Curt Richter had a special relationship with rats. In 1950 he put rats in a bucket with circulating water, to see how long they could swim before they would sink. Under normal conditions, a rat could swim for an average of 15 minutes before giving up and sinking. However, if he rescued the rats just before drowning, dried them off and let them rest briefly, and then put them back into the same buckets of circulating water, the rats could swim an average of 60 hours before drowning. If a rat was temporarily saved, it would survive 240 times longer than if it was not temporarily saved. That’s the same as 24,000% longer. A little hope goes a long way. The rats that had HOPE kept swimming.
Jesus didn’t send his disciples into cities, and say “When you go, be nice, trendy, hard-working, law-abiding citizens, start successful businesses, be super culturally relevant, and pray… And wait… Wait for that moment. That moment someone asks you why you’re such a great person and why you’re so successful. Then, and only then, preach the gospel to them.” Actually he told them to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Matthew 10:8 It’s dumb for us to do everything that helps us spread the gospel, but never actually preach the gospel. That’s just dumb. I understand that there are many “covert ministries”, and spheres where much wisdom is required, and I’m thankful for Christians who God has positioned to bring influence in the various mountains of culture. And I understand that in most cases, it would not be a good idea to jump up onto the table and start proclaiming a blistering bible message. However, I’m afraid that we’ve become kind of like hunters sitting in our hunting blinds, and we’re so preoccupied with the process of sitting in waiting and perfecting our animal calls, that we never take the shot. We just watch the game stroll by and we pat each other on the back, and pride ourselves in how close they got to us without getting spooked.
“Don’t let your heart get crusty. You need to soak. Stop trying to run a marathon.” Those were the exact words I heard from the Lord in prayer. Perhaps this word is for you too. My heart was growing crusty. It’s not that I was losing my edge. The opposite would be closer to the truth. It was that in the place where my heart used to be full of compassion and tenderness, it was becoming edgy.
Perhaps the term “soak” doesn’t make a lot of sense to some. “Soaking” is when I spend time in Gods presence without necessarily doing anything. “Soaking in His presence.” Not tomato juice. I’m not reading my bible, I’m not praying for anything. It’s when I’m just resting in His presence, and practicing being loved by Him. Sometimes life turns into a marathon. And in my attempt to catch up with life, I forget how to rest. How to disengage. How to pause. I believe it was never intended to be that way. All of nature is more like a series of sprints than a dragged-out marathon. It’s even the natural way our bodies function. Our muscles slide into atrophy if we do nothing. But if we over-work them, they are traumatized. They need stress, and then sufficient recovery to grow and be healthy.
Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,as in obeying the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,and to listen than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22
Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:31
God is not impressed with our experience or expertise. He’s impressed with faith. However… There is a problem with faith. The problem with faith is that it will make you great. For example, if you have great faith, then you will see great miracles. Miracles are like expensive cars. The more of them you own, the more other people think you are great. They may even start calling you “Apostle So&So.” Imagine that. So the temptation to use faith to make you great is real.
Recently I read through many of the stories of Jesus healing people. Seeing people miraculously healed is one of the most exciting experiences in the world. It’s the moment when you see that sparkle in someone’s eyes as they start to realize they can’t locate the pain. Because it’s gone! The problem with all these stories of Jesus healing people is that they were all so different. I wish he left us a formula. I wish he did it the same every time, so we could just learn the methodology and go for it. He didn’t do that though. He’s more interested in partnership and relationship, than just giving us a manual for healing people, and leaving us on our own. The stories vary in so many ways. You find various levels of faith, various methods of how Jesus went about healing people. You also find various reactions to Jesus healing people, and that some repented as a result of healing, but some did not. Here are five issues that I have had to deal with for the ministry of healing the sick to blossom in my life.
I read a book, and I’m really fired up.
Before I tell you what it is I’m so fired up about, let me tell you why it’s so important.
The #1 most important ingredient that keeps marriages together is HOPE.
When couples lose hope, it’s the beginning of the end.
The absence of hope is an indicator of the presence of a lie sinking its claws into its prey; whoever is believing the lie.
Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn interviewed thousands of couples over 12 years.
They found that there was one common denominator among marriages that survived versus those that failed: HOPE.
According to Shaunti, many different factors led to either outcome, of course.
But underneath it all was this bottom line:
Did the couple have a sense of hope … or a sense of futility?
“After all, if the ship is going to sink anyway, why bother working so hard to bail it out?”
Far better, they think, to work on escaping the wreck intact. In other words, a couple’s futile feeling that “We aren’t going to make it” ends up being one of the main reasons they don’t make it.”
There was a time when I was a bit skeptical about making “declarations of faith” as some do in certain Christian circles. When I would run into Christians who believed in this kind of practice, I often felt like it wasn’t sincere and authentic. I believe God wants us to be real. I mean read the Psalms. David didn’t polish his words with God. That all changed when I was in BSSM taking the Church Leadership Track led by Steve Backlund, the crazy guy who is always trying to get people to laugh at lies. I realized there were probably a few lies I had been believing, and my attitude toward making those audacious un-authentic declarations of faith started to change dramatically. It was a combination of scriptural teaching, and empirical evidence from my own life that slowly converted me to one of those crazies. The problem with deception is you don’t know you’re deceived until it is somehow exposed. I am fully aware that many aspects of this idea of making declarations and proclamations has been abused in many ways. But unfortunately we, the church, have a great reputation of throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don’t know how someone could throw a baby out with the bath water. I prefer not visualizing that.
Three years ago, on Valentines Day, a great man, who many came to call “The Prophet of Love” went home to meet the lover of his soul.
I had the honor to know Bob. He was a dear friend of our family. I never met anyone who knew scripture like he did.
And he truly lived to please the Lord. Many who heard him for the first time, might think he was just some corky, mystical hill billy, but he was a great prophet, and he was the real deal. He could also interpret dreams like nobody I’ve ever heard of. He blessed my parents, and our extended family tremendously through interpreting dreams, which he would do using scripture he knew so well. My earliest memory as a kid being exposed to the prophetic, was hearing how Bob predicted with precision to the day, a horrible earth quake that struck San Francisco, when the bridge was damaged. As a kid, that really impacted me, that God could use someone to actually predict something like that with such accuracy.
Technology can be a telescope that helps you zoom in and focus on something in a way impossible without it. However, in some cases it can be more like the four legged chair that the lion tamer uses in a circus as one of his primary tools in working with lions. The points of the four legs of the chair bobbing around tend to perplex the lion, and the dilemma of which of the four legs to focus on mentally paralyzes the lion, and distracts him from thinking about the tasty lion-trainer. All of us know of many of the downsides of the technology we enjoy. However there is one surprisingly simple thing that you could change to get back more than 21% of the relationship quality you might be losing.