only welcomed prayer, but were deeply touched when I asked. Many people cried tears of joy simply because a stranger thought to ask. This might be due to the fact that western culture views prayer as a private matter, that’s intensely personal. When we take a personal experience and share it publicly, it tends to bring a lot of emotion with it. I’ve even been surprised at how many non- believers, atheists, and people of other faiths who wanted me to pray for them.

In the last year I’ve probably prayed in public for over 1,000 people. About half of these were on the job and half were at stores and other public places off -duty. I’ve prayed for a few hundred more in church settings. That’s right – I pray for many more people outside a church setting than inside. I can only remember two or three people who declined prayer when I asked them. Keep in mind, I live in the pacific- northwest where church attendance is the lowest in the nation. My advice is this; if you’re afraid people don’t want prayer – you’re wrong. I believe many more people are willing to receive prayer than you think. This is especially true when the patient believes they are in dire straits.

The second question is more problematic, but I can report good news. I was called into my manager’s office one day to discuss praying with my patients. A nurse in one of the ER’s saw me praying with a patient and filed a complaint with her manager. Her boss and mine had a talk about it. It’s a bit ironic that this happened in a Catholic hospital. I work for one of the largest private ambulance services in the country. In asking around to his bosses what he was supposed to do about the complaint – my manager revealed some startling news to me. None of the managers in our company can recall ever having to deal with the issue of someone praying openly for a patient.

In the meeting I explained that God asked me to pray for the people I transport. The subject of how I actually heard from God didn’t come up. (Whew!) I told him I always ask permission before I pray. I actually ask both God and the patient. And yes, sometimes God say “don’t bother”. I told my boss that I always respect the wishes of those who say no. He said our company had no policy regarding prayer on the job and nothing is in the works to my knowledge. My manager’s position was very reasonable. His only concern was to avoid behavior that would generate complaints from our customers. He respected my convictions about prayer. He said I’m allowed to continue praying for patients under two conditions; first, I have to ask permission and second, I agreed to confine it to the back of the ambulance. Although in practice, the second provision is more difficult to do.

I recently had an intubated patient on a vent that I was taking directly to surgery for a risky procedure. She developed a pneumothorax in the ICU. When the doctor inserted the chest tube, he accidentally punctured her lung and the trochar became embedded in the lung. She went downhill and was sedated, intubated and placed on a ventilator. We transferred her to the trauma hospital for emergency surgery. During the transfer between hospitals I asked if she wanted me to pray with her and she nodded in agreement. We prayed in the rig. But when we were on the elevator inside the hospital, with 2 firefighters and 2 nurses looking on, she suddenly grabbed my hands with hers and made a motion as if we were praying. I asked if she wanted to pray and she frantically nodded her head. So I got to pray with her in front of a few surprised people. I told my manager about it. He was cool and didn’t seem to be concerned.

Most fire departments and hospitals have some type of chaplain service for their customers, even hospitals with no religious affiliation. Becoming a part of the existing service may open doors for you to ministry. The fact that we have these services reveals a belief that the spiritual needs we have are real and meeting those needs is a legitimate part of the service we provide to the public. I’d like to know how an organization that advocates spiritual care in one sense, can reprimand people for providing it in the normal duties of their job. The government provides these services in it’s corps of military chaplains that serve our troops all over the world. There is no reason to think that we should receive disciplinary action because we pray for people who request it. And there’s no reason to believe that any special training or certification is necessary either. Although western culture holds college degrees and ordination in high regard, there’s no biblical basis to believe these things qualify us for service. Jesus used simple, uneducated people to work miracles of healing. We should follow that example today.

One fear we have is that of suffering discipline for praying with a patient. I had that fear and it proved to be unfounded. I’m not saying you won’t catch some flak from your boss – it’s certainly possible. But the constitution guarantees us certain rights that we don’t surrender when we clock in for work. There is no legal basis for discipline of employees who pray for their patients. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is a non-profit law firm that defends people who are persecuted and disciplined for carrying out their religious convictions in the workplace. They often oppose the ACLU in discrimination cases and they’ve had a lot of favorable rulings in this arena. It’s illegal to discipline employees for praying in the medical setting, and the courts know it. If you think you need legal help, you can find their contact information on the web.

I don’t advocate militant or defiant behavior concerning prayer. Romans 13 tells us to respect the authorities placed over us and that includes supervisors at work. Humility and a spirit of cooperation go a long way. God opens doors and changes people’s hearts. I do a lot of prayer in the area of asking God to grant me favor with people as I step out in faith and pray for the sick. If God wants you to pray, He’ll generally make the way safe for you, though you’re almost certainly going to encounter a few problems now and then.

I had a dream a few months ago about this situation. In the dream, I was on the run from the enemy and took refuge in a hospital. I wore scrubs and blended in with the staff. I slept in a bedroom on the top floor of the hospital where the resident rooms were located. I was there for days. Occasionally an agent of the enemy showed up. When I saw them, I’d pull a surgical mask over my face and duck down a hallway or get on an elevator. As long as I didn’t draw attention to myself, the enemy never noticed me or caused problems. This was a dream of major revelation to me. It was God’s way of telling me that I was protected and given favor in the setting in which I worked. I could pray for my patients with confidence as long as I didn’t make a scene or draw attention to myself. I think we are a lot safer than we believe in the realm of praying for our patients and I believe God will reveal strategies and obstacles if you ask Him.

I’d like to ask a few questions for consideration. If its God’s desire to heal and healing comes as we step out in faith and pray for people – is there someone who might want to stop us from praying? What kind of tactics might he use to prevent us from accomplishing God’s plan? Would our fear of praying and disciplinary action be something the enemy would create to prevent us from working with God? Is it possible that our fears are without a legitimate basis?

I’d encourage you to pursue God’s heart for your situation. Ask the Lord if you’re supposed to be praying for your patients. Look for opportunities to test the waters. If you begin praying with patients, expect to see a few miracles. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t. It was only through many months of praying like crazy that I finally started to see a few testimonies of healing. The nature of our job doesn’t always allow us to follow up with people. Some people are healed immediately, but don’t realize it. Some are healed weeks or months later. Don’t give up. God is faithful. He will honor your obedience, in time.

Oct 20, 2009

Distractions, Dreams and a Surprise Healing

When the weather turns cool, cloudy and wet in the northwest - our call volume usually drops off. I'm still waiting for the change. It was a busy weekend on my unit. I've been drinking a lot of coffee to help keep me going. Somehow it's losing it's effect. I find myself very tired in the middle of the day, dozing off while sipping a cup of Starbucks - I hate that.

Friday was busy. We ran steady most of the day. I had a lot of distractions - people calling me asking me to fix their problems. Being a people- pleaser by nature, it's difficult to say no. Even when I'm swamped with other things. I came home with a headache at the end of shift. My usually social attitude turned inward. Soon after getting home I crashed on the bed. Saturday was a repeat. When we weren't running calls, we were driving all over town covering for other units. I had a lot of phone calls again, with people wanting help for various problems. I came home with another headache.

I don't often have headaches. I knew something had changed for the worse. It was time to identify and remove the problem. Saturday evening at bedtime, I heard God telling me all the phone calls and hassles of the last two days were distractions coming from the enemy. Hmmm...really?

He reminded me of the story of Elijah and Elisha. The student and mentor were going to be parting ways. Elisha's request was a double dose of miracles. Elijah said, "If your eyes are on me when I leave - it's yours". The day Elijah left was a day of constant distractions. A gang of prophets began bugging Elisha -telling him his master was about to check out. He told them to shut up. Elijah repeatedly tried to ditch Elisha. "Hey, you stay here, while I go to such and such a place" Elisha never left his master. Then God sent a chariot of fire out of heaven. It must have been awesome to watch - but Elisha's eyes were on Elijah. Then suddenly, Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind. Because his eyes were fixed on his master, Elisha received the mantle and his request for a double portion of miracles. (See 2 Kings 2)

God told me to keep my eyes fixed on Him because He is moving. Jesus was always on the move, going from town to town. That's how God is, always moving. He's about to make a major move in the northwest. A tremendous wave of His presence will soon hit us. Miracles of healing and signs and wonders will increase and many will come to know God in the coming season. But I have to put aside the distractions of the enemy and keep my eyes focused on the Lord.

I prayed for a few of my patients this weekend. I didn't see any of them miraculously healed. I met an amazing older woman who has a lot in common with me. She receives revelation from God about people's medical problems and believes many of the conditions we suffer from are spiritual and emotional in origin. We transported her husband home. He's suffering from a potentially life-ending condition. She told me he's ready to go home to be with God. She asked me to pray at his bedside and tell her if I saw anything indicating healing, or a home-going. As I prayed I saw the heavens open, with a large black cross silhouetted by brilliant white light behind it. I believe it indicates he'll be going home to heaven soon.

Sunday night I had a dream. I didn't remember this one until I was driving to work Monday morning. It was about a co-worker (Teresa) who sent me an e-mail. I remember opening the e-mail in the dream, but I don't remember what the message was. When I got to work, I told my partner about the dream. He looked at me with a smile and said "Well, Teresa did send out an e-mail last night". I said, "Are you kidding me?" He said, "Nope, she was asking crews to stop stealing food from other people's quarters." I checked my e-mail after he told me this, and sure enough, there was one unopened e-mail in my inbox, from Teresa. I believe God gave me this dream to show my partner something about dreams and God's ability to give us information in advance.

Finally - I witnessed an amazing healing yesterday. While lifting a patient onto the gurney, I pulled a muscle in my back, between my shoulder blades. I felt a sharp pain, then the muscle tightened and began to spasm after the lift. My partner knew something was wrong by the look on my face. After getting the patient situated, we had to raise the gurney from the lowered position to the highest. He suggested we switch ends to make the lift easier for me. During the lift, I felt some dull pain. I began to envision a couple of days of Advil and lying on cold packs waiting to feel better. Then a few more days of lying on a heating pad. Dang! I hate that.

But as we left the patient's room I noticed the pain was suddenly gone. I flexed in every direction and felt no pain at all. I was pain-free the rest of the shift and this morning there's still no sign that I was ever injured. I've suffered so many injuries like this over the years, I can't count them all. But yesterday, God healed me instantly - and I never even asked for it!

That's a wrap for my weekend. I met some wonderful people, did a fair amount of vision-casting between calls and built a few bridges. God is awesome - always moving and wanting to heal, sometimes in unexpected ways. He's always speaking, even if we aren't listening. He's always in love with the people we transport. We need to let them know that.

'till next time -

Oct 15, 2009

Healing at Home - Body, Soul & Spirit

Last weekend was my weekend off work. I’ve been praying for about 3 or 4 patients a day when I’ve been on duty. I didn’t see any miracles of healing last week, but patients I pray with are beginning to write and share their stories. I’ll be posting one in a day or so. I spent a busy weekend around the house with my wife and kids. God decided to do a few cool things at home last weekend.

I know we humans are a three-fold being; body, spirit and soul. But think I suffer from spiritual amnesia. I often forget about the reality of the spiritual dimension and the fact that my spirit is the most important part of my being. I don’t like the fact that I’m involved in a constant spiritual battle. But that's a fact of life I'm learning to accept. This is a discussion about the body, spirit and soul and how the problem of pain is treated in each one.

My daughter came home from swim practice on Saturday with pain in her ribcage. We thought she may have muscle strain from the long workout. A year ago I would have grabbed the Advil and a glass of water. I don’t do that anymore; it’s not the way I roll. Because of what I’ve seen in the last year, my first reaction to everyday injuries is different. I knelt beside her with my eyes closed, placed my hand on her ribs and commanded them to be healed. Within a couple of minutes the pain was gone. God didn’t show me anything in the spirit.

The same day, my son Danny developed abdominal pain while doing homework. Lying curled up on the couch, unable to go on, he told me he was tired and felt sick all over. I walked over to him and closed my eyes, placing my hand on his abdomen. I saw a vision of something like a man wearing a black hood. It resembled someone dressed as an executioner. I commanded it to leave and spoke healing into his body. Within a minute or two the pain and all his symptoms were gone. He got up and continued doing his homework. About 30 minutes later he developed pain in the middle of his back. I repeated the process, again seeing a spirit and telling it to leave. We went through this same process with him about 6 months ago.

My son has many dreams of being in battle. God is constantly trying to sharpen his awareness of the spiritual battles in life. He had some visions in church this weekend. He began to ask God to show him some things to build his faith. He received some prophetic words about his spiritual gifts. The previous weekend an angel woke him up to tell him to write down a dream that he had. He’s growing in the spirit – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the enemy would try to put the fire out. That’s the nature of the battle. God is always at work, helping us to grow but the enemy sends messengers of gloom, pain, or discouragement.

At the spiritual hunger conference a few weeks ago, I was healed of chronic shoulder pain. The woman praying for me asked if I was carrying a burden that wasn’t mine. As soon as she asked, the Holy Spirit showed me that I had allowed problems my wife had at work, to become my own problems. I unknowingly transferred the burden to myself and with it, the pain. I told Jesus I was sorry for carrying a burden that wasn’t mine, and released it to him. The pain in my shoulder was immediately gone and hasn’t returned. This was an issue of the soul, which is responsible for our mind, will and emotions. I was holding onto emotions of anger because of a situation my wife was dealing with at work. The emotion of anger cause a physical pain to be manifested in my body. Once the emotion was dealt with, the pain left. I suspect many people suffer chronic pain syndromes, like perhaps fibromyalgia, because of emotional issues that are never properly identified and resolved.

What I’ve noticed is that there are physical ailments with no apparent spiritual or emotional issue, as in the case of my daughter’s rib pain. It’s just a physical injury. These things can be healed with simple prayer. Advil will probably work, too - so would a cold pack - and yes, I still use them sometimes. But I'd much rather allow God to do it.

Then there are times when a physical problem has a spiritual or emotional root to be to be identified and dealt with. A pattern of recurring pain that leaves and returns or pain that occurs without injury should be suspect. The same is true for conditions in which multiple exams and testing reveals no physiologic cause for a condition. They should probably be treated as spiritual or emotional issues.

Sometimes God reveals a spiritual being that brings the condition with it. Spirits have no physical body - they prefer to hitch hike on us. Attitudes of the heart like sin, rebellion, bitterness, hatred , unbelief and many others provide a shelter for spiritual hitch- hikers and the pains and diseases they carry. It all gets transferred to us. We may need to get rid of a certain behavior or attitude to get rid of the critter and be healed. That makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but Jesus healed multitudes by removing demonic parasites. I believe he knew a little more than you or I do.

These things don't make sense to the natural mind, particularly if you're schooled in modern medicine's approach to healing. But there are spiritual laws in effect that aren't taught in med school. Spiritual laws (like gravity) are like natural laws; they can't be broken. Apparently one of the spiritual laws goes something like this; if you shoulder a burden that doesn't belong to you - it creates the same pain as if you were dragging a telephone pole around. In the natural, you would advise your patient to stop carrying heavy things around for no reason. Concerning the spirit we must do exactly the same thing.

I hope this post helps you grasp the realities of spiritual warfare a little better. It’s real, it’s all around us, and we have the tools to wage the war victoriously and win the battles. Awareness of the battle is the beginning of victory. I hope you win the battle you’re in today.

Oct 12, 2009

God's Plan for Healthcare Reform

I heard Randy Clark say recently, that he feels there's a "Mt Carmel showdown" coming between healthcare and God's power to heal. I believe he's right. The reference was to the battle for supremacy between The prophets of Baal and Elijah- the prophet of Jehovah. The story is told in 1 Kings 18. There had been a division in the land; confusion reigned over which deity was the most powerful God. Though greatly outnumbered, as the prophet usually is- Elijah persevered in the showdown and proved to everyone that his God, Jehovah was in fact the only God.

Healthcare is on the minds of nearly everyone in this season. There's constant discussion on capitol hill about reforming the nation's health care system. Many Americans have no insurance. Those who do aren't too pleased with how it works. I have a long list of aggravating problems that stem from the medical insurance my employer provides. Drug company profits are running high. Many would accuse them of duping doctors into following their greed- driven plan to steer healthcare further into a pharmaceutical fix for everyone. State of the art trauma care is simply not possible in many areas. Its far too expensive. And while breakthroughs have been made in cures for some diseases, drug-resistant diseases like MRSA and pandemics like H1N1 threaten to cripple our ivory towers of healing.

What will the future of medicine look like? I believe I've seen it, and it's a marvel to behold. God often reveals the future to us in dreams and visions. He showed me something in a dream last year that I believe was a small taste of what we're about to see in the near future. I posted the dream once before, but I'll post it again, because I now understand it's context better. This is the dream, taken from my dream journal:

I was walking through a St Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma. There were an incredible number of patients there – many of them were not being seen for a medical problem. They were just there to get a health check up. The patients were sitting in hallways and lobbies socializing and they were all excited about the same thing. They knew that miraculous healings were about to take place, and they wanted to have their healings documented by their doctors. I was seeing patients I had not seen in years. There was a joy I have never seen in a hospital. The air was buzzing with conversation – everyone wanted to have their present medical state verified by their doctor so when they were healed there would be proof of it.

I was very excited when I awoke from the dream, because I thought I'd be involved in a mass healing event. As I've reflected more on this dream and listened to what other prophetic voices are saying, I believe it involves much more than this.

First, I believe God actually took me in the spirit to this particular day in the future to show me what was about to happen. (Something like what the apostle John experienced when he wrote the book of Revelation, see John 16:13)
. I believe I was witnessing history in advance. Second, what had taken place was a paradigm shift. People were no longer coming to hospitals for healing - they were coming mainly to have their conditions documented by empirical testing. I didn't actually see anyone in the hospital who was there for treatment. The healing was firmly in the hands of God, and everyone knew it. What could have changed a long standing tradition like this? Why would people come to a major hospital and completely reject the idea that they could be made better; expecting only to have their conditions verified? Could it be there was an outpouring of miraculous healing on an unbelievable scale? Something like this must have happened to transform the expectations of so many people.

I think God is about to show the medical community its weakness like never before. Well, perhaps since the days Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem. Many prophetic voices have seen a world-wide revival coming. They know the power of the Holy Spirit is at issue in the coming season. It's about God's power to heal in unprecedented ways and in unbelievable numbers. And when God brings His healing to our streets, people will apparently have little need for hospitals, insurance premiums or pharmacies.

There are so many positive things that can come from such a move of God. His healing doesn't cost a penny. He doesn't bill insurance companies or require a co-pay and no one who operates in the gift of healing better be charging for it. Many incurable diseases will be dealt a death blow. There is no risk of infection to either the healer or those healed. There was a recent study published in JAMA pointing out that complications from medical procedures is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US. When God heals, He is able to heal body, spirit and soul - that means mental illness and emotional trauma as well as physical illness and injuries can all be healed. Finally, when God heals we all know it - and He's the only one we can give the praise to, and that's how it ought to be.

Am I just dreaming? There's only one way to find out. My money is on the Lord in the coming battle for supremacy in healthcare. Every one who is called by His name is able to heal. If every believer healed two or three people a day, we'd soon have no need for hospitals at all. That's a sobering thought. It may be a reality one day.

Oct 6, 2009

My New Heart

I’ve suffered from a heart condition called PSVT since 1985. The EKG strip above was recorded earlier this year. My heart rate was 208 beats per minute. My heart has an extra pathway that allows electrical impulses to flow through its conduction system at a very fast rate. It comes on for no apparent reason. When I was younger, I could make an episode go away by coughing or holding my breath. The last 3 episodes haven’t responded to it. I’ve been fortunate that they’ve happened at work and I’ve been able to manage them myself with help from a co-worker. I had to have IV medication (Adenosine) that stops my heart for a few seconds, allowing a normal rhythm to take over.

My condition is treatable with medication to control the heart rate or by having an ablation done, which destroys the pathway causing the arrhythmia. I’ve discussed treatment options with a cardiologist and an electrophysiologist. I’m around them professionally, but I've been reluctant to be examined by them, preferring to manage it myself. But the problem is getting worse as I get older. The symptoms are more severe and the usual methods of ending it no longer work. In the last year I became convinced that God wants to heal us of our medical problems. So I began to ask Him to heal my heart.

I attended the Spiritual Hunger Conference in Spokane on the last weekend of September, 2009. My wife and I went there hoping to be healed of some chronic neck and back pain. My heart condition never crossed my mind. On Friday the 25th, a man was giving his testimony about the faithfulness of God in blessing him after he gave extravagantly of his finances. While he was speaking, God began to tell me to give a large donation tonight. I saw a vision of a credit card and silver and gold coins. I asked about a specific amount but God didn’t give me a number. I began to discuss the donation with my wife. As we talked about the amount, an episode of PSVT began. This time I wasn’t at work – there was no way I could fix it myself.

I tried coughing and holding my breath but it wasn’t working. My wife and some friends began to pray for me. I broke into a sweat and the pounding in my chest became very uncomfortable. A volunteer asked if I wanted them to call 911. I sensed God was trying to do something and the last thing I wanted was a visit to the ER. I told her no. About 20 minutes went by and nothing had changed. I began to hear God speak to me again about making a large donation. I sensed my healing was hovering over me and it would come when I took a step of faith. I told my wife to stop praying for me and put our credit card number on the donation envelope then write in a large amount. She asked the woman sitting next to her to take her place praying while she filled in the information on the envelope. I was watching her write and as soon as she filled in the dollar amount, the episode of PSVT ended. We all breathed a sigh of relief and gave a shout of praise to God. I had a feeling as though I was healed permanently of my condition.

But there’s more to the story.

After my heart rate slowed down, I noticed that my pulse was irregular. It wasn’t fast; it was just very irregular - like I’ve felt when checking the pulse on a patient in atrial fibrillation. I’ve never had an irregular pulse, not even an occasional skipped beat. But my pulse remained irregular the remainder of the night. As I pondered what might be causing it, I had a few questions for God. I told him I never had an irregular pulse before and wanted to know what was going on. His reply sounded something like this; “Are you telling me your old heart never had an irregular heartbeat? Maybe your heartbeat is different now because you have a new heart.” I was full of joy and wonder the rest of the evening. I knew I was healed and I believed it was permanent, could it be that God had really given my a new heart? When I went to bed after midnight, I checked my pulse and it was still irregular. When I awoke in the morning my pulse was normal again. I believe the irregularity of my pulse for several hours was a sign to let me know something in my heart had been permanently changed.

Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness. He took his private victory and shared with all who would receive it. Its a spiritual principle that applies to other things. Having been given victory over heart disease, I can now share that victory with all my patients who have it. This week I prayed with a man who was going to have quadruple bypass surgery. We asked God to give him a new heart so he could avoid surgery. I'm waiting to hear his testimony.

I’d like to state that I don’t believe we can ‘buy’ healing from God. No amount of money or good works can secure divine healing; it’s an act of grace. All we can do is ask and receive. I didn’t know what the end result would be, nor did I even ask for my heart to be healed. I came to the conference for other health problems. But God knows which take priority and I’m happy to yield to his greater knowledge. Having said this, I also know that God rewards faithfulness and obedience – sometimes in unexpected ways. God asked me to make a donation and I responded. To my surprise, He healed my heart. Another surprise was waiting for me when I got home from the conference. I received an unexpected refund check from the state. It was for twice the amount we gave the night I was healed. God is faithful in all things.

Oct 5, 2009

Spiritual Hunger Conference

My wife and I attended the Spiritual Hunger conference the last weekend of September. We expected to see some cool things. We hoped to receive instruction and impartation. What we received was an incredible experience. It far exceeded our expectations. And it was more about giving than receiving. Bill Johnson was the keynote speaker, giving a message on the kingdom of God each of the first 3 days. I noticed something unique about him. During the opening night’s message, he mentioned the kingdom of God at least 20 times, but never mentioned the church once. I’m coming to realize there is a difference. I won’t go into it now, except to say that Jesus was a passionate teacher on the kingdom of God but only rarely mentioned the church. It’s worth thinking about.

I brought my guitar along hoping to get some practice in…what was I thinking? We left the hotel room early and came back late every night; tired, but spiritually stronger. I also brought along a few books. It’s not really a vacation unless you return home with clothes you didn’t wear and books you didn’t read. We were busy from morning ‘til night making friends, worshipping our hearts out, praying for the sick and prophesying. I was surprised at something God did to me during worship. I saw many people laughing, jumping and being uninhibited during the conference. I was kinda jealous. So God came after me with a feather and tickled me during worship. The spirit of laughter came over me repeatedly and I went into fits of uncontrollable laughing. The joy I experienced was greater than anything I’ve ever known.

I had a dramatic increase in visions while I was at the conference. For a long time, I’ve seen things in the spirit realm every time I closed my eyes. In the last month of two, I haven’t had many visions or words of knowledge. But at the conference my spiritual eyesight went into overdrive. I saw waves of power sweeping over the crowd during worship as well as a mist or fog settling over the crowd during a message. I saw a lot of heavenly scenes and demonic images. I became much more aware of nature of spiritual battle we are in.

We were involved in the ‘Treasure Hunt’ workshop Friday afternoon taught by Marc Buchheit. Having done them before, we were asked to lead a group who hadn’t. We spent a few minutes asking God for clues then set out. I had a couple of visions – a bend in a river with geese on it and two people, one with red hair and one with black hair. The river was right behind the conference center. One of our guys had an impression of flowers. There were hanging flower baskets on the bridge over the river that led to a park. We took off across the bridge and found my two women sitting in the grass on the other side of the bridge. We prayed with them for healing.

One of the men in our group, Robert had some very specific clues. He saw the Washington monument, an alligator purse and the word ‘patient’. We walked a block and came to Washington Street. We could see an optometrist office 2 blocks away and felt that was where the ‘patient’ might be. There was actually a sign above the door we entered that said, ‘patient entrance’. There were two women in the waiting room – both had alligator purses! The first woman didn’t want prayer, but the second one suffered migraines. After we explained what we were doing she let us pray with her.

We continued the hunt at a cafĂ©. We weren’t picking up any more leads so we decided to give our waitress some encouraging prophetic words that she gladly received. Friday evening was a special night for me. God healed my heart of the condition I’ve had for over 25 years. I’ll post my testimony about that when I collect all the evidence. We witnessed about 200 people healed each night at the conference. I wish I could say my wife and I were healed of our chronic neck pain, but we weren’t. She received prayer from many people that weekend. We met Cal Pierce, who prayed for her on Saturday night. She still has neck pain. But I believe we’ve heard from God about the timing of her healing, we believe its coming in November.

One of the main callings God has upon my life is healing. John Lake was one of the most prolific healers ever. He started the healing rooms; his grave in Spokane. Cal Pierce visited that site monthly before God called him to his present ministry. I heard the Lord tell me to go to Lake’s grave. He said He’d meet me there.

We clicked with a group of new friends; Robert whom we met on the treasure hunt and his son Jeramy and a woman named Gwendolyn. The five of us drove to the cemetery. We spent a few moments in silence seeking God’s presence at the grave site. Benni Johnson told an amazing story of waking up angels at strategic places. We decided to wake up a few angels at Lake’s grave, and yelled out WAKEY WAKEY!

The spirit of prophecy descended on the group. We spent the next 3 hours prophesying to everyone who came near us. People drove up one after another and parked, saying that God told them He’d meet them at the grave site. The company of prophets grew to about 10 or 12. As people left, a few more would arrive. We encouraged one another with dozens of words from God. As we put my wife in the center, people gave her the impressions they received from the Lord. I saw an image of a beautiful lighthouse and told her she was a bright light to those around her. As I was speaking a man drove up and parked. He told us he saw a bright column of white light coming from the center of our circle. He said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doing it.” The five of us remained together for the rest of the conference. We went to lunch and dinner together and prophesied to the waitresses. Between speakers we sat in the grass outside the conference center and prophesied to friends and strangers.

As I left the hotel each morning, I heard about the continued flooding in the southeast US. Atlanta had 21 inches of rain fall in just a couple of days. God told me on Friday to make a prophetic declaration to stop the rain. I heard Him tell me again Saturday morning. I didn’t really believe in this kind of thing. Robert, Jeramy and Gwendolyn told me of some cool experiences they had making prophetic declarations about the weather. Bill Johnson said something Friday that gave me more confidence. He said, “When you’re hearing God’s voice and you declare what you hear from heaven, you become the voice of God. All creation obeys you.”

We decided to go for it.

Saturday morning we stood on the conference center lawn and declared an end to the rains in the Southeast. God’s been teaching me to command things to happen. I commanded the winds of change to move the low pressure system out to sea over the Atlantic Ocean. The others made similar declarations. When we checked the weather Sunday morning, we watched the radar loop with amazement. You could plainly see the storm front that had been stalled for weeks moving out to sea. Sunday’s forecast was for plenty of sunshine.

We went to the conference expecting to receive from others. Although we're young in the prophetic life, God used us often to bless others. That surprised us. We see ourselves as newbies who require more training and mentoring before we’re really able to be used in ministry. Apparently God doesn’t see it that way. It was amazing to see the hand of God moving in power as we stepped out and followed His lead. We’ll always be growing and learning and always be unaware of something until God shows it to us. We’ll always have need of spiritual fathers and mothers. But God can use us (and you) every step of the way. It’s an awesome adventure. We can’t wait to go back next year!

Oct 4, 2009

Set Free

She sat in a chair crying. Her tank-top revealed two arms covered with large bruises. We were called after she came to a clinic looking for help. When she mentioned that she cut her wrist intentionally, the receptionist called 911.

She poured out her heart to us over the next half hour, relating her long battle against alcoholism and drug addiction. She then turned to prostitution. It was the only way she could get money for the things she needed. Her life had become one long nightmare of abuse, neglect, addiction and numerous attempts to kill herself. “I’ve tried to kill myself so many times I can’t count them anymore.”

As I walked through the clinic door, I felt the presence of God arrive. That meant He had a strategy. I was no longer the lead paramedic, but His partner; trying to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. I sensed it was going to be an evangelistic assignment.

There are many models of personal evangelism used in the church; some lead a new convert in saying the sinner’s prayer, some explain the 4 spiritual laws, the ‘Romans road’ or the ‘good test’. I seldom use these approaches. They seem rigid and tend to assume a great deal about the person, which may not be true.

I see every encounter as unique. I prefer to let each relationship develop naturally, without a predetermined direction or goal, unless God has given me His strategy in advance. I let the Holy Spirit guide me in the right direction, set the pace and determine the issues.

Sometimes all I do is buy my new friend a cup of coffee and interpret a dream or give them a prophetic word. With others I might answer a few questions they have about God. Sometimes it’s a prayer for healing and a hug. I never really know where an encounter will lead.

When I’m with people who don’t have a relationship with God, I try to approach the situation with only one thing in mind; I know God loves them and want to give them one positive experience with Him. It may be the only one they ever have. I believe I owe that to everyone I meet.

As I listened to her story, I tried to gauge where she was at spiritually. In my mind I ran through a list of questions; How much did she know about God? How desperate was she for change? How did she feel about Jesus? Did she have any negative church experiences? Has God been speaking to her through dreams? Did she want to be delivered of demonic oppression?

In the ambulance, I could tell she was desperate and ready for a serious discussion about God. I told her there was only one thing that could change her life permanently. She beat me to the punch line and blurted out "It's God, isn't it?". In her spirit she knew what the solution was.

Most people in this place have serious identity problems. I spoke to her about the fact that she was created in God’s image, that she wasn’t created an addict or a prostitute and that God would restore her completely to the beautiful woman of strength and virtue she was meant to be. I hammered this topic for quite a while. I find it helpful to speak positively, lovingly and authoritatively against the negative things people believe and to declare the great things God says about them. It seems to break yokes of bondage.

Before we took her inside the hospital she said she wanted to have the new life that I'd told her about – and she wanted it now. I felt it was time to lead her in a simple prayer. This wasn't a time to remind her of her sinfulness. She knew how horrible her life had been. I didn't want to make it worse. We asked Jesus to come into her life and permanently change her in every way. We asked Him to remove her craving for drugs and alcohol and for the new, eternal life that He promised everyone who follows him.

It was a very special moment I’ll never forget. She became very peaceful and relaxed as we transferred her to the emergency room bed. She couldn’t stop thanking me for helping her. I love the way God opens doors.

Will she live free of these things in the future? I can't say. That's a limitation I live with. My influence is small, my time with a patient is short, and I seldom know what will happen years from now. I'm a sower of the seed - one who doesn't know what the harvest will look like.

Our nation is in a tight spot right now in regard to caring for people like my patient. A major problem in our society is the ineffectiveness of our mental health treatment. Most patients are in a revolving – door lifestyle that never ‘cures’ their condition. All we can offer them is medication – and if they stop taking it, they’re back through the revolving door again.

Most people with severe addictions and mental illness are unable to work and have no insurance other than what the government provides. And our government is fast running out of money.

What’s the answer?

Jesus. He's always been the answer. He is the great physician.

When Jesus heals, He doesn’t ask for an insurance card or a deductible. Prescription plans aren’t needed, only divine appointments, and the great physician is always available – He never takes vacations.

Sep 21, 2009

Instant Healing - Part of Our Job

Sometimes I feel disconnected from God when I spend time at home. He's become a steady and constant companion with me on the ambulance. I know He's always with me, it just seems like He's more with me when I see His power and love at work. I've seen more of that lately and I love it. I want to share with you some of the entries from my journal to give you an idea of how God makes his presence known to me at work.

I'm beginning a 36 hour shift. Due to some poor planning on my part I ended up working more than I wanted to this weekend. As we drove to a call my partner told me he was getting a very bad headache. He got out the bottle of Advil and took a couple. As I drove, I asked if I could pray for him to be healed. He said, sure. I put my right hand on his shoulder, and kept the other one on the steering wheel. I commanded the pain to leave. Before he had the bottle of Advil put away his headache was completely gone. We were both stunned. It was the first time I'd seen a healing that fast when praying for someone by myself.

I prayed for a man in his 70's with congestive heart failure and numerous other problems related to it. He was a very nice man with a great sense of humor. We talked and joked a lot during the transport. I saw his frustration over the medical conditions he'd been having and asked if he wanted them gone. He said, yes. I asked if I could pray for all of his health problems to be healed. He was very happy to have me pray. It was a busy day and a long, sleepless night. I didn't get to pray for anyone else. I sensed most of the people I saw were not interested. I got 1 hour of sleep between 4 and 5am.

On day 2, I got to pray for an elderly woman who fell out of bed and suffered a broken bone in her neck (C-2), a broken clavicle and a subdural hematoma. It was a short transport - I don't know if she was healed. She was a sweet woman. The patient, her daughter and I all prayed together in the ambulance.

I love it when church breaks out at work!

We transported a young woman, in her 20's with a cerebral venous thrombosis. I gave her some encouraging words after I prayed with her. Although she was frightened, she felt a lot better after we prayed and she thanked me. We transported another woman in her 40's who had a stroke with right-sided paralysis. She had no prior health problems until this event. She was scared and frustrated. I opened up a friendly dialog and asked her if I could pray for her. I sensed she didn't know much about God, but she was eager to try anything now. Again, she was noticeably happier after we prayed and thanked me. I didn't see any evidence that either of these women were immediately healed, though in time they might be.

I also prayed for an employee of a local hospital. She’s a paramedic working as an ER tech. We arrived early for a transport so my partner and I went to the break room and watched the football game. The ER tech and I talked about our past experiences in EMS. This being our first conversation, I tried to build a bridge of trust with her. I sensed God was up to something but I didn't know what it was. A friend of mine taught me that ministry (the ability to use our gifts) flows through relationships. When it was time to get the patient, we walked to the ER when she suddenly developed severe left knee pain. I asked if she'd ever had it before. She said no. She sometimes has pain in the other knee but never had pain in this one. I asked permission to pray for her and when she said yes, I placed my hand on her knee and prayed quickly. I basically commanded the pain to leave. She said she didn't feel anything. I told her it might take a little while. A few minutes later she said the pain was completely gone.

The following day We transported a man who has esophageal cancer. It partially occluded his airway and he came in to the ER by ambulance. Before we got to him my partner was approached in the parking lot by a man whose wife lost their baby last night – it was still born. He was looking for answers and my partner was at a loss for words, so he asked me to help out. I listened to the man tell me about the delivery and his emotions afterward. When he was done I told him about the death of David’s son and the fact that David knew he would go to be with him one day. This made the guy so happy he began to cry with joy and he hugged me tightly and thanked me. He said he hasn’t ever prayed much but last night he did a lot of praying and seeking God. I think he’s going to see God's purposes more in days to come.

I talked with the patient who had cancer during the transport. He was close to God years ago, but drifted away more in recent years. I listened to him and then let him rest for most of the 45 minute trip. I prayed for his healing while he rested. I don't know if he was healed. After dropping him off and giving report I prayed for his sister who has arthritis and sciatic nerve pain in her right leg.

Day 4 - I had some appointments today while I was on duty. I went to the first meeting to pray for a woman I've known for years. I had a legitimate reason to talk to her, but the main reason in my mind was to get a chance to pray for her to be healed. I had vision 3 months ago about her. In the vision, God told me she had tendonitis. I asked her about it a few weeks ago. She told me she has arthritis in both her knees and tendinitis in one of them - which required surgery last spring. She's been in a lot of pain this summer. On the way to meet her, I met another person who works in the office. She was limping because of a bone spur on her heel. I prayed for her to be healed. I finally got a chance to pray for the woman with arthritis and tendonitis. I was a little surprised because she was very open to it. I don't know why, but I still expect people to be reluctant - even after God shows me what He wants to do. I've never found much resistance when I follow His lead.

With the exception of the last case, in which I had a vision, I didn't receive any information in advance for anyone I prayed for this weekend. I've leaned heavily on words of knowledge in the past. It's almost become a crutch. It was cool watching God heal people as I simply went forward in faith where people obviously needed healing.

I've gotten out of my comfort zone at home lately. I once went on 'treasure hunts' each time I went out to a place of business. I prayed for people all the time at the grocery store. I don't do it as much as I once did. That needs to change. It's the only way I'm going to see God moving both at work and at home. There are people all around me everywhere I go who need and want to be healed. After the things I saw this weekend, I'm very encouraged and excited to pray for people. It's been a long time coming.

My wife and I are going to the 'Spiritual Hunger Conference' this week for our anniversary. We're entering a time of unprecedented global changes. It's a critical time to be hearing what God is saying. I can't think of a better place to be. We are both looking for some healing, too. We both suffer from chronic neck pain and other nagging problems. Don't ask me to explain how that works. We watch others healed, and still have problems of our own that aren't healed. Maybe I'll write about it in a future post. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us at the conference. I'll keep you posted.

Sep 8, 2009

The Bride and The Kingdom

This message isn't about healing. It's what I hear God saying about the season we are in. One of the gifts Jesus gave to the church is teaching (Eph 4:11). I believe God would have us learn about the time of preparation we are in and what we are to be doing. Leaders are held accountable to God, I want to be faithful to him in all things.

I believe we are entering a new era. There is a bride that God is preparing. There is a kingdom He is bringing to the earth. That kingdom will have rulers. Some, but not all of us will be those rulers. I believe the rulers will also be ‘the bride’. Through a collection of observations, I’ll try to weave together a picture of what I think God is doing to prepare the bride and the kingdom.

When I was first converted from atheism, I began to hear the voice of God. It was very loud. It was constant. And it was very convicting. But it was also very comforting to finally know that I didn’t need to make all the decisions; God wanted to steer the boat for me. For about 6 weeks I heard that voice 24/7. It was always there in every situation telling me how to act and what to say.

The voice gradually became silent. That concerned me. Why did this happen? I was comforted when I read an explanation by C.S. Lewis; “God needs us to stand on our own two feet. He gradually removes the voice that holds us up and we must walk by faith.” It made me feel better, but lately I’ve come to think Lewis was wrong.

After 7 years of discipleship under bible-believing- fundamentalist teachers, I was introduced to the charismatic wing of the church. I began to meet folks who seemed to hear God’s voice on a regular basis, like I once did. That provoked me to jealousy.

I’ve been following the life of Todd White lately. I’m amazed at what God has done in and through a former criminal and drug addict. In him I see a man who hears God constantly, every day, in every situation, as I once did. He was saved almost 4 years ago. The voice of God hasn’t faded away, but seems to have taken over his life. This challenged my thinking. I’m coming to grips with the fact that much of what I've learned isn’t God’s heart, but man’s traditions and plausible explanations for personal experiences – much of which are contrary to scripture.

Todd’s explanation and his life stand as one big challenge to the church. He says his ability to hear God’s voice in words of knowledge, in prophesying and healing are due to one thing – holy living. He says his connection to God and the degree of anointing upon his life is directly proportional to how he lives his life in either righteousness or unrighteousness. He has chosen righteousness. He declares that for us to see the miracles and revelation Jesus did, we must walk out our walk as Jesus walked. In the words of Todd, “We must never give in to compromise with sin on any level…ever.” He refuses to tell even little white lies, “all lies are black and nasty” he says, "Satan is the father of all lies." He obeys the speed limit…always.

That challenges me. And in thinking about his theology, I’d say this: The Holy Spirit is the voice of God. He speaks God’s heart to us; both the good and the bad. He’s the revealer of God’s secrets when dispensing prophetic revelation. He’s also the One who convicts me when I’m living in sin. If revelation from God is like a river, we are in control of how much we receive. We can open the gate and let God speak to us in full measure on any subject without restrictions. But if we’re allowing sin to remain in our life, He’ll speak to that issue as well. We don’t like being convicted of sin. This makes us shut down the flow. Our conscience is safe from the voice of God convicting us, but we now struggle to hear what God wants to reveal in other areas too.

I want to hear the voice of God again, no matter what it takes. I'm not happy with a trickle, I want the river. I tend to fast when I want to hear God more clearly. It works. I thought I was going to enter another time of fasting recently. A couple days into it, God told me to eat. We 'discussed' it briefly. He won the discussion. He said that I can only fast for so long - what then? He said there's another way to do it. "If you walk in righteousness, you'll hear my voice again like before."

Let’s admit to a few things. Once the protestant reformation had its way in the west and the gospel of grace was restored – it was soon corrupted and became a license for the church to live any way it wanted to. Some have tried to live in holiness, but these are rare cases. I’ve been told for years that I’m a wretched sinner saved by grace, and I’ll never be more than that. With this identity firmly planted in our minds – is it any surprise there’s little holiness among God’s people?

The word is full of hundreds of verses telling us to live in holiness. I'll give a couple here; "Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which, no one will see the Lord." (Heb 12:14) I think ‘holiness’ has lived with a bad rap for a long time. This message is about a bride that God is preparing in the last days. That bride is beautiful because of her holiness. She is without spot, wrinkle or blemish. God said, “Be holy, just as I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Does this describe the church you see?

I don’t want to be a slave to the law. I believe the blood of Jesus has taken away the punishment for all my sin. Grace is awesome. I believe we have been given the righteousness of Christ. But I can no longer live as if I’m a wretched sinner whose salvation is nothing more than a change in my eternal address. I want to be a man of purity, honesty, integrity and love because it pleases my Father. How do we become holy with out becoming a slave to good works?

What I like about Todd’s White is his passionate, untamed love for God and those around him. I know people who talk about love all day long. Talking and walking are two different things. I can’t think of anyone who displays love the way Todd does. He loves the kind of people most of us in the church won’t even look at, much less hold their hand, hug them and pray for them. Todd excels more in love than anyone I can think of. Love is the only way the bride will become beautiful in her holiness. There are a million reasons why we do any given thing. And love is the supreme motivational force – period. Holiness comes from having an extreme love for God.

Jesus has much to say about our hearts in his letters in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. Some of us are lukewarm, some live in compromise, some in outright idolatry, some in blindness, some in pride and some have let their hearts grow cold. But where He chastises us, He also remarks about the few who haven’t compromised, who’ve kept themselves in humility, meekness, faithfulness, love and holiness. He gives them special promises and these believers are the ones who will be the bride of Christ. They will be a handful of people who’ve embraced total and complete surrender of their lives to the husband of the church - Jesus. They do it because they love not their own lives, but passionately love God and thus, they love others.

A bride spends a lot of time in preparation for her wedding. It’s about becoming beautiful. This picture is what we are supposed to be doing right now as we hear that the groom is approaching. We are in the last moments before the Lord will see us face to face and take us into the promised kingdom. Beautification and holiness come through sanctification. That can only take place through the power of the Holy Spirit as He removes the garbage in our lives when we lay ourselves on the altar of sacrifice and become a love offering to God.

I had a series of dreams over the last few months I didn’t understand. In each dream I spent a weekend in a hotel with a woman who wasn’t my wife. My concern forced me to ask God what was going on. I was afraid there was something wrong in my life that I wasn’t aware of. My fears were confirmed. God said to me, “Don’t you think I see what you see? Don’t you understand that I know your thoughts?” The dreams of fornication were symbolic of a problem with my thoughts. I wasn’t having an affair, living in fornication or viewing pornography. Yet I do at times entertain thoughts in my mind of women I see. It goes no further than merely thoughts, but that’s how we begin to compromise with sin. God wants to remove it from my life. He wants me to be sanctified and holy.

God has great plans for my future. I’m going to love doing all He’s planned for me. That’s how He is. His plans for us are perfectly suited to our talents, desires and personality. They’re also bigger than anything we could plan for ourselves. But there are dangers. We watched Todd Bentley walk in an insane amount of power and revelation – but he fell hard. What he lacked was holiness. Revivals come and go. Outpourings of the Spirit seldom last. The road is littered with the names of people who fell into sin and brought the move of God to shame. God doesn't want me to be another example of a ministry and life ruined by careless living. He is purifying my life because the challenges and temptations ahead will be more difficult than the ones I face today.

If you look at movements in the church over centuries you’ll find this phenomenon. Denominations arise and establish permanent status. They’re founded on doctrine, teaching and discipleship. Revivals spring up unexpectedly and enjoy short-lived blessings, then quickly fizzle out. They’re founded on the operation of the Holy Spirit. Their lack of sound doctrine, teaching and discipleship prevent their long-term success. This has to change. We won’t experience a permanent culture of revival until we’re fully committed to the rigors of teaching the word consistently, making disciples who walk in holiness and operating in the gifts of the Spirit.

Matt Sorger is trying to get us to see the need for developing maturity of character and walking in holiness. There are others doing it too, but they aren’t getting much support. Most people don’t want to hear it. Like the church in Corinth, they just want to see miracles and have fun with the glory. It reminds me of the time when Jesus told the crowd of thousands they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood to be his disciple. It thinned out the crowd quickly. The only ones left were those who burned to follow after the man who had the words of eternal life, no matter how hard those words were to receive. Few in the church are interested in holiness. That’s unfortunate. But Jesus can do a lot with a few people.

I believe the few who receive His words of correction and repent will reap an incredible harvest. There is much at stake. As the world systems fall apart, and the earth is shaken, world leaders will look for someone who has the answers. God’s wisdom will be given to those who are walking closely with Him. These people, like Daniel and Joseph, will receive unexpected promotion from ungodly men who recognize the spirit of God is upon them.

There is an unprecedented soul harvest just around the corner. Those who are living in righteousness will be given the power of miracles, signs and wonders and a message of hope to those who are lost. They will see revival unlike anything in history.

There is a kingdom on its way. Those who haven’t defiled themselves will be given the keys of authority to rule in the kingdom. Many people are receiving keys through dreams and visions in this hour. I received one, with the promise of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in my town. I also received a sobering warning about the key – don’t lose it.

I’ll bring this to a close by thanking you for going this far with me. My prayer is that God will speak and we’ll be moved out of love for our groom to make ourselves beautiful and lovely in holiness. He deserves our best, doesn’t He?

Sep 1, 2009

Stomach Ulcers & Spastic Colon Healed

When I read Sharon's story I was overjoyed for her healing and humbled to tears by God's incredible love. I met her in July on our vacation to Pennsylvania. I wrote about the trip in the post A Vacation With God The Healer.
August 31, 2009
As long as I can remember I have had "stomach problems". I can't remember how long I have been on a lactose free, low-fat diet; close to 30 years. My problem increased during my marriage and intensified during my recent divorce. I was losing quite a lot of weight but I really didn't think much about it since I thought it was a result of the separation and the subsequent divorce. I decided to go to the doctor after a male friend approached me & told me I had had lost too much weight. After testing, I found out I had stomach ulcers and my colon was in spasm - I would have to take medication the for the rest of my life. 
I didn't think to ask God to heal me - I figured it was just another "trial" that I had to deal with. I am also the person who prays for others before I pray for myself.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of finally meeting my friend Denise's husband Dave. It was at another friends house party. We were there for a few hours when Dave started a conversation with me. We talked about my eating habits - or what I wasn't eating. After I had finished, Dave asked if he could pray for me. Denise, Dave & I prayed to God to heal my digestive problems.
I kept taking my medication - I was so conditioned to take it 1st thing in the morning before I had anything to eat.

During the month of July, a co-worker was out for 3 weeks on vacation. Things were very hectic at the time & I didn't realize that I hadn't taken my medication for 2 weeks. I realized that during that time frame I didn't have to "run" to the bathroom after I ate like before I was on my meds; there was also no cramping after I ate. I had started to regain some weight and have actually eaten ice cream with no bloating or other side effects.

We all have gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to us - we have to be willing to to give ourselves completely to the Spirit so that he can utilize us to perform his will. I thank God that Dave gave himself to God and through the Spirit is able to heal through prayer.

Sharon Wolfe