Discernment: The People God Uses

sadDo you feel you know who the “right” persons are to do Kingdom work? Do they have the right credentials, right training, know the right people, live in the right neighborhood, wear the right clothes, and are a part of “right crowd” of “leaders of tomorrow”? Where do these assumptions come from? Are you absolutely sure you know who will do God’s Kingdom work?

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Are you open to God? Are you open to God using circumstances and people who don’t fit the image you have imagined? What if God chose someone who did not fit “The Checklist”?

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Recently my dad shared with me an article bringing to light the issue of the people God uses. An inner city student with autism from a single parent home, did what many think is impossible. He became the salutatorian of his high school class, mastered four languages (fluent), and on track to study mechanical engineering at one of the nation’s best science based academic institutions. Man says that “inner city” kids are trouble, are all in gangs, and should be avoided. Man says that children with autism have no hope of academic success and should be prepared for a group home for the rest of their lives. Man says that children from single parent homes don’t even have a chance compared to dual parent home children. However, God in the power that only He can display declared that this inner city student with autism from a single parent home is exactly capable of all things according the Kingdom of God. This child is a walking miracle and a sign post to the Body and the world that we cannot assume we know who God will use for His purposes.

In Acts 5, there is a story of the apostles being placed in jail by the religious leaders and during the course of the night they were released by an angel of the Lord and charged to teach in the temple the next day about the Believer’s life. The following morning the religious leaders and guards checked the prison house and found all the locks secured as they were placed the night before. They were confused as to how the apostles got out and into to the temple where they were teaching. The leaders ordered that the apostles be brought back to them. Upon the apostles arrival, they were immediately chastised for having continued to disobey their human orders to not teach about the Believer’s life. Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus who you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given those who obey Him” (Acts 5:29-32).

Now rather than recognize God’s work in these individuals and surrender to God, the leaders turned to anger and planned to kill the apostles. One of the religious leaders, Gamaliel, could see God’s hand at work in these individuals and could see a disturbing pattern in those who worked against the apostles.

‘But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be over thrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”’ Acts 5:34-39.

In God’s perfect universe, there are no right credentials, right training, right neighborhood, right clothes, right family, or right crowd that can do His Kingdom work. Our God is the God of love and inclusion. He uses even the most tarnished or challenging individuals to do great work. In fact, God believes so much in this principle that more than one of Jesus’ descendents were considered tarnished or challenging by historical and modern day moral standards (Tamar, David, Rahab). Coincidence?

Related Post: God NOT Satan is author of sickness
Related Articles: God Uses Nobodies
Photo Credit: WordPress

Dating & Marriage 101: Coincidence, Fate, Providence, & Signs – How to Know if its Meant to Be

fateFor a few years, I wrestled with the question “How do I know if its meant to be?” I wondered if everything happens for a reason or are just a series of coincidences. Many of us are in the middle of or on the verge of some pretty major life altering decisions (marriage, divorce, new job). We want to know if “it” is meant to be or “God’s plan”. So I set out to answer the question that dangles around most of us at one stage of life or another.

“How do I know if its meant to be?”

Though popular culture romanticizes every “coincidental” happening as a green light from above for “it” being meant to be (i.e. school, job) or “he” being the one (i.e. date, marry), these “coincidental” happenings as appealing as they may seem may in fact be clever life traps meant to send those earnestly seeking the “right path” down a dead end road. A popular “Religious” writer on this topic shared a story of a woman who was away from home and visiting a “Big City”. She came across a quaint apartment that in many ways stole her heart. She returned home to her husband with whom she was having some marital difficulties with the idea that they should move into this apartment. Her husband did not agree and after some time they divorced. The woman found a realtor who helped her search for her new home and would you believe it, the first home that they came across was the apartment the woman found when she was visiting the “Big City” before. The author and individual suggested that her coming across the apartment initially then after her divorce was a confirmation sign that she was on the right track.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, SIGNS and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

The first step in determining if “It is meant to be” or “God’s plan” is to ask oneself if the current coincidence or “sign” agrees with what God has already given us in scripture. In the “Big City” story, we have a woman who was met with some pretty compelling coincidences or “signs”. She was conveniently away from home, having difficulties in her marriage, and came across an apartment that gave her a new hope and sense of freedom. She assumed like many of us that these series of circumstances were a sure sign that she was on the “right path” and okay to do the opposite of what is consistent with God’s counsel on marriage. Ultimately, she and the author blindly saw the circumstances as a green light and went on to promote a counterfeit signs driven theology or false teaching that encourages Believers to assume circumstances alone or “signs” are green lights from God to pursue something or someone.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, SIGNS and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. 2 Thessalonians 2:9

In the book of Job, God sees Satan roaming the earth and God suggests to Satan his servant Job. Note that God initated the series of difficult circumstances that Job would face, not Satan. Yes, God granted Satan permission to arrange these purposeful happenings to test his faithfulness to God. Was the intention of these tests a sign from God that His will was for Job to suffer all the days of his life or that God hates Him (false thinking that many of us assume when difficulties arise)? No. God’s desire was to prove to Satan the faithfulness of Job to God. Despite Job losing his children, his servants, and his wealth in a very short period of time, Job gave an encouraging response.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:20-22

In the book of Exodus (Chapters Seven to Eight) we have the story of Moses, the Pharaoh, and the Plagues. The Lord commissioned Moses to tell the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. Knowing the Pharaoh would not willingly release the Israelites, the Lord God gave Moses specific miracles to perform in order to demonstrate the Lord’s power and message.

‘”When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.’ Exodus 7:9-10

Pharaoh being the worldly man of power he was, was not moved by the miracle performed by God’s prophet. In fact, Pharaoh summoned his own miracle workers called “wise men”, “sorcerers, and “magicians” with “secret arts” to perform the same miracle.

‘Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents…’
Exodus 7:11

Two more times Pharaoh and his counterfeit wise men reproduced miracles previously performed by God’s prophet Moses.

‘So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 7:20-22

‘So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ Exodus 8:6-7

After the plague of the frogs, the counterfeit miracle workers were not able to keep up with the authentic miracle worker, prophet of God, Moses.

‘They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 8:17-19

Prophetically, God the Father issues this warning to his children that just as in the days of his beloved prophet Moses there would be false “miracle workers” or “signs and wonders” today. Jesus Christ of Nazareth reissues this warning that there are many lawless ones or workers of Satan who in this life time would do “miracle work”, “signs and wonders” or “prophesy” in His name but WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There are many unsuspecting individuals being led astray by false “signs” or coincidences set up by the prince of darkness to destroy lives. These false signs look like a Cinderella story but end up being a real life nightmare (HINT: Ask your girlfriends who were married and divorced in under 3 years).

‘The coming of THE LAWLESS ONE will be in ACCORDANCE WITH THE WORK OF SATAN DISPLAYED IN ALL KINDS OF COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES, SIGNS, AND WONDERS, and every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:9

Application:
Our culture encourages us to look for signs of “The One”. Not the King of Kings but of our “Prince Charming” or “Mr. Right”. And many believe that because our path crosses the path of another individual once or maybe even five times, that that alone is a green light from God of this being our future life long mate. WRONG! That handsome or charming individual in our lives might be a “sign” not of God’s plan but of great difficulty ahead. One that will test our faithfulness to God.

Do “signs and wonders”, “miracles”, or coincidences mean it’s from God or mean it’s meant to be?
Answer: No

Related Posts: Dating 101 Series
Resources: Discerning God’s Will ; Finding Your Spouse in God’s Will

God’s Finger Print II

Laminin - Trinity within

DNA Laminin – Trinity

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:26-27

Photo Credit: Five Doves

Healing: The Invisible Scar

man_walking_awayThis tale is about a lifelong scar shared by two middle aged siblings Mark and Andrew* and how they have come to cope with a tremendously devastating scar inflicted from childhood. Mark has been married thirty plus years to the college sweet heart and produced two children who now have families of their own. Mark pursued the simple life of settling down and raising a family. The life’s work was for the raising of the next generation and the mission was to create a fun life devoted to the needs of the children, a life that was vastly different than the childhood Mark had growing up.  Andrew on the other hand never married but was esteemed with a longstanding career in the corporate world until the downturn in the economy and had a Passport filled with world travels that many could only dream of. Both experienced the same invisible scar but the personal management of the scar varied drastically, leading them down separate roads that would impact them for many generations.

As children, Mark and Andrew, were devoted to their parents. They wanted to do all they could to make them happy but did not understand that nothing they could have done or not done as children could have changed the will of their parents.  It was the heart of the “romantic” Do Wop era and “endless love”. Their parents were married for a good decade before it was discovered their beloved dad was sharing his “love” with many others. Their parents separated and eventually divorced, breaking the hearts of Mark and Andrew. Their mom began to work full time to make ends meet. Mark the oldest would see their dad with these other “loves” and often confronted him but was left either embarrassed or not acknowledged in public by their own dad (see Counterfeit Love Safeguards-The Inner Scar ). Promises were never kept, meals were scant, and bills were just covered while their dad lived the life he wanted with these other “loves”. Mark developed an internal anger and bitterness that was carried for several decades. Anyone that crossed Mark was given a verbal lashing that would send even the strongest home to cry. Mark’s family knew not to get on the “bad side” as it would not be pretty for the recipient. Andrew on the other hand withdrew and vowed never to let anyone get close of enough to cause heartbreak again. Andrew was married to work, working endless amounts of overtime to pay for the annual trip to Europe. Outside of free time, Andrew spent free time immersed in extraordinary amounts of television watching and counterfeit love (i.e. adult media).

“Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

Their mom had long ago went home to be with the Lord but as recent as the last ten to fifteen years, their now aging “Rolling Stone” dad continued in his life of other “loves”. Naturally their dad had needs of the aged and needed to be cared for. Mark being a family person and Believer, went against his own flesh desire to let dad fend for himself. Mark understood God’s Word on honor of the parents (Ephesians 6:2) and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13). Mark understood that there was no sin too great including adultery to be forgiven. Andrew, who is not a Believer, on the other hand chose to hold on the past and when given opportunities to extend grace toward their dad, opted not to. Time after time opportunities would present themselves to Mark and Andrew to extend grace but each time Andrew chose to not forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

The years passed on and Mark realized that there was no freedom in holding on to the invisible scars of adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9). Mark was misdirecting the childhood anger to others and not releasing the scar to the Lord to heal. So after many decades and prayers, Mark released the anger to the Lord for Healing and is actively on the journey of taking capture the memories of the past and letting go of the stronghold of angry tongue. Andrew is still on a journey to forgiveness. Despite the encouragement of Mark to forgive and release the past to God, Andrew has persisted in the inner vow of not letting anyone get close enough to cause heartbreak or to be forgiven. This internal bitterness or unforgiveness has now manifested into what we often see at the Healing Rooms, an onset of nearly life threatening medical conditions.

Maybe you or someone you know has been inflicted by an invisible scar. You have carried this scar for many years and have yet to release it to Abba for Him to heal. In releasing the scars of your past, some incredible things occur.

• Learned a primary tenant of our faith: forgiving also known as grace
• Canceled Satan’s authority over you including his mark (i.e. sickness, disease) by forgiving
• Allow yourself to be Healed emotionally, spiritually, and physically according to God’s Word

Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we ask to fill us with your remarkable grace and healing. We bind up the Spirit of hardened hearts, unforgiveness, and sickness. We release your Spirit of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control upon us in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we choose to forgive ourselves for any invisible scars we may have inflicted on others by our personal pursuits of the flesh. Cleanse us Lord from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes which often precedes flesh sins, and the pride of life. Cover us in your precious blood, guard our eyes, and hearts in Christ Jesus, Amen. – Blessings

Photo Credit: The Truth Won