Thursday, June 12, 2008
Beloved in Jesus, How I enjoy sending these updates. They help me to remember a lot of what's been happening, and I always receive so much encouragement from ya'll who take the time to reply! I really appreciate that too because I'm bad about taking time to reply to emails because I don't want to take the time and I'm honored to have some of you which take the time to encourage me in the Lord every time I send one! I want to be more like that! I've had a hard couple of weeks, but rewarding as well. Along side of my struggles with complacency and laziness, Jesus is also launching me into some new territory. Lessons and revelation keep pouring in! There's so much prophetic activity happening that it's hard to sort it all out, but it's so exciting as well. First off, one of my main struggles has been with my own introverted personality. I don't think it's bad to be introverted; I like being introverted, but every personality trait is replete with it's weaknesses and mine is to withdraw too much. When I get to days when I don't want to do this anymore, it makes it really tempting and easy to withdraw and read books or surf the internet all day, or even to just go to a park and talk with Jesus all day! That sounds so good and yet it's laden with false motives because though the Lord values alone time with me, I sense his heart among the people. To withdraw and just pray or meditate, I'm missing an entire part of His heart and presence! I still need alone time with God and the Church, but I cannot avoid the demographic of people which God has called me to! This year, God launched me into some foundational lessons about engaging the enemy in spiritual warfare, something I've always shied away from due to fear and no confidence. During January and February and March, the Lord gave me foundational theological principles in the Scripture during my time with Him and in the last two weeks, He's put me in situations where I've had to apply them and act on them. It hasn't been easy, but the Lord has given me anointing to do so. The foundation of spiritual warfare is faith. The biggest thing that we engage the enemy over is the promises of God in the Scripture. God wants to give them to us, but the enemy wants to steal them from us. The Scripture is clear that all of those promises in the Scripture are for those who are in Christ. If we are in Christ they are our birthright! The saints of old laid hold of these promises through faith and patience (Heb. 6-11-12). There's so much more to this, most of it is posted under "Biblical Insights" at http://nate.rick.googlepages.com . I need to update that section more often-just haven't had time. The Lord has also shown me the importance of holding the reality of not only who I am in Christ but who I am APART from Christ right next to each other. The reality apart from Christ is that I'm wretched and totally depraved. The reality in Christ is that He accepts me like that with none of my own effort to improve myself. The former keeps me humble and in a position to receive. If I lose the "sinner" reality (what I am apart from Christ), I will not receive his power and I'll try to perfect myself by the flesh. If I lose the "saint" reality (who I am in Christ), then I'll just get discouraged and give up. Those two must be held in tension. Embracing that "sinner" reality is what Jesus meant in Matthew 5 about the poor in spirit, or what I've come to call embracing "spiritual poverty", "voluntary weakness" and "voluntary brokeness." When we embrace these realities as Jesus wants us to, there's no room for self-righteousness or the striving of the flesh. We just accept the truth that we're wretched and will always be wretched apart from Christ. We can add nothing to Christ's work in our lives. We just have to accept the truth and allow Christ's Spirit to overcome in all of us. Brokeness and a faith in God's promises stemming from that brokeness which drives us to Christ is not only the foundation of spiritual warfare, but of living the whole Christian life. Granted, I'm using "spiritual warfare" in a very broad sense and not the narrow sense of "binding and loosing" demons. A separate lesson, but one which stems from this is that I've found when I engage in spiritual warfare the way Jesus wants me to, my intimacy with Jesus increases! He's closer to me in my weakness and brokenness than He is when I feel good about myself! I never got that before! I realized the other day when I was trying to pray, but I couldn't focus because I was half-asleep, that Jesus was closer then than He is when I pray in my own strength. My body was asleep but my soul was awake and looking at Jesus and He spoke to me even as I lay there half-asleep. It's so beautiful the way God does things. Lately, God has been laying another form of ministry on my heart apart from just building relationships and doing practical, programmatic things. He's laid on my heart intercession and signs and wonders, especially for a certain mentally ill individual whom I know. God has told me to contend for her healing from a distance in prayer until He tells me what to do next. I'm believing for immediate healings apart from the efforts of even psychiatrists and counselors. Don't get me wrong-I believe in the use of social sciences, and my doctrine does not forbid that. In fact, my first inclination was to get these people hooked up with professionals, but God has specifically laid on my heart to pray for supernatural healings and deliverances. He's given me the faith to do that. He's also been laying Phoenix Park on my heart. I'm surprised I didn't see this before, but there are some real spiritual powers over that park and God has laid on my heart to pray against those. Last summer in Brazil, a girl prophesied over me that when I dance before God it's a form of intercession and so lately God has laid on my heart to worship him in Phoenix Park through dancing (and everywhere else I go too). I must confess that I felt fear to do that before, but today I stepped out on a limb and just went to the lawn and worshipped. People may think I'm mentally retarded, but I must say, with all the broken people down there who do have mental problems I thought maybe they'd understand me better if I wasn't afraid to look foolish before other people. Pray for me that I'll just obey God, not adding or taking anything away from His words, but just plain obedience. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and He even uses dancing in His presence to tear down strongholds. Pray for an increase of faith and courage and submission and surrender, because in all honesty, I often have argued with God for YEARS over some of these things which I've been afraid to do and I have to stop and just surrender. His patience has been abounding, but I want to be one who is quick to obey instead of being paralyzed by fear. Lastly, God has spoken to me about a certain individual I've been ministering to and how to help this person. I'm pretty certain it was God and I'm willing to obey even now, but it is a somewhat major shift from what I'm doing right now, so I want wisdom and timing to mark my obedience to this. I just want to do it the right way and get some counsel from others too. Blessed be the Lord! May Your Word go forth and may the gospel of God go forth which is God's power unto salvation for those who believe!