Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Americans have had a Thanksgiving celebration tradition that began with the earliest of settlers who, along with the native residents, gave thanks to God for the bountiful harvest they shared together. I would say the idea of giving thanks is universal throughout all of history and culture. I think what has changed is whom to give that thanks. However, I do not write this to deal with the receiver of the thanks so much as the giver.

When we thank someone we give thanks. We give of ourselves to thank another for what was given to us. We acknowledge we did not do it alone that we are a recipient of another’s goodwill and we give back by giving thanks and being thankful.

I think most can relate to giving of ourselves whether it is our time, labor, love, kindness, or money to another who responded ungratefully. Sometimes the giver may think what nerve the receiver has to not be thankful. However, if you think about it, giving thanks is not so much for the one being thanked, but for the one doing the thanking. It is better to give than to receive. That is true even for giving thanks. It does something in the one showing gratefulness. Giving thanks, therefore, is for the one giving the thanks and not so much for the one deserving the thanksgiving.

The same is true for giving thanks to God. God doesn’t need us to thank Him so He can feel all good and mighty because humans are giving Him praise and thanksgiving. Thanking Him is for us, it is good for us to show gratefulness. It creates humility, kindness, and selflessness in us. It also curbs our inclination to become prideful.

Some who are in great need often fall into the trap of feeling they deserve to be the one given to by others who have plenty. Sometimes they forget to be thankful because their mentality has become one of taking versus one of humbly receiving and being grateful in response. The solution for those who feel they are in this place is to give out of what they have and more will be given unto them. The act of giving in and of itself whether it is giving thanksgiving or giving something like money, time, food, a listening ear, etc., is extremely beneficial to the giver. Of course it blesses the receiver as well. But it remains true that it is better to give than to receive.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Testimony of Two Miracles

Yesterday I witnessed two miracles. One woman in our church had been suffering with a sore ankle from a pinched nerve. Her doctor had just told her she was going to need surgery to correct the problem. My husband prayed for her ankle and she felt warmth and tingles spread up her leg to her knee. She said it was beginning to feel better, about 20% she said. He prayed again and she smiled and said she again felt warmth and tingles in her leg and reported the pain was 80% gone. He prayed once more and she joyfully reported 100% pain free and demonstrated by jumping up and down on her foot. We told her to be sure to return to her doctor to have him check her out to be certain the problem is fixed.

About a half an hour later my husband and I were talking with his mother about the several miracles concerning her right hand which had been injured 31 years ago. Her hand had been accidentally shot off 31 years prior and reattached without a wrist as the wrist was completely shattered. The doctor had told her that she would never have wrist movement again. However, she had soon recovered wrist movement one day at a church meeting many years ago. The doctor was baffled and said she indeed had wrist movement where there should be none. She retold us this story. And then she was talking about how a year ago she regained movement in the joints in her fingers on that hand while watching a DVD by a minister giving testimonies of many healings. She hadn’t been able to individually move her fingers in 30 years; she could only move the four fingers as a unit and use the thumb with the four fingers to grasp things. Not anymore. She has very good mobility. Still due to the removal of her wrist 31 years ago her right arm was approximately 1 and ½ inches shorter than her left arm; a visible difference that also impaired her balance.

My husband asked her if she wanted God to lengthen it to be even with the other arm. We have never done this before. We have only heard stories of God growing out an appendage. She said yes. She extended both arms out and laid her hands on top of my husband’s open hands. We could see the shortness of the left compared to the right. We kept our eyes open as my husband spoke to her arm to grow in Jesus name. We watched as it grew approximately an inch and a half before our very eyes to match the other hand. We were all jubilantly excited. She said she had felt a gentle pulling in her arm as it took place. She ran around showing the other people in the church still fellowshipping after the meeting. When she returned home she showed her husband and other family members who knew her right arm had been shorter than the left arm for 31 years. Lots of people know it was short and all whom she shows are amazed to see the equal length of her arms. There had been no pain associated with the shortness, God in His good pleasure and loving kindness restored the length.

This is an eyewitness account of the power of God working through ordinary Christians today. This seems extraordinary, but compared to the miracles of Jesus in the New Testament, it isn’t out of the ordinary. I have heard hundred of modern testimonies of miraculous healings of all kinds. I am excited to be seeing them with my own eyes now!

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Supernatural

I have just spent four days at a healing conference where I witnessed many miracles and many tangible experiences of God’s presence. I also heard hundreds of eye witness testimonies of miracles happening around the world including the United States. God is undeniably pouring out His love upon people across the world. He is working through His followers just as He did in the early disciples of Jesus. Biblical miracles are being experienced today. They never stopped being experienced. There are so many historical records of the power of God in all the great revivals of history around the world.

I speak so much on cerebral defenses of the truth of Jesus Christ. However, if all I ever did is present an intellectual belief system I would never paint the full picture of the reality of heaven available to us today. God is not merely a matter of the mind to answer the big philosophical questions of life. If that was all there was to it, what would be the point.

The Kingdom of God is at hand. He is actively moving in the world today. I’ve seen His work. I’ve experienced His presence. I saw a three year old praying for the sick and them getting healed. I saw her pray for someone and the power of God flow over them. I saw children prophesying the things of God over people with great accuracy bringing life and healing to them. I had a woman I had never met prophesy over me so specifically exactly what I needed to hear from God about concerning an area of ministry. About 60-80 people were healed each night. Some had injuries for as long as 10 years and were healed miraculously.

One young man, a musician I know personally, was 50% deaf in one ear and his hearing was completely restored so much so that the noises around him was hurting his now sensitive hearing. Another man had partial paralysis on the left side of his body due to a stroke. Strength returned to him and his limp arm was restored and he could grip a man’s hand in a hand shake where before he could not. This man shared his testimony and demonstrated his returned mobility and strength before the church that knew him well and was jubilant at his healing.

God is restoring the gift of healing and the supernatural to the Church. If you have not seen such demonstrations of the reality of Jesus I believe you will one day soon. This is quickly changing from something common overseas and not so common in the States, to something common throughout the church at large. Don’t you think if most of the Christians you encountered loved like Jesus did and healed the sick and set people free from bondages and such that you would know that the Gospel we share is true? Would not that be proof? The day is fast approaching where this will be what the ministry of Christians will look like. The Bible says that the power of God must accompany the preaching of the Kingdom of God. It confirms the truth of the Kingdom when it is preached accompanied by the demonstration of the supernatural. This is normal Christianity. Normalcy is being restored.

I am reminded of the phrase in The Chronicles of Narnia when the spring was breaking forth through the winter and all the Narnians knew, “Aslan is on the move.” The Kingdom of God is breaking into the Kingdom of this world and we are seeing the God is on the move through His people.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To Love and Be Loved

God wants us to love Him because He loves us first. By loving God, love is activated in us in a deeper measure. It becomes a tangible flowing stream bubbling up within us more and more as we learn to live from His love. When we choose not to love Him, we do not hurt Him, we hurt ourselves. A person cannot truly experience love if they don’t love in return. Being the recipient of love is nothing compared to entering mutual love. However, it is easier to love in return when we are loved first by another. God has eternally loved us and has given Himself for us.

Everything God asks of man is good for man. For instance, giving, in reality, does something in the giver more so than in the recipient. When God asks us to give up anything it is so that He can give us something better. When we give up our will for His, we gain something much greater. When we give up our time, money, food etc. for another, it is the same as giving unto Him. It does something in us that is worth far more than what we give up.

All that He asks of a person is for his or her good. Many think I must love God because He dictates that I do so for His pleasure. The truth is our pleasure is His pleasure. He knows the only way for our fulfillment is Him for He created us to be fulfilled by relationship with Him. He gave us the earth, the animals, the plants and authority over it all. Yet in His love He gave us the freedom to relinquish it all to do our will instead of His will. Yes, He knew what we would choose and could have withheld the freedom, but if He had created us without freedom we would never experience life the way we can experience it with freedom.

Even though we blew it, He knew there was victory coming that would redeem all that was lost and restore creation to an even greater beauty than before. He knew His Son would provide the way to redeem mankind and free man from the debt of his transgressions. Even though we bear the responsibility of sin, He who is without sin, pays our debt for us. We can continue to live in a fallen reality and be in bondage to that world, or we can choose to enter into the greatest relationship of all time. We can experience tangibly the love of God. We can enter a supernatural reality that gives meaning, purpose, and value to nature and ourselves like nothing else can.

I’m not talking about a fantasy land. I am talking about something better than anyone can dream up in a fairy tale story. People write fantasy stories because deep down they know there is a greater reality than the visible world and they desire to know that reality. I am talking about something so real it’s undeniable. I’m not writing about religion. I’m writing about a real relationship with the living God. I do not seek to impose any rules, any laws, or any religion on anybody. I’m inviting you to ask God to show Himself to you and to show you in an undeniable way His reality. I often hear, the burden of proof is upon the Christian. In reality, the burden of proof is on God Himself. Do you really want to know if He loves you? Ask Him to reveal His love to you. You risk nothing, but gain everything.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What is Righteousness?

Righteousness happens in us when we become reconciled to God through Christ. We are aligned to His rightness. The evidence of being righteous is living rightly, but living rightly doesn’t make us righteous. We can’t earn it by works, but are freely given it by grace. We gain a new nature in Christ, one that is reconciled to God and is free of the impurity of sin. Evidence of that new nature is a new way of living; living from love, not from fear, or by following rules. We do what is right because we are in God’s love and it overflows from us back to Him and our fellow man. We do what is right not out of a moral obligation or duty, but because His nature flows through us.

Fear is the opposite of love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18) Love always trust, always preservers, and always hopes. It is kind. Not self seeking. It is sacrificial. It keeps no record of wrongs. It does not easily anger. It always protects. (I Cor. 13)

When we are reconciled to God’s love we are made righteous and we live lives of love. Love is perfected in us as we mature in our relationship with Him. We grow in love as we grow in Him. We do what is right because we love, not because we fear. We do what is right because we desire to, not because we ought to, because His love motivates us internally.

We drink from his eternal love; a well spring that never runs dry. We don’t depend on ourselves for the strength to “be moral” we depend on Him for a changed nature being made righteous by His sacrifice and living accordingly by His power.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Standard For Knowledge and Morality

Note: This post began as a comment to respond to cyber kitten's comment to my last post. Due to the length I am posting it here. Please note that I am addressing the perspective shared as quoted and not suggesting it is representative of all atheists.

Cyber kitten: “I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a representative atheist just as there is no such thing as a representative theist. Personally I'm on the subjective end of the spectrum.”

I can certainly accept that there are differing perspectives within the broader atheists’ category. I try to address the main ones I have encountered. I was hoping to see what Kevin’s response was to your response before responding, but he has not weighed in yet. When I address subjectivism I am not saying that all atheists think this way, but I am addressing those who do. I am not trying to claim that all atheists think the same way. All theists are not the same. I hope everyone can understand that simply because I address a way of thinking that I am not trying to set up a straw man for all who claim to be atheists. Moreover as Quixote pointed out we may mean different things by our word choices and need to look at that before assuming what we mean.

Cyber Kitten: “I think he's right when he says that if you're not a Christian you can't really have Christian values - but of course many of the values claimed as Christian are pretty universal (the Golden rule for example).”

There are ethics that are specific to Christian teaching. I think though what I gathered from what Nietzsche was saying wasn’t simply a certain kind of morality, but the base for morality itself was nonexistent if there is no God. Again I am no authority on Nietzsche, so if anyone reading this is better acquainted with him please correct me if I err. I think he did indeed struggle with the conclusion for he saw that such a world without moral adherence would be unlivable. I think this bothered him greatly. I also see that “new atheists” do not agree with Nietzsche because morality is so widely adhered to regardless of belief in God. (see next paragraph for qualification)

However, I contend that it’s not ones belief in God or lack of belief in God which creates the need to be moral, but that we are designed by God with the moral knowledge irrespective of our environment or culture unless some stimuli robs us of our moral sense. Just the same, due to our fallen nature we often do the things we know we ought not to do even while we understand we “ought not to.” That moral awareness is a God given protection to keep us physically, emotionally, and spiritually from the consequences of living outside our created order and to draw us to Him who can supernaturally enable us to live life to the utmost – the fullest available to us which is beyond our imagination, but can be found in Him.

Cyber Kitten: “I think that largely Secular societies are 'going through the motions' where morality is concerned. Few people have any ethical training and I don't think that most people really give it much thought. Of course this doesn't mean that its either Christianity (or theism) or nothing (or nihilism). There's lots of ethical thinking out there that can be accessed by anyone with an interest in the subject.”

Small children know right from wrong even before they are taught. They will cry out “I had it first.” or “He can’t take it from me.” or “She shouldn’t hit me.” They know from a young age what’s right and wrong. All cultures have a sense of right and wrong even if they disagree on the code of ethics. Yes, much of the world simply goes through the motions. Even Christians in churches are merely trying to follow a moral code because they think they ought to, to earn favor with God. Jesus, however, came to change our nature to ones who live lives of love from a place of knowing Him and pouring out to others selflessly. Not because we follow a code of morality to earn righteousness, but because righteousness was given freely to us by God and it is He who enables us to love in a way that is impossible without being united with Him the way we were created to be. It is through that relationship with Him that we can become people who start to love like God does.

karla said: The only way to be certain is to find a stable eternal foundation for all knowledge/truth. If such a foundation doesn't exist there can be no certainty.

cyber kitten said: That pretty much is my position.

What is the point of knowing anything if it is all unknowable if there is no firm foundation? If all that you know is uncertainly known then it seems pointless to gain more knowledge. How can you trust anything you know even that there is no God? You may say given the lack of evidence it’s the surest place to be in, but if there was evidence you couldn’t trust it without believing He exist and is the eternal stable firm foundation of all truth.

Cyber Kitten said: But nothing is "wrong for all people in all times" is it?

I don’t see right and wrong as being solely culturally determined. Sure cultures create morality at times – certain dress codes or city laws etc. But over all things like child abuse, murder, rape, etc. are wrong for all times in all cultures and in all places. Even if we don’t talk specifics we know that all people (except a few with physiological disorders) have a sense of right and wrong even if the specifics are disagreed about. That knowledge of not living up to a standard of good is in all of us, we all fall short of it, every one of us.

cyber kitten said: I find it difficult to understand how anyone can say that morality is objective. There is nowhere outside of culture that we can stand to say such a thing.

Only if an eternal good God exists do we have a place to stand to know that there is objective morality and at the same time love those who fall short of the standard (which is all of us). If there is no objective standard, there is no wrong doing that means anything beyond the cultural level. Yet we all have this feeling of failure to live as “good” as we feel we ought to and yet we have no foundation to posit an “ought” without an objective standard. Otherwise we have no reason to feel we have missed the mark or to see anything another does as wrong no matter who is harmed. We have no call to claim an “ought:” without the firm foundation of an eternal good God.

If you have a piece of cloth that appears to be white and you place it up next to a piece of paper that is perfectly white you will see that the cloth looks rather dirty in contrast. The only way one could say that cloth isn’t white is in comparison to a greater standard than itself. If we look at ourselves in light of the rest of humanity we can say we are doing pretty well. We haven’t killed anyone or hurt anybody and we try to treat people well. Then we look at ourselves compared to a perfect standard, the living God, who created us and we see we aren’t so clean after all and yet there is hope for He offers to freely clean us from all unrighteousness and to show us how to live in a way that frees us from all bondages of sin. He can show us this because He sent Jesus to live the life of a man stripped of His divinity yet still being God to show us how to live a life rightly related to God. Moreover, He doesn’t ask us to live that life on our own strength, but by His strength which enables us to live like never before. Jesus took upon himself our debt to sin so that we could live a heavenly reality.

I think atheists want a solution to the evil in the world just as much as everyone else. However, if God is denied, not only is the solution denied, but also the problem. For if there is no standard then all the “evil” in the world isn’t really evil for there is no standard to judge between good and evil.

Also I have heard some say that if God exist, He is to blame for the evil because He is all powerful and hasn’t ended it. G.K. Chesterton once responded to an editorial question “What is wrong with the world?” with two words, “I am.” He knew the evil starts in our hearts and minds before it is actualized in the world. If God eradicated evil from the planet, who would be left standing? Is any heart perfectly free from evil? Is any mind perfectly good? Is any person perfectly good? God doesn’t end evil the way we want Him to because He loves us and has a better way of bringing about our redemption. The Bible says that God isn’t slow in keeping his promises as some understand slowness, but he is patient wanting none to perish. He is working in this world through those who have joined Him in Christ and through His Holy Spirit. He doesn’t force us by His omnipotence to come to Him, but He does pursue us with His love.