Divine Appointments

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I still remember the day I heard from my friend Gail that her daughter’s doctor proclaimed her as healed! A 5mm cyst that threatened removal of her ovaries is completely gone. What does that have to do with me? About two months earlier, I had run into Gail in the middle of Oklahoma, after not seeing her for 20 years.

Driving back to Texas after a healing conference in Missouri took me and my parents through Oklahoma for several hours of this 400-mile journey. Knowing we would need dinner, we decided on Durant as a good stopping point. After my handy iPhone produced the list of 40 or 50 restaurants in Durant, we decided we were in the mood for Tex-Mex. It was a random pick, but we navigate to Salitas.

I certainly didn’t expect to see a friendly face greet us at the door, but there was Gail, a friend from high school, working at the hostess stand. It was instant recognition, followed by instant connection.

After a few moments of catching up, Gail guided us to our table. She stopped by toward the end of our meal and eventually shared how worried she was about her 18-year-old daughter. The doctors had found a cyst on her daughter’s ovary, and it was not a good sign; they were considering removing her ovary. I didn’t jump out of my seat right away, but moments later I couldn’t contain the words, the prayer bubbling up in my mind–it had to come out.

At the front of the restaurant, I approached Gail and asked if I could prayer for her daughter. I had Gail place her hands on her own ovaries, and placed my hands on hers. We both agreed to focus on her daughter as I prayed.

I began my prayer just like I was taught: first command the spirit of infirmity to go, and then order her ovaries to be healed and whole. Without a thought, the next words that spilled out of my mouth surprised me. My prayer reclaimed her future according to God’s will for her life, that Satan could not steal her daughter’s future children. It is obvious looking back, that was the prayer God needed spoken over her life, as the dark one is a thief.

Gail and I parted ways as re-found friends and agreed to stay in touch. And since I started with the end, you know the rest. We don’t always know the outcome of our healing prayers. God asks us to be obedient, to offer prayers to those in need, but we don’t always get to feel the amazing joy of celebrating when they are so beautifully answered.

I praise God that my Lord can land me in the exact restaurant over 80 miles from home, to answer someone’s desperate prayer. It is exciting and amazing to be used by God, to see the power he has entrusted us with come to life.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10 NKJV

A Church Divided

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God put a message on my heart I don’t feel qualified to deliver. I’m not a religious theologian; I have not studied world religion. But I profess that I see Satan’s fingerprints on every faction of Christianity – a body divided by perceived truths, ordinances and sacraments.

Satan is winning if the majority of Christians don’t understand his tactics. We are church divided by beliefs, each choosing what we will believe in, separated by denominations that were created so long ago, we likely can no longer explain the differences.

As I sat down to record the message God asked me to share, He whispered the name John Calvin in my ear. While it seemed familiar, I had to research to figure out what God was trying to tell me. Through my research I learned John Calvin was a founder in the early church, who created a new standard for Christian beliefs in the 16th century. Breaking away from the Catholic Church (currently accounting for 50% of Christians worldwide), he formed a new theology still supported by the majority of Protestant churches today (includes approximately 40% of Christians including Baptist, Presbyterian, and Lutheran denominations).

Calvin’s reformed theology focuses on the confession of faith, and the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as visible signs of the covenant of grace. Unlike the Catholic Church who believes the Lord’s Supper contains a bodily presence of Christ, the reformed church believes it simply serves as a reminder of Christ’s death. Calvinism became the main theological system of the majority of Europe, spreading into the rest of the English-speaking world, including North America.

Reformed Protestants disagree among themselves about the definition and boundaries of the Reformed tradition, and often find it difficult to define what makes them reformed. Reformed churches do not have a single global leader or a set of confessional documents to summarize their beliefs.

Doesn’t this sound like something Satan would do to drive dissension amongst a group of believers? The Apostle Paul warned his prodigy, Timothy, of these perilous times. In 2 Timothy, chapter 3, he warns that “in the last days…men will have a form of godliness, but will deny its power.

Power? Yes, power! God’s source of power for His children is the Holy Spirit – promised by Jesus before he departed the earth, as described by Luke in the Book of Acts:

And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1: 4-5 (NKJV)

While Christian beliefs are based on the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, you will not hear teachings of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in most churches today. More than just reading the Word of God, one can experience God’s power through a Spirit-filled, empowered relationship with the Holy Spirit.

For those that heeded His promise and waited, the Day of Pentecost came:

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2: 2-4 (NKJV)

It’s right there in my Bible…they were filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak with other tongues. Neither the Catholic nor the Reformed Churches, which together account for 90% of Christians today, are teaching this lesson to its flock! This part of the Bible might as well not exist!

If the messages that Jesus delivered while on earth are our lessons, if we focus on His message of God’s love being the only way, in these simple truths we will be set free. Simplicity is how we will beat Satan every time.

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV)

If you are curious about the power that can work in us, and your church is not revealing these truths, I’m happy to point you to one that is. Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas preached these sermons in 2012 – and they changed my life:

The Pure Language

Receiving the Holy Spirit

Jesus promised us a helper, and sent us the Holy Spirit, “And I will pray to the Father, and He will give you a Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth”.  (John 14:16 NKJV)